Experiments Continued

Okay so its been pretty quiet, but for good reason. I’ve been busy typing away at Darkness which I’m hopefully going to finish another chapter of tonight. I did have this awesome news when I checked on Kakri’s rank today. If you saw the previous post a few days ago this experiment of mine has been going good.

rank

 

The problem now is to decide if I should perma free it or not since its set as a stand alone as much as a sequel to Vengeance it is a good place to jump into my writing. Right now I’m torn but going am to see how the weekend and Monday go for me to fully decide. Regardless of how things go with Kakri- Vengeance’s fate is sealed- it is only available for $0.99 cents until evening Monday before it jumps back up to its regular price.

My mind so far I will say is blown by the experiment, I haven’t done any large promos on it at all – medium ones at best and alerting some of the blogs (Thanks to all those who have shared it for me) but still have had a good amount of success. Thanks all for your continued support! ❤

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Great Things to Wake Up To

So yesterday I finally was able to start a semi-experiment/ uncharted territory when Kakri was made free for you all to “purchase”. I didn’t do too much to get word out about the change and just left it. This morning I wake up to this upon checking the page:

newsmorning

So I go to my  dashboard to see how well exactly it fared and was pretty pleased so far given my advertising efforts so far. Then as I was flipping randomly through the different Amazons I saw I had sold Vengeance of Segennya overseas making it my first international sale. Now here’s hoping the momentum continues- its definitely put me on cloud nine today.

Obligatory reminder because yeah- Kakri is currently available for free, and Vengeance of Segennya available for 99 pennies! Also if I didn’t mention it they’re both now on the iTunes store for you apple users! Kakri and Vengeance 

Author Spotlight 4-4- Introducing Andrew Lawston

I’m running a lot later this post than I am- life somewhat ran away for me and I apologize for that. Without any further delay I must say it is my pleasure to introduce author, Andrew Lawston.

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My name’s Andrew Lawston and I’m a 30-something writer, amateur actor, and publishing professional. I live and work in London with a little black cat. I’m a keen fan
of Doctor Who, which inspired me to start writing from an incredibly young age, and the old Doctor Who novelisations kept me reading at a blistering rate while I was
growing up. I used to be a French teacher, and I have degrees in French and Film Studies. I enjoy cooking, going to the theatre, long walks by the Thames, and a nice
pint of beer. I’m basically a very silly person, if I’m being completely honest.

2) Where can we find you on the internet? 

I’m all over the place! I’ve just started a new blog at http://andrewlawston.blogspot.com, I’m on Twitter as @alawston, and Facebook at
http://www.facebook.com/andrewklawston. My Amazon profile can be found at http://www.amazon.com/Andrew-Lawston

3) Why did you chose the genre you write in and how would you describe your writing style? 

I don’t really have a fixed genre, though I’m drifting towards a sort of magical realism, I suppose. I have an idea for a story, and I write it, whichever genre that story
needs to be. I’ve written a bit of horror, a bit of fantasy, a bit of science-fiction, a bit of humour. My writing style is often described as ‘quirky’. I don’t know, really. I enjoy
writing, and my style tends to vary according to what I’m working on. I’ve done everything from silly short stories to formal academic writing, so it can be hard to pin
down. My short story voice has become fairly defined though, as a playful, readable style, but I’m not afraid to use a few long words. Especially now everyone’s reading
on digital devices with built-in dictionaries!

4) Tell us about your latest book. 

Story of My Escape is a very special project. It’s a translation of Giacomo Casanova’s 18th Century classic “Histoire de ma fuite” which was his published account of
his escape from prison in Venice in 1756. It’s an amazing book, but it’s never been published widely in English before! It’s taken me four years (not working on it
solidly though). Casanova is living the high life in Venice when, quite abruptly, he’s arrested and locked away under the lead slabs of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. He
doesn’t know why, and he doesn’t know how long his sentence will be. So he sets about escaping in a most audacious and ingenious fashion.

There are two ways to look at the book, really. On the one hand, it’s a rollicking adventure, gradually accelerating as Casanova becomes more and more desperate to
break out of his cell. On the other, it’s a great way to learn more about the man himself. There’s a lot more to Casanova than his romantic exploits; he was a writer,
philosopher, musician, scholar, soldier, spy, confidence trickster and more. This book showcases the breadth of his character: his wit, intelligence, resolve, and
ruthlessness, and it hopefully gives readers a more balanced view of one of the 18th Century’s most notorious figures.

