Saturday, April 28, 2012

Draft 1 is complete

Man, oh man. The first draft is always the killer. Every author has a different approach to writing, I think. For me, I wrote my books and moved right to the next. So now, I'm going back and drafting them out. The first draft required a few revisions as well as timeline changes. There are so many details in this one I had to document on the side, as well. There's no telling how many drafts I'll go through before I get cozy with the final product and begin the editing and beta reads.

But it feels SO good to get past this hurdle! I'd smoke a cigar, if I smoked, because I'm feeling very Bruce Willis Die Hard at the moment.

With a vengeance.

I'd love to tell you what it's all about, but I'm not a fan of spoilers. I love the element of surprise - for good or bad. "Twist" was a risk because I had no idea after setting things up in book one how receptive readers would be to the new character introduction. There will always be a risk in each book that gives me butterflies, but this is the story that told itself to me, that wrote itself out and I cannot alter what fates I have laid out. There's a little of everything in the books. Book four is going to be unlike any of the previous, so I hope you guys are ready.

Have I mentioned how awesome my fans are?

Please hop over to my Facebook page or you'll miss out on some good stuff. I mentioned what the next likely series I'll be publishing is. It could change, but we shall see.

Considering the nightmare I've gone through these past two weeks medically, staying home has been a godsend in getting more accomplished in writing than I would have otherwise. Perhaps everything does happen for a reason . . .

Friday, April 27, 2012

Printed covers


Okay, this was exciting to me. I printed out 5x7 copies of my covers to see how they looked in print. The picture doesn't do them justice, but they look awesome! I'll have to adjust the original image to get them to print out on an 8x10 properly, but seeing them printed out give me goosebumps with the idea of print books.

Also, it gave me ideas for anyone who might want a signed copy - something I'll consider should there be interest, but there may be other things I can do with the images. I was thinking about as book three nears completion having a few contests; I own several books that are signed by authors that I'd be willing to part with. Until then, search for me on Kindlegraph (I will honor requests for autographed kindle copies).

Join my Facebook page! We talk about books and other things. My goal is 1000 likes so be sure to stop by.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannika-Dark-official/148451945238628?ref=tn_tnmn

And would love to see some new Amazon reviews. I receive quite a bit of fan mail and those would translate wonderfully in a review. All you do is log on to your account, find the product you want to review, scroll below the first page of reviews and select "Write a Customer Review". It's really easy and is one of the few ways that you can show your love for the series and share that enthusiasm with others. That is your mission today, should you choose to accept it, and I hope that you do.





I've started reading Elisabeth Naughton's "Marked" for a change of pace, and will be working on finishing up the first major draft for book three this weekend. I got halfway through writing a new chapter and it was grueling. You're going to learn more about some of the characters with each book, and this bit has been a little hard for me to write.

PS: If you're on Goodreads check out my account. I put placeholders for book three and four so you can put them on your TBR shelf.
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5181752.Dannika_Dark

 Have a great Friday everyone! I hope you have a long weekend, god knows I do because Monday is slated to be my first day back to work in two weeks, and I am not doing the Snoopy dance. :-/

Selected as Top indie Author

I've been approached for the top Indie list for May. Pretty exciting! I don't have a promotion/marketing team: I have fans.

Please...help out an indie today by tweeting, recommending, and posting reviews for the Mageri series. Don't let posting reviews intimidate you if you've never done it; they're quite easy and help other shoppers make an informed choice.

If you are a book blog reviewer and are looking for something new to review: contact me. Sorry I haven't been seeking out reviewers because I've been on the mend, but I would provide copies if you provide your blog site and contact information.

Help spread the word and show support. Love you all!

Here is where I appeared on April's listing:
http://ireaderreview.com/2012/04/05/top-50-indie-authors-for-april-2012-60-authors-to-watch/

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Avoidance

Aside from from a trip to the doc today, I spent the majority of my day on the Internet. I got a little bit of editing done, but part of it is avoidance. I am dealing with writing a fairly important scene and I'm discovering that the careful attention it requires cannot be forced.

