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 18, 2011

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'.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2011

    Death comes Swiftly

    The first line of my book is "Dying isn't the hardest thing you'll ever do - it's living."

    I believe that to be true, because you have to be incredibly strong to endure what life throws at you. For those curious, or concerned - the family friend which I previously spoke of passed away this morning. After his granddaughter gave him a kiss and left the room, they removed him from life support. He was surrounded by his wife, children, and friends as he faced his death. He was an amazing man - a proud man.

    The hardest thing that family will do is wake up each morning and find a way to go on living. It was a blessing they had the opportunity to hold his hand, to talk to him, to read to him and spend three days with him. No one will ever know if he was aware of their presence as he was in a coma, but his soul felt their love. That man was a fighter, a tough guy, and I believe he would have punched death in the face. I believe the love in the end is what made it easy for him to let go. A woman has lost someone who was so in love with her, grandchildren lost the only father they ever knew, and my best friend has lost the most important man in her life.

    Living after loss is the hardest thing you'll ever do. But it will make you stronger.

    Kindle Highlights

    Now that I'm not writing, I seem to have more time to blog. Part of it is a distraction with all the personal things going on. I'll be going to the hospital tonight to visit with the family friend who is on life support. It's my best friends dad, and we've grown up together as family. They tried to bring him out of the coma, but he had seizures so they had to put him back into it. You honestly don't know what time you have with people in your life, never leave anything unsaid.

    On a different note, while I posted this on facebook, I found this to be a really cool feature on Amazon. Amazon has a way of recording all of the highlighted passages on Kindle's for each book. You may have noticed this feature while reading a book on Kindle, but it also pulls it over to book pages on Amazon. If you scroll to the bottom, you'll see something called "Popular highlights". These are lines that readers highlighted the most. Pretty cool to see what everyone likes! I went through a few of my favorite books the other night and was noticing lines I had forgotten about that made me want to read the book all over again.

    Here are the ones that are showing up for "Sterling". Honestly, the cat one has me laughing.


    Popular Highlights

     (What's this?)


    “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.” —Raymond Lindquist 
    Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

    ...it is not the easy road that makes us capable of great things. It is the hard journey that leads to a greater destiny. You can never rise if you never have anything to rise above.” 
    Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

    Dying isn’t the hardest thing you’ll ever do—it’s living. 
    Highlighted by 4 Kindle users

    Except what he didn’t know was that I had been there and done that. I was a survivor, and would never be broken by anyone. 
    Highlighted by 3 Kindle users

    When the only tongue you’re getting is from your cat…it’s time to get out more. 
    Highlighted by 3 Kindle users


    I like that the Lindquist quote was highlighted, because I put a lot of thought into the opening quote of this series.
    I want it to really summarize the journey taken. 

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Cover Art

    This is where it all begins...

    I'm excited to finally get down to designing the cover art for Mageri Book 2. I did my first mock-up tonight, but I'm very particular about images so I'll be trying out a few models, backgrounds, concepts, etc before I start narrowing down the choices. I don't focus too much on what will sell, only because if I put too much stock into that I would just stick a headless torso of a hunk on the cover. The covert art must capture the essence of the story, and evoke an emotional response. At least for me, anyhow. I want to create something that a reader doesn't just skim over, but stares at for a little while, thinking about the character or the scene.

    The great part is I have more stock images available, and I plan to acquire more as time goes on. It's SO tedious to comb through those stock sites, let me tell you. I don't have enough hours in the day to look at 15,000 images of "fog" or "streets". Really? Who has that kind of time. And some of those images that pop up are freaking scary.

    Another thing about cover art is I want it to be interesting without being "been there, done that". Some covers start to all look alike to me. I took a big risk with "Sterling", because you don't often see an Urban Fantasy with a woman sitting, hiding her face, with a solemn posture. Usually they're in leather, armed with daggers or guns and look like they're ready to kick the living shit out of you.

    It was right for Zoe.

    It's her book, her story, and I had a few images to work with using that model and that was the one. Each time someone says they love the cover, it makes me smile. Wide.

    I want to connect the series, so the covers flow. So there's a lot of thought going to go into this. Additionally, not totally happy with the author name on the cover so i plan to tweak it a little. I do not profess to have any mad skills when it comes to fonts.

    If you want to see how ridiculously picky I am, this was the "final" choice of model and theme for "Sterling"

    (I won't show all the others i went through...gods!).

    I got some advice on the cover and removed the moon, it was unnecessary and distracting. I tried a background like the window, but didn't like it. I wanted Zoe to be the focus. See the one of her reflection in the mirror? Yep, that came out a little cheesy.




    Now let's just hope the sequel cover isn't a hot mess

    The Last Draft Is Complete

    Sing a song of praise, because I sure am. I am sending it off to the betas very soon with fingers crossed. These are wonderful people who have graciously volunteered their efforts. I have one I'm still waiting on a response from, and if I don't hear back I think I'll be fine with the crew I've got.

    Excited? Nervous? Definitely. I was going to do a few last minute touch-ups, but I decided to wait until the final edit because of a personal tragedy that occurred this week. A close family friend is in a coma and will be removed from life support today to see if they have any brain function remaining. We're all nervous, and hoping for the best. When things like that happen, it really puts life into perspective, and all the little stuff just goes away.

