Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The July Movie Preview! Plus CassaStorm Updates, Wednesday Movie Quote, and Ninja News

Ninja News

Misha Gericke’s Paying it Forward nominations are open again! One category - Blogger Most Deserving of Having Their Day Made. See her site for details.

Nominate a self-published author for their weekly series spotlight at The Guardian.

Sarah Ahiers has a story, Smothered, in Dark Moon Digest’s YA quarterly edition. Congratulations, Sarah!

Available now!

Ruby’s Fire by Catherine Stine

If everything about you changes, what remains?

Find Ruby’s Fire at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, and Goodreads.


Author Samantha Redstreake Geary is collaborating with the motion picture music production house, Audiomachine, for their album release "The Tree of Life" beginning July 15th. She’s hosting a "Tree of Life: Branching Out" writing challenge/contest for guest writers, each contributing their own 150 word excerpt to a continuing story collectively written over the course of 25 days. Guest writers can spin the story in whatever direction they choose, as long as it relates to the previously posted excerpt and is inspired by the featured Audiomachine track. When the collective story is complete, fans will vote for their favorite excerpt -- the top three writers will be awarded prizes. See her site for details.

Updates!

After making one widget featuring my blogger buddies’ books (see left side bar – bottom) I realized I’d missed some, so I made a second one. A few books I couldn’t find (the widget is through Amazon) and I apologize. Hopefully I’ve featured one book from everyone!

I will be taking Fridays off through July so I can complete all the revisions for CassaStorm. I’ll still be visiting, but I won’t be posting.

And… the book trailer for CassaStorm should be ready soon! My publisher asked for three key taglines, and other than shorter than the first two trailers, I don’t know anything else about it. I’m really eager to see it, though!

Wednesday Movie Quote

Today’s genre – superhero films!


I have to go with The Avengers:

“Puny god.”

Next week – water movies! (You may interpret that any way you like.)

July Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming movies for July! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snarky comments by me.

3 – 

The Lone Ranger
Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Tom Wilkinson
Verbinski and Depp have done it before – can they do it again?

Despicable Me 2
Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal.
Directors: Pierre Coffin | Chris Renaud
Stars: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Miranda Cosgrove, Ken Jeong
The Minions are back! Who doesn’t dig the Minions?



12 –

Pacific Rim
When an alien attack threatens the Earth's existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace.
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi
Giant robots versus giant monsters and directed by del Toro – need I say more?


19 –

Red 2
Retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device.
Director: Dean Parisot
Stars: Bruce Willis, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich
Great cast and the first one was hilarious.

R.I.P.D.
A recently slain cop joins a team of undead police officers working for the Rest in Peace Department and tries to find the man who murdered him.
Director: Robert Schwentke
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon
Undead police… um, sure.

Turbo
A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500.
Director: David Soren
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph, Samuel L. Jackson
It’s Ryan Reynolds day! Maybe we’ll get singing slugs like the ones in Flushed Away.



26 – 

The Wolverine
Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future.
Director: James Mangold
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto
It’s got to be better than his origins film!



See some interesting news today? Anyone as excited as me to see the trailer for CassaStorm? (Well, probably not.) What’s your favorite superhero film quote? And what movies will you be seeing in July?

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Truth About Clones, World War Z Review, Thrill of it All Blogfest, and Movie Trivia Answers

Today I’d like to welcome fellow science fiction author, Sandra Ulbrich Almazan! Sandra knows her science and she’s here to share about clones. (Yes – clones!)

Are Clones Really Identical to the People They're Cloned From?

Clones, twins, and other types of doubles make for interesting fiction because they allow us to explore questions of identity. How much of what makes us unique is determined by our genes, and how much by our environment? One way to answer this question is by looking at people who have identical genes, whether they're natural twins or an "original" person (whom I'll refer to as the DNA donor) and the clone created from him or her. However, DNA donors and clones may differ from each other in unexpected ways.

Most of the DNA in each human cell is in the nucleus. Humans have twenty-two pairs of autosomal chromosomes (identical in form and genes) and one pair of sex-determining chromosomes. If you uncoiled the DNA in the chromosomes and laid them all end-to-end, the strand would stretch out for about six feet. It's a marvel of packaging that all this DNA fits into a space six micrometers (millionths of a meter) across. Surprisingly, most of this DNA isn't what we consider a gene: a stretch of DNA that codes for a protein or part of a protein. There are about 20,000 genes in the human genome, comparable to other animals. Many of the non-coding regions of DNA regulate how the genes are expressed.

