FINAL BOOK COVER

After many emails and texts that were sent back and forth for an entire month to the artist, I finally got the look that I was envisioning.

Left one is my sketch sent to the artist Tim Rivadeneyra.

Right one is the final product.

I love it!!!

What do you think?

Write me at alexzabala2@gmail.com

Available for sale on: 1/1/20

Many Eyes

Editing a novel is a tedious chore. As much as you may like reading, going over the same story to find grammatical problems is a chore!

That is exactly what we do here at the Alex Zabala home office. My editor proof reads my manuscript many times over. Then I read my manuscript many times over. Then my co-author reads the manuscript many timers over. Yet, surprisingly, even with that many eyes looking at the same manuscript over and over, mistakes get passed us!

How could that be?

The simple answer: The brain compensates for the typos and other issues. Yes, the brain compensates and glosses it over and tells the reader what should be there instead of what is there.

Sounds crazy? It does, but that is the truth. The infamous ‘they’ have word for it:

Typoglycemia (Google it to find definition)

Here is an extreme example of brain compensation, can you read this?:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

But guess what? Typos are not just the domain of self-published authors, oh no, I have seen the mega author’s books from mega book publishing companies contain typos and grammatical errors. Not big errors, but errors nonetheless. The point is, I try my BEST to make sure my books are edited as best as humanly possible and to give my readers the utmost quality in reading pleasure.

(Note: My blogs are not professionally edited, there are mistakes, but I don’t charge anyone to read them so you get what you pay for, right?)

The Secret of La Danta -Publication Date: 1/1/2020

alexzabala2@gmail.com

The Manuscript is in my Grubby Hands!

So, I finally have the manuscript of The Secret of La Danta in my grubby little, dirty hands! I always get excited when my co-author hands his first draft it back to me. That means I get to reread my story in a slightly different version than mine and possibly considerably better, right?

It is at this is the juncture in the book publishing process where I always get very excited. It’s like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I can almost see the published book! But I have to be patient.

Basically, this is the story writing process: When I finish my first draft, I hand it over to my co-author. He in turn puts the finishing touches in by polishing the draft. He turns it over to me and I reread my story and notate any corrections or changes that I feel are needed.

Once that is done, we hand it over to the dreaded editor to check any grammatical and story line errors (My blogs are never professionally edited, hence why you will find errors here, but no way I will I ever release a marketable novel without proper editing!)

Meanwhile, an artist is busy at work producing a book cover. Then I hand the edited story back to my co-author who on turn will make the needed corrections and finish the formatting. Once he receives my approved book cover artwork, he puts it all together and makes a packaged, finished product.

Even though my novel will be finished this year, my plan is to publish it in January of 2020 (a publication date early in the year will give it a fresh start instead of publishing it this November).

My book will be for sale online on Amazon where it will join the mighty river of over 8 million books! Yes, you read that right, Amazon has over 8 million books for sale and somehow my little book must be seen buy the public floating in the mighty Amazon river! (Now you know why it’s called Amazon).

I will worry about book marketing later, presently, I have to go and get me a cup of coffee, sit on my favorite chair and read my manuscript.

Write to me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com

60 Ain’t That Bad

I’m 60 years old.

I suppose I’m entering what some people call the final ‘third phase’ of my life (that sounds strange). Somebody once said, “At 60, you deserve the face you have.” (funny).

Whenever I complain that I’m getting older, my wife simply says: “It’s only a number.”

I suppose she’s right, one million is a number also, right?

I have all the typical issues of a 60 year old man who happens to be living in an industrialized age, eating refined, industrialized food. But there are a lot of things I don’t have that some people my age do. I suppose it’s because I didn’t do the things they did when they were younger. So, yes it is true, some people spend their youth making their old age miserable.

Regardless, 60 is a pivotal time in one’s life to reflect what one has accomplished in life and where one is going. I am grateful I still that I have a measure of health. To prove that point, I just finished building my backyard waterfall and a homemade pizza oven, mostly by myself (see blog post from May 21st). Now that my backyard projects are done, I have decided to take up lifting weights three times a week to keep my muscles toned.

