Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Touring The Summer Sky With M. Pax, Spacedock 19, & Knight of the Cosmic Table


Before I introduce this week's Speculative Fiction Writer, star-gazer and writer extraordinaire, Mary Pax, I have a couple of announcements.






Firstly, Mary and I have swapped blogs today. You can find me over at Spacedock 19. Please drop by and give me a wave through your portals or space visors.


Secondly, I've been made a Knight of the Cosmic Table! So with my newly bestowed knight magic, I've split myself in two and you can also find me at the Cosmic Laire of Science Fiction and Fantasy. I had a blast, thanks to the Top Knight himself, David Powers King.





Now over to Mary.


Touring the Summer Sky

I’m switching blogs with Ellie Garratt today. She’s awesome and talented and we both love writing speculative fiction.

For six summers I’ve volunteered as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory. It’s a fantastic gig. I get access to a 24” Cassegrain telescope and some astoundingly intelligent people — scientists, an aerospace engineer, a guy who used to work on the Chandra project with NASA.

I’m the resident expert on Neptune and Triton. Not a whole lot else. I can navigate the sky with a telescope very well, though.

I have a secret to confess… I had never looked through a telescope before in my life until I started working at the observatory. Wow, had I missed out!


Now I have a telescope of my own, and I point out the wonders of the night to all of our guests.

I usually start by running my green laser across the line of the Milky Way. We still have relatively dark skies in Central Oregon and can see it pretty well. That cloudy line is one of the spiral arms of the galaxy. It’s the one we call home, the Orion Arm. Almost every star we can see by eye is in this arm of the galaxy with us and is within 40 light years.

Then I’ll point out a big exception, the galaxy Andromeda, which can be seen by eye. I’ll show them how to find it. I’ll point out the major constellations, and the central bulge of the galaxy visible near Sagittarius. In that 150 light year span, there are over 100 million stars. Within 150 light years of our Sun, there are 50,000 stars.

We’re about 70% out from the center toward the edge.


Depending on the night and what my astronomy boyfriends are showing in their telescopes dictates what I start mine on. If a planet is up, we’re sure to have one telescope on the planet. This summer we were graced by Venus and Saturn.

I like to show Andromeda. I love star clusters. I love the Lagoon Nebula and the subtle green arc of the veil nebula [a super nova remnant]. Most of all, I love filling my eyes with so many stars that I dream of them when I get home.


Some truths are better left unfound.

For two years Craze’s dear friend, Lepsi, has been missing. The murmurings of a haunted spaceship might be a message and may mean his old pal isn’t dead. The possibility spurs Craze and Captain Talos to travel to uncharted worlds, searching. Out there, in an unfamiliar region of the galaxy beyond the Backworlds, they stumble upon a terrible truth.

Meanwhile, Rainly remains on Pardeep Station as acting planetlord, dealing with the discovery of her lover’s dark and brutal past. Alone and questioning her judgment, her introspection unlocks more than heartache. Latent protocols in her cybernetics activate, forcing her to face a sinister secret of her own.

In the far future, humanity settles the stars, bioengineering its descendents to survive in a harsh universe. This is the fourth book in the science fiction series, The Backworlds. A space opera adventure.



M. Pax-- Inspiring the words she writes, she spends her summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where she lives with the Husband Unit and two demanding cats. She writes science fiction and fantasy mostly. You can find out more by visiting her at:




Thank you, Mary. It was an absolute pleasure having you here today. I must admit I'm rather envious of your summer job. I was lucky enough to visit the Norman Lockyear Observatory a few years back, and found it a fascinating and rewarding experience. 

Well, that's it for today. I'll be back on Friday with a cover reveal from Jay Noel and details of my NaNoWriMo 2013 plans. Have a great week until then.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Book Promotion - Kindle vs. Smashwords



Between October 18th - 21st I took part in Creepy Freebies, offering Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre for free via Smashwords. I'd previously offered my dark fiction collection for free when it was part of Kindle Select. I had totally different experiences with both promotions, and I'd like to share them with you.







