Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest Post: Rebeka Harrington Revealed

“Leave behind your preconceived ideas, forget the horror stories and disregard everything you think you know about vampires.
For centuries the debate has raged; are vampires real?  There has been plenty of myth and superstition regarding vampires but not a lot of truth or answers.  In a unique piece of work, Bektamun a 3000 year old vampire, puts to rest all the myth and finally reveals the truth about the legendary creatures known across the globe as vampires.
Vampires Revealed is a journey of discovery. Never before have humans had and an opportunity such as this.  To know the unadulterated truth, for every question you may have ever had about vampires to be answered” ~Synaposis for Vampires Revealed.~

Self-Publishing: The Vampires Revealed Odyssey
By Rebeka Harrington

When Patricia and I discussed the idea of me doing a guest post for her, she suggested I write about why I had chosen to self-publish. Seemed easy enough… until I sat down and faced the computer screen.

You see, before I was confronted with which publishing route to take, first I had to decide whether I not even wanted to publish my work. To publish or not to publish? That was the question.

Vampires Revealed as a project, was unplanned. I liken it to a ‘happy accident’.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Spooktacular October Paranormal Reading Challenge

Okay, I admit, sometimes I can be lazy when it comes to challenges. The more it requires the less inclined I am to do it. I like the challenges where all I have to do is comment or something insanely easy. When I did the A to Z Challenge, I was nervous because it required a post every day. But I got through it and even had posts ready in advance for it. You'd think after that I'd be, "Challenges? Psssh, I eat challenges for breakfast." I'm not. I still wuss out if the challenge requires a lot.

Well, no more right? Umm, yeah, sure, whatever you want think.

I do have a challenge I'm going to. *Points to post title.* It's hosted by my friend, Marie over at Ramblings of a Daydreamer. It sounded like fun, and despite my worry that I won't find time to read enough books, I signed up. The challenge is this:

Read and review a minimum of three paranormal books for the month of October and sign up to participate on her site. Not too hard right? There's a little more. On October 1st there will be a post with a Mr. Linky. You add each review to that and in return get entered in a giveaway. Oh, and it's not just limited to paranormal. Any otherworldly creature will do. That means mermaids, fairies, gnomes, the loc ness monster. You get the idea.

And that's it. Sounds like fun, right? You know you want to do this with me. (Just like you wanted to do the character interview at The Undeveloped Story.) How can you say no to winning books? BOOKS people! As a writer I know I don't have enough. I should go buy more. (And hubby steals all my debit cards now.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another milestone author moment

I hate book trailers. They are the most boring things ever for me to watch. I've seen one that I liked and it was for First Kill by Heather Brewer. The rest... I can live without. That being said, I've often thought should I get one made for Being Human? Lots of people I know love book trailers. But how much would it cost? Can I afford it right now being unemployed? My only cash coming in is the small trickle of sales (and hubby.) I have a credit card I can put it on, but I hesitated.

Do I really need a book trailer?

Then my writing partner in crime fiddled with some video software and made his own. It's nothing fancy, just a bit of text on a background talking about the book. No, I didn't think, I can do that. I thought, He can make me one too! That idea didn't go over too well. *sniff* But the seeds were planted and I was really starting to want a book trailer of my own.

I grudgingly accepted that, yes, I could do it myself. My hubby is a computer nerd so he could help me out if needed. I asked what program was used and mentioned it to hubby. Hubby didn't much care for that program and pointed out on the MacBook I'm using, if I switch over to the Mac OS, there is iMovie I can use that should be much easier to use. We popped over to the Mac OS, got an updated version of iMovie and I went to work. When I opened the program and had a moment of panic. Now what??? I had no idea. I figured it out eventually, found a nice background, typed in the script I wrote up and got the music and an image of my book cover added. After that, it was fiddling with the music and time so when changes in the music happened, the text would change. I really enjoyed that part. It took me about five hours I think. I didn't really time myself. I know Thor started and finished while I was doing it, but then the TV went off and I didn't look at the time any.

