Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wind... POWAH!

I said I was going to talk Friday about language, but I've decided to put that off for a bit. I'd like to share a strange happening from last Wednesday, instead.

For those not in the know, my "day job" is pizza delivery driver. With my trusty sidekick (an '06 manual Chevy Aveo), we Scooby-Doo all over town with delicious pies for hungry customers.

The weather is a little of a pain for me. I've slid off the roads (incredibly lucky, not INTO anything yet). Once I almost slid into a parked cop car, even though I was only driving 10mph and started breaking over 500 feet away. I've been snowed into my street. If I counted up all the degrees I've been spun on ice, it's well over 1,000 (just this last winter!).

Regardless, I love Riley (sidekick!). He's my baby.

But, I'm not here to talk about Riley. I'm going to talk about weather, and the absolute ridiculousness of 70mph winds.

When you're sitting in a concrete building, it's easy to ignore the wind outside. Unless I look out the window, I don't even have any idea it's blowing.

On Wednesday, delivery in hand, I called out to the manager on duty. (Company policy.) The bag was propped on my right arm, against my body as I pushed open the door with my left.

Then the wind decided to give me a little help.

It ripped the door away from my hand, slamming it against the side of the building with an enormous cracking sound that made me jump sideways. My first thought was, "Holy crap, the bulletproof glass just shattered."

Actually, the wind yanked the door so hard back, it sheared the heads off the screws in the hinges. Only the top hinges, though. The door started to tilt in a fall and I lunged forward to grab it, to prevent further damage. Then I just sort of stared at my manager.

"I didn't do it," I offered, uselessly.

I'm not in any trouble, which is great (also, it couldn't really have been avoided ANYWAY :P) But it was really crazy to find the screw heads later. They had to drill out the screw bodies as they were still in the slots, and replace the screws (obviously). I think the hinge is bent crooked though, because as of Friday, the door still doesn't close quite right.

There has been a pretty large rash of crazy weather lately. Earthquakes, tornadoes, flooding, high winds, et cetera. I know spring brings about some of it, but honestly, coupled with this winter, it's some of the worst weather I've seen, basically ever.

Of course, this brings up questions of things like the Butterfly Effect, divine intervention, et al. I actually sort of believe in the BE, but not so much that a butterfly's wings cause tsunamis as the fact we are blowing a whole lot of crap up half a world away. All that force and wind has to go somewhere, right? Are we going to eventually blow ourselves off the map by causing a change in the weather patterns? What do you all think? Am I just blowing smoke up my own chimney?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

TrAuSt Tour #5: Derek J. Canyon

It's Wednesday, Weblings! That means the TrAuSt Tour is stomping through my blog :) Today we get to have a rousing good time with Derek J. Canyon. I read his blog and was one of the first to sign up for the Twelve Worlds anthology. He's a really good guy, very level-headed when dealing with my agony about editing other author's works :P So, here he is, sharing some behind-the-scenes about Twelve Worlds!

Late last year, Kevin McLaughlin raised the suggestion of trading excerpts with other new self-publishing authors. This would help cross-promote each participant, hopefully trading new fans as well! I agreed and decided to see how much interest there was in excerpt trades and maybe even collaborating on an anthology.

Within a few weeks I had thirteen other authors sign up! This was great!
First, we discussed various aspects of the project. Story length, genre, timeline, etc. For me, the most important factor was figuring out how to handle the author royalties. Amazon does not let independent authors give away books for free. Therefore, there would be profit involved in this project and Amazon only pays out to one person. I didn’t want to have to send out 13 royalty checks for eternity, so someone suggested donating to a charity. Great idea! That’s one check for me to send out every few months. We took a vote and decided to donate to Reading is Fundamental, the nation’s largest non-profit children’s literacy charity.

Next, we all agreed to not publish our story in any other way for at least 6 months. This way, each of our respective fans would have to buy Twelve Worlds to read out new story. This is the best way to ensure maximum cross-promotion for all authors involved.

With all the niggling details ironed out, we could start writing the stories!

Over the next couple months, we all worked on our new stories, which range in length from Jaylin Baer’s speculative SF story, The Light Stream (3060 words), to Edward L. Cote’s epic fantasy story, Iron in Shadow (14,900 words).

Then, Tony Lavely wrangled all us into editing at least three other stories in the collection. This was a very helpful process and I definitely saw some great suggestions and ideas resulting from this process. The editors for my cyberpunk story, The Price of Vengeance, gave me some great advice. I also saw great improvement in all the stories after the editing. I think this taught all of the writers involved about the value of getting feedback before publishing.

