Saturday, December 22, 2012

Playing the Baseball Card and the books of Wilson James, author


It's the holiday season, and I'm happy to celebrate my three years of eBook publishing. I'm also really happy to recognize that Playing the Baseball Card is leading the way for all my other books at the Apple iTunes Bookstore and elsewhere.  Good reviews and positive ratings, with the book being called 'inspiring' and 'a great book.' Facebook community calls it 'An inspiring story about two young brothers trying to pursue a dream.'

As I take in the success of Playing the Baseball Card, with just a bit of excitement and awe, I also need to make it easy to find all my books, in multiple formats, at multiple online retailers.  So, here's a complete listing of where to find all the books of Wilson James, author.  Here, also, is a link to a post about software or apps to read eBooks.


Smashwords - seven of my eBooks are available here, in multiple formats including for Kindle, Nook


Barnes & Noble – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the Nook


Apple US iTunes Bookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad
Apple UK iTunes Bookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad


Kobo – six of my eBooks are available here, in ePub format



Sony eBookstore – six of my eBooks are available here

Amazon – some of my print books are now available, with selected eBooks to be available in 2013.


Goodreads  – where to find book ratings, including some of my book

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Welcome to my writing, the reality based YA fiction of Wilson James


Welcome to my writing – the reality based Young Adult fiction of Wilson James

Improbable. Unlikely. But not impossible. That’s what I write. Stories such as Sons and Brothers in Seattle, the tale of an older teen trying to provide a better life for a younger sibling and his own young children. A reader told me that this story truly mirrors much of his own life. I am awestruck to hear that, and amazed by the courage of the young man who actually lived the story.

All of my stories tell of young courage, and tenacity, and support of friends and family, and love. My books are meant to be an expression of what can be, even if it is not, often.

I take my inspiration from the lives and deeds of real young people. Some I’ve known personally, or have watched from a close distance, and some I simply know of. The thread that binds them all together is they’ve shown that they can achieve the unlikely in spite of the challenges they face. In spite of the resistance of many adults around them. In spite of the naysayers who doubt. 

These young people have identified a dream or at least a goal, and have worked to make it happen.

So I take my lead from all of them. I use their example to create stories, with the hope that others will read, and find some part of the story that can help them in their own lives. I hope to empower young people with the examples in my stories. I know that some readers have found inspiration in the stories I write, and I take great comfort in that.

I set out to honor those whose lives were examples to me and my writing, and I hope that I will have done them justice. I also hope to honor my readers with the best stories I can create. Thank you for reading.

Wil
12/12/12

Monday, December 3, 2012

Three years, seven YA fiction titles, and tens of thousands of copies


December marks three years since I published the first of my books at Smashwords. Now I’ve got seven multi-format eBooks available through a number of online retail sales channels, including Barnes & Noble, the Apple iBookstore, Kobo, and others. I was happy to embrace the eBook format to accompany my print books. Like most other indie authors, my eBooks now account for virtually all of my sales.

In the past three years, tens of thousands of copies of my books have found their way into the hands, or devices, of readers. I’m really pleased with those numbers. What makes me even happier is the response I’ve noted in reviews. My books have been called inspiring, and ‘the most emotional’ ever read, and many other positive things.

More importantly, I hope that my books will have an impact, and that’s truly why I write. My books are about empowering youth.  
  • If my stories help young people, by giving examples of kids persevering in difficult situations, then I will be very satisfied. 
  • If my stories help young people overcome their own challenges, and perhaps find some inspiration, then I will be happy. 
  • If my stories help young people find the tenacity and courage to succeed in their own lives, then I will be very pleased. 
  • If my stories help achieve some better understanding among friends and families, then I will consider myself fulfilled. 
The ultimate reward for writing?  

If even one young person finds some example in one of my books that he or she can use in their own life, then I will consider that every moment I spent writing those books was the best possible way to spend that time.

Wil

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks - for the good people, good things and good events in our lives


Giving thanks = what's important.


