Posts tagged: become who you are

The IPPY Award Winners Announced Starting April 30!

This is the Silver Nautilus Award won by my children's nonfiction book, Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could.

I just received the notice below from The Independent Publisher, the company sponsoring the 2014 IPPY (Independent Press) Awards:

Thank you for entering the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards! [I entered my brand-new visionary fiction/fantasy/multi-cultural mix 'em up Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem]

And thanks for being part of this amazingly diverse, world-wide contest. Over 5,000 entries have come in, from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, nine Canadian provinces, and 33 other countries around the globe.  [That's lotsa books.]

JUST ONE MORE WEEK OF JUDGING UNTIL THE RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT! [Whoa. I had no idea the judging was ending so soon.]

We plan to begin announcing results a week from today, WEDNESDAY APRIL 30th, and finalize results by Friday, May 2nd. Results will go live the following Tuesday, May 6th, and be announced to the public and national media that day.

BEST OF LUCK TO ALL!

We plan to begin announcing results on about April 30th, to try and give you some time for arranging your schedule if you win an award. We hold the awards ceremony during BookExpo America [BEA] because so many of you already plan to be in New York at that time, but anyone who wins a medal is certainly welcome. [Have you ever been to BEA? It's the largest book exposition in the United States. HUGE! Everyone's there: the major publishers, the major celebrity authors, every sort of vendor. Indie publishers and trade organizations. People run screaming when celebs are sighted. It is a gigantic party with books. Went once. Still saving to afford it again.]

Below is the list of our judging criteria. Every book entered gets evaluated in each of these areas, and if they score well are assessed further and judged against the other top books in the category. Every year we have a handful of entrants complain that we “didn’t read the entire book,” and no, of course we don’t read every book all the way through. Our expert judges, most of whom have been evaluating books for 10-20 years, are skilled enough to critique a book fairly quickly and efficiently — and you probably can, too. All of us do a version of it every time we scan through a book at a bookstore or library when deciding if we’re going to buy it or borrow it.

IPPY AWARD GOLD MEDAL won by my book The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy

HOW THEY JUDGE BOOKS:

First Impression – Front, back and inside – would you pull it from the bookstore or library shelf?

Design – Cover design, typeface, message, front & back – does the cover make you want to look inside?

Interior layout, typeface, illustrations – is it easy to read; is it a pleasure to look at?

Originality – Is it a fresh approach?  Has it been done too much?

Use of language – Grammar, style, voice – does it flow? Does it make you want to keep reading?

Message delivery – Is the message promised by the cover being delivered, and in a compelling way?

Relevance – Is the book pertinent to our time?  Is this a message that should be heard?

What do the winners receive? All IPPY Award medalists will receive a medal, a certificate, and 20 awards seals. Those medalists not attending the New York event will receive the above items by mail, in a packet including the event program, press release, etc.  Preview IPPY Awards seals, medals and other merchandise.

IPPY AWARD SILVER MEDAL won my Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

ABOUT ENTERING AND WINNING BOOK CONTESTS:

My books have won twenty-four national awards. I’ve won gold, silver, and bronze medals in the IPPYs, which are the biggest and oldest contest for independent presses. One of my books has also been a Finalist in the Benjamin Franklin Award, sponsored by the IBPA. This award is perhaps more prestigious than the IPPY Award. And I’ve won two Silver Nautilus Awards and a bunch of winner and finalist medals in smaller contests.

Am I bragging? No. My stomach is dancing around like a bowl of Jello-O doing the marimba. Because you have won once, does not mean you will win again, even if the book you enter is better than the one that won. Sorry campers. You don’t know who else is entered in the contest or what the judges want.

A real problem for those who have won is the feeling of entitlement: “I won last year. My books are really good.” And then you start picking spots in the house where you’re going to hang your medal.

In psychological terms, this is known as “Cruisin’ for a Bruisin.” You’re setting yourself up for a good whack on the backside (or ego) if you don’t win.

Winning before doesn’t mean you won’t win. The entry process is like waiting for a baby, except that is more certain. You know you’ll get a baby, barring disaster, but you don’t know if it will be a beauty or look like a troll. With book awards, you don’t know nothin.’

I wrote some articles about winning book contests, since I’ve done it a lot. It’s not as horrible as the articles indicate. I entered two contests with two new books this year. Whereas a publicity packet used to be required, the two contests I entered didn’t want one any more. That makes the entry process WAY easier and less expensive. Here are a few of my contest related  articles:

WHAT YOU CAN WIN BY LOSING: This happened to me.