Kindle Select

If your eBook is Kindle Select, you can only distribute it via Amazon Kindle, but you can offer it free for up to five days in every 90. While this means only readers with a Kindle or Kindle App can download your book, it does offer some huge advantages - an enormous audience and multiple Kindle promotion websites (They usually have some minimum rules, such as five 5-star ratings, and some will charge a small fee).

I offered my book for free for five days during May of this year. Beforehand, I submitted my book details to multiple promotion sites. During the promotion I used my blog, Facebook, and Twitter to get the news out there. I also ran a couple of paid Facebook adverts*.

Over 800+ people downloaded my book.

The immediate result was sales did pick up for a couple of weeks after because my book moved up the Amazon sales rankings. I gained a few more reviews. But in the long-term it hasn't done much to boost my sales.

I believe Kindle Select is best used when you have more than one book published or have just released another - hopefully people will like your free book enough to buy more. However, because of the 90-day rule, you can't offer a book free for longer than five days. If you decide to write a series of books, and want to offer the first one free on a permanent basis, then don't tie yourself down to Kindle Select. Offer it for free on sites such as Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and then get people to tell Amazon your book is free elsewhere. Amazon should then allow you to give it away.

*I'm not sure if the Facebook adverts were worth even the small fee. On the one hand downloads halved after they ended on day three. On the other, all the sites I submitted my book to ran my details over the first three days. Which was responsible for the greater downloads?

Smashwords

Due to technical difficulties Amazon seemed uninterested in solving, I had to re-publish both my eBooks in September. As I was not at all happy with Amazon, I decided to remove both books from Select and distribute them to all the major sellers via Smashwords.

When Milo James Fowler approached me about taking part in his Creepy Freebies, I decided to use Smashwords to offer my book for free. There are two easy methods - generate a coupon code for people to use or reduce the price to zero. I opted for the coupon code.

For this promotion I used my website, one promoted Facebook post, and twitter. My book was also promoted via Milo's site and other writers generously tweeting.

The end result was 13 people downloaded my book.

Yes. That's right. Just 13. To say I was disappointed, would be an understatement. However, it gave me an insight into what works and what doesn't. I can only conclude that if you want to offer your book for free to generate publicity and gain readers, Kindle is the better option. There are numerous promotional sites that are solely for Kindle and they do work. There are sites out there that feature all the major distributors, but they're harder to find and fewer in number.

So, what is the answer? I know writers who have tried both options - some have found their non-Amazon sales are so inconsequential they're not worth bothering with. Others have found they do steady sales all round.

What do you think? Have you had experiences with both Kindle and Smashword promotions? How successful were they? What would you do differently second time around?

I will be back on Wednesday, when M Pax will be this week's Speculative Fiction Writer and I'll be dropping into Spacedock 19. Finally, I will be revealing some exciting news. Stay tuned.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Soul Cutter Cover Reveal Challenge

Today I'm excited to be taking part in a cover reveal with a difference. Below is Lexa Cain's stunning cover for her new book, The Soul Cutter. But the cover contains a mistake. To be in with a chance of winning an awesome prize, all you have to do is take part in a challenge.

Here's how to take part:

Lexa’s Cover Reveal Challenge



Can you find the error on this cover?
To win a prize, find the cover error in each of these 10 blogs:


For the correct cover, rules, and prize list, go to Lexa Cain’s blog

Soul Cutter releases from MuseItUp Publishing on December 6, 2013.


Did you spot the error? 


Don't forget there's still time for you to grab some FREE creepy reads over at Milo James Fowler's blog. But hurry, today is the last day. The line up this week is James Garcia Jr., Bob Eccles, Michelle Ann King, and Aaron Polson.

