Hello Letter Writers,
Hello Letter Writers,
Last year, I discovered A.M. Hounchell on Twitter, read a book of his in one sitting, and did a review the very same day. We became fast friends that still have never met in person. But, it was clear to me even then that he could write. I got him to compose some letters for Letters Never Meant to be Read Volume II, and somehow we decided it was a good idea to start a separate book together as well.
“Ever play chess by mail?” I asked him last summer. How old of me and super nerdy. He is at least a decade younger than me and has known no world without cell phones.
“That’s what we’re going to do, I have a few ideas,” and I laid out the groundwork for our then unknown collaboration.
We erected the skeleton for a story idea, a good and twisted plot full of holes, and the promise of a great journey. I wrote, sent, and waited. He wrote, sent, and waited…
I sent him the first chapter which included two scenes last July. He sent me something back. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting at the time, but what I got was crazy.
There, Quintessential Reality was born, and Shelly’s life was in our hands. Can two men write as one woman? We never doubted that, just where we were going. We actually wrote for Shelly in both 3rd and 1st person point of view. Hard to talk about, super fun to do.
I honestly feel better writing for a female protagonist and have done so on many occasions in Short Stories to Tell Your Boss. Sure, I grew up with a house full of girls and now live in the same manner as the minority sex, but does that make me some kind of expert? No. Easy to say, harder to prove.
I can admit that women provide me a great mystery of character, like a warm puzzle you never quite get, but you still try. When I was a little boy, I would pull on curling irons that were hot and ready to go on the bathroom sink. They were marvelous and I was curious. I have the scars to prove it. That kind of mystery, I did it again on the page.
Writing as a woman is both liberating and challenging. Also, the manuscript was combed by kind and brutal female beta readers, so neither one of us could play the fool.
Here is the book description and result of our dark and wonderful collaboration lest I give away any spoilers:
Shelly’s life is perfect by any conventional sense. She has a loving husband, two children, a great house, and her career as a real estate agent is really taking off. Just as her daughter’s sweet sixteen birthday party is in the works, Shelly’s life begins to unravel. She starts to realize that in suburban America, life choices are less about what you want, and more about the cards you are dealt. Mental illness is only half of her dark and twisted Quintessential Reality.
After each incident, Shelly confides with the reader, telling her true feelings about what is really going on.
She’ll have to battle her inner and outer demons to find her true self– buried deep below the rubble.
Her options are to Dig or Suffocate.
That’s right, folks. The ENTIRE Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. catalog will boast FREE Amazon Kindle Versions from Tuesday-Saturday. (4/17-4/21)
See which FREE KINDLE book suits your fancy from our Amazing Authors by clicking the links below:
Don’t Forget About Our Letters Contest!
Always accepting submissions.
We Dare You…
Rusty Wheels Media is proud to announce the bi-annual Letter Writing Submission Contest!
Have you ever wanted to write a letter to that guy or gal you brushed up against on the train? How about that lost love or the friend that did you wrong? The family member who never really saw you? The teacher or boss who declined to see your worth? What about the person you wished you had thanked? These are letters that the writers had no intention of ever mailing, snail or otherwise.
This collection of salty rants and unspoken melodies has been curated for the entire world to marvel upon. What was an exercise of the utmost fruition has turned into something very real and offers a hard glimpse into the perspective and time of the letter writer. Writing your letter can be cathartic and freeing.
All letters should tell a story. They can be heartfelt, sarcastic, funny, angry, or revenge in words. Expressions to the world or wondering what could have been can be healthy. So roll that sacred parchment in an airtight bottle and send it out to sea or burn it over the mantle. Wait…
Send it to us!
Submissions: April 1st-May 5th 2018
1st Place: $200
2nd Place: $100
3rd Place: $50
Top 10: Contract for use in Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume III
Multiple submissions ARE allowed.
3 RWM judges will be ruling on these submissions.
+ Profit Sharing for 3+ Letters or More (Percentage of Letters that make it into the next publication= Royalty Percentage by contract PLUS a by line). Of Course, Letters can be anonymous upon publication.