While this was going on, we searched for a cover artist. I asked Les Petersen, the artist who did the cover for my Dead Dwarves, Dirty Deeds ebook, if he’d be interesting in donating a cover to the project. Despite having over a hundred covers under his belt, Les is very helpful to new authors. He was even more helpful to the Twelve Worlds project, offering to donate a brand new cover! We told him the concept of multiple stories in SF&F genres and we wanted a cover that suggested this. He came up with the cover you see today and we all think it’s great, because it is! If you need any artwork for your own books, don’t hesitate to contact him at his website.

With 14 stories and a cover, we were ready to go. I formatted the book for Kindle and Smashwords, and it’s now available on both sits for $2.99. It should be available on Barnes & Noble in a few weeks. After that, it will be available for Apple and hopefully, in print!

I am very pleased with the final results. Each of the 14 stories in the book offers something different for you to read. Whether it’s author voice, genre, plot, or characters, I think you’ll find something to enjoy!

Even if you aren’t sure about the ebook, you should at least download the free sample. You’ll get to read the entire first shorty story, By a Whisker by Kevin McLaughlin. It’s a great story and I’m sure it will prompt you to buy the whole book and read the other stories.

If you like the stories, it would be VERY helpful if you write a review on Amazon. The more reviews we have, the better chance we have of selling more books.
Finally, I’d like to thank all the authors and artist who participated in the project. Really, they were all topnotch professionals working toward a common goal that has come to fruition in just three short months!

So, there you have it :)
You can check out Derek's blog here!

If you like sci-fi, or want help formatting your book, please peruse his additions to the widget on the right!

Thanks Derek for stopping by! I'm sure we all enjoy hearing from someone who is finding as much success e-pubbing as yourself :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday: Then, There's This...

Few things for your entertainment today.

Fair warning, the first link contains swearing (but it's European swearing, so does it really count? ;D)

Some other stuff to keep you amused or interested:

I've some bits on language I'd like to discuss on Friday. But for tomorrow, please remember to stop back for Derek J. Canyon's guest post!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Redbox and More

My fiance and I both love to watch movies. Procuring them has been an issue for us as we don't (yet) have Netflix and all the Blockbusters have been driven out of the area. (As well as Family Video, Video Works... etc.)

I've seen these giant red boxes outside the Giant Eagle's we frequent for groceries. I knew they had something to do with movie rentals, but I never really paid them much attention. Well, we went out for a late night run and they finally made it into my "immediate" radar. I went to check it out and imagine my lack of surprise that they're called "Redbox".

The idea is that you can rent a movie for a day, for a dollar (1.07 with tax). It's due the next day by 9pm or the credit card (that you swipe) is charged an additional (1.07) for another day's rent. After 25 days, if you haven't returned it, it's yours! Congratulations you paid $25 ($26.75) for that movie. You can also rent blu-ray discs but those are 1.50 (1.60). They can be returned at ANY Redbox location, which is great because we don't always shop in the same city in which we live.

Our foray into this new technology was Life as We Know It. For those not in the know, this is in the Romantic Comedy category. We wanted something a little lovey and overall FUN. This is important. Please remember we wanted FUN.

After we were forced to watch 15 minutes of previews that we could not skip in any form, we were treated to a 10-minute public service announcement.

About dogs.

That are murdered in shelters every year in L.A. (almost 57,000 last year). For TEN MINUTES images of abused, sad, dead-man-walking and euthanasia statistics, coupled with sadly dramatic music flooded our room, our life, our conscious.

It was enough to make me NEVER want to use Redbox again. I don't mind PSAs. I especially don't mind PSAs I can skip. When I'm looking for a romantic comedy time, I don't want to watch a 10-minute death-a-thon. It really turned me off from the whole Redbox experience.

The next day, my fiance convinced me to give Redbox a second try and I got to pick the movie - so I picked one I think (as a woman) I had to watch - Eat, Pray, Love. It was loooong, but decent. I'm not going to critique the movie - but rather the experience. For some inexplicable reason there were only three previews and they were quick. The movie title screen came up almost immediately.

We then tried a Blu-ray experience, Clash of the Titans. We could not skip the previews, but we could fast-forward through them, and there weren't many. Also no PSA on this one.

So, I don't know what was up with that first one, but it almost lost Redbox a customer. There's an important lesson in there! But I'll let you discover it yourself.

Onto the "and More" section...

I went to Barnes and Noble two days ago, just wandering around after dinner with my fiance. I used to have a book (that I can't find anymore) called The Golden Key. It was written by three authors: Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott.

I knew Elliott from her Crown of Stars series, an epic 7-novel adventure of which each book is a brick. A brick I usually read within a day, if left to my own devices! I was actually looking for more of Elliott's work (waiting for the next Crown of Stars book) when I stumbled upon The Golden Key.

I discovered Melanie Rawn from that book, and have loved every single book of hers I have ever read! Now if only she'd finish a series...

Jennifer Roberson was a unique find from the Golden Key. When I was around 13 years old, I read a book about a race of shapechangers (that is the actual cover from the book I read! Haha, memories...) The problem with that series was that I never discovered anything past book 1... my stepfather only had the first one and wasn't interested in the rest of the series.

Lucky for me I read The Golden Key and went looking for MORE of HER WORK
. (One more!)

Yes, I own all four of those omnibuses (omnibusi?). LOVED THEM. Not as good on the re-read, but still fun. I also made easy reading of her Tiger and Del series.

Fun how one author can be a link to many? There's a lesson here, too. I won't make you search for it - I'll just tell you what I think :)

As authors, we share readers. Someone who likes us may also like our friends' work. The problem is letting those readers know we have this friend in a similar genre that we suggest. How do you go about telling your readers they should check out someone else's work? How do you get recommended by a friend? I really don't care for social media. I'm not good at Twitter (honestly, it's watered-down Facebook for me, and I already have enough problems with creepers on there :P) I'm trying to drum up some interest with the TrAuSt Tour, because I want to get my works in reader's hands. Sigh. Sometimes I feel like I'm eating my own tail, or the good ol' Catch 22...

Whoops, anyway, back to the original thought - I was in Barnes and Noble and I was looking for The Golden Key. The man at the desk was forced to go to the internet to search for it, as he didn't know it. Imagine my shock when he informed me they stopped printing it in Nineteen Ninety-Six. He very firmly scolded me that there was no possible way (on the planet!) he could procure me a copy of that book.


I'll tell you my first thought, "I'm going to see if I can buy it for my Kindle!" And I can :)

Anyway, this Wednesday we'll have a big name coming 'round: Derek J. Canyon! He's done some very interesting research on advertising for e-books and has become quite popular in his genre! He was the lead on the Twelve Worlds Anthology I've been spouting off about. I'm very excited to have him stop by, and hope you look forward to it!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TrAuSt Tour #4: Kevin McLaughlin

Weblings! It's time for another TrAuSt post, and today we have the privilege of Kevin McLaughlin gracing our page. He's written a very positive and uplifting post, which is fantastic because I like to keep my space as good karma as I can ;)

Please give it a read, and leave any questions or comments for Kevin in the comments below!

Dream a New Dream
by Kevin McLaughlin

A lot of people talk about fear when they discuss self publishing in this era of writing digital books. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of making a fool of yourself. Fear of ruining your chance at a “real” writing career. A number of people have discussed fear as one of the main barriers to writers making the jump to self publishing.

I'm not here to talk about fear today. I'm actually here to talk about hope.

You see, I think that there's another barrier, one which doesn't get as much press time, and that's the hopes and dreams writers have internalized over their lives. I'll use myself as an example. When I was six, seven, eight years old I used to fall asleep listening to my mother tack-tack-tack away on her electric typewriter. She'd work on a novel while playing a tape of Masada, Conan the Barbarian, or others of her favorites. She talked to me about writing, gave me my first typewriter (her old manual from college), and encouraged me to write. I was hooked.

So off and on over the years, I tried to get my work published. Had a few bits in print here and there. Never was able to join SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America), though, which at seven seemed to be what “real” writers got to do. A bit of that seven year old's daydream still lingers.

I think a lot of us have dreams like that. We've been raised to understand what “success” means for an author. Write a book. Have it published. Go on book tours. Sign books for fans. Write more books, maybe break onto the NYT bestseller list. For the last decade or so, add “get an agent” to the list. I hang out on writers' groups where getting an agent is awarded the acclaim and congratulations that once was reserved for signing a book contract with a publisher.

Writers we love have told us how they got there. They've described their path, and that path has become The Path – the dream which aspiring writers, well, aspire to. Companies like Writer's Digest Inc. have set that standard in bronze and placed it upon a pedestal for all aspiring writers to admire. That path, those dreams, have become self-sustaining as writers who originally grew up with them have gone back to write books about how to write, encouraging new generations of writers to dream the same dream.

