Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump in the Whitehouse and Indie Authors

So what's it mean to have tyrannical Trump in the Whitehouse for all of us indie authors trying to push our books north and south of the borders? Will he really follow through with his threats and break down NAFTA? Does that even matter to an indie author? Could it? What does Free Trade mean for an indie or self-published author? Let's lay it out. I'm Canadian, but I use Createspace to build out my books, print them, and it's where I order them from. Createspace is an American company. So what? How does Free Trade affect me? Am I going to pay more for shipping? No. At least I hope not! I ordered 25 books the other day and the shipping more then doubled the cost and then I had to pay the courier for the border BS. I'm rethinking the whole thing now. But what does Trump promising to stomp on NAFTA mean for me?

Is it all fear mongering? Surely that's how he won the election. But his fear mongering has divided the people of the United States. If you're going to use fear mongering; let's put everyone behind a single cause: the environment. This is something to fear. But now the self proclaimed climate change denier is going to ramp up manufacturing and fracking and drilling and just fuck the whole country up while putting a few dollars in the average American's pockets, and filling swimming pools with money for the elite. Not sure how I got onto this rant, but there it is. I hope I've answered the question. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Should a Picture Book Teach About the Apocalypse?

Books have a responsibility to teach. That's all this is. It's a tool.
Is the dichotomy too much? A picture book.... about the end of the world... it's teaching consequence...

There are consequences to mistreating the environment, and children need to be taught that. I know they hear about it at school and learn which leaves are which, and that frogs eat bugs, and bees are important pollinators, but that's just stating the obvious. What about opening the class with - What if there were no more frogs or bees or trees? How about that for an entrance? Then you explain the negative effects of losing trees like: no more oxygen, or if the bee's disappear: no more fruits and vegetables. Lead with the frightening possibilities of a world without, and then get into how to make sure none of that stuff ever happens.

Get them interested in sustainable living at an early age, because if they don't practice it... scary shit's going to happen. I don't have a problem with scaring them straight on environmental awareness. It's for their own good - for everyone and everything's good who enjoy breathing oxygen and drinking fresh water.

An Angry Earth is the first of its kind to teach about an apocalyptic end via a picture book. It gives the worst case scenario. It also does so with graphic pen and ink illustrations. The author/illustrator is not going to offer a rainbow of colours to keep your attention, no. He's offering you a chance to understand the consequences of your actions or inactions where our environment is concerned. So pick up a copy and read through it. If you want your kids to read it, give it to them. If nothing else, it will make them think, and maybe even ask you questions about what they can do to prevent an apocalyptic end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Writing with metaphor - Writing Style

Writing metaphorically is a style of story-telling which resonates with people. From the ancient world turtle story right through to modern day narratives, the metaphor has contributed deeper meaning and depth to our stories.

Many metaphorical tales have been borrowed from one generation to the next – updating the content - but maintaining the metaphor, in order to tell a similar story. The world turtle, for example, can be seen today in the new picture book, *An Angry Earth. The world turtle; based in the ancient Hindu belief that the world rode upon the back of a giant turtle could easily be seen as a metaphor that the Earth was alive. An Angry Earth then goes on to tell the story of a planet which had been abused by its people, poisoned and polluted until it had had enough, and sent earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and drought to its people. The metaphor remains the same – the earth is alive - yet the story changes to reflect a modern day problem.
Writing in metaphor is a powerful way to embed an idea or emotion in the reader. It offers real-world drama to its audience, while forcing their minds to work on that metaphorical level of understanding which has been with us since the beginning; since we began telling stories to each other.

If nothing else, metaphors add an interesting element to the act of story-telling and should not be overlooked in any genre for their powerful ability to build depth and interest into any tale.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Goodreads Contest for Environmental Picture Book

Goodreads Book Giveaway

An Angry Earth by Michael Poeltl

An Angry Earth

by Michael Poeltl

Giveaway ends October 31, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
Experience the latest in environmental awareness. The Blunt, tell it like it is and don't sugar coat what will happen if we don't stop polluting our planet picture book with pen and ink illustrations. Have a look. Join the giveaway.

