Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Win a FREE autographed copy of "Proud Souls" this Friday!!!

As everyone should know by now, tomorrow--Friday, October 3rd--is my Podcast interview with Angel Lesa, LIVE and UNSCRIPTED via BlogTalkRadio's, "The Odd Mind."


This will be--by far--my biggest platform. This is my greatest opportunity thus far to reach a new set of fans....a new audience...a greater reader-base...and I am as terrified as I am ready.

One thing I will be doing to help encourage listener support is offering one complimentary autographed copy of my book, Proud Souls to one commenter to my blog. Anyone who posts a comment to my blog--on Friday night--will automatically be included in the drawing and I will announce the winner next week. Be sure to post a comment that links to your email or web address so I can contact you!!!


All preparations have been made, with the exception of one slight change. Angel Lesa will not be able to interview me, as we have a schedule conflict, but her associate--Yvonne Mason--will be hosting the interview at the originally scheduled time, 8~9PM, CST.

Here is the web URL for the podcast interview: BlogTalkRadio--"The Odd Mind"

Be sure to set your reminder and listen in! If anyone knows me, an hour is a long time, but when dealing with Bobby Ozuna, it's just a moment...because I can talk!!!

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







Monday, September 29, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know"--September 29th, 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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Jessie O. of Goose Creek, South Carolina asked the following questions:


Q:) I really enjoyed you blog post on MySpace. I was wondering if you could provide me with some info on what kind of writing advice you give?

A.) Jessie, I give tons of advice on an everyday basis. I pride myself in my willingness to help other artists--especially writers--get where they want to be with relation to their work--in print and available for purchase! I have tried to make myself available the past year to anyone and everyone who has questions related to the (indy) publishing business. I wouldn't call myself an "expert" but I have learned alot in the past two years and I have given away the information freely, in hopes that my experiences might help ease the burden and the pains of self-publication for other writers.
Now, in relation to writing advice...well...there is truly only one bit of advice that counts: Write and write often. I try to write at least 5 days per week for at least one hour. Normally, I write for 2 hours a day, seven days a week. With practice, you will improve. And to answer the question (I had when someone told me that a long time ago)...how do I know my writing is improving if I have no means to judge it? Well...read quality writing in the genre you wish to market and in time, you will (1.) pick up your own voice and (2.) gain a better understanding for quality work and clear and concise language use.

Q:)
Are there any scams for new writers you would warn about?

A.) Like any business, there are always scams people should be wary of. I have been fortunate enough to say I haven't fallen victim to any of them out there--and yes, they are out there. The best advice I can give is this: Before you sign-up, sign or partake on any business venture with relation to YOUR writing or YOUR stories, efforts, name or money--do your research first!!! And, if you find something is not on the level, share it, immediately with everyone you can. Accoutability is the best way to lessen the scams out there facing artists.

Q.) Is there ever a charge for your services?

A.) No, I don't offer any services to anyone that would cost them any money. As of now, I provide as much helpful information as I can related to all things publishing, marketing and writing...free of charge here on my blog. One day I plan on releasing a brief how-to self-publish eBook with generalized information and topics to consider for anyone interested in releasing their own title. I am projecting a potential online release date of January/February 2009. And even that particular eBook will cost $10.00 or less.

Q.)
I have been writing for a long time and have begun work on a book that I am very excited about. I have never been so engulfed with a story. I would love to get the inside scoop on "finding your own voice" that you mentioned in one blog entry. What exactly do you mean by this?

A.) That is a very good question and an important topic to address. A writer's own voice is the very essence of a writer's gift and soul and the place where natural born talent, hard work and many hours of practice come together. I noticed early on in my writing [that] if I was busy reading a particular author's work and trying to work on my own story, parts of my story seemed "similar" to the author I was reading. If they were methodical and slow in detail, so was I. If they were brief and short, my writing was also.

To find your own particular style and pattern for drawing stories with words you will need to spend countless hours developing that voice by practicing the craft on a daily basis. And I did say daily. Writing is not a hobby and if it is, then I wouldn't recommend tackling the novel. Stick to short-stories or poems. If you are serious about developing your writing skills--then find time everyday to write something--anything, as long as it's new material. In time, you will develop a pattern of style, voice and approach with relation to your creative ideas...and that my dear friend Jessie is a writer's voice. It's the beautiful balance of what you were born to do with what you learned to do--over time.