5) If you could live in any world from a book or movie which would it be and why? 

I think it would have to be Middle Earth, probably in the Shire. In the film version, where nothing bad happens, and all the hobbits wander around in waistcoats, stoned
off their furry little toes, and writing their quaint little life stories by hand in giant leather tomes. I think I’d make a good hobbit. *wistful sigh* I need to wear more
waistcoats…

6) What was your favorite book growing up? 

Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett. The high-concept idea of the Grim Reaper retiring, with all the chaos that entails, is offset by the rather charming adventures of the
human Death on a little farm in the hills. It was one of the first Discworld novels I read, and it got me really excited about writing fantasy and humour (though not
necessarily together, I think Pratchett has that sewn up).

7) The infamous question- what advice would you give to any aspiring and new authors out there? 

Just keep writing. And ignore all the nonsense. There’s a lot of posturing at the moment from ‘indie’ authors about the death of ‘trad’ publishing, and the death of ‘dead
tree’ books, and the rise of this, and the opportunities of that. They’re all selling something, and the bottom line is this: they don’t know, and neither do you. And neither
do I, come to that. The future of publishing is ALWAYS uncertain. Amazon and e-books are just the latest twist in the rambling saga of an inherently unstable industry.
It really needn’t have any effect on your writing. Just keep your head down and write. Worry about macro-economic trends in literature another day.

8) What are your preferred method to use while writing and environment? 

I write first drafts mostly with a cartridge pen and notebook, before typing up later. I view the act of typing up a handwritten story as a ‘free redraft’ because I can edit on
the fly. When I’m a fair way into the story, and it’s all settled, and I know its shape, then I may start typing before the first draft is finished – it depends entirely how I feel.
As for environment, I write in the pub, on trains, at the dining table, wherever really. It used to be almost exclusively in pubs and bars, but I’ve grown up a bit since
those days. I started writing in bars because I was the only non-smoker in my social group, so I needed something to do when my friends all went outside and I was
left to hold the table. Then it became a genuine writing habit, and then it became an affectation, at which point it immediately stopped being useful.

9)What are your favorite games (tabletop and/or video)? If you’re not too much into gaming (even monopoly counts!) what are your other hobbies? 

I’m very much a video gamer! My favourite game tends to be ‘the one I’m playing at the moment’, but enduring favourites include the Max Payne series for being just
tongue in cheek enough about their unremitting misery, the Half Life games (because of the awesome), We ❤ Katamari for sheer lunacy, and Doom II: Hell on Earth.
This last because I spent quite a chunk of my first year of university modding it to include 8-bit graphics from 1980s Amstrad games. At the time I thought it was the
most ironic thing ever to retro-fit this super-modern game with ancient graphics. Now you look at Doom II and it looks old enough to be the game Noah played on the
Ark while waiting for the rain to stop!

Other hobbies? I touched on the acting – I’m an actor with a community theatre group that donates profits to local charities in our corner of London. That’s amazing fun,
and one day I hope to write a play for them or something.

10) What can we look forward from you in the future? 

I have a second collection of short stories that I think is about half-done. There are four complete stories, with lengths ranging from 500 to 8,500 words, and a clutch of
drabbles. I’ve also got a bunch of half-complete stories to finish off the collection. It really depends how quickly I can get them polished to a decent standard, but I’m
hoping to have it out shortly after Easter. Also on the short fiction front, I’m going to go back to my roots, scrub up all my old Doctor Who fanfiction, and post it on
Wattpad. You’re welcome, Internet 😉

In the second half of the year, I also have two professional appearances lined up in anthologies: a Christmas-themed adventure in Sanity Clause is Coming, and a
science-fictionfied fairytale retelling in the ongoing Grimm & Grimmer series. Both from Fringeworks.