When an organism is cloned, the nuclear DNA is copied and inserted into a receptive egg (one that had its own DNA removed). However, there is DNA outside the cell nucleus in special organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondria are involved in the final steps of breaking down food to produce energy. They are thought to be ancient bacteria that became incorporated into eukaryotic (cells with nuclei) cells. Mitochondria still have their own independent DNA, and this DNA does play a role in certain human metabolism diseases. However, mitochondria are not normally transferred from the DNA donor to the clone. I did specifically mention in Lyon's Legacy that when Sean Lyon, a famous TwenCen musician, was cloned, his mitochondria were introduced into the egg along with his DNA. However, not all of the mitochondria from the egg were removed, so the clone will have both Sean's mitochondria and his mother's.

I mentioned earlier that there are many regions of DNA that regulate other parts, the genes. However, DNA can also be regulated by other means. In fact, there is a science called epigenetics that studies how gene expression can be changed by means other than changing the code in the DNA sequence. One way this can be done is by methyl (CH3, or a carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms) tags attached to certain bases. Among other things, these tags can indicate which parent a person inherited a gene from and make it more or less active. This in turn may affect whether a person is diseased or healthy.

How does epigenetics affect a clone? For starters, if the methyl markers or other types of DNA modification are changed by the cloning process, the clone may fail to develop properly--or at all. But epigenetics aren't just inherited; they can change in response to the environment. I don't get into technical detail about epigenetics in Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes. However, I do point out that they are raised in very different environments, with the clone, Paul, growing up in a more stable home and with access to all the futuristic ideas about child rearing. How is he similar to his DNA donor, and how does he differ? You'll have to read Lyon's Legacy and Twinned Universes to find out.

Thanks to Alex for having me here today, and thanks to his Ninja Army for reading this. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Find Sandra HERE and purchase Twinned Universe at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

Ninja News

TF Walsh just signed with agent Gina Panettieri of Talcott Notch Literary. Congratulations, TF!

Tyrean Martinson’s Dragonfold and Other Adventures is now available in paperback. Congratulations, Tyrean!

Thrill of it All Blogfest

Hosted by the awesome Tara Tyler and Heather Gardner.

The ladies are looking for a thrill.

And what could be more thrilling than Mini-Alex’s first concert?

It was his big moment. His first live performance of Rush’s YYZ.

Would his fingers cooperate? Would he hit all the correct strings? Frantic and in the zone, he tore through the riff.

Score!!!! He nailed it.

And the crowd went wild…

Trivia Answers

And the directors are…

1 – The Untouchables 1987 – Brian DePalma
2 – Groundhog Day 1993 – Harold Ramis
3 – The Usual Suspects 1995 – Bryan Singer
4 – Hugo 2011 – Martin Scorsese
5 – The 13th Warrior 1999 – John McTiernan
6 – Rango 2011 – Gore Verbinksi

Movie Review

World War Z
This is a different take on the zombie genre but not completely unfamiliar.
There are some genuine chilling moments. The set pieces and action sequences were really well done, especially Jerusalem.
Brad Pitt was good. He really cared about his family and we were invested in the story.
It’s PG-13 for a reason – it’s a bloodless affair. For a zombie movie, that was an odd choice. The Walking Dead is ten times gorier.
The ending was a bit of a head scratcher. I thought they said that no matter what, he was… Sorry, don’t want to give away the ending.
Half the time, people seemed to be dying because Brad Pitt was there. (Mental note – during a real zombie apocalypse, stay away from Brad Pitt.)
My final beef – the trailer revealed too much, including all of the money shots.
Lest you think I’m bashing this film, I must say that overall it was very effective and entertaining. It’s less a zombie film and more of an action-drama. It won’t break any new ground in the zombie genre but you will be entertained for two hours.

Did you learn something new about clones today? What is the big thrill in your life? Get the trivia correct? And who else saw World War Z?


Friday, June 21, 2013

Ready to Rumble with WRiTE CLUB? Plus Movie Trivia and Ninja News

What is WRiTE CLUB? Are we allowed to talk about it? The awesome DL Hammons is here to explain!

