Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lyrics: Set fire to the rain

I'm a huge fan of all kinds of music, particularly indie stuff. This isn't indie, but when I heard it I fell in love with the opening verse. I was a little disappointed the song direction took a negative spin as all of her songs seem to go, but this verse stands on its own.

It makes me wish the song had been about the passion of a newfound romance. The roar of emotion that stirs within us with that first kiss, that first touch, and feeling claimed by something bigger than us. I could probably just listen to this verse over and over, and pretend.




I let it fall, my heart,
And as it fell, you rose to claim it,
It was dark and I was over,
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me,
My hands, they were strong, but my knees were far too weak,
To stand in your arms without falling to your feet

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 End of the year update

Here we are again. Another year has flown by, and what have we to show for it? More books on our TBR list, that's what.

It's been a fantastic year for me with a few dramatic changes. For one: I finally moved to a new apartment after an ungodly amount of years spent at the other one, where I endured a collapsed ceiling with a constant leak, theft of my brand new car stereo, druggie neighbors, and a serial rapist on the loose. It wasn't a gated community - not that this weighs much on safety - and while the rent was low, everything was run-down. Why did I stay? I got into a comfort zone. While I want to take the plunge of buying a house, I love the freedom of being a renter. "Why don't you flush your money down the toilet?" I can almost hear my father saying. No matter what age, our parents always have nuggets of wisdom. Perhaps he's right, but I'm not ready to settle.

Plus, my new apartment is awesome, even despite my downstairs neighbor who decided to learn acoustic guitar.

This was also the year I took the big plunge to publish. Sometime in the Spring, i finished my umpteenth novel. It was emotionally draining for me, and when I had to step away from writing, I took a look at the indie scene on Ebooks. What an amazing opportunity! I went back to the very first series that started all of this, "Sterling", and began editing. I have an approach when I do a series of writing; I go from one book to the next, so there were a lot of drafts created before I held my breath and stepped off the cliff.

Publish.

I clicked that button, butterflies twirling in my stomach like a cyclone. I didn't tell a soul, sat back, and woke up the next morning to find I sold 5 copies before it was officially listed as "published" (still in "review" status). Who are these people? Where did they come from? Already I was exceeding my expectation of 10 sales per year (that's a reality for more indie authors than you think).


2012
Bring it.

I continue to receive inquiries about the release date of book 2. I know trad companies have firm dates set, and work through deadlines, but they also have a team of people involved handling different aspects from cover creation, blurbs, editing, proofing, marketing, titling, and so forth. I am a one man show. Of course, I have now brought in a small team of betas and found a second set of eyes on my work is invaluable. So in summary: no, I do not have a set date. I don't even have a decided title (Feel free to name my book..lol). If I were to guess, I would say that it would be no later than Valentines. There are more variables going on with this book than occurred with book 1, but I PROMISE I will post updates as the time draws near, especially if the publish date becomes sooner than expected. I do intend to post the cover close to the release date. Once I have decided on a title, that is.

My goal for 2012 is to put out better work, and hopefully draw readers into this world I created. The story may be unconventional from how many Urban Fantasies play out - that's the idea. Versus the average person who would willingly raise their hand to become immortal and learn about Breed, she has come into this world against her will. Without consent. Without choice.

Silver doesn't always make the best decisions, or know the right thing to say. She's stubborn, but as the series moves along, I hope the reader can relate to who she is and her life experiences. I like the conflict of character, and often don't paint them one way or the other. We see a comical side to Simon, but we also see something much deeper, for example. Characters should be like onions - they are far more interesting when the layers are slowly peeled away. Sometimes you have to crawl into their head a little bit, and try to imagine what drives each person, and how the experiences in their life have shaped who they are. This idea drew me in, as did the element of realism. But trust that there are some answers you will discover in the next three books.

I hope to finish publishing the entire series this year (wouldn't that be awesome?) It depends on the rewrites and editing process. Plus, I do need to make time to take a break and read something besides my own work.

Have a prosperous New Year, and do something this year outside of your comfort zone. Step outside of the box, pursue something that you've always put off and said, "Maybe someday." Let today be someday.

Be sure to mark your calendars, I have an author interview lined up for February at LITERAL ADDICTION.

I apologize if I'm a little absent in the next few weeks. I have an IV of coffee going straight to my veins so I can work through this weekend and take advantage of my time off work to edit.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Win 16 ebooks

This contest is open until December 31. Vote for your favorite indie cover, and enter for a chance to win

Click Here

There are some pretty cool covers. Indie authors either design themselves, or hire someone who offers their services on the internet (typically). Which ones catch your eye? "OFF THE GRID" is different, with the dilapidated room and the shining image of a city on the wall. "DRAYCON" catches my eye, too.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pimping for Christmas

Last minute Christmas ideas for reading. Many of you may already be familiar with these books, or fans of them. Just some series books on my shelf that I really enjoy. I have plenty of series that I'm midway through. So many books, so little time. These are all the "First" books in the series.

