Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"The Other Side of Glory"--August 27th, 2008

This is a very exciting weekend coming up--not just on a personal level--but in relation to my current project: "The Other Side of Glory."

If you haven't been keeping up with my previous posts, "The Other Side of Glory" will be my second novel. I promised to blog the entire process of writing my novel--from draft to polished manuscript--to show other writers and (potential writers) how quickly one can product a 300+ page manuscript, amidst work, family and life. I started roughly a month ago and I am currently writing the 5th Chapter (remember, I write free-hand) and presently working to type the 3rd Chapter. I slowed down due to some heavy SEO research on the Internet--to help optimize this blog and gather more readers--and because of that I am a little behind. But that's just part of the process of writing a book. It doesn't work out the way you wish and despite our efforts to write new material everday, it doesn't always happen. That's life. Until I make enough money from "Proud Souls" to substantiate a life without a job, then writing always comes after all the other duties in the house.

But enough about that...back to my story. This weekend I will meet with some very important friends outside Houston, Texas for a special reunion. These men and their families are part of my past--being six of us total--they are the men of my unit in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The six of us have worked to maintain contact since we were together last in 1997. Since that time I have seen then at different times or different cities, but we have maintained our communication over the years--just as we promised one another on New Year's Eve in 1997.

And more importantly than that--each of them in turn--have demanded I write this story. So to answer the "is this novel autobiographical" question--the answer is Yes and No. Yes, my fictional characters will go through instances and circumstances that were real--maybe not to me, but to someone I knew--and No, there is no character in this novel that is written about anyone I know--INCLUDING MYSELF!

I have spent this past week talking to each of them--Big George in Houston, McManus in Jersey, Velez in Florida and Ponce in Lubbock. The only one I haven't spoken to or seen since 1997 is Denn-o. He lives in Ohio and he is flying in Friday evening. Already this week we have reminisced and laughed on the phone together and each time I talked to one of them, I couldn't help but relive the memories of my time in the Marine Corps.

Knowing how important this story is to each of them, I feel more pressure to produce this story than my first novel. I know I won't let them down, but there is still the pressure to maintain the integrity of the emotions we underwent while abroad.

So far in the story I have introduced Joey Allario--my protagonist, the hero of my story--and two supporting characters--Vincent "Vinny" Lozano and Michael "Mikey" Alaniz. Mikey is the antagonist in the story and he is the polar opposite of my hero, Joey. Vinny's role in the story thus far is to play mediator between the two characters. He provides the balance between two opposing forces. We are introduced to Joey as he flies into Ellis Airport and the reader is given the opportunity to evaluate his qualities as the "good kid" in the story. He is proper, even when people aren't nice to him and as we see in the third chapter, he is non-confrontational. He chooses to walk away from a fight, in liue of "not getting in trouble." He is well-mannered and proper, cordial to the ladies and excited about joining the Fleet Marine Force and his fellow "brothers" within the Marine Corps. What he is about to experience however will be small isntances of disappointment, the type that can alter a man's way of thinking just enough so [that] the inner child who chooses to dream...may die...

Mikey on the other hand is introduced while lying naked with a woman in a hotel room. She is a woman he met the night before and he is soft with her, cradling her in his arms and at the closing of that scene, he tells her good-bye, letting her know he will "never see her again." He is confrontational and his sexual frustrations, his frustrations of being away from home, etc, have him walking on pure emotion. He thinks out his decisions but often chooses his gut instinct over logic or rational thinking. He is the typical "fly by the seat of your pants" leader who is adored by those around him and hated by everyone who isn't because he isn't easy to understand or comprehend.

Well, I am off to finish Chapter 5...where the readers will get an inside look at "Fat Bottom Girls Gentlemen Club" where Mikey will meet a woman who plays a significant (and private) role in his life and the decisions he will make later on... Her name is Victoria Roxby and she works as a waitress in the gentleman's club.

Both my characters will have women in their lives in a private manner--meaning they won't announce their affairs to the friends closest to them. These women will play the mentor role to each man in turn. One of the twists in the story however is where we learn one of the women has shared herself with the "other" man in the story, thereby becoming the catalyst that forces our hero and villian (for lack of proper terminology) to constantly come together.

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Marketing 101"-- August 25th, 2008

Get out there and "Plug Your Book!!!"

