Agile Writer Ken Hubona Does it Again: Shades Released!

David Quinn isn’t about to get drafted into the Army. Let someone else slog around the jungle to fight Lyndon Johnson’s war. But his student deferment is about to run out, and the Navy and Air Force recruiters are already swamped with panicked college boys in the same pickle. He can’t run to Canada. That would kill his dad. And getting a conscientious-objector deferment practically requires being a priest. So when a recruiter shows up on campus pitching the sizzle of naval aviation, Dave is seduced by the golden wings, ultra-cool aviator shades, and the promise of a jumbo jet career as a Pan Am captain. It is both his way out and the glamorous career he deserves.

 

But he lands in a remote outpost, where he struggles against a demanding superior, aging aircraft, and his own fears. When his dogged ambition inflicts devastation, he has to face the kind of man he has become, profiting from war while others suffer. Now, he must make an agonizing choice.

 

SHADES is a story of ambition and friendship, sacrifice and loss, and ultimately, discovery and hope. In the worst of times we find the best in ourselves.

 

Author Bio:
Ken Hubona earned his Navy wings in 1969. Stationed in the Philippines, he deployed to bases throughout the Far East, including Da Nang and Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam, and logged carrier landings aboard the USS Constellation, USS America, and USS Shangri La. This novel was inspired by that experience. He now lives and writes in suburban Richmond, Virginia.

 

Get the Paperback or Kindle at Amazon.com.

 

Public Library Shuns Writer

From Publishers’ Weekly:

“YA author Julia Watts has been removed from the slate of authors participating in LitUp, a teen literary festival sponsored by the Knox County (Tenn.) Public Library that was inspired by a teen book festival of the same name launched last year in the Kansas City area. Knoxville’s inaugural LitUp festival is scheduled to take place on October 13 with a full day of programming, including appearances by 10 YA authors, a mix of regional and national names.

“According to Watts, a local indie bookseller who is involved in the LitUp festival’s planning65133-v1-245x asked her in July to be one of its featured authors. “My name and photo went up on the website,” she said. Last Friday, however, that same bookseller called Watts to tell her that she was no longer slated to appear, as, after Googling her name, a member of the organizing committee had expressed concerns that she has also written erotica.”

I’ve seen this before. When a public organization or non-profit decides they don’t like what an author has written, they withdraw support. In this case, Julia Watts is in every way a “legitimate” writer. While she’s written erotica (which is essentially pornography in print), she was not presenting that content. She was presenting her traditionally published YA/LGBTQ fiction.

This is a case of confusing the author and the art. There is no law against writing pornography. Generally speaking there is a difference between erotic romance and erotica.

While I don’t allow erotica in my workshops (I tell the writers no worse than “R-rated” content, please), I have never turned an author away for their content. I wonder if this library would have turned Shel Silversteen away for writing for Playboy? I certainly think not.

Shunning authors for any reason is unacceptable. Content does not maketh the man*. If an author has a catalog that includes works that are essentially illegal, that is one thing. But shunning an author for artistic expression is the worst form of censorship.

Read More at Pubisher’s Weekly

* I hope you will forgive my appropriation of the cliche and its associated gender bias.

Some Definitions

“Erotic romance, according to a definition from the Romance Writers of America, refers to “novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth, and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline.”

“And erotica? “Erotica is just people doing it,” says Cordelia Logan, who has written 19 stories under five pen names and is beginning to focus on BDSM. (To maintain privacy, she declined to reveal her pseudonyms.) “[Characters] are having sex in interesting ways and with interesting people,” she says. “There’s not a lot of character development. The plot revolves around how these people are going to do it, and what’s getting in the way.”

From Publisher’s Weekly

Good vs. Bad book? Don’t Judge

(loudandcleargraphics.co.uk)

K.M. Weiland is an excellent resource for writers of all types. Her website Helping Writers Become Authors should be on everyone’s short list of helpful websites. Also, her books on writing are excellent and merge well with Agile Writer theory. But, in a recent site article by Katherine Marsh entitled “Why Do So Many Bad Books Sell on Amazon?” steps over the line from advice to judgement. Let me explain.

In the article Marsh explains that Amazon has started promoting eBooks that are newer – like only 30 days old. This has allowed ‘ghost writers’ to churn out new stories using a template from a previous book (replace princess with enchantress, replace castle with mansion, etc…). Thus, these writers are producing a book a month and getting (presumably) good sales.

What Ms. Marsh argues is that this promotes ‘bad books’. At Agile Writers the definition of success is getting your book into the hands of readers who want them. If readers are buying these copycats, then they are probably satisfied. Otherwise, they’d return them (you *can* return eBooks, you know). Therefore, these are not bad books. They are finding a home with people who crave the same plot lines with different characters and locations. The Romance genre is rife with this sort of churning.