Don't let the cover fool you, Merit kicks ass. I had to admit I passed by this book a few times at the bookstore, but I finally caved and bought it maybe less than a year ago? I was glad I did. Chloe Neill writes these characters in a way that pulls you in before you even realize how hooked you are. So much so that the book before last is one of my favorite releases this year.
Seriously, need I say more? The series has everything: mystery, paranormal, passion, steam, villains, drugs, glocks, and graphic fight scenes. I can hardly believe it's in the Romance section of the store.

I wonder how many picked up this book thinking the cover looked tame and romantic.















Cat doesn't like vampires. In fact, she kills them. Of course the vampire that captures her changes everything, including how she sees herself. She's sexy, smart, and always carries a can of whoopass.

Plus, I love me some Bones.















I'm currently in the middle of this series, but it's very enjoyable. It's great to read a series that doesn't focus around vampires. I love vampires, but I also love variety and it's always refreshing to pick up a book that focuses on a different kind of supernatural character. In this case, the men are all immortals possessed by demons.

I'm trying to hurry up and finish out the series so I can catch up in time for Paris's book!













This was also a refreshing read in Urban Fantasy. Protagonist is a young man who is also part monster. ;-)  The story is engaging, and it's another series I'm working to catch up with.





I read the first two books, engaged with the characters. Mercy works as a mechanic and she's not your ordinary girl. This series focuses around wolf packs (Shifters). Her animal is different, but I love the dynamics between the pack members as well as the story. Book 3 was the favorite for me.












I am still hard at work on book 2. I've received a number of inquiries as to the release and I can't set a firm date. Please know that I work 8 hours a day in a regular job, and that I come home and work the same amount of hours on writing. It's a very time consuming process, and I still have to finish the editing stage. Unfortunately, I'm not a factory so I can't churn them out any faster, although I wish could! I'm very excited to publish more books, but the editing process actually takes more time than writing the book, if you can believe that. January will be an extremely busy month for me at my real job and writing job. I'm still hoping for a release before January 31, but hold tight if it has to delay a week or so. What I really want to do is take a few days off of work to focus on this, but I work for a demon in dress pants, so time off is not allowed until after February.

Keep me on the radar, I will start posting updates through the month so everyone knows what's going on. I really do appreciate each and every person who has expressed they are anxiously awaiting the release of book two. I'm so glad you connected with the story and the characters, and hope that I can continue to take you further in this journey.

Has anyone legalized that cloning technology yet? I'm game. ;-)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rejected Cover

As I am not able to edit my book until the betas respond, my goal is to complete the cover art. I have created about 20 mock-ups of ideas that contain different models, backgrounds, colors, concepts, etc. It's hard work making your own cover, because you're far too close to your story and finding something to your standards is challenging. The stock sites are great, although finding the right model for book covers is not easy. Most of the women on those sites are sipping tea, smiling, and running in a meadow filled with sunflowers.

I am grateful I have more options this time around. This is an example of a reject. You can see I didn't even complete it by the fuzzy edges around the model. It's choppy and makes no sense. She has a bit of Silver's attitude, but I don't think this works well for Book 2. Then there's the leather pants. Not to say my character will never put on a pair of leather pants, but this image as a whole just isn't right. I also want the book series to blend together, and this one does not resemble the first cover in any way. It feels like a totally different series.

I'd love for the model to look like how I see my character, but my options are limited. I can color hair and modify clothing a little bit, but I'm more concerned about conveying the right message. I once read a review someone did on a book where the woman was firing guns, and nowhere in the book does she ever handle a gun. We want our covers to be cool, but I think its important to be true to the story. It's important to make the reader feel something, and look at it for a few minutes to see what's going on. I love cover art, and truly enjoy tucking my bookmark in the page and staring at the cover again when its really good.

Who knows, maybe most Kindle readers pass by the cover and never give it a look - but it's important to me. I do not have any degree in graphic art design, but I've been playing around with digital art for over a year now to the point I'm very comfortable editing. I just happen to be indecisive...lol  It would be awesome to put the final top covers and let readers vote, but that would ruin the surprise. :-)

I do hope that the final cover I select is enough to pique a reader's interest in clicking on the book to see what it's all about. A cover will never win over 100% of readers, but it is important that I know I gave it my 100%.