If there was any one written guide I might recommend as a valuable source to help independent authors and publishers with their book promotion, it would have to be Steve Weber's "Plug Your Book--Online Book Marketing for Authors."

I purchased a copy of this book over a year ago, just about the time I "went live" with "Proud Souls" and after all these months and countless reads and re-reads of the same material, there isn't a moment that goes by that I don't say--"I am sure glad I bought this book!"

Steve Weber has been working as an online book dealer since 2000 and has become one of the most successful and highly rated book sellers on eBay and Amazon.com. And in 2007 he released "Plug Your Book" as a means to help authors--both independent & self-published writers as well as those published the traditional route--with effective, planned and Internet-based marketing concepts and strategies all outlined in one bound guide.

Remember, marketing, like writing doesn't have structured written rules that apply to every type of artist in their artistic niche. There are however effective proven guidelines that must be applied in order to be successful, the same as a writer might consider story structure or an artist might consider perception and depth with relation to color. What Mr. Weber has done for us lowly writers out there trying to make a name for ourselves is this: He has provided a baseline for effective book promotion, with a table of content that can be utilized as a "to do" list to help us achieve our goals.

Some of the material covered in this book are effective social networking with sites like Facebook and MySpace, obtaining and gathering book reviews, beginning and maintaining a blog and more importantly, how to get the most from the largest online bookstore in the world: Amazon.com.

Some of the steps may not apply to your particular genre, but 90% of the content within the pages of this book will apply to anyone trying to market their book, regardless of whether its fiction or non-fiction. Like our writing we have to "think outside the box" with relation to our marketing campaigns and often that makes the road towards success an uphill battle. But regardless, that is the path we have chosen as writers. Like Robert Frost said: The Road Less Traveled. But regardless of whether we choose the path of lease resistance or the road less traveled, it is imperative that you have a solid and thorough understanding of what the vast majority of artists like yourselves are doing to market their work. "Plug Your Book" is a definite source of material that will help you understand where you are missing the mark with some steps you may already be applying and introduce you to other concepts you may not have considered.

So, whether you are in the infancy stage of self-publication or have already been racking your brain to market your finished work, I believe "Plug Your Book" can help (at the very least) provide an effective baseline to help you prepare, apply and follow-through with your marketing campaign. I have been working to promote "Proud Souls" for 13-months and I contribute a vast majority of my success to the content within the pages of this book. Had I learned a majority of this information on my own, I would not have come as far as I have with relation to my own novel this quickly.

And as an FYI..."Plug Your Book" is the ONLY book marketing guide I own thus far and for me, it has been just enough to get me where I am and I highly recommend you grab a copy and go!!!

Best of luck to you...and remember...I believe...because you believe!

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know"--August 22nd, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know" is my dedication to responding to as many readers and fans as possible. I believe as a writer I owe it to the fans to make myself available, whenever they want to learn more about how I came to write the stories they love. And from an independent/self-publishing standpoint, I owe it to the countless other writers out there trying to "make it" to offer insight into my success as a self-published author, whether that be in guidance, inspiration, approach or simple tips & tricks to help them succeed.

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Jennifer A. of Azle, Texas asked the following questions:

Q.) How do you find time to balance writing, work and a family?

A.) That is one of the hardest parts about "being a writer." Recently a new friend--host of AngelLesa's BlogTalkRadio--commented on my article: "Old Sneakers, A Borrowed Car and a Fresh Watermelon" where I detailed the discouraging events of my most recent book signing. The day started off bad and got worse and in the end--I sold one book! Her comment to my article was, "See and we think all writers are rich and famous..." She couldn't have said it any better. Being a writer is more than just being a writer--it's more than being a simple story-teller. With the power of endless information at our fingertips we have to our disposal more outlets to market our work--but the downfall to that is time--the amount of time it takes to market and research your niche on the web.

I spend an average of five hours per day working as an independent contractor in the IT field. I then spend anywhere from 1~2 hours per day writing new material and then another 1~2 hours per day researching marketing concepts and venues for my existing novel, blog strategies for better search engine optimization and market trends to help promote myself as an independent author. So, in an average work day for most people, I have worked one job and then clocked-in to work my second job--my work as a writer.

It isn't easy balancing all the things I want and MUST do as a writer on a daily basis. I would tell any aspiring author out there point-blank: IT IS HARD! Besides being a baseball coach and a husband & father, I recently bought a new house so my duties have increased and in order to keep the family happy with my "hobby" (though that term does not fit a writer) I have to limit myself to how much time I spend behind the keyboard or in front of one of my writing journals. In the end, you learn to balance what free time you get--and it's usually late at night, when all my world is asleep...
Great question!!!