Send Letters to: RustyWheelsMedia@gmail.com Subject Line: Letters Contest
Rusty Wheels Media, LLC
PO Box 1692
Rome, GA 30162
When a certain Army and college buddy comes to call, I always answer. Daniel Klein and I have known each other for a decade and have gone back and forth with business and sound advice that have been mutually beneficial.
Over the years, both of us have had our share of ventures, harebrained schemes, and ideas come to fruition. His wife could recount at least a half dozen business ventures that we cooked up, feeding off each other’s creativity.
Although our ultimate business models are not the same, our paths have crossed and will continue to cross in the years and projects to come. I have learned that not all business partners need to share the same passions. They can cross tracks when warranted and be just fine. After all, forcing the issue with business has its time and place with B2B collaboration.
The making of The Forge: Certified Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Program Workbook can account for one of these fantastic collaborations.
This brings me to my first glorious summer as a teacher. I had big plans. The 2nd Letters Book was in full motion and I was dabbling with my YouTube channel. I had a backlog of story ideas and all the time in the world…or so I thought…
Daniel called and I answered. I knew that he had a side business developing Six Sigma Courses that he built with The Forge. He told me he had a manuscript that would be ready soon. He knew that I was crafting an independent publishing machine that could handle such a project, and we were off.
“I’m not going to be able to edit the math…” I remember saying this to him over the phone and he agreed. 🙂 Toward the end of the summer, I received the finished manuscript that would soon turn into a full-fledged textbook.
Creating a textbook for Daniel’s Six Sigma Course was important. Not only does it give you clout in your industry, a textbook can also provide another source of revenue. On top of that, a textbook will give you a permanent business card and something to fall back on should your business change or you go in another direction. It should be the backbone of any training platform, and Daniel knew this.
Books are a legacy. They can reel in new clients who are unsure about taking the plunge with your company, or offer that college or university an incentive to seek out your instructors. They can even buy your textbook for their classes.
So, what did I know about Six Sigma Green Belt Certification before I took up this project? Not much. My experience with lean operations or lean anything was intuitive, not formed by doctrine. Some Six Sigma principles can be seen in the Army, but we usually find a way to muddy the waters by adding bureaucratic layers.
The truth is, I was a novice about the subject matter and only learned what I was doing right and wrong after reading the book for the thirtieth or so time. I learned a lot just from reading the book.
What I do have an eye for is good writing and how to take a project and all its pieces to that final stretch. I also know how to take a manuscript, any manuscript, and bring it to market. Lucky for me, that was my job.
For all you editors out there, I kindly recommend that you branch out your skills and edit a non-fiction book once in a while if your main clientele is sci-fi, for example. Or, if you write fiction for a living, edit business books and the occasional fiction just to keep your mind fresh.
I found that I could only edit this book for two hours at a time. The subject matter was fine and it was only painful before I realized what my work schedule needed to be on this project. After that, I was fresh and willing to put the time in and get it right. I had a routine for editing this book, and that was important.
Layout. Well, after my second publication, Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common, I thought I had all the tools necessary to layout a book, any book. Seriously, a 8×10 poetry book with full-page illustrations was NOT easy, but I learned so much that I thought I could tackle anything.
Anything, that is, until a Six Sigma Textbook came along. Needless to say, we pushed through and a book went to market. The gritty details were all a learning experience as my skills were tested. Throughout this layout process, I learned so much and had fun. I am confident that any project that comes at me now will be a piece of cake after the last performance.
Shouldn’t have said that…But in all seriousness, I do recommend getting really comfortable with Microsoft Word and Adobe InDesign. Special thanks to my buddy Glenn at Sarcopress for helping me through a bind… or two…
The finished product represents hard work and dedication for all involved. To bring something from an idea to a tangible product is something that gives me great joy, even if it’s not mine.
I do recommend this book and these courses for anyone that wants to get a leg up with this Lean Six Sigma training platform.