    Last draft means that major revisions are complete. Unless I receive consistent feedback on a particular element to the story, I don't plan to do any major revisions, only because the series is written out in full and there is a potential it could impact future books. But I'm hoping the betas provide some valuable input, and help me to polish it up.

    The next steps are working on a cover design and naming this puppy. I had a few names rolling around, but it's a tough call. In the traditionally published world, I don't think the author selects their own title. These are things the editor or publisher helps them do, maybe they run it by them. "Sterling" was a last minute call. I was stuck on "Lightwalkers" but it didn't feel right, and I was lucky enough to stumble across the word in the book and it just clicked. I'm not hard set on using a theme, like a word repeated in each title. It could happen with the remaining books, who knows.

    Thanks to everyone who has been supportive, and interested in the sequel release. How can you show support? Review it! Recommend it to others! I do plan to do a polish to that title when I acquire some time, but if you spot anything heavy like a grammar issue, misprint or typo (shouldn't be any typos because spell checks catch those, but word replacements occur) then contact me. I don't bite, and I can make note, possibly doing a quick revision if it's that severe.

    Life live to the fullest, guys. Now I need to go focus on supporting my friend in her time of need.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    What makes a male sexy?


    Obviously, every woman has her own taste. But what is it that draws you to that leading man? In most cases, we have a wide variety to choose from.

    1. RELATIONSHIPS: Part of the allure is the quality of relationships he forms with the main characters and others - tension and all that good stuff.

    2. BACK STORY: Part of it is his past. The more we learn about a man - where he came from, what he stands for - the more we understand what motivates him.



    THE ARROGANT MALE, a.k.a The Womanizer

    You know him. He's the one with hot car, the sharp clothes, the expensive cologne, and the women throwing themselves at his feet. He dismisses them with a wave of a hand. Everything he says irritates you. He's arrogant, and is a man who always gets what he wants. Typically, the female in the book doesn't want him back.

    He's easily infuriated and often throws a tantrum, storming out.



    He. Must. Have. Her.


    THE MYSTERY GUY, a.k.a. Mr. Unattainable

    He's the guy in the black coat with a five o'clock shadow and unruly hair. There's always immediate tension between him and the female lead, because he challenges her. It's the way he talks, moves in close with those magnetic eyes and puts his mouth to her ear, whispering something that leaves her frustrated.

    She's angry that she fell for his seduction, as he chuckles and walks away.

    But damn...we still want him.


    THE BAD BOY, a.k.a The Naughty Hottie

    He's usually numero uno on most women's lists. He's not afraid to tell it like it is. The bad boy always has a sharp tongue, quick wit, and is nail-bitingly sexy. When he fights, he has all the one-liners. Yet, he just pisses the woman off on every kind of level.

    The relationship with him is a mutual partnership, and they often drive each other crazy. (Does Bones come to mind?) But beneath it all, there's a lot of tension and we usually have to wait for the coupling.

    We don't know what he'll say or do next, but we love a shameless flirt.

    Especially one in leather pants with a piercing.


    THE SECOND FIDDLE

    I feel for this guy, I really do. He's often the sidekick, the brother, the sub character that doesn't get the girl. Well, sometimes he does, but he has to give her back. We never get to know ENOUGH about him. This guy is a worthy male, but he's not going to be able to win her heart against the leading guy, no matter how much he proves himself.

    Typically I've read him to be noble, brave, and always doing the right thing.

    But, unfortunately, he knows when to walk away.


    DAMAGED GOODS

    Girls love to fix things. In steps a male who is hostile, cold, and wounded. The woman tries to understand him, but he's unapproachable with his foul mouth; he hates women so he pulls away from her touch.

    Yep, he's a fixer-upper. Damaged goods lived a hard life, and is unable to love, or have trusting friendships because he's grown cynical. Scarred, tattooed, dangerous, skilled with knives - he's everything your mother warned you about.





    And we love them.

    THE BARBARIAN, a.k.a. The Alpha Male
    He's the leader, get it straight, or he'll eff you up.
    Can this guy even speak English? He grunts, he growls, he says words like "Mine."

    Except in the bedroom, where he usually mutters something in an ancient language.

    But beneath all the muscle, leather, and semi-automatic weapons, is a heart of gold.

    Right?

    Well, it usually takes a few ass kickings throughout the book before we get to that part.

    What he lacks in the looks department, he always more than makes up for in his endowments.

    THE PRETTY BOY, a.k.a The Slut

    You know exactly who I'm talking about. Chiseled face, abs of steel, soft lips that were meant to be kissed, and the sex drive of a Greek God (which he's often compared to in the looks department)

    This guy can relate to the Arrogant male on a few levels. But the difference is - he usually doesn't come from money. He's just too damn good-looking for his own good. Women shackle themselves to his feet and swear allegiance to the almighty locks of golden hair. He's a smartass, cocky as hell, and once again - the female wants nothing to do with him. He often inadvertently falls for a woman who is sub par in the looks department, and that's what makes him attractive to the reader. Hope for all of us!

