Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Marker 55

I deleted this post for personal reason's

Thanks for everybody's kind comments

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Squealing Wheel Gets the Grease

By: Martin Bartloff

This isn't solely about the VA Book Festival where I met with Karen and Katie Saturday. I'm about to give you a number and I want you to remember that number, because I will get back to it in just a tad. Ready? It's the number 8.

I met with Karen at 7:30 am at the Omni Hotel. We helped Karen and Katie set up the two Echelon stands, and then went to join my son, his girlfriend and Super Seth for Breakfast. When I returned, Karen sat at a table that was covered with Echelon books. No different with Katie, who set up just a few feet away. Familiar covers and titles caught my attentions here and there. Surviving Serendipity and Locker Shock (Karen, I like a real person on my cover art.)
Those two and DFF by J.R Turner intrigued me to the point of taking a closer look.

Karen and I spoke and during the course of the day I've learned some ugly words like distributor deadlines and bookstore returns. Very ugly words and I hope to never hear them again. Is my book ever gonna end up as a return on her table, I wondered?

Have you ever been to the movies and caught yourself so emotionally involved that your eyes watered and you desperately tried to swallow that lump in your throat? I think we all have done that and those movies have become our most-memorable movies of all times. Am I right?

Last time I checked my name wasn't Stephan King or John Grisham. My name is Martin Bartloff, Author of "Torn from Normal," aka Like a Snowflake in Summer. But don't be fooled, "Torn from Normal" isn't a great novel to read. It's not just any book, it’s simply the BEST. This is where you may roll eyes and think is he nutty? Yes I have a strong personality and tons of confidence in my novel, but guess what? That is what will sell my book. I don't go halfway and slow to a crawl because Echelon is selling for me. There is no slowing down, once "Torn from Normal" goes public I will beat the drum and let the world know that my book is the next literary blockbuster. Hollywood will be my next stop and once I see my work is on screen I will sit back knowing that I’ve succeeded.

You guys are the greatest bunch I've ever worked with, but I want to hear your one good reason why I need to read your book. Convince me. Since the day I became part of Echelon all I ever hear is "post this, link that, click here click there." While that is how we promote our books, I don't hear about the book itself, how great your work is and why anybody should read it. Face it folks, Karen gave us a great gift when she signed us. That gal stands 100% behind us and our books. Do you get this aggressive with your novels? The Internet is a great tool to promote, but as part of Echelon we all have to stick together as whole. I don't know where you stand, but my intentions as an author are clear and crisp!

Remember the number I gave in the beginning? 8 long hours Karen stood behind that table selling your books, believing in you and every single title. She is giving more than 100%. At times I wanted to send her off to get some rest while I filled her spot for a while. Katie did and I filled in, but guess what? I had no clue what I was selling. All I knew was covers, titles and names, nothing more. Can you be sure that your book will sell itself whenever Karen isn't around to give that one good reason people need to read your book? If I were a customer, I want you to convince me.

Karen and I may disagree on this and she is grabbing a stick now:) but let me say this to you. Can't we all please participate with each other a little more, share our material and talk about the content of our books? Who has the time to read hundreds of books, blogs and web sites in order to learn about you and your masterpieces?, The average reader is not going to seek you out. Don’t depend on the reader to stumble on your book. My mission is for my book not to be like a million others that get eaten like small fish in the ocean. I'm on a luxury liner, selling my book door to door if I must, until the printers run out of ink. I suggest you get onboard and let the world know why they need to buy your book.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Book Festivals Rock!

By: Karen Syed.

Well, I am a couple days ate on my follow up to the Virginia Festival of the Book 2009.

Where to begin. Katie Hartlove and I drove in on Friday night so we would be fresh as spring daisies on Saturday morning. I have to tell you, I was not as fresh as I would have liked to have been, but we made it to the Omni a bit early and what to our wondering eye should appear, but Martin Bartloff. Martin is one of Echelon's upcoming authors and he is a prince among frogs. And if Martin wasn't enough, he brought his son Dean, Dean's best girl, Heather, and the Super Seth! We had a full crew, which is good since I'm not supposed to be lifting anything.

