Tag Archives: Kindle Books

In the Right Place - art

WTF – Happy Thanksgiving!

There’s so much going on around the world that is so damn troubling. Like countless others, it seems that no matter what one does individually or collectively, these troubles persist. Yet we try.

I’m one of those who in the past few years has tried to avoid “the news”, as in “mostly the relentless accounts of the worse current events”. In fact for me almost everything about what we call “the news” is among the most troubling of our current events.

As hard as I try, one simply cannot avoid some stories, such as the ongoing Ferguson debacle. I usually don’t blog or comment about these terrible tragedies, but for some reason this one has gotten me down more than most . . . I’m reminded of an incident that happened about 12 years ago, in Birmingham, Alabama.

I was there for a few days on business, along with a few others. One evening a co-worker and I decided to go for a walk, check out the city a bit. We were close to downtown, walking distance from the convention center, and there was plenty enough to see and do. In other words, we came across a pool hall.

It seemed like a nice, safe area. It was clean, lots of lights, a beautiful evening, friendly people around, and so on. We felt extra safe when we noticed a few police officers. They stood out partly because they were on bikes, just strolling around. One especially stood out because he looked like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. They also had on these skin-tight uniforms – a tight shirt and shorts – at least on of the Village People would be so envious.

A few minutes after seeing these police we were safely inside this nice, clean pool hall. We got ourselves some whiskey & coke and soon the game became so relaxing. In other words I began to kick his ass . . . oh, how I missed my snooker! To make matters sweeter, the music came on. Nice tunes on the jukebox, courtesy of two very attractive young ladies in the corner, the only two others in the place, aside from the bartender. I glanced over. They really were stunning to be honest, especially with their smiles and giggles.

My friend and I continued with our game. Then Arnold entered the hall. I had my back to the ladies in the corner, which is where the policeman was headed. All of a sudden those giggles turned to loud screams. In a horrible flash I turned to see what was going on. The ladies had their arms up and backs arched away from Arnold – a defensive posture. It was necessary because the policeman had a long nightstick raised and extended in his right hand.

In this flash I saw this nightstick begin its downward assault. Almost miraculously, it stopped. No one was hurt. The young ladies left their drinks behind and made a quick exit, visibly shaken but at least not beaten. The officer had his back to us the whole time. I can’t remember if he glanced over in our direction behind he quickly left the place as well.

We asked the bartender what had just happened. She told us that apparently these young ladies did not have any I.D. on them, so it was unclear whether they could legally be in this licensed hall.

My reaction now remains as it was then, and it’s the same for Ferguson, “WTF!!!”

I forgot to mention that these were ladies of color and the officer was white . . . they also appeared to be close to the same age.

Anyway, I can’t stop any of this madness. About the only thing I can do is offer my little sign of peace. It’s not much. It’s just a savings of five bucks, and by that I mean I’m giving away my novel – today and tomorrow – November 26th and 27th.

While the book is about love, it does have its unsettling parts and aspects . . . did I mention fear? Still, overall it’s about the best of humanity . . . at times like these it seems we all need reminders of that means . . . a temporary escape from some of these troubles.

So here’s my Amazon link to “Dawn at Last”. While I know it doesn’t mean much at all, at least it’s a little something . . . a little gift.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Finally, to my friends around the world, even those whom I have yet to meet, I’d be honored to have you accept my gift.

Advertisements

The Shame of It All, More or Less?

This weekend Dawn at Last is free on Amazon in its Kindle Edition.

Because of this, chances are that my blog will be getting relatively more traffic, and with many first time visitors. Because of that, I feel obligated to be extra witty, more charming, poignant, wise and so on.

Then again, I also feel obligated to tell you to make sure you read the damn book before you come around here . . . the book is more interesting than my real-world me . . . as is my art. Some of my closest fans see a lot of me in this character or that. I will neither confirm nor deny such fantasies. As these fans are typically women, the discussions thankfully waltz more into the characters with whom they relate to the most.

Those are the most intriguing discussions . . . and Lawrence, “How do you know these women so well”? This is one of my favorite questions, or ones closely related. Frankly though, I really have no answer, and when the issue comes up someone should give me an honorary degree . . . Master of Segue?

To my closest fans . . . thank you for sharing your stories.

Perhaps I use art in my defense at that point? Or listen to more stories, those of these dear fans . . . each one fascinating in their own tales. Either way, it’s been a wonderful time, a picnic basket full of unexpected pleasant surprises, and every day seems like a good day for a picnic!

So where was I? Self-indulging once again I suppose. Anyway, if you’ve got the book, please actually take some time to read it. Did you know that 57% of books that are started are never finished, when it comes to reading? It sounds like a big number, but when I look at my own track record it becomes quite believable.

