Monday, December 1, 2014

Cyber Monday deal. Soul Intentions is free on Smashwords.com 12/1/14 only. Go to Smashwords and enter coupon DY36E when you find Soul Intentions.It will work on any tablet or phone. You are welcome to post it on your pages or tell any friend. It is open and free to anyone as my way of saying thanks to my readers.

Monday, November 3, 2014

You don't know what you don't know

October was a busy month. I spent part of the time marketing my latest novel, Presidential Shadows, and starting the sequel. October was also the Florida Writers Convention. I will admit I wasn't looking forward to is as much as I had in recent years because some of the topics weren't new or interesting to me. Now, that does not mean the program wasn't varied or well done. Just the opposite. I am always impressed with the dedication and the organization of the Florida Writers. For anyone who has ever served on a committee (I have done more than my share) you know what I am talking about. It is hours and hour of planning for events with not much if any gratitude from the members. But I digress.

Every time I go to a convention now or watch a webinar, I think, why do I bother. It's not that I know everything, but will it be worth the effort and expense for what I will learn? At least for the writers convention I am always amazed at how much I learn. You would think I would know better by now. This past year, I spent time speaking with Mary Burton, who is a NY Times best selling author. We spoke in between one of the sessions and that alone was worth my trip. I must say Mary was as polite and gracious as I could have expected and more. To me, that's what conventions are about. Yes, you pick up a tip here and there about how to title your book, a marketing tip, or even a tip on metaphors, but you can't meet people like Mary unless you attend events like the Florida Writers Convention.

People in my writers group are always asking me if it was worth the money. For me the answer is always yes because I do learn something in pretty much every class. And once again I leave with the understanding that I don't know what it is I don't know, until I know.

Ok, back to writing the new book and applying a few new marketing tips, cause those I do know, thanks to never thinking I know enough to stop learning what it is I don't know.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dr Seuss I am I am not

You likely read Dr. Seuss as a kid. I know Green Eggs and Ham was one of the first books I ever read. You don't really think about how difficult it is to write something so simple to read, yet for me it was difficult to try and replicate him.

I am a few chapters into writing the sequel to Presidential Shadows. For readers of the first book, you know that Alex is the main character and is now a high school freshman. Wendy is his girlfriend, only he doesn't know it. You will have to read the book for it to make sense.

Anyway, it is now Christmas time and Alex has been left to wander the mall with Wendy. This is a small passage where I tried to write like Dr. Seuss. I am not sure if I succeeded or not, but it took far longer than I ever thought it would to write a short passage. Yes, Dr. Seuss seems so simple for kids, however try writing it. I always had a healthy respect for the good Doctor, it has grown ten fold over the past few days.


Isn’t this what the holidays are all about, Alex? Searching for that magical gift with the most special person in your life holding your hand.”

“You do know I was five minutes from going home before you showed up?”

Wendy tightened her grip on my hand, “Oh stop being the Grinch and help me find a gift for my daddy.”

Away flew my hand. A Grinch I was not. Wendy was no Cindy Lou Who and I was now hot. We wandered around as the merchandise flew. Wendy let loose with another boo-hoo.  I reached deep to my pocket, a Grinch I was not. A purple shirt that hung in the store window she had now got. A smile appeared. A hug I did get. I looked to my wallet. No more money I met. My heart grew and grew yet I was in debt. Deficit spending was now all I would get.

 “Thank you, Alex.” Wendy said. “I knew you would find me the perfect gift if you tried hard enough.”

Despite the above paragraph similar to Dr. Seuss been changed twenty times, it might still be changed again before it goes to print in summer of 2015. But I wanted to share my thoughts.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My latest book, Presidential Shadows is now available. Please check it out. I am beginning to write the sequel. There are times you write things to make yourself laugh and hope others can find the humor in it. I don't expect kids to understand this next passage but I was surprised when not one of the adults in my writing group caught the humor. I guess this really will be one of those times I write something that only I can chuckle at.