The World Turtle is Dying - A New Take on an Old Myth - Writing Life

An Angry Earth, the latest book by author and illustrator Michael Poeltl (pronounced pur-tel – Yes, sounds just like: turtle) is a picture book which borrows from the myth of the world turtle. This story has several origins, touching multiple continents, but perhaps the best known is the Hindu telling of the gigantic turtle who supports the world on its shell.

Poeltl borrows the myth in order to get his point across – that the world is alive. Just as a living, breathing turtle carrying the world upon its shell, the earth too is alive, and the turtle acts as the metaphor.

Poeltl goes on to briefly explain how the world is alive and functions as a single entity supporting multiple species which each plays its role in sustaining the delicate balance the earth has created for us all.
So, the question he asks the reader is; “if you could not swim, would you kill the turtle whose back you lived on to live more comfortably?”.  Seems a no-brainer, right? Why would you kill the very thing which sustains you? And so, with a rather graphic illustration he captures the ugly side of man essentially sawing the head off a turtle.

Of course anyone can see the metaphor here; as intended. Poeltl is bringing our attention to the theft of our earth’s natural resources, the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting pollution which is choking the very life out of our delicate ecosystem.
So the answer is, Yes. Would we kill the turtle (the Earth) to further our greed? Absolutely, Yes! And climate change is our proof. Of course the Pacific plastic patch is an excellent reminder as well. Our disappearing rain forests. Our decimated coral reefs. There are numerous examples of man’s footprint on this earth, and with so many being negative, Poeltl decided to bring the story back in a picture book which is illustrated in pen and ink to depict the violent end which awaits us all if we continue on our path of self-destruction in the name of greed.

This cool for kids and parents’ rendition of a ‘tell it like it is’ environmentally-friendly story will offer a blunt and no-holds barred example of what happens when the earth says: “ENOUGH.”

Whether you read it to your kids or just keep it for yourself, it is sure to leave an impression. Poeltl takes the scared straight approach with An Angry Earth and says: “if a few kids get upset by it, maybe those kids will pick up the trash others are throwing down in an effort to reduce the damage we’re doing to Mother Earth. Maybe then the Earth won’t hate them.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

An Environmentally Charged Picture Book for the Apocalypse?

Is it okay to talk about the environment? Are we all on the same side on this issue? Do we all accept that humanity’s’ role in climate change is indisputable? The truth is we’re not all on the same page and that can be attributed to lack of education or ignorance or both. Whatever the reason, whichever argument you support, it won’t change the end we’re spiraling towards. Not if you don’t change.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. That logic applies to climate change as well. We managed to alter the planet’s CO2 content, and that didn’t happen overnight. We managed to poison rivers and lakes and uproot our rain forests. All of that began with a single step. A step in the wrong direction.  One fueled by greed. We’ve made the mess we’re in, and we can clean it up. We have the technologies. We have the will. What happened to the survival instinct? Do you really believe money is the key to survival? Air and water are our keys to survival and we’ve poisoned both. We continue to poison them through oil and gas line ruptures all over the world, dumping toxins into our soil, oceans and fresh water. How, if we have any interest in surviving as a species, can we allow this to continue when there are alternatives to fossil fuels?

Re-training the industries which are destroying our ability to live on this planet is key. Jobs are necessary. People can be re-trained in sustainable energy manufacturing. Life needn’t change, only perspectives and education. It’s not too late, or maybe it is. Maybe we should resign ourselves to accept our fate.

Books like An Angry Earth give children and parent’s alike a taste of what’s to come if we continue on this path of deliberate destruction. An Angry Earth is a tale which ends in tragedy on a global scale. Learn from it and teach your children that if they continue to pollute the planet as their fathers and grandfather’s and great grandfather’s have, their children will not grow up. Teach them to live sustainably. To pick up litter. To recycle. To compost. Teach them to garden. The more involved they are with nature, the better they will understand why She is worth saving. For Her, for the animals and the insects, and for us.

