Summertime and everyone is… busy! There have been a lot of writing-related activities going on. Time for my latest thoughts on writing, my work in progress, events, podcasts and more. There’s also a different take on an interview and some music to keep things going.
Ready? Let’s roll!
When I first started seriously writing, the idea of promoting and marketing my books never crossed my mind. Sure, I pictured myself at the local bookstores, with people lined up to get a signed copy, maybe listening to me read a scene or two. But I had no idea how to make that happen.
Flash forwards a few years and now, having written eight books, promoting has become second nature. I’m not claiming expert status or anything like that. But I’ve discovered several different methods to attract some interest in my novels.
One of my favorites is the art festivals, where I pitch my tent, set up my display and chat with people as they are walking by. Sometimes, you get a pleasant surprise. At one of the events last month, a young couple was slowly passing my table when the woman stopped in her tracks.
“Jefferson Chene! Like the intersection?” she asked.
Obviously, she was a fellow Detroiter. I nodded and we got to talking about our own experiences in Motown. Turns out, she lived within a mile of the family home where I grew up in. Small world. When I explained Chene’s backstory, she immediately grabbed all three books and was eager to start reading them.
Over the last year, I’ve also been doing several podcasts that are focused on authors. A link to each one is listed on the sidebar for the blog. This is a great way to reach a wider audience. Some of these podcasts have listeners around the globe.
I keep looking for new and different ways to connect with more readers, outside of traditional marketing. You never can tell which method may have the greatest impact, so I keep trying.
Work In Progress
In less than a week, “Chasing Favors” will be released. I’ve had some great feedback from a few readers who got their hands on advanced copies, which always makes me smile. But before the book is officially available, I’m having a party. Everyone is invited!
It’s a Virtual Launch Party. Diana, my very good friend who, among a multitude of other duties, hosts the Indie Reads Aloud podcast series, persuaded me to give this a shot. She will be hosting the event.
What’s it going to entail? Well, from the comfort of your own home, you can dial in to the Zoom broadcast. I’ll be reading several scenes from the book and answering questions from the audience. Anyone can register. The more people who attend, the more prizes I’ll give away. The grand prize will be one autographed print copy of “Chasing Favors”.
So you can be poolside, with a margarita in hand, or lounging in your pjs with a glass of wine or a cup of cocoa. Whatever works for you. Registration in advance of your attendance gets your name on the prize wheel. You never know what you might win!
Meanwhile, my latest project is still demanding my attention. Whenever I have an hour or so, that story calls to me. I’ve been able to add a few new scenes and expand on others. While the progress is slower than I’d like, it reminds me of the favorite maxim from an old mentor. ‘There are times when all anyone can expect is that you do the best you can with what you have to work with, right now’.
I keep that in mind.
Earlier this month I was invited to speak on the Linderson Creations “Dear Writer” podcast. This series delves into more background and the journeys authors have taken to get their work published. Many thanks to Ashley and Sarah for the opportunity to speak with you. Here’s a link to that episode.
This month’s interview is with Leo Agonasti. Here’s a picture of what he might look like.
More than once I’ve had a reader tell me how much they enjoy certain characters from my books. Since these are all people created from my imagination, I always strive to make each one unique, with their own traits and quirks.
Leo Agonasti gets the spotlight in the new book. This is a result of comments I received after his appearance in both “Your Turn to Die” and “The Wayward Path”. Readers wanted to know more about this smooth operator. Inspiration has yet to strike me with a title for this one, but it’s sure to arrive at some point.
Instead of a mystery, this novel is more of a thriller or a crime novel. It will be set in the early 1990s, with a few flashbacks to the early 1970s, when Leo first begins working in organized crime.
Welcome, Mr. Agonasti.
There’s no need for such formalities. Please, call me Leo.
That sounds good. Can you tell us a little about your background?
I was born and raised in Dearborn, just a little west of Detroit. Mine was a blue-collar family. I did well in high school. A local businessman recognized my aptitude for a few subjects and offered me a scholarship to continue my education. I graduated, worked for a few years with an investment firm, then started my own business.
Isn’t this ‘local businessman’ you mention a gangster?
Romeo Giacalone has family members that are involved in organized crime. He’s a businessman.
Understood. Are you familiar with Detroit’s long reputation with gangsters?
(Smiles) I’m a bit of a history buff. As such, I’m well aware of some of the violent times and activities that stem from the early days of the twentieth century. Detroit can be a dangerous city. But that’s not unlike many metropolitan areas throughout the country.
You’re a successful businessman. Tell us a little about that.
My company offers financial advice to people. But we take a little different approach from the traditional operations, where the focus is on stocks and bonds. While we do offer recommendations in those matters, we also encourage investors to consider partnering with entrepreneurs to fund their business’s growth and expansion.
Sounds interesting. Is this popular?
Yes, and it has been well received. My financial advisors and I do a thorough review of the entrepreneur’s business plans before we ever consider recommending the opportunity to potential investors.
Tell us about your relationship with Maximo Aurelio:
(laughs) Max and I grew up together. We’ve always been close. He’s an honorary uncle to my two daughters and he thoroughly spoils them rotten. Max is my best friend.
Any concerns about the actions he’s been accused of?
How Max spends his time is of no concern to me. And he has never been convicted of any criminal activity.
How do you react to comments that you and your business may be linked to organized crime?
I am a successful businessman. My company has received accolades from several community organizations that we support. Through the efforts of myself and my associates, we have helped a great many entrepreneurs achieve their goals and objectives, by pairing them with people who have the funds available to make those dreams come true. Sadly, there are some people in the world who are jealous of this enterprise and as such, make unfounded accusations. These comments are unworthy of further speculation.
Thank you for your time, Leo.
It has been a pleasure speaking with you.
Frank Sinatra performed for sixty years. He got his start working with big bands like Tommy Dorsey and Harry James. Many consider him to be one of the iconic singers of the 20th Century.
In addition to his singing career, Sinatra also did a fair amount of acting. He starred in a number of hit movies, including the original Ocean’s Eleven. Sinatra was popular on a number of television shows as well.
My top five favorites:
Fly Me to the Moon: https://youtu.be/ZEcqHA7dbwM
One for My Baby: https://youtu.be/hkwdkUXQ1yo
The Way You Look Tonight: https://youtu.be/TgrvCb778kk
Come Fly with Me: https://youtu.be/SLC5AGGHLz0
Under My Skin: https://youtu.be/C1AHec7sfZ8