Posts tagged: high tech

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem – How Rick Mora’s Picture Came to Be on the Cover

After only nineteen years of mind-rending effort on my part, Mogollon: Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem is on to the market. What is Mogollon? It’s a book about the richest man in the world–Will Duane–meeting perhaps the greatest Native American shaman ever born. Will and a bunch of his corporate hot shots travel from Silicon Valley to the Mogollon Bowl in New Mexico for the shaman’s annual retreat. The Mogollon Bowl is a miraculous place where people can become psychic, meet their soul mates, and experience personal and spiritual growth equivalent to about three lifetimes of psychotherapy.

That’s because the shaman, Grandfather, is the real deal, and so is the Mogollon Bowl, and so are the spirit warriors at the retreat.  It’s intense. What happens is intense. That’s why the subtitle is A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem. Mogollon is a book about conflict: cultural and spiritual conflict, economic conflict, and inter- and intra-personal conflict. And it contains several great love stories. Mogollon could be marketed as a romance, except that it doesn’t follow the rules of the romance genre. Plus it’s funny in parts.

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem

Here is the front cover and spine of Mogollon. I’ll post the rear cover below. This book is worth buying for the cover alone. How did this cover come to be? When I write a book, I make a video about it.  You can look at some of my videos here. As the writing and production of Mogollon began to look like it might happen before I croak, I started looking for images that matched my ideas of what the various characters look like. The book has lots of characters: Will Duane, the rich guy; a bunch of his executives and staff; Grandfather, the shaman; and four thousand Native Americans. (If made into a movie, Mogollon would be a full employment opportunity for Native American actors.)

I searched every stock photo in existence looking of images of Grandfather, Will Duane, and Wesley Silverhorse. I could not find satisfactory photos for any of them. None of the potential shaman stand ins had the lift-off factor that any person of spirit has to have. Read the first section of Mogollon. That’s Grandfather speaking and that’s what I mean by lift off. Every spiritual master I’ve known has had the ability to elevate the spiritual state of the people near him/her. No stock figures of Grandfather, though I did find the drawing which is floating in the sky above Rick.

No canned image for Will Duane, either. I was born and raised in what became Silicon Valley and spent much of my adult life there. One thing I’ve noticed about tremendously rich people: they didn’t get where they are because they’re lazy and stupid. You have to feel what these people are like. The intensity. The drive. The intelligence. The ability to work three days straight. A stand-in for Will is on the back cover, but he’s not right.

And then we have Wesley Silverhorse. Wesley is Grandfather’s most advanced spirit warrior and is expected to take over from him when the time comes. Wesley is drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s also everything else you’d want in a human being. If either of my daughters wanted to marry Wesley, it would be an automatic thumbs-up. He does a martial arts exhibit in the book you’ll never forget, not to mention his exhibition of horsemanship.

Believe me, Wesley does not exist in stock photos of Native American men.

What could I do? Well, I Googled “beautiful Native American men.” When the images came up, about half of them were of one person: Rick Mora. I had never heard of Rick Mora, but he came closer to fitting my image of what Wesley would look like than anyone. How did he get on the cover of Mogollon?  I asked him. Sent him an email, if I recall. There was some conversation––he’s very nice––and voila! In due time, Rick’s photo is on the cover of my book.

Cool, huh? I love this cover and I hope you do, too. Rick’s presence is on the cover is wonderful.  Damonza.com, the cover designer for both the eBook and the paperback, did a fabulous job in creating a memorable piece of work. And that’s how Mogollon’s cover was created. The paperback should be coming out within a week.

We’re planning all sorts of fun launch activities. Stop by my website and see what’s going on.

Mogollon's Rear Cover--Will Duane points to some of his real estate holdings.

 

MOGOLLON – This is not a COVER REVEAL – repeat NOT – This is a conversation with FREE BOOKS attached

My new book, MOGOLLON: A TALE OF MYSTICISM & MAYHEM is poised for release. Poised, but not there yet. At this point in a book’s production, everyone involved is just a little touchy and very tired. But decisions must be made.

Mogollon is a story of conflict, contrast, and personal growth. Will Duane, the richest man in the world, and his key executives are thrown together with Grandfather, an old Native American shaman and his People. The conflict plays out at a Native American spiritual retreat hosted by the shaman.

