If you are on Goodreads, and are in Canada or the United States, there is now a giveaway contest on Goodreads for a paperback copy of Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale. And.... somewhat annoyingly, the "old" cover is being drawn from somewhere for this giveaway image. The new one is a bit more elegant :)
I'm already pretty excited! It's only been a couple hours, and there are already over 200 people entered! :)
And it's still on for 2 more weeks I think. Holy smokes.
And, here is a little gallery photos from my May 13 bike commute to work. Best wishes folks.
Oh my Good Golly - the world of self-publishing is not at all straight forward. Sheesh!
I released Close Your Eyes in late December and have essentially re-published it I don't know how many times now. I've also been flailing about all over the world wide web trying to figure out ways to promote the book.
One way has been through the Readers' Favorite website, where the book now has 5 very positive reviews.
I also, by the way, arranged for a review to be done of my older book Festival - and wow - that review knocked my socks off. I hope that reviewer really did like the book as much as she seemed to have, because that was one heck of a nice review to read.
Before I write any more, here's a photo interlude - this was from a morning bike commute on Thursday May 5:
Okay - here is one reason why I have republished "Close Your Eyes" numerous times - typos!
In deciding to dust this book off and self-publish it - I did NOT have any actual word files to work with. Any that once existed would have been on floppy discs, and I couldn't find the floppy discs anyway, so all I had was the manuscript in print form - from some time in the past when I had printed it out.
So - I could either retype every single word in the manuscript, OR, I could try to use technology!
Here's what I did.
I used a copier/scanner to scan the printed pages into .pdf form.
Then I used Adobe to read this .pdf, and generate a new word version for me.
And it DID! And it was GREAT! And it saved me SO MUCH TIME as opposed to typing the whole thing over again.
BUT - in this conversion process, there were lots of bits of text that Adobe couldn't make sense of, and so it just made best guesses - and that ended up creating boat loads of typos. I swear to God I proof read the manuscript but I missed lots of things - the name "Krysztoff" got changed in a few different ways, and relatively simple words like "turn" somehow got transposed to "tum".
So... I published the book in December with way more mistakes inside it than I'd have ever guessed... and then myself and friends would catch this or that glitch.. and I'd make a list.. fix them in the manuscript.. and reupload to amazon again... and so on and so forth.. and I think I did that at least 3 times.
AND THEN I got even more serious.
Never quite liking the interior look of the book - i used Fiverr and found a book design / book layout person who tidied up my book cover for me (I wanted to keep using my photo for the cover), and to redesign the interior layout... and wow.. finally it looks much better.
Otherwise - winter / spring 2022 has been spent trying to promote this book. Honestly - this side of "writing" is pretty dizzying. And in fact the word "writing" isn't even appropriate anymore, the more appropriate word is "self-publishing"... of which writing is really only half of the work. The rest is the marketing and publicity.
I wish I could point to this, or that, or the other thing, that I have tried thus far, and say that it has worked, but either they haven't worked, or it is too early to tell.
As I type this on May 10, 2022, I have recently done two things which I have some hope for:
a) organized a Goodreads giveaway of copies of the paperback version. Hopefully that will create a little bit of buzz about the book on that site.
b) entered the book in the Publisher's Weekly / Booklife indie publishing contest.
So we'll see. I have dipped my toe into many other waters as well - hopefully some combination of them will get people reading (and reviewing) the book, and create some buzz.
Of the reviews of Close Your Eyes on the Readers' Favorite site... here are some of my favourite lines:
I thought that this work by Chris Tomasini was incredibly interesting and refreshing. It is not a long read and I wish it had not ended so soon. It is told in an unusual style and is certainly creative. I have never read anything similar previously. / Michaela Gordoni.
A surreal romantic odyssey that transports you to medieval-era Europe, to a time of fearsome kings, beautiful princesses, forbidden love, and politically motivated arranged marriages, Close Your Eyes is an exploration of love in a myriad of its forms. Filled with romance, courtroom drama, humor, and heartbreak, Chris Tomasini's ode to love is an enthralling read from start to finish. / Pikasho Deka.
Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale by Chris Tomasini is not at all what you expect it to be. From start to finish this book surprised me with how captivating it was. I found myself enjoying this book so much, especially in the way it is written. This book unfolds as a fairy tale told by Samuel and that seems to give it a certain charm. Although Samuel is only taught to read and write later in his life, his ability to share the tales of his friend gave an even more charming aspect to this story as a whole. The book is well written and the characters are interesting and so easy to empathize with that you become enchanted as you go through the various tales of each character. You truly wish to know more and see more of their lives and what they’ve been through. This book was really beautifully done and I would highly recommend it. / Miche Arendse
So... "never read anything similar previously", and "a surreal romantic odyssey", and "not at all what you expect it to be"... love it! The 30(ish) year old me slaving away in basement apartments in Toronto, writing this book, would have been thrilled to know that people would one day like what he was writing. :)
And... one more photo as that seems to be my thing... from the same morning as the swan photo above:
Annnnnnddddd...... it's online on Amazon in both print and ebook versions. It should be available from most international amazon sites. Here is the Canadian print and ebook listings.