With The Forge’s flexible, live interactive online class, you can gain essential Green Belt online training, as well as Lean and Six Sigma skills at your convenience to improve your company’s standing – and your own – in the business world.
The textbook is a great solution for anyone that needs the down and dirty version of the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. Most textbooks on this subject are just painful to read but we made sure this one is not difficult for the beginner.
For all you editors and indie publishers out there, I recommend you branch out your catalog and your skill set. That way, when an old friend comes to call, YOU can say YES to a new project and get your feet wet for a change.
We created this body of knowledge to take someone with zero knowledge of the concepts of Lean Six Sigma and bring them to a level where they could confidently pass a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt exam. Our goal for the readers is to get them ready to certify as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Whether it be as a student or independent reader, this book will be a key part of your preparation for certification. This book includes an introduction to tools and techniques that you may not have encountered yet in practice.
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That’s right, folks. The ENTIRE Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. catalog will boast FREE Amazon Kindle Versions from Thursday-Monday.
This is in a knee-jerk reaction to our new book Letters Never Meant to be Read: Volume II which is out now.
See which FREE KINDLE book suits your fancy from our Amazing Authors by clicking the links below:
Our NEWEST BOOK is Free with Kindle Unlimited:
I am thrilled to know that a fan is using Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss for their upcoming book club. On a previous post: A Day in the Life and the Premier of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss, I received the question: “I am looking for book club discussion questions for Worked Stiff: Short Stories to tell Your Boss. Help, please!”
Certainly the highlight of my day, this question is what makes all the time, worry, and editing worthwhile. I do believe that this salty collection is a great pick for a book club because there is something in those pages for everyone. The collection contains romance, horror, adventure, superstition, robots, jam jars, glances at the future, and friendship. Stories are both long and short. The Audible version will be out soon, from Pamela Hershey, the voice of Letters Never Meant to be Read.
If you find a story just doesn’t jive with you, skip it for later and see if the next one resonates. The Nail is my personal favorite. There are many characters and each story is so different. Feel free to let me know which ones you’d like to see more of.
The collection starts with a breast cancer survivor who finds new life and revenge in ocean and sand. The collection then veers off to Instance of Death where a man goes on a Voodoo trip to New Orleans in order to die after his life goes off the rails. This is one story that I would love to see as a movie. Many stories follow, short and long, all with common themes, one of them the plight of the working class and the consequences of debt. Not all are sad nor happy, not all contain revenge.
Something for everyone.
It all started last fall when I was underemployed. Isn’t that how all mischief starts? I feverishly wrote before the light of day. I tested live on the phone to unsuspecting victims. I was posting these and other stories on my blog.
Without further ado, below are 10 book club discussion questions. Thank you Joan R. Reese. Feel free to send an email with your address to email@example.com and I will send you a signed copy of the paperback version!
Book Club Discussion Questions for Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss
1. What were the themes of the book? Were they brought to life in a unique way?
2. Has anything ever happened to you similar to what happened in the book? How did you react?
3. What surprised you the most about the book?
4. Do you have a favorite story in the collection? Why?
5. Was there one story you didn’t want to end or think should be a novel by itself?
6. Were there any particular quotes that stood out to you? Why?
7. What did you think of the structure and style of the author’s writing?
8. Did one Point of View/Narration style work better than others?
8. Have you read other books by this author?
9. Did your opinion of the book change as you read it? How?
10. Did the author shed light on the problems and joys concerning everyday people in an entertaining way?
The deadline for Letters Never Meant to be Read Volume II is upon us and I thought it might be good to open the dialogue for those of you out there who are ready to take the plunge.
Don’t be afraid, if you get in your letters a little past the deadline but before final layout, it may still make it in this edition. If not, I will be publishing many, many more of these books in the future. We are always accepting submissions…
Letters for this series can be to anybody, even yourself if the need be. In that effort, I have created the following Top 10 Tips for Writing Your Own Letters Never Meant to be Read.
