The Official Blog of Author Michael J. Sahno

Goin’ Home

About a million years ago, I read a Peanuts cartoon quoting Thomas Wolfe: “You can’t go home again.” Perhaps fifteen years later, I discovered Wolfe in a lit class, and read Look Homeward, Angel. Eventually, I also got through You Can’t Go Home Again, along with a few others. A troubled genius, Wolfe was also a pretty great read – thanks in large part to that greatest of editors, Max Perkins.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’ll be going home soon…well, going back to the city where I grew up, Bristol, CT. It hasn’t been “home” for me for a while. In fact, it’s fair to say that my adopted home of Tampa, Florida – where I’ve lived since 1994 – is more in my comfort zone than CT ever was.

Still, there’s a bittersweet aspect to going back to visit the old homestead. Memories that live more in the bones than the brain come to life. Feelings, not thoughts, bubble to the surface. As normal as it is for others, it’s a weird place for me.

So when I sought to book a library event in advance of my return, I wasn’t sure where to go. The old Bristol Public Library sits at the edge of a small hill in a relatively unpleasant part of town; by contrast, the smaller Manross Library is in Forestville, a sort of Bristol suburb where my father grew up. I’m told it’s in a somewhat nicer neighborhood than the main branch. I’ve been away so long, I wouldn’t know. I like nicer neighborhoods, so I opted for Manross.

There’s a feeling of “Hometown Boy Makes Good” in this whole endeavor of scheduling a book signing for myself. Calls and emails to the local newspaper, social media posts inviting old classmates to drop by. I’m looking forward to it.

The […]

More on Literary Fiction

While I’m recovering from some oral surgery I had last Friday, I’m inclined to just rest and update my blog another time. But I’ll be on vacation soon, so I’d rather post something than nothing. With that, I recommend blog readers check out my fellow literary author, Jay Lemming. Jay and I follow each other on Twitter and have both read – and boosted – each other’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed his novel Billy Maddox Takes His Shot, and I highly recommend it.

Last month, Jay published his 2017 Literary Fiction Survey for Readers, which you can find here. Now Jay is at it again, with a big cross-promotional project among a group of authors…the biggest cross-promotion I’ve ever seen.

It’s called, quite simply, the April 2017 Literary Fiction Giveaway. And it’s an embarrassment of riches: Jay has joined forces with ten other authors to promote each other’s work, thereby exposing their own audiences to each other’s audiences. I would have joined the fun myself, but I’m still working on the completion of my own giveaway, the short story collection Rides from Strangers. Anyhow, check these folks’ fiction out: you can get a free preview of the books by just joining the mailing list of each author whose work you’d like to sample. Genius!

And now I’m going back to the pillows and pudding. Have a great week, everybody.

Taking a Page from the Dylan Playbook?

Although he doesn’t use the term himself, recent Nobel winner Bob Dylan’s relentless touring has been referred to as the Never-Ending Tour. Taking a page from the Dylan playbook might seem like a weird idea for an author, but recently I have thought about doing just that.

Of course, for an indie author, “touring” might not involve a whole lot of flights or bookstore visits. As blog tours become more popular than ever, it’s possible to get exposure to audiences around the world. I recently finished a massive (for me) blog tour for Miles of Files, and I think it went well. Now that it’s over, the question becomes, What next?

I’ve got three books out. However, unlike most sane authors, I didn’t release them over a period of, say, four or five years – I released them all on the same day. As I mentioned on Anne R. Allen’s blog, I figured that would be the best way to get attention for them. After all, who has ever done such a thing? Well, they landed with a resounding thud, and then I had to pick up the pieces and work as relentlessly to promote them as Dylan works to satisfy his legion of fans.

So okay, lesson learned. But there’s another issue. None of those three novels could get proper promotion at the time, competing with each other as they were. (I also still had a full-time job, but that’s another story.) Once I began working solely for myself, I got into proper promotion, it became obvious – one book at a time.

Brothers’ Hand came first. After all, it was my first novel, and, weirdly enough, was selling better than either of the other two novels. Once that promotion was done, I jumped over Jana and into Miles of Files. The […]

6 Twitter Tips for Authors

Those of you who follow my blog probably connected with me via Twitter, whether you’re a fellow author or not. Now that I’m closing in on 13,000 followers, I’m starting to feel like I’ve got a little experience I can share that will be helpful. So with that, here comes today’s blog post: 6 Twitter-Tips for Authors.