Dawn at Last - FAA_3_Final

If you happen to drift into that category . . . well at least there’s the pictures! By that I mean my art. The art on the cover of the book (shown above) is one of my original pieces. To coincide with this weekend’s promotion, I’ve finally added it to my repertoire on my art site. It’s also on at much lower prices than my other works, such as $20 less for a 20″ x 16″ print.

Now there’s my shameless plug for the post, and as I read your minds I totally agree, “Lawrence you must find something more enticing to be shameless about.”

On that note, it’s definitely time for to get out and about. Have a great weekend and enjoy whatever it is you are reading, and if you wish, drop me a shameless comment or two . . . by now if I have succeeded, you should be feeling obligated to do so!

New Book Cover for Dawn at Last

Is it art? Nah, just a fresh book cover, and it’s just a coincidence that it’s being published on Canada Day.

It wasn’t planned that way, but as it turned out, so much happened on a Canada Day long weekend, in Dawn at Last. So much, and yet so little . . . you be judge . . . on the book, not the cover!

Well, truthfully I don’t mind the judging of covers! I recently came across and excellent blog post that featured an amazing collection of cover art . . . over 20 different covers over the years for different Lord of the Rings print editions.

So with no further adieu, or in Donna’s case is it, “I do!” . . . and without a doubt, there was plenty that she did!

new book cover for Dawn at LAst

 

As of posting, the cover is not up on Amazon yet, but should be any time now!

Sharing Dreams

Putting some music to my art has been a dream of sorts for awhile now.

I’ve been thinking  of asking one of my daughters to help me with this, as she recently finished a media course in university and loves it. She’s got some skills that I don’t have and it would be a wonderful kind of collaboration . . . another dream.

No, I’m not going to go into my rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream”, though Les Miserables is my favorite musical by far. Oddly enough – perhaps by serendipity – I made a new online acquaintance yesterday. Her name is Tamra Hayden, who is a Broadway performer, including playing the role of Cosette in Les Mis.

Aside from her beautiful singing, she has also been involved in an amazing new app that allows  person to develop their own music to go with their pictures. She has graciously offered to help me with this app . . . how nice is that?

The poor dear though . . . helping me with any new app can be like tutoring Jethro Bodine in playing Mozart . . . more of a nightmare than a dream, to be sure!

Here are some links to Tamra’s singing and to MusicalMe Images. So without further adieu, here’s a glimpse of both . . . and Tamra, if you are reading this, a great big bouquet to you!

Here’s a demo of MusicalMe:

Now here is a little background on how Tamra’s dream became reality:

Finally, it would be a shame not include some of her exquisite singing . . . I’ve always been fascinated by the magic of the theater, and especially the amazing vocal talents . . . enjoy! This original song of hers is called “The Great Unknown”:

Finally, in many ways this song reminds me so much of the plight of my main heroine from Dawn at Last. Her name is Donna Belauche. This picture is for her, in fact it is called “For Donna” and if you have read the book, I think you will understand.

abstract art called For Donna

 

Loving and Laughing – the Real Midas Touch?

Yesterday I had the honor of receiving another very kind review of “Dawn at Last”, one written by Fran Gold. Overall, I’ve really happy with the reviews of the book . . . actually overwhelmed by it all, and especially by this one. Here is a quote from Fran’s review:

Mr. Grodecki has accomplished much with this novel. He kept me entertained with a great story, added some humor which I always find to be a must have, some out of the ordinary sex scenes, and art. He writes of “an ongoing, unattainable fantasy” and while I am not sure there is “pure love” out there in this world, he made me hopeful that there could be.

It is most gratifying when you read about your writing and realize that it touched someone in a very nice way. It’s humbling, an amazing feeling on its own. And helping someone laugh, even at the serious stuff, is perhaps the most rewarding of all.

I do believe in the magic of laughter, and it’s special place in the heart of love, and that’s all that needs to be said.

So here is a link to the review, followed by a wonderful video about love and laughter – a tribute to a pair who seemed to make it all look so easy, and natural. I’m not sure why, but it does seem to tie in nicely with the review, though the life story of the couple in this video is very different than my book. Still, in the end, as the man in the video says, “. . . a love story and it’s a good book.”

 

 

PS – I think there may be a touch of Grace in the character of Donna Belauche, though she seems to hide it well!

 

This Special Edition Has Some Special Additions!

Abstract Art by Lawrence Grodecki

My Sweet Dreams

The oddest thing has happened. It began happening nine years ago and last night it became official.

Back in 2005 is when I began exploring digital painting. Even then this new, personal style was emerging – a combination of abstract drawing, then scanning various things from nature, then more drawing on-screen, and then fusing it all with light as my palette instead of paint.