Now, I must warn you, I have never done anything like this before. What you are seeing is a n00b's first attempt at making a video of any kind. It screams novice. But I'm glad I did it myself. I had a lot of fun and I am very pleased with how it turned out. Even if it's not fancy or completely perfect, I like the fact I did it myself, that it became part of my self publishing journey. So, I will shut up now and you can enjoy the premier of my first book trailer. (10/18/11 note. Changed the trailer because original music was copyrighted and had to find different music. Also added images.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Things Review

I am excited. This is my first author asked me to read and review their book review! How cool is that? Maybe you don't think it's that cool, but I do. Phil got a hold of me on twitter, asking if I'd be interested in a non-paranormal book of short stories to review. He also said there would be British humor. (He must have read my review of Unnatural Selection where I fangirled over the British terms.) I loaded the PDF (making the font larger made it display funny, but I think that's one of the flaws of PDFs) onto my Sony eReader and packed it up for my trip down to my sister's. I wasn't sure I'd have time to read, but once my nephew was in bed and the house quiet, I was able to read a little.

Little Things synopsis: Have you ever wondered why ants all fly on the same day? What do elves really think about their image? How did they measure customer satisfaction on RMS Titanic? What are the rules of Flan Club? And what happens when a police detective starts to obsess over Sudoku?

The answers to all of these questions - and more - are here. The 16 tales here - the 'Little Things' of the title - are short stories designed to give you quick, easy laughs and an insight into the odd world hiding just beneath the surface.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Interview with the Character Blogfest

This little blog fest is thanks to Melissa at The Undeveloped Story. Don't forget to pop by there and see the list of participants and interviews.

It's always fun getting to know your characters more. A joy to put them in the spotlight and grill them on details of their life outside of the story. Today, my victim *ahem* character is Cage from my next release (hopefully) Out of Secrets.

Cage eyes me cautiously: What do you mean hopefully? You better do it. JJ would be crushed.

I'll just ignore that threat and get started. We’ll start out with the basic. Introduce yourself please.
Cage: My nickname is Cage and my real name is something I'd rather not give out.

Cage: Names hold power over a vampire. More so when it's a human speaking the name. Let's say another vampire knew my name and told me to stop. I would stop. If a human said my name and told me to stop every five feet, I would have no choice but to stop every time I walked five feet until the spell of my name wore off. Fortunately, it's not a permanent spell.

Spell? As in magic?
Cage shrugs: I'm not sure how else to describe it. How do you describe the unexplainable?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reviewing MY book

There have been a lot of scary moments on my journey to publication. I swear I have freaked out over something at every turn. Asking friends to read a draft, finding beta readers, getting beta readers thoughts back, editing, hiring a cover artist. Yup, I have been a complete spaz about this process.

But the single most terrifying thing, the one thing I can't overcome my fear of is book reviewers. Just thinking about asking someone to review my book makes me want to hide. Sure it's a bit like beta reading but the thing is if they find flaws, I'm not going to change the story. The story is published and any changes would deal with punctuation or maybe I'll stick that missing THE in my hubby found. Minor stuff.

Sure, book reviewers will notice bad punctuation (not that I'm saying I have any. I did hire an editor to fix my lack of knowledge about comma rules,) but their focus will be on the story, the characters. Have my characters been fleshed out or do they fall flat? Am I bouncing around in POV? They are reading my book and forming an opinion on a finished product. I am so terrified of what they will say. Yes, I know not everyone will like it and I'm sure there will be one and two star reviews. Three stars isn't really a bad thing. Chances are the reviewer liked your story, but found flaws that weren't to their personal tastes. Book reviewing is subjective. What one reviewer loves, another hates. One might forget a small slip here while another laments it in their review.

Monday, September 12, 2011

#YesGayYA (and adult books too!)