Q. When did you first realize you were a writer and what was your first story about?

A.) Honestly Jennifer, I don't remember the first story I ever wrote on paper. I have been writing stories in my mind since I was a kid (many teachers can testify to my lack of interest in their classrooms) and it wasn't until I was in high-school that I first wrote anything on paper. But if I had to isolate a story and say: This is my first (ever) story...I can't recall at the moment. My first "published" work was "Corrido", which was released as part of the Scribes Valley Publishing short-story anthology: "Mind Trips Unlimited." That particular story will be available as a free .PDF download soon for all my fans. My first "notable" story was "From God to Texas" which won second place at the local community college Spring writing contest in 2003 and Top-20 Finalist in the Gather.com short-story contest online in 2005.

To answer the first question--when did I first realize I was a writer???--well that would be the day I faced myself in the mirror with enough confidence to tell the world I was indeed a writer. I struggled with that concept so much early on in my writing career. At the time, I thought I was the only one. As corny as it might sound, I suppose I was waiting for someone to tap me on the shoulder, or perhaps some angel to pop out of the sky or maybe even another writer to knight-me and tell me I was one of them. It wasn't until the year 2001 I think I came to terms with what I was doing in secret...and overcame the fear to let people know who I was and what I was born to do.


Q.) Do you ever want to give up?

A.) Yes, every day. I battle with the notion of quitting often and I believe that's a common thing for artistic people. We put so much of ourselves into our projects--because unlike a skill we use at work--it's the very core of our existence, our soul. And because we put so much of ourselves into refining our abilities as artists...we are open for more criticism, rejection and upset than most people. I think Paulo Coelho (my favorite writer) said it best when he said we can't use the old excuse when things don't work out that "we didn't want it anyways." We do want it and we stake everything to have it. And the people closest to us seem to suffer the most because we are lost in our own worlds so much--thinking of trendy ways to captivate an audience--that we miss the moments around us. It isn't intentional, but it does happen.

I think I struggle with quitting whenever I am tired and I realize how much (counted) time I put into my writing--my blogs, new material and money to market my book--and the return is limited and low. That is just part of being new in any business, like an actor or musician--but it does not make it any easier. It is however people like yourself Jennifer that remind me I shouldn't quit--ever.

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If you have questions you would like to present as part of this blog, send them to: bobby@bobbyozunaonline.com with the subject line of: PS: We Wanna Know.
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I want to thank Jennifer A., of Azle, Texas for her questions. In my next blog segment of "PS: We Wanna Know" I will answer the questions of another reader.

Stay tuned for more insight into how I have successfully published my own novel, "Proud Souls" along with marketing tips and tricks, and last but not least, my mental journal of writing my second novel: "The Other Side of Glory."

Thanks,

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com




Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Drawing the Story"--August 20th, 2008

Use common surroundings when developing settings or visual imagery to help bring your fictional stories to life!

When people ask me how I came to write "Proud Souls" or where I got the inspiration to create such vivid scenes, settings and literal imagery, I like sharing the special [common] places that are part of my everyday life, that became settings within my novel.

As an example, there is a scene where I describe Reverend Polk's living quarters behind the church. His home is nothing more than a garage loft-style apartment. I described the green grass at the base of a wooden staircase that meets a small deck where he likes to drink tea outside. Now, ordinarily I wouldn't have come up with something like that, even if I was in the creative mood. That was actually an actual home behind one of my neighbors houses, where (I believe) a son lived with his mother. The primary residence was his mother's house and he lived in the back--the very nice and elaborate garage apartment out back. Every morning when I would review the entries for "Proud Souls" I made the previous night, I would watch him come out, down the wooden staircase and water his grass while having coffee. The particular morning I was working on Reverend Polk's home and the history of where he lived and how he came to live there--it just made sense to me.



Another example of how common settings in our lives can be transformed into more elaborate settings for our novels is the moment where I described the town bar, The Hawk's Nest. This was Tessa Jameson's metaphorical prison and it was important that I identified with my audience, regardless of where they lived in the world. Now, that's a pretty extensive goal, to say I am going to create a world that will identify with a vast majority of my readers, but it is something I feel as a writer you must try to accomplish.