    Deep down we find out that he's hollow inside, because no one ever bothered to get to know him on a deeper level. Pass the kleenex, please.


     THE ROMANTIC

    This guy makes flowers and candy look like the work of peasants and fools. He's the wooer, the one who sweeps you off your feet and wants to show you the world. He wants to fix YOU, because you're the one pushing away. His gift comes in the forms of sunsets on top of the most unreachable mountain top, rose petals over a bath, an expensive meal on top of a 20 story building with a violinist off on the side somewhere.He is Mr. Sensitive.

    He's the guy who will take your breath away.

    He also needs to keep it in check or he'll end up as Second Fiddle Guy...







    So, when it comes to the men in your novels, who do you like to read?

    Status Check-in

    Well, it will be coming up on 3 months in a few more days since the release of Sterling. Thought I would document a little progress report, as one intent of this blog is to share my experience as an indie writer from pre-publishing to...well, wherever this takes me.

    While the ranking has been in the top 20 (all the way up to #3) in Fantasy/Contemporary, I am still pleased that "Sterling" remains on the top 100 at Amazon. I am very curious to see what happens after the 3 month mark when the book falls off of the "New releases 90 days" list.
    I think a lot of people find their books from the new releases, so what a shame if that has a significant impact.

    US RANK:
    #21 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Fantasy > Contemporary
    #29 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary

    UK RANK:
    #17 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Fantasy > Contemporary
    #26 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Paranormal
    #33 in Books > Fantasy > Contemporary

    GERMANY RANK:
    Nr. 51 in Englische Bücher > Fantasy & Science Fiction > Fantasy > Zeitgenössisch
    Nr. 68 in Kindle-Shop > eBooks > Fremdsprachige eBooks > Englisch > Fantasy & Science Fiction > Fantasy

    FRANCE RANK:
    n°44 dans Boutique Kindle > Ebooks Kindle > Ebooks en langues étrangères > Ebooks en anglais > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary


    Germany and France are not my biggest sellers, and I'm not quite sure how to read their ranking system...is that a degree symbol for France?

    Amazon only rates their products based on those who write a review, there is no star ranking system otherwise. It's a shame, because not everyone feels comfortable writing a review - I sure wish more would. I receive a number of emails, messages, and reviews on Goodreads that I would love it if readers took a moment to share their thoughts on Amazon.

    Here is what the rank looks like on Goodreads:












    That's tremendous to see how many people are enjoying the book. For those who didn't, I'm still glad they gave the book a chance.  I have read a few reviews, I think a couple mentioned the time jumps in the beginning. That was a necessary element in order to have enough time lapse that the relationships between characters would have naturally grown to a believable point. I couldn't continue the book throughout with "And the next day, and the next day". Additionally, they are immortal, so a few months to them isn't such a big deal as it is to us humans. ;-)

    When "Sterling" was first written, it was 130,000 words. I had to do a significant amount of editing, and there was a lot of relationship building in the beginning. Unfortunately, authors have to make necessary cuts to chop it down to size. No one wants to read "War and Peace" in Urban Fantasy.

    I would love to answer any questions that readers may have about certain elements in book 1. Ask!

    I'm very excited as my progress in the last draft for book 2 is nearing 95% completion. There will be another edit and polish after I've given it off to the betas, and I hope they all have favorable things to say. I'm very excited about getting it out there.

    I've had people ask me when is the release? I posted on my earlier blog, December. That was my goal, not a definitive date. But these are the holidays, and I've also incorporated a few extra steps. Thank you for being patient, and as I have a clearer picture of the timeline, I will definitely post an update with an expected release date!

    In the meantime, did we all enjoy our Thanksgiving pie? I sure did...

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Characters

    My parents are characters unto themselves. If anyone wonders where author's get inspiration from characters - it's everywhere. People are so interesting, funny, and mysterious that they don't even realize it. It could be traits from people you know, or complete strangers. I'm spending a couple of days with my parents for Thanksgiving, and I'm thoroughly enjoying some of their antics. Board games to break out soon! I'm a huge fan games.

    I am 85% done with the last draft of Book 2, so making progress. I anticipate getting a lot done this weekend. The word count is higher than book 1, still under 100,000, but I decided not to do any major edits. I'd like to see if the betas have any feedback. I would hope that every scene is interesting and valuable to the story, which is why I have not cut anything further.

    It's a gloomy Thursday morning; earlier there was a heavy fog and now its just overcast. My cat is having a ball here, even though putting her in the carrier was an exercise in will, endurance, and bravery. My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is mom's homemade cornbread dressing - which is actually grandma's recipe. We decided to try a new apple pie recipe, instead of my upside-down apple pie (which is a sweet slice of heaven). So, I hope everyone here is enjoying some time off with family, or by yourself just relaxing.


    This was last nights conversation in the living room, late last night. The buzzer was beeping in the kitchen because the apple pie was done. Dad kept commenting how great it smelled. Mom got up to pull it out of the oven.

    Dad--in his recliner--glanced up and held out his hand.

