Posts tagged: Stanford Graduate School of Business

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

 

Negotiation Skills and Working with Professionals – Add a little Sugar!

I'd work for these cookies––French macaroons.

Cookies make a difference. These are French macaroons, or Luxembourgers, made by Burdick Chocolates of Northhampton, MA. Photo courtesy of Burdick Chocolates.

I recently posted an article by super publicist Susan Schwartzman about working with a publicist and the importance of sending cookies once in a while.

This seems like a small thing––maybe even a bribe––but it’s not. What Ms. Schwartzman introduces is the very large topic of use of influence. Use of influence means what authors can do to maximize their impact in an intensely competitive world. Ms. Schwartzman‘s message applies not only to publicists, but to everyone the author touches in a publishing endeavor.

The author’s problem is BEING NOTICED. Whether self published or published by the majors, an author needs to get the attention of  his or her literary agent, book shepherd, cover and interior designers, publisher, publicist, editor, and especially intended readers.

Can you do it? Don’t think the quality of your book alone will catapult you to the front lines––you need negotiation skills here. You need communication skills and more.

Do you know how to listen to another person and deeply understand that person’s point of view? Can you send messages about your wants and needs that don’t feel like threats? Can you formulate a solution to the problem that benefits all participants?

If you can’t do these things, take a communication skills course. Add a negotiation skills course on top of that. You don’t have to spend a fortune doing it––most community rec departments offer them. Local junior colleges and high school adult ed departments give such courses. Learn personal skills, in addition to “How to write a perfect query letter.”

I once led a T-group at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. A T-group is like a therapy group, except it focuses on personal skills as they impact business situations. Studies have shown that students who do well in T-groups at the major business schools excel in their professional and personal lives. These are the movers and shakers: They make the most money and win life’s prizes.

The professor in charge made a devastating comment: “If you can’t motivate this group, how do you expect to attain your life goals?”

If you can’t move those closest to you, how to you expect to end up the CEO of a major corporation? Or save lives in Africa? Or get anyone to read your book, much less buy it?”

How can you motivate others? With cookies.

Of course, your publicist will work hard for you without them, but how do you make sure your job is the one that gets done at the end of the day?

Good manners is part of it. Assertive good manners. [Take an assertiveness training, too.] I’ll go over assertive techniques in later posts. Be kind and understand the point of view of the person you’re dealing with. That’s why I liked Susan Schwartzman’s article so much: Though she’s a top publicist, she reveals herself as a person in her blog post.

[Nathan Bransford is a blog writer who gives his audience a clear view of what a literary agent's life is like. This is very useful information for one attempting to be represented by an agent. Mr. Bransford talks about the joys of coming to work on Monday and finding 400 queries in his in-box. How do you approach someone in this situation? This is an opportunity to practice communication and negotiation skills.]

Life as a publishing industry professional is rough. How does one keep going?

He looks cute, doesn't he?

Raj looks cute, doesn't he? Hah! This 30 pound dog flipped an 80 pound Aussie on her back and terrorized a German shepherd.

Cookies really help. Positive reinforcement, behavioral psychologists call it. Here’s a story about positive reinforcement, also known as operant conditioning.

As a lifelong horsewoman, I’ve known about positive reinforcement for a long time. The “horse whisperer” type trainers use it. But when we got a “special needs” Cocker spaniel from the pound, I understood the real power of positive reinforcement. [Click for an article about this problem dog.]

Raj was a frigging nightmare, the attack-Cocker from hell. Within days of our rescuing him, he’d terrorized our much larger dogs and dominated our household. He made me a nervous wreck and caused my husband to rave about sending him back from whence he came. So what if they’d off him? He was killing us.

In desperation, I called my vet, who said, “Call Amanda!” Amanda is a dog trainer who uses only positive techniques. She was so nice that I couldn’t imagine her handing an aggressive dog, much less our stone cold killer.

Raj adored her. By the end of our sessions, she had him eating out of her hand (not eating her hand). He became a positive member of our social unit. Today, the human and canine Nathan pack loves Amanda––and Raj. [I wrote a series of articles about this transformation. Here's a link.]

What was the secret? Amanda rewarded-–in a currency that the Raj appreciated (bits of hot dogs)––everything he did that was desirable and IGNORED the rest. This sounds like it would take forever, but it’s actually very fast.

Find the currency the person you’re relating with wants and give it to them. (Subject to moral and legal constraints, of course.)

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT IS 9 TIMES AS EFFECTIVE AS NEGATIVE. (Maybe even more. I forget the statistics Amanda cited.) Praise, cookies, acknowledgment, kindness––all of these work better than hostility, blame, rank pulling and abuse, physical or verbal abuse.

You can get noticed being a bad guy.

You can get noticed being a bad guy. Poor Sumo was so scared he wouldn't get out of the cart when Raj was around. Is this good? No. Raj is lucky he's alive.

You’re in a negotiation called life. You want your world to notice you. You can get noticed by being the meanest, most foul mouthed, bad-patootie on the block. By getting full-body implants and flaunting them. By setting yourself on fire in public––metaphorically or in reality.

Do these tactics buy you what you want? Why not figure out what those on your team want and give it to them? Why not figure out what the guys on the other team want and see areas of commonality? Why not use all your skills, including those of your heart and soul, to attain your goals?

Cookies are a tie breaker. Give cookies and you’ll get noticed in a positive way. Undoubtedly, the good wishes and intentions behind such gifts are what motivate theor recipient to expend that little extra bit of energy––that puts you in Time Magazine.

One more story on the value of positive reinforcement:

My daughter Zoe went to school in New York.  On one trip home, her plane had some problem and was taken out of service.  Everyone had to be rerouted. It was a mess; inconvenient, irritating.

Zoe stood in line at the airline’s counter and watched her fellow passengers REAM the airline employee who was working hard to put them on different, hopefully functional, planes. They acted as though the employee had personally disabled the first plane.

When she finally reached the desk, Zoe said, “Everyone’s acting like it’s your fault, but I think you’re doing a great job. Thank you!”

The woman gave her first class tickets all the way home.

You think cookies matter?

Award Winning Author of Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge

Award Winning Author of Numenon & Stepping Off the Edge

Sandy Nathan
Award winning author of Numenon and Stepping Off the Edge.
(And negotiation coach, as well as teacher/coach of communications and assertiveness trainings!)

Would you like some of the cookies up top? They’re all the rage in Paris––lines form to purchase “les macarons”––and now Burdicks is shipping them! These hand-piped, tender meringue treats are filled with flavored buttercreams. All natural flavorings of chocolate, coffee, pistachio, raspberry, lavender, almond-citrus and ginger. The assortment of fifteen is presented in a unique polka-dotted box. Click here for a review. Click to go to  LA Burdick Chocolate’s website to order.

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