Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Marketing 101: E is for Excerpt

I have been looking forward to this post.  This is a GREAT idea, but I can't take credit for it.  I found it online while looking for new ideas.  Once in a while I put something like 'Marketing Ideas' or 'Marketing Ebooks' in the search engine.  I've found a few interesting things while doing this.  Here is one of them.

When you are ready to release a book, find someone else releasing a book at around the same time.  Then trade a first scene or first chapter with them.  Paste their excerpt on the end of your book as an added bonus for your readers.  The other author will do the same for you.  Then you reach a larger audience.  When someone buys your book, they will be able to try out a sample of the other author's work.  Likewise, people who read their book will get to sample yours.  I just tried this a couple of months ago.  It's too early to tell if it's helped me, but I know it hasn't hurt me. 

Anyway, I thought this was an awesome idea and worth a try.  :)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

YA Indie Carnival: Location, Location, Location

This week at the Carnival w are writing about setting.  Where do we most enjoy writing about?  Where do our stories take place?  Where do our favorite stories by other authors take place?  Dystopian or historical?  Town or Country?  What do we enjoy writing about, and what do you enjoy reading about?  Let us know.

I know a lot of writers who enjoy writing about real places.  Personally, I would rather make up a town.  Why?  Well, for one thing I can put things where I want them.  Also, I won't get letters from angry people telling me that I messed up their town.  Stephen King got a ton of letters complaining that he messed stuff up in one of his books.  He had to add a disclaimer saying that he knew what he was doing and added an extra 'whatever it was' to the story for effect.

Vampires Rule takes places in a little town that I called Bliss, Nebraska.  I wanted somewhere with a lot of open space, somewhere that werewolves could run around free and enjoy life without worrying too much about being caught. 

In Witch Hunt, I don't even name the town.  That's right.  You heard me.  I didn't give the town a name, although I mention that it is in Rhode Island.  I purposely let the town go without a name because I wanted it to be thought of as your average town.  It could be anywhere.  It could be where you live.

In Crushed, I made up a town in California.  It was easy to write about that state because I grew up there.  I named the town Sol Moreno because a lot of towns in California have Spanish names.  If I'm not mistaken and I'm remembering my Spanish from high school well enough, I believe it stands for Sun Dark (or brunette).  If I'm wrong, please don't tell me.  I want to live in blissful ignorance.

When I read, I enjoy places that aren't real, especially ones set in fantastical worlds belonging only to the author's imagaination.  What setting do you enjoy the most?

Check out these other great sites and see what the Carnis have to say about settings.

1.Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 8.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series10.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey12.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping
13.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler14.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter
15.Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy16.Heather M. White, author of The Destiny Saga
17.Courtney Cole Writes18.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
19.Ella James20.Maureen Murrish
21.Valerie Sloan

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Publishing Biz on I Love Lucy

I watched an episode of I Love Lucy today that cracked me up.  She read about a housewife making ten thousand dollars for writing a book, so she decided to write on.  How hard could it be?

Let's count her mistakes.

1.  She not only wrote about her husband and friends in this novel, but she told them she was doing it.  Promising she wouldn't use their real names, she changed 'one' letter.  Instead of Ricky Ricardo, her husband was Nicky Ricardo.

2.  She broke the Show Don't Tell rule throughout.  It wasn't even actually a novel.  They read parts of it out loud.  It was something like: I was going to have a great career as an actress, but then I married a bongo player and gave it all up for him.

3.  She mailed the first draft to a publisher.  Lucy didn't even have an outline.  She wrote whatever popped into her little red head.  Then she pronounced in gold and mailed it in.

4.  When she got the bad news that it was not going to be published by the first publisher she sent it to, she tore the pages up and threw them away.  She swore never to write another thing as long as she lived.  If every writer was like this, there would be no books in the world.

5.  When the publisher told her a friend was interested in publishing her book, she had to retype the manuscipt.  Still, she didn't bother to rewrite.  The woman was positive that it would make millions.  Then she found out that the publisher was going to put excerpts in his non-fiction book in the Don't-Do-This section of the book.