HOW TO WIN A BOOK CONTEST: It’s not this bad any more, because they don’t require press packets any more. But if you want to really know how to win a contest, here it is.

IPPY AWARD BRONZE MEDAL won by Stepping Off the Edge

Questions about the IPPY awards? Contact Jim Barnes, Awards Director
jimb@bookpublishing.com
ph: 1-800-644-0133 x1011

 

GOOD LUCK, ALL!

SANDY NATHAN

My website.
My new, killer INTERACTIVE website.
Me on Facebook

 

About the Author – Who I Am and Why I Write – What’s in It for You?

Here I am, shortly before I lost my crown.

The “About the Author” portion of any book usually sounds as though the writer is sequestered on the far side of the moon, leaving an all-knowing narrator to hand out propaganda. I’m going to skip that and tell you my real story, heart to heart.

I was born to be a princess. I was a princess, for a while. My parents overcame the poverty of their youth by becoming extremely successful. My hometown was one of the most affluent places in the country. Giant oaks, old mansions, and flashy cars surrounded me. I spent my time showing horses and water-skiing behind my dad’s obscenely overpowered boat.

Princess Sandy died when a drunk driver hit my father head-on in 1964, killing him. Those words aren’t enough. My father didn’t die right away. Days after the accident, he died of suffocation, as blood clots from his massive internal injuries broke loose, traveled through his veins, and lodged in his lungs.

My old life vanished. Through structures and systems I will not describe, I lived at a below poverty level income for a while. I could qualify for food stamps, yet I worried that I wasn’t doing enough charitable work. My brain still thought I was upper class.

What happened in the coming years opened my eyes. I’ve seen and lived the over-privileged existence I describe in the Bloodsong Series. I’ve seen how ephemeral its rewards are and how it warps those who are trapped by it. I’ve seen how it masks mental illness and cruelty.

Want to know why a San Francisco-born, Silicon Valley-raised woman is so obsessed with Native Americans? After I’d drafted a few thousand pages of the Bloodsong books, I had this giant Ahah! At least half of the characters were Native Americans. Why? I don’t think I’d ever seen an Indian.

I realized that had lived the lite version of what happened to Native Americans. They had the kingdom––the entire continent––and lost it. I know how losing everything feels. They were treated abominably for centuries, and had the worst abuse hurled at them. Then they were asked, “What’s the matter with you? Why aren’t you doing better, you lazy bums?” I know all about that, too, and much, much more.

My writing has a bite. My life has had a bite. Recovering from what happened to me has taken many years. But I have not just recovered, I have triumphed. What was legitimately mine came back to me, along with the fruit of my own labor. My husband––the love of my life––and I are almost embarrassingly harmonious. We’ve been together forty years. We live on our horse ranch, the most beautiful place I’ve seen.

If your life echoes the first, oh, fifty years of mine, you might find something for yourself in my books. My writing isn’t for everyone. I write about people getting better and the world working out, but its not always gentle and nice. A reviewer described my Mogollon as “equal parts horror, spiritual, romance, and action.” If that’s for you, you’re my reader.

I write visionary fiction, which is about making the world a better place. Why do I write that with the bio above? Because of I have had huge spiritual experiences all my life, as well as gentler ongoing guidance. Whatever is behind them and this earthly life wants me to sing my songs. And I did triumph over what befell me.

What’s in my writing for you? What do you get out of it? A darn good story. Insight into your own life and spirit. People write to me all the time, saying how powerful my work is and how it helped them. Maybe it will help you, too.

Now for my “regular bio”: I went to school a very long time and have two advanced degrees. I’ve had prestigious careers. My writing has won twenty-four national awards. I have three grown children and two grandchildren. I write a lot, and I’m happy.

SANDY NATHAN

By purest happenstance,  I have two new books to  tell you about. They both reflect everything above

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem (Bloodsong 2)

MOGOLLON: A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MAYHEM This is the long-awaited sequel to Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, in which a great Native American shaman mets the richest man in the world. In Mogollon, Will Duane and Grandfather not only meet, they mix it up. This book is wild, utterly imaginative, and the opening salvo to a whole bunch more Bloodsong books. Prepare to have your reality stretched and tested. This is the book the reviewer called “equal parts horror, spiritual, romance, and action.”

Best way to find out about Mogollon is visit its Amazon page. Mogollon is available in both Kindle and print forms.

While I love my Kindle, I would buy this one as a trade paperback just for the cover. They guy on the horse is Rick Mora, a Native American actor and model. He’s one of the most photographed Natives in the world. I’m honored and delighted to have him grace Mogollon’s cover. The rear cover isn’t too bad, either. It depicts Will Duane, Master of the Universe.