I'll be back on Monday with an analysis of my recent Smashwords promotion. Until then, happy reading and writing.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Speculative Fiction Writer - Angela Brown's Top Ten Rereads

Today I'm welcoming the talented and always fun, Angela Brown. For this week's Speculative Fiction Writer post, she's going to talk about the books she'd reread. Perhaps at the end, you can share yours with us? Over to you Angela.


 
Top Ten Rereads for author Angela Brown 

Hey Ellie! *waves*
 
Thanks so much for having me here today. I’d like to share a list of books that I would reread without hesitation. Not just because of the writing. Although writing is important with most of my choices, it’s the story in each that draws me to these titles and makes me drool to read them again.

1.       The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Yes, I mean the entire set from The Magician’s Nephew to The Last Battle and every tale in between. This is where I fell in love with reading, and though my tastes have broadened, this is the base to which I love to return.

2.       Animal Farm by George Orwell – I’m one to share very, very little when it comes to political thoughts, however, having read this book, I can’t help wondering if I’ll get to see the book’s ending in my lifetime. It’s happened before and it’s primed to happen again.

3.       The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey – Dragons. Ahem, nuff said J

4.       The Color Purple by Alice Walker – This is one of the few books I read after watching the movie and was able to love both of them equally.

5.       Mistress of the Stone by Maria Zannini – A beautiful female captain to a crew of feared pirates, a sexy shifter, and loads of action between the two of them. Oh and the story ROCKS! Yes, a DEFINITE must reread.

6.       Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – The writing, coupled with the story, blew my mind. I would love to reread and have my mind blown away yet again.

7.       Addicted by Zane – Just. So. Darned. Sexy Hotttt!!!! (fan please!!)

8.       A Game of Thrones by G.R.R. Martin – I’ll admit the man is a writing genius, but because of my own infatuation with a certain Stark, book 1 is where my rereading would end because, well…it’s just too painful going any further (*sniffle*, Yes, Starks, winter is coming.)

9.       Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers – Assassin nuns! What? Yep, I’d have to reread this wonderful tale of the handmaidens of Death.

10.   The Gunslinger by Stephen King – This first book in The Dark Tower series really made me look at Stephen King as more than a king of horror writing, but a master of writing. Period. It has been a very long time since I read this novel yet I know I could pick this up from book one and devour the pages, cover to cover, until I get to the end of what has been published. I must admit, I reached a point of major chagrin with the time King took in getting the series worked so I look forward to a chance to start anew.

So what books would you pick up and reread for a wonderful word-satisfying-fix? 

Odd as it may sound, I would love to reread my story Neverlove (Shadow Jumpers series). Not because it’s a story I wrote, but because it is a dark and twisted story sprinkled with action and a little romance, something I know I’d want to read. Then I’d follow up with They All Fall Down, the novella sequel in the Shadow Jumpers series.
  
About They All Fall Down 

Abby and Basil moved on from their pasts as a Cleanser and Harvestor, learning to enjoy life in sunny San Diego, CA, a far cry from dark nights crossing in between life and death to protect lost souls...or steal them.  

In the shadows, Q, the new master of hell, embraces his role as the Devourer. With a crave that refuses to be denied, he sets a plan in motion to claim his deepest desires for the fall of mankind and the one woman constantly slipping from his grasps: Abby.  

True love is put to the test and salvation is only possible if Abby and Basil choose the right path. Or the world could be destined for, “ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”  

***This new adult paranormal romance contains sexual situations, a few swear words, and is not recommended for readers under the age of 18.*** 

Amazon | B&N 

About the author 

Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Angela now calls Central Texas home. She's a lover of Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate/chocolate covered delicious-ness. Steampunk, fantasy and paranormal to contemporary - mostly young adult - fill her growing library of books. Mother to a rambunctious darling girl aptly nicknamed Chipmunk, life stays busy. Her favorite quote keeps her moving: "You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result." ~ Mahatma Gandhi 

Facebook | Twitter | Blog


Thank you, Angela. You certainly got me thiking. I'd happily reread Ender's Game, and any Stephen King book. But my top ten rereads would be (in no particular order): The Stand by Stephen King, Rendevous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, Wool by Hugh Howey, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, Up Till Now by William Shatner, Voyagers I, II or III by Ben Bova, Starters by Lissa Price, and The Debt Collector Season One by Susan Kaye Quinn.