Larry and I had a brief staring contest before Erin, Michele, her brother Patrick along with Janet came walking up to the front of the theatre. “Where’s the kid you were dancing with, Erin? What’s his name? Dylan something? Wasn’t he supposed to come too?” I asked.

“Oh, you mean Billy Dylan. He can’t come now,” Erin said. “His mom dragged him up to his Aunt Maggie’s farm up along Highway 61. When I told him I was upset he couldn’t come, he told me I sounded just like a woman.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A few times in the past, I have mentioned that I work with some local retired people with their writing. One was my one hundred year old friend Selma. Her goal was to be published and worked on her projects daily. Selma passed away recently. I was given the last thing she wrote. Selma you are now published. I'm gonna miss ya.


FOR THOSE I LOVE             

When I am gone, release me, let me go,

I have so many things to see and do.

You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears,

Please be thankful for our beautiful years.

I gave to you my love.

You can only guess

How much you gave me in happiness

I thank you for the love you each have shown.

But now it’s time I traveled on alone.

So grieve awhile for me, if grieve you must,

Then let your grief be comforted by trust.

It’s only for a time that we must part,

So bless the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away, for life goes on,

So if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near

And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear,

All my love around you soft and clear.

And then, someday, when you must come this way alone,

I’ll greet you with a smile and say…”Welcome Home”

Signed, Selma Forman

Friday, August 22, 2014

Author movie

For any of my writer friends, or anyone who wonders what it's like to part of a writer's group, this is a funny movie. Yes, it's over the top characters and humor, but there is also so much truth in the movie as well. I have not laughed at a movie that hard in many years.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2114461/

Friday, August 8, 2014

Interview

A friend of mine and I did an interview for a literary magazine that printed one of her poems. Here is the link.
http://rkvryquarterly.com/mickey-j-corrigan-and-michael-cantwell-discuss-the-new-face-of-publishing/

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Guest host

I have asked one of the people in my writers group and friend to be a guest host on my blog. I hope you enjoy her remarks. She is a wonderful writer.


Taking the Long Road with Book Publishing

 

I've been writing and publishing books for a long time now. I hate to say how many years, so I won't. But I will say that even though I've seen some aspects of publishing change dramatically, other things have remained the same.

For example, it is still a massive bummer to get a rejection from a publisher. Readers assume once you have a publisher, they'll accept everything you send their way. This isn't true, and having a long list of books in print is no guarantee that anyone else will take your newest creation. Some books nobody wants to publish. No matter what your publishing history looks like.

Unless you are J.K. Rowling. Which, or course, most of us are not.

Another aspect of publishing that has yet to change is the pace. It's always taken a long time to hear back on submissions, and now, in the digital age, it still takes weeks or month for a publisher to decide on your work. The bigger the house, the longer the wait. This encourages new writers to self-publish. After all, your book could be in print and selling before you even get a rejection slip in your inbox.

But what if you receive an acceptance letter?

Then…the wait continues. Because even when a publisher does contract you, it still seems to take forever before your book is released. This holds true for most digital publishers as well as the print presses. This is because your manuscript has to go to the bottom of the pile and edge its way slowly upward until it sits on top of your editor's desk. You have to wait your turn. And the bigger the press, the longer that takes.

Finally, you receive manuscript edits from your editor. Hooray! But this is only round one. Depending on what needs to be done to polish your manuscript, there might be one, two, or more rounds of edits before the manuscript moves on to the next stage of editing. And still, your job is not done. You will be looking over the line edits. Then you will look at the galleys.

Do I have to say here that the editing process is a long one? Being able to email your manuscript back and forth with your editor does speed up the process. We used to have to trade editing rounds through the U.S. mail.

After you and your editor have selected the cover design and agreed on the back copy, your book will be assigned a release date. Sometime in the future. Possibly way in the future.

