Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Starting off with a couple photos of the kids. Here's one of Harper
about a week ago.
And here's one of Sam from earlier today, his
first day of Kindergarten.
Where does the time go?? 2012
has been a banner year at the Cochran household. We launched one of the most successful eBooks to date in January, and The
Loneliest stayed on the bestseller lists through much of February and March. This summer, I took a step back from fiction
writing and put all of my focus and energy into working on the textbook for Bedford/St. Martin's Press that Susan and I are
under contract for. I also hosted a major planning meeting for Bouchercon 2015, which I'm chairing. We flew in our main committee members and laid out a $200,000 budget for the conference.
Just last week, I started back at NC State University for the fall semester.
And, oh yeah, I bought
a boat! (Almost forgot.)
This December we're planning a major trip to
Key West again around Christmas, but this year we rented out an entire complex and we've managed to find friends and family
to rent all of the units and so it's going to be one big tropical Christmas good time. Let us know if you'd like to join us,
and I'll send you some recommendations for places to stay on the island. From our house to yours, we wish you all the best
in 2012 and beyond.
Be well, people.
And good luck!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
We have a daughter. In April, 2011, Harper Jane Cochran
was born. It's been an amazing summer so far. The baby's doing well, and Susan and I are slowly adjusting to the changes in
our family dynamic.
The good news is that Harper is just
as healthy and happy as we could hope for. She's already sleeping through the night, and Sam has adjusted remarkably well
to having a little sister in the house.
My writing continues to go well, though the amount of time
I've had in recent months (understandably) has slowed. I've accepted it as the natural progression of where I'm at with my
family and career to this point. I'm planning to release a new novel this fall titled The Loneliest, a paranormal
The big writing news of late is that my website howtopublishabook.org has proven to be quite successful in 2011, and I'm having
fun growing the site and interviewing lots of publishing professionals.
Additionally, I've put in a proposal to bid to host Bouchercon in Raleigh in 2015. The conference is the largest annual
conference in the mystery/crime fiction community, and I'll formally pitch Raleigh at the board meeting in St. Louis in September.
I know New Orleans and Columbus are bidding as well, so we'll have strong competition. If Raleigh wins, we'll draw close to
a million dollars in revenue to the downtown area... not to mention bringing in the very best mystery writers, readers, and
publishing professionals in the world.
Last month I
received word that the opening 7,500 words of my new novel Eddie & Sunny has been accepted for publication at
Needle Mag. This was welcome news, and it has spurred me to want to continue on with the book. I was beginning to
lose heart a bit this winter; I suppose it's just the normal ups and downs of being a writer. So, that an objective third-party
wants to publish the opening suggests that I should probably stick with this novel and with this here writing thing.
In the first part of July, Susan and I visited family in Chicago, Indiana,
and Ohio ... and while there were many cool photos I have selected one to close this blog post with. Chicago at night. We
saw U2 at Soldier Field on July 5, and I snapped this picture when walking back home afterward.
From our house to yours,
we wish you all the very best this year. Thanks so much for visiting, and enjoy the rest of 2011!
Stacey, Susan, Sam, and Harper Jane
Friday, December 17, 2010
A Key West Christmas
Santa has been good to us this year. We're spending three weeks (Dec 10-28) in Key West, Florida.
Key West is the southernmost city in the continental United States, and it just so happens to be within driving distance from
Raleigh, North Carolina.... albeit a 15-hour drive. Nonetheless, we packed the car and headed down for some relaxation this
holiday season. One of the first days in Key West, I visited the Ernest Hemingway house on Whitehead Street in the heart of
Old Town. Hemingway lived here for more than a decade and wrote some of his most famous stories in this home. His influence
can be felt all over the island, and people come to the house with wide-eyed enthusiasm.
One of the nice things about spending Christmas in Key West is that you can wear shorts and get
a suntan, while much of the country is in the grip of snow, ice, and sleet.