So the writing world is all a twitter again. Something happened, something noteworthy in my opinion. It came across my stream as a harmless tweet, then a few tweets up another person posted about it. I clicked the article and started reading. (Article in question can be found here.) For those of you who don't wish to click, I'll give you a quick summary. Two authors were told/ask/requested by an agent of a major agency that if they wanted their story published they either had to take the gay character out or make him straight.

By now, you all should be saying, "What?"

And with good reason. I know a lot of people who frequent this blog are writers. We have writer minds and thus have little to no control over our characters. They pop in our head, fully formed with a life and events they can't wait to tell us about. Part of that includes their sexuality. I've said in other blog posts, that I don't pick my characters sexuality. They declare it. Although, the current work in progress, my main character was a little confused about his. He's got it figured out now (bisexual in case you're curious.) Me trying to change something about my characters would be like asking a friend to change their hair color. Permanently. Sure they can dye their hair, but that doesn't change the fact they were born with a certain hair color and it'd still be wrong of me to demand that of them.

I couldn't never ask that of my characters or my friends. Or books I read. I read a book a few nights ago. It was amazing, I devoured it and want to read more from that author. Guess what. The main character was gay! His love interest was gay. I never once thought, "Gee, this story would be SO much better if the main character was straight. He/She is totally unrelated to me because of that fact." You know why that never crossed my mind? Because it didn't matter. I still related to the character and his struggle, I empathized with him. OMG stop the press, a straight, white chick is empathizing with a gay police detective. The world will now end.

I don't think so.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Unnatural Review

Read a book, it was good so I guess I'll tell you about it. This book came across my twitter stream. The tweet really didn't give any details. Just said New Novella: Unnatural Selection. Naturally, the word unnatural made me think, "VAMPIRES! Please let there be vampires!" I figured I'd give it a click and see if the description perked my interest more.

And there was vampires. Sorta. Kinda. Yeah. Well, let me give you the synopsis and that will explain why there's kinda sorta vampires. (Oh yeah, author is Ann Somerville. I kept tweeting her while reading and am so tweeting this to her. Hi Ann! I'm a little jacked up on MT Dew right now. Not a good thing at 11:38PM. Back to the review!)

Four years ago, Nick Guthrie nearly died from a brain tumour  until he received an experimental treatment that saved his life, even though the treatment brought bizarre and permanent side effects. Now he drinks fake blood to live, and has had to have his new long canines capped, but it’s a small price to pay to keep doing the job he loves. He’s a cop, part of a London Met Police Murder Investigation team.

His current case involves trying to find the person ritualistically killing gay ‘vees’. With no witnesses and no clues, the police are stymied, but Nick won’t give up until their killer is found.

Complicating his life is Dr Anton Marber, an attractive, gay minor celebrity Nick saves from being kicked to death one night. Nick doesn’t expect to see Anton again, but Anton is amazingly stubborn when it comes to things that are important to him, like Nick’s case, Nick’s diet and Nick’s determination never to fall in love again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Guest Post: Damyanti and Flash Fiction

I met Patricia Lynne During the A to Z challenge, at her first post, which was all about her Wedding Day. Being 1st April, All Fools day, I didn’t believe her at first. But then, eventually, I did.

When I heard she was coming out with her book, Being Human, I wanted to host her on my blog, and she did stop by during her blog tour.

Today, she has asked me what hooked me to flash fiction, and why I love it so much. I’m going to do my best to answer both questions. Thank you Patricia, for having me here, and I hope I do justice to your invite.

My Journey: Writing Flash Fiction

Roughly three years ago, I did a creative writing course with Sharon Bakar, in Kuala lumpur, Malaysia. She suggested the book  Fast Fiction: Creating Fiction in Five Minutes by Roberta Allen. I loved the exercises in the book, and since it neatly tied in with the concept of free-writing that Sharon had taught me, I began to write in five-minute bursts. I would take a prompt, a word, a picture, a sentence, anything at all, and start writing, pretty much without thinking. And hundreds of such exercises later, that is still the way I write, by dream-storming a word, or line or image.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Still dealing with cover woes

FYI, I wrote this last week and today got a little news which is at the bottom of the post.