When Alex approached me about doing a segment for his uber-popular blog I knew right away I wanted to talk about WRiTE CLUB, but wasn’t sure how to go about it in a fresh way. I thought about it for a good long while, and then finally decided to ask for help. What I did was ask our 2011 WRiTE CLUB Champion -- Tiana Smith, and the 2012 Champion – Mark Hough, to interview me so I made sure to cover the things that really stood out in their minds. Here is the result.

Tiana - I know things have changed a lot since I won the first WRiTE CLUB competition. Could you explain a few of the changes and how you think they'll make it a better experience for everyone all around?

DL - Well, I’m completely bald now and the acid my stomach produces could probably qualify as industrial strength. Oh, you mean changes in the actual contest. WRiTE CLUB was a hit right out of the gate, but last year the interest was so great that I had to put measures in place this year to keep things manageable but fair. The preliminary rounds will last just 8 weeks (shorter than last year) with two bouts per week (three last year), but the biggest change is that this year the submissions will be pre-screened by a panel of ten judges so that the best 32 make it to the ring. Another change is that every vote cast will have the voters name thrown into a hat for the chance at a $75 Amazon Gift card or a ten page critique by each of the submission judges.

Mark - I'm sure you've received a ton of emails or comments about the WRiTE CLUB competition, and it's easy to see how it's surged in popularity since it began. What do you think makes WRiTE CLUB so different from other writing competitions?

DL - One thing is that you can participate at whatever level makes you feel the most comfortable. You can simply vote for your favorite submission...or you can vote and leave a brief critique...or you can go whole hog and send in an anonymous writing sample to compete. Everything is done in a very low-key fashion, which makes the whole contest a lot of fun whichever way you choose to participate.
The second thing is the anonymity. We have had participants who are published authors pitted against aspiring wannabe's, and the wannabe's have won. Persona's have no place in WRiTE CLUB, and people love that!

Tiana - I'm incredibly excited to help judge the final round! Who are some of the other industry professionals you have lined up for judging the final showdown?

DL - I’m really pumped about this year’s stable of judges, and it really demonstrates how popular WRiTE CLUB has become. Besides you and Mark, there’ s Kendare Blake, the author of the highly acclaimed Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares teen horror series. Then there’s Katie Grimm, agent for Don Congdon Associates since 2007, where in addition to maintaining her own client list she also acts as business manager. Next is Alice Speilburg -- founder of the Speilburg Literary Agency. And finally there’s this certain science fiction writer on a journey of discovery...who’s a blogger extraordinaire! Online he is known as Captain Ninja Alex – our own Alex J. Cavanaugh! Oh yeah, I’ll be announcing more celebrity judges as the contest goes on.

Mark - Obviously my win last year was a huge confidence boost to my writing, but I found that the best thing about WRiTE CLUB for me was the practice of regularly critiquing other writers' entries. As the moderator, have you noticed any certain aspects of WRiTE CLUB which help you most as a writer?

DL - Absolutely! Working with 500 word submissions forces you to realize the value of every single word and helped me learn about word economy. It's also a lesson that needs to be continually reinforced, and critiquing is an ideal way to accomplish that.

Tiana - Since the first WRiTE CLUB competition, things have grown a lot. How big has this thing become? How much participation (views/comments/etc.) do you anticipate for this year?

DL – To give you a sense of scale, last year the first couple of bouts drew over 2,100 site hits and garnered almost 100 votes apiece. Over the course of the entire contest my blog received 30,000 hits. I’d be satisfied if we were able to maintain that level of participation again this year. It’s really gratifying to see our submissions receiving that much attention and feedback.

Mark - Since I only hopped aboard the bandwagon last year, I'm curious: how did you come up with the idea for WRiTE CLUB?

DL - First and foremost I wanted to come up with something that would shine the spotlight on other writers and provide them a way to get their work in front of a lot of people in a non-threatening way. That's actually the reason for the small i in WRiTE CLUB, because it wasn't about me (or I). So I thought, some sort of contest would do the trick. As coincidence would have it, while I was trying to come up with the rules for this yet to be named contest a TV commercial for FIGHT CLUB hit the screen...and the rest (as they say) is history!

