Monday, June 20, 2011
Monday's FREE BOOK is:
The Debutante's Dilemma by Elyse Mady
Just type in the promo code DEBUTANTEFREE at checkout
Tuesday's FREE BOOK is:
Demon's Fall by Karalynn Lee
Just type in the promo code DEMONFREE at checkout
Wednesday's FREE BOOK is:
The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale by Christine Bell
Just type in the promo code TWISTEDFREE at checkout
Thursday's FREE BOOK is:
Blue Galaxy by Diane Dooley
Just type in the promo code GALAXYFREE at checkout
Friday's FREE BOOK is:
Friendly Fire by Megan Hart
Just type in the promo code FRIENDLYFREE at checkout
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Last night I saw a great movie, and I was reminded again of how magical great storytelling can be.
Go ahead and feel jealous because I got to see “Super 8” before its release date…and for free. Oh, the perks of working for a media outlet. Yes, I am a movie aficionado, but for some reason, I just wasn’t feeling this one after seeing the previews, so I was especially digging the free price tag. Of course, I would have gone to see it anyway, being the sci-fi geek I am. They pretty much had me at J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg. I mean, wow.
Set in 1979, “Super 8” is the story of a group of tweenage friends who are making a zombie movie on a Super 8 camera when they witness a train derailment. It doesn’t take long before you realize something is amiss in their sleepy little Ohio town. Dogs go missing. People disappear. And the Air Force invades to clean up the train wreck and claim the little white rubix-cube looking things that are scattered everywhere.
If you are a child of the 80s, you should go see this movie. You really should. It reminded me of an “E.T.” and “The Goonies” mashup that was both nostalgic and ridiculously fun to watch.
The movie hasn’t even released yet, so I won’t spoil much and I certainly won’t mention exactly what was in the train that wrecked (hmmm). I will say, however, that J.J. Abrams has compiled an amazing story here that is fun, heart-warming and that carries a great message no matter if you’re 8 or 80. I bow down to you, J.J. Abrams. After that failed mishap “Undercovers,” you have renewed my faith in you!
The main character in the movie is arguably Joe, a young boy whose mother has just died in a work accident when the movie begins. I was 12 when I lost my mother, so when I see movies that feature kids who are experiencing that same grief, I always start squirming in my seat a little bit. Joe’s father is a cop. So was mine. As the movie progressed, I felt more and more in awe at the realism displayed by those two characters. Their interaction was oh-so familiar. I am 99 percent certain my father said some of the exact same things to me, in the exact same manner, as Joe’s dad did to him. There were quite a few scenes where I was reliving that pain and grief and confusion, which leads me to the point of this post.
When I left that theater, I felt raw. I also felt uplifted by the story itself. I was attached to the characters I had just met as if they were old friends. I had made a connection on an emotional level, both to the amazing story and to the characters. And that, my friends, is great storytelling.
I doubt everyone leaving this movie will have the same connection I did, but the best storytellers are able to bring their stories to vivid life through characters that are easily relatable and startingly realistic — at least to the majority of readers or viewers. That is also extremely hard to do, as most writers will readily admit.
I’ve always been convinced that you can tell a good story with characters that aren’t fleshed out, but to tell a truly great story, you need to dig down deep and really develop your characters. Those are the stories — at least in my opinion — that stay with readers the longest.
Who doesn’t remember that Indiana Jones hated snakes more than anything? Ask just about anyone nowadays and they can tell you what happened to Harry Potter when he was a young lad. Who does Katniss Everdeen love more than life itself? Her little sister, Prim, of course.
There are many great storytellers among us today. I’m working at becoming one of them, but even I admit, I’m not there yet. I’m working on it though. Most of all, I’m grateful to have good examples to draw inspiration from.
Go see “Super 8.” If you don’t enjoy it, there’s probably something wrong with you. I’m just sayin’.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
As I’ve taken baby steps into this funny little world called e-book publishing, I’ve come to the shocking realization that (deep breath) … I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. There, I said it. And it’s true.
I don’t consider myself to be an overly stupid person (not all the time), but I never realized how much went into this process. I mean, the line edits and developmental edits — these are things we writers always hear about. I used to think of them as a rite of passage for the authors who made it, so naturally, I used to think, “Ooooh, fun.”
No, not fun! Not fun at all! (Smacking self in the head)
Thank God for line edits and developmental edits, and the editors who recommend them. But I felt like a colossal idiot when I first went through the file my editor sent back to me. Talk about head-slapping and lots of “D’oh!” moments! I felt incredibly stupid at times that I’d let some of that junk slip past me. I even wondered, “Why in the world did they accept this? Dang!”
I now can’t imagine self publishing or e-publishing anything on my own. There is a strong purpose for editors, and not just editors, oh, no.
Then there's publicity and marketing and formatting and a host of other things I've never dealt with before.
I have to say that Carina Press, thus far, has been great at guiding me through the process. I’ve heard horror stories about other e-publishers and publishers, and yes, I admit, I was a little worried. Now that I’ve been added to Carina Press’s author list (my, that sounds so important!), I’ve been hanging back and taking in all of the information being sent my way by list serv and e-mails. Information not just from Carina’s staff and editors, but from other authors as well.
I’m grateful that Carina Press is living up to its reputation, because I really do want my book to be a success. The main reason I want “Cry Wolf” to sell more than, oh, five or six copies, is because I want to write more. I’m a busy gal, and as much as I want to write 24/7, it’s just not possible. I have a full-time job, a part-time job and other various obligations. I feel more compelled to write in the little spare time I have when I know people actually care that I’m not writing. So, in my happy little fantasy world, someday I will have readers who want more stories from me. They also wear superhero costumes in my fantasy world, but the main thing is that they like my stories enough to pound their Kindles and Nooks against their pillows yelling, "More! More! More!"
Hey, no snickering! It could happen!
But this leads to a dilemma. How to market my e-book so that does happen.
Fortunately, I have a very talented friend waiting in the wings waiting to help with this. But I’ve been looking around at other successful authors and — I’ll admit it — trying to flat-out copy whatever it is they do. Author website? Check. Facebook and Twitter accounts. Check and check.
Aside from offering online classes about these things, Carina also seems to promote interaction between its authors, and I have been tip-toeing around the idea of chatting up complete strangers to steal some of their vast and varied knowledge. These are the folks who have been there, done that. These are the folks I need.
But what is appropriate and what’s not when contacting an author, especially one you don’t know and haven’t read? I’d love to settle down and read them all, but, um, did I mention I have two jobs?
Fortunately, I think most authors welcome contact of any kind, as long as it doesn’t raise red flags or ideas of, um, stalking. I’m sure if you’re Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King, you might shudder in fear at checking your inbox, but the rest of us mere mortal authors probably aren’t so overwhelmed or busy that we don’t like to collaborate on ideas or hear from a friendly person every now and then. Most people, in my experience, like to be helpful.
So, apparently, tip No. 1 at learning how to market your e-book is talk to others who have been there, done that. Exchange ideas. You never know when a great one will take seed.
I’m going to go do that. Right now. I just hope I can keep my stalking tendencies in check and don't scare anyone. Yeah, it's been known to happen…