This is the second year I've come down to Key West for Christmas, and this past spring I managed to
get into the best shape of my adult life as a direct result (I believe) from exercising and soaking up the sun.
You've just got to be sure to apply your sunscreen.
All that said, I have managed to get some
work done so far. Mainly, I've been editing a novel of mine titled The Eternalist, which I've been chipping away
at the last three and a half years.
And because we drove, I was able to bring my bike and bike trailer, and so Sam and I have done a lot
of cruising. Sam doesn't seem to mind.
Susan joined up with Sam and
I after a week, and we've had some quality time together this year for Christmas.
So, from our house
to yours, we wish you all the very best this Christmas. Thanks so much for visiting, and enjoy the New Year!
Stacey, Susan, and Sam
Friday, November 5, 2010
More on the Film
Last night I drove over to Hickory, North Carolina to film a community discussion at Lenoir-Rhyne University with FaithinAmerica.com founder Mitchell Gold and a local pastor Bob Thompson of the United Church of Christ. As some of
y'all know I've been working on a documentary film regarding Civil Rights issues in the GLBT community, and this was a discussion
addressing faith-based bigotry in America. So, it was ideal for our film.
The biggest thing I
came away with from this event was that there are (at least) two ways to frame the conversation on teen suicide due to anti-gay
bullying, same-sex parent adoptions, Marriage-Equality, and broad anti-discrimination
laws regarding sexual orientation in this country. Those two ways are 1) as a Civil Rights issue, or 2) as a Moral Religious
What I am realizing is that advocates for anti-discrimination laws need to shift the focus
of the conversation away from moral/religious issues. The church will be very slow to change on social policy issues.
In contrast, there is overwhelming public support for laws protecting GLBT people regarding housing (e.g., protecting
GLBT folks from eviction from an apartment or neighbhorhood due to sexual orientation), employment (e.g., laws protecting
GLBT folk from harrassment in the workplace because of sexual orientation), and bullying and harrassment in schools.
Many people assume that we already have these laws, but (at least in North Carolina) we do not. Schools can ban a student based on sexual orientation* regardless of the student's performance or intelligence, and there is no law
to prevent this.
But as long as we continue to give voice to the church on the issue, we shift
the focus from Civil Rights to Morality/Religion, and while the issues are intertwined, it is often the Morality/Religion
focus that dominates the discussion. Furthermore, I am beginning to understand more clearly why our constitution states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."
When you examine the campaign funding for Proposition 8 in California and realize that the Mormon Church (which accounts
for less than 2% of the California population) raised 90% of the money in the most expensive Proposition campaign in U.S.
history to enact legislation, you can see how the wall of separation between church and state needs to be made stronger.
As a documentary filmmaker, this means that I give voice to the folks in our community who understand and advocate
for (or debate) civil rights, rather than those who would define the issue morally.
*NOTE: the following is the exact wording from NRCA's handbook: "The school reserves the right,within it sole
discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student if the atmosphere or conduct within
a particular home or the activities of the student are counter to or in opposition to the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.
This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual
activity, or bisexual activity; promoting such activities."
That there are no laws to prevent
this kind of discrimination is regrettable. This is as clear a lack of protection of civil rights as you can define it. The
school could ban a student for simply attending a community discussion such as the one I attended last night.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Guest Blogger Cheryl Kaye Tardif
join me in welcoming guest blogger Cheryl Kaye Tardif to the staceycochran.com blog. Cheryl was kind enough to host me on
my CLAWS 2 Blog Tour, and she is the author of the recently released Lancelot's Lady. Today she breaks down for aspiring writers
exactly what you need to do to get early reviews and book blurbs for your book.
Take it away, Cheryl!
Kaye Tardif, author of Lancelot's Lady
you so much for having me on your blog during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour, which launches my contemporary romantic
suspense, Lancelot's Lady. Many writers have asked me how they can get early reviews from industry reviewers and review blurbs
from established authors, so today I'm going to answer that.