I’m also still developing an idea for a whodunnit with a friend of mine. We’re very excited about it, but we’re also both very busy, and when we do see each other, we
tend to get carried away talking about what a brilliant idea it is, and then we get drunk congratulating ourselves on our genius, and then the next day we realise we’ve
still not actually written very much. At some point we’ll get ourselves organised, and it will be a three act play and a fantastic evening’s entertainment.

I should also really write a novel at some point. The problem is, there are so many stories I want to tell, and I find short fiction the most efficient way to get them down
on to paper.

Author Spotlight- Meet Abby L. Vandiver!

It’s my extreme pleasure to introduce for this week’s spotlight author Abby L. Vandiver!

Author Picture                        Irrefutable Proof Cover

 

1)     Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am a former attorney and college professor. Irrefutable Proof is my second book. My debut novel, In the Beginning came out this past June. Other than writing as much as I can, I enjoy spending time traveling and with my three grandchildren.

2)     Where can we find you on the internet?

You can find me everywhere! My website is http://www.abbylvandiver.com . My Twitter handle is @AbbyVandiver and I’m on Facebook as well. I have profiles on Goodreads and Amazon. So, be sure to find me and say, “Hello.”

3)     Why did you choose the genre you write in and how would you describe your writing style?

I didn’t really choose the genre I don’t think, it chose me. It was the story that I wanted to tell. In my second book, Irrefutable Proof, I really didn’t know what genre the book would fall in until the beta reader commented on it.

4)     Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book, Irrefutable Proof is a cozy mystery, suspense and alternative history novel. It is a continuation of In the Beginning, but can be read without reading the first book. The main character, a Biblical archaeologists looks for advanced technology that was used by our ancestors to build the pyramids, steam engines and batteries thousands of years before we ‘re-discovered’ them. There’s a little murder and conspiracy going on in it too. A little something for everyone. Oh, except for romance. Don’t have any of that in there. Sorry!

5)     If you could live in any world from a book or movie which would it be and why?

I love the scenery in What Dreams May Come. I wish the colors of my world were that vibrant and cool. And I would love to see and speak with my mother again.

6)     What was your favorite book growing up? 

No favorite books when I was coming up, I used to just love to read. My favorite genre though is mystery.

7)     The infamous question- what advice would you give to any aspiring and new authors out there?

Get a proofreader!

8)     What are your preferred method to use while writing and environment?

I like it quiet. Sometimes I’ll play music or have the television going on in the background, but I don’t think any of that aids in my thought process.

9)     What are your favorite games (tabletop and/or video)? If you’re not too much into gaming (even monopoly counts!) what are your other hobbies?

I do like a good game of Monopoly, but my favorite thing to do is watch a good movie. One that draws me in and makes the real world go away for a little while.

 10)   What can we look forward from you in the future?

More books! I’ve got a slew of them up in my head. But the next one to be put on paper is At the End of the Line, a book I’m writing with a very talented co-author, Kathryn Dionne. We’ll be writing under the pen name Kathryn Longino.

Thanks again Abby for taking the time with my questions. 

Venturing out in Promotion

There comes a time in any author’s career, especially starting out when the word of mouth promotion that happens when it is all exciting and new dies- just goes silent. I’ve been sensing that day was coming for me, and it finally has. It is really unrealistic to expect it last forever unless you do have the books and the demand behind you. Regardless of knowing what was on the horizon I tried not to fret about it though it makes my job harder overall, having to focus a ton on one area instead of the balance of sorts I was doing between the writing and marketing. It is still possible to balance but I’ve found mood drags if no sales are seen for too long if only because then the doubt happens when really it is probably a combination of things, most of which is lack of visibility, that is the culprit. With this in mind I purchased my first actual promotion ad, and man am I nervous since I hope something comes from it. I’m still looking at other options, if only I had seen some while I was running my 99 cent deal for Kakri, but I digress.

