Tag Archive | xanadu

When Your Teenage Son Reads Your Novel… and Critiques!

I have a fourteen year old son. He normally does not read fiction, and prefers non-fiction history books, or anything he sees on the internet, versus picking up a book. Fantasy and supernatural are not topics he likes, because “they are not real life.”

Book # 1 in the series

Book # 1 in the series

So, when he said he wanted to read Book #1 in my Kelsey Porter series, well, I was concerned. First, it’s a bit of a sexy theme and there’s violence. My son really despises “the sexuality of America.” The Kardashians and Miley Cyrus’s of the world confuse him. So I wasn’t sure how he’d like this novel. But, he said that he’d like to “see what it is that I’ve been doing all this time and was interested in the historical Buddhist aspects of these thrillers.”

So, I agreed to let him read it, as long as we discuss it chapter by chapter. So, that’s what we’ve been doing and it’s so nerve-racking I can’t tell you. He goes to his room, reads a chapter and then comes in and says “Ok, I’m ready to give you my synopsis of what happened in that chapter and then my critique.” Oh, did I mention he gives my book an overall rating at the end of this discussion, using the 5.0 scale and that I fluctuate on this scale based on how he felt about the chapter? Yes, that’s what I mean about nerve-racking.

To give a little background, these books are about Kelsey Porter, a young, beautiful woman who is on the hunt for her parents’ killers, who were murdered on their quest to find the mystical land of Xanadu. The series is steeped in Buddhist spiritual mysteries, all based on real lore, but I do twist the facts at times for my book’s needs.

This is my view of Kelsey Porter. My son is on the fence about this.

This is my view of Kelsey Porter. My son is on the fence about this.

I would say that he’s understood 90% of what he’s read, so I will correct or explain some things that were confusing. I have been ordered not to explain too much, lest I give away spoilers. So far he has said “it’s very well written and some of the chapters are really interesting.” When that happens, my rating is usually at a 4.5, or some moments the coveted 5.0. Of course, there have been moments that I’ve been demoted to a 4.0 for “excessive use of flashbacks, expositional prose (I didn’t even know what that meant at the time) and making my boy characters too cliché.” I, of course, ask for explanation.

You see, Kelsey is a very sexual being, without being loose, but because of who she is, there’s this undercurrent where people are drawn to her. Yes, I make her beautiful with large bosoms, and my son was not impressed with that entire concept, though he’s giving me the benefit of the doubt as I’ve explained it’s a very true point to the plot.

He’s about 60% through and is digging the amount of research I’ve put into this. He says “it shows” and that as a result the book is now sitting at a 4.5 though “Mom, you can’t be upset if you drop points of course.”

Well, of course not. (shhhh… that’s just what I say!).

UH OH: He just came in and told me he didn’t like a chapter for the first time. He said, “the content was fine but it was too generic and scripted.” I had to ask what he meant. He said “it felt like you made the villain too stereotypical and were throwing around difficult concepts like astral projection too casually.” (wow, I actually thought this was a great, pivotal chapter in the book) My ranking strangely did not drop, though he had to think about it for some time to come to that decision.

Fingers crossed for the rest of the book as the threads are all starting to come together and he’s going to be delving into territory that is not a normal read for him. By the way, did I mention he found a spelling error? I spelled locales, “locals,” and I capitalized something that shouldn’t have been. Sigh… thankfully my rating did not drop because of that, either.

Want to read along with him? Here’s the link to all three books in the series! Enjoy!