The importance of the fourth-Thursday-in-November holiday is well known to a domestic American audience, but of course not so well known elsewhere. In Canada, the same Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated in early October, but otherwise the holiday is not recognized elsewhere in the world. There is no equivalent in Australia, or New Zealand, or the UK, or anywhere else. I’ve been fortunate to be part of large Thanksgiving gatherings in the US, and in Canada. I also had a singular chance to be part of a group of Americans and others celebrating on the other side of the world, and that was an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

In the US, Thanksgiving is most often known for gatherings of families, and the holiday creates the busiest travel days of the year. Of course, the holiday started a few centuries ago as a giving of thanks for a good harvest. What I most like today is a common practice where family members share what they are most thankful for. That includes all those present at the dinner table, from the youngest to oldest.

What to be thankful for?

I think the process of thinking what we are thankful for is important, and really, far too important to be left to only one day per year. Thinking about what we are grateful for should be practiced every day, and especially when we have a great experience. 

I have been fortunate, in recent years, to be something of a mentor to a younger family member, now a young teenager. When I’ve taken that person out to do fun or interesting things, they’ve remarked that they wish we could do it again, or more often. 

My response has been something like this. I agree, and this was really interesting (or a lot of fun).  And, I really enjoyed doing it with you. But the most important thing now is that we remember the moment. Remember how interesting it was (or how fun it was), and make that a highlight in your life that you want to remember. Think of this highlight, remember it, and give thanks for it. Make your life about remembering all of these good things, and be thankful.

The moments we give thanks for.

I often think about what I am thankful for, and try to appreciate those good or great moments in my life. Today, as I do many days, I give thanks for all of the good people, good things and good events in my life.

If you sit at a table on Thursday, and give thanks, good. If you don’t celebrate the holiday, that’s okay, too. Simply take this moment, right now, to think about whatever good things you’ve had in your life, and be thankful.

Wil

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Relieving Stress - by reading and by writing

Arianna Huffington is calling it, 'Turning the Page on Stress' and I think she's really on to something here. Just looking at the supporting comments on the original Huff Post piece is an indicator that many agree.

For me, however, there's something that relieves stress better than reading.  I increasingly find that my writing is absolutely the best way of escaping the stress of my daily life and finding a place that gives me joy and peace. I've published 7 books (YA reality-based fiction) and have at least that many more on the go. I love that my books have been welcomed and positively reviewed by readers, but more importantly I love to write. For me, it's the best stress-reliever ever!

Wil

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day and Veterans Day

I've worn both the Canadian Poppy and the British Poppy in vastly different places and different years on November 11th. Whether you call it Veteran's Day or Remembrance Day, and whether you wear a poppy or not, it is important to remember those who served, and those who gave their lives for their country.

Lest We Forget.
What is often forgotten is the very young age of so many who served, and the very young age of so many of those who lost their lives.  In my own, small way, I remember them, by writing a book. It's fiction, but reality-based. I'm still working on it, but I've posted an excerpt on this site: Courage in Combat: The Flying Fighters.

Never Forget.

Wil

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Playing the Baseball Card leads my titles at Apple iBookstore


Playing the Baseball Card  is continuing to top sales of all my titles at the Apple iBookstore, and I'm more than pleased.  I would say that I'm excited, awed and humbled.  I know it's the right time of year for Baseball, with the World Series (go Giants!) just finished, so that makes a difference.  

But, there's a more important factor at play here. Good ratings with positive reviews.

Over at Barnes and Noble there have been 48 ratings with an overall average of 3.5 stars.  A reviewer at B&N called the book 'inspiring.'  One of the best things about writing is the ability to share my work, but when it inspires someone, that's a home run.