My point is at some point the paying for an add is somewhat inevitable, luckily most, though not by the sounds of the most effective which runs insane at times price wise, are fairly cheap. The problem is finding what works and what doesn’t- which is where my message board stalking has come into play. I chose one that seemed to come up quite a bit on numerous lists going with the whole logic that numerous suggestions means more than one success story. By the way I do suggest hanging out on these message boards anyway, the company can be nice, many questions can be answered and networks established. I warn you though that some services do require a certain amount of reviews or star rating to use, also what seems to be the most effective ones which is somewhat bothersome to an author still getting the foot in the door. Okay- so this bothers me a bit more since I know its partly my screw up that did it because I launched both books without reviews lined up, something I’m determined to not repeat for Darkness. Getting people to review is like pulling teeth, blogs are filled up, though I still try and happy readers are somewhat up in the air on leaving them. I had one lovely review- my first five star actually, that came from a random giveaway I partnered with on another page, they had no obligation to read my book since it was a massive giveaway but it was amazing that they left a review let alone read it so soon after I sent it off.

So that’s plan one- and I should mention I say these things because I know there are plenty of other authors out there going through this same thing. The second part of this is my current debate, besides probably stepping up self promotion- ugh I hate this necessary evil- and maybe, though I’m debating how effective such a thing is in my genre starting a street team. Still need more research in that regard, since there are dangers giving someone else permission to represent you no matter how small, as well as trying to decide perks as far as joining beyond access to ARC’s since how can you promote what you might not have read and responsibilities of people joining. More voices being out there is good but not sure how effective such things are as far as fantasy since usually teams like that are better for romance from what I’m reading. That being said who knows, what might work and what doesn’t- a lot is an experiment until you find something that does work.

I should mention at the very least what I’m looking at that might be part of this equation, the cover- I didn’t go the traditional route of having a human body on either cover, that might be screwing me now because it lacks that tie with genre or even appeal though I’ve had a lot of good comments on how it looks at the same time. I’ve also been looking at blurbs seeing, what could be added or taken away to help boost things up a bit. Regardless of cause it is constant maintenance but one that will hopefully pay off in the end.

Obligatory Giveaway Reminders.

Quick post of reminders before I run back  to finishing up this chapter in Darkness’s Fury I’m working on. I’m running a giveaway right now for two sets of my books in ebook format- blog link is on the right side if you want to enter, and who doesn’t love free stuff? I’m also involved in a giveaway that includes a grand prize of a Kindle Paper White and a ton of other books, swag and other goodies from a ton of cool authors thanks to the lovely girls of For the Love of Books. I should note that Vengeance is the only book of mine in that giveaway since it was formed before Kakri was released and I was unsure of if I would make it in time.

I’ve also set out my shingle of sorts more out on Google Plus via a community, only because I like its organization over a page that way teasers and such don’t get so lost in the shuffle- not that much gets as lost as things do on Facebook but I’ve already voiced my opinion on that. If you care to join me head over here.

Author Spotlight – Meet Amy Peterson

Friday is upon us again and time for  another Author Spotlight. It’s my pleasure to introduce Amy Peterson, recent author of the pet centered memoir, Something Furry Underfoot.

Author_Amy_L_Peterson_with_Purrkins       SOMETHINGFURRYUNDERFOOT_final

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m the stepmother of four big kids, a grant program manager, spouse of an obsessed fisherman, and the “mom” of two nine-month-old puppies, one middle-aged cat, four hamsters, two mynah birds, two tanks of tropical fish, and one rescued white-footed deer mouse that does the loop-da-loop on his exercise wheel.  You can see Smokey Joe, the mouse, in action in my pet video, What Animals Deserve at www.youtube.com/watch?v=keR2jssTtOs.

Where can we find you on the Internet?

If you go to my web site www.amylpeterson.com you’ll see that I blog about pets, nature and life.  You’ll also see cute photos of my puppies, links to my FB page and Twitter account, a link to My Books and my Videos.  I’m also on LinkedIn, GoodReads, BookBlog.ning, Indie Writers Support, Booktrailers.ning, microcerpt, several pet social networking sites, and other places I’ve probably forgotten to log onto for quite some time.

Why did you choose the genre you write in and how would you describe your writing style?

I chose humorous, touching memoirs because while documenting my experiences for myself, it dawned on me that what I learned might actually be of interest to—if not help–other people.  My first book, From Zero to Four Kids in Thirty Seconds, is a humorous, touching memoir about becoming a stepmom to four kids.  It contains over 50 tips for stepmoms and future stepmoms.  At the very same time I was figuring out my role as a stepmom, my husband was bringing pets into our home one by one.  Before I knew what had happened, I had helped care for a whole variety of pets, and that’s the basis for my second book, Something Furry Underfoot.