10. Think of your favorite Government or Private entity
Come on, we’ve all got that favorite line that we have to stand in or please hold music we enjoy. Take a shot across the bow to that DMV office or customer service representative. Tell them you want to speak with their manager. Put them on hold for once and write your letter.
9. We all get Ripped Off
Ok, so it happens. Swindlers and confidence people are out there to get you, and sometimes, you cave and lose. Feel like you’ve been done wrong? Cheated? Get your revenge in words, write them a letter!
8. Think fondly on that Unrequited Love
Wonder what could have been? Wish you found those words years ago? Want to speak the truth? That man you met at that restaurant in Madrid waits for your words. Write a letter to your true, unrequited lover.
7. Go to a Cemetery
A little creepy for some, but I happen to live by one. This often provides countless hours and pages on what could have been. Find your own family plot, or even better, someone else’s family plot. Write letters, don’t take your thoughts to the grave.
6. Think Outside the Box
A letter to the owner of that hotel that gave you bedbugs? How about a letter to a broken, public toilet? Your stubborn uni-brow hair? That fish you caught and let go or ate? The ideas and words are endless.
5. Write a Letter for Someone Else to Someone Else
Seen atrocity in your time? Want to do something about it? Have a friend that is cheating on another friend? You can easily disengage your own feelings and put yourself in another person’s shoes. Go ahead, practice true empathy.
4. For Your Younger Self to Open
Think of a letter that you wished you could send back in time to your younger self. Examine the hard truths and fun lessons you’ve learned along the way. Date it: Open by ______ ____ if that helps.
3. Think about all the Money
Yes, you could make money just by getting things off your chest. This provides a wholesome way to air your grievances anonymously while making a little side cash. Rusty Wheels Media, LLC. pays generous royalties by contract to writers who contribute three or more letters in the collection.
2. Dance More, Worry Less.
Music can really get the juices flowing when it comes to writing letters. Blast your favorite oldies or modern hip-hop right into the next room. Dance to your heart’s desire while dictating letters to your personal assistant.
1. Keep Your Thoughts Organized
Letters should tell a story and be complete, nothing left on the table (or under). Grab those gems from under the rug and hold them in the light. Describe them, feel them, make others understand. To do that, you must be clear and concise. Go crazy if the need be, but make it a planned crazy. One way to plan your letters is to jot down the key points you want to address, leaving room on the page for your interwoven thoughts and transitions. Go on the journey yourself and take others along with the finished product, a letter I’m sure you’ll be proud of.
Happy Writing and We Look Forward to Hearing From You!
Don’t worry folks, just a little walk around the yard and me mumbling to myself. Don’t fear, I will still spend some time typing away for your enjoyment. I have several books that I am working on right now for fall release.
With the Audiobook production of Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss and Letters Never Meant to be Read underway, I noticed that I did not receive as many auditions as I had on my previous Audiobook projects on ACX.
For these projects, I was calling for female voice actors to perform these books. In the past, the projects called for male voices. I was able to get enough auditions on my previous book projects to pick and choose a little and really find the right male voice.
Modern Waste received 26 auditions for royalty split, and nonfiction offering Where Did You Go?: A 20th Century Guide to Finding Yourself Again by Andrew Brechko got 40 plus. Worked Stiff: Short Stories to Tell Your Boss and Letters Never Meant to be Read got only 1 (WS still open) and 6, respectively. Still, with the 6 for Letters, I was still able to find one great audition from Pamela Hershey, who seems to be new to the platform. The book is in production as I speak and will be ready for sale on Audible in a month or two.
This made me wonder just how many women verses men their are producing Audiobooks on ACX? Turns out, my observation was correct.
Male Producers (English)- 30881
Female Producers (English)- 24648
That is only a 56% to 44% difference you say? Well, with thousands of titles going into production every day, along with some lengthy production times, 6000+ more males than female actors can certainly mean less female auditions for your projects.
For the indie writer and publisher, this can mean less choice in who does your book.