    Dad: "Gimme Five!" 
    Mom shuffles by him, dragging her tired feet, and ignores his open hand.
    "Gimmie two", dad suggests.
    Mom slowly walks out of the room and says nothing.
    Dad drops his hand. "Gimme nothing," he mutters.
    Mom says in a flat voice from the kitchen, "You get no pie." 

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    Thanksgiving Thoughts


    While it's an American tradition of turkey, stuffing, pecan pie, and football - it's also a time to reflect. Maybe we don't do that enough in our lives. Truly reflect on what we have, not what we want or wish could be.

    While you may find humor in some of these, my intent is honesty (I swear it!)

    If you are reading this on Goodreads, you'll need to visit my blog to see the bullet points - otherwise it converts over like one giant paragraph! (I am thankful I noticed that)







    • I am thankful I found a new apartment this year that I love. I am equally thankful that my downstairs neighbor elected to purchase an acoustic guitar vs an electric. I wish him much success.
    • I am thankful for my current health, as I went through a rough patch a couple of years ago. I'm too young to have things like that happen, but to be honest, it put my life in complete perspective and may have been pivotal in starting up this writing again.
    • I am thankful to have both my parents who are also in good health. They put up with me, and god bless them for that. They deserve medals.
    • I am thankful for keeping a positive attitude at work and helping to mentor those around me and create a positive environment (even though inside I'm screaming and driving nails in my hands)
    • I am thankful for those who have come into my life, and those who have left it.
    • I am thankful my cat, Mia, has decided not to tear up my brand new chair with her sharp claws
    • I am thankful my godson grew up to be such an outstanding kid with a bright future and positive outlook.
    • I am thankful i found Vampire wine in the stores at Halloween before they sold out. (i really am!)
    • I am thankful for those who have supported me - friends and strangers alike - in publishing my novels. Every email, every review, every "like" on facebook or follow on the blog, every bit of it fills me with gratitude. (ok, well maybe not ALL reviews...lol)
    • I am thankful I got off my lazy butt over a year ago and started walking 1-5 miles a day. I've slacked off these past couple of months, but I've never felt better. Especially when I'm eating that pint of caramel ice cream.
    • I'm thankful Jason Momoa has chosen his roles carefully - so that he is shirtless in nearly every damn thing he's in.
    • I am thankful for not having cable for the past 10 years. I don't miss it, and it gives me more free time to write. Plus I'm an obsessive channel flipper, so having 999 stations would not help that addiction.
    • I am thankful for having people in my life who get my humor, and roll with it. (and hell, if you encourage it you get extra points)
    • I am thankful for Bones, Vishous, and all of the men in novels that make me want to keep reading more story lines centered around dysfunctional men.
    • I am thankful that through every tragedy or near tragedy in my life, I've survived and ended up where I am now. Sitting at my dining table, drinking hot cocoa, and taking whatever life throws at me.

      Friday, November 18, 2011

      5 THINGS ON FRIDAY

      I'm going to see if this is something I can keep up with for fun. Five random things on Friday - recommendations, cool stuff, random thoughts,  pictures...it might even be something in my house!

      1. SAIL by AWOLNATION. Awesomeness






      2. My serious addiction - Vitatops (actually healthy for you! lol) Yeah, that's my excuse.











      3. Fact: I don't care what Ashton Kutcher is tweeting. I don't really care to see their divorce and rocky relationship splashed on the front page of my news sites, either. I don't really know any project either has been in except saturating the media with their private affairs. It's too bad that personal relationships can't remain private, I'm sure whatever they're going through is difficult.

      4. This guy is all kinds of hotness!





















      5.  I think prefer wearing natural stones over diamonds and emeralds. Not that I have a box spilling over with precious jewels, but they're more eye catching. My favorite? Tiger's eye. I bought one that was just a polished stone at a science museum, and made it into a necklace. Eventually, it broke off, and I wish I had the skills to fix it. I loved wearing it.

      99 cent Kindle Books

      Free Books - I have an opinion about these. They're a great marketing tool for an author to get their wares out and be sampled, attract new readers to a series or their writing in general. But when you download a free book, how many do you get around to reading? Some hoard these books, and most of the time the ones they end up reading are the books they paid for. We all like free stuff, but how likely are you to actually read all of the free downloads? Especially if you're one of those people who have hundreds. (And you know who you are!)

      Will I ever drop my books to free? Never say never, but chances are...never. I've labored too long in conceiving these stories, writing them, building the world and characters to distribute them to the passes for nothing.

      Which brings me to 99 cent books....

      I often wonder if readers who see these have any formulated opinions about them. The first that comes to mind is "indie". The savvy reader will know that many of these 99 cent books are written by indie authors. That is NOT a bad thing - there are some hidden gems out there! I don't know how many famous trad published authors I yawned through the pages reading. So one should never base their opinion on that.

      Then there is the "up to snuff" factor. True, many indie author's do not have the available resources that traditionally published authors do (meaning the highest paid editors). But, many do hire very expensive editing services. Some work, some don't. I've seen mixed results and opinions on the matter. I think what I find most interesting is the disclaimer on an average review, pointing out the flaws before going into the fact they liked it. I had one such review on a site that specifically pointed out a typo about throwing up in Justus's luxurious kitten.

      That's not a typo.