Tiana - I know when I participated, I was a little scared to submit my writing sample, but the fact that I'd be using a pen name gave me confidence to put myself out there. Was that what made you decide to keep things anonymous?

DL – Believe it or not, there are other versions of WRiTE CLUB out there and while I was researching them I discovered that all of the others involved regular LIVE readings in gathering spots like bars or coffee shops. I knew that there was no way I could get up in front of a group of relative strangers and read my work, and a lot of people felt the same way, so why not do an internet version where submissions accepted anonymously? All of our submissions go to my wife first; she logs them in and removes the real names, so she’s the only person who knows the real names. I don’t even know them. The anonymity of it all is what makes our contest so special. All of the concentration is on the writing alone!

I want to thank Mark and Tiana for helping me out today. Hopefully the three of us tweaked the interest of some of you, and if that's so, HERE is where you should go to find out more.

On July 8th..."Let's Get Ready To RUMMMMBBBBLLLEEE!!"

Ninja News

Crystal Collier is featuring book releases/cover reveals for YA fatansy-esk genres every Wednesday on her blog and is looking for people to fill the calendar. Get details HERE.

Patsy Collins’ latest book is available, Up the Garden Path. Congratulations, Patsy! You can purchase it at Amazon. And if you want to check out the funny trailer for it, go to You Tube. Patsy really can run!

Cover reveal –

Heist by Laura Pauling
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller

Can one decision change the past?

Coming later this year – find it now on Goodreads.
Find Laura here: Blog, Goodreads, Goodreads, and Twitter

And this is really cool! One of my most awesome blogging buddies, Chuck at Apocalypse Now, surprised his wife with something really unique. He’d met Mary Montagues Sikes (whom I featured earlier this month at the A to Z Blog) and was impressed with her daily paintings for the Challenge. He sent a photo his wife had taken of a sea turtle and Mary created the amazing painting you see here. Now, is that not just awesome?

If you are looking for writing competitions with no entry fees, check out WritersViews.

Movie Trivia!

Name the director:

1 – The Untouchables 1987

2 – Groundhog Day 1993

3 – The Usual Suspects 1995

4 – Hugo 2011

5 – The 13th Warrior 1999

6 – Rango 2011

Answers on Monday!

Are you ready for WRiTE CLUB? Participating this year with an entry? Ready for some new books? Want Mary to paint a picture for you? Know the directors? And who else is seeing World War Z this weekend?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Genre-Gender Prejudice, Ninja News, Wednesday Movie Quote, and Movie Review

Today, Damyanti at Amlokiblogs is doing a special feature for CassaFire and posting a very short excerpt. If you enjoy snarky exchanges between men and women, check it out.

And she is looking for other books to feature! Check out the details at the A to Z Blog.

Ninja News

Miss Jack posted a wonderful review of CassaStar HERE. And it made her cry! I feel bad…

Men of Foxwick by Cherie Reich is now available! This fantasy short story collection features five men from the Kingdom of Foxwick.

A blind teen seeks a place in the kingdom. A dragon seer journeys to Wintermill to spy on the queen. A sword master’s worst fear comes true when he fails to protect the royal family. A king falls in love with an herb witch, but will she feel the same way? A hunter will rise to the challenge to hunt down a man-eating monster.

For more information about Men of Foxwick, please visit Cherie Reich’s BLOG. Also, Cherie has a special announcement for her email newsletter subscribers. Click HERE to sign up for her updates and receive a coupon for a free copy of Women of Foxwick.

Genre-Gender Prejudice

In the past week, I’ve read several posts regarding bias towards women in science fiction.

One was from a best-selling science fiction author. She described the horrible manner in which she was treated by fellow authors at several major Cons. (And as a result of that post, she received numerous vile threats from male readers.) Another post by Paul Anthony Shortt talked about a similar situation and disrespect towards women.

I don’t understand that attitude. First, I know many women who write outstanding science fiction stories. A good story is a good story, no matter who wrote it. Second, disrespecting women is just wrong. Yes, I am old-fashioned – men are to honor, protect, and cherish women. I don’t understand men who treat women like they were beneath them. It bothers me this happens anywhere, but it especially worries me as it’s in the genre I write.

It’s not the only prejudice in science fiction either. There seems to be a line between the hard core/high tech and the other science fiction genres. Maybe it’s because I don’t write in them, but I don’t see that kind of division in other genres.

