Tag Archive: indies


Hey people!

So, how’s things? Enjoying the rain? (Hey, I’m in the UK and it’s summer- I’ve just taken my raincoat off!)

Here all is even madder than normal. Apart from that thing that happens sporadically where I end up covering two totally different jobs simultaneously in the dayjob (quick version: if you have a good senior manager I believe you should support them, as there are SO MANY bad senior managers out there) and the sheer non-stop nature of wrangling a large puppy through the day with a minimum of damage, I seem to have suddenly taken it into my head to attempt some marketing and something resembling an actual proper release for Sprig 2 (that’s The Holly & the Ivy, for newbies and random passerby).

So- the date is set for 21st August and all sorts of promotional things are happening in the interim. Watch this space for details of various promos, contact me if you’re up for a review and want an ARC, or if you have any other comments or suggestions for promotional ideas, etc: and if you haven’t signed up to the mailing list, now’s the time to do it as there will be giveaways and bonus material exclusive to the list!


Exciting, huh? Even if I have chosen a cover based around a colour that really clashes with the blog. 😏

Let’s see how it all goes, eh?

Catch you later;

JAC.

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Dear all:

More news from Weasel Green Press – my running mate Dulcie Feenan has offered 3 copies of her new paperback “Christmas comes to Oddleton” for a giveaway on Goodreads here:

http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/44535-christmas-comes-to-oddleton

If anyone wants to enter for the chance to win one, please do! Another cover by the tremendously talented Regina Wamba of Mae I Design, Weasel Green’s favourite cover artist, and if you can read the blurb and not be intrigued, you’ve never experienced the chaos that is a school play…

Best of luck all!

JAC

Hey all, check this out!!

Jo Edwards,  my fellow author at Weasel Green Press, got her book Work Wife Balance reviewed in the Daily Mail Online, and they loved it!!

Jo’s book immediately shot up to #1 in Business Humour on UK Amazon so it is now legitimately a No. 1 Bestseller… It is very well-written and funny, and if there are any fans of The Office out there you are going to enjoy it a great deal.

(Buy-link from the review – I’m about 2/3rds of the way through it myself, and strongly recommend that you have a look….)

JAC

Dear all:

It’s been a bit quiet round here lately, hasn’t it? Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you all (nor have I stopped writing, for that matter) but I have started a new job whilst attempting to move house so time has been in pretty short supply.

Things are likely to remain that way for another couple of months yet. As you know, I’ve just had to cut 70k words from Book 3 (OUCH!!) but they will be appearing as a separate in the Parallels series probably some time round Easter or thereabouts, and further on there will also be a long-ago prequel, set some 2700 years before “On Dark Shores”. But in the meantime Book 3 is trickling on slowly; looking forward to getting a bit more time to work on that once the house stuff has settled down a bit!

In the meantime, however,  here are a couple of links you might enjoy, to other books and writers associated with WGP as well a a short or two of my own. In particular, please have a look at the Christmas Lites anthologies as all profits from these go to the anti-domestic violence charity NCADV.  Let’s try and pass on a little help where we can.

Upon which note I will quit rambling and merely point you in the directions of some other entertaining literature, ALL of which which I have personally read and enjoyed.

Christmas Lites 1

Christmas Lites 2

Sprig of Holly

Christmas comes to Oddleton by WGP colleague Dulcie Feenan

Work Wife Balance by WGP colleague Jo Edwards

Have a superb Christmas, peeps, and an excellent New Year, and as soon as I have unpacked the furniture upon which to sit while typing, I’ll drop by again and give you the latest update…

All the best:

JAC

Dear all –

Happy New Year! And slightly belatedly, here is the long-promised Guestpost kindly written by Barbara Silkstone, writer of the Fractured Fairy Tales series. A bit of preamble:

………………

Name: Barbara Silkstone

Author of:

Books in the Fractured Fairy Tales by Silkstone series:
The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters


Wendy and the Lost Boys


London Broil


Snow White
– coming in 2012

 

Genre: Comedy Mysteries

Available for Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook (Amazon links at bottom of post)

My books are criminally funny fables frequently taking place between Miami and London – Snarky and Pythonesque.  I blog about eBooks and famous authors I’ve  met under silly circumstances: PD James, Stephen King, and Robert B.Parker, etc.

 Links:

http://barbswire-ebooksandmore.blogspot.com

http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Silkstone/e/B0047L8A8W

http://www.facebook.com/people/Barbara-Silkstone/100000778601230

http://twitter.com/#!/barbsilkstone

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I get up at 4 am every morning to write. I think most writers know the time of day when their creativity peaks and when it slides into the valley. I’m strong at 4 am and 4 pm. I’m not worth a fig – creatively – in the evening. That’s when I pull out my Kindle. I don’t own a television. I gave mine away a few years ago and haven’t really missed it since I have my eReader.