At the Apple iBookstore listing for Playing the Baseball Card, there have been 57 ratings with an overall average of 3.5 stars.  What's more, there is an amazing review at the iBookstore, and the review has touched me deeply. Here it is:


Father and Husband 
     
by Umpire 24
In my 53 years of living this may be one of the most emotional books I personally have read. Being a big baseball fan and a father of a son who played baseball this book was awesome. I would think any baseball fan and father would love to read this, I actually had a good cry for the first time all during this book. Any if you have time this is a must read book!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting it Right...almost always starts with getting it Wrong


Getting is right almost always starts with getting it wrong.  Unless we put ourselves or someone else into danger, the only bad thing about making mistakes is failing to try again.  And again.  And again.  And as many times as it takes to get it right.

That process, of trying it over and over until it works, has been my mantra in life, and in writing.  How many times have we said, or heard, ‘we learn from our mistakes,’ or perhaps, if we’re lucky, ‘we learn from the mistakes of others.’ 

As a writer, I often read, to see what others are writing.  I read what is selling and I read what is getting good reviews.  I also read what is new, or does not have good reviews, or what might not be selling, yet.  I read what appeals to me.  This is how I learn from others’ mistakes, and successes.

As I writer, I look at my own work.  I put my work out there.  I see which of my books sell, and which of them earn good reviews.  This is how I learn from my own mistakes, and possibly, from my own successes.

Getting it right, as an author, can be a long process.  It almost certainly very unlikely that the first novel we write is going to be a great success.  Almost any author will tell you that they did a lot of writing before they ended up with a work that they were happy with, or that sold well, or that got good reviews.  But, the key is to keep trying.  That means to keep writing.

In my case, I write because I want to write.  I write what I want to write.  I write for my own pleasure.  I share my writing in the hope that some will like it, and perhaps, the hope that I might somehow tell a story that will have an impact.  

But, most importantly, I realize that it’s okay to get it wrong, if I keep trying to get it right.

Wil

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bought a Tablet and want to read eBooks?


Tablet + eBooks = reading made simple. 
Truly, an equation that does work.  I learned this important fact about six months ago, and I only wish I’d bought the Tab earlier. But, more importantly, I’m really glad I didn’t buy a proprietary eReader.

In fact, I’d looked at Kindles when they first came out. Then I looked at Nook, and Kobo readers. I looked at ‘no name’ readers. But, I didn’t buy, as I found some issues.

Proprietary eReaders = Different formats = Bad

One of the problems with buying a proprietary eReader is the issue of reading other formats. Okay, so if you only buy eBooks on Amazon, and you have a Kindle, that’s not a problem. But, if you like to shop around to find eBooks, that is a problem. In my case, I’ve been buying eBooks and reading them on my laptop since 2007, so I have the additional problem that some of my eBooks cannot be read on a Kindle, or on a Nook, or whatever.

One other problem I’ve heard of, but not personally experienced, is the issue of books that disappear from a Kindle or Nook or whatever, because they’ve been ‘unpublished’ somehow. Now, for me, that stinks (and I’m being polite here). If I buy something, I want to keep it for as long as I want.

Reading on a Tablet
How does this work? Easy:
  1. Put an eReading app on your Tablet. I use FB Reader for Android, and highly recommend it, for ease of use. (It presents all book formats with no conversion necessary.)
  2. Buy your eBooks at Amazon, or the Apple iTunes Bookstore, or at B&N, or at Kobo, or at Smashwords, or at any other fine eBook (online) retailer. I use my computer to do this.
  3. Download the books from the retailer into your computer. Make a backup copy on your backup drive, as you do for all important data.
  4. Transfer the eBooks from your computer to your Tablet.
  5.  Start reading, and enjoy.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Advice for writers: Being unpublished doesn't mean you suck

"Unpublished? You Don't Actually Suck."  That was the title of a Huff Post Books piece earlier this week, in which the writer detailed her feelings about trying to convince herself that her work really did not suck.  She also introduced Writer's Bloq, one of many new ways in which indie authors support each other.  I commend her and all those who help their fellow authors.  I was inspired to write a comment on Huff Post Books about the piece, and I've repeated it here:

I know I don't suck. Just ask those who now have the tens of thousands of copies of my books. But the realization that maybe there was some merit in my (so far) seven YA novels, and that people might actually want to read what I'd written? Well, let's just say that realization was a long time coming.

