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Sunday, March 12, 2017

It has been 19 plus years since I last heard your voice in this life, but not a day has gone by in those 7000 days that I haven't heard it in my mind and most of all in my heart. Know always that you were  loved and never once, even for a second forgotten. And always, always, always missed.

Happy Birthday, mom

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My reader is in for a treat. I thought I would tell about my ten-year struggle to become a published author, a feat I am yet to accomplish.

First I'll tell you about that great, yet terrible day I decided to become an author. No, it wasn't well thought of like day. The day started as any other day, well almost like any other day. It started as a trip down to Branson. No, I don't remember why it was almost ten years ago, give me a break. On the way to Branson, my wife, Mrs. Raballard and I were talking. Okay, she was talking I mainly listened. I remember saying "one day I'm going to write a novel for children", I had been telling stories to my children ever since they were young. Mrs' Raballard, being much wiser that I, simply smiled and then said "shut up and write your story"

That was all I needed. I'm not a dummy and know when the wife speaks, the wife speaks. I sat down, shut up and started my novel once I returned home. Well, that was my first mistake. I didn't know the first thing about writing a book. I knew nothing about manuscript lengths. My first draft for my MIddle-grade novel was 109,000 words, a tad too long. I knew nothing about beta-readers, I had none. I knew nothing about editing, I didn't edit. I knew a little about querying. My first query produced one victim who asked for a full manuscript. I was in heaven. I sent ou the full and then sat back counting the money I would be receiving.

Needless to say, I never received any money. The agent never responded to the manuscript, probably cause he never stopped laughing about the 109K word mess.

It never phased me. I kept right on querying my 109K novel and kept getting the rejection fever. It wasn't until a few years later and a friend mentioned that my novel was too long and should chop about 40,000 words. With my friends help I cut the manuscript down to 72K words. However, I still got 99.99% rejection. It has since cut down to 50K words with very little querying. My agent had it for a while but was unable to sell it. I took it back, and have been sitting on it.

The title has gone through just as many revisions from INTO THE BLACK REALM, to MOMNAPPED, and finally A SOMEWHAT TRUE ADVENTURE OF SARA ROBERT, the only thing remains the same is this is my baby. I love Sara as if she is my own. I can't see (or refuse to see) why other people don't love her the same. I suppose the worst part of writing is to write your heart into a book, love it, nurture it and then give it to another in hopes that they love it the same way.

My agent told me "not every great book gets published."

So I sit here with a great book, a book that I have loved. It doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

I present Sara Roberts 2007-2017

Sara’s mother, Elizabeth, has kept her past life a secret. Due to being the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, Elizabeth is heir to the throne of Tenebrae, a magical, evil kingdom. A title she detests and runs away from to no avail. If it hadn't been for some great detective work from the malicious, toad Appleton, the secret might have remained hidden. The odious toad has been following the Roberts family ever since they forged documents and left their planet. He would have caught them sooner, had it not been for the magic-spell Elizabeth’s mother placed on her. Liz would get a terrible migraine headache whenever Appleton got close to his prey. The family always moved after a headache, which made it difficult for Appleton to track them.
 Okay, now you have a basic background, just enough so you can follow along. That brings us to our story. You should know that Sara had a particularly rough day at school today, her birthmark started to glow in math class, and a note from Mr. Thompson appeared in her math book. It wasn’t a good start for the day. And then when she gets home from school her mother isn’t there.
 That’s how she ended up at Mr. Thompson’s mansion. Mr. Thompson told Sara that her estranged great aunts had kidnapped her mother, tried her for treason, and sentenced her to death. Elizabeth’s execution is the only way for them to ascend to the throne. The shock came when Mr. Thompson tells Sara that she alone must rescue her mother. Her aunts failed to take into account how a daughter's love would undermine their plot.
 Mr. Thompson transports Sara to the evil kingdom through unreliable means; unfortunately, she lands in a creamed-corn field an ocean away from her mother. A farmer along with his harvester/pet gigantic caterpillar tell her that the only way to cross the ocean is with the help of a crusty pirate and his crew, a lizard and a man with a scary dragon tattoo.
 A raging storm separates her from the pirate where Appleton, her aunt’s evil henchman, captures her.  She escapes with help from a rat that was once in charge of her mother’s safety. With the aid of a nearsighted sea-monster and a few dolphins, Sara finally makes it to the prison where her mother awaits her execution, scheduled for dawn. And dawn is a mere ten hours away. Her aunt’s elite soldiers of scary, overweight rats guard the gate. The aunt’s themselves, are hidden safely within the prison walls and ready to carry out the execution.
 Assisted by an invisibility bracelet, Sara foils her mother’s execution and frees the remaining prisoners, whose only crimes were trying to depose an evil regime. There is one more problem. Ghosts of dead prisoners guard the only escape route from the prison. After a short negotiation, the leader of the apparitions allows Elizabeth and Sara to leave the fact that the leader happened to be Sara’s long lost, dead grandfather might have helped with the negotiating.
 Sara’s long journey ends when she and her mother are transported back to Earth. Oh, good, look, we have a happy ending.
whew, that was one long blog. I'll come by in a month or two to tell you about my second novel.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What I want for Christmas 2016


