Posts Tagged With: author

Review: Eli Arnold and the Keys to Forever, Book 2: The Myth of Mythology

HOLY HILARIOUS MYTHOLOGICAL GOODNESS!

Ok, so here’s the deal. Not too long ago I read the first book in the Eli Arnold Series, titled ELI ARNOLD AND THE KEYS TO FOREVER: IT’S ABOUT TIME written by author John Carter and I was HOOKED! I’ve already written a review for the first one here. But let’s talk about book 2. I don’t even have the words to explain how much I enjoyed these books, but I will try.  First off, it is definitely hard to put this book down. It is fast paced, quick, witty, and–not to mention–hilarious! Second: Not only is John Carter’s style of writing perfectly engaging, he fills his books with true historical mythology, but in a super creative way that makes children and adults alike want to soak in more, read more and learn more. Thirdly: Mr. Carter has brought in some wonderfully lovable and not-so-lovable (but still sort of lovable in a terrible-Villain-type-of-way) characters to the playing field. Not only do find myself rooting for the main characters and booing the bad-guys, but I continually crack up at just hearing their names; names like the lovely and daring Princess Pitter Pat and the sleazy car salesman-like Cyclops Ira Unaoculus.  Oh and I can’t forget one of my favorites, Hades, God of the Underworld! There are fauns and Pegasus’, and giant three-headed dogs, oh my! But I fear if I go on any further I may start to give away pertinent and top-secret information. Alas, I must leave you to your own devices but I definitely recommend this series to anyone of any age. It is truly delightful! ELI ARNOLD AND THE KEYS TO FOREVER: THE MYTH OF MYTHOLOGY deserves a whopping 5 stars!

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Review: Dysfictional (Stories for Twisted Minds) by Mandy White

I have just finished reading a fantastic anthology of short stories entitled DYSFICTIONAL (Stories for Twisted Minds) by author Mandy White. The book cover for this anthology is really great and helps to portray the overall feeling for the anthology, but if that doesn’t pull you in all the way, just read the first story within called RUBY IN THE MIST and you’ll be hooked. RUBY IN THE MIST is just the first of nine stellar shorts, which I have to admit are a bit off-beat, but in the most wonderfully gripping and twisted way!  I have never been much into short-stories, not for any other reason as I hadn’t read many, but now after reading Mandy White’s DYSFICTIONAL I am a self-proclaimed short story addict!

Author Mandy White has a way of making her characters so darn real, you’d think they were based off yourself, your family, or your next-door neighbor. Heck, her characters are so relatable and down-to-earth, you’d swear you’ve known them for years and it makes closing the book on them very hard to do. When you read DYSFICTIONAL, you’ll find yourself cringing and shivering in the most pleasant of unpleasant ways and I’m just sure you’ll hear yourself say–more than a few times–“Just one more page!”

I flew through this book and loved the fact that I could–or HAD TO, rather, swallow up an entire story a night or more. With titles like ZOMBIE CUISINE and HEART-SHAPED BOX to name a couple, you just know that you’re in for a morbid and intriguing treat! Despite the fact that these tales are twisted and jarring at points, they were also stuffed full of snarky humor from some of the characters, which I loved, and I actually found myself chuckling out loud more than once.

Please take my advice and grab yourself a copy of DYSFICTIONAL (Stories for Twisted Minds),kick back, and relax (sort of) while you witness a compelling collection of dark stories that will have you stamping, shouting, and screaming as the plots unfold.

Loved it. Loved it.

DYSFICTIONAL by Mandy White gets a big old 5 STAR from me! Yay!!!

Grab yourself a copy of DYSFICTIONAL here and also check out all of author Mandy White’s other amazing works!

But wait! There’s more! I have had the pleasure to interview author Mandy White and get a look inside of her twisted mind! Check out the interview here!

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Give a warm and bloody welcome to horror author, Mandy White!!!

Image of Mandy WhiteSo glad to have you here today Mandy! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

~ I’m a Canadian horror writer from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I love the outdoors and prefer the wilderness to the city.

What do you do when you are not writing?

~ When I’m not writing I can usually be found outdoors. I live a block from the beach so I spend a lot of time at the lake, fishing, swimming and boating. I also love to garden and spend most of my summer making my yard beautiful.

Most people would KILL to live near the beach (no pun intended. LOL!) Do you have a day job as well?

~ I quit my day job about eight years ago when a disability made me unable to do that job anymore. I looked for alternative ways to earn money. Six years ago I became a freelance writer and since then, writing has been my only job. I made the transition from content writer to novelist three years ago.

So when did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

~ I have enjoyed writing ever since I was a child, and always dreamed of being an author someday. When I reached the age of 40 I realized that ‘someday’ was never going to arrive unless I made it happen. I finished my first book in 2010. It was ‘The Jealousy Game’ – a short self-help book on dysfunctional relationships. It is my only non-fiction book.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

~ I don’t know if I chose it or it chose me. I’ve always been a fan of the macabre and an avid reader of horror books. It seemed natural that I would want to write the type of books I would be interested in reading.

Where do you get your ideas?

~ Ideas are everywhere. Everything I see on a daily basis is a potential story idea. Where most people might see a pretty flower garden, I’m imagining bodies buried underneath. I also get a lot of ideas from dreams. My novelette ‘The Immigrant’ is based on a dream I had almost twenty years ago. My first novel, ‘Avenging Annabelle’ is also based on an idea from a dream.

I hope those ideas let you get some sleep! 😀 Haha. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

~ Never. I have too many ongoing projects to ever get writer’s block. If I get stuck on one story, I put it aside and switch to another. I think the reason a lot of writers get blocked is they try to force something that isn’t there. It’s like trying to remember something that’s at the tip of your tongue but the harder you try, the more elusive it is. When you stop trying to remember and focus on something else, it pops into your head. For me, writing is just like that. Switch focus and the blocks disappear.