That's it for today. I'll be back on Friday with a rather puzzling cover reveal from Lexa Cain.

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Faerie War Release Day

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the release party for the third book in Rachel Morgan's Creepy Hollow series, The Faerie War. Rachel is not only a superb writer, she's also helped me with the formatting of my books. She really is a star. 





It's party time!!! 
Today is the official online release of Rachel Morgan's third Creepy Hollow novel, The Faerie War. After that cliffhanger at the end of the second book, fans can finally find out what happens to Violet and everyone else in Creepy Hollow. If you'd like to get your copy, you can find it at the following online stores, plus a few others:





There are seven other teaser images displayed on various blogs today. If you'd like to see them, you can visit the following fabulous bloggers:


And there's a major giveaway going on!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wow. That is one awesome teaser and giveway. Thank you, Rachel.

I'll be back on Wednesday when Neverlove and Atone author, Angela Brown and I will be swapping blogs. Don't forget you can still get a copy of my dark fiction collection, Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre, FREE until the end of today from Smashwords using coupon code KU94W.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Creepy Freebies - Short Story Collection FREE For Four Days!


Throughout October, Milo James Fowler and a cauldron of other talented authors are making creepy stories free as part of Milo's Creepy Freebies. Today is my turn, along with several other talented authors (Jeff ChapmanAnthony J. Rapino, and Lyndon Perry).

Until the end of Monday, October 21st you can get Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre for free via Smashwords.


Passing Time: Nine Short Tales of the Strange and Macabre


Nine dark fiction stories that may just give you nightmares. Dare you enter the world of the strange and macabre, where the passing of time is not always as straightforward as it seems?

A man lives to regret Passing Time. A father will do anything to save his son in Expiration Date. An author finds out her worst nightmare is back in The Devil’s Song. A woman gets more than the claim fee when she takes out vampire insurance in Luna Black. In Dining in Hell, the Death Valley Diner becomes the wrong place to stop. A serial killer adds another file to his collection in The Vegas Screamer. In Eating Mr. Bone, an undertaker could meet an unfortunate end. A con man meets his first ghost in Land of the Free, and will truth finally be set free in The Letter? 

Nine stories originally published between 2010 and 2011. Stories range from very short to novelette. 

Available free for most eBook readers from today until the end October 21st with this Smashwords coupon code: KU94W


Please help to spread the word!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gwen Gardner - Speculative Fiction Writer

I'm thrilled to introduce Gwen Gardner as this week's Speculative Fiction Writer. She's talking secondary characters today, which is ironic - I'm visiting her blog today, where one of my secondary characters is making a confession. Please pop by and say hello to Victory Dead. 

Now over to you, Gwen.

Franny Pops In With Gwen

Thanks so much for inviting me here today, Ellie. And thanks to the audience for showing up, too. *waves*. I thought I’d talk about secondary characters. Those whose role it is to support the primary characters. They offer enormous assistance by providing the commentary necessary to further the story, an invaluable method to authors of passing on information. And of course they often provide comic relief and an eccentricity that no story should be without.

One of the comments I hear most is how much my readers love Franny. For those who aren’t familiar with her, she is a secondary character, a Victorian ghost and former madam who ‘resides’ in the home of my main character. You might say she haunts the place, but for the fact that she’s so extraordinarily at home there that it can’t really be considered haunting. And she’s made it her business to make Indigo, my main character, at home as well. To the point of interfering…

*Franny pops onto the set of Ellie’s blog. The audience gasps*

I jump. My hand shoots to my chest in hopes of stilling the sudden pounding of my heart. “Franny, what are you doing here?” I glance down at the notes in my lap, then back up again. “You weren’t scheduled to be here today.”