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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 Jessie O of Goose Creek, South Carolina for her questions. In my next blog segment of "PS: We Wanna Know" I will answer the questions of another reader. So send them in!!!

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Countdown to "The Odd Mind" with Angel Lesa

Just a reminder...mark your calendars!!!

In exactly 5 more days I will go LIVE with Blog Talk Radio host Angel Lesa's podcast show--"The Odd Mind!"

Date: Friday, October 3rd
Time: 8~9PM, CST (LIVE)

This is the number you can use to call in, should you wish to participate with questions for the author:: 347-945-7025.

There is also a chat-room feature you can use to post questions while I am being interviewed.

URL: BlogTalkRadio--"The Odd Mind"



Click here to view the original blog post for this announcement.


~Bobby Ozuna
author of PROUD SOULS
www.BobbyOzunaOnline.com
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Marketing 101"-- September 24th, 2008

Make it easy for readers to locate your book on Amazon.com with the "Buy from Amazon.com" widget in your Blogger blog.

If you have a book for sale, then you are surely doing all you can to make your book not only available to the public but visible to everyone who stumbles upon your blog. It is imperative that although you work to promote your work and the work of others who helped you get where you are, that you make buying your book as easy as possible for the casual passer-by. And one handy tool available to all authors who have a book to sale, is the "Buy from Amazon.com" widget available via your Amazon Associates program. (See image example below)

*Everyone who has something for sale on Amazon can easily join the Associates program and thereby advertise for Amazon and with Amazon.com.*




BUILD AMAZON WIDGET AND COPY HTML CODE:

To add this widget you simply navigate to Amazon.com and login to your account or simply click the [Join Associates] link at the bottom of the Amazon.com homepage. There you will find a quick and easy one page synopsis and summary of the program and also the link to complete your [online application]. Here you will be promoted to logon using your Amazon.com credentials and once through their secure server logon process you will begin setting up your payment options. These options are intended to help Amazon.com determine where and whom to make checks payable to. See with the Associates program, when you allow Amazon.com to post their widgets (although you can physically post them wherever you choose on your homepage or blog site), Amazon.com will reward you with a % of earnings based on sales generated by links from your websites.

Once you have completed the application process (takes less than the amount of time it takes for you to enter your name, address, & telephone) you will be on your way.  Once in your Associates account generalization page you can then select from a wide range of available Amazon widgets to post on your site (such as the one above which is a direct reference to my book) by selecting the "Build Links/Widgets" link on the left hand sidebar.
The whole process can take less than one hour (depending on how much time you want to spend perfecting the color, size, etc.) and then it's on to the next step: Posting the widget within your Blogger blog. The final step before posting the widget to your blog will be collecting the HTML source code. Amazon.com is so gracious, the developers even put a nice easy [copy] button on the last step. Take that HTML code and paste it into a Wordpad or Notepad document for the next step.

ADD AMAZON.COM WIDGET TO YOUR BLOGGER BLOG TEMPLATE:

Login to your Blogger account and @ the dashboard, select the [layout] option. Once in the layout editing screen, select (where on your blog layout you want the widget) and select (either) ADD PAGE ELEMENT or ADD A GADGET.

*You may need to be upgraded to the latest version of Blogger for these instructions to fit exactly. But keep in mind, you essentially are trying nothing more than to add some HTML/JAVA code as a page element or gadget.*

Navigate to the option that allows for a new HTML/Java SCRIPT option. The window that pops up (blank) is now ready to paste your code from previously--that you should have saved in either Wordpad or Notepad. Paste the code within that window and select Save and you are done.


~Bobby Ozuna
Drawing Stories...With Words

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To subscribe to this blog, click the URL below (little dude reading the paper) and either choose your favorite feed reader or simply subscribe via email.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Marketing 101"-- September 23rd, 2008

Need a spot on the WWW for a relaxed, unscripted, and casual interview to promote your writing style and stories? Or better yet, are you looking for a place to showcase the BEST aspect of you as the person, as opposed to you as the (busy body professional) writer? Stop by "Melly's Spot" and unwind...