Likely, I will wake up early tomorrow when I'm in my best writing mood, and begin to work on it. Difficult scenes always play that way on me, tugging at my emotions. I get just as emotionally involved with my characters as I hope the readers do, and some scenes are not easy. I try to look at it as documenting their lives and not writing out their fates, otherwise there's a weird sense of guilt for what I'm doing to them, or did to them. But I can say with almost absolute certainty that the first true drafting of MAGERI BOOK THREE will be completed tomorrow. These involved some significant rewrites and scene shifting. After that, it's going to be a few more drafts to clean it up, polish it, and continue to make it the best it can be. Then it goes to the betas, then the editor.

Perhaps the internet is too distracting when I find myself watching Burger King commercials because David Beckham is in it. Why do the English pronounce everything like a luscious word of seduction? I could listen to him say strawberry for hours.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Champagne wishes and Paperback dreams

Something I'm putting off until the time is right is publishing in paperback. I want the book to be available to those who do not have an e-reader, and I've mentioned this several times before, but I'd love to have a physical copy in my hands. A few things need to occur beforehand: "Sterling" will get a clean edit, and I may do this after the release of book three.

Publishing in paperback does not seem to be an easy process, and will probably involve me drinking mad amounts of orange soda and banging my head on a table. I'll have to design a full jacket in addition to figuring out all the formatting requirements. But I was curious, would anyone who already owns the e-version want a paperback copy?

I'm still old school and love my bookshelf. There's a buzz of excitement in knowing I could have a shelf reserved for my books. I like setting goals.

For now, however, I decided I might just go to Walgreens and print out the covers and frame them.


IN THE MEANTIME:
Time for a progress report

STERLING Remains in the top 10 of Contemporary Fantasy, and top 20 of Romance. It's been 7 months and I'm simply beyond words. PRICE: .99 CENTS

TWIST Remains in the top 10 of Contemporary Fantasy, and top 30 of Romance. PRICE: $2.99

Some of you may have noticed that Twist was originally $1.99. I wanted to give a low price to the readers who were really following the series as my thanks. Every penny counts, and after a month, I decided it was time to adjust it back to the original price of $2.99. The books will remain as priced, and I hope they are worth it.


MY GRATITUDE
A huge thanks to those who have supported me all the way, hang out to chat and have fun on my Facebook page and Blog, who have recommended my series to their friends/fellow readers, who send me fanmail and as of late - well wishes, and to those who take the time to post their reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. I will continue to thank readers for these efforts, because I'm humbled by the love I've received. Love for the plot, love for the characters, love for the simple fact that you are backing an indie author.

MY WIP
I'm closing the last chapter of the first draft of book three. And guess what? It's going to require another chapter. I made the decision that I wanted to expand a scene so I'm working things out before I tackle it. I never like to divulge what you'll be getting next, because I think that ruins that fresh first time feeling when you pick up a book and have no idea what to expect. I may post a random quote or two that may or may not make it through the last edit - but they will NOT be any spoiler quotes or any of the "best" lines.

I really settled on the title "TWIST" because it was appropriate in at least two ways. I think there were some expectations as far as these triangles in book one, and perhaps some revelations discovered with Justus. I like it when the reader is taken off guard. I hope book two gave a little insight as to why Silver is the way she is with relationships and men. But more importantly, I think when it comes to character development, there are always more pieces to the puzzle for every single person in giving us a better understanding of who they are. Additionally, the current challenges also pose the question of what that will make them become.

There are a lot of fans of Justus from what I've seen, and yes, you will learn more of him as the series progresses. This is an intricate weaving of stories that centralizes around Silver, but everyone has a story to tell.

Which is why I'm a little anxious about the idea of writing book five - which I had no intention of doing, but there are going to be some open doors that will need closing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

UF and PNR Movies: The untapped Market

So I've been sitting here thinking about "The Hunger Games", and "Twilight", and "True Blood". It seems that YA books have a greater chance of making it to the big screen than Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. Typically a UF book has more odds of making it to the small screen. That may have to do with the fact that they are often a length series and a series show has room to grow.