To master this I had to first determine what made a bar "common." I have been to the "hole-in-the-wall" bars and the more elaborate high-dollar bars where you literally buy a 12-pack of bottles for one drink and the underlying theme in each of them is freedom. People feel free to become something other than themselves--the person they can't be and would never become at work--or at church or in front of in-laws, etc. I paid close attention to why people went to bars and how they acted (or didn't act) when they arrived and how they were when they left. I listened to them talk, quietly and discreetly at first, and then louder, free to share their feelings and expressions with complete strangers over time (and drinks). Regardless of where the alcohol was being served, I found people came in the same way and left the same way. So, I targeted those emotions within the settings for my bar--The Hawk's Nest--just enough for an average person--male, female, young, old, etc--to identify with. That is why so many people say, "I feel like I have been in that bar you talked about."

When trying to draft a story and you feel your setting lacks powerful characteristics or worse, maybe you feel you haven't "been anywhere" and because of that your stories can't compete with more "experienced" writers...stop and look around. Take in your own environment and use people, places and things common to your everyday walk and then put on your creative hat and let your imagination take control. By using people, places and objects common to your everyday life, it at least gives you a baseline for drawing your story...with words...

Best of luck to you.

~Bobby Ozuna
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com



Monday, August 18, 2008

Old sneakers, a borrowed car and a fresh watermelon...

So I wake up early, plenty of time to get where I need to be this Saturday morning and things start to go bad. First, because I moved into a new home, I have no hot water and I have to "prepare" my bath--you know--like they did in the wild west? I let some cold water run, partially filling the tub and then dump buckets of hot water to balance the temperature. Then, like Billy the Kid in Young Guns I jump up realizing I can't remember where--or if--we unpacked the iron!!!

I have to be at my book signing in Hudson Oaks with my new friend, Randy Cook, owner of Lark Bookstore by 11:30AM. I towel dry, lay my clothes out and (as if realizing you walk into your appointment looking like you slept in your clothes isn't bad enough) I realized the ONLY shoes I have at the new home are my old sneakers. The same ones I coach baseball in...

I scramble to call my wife, who isn't easy to get in touch with this Saturday morning because we canceled her previous phone service just Friday night, opting to consolidate plans and save money. But that phone won't be here til Tuesday and I can't find her!!! I call my sister who happens to work with her and (guess what?) she isn't at work yet!!! She calls the office, tells someone to tell Michele to call me, all for an iron. How embarrassing right? Well, she calls and I find the iron and scramble to put my clothes in some sort of order. I put on some casual dress pants, a dress shirt (untucked) and yes, those dirty old sneakers. I'm just about ready to head out, I'm hungry but I don't want to eat before this engagement and I am on my fourth cup of coffee. So, in my "scrambling" to get ready I look like a crack-head trying to find keys to a car he doesn't own. Found the keys, grabbed my smokes, a lighter, some cash (coined currency by the way because should I sell some books, I want to offer correct change) and my copies of "Proud Souls."

So here I am coming out the house, a box of books in my hand, dress pants, sneakers and a pocket full of change. I can't help but laugh and remember Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld) lugging pockets full of change to the local pizzeria to get some calzones for George Costanza. Anyhow, my other sister comes by to see how the kiddos are doing and I tell her they stayed with my cousin Johnny on account Michele and I both had somewhere to be this morning. She is just about to leave when I realize--MY TRUCK WON'T START! Of all the rotten days for my truck to quit working, it's this one! I flag her down (see the coins jingling in the pocket of my dress pants? Thank goodness I am wearing running shoes) and she comes to my rescue. It's 10:00AM and I need to be in Hudson Oaks by at least 11:00AM.

Okay, because of the move, I can't find my receipt book. So, its off to Dollar General which happens to be one block from my house. But, guess what? Yep, they don't carry receipt books, at least not at the Richland Hills location. My sister is filling up the car with gas next door, so (again with dress pants, pocket full of change and running shoes) I hurry next door to tell her I am losing my mind!!!

We stop by my old house, I run in, get my dress shoes and off we go to her home to drop her off so I can borrow the car. It's 10:30AM and I just know I'm going to blow it! I'm constantly checking my pockets because first of all, I hate things in my pockets and secondly, rattling of the change is making me nervous. I look in the backseat and there's a watermelon. My sister tells me she grew it in her garden, although it looks like a large squash with a crooked neck. She then said she only stopped by my house on the way to my mom and dad's house to deliver the watermelon. I tell her we can't do it now--we must press on! She is concerned...concerned that the watermelon will rot in the backseat. You know, with the heat and all? The only thing I can say is: They grow outside in the sun...it should be okay.