This is where I need your help. I’ve got the coolest cover in the universe. Scroll down. The extremely attractive guy on the horse is Rick Mora, a Native American actor, model & philanthropist. When I write a book, I usually do a video incorporating images of real people that I think look like my characters. It makes the character more real to me. In search of images for the video, I searched for “beautiful Native American men.”  Photos of Rick covered about half the page.

Rick looks exactly like my idea of a key character in Mogollon: Wesley Silverhorse. Wesley is Grandfather’s most advanced spirit warrior and expected to succeed  the shaman when the time comes. Wesley has all sorts of spiritual powers, but he’s a really nice guy and very modest. In wanting Rick on my cover, I wanted more than just a pretty face. Wesley is beautiful, and he’s also moral, kind and generous. And very sweet. To me, Rick embodies those qualities.

Here he is, riding across the New Mexico sand. Or ocean.

OK. I’ve got this great cover. So why am I holding a NOT COVER REVEAL? I’ve got another great cover and I can’t decide between them. I’ve asked all my friends what they think. They say all sorts of things. I’d like to see what you think. Here’s the other cover:

Not much difference, is there? Except for the shaman floating in the sky above Rick. Shaman or no shaman, that is the question. Scroll up and down on the page, comparing both of them.

And then leave a comment on this post and tell me which cover you like better and why. I’ll randomly select people and send them a free eBook of Mogollon. I’ve got ePub and mobi versions; tell me which you need. You can’t get Mogollon anywhere; the book is not out yet. When will it be out? That’s a good question.

Let’s discuss the shaman in the sky from an art critic’s position. The version without the shaman is a superior piece of art, hands down. Most art professionals frown on anything hovering in the sky: buffalo, fairies, hearts, you name it. They are tacky, unsophisticated, and trite. Sorry, lovers of floating wildlife.

Most of my friends and one editor said exactly that. “No shaman! No shaman! No shaman!” Some threatened to hold their breath until I promised to get rid of him.

But my eye just grabs onto that shaman and won’t let go. Why? Here’s something you probably don’t  know about me. I was associated with a meditation school based in India for, oh, about thirty years. We did all sorts of spiritual practices, but my favorite was the spiritual retreat. Go away for a few days, come home with all your demons singing in harmony.

I stopped counting how many retreats I’d done when I hit sixty. Yes, sixty. I don’t know how many more I did. My brain is thoroughly fried. People ask me where I get the ideas for my books  and how I write them. The ideas come from spending lots of time on the other side, the home of bliss and visions and creativity. I write the way I do from hard work.

Do you know what it’s like sitting in a meditation hall with a meditation master? When I got within ten feet of my first meditation master, my mind shut down. The energy blasting off of him made it hard to breathe, much less think. A still mind reveals what’s underneath the busyness of ordinary life. What’s that? Bliss. An ecstatic universe underlies the world around us.

And–you can get seriously intoxicated meditating. I did, as often as possible. Nothing is better than the high you can get through spiritual practice. Nothing. That’s why all those monks are smiling.

Bliss is the hallmark of  spirit.

So I go for the shaman.

What does this have to do with which cover I should use? Not a lot, because my developmental editor gave both the covers above  a devastating blow:

“I THINK THEY ALL LOOK MORE LIKE A WESTERN THAN A CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUAL/FANTASY/ACTION NOVEL.”

Ooh. That smarts, but it’s true. Mogollon is set in 1997. Will Duane, the richest man on earth, made his fortune by starting the tech revolution in the late 1950s. He’s kept ahead of all competition since then. His corporation has the most advanced technology available on the planet. To offset business cycle ups and downs, Will’s diversified into other industries.  He rules the economic world. Will and his team are Silicon Valley hotshots all the way, even if they’re in the New Mexico wilderness. Mogollon isn’t a western at all.

But I love the cover and don’t want to change it. How can we get the existing cover to reflect the contemporary and cutting edge status of the corporate side of the equation? We’re working on it.

Meanwhile I had the best idea:


The perfect merging of tech culture and a spirit warrior.

If I was better with Photoshop, I’d show Rick riding the horse while using the laptop.

That’s it for now. Sometime soon I’ll have a real cover reveal.

Write a comment any maybe you’ll win an eBook of  Mogollon.

Ciao,

  Sandy Nathan and Tecolote
Sandy’s Amazon Author Page
   Sandy’s Web Site

Here’s the text from the rear of the cover. It will give you a better idea of the book:

PEACE OR OUR DARKEST NIGHTMARES?