That’s great advice! Do you work with an outline, or just write?

~ I’m primarily a pantser. (write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer) I find that most stories develop as I write, so outlining isn’t something I spend much time on. Sometimes I will write a rough outline if I know what’s going to happen in a story, so I don’t forget important details.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

~ Stephen King is one of my favorites. I also read a lot of Dean Koontz. The thing that I like most about Koontz’s work is the way he makes the implausible seem plausible. I think the book that stands out most in my memory from my childhood is ‘A Wrinkle in Time’.

Oooh I love ‘A Wrinkle in Time!’ Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

~ As an independent author, I had to learn as I went and made a few crucial mistakes in the beginning. The first was being too eager to publish and putting out an unpolished work riddled with typos. The second was not hiring an editor to polish that work and eliminate those typos. I fooled myself by thinking I could effectively edit my own work. The third mistake I made was thinking that a book’s cover didn’t matter. The first edition of The Jealousy Game has a hideous generic template cover. Avenging Annabelle’s first cover was a poorly done cover I made myself.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

~ There is one thing I would definitely change if I could: With my first books I focused entirely on publishing the print version rather than the ebook. I didn’t understand the value or importance of ebooks. Like many new authors, I thought that only ‘real’ books counted. As a result, I was very disappointed with my sales. (what sales?) The fact is, ebooks outsell paper books by a huge margin. It is also easy to make corrections in a digital version. Sure, you can correct a paperback edition just as quickly but once those typo-riddled paperbacks are out there, you can never take them back. Now, I always release the ebook first and follow with the paperback only after I am satisfied all the bugs have been worked out.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

~ I don’t devote a lot of time to marketing. I’d rather be writing. I rely mostly on readers finding my books linked together on Amazon. The best marketing tool for a book is another book by the same author. I do a lot of networking through social media, particularly Facebook. I have met a lot of great people on Facebook and I’m incredibly grateful for all they have taught me. That, to me is far more valuable than any sales pitch I could come up with.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

~ I am an indie author and also an independent publisher so this has never been an issue. I have full control over every aspect of my publishing.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

~ My latest book, The Feeder, is a gruesome and bloody novel that straddles the line between thriller and horror. It is about an individual obsessed with avenging a murdered twin sister. It is not for the squeamish, as several readers have observed. There is a monumental twist right in the middle of the story that I guarantee you won’t see coming.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

~ I interweave little details from my own life into almost all of my stories. It’s fun combining reality with imagination to create a realistic tale.

That is definitely a fun way to write! What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

~ I think the chapter I had the most fun writing was ‘Bluie Louie’, the chapter in which my killer’s very first murder takes place. It begins innocently enough, with a visit to a sleazy ex-boyfriend to ask a few questions and ends with Louie dead in a pool of blood with his eyeballs carved out.

Oooooh, definitely gruesome! How did you come up with the title?

~ ‘The Feeder’ is the nickname of the serial killer in the book, named so because of the killer’s habit of feeding victims parts of themselves while they are still alive.

What project are you working on now?

~ Right now I am working on a series of charity anthologies for MS with WPaD, a group I have called Writers, Poets and Deviants. WPaD Publications is also my publishing label. Our next release will be a fantasy collection to be published July 1, 2013.

How fantastic! Will you have a new book coming out soon?

~ Aside from the three charity anthologies WPaD has planned for this year, (fantasy, post-apocalyptic and holiday, in that order) I also intend to resume work on ‘Phobia’, the novel I wrote in rough copy during last November’s NaNoWriMo. Phobia is about a reclusive woman who is afraid to leave her home due to agoraphobia and a host of other fears. When things start to get weird in her home she has to decide which is more frightening, the inside or the outside.

I’m intrigued! Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

~ I would like to do more work with Sammie, the main character of The Feeder. That’s something that will probably happen. I already have an idea for a sequel.

Can’t wait! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

~ The toughest criticism is the stuff that’s true. I learned about ‘show, don’t tell’ the hard way. The best compliment is when readers say they couldn’t put the book down.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Do I ever!

~ If writing is what you want to do, then do it. Just do it. No excuses.

~ Throw away any previous assumptions you might have had about publishing. The rules have changed. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing industry, then you need to learn the new rules.

~ Seek out people who are doing what you want to do, then watch what they are doing and LISTEN to the advice they offer.

~ Be smart. Don’t stumble blindly into publishing. RESEARCH! Failure to do the right research makes you easy prey for the many vulturous vanity presses that pose as ‘publishers’. If someone offers to publish your book, then asks for money, you are being scammed. If you are offered a publishing contract, seek professional advice before signing because not all contracts are alike. Find out what you are signing before you get stars in your eyes.

~ There is nothing wrong with striving for success, but be realistic with your expectations. Understand that royalty checks aren’t just going to start pouring in. Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme – it is a slow, gradual process. It is quite possible to make a nice living from it but patience is key. The best way to sell a book is to write the next one. And the next.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

~ I guess I’d just like to say thank you for reading. I am grateful to each and every one of you. If you find any of my stories offensive and disturbing, I hope it’s in a good way.

Thanks so much for being here today Mandy, and sharing with us your life as an author!

Go here to Mandy’s Amazon author page to check out all of her books!

And follow Mandy of facebook here.

And Mandy’s twitter handle is @MandyWrite

Readers! Don’t leave quite yet! I’ve just finished reading Mandy White’s new horror/thriller novel, The Feeder and I wrote an amazing 5 star review here. Check it out!

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Presenting…(drum roll please)…Author Heidi Nicole Bird!!!

