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Cosmic Wind

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Chasing the Cosmic Wind, released in hardcover as I write this, wouldn’t be published if not for the generosity and help received form other authors–ones like the late Harold Robbins, Jackie Collins, Mickey Spillane, Ray Bradbury, Sue Grafton, Olivia Goldsmith, and Robert Vaughn. Harold Robbins told me, “Don’t take bad advice!” He grinned mischieviously, “My secret was to write about sex, sex, and more sex, with me as the star of every book. When you write the bestseller, it won’t happen in a vacuum–so many other will have helped to make it happen. You want to give something back.”

Jackie Colins winked, giving one of her classic smiles. “Describe all the interesting characters you’ve ever known, capture them in vivid detail, but in different bodies. Let them fight among themselves and throw low blows–that’s life. Put sizzle into every word and never reveal your sources.” Mickey Spillane, one of the most gentlemanly authors I’ve ever known, made me feel like a long-lost friend. “If you want to write your best work ever, put all your money somewhere so you can’t get at it. Nothing stimulates passion like starving! Writing in the first person is hardest, but it pays the best, too! Don’t try it unless you’ve mastered it. There’s nothing worse than a botched first-person attempt.”

Ray Bradbury raised a quizzical eyebrow and said, “I’m not a writer, I’m a storyteller. Tell your story as if the audience was seated around a campfire at midnight. Haunt them with what might be lurking beyond the firelight–a glimpse of the future or another plane.” Sue Grafton, one of the funniest people around when she’s not writing wonderful mysteries, said, “Just keep writing, you’re bound to get better. Don’t stop with your first book. It took me twenty years to get the hang of it. And don’t pay any attention to rejections from agents and publishers, they rarely know a bestseller when they see it.”

Olivia Goldsmith, the epitome of determination, told me, “I was highly in debt after my divorce. My credit cards were maxed out at $40,000, but I kept on writing. My agent called one night. Said we’d been offered an advance of $300,000 for the First Wives Club. I choked, managing to say, ‘If the check will clear the bank, take it!’ Don’t give up–determination is the key! If you can stick to it, you can, too. The result is worth it.” Robert Vaughn, the Pulitzer Prize nominated author of over 300 books, is the most prolific writer I’ve ever met. He averages twenty pages a day and six novels a year. “Keep going to conferences to experiences the writing muse. When you get back home, hang onto it. There’s nothing better for writing a bestseller.” Robert Vaughn and I were seated next to each other autographing our novels. He placed my novel on the table in front of him during the entire signing, directing people in his line to read it. After the signing, I thanked him. I’d never seen such class.

Whenever I attend conferences, I can feel the writer’s muse Robert spoke about, but I also feel something similar when I enter a bookstore–what to me is the hall of dreams? No longer am I inclined to just pull a book off the shelf simply becuase I’ve heard of it. I yearn for more than hype, seeking a fresh blend of writing that breaks the mold formula plots–a book that takes risks with style and content. Innovative writing is ocntagious and spills over to other authors–a wonderful discovery.

Any author lucky enough to break through the publishing “wall of no” knows the thrill of holding his first book. Like Harold Robbins said, it doesn’t happen without others. So many top-selling writers, ones you’d expect to be distant, openly share their valuable insights and help authors to achieve their dreams. In regard to dreams, the actor Kevin Costner said it best. “When you’re flying with your dreams and trouble begins, jettison everything you have, but hang on to your dreams. Dreams are the last thing you should ever throw overboard. And when you ditch in the ocean adn everything looks lost, grab anything afloat, and write on it ‘dreams’!”

I’d like to hear your comments at my website http://www.gregsheltonbooks.com or e-mail Vogarr@aol.com–I answer all my letters personally. Good luck with your reading, writing, and especially, Chasing your own Cosmic Wind! See you at the bookstore.

Brewed by: Greg Shelton

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