So how do you get early reviews and review blurbs? The easy answer: just ask. Really.
That's what it boils down to, asking someone. Ask lots of someones and you're bound to get a 'yes'.
The more detailed answer: research,
ask and ask others. Like so many things, including sending out agent queries, asking for reviews and blurbs is a
numbers game that requires some preparation first. So let's break it down.
Research: You'll need
to do some research to find out which reviewers read your genre and which authors are open to writing blurbs. Check your local
newspapers to see if they still have a book reviewer. If they do, send the reviewer an email, with a brief synopsis (1-3 paragraphs)
describing your book. Think of this synopsis like back cover text―present tense, exciting ad copy.
Check out the top reviewers on Amazon or Chapters and contact them. Search online for reviewers who write blogs, or have a Myspace or Facebook or Twitter account.
An easy way to find these blogs is to Google search terms like "romance blogs", "mystery blogs" or whatever
genre fits your book.
these same methods to contact authors whom you'd like a review blurb from, especially social networks. Contact authors who
write in the same genre as you or have themes similar to what is in your book. Keep in mind that authors are busy people,
so give them enough information to make a decision, including word count, genre and why you chose them.
Give authors plenty of notice;
don't email them expecting a blurb in a month or two weeks. Sometimes you have better luck asking a mid-list author to write
a blurb than a bestselling, award-winning big name author. Sometimes.
Ask: When you contact potential reviewers,
make sure you remember to actually ask them for a review or review blurb. You can't get a 'yes' if you don't ask. Be gracious
no matter what their answer is. Thank them for their time, regardless.
Ask Others: Don't just ask couple of reviewers
and then wait months for an answer. Ask others! Keep asking. It's a numbers game, remember? You may have to go through a few
nos to get that one yes. And you want more than one review.
Finding reviewers isn't that difficult nowadays; it just takes some work. Finding authors
to give you a review blurb may take a bit more time, but it's so worth it. Just remember, do the research, ask and ask others.
Reading is subjective; everyone
has different tastes. Writers should never expect 5 star rave reviews, though it's awesome to get them. An honest review is
worth more than gold. Even if it's 3 stars and the reviewer didn't like one of your characters. There is always something
to learn from a review―for an interested reader and the author. But the key to getting a review is to ask.
Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man
with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds
herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.
Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. Help me celebrate by picking up a copy today and "Cherish the romance..."
You can learn more about Lancelot's
Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at http://www.cherishdangelo.com and http://www.cherylktardif.blogspot.com. Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.
you be so kind as to write a review of Lancelot's Lady after you read it and post it on sites like Amazon, KoboBooks, Goodreads,
Shelfari, etc? I would sincerely appreciate it, and finding a new review online is like Christmas for me.
Leave a comment
here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for
doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Book Chatter #36, Guest Blogger, and New Stacey Cochran Books Author
Quick update to let
everybody know that our first episode of Book Chatter Season #2 was last night and that it went well. We had author guests
Scott Nicholson and Willow Polson and featured co-hosts RJ Keller and (on Live chat) Zoe Winters. You can watch the recorded
version of the show here:
Book Chatter Episode #36 (Season 2)
Our next LIVE episode will be Friday October 22 at
9 PM (EST) and will feature author guests Tanya
Plank, P.A. Wood, Lynda Hilburn. Follow me on Twitter for the latest updates and links to the LIVE show.
Also, just want to let everyone know that
we'll be featuring a guest blogger on the staceycochran.com blog starting tomorrow. So please return and read and leave comments
and feedback for her. Thanks, guys.
Finally, if you haven't visited the Stacey Cochran Books link then you're
in for a treat. We have announced our new author, Steve Cushman. Check out the link to find out more about Stacey Cochran
Books latest new eBook author.
Thanks for reading, everyone.