Book #1 THE HUNT FOR XANADU
AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1CEvEab
UK Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Cp2awz

Book #2 THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1EvXExO
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1JSRNqT

Book #3 THE CALL OF MOUNT SUMERU
US AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1SUskAv
UK AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1nPF6TO

Kelsey Porter thriller series

Kelsey Porter thriller series

Why run a #Hashtag Contest on Social Media

Upload your photo with the hashtag #xanaduquest to enter the contest

Upload your photo with the hashtag #xanaduquest to enter the contest

There is so much noise in social media that sometimes it’s hard to be heard. A hashtag (used with the # symbol) is a great way to “target” a particular topic so that you and your fans can search for it easily. I’ve used hashtags regularly for Twitter events, such as #FP for Friday Phrases – which is a weekly micro-fiction game on Fridays, #mondayblogs where people search for blogs to read each week on Mondays, or #writerskaboodle, where readers can see interviews with Sezoni Whitfield on twitter and facebook. Authors, definitely check out her Writer’s Kaboodle blog. She does author Q&A’s on twitter and FB you can have your own live event – fastest 30 minutes OF MY LIFE! You can also use a hashtag to find things that you’re interested in. #thrillers, #free, #gardening, #cooking, #recipes – you get the idea. To add a hashtag to a post, all you do is write the post and then add the hashtag to it. Then, if you ever wish to search this particular hashtag and anything related to it, you go into ANY search area on any medium, type it in and you can see all the related posts to that particular hashtag. If you don’t like posting, but reading particular topics, just type it in and find what you’re looking for.

I decided to run an instagram and twitter hashtag contest for the launch of my next book. I wanted to generate some excitement (and, truth be told, I wanted to learn instagram and this seemed to be a great way to quickly jump into it). Each person that uploads a photo of them holding my book THE HUNT FOR XANADU (either hard copy, on their phone or iPad) and in comments includes the hashtag #xanaduquest is entered to win one of five, signed copies of the next book in my series, launching 2/28. I’ve then asked for permission to put their image on my web-page and now I have a whole “Fan Shout-Out” on the front page of my website at http://www.elysesalpeter.com (and to the fans who have so far participated and those that allowed me to put up your photos – you have no idea how thankful I am, nor any idea how unbelievably cool it is for me to simply stare at that page)

I also announced the contest to my Facebook author page and boosted that post $15 so far – I plan to do a few dollars every week until I hit $20 and have had over 2200 people see it now, gotten over 70 likes and lots of comments. BUT, what I can tell you is that many of my readers have uploaded their photos on the Facebook stream with the #xanaduquest hashtag. What I’m finding is that many of my readers are ONLY on FB and not on twitter or instagram. As a result, I’m allowing those people to be part of the contest as well, and their photos are up on my webpage, too. By doing this contest I’ve now learned where a lot of my readers are coming from and that is extremely helpful to know.

It’s hard enough to get people to actively do things – but to get them to actually upload a photo? I’ve had about 10 people upload photos right now and I’ve had a bunch of sales of THE HUNT FOR XANADU since I started this. I even got a review in, so I have to think this is a successful contest so far. It’s going to run until 2/21, so my hope is that I get double the amount of people and simply fill the webpage and possibly even be lucky enough for my hashtage #xanaduquest (a mix of The Hunt for Xanadu and The Quest of the Empty Tomb) to “trend.” Trending is when a hashtag gets a lot of play and people start using it. If you go to twitter, instagram or Facebook right now and plug that hashtag in the search area, in you’ll see a bunch of entries across the board.

Other ways I’ve promoted this contest:
It’s now on my profile on my instagram acct, I promote on twitter, directing to my webpage, google+, FB author page, here on wordpress, and created a goodreads event about this (though I can tell you only 4 people out of nearly 4000 at this point have even responded – goodreads is better with free books, giveaways, listopia lists and launch event information in my opinion). I may use my regular FB page mid February for one last push for folks who might not have remembered to enter.

If you’ve read The Hunt for Xanadu, please consider entering the contest. I’m giving away randomly one of five signed copies of book #2 in the series – and this is open worldwide – I will ship to wherever a winner resides. You can grab your copy of THE HUNT FOR XANADU here: http://amzn.to/1JXHtul

I’m always looking for new ways to interact with readers – so if anyone has any other ideas, please feel free to share. I’m all ears.