“Brianna” Is Now Available On Amazon

Wow. Things are moving fast.
The eBook version of Brianna went live last night on Amazon and B&N.
I am so excited!!! I’ve already seen sales of it.

Here’s my affiliate link to the book on Amazon.
Please do me a favor and add a review to it. Reviews are extremely important even if they’re bad reviews. (I’m sure you like it, though)

Thank you.
Ralph
Also, please be sure to follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/northernovation

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Finally! Our Audiobook “Brianna” is Released

It took longer than I expected but our latest book “Brianna” is finally released and online, available for download.

We’re giving it away for free.

Here’s a snippet:

“Brianna” is about a woman that has lost faith in God and how God provides her signs to show her that he still cares for her.

Due to the tragic loss of her daughters, Brianna’s faith has been destroyed. She is angry with God. Why would God do this to her? Is she being punished for some unknown offense?

Follow the story to see how God demonstrates his love for her in unusual ways.

You can download the MP3 version of “Brianna” by Ralph Nelson Willett, at
NorthernOvationMedia.com/brianna

Please be sure to let us know what you think. As an author I love to discuss my own work. 😉

Ralph
Brianna by Ralph Nelson Willett

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Can Writing a Book Save Your Life?

by Ralph Nelson Willett

The title of this posting might seem a bit far fetched but I can tell you that I’m convinced that one book I wrote actually saved my life.

The book is “The Rose Stone”. You can hear the audio book version here.
The story of how I believe that writing “The Rose Stone” saved my life involves a faith healer, Marvel Universe Live, Celebrate Recovery and a change in doctors.

If you want the short version so you can move along, here it is:
Because I wrote the book I discovered that I’m a food addict.
That’s it. Thanks for stopping by. You can move along now.

Here’s the long version:
I was almost 300 pounds. I never felt that big but I was starting to have problems breathing when I simply tried to tie my shoes. My wife noticed that I was beginning to have trouble walking up stairs and my knees and feet hurt quite a bit.

Very early in 2015 I decided to try and take some action. All that weight couldn’t be good for my heart so I began to investigate bariatric surgery. This freaked my wife out. First of all, through her own investigation, she found that the divorce rate among couples where one member had the surgery jumps substantially. Secondly, there are some very severe health risks to the surgery.

I decided that the risk were worth it to extend my life. My wife and I finally came to an agreement that if I wasn’t able to drop any weight by the fall of that year that I would actively seek the surgery.

~ The Faith Healer ~
Now jump forward to June 14, 2015. Here’s a little bit of setup so you’ll understand this part. In July of 2014 we moved to a new city to help take care of my elderly mother. This was the town I grew up in and moved away from 35 years earlier. My wife and I actively began seeking out a new church. I thought the church we would attend would be the same one I grew up in, the same one my mother attended at the time. That church turned out to be a bad fit for us, (That’s another story) so we started looking for a new church.

The Church we found was a “mobile” church. That means they set up and tear down everything every Sunday. They meet in the local High School auditorium. We checked out the church and loved it.

The church itself was only three years old when we started attending. This church breaks down into sub-groups called ‘life groups’ where groups of people get together each week for “Fellowship and Bible Study”. (There’s more to it than just that but you get the idea.) Prior to us joining one of these groups a faith healer from Uganda met with them. One of the men in the group wore an eye patch because one of his eyes pointed off in another direction. The faith healer prayed for him and his vision was corrected. He never wore the eye patch again.

This was part of the “legend” that we stepped into when we started attending the life group. I heard the story many times and I got to know the man involved. I never had a reason to doubt the story.

So, now that I’ve explained the setup for this story I’ll tell the rest of it. The faith healer travels all over the world. In June of 2015 the faith healer came back around to our little town. A ‘healing’ service was to be held that Sunday night in the Cafe down town. My wife wanted to go so I agreed to go with her.

At this healing service, the faith healer prayed for the feet of one of my friends. My friend had damaged his feet so badly that he couldn’t walk without a walker. The Friday before this, his wife posted on Facebook pictures of his feet. The skin on the top of both feet was completely missing. Yes, I wrote that correctly, the skin was completely missing. After the faith healer prayed for him he was walking around without his walker like nothing happened. I knew this guy. He wasn’t faking it.

At this point I talked myself into having the faith healer pray for me. Oddly enough I was standing right in front of him trying to get his attention. It wasn’t until someone else intervened that I was finally able to tell him what I wanted him to pray for. I wanted him to pray for my weight. He did.