Don’t say “Aspiring Author” in your description – Look, I get it. You’re an aspiring author, and you hope to be published some day, whether traditionally, by yourself, or some other way. But to other authors, it just kind of looks bad. It sounds like you’re hoping something will happen. Something will happen, if you work for it. Better option: “Working on my first novel,” “working on my first book,” or “working on a short story collection.”
Don’t say “Published Author” in your description – This might seem like a no-brainer for authors, but you’d be amazed by how many times I’ve seen this. Again, I get it, you want everyone to know that you’re now published (and no longer “aspiring,” eh?). But understand many people will view that description and think “What other kind of author is there? When you’re still unpublished, you’re just another writer. An author is, by definition, someone who’s been published!” I don’t necessarily think these people are right to think that…but many people will think it. And nothing turns off a potential reader like a redundant writer.
Don’t just say “Writer” in your description – Unless you’re already a household name, we really want to know something about you. Your Twitter description should be the opening gambit in an enrollment conversation. Mine starts with “Author of crime thriller Miles of Files, litfic novel Brothers’ Hand, & LGBTQ drama Jana.” I’m not saying that’s the best Twitter […]

And So The Tour Ends

Well, it’s finally over: the blog tour for the relaunch of Miles of Files ends today with a stop at Novelgossip, hosted by the fabulous Amy. I say fabulous because, man oh man, has she got a following! Not even four o’clock, and already 33 bloggers have liked the post. Plus a whole lotta Twitter followers have retweeted it, making Miles of Files about as viral as one could reasonably expect.

It’s funny how when you’re most busy, you get busier. I’ve been dealing with all the marketing and promo stuff for this relaunch, but also doing some freelance projects. Today, I don’t even really have time for a proper blog post. I have a major magazine project I just started this morning, and some bigger projects in the hopper. So this needs to be short.

I would like to thank the following blogs who participated in the tour: not only Amy at Novelgossip but also the amazing Marie Lavender, Nina Soden, Linda Hill, Ben East, Janice Spina, Fiona McVie, and of course, Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris who hosted me on the weekend of the relaunch. Special thanks also to Joseph Bendoski for his Start Writing podcast this past weekend. Please stop by these folks’ sites and give them some love.

One piece of news as illustrated above: on April Fools’ Day, I’m appearing at the Local Authors Meet N’ Greet at the New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd.  I’ll have the new version of Miles of Files available for sale at the event, so feel free to come out and say hello. Have a great week, everyone, and thank you all again for reading.

Florida Drivers Beware

I’ve been on a blog tour for the past week, and it’s been fun and hectic and interesting. The big Miles of Files launch went well, and I’ve got lots to be happy about. And yet, when it came time for me to get going on a blog topic for today, the main thing I had in mind was Florida drivers.

Why, you ask, would you write about such a thing on your author blog? After all, isn’t this supposed to be all about your readers? Well, sure. And I want you all to get to know me better, and what I’m thinking about, and so, if you have pet peeves like I do, maybe we can share a few of those here. And one of my biggest pet peeves is – you guessed it – the way people drive here.

I spent a whole twenty minutes on the highways and byways this morning, and it was almost enough to make me, not my car, blow a gasket. See, Florida has so many people from all over the country, even all over the world, that there is no such thing as a typical Florida driver. Florida drivers come from everywhere, and then when they get here, they drive the way they drove back there. Did you ever think that a driver from a small town in Texas might take a slightly different approach than a driver from Miami?

You know what that means in real life terms? It means wildly inconsistent behavior on the roads. It means speeders and turtles, No-Signal Nellies and Tailgater Toms. It means you will find yourself stressed out here when you’re driving…a lot.

I’m especially nervous driving in my adopted state, and for good reason: I was rear-ended four – count ‘em, four – times over a period […]

A Journey with A Few Heiresses

Way back in 2016, I got a guest spot on a blog called Writing in the Modern Age by an author named Marie Lavender. Of all the writers I’ve contacted online, Marie has to be the most prolific – more than 20 books published over the course of 15 years.

Marie and I have stayed in touch, and now that we’re both in the middle of blog tours for novels, I thought it would be great if we could host each other. Marie was kind enough to agree to have me as a guest on one of her blogs tomorrow, and I’m pleased to have her as my guest today, talking about her latest release: Upon Your Love, the third novel in her Heiresses in Love series. Take it away, Marie!
A Journey with A Few Heiresses
Fifteen years is a long time for a writing project, but I truly believe it brought me here, where I’m supposed to be.

In 2002, I was in my sophomore year of college. One day, while waiting for a friend to finish with a doctor’s appointment, a scene popped into my head. I’d been writing stories since I was nine years old, so it wasn’t unheard of for me to have a notebook on hand for story ideas. While waiting in the car, I began to write a compelling scene detailing an argument between a couple. This quickly spiraled into a huge historical romance project. At the time, I was in an abusive romantic relationship, and you could say that writing Upon Your Return was my catharsis.