The problem is that I don't write what apparently 'sells.' I don't write fantasy, or dystopia, or about vampires. I write solid family and adventure reality-based fiction for Young Adults. I write what I want to write, and I've had to find my niche market.

Three years ago, I had four unpublished works and a brain full of doubts and worries. Now I have some amazingly positive and inspiring reviews with scores of good ratings, and more motivation than ever to keep writing. 

Good luck to all those who find the courage and tenacity to keep at it, and who persevere in this new world of self-publishing. You, too, can find that you don't suck.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

where to find the books of Wilson James, author


Here's a complete listing of where to find the books of Wilson James, author.  Here, also, is a link to a post about software or apps to read eBooks.


Smashwords - seven of my eBooks are available here, in multiple formats including for Kindle, Nook


Barnes & Noble – seven of my eBooks are available here (3 are top 2% sales rank), for the Nook


Apple US iTunes Bookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad
Apple UK iTunes Bookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad


Kobo – six of my eBooks are available here, in ePub format



Sony eBookstore – six of my eBooks are available here

Amazon – some of my print books are now available, with selected eBooks to be available in late 2012


Goodreads  – where to find book ratings, including some of my books.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Free eBooks for Young Adults - JULY Specials

The month of July is pretty much the best month of 2012 to find Free eBooks for Young Adults (and any other eBooks).  That's because Smashwords is holding their annual Summer / Winter sale (the winter part is for our friends 'down under').  

I've priced all of my books free for this special sale, including my most popular Playing the Baseball Card and Sons and Brothers in Seattle, so go ahead and get my books free, or find something else to fill your reading device.  Smashwords' eBooks are available in all formats, for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Android app for Tab or smartphone; it's all available for almost every book on Smashwords.  But, this is a limited time offer, and it ends on July 31st, so don't delay.

And one more thing... on Smashwords, there's no worry about region, or country, or location when you get these books for free.  Unlike Amazon, or Apple, or most of the others, you 'purchase' these free Smashwords books anywhere. 

Enjoy your summer (or winter), and happy reading!

Wil

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Old Publishing Model (the Big 6) vs. New Publishing Model (self-publishing)

Hmm... let's see. Old publishing model. I send my book to hundreds of agents, and perhaps directly to a publisher or two. I'm told that only vampire, fantasy, and dystopia sells, and my niche audience is not economically viable. I write solid family and adventure reality-based fiction for Young Adults, so my manuscripts are consigned to the slush pile and then the round file. I've got no hope of every getting my stories read. After a while, I lose hope, and I may even stop writing.




New publishing model. I self publish. 


Let's see how that worked: 

I started 2-and-a-half years ago. I am much more than "strikingly upbeat" about how well my 7 books are doing. Tens of thousands of readers have found my books. I am absolutely awed by some of the wonderful reviews and delighted at the ratings. For example, at the Apple iBookstore listing for my book 'Playing the Baseball Card', there have been 54 ratings with an overall average of four stars. 

Old vs. New? New wins! I am more motivated than ever to keep writing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Fathers' Day Essay - What Kind of Father?


As a person, I have observed many examples of ‘fathers’ and regrettably more bad than good.  On a positive note, I was particularly struck by two recent pieces related to fatherhood, one by LZGranderson at cnn.com, and the other by Dominic Utton at the Mail Online.

As an author, I have often created characters in a father role.  In certain of my books, the father is described after his death. In Playing the Baseball Card, the protagonist describes his father as a man who ‘made sure that his children were the most important part of his life.

In Aiden’s Arrival: Honor Before Gold, a now-grown son describes a man who assumed a father’s role by marrying a women with two young children.  “None of us; my mother, my sister, my nephew, my niece; were related to our father and grandfather by blood, but that didn’t matter to him.  He showed us, by his example, that family is about loving people, and caring about people, and living together in a supportive way.  Not always in harmony, but always caring about your family more than anything else.  He lived that kind of life, and today we carry on with that legacy.