Hello friends! Today I am happy be interviewing Author Heidi Nicole Bird, author of THROUGH THE PAPER WALL and soon to be released ONTARIO. I just read THROUGH THE PAPER WALL and loved it!Product Details See my review here.

Welcome Heidi Nicole! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am 23 years old and I live in West Jordan, Utah. I have been writing for as long as I can remember and I am a NaNoWriMo addict! Besides writing I love to read, sing, play guitar, piano, and violin, and have a good time. I really like to dance, though I pretty much look really bad while doing it. I am very religious and I always write family friendly content, no matter the age group I am writing for.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Honestly, surf the web. I have a problem with YouTube. We spend way too much time together. I also hang out with friends fairly often.

LOL! YouTube can be very addicting! Do you have a day job as well?

Nope, right now the only thing I do is write, though I am trying to get a job at one of my local libraries.

Good luck with that! When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

The first story I remember actually writing down was called “Jenny’s Horse” and I was probably ten years old or younger. I finished my first book the beginning of 2010, thanks to NaNoWriMo 2009.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I am most comfortable writing fantasy, probably because that is my favorite thing to read. I also write general fiction, which has been fun as well, but fantasy allows for more imagination, and I love that.

Where do you get your ideas?

They usually just come to me out of nowhere, quite often in the middle of the night when I want to sleep instead.

Haha! Those story ideas can be pests sometimes! Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Sure do, though not a ton. I usually have some sort of idea where the story is going to go next, but I like to let the characters tell the story, not me.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Just write. I’ve never made an outline before. Well, that’s not true. I made one, but it was really just a timeline so I could make sure things worked together, and I made that after I had finished 90% of the story.

 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I was very influenced by the writings of Bruce Coville while growing up. He is, to this day, one of my very favorite writers, and I respect him so much! I strive for his type of excellence.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

It was definitely interesting. For a while I tried sending one book or another to publishers, and I was even offered a contract for one of them, but I finally realized that what I wanted to do was indie publish. I wanted the control. That sounds lame, but honestly I had a very definite set of goals for my books and I could only meet them by doing it all myself. It was challenging to get things going, but overall I think it went well. I designed my own cover, and the hardest part was getting permission for the image I wanted. Editing was a pain too, and formatting! Those two are definitely not my favorite things to do, but I’m glad I did it in the end. Marketing has been interesting as well, but I have a great group of authors that I work with daily and we all help each other get the word out.

It’s so nice that you have support of fellow authors. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

I would definitely like to have another set of eyes do a final proofread. Though I had three people besides myself edit and proofread, a few typos still made their way into the final book, so it would have been nice to maybe have someone professional do the final read through.

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

I start off with a blog tour and launch party. Then I utilize my blog, facebook, and twitter to get the word out. Networking with other authors has been very important as well.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

Oh yes. I have a trilogy, the first three books I ever wrote, and I adore them. I was naïve enough to try and get the first one published, but now that I am a much more seasoned writer I realize how far gone the book is. Once I am done publishing my current project I plan on doing a major overhaul of my trilogy, then work on publishing them again.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My second book, Ontario, will be released April 29th. It is a young adult romance, telling the story of a girl in her senior year who has been abandoned by her mother and left with her older brother as her guardian. Throughout the story Ontario, the main character, has to learn how to love and trust again, and she does that through her new friends and co-workers at the local 50s diner.

That sounds amazing! It’s definitely going on my to-read list! Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Events-wise, no, nothing is based on real events, but the character Ontario is actually me in many ways. Some of that was intentional, some not.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Probably the prom scene, because I never got to go to a school dance with a boy, so I got to create my perfect prom through that scene.

How did you come up with the title?

It literally just popped into my head. I think I was lying on my bed thinking about Canada for some reason, haha!

That’s how some of the best ideas happen. What project are you working on now?

I am mostly working on publishing Ontario, but I am also finishing up another YA fantasy entitled Lorn, which I am particularly fond of. That is the next story I hope to have published.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Yep, Ontario will be released April 29th!

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I have long since missed my characters and world that make up my trilogy. I’ve always thought it would be fun to publish some novellas based off the three books, after the originals are published.

 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’ve been lucky enough to not have received anything that bad, but I definitely hate hearing there are loose plot threads. So, when I hear that I am even more motivated. I always try to tie up every loose end.

 

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

The best thing I can tell you is to start writing, or to keep writing if you have already started. It really is as simple as that. It took me four years to get to this point. It’s not something that happens overnight, and I still have a long way to go. Never give up on yourself! You can do it, just keep telling yourself that, because it is true.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

As always, I am so grateful for my readers and fans. None of what I do would be possible without them. Thank you all so much for supporting me! For those who aren’t fans yet, I hope you will check out my books!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us today Heidi!

Check out more from Heidi below! She will also be holding a contest through April 17th for her book launch party of Ontario! Go here for more info on how to win!

Heidi Nicole Bird’s twitter handle is  @HeidiNicoleBird

and you can follow her on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/HeidiNicoleBird?fref=ts

and check out Heidi Nicole’s blog here! http://heidinicolebird.blogspot.com

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOW I SELF PUBLISHED WITH AMAZON’S KINDLE AND CREATE SPACE

Many people are turning to self publishing rather than the traditional publishing. I am not here to fight for one side or the other (I respect everyone’s choice to do what they think best), but I am going to explain in steps, how I self published with Amazon’s Kindle and Create Space.