The next day, Monday, my friend’s wife posted new pictures of his feet. They were almost completely healed. The difference between what I saw on Friday and what I saw on Monday was incredible, hard to believe. I posted on Facebook that “Normally I’m a skeptic about this type of thing but I was there and I saw it”.

The faith healer saw my comment on the post and contacted me. He said, “I get to talk ‘healing groupies’ all the time but I rarely get to talk to skeptics.” He asked me to come and talk to him. I agreed.

We met the next afternoon and talked. I explained that I am a skeptic of faith healing. We talked for a while and then he prayed over my weight again. He then said, “The next time I see you, I am convinced that I will see a much smaller man.”

And then…
Nothing happened. I remained at almost 300 pounds and might have even gained some.

Enter the Super Heroes
At that time my son traveled around the country with the largest arena show in the country, Marvel Universe Live. He was one of the guys that made the super heroes fly around the arena. Because he worked for the show I could get free tickets. He was in Chicago, not too far from us, so we decided to invite our minister and his family to come along with us to see the show. They did. We got a backstage tour. It’s a fabulous show. If you get a chance, go see it. That was September 11th, my birthday.

At some point, I don’t know when, I gave two of my first audio books that I wrote to our new minister. Looking back on those stories now, I can see how poor the quality of the recordings were. The stories were interesting and even cute but lets say I’ve learned a whole lot since then. In spite of this he liked the stories.

On the way back home from Chicago my minister and I were talking. I had the following week off work as a vacation. My minister asked what plans I had for that week. I didn’t have any other than hanging out around the house. He said “why don’t you write another story?” I balked. I explained that it wasn’t that easy to just write another story. I had tried several times since writing the ones I gave him and failed, going down in smoking ruin. He just encouraged me to give it another try.

The following Monday my wife and I went to the state park beach on Lake Michigan. She likes to sift through the stones trying to find little pieces of beach glass. I usually just sit in a chair, listen to an audio book and smoke a cigar while she does that. This time I decide to walk the beach for a bit.

As I was walking the beach I saw a small reddish stone in the sand. I reached down to pick it up and (I swear this is true) by the time I stood up I had the entire “Rose Stone” story in my head. I spent my vacation week hammering out the first draft.

As part of writing the book I had to understand a few things. One of those things was alcohol addiction. My brother is a struggling alcoholic. When I told him what I was doing he told me what it was like to be an alcoholic. Much of what he told me made it into the book.

I also happened to know the leader of the local chapter of Celebrate Recovery. It’s another 12 step program like AA. By accident I met him at the Living Room Cafe and we sat and talked for a while. The cafe is where Celebrate Recovery meets. He told me he would see people pacing the sidewalk across the street trying to decide if they were going to come into a Celebrate Recovery meeting or not. That made the book.

The New Doctor
In September we received a letter from our doctor that she was leaving town and I need to find someone new. So we set up an appointment with a new doctor. Someone we actually knew from church. We met with her in early October.

Remember my promise to my wife that I would hold off on getting bariatric surgery? It was now time to start looking for the best place have it done. My weight hadn’t changed at all. When we met with or new doctor I told her that was what I was going to do. She said, “Hold off for a bit. There’s a new drug out there that has shown some good results with weight loss.” She suggested that I do my own research on the drug and then meet with her again in a month let her know if I wanted to try it.

I did the research and the drug looked promising. It’s a combination of two drugs, an anti-depressant and a drug that narcotic addicts use to reduce the cravings. I met with my new doctor at the end of November and she put me on the drug.

The drug had immediate effects. The weight started peeling off. What it does for me is reduce the cravings I had for food. To me it’s a miracle drug.

Back to The Rose Stone Book
By the end of November I had hammered out my final draft of “The Rose Stone”. I wanted it reviewed by the head of Celebrate Recovery so I gave him a copy. Since it deals with addiction I thought he would have some insight into the story.

And….
Nothing happened.

By the end of December I was still loosing weight. I reminded the head of Celebrate Recovery that I still wanted him to read it. A couple of weeks later he sent me an email:

Ralph,

I found myself strangely procrastinating reading your manuscript. So today I decided to take it to work with me… I couldn’t peel my eyes away from it. I found myself thrown into the life of Rosie, hearing and even feeling her pain and struggle with despair. You have an amazing talent. I had to force back tears(only because I’m at the shop). I hope you consider putting this to print, simply because I’d use it for training and ministry in C.R..
Thank you for the honor and privilege to read this book.