The publishing process used to frustrate me. I spent a lot of stressful hours, days, weeks and months worrying about my books in press. What a waste of energy! If I knew then what I know now, I would have used the time to prepare promotional campaigns and conduct research for the next book. Because there is serious lag time between the completion of a manuscript and holding the book in your hands—or seeing it on your screen.

But this is the way publishing works. Just like honing your craft to improve your writing, the publishing process is an art. And it takes time.

Being a saint helps when you are waiting for a book to be released. I am not a saint. But I do think the process is worthwhile. With the help of a publisher, the errors in my manuscript are corrected. Rough edges are smoothed. The cover is artfully designed. Skilled professionals have given me feedback and shared their expertise. So when my book is finally released, I can feel confident it is the very best I could do.

As for what has changed in publishing during my years as an author, that's a topic for another blog post. But as every writer knows, now you have the option to do it all yourself. It's fast, cheap and easy. So, if you just can't wait any longer, you can always choose to be your own publisher. I'm always thinking about doing that myself.

* * * *

Mickey J. Corrigan writes pulpy fiction. Recent books include Whiskey Sour Noir and Vodka Warrior, two novellas in a series about hard-drinking women and the men they love (The Wild Rose Press, 2014); and Sugar Babies, a thriller about soft prostitution (Champagne Books, 2013). Visit at www.mickeyjcorrigan.com. To read the original post, visit: http://roomwithbooks.com/corrigan-sugar-babies/

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sample from the book being written, unedited.


For days before the trip, we learned about the Battle of Gettysburg. It occurred in early July, 1863, on a small patch of land in Pennsylvania. It was the bloodiest and deadliest battle in the entire Civil War. There will never be an exact account but estimates are that close to fifty thousand troops from the Union and Confederate armies were killed or injured in three days. Mr. Weadon told the class that many historians like him, believe it was a turning point in the Civil War. Before Gettysburg, some thought that General Robert E. Lee and the south would win the war. Mr. Weadon asked the class to think about how our nation would be different today had Lee and the Confederate army won at Gettysburg.

            I took a different approach. After school, I took my book to the park. I sat alone reading about how Mr. Lincoln worried he would lose the next Presidential election. He feared the nation was tired of war. Citizens wanted the war to end even if it meant allowing slavery to continue in the south. President Lincoln understood allowing slavery to continue was morally corrupt and wrong for the nation.

            The words he wrote on the yellow stained pages were as follows, “American will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

            I sat under my favorite tree thinking about those words. I think he meant that other countries could not destroy democracy within the United States. Only the citizens of this country could destroy it. It was like my friendship with Bruce and Wendy. Greg and his band of bullies could never the hurt the friendship the three of us had developed. Only if the three of us argued with each other, could our friendship be destroyed.

            A tall thin man walked towards me. He had a small beard on part of his chin. Mr. Weadon described Mr. Lincoln in class. I knew the man now in my shadow was the former President. His eyes dripped with tears. His white shirt wrinkled. His shoes covered in mud. He paced back and forth in front of me.

            “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,” the President said.

            He paced more. I wasn’t even sure he knew I was sitting under the tree. He paid me no attention. He bent down and removed a long thin blade of grass from the ground. He inspected the grass. I sat not wanting to make a sound. He sighed.

            “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” he said as he tore the blade of grass in two.

            I closed my book. Lincoln looked at me from his bent perch.

            “What are you reading?”

            “I was reading your notes about the Civil War.”

            Lincoln offered a smile. “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”

            “Mom tells me all the time how important it is to read. Some of the other Presidents told me that too. I guess you don’t have much time for reading now though.”

            “It is important that you read, Alex. You learn from books. I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday. Devouring good books will help you in your search for knowledge.”

            “I don’t know if you know or not, but I have met other Presidents, Mr. Lincoln. I have learned about some who owned slaves but thought it was not right that the United States allowed slavery. You look so tired. The words you wrote in my book tell me you would have done anything to end slavery and keep our nation as one. Why?”

