Saturday, June 30, 2012

Book Three Cover Project

THE MAGERI SERIES is a Unique read. A dark, gritty urban fantasy meets adult romance. Book three is underway. I've done fairly well at staying on track with the editing timeline. It's a tough job, and there are still final opportunities for minor changes. The editor is scheduled for September which is why the book release will be in the Fall. I will release the title once it's pinned down and do an early cover release.

I've already started dabbling with cover designs, although I just have a few mock-ups. It's impossible to please everyone with a cover, but I take my job very seriously to get the design just right to fit my vision. It's important to convey something special because it's not just a reflection of my novel, but of me as an artist. I take my digital art very seriously.

I'm narrowing down title ideas. It shouldn't be such a big thing, but this series has one word titles. That's actually more difficult than it seems to find the one word that has expressed meaning in your story. I suppose I could alleviate the stress by flipping the pages of a dictionary and poking my finger inside randomly. Let's try that right now and see what word I end up with...

Dampen.

I'm thinking: No. Just to give you a little insight, these were a few of the title considerations for STERLING:

MORTALITY LOST - Sounds like a soap opera
BROKEN LIGHT - Too depressing
LIGHTWALKER - Too Sci-Fi
SILVER BORN - Too similar to another title
ALTERED - shrugs

Sometimes things appear to be easier than they actually are. Also out the window is the alphabetical order of the title (S, T, U, V) because it could limit future book title options. It would have been a nifty way to remember the series order.

If you have read and loved this series, please take a moment to consider the power of customer reviews on Amazon.

You can either click on "See all customer reviews" and then you see this option...




Or if you scroll below the reviews, you'll see another option. It's really amazing to compare the book sales with the reviews and see that you don't really get an accurate picture because not enough people take the few minutes needed to write up a review. It doesn't require a professional finesse - reviews are designed to help inform potential readers about the book/product, and give your take on it. Goodreads is also another great place to post reviews as it is a very social website.

Thanks to all my readers who have been showing their love for the Mageri Series- the loyal readership is remarkable. I get a lot of personal emails saying how they recommended the series to friends and how much they loved the characters. LOVE THAT. On that note, I'll end with a note from fan mail I received, because this really spoke volumes about the digital age of ebooks:

Hi Dannika. I think the thing I Love most about my kindle is finding new authors I would probably never come across . I really enjoyed both Sterling and Twist and am looking forward to the rest of  the series. Thanks for taking me to the world of the mageri
Chris

Please be sure to LIKE my Facebook page. Here are a couple more timeline cover images I made for readers to use for free!



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mageri Series Timeline Images

Here are just a couple of Timeline Covers I designed for Facebook. Readers seem to like them, and I've had a lot of fun making them! Visit my Facebook page and hit LIKE. The Photo album for timeline covers exists in my photos; feel free to use them! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannika-Dark-official/148451945238628

*yawn, rubs face*  Time for me to get back to writing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Facebook Madness

Visit my fanpage and click on LIKE. I've uploaded a couple of Facebook Timeline covers for anyone who wants to use them. I plan to do a few more this weekend. The demand is coming in for Logan.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dannika-Dark-official/148451945238628?ref=tn_tnmn

Monday, June 18, 2012

Top Indie Author

Once again, I've been listed as a top indie author for June. CLICK HERE to read more. I just looked at Goodreads and saw that the MAGERI SERIES collectively has over 1000 ratings.  According to the statistics on Goodreads based on ratings, 91% of readers liked STERLING out of over 650 ratings. Even better for TWIST where 96% of readers liked it. Let's shoot for 100% for book three. Feel me?

Check out my Goodreads page and be sure to follow me. You can add my books to your shelf, including future releases! GO TO MY GOODREADS PAGE

You can also find my books on Shelfari or Fictfact. Yep, I'm all over the place! :-)

xoxo
Dannika

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mid-Month Update

This is the time of the month that the pressure is on. I have a limited amount of time to really get things tied up with book three so that it can be ready to pass off for the beta read. That will occur in July, and give me time for polishing it up further in August. Then in September comes the editor.

Unfortunately, I have no more vacation time at work due to having eaten up all my time off with sick days. So this means a lot of weekends at the keyboard, and weeknights. Which isn't out of the ordinary, to tell the truth, but now I'm clockwatching.

The Twist sale was successful and fun to do once, and hopefully it brought some new readers into the series. I promise that I'm going to be around a long time as I have a lot of books up my sleeve and in my head. The more readers show their support by posting reviews, recommending to friends, blogs, and groups, the better. I would love to be able to do this full time and support myself on the writing income alone, but that would require a massive amount of courage, preparation, and fan support to keep the series circulating into new hands. If I stayed home, I could crank out more books, and nothing would make my life more complete.

Except for maybe a plate of messy nachos and a beer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TWIST is on sale for 2 days!

TWIST will be on sale at 99 cents for ***2 DAYS ONLY****
The price will return to $2.99 on Friday, June 15th in the evening.