You are blessed and highly favored,

Marc

The next time I saw him we talked about it again. He said, “for someone who doesn’t have the problem you nailed it.”

I responded, “Alcohol isn’t my problem, food is.”

It was that statement, that confession that finally put it all together for me. I am a food addict. That’s a socially acceptable addiction but I’m still an addict. I do many of the same thing any addict would do – except I do it with food. I would find myself eating when I wasn’t hungry. I would discover I just ate something and couldn’t remember making the decision to. I could have a single drink with no problem but I couldn’t have a single slice of pizza; I had to have the whole pizza. It took putting me on the same medication that narcotic addicts use to help them with their addiction to help me with mine.

Now that I understand what my problem is. I was in denial for a very long time but now I can learn to deal with it. As I write this I now down 65 pounds. If you need a visual for what that means, take a look in your refrigerator. See that one pound tub of butter? Stack 65 of those together and that’s how much weight I lost. – And I’m still losing. My total goal that I’ve set for myself is 85 pounds.

I’m still learning to deal with my addiction. I’m learning my triggers and what to stay away from. (Oddly, Tobasco Sauce is a trigger for me.)

So concluding, I credit writing “The Rose Stone” for saving my life. If I never would have wrote it I would have never come to the understanding that I am an addict. I got my miracle from the faith healer. I can see how God brought so many pieces together to finally give me the answer that I had been praying for. I am now a “much smaller man.”

That’s the long story. Thank you for sticking with it through the end.

Ralph

[Update September 21, 2015]
I have made the entire Rose Stone story available on this site. It can be heard here –The Rose Stone

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Releasing ‘Brianna’ – By Ralph Nelson Willett

Brianna by Ralph Nelson Willett
One of the most exciting thing for an author to do is to release a new book. There’s a certain amount of pride in doing that. It’s a bit like showing off your new baby. You show it to everyone you know to the point of annoyance. Then when you’ve exhausted your friend you move on to complete strangers. That’s where I find myself right now with the release of my short story “Brianna”.

I focus much more on audio books than ebooks. Brianna is now recorded but still not ready for release. My narrator needs to record a couple of more things. First is the “Thank you for listening” script. Then I’ve added an epilogue to it that needs to be recorded. That will be given away separately only to those that download the audio book version. (The audio book is free. Did I mention that yet?) Delay after delay has happened to just frustrate me no end but there isn’t anything I can do about it.

I can’t release the Kindle version until I have the audio book ready to go. “Why not?” you may ask. Because I’m giving the audio book version away and I’m going to link to the giveaway in the ebook. Now you’re going to ask “Why are you giving the audio book away?”

Fair question. Here’s the answer: As a start up indie publisher I need to create an audience, people who like what we do and are willing to buy the books. What I’m doing is giving away the audio book version of Brianna in exchange for an email address. Then my next release (“The Summer Tourist” BTW) will have people to market to.

Dang it! I just used the ‘M’ word, marketing. As an artist, that’s what an author is, I hate to market to people. The first thing that comes to mind is a pushy salesperson. No one likes a pushy salesperson. I want everyone to love me. I’m a nice guy. Fortunately that isn’t what’s going on here. I’m building a fan base. When I have a new book to release I need to be able to tell them about it. That’s sales but it’s not pushy.

Have you every supersized your McDonald’s order because someone asked you if you wanted to? That’s sales. That’s marketing. You didn’t object to them asking if you wanted to. You got a special deal and supersized it. Nice. But what if I said “Hey, I’ve got a new book out. I hope you like it. Here’s where you can buy it.” That’s sales. It’s not pushy.

The email list I’m building is strictly opt in. That means if you think our books are horrendous then you can say stop letting me know when you release new books. Then we won’t email you with new book titles anymore. Simple, eh?

Now I’m sure that you won’t find our books and short stories horrendous. I’m actually pretty sure you’ll like them. If…. you like the type of books we create. Faith based books aren’t for everyone.

Keep an eye out for Brianna. If you’ve ever doubted God, and we all have at some point, then I think you’ll like the story. I hope to release it this upcoming week if I can get past the delays.

Ralph
Brianna by Ralph Nelson Willett

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How to Market Your eBook

I have to admit I’m a bit frustrated. Trying to be an Indy Publisher is more difficult than just putting your book on Amazon. To rise above the noise to have any chance of getting noticed you must have a presence on social media. After all, when you release a book you need to ‘release’ it to someone.