An Angry Earth tells it like it is. And it tells it with tastefully illustrated pages which makes the book cool for kids and adults alike. There is currently a Trailer for the book available now, and the book itself can be purchased via Amazon.

Also find the author on Goodreads.



Friday, September 2, 2016

A Picture Book about Ignorance and the Apocalypse - For Kids!

So this is happening: A picture book for kids featuring the consequences of  their actions against the earth - of all of our actions. It's not going to be colourful and cheery. it's going to be dark and brooding. It's going to be what will happen if we don't change the way we're treating Mother earth. I say scare them into change. our generation has taken and taken, and I see the same pattern in our children. They litter without thought. They are not being taught how to be kind to the earth and if they are they don't care. The book starts like this:

 There was a time when humanity believed the world rode upon the back of a giant turtle who swam through the constellations. A metaphor which suggested the world was alive - and it is alive. Each species has its role in sustaining our delicate eco-system. You included. You, the most advanced of all life on earth.
You; who Mother earth has entrusted with her welfare. You.
But what happens when you use Mother earth and plunder her natural resources, poisoning her rivers and oceans with chemicals and plastics, clear cutting ancient forests and dumping carbon monoxide into the atmosphere? Are you always asking for more and giving nothing in return?
Would you kill the turtle whose back you lived on to live more comfortably if you could not swim? There are consequences to your actions and inactions, and this story illustrates what happens when the earth says: ENOUGH!

Stay with me as I finish this book and within the month there ought to be an announcement for advanced purchasing opportunities.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Reading at its Finest - Short Stories

Looking for that perfect read, be it at the beach, poolside, in the park under a shady oak or even on your commute? Short stories have you covered. Instant gratification while your sunbathing with your SPF 100. In an hour or within minutes, you could have lived an entire reality, been enchanted by an idea or fallen in love with a quote. Short stories are packed with prose and purpose. Because of their length, they replace the heavy descriptions of a novel with condensed scenes crafted to tell the same story with more umpf! If you appreciate less drivel and more drama, then you will find it in a short story. This includes flash fiction as well. Even Hemingway admitted the story he'd written which he'd loved the most was one sentence in length. "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." You live a lifetime of grief in this six word novel, but you also realize the parents have overcome their loss and moved on. It is an extreme example of a short story/flash fiction piece, but you understand what happened - and are given a beginning, middle and ending.

There is a lot of thought put into shorts in order to simplify, understanding they are not summaries of a larger work, they function as their own stories, created for the genre.

You can purchase short stories on their own or you can find compilations such as Waning Metaphorically which encompass several stories in multiple genres by one author. There are books of shorts with multiple authors as well available.

Don't let your summer escape without experiencing as many stories as possible. Look into short stories and squeeze a little more enjoyment out of your lazy summer days.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Reviews: Your Opinion Matters

Every author loves a review. That's a fact. Good, bad, ugly, awesome, they all count towards the fact that someone read their work. Sure an ugly review isn't a joy to read like a five star would be, but an author usually has a pretty thick skin by the time a book is published, whether independently or traditionally. Why? Well, we go through a lot of rejection internally; edit after edit. But we also see rejection via the publishing process. First there is the hope that this one will get noticed by an agent or publishing house and 'it will happen'! That is a rarity. So you add the rejection letters to your pile and decide to go it alone.

Now - after adding your book to Createspace and amazon kdp - you have self-published and need to get the word out. That's another blog altogether...

So now you've marketed yourself to the best of your knowledge, and if you're lucky you can spend a few hundred dollars on advertising through other blogs and social media. Whatever the outcome, people have some idea you have written something.

