What is Your Mission?

No matter how large your business is, be it one novel you are promoting or a large corporation, a mission statement can guide your direction as you move forward. Each endeavor has its individual characteristics that should be capitalized on and guiding principles will make that unique in the public eye.

As an author, I want my work to achieve several things. First, I’d like to help children see the magic that resides in all of us. Secondly, I’d love to affect positive change in readers’ lives. And then of course, I want my readers to have fun, and ride a roller coaster that transports them to amazing worlds both real and imagined.

Others have different goals. My friend and colleague, Dean Bernal, for example, has one of the most admirable mission statements I’ve ever seen. His Dean and JoJo brand wishes to educate, awaken, inspire, and ignite. How? Through the example of his true lifelong friendship with a wild dolphin named JoJo, Dean has created books, films, and digital characters that spark the desire for service. In greater detail they seek to:

– Educate our audience about the delicate and essential interdependence between earth and ocean, man and animal.

– Awaken our audience so that every individual sees him/herself as an essential part of the equation for preserving the planet.

– Inspire our audience to take actions – large and small that will benefit the earth, the ocean, man and animals.

– Ignite a collective consciousness & awakening and movement for taking actions that contribute to the survival/preservation of the planet.

What do you want your business to do? Try writing a mission statement and see where it takes you.



Book Trailer Success

Do you have a novel you’re trying to promote? Are you looking for new ways to capture your audience’s  attention? Why not try making a book trailer? With Animoto, it’s easy to create a professional looking commercial.

Here’s one I made for my new novel, Forest Secrets.

Animoto makes it easy.  With over 50 templates, 1000 soundtracks in their music library, and cool typography all you have to add is a script and some photos. Check it out at:


They’ll even let you make a sample for free.

Artania III Teaser

Alex gripped his skateboard even tighter and tried not to think of how high the ramp was. So what if it was fourteen feet straight down? As dorky as his gear looked, with elbow and knee pads, a helmet and even wrist guards, at least he was protected.  All Mom’s idea but he didn’t care what other kids thought. In 6th grade he’d almost lost her and now he’d wear an elephant costume if it meant keeping her weak heart from worrying.

Anyhow he’d skated in rocky caverns with slime-covered monsters in hot pursuit and lived to tell the tale. This was just Santa Barbara. Okay it was the Volcom Games with hundreds of people watching and he’d only been skating vert for nine months. But still his life wasn’t in danger.

He hoped.

He glanced at the audience below and saw his skateboarding buds, Jose, Zach, and Gwen, give him a thumbs-up. Not easy acts to follow. They’d each wowed the crowd with backside airs, fakies, and real clean kick flips. Alex raised three fingers for a quick wave wondering if his best friend had been able to make it, but Bartholomew’s white suit was nowhere to be seen.

“And next we have thirteen year old Alexander Devinci in his first competition. Give it up for the Southern Cal Kid.”

The crowd cheered.

Heart pounding, Alex stepped up to the ledge. He tried not to look down as he set the board’s tail over the coping. When he saw the dizzying height he took a deep breath and forced himself to anchor the wheels in place with his back foot. Closing his eyes, he imagined that he was safe at home standing in front of his easel, paintbrush about to create wonder.

And he was there. Ready.

Like a furious hand slapping paint on canvas he stomped his front foot and dropped over the vert wall. Wind whooshed past his face causing the few curls that had escaped the helmet to whip and tickle the nape of his neck. His eyes narrowed as his wheels rolled ever faster.

He hit the bottom of the ramp ready to scale the other side when the doubts began.

Were his feet in line with the bolts on deck? He’d fallen buko times over the summer because of bad foot placement, ripping five pair of jeans, scraping his knees and arms, and even dislocating his shoulder. Mom wasn’t too thrilled about that but since he’d called Dad to take him to the hospital she only had to deal with it after the joint was back in place.

The glare of summer sun on the vertical blinded him for a moment. Blinking, Alex shifted his weight and tried to remember all the tips Gwen had given him about rolling up the transition. On the ascent Alex tried to gauge his speed. Was he going fast enough for the backside ollie he planned to do over the rail?

“Go Alex, rip it!” Gwen cried from the crowd.

With a quick nod Alex aimed his board at the sky. He’d lay it down just like Tony Hawk or Christian Hosoi.

“This Santa Barbara kid is holding his own,” the commentator announced over the loudspeaker.

Higher Alex rolled, aiming straight for the lip. Everything was perfect.

He looked up. There, amongst the wispy clouds he saw something red shimmering. No, it was a sparkle. A glistening reflection off of the underbody of a creature.

The creature opened its long snout in a plaintive wail.

Dragons over Santa Barbara? What the?

And that’s when he fell.

The Big Hug

hug monkeyLike many writers I have focused in on individual book sales. Like the chapters in my fantasy novels, I’ve taken baby steps toward what I thought was the ultimate: THE BOOK DEAL. Then a friend introduced me to the idea of branding, of thinking beyond a book or series. He told me that my Artania novels were perfect intellectual properties for branding and advised I attend the Las Vegas Licensing Expo for examples. Now, I’ll admit to being absolutely overwhelmed when I first entered that huge conference hall with hundred of displays with names like Universal, Pixar, and DreamWorks. I walked from booth to booth in a bit of a daze wondering how the heck a little old writer like me fit in with such mega-successes. Then I hugged a cuddly monkey and realized. Perfectly. Every single one of the intellectual properties began like Artania did, with an idea. Some were single sketches. Others fashion lines. A few like me were dreamers who loved to create entire worlds with epic battles of good versus evil. So I got to work. And it was a lot like revising my novels. I took my query, tweaked it for a business market and made a one pager. I was pleased with the results. And surprise, surprise, surprise: so was everyone I gave it to. The response was so positive many people asked for meetings about my novels. So if you’d like to see your novels become household names with characters so recognizable that goofy people like me want to hug  them, then think about branding. It just might make all the difference.