      That's Silver's sarcasm spilling out, calling his car a kitten (engine's purr, and men have ridiculous terms of endearments for their machines). I had to laugh, because that is a case of the literal reader. Otherwise, it was a wonderful review. But it had me scratching my head about reader perceptions. I suppose I might be guilty of it too, and sometimes it's simply a disconnect when it's different regions of the country, or different countries all together.

      But, word replacements do happen. Editing software won't catch it, and often an author too close to their own story won't either. Sometimes an editor won't even notice. Anyone who has been following my blog knows where I've started and where I hope to go, and you're here because you might be curious enough to follow this journey. Sometimes I intentionally misspell words (Like a scene where i use the word "Dahling" - because it emphasizes the playful accent that Sunny is giving in a scene. Also, as previously posted, I have specific rulebreakers on capitalization in regards to my breeds. Of course I know it isn't without flaws. I've never been a flawless girl.

      Now, with that said, why is there a more forgiving attitude towards traditionally printed books? I've scoured review sites for a few I own, looking for someone to point out things, but no one has. I've often seen indie authors singled out for starting sentences with conjunctions, ending with prepositions, etc, etc. While there are writing rules, this is fiction, and sometimes rules are broken. I own several books which break these rules. I also own several books with typos. Printed books, from publishing houses. One repeats a single word twice on the cover. Another contains conjunctions starting sentences at least 4 times a page. Best selling authors, and I paid a lot of money for these books.

      But did it ruin the story for me? Yank me away? No! It has nothing to do with lower standards, either. In the real deal world, I speak this way, and sometimes it carries through a book effectively. When I get sucked into a story, the writing is important but sometimes that takes a back seat to my imagination. The only reason it rubs me the wrong way is that they're not often pointed out and the books cost a lot more. They're also not easily fixed, because that's the printed and copyrighted version.

      So, does 99 cents mean it's going to be a "meh" book? I don't think so. I've seen lots of great reviews out there for 99 cent books. Am I one of those people who raises a brow when I see 56 5 star reviews on them? Um, guilty as charged. Do they have 56 friends, 56 cousins? lol Not everyone likes every book, and I do get scared away from reviews when they are all glorious 5 stars. I like to see mixed reviews so I can read exactly what readers didn't like to see if that would be a big deal to me. That's what you're going to get with me, because I haven't asked any review blogs to take on my book, nor have I solicited any reviews from friends or family. My books won't appeal to everyone, and I'm okay with that. I totally respect readers, because I AM one! The really cool thing is that there are a lot of people who DO like it. All of you have been supportive in your reviews, emails, comments, and even recommending this book to your friends. It means a lot, and I appreciate all of it - even if it's just a comment about how you love the cover I made.

      On the price cuts: often these author's are lowering the price temporarily to attract readers. Notice how many are book 1 of a series. Give them a chance, and see if you can discover the next best thing to sliced bread.

      Imperfections aside, I still have a love for my story that I would have set the price higher. The price isn't set because we hold less value in the book.

      If you have any great book recommendations in the bargain bin you've discovered online, drop a comment! I'd also like to know your opinion on free books, if you download more than you'll ever read, and where on your priority list they end up.

      Now, because it's Friday, I need to put on my jeans and get myself out into the real deal world.

      Monday, November 14, 2011

      Taking on the Beta's

      I have called out for Beta Reader's for Book 2 of the Mageri series. I'm reviewing those who are interested and collecting my questions that each will be provided. This will be a new experience for me as I did not do this with "STERLING". It is difficult to consider only because I have already written out the series, and have to be very careful as to what I consider editing. I'm still on a final draft revision, so once that ends I'll be ready to throw it to the beta wolves and hope they don't bite. ;-)

      It's a good feeling to throw away all these post-it notes spread out over my bar, having incorporated these idea's into the book. I get flashes of idea's at the most random times. The other night, it was while driving in the car. I couldn't find my notebook and found myself trying to scribble the thought out on the back of an envelope while avoiding the curb. What I probably need is one of those recording devices, I never understood the use of those until I swerved from hitting a cat. Fear not: No animals were harmed in the making of this book.

      The great part about the beta reading phase is I can put away my temptation to edit, because I will have to wait for their feedback before I can touch Book 2 again. This will give me time to work on the cover design and consider titles. I bet one thing about printed books author's enjoy is receiving their copy with all the raised print and shine. I just love running my fingers over the lettering, tilting it in the light and looking at the color effects. You don't get that same experience from an E-book. And while some do not even look at the cover, I hope that my designs are interesting enough that the reader does take a look and get lost in it for a few moments.

      Now I must leave you so I can enjoy some ravioli's and french bread.

      Tuesday, November 8, 2011

      How to make yourself crazy

      Well, you can design your own welcome page on Facebook for starters! It took about one hour to put together an image for the page, then I had to google the steps to actually get it ON the page. Not as easy as just uploading a picture, there's script involved.

      So I've been busy this week, trying to make my author page a little friendlier. Here are the fruits of my labors

      Profile Image






      I kind of like how this turned out. I'm obsessive about images, so I do have a couple of issues with how it turned out, but nothing that can't be remedied...

      LATER!

      Because I have a book to finish.



