Writers today dream of getting an agent. I'm on a LinkedIn group where the group's founder referred to getting an agent as the “Holy Grail” (caps his, not mine) of writing. Writers dream of being published by someone else – validated that they do indeed have talent. Writers dream of being in big chain bookstores, of walking into a Barnes & Nobles and seeing a display of their books at the front of the store.

Self publishing changes all that. When we self publish, we turn away from those dreams. And giving up a dream is a hard, hard thing for many people to do.

A self published writer might not ever use an agent. Might not ever get validation from anyone except readers. Might not ever see a print book in a physical bookstore. And so for many of us, there's a sense of loss associated with self publishing, a feeling that we're “missing out”, or “giving up”.

But it's not about giving up on old dreams. It's about finding new dreams. Some of mine...

I dream about writers feeling the freedom to experiment. I can write a short story that is being donated to an anthology for RIF, like “Twelve Worlds”. Or I can spend time seeing if readers would enjoy a series of episodic science fiction novelettes, like I've been working on lately. There's a ton of different ways we can experiment with the new digital media, and I'm looking forward to checking a lot of them out. That's something I can do as an independent writer/publisher that I could not before.

I dream about writers having control and responsibility for their own careers. There's just a lot less luck involved in indie publishing. Some luck, of course – but mostly, it's about your skills, and your dedication, and your discipline at doing the work. There's something about being able to take charge of your own career from top to bottom that has incredible appeal.

I dream about writers being able to get together in new groups and organizations to educate and encourage each other. These new groups will be what we make them, because we'll be the ones making it happen.

I dream about digital media bringing storytellers and readers together more closely than they've been in many decades. Where writers can react to readers almost in real time (or even in real time, perhaps, through the internet) and tell stories that interact with readers in a way that literature has never done, and storytelling has only rarely done outside of campfires and childrens' bedtimes.

I dream about writers who can worry less about their next advance, because they already get a monthly check for sales all of their previous books – so while new work is important, there is a sense of stability which most writers have never been able to find in their careers.

For me, a big part of this shift is about changing the dreams, and dreaming new ones. There were many things to which we writers aspired under the old style of publishing. But under the new, there's a host of great things we can aspire to and dream about as well. Freedom, control, financial stability, and accountability for one's own success are just a few of the things we can look forward to.

The challenge for each of us is to look at the future and see the opportunities for new dreams, and to seek out and grab those chances. What will your hopes and dreams be, as an independent writer?


JEM sez: I agree with Kevin that writers will be able to find a comfortable life amidst all the upheaval in this Indie Flood. The chance to write without living royalty check to to check, six months apart - as opposed to ONE month apart, is a real lifesaver for a lot of writers.

Thanks for stopping by, Kevin! Also check out the "Twelve Worlds" anthology in the TrAuSt Tour widget. Kevin submitted a piece named By a Whisker and is the LEAD STORY in the anthology! When you download the sample, you should get his whole story for FREE, plus the beginning of the next story :) (I'm number 4 in the anthology, for anyone wondering.) Please check out 12 Worlds if you haven't!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day in the Life

The lady across the street was outside. We liked her, even had an affectionate nickname we called her behind closed doors, dealing with the amount of tobacco she could ingest in one short sitting. Her dog is four years old, a terrifying looking beast that is sweeter than honey.

She - the dog - is best friends with our puppy. He used to be afraid of her, but now that they're the same size, he likes to run as hard as he can to make her chase him. She bites him on the ruff and leaves long tracks of drool. Great.

We don't say much to each other while our dogs visit. It's merely a companionable moment of time, filled with excited canines and banalities.

Her head turns to me, blonde hair dancing slightly in the breeze. "So," she asks, awkwardly. I feel a moment of alarm. This seems like the intro to a Big Question. No place for that in our banalities.

"What exactly do you do?"

I glance down to the pavement. I'm a little ashamed, to be honest. I'm not where I thought I'd be when I finished college 6 years ago - graduating a semester ahead of my incoming class. I spent three years in a foreign country, seeing the world and learning about myself. I grew up, but what do I do? It was a question that struck fear into my heart.

I cleared my throat, stalling. "I... deliver pizza." I said it, but it sounded hollow. She blinked at me, as if I were lying. Trust me, I thought, with a vocabulary like mine, I understand your confusion.

"Oh." Seriousness sloughed away. She was content with the answer. "Okay."

Tell her the truth, my conscious whispered. Tell her what you really do.

I shouldn't hide it. I should tell her. My conscious was correct - why was I afraid? Did I think she would judge me? What did I care? If I spent all that time across the ocean and couldn't even stand up for my beliefs, what had I really learned?

I cleared my throat again, meaningfully. My voice exploded from my mouth in ringing tones, surprising even myself.

"Wait," I boomed, her back was starting to show to me. I might lose my moment, the window where I could show I was not a coward. She looked back, a wary query in her eyes.

I squared my shoulders and took a deep breath. "Actually, I am an author."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TrAuSt Tour #3: Amy Davis Rose

Hello again fellow webcrawlers. It's Wednesday, and I'm sure you know what that means - TrAuSt is here with another guest author to have some speaks at ya!

Our guest today is the author of three current titles: Ravenmarked, Silver Thaw and Bloodbonded. The titles will be available from the TrAuSt widget shortly. Please browse accordingly :)

Rather than an interview, she has some practical advice and knowledge to paint your brains. Without further ridiculous imagery - here is Amy!

Becoming a Good Self Editor

One of the toughest skill sets writers must develop is being a good self editor. As an independent author, I’m very aware of how thoroughly my work should be edited to compete with traditionally published work, so I strive to be a very good self editor. However, it’s becoming increasingly important for authors pursuing traditional publishing deals to be good self editors as well. More and more, I hear about how agents and editors are looking for manuscripts that need little more than a copyedit. There just aren’t as many editors in legacy publishing today, and the ones that are still around are overloaded.

Editing your own work isn’t complicated. It just takes practice. Here are a few things that help me edit myself so that my stories are as polished as possible when I send them off for feedback:

1)Fly high, fly low. This is a concept shared by Hallie Ephron at the last Willamette Writers Conference I attended. It’s somewhat intuitive, and yet… It isn’t. Too many writers get caught up in editing little sentences or paragraphs that they cut later because of major storyline changes. If you start at the top level and work your way down, you’ll save a lot of time and make more intelligent changes to your manuscript. At the high level, edit for plot, structure, and character. In the middle, edit for character voice, setting, point of view, and chapter and scene consistency and flow. When you get to the low level, you can concern yourself with the flow of the language within each scene and work your way down to doing just a copy edit or proofread.

2)Learn to use “search” and “find” intelligently. The “search” feature in whatever word processing application you use is your friend—but only if you use it wisely! Don’t hurt yourself by searching for every instance of “as” or “was.” Rather, search for the phrases you know are your tics—those things that you keep saying over and over. Maybe you say “almost as if” a lot—search for the whole phrase. Or if you know you have an adverb addiction, search for “ly” with a space afterward and then with a period after. You’ll catch most of the egregious ones without making yourself crazy. Also, search for some key passive or weak phrases that fall into a lot of first drafts. A few to start with: there was, there were, he/she saw, he/she felt, was being, were being.

3)Find your tics. Every writer has them. You know—those phrases you say over and over? Maybe it’s a particular phrase you use with one of your characters, or maybe it’s just a thing you do as a writer. I have an eye tic. If there’s a way for eyes to do something, I’ve found it. People are always glancing, looking, staring, gazing, narrowing, darting, closing, etc. Plus, I tend to describe eyes a lot. It’s just what I do. Now that I know it, I search for it and try to find ways to tone it down.

4)Look at things a new way. Reading your manuscript aloud is useful. So is reading it on your e-reader rather than on your computer screen. A hard copy with a red pen works wonders for me. I actually used up an entire red pen on edits for my novel Ravenmarked! Another tip at the low, low level of editing—use a text-to-speech function or application on your e-reader or word processing application. One free TTS app for Word is WordTalk. The advantage of having the computer read it is that it doesn’t make mistakes or glance over errors. You’ll find things that don’t show up in spell check!

5)Use the common tools, too! Which reminds me… Don’t forget spell check and grammar check! Yes, it’s a pain, because in fiction we purposely break the rules all the time. But it’s a good final step—just run the spell and grammar check one more time and be prepared to use the “ignore” button a lot.

6)Be ruthless… To your manuscript. It’s not just about “killing your darlings,” because some of your darlings are probably fine. Rather, you need to look at your story from every angle with the critical eye of an unforgiving reader. Do you see clichés? Inconsistencies? Plot holes? Can you change them? This ruthless mindset should be present at every level of your editing.

7)But, also be kind… To yourself, that is. Don’t berate yourself for mistakes, no matter how big. When you are in creative mode, you use a different part of your brain than when you’re in editing mode. Be kind to your creative brain—you’ll want to use it again someday! And you may need it if you find a plot hole or a visible seam in your writing. Don’t beat yourself up and then expect to have the creative energy to fill in a hole—you’ll just perpetuate the cycle.

Being a good self editor is not a substitute for feedback from beta readers, critique partners, and other editors, but it will get you a long way toward making their feedback count. A very well-edited manuscript will help your readers focus on the story, not the issues that you can catch by being a good self editor. And when readers focus on the story, they can give a more valuable critique of issues you may have missed.

Ultimately, your goal is to let your end user sink fully into the story. A well-edited, thoroughly critiqued manuscript will put you well on the path to that goal.

So, there you have it! I think it was very informative. Tell me, did you learn anything? I recently have been using search and replace more often. It's easier than skimming 40 pages, for sure!

Please feel free to leave comments below. If you wish to contact Amy, here is her info:

Author Website:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chart, Canyon-Style!

Hey all! I know I said I'd post some fun sales number, etc for you yesterday, but joke was on me! I was home from work with a wicked case of creeping crud. Sleep + Mucinex + water + video games = I feel better today! (Less coughy, too. I stayed home in large part because I didn't want to hack all over my deliveries :P)

The fiance is out of town visiting some friends, which means I have the house all to myself (plus the dog and the cat)! So, I can dance around and sing and generally be the biggest idiot I can be when no one else is watching :) Though, my shenanigans are a little culled by the fact that I'm still hack-y. It also gives me a lot of time to write in peace, though, and THAT is the gift I appreciate most about time alone :)

Just some news, before we get to the fancy-schmancy chart - Twelve Worlds releases this month! Looks like we're just waiting on the Foreward and it will be hitting e-Shelves! "Liar" also drops on the 15th, so if you haven't picked up "Cheat" yet, please do! There is a convenient IH widget in the upper right-hand corner, plus the link I just provided :)

As authors, we have different goals we want to reach with our work. Some want to inspire, some want just to write and have it read, and others want money, among other reasons. I want a comfortable life doing what I enjoy the absolute most. That is writing. I'm in it for personal satisfaction, and money. No reason to lie about it, it's not a shame to want money or a comfortable life (just don't get greedy!) So I write and write and write, tappa tappa tappa and hope I sell better a little each day.

I'm nowhere near self-sufficient for writing, yet. Yet. As I said, a little more each day... and maybe this whole thing can work out for me :) I have two works out, "Shackled" and "Cheat". Will I see additional sales of one from the other? I'm not sure. They are radically different genres/age-groups, etc.

But, without further delay, I'll share my chart with you, inspired by the wonderful Derek J. Canyon. (One of the coolest names EVER.)

I don't have a lot of data yet - my journey only began on February 17th.

I can tell you a few things, however:
1. "Shackled" is holding its own at $2.99. It's not moving truckloads of copies, but it IS getting read. Especially the sample, judging by my Smashwords download count ;)

2. "Cheat" is $.99 and is obviously moving faster. No surprise there, it's so cheap! I'm glad a few people have picked up copies. Hopefully they'll stay interested enough to pick up Episode 2 when it hits in less than a week! And the news will spread...

3. In March, in terms of units, I sold 225% of units in February! Amazing! That's a big number. To continue that momentum, I need to sell 20.25 units in April (let's say that's just 20 for argument's sake!) My April goal is now 20 sales (across all titles). With "Liar" being released, plus "Twelve Worlds" dropping, I think there will be enough buzz to do that! Though, I won't count "Twelve Worlds" in my personal sales count, I will mention it as much as possible :)

So that's my fun chart information. I'm also hoping to do a bundle of short stories sometime this month, but realistically next month. I'd like to write one short a week, time permitting. My goal is to bundle 20k words or 5 stories, whichever comes first. I am also interested in excerpt trading, for anyone who might be considering something similar.

I've had one sale so far this month, so here's to hoping (hopping? HAH) the Easter Bunny brings me the other 19 ;)


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TrAuSt Tour #2: Kelly Gorman

After a rocky start, we've gotten back on track! The TrAuSt Tour is proud to present K. Gorman's fantastic and witty interview! We're both part of the Twelve Worlds Crew, and I'm happy to have her. Please enjoy :)

5 Up High:
JEM: Why did you get into writing/become a writer?

KG: I got into writing sometime after I got into reading. Probably around grade 9, when I discovered there was more to books than textbooks and Pony Pals. Writing just seemed to be a natural step to take from there. At first, I role-played among various games. After several years of that, I realized that I liked doing that as a hobby, so why not turn it into something more? Besides, my mom said she likes my writing... it must be good, right?

JEM: Why did you decide to go into Indie Publishing?

KG: I'm a control freak. I like the idea that I control everything--the price, the cover, the editing--indie publishing has a lot of bonuses that I can agree with. Quick publication, no censorship, I can go back and edit out all those mortifying mistakes/typos that I often find in print books. Comparing my experiences in other jobs, I much prefer a job in which I get paid based on how well I do/work, and not on what some corporate boss decides he can afford to pay me. Not to say that publishing houses are evil corporate overlords, but as an unknown writer with no credentials, I think I stand a better chance to make money self-publishing my works rather than submitting them.

JEM: Can you give a synopsis of your current WIP (Work In Progress)?

KG: Which one? I have a couple. However, since they're in the same world I can kind of describe them both. In one, the novel I'm working on, there's this country being invaded by another for its resources. Hardly an uncommon reason, in the history of warfare. Anyway. The novel follows the story of Meese, a 14-year-old girl who moved to the city of Merrin (deep in the mountains) to escape the invasion. Things happen, and she accidentally falls on the fire god's spaceship and makes it glow. Then the fire god bails her out of jail and she becomes his apprentice. More things happen, interesting character development and excitement in the, quite literal, criminal underground of Merrin, some explosions, yadayada. Then someone steals the god's magical rock and all hell breaks loose. Mainly because the rock powers the shields that protect the city from being bombed.

The other WIP is a series based in the same world. The world has gods based on elemental magic, and this series follows those affected by them. Like Kitty, a girl who found out she can control electricity...

JEM: What is your biggest inspiration as a writer?

KG: Biggest, eh? I'll have to go with other writing. Actually, scratch that--any situation in which I can form a "what if?" Like "what if stuff like nymphs had to adapt to space travel? What would the sociological effects be? What would they do?" Usually those situations come from reading, although the reading can be quite varied in topic. For example, last week I was doing a paper on the nationalist movements in Vietnam and East Timor, and I thought "what must that have been like?" Hell, once I was doing math homework and, looking at all the greek symbols, thought "Hey, is this like modern-day magic? What if mathematicians really are wizards?" Not sure where "nymphs on a spaceship" came from, though.

(JEM sez: Mathematicians ARE wizards, just to clarify.)

JEM: What is your writing process? (IE: outline, notecards, etc)

KG: I usually get a scene in my head and start writing. Then I have to backtrack and find the beginning. When I've done that, I start outlining to procrastinate everything else. And I make lots of food. And eat it. Do laundry. Then I sit at my computer thinking about all the movies I want to watch. Then I'll look at the outline again. It usually takes a few renditions of all this before I've got it all done, and I rarely know exactly what will happen at the end.

(JEM sez: Award goes to K. Gorman for most honest answer, hahaha!)

12 Worlds Special Feature:

JEM: Why did you decide to contribute to Twelve Worlds?

KG: Well, I was reading Derek's blog one day and saw the opportunity. It seemed like a good idea at the time... Amazing how that phrase always comes in, doesn't it? It was a good idea, though. A very good idea, and I'm very, very glad I got in on it. Initially, I just wanted to get my name out there. By the time of publishing, I assumed the other anthology I'd been accepted for (last July) would be published, although that doesn't seem to be the case. I saw it as a great opportunity to get my foot in someone's door.

JEM: Can you tell us anything about the story you contributed to Twelve Worlds?

KG: Remember that bit up above when I said "nymph on a spaceship"? It's like that, with guns and knives and stars and awesome.

JEM: Any other thoughts on Twelve Worlds?

KG: Well, I'm certainly excited! With as many great writers as we have, it's a really good read. And the cover art is amazing. I'm really glad this could be put together. I'll bet Reading is Fundamental will be very happy with us. Literacy is important. I can't imagine not being able to read. If you can't read, it's very, very hard to learn anything. I think this anthology will really help, and I'm glad I could be part of something so neat.

5 Down Low:

JEM: What three toppings would you mix into/put on top of your ice cream?

KG: Chocolate, of course. And caramel, too. And sprinkles. Also, let it be known that I want Malt ice cream. It's so hard to find Malt in my city. I think only Wendy's and some small convenience stores carry it. Why isn't there more Malt ice cream?

JEM: What is the coolest animal in the world?

KG: Ruby, the Belgian Draft horse. She's completely awesome. She loves to budge into traffic, and has a tendency to get her way. A lot of people don't realize just how large she is until she's got her nose at their rear window. At stop lights, she just kind of saunters up to the car in front, get's as close as I'll let her, then fusses. Kind of like she's saying "'Ello. Whatcha doin' down there?" Oh, I hope we do this to a convertible this summer.