I have made a new friend in Contemporary Romance author--Melanie Anderson. She is the author of such works as "On The Run" and "Born to Run" with her latest release "Racing for the Shore." You can view all her works at her homepage: Author Melanie Anderson


Melanie's blog--Melly's Spot--is the place where she showcases her writing, her creative side, her humor and also her interviews of other writers. So, if you are interested in an interview, stop by her blog and contact her. Tell her Bobby sent you!!!

You can also find her on MySpace here.... and yes, I do believe that is "My Little Pony" in the background...

Remember, we artist survive, NOT by stepping over one another...but by pushing and pulling one another up the ladder of success...after all...we are not corporate sharks in a suit!

~Bobby Ozuna
Drawing Stories...With Words

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Project PS:"-- September 19th, 2008

Preparing to enter..."The Odd Mind"...


I am pleased to announce [that] I will be a guest author on Angel Lesa's author podcast show: "The Odd Mind" featured on her Blog Talk Radio show. This interview will be conducted LIVE and completely UNSCRIPTED on Friday, October 3rd from 8~9PM CST.
I am prepared (as Angel Lesa so eloquently warned me...) to answer all things related to my writing style and my writing approach... apart from the size of my underwear!!!

You can navigate to her Blog Talk Radio site or directly to her homepage for "The Odd Mind" above using the reference URL's. Be sure to bookmark the URL's and save the date: Friday, October 3rd, 8~9PM, CST. There is a number you can call to ask me questions as well as a chat feature if you wish to remain a bit anonymous.

You can review the list of upcoming author interviews--especially the listing for yours truly--by clicking the microphone image below.

I expect GREAT things to come from this interview, as "The Odd Mind" has over 16,000 listeners!!! This is a wonderful opportunity for me to shine and (more importantly) tell the world about your favorite novel: Proud Souls.


Stay tuned for more details!!!

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Project PS:"--September 18th, 2008

As a writer...sometimes you just have to listen to your own voice!!!

If there is any part of the "being a writer" process I don't like or care for...it would be the moments I have to read my own work! I don't know what it is...maybe the sound of my own voice or the simple fact [that] I have to read the very words I wrestled with for months to bring to life and agonized to quiet while I tried to sleep? I honestly don't know what it is...

But in the end, like any profession, sometimes you have to do things you don't really care for, whether you like it or not. So, for those of you who missed it the first time around, this is your chance to listen as I read the Prologue and first chapter to "Proud Souls." If you have not made up your mind to purchase the book, perhaps my words or the manner in which I read them (yuck) will sway your decision. If you have, then maybe it's a good time to (a.) read along with me or (b.) send the link to that certain someone who has been bugging you to tell them what "Proud Souls" is all about...because honestly, apart from these two opening chapters... I have never read my own book...but that's another story, isn't it???


Please don't forget to comment...tell me what you think... I know I sound like crap, but don't rub it in!!! I am hoping the printed words on the pages of my novel, will more than speak for themselves...



PS: Remember, you can EASILY subscribe to this blog by clicking the image below (little dude reading the paper...)
I am also available via MySpace and Facebook....so don't be afraid to hit me up...


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


Friday, September 5, 2008

"PS: We Wanna Know"-- September 5th, 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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Ashley Nicole of Waco, Texas asked the following questions:

Q:) How long have you been writing?
A:) I have been writing on a serious level since mid-2000 when I learned [that] I needed to practice developing my writing instead of simply "writing" stories. I compare that statement to an artist who understands the principles of shadow, perception and depth with relation to a paintng. But, I have been creating stories within my mind since I was a child--a young boy day-dreaming and drawing blanks in class, staring outside the windows imagining worlds not emcompassed by four walls, limitations on learning and pre-determined classroom curriculum.