Martin and Seth helped us set up our tables and get things ready to go and at 9:00 a.m. I sold my first set of books. The day stayed pretty steady from that point on.

As usual, the most popular books on the table was The Grace Marsden Mystery series. I always sell more of The Rosary Bride than any other book at an event.

These types of events are AWESOME for networking. I ran into many old friends. I grazed by Tasha Alexander several times as she rushed from one place to another-very busy author of A FATAL WALTZ. I saw the delightfully handsome Andrew Grant, author of the upcoming EVEN

I got to hang out with Gayle Trent and her great kids. What a couple of smarties! They hung out with me for a while, gave me some tips on reaching young readers, and what not to do as an adult. Seems I make a lot of mistakes as an adult.

One of the day's highlights was hanging out with Nikki Leigh, the author of BOOK PROMO 101. If you are an author and you don't read Nikki's books, shame on you! She is about as smart and savvy as they come.

All in all, this was a great event. We sold books, we saw friends, I got a little mini interview done with Gayle, and did I mention we sold books?

I think my favorite part was getting to talk to people. People often ask why I keep going to events when my health is so bad. I don't plan to die any time soon, but I want to make certain that I enjoy every single day of my life, and outside of my husband, selling I love selling books and chatting with readers more than anything. It's what I do.

So, if you are ever at a book festival or conference that I am at, don't miss your chance to talk with me. I really am a hoot. Ask anyone who knows me. I am fun, cute as a button, and charming as can be. heehee See for yourself.

On March 27-28, 2009, I will be in Allentown, PA at THE WRITE STUFF Conference. This is my second time at this one, and while it is small and cozy, it packs a real punch!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

757 is so cool!

First off, let me say. As you read, some of you “757” teens will be offended and it'll be interesting to see if the number of friends on my list drops.

While you read this, some of you will find similarities to your own lives. Once that becomes the case, I suggest you read on because this is about you!

If you’re 16 to 21 and don’t have a job or any desire to get one, then this is about your future. This is also about you if:

  1. You smoked marijuana more than once this year and you think there's nothing wrong with it because it’s just pot and it isn’t addictive.
  2. All your buddies smoke pot or do other drugs, but you think they're cool.
  3. You know people who have marijuana readily available and you wouldn’t dare doing anything about it because they're your buddies and it’s “not that bad.”
  4. You’re invited to a party and you text, or get text messages, to organize “dime bag.”
  5. You dropped out of high school, or are considering it. GED, then off to college are some of the ideas floating in your head.

Think again! If you’re pressed to drop out of high school for whatever reason, you’re not gonna stick around in college. Think about it. Most who have dropped out just fooled themselves and never even registered for GED classes. It became too easy to let it all go. Sounds familiar?

I’ve been hearing and reading all about this “757 this and that.” As if it's something special to be a teen in the 757 area. Based on my observations, a large number of the “757” teenagers are on a path to nowhere and the number is rising. I don’t want to sound like an anti-drug activist or advocate here, I’ve done my share. However all of my drug sins can be accounted for on one hand, excluding the thumb. I thought better of myself and so should you!

You may ask yourself now “What's the difference?” Well, I’ll tell you this, if you see nothing wrong in smoking pot and you think it’s “cool” cause’ all your buddies do it and you dropped out of high school to do your GED, you have a real problem. There comes a day when all those decisions are back to haunt you, when hotel-momma is no longer available, when no employer is willing to hire you, when going back to school for your diploma is no longer an option, and when your girl/boyfriend left you for someone who built their future while you smoked pot.