Will Duane owns the tech revolution. It’s 1997; Will’s been the richest man on the planet for twenty years. He sways governments and ruins lives. Will has a new mission, one that brings him into conflict with all that’s holy. He and his corporate hot shots have reached their destination, a Native American spiritual retreat in the New Mexico desert. Their caravan enters the Mogollon Bowl, a geophysical anomaly where anything can happen. Now Will can spring his trap.

Grandfather, the shaman leading the retreat, has different plans. He has a vision of a world where love is king, a world of peace and harmony. His corporate guest is the key to making his vision real.

Another force watches them, waiting for an opening. Both men’s hopes are dashed, as a sacred place becomes the playground of evil. A malevolent power reaches for them, trying to claim their lives and souls.

An unforgettable modern day fable, Mogollon is a high-speed, high stakes fantasy with visionary roots.

Unlock Writer’s Block – What You Need to Know When the Words Won’t Flow

 

'm going to illustrate this blog post with a simple tale springing from ranch life. This is a true story, obviously, since those are photos. This is The Day  Corcovado Learned  to Load and Unload from a Trailer. Note that the horse is not freaking out, pitching a fit, or tramping his handlers. No, Corco is doing something more effective. He's adopted The Mule Stance. My mind is following Corco's example as I contemplate rewriting Mogollon.

I'm going to illustrate this blog post with a simple tale springing from ranch life. This is a true story, obviously, since those are photos. This is The Day Corcovado Learned to Load and Unload from a Trailer. Note that the horse is not freaking out, pitching a fit, or tramping his handlers. No, Corco is doing something more effective. He's adopted The Mule Stance. My mind follows Corco's example as I contemplate rewriting Mogollon.

A while ago, I wrote that I was going to blog about the rewrite, the re-vision, of my draft version of Mogollon, the sequel to my award winning book, Numenon.

That was weeks ago. In that time, we put a Kindle version of Numenon out for 99 cents. Sales went crazy, Numo hit # 1 in Mysticism, and then cruised near the top of the Religious Fiction category.

This was a problem.

Why? Because Numenon is the introduction to the series. It’s got every hook in the world in it to make people want the sequel. It ends with a bang and points the reader dead at  Mogollon, the rewrite of which we are discussing.

Numenon‘s readers are already asking for the sequel; some are getting kinda grouchy about it. How long will my readers wait before dumping me entirely?

The book’s first and part of a  second draft is written. All I have to do is open my computer files and wail away, toiling for a really long time to get the manuscript cleaned up as well as I can. Then I have to go through the editorial and proofing process, necessitating months and months of hard work before a publishable version exists.

As owner of an Indie press,  after I do all the above, I get to manage the design and publication process, and then marketing and sales.

I  can’t open the manuscript’s files.  I’d rather do anything than think about the changes  I have to make. I’d as soon dismember my firstborn child as whack away at Mogollon.

DO YOU THINK I’VE GOT WRITERS’ BLOCK?

* * *

 

An undisclosed amount of time later and the guys have the task in hand. All they have to do is get Corco from where he is into the trailer.

An undisclosed amount of time later and the guys have the task in hand. All they have to do is get Corco from where he is into the trailer. All I have to do is get Mogollon into print.

WHAT IS WRITERS’ BLOCK? Essentially, it’s psychological resistance. Usually it involves the writer’s ego: “My work is so important … The world needs my masterpiece. I can’t write. If I can’t write, I’ll die, and the world will be left without my words … What a tragedy.”

I realize that sounds judgmental and mindless of the pain of the condition, but remember that the blocked up person I’m talking about is me. I exhibit almost every causal attitude I’ll discuss below.

The desire to write the Great American (Latvian, Lithuanian, or Other) Novel can shut a writer down: “I have this HUGE idea. Can I possibly express it? Am I big enough? Good enough?” Hand wringing. Angst. Pain. It’s based on an inflated image of one’s importance in the Grand Scheme of Things.

If you regarded finishing your novel the way ranch people regard mucking out the stalls, would it be so hard? So wrenching? Would you stay awake nights because you couldn’t finish the job? No. When writing becomes a job of work, histrionics leave and you can get the thing done.

Writer’s block also can be associated with positive things. Sherman Alexie, the bestselling Native American author, reminds us that success can block you up good. How can you write when your last book was a national bestseller and your publisher is leaning on you for the new one? And grumbling about your contract and the advance you got for the three book deal?