So, its 10:45AM and I wave good-bye to my sister, she wishes the watermelon well and with dress shoes now, a wrinkled shirt and pants and a pocket full of change, I am off to Hudson Oaks for my book signing. Oh wait! The receipt book!!!

I stop at the Wal-Mart right across the shopping center where the book signing will be. I run in (with dress shoes this time) and find the perfect one. I buy the receipt book and smoke one cigarette and chew about five pieces of gum to settle my nerves. My stomach is growling and I tell myself--three more hours and I can eat and it's all over with. I walk in the front door to the bookstore at exactly 11:20 AM.

***

Two hours later I was heading to Boo Ray's cajun cuisine with my very good friends David and Nancy Siron. They treated me to lunch because with the amount of money I made on a 60/40 split of ONE $18.00 dollar book (sold)...I would be better off eating the watermelon.

To the gentleman who bought Proud Souls...Had I known the day would have turned out like that, I would have given it to you. But thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your support. I truly hope you enjoy the story...


For all of you aspiring writers out there...it be's like that sometimes...

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com

Friday, August 15, 2008

"The Other Side of Glory"-- August 15th, 2008

A preliminary draft to the Dedication page for "The Other Side of Glory."


This story is dedicated to the men I served with in the US Marine Corps. Unless you knew me while I was serving abroad you may not understand the pains by which I came to write this story. I have struggled to bring it to life since the day my father and I drove away from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in 1997. I began writing the novel in 2002 and after eighteen chapters and a very vague plot, character base and story-line I trashed it, like I do most my works and started over. The story suffered this fate again in early 2003 and by 2005 I had given up on it in lieu of writing the story of Justin Bower and Tessa Jameson—the story which became my debut novel—Proud Souls.


I must confess however this isn’t my story. Although I have been cited several times in saying all fiction stems from some form of truth within the author—my works are still not autobiographical. There is irony in that statement however and I must confess that I have prided myself in being a writer who will never tell the story of a road I have not traveled. I think some of our greatest novelists to this date have been those who were not afraid to forsake truth in lieu of discovering what lies just beyond the realm of right and proper. I do not brag when I say I have tasted the fruits of good and of evil. Looking back at my life many years later when I chose to ignore the inevitable question within my life: Why do I do the things I do when I know the outcome?, well, the best I can say today, either here on paper or at the bar with a cold beer is this: It is because of my experiences in this world—some good and some bad—that I am able to justify the realism within my characters. Yes, I can sit at my window and watch the world go by and with every ounce of my creativity, create a story that would seem very real. But to me, that would be cheating—unfair to you as the reader and to the characters that I bring to life on paper.


There are many people who waited patiently for me to write this story. They are my friends and each of them at separate times in my life and in their own private way, have begged me to write it. It isn’t their story either, anymore than it is mine; but each of them believes this story to be a part of their lives they wish to share and also put away as a private reminder of their former selves. I have been asked to be careful how I present the story and I have been asked to tell the truth, holding nothing back. I have been reminded of the pains that accompany home-sickness and the disappointment that accompanies coming up short on a dream. And I have been asked to forget those who tried to destroy me when I was younger. Some have said the things I shared in this fictional tale aren’t true at all and others laughed at my audacity.


I suppose the most important part of “The Other Side of Glory” I wish for my audience to take with them is to appreciate a good story. My hope is that people won’t look too deep into the whether or not I overextended my boundaries as a novelist but rather take the story for what it is: a fictional tale.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Read "Proud Souls" online for FREE!!!

Recently I had the esteemed privilege of corresponding with one of the greatest living authors today: Mr. Paulo Coelho of Brazil, author of "The Alchemist." As many of you may know, I have become something of an advocate for "The Alchemist" in recent years, oftentimes spending more time talking about his work more than my own novel. I sent him another email recently telling him how much his works have meant to me as a writer and also (or rather seriously looking) for some positive feedback regarding the struggle of being an "unknown" writer. While waiting for him to reply I reviewed his blogs, some of his older postings, and I had an idea. Why not try what has worked for him???
If you are not familiar with his marketing concepts and strategies then you are not aware that Paulo Coelho broke one of the major publishing rules when he opted to pirate his own work!!! Yeah, that's right. Paulo Coelho began offering FREE downloads and Internet reads of all his works online, without his publishers consent. He did this because he believes you can obtain more fans by offering them a chance to read your works, rather than being reclusive and hoping they buy your work for the sake of buying it.