      Welcome Page



      This is the welcome page a newcomer will see when they visit me on Facebook. Yes, I put the arrow in the wrong place! LOL  I have to keep my sense of humor - I think everyone knows by now where the "like" button is.

      As you can see, I dabble in photoshopping.


      So be sure to check out my fanpage on Facebook and LIKE me, so you can stay updated on book release information, as well as fun stuff.

      Yeah, I like fun stuff!

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Urban Fantasy Bestseller

      Today marks 2 months since the release of "Sterling", so I decided to make my first blog post truly promoting the book. It is available on Amazon for 99 cents (also available on amazon UK, France, and Germany) for adults (not a YA series)

      Currently, "Sterling" ranks on the bestseller list in the US Fantasy/contemporary, and in the UK for Fantasy/contemporary as well as Romance. Many of my readers know that "Sterling" is a dark urban fantasy novel, but as the series goes on, you will see that it is well placed in both of these genres.

      "Sterling" is book 1 of the Mageri series, an adult urban fantasy novel that revolves around the story of a young woman who is brutally attacked by a mysterious man, later discovering that she has actually been transformed into a supernatural being. Our leading lady is thrust into a new life - unsure of herself and how much she should trust those around her. This new world she lives in is a dangerous one, as well as exciting. It was important to make "Sterling" on a realistic level, depicting the darkness that lives within some who pursue their ambitions at the expensive of others, and how a human could adjust to this new life. Every relationship that exists with Zoe is well thought out and with purpose, although it may not be evident in book 1.

      Adam is the man who found Zoe when she needed help. Without question, he takes her in and watches over her. Part of it is instinct, the other part is curiosity - he knows there is something different about her. He's very protective of Zoe, and there's always something you can't quite pin on him. It's as if he's a man trying to be someone else, a man running away from a past.





      Justus is the one who takes her under his wing, and helps educate her about who she is. He's a strong figure in her life, but he is a curious fellow because he's a little detached with personal affections. Justus wants to ensure she is prepared for her life and able to protect herself, as well as know where she comes from. We learn more about this man as the books evolve.

      Simon is a loyal friend to Justus, and they go way back. They are complete opposites, but also have a working relationship to an extent. Simon is more carefree and a bit of a rebel; he's an intelligent man who has become disgusted with the politics behind things, but he will always help when he see's a worthy purpose. He's a flirty little devil on the outside, the kind of man you would see saucing up all the girls at the bar, but there's another side to Simon.

      Knox is close friends with Adam, and they once had a working relationship. He's a hardened military man, rough around the edges and then some. He's got a mouth on him and muscle to back it up. Deep down, you can see he's got heart - he would have to be a decent man for Adam to trust him - but he isn't the sort to let it show.

      Sunny is Zoe's best friend and closest person she has to family. She's upbeat and a lovely person, always trying to keep Zoe's spirits up and be there when she needs her. I love her because she's the girl that people might have the initial impression of being superficial and conceited, but she's a loyal friend that can always be trusted.






      Just for fun, I thought I would throw in some pictures. The real image is always left to the imagination of the reader.

      There are a few other characters introduced in the book who will have reoccurring appearances in the series, as the above. The series itself has villains, conspiracies, and secrets that unfold. But the heart of the book is the growth and self discovery that Zoe, and other characters, undergo. Most of us are shaped by our past and scarred in some way by events in our life, as are the characters in this book. Whenever I see someone with specific personality traits, I can't help but wonder "what happened in their life that made them this way? Is there more to who they are?" The book itself can be read as a stand alone, but there always may be a few questions lurking in your mind about certain plot points or characters, some of those are addressed in later books.

      In the world of Breed, there is no such thing as coincidence. Everything happens for a reason, and is determined by the Fates. It is up to us what we do with what we're given.

      Thank you to those who have given "Sterling" a read and have given positive feedback via email or otherwise! I've been asked if I intend to push this book through smashwords so it is available to those who do not shop through amazon or own a kindle. That is a possibility, including paperback. At this time, I am focusing on writing/editing, but will keep all avenues open to make this series available to a wider audience.

      Book 2 of the Mageri series is still in progress and making headway. The final draft revision is underway
      and there will be heavy editing to ensure it is a quality read. Keep an open mind, and expect the unexpected.

      AMAZON LINKS:

      BUY STERLING US
      BUY STERLING UK
      BUY STERLING GERMANY
      BUY STERLING FRANCE

      Saturday, November 5, 2011

      All Shook Up

      As i eased into my new chair, wrapped myself in a blanket, and thumbed through the pages of my new book, the chair began shaking. I snapped the book closed and glanced at the arm of the chair and visibly saw that I was moving. The cords began swinging from the blinds and the glasses were clinking in the dining room.

      An earthquake struck Oklahoma just a few miles from where my brother lives, and early reports are ranging it between 5.2 - 5.6. They experienced one earlier this morning, but said this one was stronger. It's amazing because I'm down in Texas about 2 hours away and felt it. Earthquakes are nothing new to me as we had them often living overseas, but it's disorienting to experience one in a city that is more known for tornadoes.

      Ah well. *tucks blanket back over feet and re-opens my book*

      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      What's a girl to do?