P.S. On my night
stand: Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
eBooks, Traditional Publishing, and What You Should Do
Future of Publishing
If you follow publishing
news as closely as I do, you probably are wondering what in the world is going on with the business. Nearly everywhere I turn
on the blogs, the rhetoric has turned dark and stormy for the Big Six publishing companies.
eBooks and eReaders have exploded onto the scene
in an unprecedented way driven largely by Seattle-based Amazon.com and its Kindle eReading devices. The tremendous growth that Kindle has seen has turned a lot of heads and created countless discussions over the web. It
has also led to the explosion of new author careers. Writers like myself, Karen McQuestion, Elisa Lorello, Rob Kroese, Sam
Landstrom, RJ Keller, and literally hundreds and hundreds of others who were flat-out rejected by Big Six New York publishing
have sold tens of thousands of eBooks and have launched their careers.
My own books have sold close to 20,000 copies combined. I’ve also had 35,000 copies of a free eBook downloaded.
My book trailer for CLAWS has been seen by over one million viewers.
If anybody would be justified in holding a grudge
and being bitter about New York publishing, it should be me. Despite the obvious reader interest measurable in units sold
and dollars earned, I’ve received over 3,000 rejections over my career.
But here’s the truth. I’m not bitter at all. More than anything, I’m fascinated by the entire eBook
phenomenon, and for the past six months have decided to take a quieter role to see exactly how the rhetoric shapes up.
My books continue to sell well, and I made more money this summer
(2010) on the CLAWS 2 launch than I did the previous summer.
So If You’re an Aspiring
Writer, What Should You Do?
Through my howtopublishabook.org website, I get (on average) three questions per day every day from total strangers who have written a book and want to know
what to do with it. Should you go the traditional route; should you get an agent. Should you self-publish and try to make
it on your own.
I’ve definitely seen friends
and other writers do complete 180s on this topic. JA Konrath, who I count as a mentor and friend, went from dissing self-published
authors just five years ago, outright mocking them in fact, to now embracing self-publishing technology, and in the process
turning his ire toward traditional publishers. In essence mocking the major publishers.
I think all of this is a bit strange.
My advice, by contrast, really has not changed in five years.
I’ve done more than 300 bookstore, library, and online interviews with authors. And I still feel exactly the same way.
If you are an aspiring writer, and you have a book, your first
objective is to secure a literary agent. A great literary agent should be a friend and someone you have total respect for,
and should be someone who knows your career, your style, your goals, and your perception of yourself as a writer. A great
literary agent should share your interests and your love of books, and should ultimately know who to pitch your book to.
Beyond that, your goal should be to sell your book to a major
publisher with a strong secondary goal to sell the film rights to a production company that will actually turn your book into
If you can do these three things -- 1)
secure a great literary agent, 2) sell your book to a major publisher, and 3) get your book optioned and produced as a movie
-- your career is set. This is the blueprint you should be shooting for if you want the best chances for success, and everything
you do should be in support of it.
If your book fails
to find an agent after you’ve tried at least 100, then pitch it to editors on your own. Try at least 50 editors. If
that pans out nothing, then you should strongly consider self-publishing.
I’ve learned so much about how to market books by taking the initiative myself, when I finally do sell a novel
to a major publisher, I should be in a competitive position compared to the folks who have not spent five or ten years in
the lonely DIY trenches repelling cannon fire from all angles.
The Bottom Line
There is no reason you shouldn’t be working to make both
markets -- eBooks and traditional publishing -- work to your advantage. I believe the power of great stories are universal,
and your story can reach audiences in all types of media.
no reason to burn bridges, and piss off people needlessly. In the recent year, it seems like the folks with the blogs who
spout off the most controversial rhetoric against one side or the other are the folks who get the most traffic (and end up
selling the best).
That’s a dangerous rope to
balance from if you haven’t already established yourself.
Be proactive, be strong, and do everything in your power to secure the book deal and the film production above all
else. That is the best path for success with a book.