I would describe my writing as an easy-to-read, friendly style that aims to bring the reader right into my messy, animal-dominated house, fur and all.  Perhaps put better, one reviewer said, “Amy writes as if she were talking to you across the kitchen table.” 

Tell us about your latest book.  Something Furry Underfoot is my humorous, touching memoir about pets.  My husband started by bringing home some frogs and iguanas, which, thankfully, found permanent homes elsewhere.  But then the pets came to stay.  One female hedgehog was followed by a male hedgehog escapee who fathered several unplanned litters of baby hedgehogs.  One ferret was soon joined by three other ferret pals; one hamster was soon joined by several other small, cute rodents; one puppy had so much energy, we got another puppy.  My book also includes a lot of important factoids about pets, like that adult domestic ducklings can’t just be released to “the wild”, and that while the average guinea pig lives 5-8 years, we had one that lived to be 11 and another to the age of 12. That means that the 13-year-old child we got the guinea pigs for went happily off to college while we took care of her elderly fuzzy pals.  The 50 tips in my book also might come in handy, too.  For example Tip #30:  Some pets show up when and where you least expect them. The overall message in my book is that all pets have stories and I think our job as pet owners is to make those stories as good as possible.

If you could live in any world from a book or movie which would it be and why?

New Zealand.  As the spouse of a college professor, I was able to go to NZ three times, and I was taken in by the mountains and streams, easy access to the ocean, lovely islands and fascinating wildlife.  NZ cows and sheep are free-range, and NZ chocolate, ice cream and ketchup are top notch because they don’t add a bunch of corn syrup and other yuck to them.  Most of all, it’s relaxing there, in part because the population is low and the number of traffic lights is minimal–New Zealanders are masters in the use of round-abouts.

What was your favorite book growing up?

If I had to pick a favorite book from way back in the day it’d be Baked Beans for Breakfast  which—I know only after looking it up online—is by Ruth Chew.  It’s about a brother and sister who sneak away from their baby sitter to camp out by a lake and attempt to be self-sufficient.  I remember thinking “They’re so brave!”  Also, “If I did that, I’d be in such BIG trouble.”

The infamous question—What advice would you give to any aspiring, new authors out there?

Two things.  One, it takes a long time for most of us writers to become established and “get our name out  there.”  I finished Something Furry Underfoot in August 2013, made some revisions in September and since then have spent every free moment marketing my book.  By that, I mean I am seeking author interviews, reviews, and guest posts, and I’m writing blog postings about my book, participating in blog chats and following up on any new leads.

The other advice I’d offer is to write the words “NO DOUBT” on whatever device you write on, because the time spent doubting yourself takes away from getting the job done.

What are your preferred method to use while writing and the environment?

Because I have puppies, a cat, and a husband all roaming around my house, and an elderly mom a few miles away,  I get a lot of interruptions.  So I’ve adapted to writing amongst chaos.  Most of the time, I write at the kitchen table, with the TV on (but ignored) in the background, the pups chewing on bones nearby (and ignored until they have to go outside or chew on something besides a bone), and my husband chatting to me about his new favorite fishing lure (also ignored except for an occasional nod to make it look like I’m listening, which probably accounts for the number of lures we have).

What are your favorite games (tabletop and/or video)?  If you’re not too much into gaming (even monopoly counts@) what are your other hobbies? 

As a kid, Yahtzee was my absolute favorite because my brother, sister and I would play it while on our vacations (which always involved camping).  We almost got kicked out a campground once because we were getting so rowdy playing Yahtzee.  Since then, though, I fell in with a fast-paced game we call Scrunch.  It’s sort of like double-solitaire but you play off each other’s cards.  Funny thing:  I went online while writing this response to look for instructions for Scrunch and found a posting my sister did on her site, simplify101.com, in 2008.  She and I get a wee bit competitive when we play this game.  Actually, it’s pretty awful in a good way.

What can we look forward from you in the future? 

I’m contemplating a humorous, touching memoir about some of the fishing trips my husband and I have been on.  We’ve had the great fortune of fishing in Michigan, Florida, Montana, Canada, Mexico, and the Amazon River thus far, and just about every time, I ended up with a bigger fish than my fishing-obsessed husband.  And since fishermen tend to stretch the truth a little (and the biggest fish always gets away), well, just think how much fun I could have with a tall fishing tale.