And that’s, Okay.

It’s the responsibility of the author to work the system – to play the game – to get their work into the hands of readers who want to read it. Knowing how the game is played and then playing the game well does that.

Ms. Marsh goes on to lay out a plan to deliver *good* books (in her estimation) by splitting a novel into segments that are released every 30 days. This is a brilliant strategy the uses the Amazon system to the author’s benefit. There is no need to qualify ‘good’ vs. ‘bad.’

The READER determines what is good or bad, not the author – and not the algorithms at Amazon nor the publishers in the ivory towers of the Big Four publishing houses.

I heartily recommend Ms. Marsh’s article because it lays out the information you’ll need to get your book in front of more readers’ eyes.

However, this should be only one arrow in your quiver of promotional tools. Remember – Amazon is a *destination* site. People go there because THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR. Impulse buys on Amazon are far less likely than in a bricks-and-mortar store like Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. People go to bookstores, newsstands, drug stores, and others without knowing precisely what book they want – if any.

But because the self-published author doesn’t have the advantage of in-store sales, we have to rely on self-promotion. And by self-promotion I mean social media and search advertising.

Learn the rules of the game. Then play the game well. The definition of a ‘good book’ is one that finds its reader. Make sure your book finds its home in the hands of the reader waiting for it.

Is Agile Writers a Good Value?

A nearby writer’s group is offering the following:

Category Local MFA Offering Agile Writers
Instructor: MFA Grad/Novelist Agile Writer Coach
Price $1,399 $160 ($5/week)
Entry Requirements 10-page sample None.
Start Date September 9, 2019 Any time you’re ready
Class Size Limit 10 students Limited by Space
Length of Program 39 weeks
(9 months)
32 weeks
(6 weeks Storyboarding + 26 weeks writing / critque)
Meeting Frequency 1-2x per month Every Week
Number of Mtgs 13 32
Time with Coach 30 minutes 6+ weeks Agile Storyboarding
Critique Style Individual Study Groups of 3 Critique Partners
Number of Critiques 2 (from teacher and peers) 32 (6 from Agile Coach on Storyboard, 26 from peers)
Total Hours In Class 13*3 = 39hrs 32*2 = 64hrs
Cost / Hour $1399/39hrs = $35.87/hr $160/64hrs = $2.5/hr

Agile Writer Ken Hubona Publishes First Novel “Brewing Justice”

Agile Writers’ Ken Hubona has published his debut novel, Brewing Justice. Ken came to Agile Writers in 2014 to convert a work-in-progress screenplay to a novel format. Since then Ken has been a constant presence at Agile Writers informing the method and contributing valuable inputs to our study of rewriting and critique.

Ken finished his first novel “Shades” (a semi-autobiographical story about fighter pilots in Viet Nam) and put it on the shelf to cool off. He then picked up with a new story he called simply “Bob.” Over time “Bob” developed into what Ken has now released as “Brewing Justice.”

Please share us in congratulating Ken Hubona on his achievement. And take a minute to go to Amazon.com and read the first few chapters for free:  https://www.amazon.com/Brewing-Justice-Ken-Hubona-ebook/dp/B07KSNGWTQ

Legal dynamo Bob Baldwin forges corporate mergers that reap millions for CEOs, investment bankers, and law firms. Meanwhile, rank-and-file workers watch their jobs disappear, families suffer, and communities crumble. Bob soothes his guilt with the balm of a grand salary and beautiful wife. But when an act of betrayal claims his woman, his income, and even his health, he learns the pain of an indifferent world and can no longer ignore the carnage of his work. In a defiant rage, he steals millions from the law firm and flees to start a new life in a remote village where the values of honesty, loyalty, and community still survive.

Despised by a tyrannical boss, deceived by a manipulative trophy wife, and pursued by a dogged but conflicted detective, Bob struggles to rebuild the town that corporate “right-sizing” has destroyed—before his ex-employer can track him down and exact revenge. As the hounds close in, Bob realizes that war is not won by hiding in the trenches. He must take the battle to the citadel.

Brewing Justice is a story of greed and betrayal, sacrifice and loss, and ultimately love and redemption. In the worst of times, we find the best in ourselves.

Ken Hubona has been a naval aviator, attorney, engineer, and bureaucrat. He lives and writes in suburban Richmond, Virginia. He can be contacted at KenHubona@comcast.net

 

Brewing Justice is available on Amazon at

https://www.amazon.com/Brewing-Justice-Ken-Hubona-ebook/dp/B07KSNGWTQ

Speaking at “Awesomize Your Life”

I just found out about Shawn Furey’sAwesomize Your Life” seminar next week (March 23rd, 2019) in Augusta, Maine. Shawn is a leader in the heroism science community and applies his special knowledge of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to help facilitate psycho-educational groups and provide one-on-one counseling to people in recovery from opioid addiction. He’s a true hero.