            The President stood up. He offered his hand. I took it and stood next to him. We both started to walk. Our pace was slow. He noticed some kids who looked to be high school age playing basketball. Some were white, some dark skinned. Others were sitting courtside waiting to play in the next game. Lincoln watched the game for a moment and walked away from the park. I walked by his side.

            “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to be free – honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope on earth.”

            Now he sounded like Thomas Jefferson. Lincoln was speaking in riddles.

            “I want to understand, President Lincoln. What is the best hope on earth?”

            “You, Alex. Me, our neighbors, our friends. The democracy we hold dear must endure and we must fight with all our beings to assure it remains. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. Slavery must end and democracy must endure.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Recent Interview


The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom Interview Questions:

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I have been a resident of South Florida for over thirty years after growing up in New Jersey and attending college in Philadelphia. My first novel was about a musician and written on a bet that I couldn’t write a best-selling novel. After writing my first story, I now realize it’s more difficult to sell a book than it is to write one. That’s not to say I don’t try to improve my skills with each novel, I do. But the marketing is a job all on its own. I made a decision to use my real name from the start after considering a few pen names. But I knew from marketing myself as a commercial real estate agent, branding is important. I didn’t want to have to brand multiple names. 

Tell us a little about your latest release.

My past three novels are about a character named Caeles Novo. He believes his destiny was to remove the souls from people who no longer could appreciate all that was given to them. He was part of a group of soul stealers who had grown tired of stealing souls and wanted to be like many people with ambitions of being community and world leaders. Caeles tried to convince them to return to their original mission. Along the way, he met a series of people who have lost their way and Caeles had to decide if they deserved a second chance and redemption or lose their soul forever. He also met a few characters destined to help him, who themselves had major flaws, like a woman with multiple personalities and a doctor who wanted to cure cancer and in the process destroy Caeles.

Are you a mom (or parent)?

I am a husband and father of three beautiful children. I have an older daughter and a boy and girl set of twins in college.

If yes do you find it hard to juggle writing and parenting?

It’s not as hard for me because my kids are older. Had I tried to write ten years ago, I would think my response would be different. I believe I was an active parent in coaching teams and attending games and doing other things busy parents do. Between working, being a parent, coaching teams, volunteering on committees, it would have been near impossible to have written ten years ago. Now I have more time.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

My first two novels, A Beautiful Song and Three Long Days have many stories based on things that have happened to me and characters I know in my life. In particular the second one, almost all the names expect for the main character are based on people from my past or current friends. The three soul books, many of the people who lose their souls are based on stories that were current events in the paper the day I wrote them. For example an athlete based in the Boston area charged with murder should be familiar to many Patriots fans, but I changed it to be the Bruins and changed some of the circumstances to make him a fictional character. But I use my life experiences or the news for much of my writing.

 Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

All of my books are based on how far would you push your ethics to accomplish your goals. They also allow the reader to make their own choice as to what is right and what is wrong for them. I don’t attempt to push my values on anyone. But I might try to get the reader to think about their own choices and values.

 When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

I tend to stay busy. I was a Junior Achievement volunteer for many years. I served on school committees, was the president of the local chamber of commerce as well as president of the local commercial real estate board. I have been coaching teams since I was in high school. In the past two years, I have started to unwind and devote more time to writing. I still coach one team, but even that is on a year to year basis. My hobby is photography. I photograph nature, spring training baseball, and volleyball among other subjects.

 Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

My readers would likely pick Dylan James the guitar player from “A Beautiful Song” who does make an appearance in all my books. It would be difficult for me not to pick Dylan but I might pick Rose from “Soul Directive” and “Fortunate Soul”. The reason why is because she has three distinct personalities. I think we all have a little Rose in us. 