If you haven't purchased it, now is the time. Be sure to spread the word among book blogs, Facebook groups, friends, and Twitter!

Twist is the sequel in the Mageri series - an Urban Fantasy Romance centered around a young woman who thrust into the life of a Mage without a choice. She discovers the world isn't what she thought it was and now she is immortal. The sequel has romance, drama, and action - taking you from one twist to the next.

The prices have adjusted in respective countries offering Kindle books on Amazon.

DIRECT LINK
http://www.amazon.com/Twist-Mageri-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B007E50SJC/ref=zg_bs_158579011_15

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cover design is underway

I have five mock-ups for the cover of the third installment of the Mageri series. There are a couple of good potential design concepts and models, as I'm still going through potential model images. The real world begins in July when the betas will have the book; then I'll be able to devote the entire time to designing the cover, writing the blurb, and narrowing down the title.

It's always a good idea to begin things early so you can start visualizing the big pictures, and this is helping me tremendously with getting things kicked off. I'm really excited, even though cover design is a very daunting task. It's not just about visually interpreting the book or characters, but selecting a cover that flows with the series and is "clickable". Meaning: If you were scrolling down the Amazon list of books, would you look at it twice?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Readers are hungry for book three

Mageri series Book 3 Facts:

1. Currently no title has been released. Title will release prior to book release. ;-)

2. Cover design is underway.

3. Currently, I'm on the third draft.

4. The title of the book is NOT "Kiss me, little raven."

5. Release date TBA - Scheduled this Fall.

6. Title and Cover reveal will be done prior to book release.

7. Previous books in the Mageri series are STERLING (.99 cents) and TWIST ($2.99)

8. This is a dark Urban Fantasy Romance Series

9. I will not reveal the synopsis or blurb ahead of time. I know this is standard for many books, but I absolutely love keeping the reader surprise. If the readers hate me for doing this going forward, I may change this plan..haha

10. The next book will most likely be priced at $2.99. So tell your friends, spread the word, twitter, post on goodreads and in groups; it's a very reasonably priced series!


The interesting thing about the series so far is that when I look at also boughts in other countries, I see things like "50 shades of grey". Well, fifty shades this is not. Nor is this a YA series. Hopefully, it's something a little different than the mainstream.

Scheduling a book release is very stressful, particularly when you have a day job. I need to get this book ready for the betas by July so that I can get it back for the last edit and work on it in August. The editor is scheduled for September. I'm not sure how any author can crank out 4 books or more a year, even if they did stay at home. Time is a great ally because you can step away and come back with a fresh perspective. Not everyone checks out my Facebook page, but I'm still receiving a lot of e-mails and messages asking about the third book, so if you happened upon this blog doing a search for it, then that should answer most of it. :-)

Will there be new characters? Yes. Some are walk-ins and you never know their name while others have a more prominent role. Some readers like a tight circle of 4 characters in a book, but this is a world, and within that world there are acquaintances, friends, enemies, a bartender, a floozy....Otherwise, I might have considered having it all take place inside of a secluded castle. ;-)  Not every character will last throughout the series, but perhaps just have a random appearance.  If you go to wikipedia and look up the twilight cast, you'll see that I'm not exactly doing anything new here by having plus 10.  I have my central characters and I think most of us know who they are. Sometimes I think they're relevant in giving more background behind some of the main characters.

SO, I really hope that with any new addition it brings something interesting, even if their role is small.

I'm nervous about the book cover. Admittedly I fumbled around with my first attempt, but I always get this way when it's time to design. It's important that the cover speaks to me and that I'm completely satisfied with it. So it should be done when I've bitten my nails and pulled out my hair. ;-) I will do a cover reveal early and hope that the readers like it.

So, who is hungry for book three?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Character Features

The one fun part about creating a new Breed is developing their character traits. With the Chitah, I thought about permanent markings but decided to only make them visible when their emotions are out of control and their inner animal is fighting to get out. I also wanted to make them stand apart from a Vampire by having lower incisors in addition to upper. It was also important that they have features that make them stand apart from the crowd, so they could be easily identified. Being very tall is one trait, although anyone can be tall, so I gave them unique eye coloring. I took a quick pic of my own eye to try and experiment with the eye coloring. In addition to the color being yellow to an amber/light brown hue, they're usually rimmed in a dark color. Not always - although I may not elaborate on this in the books as it's one of the details I just have in my head. I don't like to ramble on and on about eyes, but a future book or series may touch on some differences.

A Mage can blend in with the crowd and look like anyone, except that another Mage can typically sense them because their energy is stronger. Light transference can often be seen in the form of blue threads, as I thought of the idea of how in the dark a static pop color is usually blue. I know this because of a flannel blanket I once owned.

Never again.


Book three will introduce a new Breed mentioned once in a previous book but never elaborated on. I'm a little excited because I didn't want to throw a bunch of new concepts at the reader in the first book. I like the slow immersion into the world so the reader can gradually acclimate to the different Breeds. I wasn't sure how readily the Chitah would be embraced because they're not a Shifter, and yet they do have an inner animal that can completely take over in the sense that they run on primal instinct. You can reason with an animal, if they feel threatened they react in a very simple way. Anyhow, I hope that each new Breed that's introduced in the series is interesting and exciting. This one is different from all the rest.