Btw, "Reject" is not the name of the next book..LOL

Friday, December 9, 2011

Relationships



I think it's interesting to see the reader perspective about Zoe/Silver in regards to the relationships she has (or doesn't have) in the book. Each man presents himself as a worthy guy in his own way, and while this is not a PNR book, I'm hoping as the series progresses, readers begin to understand the relationships.

People are brought into your life for a reason.

Silver is a woman who has desires, and has never felt truly revered as a woman by a man (on various levels, not just physical). This of course does not validate who she is, because she has thrived on her own independence and is now forced to depend on others. This puts her in a very confusing situation.

Suffice it to say, that I cannot wait to release book 2 and really touch on this subject again in more detail. I think it would help to have context behind what I'm doing with all the characters. :)

The cover work is coming along, as I'm doing various mock-ups. I'm debating if I should post some of them here for reader opinions, or if that would ruin the fun if I selected one some didn't like. Maybe I'll just show you all the rejects, how's that? lol

Thanks to those who follow me and enjoy the series. I hope you see it as something different than what is typical in "Urban Fantasy". Yes, we love our girls who kick ass, but how did it all begin? What if YOU became Breed? That's the question I posed when writing this. How easy it would be to acclimate to this new world, this new life, new abilities - especially when it was never your choice to begin with.


Where am I with the book?
Still waiting on the betas. They have a month, and yes I'm becoming as anxious as the rest of you. I'd love to get all the results so I can get my hands back on the book and editing again. However, I'd prefer they take their time and really give it a thorough read. Anyone who takes time out to do this is really amazing.

So send them some chocolates!


Now, for a humorous glance at what keywords are bringing people to this webpage for this week! What wonder kind of readers I would attract if I started writing about hot, steamy, romance? lol

  • Sexy Mysterious Guy (oh yeah)
  • Leather Pants Boy (If you find him, let me know)
  • Attractive Male at 40
  • Dannika Dark (Glad you found me, all 41 of you!)
  • Knee Socks  

I have posted this on my facebook wall - I've written 4 books in the Mageri series. I wrote these well over a year ago, and during my editing some things have become glaringly obvious.

In other words: I could potentially have a few doors open for a book five. This, of course, would all depend on whether readers embrace the series as a whole (which I hope you all do). I can only stick with it as long as my heart is in it. I know some publishing companies pressure the authors (or fans, even) to continue a series until maybe it's a little like beating a dead horse.

In any case, I have other series that I'm DYING to release also! Perhaps before a book five is on the horizon, I'd like to get one of these going. I hope some of you are in for the long haul, because I have a lot in my trunk.

    Tuesday, December 6, 2011

    Cover my eyes

    Designing this cover has become the bane of my existence. Perhaps I shouldn't put too much thought into it - maybe something completely random like a ring on a black cover? I've been doing the mock-ups to get concept ideas, hoping something will jump out at me.

    It feels weird not editing and re-writing. So much so that last night I took my laptop to bed and started re-reading book 3. I seriously need to stay away and take a breather, but I can't help myself; I feel listless when I'm not involved in writing a book.

    Holy smokes! It's winter! Freezing temperatures hit this week and it's been a struggle to get out of my warm bed in the morning. Even more of a struggle when I have to stand outside of my car pumping gas with the wind blasting me in the face.

    The best part about this time of year is how cheery everything looks around the neighborhoods. I love all the lights (even the atrocious ones), but I'm not a fan of inflatable yard art. Of course, I'm not one to talk. I put up blue lights in ONE window (count them: one). To get the full visual - I have a back door and a window on either side. So, the other window is not decorated..lol Sheer laziness on my part, but I lost a little bit of sanity the day I had to nail those things in (and tape them) to the window.

    Another reason I love this time of year: Slipper socks! Those and my badass over the knee socks (thank you sockdreams.com and Target)


    On the downside: I have a cat who eats plastic. (all kinds of plastic). So having a plastic tree out is like putting Justus in front of a plate of ribs.

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    Humor

    This was too funny to keep to myself.

    Men who read

    Well, I definitely don't want to bring too much sadness to the posts, so here's a little something to perk everyone up.

    Men who read. What do they read? Well most who are married have seen your husbands book collection and it looks nothing like yours.

    I was once in Borders bookstore and saw a man looking in the romance section. He also kept looking over his shoulder, and if a woman walked by would quickly turn around like he was lost and ended up in the wrong aisle. Why shouldn't a man read romance? In fact, why shouldn't men read more Urban Fantasy/PNR? Some of those books are really high octane action, although they may be put off with a female on the cover and perhaps they would rather read about a male lead. But often these books may have a strong leading male in the book.

    I think I should set that challenge to my male suitors: that they must read all of my favorite books. I would gladly do the same.

    As long as its not World of Warcraft.

    Just sayin'.