“I decided to make a surprise appearance, didn’t I?” says Franny. “I want to make sure I am represented well, especially where it concerns Indigo.” Her blue eyes pierce me like a fly to the wall. Her chin lifts ever so slightly, as if in challenge. Even as her creator, I am impressed with her classy bearing. A heaving bosom above a tiny waist, her mauve skirts spread wide, and her midnight black hair shining in an elaborate up-do.

“W-well, I was just about to tell our guests about how you, um, do your best to, er, make Indigo at home…”—a quelling glare stops me from continuing— “…but why don’t I let you show them…”

“Why, thank you, Gwen. I think I will. We wouldn’t want to give them the wrong impression of me.” Franny waves her hand over Ellie’s audience, a kind of sparkly substance rains on their heads. Soon, a vision enters their minds, of a dark-haired teenager named Indigo, and Franny herself…

 *

I sat up in bed, propped my pillows behind me and watched Franny knit. Glancing around the room, I sensed something different. I frowned. And then heaved a deep sigh.

“Franny, you unpacked me. Again.” I had not unpacked my personal items since moving there seven months ago. I wasn’t ready. So I basically lived out of my trunk.

She shrugged. “I thought you might be ready now. There’s no reason not to.” She didn’t look at me. Her nonchalance didn’t fool me. The issue was an ongoing argument between us.

“I - I might not be staying. Why unpack?”

“Of course you’re staying, dear. Where else would you go?”

“Home.”

“This is your home now, dear. Your family is here.”

Yes, but unpacking would mean I accepted my father’s death. And I didn’t. Sure, logically I knew he was dead. But emotionally? I couldn’t think about it, not when unfinished business existed like another spirit in my life.

*

“So you see,” says Franny to the audience, “I am only trying to intervene”—she glares my way—“to help the poor child adjust to her new situation.”

“Franny, I know that your utmost desire is to…”

Too late. “Good day!” says Franny. She disappears with a loud, POP!

I sigh.


Do you ever inadvertently offend your characters?


An Angel Among Us

Paranormal happenings at the Eady household are the norm. Recently, things have become downright peculiar. Childish giggles at odd hours of the night lead Indigo Eady to her little cousin, Bryan, a guileless cherub spirit, complete with Spider Man pajamas and a set of faux angel wings. The problem is that Bryan died nearly three years ago in a hit and run that killed him and his mum. The driver was never found.  Now the gang must solve the mystery of his death in order to send him back to heaven.  But where to start when the trail is three years cold?

Indigo Eady

Indigo Eady is not clumsy. At least, that’s what she keeps telling everyone. Can she help that the overactive spirit community of Sabrina Shores causes her psychic abilities to short-circuit? It’s unfortunate that her cute friend Badger is often on the receiving end of her mishaps. At times, she is positively hazardous to his health. Even so, sparks fly in more than one direction.


About Gwen:

Gwen Gardner is a native Californian living in sunny San Diego, where her love of reading and writing led to a BA in English literature. Life is now complete with her husband, two dogs and a daily call from her daughter.
Since ghosts feature prominently in her young adult Indigo Eady Paranormal “Cozy” Mystery series, she has a secret desire to meet one face to face - but will run screaming for the hills if she ever does. Gwen adores travel and experiencing the cultures and foods of different countries. She is always up for an adventure and anything involving chocolate - not necessarily in that order.


In answer to Gwen's questions: Yes. I offend my characters with alarming regularity. Usually, they complain they're waiting too long for another literary appearance. Sigh. You can't please them all.

Thank you, Gwen. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Franny. She is quite a character.

Don't forget to call back this Friday, when I'll be appearing as part of this week's Creepy Freebies. Until then, happy reading and writing.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Finally. A Business Plan.


In parts one and two of It's Time I Made A Business Plan, I discussed balancing my writing choices with the need to treat my writing as a business. I hope to one day make writing my full time job, so why not treat it like one?

I asked the fundamental question, can I write what I love and write what will sell? I also asked if chasing the market was a sensible decision. After all, certain things do sell. 

Lots of you offered advice, which was gratefully received. After much thought, I realised making a business plan was not about chasing the market. It was about making the right choices with what I wanted to write. If I'm not passionate about what I write, a business plan would be irrelevant - my lack of enthusiasm would show in the prose. With that knowledge firmly entrenched in my thinking, I was able to choose my writing projects for the next two years. Then it was a case of drawing up a realistic publication schedule. As one friend advised, if that part goes well, the business side will follow. 

After taking into account time, costs, and potential earnings, this is my publication schedule for the next two years:

2014

March 3rd - Dark Fiction Novella (Book One)

May - Science Fiction Novelette (soft release)

July 7th - Dark Fiction Novella (Book Two)

September - Science Fiction Novelette (soft release)

November 10th - Dark Fiction Novella  (Book Three)


2015

January 12th - Nine-part science fiction series

July 6th - Dark Fiction Novella (Book Four)


Some of you will note my immovable deadline of February 2014 for my next publication has...well, moved. When I sat down and looked at how many weeks there were until February, and that Christmas falls in the middle, I realised it would be too big a rush to finish my first novella by early February.

My business plan is this:

By the end of 2014, my earning from existing publications will pay for any future writing costs. I want my writing to start paying for itself within a year. Ultimately, I want to be earning more. But I need to walk before I run.

So, there you have it. Maybe it's still over-ambitious. Maybe it's not. But, it's a plan. All I need to do now is start writing (or carry on, as with my nine-part science fiction series).

What do you think?

Don't forget to call back on Wednesday, when Gwen Gardner will be this week's Speculative Fiction Writer.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

River Fairchild - Speculative Fiction Writer

If you're looking for this month's Indie Life post, please click here.



I'm delighted to welcome Diamonds and Dust author, and fellow Untethered Realms member, River Fairchild. She agreed to answer some of my more probing questions. Over to you, River.



Q: What is your favourite day of the week and why?
A. The one that ends in Y. Or the one where I get to write and ignore everything else. Or any day where I wake up and I'm not amongst the undead.
Q: What three colours best describe you?
A. Green because it's a calm color. Purple because it's vibrant and I might want to dye my hair that color someday. And rainbow because I'm like all colors super-charging me in a swirl of confusion. I might have lied about the calm part…
Q: If I were invited to dinner, what would you cook me?
A. I get to cook you? Oh, sorry. Verb confusion. If I invited you to dinner, we'd go out to eat – preferably for Chinese, Italian, or Mexican. Or all three. No cleanup afterwards either!
Q: Star Trek or Star Wars?
A. Both! They are very different structures so I love them for a variety of reasons. Star Trek because I'd love to live in that era, preferably on DS9. Star Wars because I have a crush on Han Solo…
Q: What was the first book you fell in love with?
A. As a young teen I discovered Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and fell in love with science fiction. Although I would question his attitudes about women now, back then he made those women seem adventurous to me and gave me a perspective lacking in my life.
Q: If you had the power to make one fictional character into a real person, whom would you pick?
A. Uhh…I did mention Han Solo, did I not?
Q: What is your favourite writing quote?
A. There are so many! One of my favorites is:  “Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl. Another is: “There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” ― Red Smith
Q: Which of your characters do you most easily identify with and why?
A. Julia Farnsbotham. I hear you snickering at the name… She is a brave, intelligent woman, single-minded, determined – and stuck in the 1870s when women weren't supposed to be any of those things. Julia is my current work in progress, a steampunk alternate world set in London. She's fun, sassy, and will go her own way, no matter what.
Q: What is your next big project?
A. Besides working on the steampunk novel, I'm releasing an epic fantasy on Dec. 9th called Diamonds & Dust. This is book 1 of a series of 5 and I'm hoping to have book 2 of the series, Dragon's Lament, out by March of 2014.
Magic is real. So is betrayal.
Two heirs. A Kingdom of dust on a troubled world. One might resurrect it. One might destroy it all.


Archaeologist David Alexander investigates the cave where his father disappeared and hurtles into another world, one filled with magic and bizarre creatures. The mad ravings in his father's journals of icemen and dragons may not be fantasies after all.


Convinced his father may still be alive, David begins a treacherous journey to find him and discover a way home. Along the way, he encounters a few unlikely friends. A Dreean warrior, a beautiful thief and a satyr join him as he searches.


David's arrival into this new world sets off an explosive chain reaction of events. Faced with powerful adversaries and few clues, he may not get the chance to rescue his father before disaster strikes, condemning both of them to death. Or worse.

Available for pre-order:
Kobo Books 
Apple Store - coming soon
Barnes & Noble - coming soon



River Fairchild is somewhat odd, brandishes a dry sense of humor, owned by several cats. Lives in a fantasy world. A fabricator of magic. Makes stuff up and spins tales about it. Believes in Faerie crossings and never staying in one place for very long. Speculative Fiction wordsmith. The secret to her stories? Spread lies, blend in truths, add a pinch of snark and a dash of tears. Escape into her world. She left the porch light on so you can find your way down the rabbit hole.

You find River here.


Thank you, River. I think I might have choosen Hans Solo as well! I'm looking forward to reading Diamonds and Dust.

That's it for this week, but don't forget to pick up more Creepy Freebies this Friday - Simon Kewin, Roland Yeomans, Christine Rains, Cate Gardner will be headlining. I'll be back on Monday. Until then, have an awesome week.

Indie Life: Author Survival Guide

It's time for this month's Indie Life post, a monthly feature run by the awesome writers over at the Indelibles blog. Every second Wednesday of the month those taking part will post something related to indie life, such the highs, lows, triumphs, struggles, and milestones of going it alone in the publishing world.



Today, I'm going to help spread the word about the new indie author guide from Susan Kaye Quinn.

As a successful indie author, Susan is a constant source of inspiration. If you haven't read her future-noir series Debt Collector, you should. Her advice for indie authors has also proved invaluable, which is why I highly recommend her Indie Author Survival Guide.




'This book is for every author who's thinking about indie publishing, or has already taken the leap, and wonders why no one told them about the sharks, the life-sucking social media quicksand, or the best way to avoid sales-checking, yellow-spotted fever. This is a guide for the heart as much as the head. And because I promised myself that I wouldn't write a book about how I made a gazillion dollars publishing ebooks, I would write about the fear: owning it, overcoming it, facing it. From a person who didn't pursue a creative life for a long time, and then discovered creativity can set you free. 

Note: gazillion is a technical term, which in this case means something less than a million and more than the average income in my state.'


Susan Kaye Quinn


Buy Links

Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk


About the Author

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindajck Trilogy and Debt Collector serial and has been indie publishing since 2011. She’s not an indie rockstar or a breakout success: she’s one of thousands of solidly midlist indie authors making a living with their works. This book is a compilation of her four years of blogging through changes in the publishing industry—updated, revised, and supplemented to be relevant in 2013. It’s a guide to help her fellow writer-friends take their own leaps into the wild (and wonderful) world of indie publishing... and not only survive, but thrive.


Website
Twitter

    Facebook
    LinkedIn
    Blog


    Head over to Susan's blog for a chance to win an 'I Surived Indie Publishing' T-shirt!

    Monday, 7 October 2013

    It's Time I Made A Business Plan (Part 2)


    I wish today I could share with you my long-term business plan, but I haven't finished it yet. However, I have come a long way over the last two weeks (if you haven't already, read the first part of this post here).