You, like many people, may be trying to make that choice right now, and believe me I spent many sleepless nights tossing and turning over what I should do. And here’s the one and only reason I chose self-publishing over traditional. I’M IMPATIENT. Haha! There it is in a nutshell. There’s no big magical secret or right way or wrong way, it just comes down to time and patience (and of course being a good writer.) After LOTS of research, I came to the conclusion that it can, and in most cases, will take a VERY long time to even get accepted by an agent and then a publisher and it can be years before your book is available to buy. There also may be better financial benefits for self-pubs as opposed to traditional. But I will say it again, I am not here to get into the heated debate that lots of loyal indie authors and trad authors tend to get into.  I have never even submitted my manuscript to a literary agent or publisher (although I spent days upon days compiling lists of recommended ones so I could do just that.) A good site to do this at is Preditors and Editors, here http://pred-ed.com/.

Anyway back to the point. I chose self publishing, and I chose to do that with Kindle Direct Publishing and Amazon’s Create Space. For you newbies out there, Kindle is the digital e-book version that people purchase on their kindle, and CreateSpace is the paperback version people can order and hold in their hands.

Now that brings us to another point. Kindle and CreateSpace are just one in MANY options. There’s Smashwords, which is highly recommend as well, for they distribute to lots of different e-readers and distributors like Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, Sony, IPad,etc. There’s also LULU and Lightning Source which will distribute your hardback or paperback books. The list could go on and on. (Thus, many more sleepless nights trying to decide.)

BUT, alas I had decided, and I will discuss my journey thus far and the steps you need to take to get there.

STEP 1. Have a completed book. YES, it must be all the way finished and edited over and over to a squeaky clean! Do NOT try to edit it by yourself. That is just asking for a disaster. Even editors don’t edit their own books, because your mind becomes fickle, missing your own errors over and over. So make sure your book is at it’s best before you even think about submitting it to be published. Some authors go even as far as having beta readers. They will give you feedback on things that you may overlook in the whole scheme of your story, things that don’t make sense to them, things that may not flow right, missed plot opportunities, what they do and don’t like etc.

STEP 1a. If you are doing a paperback and/or hardback book, don’t forget your book blurb for the back cover, author bio, and author picture. I took a look at some of my favorite author’s blurbs (one’s in my same genre) to help me write my own. Keep it short and sweet (only a couple of paragraphs) but make it irresistible. Why would the reader want to pick up your book and read it? Make sure they really want to without giving away any secrets or the ending of your book. Create suspense. Don’t put too much into your author bio or make it too long to where the reader looses interest. I chose to go a little more fun and quirky with mine, as I’m targeting young adults and teens. You will want your editor to take a look at your blurb as well. Have a nice author pic taken professionally or by a friend that can use as camera. 😀

STEP 2. After editing is completed then you need to get your manuscript formatted into the proper files. There’s .epub for Nook, .mobi for kindle and PDF for paperback. Research where you will have your book published (nook, kindle, kobo, sony etc) and find out which formats you need to do so. For me, hiring a formatter for minimal cost was the best option. Some authors who are technically gifted -or brave, as I like to think they are- use Calibre or other formatting software to format their own. I tried to do it myself, and alas, it was more stress and not worth it for me. That’s your choice.

STEP 3. Cover design. Step 2 & 3 can be done simultaneously (sort of.) Let me explain. If you decide to hire a book cover designer, they can go ahead and start on your ebook cover. An ebook lacks the back cover and binding. Now for your paperback and/or hardback cover, you will need to have your manuscript PDF file completely formatted and finished, because the designer needs to know the exact page count before finishing your paperback cover. The page count WILL change as you change the formatting. The designer will also need to know a few other specs of your choosing, like book size, paper color, white, cream etc. I found these options through Amazon’s Create Space where I had my paperback done. Check these options thoroughly, because some are limited and will not allow you to distribute through libraries, expanded distribution, etc. Choose your options and hand them over to your designer along with the final page count of your paperback/hardback and leave the rest to them. Again, some authors choose to design their own covers and there is also an option on Createspace to design your own. Some of these are pretty general and generic but you may find something you like and may want to keep it simple.

STEP 4. Research pricing. If you price your book at $0.99 or $1.99 (these prices are pretty good for shorter stories) you will only get 35% profit from your sales. If you price your book at $2.99 and above you will get %70. I suggest perusing through Amazon and check out books that are similar to yours. Look at how they are pricing their books. There are many different theories on pricing. Some say that you will sell more at $0.99 but then you have look at what you will be getting. Pennies, really. BUT if you sell A LOT, that can add up rather quickly. Some say it is better to price your book a bit higher between 2.99  and 4.99 because it makes the reader actually think about their purchase. If they have to think about their purchase, your book is probably something they really want to read, therefore the chances of them liking it and leaving a good review or suggesting it to others is higher. If it’s $0.99 they may just buy it because its cheap, and therefore it may not be what they usually read and could end up causing a bad review from the buyer that reflects back onto your book. Some people say you should price higher because you want the quality of your book to be reflected in the price, if it is cheap will the buyer think your book is cheaply written as well?

STEP 5. Almost done! After you get back your formatted files and book cover files, you will submit these to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and Createspace, or Smashwords and any other publisher you wish to go through. I can only speak for KDP and Createspace, as that is as far as I’ve gone thus far. You will have a nice long set-up process, to where you are asked to add your book title, files, contributors (editor, illustrator, etc.), your book description(blurb) and other details. Make sure there are NO errors here, as this will be the info that the consumers will see on Amazon, Barnes & Noble etc. After you upload your book files there will be an option for an online preview for kindle. Check this thoroughly to make sure the formatting is correct and everything is in place. There will also be a proof process for Createspace. I highly suggest ordering a proof of your paperback to be sent to your house that way you can make sure everything is how it should be.  You will then need to set up your distribution details, prices, etc. Don’t hit the publish button on the day you you’ve announced your release. Set your release date (for marketing purposes) a few weeks from publishing to make sure everything is ready. Even though I hit the publish button, I did not announce the release for a couple more weeks, as to make sure the paperback and ebook were both available. The paperback takes longer than the ebook. Once you hit the publish button, KDP will tell you it will be about 12-24 hours before your book is available. This is pretty accurate. You will then receive an email saying “Congratulations for publishing with KDP! Your book is now available here!” Yay for you! But wait! What about your paperback? After you hit the dreaded publish button on Createspace, they will tell you it will be about 5-7 days before it goes live. This, again, is pretty accurate. Mine was live in 5 days. But they won’t send you an e-mail. You just need to go to Amazon and search your book title and author name to see when it pops up. And because this is not an exact science and things change, errors are found, and goodness knows what else, that is why I suggest giving yourself an ample amount of time in between hitting the publish button and actually having your release date/book release party.