If you've been reading this blog regularly, you'll know I'm dealing with print book cover issues. The other day, I discovered a pleasant surprise about a few of the books on my bookshelf. The traditionally printed books that I love don't always have perfect covers. It made me feel better about my own cover problems, but unfortunately, that feeling didn't last.

I received an email from CreateSpace about the issues Keary and I contacted them about. In the email, they declared they solved the bleeding onto the cover at the top and bottom. I have no idea what they are talking about. The problem was the spine was bleeding onto the front and a quarter inch of my cover image was being cut off and making the image look off-centered. Plus the spine was badly off-centered. I would at least like it if things were off-centered on my book that it be barely noticeable. These problems were glaringly obvious.

Createspace also requested an image of my book to determine the actual problem. I gave them two. One of a side by side of the proof and the ebook cover, and another of the cover Keary tweaked to have a black bar along one side in hopes of keeping the image from being chopped off. It worked to a degree, but anything she did to the spine did nothing to solve how badly off-centered it is. (The spine is very obvious as well. When you look at it, there is no mistaking it is not centered. The cover can sneak by if a person hasn't seen the ebook cover, but there is no hiding for the spine.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

140 Characters or less

So I did it. I published Being Human and now it's time to sit back and let the sales roll in.

Uh, I wish. It would appear I am not an instant hit or overnight sensation. Although there is still a chance at the overnight sensation. You never know, it could happen. Until then, I'm not holding my breath. Nope, I am going to be working hard. I am going to be pimping my links, searching ways to get my name and book out there and blogging. (And working on the next story.)

One thing I plan on doing is pitching on Twitter. Why you might ask, I'm not looking to impress an agent or publisher. But I am looking to impress potential readers and that makes my pitching more important. My pitch needs to grab attention. And not just grab, but demand attention. I have to figure out how to get people to click and buy all with a 140 characters. Less actually, because I also need to add hashtags to get to people who aren't following me

How do I do it though? How do I describe Being Human in a way that grabs attention? I can't just tweet, Buy my book, it's amazing #kindle #ebook http://link. That won't get anyone's attention. No, I need to entice. I need to say things like: All Tommy wants to do is survive. Is that too much to ask? Or how about: Sometimes the worst monsters are VERY human. These lines are from my book descriptions, but I feel like I need more. Like I could do better than those. Maybe this: Not all vampires sparkle in the sunlight. Some die. Or what about: It's nothing personal, Tommy's just trying to survive and he needs YOUR blood to do it. Maybe this will work: Not afraid to get some blood on your fangs?

I don't need just one, I need a few. A handful of interesting tweets to spread throughout the day and over the week. Something that when luck strikes, the person reading won't be able to resist clicking the link provided. You understand my dilemma? Some of you probably even share it. Maybe a few have figured it out. If so, I'm all ears for any hints or tips.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Follow Friday... I'm on 2 in numbering, right? Nope, 5

Time for another Feature & Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's question is:

Q.If you could change the ending of any book (or series), which book would you choose? Why and to what?

You know, honestly, there isn't a book I would change the ending too. Sure, there are a few things I'd tweak. Like in Breaking Dawn, I read a review that suggested Leigh and Jacob could have hooked up and I was like, "OMG! They are so right! Why didn't they hook up? That's sooooo much better than the imprinting." (Yes, really, that was my train of thought.) But what about Nessie? (Sorry, I am not attempting her name or googling it.) Yeah, what about her? The story line would still have worked. Mostly. Maybe tweak it so Sam's pack didn't want to kill Bella and Nessie and just have the Volturi want them dead. Is that how you spell Volturi? I'm not googling that either. I'm feeling a bit lazy tonight and am on a bit of a roll typing and can't be bothered to reach for the mouse. Although, hubby would assure me I could get to the search function without the mouse, but he's playing a video game so I won't bother him.