On my night-stand: a bunch of Kate DiCamillo books (I'm interviewing her in two weeks).
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Big New, Big News!
I am pleased to announce
that we will begin Season 2 of Book Chatter on Friday October 8 at 9:00 PM. After 35 successful interviews in Season 1, we've taken the summer off, but are now gearing
up for the new Fall/Winter season. The new season will feature co-host R.J. Keller and newcomer Zoe Winters as fulltime correspondants.
The new season will also move from a weekly
broadcast to a bi-weekly production with LIVE episodes airing on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month. Our goal is to roll
from October to April for Season 2. Check back often for updates on upcoming guests and info on shows.
And please help spread the word! 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month at 9:00 PM (EST) LIVE! Rock
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
DC Filming, Raleigh, and New Stacey Cochran Books Author
Last Thursday and Friday, the crew for my new documentary project and I headed up
to Washington DC for filming. Despite some major hiccups involving filming permits around the Lincoln Memorial on Friday morning,
we managed to do the interview with our DC guest up at George Washington University.
Got all footage onto the hard-drive on Saturday and started editing. I'm just gonna say how lucky I feel to be working
with such talented folks. This film project is going to be big, if I can manage to stay on top of it and not get too overwhelmed.
Back in Raleigh this week, Monday through Wednesday. Tomorrow I'm taking off up to the Mt.
Mitchell with Sam (and maybe Susan) for some much needed R&R and quiet time.
I will likely be announcing next week our new acquisition at Stacey Cochran Books. Hint: he's an award-winning novelist
from here in North Carolina.
P.S. On my night-stand: Scott Smith's A SIMPLE PLAN.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Exciting News; New Film Release, New Stacey Cochran Books Release
Stacey Cochran Productions
For the past 24 hours, I've been finalizing a new DVD and VOD (Video-on-Demand) release titled "How to Write
a Novel, How to Publish a Novel, How to Get a Literary Agent" under the Stacey Cochran Productions banner. This will
be my third film release to a paying market.
The first film, an instructional
titled "How to Publish a Novel, How to Get a Literary Agent" has consistently sold a few copies every single month since its release in August 2007. Furthermore, I've received
a couple of positive customer reviews for the project, which have further added to the sales.
Has it made me a millionaire?
Of course not.
That said, I had absolutely no expectations whatsoever when I released the film three years
ago, and it felt like I stumbled through the whole distribution process... yet managed to land on my feet in the end. (Actually,
it felt more like finding my way in a very dark room.)
So I don't know what
to make of this new film. It is, without a doubt, my most all-inclusive instructional video for how to write and publish a
novel, and the knowledge-base that it comes from is three years wiser than the first film. So, it would seem to me to be a
much better video.
I guess we'll see what viewers think.
Stacey Cochran Books
am very excited about a new author I'll be publicizing, promoting, and publishing through the Stacey Cochran Books brand in
the coming months. I can't officially go public with the news just yet, but I'm finalizing contract negotiations and everything
should be official within the next couple of weeks. I would encourage you the check back here often over the next 14 days
to get the latest breaking news. What I can say is that this author is an award-winning novelist whose novels have garnered
serious critical acclaim.
So help me spread the word, folks. We are looking for established authors at Stacey Cochran Books. If you know of
an author whose books are available on Amazon.com, yet they have not made their way to Kindle, let me know. Post a comment.
Drop me a line. Make a recommendation.
I'm looking to bring authors to an
eReading audience with this new imprint. So let me know if you have a suggestion of an author I should reach out to with Stacey
to Be Happy in Love
Finally, the How to Be Happy in Love
documentary film project rolls onward. I've edited together day one of filming, and we're currently putting together our next
series of interviews for the film. Hopefully, I'll have some cool updates to spread the word about in the coming weeks and
months. If you want to get involved with the film or know someone who would make for a great interview, let me know.
On my nightstand: John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley.