May 29, 2012

Boost a Book

The raffle for boost a book is closed.
I'm picking winners now.

You, the reader

When you read a good book, you want to tell people about it! But aside from trying to convince your friend that they’re really going to like this random book you just found, what can you, as a reader, do to help an author?

How To Help
Word of mouth is of course really helpful, but did you know that just by leaving a review, you can make a book more visible to other readers? The review can be on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your blog, Goodreads, Shelfari, it doesn’t matter. If it’s where readers can find it, you’re helping. The more times a book shows up on the internet, the more people hear about it.

You can click the “like” button at the top of the book’s Amazon page

or use the “Tags People Associate with This Product” at the bottom of the page. These help the book come up in search results and the “Readers Who Bought...” section.

You can also tweet about the book, mention it on facebook or Google+, or request the book at your local library or bookstore (if it’s in paperback).

The Good Stuff
The Boost a Book authors have some great fans and we know you all do some of these things already. So as a thank you, we’d like to offer some free ebooks. And, as an added bonus, we think it’d be fun to offer more books and more contest entries for each book you boost.

Books You Can Win

So grab your free entry below (starting June 1) for a chance to win a free ebook from one of our Boost a Book authors. And if you want to discover even more new authors (by winning free ebooks) you can let us know how you've boosted a book and get extra entries.

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

May 13, 2012

Mother's Day is a Mockery

My mom always said Mother's Day was a mockery. (Okay, she said to be funny, but it's become a regular saynig with my family.) She said Mother's Day is the day when everyone is really nice to their moms, and then they give them grief the other 364 days of the year.
I kind of see her point, now. Everybody says such nice things that they wouldn't normally say. It's like when people say, "Let's try to have the Christmas spirit all year round." but they only say that at Christmastime.

Still, this is a very cool holiday. We stop and think about our mothers in a positive light, and think about all the good things they've done. Actually, it feels a lot like the Christmas spirit.
The world unites, with nothing in common except love and gratitude for the women who raised us. It's amazing what our mothers do, everything parents give up in order to fulfil that urge to nurture.

But we're driven to sacrifice for our wee ones. We wouldn't have it any other way.
So yes, it's only once a year, but I think the reminder is important. Without mother's day, we wouldn't take the time to really think about the long-term sacrifices made by the wonderful women in our lives.
Thanks to everyone who did something to show mothers that they're appreciated! And thank you to all mothers in the world that gave unconditional, pure love to their babies.
Here's to mockery!

May 9, 2012

Cinderella and Zombies

Cinderella and Zombies
available now

Get it at Amazon or Smashwords
(in any e-format)

Direct from author
"More than anything, King Richard feared the zombie outbreak. Now, they neared his palace with every passing day, in growing numbers. One thing was clear to the King: his son must marry a zombie-killer."

What happens when you take a classic fairy tale and add a few zombies to it? Cinderella goes from being a pretty-faced pushover to being the best zombie-slayer in the kingdom. But will that be enough when she's decked out in a ball gown and glass slippers? 

May 1, 2012

How to Turn Your Brain into Mush/Write a Book in 8 Simple Steps

Any time my book comes up in everyday conversation, this inevitable question comes up:  "So HOW do you go about writing a book?" (Sometimes it's phrased as: "I don't even know how to start writing a book.")

I'm not sure if they're just being polite, or if people genuinely want to know. So for all you just-polite people, you're about to get yours. Here's how I go about writing a book. Step-by-step.

1) The Idea
I don't know how I get my ideas for books. It's different every time. Sometimes it's sparked by a weird dream (that I have to flesh out and trim down and flesh out again).

Sometimes I have to think really hard with pen in hand until the idea comes.

But most of the time, my ideas come to me when I'm trying to fall asleep at night. They just pop into my head. And usually it's on a day when I didn't write.

2) Planning
I like to do a bit of planning. Sometimes it's as simple as writing a summary of how I imagine the story. Sometimes I go in-depth and plan scene-by-scene the first 1/3 of the story. (I don't like to go any further than that if I'm going into great detail because it kind of sucks the life out of the story.)

Whatever I plan, it's just a guideline. I don't have to stick to it. If I get a better idea as I'm writing, I go for it.

2b) Knowing the Story
This is part of the planning, but it doesn't go into the actual book.

I like to get to know my main characters.

  • I do this in different ways, including: filling out a questionnaire about hopes, dreams, fears, and priorities
  • having a "conversation" with the character using a blank word document
  • or imagining my character in really random situations (Like: how would Ivy Thorn react if she were in The Hunger Games?)

And then I spend a little time building my world.

  • For Fairy Tale Trap, I just read a bunch of versions of Beauty and the Beast. 
  • For Cinderella and Zombies, I researched castles and gunpowder. 
  • For other books, that have not/will not ever hit the shelves, I've done research on: small towns in Virginia, the Civil War, fluke worms, alcoholic drinks and customs, and different views on the afterlife.
As I research, my brain pulls out the elements I want to use in my book and eventually the setting(s) build themselves in my mind.

3) First Draft
I open up a document, imagine my opening scene, latch on to my character's voice, and I write.

This draft is always really crappy. Always. But it doesn't matter what goes on the page, because I'm probably not going to keep it anyway.

What I do get from the first draft is a sense of story, setting, character and character interactions, I get a few cool plot twists and I have a possible ending to my story.

What I don't have is an awesome, logical plot full of tension on every page. That comes during the...

4) Second Draft
This takes more time than all the other stages combined. It's a major overhaul, where I add new scenes and dramatically change the few scenes that I keep.

I make sure the main characters' goals, feelings, and motivations are clear; build setting that matters; and put in as much conflict as I possibly can.

After I build each scene on a notecard, I write: "And things get so much worse when..." These usually make great cliffhanger chapter-endings.

Oh, and the part that takes the most time... once the scenes are completely planned-out, I write the story. By hand.

I do this because the writing is so much stronger when I do it by hand. The voice stays with me, the descriptions are richer, the settings are more complete. I think I save myself from doing another draft by doing it by hand.

5) Critique
I send draft 2, one or two chapters at a time, to my critique group. They're wonderful and catch gaps in logic, unclear writing, typos, and thoughts on the overall story. I love my critique group.

6) Third Draft
I print out draft two and make line-by-line changes with a pen. Then I type up the changes.

7) Final Countdown
This is my final draft, where I read the book like I'm reading it for the first time. (Sometimes I read it out loud.) I do this to make sure the language flows, and I want to catch last-minute typos.

I also like to have a fresh reader go over the book at the same time.

(Note: Because Cinderella and Zombies is so short, I've combined steps 6 and 7.)

8) Prep for Publication
This entails getting my book cover ready, formatting, and putting the book up on Amazon and Smashwords.

Right now, I mostly do my own book covers. I have a friend who pretty much taught me how to make them. He's really good at getting clean, professional-looking images and I turn to him when I need help.

I use the Smashwords formatting guide, then make the necessary changes to put it up on Amazon.

To put it up for sale, I just follow the instructions on the site. They're very thorough.

So yeah... writing a's a process. A regular, novel-length book can take anywhere from 5-9 months.

Any questions?
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