I am not bragging, I’m trying be an inspiration for all those old fogies like me. I find it inspiring to see older folks doing things to keep them alive and creative. I have seen videos on YouTube of 70 year old bodybuilders. No, I will never do bodybuilding, but I do find it incredibly motivating. What about you? What motivates you?

Are you creative? Creativity is good too. Maybe when it comes to creativity the best is still ahead for me….and then again maybe not. But at least for now, I know am doing the best I can NOW and I also know that I am ALWAYS trying to improve my craft. That’s why I am still writing. (Well, I returned to writing after a year hiatus).

I’m still selling books and I still have at more books to write. I am not a prolific writer, and I don’t publish a book every three months like some other authors, but nevertheless, I am still writing. I consider that mental weightlifting!

So, yes, I am getting old…but I am okay with that. What I am not okay with is giving up too soon and letting old age come prematurely (or maybe even death).

Someday, in the future, if I am blessed to be 70,80, 90 (or beyond)..I will look back and read this blog..and laugh at my old age angst, which I guess is just as bad as my teenage angst was. (Actually, no, my teenage angst was worse, I NEVER want to go through puberty again!).

So, in retrospect, 60 ain’t that bad….it’s only a number, right? What about you?

What ‘getting old’ stories do you have to tell? I would love to hear from you!

Write me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com

Book Cover Concept

Don’t judge a book by its cover,” I heard it said. But in reality a good book cover can attract potential customers. Isn’t that what all authors want?

So, when comes to my novels, I design my own book covers.

I have the idea I want in my head. I clip art or photos from the Internet and paste them together like this. Then I have I send the concept art over to one of my computer designer people to make the finished product.

Posted are previous book finished covers.

Since the photos I use for my cover art are most likely copyrighted, I have the computer artist redesign the book cover without using the actual photo. The point of the photos is for the artist to get the basic idea of what I am looking for and not to plagiarize their material. Later, the book cover artist will present to me about three versions of what I am looking for. I might make a few suggestions for tweaking something here or there…so that in the end I get the ‘look’ I want.

Here is a sample of the first clip art concept for my book The Secret of La Danta.

Publishing date: January 1st. 2020——

What do you think of the concept book cover? (alexzabala2@gmail.com)

Stay tuned in for some future blog to see the final version.

I’ve Been Busy

I took a break from writing for an entire year. (hence why I have been absent from writing my blogs). I concentrated my creative energies on finishing my backyard projects. In 2018 I finished my waterfall and this year (2019) I finished my outdoor pizza oven! I only have two hands. I can’t do everything, so I had to make a choice between writing and building.

I chose building.

My outdoor projects are officially over. But building a waterfall and a pizza oven practically with no help was a BIG challenge. Writing a novel is a big challenge too.

So…what has happened to my writing? It had to go on hiatus, but in no way was it forgotten. In reality, getting away from writing for a while was a good thing. How so? I saw all the things that needed correction in my manuscript for The Secret of La Danta. I saw things from a different perspective.

I made the proper changes.

Now, I know I have a better product!

(I am a licensed landscape contractor, if you live in Arizona I can build you a pizza oven).

Alex Zabala is the author of:

-Treasure of the Mayan King

-The Golden Scepter

-The Mind Games of Dr. Sova

-Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Coming soon:

The Secret of La Danta

Things are not what they seem

I took this picture of a Saguaro cactus growing in my neighborhood.

A- Is this cactus screaming?

B- Is it in pain?

C- Or did the Desert Gila Woodpecker peck into the flesh of the cactus 3 holes to make a nice home for itself thus creating the illusion of human face.

Answer: C.

Scientists have a name for it. It’s called Pareidolia. Here is what it means:

Pareidolia (/pærɪˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.

It’s easy to be fooled by the things we see with our eyes. It’s also easy to be fooled by things NOT seen. Take me for example. You have NOT seen any of my blogs in the last 8 months or so.

Does that mean that I:

A- Died?