That's what led me to this (should have been simple) decision. I am going to direct everyone I know to the Google Book Search page for "Proud Souls", where you can read (90%) of the novel online for FREE!!!

I actually forgot this feature was avaialble late last year, but being "sale" minded instead of "sharing" like I was told in Kindergarten, I thought, why would I tell anyone? Who would buy it after they read it? Well, I guess we will see, won't we?

So, if you are still curious to know what all the hype is about with relation to my novel, "Proud Souls" click the link above for the Google Book Search and have at it!!! If you are interested in purchasing your own copy afterwords, the link to the Amazon store front for "Proud Souls" is below.


Don't forget to follow me as I journal the entire mental process of creating my second novel, "The Other Side of Glory" via my blog: "Drawing Stories...With Words."

~Bobby Ozuna
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com



Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Signing: August 16th @ Lark Bookstore (Hudson Oaks, TX)

I will be at Lark Bookstore, located in Hudson Oaks, Texas (just outside Weatherford) this Saturday the 16th of August between the hours of 11:30AM & 2:30PM, signing copies of Proud Souls.

Mr. Randy Cook of Lark Bookstore has agreed to allow me the privilege of hosting a book signing at his store this Saturday. Hudson Oaks is a small community just outside of Weatherford, Texas. Click on the image above to reference the Lark Bookstore homepage.

If you are local to the Hudson Oaks/Weatherford area and would like to purchase a copy onsite, or have your copy signed, please stop by and visit me this Saturday.

I appreciate the support and I look forward to meeting you!

Lark Bookstore
200 S. Oakride Drive
Hudson Oaks, TX 76087
817-599-6498

~Bobby Ozuna
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com

Friday, August 8, 2008

"The Other Side of Glory"--August 8th, 2008


I wrote 5 new pages last night...

Last night I finished writing the second chapter and wrote the first page of Chapter 3. It was close to 11:00PM when I stopped; I couldn't write much more and I never force a story....so I found a good stopping point and called it a done.

So far the story has taken a different path from what I originally envisioned--but again--that's the point. I may have a wild imagination, but it will never compare to the stories that present themselves to a willing and attentive soul.

In the early stages of this story I have introduced a man--Pops--who is on death-row awaiting execution for murder in a fictitious Huntsville prison system. He meets a young man by the name of Jace Harding who apparently will tell the old man's story over the course of the novel and eventually direct the audience to how he (Pops) came to commit murder.

From there the story introduces my two main characters--Joey Allario and Mikey Alaniz. Now, knowing every story MUST have a protagonist and antagonist, I have made it very clear who is who in their roles early on. Joey represents the concept of a "good" young man and Mikey, being his polar opposite, will represent the "bad." The first chapter introduces Joey as he ventures towards Jacksonville, North Carolina, home US Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune. We see him as honest, sincere and proper. The second chapter introduces Mikey Alaniz and his very good friend, Vinny Lozano. Vinny's position within the story will be mediator between Mikey and Joey. His role is crucial considering the interaction between the "hero" and "villian" will be limited but still necessary to know their thoughts towards one another as the story progresses.

The reader will meet Mikey and see him interact with a woman (who happens to be lying naked next to him in a bed...as he watches her butt-muscles react to his touch) early on. This particular introduction to his character is imperative, as his character, ego and actions are dictated by those of women. It is part of his substance as a man. The reader will also get a feel for his rage and anger as he will have words with another Marine right away, which will boil-over into a physical confrontation in Chapter 3, where he meets our hero: Joey Allario.

More to come....

~Bobby Ozuna
author of "Proud Souls"
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"The Other Side of Glory"--August 6th, 2008

I wrote two new pages yesterday and then nothing new...

Part of working to write the novel is finding lots of available time to formulate the story--not just on paper--but within your mind. My stories start long before I ever take the first words to paper. Actually, I rarely ever (if I ever have!!!) picked up the pen and started working on a story without FIRST writing the story in my mind.