      For anyone who enjoys writing, read below and I can give you a recommendation on a program.

      So many books, so little time. These are the books I am currently reading, and "Drink Deep" is on the radar once I finish the Immortals After Dark book.




      Oh, I'll be his bride!


      I love these brothers! It's one of those books I can put on pause and easily pick back up because the story sticks in my head so vividly.


      This is what I've been waiting months for!


      Short stories, so something quick and easy to get through.










      On writing:

      I found it difficult to keep facts straight using paper and pen, especially when attempting a series. Details on characters backgrounds, looks, mannerisms, or even locations and sub plots. yWriter is a free program that allows you to do what what you can't do with paper. There are other programs out there that you can pay for, but I think this puppy will give you the basic tools you need. (if you only knew at this very moment I'm yelling at my cat for climbing a cabinet and trying to tip my wine bottles, but i digress)

      It keeps track of everything you see: scene, characters, location, items, etc. I never write in yWriter, I copy my chapters over when I'm done. But I do use the other options for characters, items, etc as I go so I can keep it continually updated. You can even upload pictures of your characters, give them a bio, etc. The great thing is (especially for a series) that these features can be exported and imported into a new document. So, once I start writing book 2, I can import all the character information over.

      The program could be more user friendly, and I do have a couple of issues with it, but for free software...its worth every penny. :-)

      Do I still use pen and paper? Of course! My purse is stuffed with post-its, as is my table at the moment. I have a notebook for keeping my thoughts together. I get ideas, and sometimes jotting it down helps me work it out in my head before I actually put it in the novel. But when it's all said and done, I'm glad there is software available for me to electronically store the info.

      Sunday, October 30, 2011

      Halloween Prank?

      I guess you know it's Halloween when this is your ranking on Amazon....

      Music Corner

      I added a new page to my blog called Music Corner, check it out! Thought readers might like to know what type of music I'm listening to during the different phases of my writing for each series. Also, it's a chance to discover some new songs and artists. Enjoy!

      Saturday, October 29, 2011

      Simon Hunt

      “No woman leaves my apartment decent." - Simon Hunt (Mageri Series: Book 2)


      Taking a break leads to dangerous things when I open my editing software. I was playing around with an image for Simon. Took a little work to give him a suitable dimple, but alas, I am not very good with adding hair (Simon's hair is shoulder length, so let's just pretend he tied it back). For those who may not know, digital art is another outlet I'm passionate about.

      I love how each reader see's characters differently. No matter how the author describes them, everyone walks away with something different. One example is that I am a fan of the Night Huntress series - but for whatever reason, I see Bones with longer hair than he has in the book. That's why fanmade art is so great, you get to see all the different possibilities.

      Here's one possibility.





      All stock purchased. Do not crop or modify.

      They will always be in the Mezzanine

      I love music no one has ever heard of, the kind that makes them listen and ask, "Who is that? What song is that?"

      Here's a gem. The video montage makes no sense (Uploaded from a fan, so you can just put it in the background and listen to the music) 

      Tucked under my arm

      This weekend, I'll be reading through Unbound. This is a collection of short stories by several of our favorite UF authors. I'm not against short stories because I started off my serious adult reading with collections, but so often I want *more* when I'm done.

      Greedy, aren't I? You know I'm right. I read a storm story not too long ago that I wished had been expanded on; it could have easily been it's own book, or even series. Great ideas, crunched down to "fun size".

      I couldn't help but wonder, on a side note, if all UF authors are redheads? Red hair is one of the most uncommon hair colors there is. Each time I look at a photograph of a favorite author and see she has red hair, it makes me smile. Must be in the genes.

      I hope you all have a good book tucked under your arm this weekend!

      Thursday, October 27, 2011

      Ghouls and Goblins

      It's Friday...savor and devour it.

      I'm on the fence about buying Halloween candy this year. I'm in a new place so I don't know if I can expect to see any goblins with greedy eyes and empty sacks. Chances are that I would be stuck with 10lbs of sugar. My neighbor carved an awesome pumpkin with a wide mouth, eating a smaller pumpkin (who carries a look of horror on his face).

      The skies are overcast and the air is cool. I'm ready for some Halloween movies this weekend, curled up on my sofa with my favorite blanket. I've got a few books lined up. I also have a chair to assemble. I would say the majority of the furniture I have purchased, I put together. What happened to the good ol' days when you could buy a chair already made?

      "IMMORTALS" - Coming out 11-11-2011, I hope this is a good movie. The visuals looks awesome and if it's IMAX, I'll be all over that.

      Halloween isn't what it used to be. Most kids go to functions days prior, and a lot of the candy is discarded for fear of tampering. I think its funny that so many grown kids who have a drivers license are showing up at the door. People carve happy pumpkins and the true horror movies don't hit the airwaves like they used to around this time of year.

      I still remember when my neighbors made homemade caramel apples and cookies and passed them out in ziplock bags. And you better believe you thought you were the shit when someone put a full sized candy bar in your bag. Fun size didn't exist, so a lot of the loot was suckers and tootsie rolls. Still, it's a unique holiday that it's unfortunate many countries miss out on. Anyone who has been to a grown up Halloween party knows what I'm talking about.