But here are the issues I have:

1. Most UF and PNR books involved immortals. A TV show that intends to surpass the five year mark can run into trouble. Actors gain/lose weight, become pregnant, decide they want to move on, and most importantly - they age. No, I don't want my vampires aging. Most series books involve staple characters that last through the entire series, so it's difficult for a show to write them out.

2. TV shows will tend to go off on their own. This can be good and bad. True Blood took the Stackhouse novels and ran with it. But most of us who have read the series have become disappointed with the direction of the show. I loved the series for the first three seasons or so, although I had a few issues with some of the plots. But I feel like there's too much softening or hardening of characters that isn't true to the books. And while most viewers are not readers of the series, I'm more of a fan of honoring the author and pleasing the readers who made the series popular to begin with.

3. If it gets picked up by a non adult channel, any adult language or sex scenes that may be included in the series will be watered down or removed.

There are so many tremendously popular UF and PNR novels. Hugely successful, and I have no idea if these authors have been approached for film rights. But Hollywood has been rehashing the same formulated movies, year after year. Box office tickets are dwindling, and the costs are rising. As a result, they're resorting to making films that they know garnish sales: 3D, remakes, sequels, and animated kid movies.

So I can't help but wonder, why doesn't Hollywood see the potential of producing films that will give them a few sequels for a popular series? I'm not speaking of a series that goes on for 10+ books, but there are some that go to just a few books, and in some cases there are subjects that could be combined between books to compress it into fewer films. Imagine if Lord of the Rings was a TV series. (yawn)

And yet, it seems so unfair that only the under 18+ get films that are fantasy and otherworldly. This isn't a reality that I will ever have to face, but I would much prefer to have any books I write be put on the big screen. Not by some half ass studio that churns out straight to video movies with low budget actors and horrendous effects and directors, but something quality. The problem is, once you option those rights, the choice leaves your hands. I just think it would be phenomenal to be able to see your series as part of a movie series.

So where is the Twilight for adults??

For a PNR series, they can tone down the sex, because some of the world building is engaging and original. I think many of the books translated to screen would appeal to both men and women because of not only the romance, but the amount of adventure, battles, and dark material.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Those who follow my Facebook page know a bit about what's going on because of my posts. I've been ill, and underwent surgery last Thursday. I'm still not really up to myself, and that means having missed out on two weeks worth of work. I'm not going to lie when I say I'm very concerned about this. Most companies won't fire you because of medical reasons, but I've never been one to take time off and especially not this much. My worst fear is losing my job, because I really need the medical insurance. There are too many unpredictable moments in life to do without it. I've been really blessed that the book sales for the Mageri series can help go towards the costs, so don't get any ideas that I'm drinking champagne from a golden flute. Hell, I can barely eat food at this point so champagne isn't even on the menu. I can't go out in public if I wanted because my arms are bruised from IV's. Why is it they always sick the interns on you to "practice" their skills of taking blood? Seriously.

I'm never anything but real on my posts, because I'm a real person. (imagine that!). Most of you don't know that I have made arrangements for "Sterling" to go through an editor. This was not an option for me when I published, so I'm very excited to have it polished up. When that is published this year, I'll be sure to update the description that it is an edited version. The reason being that I really want to see my books in print, and I want them to be perfect.

Book three is still in drafting, and even though my ass has taken up permanent residence on my sofa, along with medication, my Kindle, a plethora of books, and papers, I am still working on it when I can. I want to utilize the time off from work as much as possible - but I still have no date set on release. My editor has two windows open and should it be published later than I want, then I would prefer that because it means it went through the right hands to ensure it's up to snuff.

SO THAT is the big deal going on..lol

I've been doing a lot of reading lately, so if anyone has any suggestions (yet again) on Kindle books I can download, let me know. No series over 4 books please. Ideally, a debut.

I have this pic because this model resembles a character in one of my other series. Plus, it's always nice to have some eye candy when you're reading a depressing blog post. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer! I just want to keep everyone updated on what's going on.

E-mails - THANK YOU. I have not been able to respond to everyone, but I've received some really wonderful fan mail.


Am I the first person to have stumbled upon a pic of Kellan Lutz (Twilight series) with a shaved head? LOL I have to admit he looks better. I really hope these actors manage to move away from being associated with these roles so strongly, because it can really break a career unless you take some really bold roles that are dramatically different from the character people associate you with.