Now you plead and beg and offer freebies for honest reviews. That will take time. That will likely peter out within a few weeks and you may have managed 5-10 reviews via favours and freebies. Beyond this exercise, it is my experience that roughly 1-2% of readers actually bother to review a book. And of that 2%, 50% is not going to be glowing.

Now, on to the reader/reviewer. Authors love you unconditionally. You read our book. You might have even paid the $0.99 we discounted the ebook at to boost awareness and sales, but you read it and that is paramount.

Did you love it or hate it? If you loved it our marketing paid off and you picked up the book because the genre is your fav and  the book descriptions were spot on. If you hated it then we've either disappointed our target audience (which is rare - this usually results in a 2-3 star rating with explanation), or you don't like the genre and picked up the book to what: torture yourself? 1 star ratings are usually that.  I would never read a book that didn't interest me from the get-go. If the description tells you: "She enters a psychiatric hospital" and you have an aversion to reading about mental health issues; you don't buy the book. You don't take a free copy. You won't like it. So there can be unfair reviews. Be mindful of the books you read, and if you realize it's not the book for you, ask yourself if it's fair to rate or review it. As thick a skin as an author may have, they are still human, and feel pain. 1 star reviews are painful. I've seen more replies to hateful reviews that argue the reviewer shouldn't have bothered reading a book they knew they would hate. Negativity for the sake of negativity actually irritates other reviewers and potential readers.

That being said, even bad publicity is publicity. Even lousy reviews can prompt sales. It's weird but true. So all I'm saying is, if you read the jacket of the book and are unsure if it is right for you and read it anyways, don't blame the author or the genre they are catering to and leave a scathing review. They didn't 'trick' you into reading it, and you could have stopped at any time. Be kind, and if you can, be helpful. Remember, the reviewer is an important part of an author's life; you have the power to  build a writer up and even help steer them in their pursuits, but you can also help tear them down. Honest reviews are important, but if you hated a book because it's not something you would normally read, maybe skip the review and rating, and save your energy for something positive.

Happy reading and reviewing!

Michael Poeltl's newest book of Multi-genre Short Stories has received 4.3/5 stars.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Finished Trilogy to Read

Looking for a completed trilogy to entertain yourself over the next few weeks? Maybe you only need days to consume a full trilogy, but regardless of how quickly you read, and perhaps because of how quickly, a completed trilogy is always a welcome sight to the veracious reader.

Why wait a year in-between books of a series when there are quality reads like The Judas Syndrome Trilogy available for your Minds eye right now!? This trilogy is rooted in classic Apocalyptic fiction: no zombies, no aliens, no plants devouring your young. This is a tale that breeches generations and is born of an apocalyptic event which finds fourteen teenagers on the cusp of entering college caught up in the aftermath.

It is a tale which develops lead characters and is told in first person. Each of the books features a different lead character as the first person narrative, yet strings some of the characters along for the full trilogy.

The Judas Syndrome is a fascinating look at what a group of teens might do in the face of a worldwide nuclear attack, and what those they stumble upon will do to survive.

The trilogy features a wide array of characters and there is no shortage of in-fighting, even amongst these 'friends'. But as the author quotes: "It's the end of the world, will you know who your friends are?"  

Find the books on Amazon in both printed and ebook formats. Start your summer off with a 'BANG' and get to know Joel, Sara and Leif through the intimate story-telling that is first person narrative.

The entire ebook library of the trilogy is just $7.97

The books have also been consolidated into a single tome in paperback only for only $22.00.

Remember, and author always appreciates a well thought out review. Find Poeltl on Goodreads as well.

On Facebook? Find Poeltl there too.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Creating author book quote graphics

This is where it all began for me in 2009. My first book which inspired a trilogy and from there I have been writing non-stop. With now eight books published ranging from Apocalyptic to children's literature, I have enjoyed bringing my stories to a varied audience.

This sort of  marketing I have found to be very useful in giving potential readers visuals  accompanied by quotes from the books in order to arouse interest. I have seen them work time and time again and will continue to market my books in this manner.

Michael Poeltl