What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

I have started a new book that might turn into a series. It is the story about a young boy who speaks with dead presidents. They teach him history from their own successes and failures based on actual history. It will be written for a younger audience who might not like history. I am attempting to make it fun and not a pure history book. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Road Trip

As readers of this blog know, every few weeks I teach a creative writing class at the local retirement center. I have mentioned my 100 year old friend, Selma, more than once. The new writing prompt given to us by the social director was about having a great time at a New Years Eve party. The problem is that you don't remember much about it and your friend lets you know that he is picking you up to fulfill your New Year's resolution. This is what I wrote to take to the class.

*******
Was someone really banging the door or was it my head pounding? The clock read 6:13 AM. It was both. Someone had the nerve to insist ruining my two hours of sleep and wake up me up with a terrible hangover. I had been out with my friend Frankie the night before. We were joined by our close buddies, Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker. “Stop the damn pounding,” I moaned.

I waddled my way to the door still dressed in clothes from the previous night of frivolity. My shirt was filled with all the smells from our wild night out marking the beginning of the New Year. There was the cheap perfume from the newly minted divorcee who I bought one too many drinks, as was well as the smell from the peppermint schnapps she poured in my hair just to be cute. She wasn’t. That I remembered. She may have been damn good looking but there was no way I wanted to hook up with that crazy bitch, who was on a mission to ruin a perfectly good party.

With eyes barely pried open, I struggled to unlock the door. It was Frankie. The guy had more energy than the parade of twenty something’s we saw last night kicking it all around the dance floor at the stroke of midnight. None of them turned into Cinderella and I for sure don’t feel like anyone’s Prince Charming.

“Get your ass showered, dipweed,” Frank said. “There’s no way you’re backing out. We talked about this last night. You promised you would be ready no later than 6:30. You even said you would have the Dunkin doughnuts and coffee ready by the time I arrived. Don’t you remember?”

I remembered thinking I no longer had the energy or desire to act twenty three. I would be turning forty in two weeks. I had lost my job of fifteen years the week before Christmas because I was late one too many times. My life was going nowhere.

“Pack up, we are going on a road trip.” Frankie said.

Maybe I was going somewhere but I had no idea where.

“Florida, don’t you remember?” Frankie said. “We’re going to my sister’s place. The car is full of gas. I got clothes for a month or more. Come on, get ready. First get a shower, you stink. No way I’m smelling you all the way down I-95. It’s too cold to put the top down. Hurry, I want to beat the rush hour traffic outta the city.”

No, I didn’t remember making any plans to go to Florida. But why not? I was soon turning forty, unemployed, single, no kids, what was holding me back from a few days on the beach? Hopefully his sister didn’t have a houseful of rug rats to wake me before noon.

I stuffed some tee shirts, shorts and two pair of faded Levis into an old army duffle bag I had picked up the army surplus store. I rinsed the stench of schnapps from my hair and tried to remove the taste of too much whiskey from my mouth. After stopping at the corner store for a cup of hot joe, we were on our way for a few days of glorious beach weather, leaving the cold and snow in the rear view mirror.

The first day of the trip ended with us checking into a Motel Six in Lumberton, South Carolina. Right next door was an all you can eat pizza parlor with beer on tap. My kinda place. Frankie and I strolled in as if we owned the joint. It only took two seconds to realize we didn’t. The place was filled with Gamecocks banners and football memorabilia. University of South Carolina was playing USC in a college bowl game. The place was crammed with ravaged fans screaming at the undersized televisions hung in every corner. Frankie and I downed a pitcher and a pizza each before scrambling back to our hotel for a nights rest.

The next morning Frankie had to shake me to wake up. “Come on, I wanna get there before nightfall. Let’s dip our toes into the ocean before heading to my sisters.”

“What’s the rush? Who cares what day we arrive? The ocean will still have water in it in two days, I can promise you that,” I said.

“Don’t you back out on me now,” Frankie said. “Our New Year’s resolution was to be at my sister’s joint before nightfall on January 2nd. You promised right after you tweaked your back after trying to do that line dance with all the secretaries from Pisker and Edwards at the party. How can you have forgotten so quickly?”