In Zac and the Reluctant Prince, Book 1 of the Prince David series, the father is described this way:  “The example of his life teaches us the lessons of responsibility, obligation, commitment, dedication, loyalty, patriotism and also compassion.  In his life, he strove to be the best son he could be, the best husband he could be, the best father he could be, the best officer he could be, and the best man he could be.”

If you know your father, what do you think of him? If you knew your father, how do you remember him?

I believe a real father is one who looks into the eyes of his children, and says to them, “My life improved the day you came into my life, and my life gets better every day that you are still in my life.”  I also believe a real father is the kind of role model I’ve described in the excerpts from my books, above. 

If you have the chance to be a father, or if you are a father, how do you want to be remembered? 

To all fathers, everywhere, Happy Fathers’ Day.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Playing the Baseball Card

I've seen a big surge in sales of Playing the Baseball Card recently, and I'm more than pleased.  I would say that I'm awed and humbled.  
I know it's the right time of year for Baseball, so that makes a difference.  But, there's a more important factor at play here.  Good ratings with positive reviews.

At Barnes and Noble, there have been 45 ratings with an overall average of 3.5 stars.  A reviewer at B&N called the book 'inspiring.'  One of the best things about writing is the ability to share my work, but when it inspires someone, that's a home run.

But, even better? 

At the Apple iBookstore listing for Playing the Baseball Card, there have been 54 ratings with an overall average of four stars.  What's more, there is an amazing review at the iBookstore, and the review has touched me deeply. Here it is:


Father and Husband 
     
by Umpire 24
In my 53 years of living this may be one of the most emotional books I personally have read. Being a big baseball fan and a father of a son who played baseball this book was awesome. I would think any baseball fan and father would love to read this, I actually had a good cry for the first time all during this book. Any if you have time this is a must read book!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Solar Eclipse - in the right place?

Normally I confine my blog posts to topics that are relevant to my writing, but every now and then, there are local events that absolutely require some attention in my blog.  The tsunami that hit Crescent City, California and other places on the US and Canadian west coast, back in March 2011, is one such event, and the Solar Eclipse this Sunday evening is another.  This HuffPost piece describes many details.  

The Annular Eclipse will last about four minutes, at about 6:30 pm, in northern California.  The ring of fire, a feature of these types of eclipse, should be well worth taking the time to see (carefully).  

A person who witnessed this type of eclipse over in Maine, a few years ago, described being able to see rings of fire all over the forest floor.  I wonder how much of that will repeat this evening.

In any event, for those not in the path, this site, of the Slooh Space Camera, is broadcasting the event live, and is a great way to monitor and view the eclipse from anywhere in the world.  In fact the coastal weather forecast for this evening in northern California is cloudy, so the web may be the best place to watch.  For all those interested, I hope you take a look

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to find the books of Wilson James, author


I am often asked, “How do I find your books?” I respond by suggesting Smashwords, or Barnes and Noble, or Kobo, or the Sony eBook store, or perhaps Apple’s iBookstore, or maybe even Amazon (so far only for certain of my print books).  And, once you've found my books, here's a link to a post I did about software or apps to read eBooks.

So, here's the answer to the question: How to find the books of Wilson James, author?


Smashwords - seven of my eBooks are available here, in multiple formats including for Kindle, Nook


Barnes & Noble – six of my eBooks are available here (3 are top 1% sales rank), for the Nook


Apple US iBookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad
Apple UK iBookstore – seven of my eBooks are available here, for the iPad


Kobo – six of my eBooks are available here, in ePub format



Sony eBookstore – six of my eBooks are available here

Amazon – some of my print books are now available, with selected eBooks to be available in late 2012


Lulu.com – some of my print books are available here



Goodreads  – where to find book ratings, including some of my 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

You can do anything, even if you are a kid...