STEP 6. Write you next book! Yes that is the best piece of advice I can give you. You can market until you’re blue in the face and shout from the top of the walls “BUY MY BOOK!” but this will only give a temporary rise in sales. To keep the longevity of sales and to keep your name in people’s faces you need to keep writing.

Good luck to you in your self-publishing journey! I am still learning myself, and do not know everything, but please feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions or leave a suggestion of something I may have not covered. We, as humans, are continuously learning, and if there’s one thing I’ve gotten from self-publishing, it’s pay it forward. I’ve had many people answering my questions and helping me along the way and I’d love to pass on that knowledge to others.

Categories: Writing Tips | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Meet the Author! James A. Eggebeen in the houuuuse!

Meet the author of the FOUNDLING WIZARD and the APPRENTICE TO MASTER series, James A. Eggebeen!

I just finished reading Wizard Foundling, the first book in the Apprentice to Master series and loved it. You can check out my review here. But now I’d like to take some time to introduce you to the author, James A. Eggebeen.

Thank you so much for being here today James! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a high tech executive, or at least I was for most of my life. I have been a full time writer since last fall when the company I was working was restructured after raising money. I found myself unemployed and decided that this was the perfect opportunity to take on more writing while I looked for a job. So far I have done a lot more writing than I expected and want to try to make the full time writing work out by supplementing it with part time consulting (software).

Great way to pursue your dreams! What do you do when you are not writing?

I go to writer’s groups, I take care of the house, and I read. My kids are grown and my wife works, so I get to spend quiet days writing and doing the laundry, the dishes and housework. Oh, and I cook, I love to cook. And if Doctor Who is on. I’m there.

Ah, a fellow Whovian! LOL! So when did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing in college many years ago. I needed an English credit to graduate, and I hated English. I signed up for “Chief Modern Poets of Britain and America” and when the textbooks came, I ran for the Dean’s office begging for something else, anything else. She said there was an opening in Creative Writing and I could take that. I am (and always have been) an avid reader, so writing sounded like a reasonable alternative to all the poetry. I took the class and fell in love with writing.

I participated in an on-line writing group at the dawn on the internet and enjoyed it immensely. I sat down to write my first novel in 2011 when my wife went to the Philippines for two months and left me home alone. I needed something to do, so I took one of my short stories and turned it into a novel. I found a good editor and worked with her to get it ready for publication, and got my son to design me a cover in his graphics class and published the Foundling Wizard in august of 2012.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I was a big science fiction fan, but fell in love with Fantasy a number of years ago. I decided to write Fantasy because that is the genre I know the best. I have dozens (probably hundreds) of Fantasy novels all over the house and in my personal library. I love the idea of creating these rich fantasy worlds, and can’t think of anything more fun than writing scenes where Wizards battle with magic.

Where do you get your ideas?

At first it was hard. I couldn’t come up with problems and situations for my characters, but the more I write in my fantasy world, the more it comes easily. Lately, I seem to come up with ideas faster than I can write them down. People always ask me where I get the ideas. All I can think to say is they just come to me when I sit and think about them, although I’ll have to admit, sometimes I sit back in my writing chair to visualize a scene and fall asleep, so maybe I dream them up while I’m sleeping.

Dreaming up ideas 😀 I like that concept. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

When I’m not sure how things will work out; I struggle to write much. When that happens, I take out my outline and start looking over what I had planned. I usually find a problem that doesn’t fit with what I already wrote. When I fix that, the words start to flow again.

So you work with an outline? Tell us more about how you do it.

Oh, I am a heavy outliner. I use the Story Engineering model (surprising isn’t it coming from a software engineer) to build my rough outline. Then I use the snowflake method to go back in and increase the level of detail until I have a good model for the whole story. I usually have each chapter outlined up to the mid-point of the story and then I start writing. When I get close to the middle, I finish the outline so I have a map that will take me all the way to the end. I would be totally lost without my outline.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Arthur C Clark, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein as a kid. As an adult, more Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell. I read a lot of Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan. The Hitchhiker’s Guide and Terry Pratchet of course are a must.

Oooh, Robert Jordan is one of my faves too! Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I think the hardest part was learning how to work with an editor. I found someone who was willing to work with me. I send her my “polished” manuscript. She read through it and told me that there was something terribly wrong, but she was not sure what it was. We spent several days discussing what she felt and finally came to understand what I had missed. I put together a plan to fix everything she noticed, and then did a fairly significant revision. It was a great experience, and a lot of work, but I’m glad we did it. I learned so much from that experience.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Not really. I was pretty happy with the whole process. I have a great relationship with my editor, and was able to stop in and visit with her in person while my wife and I were in the UK for our anniversary. We’re from California and getting to meet my editor in England was a real treat. It definitely helps build that relationship for future work.

What a treat! How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

You aren’t going to like my answer here. I don’t market my work beyond putting it on Amazon and doing a Goodreads giveaway. I tried a few things in the beginning but nothing seemed to work. I am a big fan of Dean Wesley Smith. He says write more books. That is the way to get visibility. I have found that each new release drives sales for my whole catalog of books, so I mainly focus on writing more in the series and not so much on marketing.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I have a science fiction book I wrote about one of my favorite characters. I tested it with a couple of Beta readers, and they didn’t like the character. I really want to get that character out there, but I have to figure out why they didn’t like her as much as I do. Until I get positive reader feedback, she stays on my hard drive. I have really been focusing on getting the fantasy series complete before I take on the science fiction one.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Master Wizard is the third in the series (not counting the prequel) that wraps up Lorit and Chihon’s journey. It’s the culmination of their growth and maturity and the end of their trials. I am starting revisions soon with a target to have it ready for publication by June. It’s aggressive, but I think I can make it.

Good luck with your goal! Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I think the relationship between the characters draws on real life. I am a rather even keeled type of guy. I’ve been married for twenty-five years, and depend on my wife for a lot. We discuss everything of importance, and I rely on her for more than I let on. I think this shows in my characters. The female characters in my books are all strong and intelligent, sometimes more so than the males. My editor says I write the women better than I write the men.

You’ll have to admit, women are quite fun to write about! Haha! So what was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I love to write very descriptive battles and magical scenes. In my upcoming novel, I used a vision to show the main character as a dragon, and let the reader experience firsthand what it would be like to be a dragon. I drew heavily on my experience as a private pilot to illustrate the freedom and peacefulness of flight. I loved that scene and it shows.

Oooo Dragons! I can’t wait to read it! How did you come up with the title?

The Foundling Wizard title was just sort of obvious. I sat down and decided that I needed a title, and that was the first thing that came to mind. I shared it with a few people and they thought it was cool, so it stuck. The other titles are all based on “Wizard” something, so they’re not as imaginative as they could be, but it helps tie all the books together in the series.

What project are you working on now?

I’m revising Master Wizard, the completion of the Apprentice to Master series.

Will you have a new book coming out soon?

Master Wizard is set for a June release.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

I used Lorit and Chihon in the main series. I decided to take a closer look at the genesis of the old wizards, so I write Wizard Pair to delve deeper into their beginnings. I have a new character introduced in Master Wizard who is going to get at least one book of his own. One thing that L.E. Modesitt did that I loved, was to write two books that covered the same story. In each one, the protagonist was the antagonist from the other book. It was great in that it showed that both of the characters were acting in what they thought of as the best interest of society and their own order. I loved it, and would like to do that one day. Take one of the evil Priests and show his story and motivation. Maybe when the main series is done.

What a cool writing style! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Right after I published Foundling Wizard, I got a scathing review on Amazon from someone who hated the book. It really hurt, but I learned that not everyone likes what you write. I try to take criticism as a means of helping me improve, so I don’t take it too much to heart.

The best criticism is a review that said the reader loved the book and was going to buy the next one right away. That pretty much sums it all up. I don’t really get much feedback from readers. I think fantasy readers are pretty subdued. Some authors have huge readership with lots of feedback from their readers. The only think I know about my readers is that they buy from Amazon.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Read a lot and write a lot. Get feedback on as much of your work as you can. I do a lot with local writer’s groups and have found them to be a great learning environment. Make friends with other writers and trade ideas and learning. But, most of all, keep writing. The more you write, the better you will get at it.

Great advice James! Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I’m so excited to see that people enjoy my work. I had no idea what to expect when I published my first novel, but I am encouraged by how many people are reading it. I particularly love to hear folks talk about my characters as if they were real people. That says I am portraying them well enough that they seem real to someone else besides me.

Thank you so much James for sharing about yourself and your work! Loved having you!

And to my readers and fellow fantasy fans, take a minute to check out Foundling Wizard and the rest of the books from the Apprentice to Master series here. Already read one of James A. Eggebeen’s books and loved em like I do? Leave a review here.

Categories: Meet the Author! Interviews with Awesome Indie Authors! | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Foundling Wizard by James Eggebeen

I just finished Foundling Wizard by James A. Eggebeen and had a great time reading it! It is the first book in the Apprentice to Master series and I am very much looking forward to reading the next books. (See below for titles and links.) Now, I am quite a fanatic when it comes to fantasy series, and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised with Wizard Foundling, which creates a whimsical and magical feeling throughout and carries you effortlessly through the story.

Lorit, a boy of 18, who comes from a small farming village, finds himself in quite the predicament when magical powers arise within himself, catching the attention of the dreadful high priests from the Temple of Ran. He flees his home and goes on a treacherous journey where he meets new friends, travels through high mountains passes and plains of deadly grasses, only to find that the priests have taken from him the things he holds most dear. When he becomes paired with his new friend Chihon. a sorceress, and with the help of the Master Wizards, he seeks vengeance against the priests, putting his and Chihon’s lives in danger.

The author creates an amazing alternate world in which his character’s live; one with wonder, magic and mystery. The plot was suspenseful and engaging, and the thought behind the details was well worked out. Eggebeen is a good author, but as he writes more books, I believe he will be great!

On a scale of 1-5, I give Foundling Wizard a 4 star and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good epic fantasy.

You can find Wizard Foundling here on Amazon. The second book in James A. Eggebeen’s Apprentice to Master series is Wizard’s Education found here. And the third book, which is also the prequel to the series, is Wizard Pair and you can find that here.

But wait! There’s more! It is with great pleasure that I have the author of Foundling Wizard joining me today in a ‘Meet the Author’ interview. Check it out here .

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THE NEXT BIG THING!