So, he asked me if the Agile Writer Method could be used in autobiography and memoir to help recovering addicts and others tell their stories. And I said yes, and many people at Agile Writers have done just that. The Hero’s Journey is superbly attuned to just such stories.

So, I signed up for Shawn’s conference and wouldn’t you know it? He asked me to speak. I’ll be presenting alongside other hero science luminaries as David Rendall, author of the book “The Freak Factor” and Dan & Carrie Chavanne who stopped a shooting at a Wal-mart in Augusta, Maine.

I’ll be talking about how we use the hero’s journey to write autobiography and memoir at the Agile Writer Workshop. I hope you’ll drop by Shawn’s web page to learn more and take a look at his Facebook group “The Hero Science Think Tank” where many people in the hero science community gather to share thoughts, opinions, and research on heroes and heroism.

 

 

https://success4.com/blog/the-hero-forge-shawn-fury/

On Awards Shows

 

Why Watch Bad Films

Every year, my writing partner on ReelHeroes.net, Dr. Scott Allison and I discuss the idea of reviewing films on the Golden Globes and Oscar nominations lists. Scott prefers to review movies he knows are going to be of high quality, whereas I like a sort of random draw – reviewing both bad and good movies. I find I learn more from a bad movie than a good movie. Scott’s position is pretty pragmatic – he just hates to spend money on bad films.

I think everyone should know what the Golden Globes and Oscars are really about. They’re not necessarily the best films – just the films that industry insiders think are good. This doesn’t mean that you, the viewing audience, will enjoy them. It’s just that their peers think they did a good job.

Golden Globes

golden_globe_trophyIn particular, the Golden Globes are awarded by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Consider this for a moment. There is an entire awards show that influences the purchase of tickets by the viewing public by a very small number of people.

Do *you* really want to go to a movie because 93 photographers and journalists from 55 different countries liked it? In my estimation, that’s a lot of power for a very small pool of individuals about whom I know next to nothing and may not even have the same cultural sensitivities that I have.

Academy Awards

academy_award_trophyThe Oscars, on the other hand, are awards given by peers of the artists creating the films – as many as 8,000 members. One thing you may not know is that to qualify for an Oscar in 2018, the film had to be released in a certain number of theaters (in Los Angelas, CA)  before December 31, 2018. And, the Academy tends to favor films released near the end of the year. So, very often, Oscar-worthy films are not released until December, and then only in limited release.

The Oscar nominations are announced in late January with the ceremony about one month later in late February. This means that many of the films and artists nominated are for films most of us never saw in theaters.

The voters are grouped in branches or divisions. The actors number about 1300 members and are the strongest influence on the award. The voting is highly political and often sentimental. So, if an actor or director happens to be unpopular among their peers, they may not get up-voted – despite having created great art. Likewise, an actor who has contributed a long life of excellent work, but has never won an Oscar, could be voted an award despite a lackluster performance – just out of sympathy.

Also, the studios will spend millions of dollars sending gifts and advertising to the voters to influence their vote. Very often, the film that most successfully courts Academy members with pre-release copies of the film and bling can win – despite the public never really having seen the film.

So, just because a film wins a Golden Globe or an Oscar doesn’t necessarily mean that *you* will enjoy it. In fact, there’s a good chance that you won’t. Because the films aren’t graded on their entertainment value for a mass audience, but on an elite cast of players’ opinion of the artistic merit of the cast and crew of the film.

Rotten Tomatoes

In my humble opinion, if you want to know if a film is any good, or if you’ll enjoy it, check out two metrics that I look at. The first is box office performance. Generally speaking, if a film tanks at the box office, there’s a very good reason for it. Secondly, I find RottenTomatoes.com is a great reflection of how an audience responds to a film.

certified-fresh.png

Rotten Tomatoes has two ratings. The first number is an aggregation of what professional film critics think of the film. That may not be useful to you. Like the professionals of the Golden Globe and Oscars, critics often look for things a mass audience doesn’t care about. The second number is based on audience members who saw the film and either up-voted or down-voted the movie.

I find this second number very telling. For example, Adam Sandler movies are often panned by the critics because the quality is very low and critics don’t appreciate sophomoric humor. However, the audience scores will be significantly higher – because Adam Sandler knows his audience and he plays to that crowd.

Recommendations

So, if you want to determine if a film as going to be entertaining, especially if you have tastes that swing wide from critics’ views, check out the Rotten Tomatoes scores. And after you’ve watched the film, check out our review at ReelHeroes.net where we review films based on the quality of the heroic elements of the film. See if you agree with us and let us know what you think.