What do you think about the general disrespect towards women authors? Is it in all genres? Are there divisions in your genre?

Wednesday Movie Quote

Today’s genre – animal movies.

I selected this genre for something different – and painted myself into a corner. I realized when looking for a quote, I’m not a fan of animal movies. I liked Planet Earth, but you really can’t pick a quote from that series. So, I opted for something I at least knew…

From Babe:

“That’ll do, pig.”

Next week – superhero films!

Movie Review

Pontypool
Recently checked out a movie that was said to be a fresh take on the zombie genre. It’s a psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town. Most of the story takes place in a radio station, where a grizzled, surly DJ (great character actor Stephen McHattie) has just recently been hired.
The DJ, producer and engineer make up the bulk of the film which is told in a style similar to The War of the Worlds radio program from 1938. The action and gore take place off screen, we hear about it as the DJ interviews eyewitnesses and his reporter in the field. Sounds dull, but the director pulls it off very well, with unsettling music and great performances.
That was the good news. The bad news is the "big reveal" near the last third of the film. The reason why everyone is turning into crazed, flesh eating killers is... intriguing as an idea but ultimately absurd and completely unbelievable. No spoilers here - check it out and decide for yourself.

Excited about Cherie’s new book? What is your favorite animal movie quote? (Do you have a favorite animal movie or were you kind of screwed, like me?) Have you seen Pontypool? And what’s your take on the bias and prejudice?

Don’t forget to visit Amlokiblogs!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Anne R. Allen Takes on Martha Stewart! Man of Steel Movie Review and Ninja News

It is my great honor to welcome the amazing Anne R. Allen today!

Blues for Martha Stewart

People always ask writers where they get their ideas. Most writers don’t know how to answer that, because the answer is pretty much “everywhere.”

It’s funny what can plant the first seeds of a novel in your subconscious. For my comic mystery, No Place Like Home, it was an odd news story about how Martha Stewart had learned to play the blues while serving her prison time for insider trading.

It put this hilarious picture of Martha in my head: I saw her with stringy hair, all grungy, sitting by a hobo’s campfire playing the blues on a beat-up guitar.

It turned out the story was totally untrue, but it stuck with me.

A few years later, I heard a story on NPR about a wealthy New York magazine editor who lost everything to Bernie Madoff.

I thought, oh, my: what if Martha Stewart had lost everything to Bernie Madoff, and instead of going to jail, she’d ended up homeless. Would she have bounced back so elegantly?

When I started to write that day—working on a whole different story—in walked a Martha-like home decorating maven named Doria Windsor, editor of Home magazine, married to a Bernie Madoff-type named Harry Sharkov, recently deceased.

So I burned her house down and left her penniless and on the lam as a suspect in her husband’s death (authors can be so mean.)

I changed the book’s working title to Blues for Martha Stewart.

Doria managed to find herself a trio of intrepid homeless friends named Lucky and Bucky and Joe—and an ugly little dog named Toto. Then she got a job working for Camilla Randall, my always-polite reluctant sleuth—who was supposed to be the heroine of the story. (Sorry Camilla)

I even got them all sitting around a campfire, singing to the strumming of a beat-up guitar.

But I never could get my “Martha” to play the blues. Somehow she never looked right with that guitar, no matter how I many times I tried to put it in the scene.

Eventually, Camilla re-asserted herself as the primary heroine by threatening to become homeless too. She set out to find out if Harry “the Shark” Sharkov was a murderer as well as the Ponzi schemer who stole her landlord’s fortune, and both she and Doria finally got homes and found a little romance along the way.

Little Toto made his way home, too.

Anne R. Allen is a former actress and stage director who lives on the Central Coast of California. She’s the author of six romantic-comedy mysteries. Her latest is NO PLACE LIKE HOME. She has written a guidebook for authors with Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of the iconic novel Pay it Forward.) HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE…AND KEEP YOUR E-SANITY! She shares an award-winning blog with NYT bestselling author Ruth Harris at Anne R. Allen’s Blog…with Ruth Harris, named one of the Best 101 Sites for Writers by Writers Digest.

Ninja News

Jack Lewis Baillot just released A Stretch of Loyalty, Book One in the Loyalty Trilogy. Congratulations, Jack!!