Heart breaking, isn’t it?

Just plain fear is behind a lot of this. Can I do it? Can I bring it across? It’s the terror that arises when one faces in front of a blank screen or empty page. My eyes widen and I suppress a scream  . . .

Real progress: both front hooves are on the ramp. Corco continues to exhibit the Mule Stance.

Real progress: both front hooves are on the ramp. Corco continues to exhibit the Mule Stance. These photos were taken over several hours of intense human-equine power negotiation. Notice the carrot in Barry's hand. Sometimes positive reinforcement doesn't work. Also–Corco had a bath before these pictures were taken. His coat is wet from suds, not sweat. It's the guys who are sweating.

Laziness sometimes lurks behind the inability to finish a tale. Writing a novel is about the hardest kind of authoring imaginable. (Though I think a surgeon friend’s rewrite of his textbook on arthroscopic ankle surgery ranks up there)

You may begin your manuscript and discover that completing it requires the discipline to sit down and bang it out––to sit for days, months, and years. Despite your earth-shaking, sure to be a bestseller idea, your book won’t exist unless you write it down.

“It’s just too  hard … I can’t do it.” Another tragedy.

So you go to a writing group for support and stick around until you hear their feedback to your cherished production. Sometimes this can be bracing in a “pull up your socks” way, and sometimes it can shut down all creativity. Rough editors can do the same.

The rest of humanity, household pets, inanimate objects, and lousy viruses and bacteria can stop a writer’s progress. Life intrudes.

“Marge, there’s a truck in the living room. It just came through the wall.”

Call it resistance or an errant Mack truck, writer’s block is writer’s block. A cure exists. I have written about it: The Ultimate Cure for Writer’s Block. If you get what I say in this article, block will not trouble you, unless it wants to.

* * *

ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FINISH YOUR MANUSCRIPT BECAUSE THE TIME ISN’T RIGHT. You and your book idea might not be cooked enough.

In a revolutionary move, Tony has PICKED UP CORCO'S HOOF and placed it farther onto the ramp. Notice that nothing has changed in the horse's stance. True resistance, perfectly executed. Well done, Corco!

In a revolutionary move, Tony has PICKED UP CORCO'S HOOF and placed it further onto the ramp. Notice that nothing else has changed in the horse's stance. True resistance, perfectly executed. Well done, Corco!

THE PROCESS OF TEACHING CORCOVADO TO LOAD AND UNLOAD ILLUSTRATES THE LESSON IN THIS ARTICLE:

YOU CANNOT MAKE A 1,200 POUND ANIMAL DO ANYTHING. IT HAS TO WANT TO DO IT.

YOU CAN’T MAKE A WRITER SPIT OUT WORDS, EITHER.

 

 

WRITER’S BLOCK IS LIKE THE BERLIN WALL:  YOU CAN’T GO AROUND IT, OVER IT, OR UNDER IT AS LONG AS IT’S STANDING AND THE GATES ARE CLOSED.

RECALL THAT THE BERLIN WALL (which some of you may not remember) CAME DOWN WHEN THE TIME WAS RIGHT.

RESISTANCE IS LIKE THAT: It seems like a solid wall, but it’s got invisible cracks. As time passes, doors open, and close. Keep your eye on the wall, and go through when an opening appears. (That means write like crazy when you can.)

WHILE YOU’RE WAITING, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

THINGS TO DO WHILE WAITING FOR AN OPENING IN YOUR RESISTANCE:

READ. You can read all sorts of stuff, including my online magazine,  SPURS MAGAZINE. SPURS is about changing the world, or at least cleaning up some of its nasty bits. I named it SPURS because in life, sometimes you need spurs to get moving. I’ve been writing SPURS since the late 1990s and am about to unleash it in blog form, as soon as I get over my paralysis over rewriting Mogollon.

Advanced training technique: Tony waves his hat while Barry pulls on the lead rope.

Advanced training technique: Tony waves his hat while Barry pulls on the lead rope. Corco remains unmoved. Some people resort to offering buckets of carrots and grain at this point. When that doesn't work, they escalate to use of two by fours and longe whips. Nasty. We don't do that. The inter species negotiation process intensifies as and the sun drops on the horizon …

SPURS’ WRITERS’ CORNER. Not only do I have a ‘zine, I’ve got a ‘zine for writers, dealing with topics that writers must manage or go insane. The WRITERS’ CORNER is one of the most popular locations on my web empire. (I’ve got 52 URLs, compadres.)