When your art is done on a screen instead of paper or canvas, essentially that’s what your doing – working with light instead of paint. There’s actual quite a difference and it has to do with light and our perception of it. Art done on a screen is viewed with emitted light. In other words the light comes from behind the picture and towards your eyes. That’s very different than a canvas painting, where the light is reflected back from the picture to your eyes.

When Daydreams Come To Light

When I first started I knew that some day I would need to sell some of my art in order to keep to doing more of it. I wanted to make it as affordable as possible, so naturally I thought about electronic formats. I used to daydream about large, flat screens hanging on walls, where fans of my art could look at a wide selection of it, have it hanging there on their wall, switch it, or turn it off and on at their will.

In that way there is no need to print the digital creations – the pieces would look fantastic in the medium – and it would be very affordable original art! This is really very similar to what is happening to book publishing in the age of electronic books, though the price difference with the art is even more pronounced.

Last night that dream came true when I published a special illustrated edition of my novel, Dawn at Last. Instead of wall-mounted screens you can see the art on hand-held ones, on laptops, tablets and so on.

Eleven thousand words, all but one are titled!

There are eleven original pieces in this edition, each selected to go with various parts of the story. They are all set for full-page viewing and placed at the end of selected chapters. I didn’t just whip these up over the weekend. It’s been a nine-year work in progress. In fact there are a few pieces that have more hours behind them than the novel, and that was a four-month process for the first draft!

I’m not showing you any of the art here, but soon I’ll be announcing a surprise about these eleven pieces and other art that I’ve created. However, the picture at the top is somewhat representative of what’s in the special edition – it also links to the book on Amazon. The picture at the bottom links to the same book on Kobo.

So there you have it. Almost a decade ago, in one of those serious family discussions about politics and other world problems, I made a promise that someday I was going to quit my job and doing a little writing. I did quit, then did a lot of art, and then a little writing . . . I’m glad I did so.

Abstract Art by Lawrence Grodecki - Anyone for Chess

Anyone For Chess

Julie's Pets

The Precious Pet Projects of Julie Whiteley

One of the nicest surprises about self-publishing is getting to know book reviewers. They have quite the story to tell, and each one is different. One such person is Julie Whiteley, who coincidentally is the first reviewer that I ever approached about Dawn at Last. I was quite nervous back then, feeling that I must maintain a cool distance. I thought that was required of the author. I’m glad I was wrong.

After getting to know Julie better – and a few others – it just seemed right to do let my followers have the opportunity to hear what she has to say. So here’s my interview. Enjoy it and learn . . . I know I have.

Can you give me a little about your background? How long have you been writing reviews? What made you pursue this hobby?

I started writing reviews 3 years ago when I began to notice authors becoming more vocal about the need for reviews. My family said I should write reviews because I read so much and I should share my thoughts with others, plus help an author out in the process. So, I thought why not?  So, I wrote my first review for Amazon and a professional reviewer tore it apart. I didn’t know I was being graded! I took that as a personal challenge and started writing reviews all the time, for every book I read, but stayed over on Goodreads instead of Amazon.  One day I got an email from Goodreads letting me know I was in the top 1%  of reviewers on that site.  This was another indicator that authors needed reviews.  So,  that was when I started taking things more seriously and got very involved all over social media and with authors personally, also on Netgalley and Edelweiss, and I started a book review blog.

Can you describe a typical week in the world of reviewing?

Oh that’s a good question. Instead of a typical week, though, let’s break it down into a day.   I have a blog post every day. So, I schedule the post,  then I start putting it  out there on social media.  I then answer emails for review request and other emails concerning tours, blogs, reviews etc.

After that I read, read, and read, then I start writing reviews. I like to write the review as soon as possible after reading the book so it’s still  fresh in my mind.  It can take up to two hours – sometimes more – to write a review. At that point I will either need to contact the author to let them know I have their review ready, or I will need to post it to Edelweiss or Netgally or one of the other sites I review for, then on to  GR, Amazon, and LibraryThing for starters.

I start prep work on the next blog post, interview or spotlight, check on all social media to touch base with other reviewers and bloggers, authors etc.  I may chat with Lawrence. LOL

Then I read some more!  I do this seven days a week.  I work on books in one way or another for 5 to 6 hours a day.

Is there anything you would like authors to know? Is that different for indie authors than for traditionally published ones?

What should  an author’s know?  They need a thick skin,  a positive attitude, must always be professional, even if this isn’t your day job, and above all be patient. Read a lot, research self-publishing and get advice before you even start  trying to promote. Beware of scams and paying for reviews and do not under any circumstances swap reviews with other authors.  Going a little further, I really don’t recommend having friends and family post reviews for you either. Trust me, this will come back to haunt you.  So, try to prepare yourself and arm yourself with some good solid advice before publishing your book.  Knowing what to expect and having some idea what works and what doesn’t will go a long way.  Also, you might want to know that most likely you will have to spend a little money to get your book promoted. I don’t mean buying reviews, but you may consider doing some book tours and putting your book on an indie author site like StoryFinds that will get you get some reviews and a little recognition.  Costs for joining are very reasonable and will help get the ball rolling for you.