I’m now trying to bring Northern Ovation Media into the on-line world, tweeting, gaining followers, etc. My frustration is how much time that takes. It’s a complete distraction from what I want to do. I want to day dream. I want to write. I want to bring to life characters that up to now have only existed in my mind.

I know there are services out there that you can hire to do these things for you but the expense is more than we can bear at the moment. So that means I have to do all the social media “stuff” that needs to be done. It’s a complete distraction. I find myself focused on twitter far more than I should be. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what people will re-tweet, like and click on. If there’s a better way I haven’t seen it yet.

So follow us on Twitter @NortherOvation. I’m sure once I get a million followers I’ll then be able to sit back, drink coffee and day dream again.

~Ralph

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Newest Amazon Kindle Available for Pre-Order

This is good news for all of us eBook fans.
The new Kindle is available for pre-order.
Get it as soon a it comes out.
(Ok, This is an affiliate link but it’s still pretty cool.)

New Amazon Kindle Pre-Order

Here’s the Amazon Spin on it:
All-New Kindle—All book. No glare. Zero distractions.

We would like to introduce you to the newest member of the Amazon device family. The all-new Kindle e-reader offers the following benefits and much more:

*- The all-new Kindle is 11% thinner and 16% lighter than the previous generation Kindle, making it easy and comfortable to hold in one hand.

*- Kindle uses actual ink particles and proprietary, hand-built fonts to create crisp text similar to what you see in a physical book. The blacks and whites on the screen are uniform, improving text and image quality.

*- No screen glare, even in bright sunlight, unlike tablets

*- Kindle doesn’t need power to maintain a page of text, allowing you to read for weeks on a single charge.

*- Unlike reflective tablet and smartphone screens, the high contrast touchscreen display eliminates glare in any setting—even direct sunlight.

Here’s that link again:
New Amazon Kindle Pre-Order

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South Haven Authors and Indie Publishers Group

For me, the writing part is easy. I love to sit down and crank out a story even if it’s for my own amusement. After writing “The Rose Stone”, (You can hear the audio book here http://webuildbridges.org/the-rose-stone/) I wrote two more. My intent was to only release them in audio book format if only because I’m a huge audio book fan. But ‘things’ keep getting in the way of doing that so I decided to do go the indie publishing route.

The first thing I decided to do was to research how to publish to Kindle on Amazon. That’s pretty straight forward but the more I dug into indie publishing, even taking online classes on how to do it, the more I discovered that the writing is the easy part. The hard part is all the other work you need to do such as building mailing list and social media contacts. I’ve discovered I don’t like that very much. It needs to be done but I’d rather be writing or recording my books.

There’s a huge learning curve to doing indie publishing right. I can’t say I’ve figured it all out yet. It occurred to me that I’m not the only one learning my way through this. My thought is now that if I could form a group in my area, South Haven Michigan, of people trying to do the exact same thing we could share what we’ve learned and use that as a “rising tide to lift all boats”. So I’ve decide that I will try to form such a group.

I know that there are a lot of published and unpublished authors around our area and I’d like to get together with you perhaps on a monthly basis to share what I’ve learned and hopefully learn from you. This would not be a group designed to critique each others work but a group dedicated to helping each other find and expand the markets for our work.

If you’re interested in helping to form a group and you’re in the South Haven MI area, please use the signup form to join the mailing list I’ll be using to start sharing info.

Please use this form: South Haven Authors and Indie Publishers Group Sign Up
Or Tweet Me @NortherOvation.

Thank You.
Ralph Nelson Willett
Norther Ovation Media

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Unveiled

This is one of the projects that we were involved with. It happens to be one of my favorites. We were asked to write something that would show why people put on ‘masks’ to hide our real selves from people. The video below is what we came up with.

Unveiled is an original skit performed at LifeBridge Church on February 7th, 2016. It was presented during a message about living an authentic life under God’s grace as opposed to a veiled life based on performance. You can find out more about Jesus and our message of hope here at LifeBridge by visiting us at webuildbridges.org. Special thanks to skit writer Ralph Willett, performers Holger Jerch, Vaughn Gargus, Linda Davies, Raymond Olivarez, Ashli Niles, Sarah Fernandez, and Kevin Jackson. Song: “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.

Unveiled from LifeBridge Church on Vimeo.

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Welcome to Northern Ovation Media

We aim to be writers and narrators extraordinaire.

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