I think this was one of the toughest parts of writing my first ebook. I am totally blind, so I have no way of judging the covers suggested by friends and readers of my blog. I discussed how it was a motivational ebook written to help people take steps towards improving their lives. I thought about the title leading you out of your darkness into the light. A friend suggested a image of a culvert she had taken showing it going from dark to just a bit of light peaking out. I posted this image to my blog and asked for feedback. one of my readers who is a graphic artist came up with three other suggestions using an image of a figure moving through a doorway with darkness behind them and light on their face. again I asked my blog readers for their opinion. Finally we decided on the image together. However, I have to take it on faith that the image we ended up with will make people want to buy the book. I think they will. There is a lot of helpful information in it.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read just about anything except magazines and newspapers. I think this is because I get all my books from the national library service for the blind program. They offer magazines, but I guess I am just a book reader at heart. I read all kinds of fiction as well as biographies, auto biographies, personal development, and self help works. To me any book can be enjoyable. And I find that nonfiction authors can be just as good at story telling as those writing fiction. The only difference is the story being told actually happened. There are good story tellers and bad ones; and this is true regardless of their subject. I will confess to the voice and reading style of the narrator sometimes making it difficult to hear the writer's voice and enjoy it. When it comes to fiction I enjoy mysteries, westerns, science fiction, thrillers, horror, classics, and romance. Most won't admit that, but I enjoy a good love story. I especially love the historical romances from the regency period. And I find a lot of authors who started out in romance expand to mystery or thriller and do quite well. One of my favorites who does this better than anyone is Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb with her in death series and her awesome futuristic cop Eve Dallas. I love and have always loved a good story.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is my first book. And I never thought I would be writing a book. It is only about 25 pages, and it is a self help, personal development, motivational type of book. I started out blogging. I was writing posts to promote sales of amusement equipment for my primary business as a park rides broker. I shared these posts in communities for bloggers, and people started saying how me doing what I was doing as a totally blind person was inspiring to them. People kept saying I should share more of my personal experiences. I finally took their suggestion and started a second blog. On it I share my personal experiences as a blind entrepreneur and the life lessons I am learning from it or that I have learned from it. I also decided that I wanted to start offering help to others in the form of coaching and public speaking. The more I shared, the more I wanted to help people. And in order to help more people I needed to generate interest and bring in funds. I read where a lot of people did this with ebooks. So, I started down this path. I wrote the book. I sent it to an editor so it would look pretty and read well. I got help coming up with a cover. The book will be live on Nov 1st. I hope it sells well or at least leads to several new coaching clients and or at least one speaking engagement. I also hope that my being willing to take this risk and go through the process of publishing an ebook helps to inspire others to take risks. accomplishing big dreams is mainly about taking small steps every day. Its also about facing your fears. And I'll be honest this whole publishing thing scares the hell out of me.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It comes from the ability to inspire others to do better. I have often been told that if I can do something then what is their excuse for not being able to do so too. The truth is there are so many people out there who are perfectly healthy but who are not living the lives they could be. They have dreams and goals but they aren't doing anything about them. They may say they are too busy. They may mention what happens if I fail. There are all sorts of reasons. But when they hear a blind guy with no formal training is running a business, operating a blog and website, recording videos, etc; it makes them think why not. I also get joy from the writing process. Its something I have always been good at. I'll never be the story teller my dad was, but I can help people by sharing my experiences.
Who are your favorite authors?
I have lots of them. I guess the easy way to answer this would be who are my biggest influences. In the area of self help I love people like Joel Osteen, Wayne Dyer, Joyce Meyere, Steven Cuvvy, and D. Pok Chopra. Among inspirational authors are Nick vujucheck, Tom Sullivan, Eric Weihhemayer, Rachel Scudorous, and Helen Keller. And in fiction I love authors from Tom Clansey, Clive Cussler, and Ion Flemming to Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Stephanie Luarens, A N Raquelaur, and Christina Dodd to Joanne Fluke, Tammy Hogue, Catherine Coulter, Faye Kellerman, and of course Agatha Christi. I love a good story. I always have.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When I started my journey I was living in my family's travel trailer and sleeping on the floor. Getting out of bed wasn't that big of an accomplishment. It was deciding to start my own business as an amusement equipment broker that gave me something to be passionette about. I went to bed late every night and got up early in the morning. I finally convinced my family to let me leave the traveling carnival and stay home to work on the business full time. The one thing selling carnival and amusement park rides and writing books has in common for me is that both are about helping people. Most of my clients need to sell older rides so they can replace them with newer or at least different ones. Many of the people I work with own small family businesses and really need me to help them find buyers. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when I can put two people together and they are both happy with the deal. Just like I will feel happy if my book helps someone to take that first step towards becoming the person they were meant to become.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
While I wish I could say that I am traveling the country or visiting exotic places over seas my life is pretty much like yours. I watch tv, go to movies, listen to the radio, and read a lot. The difference is as a totally blind person its all about the sound. My friends and family will tell me what is on and some shows have what is called audio descriptions where a narrator on the secondary audio channel tells you about the on screen action. I enjoy swimming, bowling, eating out, going to concerts and sporting events. I don't go often because I don't have someone to go with. The books I read are all in audio downloaded from the national library service for the blind. I do know how to read braille but don't use it very often. I enjoy a good conversation and a great cup of coffee. I work on my websites and blogs. And I have a lot of online friends many of whom I met through blogging groups where we are all trying to learn how to do it better. we share each other's post, leave comments, and support each other. I do hope to travel more in the future, and I am looking for someone to go with me. I need to find that partner in crime you know the person who gets you both into trouble and then helps you get out of it.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
The national library service for the blind has a bimonthly newsletter thet lists all the new books that have been added. They are in audio and available for download to be listened to on a specially designed player that only blind people can get. The list they send out is broken down by fiction and nonfiction. I read these lists along with the synopsis that they call the library of congress annotation. If this sounds interesting, then I will download it. I will admit that often the deciding factor is the author's name, the name of the narrator, or the type of book it is. I love reading series of books because you get to know the characters and you can fall in love with them. I also tend to read books based on length. I try to avoid anything really short. I love to get lost in a book. sometimes if an author really grabs me I will sit up all night listening. Occasionally someone will recommend a book. and sometimes I do have to be pushed to read one. It was that way with the twilight novels, the harry potter books and eat pray love. I appreciate a good story. But then I grew up with a father who was one of the champion story tellers of all time.