Pat Hatt made some awesome wanted posters for his blogger buddies. Check out mine! Thanks, Pat.

Sean McLachlan’s latest book just came out from Osprey Publishing - Tombstone - Wyatt Earp, the O.K. Corral, and the Vendetta Ride 1881-82. Congratulations, Sean!


And don’t forget the Wednesday Movie Quote – animal films!

Cover Reveal

Taking Time and Other Science Fiction Stories by Ellie Garratt 
Release date – July 15, 2013

Science fiction stories of time and space...

The future of humanity must be decided in Next Phase. Winning the Planetary Lottery is not as lucky as it first seems in Schrodinger's Gamble. An apocalypse and its aftermath threaten to tear one couple apart in Daiker's Children. In Life As I Know It a reclusive man finds both his heart and home invaded during an alien harvest. In Taking Time a demon seeking shelter on a distant planet finds himself facing a very different kind of demon, after answering a frontier settlement's plea for help.

Movie Review

Man of Steel
Caught the 3D showing early on Friday and yes, it was awesome!
The actors did a great job – they picked the right people for the roles. Henry Cavill was perfectly cast as Superman. (I would like to see Laurence Fishburne more in the next film though.)
The special effects were excellent (as expected) and it had a solid plot. Purists might note some changes, but the film was patterned after the New 52 DC comics, and I had no problem with it.
Like The Dark Knight, this is a serious Superman. It’s heavy handed – almost too much at times – but that’s better than a cheesy adaptation.
I’m a huge fan of fight scenes, but even I thought “enough already” at the ending.
The only other problems included odd editing and a bit of a distant feel to the film.
However, it’s a great start to what will hopefully be a long running series – made $125 million this weekend. Recommended!
Now, where’s my Justice League of America movie?

Any odd news spark your creativity? Following Anne’s awesome site? Excited about all the new books? And did anyone else see Man of Steel this weekend?


Friday, June 14, 2013

HOW TO SELL 300,000 BOOKS! Plus Ninja News and IWSG Update

As promised, the awesome RaShelle Workman is here to tell you how she sold 300,000 copies of her books!

Alex asked if I'd be willing to talk about my success as an indie author. I really appreciate him thinking of me.

And I hope some of the information I've listed below will be of some help to you.
***
#1. I wrote in several different genres. This was so important to my success because it allowed me to discover my passion, which is that I'm random, but *mostly* love urban fantasy (magic, other realms, vampires, fairies, but in the present).


In October of 2011 I released a YA sci-fi romance, Exiled. It did okay.

In December 2011 I decided to release my Romantic Suspense, Sleeping Roses. It'd been with two different agents and a small publisher, all of which fell through, so I figured what the heck. It did okay.

It was around that time that I got the idea ~ Snow White becomes a vampire.

Then life happened. I wrote a different book, the second book in the YA science fiction romance series (Beguiled). Hated it. Chucked it. Ignored writing.

In May I outlined the Snow White becomes a vampire series and entitled it Blood and Snow. I wanted this series to be different. Fun. Like a weekly TV show. The genre is a YA fantasy romance.


#2. I wasn't afraid to do the work. What I mean is I collected a team to help make my books the best they could be. Professionally edited. Formatter. Hiring a  cover designer. Blog tours. Cover reveals. Book trailers. Marketing.

And I'll say this.

Marketing is the most difficult part. There is no hard and fast rule. What works for one may not work for another. A group called Free Par-Tay really helped me out though.

Another marketing tip: Social Media is your friend.

Start up a Facebook Author page. I had less than a hundred "likes" at this time last year. Now I've got more than 1500 (1725 to be exact =D). If you check out my page, you'll notice that I try to keep my fans engaged. It's fun, easy, and allows you to connect with them on a personal level.

Start up a newsletter. I use MailChimp. I'm sure there are others out there, but MailChimp is easy. Those who sign up for your newsletter are golden. They like you. They really, really like you. And this gives you a way to reward them. You can run contests, let them be the first to know your book is coming out, and give out free books (in exchange for an honest review).

Make it easy for readers to purchase more of your books. Put links to your other books at the end of your story.

#3. Pricing. As an indie author I can price my books however I want. I'm not afraid to put my book at .99 cents for a while. I rarely price my book over $3.99. It may seem low, but it isn't. And I'll tell you this. I made 6 figures in three months following this rule.

#4. Write. This is the given. If you release a book and it doesn't do great. After you've done all you can, move on.

I released Exiled and for the first six months sold like 250 books. Then I released Sleeping Roses and sold 25 books. In June 2012 I released the first Blood and Snow (my Snow White becomes a vampire series) and sold 100 in the first month.

Then in July 2012, Sleeping Roses took off. I sold 10,000 that month. And, of course my other books picked up as well. By the end of January 2013 I'd sold more than 200,000 books, most of them were that silly little book no one thought would do well ~ the Snow White becoming a vampire series ~ Blood and Snow.

From May to December 2012, I wrote, released, published, and promoted 9 novellas and a full length book.

#5. Luck. I hesitate to mention this, but it's true. As with anything. There is a little bit of luck involved. Pixel of Ink picked up the first four volumes in my Blood and Snow series. Without them I wouldn't have done nearly as well. The cool thing about this is your luck can happen at anytime.

So hang in there. Do what you love.

***


Author Bio:  RaShelle Workman is the bestselling author of the Dead Roses series ("Sleeping Roses" is being translated into Turkish, and will be available in print wherever Turkish books are sold in 2014), the Immortal Essence series, Blood and Snow series and Touching Melody (A Forever First Novel). She's sold over three hundred thousand copies of her novels worldwide in the past year, including Japan, Canada, and Europe. You can find RaShelle all over the web, but the best place to start is on her BLOG

Ninja News

I’m back! Missed you guys this week. I managed to slip in a visit a few folks, but was too busy with work to do much more than that. Safe to say, I’m happy to be home.

Tyrean Martinson’s next book, Dragonfold and Other Adventures comes out July 3! One of the stories is about Captain Wrath – awesome! She’s not doing a blog tour, so anyone who can help spread the word will be appreciated.

Angela Brown just released ATONE, a NEO Chronicles: Character Revealed novella. Congratulations, Angela!



There’s an awesome review of CassaStorm on Goodreads right now, thanks to always-awesome Lynda Young who read a review copy. If you want to know a little more about it (or add to your Goodreads list) check it out.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

My awesome co-hosts for the July 3 posting of the IWSG will be Nancy Thompson, Mark Koopmans, and Heather Gardner!

And due to popular consent, the name will remain the same. There were some good points made:

Sean: I don't think it's negative to admit your insecurities. Besides, if you changed it, it would be a whole lot of work for everybody and it would kill the SEO you've built up.

Rachel: Writers have insecurities, it's not negative it's just real. Wasn't that part of the point? We all have insecurities, and that's okay.

Robyn: There's nothing wrong with admitting we're insecure. It's like saying "We're human."

Robin: I think if you changed it to Secure Writers (or something like that) it would make people who felt insecure or unpublished or whatever feel like the group wasn't for them. It was strictly a group for Established Writers to share things that they know. And anyone who wasn't published should just shut up and read. That is my take. I know I would never join a Secure Writers Support Group. I would read the posts, but it is clearly for Better Writers Than Me. A name like that is a great way to make people Not Join.

Michael: The name says it all. It's a SUPPORT GROUP for writers who are troubled and need support from our community. I've always thought it wonderful and so incredibly special. An exclusive club for writers.

Hildie: Keep the name, it's all about being insecure, if we were secure we wouldn't need a group, duh!

And the most compelling argument came from Mark: Please don't change the name of IWSG. It's taken me nearly two years to put the four letters in the correct order.

Ready to move 300,000 books now? Any questions for RaShelle? (She rocks, by the way.) See any good news? Happy I’m not changing the letters of the IWSG? And who’s going to see Superman this weekend? I’m taking off early on Friday to see it. After this work week, I’ve earned!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ninjas vs. Decendants – Jessica Therrien, Mini-Alex and Kate, How to Date a Nerd, and Ninja News

Today I welcome author Jessica Therrien! We became friends last year when we discovered her first book, Oppression, was to be released on the same day as my second, CassaFire. She’s here to talk about her second book, Uprising, and Ninjas!


Ninjas vs. Descendants – Why they’re both cool.

Let’s start with the facts.