Q.) How did you get started writing?
A.)  I think I always had a desire to be creative, but whether that energy (I was the class clown remember???) was meant for writing, or perhaps acting or even stand-up comedy--I wasn't sure when I was younger. In my mind I always knew I was different. My mindset, the ways I think, my outlook on life was always different than everyone around me. Someone told me once that I had an artists eye. But on that same note people said I was simply a smart-mouthed kid. Being able to draw outside the lines makes life a bit more difficult than it already is and for someone like me, with a Type-A Personality, it was even harder.

I love telling this story of how I came to share my first real stories. Sometime in or around 2000, I met a man named Ladd Holder. Ladd and I shared common interests in literature; we enjoyed the same authors. I discovered other writers during my times alone with him at lunch or on breaks at work. One day I decided Ladd would be the person I share my works with...and with all my courage, I gave him a few stories. Being impatient, I couldn't wait for him to share his criticisms of my stories. When Ladd finally asked me to sit down with him he told me directly to my face [that] my writing sucked but that my stories were great. I remember being confused about how to take his opinion. On one hand I was thankful he was honest and on the other hand, I didn't want to be his friend anymore.  But like any good friend, Ladd took the time to explain his answer. Quite simply...this is what he said. He said I needed to learn "how" to write. Yes, I was just as confused with that answer as I was about how much my work sucked. But he went on to explain again and like my anology I referenced before, he compared writing to painting. He said I needed to learn point-of-view, how to structure a story with relation to character growth, etc. and he said I needed to spend enough time writing until I discovered my own voice.

I have been working to develop my writing skills ever since, writing for at least one hour a day.

Q.) Do you ever become frustrated with a book and wish you had never started it? I struggle with wanting to put too much detail in a story, do you have any ideas or suggestion for this?
A.)  My present project--"The Other Side of Glory"--is a prime example of my frustrations. I began work on this novel in 2002 and again in 2003 and one more time in 2005, never really getting anywhere more than a good idea and a few rough chapters. Each time I made any progress, I destroyed my own printed copies and deleted my only electronic version. But I am happy to say I am seven chapters in this time around and I have no intentions of stopping.
To answer the second question--about too much detail in a story--well, have you read Proud Souls? The first two chapters are detailed enough to make Tolkien proud of me. I say, whatever the story desires of you...that is what you write. Don't let others dictate how you draft or write a story. If someone doesn't appreciate the detail in your work, tell them where the nearest dime-store is and they can pick up a best-seller and two hours later tell you how much they enjoyed it.

Q.)  Did you ever wish to start another book in the midst of one? If so, how do you discipline yourself not to? Any suggestions there?
A.)  Yes. Even while being utterly consumed by the desires of my inner muse, I still have the earnest desire to start another story--while in the midst of my present project--no matter what that story may be. And personally, I think all writers feel this way. If we did not and were instead tied died by the notion that we can only work on "one thing at-a-time" then we would not be the free-thinkers of the world who once upon a time day-dreamed in classrooms only to later create the worlds others find therapeutic when they wish to escape from their worlds of "normalcy" and depressing "routine." So I say this: If you can write two stories at once or even one-hundred, then do it! That's more escape for the masses and less time to wait for it!

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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 Ashley Nicole of Waco, Texas for her questions. In my next blog segment of "PS: We Wanna Know" I will answer the questions of another reader. So send them in!!!

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"
http://www.bobbyozunaonline.com/

Monday, September 1, 2008

"The Other Side of Glory"--September 2nd, 2008

Seemed like only yesterday...
I had a chance to do some "research" for my book, "The Other Side of Glory" this weekend.  This year, my friends from the Marine Corps and I met in Spring, Texas, home of my very good friend-- "Big" George Ledezma. When we started this tradition a few years ago, we all agreed we would change the locale every year, giving each of us a chance to host the meeting and also give everyone else a chance and reason to take a vacation and get away from the horrid plagues of everyday life. And for me personally, all I can say is--it couldn't have happened at any better time...
(Me and my boy, Dennis "Denno" Maund, of Cleveland, Ohio)

The boys and I haven't been together as a group since 1997, when each of us, one by one, started rotating back home and into civilian life, leaving French Creek and our lives as Marines forever.  One by one we slowly arrived at Big George's house...first Ponce and I, as we drove together from Ft. Worth, then  "Denno" flew in with his girlfriend Stacey from Ohio. Apart from Ponce, the rest of us hadn't seen Dennis since 1997. He was just as great and just as soft-spoken as he was in the Corps--no matter what he says.