Fairy Tales are my launching point. I’ve had so many strange things happen in my life and each episode can be easily related to a fairy tale or fable.  Often I know where the story is going to end up. It’s the journey that amazes me. I draw on some of the wackier events in my life.  I was born under the Sign of Silly and seem to get into the craziest scrapes. I love comedy.

The art of writing comedy is tricky. Drama is pretty clear cut. Something bad happens; there is loss, or betrayal. Comedy requires timing and execution, plus a talent for reaching universal humor. That’s the challenge. What’s funny to a fifty-year-old woman in New York may not touch the funny bone of a young mom in Texas. Our sense of humor is defined by the experiences we’ve endured. No two people “get” the same silly joke the same way.  How do I create that intimate feeling of sharing a chuckle with a friend? I assume my readers are my friends. If they don’t get it then they aren’t my ideal readers. And that’s okay. My Alice in Wonderland book has 40 / five star reviews in US. So most readers get my play on British-American humor.

I usually don’t write character notes. I seem to know the most intimate details of my lunatic bad guys. My women sleuths are all extensions of me. My characters are like old friends or nasty bullies whose stories I heard once and never forgot. So, are my quirky folks in my books based on real characters? Yup. They are blended and shaken, not stirred. Frequently my characters run away with the plot, but when I draw from my own life I shock the knickers off them.

Wendy and the Lost Boys required quite a bit of research. It takes place aboard Charlie Hook’s yacht, one of the larger private vessels in the world. I had to learn about luxury ships. Not first-hand but by reading and asking advice from yacht experts. The Predator is a yacht chock-full of high tech gadgets both real and imaginary including a cloaking device that makes the super-yacht invisible.

Wendy had to learn to fly a helicopter to rescue her friends. I needed a chopper pilot to guide me especially  since Wendy is afraid to fly. Then there were the geographic challenges. Wendy is kidnapped in the Caribbean, and is forced to trek by truck to a goat farm in north Georgia in pursuit of treasure. I put that character through hoops!   *Cackle, cackle.*

London Broil was a delight to write. It was just published in early December and is the sequel to Wendy and the Lost Boys.  Wendy and her archaeologist love-interest race to recover a rare antiquity stolen from the British Museum. I had great fun playing with some of my favorite places in London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and of course, the British Museum. I’m a bug on Egyptology and loved doing that research and creating rare antiquities.

Algy Green reappears in London Broil after making his appearance in The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland. He’s a bad guy who super-glues his sugar-bowl ears to his head. They pop loose at the strangest times. He’s based on someone I knew who glued his ears to his noggin. Strange dude.

It sounds horrible to admit, but I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve waited so long for the luxury of time to write that I’m like a bottle of champagne, shaken and then uncorked. I bubble over with ideas. I just hope I live to be 125 so I can get them all on paper.

I adore eBooks and love the state of eBook publishing right now. I sold over 2000 Wendy books in November. That could never have happened in the old horse and buggy traditional publishing days. I now have fans around the globe which would have been impossible two years ago. As an Indie you can be all you want and more. It takes 12-16 hours a day of hard work writing and marketing, but it is so worth it. I have two professional editors, a covey of beta-readers, and a wonderful book cover designer, and the best fans in the world.

About 75% of my friends own eReaders. Face Book  and Twitter are great for reaching your ideal readers. Word of mouth is super. The sites that are subscription based for eReader owners are the best way to get word out about your eBooks.

Following are just a few of the many sites my books have been reviewed on:

Red Adept Reviews, ChicklitClub.com,  Bock on Broadway, Tiffany’s Bookshelf, GirlsWhoLovetoRead.com, and  Mark Williams International.

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters has received 40/ five star reviews. My newest book, London Broil received a five star review from best-selling British author, Sibel Hodge.  Wendy and the Lost Boys has an average 4.8 out of 5 stars.

 

eBooks that I won’t forget:

The Ex-Boyfriend’s Hand Book  by Matt Dunn

Sweet Ophelia by Kenneth Rosenberg

Both are romantic comedies written by men.

I adored A Thousand Glass Flowers written by Australian Author, Prue Batten. There are too many wonderful indie books to mention in one post.

 

 At the end 0f Dec 2011, what progress have you made this year?  

I published two more novels :Wendy and the Lost Boys and London Broil.

Both Wendy and the Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland were in the top ten best-selling comedies. At one time they were both in the top twenty at the exact same time. Wendy became a #3 best-seller ranking over major comedy writers in the US.