What is your writing process?
I would say its kind of hap hazard. You have to remember that most of my writing has been done for my blogs. I get an idea in my head. It is usually something that has happened to me recently or some issue of interest to my readers. Once I decide on an idea, I carry it around in my head for a while. I think about the subject and some of the things I want to say about the subject. When I am ready, I sit down and start writing. I will write straight through not worrying about any of the rules. This is pretty common to most writers. I even have some friends who have gotten good at not worrying about punctuation or grammar by dictating their work. After I finish the writing, I save the file on my laptop and get away from it for a while. This could mean physically leaving the room, or it could just be doing something else like watching tv, listening to old time radio shows, or reading a good book. I go back later and do all the editing. I use a computer with speech, so I am listening for correct technique. I am also listening to hear how smoothly it will read. If it comes down to a choice between being letter perfect or being easier and more fun to read; I always decide in favor of readability. I find that rereading with audio helps a lot. I encourage people to read their work out loud. And I should mention that if a blog post is an important one, I send it to an editor before publishing. I did this with my ebook which is why it isn't live yet. Its coming. Thank God for computers that talk and software that makes it easy to edit your writing and post it to the web. I'm still nervous, but I'm looking forward to finishing this process and hearing what you all think of my work.
When did you first start writing?
While I don't have any of my early work, I started writing in middle school or what most call junior high school. Back then we had to learn about writing compositions and had to practice our skills daily. We had to write short stories, and everyone remembers those hated book reports. As the year went on we were required to write longer and longer pieces. That year I wrote my first business letter. I wrote a proposal to a city office trying to persuade them to allow my family's carnival to set up even though they generally had a poor opinion of carnivals. I didn't succeed in changing their minds, but I did get a very nice reply letter. In high school and college I could always do well in a class if the test was essay. I have noticed that this early training has caused me some difficulty in adjusting to the newer forms of communication. Its hard to go from writing letters to sending email and now to texting or expressing yourself in the 140 characters allowed by twitter. But we all have to adjust. I'm doing my best.
What do your fans mean to you?
As I haven't released my first book yet, I don't have fans in the ordinary sense of the word. However, I do have friends and followers of my blog. These loyal readers of my work are the reason I can take the next step and publish an ebook. They encouraged me to share more of myself. They told me how inspiring my story of being a blind entrepreneur is to them. They said I just had to share my story because there are so many people out there who could also use some inspiration and motivation. They also complemented me on my writing style and how they learned a lot from my progress. Part of the reason for this book is to show people nothing is too big if you just do what you can and take small steps every day. I don't know if this will be financially successful, but just completing it and publishing makes me a success. Publishing is actually a form of celebration. And without my friends I wouldn't be able to complete it. I have had help from a professional photographer, a talented writer and editor, and a graphic designer. I see every one of my readers so far as a blessing. I owe them my best work and I work hard at doing that every day. I hope you will be there to help encourage me along the way and to cheer for me when the book is a big critical and financial success. Thanks to you for being part of this journey.
What are you working on next?
I don't have a next yet. I have been toying with an autobiography. But I'm not sure if I can do it justice without interviewing my family or having someone interview them. I will continue writing for my blogs at the midway marketplace and the blind blogger. I will be writing guest posts for other bloggers, doing online interviews, and appearing on more radio shows and podcasts. And I am looking forward to sharing my story in person through public speaking. If you know of anyone that has a group needing motivation, then I hope you will tell them about me and share my story with them.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Let's see. Charlotte's Web wil always hold a special place because it was the first book I read all on my own. Dragon's eyes by steven king is special because while he doesn't acknowledge it i believe it was the beginning of the dark tower series which I totally love. Curious george was a big part of my childhood. As was fun with dick and jane. Number five would be the lord of the rings. I know its more than one book, but its one story. And I know it says five but I should mention the in death series by j d robb. its a futuristic cop detective procedural with great characters amazing action and a fare amount of hot sex. Yes, I've gone from reading the hardy boys and the bobs twins to judith michaels jane ann krentz and and phillippa carr. we all have to grow up. Just glad this question gave me the chance to think about some old favorites and some even better times in my life.
Describe your desk
I don't have one. I do all my writing on a laptop. Its a macbook pro 13 inch. I write in a lounge chair in the living room or stretched out on my bed. I always have a tv or radio going for background noise. It doesn't seem to distract me from my writing. I actually find I get sleepy more if I try to work in total silence. And since my computer has a screen reader i don't do anything in silence. I like pleasant fragrances, so maybe I will work on adding flowers or something else to help my mental process. I don't think I will ever have an honest to goodness desk. I think like a lot of others I am more likely to write in cars, on planes, and at the occasional coffee house. I am also someday hoping to write by the side of a pool or in a deck chair at the beach. Now that's an office.
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