Could I be breaking a record with the longest post yet? Probably. I'm home alone, listless, and I suppose I have a lot of things on my mind that aren't really that important, but I just felt like talking for a while. Thanks for listening.

Current word count for Mageri series book three: 118,000 words.

Here's the latest coverage image I created for my Facebook page. I really want to create one and just leave it alone for a while, but I'm finding that photo editing is a little therapeutic for me and passing the time.
Be sure to look me up there.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Temporarily Away

Just wanted you all to know that I'm dealing some some personal issues and will be online sporadically this week, if at all. Thanks for messages and e-mails and I'm sorry I'm unable to respond at the moment. I hope to be back online fully next week.

Much Love,
D

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Just another manic Saturday

I have to say that this is quite hilarious, but once a week, someone finds their way to my blog using the keywords: "How to make yourself insane". I'm not exactly sure which one of my posts had these keyboards, but I'm betting it was probably during my editing phase, or when I was discovering the joys of how to format for Kindle.

In any case, I would hope no one is really looking to make themselves insane. But if you are, please feel free to get a job working for my employer.

This is some wallpaper I created a while back ago. It's reminding me that during my downtime, I need to stay fresh with my photo editing so that I can get myself psyched up for the cover design.

So today I was browsing through my files and wondering what the next series would be after the Mageri series. At this point, I'm not even sure how many books the Mageri series is going to be. It's become it's own animal with a guaranteed four, but now I've got no choice but to expand something into a fifth book. Then the mind swirls with ideas of six. I will never go forth with a series when it becomes nothing more than squeezing the last drops of water from a damp rag. I think this world has so much to give, and there are so many stories to tell, so we'll see.

The prospect of starting up my other series has excited me. I have one with four books already written, and the others just have two per series. I like the two books because with those I feel like I can once again write a fresh book and not spend all my time editing and drafting. But I have a feeling the four book is next, and the characters are awesome. I love the female lead, and there is a lot of family and politics going on that make the storyline engaging. But part of me keeps thinking about the very last series I wrote before I started publishing. It tore me up completing one of the books, and I've never felt that involved as a writer with the story and characters that I was heartbroken to write some of their scenes. Maybe that's why I'm fearing that book the most.

So here is the big secret:

My plan for the series was four books. While I didn't have the titles worked out, during the naming of "Twist", I had an idea that I would make each book title in alphabetical order. Sterling, Twist, U.....
Which would work - except now that I got ideas about a book five, there could always be a potential for a book six. I don't know for sure as book five isn't even written, but it left me wondering if I should even bother with this idea. There's no way I can title a book with an X without it looking like a science fiction book or a drug prescription.

Sigh. It would have made it easy to figure out which order they go in without having to look inside! Although, I do state it on the Amazon website book title.

So much for brilliant ideas.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tick Tick

Draft 1 has taken me to 111,000 words and I'm 3/4 finished. Any complaints?

All I can tell you is that if I didn't have to work my regular 9-5 job, I would be able to push these books out a LOT faster. I can get a ton of writing done on a free day, but squeezing in a few hours a night doesn't cut it. So, I'm working as hard as I can to get this book out as soon as possible. Be sure to visit my Facebook page for thoughts or even quotes I may be posting for book three. You won't see a lot of quotes because during editing those could be modified or removed.

Be sure to follow this blog or my Facebook page to stay up to date on release information, as well as seeing the cover and title before the book release.




Someone tell me how it is that Easter snuck by and now we're on the heels of Summer. I've already acquired a new roommate who is a Vampire. For the past two nights, he has drunk from my thigh, ankle, and even my chest.

Somewhere in my apartment is a very obese mosquito, living large on free rent.

I'm going to try to think of another poll idea; I love seeing the characters that you've enjoyed from the series so far! Thanks so those who have sent me an e-mail - I try to respond to everyone as time permits.