I’m not trying to be mean, or sound like the guy on the poster that says “just say no to drugs,” I’m merely appealing to your consciousness as a friend and as a parent of a “757” teenager. Make a difference in your life; don’t allow drugs to drain the best out of you. You’re young and bright, what you do now will reflect on your entire future. Pick yourself up and work on building your dreams and goals in life.

Drugs suck the life out of you, they make you dumb and ill-tempered and you lose your ambition. It shrinks your horizon to “what’s up dude, let’s chill tonight.”

I’m here if you wanna talk. Many of you know me and have been to our house to party and have fun. Believe it or not, I know those of you who have gone farther, snuck in the garage after everyone was asleep. It never fails; I know why some of you got a ride in the middle of the night because you knew I’d go anal if I caught you smoking a blunt on my property.

Be creative, live your dreams, don’t spend $10.00 on a blunt that makes you narrow when you can spend $10.00 on a book at Echelon.com and get a second book free.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Wheel's, Grease, Automobiles and writing

Wheels and writing do not match! At least that has been the look on a few of my customers faces when they learn I wrote a book. Next they think I've written some text book, probably related to automotive somehow. On the other hand, some of the responses were that they are not surprised anymore about anything I'm doing and that they know I turn everything into gold I touch.

Maybe however, that is why I didn't sit down ten years ago to write a novel. Maybe I thought it would be weird for a German Native-Automotive business owner like me to write a book. I don't know and all these years stories and images piled up in me. I'm a very deep thinker, I pay attention to the smallest details when you least expect it. All these years, I knew I had it in me, but instead of writing a novel I thought, How cool would it be if there was a movie of the images and stories I see?

But first lets get back to the odd match of "greasy hands" and something as fatigue as words on white paper.

As a young child our mom used to carry my brother and I once a year to the traveling stuntman show in town called "Hell Drivers." I was fascinated by flipping cars and dirt bike jumps through fire or over volunteers. I must have been no more than 8 years old then. Every morning when my older brother went to work and I had some time before I had to get ready for school, I would sneak in his room, lay on the bed and listen to his radio, eyes always closed I would drift into other worlds. Sometimes I saw myself performing in front of large crowds, often I sang along. Other times I was the stuntman, racing at high speeds toward ramps, crowds cheering. Even then I noticed that I matched particular songs to certain images and scenes.

As I grew older I constantly got in trouble with my old brother. It never failed, he always found out I messed with his stereo and records while he was at work. My mom knew not to interrupt while I laid on the sofa listening to loud music. Still followed by the same images I wanted more, make them real. So I got some friends together and we became dare devils on bicycles. We built ramps up to 3 ft high and jumped them with our bikes. Later I added more challenges, we gathered volunteers from the near by playground. They were placed in front of those ramps. Nobody ever got hurt :-) I got in trouble one time when I came home with my jacket burned in several spots. I had gone to a local vegetable store and asked for the wooden vegetable boxes in their trash pile. We stacked them in front of the ramp and set them on fire, (I was crazy) as I took a running start and neared the ramp, a friend poured more gasoline on the boxes. It was an awesome feeling crashing threw them.

Meanwhile at home, I kept track of everything we mastered. I made my own portfolio that showed drawings and real pictures of our stunts. Other kids heard of us and wanted to join in, but we stuck to our little group. Still into music, in the afternoons I would dream up how we would travel around and become famous.
As I grew to a teenager I calmed down a lot, still dreaming up things under the influence of music and changing them into reality. (Watch me get carried away here) At the age of 15 I traveled across Germany on a moped. That one almost made the newspaper as our German mopeds reached no more than 15 mph top speed. I was known as the master drifter when I was 18 and had my first car. I would drift many turns in my city perfectly and never wrecked! Friends were eager to drive with me. That was in the mid 80's.