Maybe it was the ten shots of Jack Daniels, I thought. But I rolled out of bed and after having my first ever bowl of grits with my eggs and toast at the local diner, we were on the road again. We blew through Georgia in no time. Jacksonville had a smell I couldn’t identify but one I didn’t want to smell again. We saw a few hogs and deer along the road. This was not the beach.

After jumping off the interstate near Daytona for a quick burger and fries, Frankie took us to the beach. We waded and played in the ocean like kids. The beautiful babes in bikinis must have thought we were nuts. I didn’t care. After drying off I told Frankie I wanted to stop for a drink before getting to his sisters place.

“Nah, we’re only about thirty minutes away. Stick to your resolution,” Frankie said.

What resolution? I thought. Frankie had convinced me along the way my resolution was to make a road trip with him to Florida and stop for a few days at his sister’s before heading home and starting New Year’s off in a proper manner. If we were only thirty minutes away, what was one drink going to matter?

“No, Frankie said. “No drinks. My sister will provide us both with everything we need. I called her, she’s expecting us. Don’t you remember any of this? She promised she would take good care of us.”

I vaguely remembered Frankie’s sister from when were kids. She was a lot of fun back in the day. Maybe she did have some kinky escapades all lined up for me and Frankie. I took one last whiff of the fresh salt air before jumping back into Frankie’s blue beamer.

As promised, it only took another thirty minutes before we pulled up in front of his sister’s place. The memories came rushing back like the water falling from Niagara Falls. Frankie was right. It was my New Year’s resolution. I wish we had stopped for one more drink before arriving but it was too late. The pitcher of beer would forever be my last drink. Frankie and I had promised each other to dry out at his sisters rehab facility. Some claim forty is over the hill. For me, forty was when I started living with no excuses or hangovers. I was a new man with a new life thanks to Frankie, his sister and the New Year’s resolution that saved my life.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Retire like Willie Mays


Growing up I was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. It remained that way until the day I was sitting in the upper deck of then Joe Robbie Stadium watching the first ever Florida Marlins game. My loyalty to the Dodgers was difficult as a kid since I lived in New Jersey and viewing Dodger games weren’t as accessible as they are today. Yet I stuck with them all through my youth and into my late thirties.

My viewing choices as a kid were mostly limited to the Yankees, Mets and Phillies. I was too young to see Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays in their prime. I did see Mike Schmidt in his. I remember watching Mets games with an over forty year old Mays sometimes struggle at home plate as a late inning pinch hitter, wondering why he would continue to play knowing he must have realized his best days as a player had long faded.

I wasn’t ever a Giants or a Mets fan, but I wanted Mays to hit a home run every time up, even against the Dodgers. When I was young, I would read the sports pages. At times, the reporters weren’t kind to Mays, which might have been why I rooted for him. To me, it didn’t matter why Willie Mays was still playing, it only mattered to me that he was. He was going to decide when he stopped doing what he loved doing. No sports reporter or team executive was going to tell the “Say Hey Kid” when to stop playing ball.

Not everyone is Willie Mays. Not everyone gets to decide when to stop doing what they have a passion for. Sometimes your skills diminish to the point where you can’t do it any longer. Maybe it’s no longer a joy to do what you do. I remember the day Mike Schmidt retired. I remember seeing him cry on television because he wanted so badly to continue playing but he felt he couldn’t do it at a high enough level to make him happy. He decided when to quit.

Sometimes I wonder when is enough, enough? Over the past few years, I think I have gotten better as a writer and have improved with each book. But when do you make that decision about staying the course and trying to become a full time author or find a job that pays more money? I love to write but I also have to eat and pay bills. This is one day when I wish I was Willie Mays or Mike Schmidt and could make a decision on my terms, not a financial one. I wonder how many authors or others doing what they have a passion for are forced to make the same tough choice?