Facts about ninjas (per Real Ultimate Power)
1. Ninjas are Mammals
2. Ninjas fight all the time
3. The purpose of a ninja is to flip out and kill people (only the bad guys of course)

Facts about Descendants
1. Descendants are also mammals
2. Descendants live 500 years and are descendants of the Greek gods
3. The purpose of a Descendant is to be super badass

Weapons:

Ninjas use swords and ninja stars to fight.
Descendants use their supernatural powers.

My point is, just like ninjas, Elyse and her fellow Descendants are super awesome.

Okay, okay… in all seriousness, one of the best parts about writing a paranormal romance is writing about characters with super powers. Nothing is too impossible, which makes for fun writing. Descendants don’t have your everyday super powers, though. Each ability is derived from the Greek god’s bloodline they’re descendant of. Sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge to come up with abilities for certain “gods.” Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I do a little digging and try to come up with creative power ideas for my characters. Below is a list of some of my characters and their abilities. The complete reference guide will be published in the back of Uprising.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Alex! Here’s to Ninjas & Descendants joining forces
 

Name               Bloodline    Ability
Iosif                   Metis           The ability of intuition
Nics                 Nix             Ability to manipulate light & create darkness/invisibility
Sam                  Dionysus     The ability to change liquid to wine
Paul                  Hermes        Messenger—Flight
Rachel               Iris              Messenger—Flight (changes form)
Officer Gomez    Pasithea      The ability to make others feel relaxed
Cearno              Comus         The ability to make food and drink with extraordinary flavor
Christine            Hegemone   The ability to conjure plants and trees from the earth
Mr. Williamson   Helios          The ability to mimic daylight/sunlight
Unnamed           Tethys         The ability to draw water from the ground
Unnamed           Astraeus     The ability to create the illusion of stars
Mr. Gransky       Hecate        The ability to move objects using telekinesis
Helen
(Ms. Stanzic)     Chronos      The ability to stop time
Aaron                Clotho         The ability to revive the dead before the spirit transcends
Ian                    Homados     The ability to amplify or impair hearing
Hannah             Mnemosyne The ability to erase memories with her blood


Uprising (Children of the Gods #2)
Paranormal Romance

Elyse has been in hiding for most of her life. Only now she’s hiding with William, and she knows who she’s hiding from. The Council wants a child Elyse and William have yet to conceive, a child who will be the next oracle, and who will provide the final piece to a plan Christoph has been organizing for years…

Find Uprising - Amazon Barnes and Noble Goodreads
Find Jessica - Website-Blog Twitter Facebook Goodreads

Cover Reveal

How to Date a Nerd by Cassie Mae (An awesome nerd herself!)

Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleazy ‘you only wish you were me’ reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd…

Add to Goodreads HERE

Ninja News

Saw this at Jeff Hargett’s site – maps that show the difference in pronounciations and word usage in America at Business Insider. How do you pronounce pajamas or crayons?

The final book in Lyyn Rush’s trilogy is out – Violet Storm. Congratulations, Lynn!


It was suggested that the name Insecure Writer’s Support Group has a negative connotation, and perhaps I could change it to something more positive. The group is almost two years old now, and we’d have to change the logo, hashtag, links, etc. It was established for insecure writers – would it be weird to say Secure Writers? (Like Non-Alcoholics Anonymous?) What does everyone think? Come up with something new or stay the course?

Milo James Fowler is the featured poet in Scifaikuest. Congratulations, Milo!

Chocolate lovers! Saw this over at Edi’s Book Lighthouse - Awesome and Weird Chocolate. Dark chocolate everything, from steampunk to skulls and shoes to clothes!

And thanks for all the supportive and kinds words Friday – you guys rock!


Mini-Alex

Mini-Alex wanted to show his appreciation to Roland Yeomans for sending the autographed picture of Kate Beckinsale.



He’s in Heaven! 



Think Ninjas and Descendants are both cool? Picked up Jessica’s second book? Do you know how to date a nerd? Do you say soda, pop, or Coke? In the mood for chocolate? Or are you just counting down the days to Man of Steel…?

And I’ll be gone the middle of this week on business. (Yeah! No, not really.) Since my Internet time will be limited, I’ve elected not to post on Wednesday since I won’t be able to visit everyone who would visit me. Friday it will be business as usual though. And you won’t want to miss my guest – she’s sold 300,000 of her self-published books!