 

 

 

 

Leroy Watches Jr. & the Bad*ss Bull

LEROY WATCHES JR. & THE BAD*SS BULL was a surprise to me.  I read the final version of  Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem and thought, Hmm. People are going to like this. They are also going to want more. (There’s a third book in the series, Phenomenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Miracles, which takes the week from late Wednesday night to closing on Saturday. LOTS happens in those days and nights. I have Phenomenon draft form and need but rewrite it to send it into the world.)

But let me tell you a secret about writing. Staring at an unshaped lump of 150,000 words and knowing that you will become intimately acquainted with every one of them before the war is over is daunting. That’s what I have to do to get Phenomenon into your hands. More than that, really. You don’t need to know. Even worse, what if I am beset by writer’s block the way I was with Mogollon and can’t even scribble my name for years?

Thinking mightily, I came up with , What if I tossed out a little something to give my readers something new to imbibe while they’re waiting for the next Bloodsong book? (That’s in case they don’t discover my Earth’s End Trilogy, thousands of pages all done up and ready to be read.) And maybe I can do more of little somethings, time permitting?”

So I did. The first of these newer, smaller books, known simply as Leroy by friends, is about the shaman Grandfather’s grandson, Leroy Watches Jr. Leroy is the family screw-up, simple as that. His he a failed shaman? I would never say anything like that in the book. But maybe he is. Or maybe he’s he’s a slow developer.

He does talk about the time he went to a neighbor’s ranch to heal a cow and struck oil. His life is like that. And it is in this book.

Leroy Watches Jr. & the Bad*ss Bull  is my first entry in the humor arena. Writing it was so fun! I sat in front of my computer laughing my *ss off.

It turns out that you can read Leroy  before, during or after Mogollon. Leroy sets the stage and fills in background, but it doesn’t spill the beans on Mogollon. And it’s only $1.99. Such a deal. The print version of the book is on the cusp of publication. You might want to check it out. Leroy is also worth bying for the cover alone.

MOGOLLON: A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MAYHEM IS FINISHED!

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money - This is NOT Mogollon's new cover. The it's being designed.

HURRAY! HURRAY! Mogollon is done. (Though see the note below about its release date.) I started the Bloodsong Series, of which Mogollon is book two, in 1995. Eighteen years have gone by since a spectacular spiritual experience launched a series of books that have owned me since. What happened?

Some really bad things happened to me long ago. Mercifully, I did not remember them. Until I did. That was 1993. After working harder than I knew I could to recover, I finally felt well enough to attend a meditation retreat in 1995. I’d been meditating twenty years at that point.

I worked as hard as I could in the retreat, following the 4 AM to 10 PM daily schedule, going to classes, doing spiritual practices. Praying. And contacting one of the people involved in the “really bad things.” I’d never been brave enough before.

When I got home, I felt fantastic. Totally healed, sparkling new. All trauma gone. That was nice, but the real perk of the adventure had yet to occur. A couple of days after I got home, I was in the shower (showers are intensely spiritual places) when something like a lightning bolt hit me in the right temple and entered my skull, ricocheted around inside, and left a trail of blue sparkles and mist that Hollywood special effects guys could not replicate. Then it left. Total elapsed time? A few seconds.

“Whoa,” thought I, “that’s never happened before.” The fireworks were not the whole package. The spiritual zap from Somewhere also left a book behind. Its plot was right there in my mind as the blue mist disappeared. I ran down to the computer and banged it out. “What do you think of this?” I showed the pages to my husband.

“It’s good, but it seems like a comic book. Make it longer.”

Two hundred and seventy five pages later, I knew I had a book. Pages more than that, I realized it was a series.What is it about? Bloodsong starts out with the adventures of the richest man in the world, Will Duane, meeting a great Native American shaman at the shaman’s retreat in New Mexico. Numenon and Mogollon are set in this part of the series. But, after the retreat, the corporate gang goes home to Silicon Valley and the Numenon Corporate headquarters in Palo Alto. All sorts of characters, from witches to rogue corporate execs to budding shamans, come up in locations all over the world. It’s a wild, highly imaginative series.

That’s how the Bloodsong Series was born. It keeps growing. I counted ten titles in my Bloodsong file on my computer. These are either written as drafts or soon to be released, like Mogollon.

All were born of that meditation retreat and moment  in the shower where Something sent me a message of hope and love. And power, violence, pain, redemption, and a bunch of amazing characters.