The Next Big Thing …

Welcome to The Next Big Thing. My author buddy, Suzanna Williams, recently tagged me for a ‘chain’ blog entitled ‘The Next Big Thing’.
The deal is: I answer a few questions about my current work-in-progress, then I invite other authors to do the same. A bit like a chain letter, except it is only focused on an author’s work-in-progress.
Suzanna is the author of a young adult sci-fi action adventure titled Shockwaves. You can find her answers about her latest book by clicking here.
Suzanna was tagged previously by Katherine Lowry Logan, the author of The Ruby Brooch, a time travel romance.
Read about her work-in-progress here.
The authors I’ve chosen have been tagged can be found below my answers. So here goes:

What is the working title of your next book?

MER: volume 2. (This is just a working title until I make a decision on what the second book in the series will be called.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Besides the fact that I love anything fantasy, involving mermaids and magical creatures, it all started with a late-night conversation with my hubby. We were talking about current trends in young adult books and movies and I was like “There are so many vampire, werewolf, and wizard type books…what about merpeople?” And thus, MER was born.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult fantasy with a touch of romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

This is a very hard question, because I have so many characters in my book, a lot of them being children and teens. BUT I will say that Russel Crow would be a great Lord Emrys, the children’s father.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

MER is a dark and magically gripping tale of the Castlecray children, who are forced on a treacherous journey where bed-time stories come to life right before their eyes.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This was a very hard decision for me at first, but for now I will am self publishing the MER series. If I get a fantastic offer from a big-time publisher, then it may be a different story.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took me nine months to write MER, the first book in the series, and I am shooting for six months for book 2! Wish me luck!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

This is also a very hard question, because I believe my book is very different from any other. But if I had to choose I would say J.K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER and George R.R. Martin’s A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, which are two very different styles.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My family. My daughter, who is absolutely obsessed with fairy-tales and anything mermaid and my husband, who is my biggest support system!

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This series is geared towards young adults, but it is great for and loved by many people of all ages. It has a little bit of everything, from knights who fight for honor, a rebellion war and slimy crag trolls, to magical creatures, ancient prophecies, mermaids, and romance. If that doesn’t get you, check out the book trailer here done by Director Jeremy Womac and Monsoon Productions. It is amazing!
The authors I’ve invited to join in the fun are: James Eggebeen, a fantasy writer after my own heart, and Bethany Aan, a steamy erotica/romance and sci-fi writer.
I hope you’ll visit their websites and check out their books. Their answers will be posted on their blogs on Friday, March 1st, along with the names of the authors they’ve tagged. Look for #BlogNextBigThing

Categories: Indie Publishing, Inspirations, Jade | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE? INDIE-PUBLISHING WITH CREATE SPACE AND KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING.

Throughout the whole writing and indie-publishing process of my first novel there was an ever-present question in the back of my mind…”How long?”  How long will it take me to write my novel? How long does it take for it to get edited? How long from the point of finishing my novel until it gets published? How long does it take Amazon to have my book live for sale? How long? How long? How long? I don’t know why this was so important to me or why I even cared except for the fact that I am a person that likes deadlines and guidelines and rules, etc. because it helps me to become that much more motivated. And it’s also very exciting to daydream about the day you will actually see YOUR book that YOU wrote FOR SALE and available to millions of people!

There is no rule book on how long it will take you to write your novel or how long it takes the big “ZON” (Amazon) to have your book ready for sale. As a first time published author, I wish there had been some sort of literature or something, anything that I could have refered back to through this whole alien, confusing and sometimes stressful experience. That is why I have documented my journey through self publishing from point A to Z to hopefully give some idea of a general time frame so it just might ease the nerves of my like-minded author buddies. That’s you!

FEBRUARY 2012- I started writing my novel and gave myself a goal to be finished by the end of October of 2012 and have my book for sale by December 25th.

OCTOBER 2012- A little less than nine months later my novel was finished. (Sort of. Haha!)

OCTOBER 2012- It was a week or so before Halloween when I sent my manuscript to my editor (I found someone local and it was nice to actually sit down with her and go over editing notes in person!) Some editors work very fast. Mine took about 5 weeks though. I went over my manuscript one last time and then handed it over. Then the editor did a first run-through and gave it back for corrections. Then I went through it again and handed it back with corrections made. The editor went over it for a last time and then I did again for a last time. (I think I probably went over it again a few more times! Editing is not very fun. LOL!) I HIGHLY recommend an editor if you are self-publishing or at least another set of trusted eyes. No one wants to read a book that makes them stop listening to the story and start focusing on errors. Although I am very good with grammar, spelling, and such, we still found many discrepancies, even in the last run-throughs!

NOVEMBER 2012- Still knee-deep in editing. Blah, LOL! Also working with the book cover designer, and the ones I worked with were FAST!

DECEMBER 2012- Editing is finished in the beginning of December! YAY! But not on schedule for publishing by the 25th yet. 😦 I would have been closer to hitting my goal had I not had a last-minute change of heart and added some things to my novel, which extended my time frame due to further editing/formatting/cover designing, etc. Don’t ever feel rushed! Your book needs to be the best it can be. So if you feel there are changes needed, just do it!

DECEMBER 30th, 2012- DONE! Edited: check.  Polished: check.  Formatted: check.  Cover design: check.

DECEMBER 31st, 2012, 8:30 p.m.- Submitted my novel to Create Space and Kindle Direct Publishing! Woo Hoo!

JANUARY 1st, 2013, 10:45 a.m.- I received an email saying “Congratulations for publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing!” or something along those lines. I checked and sure enough the kindle version of my book was available on Amazon! Happy New Year to me! BUT there was some funky stuff. It said, “MER by Jade M. Phillips, Marguerite Wainio, Juan Heinrich, Tatiana Vila.” Now… my book is titled MER, my name is Jade M. Phillips, but who are all these other people who apparently wrote the book along with me?! LOL!  I actually do know who they are. That is my editor, artist, and cover designer that I had put in as contributors during the KDP set-up process. And although I love them and they deserve credit, It gives off the impression that MER was written by a team rather than just one author, ME. Haha! Just a word of wisdom: Unless you want the description of your book to look the way I described it, I would recommend you ONLY put yourself, the author, as a contributor. But that’s up to you. SO, I went back into my KDP set-up and changed the contributors, then received the all-too-well-known “We have to review you book, blah blah blah, can take up to 12 hours, blah blah blah,” message.