      Happy Halloween weekend!

      Wednesday, October 26, 2011

      Mailbag

      I'd love to create a mailbag section for this blog. If you click to view my profile on my blog, you can send me an email. Ask any question you want, book related or otherwise. I won't bite, and I've responded to every email so far (except one, and I hope that sender knows their mail keeps bouncing back as non deliverable).



      Now I understand why some people spend years writing a single book. I have to be careful how I re-edit my draft, because I have already written books 3 and 4 of the Mageri series. It's important to retain continuity as the story. That being said, now that I am nearing the end of my third edit, I've discovered a few items I'd like to expand on. I am a creature of five million post-it notes, and today at work (when the boss wasn't looking), i organized them on a clean sheet of paper. These are small rewrites of specific scenes, one of which requires backtracking through "Sterling". I did so much cutting on that book I have to be sure what I write weaves in.

      There is some serious editing underway. I'm giving a lot of detailed attention to book 2.

      Online sites are useful, but I went to the bookstore this week and picked up a few extra reference books. Paper books! I always like having a physical book on hand to look up synonyms and definitions. Some sites are very limited in the results, and there are times I'd rather be on the sofa scribbling my thoughts on paper. The laptop needs a break; the battery is seriously reaching meltdown mode.

      I did find a few useful websites that show hundreds of different alternatives to using the word "said". I know there are those that encourage people to use that more often, but it can make reading dull if the entire book were written in a "he said/she said" form. There's a fine balance. As an example, I am pulling a random book that happens to be sitting right next to me! I'm opening a page and here is how this author chose to write a line, using an alternative to "said":

      "Blood," she demanded.

      Demanded. She didn't just say it, she demanded it.
      What a difference a word makes.

      Saturday, October 22, 2011

      Fortunes

      At least twice a month, I try to visit this little hole-in-the-wall Chinese buffet. The decor is tacky with those illuminated wall paintings, but the food is great. Plus, it's one of those places we all have that becomes "our" place. The food may not be five star quality, the ambiance may be less than stellar, but there's something about it that feels like home away from home.

      I have been collecting my fortunes since going there. Remember the movie with Tom Hanks called "BIG", where he makes a wish and a machine spits out his fortune? That child inside of me still wants to believe in magic. I never throw the fortune in the trash, and I have to eat at least part of the cookie so it will come true. It's a ritual - call it nuts - but it's what I do.

      Today's fortune went something like this "You're financial outlook is very good."

      Well, that just made me want to buy a lottery ticket! But, that wouldn't be a very wise way to spend my money, now would it?

      I haven't posted in a few days because I'm still editing, and revising several scenes in Book 2 of the Mageri series. I made some digital art to set as my wallpaper, but I can't share it here because it would be a spoiler.

      I'm also a girl on the hunt for a new living room set. I'm super picky, but today I found a chair that I love from "World Market". It's wide enough that I can curl up in it and read, and I know exactly where I'm going to put it. On the downside - assembly required. WTH? It seems these days that is a popular trend, having to put the furniture together. Well, if I'm paying over $300 for it, shouldn't it already be assembled? Just sayin'. Tomorrow I plan to go get it, haul it back in a borrowed SUV and up a flight of stairs. I'm excited. Thanks to "Sterling", this is my first real purchase, and I no longer have to sit on a love-seat with a hole in the cushion that was made in 1986. Yep, times are hard.

      On my book radar: "DRINK DEEP" by Chloe Neill.
      I'm still reading "Moonshine", but I haven't updated my Goodreads status on my books, so many things going on it's hard to keep up.

      I was disappointed that the World Market didn't carry Vampire wine this year. I tried it last year and it was actually delicious. They did have zombie wine, so perhaps I'll give it a go.

      Tuesday, October 18, 2011

      Milestones are a Beautiful thing

      Today I hit a milestone. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for each person who has given "Sterling" an opportunity to shine. I hope you enjoy the read.



      My wish is to celebrate this weekend by making homemade cookies! Yeah, bring on the ooey gooey chocolate and sugar. I haven't baked those in years that I'm afraid my skills are rusty, at best. (Mostly because I'm a gluttonous fool who will eat the entire batch) I also just need some downtime; I've been working tirelessly on this sequel and a girl has to eat.

      I am working very hard to polish book 2. I have been fortunate enough to locate editing software, and while my goal was to release it by Christmas, I must be flexible. It is far more important to ensure what I put out is the highest quality, and I truly want my readers to enjoy the series as much as I do. I absolutely love the journey of each character in this book. So, I have spent up to 5 hours a day editing in addition to my regular 8-5 job. Throw weekends in that mix. I would never do it if I didn't feel passionate about it. That is why I chose to unleash these books into the great wide open - I loved them that much.

      The reviews have been splendid, I love the fan mail and support. I'm humbled by it. Readers are such a cool group of people. As brutally honest as you can be, we all share a common love: books. And I've had some friends along the way who have kept me laughing (which is what I needed), and supported my dream. I don't know these people, never met them, but you girls know who you are!! I just wish I could share those cookies with everyone held my hand and gave me a kick in the pants.


      Now give me your best cookie recipes! LOL