This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again.
(I stole this)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

another birthday without you


Happy Birthday Mom. I often wonder if you are watching over me from above. Are you proud of where my life has led? Are you proud of any of us? You know that one marriage ended badly and I actually got married, for the third time. Whenever you hear people talking about the third time is a charm, they’re right. She loves me more than I deserve. I really think you would like her. We’ve moved to Missouri. Don’t ask me why. We just sort of settled here. You know how I kept saying that one day I would write the next great American novel? Well, I wrote it. Actually wrote five of them, and working on the sixth. No, I’m not famous. None of them have been published. I do have a wonderful literary agent, who is trying to rectify that fact. Who knows, maybe one day.

You know I wish they had Facebook where you are, it would be so much easier. You could just send me a friend request. But I suppose it’s better this way.

I guess that’s about all I have to say, except to tell you that I no longer miss you every second of the day. It’s down to a few times a day. Oh, and I’m getting older, found out it’s unavoidable, sooner or later age just catches up with you.

I’m going to run-along now. Talk to you next year. Happy Birthday, make it sparkle.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Since I am a professional writer, I thought that I would grant my very first interview. I called various television stations and offered them the chance to be the first to interview me. To my surprise they had never heard of me. Next I contacted the newspapers within a 600 mile radius of me. There was no luck, but on a positive note I now subscribe to thousands of local newspapers. I contacted every university, college, technical college in the continental United States, including Claire’s Beauty College/Dry cleaners in Mouse Jaw. Idaho. I have now made it impossible for any person I know, will know, or hope to know will no longer have an opportunity for a higher education.
I then had a major epiphany, yes, I do get an occasional epiphany. Where was I? Oh, ya my epiphany. I figured that as my new shiny novel was a Historical thingy, maybe the best people to interview me should be our public school students. I might even be able to mold a few young minds, or become an inspirational role model. Life lesson number 2987, not all epiphanies are good epiphanies. My grandchildren, and their grandchildren will now have to commute to another state or country in order to get their high school diploma.
A secondary epiphany popped into my mind. How hard can it be to interview myself? I’m a relatively smart person, with occasional brilliance. So, I am going to do just that, interview myself.

My first guest is a well known author, OK well known in his own home, Ramon Ballard. Welcome to my blog Ramon. May I call you Ramon?

RB---Thank you, yes you may call me Ramon.

raballard… Let’s get started. My first question is. Are there aliens in the inner office feeding you answers to my questions to you telepathically?

RB----First let me say how thrilled I am to be here today. I was unaware that you were following my lackluster career.

raballard… Just answer the question.

RB---I have never thought about that possibility. However, I am certain aliens have more important fish to fry. You know politicians, clergy, jurors, certain blog writers. I am not on too many alien watch lists.


raballard… very well, if that’s your doubtful story. Next question. Why are manhole covers round?

RB---I suppose that round covers are more appealing to the eyes? I really don’t know. I don’t write about manhole covers

raballard… Very well. Shall we continue? How many gas stations would you say there are in the United States?

RB---What? Maybe a few thousand. Where are you going with this line of questioning?

raballard… How many interviews have you been in charge of Mr. Ballard? Let’s leave the questioning to the professionals shall we. If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want

RB---I wouldn’t want to be offered a position by alien attackers. Are we going to talk about my book?

raballard… Patience, this must be your first interview. If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have?

RB---Thousand Island. That’s a ridiculous question. Ask me about THE LAST CHANCE.

raballard… Who do you like best, your mom or dad?

RB---You know mom passed. Are you completely crazy?

raballard…In a small room you have a refrigerator, if you left the door of the 'fridge open would the temp in the room fall or would the temp in the 'fridge rise? Why?

RB---That’s it, I’m out of here. You have not asked one question about how or why I wrote THE LAST CHANCE. You have not asked about my experience while seeking publication.

raballard…What makes you angry? Did Ramon leave? Why? Well there you have it, the first interview of astronaut Ramon Ballard. What……..sorry Author Ramon Ballard, I suppose he wrote some book. Join us next time when I interview the president of the raballard fan club, Ramon Ballard.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Me, #WritersPitch, and the why not me bug.