Er... by the way, I drive horse carriages in the summer. For tourists.

JEM: Please invent the perfect candy and describe it to us!

KG: Well, in order to do this, I think I must define "candy" first. You see, chocolate is not candy. Chocolate is chocolate, and has its own category. As for the perfect candy... it's got to be a cross of those "Rockets" candies that usually emerge at Halloween. Oh, Wikipedia says they're called "Smarties" in the states. Anyway, a cross of that and something with a hard, fruity coating that you have to suck at.

JEM: Who do you think would take the fight - Captain Kirk, Captain Jack Sparrow, or Captain Crunch?

KG: Ouch. Tough one. I think Captain Crunch is right out--it's just between Kirk and Sparrow. Now, are we talking alone or with crew? With crew, it's going to be Kirk. The entire crew of the Enterprise against the Black Pearl (in the small times Sparrow does have a crew and a ship)? Kirk's used to dealing with different types of battles. On their own? Sparrow might get a shot off before Kirk fires his phaser. Hell, that monkey might come in and distract Kirk.

Although, if we're talking Captain Jack Sparrow from the first movie, before those coins were all returned and the curse broken, I think Kirk would be in trouble. If we're just talking a KO, though, I think Kirk could win with phasers set to stun.

JEM: What is one thing on your bucket list? (Bucket list = things to do before you kick the bucket.)

KG: To visit the temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. You know that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie? Part of it was filmed there. It is absolutely beautiful, and Cambodia really needs the money brought in from tourism. Such a sad history there, but I'm told they are the friendliest people in South-East Asia. Also, next to the Angkor Wat temple complex is the Tonle Sap lake which does something really interesting: every year during the monsoons, the water floods down the Mekong River from China, through Laos, and into Cambodia, and makes the Tonle river reverse course and fill the Tonle Sap lake, making it an extremely fertile place.

Author Freetime:
JEM: Any closing statements? :)

KG: Yeah, I think everyone should watch Hot Tub Time Machine and Top Secret. Excellent movies. And, if they so wish to read some of my writing before the anthology is out, I have two short stories on my site in the Freebie section. (/shameless plug)

Other than that, I would like to mention again how excited I am for Twelve Worlds to hit the e-bookshelves.

If you would like to contact Ms. Gorman, please do so:
Facebook page:

Tomorrow, TrAuSt Returns!

So make sure you stop by to see K. Gorman's answers to my insidious questions!

Amphibious questions?

Sequestered questions!

My questions. :)

I'm also having a blast with my editors using Google docs. I wish they had a track changes feature (or at least, I've not seen it yet), so we're making do with comments and highlights for now. But it is VERY bizarre to see someone typing in the same document in which I am ALSO typing. I'm sure they agree, plus they can see me type my story in real time. (It makes it a little nerve-wracking when I'm searching for that perfect word and they are watching my cursor blink along with me, and I know they're WATCHING MEEEEEE) It's an interesting twist to a solitary sport like writing.

Other than that, I've still a case of the Creeping Crud. Hoping to finish THAT up and feel better. Liar drops on April 15th, as well as the Twelve Worlds Anthology sometime this month :)

I'll probably also post some sales updates on Friday, since I haven't gone about doing that in any formal way. So, look forward to that. But first, look forward to K. Gorman, here, tomorrow!

Good time to be me, I'm thinking!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Call for Editors

Hello again, dearies.

I am wickedly interested in using Google docs to write a story, and give editors access. I have a dark, paranormal piece in mind. Would any of you lovelies be interested in participating in this adventure? You will be able to read my work for free :)

Plus, you can snigger over my first draft...

The final won't be long. It's a short piece, probably 10-20k. I hope to publish it as a single, if I feel the length warrants. (Else, I will couple it with another piece.)

It might be a fun jaunt into another author's writing style. I'm pretty sure it records everything as a presentation, so you would actually SEE how I write. Maybe? I'm not entirely up on the semantics. I spent about 7 seconds glancing over the information. I deduced this only because of Google Wave. Possibly I am wrong. Maybe it will emit a loud series of barking noises! But, I doubt it.

Regardless, if you are interested in being a part of this project (and thus thanked by name in the final version!) please submit a request to: jemedrickbooks(AT)

You apparently are signed in by e-mail, of which I allow access. (E-mailing me will thus give me the e-mail I have to put into the system.)

Thanks :)