 
(Me and Steve "Doodie" Velez of Miami, Florida)

Then, when the four of us had just enough alcohol to be late picking up Steve Velez from the airport as they flew in from Miami...well...we picked up Steve and his wife Brenda late from the airport...(Sorry Steve!)  We argued the entire way to Houston International Airport--about the quickest route, which lane to drive in, whether the Cowboys were better than the Texans and lastly, what the hell Steve looked like, as we hadn't seen him at all (any of us) since 1997. We pissed off some patrons on the side of the road, laughing with our heads sticking out the windows like kids, asking if they were Steve or if someone else was him...and then...as we pulled within earshot of security--and a moment before any one of us put our foot in our mouth's--we heard a shout, a familiar call. It was him...our buddy...our friend...our brother...with a little less hair and an attitude the same as he had when we shared a barracks in French Creek.


(Me and Ralph Ponce of Abernathy, Texas)

Within moments of arriving at Big George's home, we were back at it, having our way with words. If any "normal" human being had been around they would have called the cops, a therapist or perhaps even the FED's for the things we were saying. We laughed alot, mostly about the stupid things we did when we were kids, when we were "young" men. So many things came back to mind and more importantly, circumstances and situations I can use for the story, things I almost forgot and others the guys hoped I would forget. The overall consensus however was this: They want me to write this story--their story--every Marine's story--not because they want to be held accountable for their lives back then, but because the essense of who we were when we were younger thrives on knowing it will forever be a part of us. It is the bond that holds us together, even when we have grown up to become union workers, city workers, construction contractors, IT professionals and even writers.

(Me and my boy, Big George Ledezma, of Spring, TX)
We spent the next three days and three nights--between heavy Marine Corps style alcohol consumption--playing spades (or at least trying to), remembering our days in Barracks FC 525 and FC530, our fights with other groups in the Corps and our fights with one another. We remembered a dear friend by the name of Lamar Pompa who passed on after we left the Corps and we remembered names of those we forgot. We discussed the "Magic Place", the off-limits bar that opened after midnight and closed just before sunrise. We remembered all its granduer and mysticism. And a group of Marines having a few drinks wouldn't be complete without the memories of The Driftwood--the highly populated topless bar these guys visited frequently enough to have money taken out of their paychecks on a monthly basis to support their habit of beers and breasts. (I can't believe they would visit such places, but who am I to judge? I am still paying my tab to this day...) We talked about our best times together and we argued still about our worse. We rememberd how badly we wanted to come home and how much we wished to return.
In the end, we had to say good-bye once again, just like we did in 1997. One by one we left, but this time it was different. We were sad, only to leave, but happy knowing the friendships and the bonds we have established over the years IS enough to sustain our lives forever now. We may not see one another for a year at a time, maybe longer as some can't always make it (Mark McManus!!!) But that's the way it goes sometimes. I told my daughter as she just began the 7th grade, that she will face peer pressure from the idiot kids in school who judge others by the clothes they wear or what shoes they have or worse, by how much money their parents make. I told her to ignore those people, because a true friend never judges. Yes, they will hold you accountable for your bullshit, but they never really leave you. Ever.

Walking into Big Geoge's home this weekend was like walking into his barrack's room many years ago. It was crowded, loud and it smelled of dirty men, stale beer breath and cigarette smoke. There were enough profanities to flip Mother Teresa over in her grave and enough friendship to break your heart. I will carry them with me forever and I will write their story as part of "The Other Side of Glory." For their story is my story and perhaps the story of every other Marine who ever dared to dream only to see it broken, hit bottom but did not fail and who knows what it is to believe in Jesus Christ and who isn't afraid to have a drink with the Devil. So with my glass held higher than my pride... I say...as we did back then...

Here's to you...here's to me...friends we'll always be...and if we ever disagree...then fuck you, here's to me!

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

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