This episode was so funny from her husband threatening to sue her and take every dime that 'he' has ever made to her wearing glasses without the lenses so that she could 'look' like a real writer.  But there are a lot of people out there that believe they can sit down and write a bestseller with minimal effort.  Anyway, just wanted to share this with you.  If you ever get a chance to see it, it's worth watching.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

YA Indie Carnival: Graduation Scenes

Usually when the Carnival gets specific like this I don't have anything to share, but I do today.  Werewolves Rule just so happens to have a graduation scene.  Former vampire Jack finally gets to graduate.  He's been looking forward to this day for over a decade.  Now that it's finally here, it's nothing like what he expected.

Unfortunately the school put them in alphabetical order, so he didn't get to sit next to Silver.  He was in the front row, and she was somewhere near the back.  When 'acting' principal Ian Carver called his name, Jack reluctantly stood.  His eyes automatically swept the crowd, and he realized he was searching for his family.  The daydreams of graduating, of how it should be, had brainwashed him.  His mom would have been crying.  Tears of joy.  Perhaps his father's eyes would have misted over with pride.

Jack moved forward on legs that felt like rubber to accept the long-awaited piece of paper.  His hand reached for it even as a familiar face caught his attention.  Billy.  Jack tripped over his own feet as he crossed the stage.  A few students chuckled in the background, and Ian raised a curious eyebrow.  Worried that hunters in the room might see his brother and go after him, Jack kept moving.  He took the diploma and shook Ian's large hand before continuing on to the other side of the stage as if nothing important was on his mind.

Jack risked another quick look at the rear of the auditorium.  Billy stood near the exit.  He nodded once at Jack before using the door.  That was it.  He walked out, and Jack experienced a clausrophobic rush of panic.  Was Billy going to wait outside for him?  Was he ready to come home?  Did he need to talk to Jack about the changes warping his mind and body?  Or was he going to disappear again?

Forgetting about wanting to see Silver graduate, Jack ducked out the side door as raced around the building as fast as he could without using vampire-speed.  His heart pounded so hard he could hear it.  Arms and legs pumping, he ran until he made it to the parking lot.  Quickly he scanned the area.  No sign of his brother.  He was too late.

Billy had vanished into the dark night.  Out of breath, Jack bent over, hands on his knees as he struggled to regulate his breathing.  Heavy emotions clogged his throat.

"Looking for me?" Billy asked over his shoulder.

Jack jumped and whipped around, uncertain is his brother was there to finish him or just to talk.  Billy looked good... for a werewolf.  He hadn't shaved in at least a few days, and there were purple smudges beneath his eyes, but he was in one piece.  That's what counted.  Relief flooded Jack's body.

"You came," he said in a dumb statement-of-the-obvious.

"Yeah. I was in the neighborhood."

"Are you ready to come home?"

Billy's mood immediately darkened.  "I can't."

"What are you talking about?  There isn't a full moon anymore.  You're fine now, right?  We can find Jersey and kill him before you morph again."

"You don't get it."  Billy shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans.  He shifted from foot to foot, full of untamed energy.  "The moon doesn't matter.  I can't be near you.  Even now I'm thinking about ripping your throat out."

The vehemence in Billy's tone made Jack take an awkward step backwards.  But you should feel like your old self again.  What's going on?"

"I don't know!"  Billy snarled at him, flashing teeth that still seemed a bit too sharp.  "Every time I get close to you I want to kill you, and I'm afraid I won't be able to control it for much longer.  I need to go."

Billy did a one-eighty and manuevered around cars in the parking lot until he was on the other side.  Now he could cross the football field, take a few back roads, and disappear into the great wide open.  It was possibly that this would be the last time Jack ever saw his brother.  That's why he kept his eyes on Billy's retreating figure, unblinking, afraid to miss a second.

When Billy reached the fifty-yard-line, he stopped.  Jack's breath caught.  Hoping Billy had changed his mind and was going to return home with him, he waited.  His hands balled into fists as he silently prayed for a miracle.  Slowly Billy turned and beckoned to Jack with one hand.

The sound of applause made Jack hesitate.  His gaze swung to the huge brick building.  Silver was inside, probably wondered why he'd left.  They could be getting close to her name now.  He didn't want to miss seeing her graduate... but he couldn't leave his brother hanging.  She would understand.  She knew how much family meant to him.

Mind made up, Jack sprinted across the parking lot. 

When Jack got close enough to hear his gruff voice, Billy said, "I would tell you that you're far too trusting and need to work on your gullibility issues, but it's too late for that."

Jack blinked.  "What are you talking about?"

"I didn't come to see you graduate, moron.  A friend of yours asked me to lure you away from your bodyguards."