My writing can be very gritty. With the exception of work written for children, all of my writing should be R rated. It’s not for kids. That’s the fruit of the “really bad things” mentioned above. If you’ve been marked in that way, going back to sweetsie and happy-ever-after is impossible.

I said up above that Mogollon was finished. Not quite. What’s finished is my line by line response to my editor’s terse comments, “This sucks.” No, she doesn’t say that. She speaks a different language: “Too much head-hopping here.”

I’ve finished addressing my editor’s myriad concerns and have a manuscript version Mogollon that’s ready to hand off to other professionals. I’ll send it off  for copy-editing and proofreading. Then comes the design of the book, eBook, covers, the whole visual package. What’s finished is my mind-numbing involvement in the book’s every line. The hard part.

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem, Bloodsong Series 2, will be released in early 2014.

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money - This IS the existing Numenon cover. Enjoy it while you can: the new one will be different.

So will Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, Bloodsong Series 1. What! Book 1 of the series will be released at the same time as book 2? Yep. We’re doing a slash and burn of Numo.

Numenon was released in 2009; it’s four years old. It was also the first book I wrote. My writing has improved exponentially since 2009. We’re giving the book a full makeover. Once that’s done, the book will be redesigned and ready for a double launch with Mogollon.

Why am I doing this? Well, Numenon is dear to my heart. It flowed directly from that mystical experience back in 1995. If you look at Numenon’s reviews, you will see that by far the majority of readers LOVED it just as is it stands. They said things like:

“The new release `Numenon‘ by Sandy Nathan is one of the most superbly developed, intensely riveting and profoundly moving works of fiction I’ve read in quite a long time. The author’s attention to detail, in-depth character development and cohesive, constantly evolving storyline will keep the reader transfixed from beginning to end.”
Brian E. Erland, Hall of Fame Reviewer

You can read the negative reviews for yourself. Suffice it to say, they blistered my hide.

If I can fix something, I will. I’m going to attempt an update that will satisfy people like Mr. Erland and the folks who thought I should boiled in oil along with my book.

Reviews are very interesting, particularly if you have a background in psychology. I hold an MA in marriage, family and child counseling. The depth psychologies claimed my heart––these are the areas of study which treat the deeper more primal parts of the psyche, archetypes, the essential areas of the soul, especially mystical experience. My interest lies with the work of Jung, Psychosynthesis, and the transpersonal psychologies.

I found Numenon’s reviews a textbook illustration of Jungian typology. Carl Jung, a giant of modern psychology, came up with his typology trying to reconcile personality differences between his friends and colleagues, Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler. Both were brilliant men and giants in the development of modern psychology. Here’s an article I wrote about Jungian Type for writers. The theory is complex, but what Jung says is: People are different. They live in literally different worlds; they don’t see the same thing, even when in the same room.

Which is why Numenon’s reviews vary so much and people reporting honestly on their experiences can come to such different conclusions.

* * *

I  am an intuitive in Jung’s typology. Intuitives live in a realm beyond the physical, picking up on currents that others don’t see. We have a vision of what direction the world will take. Intuitives are intensely interested in their internal growth and that of everyone else. They’re interested in people and their stories. They’re very interested in their vision becoming a reality.

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money could only have been written by an intuitive. And intuitives are the ones that “get” what I was writing and the way I did it.

* * *

Modern novels have become very fast, like screenplays, where all the action takes place on the page, and that’s all you get. You lose a lot that way, but fast action-filled writing does satisfy certain types.

I’m going to rewrite Numenon so that it retains its spirituality and moves faster with more action for the modern sort of reader. Without wrecking it.

If you read my work, please realize this:

I AM NOT A THRILLER WRITER! I AM NOT A SCI-FI OR FANTASY WRITER! AND I AM!  If you want breakneck speed, chills, battles between good and evil, monsters and bugs running around blowing things up, and the end of the world–I’ve got them all in the Earth’s End series and my newer work.

BUT I THE GOAL OF MY WRITING IS NOT JUST COMMERCIALLY SUCCESSFUL THRILLERS, SCI-FI, OR FANTASY.

ALL OF MY WRITING STEMS DIRECTLY FROM THE VISIONARY EXPERIENCE I DESCRIBED ABOVE. IT IS THE FRUIT OF THAT EXPERIENCE.

WHY DO I WRITE? I WRITE TO CHANGE THE WORLD. I WRITE SO THAT WE HUMANS CAN LIVE AND GROW UP IN PEACE, SAFE FROM THE DEPREDATIONS OF EVIL.

Sandy Nathan and Tecolote

 

Sandy Nathan

Sandy’s Amazon Author Page. Click here of on image.

Sandy’s Web Site

 

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