I was honored to take part in an anthology, the proceeds of which go to benefit breast cancer research. The Indie Chick Anthology introduced me to twenty-five inspiring women who share their stories on overcoming incredible obstacles. I highly recommend it.

Where will you be with your writing in Dec 2012?

Two more novels and two more anthologies.  Snow White will be a continuation of my Fractured Fairy Tale series, and the other will be another adventure with Wendy and her archaeologist lover, Roger Jolley. They will be recovering more stolen Egyptian artifacts.

What are your predictions for the year?

It’s impossible to predict. Each day brings new changes in the industry. Not sure what will happen I just know we are not going backwards.

 

Regarding your deeply personal questions:

 

Liquorice can never be evil. It is one of the best flavors.

Cats or dogs?  Cats rule! Love their independence and haughtiness.

Favourite recipe? Kentucky Fried Chicken – extra crispy.

Favourite gadget?  Dental floss

Favourite wine / beverage / coffee?  I only drink fine champagne, water, and coffee.

Unusual phobias or talents?  Phobia… I hate holes in fabrics. I’ve had this phobia since I was an infant. I’ve never met anyone else who shares my freak-out from holes in cloth. When I go to the hairdresser or nail salon, they know to hide any towels that might have the slightest inkling of a hole. If I’m shopping and I see a selection of ladies jeans with holes in them… I leave the store. I get the shudders just thinking about holes in fabrics.  Let’s leave this topic. Yuck!

Onto the New Year ~

Wishing all a glorious 2012… full of surprises… never boring… always challenging.  May the wind be at your back… because it hurts when it blows in your eyes.

Love,

Barbara Silkstone

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So there you have it, folks! Now, while you’re all raring to investigate these witty rewrites of old favourites, here are the links for you! So do check out the following, and  if you have any questions or comments for Barbara, hit the button and have your say!!

Thanks to Barbara for answering all these questions for us. More next week but I haven’t planned what yet (Christmas mayhem, don’t ask!) but here for your delectation are the Fractured Fairytale links – download the sample and take a look?

Catch you later guys:

JAC

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Barbara’s books and where to buy them:

The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, Age 42 and Three-Quarters

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wendy and the Lost Boys

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

London Broil

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adventures of a Love Investigator, 527 Naked Men and One Woman

Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk

 

Barb’s Wire – eBooks & More

 

A Moose Walked into a Bar –  (group blog)

 

Happy Christmas!

Hey all –

First, have a great Christmas! I’m in the depths of the countryside so out of signal and out of touch apart from brief jaunts into town, so in the meantime here’s a Christmas guest post which I wrote for Lee Sinclair and co at Boomers and Books, called

The Curious Incident of the Turkey in the Night-time

hope you enjoy it!

Other than that, I’m inputting edits as far as is possible between taking the niece Christmas shopping, making mince pies and “humorous” top-up pressies (tremble all ye who might be getting one!) and taking anything between 5 and 9 dogs  of assorted sizes and shapes for a walk.

So have an excellent Christmas and New Year, and if you haven’t already bought your copy (or ecopy ) of Christmas Lies, links are at the bottom of my guest post!

Do come back on 30th when Barbara Silkstone will be doing our New Year’s guestpost; in the meantime, take care and Happy Christmas to all and sundry!

JAC

 

Morning peeps!

And here we are with barely ten days to Christmas, with a very seasonal post for you!

For the English, Christmas means Pantomime season, and panto is so much a part of the national psyche that for me it was a real surprise to find out that they don’t do pantomime all over the world, but apparently so.

For those of you who have never experienced the madness of panto, you are about to meet one of the great phenomena of Englishness… If you haven’t a clue what we’re on about, shout and we’ll explain what pantomime is and what the conventions are!

So without further ado (and not too much heckling from the back), let me  hand over to Lexi who will introduce the main character’s for tonight’s entertainment….

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PANTOMINE SEASON IN PUBLISHING

It’s the pantomime season – who were the heroes, villains and pantomime dames of the literary world in 2011? It’s a matter of opinion, so take your pick from the following suggestions.

  •  Look out, he’s BEHIND you! Amazon is the big bad villain, twirling his moustache and swirling his cape. Counts against him this year: stealing the livelihood of bookshops (many of them small, local and independent), seducing innocent young indies with the evil KDP Select scheme, banning innocuous authors from their forums, and generally attempting world dominance in a manner worthy of a Bond villain. Publishers had never noticed indies were making them money, until nasty Amazon wanted to keep them all to itself. Boo! In November, famously nice Michael Palin criticized Amazon – nuff said.
  •  And swarming behind Amazon, alarming many a blogger, are the Orc-like hordes of self-publishers, who have the temerity to seek readers – even though they have been told frequently by the gatekeepers to Go Away, their writing is Not Good Enough, and certainly can’t compete with the likes of Katie Price or Pippa Middleton. They are also known as the Tsunami of Crap, through which desperate readers will be forced to wade in search of a decent read.
  •  Cinderella: she is every indie author with a good book the traditional publishing industry won’t touch, drooping disconsolately and patronized by passing literary agents. She keeps writing because she has to. Wash off the cinders, and she does not look all that different from the lucky elite who do have invitations to the publishing ball.
  •  Fairy Godmother: the Kindle, without which Cinderella would not have been able to go to the ball. There are other, lesser fairies around, but their light is dimmed by Fairy Kindle. Watch out for Fairy Fire, surely coming soon to the UK, Fairy Nook, and Fairy Kobo, to be found in WH Smith’s.
  •  Prince Charming: Appearing now in Good Cop guise, it’s Amazon again, who scoops indie author Cinderella from her hopeless situation and enables her to sell her books, sometimes in rather large numbers. Sad to say, Prince Amazon is not in love with Cinders; his eye is fixed firmly on the bottom line. He believes she will contribute to his wealth and standing in the kingdom. She will stick with him as in spite of all his faults, he promises her a brighter future than…
  •  Buttons: Mark Coker, proprietor of Smashwords, helping Cinders with her chores, wanting to share his humble home with her, but ultimately not offering anything like as much as the Prince.
  •  Whoever that character was who offered Jack five beans in exchange for his cow: Penguin, with their scheme to take advantage of indie authors by volunteering to format and load their books to KDP for a mere $549 plus 30% of their profits in perpetuity. And Penguin’s beans won’t turn out to be magic, either.
  •  Pantomime dame: Katie Price, best selling novelist, an ornament to Random House’s author list.
  •  Pantomime horse: Authonomy, which some of us believed was a racehorse when it first appeared. We were wrong. Sorry, Scott Pack, but does anyone take it seriously any more? What, exactly, has it achieved in three years, except to waste a great deal of its members time?

Do you agree with my choices – have I missed anyone? Whom would you suggest?

Lexi

Replica UK    Replica US    Remix UK      Remix US

www.lexirevellian.com

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So, what do you think? Do you agree, disagree, or need explanation? Many thanks to Lexi for that, and do weigh in and let us know who your own candidates would be!

Any thoughts?

JAC

Morning, peeps and welcome to the weekend!

First things first; as you all know, we were hoping to have ODS2 out over Christmas. This is now looking more like New Year as my super editors are getting a bit booked up and won’t be able to scalpel it until between Christmas and New Year. This in turn means the ebook will be out in January, but it is now looking as if the paperback could be as late as summer.

Apols to those of you who are not yet possessed of an e-reader, but you are going to have to wait a bit more – and I know you’d rather we took the time and gave you something perfect than rushed through it and made a shoddy book. (Besides you know how anal I am, I CAN’T do that!!)

In the meantime though, Christmas Lites is available on Amazon.com, Createspace and Smashwords and will hopefully make it across to Amazon.co.uk at some point. I just got and read my copy and the stories are fantastic!! There’s a LOT of talent gone into that book….

However, that’s by the by. Moving on to the main blog of the day, this week we have an interview with another member of the Creative Reviews group, Shane Porteous. Shane has a new release out and asked if the readers might be interested in reading about it, and as I know there are a few werewolf fans amongst you, here for your delectation, are some details about Shane and his new book.

Name: Shane Porteous

Author of: How Gods Bleed, Grave Caller, Rasciss

Cover of "How Gods Bleed" by Shane Porteous

  Genre/s: Dark Fantasy

  P- or e-book: both

  Available from: Smashwords

  One-sentence summary: How Gods Bleed is a werewolf and warrior horror/fantasy story

  One-sentence biog: I am a huge Manga and  Anime fan that also likes documentaries and professional wrestling.

 Links:
 Email; authorofrasciss@yahoo.com.au
    Facebook   YouTube

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When you write do you have a routine or habit?

I make sure that I write every single day, usually a two-page minimum. I allow myself to write more than that if the muse is calling, but the rule is more for those days when you really don’t feel like writing. It just makes sure that your novel gets written. As for a routine, no; sometimes I will write first thing, other days in the afternoon and occasionally late at night. Doing it that way prevents it from feeling like a regular job.

What kicks off the book- a character, a situation, a plot-point?

All of the above, it often depends on what book I want to write. Sometimes it is all about the story and what kinds of characters are needed to tell that story, but other times it is about a character. When I was a young teenager and was coming up with characters left and right I decided to put them into a loose mythology so I would have them all on paper. Every now and again I will skim through this mythology and become reacquainted with a character I invented years ago. Sometimes I will say to myself “This character deserves his or her own novel,” so I build a story around that character.

What made you want to write this story?

I don’t think want is the right word, more like I had to write it in order to move on creatively. I already had plenty of stories that I had tried to write for years, but no matter which of these stories I tried my mind kept pulling me back to How Gods Bleed. So finally I gave in and began writing it.

What was the most difficult about it?

The fact that there were just so many ideas. It was really difficult to make any sense of it – there were probably two dozen major changes to the plot! When I finally decided on one of them I soon realized that it would not work and was forced to go back to the drawing board, so to speak. Eventually though the final plot shone through.

Do you have a favorite character?

Interestingly when I was shaping How Gods Bleed in my mind there were a handful of characters that at one time or another were going to be either the main character or the main antagonist. The character of Gokkus for example was going to be the story’s main antagonist; I changed his character ever so slightly and now he is one of the supporting protagonists. He changed from this very tragic and troubled soul to a very proud and honorable man. Aneeku was going to be the main character but when that particular plot fell through I wasn’t going to put him in the book. However I liked his character design so much, that I changed his background and put him in the story as a supporting antagonist. When I thought about how to change him from a good man to an evil one I looked over his history and shaped him how I thought the original Aneeku would change if certain things happened in his past.

Who are your favorite authors?

Actually I prefer individual stories more than the authors who wrote them, but Kentaro Miura and David Gemmell are two authors whose work I enjoy tremendously.

Have you read and enjoyed any other indie authors? Who/what book?

Without a doubt that has to be Mathion: Book one of the Mavonduri Trilogy by Jeff Shanley, a sweeping epic that in many ways is a traditional fantasy story but never felt stale or predictable to me. It is the best ebook that I have ever read. It is the only novel that has directly inspired me to write a story and that is the greatest compliment one author can give another. If anyone doubts that an indie author can write a masterpiece Mathion is an ebook that will prove you wrong.

Also, though he isn’t an indie author I would just like to mention Gerald G. Griffin, author of Of Good and Evil which is the best paranormal thriller that I have ever read.

Have you any tips for other authors?

With all due respect, doesn’t be selfish, ignorant or arrogant and above all else listen/read what your potential customers are saying. If you’re going to join a sight like Goodreads or LibraryThing don’t quickly write half-assed reviews of super popular novels. These novels don’t need another review, it is boring to your potential readers. They do not need you to tell them that the sky is blue, everyone knows that Lord of The Rings is a masterpiece. Instead go onto sites like Smashwords, find unknown books by unknown authors, read and review them. Go into a bookstore and get yourself books from the discount bins. So when people come onto your profile they won’t quickly skim over it because you have done nothing more than review books everyone knows about. If you have reviewed unknown books, that gets people interested in reading your reviews, which will get them interested in you and the books you have written. It just makes you far more legit as a reader and therefore a writer.

Finally, is there anything that you would like to add?

When I finished writing How Gods Bleed I realized just how important it was to me to get feedback and opinions from readers, so I decided to make How Gods Bleed free to download. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for potential readers to get their hands on a copy.

So far I have gotten 5 star reviews on both Smashwords and Goodreads. They have been very humbling and overwhelmingly positive. To me getting feedback from readers is just as important and rewarding as royalties, because I value their opinion so much.

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So there you have it… Shane is giving away How Gods Bleed for free on Smashwords and would love you to read and review it, so all you werewolf fans, weigh in and let him know what you think!

Next week I hope to have another guest blog for you but as to who will be starring – well, you’ll have to come back and look, won’t you?!

Authors, have you noticed theKindle Store is now selling to Spain, Italy, France and Germany as well as UK and US? The first two are new… and gossip has it that Brazil is on the list for a few months time. It will be interesting to see, no?

In the meantime, I’m taking suggestions for  a New Year blog. (And it’s December – how did that happen?!)

So at New Year, what would you like to read there? Is there a specific indie author / editor / designer / person you’d like to interview? A specific subject you’d like me to write about?  Or would you simply prefer a short story, written specially for the occasion? Any thoughts? Leave me a comment and let me know….

Anyway, that’s all from me – drop by next week to find out who’ll be doing our next blog!

Take care:

JAC

Morning all –

and look what we have here! How will you recover from the excitement of not ONE but TWO new releases in ten days?! So, hopefully you all read Cambria’s story and left a review, right? (She wants to know what you think, you know). Well, just as you’re starting to look around and wonder what literary wonders you should segue onto, here for your delectation is a guest-blog by none other than CS Splitter, author of the Crayder Chronicles.

As regulars will know, Splitter is one of the more fnar-prone members of Creative Reviews and is a contributor to (not to mention the main instigator of) the Christmas Lites Anthology due out next week, so do comment, heckle, or if you feel really inspired, Tweet the link to his new book, out 21st November! I can’t comment just yet as my copy is still on the Kindle which is locked firmly in a drawer till I’ve got ODS2 out for you, but the goss down in Creative Reviews is that the Crayder Chronicles rock…. and that’s just the more critical reviews!

I have been warned by two or three persons of good judgement that Tom Crayder as a character is going to infuriate me until I accidentally end up liking him! So I for one am really looking forward to having a read, and judging by the first chapter which I have seen, you should BY NO MEANS believe Splitter when he says he sucks. Methinks the writer doth protest too much….

So read his blog, admire the covers, Tweet the link and do go check out the samples on Amazon. I mean, you could always throw underwear but there’s a bit of a cross-wind at the moment so it’d probably hit Bill Oddie or someone. Me, I’d go for the Tweet but then perhaps Bill Oddie would appreciate the attention, who knows? I’ll leave it to your good selves….

And so without further ado, let me hand you over to the lovely C.S Splitter!

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splitter crayder chronicles

C S Splitter, author of The Crayder Chronicles

Name: C.S. Splitter

Author of: The Reluctant and The Willing

Genre/s: Action/Adventure, Thriller, Mystery, Humor, Crime

P- or e-book: Both books are available as eBooks right now (The Willing to be released November 21st)  and will be available in print early in 2012.

Available from:

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Crayder-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B004VS751O/

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52864

Journal Stone:  http://journal-store.com/bookstore/the-reluctant/

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/c-s-splitter

ibooks:  http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-reluctant/id449636851?mt=11

and other internet resellers.  Books are also available through other internet retailers and on Amazon’s international sites (UK, Germany, etc..)

One-sentence summary:

The justice system failed but Tom Crayder will not.

One-sentence biog:

C.S. Splitter is a business man, author, and stand-up philosopher living in rural Maryland with his beautiful wife, small dog, and astonishingly large cat.

Your links:

Blog – http://splittersworld.blogspot.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002241805910

Twitter:  @SplitterCS


Book cover Reluctant Crayder Chronicles SplitterCS Splitter Crayder Chronicles 2 The Willing

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Indie Mistakes and Lessons

Since I will never be able to convince you, the reader, that I am an expert in the field of self publishing, let me take the easy route and convince you that I am stupid.  I see that look on your face – you are already believing me.  Good!  Here we go:

One of my earliest memories as a child was sitting on someone’s hip in the kitchen, either my grandmother or my mother (they were both there), and being told not to touch the hot stove.  I do not remember the pain, but I remember the angry red circles on my palm and the commotion that ensued among the adults.  They were right; the stove was hot.

Apparently, I need to figure out things for myself.  I am dense like that and have a whole file full of stories from my life to prove it.  You do not have to be so dense and you will not be if you read on.

In 2010, ideas for a character and then for a story hit me.  Hard.  I had to write it.

That lightning bolt from the heavens came a decade too late.  I had spent more than ten years trying to come up with an idea for a fantasy book, my favorite genre to read.  I would get an idea, begin to outline it or write it, and then realize that it had been done before and probably in a better way than I could ever hope to duplicate.  I gave up writing fiction.

It did not matter that, when I finally got a good and original idea, it was in a totally different genre without swords, or castles, or princesses to rescue.  I had to write it.  It was that powerful.  The will to write fiction was back in a big way.

I began enthusiastically tapping away on my laptop and the first few chapters flew by.  I bogged down in the middle of the book and had to abandon my original outline for an even better idea.  I struggled through that period and, as Paul Harvey would have said, “the rest of the story” just flowed until the end.

I did it!  I wrote a book.  I did a little dance, consumed some alcohol, and dreamt of the fame and fortune that would be coming my way.  I had no idea whether or not the work was any good, but the dreaming was fun.  For a while.

Reality set in when I re-read my book.  The story…well, in all modesty…I think it was good.  The writing seemed fine, too.  After all, I had read hundreds of books in my life and knew how to spell and punctuate and not end a sentence in a preposition.  At least, I thought I did.

I had to make hundreds of corrections on my subsequent readings.  After about six re-reads and self-edits, it was ready to release.  I hated my own book by that point because I could almost recite it verbatim.  People read it and liked it—and sent me emails showing me where mistakes still lurked.  I fixed them and put out ten or more revised versions.  Everything had to be fixed by then, right?  Right?

Not by a long shot.  By the time the book had ten reviews, all four and five stars, there were still problems.  My readers, as thorough as they were, did not catch all of the book’s flaws.  But, the story and the characters were good enough to make them like the book.

By the time I figured this out, I was mostly done with the first draft of the second book in the series (The Crayder Chronicles).  I didn’t need to beg (as much) for alpha and beta readers for the second book because I had the contact information for some readers who liked the first book.  My alpha/beta readers are the BEST!  They tore into the second book and sent me lists of little errors that needed correcting.

Every time I made corrections on the second book, I sent out a revised file to the beta readers.  Right down to the last one, they kept finding little errors.  I was well on my way to having to publish the second book, The Willing, and do many revisions just like I had done with the first book.

Did I really want to repeat those mistakes?  Did I really want early readers getting less than my best effort?  Did I really want to keep finding little typos and having to correct them by updating the files on sites like Amazon and Smashwords?

No, I did not.  I am not really bright, but I do try to learn as I go and, as a side note, I have never laid my hand flat on a red hot stove burner again (at least, not on purpose).  I got an editor, Tricia Kristufek.  I call her the “Comma Queen.”  She started with my second book and worked her way back through the first book.

It was apparent that after all of the “cloud editing” that my alpha and beta readers did for me and even after readers pointed out typos as they praised the characters and story, I still sucked as a writer.

“Sucked” is a harsh word.  I guess I didn’t suck compared to some of the bad indie work I have seen out there, but I wasn’t “clean” either.  I did not want to be one of “those” indie authors who put out junk, so I got an editor.  A real editor who could give the books a little polish.  My editor showed me why “sucked” was really not too strong a term for me.

I say all of that to say this: learn from my mistakes.  That is lesson one.  Do not touch hot stoves and do not needlessly cause yourself heartache and embarrassment.  I have already done that for you!

It is terribly embarrassing, in retrospect, to know that the there were still too many mistakes in the first book, even with the last revision, before I had it edited.  How many potential readers downloaded those first couple chapters and noticed something that turned them off?  How many publishers?

See—I have bad habits as a writer.  I can say that freely because if you are a writer, you probably have some too.  I even see bad habits FREQUENTLY on display from well known authors from Big Six publishing houses.

So here is lesson two: You are making mistakes in your writing that you do not even realize and you need someone looking over your shoulder from a totally new perspective that will point them out to you.  Get an editor.  Somehow, some way, get an editor.  See lesson one for a refresher on “why.”

Because I am doomed to analyze positively everything, I thought back and tried to figure out why I had made the mistake of putting out that first book too quickly and with too many errors.  I thought back to how I felt when I was writing that book and how wonderful it felt when I “finished” it.  That was it!  I rushed the book out to be published because I was excited and because I did not know any better.

Lesson three: There is no hurry.  Wait.  Refine.  Think about it.  Do some research.  If you have read this far, you no longer have an excuse for not knowing better…I took care of that for you by making those mistakes already.  See lesson one!

Am I sorry I made so many mistakes with the first book?  Not really.  It turned out just fine in the end.  The characters and the story were always good, or so I have been told.  The writing was where I was mostly falling short and that was fixable.

Plus, I found some wonderful alpha and beta readers that will, hopefully, be available to me as I put out future books in the series.  I made friends that included other authors and bunches of readers and reviewers.

I have one more lesson for you today, take it for what it is worth: your cover is probably bad and is costing you sales.  Did I mention how bad my original covers probably were?  I say “probably” because, as someone who lacks any hint of artistic ability, I made them.  So, when I decided to finally start marketing the series, I started working with Dafeenah from IndieDesignz.  I basically just said, “Here is what my story is about, here are the themes I want to follow, please make me a good cover.”  She delivered in a HUGE way for the cover of The Reluctant.

Here is where the writer of this article should double back and convince you, once again, that he/she is such an expert that you should be following his/her advice.  I will tell you truthfully; I am no expert.  I am just an indie writer fighting his way through this new aspect of the publishing industry.  All I can really tell you is that I am, or have been, where you are or were.  That’s not far yet, but maybe someday…

Splitter

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So once again, many thanks to Splitter for coming to play today! His new book The Willing is out on 21st, so do check out The Reluctant if you haven’t already looked.

Next week, we have a Q&A with Shane Porteous who will tell us a little about his  new book – one for the werewolf fans among you, he tells me! And further down the line we will have blogs from MTMaguire and Lexi Revellian and if all goes to plan, quite possibly On Dark Shores 2: The Other Nereia though that will be further into December.

So as always, add your comments below and tell us if you’ve already read The Reluctant, what you know of The Willing,and indeed whether your undies hit Bill Oddie after all…

Have a great weekend, peeps!

JAC

Dear all:

Here for your delectation is a fantastic guestpost courtesy of Lee Sinclair, humorist, founder of The Secret Bookclub on Goodreads (don’t tell anyone I told you about it) and many other entertainments (some listed below). She has been in conversation with Em, star of The Book of Blognots, Not Blogs who has kindly passed on a Halloween anecdote for your perusal. So I leave you in the capable hands of Lee Sinclair as Em regales you with:

My Encounter With The Undead
A blog post by em

I don’t usually go around talking to the undead. I may be crazy, but I’m not THAT crazy. I already have plenty of problems without looking for more. If you’ve read the book that my blogging dog, Big M, and I wrote, you’re aware of the extent of my problems. If you haven’t read it, don’t bother. There’s no useful information in it. Not only do I not have normal problems that normal people have, but I haven’t managed to solve any of them. The best I can do is to ignore them until they go away on their own. And that hardly ever works. Most of my problems insist on sticking around no matter how much effort I put into ignoring them.

Anyway, the other day, my sister asked me about zombies. She has recently been reading books about them and had some questions. Since I know nothing about zombies, I couldn’t help her. But wouldn’t you know, a few days after that, I saw one walking down the street, all bundled up against the chilly fall weather. (Isn’t that the way it always happens? Someone mentions a person or thing, and suddenly you’re seeing them everywhere.) At the time, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. So I rushed over and began grilling him.

But it turned out it wasn’t an overdressed zombie, after all. It was a mummy. Like I said, I really don’t know anything about zombies, so it’s not surprising I couldn’t tell the difference. Still, who better to answer questions about the undead than a member of the undead. Or so I thought. Although he was perfectly willing to talk to me, his whole conversation was nothing more than a string of curses. I never have figured out how to deal with those who indiscriminately spew bad language. So the mummy’s curses made me feel more and more uncomfortable. I was almost ready to give up my quest for answers when I noticed he had a loose thread hanging off him. And it was just plain bad luck I didn’t have a pair of scissors with me that day.

All I can say in my defense is I was only trying to be helpful. Who knew there was nothing underneath all those wrappings? Mind you, that may not be true for ALL mummies, but it was for this one. Now I feel a little bit like a murderess, although I’m not sure I actually killed him. He just sort of disappeared, leaving behind a pile of stained and smelly cloth. And technically, I don’t think you can kill someone who is already dead. Legally, you can’t be tried for the same crime twice, but I don’t believe there are any laws addressing this particular situation.

Regardless, I still feel really bad about what I did, whatever it was. So if anyone happens to see a naked, invisible mummy, please pass on my sincere apologies to him.

* * * * *

Author & Book Info

I don’t really have a bio because I think of myself as a writer, not an author. Perhaps if I publish several books, I’ll become more accustomed to talking about myself in the third person. Not only that, I don’t live in some evocatively named city with 1 husband, 2 children, and 3 pets. Instead, I’m moldering away in the Northwestern United States because I’m one of those people who like rain and moss. I’m also seriously hampered by my lack of dexterity, so I can’t impress anyone with a list of fascinating skills or hobbies. Besides, those things tend to create clutter, and I’m trying to get rid of my clutter, not add to it. I used to do some gardening, which is a popular author pastime, but to be honest, I was never very good at it and found it to be a lot of work. A final note about myself, I’m only half as crazy as the crazy little old lady in my book.

Providing a description of my book is equally challenging. Try to imagine this: Take Bridget Jones’s Diary and Phyllis Diller’s Housekeeping Hints and stick them in a commercial grade blender. Add a dozen noncontiguous pages from Pride and Prejudice and a random page from a dozen different self-help books. Throw in a few columns each from Dave Berry, Ann Landers, and Isaac Asimov. Season with an excessive amount of puns. Then run the blender for about an hour. The resulting mess will be surprisingly similar to my book.

Book of Blognots, Not Blogs by Lee Sinclair

 

 ◊ An irrepressible, reborn spinster who embraces life and technology in her own unique way

 

◊ A blogging dog who tries to explain things he doesn’t understand

 

◊ And a story you’re not going to believe

Links:

Amazon Listing:  Book of Blognots, Not Blogs
Website: www.sinclairstories.com

Group Blog: Boomers and Books

So many thanks go to Lee and Em there – and to the rest of you – have a great Halloween – and if you see a Mummy on the street, you know what to do!!
Take care, all, and watch this space for an interview with Cambria Hebert, author of imminent release “Maskerade” – one for all you paranormal fans out there. More in a week or so!
JAC