Heavenly Fridays: Angels Are Selling My Book, Part II

I have a day job. I take pictures of that masked vigilante Spiderman, and sell them to a big newspaper operated by a blow-hard with three names that all begin with the letter “j.” No wait, let’s back up. Or go forward.

I have a day job. This job involves software and supporting that software. I can’t say much else because my headquarters in Raccoon City is very tight on security and I could get into trouble. Not that our software will cause the zombie apocalypse, no, it’s not like that. Wait! Did I go forwards or backwards in this paragraph? Kinda’ hard to tell.

I’ll keep on going. At my day job, working on self-aware software that we are calling Skynet, well, sometimes things can get a little hairy. A little chaotic. A little difficult. Nuclear war, Armageddon It, that kind of thing. When the manure hits the blast fan, that’s when friends are made and our true natures are revealed. That’s when you can make war buddies.
I have a war buddy from a particularly hard software explosion and her name is Lori Daniels. “L” to the “D.” And she bought my book, and I love what she wrote, “I’m reading it slow because I don’t want it to end.” Now, that is high praise.

She asked me for a signed copy and she was all set to write me a check. I feel bad about selling my books to friends, I really do, and I feel especially bad when they are my old war buddies. So I said, “Lori, I’ll send you a free copy if you can get five of your friends to buy the ebook on kindle, nook, kobo, whatever e-platform you can hit with a credit card.”

She agreed. She got the book. I got some eprint sales.

Now, knowing Lori, she took five of her friends out, got them liquored up, and then grabbed them and threatened them with bodily harm if they didn’t do exactly as she said. That LD, she has a way about her. She talks. People listen. She’s as tough as nails. I won’t change the cliché because the cliché is dead on.

So this post is to thank Lori Daniels, another warrior, another angel, out there selling my book. Again, the only way I am ever going to have a career writing is if people help me get my name out there. Alone, I can do nothing. With help, great things can happen. Monumental things.

And if you can get five friends to buy the ebook, you’ll get your own signed copy and a pint of my blood. Okay, not a pint, but I’ll send you my blood if you want. As long as you aren’t an evil sorcerer. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Thanks, Lori!

Heavenly Fridays: Angels Are Selling My Book

The only way I am ever going to make it as a writer is if people who read The Never Prayer and like it tell other people. I am relying on that old marketing standby – word of mouth. That old reliable. Did I ever tell you about old reliable?

Are my Lady and the Tramp allusions lost on you?
I have a friend at work, Susan Poper, who read The Never Prayer back when it was a simple Word document. She adored it and has become the angel who’s pushed my book harder than anyone. When we travel for work together, wherever we go, she’s always telling everyone we meet, “Aaron Ritchey is a published author. His book is out and it’s awesome.” I blush, go slack-jawed, and say, “Yeah, a book, I wrote one. Huh.”

She was just traveling to a client site–that Susan Poper, she’s a road warrior–and she gave the kind folks at the Evansville Airport my books to sell. So in southern Indiana, I have a presence. All because of Susan Poper.

She sent me this picture of my book in front of the Bestseller’s rack. We can only dream. But with Susan Poper out there, working it, talking up my book, I just might make it.

Thank you to Jeanna Costello and Ayse Schablik at the Flying Saucer Cafe and to everyone at EVV!  If you are from southern Indiana, you know that EVV are the call letters for the Evansville Airport.  

A huge thank you also to Susan, and to everyone out there being an angel and getting my book out there. Alone, I can’t do much. Together, we can do anything.


Heavenly Fridays: The Angels of the 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Conference

As many of you know, I wrote a book about angels. Well, not really. I mean, my angels aren’t your typical winged (two syllables, please) creatures that come down from heaven underneath the watchful eye of some deity. Nope. My angels are real, yo. Like street.

So I know a thing or two about angels. At The 2012 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, I got to soar among the angels.

If angels are divine beings who watch over and guide us poor human schmucks, well, then, here is a list of angels who are doing God’s work because ain’t no more schmucky group of humans than writers. Oh, we are a wretched sort and we need as much love, encouragement, and donuts as we can get. Thanks to Laura Hayden, Bonnie Mandeville, Chris Mandeville, Todd Fahnestock, Pam McCutcheon, Bill May, Cathy Dilts, Julia Allen, Jennifer LaPointe, Mandy Houk, Mandy McKenzie, and Jodi Anderson for all the hours they spent, the sorrow, the tears, the joy, thank you so much for giving so many angels a place to roost.

Or can angels roost? My daughter asked the difference between a fairy and an angel. I told her it was generally a question of hypocrisy, theology, and dandelion milk. So what is the difference between a muse and an angel? Ask Bree Ervin because she is both. A muse, an angel, a writer, a publicist, an explosion of a woman. I am so glad to know her.

Let me pitch you real quick. High concept. Vampire Angel. Yeah, you got it. Julia Allen. Vampire Angel. Full manuscript please.