Friend?  It had to be Jersey.  Billy gestured to someone over Jack's shoulder.  The sound of rushing wind met Jack's ears with disturbing familiarity.  He turned, his anger replaced by cold fear.  It wasn't Jersey Clifford.  Blaine had returned to kill him.

Laura A. H. Elliott author of Winnemucca & 13 on Halloween, Book 1 in the Teen Halloween Series2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.Heather Self4.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series
5.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga6.Cheri Schmidt, author of the Fateful Trilogy
7.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 8.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
9.Patti Larsen, The Hunted series and The Hayle Coven series10.Amy Maurer Jones, Author of The Soul Quest Trilogy
11.Fisher Amelie, author of The Understorey12.M. Leighton, Blood Like Poison Series, Madly, The Reaping
13.Cidney Swanson, author of Rippler14.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter
15.Melissa Pearl, Author of The Time Spirit Trilogy
16.Courtney Cole Writes17.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
18.Ella James19.Maureen Murrish

Monday, May 14, 2012

Marketing 101: D is for Dream

Dream big.  If you don't think you can do it, you won't.  Have you ever heard about the power of positive thinking?  You might not believe that this works, but it's better than negative thinking.  The Bible clearly states that words have power and you live what you think.  So if you are always thinking bad thoughts about your life and your writing, things will not turn out good.

Also, I've heard many people say over the years that it is healthy to daydream about the way you want your life to be.  Most people can't think out of the box.  They will picture what they think is great success, but it is just a small fraction of what they could actually have if they applied themselves.  It makes sense to me.  If you are going to dream, dream big.

That's all I'm saying.  Happy writing!  :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dream Cast for Witch Hunt

Since the post I did on Dream Cast for Vampires Rule worked out so well, I decided to do it for Witch Hunt.  People are still looking at the Vampires Rule Dream Cast.  It has more hits than almost any other post I've written.  So here it goes...

Alicia Silverstone would be Starr Hughes

Garret Hedlund (back when he was on Four Brothers) would be Dylan Winchester

Nathan Parsons from General Hospital would be Ryder Hawke

Liv Tyler would definitely be Starr's best friend Lily

As for Bex, the girl I am picturing doesn't exist (at least not that I know of) so I can't show a picture of her.  The actors above couldn't play the parts of the teens in Witch Hunt now because they are too old, but my Dream Cast would have been all of them at the right ages.  Hope you enjoyed checking this post out.  I know I enjoyed making it.  :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

YA Indie Carnival: WIP Sneak Peek

This week at the Carnival we are posting the first paragraph of our current Work-in-Progress or Current Read.  I decided to give you a bit more.  I am working on Shifters Rule and hope to have it out by Halloween.  Sorry for the formatting.  I couldn't get this thing to work right.  As always, I will put links up to the other great sites so you can take a trip around the Carnival and read some interesting beginnings to some awesome books.  Thank you!  :)

It was in the morning when Jack stood at the top of the staircase, dagger in hand.  Tilting his head, he listened for the slightest sound.  Although he wasn’t a vampire anymore, his hearing was almost as good as it had been back then.  He listened for the noise that had shaken him from sleep: a muted crash, as if somebody had bumped into something and knocked it over even as they tried in vain to catch it.  The sound had been followed by a muffled curse.  His super hearing had failed to catch an accent, so it wasn’t Ian.  There was an intruder in the house, a male intruder.  Hope welled up within him knowing it could be Billy.

No one had seen or heard from his brother since graduation.  Jack refused to give up the search.  He was determined to find Billy.  If he could just talk to Billy again, reason with him for half an hour or so, he was sure he could convince him to stay at the house until they could kill Jersey.

Jack reached out a hand and flicked the overhead light on.

The floor creaked behind him.

He half-turned.  Strong hands shoved him, and Jack lost his balance.  He flew down the stairs, smashing into the wall at the halfway point.  After that he rolled headfirst over the last few steps and landed at the bottom of the staircase in a tangled heap.  The dagger flew from his fingers and skated across the hardwood floor, just beyond his reach.  Every inch of his body screamed in pain. 

The intruder descended the stairs with slow, meticulous steps while removing a pair of black gloves.  Even though it was summer and no longer cooled off in the evenings, the intruder wore a long black coat, and Jack recognized it immediately.  Before the man’s face came into view, he knew the pusher was Jersey Clifford.