Still, I grew to love the characters, and I poured my heart and soul into writing the novel. Nine years later, it was completed, edited and ready to be sent off to literary agents and publishers. By 2010, I thought I’d try my hand at […]

Blatant Self-Promotion Post

This week is The Big One: the 2nd edition of Miles of Files launches on Mar. 10th, almost 15 months to the day of its initial release!

When I won a book cover design from 99designs, I immediately thought of Miles. I was never quite as enamored with the original cover design as those of my other two books. I think this new design captures the novel much better – the humor, the focus on money and business…even the Tampa skyline in the background.

I hope you’ll all get a copy for your Kindle on March 10th, specially priced at $1.99 for the launch. March is jam-packed with events to promote the new edition. The blog tour kicks off with Anne R. Allen’s blog on Mar. 12th. Here’s the entire schedule for the tour:
Mar. 12th
annerallen.com
Mar. 13th
lovebooksgroupblog.wordpress.com
Mar. 14th
marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com
Mar. 15th
beneastbooks.com
Mar. 16th
authorsinterviews.wordpress.com
Mar. 17th
jemsbooks.wordpress.com
Mar. 18th
lindasbookbag.com
Mar. 19th
ninasoden.wordpress.com
Mar. 20th
marielavender.blogspot.com
Mar. 27th
novelgossip.com

Feel free to drop by any of those blogs on the appropriate dates. A couple are in the U.K., so the timing may be a little off from the U.S. Some of the posts are interviews, while others are articles I wrote as a guest blogger. Comments are most welcome.

Just before the blog tour ends on the 27th, I’ll be the guest on Mar. 24th on the Start Writing podcast hosted by fellow writer Joseph Bendoski. Joseph’s podcasts are “dedicated to learning to improve the craft of writing,” and we had a nice conversation about craft, and about the books themselves. During the podcast, you’ll hear him tell me that my prose is some of the best he’s ever read! Good times.

Finally, if you’re in Florida, I’ll be signing copies of the new Miles of Files at the Local Authors Meet ‘N Greet on Saturday, April 1st from 2:00-3:30 pm at the New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd. in Tampa. Hope to see you there!

Blogging About…Blogging?

Last week I blogged a bit about my upcoming relaunch of Miles of Files and the accompanying blog tour. This week, I’m not delivering just more of the same. Other exciting events are afoot!

First off, I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to be hosting another guest here in two short weeks: the fabulous Marie Lavender, who has got to be one of the most prolific novelists I’ve ever encountered, at least in real life.

Marie was kind enough to feature me on her blog when I was just starting a year or so ago. When I began getting ready for this blog tour, hers was one of the first names that came to mind. Turned out she had a new book coming out (go figure), and it launched yesterday. You can find more details here.

We’re going to spread the wealth by featuring each other: I’m hosting Marie on March 13th, so mark your calendars. Then she’s hosting me the very next day, March 14th, on her award-winning book blog here. She hosts other authors there frequently, so it really provides a great service. Then, on March 20th, Marie will be hosting me on her other blog, Writing in the Modern Age. The first appearance will be the new cover reveal, and the second will be an interview about Miles of Files and writing in general. Should be fun, and Marie’s spot here will be about her new book.

The other big news takes place right here in Tampa. On April Fools’ Day – one of my favorite holidays – I’ll be appearing at the Local Authors Meet N’ Greet at the New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd. Of course, I’ll have the brand spanking new version of Miles of Files available for sale at the event. I can’t wait to see that new cover in print.

 

Looking […]

Coffee Is For Closers

When it comes to political correctness, I’m not convinced we should go back to the “good old days.” I mean, do we really want to go back to calling someone born to an unwed mother a bastard? Heck, people don’t even use the phrase unwed mother anymore, do they? Or the phrase out of wedlock? Come to think of it, what do we call them? I guess we don’t call them anything, and isn’t that the whole point?

I was considering these rather unpleasant questions because last night I started watching season one of House of Cards, mainly to make sure I get my money’s worth out of Netflix. And in the first scene, I got the immortal Kevin Spacey putting an injured dog out of its misery…a possibly unnecessary murder. I thought right away of Glengarry Glen Ross and what a great job Spacey does of playing “a right bastard,” as they say in the U.K. That was the thought I had, anyway, though I wonder if it’s the kind of thing one should say aloud in polite company.
The Awkward Segue into Self-Promotion
And now, the awkward segue into self-promotion. (I already warned you with the subhead, right?) So I’m launching a blog tour for the cover reveal of my third novel, Miles of Files, on March 12th. And one of the author interviews I just completed for the tour included the question, If this book was made into a film, who would you cast in it? Great question, right?

I had to stop and think. I also had to admit I hadn’t a clue, at least not off the top of my head. I’m not up on the newest 20-something actors, so I had no idea about Paul Panepinto, the protagonist. Upon Googling Latino movie stars, I came up with […]