In the blog post below I mention a bit about the history and writing of this book. I think I'll only add here that the self-publishing process gave me fits this past weekend. I used the KindleCreate tool to make the ebook version, and that went fine. And doing the cover (I used Canva) went fine as well.
BUT... the KindleCreate tool did NOT produce a useable paperback version, so I descended into a weekend of aggravating page breaks / section breaks / headers / footers rigmarole that really would have had me tearing my hair out if I wasn't already bald :)
As I type this I hope to God the paperback version looks good once printed (I've only seen it in preview form on the amazon site). I even had to rework the cover for the paperback version, and with my eyes (I'm mildly colour blind) I think I missed some font colour changes that happened... so the ebook cover actually looks better than the pb cover.
Anyway - it's up!!! And it's sincerely a quirky book! I hope someone somewhere likes it!!
Out of nowhere, I decided to take a break on the Within This Darkness work, and revisit a book I wrote around, well roughly 1997(ish) to 2002(ish). It happens to the book that I was workshopping through the Humber College Creative Writing program whenever it was that I took that program, which I think was right around 2000.
It's a fairly slippery and genre-less historical novel, set in the early 1400s. Even the reading level is hard to put your finger on - the novel has "adult" themes but is written at kind of a high young-adult level. So, after finishing it, I made some effort to get it published, but honestly not as much effort as I had earlier put into trying to get Festival published. Once a few people said "no" to it, I filed it away, and for various reasons - including "life" and the slipperiness of the book - I never really came back to trying to get it published.
BUT - since it came to mind around a month ago, I've plunged deep into a "I'm going to self-publish again" frenzy with it. So I'm perhaps a week away, as I type this, from getting an electronic and paperback version of the book ready to go through Amazon's KDP service.
For the cover - I got it into my mind that I would paint my own cover. I had a colour scheme I liked, and attempted a few versions of (see below). But in the back of my mind, using one of my nature photos from my bike rides was always an option. And, indeed, I've gone with one of my cycling photos. I won't post it just yet (the cover I've designed), but it's coming soon.
Long story short - a new / old book by me, titled Close Your Eyes: A Fairy Tale, should be out soon.
And in other news, warm weather hit here in south-central Ontario, so I got in a bit of bicycle-commuting this week. These are some more of the views I get from my bike rides around here.
Yes, perceptive reader, this post title is indeed an old James Joyce line - (from The Dead).
Sometimes life imitates art! After working on a scene this morning, with 9 year old Manfred in Breslau in 1945, trying in that scene to describe the weight of the snow upon that city as the Russians advanced from the east, once day broke and I could see outside my own windows, the snow was falling heavily here as well. Bit intriguing to be "willing" yourself into a snowstorm in your mind as you write - and then - when it is time to go out into the morning, to be literally and physically in a snowstorm.
The two "snowy" ones are this morning (Nov. 22), the other one is just a nice one from yesterday morning (Sunday Nov. 21).
And maybe you're curious!! :)
This is the (partial) Breslau scene - this being from book two of the Within This Darkness trilogy:
Breslau January 20, 1945
On January 20, 1945, snow fell endlessly from dark clouds. The snow was so thick, and added so much weight to the air, that it nearly silenced the desperate chaos around Manfred. At times, when he looked back as an adult, Manfred would wonder if he’d suffered some manner of stress induced deafness that day. But no - it had simply been the snow - falling so heavily it was as though someone, somewhere, was trying to bury the city and erase it from memory.
The Russians were coming. If there was one simple fact, in the mind of every German in the city of Breslau, and every German in the east, it was that the Russians were coming. And they were bringing terror and destruction with them. Everyone had heard of what the Russians had done in Nemmersdorf, and what they were doing to all German citizens as their furious revenge rolled its way across Poland into Germany. And so all of the German east was fleeing west towards Berlin, and Breslau, a gateway city between the east and the west, was overflowing with refugees heading west, and soldiers heading east.
Refugees, and, as Manfred had been seeing for days now, cows. And sheep. And horses. Poor farm families from eastern Silesia were herding their lives, including their cattle, west, to keep them out of the hands of the Russians. Manfred’s 9 year old mind was barely able to make sense of what he was seeing anymore - and the sight of thousands of refugees, and herds of cows and sheep - staggering through his elegant and ancient Silesian city numbed him. It was hard to believe that only a few days ago he’d been in school. And now, the world was ending.
Fighting their way against the waves of refugees, were ragged units of the German military - if “military” was still the right word for groups of old men and young boys yanked from their homes, given a Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon, and a black-red armband with the words Deutscher Volkssturm : Wehrmacht. These soldiers, sometimes struggling forward beside military vehicles, attempted to make progress against the wave of grief-stricken humanity fleeing to the west.
And all of this - the refugees and cattle heading west, the soldiers heading east, the explosions now and again as German engineers blasted the earth vainly trying to dig trenches to slow up Russian tanks - all of this happened almost in silence, as the snow simply fell, and fell, and fell, upon a dying city.
I'm Chris Tomasini.