“Many of the great writing achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on writing.”
Anonymous


I love writing. I have been told that I am very good at it; however dragons from my past can’t believe it. One day I am going to slay that dragon, but right now that dragon, sometimes referred to as doubt consumes me. I won’t divulge the painful reasonings behind my self-doubt; they will go to the grave with me.
Let’s assume, for arguments sake that I am a great writer. I must be. The proof is in the comments of the fifty to a hundred people that have read my work. I love writing; apparently I am good at it. I have one nagging question that remains unanswered. There is one mystery to me that remains a riddle. Why hasn’t one agent seen what my readers see in me? Do agents have a different conception on what can be classified as good? Regular every day Joe’s are the ones who buy most books. Or at least they were the last time I checked.
I just don’t get it.
Shall I say it again? I love writing; it’s the publishing part of the writing I don’t like.
At what point do your dreams become nightmares? When is the correct time to become jaded? When does disappointment become failure? I still have aspirations of getting published. I still hope that my current WIP will be the one to catapult me into a book deal. If not this WIP, then certainly the next or the next or the next.

As I write this, another in a long line of form rejections gracefully falls into my printer’s tray with a soul-shattering thud. Once again an agent, that showed so much promise in the beginning, has proven that she does not share my dream. This agent seduced me with her web site as she beckoned me with her, “this agent is actively building her clients.” How many times have I fallen for that come-hither mesmerizing “this agent represents middle-grade” hypnotizing stare?
It would seem that lessons would have been learned by now. How do we as writers accept getting knocked on our butts, and keep coming back for more? Is it easy for us to see our dreams be dismissed subjectively? How many of us would stop associating with friends that told us that we just didn’t fit in, or were just not right? It is something we as wanna-be-authors face on a daily basis, or ,in some cases, three or four times a day?
Every one of us goes to our email countless times each day, searching for that solitary positive response to our query, coming back empty handed more times than not. We click our inbox closed with our “no news is good news” attitude. We read with interest what other writers say about their queries, and how agent X rejected, or requested a partial, Nano-seconds after they hit send. We wonder why a particular agent has responded to a particular writer, when the same agent has had your query for months without a response.
Well guess what. Rejection is the cold hard fact of the ruthless publishing business. The sooner we accept that 9 out of 10, and sometimes 99 out of 100 queries will get rejected or ignored is all a part of the game and never personal, the sooner we can move on. It’s hard to accept rejection after rejection, after rejection, but we must accept that literary agents do not sit in their offices and choose whose dream to crumble today. Accept that before a flower can grow there needs to be rain, or in my case monsoons.
Each and every one of us is a dreamer. We all chase our own individual rainbow. We all love what we do; writing is a passion for most of us. There is a price we all must pay for our dreams, rainbows are never free. Hope is the price we pay; it’s what gets us through to the next query. There is no doubt we hope our next query is our last query. Without hope there would be no literature.
I have always been a dreamer; I have never given up hope that my dreams will someday be the dreams of the perfect agent.
Give me the patience to accept that which I cannot change, and the courage to hope for my place in the stars.
Never give up. Accept failure with the determination to get it better the next time. Dream the impossible dream, and wish on the evening star.
One day soon, you’ll walk past a reader with their nose in a book and smile and say “that’s me they’re reading.”

Friday, September 12, 2014

MY WRITING PROCESS

Pitch Wars pal, Kai Jordan, tagged me for the #MyWritingProcess blog hop a few weeks ago. So here is my attempt at blog hopping.

What I’m working on
I'm working at keeping my sanity, and I seem to be losing. You should have asked what am I writing, but you didn't, so I can't answer that question, being OCD and all. (okay, if you insist) My WIP is about a man. (satisfied?)

How does my work differ from others in the genre
Tough question. I have a friend, who happens to be an agent, and she once told me that my style of writing is different than anybody she has read. She didn't tell me if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I also seem to have an infinite amount of commas, so I throw them about as if they were confetti, drives my wife and editors MAD.

Why do I write what I do
That's easy.
1-I had no choice. I had to write. It is what my childhood chose for me
2-I write because I want my new imaginary friends to love the same stories that I told my old imaginary friends,
3- I write because I just can't help it
4-Writing is not a job. It's not a hobby. It's a drive, a journey. It's something within us that needs to be released.
5-It keeps me off of the streets and from bothering the villagers,


How does my writing process work?
My writing process is totally whacked. I write when I feel like it, or whenever I can free myself from my Twitter addiction. I need to start at the same hour everyday (1pm) if I miss that hour I'll wait until the following day. If I'm starting a new chapter, or WIP, I prefer to start it on a Monday or the first of the month.
However, I can edit almost anytime, go figure.
 I don't have a play list. I would say that I need silence, but the characters in my head never shut up. They keep me awake at night, which is when I get most of my random ideas. I'll throw plot twist ideas to my wife during commercial breaks.

Who I’m tagging
I’m tagging anybody willing to take on the task.