[Note: If you think Mogollon needs rewriting, SPURS' WRITERS' CORNER needs major surgery. Read it and know it's a draft. I'll rewrite it before I die. Or make it into a blog. Okay?]

 

 

SPURS’ WRITERS’ CORNER contains a bunch of articles relevant to writer’s block. These articles walk through the process of writing as experienced by me and many others. (Lots of references & links.) Please allow your browser time to open at the links.

As everything else fails, Tony and Barry attempt to FORCE Corco into the trailer.

Tony and Barry attempt to FORCE Corco into the trailer. Barry is inside the trailer, pulling hard, while Tony applies muscle at the other end. Does it work? What do you think? You can no more force a horse into a trailer than your brain to kick out the right words. (Note: Do not do what you see above at home. What's shown in the above photo is extremely dangerous and very bad horsemanship. Corco could kill either man if he lunged forward or bolted backwards.)

TO DISTRACT YOURSELF WHEN YOU CAN’T WRITE,  YOU CAN ALSO CLEAN THE HOUSE, ROLLER SKATE, GO TO YOUR SHRINK, BLOG ABOUT YOUR BLOCK, ENTERTAIN YOUR FELLOW WRITERS, OR TAKE A NAP.

MOSTLY, CONTEMPLATE THE SITUATION UNTIL YOU REALIZE THE REAL REASON FOR YOUR BLOCKAGE/STOPPAGE.

WHAT WRITING THIS ARTICLE DID FOR ME WAS MAKE ME REALIZE THAT:

  • I’m tired.
  • I need a break.
  • A real break where I do NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH.
  • NO book marketing, planning the next move, scheduling book signings, reading blogs on marketing, sales, the latest Net techniques.
  • Take the box of books out of the trunk of the car “just in case.”
  • I need to stop doing what I’m doing and allow my personal process––my soul, if you will––to call the shots.
  • When The Universe wants me to finish Mogollon, I will, and probably pronto.

[HERE'S AN EXERCISE: I throw them in all over Stepping Off the Edge, might as well here. Please jot down any images or thoughts that come to you while you read my list, and the rest of the article, including hops to Spurs' Writers' Corner and Spurs Magazine. Take some time and generate your own list of word blockers. Where are you in the process above? I'm not saying that you're worn out, either. Your situation reflects your writing style and process. You may need a kick in the rear.]

MY REAL PROBLEM IS: I’M POOPED.

I’m taking that break, goin’ to Santa Fe for three weeks. Santa Fe, New Mexico, is like catnip to me. Where we stay, there’s no Internet, no phone, no TV, no roads. Just wind and sky and a few snakes.

 

Tony leads Corcovado out of the trailer.

Tony leads Corcovado out of the trailer. Note how relaxed the horse is. He never had a problem going into or out of a trainer from this day forward.

 

WHAT DOES CORCO  SAY ABOUT THIS?

About a minute after the previous photo, Corcovado walked into the trailer easily and with no fuss. He’d decided that he wanted to.

When your soul/brain/heart/body/hands decide it’s time to write, you will. You’ll write good stuff, that deserves to see the light of day.

PS. If you liked this article, you will like my book Stepping Off the Edge. It has much more about living the writer’s life, success, triumph, despair, and JOY.

STEPPING OFF THE EDGE on KINDLE– 99 cents for a limited time!

NUMENON on KINDLE––99 cents for a limited time!

Hasta luego, amigos! I’ll write more later! I have a date with a dirt road and cactus.

 

Numenon, by Sandy Nathan, is a Nautilus Book Awards Silver Winner!

Numenon, by Sandy Nathan, is a 2009 Nautilus Book Awards Silver Winner!

 

Sandy Nathan
Winner of the 2009 Silver Nautilus Award for
Numenon
The Nautilus Awards are dedicated to “changing the world one book at a time.” The Nautilus Award was established to find and reward distinguished literary contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living, high-level wellness, green values, responsible leadership and positive social change.

By winning a Nautilus Silver Award with her book, Numenon,  author Sandy Nathan joins the ranks of  Deepak Chopra, M.D., Barbara Kingsolver, Thich Nnat Hanh, Jean Houston, PhD., Eckhart Tolle, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. All are Nautilus Award winners.

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