Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Vegas and the Mob" - Book Review

Like stories about Las Vegas? Good, because that's all I've been writing about for the past year. I started with 600 pages of FBI documents on the Mob, Las Vegas, and some interesting characters like Franks Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Benny Binion and many others, and found every link possible between them, and what I came away with was that the FBI really snooped into the lives of a lot of people, but they sure didn't do much with their information!

The FBI is a huge investigatve body that keeps tabs on millions of people, and fortunately when it comes to crooks, gangsters, and Las Vegas badguys, their snooping makes for some very interesting findings in the lives of those very same casino owners!

Vegas and the Mob is the story of forty years of frenzy as Mob families fought with players, registered owners, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the FBI, and even their own members for control of the multi-million dollar empire of Sin in the Desert.

Eventually there were over a dozen Mob-controlled casinos in Downtown Las Vegas and along the Las Vegas Strip. The FBI estimates at least $300 million was skimmed from the casinos as unreported income. What the owners did to control that money is the great story behind Vegas and the Mob. I'm certain you'll find this to be a great  addition to your library!

Thanks for reading - Al W Moe

Friday, March 22, 2013

Into Another World

Into Another World is a book review and writing blog featuring author interviews and insight to how writers think about themselves, their work, and their careers. The blog is hosted by Susan Leigh Noble, author of a trilogy of fantasy novels about dragons, magic, and a telepathic cat.

Her first novel, THE ELEMENTAL: SUMMONED, is the story of Lina, who discovers she carries the long-lost art of fire-starting, using nothing but her thoughts. When a strange urge compels her to travel from her homeland, she finds there is much in the world her family never told her. Her journey takes her to a foreign land filled with gypsies, magic, and mystical creatures she had only dreamed of. As she begins to use her innate Elemental power, she becomes more certain someone is using magic against her. There's more to the world than heaven and earth.

As for Into Another World, Noble also includes advice on writing, and for her audience a basic concept is creating believable magic. Her advice, "There must be limits on magic otherwise the person using magic would always win and there would be no conflict in your story," may sound obvious, but clearly there's a hook here. Merlin couldn't do everything, neither can Harry Potter. Even Superman can't see through lead with his x-ray vision, and of course he loses his powers around kryptonite.

So, the  question for you is, "What's your writing kryptonite?" What is it that's keeping your writing from going mainstream and catching a larger audience? Does your overall story need punching-up? Do your characters need to go from minor cardboard cutouts to believable individuals? Or do you just need to define the magic and keep it real enough for your readers to enjoy the story's realism and accept that the skies can be filled with dragons in your fantasy land?

Whatever the answers, don't be discouraged. There are a million other authors out there wishing they could sell their work. If you are working daily on your stories, you already ahead of the pack. Keep your story believable, keep your characters compelling, and keep your pace steady most of the time but with snippets of break-neck speed and you're on your way!

Thanks for reading - Al W Moe

Monday, January 21, 2013

From the Story Editor

Right now I'm falling behind on my own stuff because I’m working on several projects for other people. I need to see progress, and I like to be busy, but reading over my own work for the third or fourth time makes me want to go sit on the couch and watch the old Dick Van Dyke TV show. I’m easily bored. That’s my little red wagon.

The funny thing is that, my best work, what I’m most proud of, I can’t tell anyone about, but ghostwriting is still great work as far as I’m concerned. I’m a story editor, not a line editor, so when reading somebody else’s story, even a poorly written one, I’m excited, because I get to make the changes that turn their work into something substantial. I get to “improve” the story. How could I want more than that?

Well, I do want more than. I want authors to have a chance to sell their work. And, I know one thing is certain in the life of an author: they have to get their books into the hands of readers. If only three people down the block from George Steinbeck’s home had read his novel, “Of Mice and Men,” how could he have become a Nobel Prize winner? No readers, no bucks, life sucks - that's the long and short of it.

The great thing about Kindle and EBooks is that once an author attracts an audience and gets some buzz going, once they have readers talking to friends and neighbors about their book, they can make sales forever, without any more work on that story. Sure, to be successful, they’ll need good marketing and future stories, but once they break the ice on that first book, the rest is easy!

If you have your book published in EBook form, find a way to get the story to readers. Give away copies, use Amazon free days, give away Smashwords gift vouchers, do a few monthly drawings for copies of your book at places like Goodreads (even though they don’t currently accept EBooks), do anything in your power to get more copies out to readers. If nobody reads your book, how is anybody else going to know about it? Again, no buzz, no bucks.

You can get reviews in many places. Here's one: Good Kindle Reviews.

Thanks for reading - Al W Moe