Yes, it is different for independent authors. A lot different in fact.  Indies do not have a filter. The traditionally published author has a little help even if it’s a small publishing company.  There is  more money to spend on promoting your book, there are more contacts, more ways to reach people. The indie is out there all by themselves.  If their book gets promoted it’s because they used their own money and spent their own time building up a network of contacts and it’s a much slower process and  since you don’t have an advisor, you can make a lot of mistakes and get taken for ride if you aren’t careful.  On the plus side, you have complete creative control over your work. You are your own boss, so can write a romance then write a horror novel if you want. You don’t have to fit into any set mold and you aren’t under a contract or deadline. Writing can be something you do for pleasure away from your day job or you can turn it into a career option, it’s up to you.

You must have certain experiences that really stand out for you, both positive and not so positive – can you tell us a bit about them?

Positive far outweighs the negative.  I have built some wonderful relationships with publishers and authors since becoming a reviewer. I have had my reviews published in books, in publications, and I have had people send me personal notes, become friends with me through social media and we work together to help spread the word about great talent and good books.  I love this part of being a reviewer.  Most authors are very professional and nice.  In fact, just yesterday I got a card  in the mail from an author thanking me for the review and interview I did for him. I get personal notes, swag and some authors are kind enough to follow my blog and help me gain more followers.  Most authors are aware that reviewers are not being paid for their time and so they will do some little something to pay if forward. One of the best rewards though is seeing an author blossom and knowing that in some small way I helped them out.

Negatives: Spending hours on a book, the review, the blog post, and promoting on social media and never even getting a response from the author. No thank you, no kiss by *** or anything.

While many worship athletes, musicians, and actors, it was always authors that did it for me.  Becoming a reviewer has shown me another side of the author that I wish I didn’t have to know.  A little familiarity breeding contempt I think, which can lead to disillusionment and so it’s easy to get burned out.  Some authors have written one book and suddenly they think they are Ernest Hemingway.  They don’t ask if you will do something for them, they demand it and some can be really rude.  So, I’m going to lecture authors:

The statistics for reviews is dismal. People will rate a book but will not leave comments. I have to wonder why that is. Informal polls suggest reviewers don’t want to be hassled by authors to revise, edit or even take down the review. One reviewer expressed real concern when an author began stalking him online.  Seeing reviewers being trashed on social media sites is also a real turn off.  It’s no wonder authors have a hard time getting people to review books for them.  Again, be professional, even if this is just a hobby for you.  Always thank a reviewer for their time, even if the review was disappointing.

I’ve had my moments too, when  I wanted to know “What’s in it for me?”  LOL [Note – Julie sent me this clip from one of her favorite movies – Field of Dreams – and the author gets to walk I can so relate to this :-)]

Aside from reading, what are your other passions in life . . . chocolate goes without saying!

My pets are a HUGE part of my life.  I have two cocker spaniels and three cats.  They are all spoiled and so I have to spend a lot of time with them. Somebody has to do it  LOL  I also spend a lot of time spreading the word against animal cruelty and violence against women.

Where would you to go from here regarding your book reviews, personally and professionally?

First a personal comment. I hope to continue to increase my blog followers in order to reach more readers. I want to improve my writing skills and in the process write cleaner and more interesting reviews.  I am also working on calling attention to reviewers so that authors can appreciate the hard work that goes into writing a thoughtful review and to  work on a system that will compensate reviewers in some way and perhaps come up with a way for authors and reviewers to rate their experiences with  one another after a review has been completed.  Feedback from both parties could help us learn what we need to do to improve a system that is in terrible shape at the moment.  Do you think this is a good idea or do you think it will only increase the gap between author and reader? [I think these are fantastic ideas – it’s about time.]

Professionally, the future is wide open for some really great changes in the world of books and reading.  The short story will become a favorite of fans and e-series will grow in popularity.  I really do believe that books will become more interactive in the near future, giving the reader a say in what takes place within the story and the way the story ends. Alternative endings are already cropping up as well as books that offer the reader choices within the book on which path they would like the character to take.  It’s like reading a book three different ways.   I think video reviews will also crop up more often.  There are still a lot of changes to come and growing pains yet to work through, but overall it’s an exciting time for authors, books and readers.  I hope to be part of it in some way. 

 A huge thank Julie. If you would like to follow her, here are a few links, one to Facebook and one to her blog:

Julie Whiteley on Facebook          Julie’s Blog – Cluereview on Blogspot