Later on I got really deep into cars, I graduated from Automotive trade school in Germany (some of you know how hard that is, like college!) Still a dare devil, I started taking old junk cars I traded in to our local industrial park, built ramps and flipped them there with the help of onlookers, friends and customers (some pic's on my myspace. myspace.com/benzman01)
Today I still listen to music and dream away, but it's different now. The images are more random as I get animated by text and lyrics. Most of my debut novel came together this way. I must say though, while they are more random now, my imagination still lets me add scenes and events. Sometimes I observe things being around so many people everyday. I often get intrigued, run home and turn on some music and make the images flow in my mind no different than a movie. In most cases I write immediately afterward. Needles to say my novel has a soundtrack :-) To be more specific, it's a list of songs in the order of the events and scenes in my novel.

However, none of my writing would mean anything if it wasn't for meeting a few very special people in the last two years. My special thanks go out to Jennifer Turner, who is as professional in writing as I am in my profession as a Mercedes Benz tech, who recognized my potential while I had doubts. Then there is Karen Syed who gave my efforts a whole new meaning, who changed my life to the point that I wake up every morning anew with the insurance that my efforts were well worth it. Every single morning I wake up, momentarily admiring that one dollar bill tapped to the ceiling above my bed. I placed it there after adding some zero's with a magic marker. Not that money means that much to me, but one day I swore myself, my book sales will reach that number and more. I will remember the day I drew the extra zero's as a support that I will never forget that anything is possible and every dream can come true if you work at it.



Saturday, March 7, 2009


Category: Quiz/Survey
This will be fun :0

I've seen countless Movies throughout my life, some are embedded in me forever.
Name the 5 of your most favorite movies. Logan this one is for you as you are my leading expert on the subject.

Anybody keen on my list?

1. Jurassic Park.
2. The professional.
3. Bridges of Madison County.
4. No country for old man.
5. Brokeback Mountain.

Please reply in the comment field just below the blog. And please "Subscribe" to my blogs.


Friday, March 6, 2009

My Weekend

I'm deflating in anticipation right now as I'll be getting my new assignments any minute. It has been a crazy week and I could not wait to get away from the shop.

I'll be doing some writing this weekend, but also two dinners. Hit me up if any of you likes to hang out, you know how to find and I will need those breaks from writing, I'm sure.

My favorite German food store stocked up some German foods and chocolates, I spent a couple of hundreds this morning in groceries there and had a great Schnitzel for lunch with Sauerkraut and potato salad :-)


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My world of Automobiles

March 3, 2009 - Tuesday
New ride
I finally added another car to my collection today. This morning I ventured out and bought a 2001 black Audi Allroad with an amazing rare to North America, 6 Speed manual transmission. The Audi is super fast, has a 2,7 liter twin Turbo engine, excellent sleeper.I'm amazed at some of the extras that come with the Audi winter package. Front and back heated seats, heated steering wheel. Solar Sunroof (solar cells power the heater blower while the car is parked and turned off. This circulates heat as long as the engine is warm, or fresh air in the summer so you don't get toasted when the car sat in the sun for hours). This particular one was also chip tuned by the previous owner. The height level can be adjusted in 4 stages. Down like a regular wagon, all the way to high off the ground like a ford explorer. I will probably never need some of those functions, but they are all part of this model regardless. Further does the Audi have xenon headlights, 6 + 1 CD changer and many other goodies that are too much to list. I always wanted one of these Allroads, for one reason Audi is one of the top leading brands in reliability along with Volkswagen and Porsche. Now you know why I'm in business servicing and repair mainly Mercedes Benz. I'd go bankrupt specializing in Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen :-)The Passat wagon is now officially up for sale, it's a 2002 Passat wagon GLX 4Motion. (yes it's a four wheel drive) The car is fully loaded, leather, heated seats, moonroof and much more. The clock shows 108,000 miles. Doest leak a drop of oil and runs perfect. I put 30,000 miles on the Passat in 4 years and never had any problems with the car. I will post pictures of the Audi just as soon as the weather clears and I'll be able to clean her off.If you don't know what an Audi Allroad is, google "2001 Audi Allroad"-Martin