Thanks again Amy for your time.

Kakri lives! Official Book Release!

Okay dropping in at long last this evening with the most up to date buy links for Kakri (Paperback links are still processing for Amazon and beyond). Because it very much wants to join your library and/ or arrive at your home!

Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
Createspace (Paperback)

This is technically the second book in the series but is a standalone and can be read without reading Vengeance of Segennya with really no spoilers. If you want to read Vengeance before Kakri it’s still 99 pennies at Amazon, B&N, Smashwords until Monday!

Kakri’s cover is still up for the Best Book Cover of 2014 over here as entry 69, first round voting closes the tenth so please cast your ballot!

 

Author Spotlight- Introducing Jerome Brooke

For this week’s spotlight it is my pleasure to introduce Fantasy and Science Fiction Author, Jerome Brooke!

brooke.photo                 Swords_of_Iron_Cover_for_Kindle

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jerome Brooke lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He is the consort of Jira, a princess of the lost Kingdom of Nan. He has writtten Swords of Iron (Amazon) and many other books.
2) Where can we find you on the internet?
3) Why did you chose the genre you write in and how would you describe your writing style?
I write F & SF inspired by the old pulp fiction of the Conan series.
4) Tell us about your latest book.
Astarte the Immortal is a history of the Dark Empire ruled by the Divine Astarte. The book is set in the distant future of the multiverse. Long ago men of the Elder Race sailed to the stars, and fostered many new civilizations.
5) If you could live in any world from a book or movie which would it be and why?
I love the adventures of the Conan film.
6) What was your favorite book growing up?
I loved the Conan series, as well as the Tarzan series.
7) The infamous question- what advice would you give to any aspiring and new authors out there?
Consider self publication.
8) What are your preferred method to use while writing and environment?
I like to work in the mornings.
9)What are your favorite games (tabletop and/or video)? If you’re not too much into gaming (even monopoly counts!) what are your other hobbies?
I write poetry.
Thanks for taking the time to share this with us!

It’s a News Explosion!

First, author spot light will be posted later today but first announcements galore! It’s been a few busy days over here and I’m not just saying that because finals week is upon me and kicking my butt when I want nothing better than to simply write my stuff and not papers. I digress though.

1) Newsletter! In case you missed it we have a nice shiny newsletter- link is on the right side of the blog there. Sign up to stay current with news, and get it before most other places will along with some possible exclusive goodies. I won’t bombard your inbox but I will possibly send one out once a week unless its a week I really don’t have much to announce.

2) Best Book Cover 2014! There’s a lot of cool covers up for this but so is Kakri: A Birthright Secrets Story! If I don’t say so myself it’s the best, but of course I’m partial. It’s entry number 69 (scroll down and entry numbers are at the very top of the images) and voting opens up tomorrow March, 1st! So head over and bookmark this page and please help get Kakri to number one!

3) Future Books! The ending to Darkness’s Fury has been written and boy is it a crazy one-it’s hubby approved though so that’s cool though his reaction- you might want to tone their wounds down a bit, they should be dead by the end of it. No, sadly the whole thing isn’t done but its still coming along nicely. Not sure if I’ve mentioned it but tentative timeline for it is September release. The ending has prompted me to safely say there are at least two more books lined up after Darkness’s Fury, one full length and one novella length like Kakri. How many more will there be? Well that’s honestly somewhat up to the characters, while some may fade away and depart so long as I have ideas and characters we can go on forever.

4) Store! This is an idea I’ve been playing around with for ages and the keep calm pictures I did a few weeks ago really kinda cemented it for me. Link’s over on the right side too but you can also find it here. There’s only a a few images available, both the covers for Vengeance and Kakri along with the keep calm pictures but expect more to be added as things go on but there’s cool stuff like stickers, nook and kindle covers, and other electronic cases as well as shirts and other things like that.

Kakri’s still set to release next week as of right now- here’s hoping we run into no more interference and issues. We’re still partying over on Facebook though we might do a few other things so I can hope you join us and hang out!