Now for the Create Space submission. A message appeared on my dashboard saying that my paperback book would be available immediately on the Create Space estore, but it could take 5-7 days for it to be available on Amazon.

JANUARY 1st, 2013, 2:30 p.m.- I filled out my author bio and set up my Amazon author page, which is called Author Central (you can only do this after your book is live on Amazon.) Crazy, right? And at 2:45 I got an email saying that it would be a while before it was live. Then at 8:00 p.m. I get an email saying that my author page is live. It looks great, so I finish it up by adding pics, RSS feed from my blog, twitter, etc..

JANUARY 2nd, 8:00 a.m., 2013- Received an email congratulating me again for publishing with KDP and that my book is now available, AGAIN. Hahaha! I check it out and it now says “MER, by Jade M. Phillips.” Now that’s better. 🙂

JANUARY 5th, 10:00 a.m., 2013- It is has been five days since submitting my book to create space, and sure ’nuff, I check Amazon and there it is! My paperback available for sale! Yay! Whew! You will NOT get a notification from Create Space or Amazon when your paperback becomes available, so just do like the rest of us and check Amazon every day. LOL!

And THAT was the process. MY process. I’m sure it will vary from person to person, but hopefully this will give you an idea of what you’re up against!

To sum it up. It usually takes your kindle version less than 24 hours to become available on Amazon, and your Create Space paperback 5-7 days. Now don’t mark my words, as Amazon is always changing things and it could possibly change. But that is what I got from it.

A FEW WORDS OF WISDOM from my experience:

*When you set a goal of when you would like your book to be published, and I mean actually AVAILABLE for purchase on Amazon, make sure you are done writing your novel a few months before that deadline to allow time for editing, formatting, cover designs, and any changes that may pop up (and believe me, there will be changes!)

*Don’t stress! This is a meticulous and lengthy process. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time.

*Research. Check out other people’s experiences, suggestions and advice by googling any and every question you may have as you go along. Knowledge is power and it will definitely help you get the job done faster and more efficiently.

You will also learn little need-to-know tidbits that no one will just come out and tell you. Like, for example, did you know that your book cover HAS to be the absolute LAST thing you do? Because the cover designer needs an EXACT page count of your formatted manuscript in PDF for your create space paperback in order to format the cover to the right size. SO you must have your book formatted first before you can have your paperback cover! And in turn, to have your book formatted, it has to be in its final stage; edited and polished. NO MORE CHANGES! (Ah! That was the scariest part for me!) There is a chain of events that has to happen in a certain order, and because there is no hand-book of rules for indie publishing with KDP and Create Space you will only learn this by doing research and living through the process yourself.

*Good Luck to you all and I wish you the best!!! And feel free to comment here if you ever have any doubts and/or questions about the whole process or any advice to add. I’m no wizard on it, having only been through it once, but I might be able to help. 🙂

Thanks again for reading and may the power of words be with you!!!

xoxo- Jade

Categories: Indie Publishing, Writing Tips | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

REVIEW: DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor (No Spoilers)

…And add a cherry on top!

If you read my earlier review of the first book in this trilogy, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, you will remember I called it a treat. More like vanilla ice cream dripping with hot chocolate fudge sauce. And now I say add a cherry on top. Or an entire jar for that matter!

I can’t get enough of this series and will be biting my fingernails awaiting the release of the third book in the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE series!

Ok, so we got to know Karou quite well in book 1. And the strapping Akiva as well. -I think I have a crush, by the way. *blushes* Anyway, the characters, who had fully developed into amazing “people” in the first book, only go on further and take you into the depths of their minds and souls. My heart aches that Karou and Akiva, soul mates for sure, are torn apart by unforseen reasons and pulled to opposite sides of the war of the realms!

I had also stated in my first review that it was like author Laini Taylor uses her beautiful words to paint a masterpiece, and this one, like Romeo & Juliet, except totally twisted in a fantasy world. Well it’s funny that in book 2, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT, Laini references the story of Romeo and Juliet quite a few times, therefore solidifying my connection. Have you ever watched Romeo and Juliet the movie with Clair Danes and Leonardo DiTap-that-ass? Oops, I mean Dicapalicious, I mean DiCaprio. LOL. *blushes again.* That is the exact movie that came to mind when reading both books in this series. It wasn’t even that the story structure was the same, which it is similar, but Laini’s intricately carved words artfully depict the scenes in her book like the cinematography director Baz Luhrmann did for the 1996 Romeo and Juliet. Stunning! Dazzling! Gorgeous! I wish I could show you the inside of my head while I read through the trials and tribulations of this gripping and addictive story!

A little bird told me that this will be made into a movie as well! (actually Laini said it herself on twitter!!!) That would be awesome if Baz Lurhmann, director extraordinaire in my opinion, would do the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE movies. I know he’s not, cause I think I heard the name Rupert Sanders, who directed Snow White and the Huntsman, but don’t quote me on that.

Anyways, without spoiling the book, I feel like all I can say is you will  absolutely not be disappointed if you pick up and read DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. But of course you must read DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE first!

A definite 5 stars out of 5!

When you do read it, come back and we’ll have a chat. One which will include giggling and crying, laughing and screaming over this book series and a bunch of “when the heck is the third one coming out!?”

Have a nice week everyone! And may the power of words be with you!

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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