Recently my very good friend Cathy asked me a question about the whole "time" scenario. She, like many others, wanted to know how I find time to write and market the book and do online promotional work, between having a wife and kids and job. I felt this was a good time as any to address that concern especially since my mind is running full-time with relation to "The Other Side of Glory."

My response: Well, it's not easy. The hardest part for me is finding the time to write and still somehow keep my wife from being irritated with me for "taking time away from the family" and still not give the impression that I am ignoring my children. I work part-time for a company in Southlake, Texas doing (the one thing I hate doing): computer work. I have been a network technician for 9-years and I can't stand it. It's a thank-less job where no matter how smart you are--you are either rewarded with MORE work or considered "the help." Writing is my passion and it consumes every aspect of my life, from my thoughts, my dreams while I am sleeping (and awake) and even (and especially) my attitude.

When I am working to develop a character--or getting to know a character that won't bend for my own imagination--I notice I begin to conform to their characteristics. I suppose that is part of why and how my characters seem "so real" at times. I have to try and get into THEIR minds in order to effectively transfer their persona on paper.

I don't try to purposely take time away from anyone I love, but writing isn't like working a regular job. You don't wake up and clock-in and then find a stopping point and clock-out. The story begins to come alive and you have to find the time to sit down and put those words on paper, before you lose them! If I ignore the sounds within my mind, because let's say, we have practice or a favorite show or movie on television, then what happens is the story begins to wrestle with my (un)willingness to bring it to life. My attitude gets worse because I am ignoring the one thing I am supposed to be doing. And in the end, everyone around me suffers...

You must have an open relationship with those closest to you--and teach them to understand that sitting down to write a story isn't like sitting down to play a game. There isn't an on/off switch for creativity. I have the terrible aspect of believing that since I am not outside my home, but rather in my home writing, it isn't so bad. But I forget--just like anyone else would--that just because you are home...doesn't mean you are home...

So, there is a fine line between working towards a dream and maintaining the family that you hope to provide for when that dream is fulfilled. Yes, one aspect is this: Your partner should deal with the emotional separation as long as you are home, especially considering if & when you reach your breakthrough, they surely aren't going to ignore the money. But to be fair, I have to remember, like all writers should, there is a possibility that you may never reach that milestone and looking back years later may have lost more than you acquired by pursuing a dream.

I know this does not completely answer the question...but it does address one of the harder aspects of being a writer...at least for Bobby Ozuna.

Thanks...

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

Monday, August 4, 2008

"The Other Side of Glory"--August 4th, 2008

I am a bit behind with this particular post...but...

On Thursday, July 28th I reached a small milestone within the life of my next novel: "The Other Side of Glory." As many may already know, I write all my stories free-hand--FIRST. I feel you kill the creative flow when you make any first attempts at writing stories at the computer. Whenever I get to a good stopping-point or even finish what I might call a chapter at that time, I stop writing and begin typing. I type that entire completed section of the story and while doing so, I am writing the next section/chapter free-hand again. I find it helps build on teh story as I work to write (free hand) the next section/chapter.

So, on Thursday the 28th of July, after I finished typing Chapter One (and I already had the Prologue) I came to a sudden realization: I am on my way to finishing my next novel!!!! The story was becoming a reality!!!

Yes, I know I was already working on it but until you see it, hold it, feel it and breathe the papers through the pores on your hands, then to me, it isn't yet real. But after printing out those first 26 pages (some 6,000 words typed already) I could not help but remember how I felt in the early stages of Proud Souls. It's hard to believe I have learned so much from my previous works to help this process flow much more smoothly.

The words are flowing out of my mind and onto paper with little resistance now. I am working on finishing the second chapter (typed version) so I can begin writing Chapter Three. Already it's been three weeks and in that time I have two chapters just about down with the third in progress. So for those of you curious to know how fast (or slow) you can write that novel trapped within your imagination--well, here is a realistic look. Even if I wrote one chapter per week--one handwritten version and one typed in that same week--I would have in six to eight months a 24~32 chapter novel which will range in the 300+ page range.

Regardless of what I do now, this new story (like all stories in my life) will dominate my every moment, awake or sleeping, until it is done. The characters I formulated within the creativity of my mind will begin taking on a life of their own, as they introduce the little quirks and habits that make them real.

Until next time, stay tuned for more details and behind the scenes updates on the creation of my second novel--from thought to completed manuscript.

~Bobby Ozuna
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com

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