B- Was I abducted by space aliens?

C- Been extremely busy with many projects?

Answer: C. (thankfully).

What were those projects?

What is the status of my book The Secret of La Danta?

Those two questions will be answered at the end of May. (yes, may of 2019)

Chilling out!

I built this waterfall in my backyard. (See May 14, 2018 Blog).

I live in a Phoenix, Arizona suburb.

It was 118 degrees Fahrenheit this specific day.

Pictures tell a thousand words.

A hot day, I have a waterfall and a Dos XX.

‘Nuff said.

Breaking News!——- My co-author has announced he will have a working manuscript of The Secret of La Danta ready about end of this September, 2018! (More info in coming blogs).

Alex Zabala is the author of 4 books:

Treasure of the Mayan King

Mind Games of Dr. Sova

The Golden Scepter

Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books, waterfalls or whatever. All conversations are private.

The Brutal Art of Selling Books

The good news is that becoming an author nowadays is easier than ever! The bad news is becoming an author is easier than ever!

Is that a contradiction? Yes and no. The reason why it is good is because anybody, and I mean anybody with a manuscript and Internet access can publish and sell books online. The obvious consequence, or bad thing, is that Amazon now has about 5million e-books for sale. Yes..you read right, this is not a typo…approximately 5 million e-books!

So, what’s wrong with that?

Well, imagine walking into a bookstore that offers 5 million books! Where to start? Even if the customer is only looking for a certain genre, he will still be inundated with so many choices! Besides that, no human on earth has a lifespan long enough to read all the books ever printed. So, how does an author go about getting himself noticed so he can sell his wares?

That is not an easy task, nor is the answer simple. I have spent years studying and reading books from publishing-gurus on how to become a successful author. (Funny thing is, some of these self-help-gurus can barely sell their own books).

Why then, do we authors persist in writing books when the market is so over-saturated with a gazillion books? Simple answer:

Because we LOVE telling stories.

We LOVE writing.

We LOVE it when people read our stories.

We LOVE the positive feedback from our readers (and yes, even some negative feedback helps us to be better writers).

Did you notice how many times I used the word LOVE? That’s the main reason I write.

I LOVE IT!

I have sold thousands of my books, no, not millions, thousands. Would I like to do better? What author wouldn’t? It would be nice to sell millions. Somebody has to, right? Why not me? So I persist in what I LOVE and hope someday that millions will LOVE my books.

Alex Zabala is currently writing his new book The Secret of La Danta.

He is also the author of:

-Treasure of the Mayan King

-The Mind Games of Dr. Sova

-The Golden Scepter

-Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

Accomplishments!

I recently built this waterfall in my back yard and a rainbow came over my project right on time when I took this picture!. It took a lot of work and money (and they rarely come together at the same time).

I consider this project one of my major accomplishments in my life (and a major accomplishment for my backyard!). I love waterfalls, I love the sound of flowing water. It’s comforting and peaceful.

The waterfall didn’t get built by inaction. There was a lot of planning, thinking and hard work involved to get to the final result. It’s the same with writing a novel. There is plenty of research, writing and imagination done to get a book published.

There have been a lot of accomplishments in my literary world too.

I published my first book Treasure of the Mayan King (TMK) on December 9th, 2013. Since then I have published three other books: The Golden Scepter, The Mind Games of Dr. Sova and Chauncy Rollock Chronicles

I have reached heights and goals in my literary career I only dreamed of before.

More books to come

But I am not done. There are more books coming down the line.

My next goal of accomplishments is to write a new trilogy of books with a different character.

As mentioned in my other blogs, his name is Troy Rollock, (son of Chauncy) and he has a boatload of adventures that will blow your mind.

I don’t know if I will ever make a living as an author, but for now, I will continue writing, publishing and sitting in my back yard, enjoying a glass of wine and the peaceful sound of running water.

I’m a licensed contractor in Arizona, so if you live there, I can build you a waterfall like this too.

Contact me at: alexzabala2@gmail.com to discuss books or waterfalls or whatever.