Aaron Ritchey, Julia Allen, phone

Everyone knows that angels are messengers from the gods, er God, er god, er Gods. And fiction writers are messengers as well. Congrats to Chris Devlin, Andrea Stein, and Lawdon for doing so well in the contests. Andrea Stein won in romance! I room with her at Pikes Peak. Yes, that woman knows all about romance. Cue porn music…brown chicken, brown cow. And Chris Devlin! She is my Girl Friday and her book is about Catholic School Alchemy. Didn’t wanna be pitched to? Too late. And yeah, full manuscript please. Props to my girl. And Lawdon? He’s like the Mary Tyler Moore of writers. He’s gonna make it after all.

It’s been said that God takes care of drunks, dogs, and babies. I’d add fiction writers to that list. Eve Morton, awesome. Betsy Dornbusch. Awesome. Terry Banker. Awesome. Angels of the bar! Angels of my heart! I signed their books, and no, Betsy, I wrote books, not boobs. Eve Morton has a fantastic screenplay about clones, Betsy Dornbusch’s first chapter of Archive of Fire rocks, and Terry Banker has a scene that has totally captured my twisted imagination. Angels all.

I opened the gates of heaven to my friend Becky Hodgkins, though I wasn’t there to escort her through. However, Gary Jonas was there, but wait, I don’t wanna get all Gary Jonas on you, but it was great seeing my friend Becky at a writers conference, hawking her wares. Shaking her moneymaker. Dang, I went all Gary Jonas. I’ll stop.

Contrary to some people’s opinion, agents are not demons. They are humans with the souls of demons. Kidding. No, literary agents are the angels of the fiction world, bringing stories out of the rabble and setting them upon the bookshelf of the gods. Unless you e-pub, then you can put your own stories on that lofty shelf. Mark Coker challenged me to really evaluate my life and he followed his vision to the heavens. God bless you, Mark Coker, wherever you are. And for those angelic agents, Kristin Nelson, Taylor Martindale, Weronika Janczuk, may you find the books that move the world. I would imagine that is the best part of your job.

I got to talk to Rob Killam. He’s writing a zombie book. Hmm, high concept, zombie angels. Okay, I’ll stop. Great seeing him again.

And I met John K. Patterson. With a name like that, well, total writer. John was my guardian angel at the conference, always around when I needed a smile. Thank you, John. May angels ride shotgun on your ride through this hard, old world.

After his keynote, who can argue the divinity of Donald Maass? Well, except for Mark Coker, no one. I watched Donald Maass stay up all night talking to writers. He’s a warrior.

I sat next to Jennifer Gottschalk and Jesse Kuiken in the Thursday session. Both writers. Both teachers. Both angels. Judith ‘Judy’ Robbins Rose? Angel with a cool book. Karen Emanuelson? Beowulf angel. J.T. Evans? Guy has angels working a wiki for his books, and those angels are working overtime.

Of course, angels serve God, I mean, like really serve, like sycophants. Angels are the ultimate YES beings. And do you know who I serve? Deb Courtney, Sue Mitchell, and Alicia Howie. I spent a lazy afternoon in the bar with those goddesses, and I’m a better man for it. I expect great things from all three. Someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll be Deb Courtney’s pool boy, and Sue Mitchell’s peon, and Alicia Howie’s chauffeur. Next year, I’ll drive her out in the stretch limo from the literary mecca that is Danville, Illinois. Word.

Zack Bertha is possessed by a demon. That demon’s name? Awesomeness.

I watched Carol Berg talk a young author down off the ledge. She’s angelic.

Ian Thomas Healy fluttered down from heaven on wings of hair. We chatted. Hair wings, gotta get me a pair.

DeAnna Knippling moderated me. It was a thankless job. But lord, do I need moderating. My daughter is reading one of your middle grade books.  And loving DeAnna and her stories!

Ron Cree means angel in ancient Honduran Sanskrit. Look it up.

Do you know who is seated at the right hand of the Father? Well, it’s a critique group that meets on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday nights in Colorado Springs. Anita Romero, R. Powl Smith, Court Pearman, and a whole host of other angels hold court, write fiction, and prepare for the apocalypse. If I am anywhere near Colorado Springs on a Thursday night, I am going to that critique group. I can feel their power from here. Raw angelic power. And the dying monkeys, I can smell the dying monkeys. Or is it mind control? PTSD? I’ll stop. But dude, if my name was Court Pearman, I’d believe in God again.

I don’t know if J.A. Kazimer or Kirk Farber believe in God, but I sat with them and we signed books. I am a lucky, lucky man. You don’t have to believe in God to be a writer. But it helps.

At the conference, they put me in the back with all the rabble-rousers, and let me tell you, ain’t no rabble-rousers like librarian rabble-rousers. Kara Seal, Leah Parker, and LaTonya Frank sat with me and we killed it. That hotel is still shaking. Librarians are angels with a penchant for hushing. It’s cliché, but I used the word “penchant” so that excuses everything.

Yes, in the back of the ballroom, I hung out with other angels with dirty faces. I got to sit with Ed Raetz, a guy named Sander, and of course, I got to talk to Jene Jackson about her life and world. And Christina, Joanne, and Morgan Leigh, whom I am so drawn to. You can’t tell me there’s no God.

So yes, I am blessed, and yes, Virginia, there are angels. I know I missed people in this long, rambling list of divinities, but heaven can rage at me next year, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, 2013. Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, the seas and what fills them resound!