Sensors were fun to write because I liked the idea of a person who could store emotions like a filing cabinet and sell them, as well as be able to pick up residual emotions left behind. They ideally would also make pretty good detectives. Of course most of them find the money is in the trading.

All I can say is that writing isn't just about taking a world and living within it, it's about creating your own. I would strongly encourage anyone writing fiction - specifically in Fantasy - to step outside of the lines and do something different. I can count how many Vampire books I've read and loved, but wished they stood apart from the others. The problem with that is that Vampires are very hard to write different because we have stereotyped them to DEATH. While they appear in my books, there's nothing dramatically different about them. It's too chancy to rewrite what a Vampire is without making them something entirely different. I took the chance with a Mage because they're not often written about, and I could completely see a misinterpretation in how humans saw their power, and where that power really came from.

This is why I love how children write, because I don't think they're bombarded with all of the stereotypes just yet and their imagined characters are often strange and unique. Reinventing the wheel as an adult doesn't come easy, but you only need one character trait to build upon. I think it makes your world fresh and different, and whenever the characters make an appearance, I would hope that the reader sits up a little in their chair because they don't know what to expect.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book Three; Draft Three

The editing process likely differs from author to author. Usually, my first two drafts will have the greatest amount of editing. This is the part where I do massive cuts, adds, or shifts in the timeline. I'm on the third draft of Mageri Series book three, and I've opened up my editing software and will be doing the fine tuning from this point forward. There could be cuts, changes, etc., should something surface and catch my eye, but this is the part where I polish the windows.

I love the editing software and it was worth the purchase. The image above doesn't give you much of an idea of what I'm writing, but shows you how I'm writing at this stage. I have the document and editing software open and I'm making changes. The software (on the left) will highlight problem areas such as bog, passive vs active voice, glue words, homophones, etc. It's a great way to point out suggestions and possible problem areas, although not required you take them. In addition, at this point going forward, I'll also be utilizing my text to speech software. So each paragraph gets a polish, and text to speech allows me to listen to it. Once I complete a chapter, I typically go back and simply re-read it so I can piece it all together.

That sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? Here's the options you can set for the software. I had to remove sexist writing because it was grating on my nerves each time it pointed out words like 'guys' or 'blonde'.



So writing isn't as easy as gazing out your window, and being inspired by the wind in the trees. There's a lot of work behind the madness.

I added a few more stock images to my lightbox, although I was SO upset after I thought I saved a few and found out my lightbox wasn't even pulled up. Argh! I couldn't locate all of them so I'm just getting things together for the cover process, but I'm not quite ready at this point to start creating them.

The untitled book has me laughing with ideas. 50 Shades of Silver anyone? While erotica books are already out there, I highly suspect there will be a lot of books trying to ride the coattails of that one. I'm just simply dumbfounded at what suddenly makes a book skyrocket. While I'm sure it was popular before, I think when someone makes a mention on Good morning america, or some other media source, that's really your in. People will buy a book on a mention by a celebrity or TV show, whether it's their genre preference or not.

Ahem. *waves arms*. Surely someone can see the potential of this series being huge. I've redefined what a Mage is, incorporated new supernatural types into a book woven with classic ones, created a fictional city, and have plot paralleled with relationships. The protagonist is not the stereotype we often see because she's a regular girl caught up in a unique situation.

No pun intended.

I was thumbing through my old notes and found a few character development ideas on Justus. I wasn't set on Dominic for his name, but I also considered Nigel, as well as Verde for the last name. Funny. He knew exactly who he was, I didn't.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Revisions are FUN!



I love this! As I go through the revision process and am about to begin my third draft, I remind myself of the importance of fine tuning. Honestly, sometimes the third or fourth time around you get some seriously fun dialogue and ideas to slip in, aside from the standard editing.

Now, I chose the title of this post because revisions are actually NOT fun! At least, for me. I'm just as anxious for the readers to have the work out there, but it's also important for it to be ready. I usually have a zillion post-it notes and scraps of paper surrounding me, on top of adding details to a few documents I keep updated with character and plot facts. Usually I'm buried in fast food wrappers, bags of trail mix and vitamin water. Book three has been a challenge by breaking that routine of mine. The editing is done on my sofa, only water and usually the only snacks are celery. What kind of book that is going to produce? Well, perhaps a sobering one..lol

Wine and editing usually don't mix.

Wow, it's already June. While Fall seems like a long time away for many, it feels like it's nipping at my heels. That gives me three months to get it together: finish my editing, betas, final edit, send to editor, develop the cover, come up with the title, review editors feedback and make changes, format for kindle, write the blurb (oh yes, and how I'm dreading that piece), as well as getting things in line for any promotions.

So yes, it's only June, and I'm feeling the CRUNCH!

Indie book of the day

Well this was just an uber cool thing to receive