I'm staring at my DVD shelf right now and I'm going to be random with this post and give you some movie recommendations that are all over the place. Not my favorites, just movies I can literally see from the sofa:

1. EQUILIBRIUM
2. MOTHER (Debbie Reynolds cracks me up in this)
3. THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (original B&W)
4. STIGMATA (Guilty pleasure. It's a bad movie, I know)
5. MINORITY REPORT

 Mageri Series Factoid:
Q: Why did I change Zoe Merrick's Name?

A: A complete transition was necessary, and it partly helped her be able to leave her old self behind. Her transition marked a new life in so many ways, and I like the idea that the Mageri retains old customs where the Creator becomes a fatherly figure in that they name their child (progeny). These are ties that hold us to our old lives and it's at their discretion to snip them. Silver felt that her naming was an insult with little thought put into it, but it's who she is now. Yeah, I felt a tinge of sadness for her while she watched Adam and Novis. It was an honor she was robbed of and there is a sense of being an outcast. Thankfully Justus is an upstanding man who despite his own flaws, knows when to do the right thing.

WHO IS READY FOR BOOK THREE?

ha! Just don't ask me when. Just yet. Btw, you can jump over on Goodreads and add book three and four to your TBR list. I haven't christened them with a name just yet. All good things to come.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Top 50 Indie Authors

ireaderreview has listed me as one of the top 50 indie authors for 2012. That's pretty damn cool! I feel like a superstar, for at least a day. :)


http://ireaderreview.com/2012/04/05/top-50-indie-authors-for-april-2012-60-authors-to-watch/

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Justus again?

I'm not really big on releasing spoilers about the next book. I love the surprise of going in with a fresh mind and not having any any idea what to expect. I spent all last night writing a chapter and now I'm exhausted.

Here's a clue to what I am up to:




Okay, I'm evil. ;-)

I'm probably about 18% in and it's going pretty good. There are some necessary changes and rewrites due to a few plot twists that will trickle over into the next book. This will be the longest edit because of that, and each subsequent draft will be polishing it up.

I woke up early this morning and pulled out that old Vampire novel I keep talking about. You know, the one I chucked away - lock and key - in a virtual file drawer to be forgotten about. I wanted to read the scenes I wrote with Justus. Of course, his character changed somewhat. The funny part is I gave it a working title, and it was "Ghuardians", but in this book, the word had an entirely different meaning. They were protectors of something very ancient. Someday I might revisit the idea, because some of the details were really interesting, just not fleshed out. But here's an excerpt:

He stood in front of her with a warm smile spreading across his face as his heavily tattooed hand stroked a white cat. “I’m Justus”, he said.

Maybe someday the pieces with lock together with that one and I'll be able to write that story. It all began in 2010. Sigh.

Circling back to "Twist", I hope that this book answered a few questions from "Sterling", as I hope the next book will answer even more questions. I haven't decided on a title yet, and part of that is due to the fact that I have this undisclosed plan about how I'm going about this. The question is whether to stick to that plan or break it. Now that book five may be coming along, it's made me wonder how far this series just might go. Because if I can manage to fit everything in book five, then that;s going to be a big problem.

Usually when I'm in my writing zone, I lock onto certain songs that capture the mood I'm setting and listen to these in the car or elsewhere when I'm thinking about certain scenes. You can check out my playlist (MUSIC CORNER) as I'll continue to add them. The playlist is pretty great because I think when you hear some of the songs, you can feel the story.

If you want to know about Little Red Corvette, then I'll tell you. I have no idea why, but whenever I hear that song I think of Justus. The lyrics (versus being sung about a woman) could be about him. I swear when it pops on the radio, I always laugh, thinking about Justus speeding down the road in one of his expensive cars playing that song. Windows up, of course, and all alone.

Perhaps he has a guilty pleasure of Prince songs that he'll never fess up to.

Apparently, I can't play it. Prince seems to be one of the most blocked artists on youtube to get a quality sound. But, you can leap on over to my MUSIC CORNER page and listen to it on the playlist. Maybe you'll find a new song or artist you haven't heard before.
http://dannikadark.blogspot.com/p/music-corner.html

I guess I should've known by the way
You parked your car sideways that it wouldn't last
See, you're the kinda person that believes in makin' out once
Love 'em and leave 'em fast