    But before I share my progress with you, I want to share some of the advice readers of the first post left in response to my question, Can I write what I love and what will sell?

    • Find a way to do both, even if that means stretching yourself.
    • Search for something that you love that is also marketable.
    • Having a business plan is smart. Set goals.

    • Don't write for the market. Chasing the market will make you unhappy, a follower rather than a leader, and won't give you the motivation to keep going.
    • What's popular today may not be tomorrow.
    • Trying to write what sells can be counter-productive. Sacrificing creativity to follow the majority diminishes your chances of standing out.
    • Let your inner self come out and you will find readers.
    • A business plan needs to take second place to creativity. Creativity is what will make you stand out, and if that goes well, the business plan will follow.

    As you can see, the advice falls into two camps - those who advocate doing both and those who believe chasing the market doesn't work. After reading the advice, especially the last one, it occurred to me I was approaching my business plan in totally the wrong direction.

    I was trying to formulate a plan based on what others have had success with, instead of asking myself what I could have success with.

    My passion is science fiction and horror. I don't want to write anything else. But can I steer my fiction in a direction that will make it more appealing to readers and easier to promote? Yes. If adding a romantic sub-plot to my sci-fi series makes it more appealing, why not include one? If readers want more blood in their horror, I can add more blood. Because ultimately, I'm still writing what I love. I'm just making smarter decisions.

    So, where am I now?

    I spent a few days brainstorming and mapping all my fiction ideas. From a list of six, I picked the two I'm most eager to complete and publish within the next 12 months. From there, I examined each more closely in terms of time and cost. I then came up with a publication schedule.

    After taking a break for a couple of days, I returned to the schedule and realised I'd been wildly over-optimistic with what I could achieve within a year. My plan was to release three novellas and two novelettes in 2014 and my nine-part sci-fi series in early 2015. From solely a writing and editing point of view, this is achievable. But what I also need to take into account is promoting said books. It's no good just releasing them and expecting them to sell themselves. On top of that, there is also the cost of publishing. If I didn't have a day job and had the money to invest, I'm sure I could achieve my original plan. The simple answer is, I don't.

    So, it's back to the drawing board. Having decided what I'm going to write, I now need to decide when. I've already made the decision that my next publication will be February 2014. This is an unmovable deadline. I can't procrastinate forever. My plan is to have a publication schedule I can share with you in a weeks time - no if or buts. In the mean time, if you're eager to learn more about my two projects, you can get a taster through Pinterest.



    A massive thank you to all the writers and bloggers who offered advice and support. I couldn't do it without you. I will be back on Wednesday with an Indie Life post focusing on where you can get help and an interview with River Fairchild. Until then, have a great week.

    Friday, 4 October 2013

    Moonless Cover Reveal, Creepy Freebies, & Insecure Writer's Support Group

    Today I'm sharing a stunning cover reveal for Book One of the Maiden of Time series, details of how you can get free fiction TODAY, and exciting news from the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

    The Cover Reveal


    Jane Eyre meets Supernatural

    Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night.

    In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night.

    Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they’re echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights.

    Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

    Publication: November 13th, 2013


    Author Bio

    Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. 
    You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

    Congratulations, Crystal. A stunning cover. Another book to go on my wishlist.


    Creepy Freebies


    Do you like spooky, scary fiction? Chilling reads? Today is the first stop in Milo James Fowler's Creepy Freebie Train, bringing you a month of free fiction. Visit his blog, where Erin ColeStoney Setzer, and Rhonda Parrish are headlining.


    Insecure Writer's Support Group


    The Insecure Writer's Support Group now has a website and Facebook page. How cool is that? A massive thank you to everyone involved in setting these up. I know this is going to make a lot of writers, including myself, very happy.

    Well that's it for this week. I'll be back on Monday with an update on my writing plans. Have a great weekend.