You can do anything even if you are a kid.” Those words were used in a review of PLAYING THE BASEBALL CARD on Barnes and Noble, one of my books that has maintained a top 1% sales rank at B&N for well over a year. The reviewer went on to call it a “Great book,” and “Very inspiring.”

It is all about empowering youth.

Yes, you can do anything, even if you are a kid. Those words really do describe much of my writing, and I’m pleased the Barnes and Noble reviewer saw that in one of my books. It really is all about empowering kids. Many kids will tell you they can do more than society lets them do, and they want to do more. Of course, society protects young people from themselves, and doesn’t allow things such as medical decisions and driving until certain ages, drinking until even older, and requires all kinds of safety protection for younger people. These age-related safeguards are understandable.

In a perfect society, kids would also be protected from tragedy, and from abusive adults including relatives. However, we do not live in a perfect society, and often kids have to try and protect themselves. Alas, many kids, especially younger kids, often don’t have the means or ability to protect themselves.

In some of my stories, kids have taken steps to keep themselves away from danger and dangerous situations. Some of these kids have also taken steps to find a way to support themselves and find a way out of repressive, regressive, aggressive, violent and even lethal circumstances.

The message I try to impart is that people of any age, especially including kids, can do a lot more than they think they can. Young people often surprise themselves, and those around them, with what they are capable of doing.

There is one other message that I hope my books convey, and that is the idea of supportive friends and family. I know, with absolute certainty, that we can all do more if we have supportive friends, and supportive families, even if those families are related by chance and not by blood.

If my stories help young people, by giving examples of kids persevering in difficult situations, then I will be very satisfied. If my stories help young people overcome their own challenges, and perhaps find some inspiration, then I will be happy. If my stories help young people find the tenacity and courage to succeed in their own lives, then I will be very pleased. If my stories help achieve some better understanding among friends and families, then I will consider myself fulfilled.

If even one young person finds some example in one of my books that he or she can use in their own life, then I will consider that every moment I spent writing those books was the best possible way to spend that time.

Thanks for reading,
Wil

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Refining the way I write...


I've had a whole hit and miss thing going on with my writing, recently.  Over the Easter long weekend, for example, I managed 15,000 words as I try to complete two works in progress.  (The second and third books of the Prince David series, if you have to know.)  But, at other times, I've become bogged down, and I struggle to turn out 1,000 words in a week. 

Of course, it doesn’t help that I have a demanding full time job, as well, so my writing time frequently becomes very limited.  But, a lot of the problem revolves around the fact that I’ve been also been slow to adapt to some important skills involved in writing.  As in, writing novels. 

It’s not that I can’t write, because I can.  It’s just that sometimes I get into the heart of my work-in-progress novel, and lose my way.  I find that I haven’t researched properly, or I need a name, or I lose track of what I really want out of this story line.  To help resolve this issue, I’ve started doing more outlining of my stories as I write.  However, I also realize that I need to do more of this.  Outlining, that is.  And, research.  Most importantly, I need to better outline and research before I really get going.  That way, as I get on a roll and as the words flow, I can really keep going and not have to stop for things that I should know already. 

So, having been thinking about this a bit, recently, I was quite pleasantly surprised and pleased to see a recent April 4th post by Amanda Hocking, on her blog, in which she tells of (some time ago) hearing Gary Paulsen (she thinks) describe the need to outline.  Amanda goes on to talk about what works for her, and I am certainly going to take notice of her advice.  So, now, with a big thank you to Amanda Hocking, I will redouble my efforts to plan and outline my works in progress, and let’s hope I can speed up my production a bit.  And, just for the record, here’s what I’ve got on the go, right now.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Friday, April 6, 2012

Important Rules for Writers and Authors

I cannot claim originality, but I've adapted and adjusted this list of Important Rules for Writers and  Authors and it's now perfect for me.  It is just too good not to share:


   So, now that you've read this advice, get busy and start writing!

Google Translation

Pictures of Lighthouses