Thursday, November 10, 2016

Since the Commercials Won't Stop...

Hi folks. You may recall that last year in December, I stopped advertising my books and instead used my social media accounts to promote charitable organizations and positivity. Well, in the wake of recent events and because I'm already being bombarded by tasteless holiday car ads, I've decided to once again do the same and I've decided to start today. I am taking down my pinned tweet for my book and putting up a message of peace. I will do the same for Vlad. Facebook currently has a black box as both my profile picture and header. I do not need to explain why, but once I decide to change it, I will upload something pleasant and not anything business related.

To those who think this is actually a stunt to get you to feel bad and buy my books, I assure you, life doesn't work like that. Last December was my lowest royalty month since 2013 when I didn't have a single completed series. I will continue to post freebie books periodically, but I'll not be doing any advertising until 2017.

Also, I am not asking anyone to join me and I am not looking down my nose at anyone who continues to shout about their own work. You do not have to justify yourself to me. But understand that no advertising means no advertising and this extends to sharing the ads of others on social media. I may retweet a freebie, but I'm not going to share ads from other authors until the holidays have passed.

What I am going to share, is charitable and outreach programs. And for that, I would like your help. I am looking for organizations to showcase that help in the following areas:

LGBTQ+ Rights
Refugee Assistance
Women's Reproductive Rights
Women's Rights in General
Minority Rights
Victims of Hate Crimes
Domestic Violence Outreach
Suicide Prevention
Victims of Sex Trade and Human Trafficking
Victims of Sexual Assault
Organizations that offer counselling and recovery services for trauma survivors.

Feel free to leave your picks in the comments, or on social media. Over the next two months I'll post links as well as messages of positivity that I find as I go along.

I won't, however, start posting any snowmen, jingle bells, Santas, or otherwise festive business until after both Thanksgiving and my birthday. Just because the dollar store thinks carols are appropriate while the Texas temperatures are in the eighties, doesn't mean I do. Pumpkin pie deserves its day in the sun, dammit!

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Here! Pumpkins! Candy Corn! Free & Discounted Books!

It's that time again! 

I know! I can hardly believe it myself!

SupportIndieAuthors is once again having a spooky Halloween party and this one is even bigger and better than last year. 

The event begins on Friday, October 28th and runs through Monday, October 31st (that's Halloween!!!)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Owning It

As I've discussed in previous posts, I have a little issue I like to call summer brain. This year has been particularly difficult in that I ended up scrapping two projects because my brain didn't want to attempt to make sense of them while the rest of me was melting under the Texas sun. I even made a post here, talking about my last attempt to write something that would steer me back in the direction of serious author and well, about two dys after I wrote that blog, I had a flash of inspiration.

Two months later, I have a book. And like the last six items I've written, it may be of the sci-fi/fantasy variety, but it is firmly planted in the humor category as well. Specifically, satire.

Shameless Cover Plug

Naturally, as I started writing what I had hoped was a one off summer brain tale of a second banana to a supervillain, ideas began to pop into my head for a second and third book, with the possibility of many more to come. This... this would not do. I'm an author, not a humorist!

I am  humorist. And apparently, kind of a rarity in the field. While  I want to be taken seriously, I realize that continuing to satirize the genres I so love doesn't just come easy to me, but is something I should be proud of. You see, there aren't many women in this field.

Sure, there are female humorists. But you've probably heard of the ones who came from a standup or television career, or the anecdotal humorists like Erma Bombeck who wrote slice of life humor. And now, there are more and more quirky paranormal and mystery writers who add a touch of humor to their writing.

But the big names in satirical fantasy and sci-fi circles are Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Robert Asprin. Of course, those guys were the big names. You know me, so you know I'm a reader of Indie books. There are tons of wonderful bits of genre satire out there written by some great guys. But I have to point out the scarcity of women's names in these lists. This has to change.

I can't possibly be the only woman writing genre satire. There must be others and if there are, I want to hear about them. This can't be allowed to be a boy's club the way sci-fi was for so long and dammit, I am way too small time to be a pioneer!

So please, if you've heard of any fantastic and funny women who write satirical, dark, or quirky humorous literature in the sci-fi, fantasy, speculative, dystopian, or horror genres, please, comment with their name so that I may check them out.

Now, I will admit, once I have A Shot at the Big Time released in October, I will be using the dreary winter months to put myself back in the mood for sci-fi thrillers and space adventures, but I am owning my role as a genre humorist. Expect me to bring the funny whenever I can.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Crazy Sale!

I've got things to say. At some point, I promise, I will use this blog to sound off about something insightful. In fact, I've been meaning to post something here about owning up to the type of author I am, but alas,today is not that day. Today, I am announcing a sale:

Are you ready for this?

For three days, starting on Friday, September 16th, I will be offering the Kindle edition box set of my romantic sci-fi action and adventure series, The Eyes of The Sun at the crazy low price of 99¢.

This deal will be a Kindle Countdown sale, which means it is only valid in the US and UK markets.

Following the three day sale, the price will go up to $2.99 and then $4.99 before reverting back to the regular price of $6.99
(The UK price will only go up once to £2.99 before reverting to regular price).

Visit:  to grab your copy!

This is not a sale I plan to hold very often, if ever again,so take advantage while you can! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Write On! Our 15 Minutes Spotlight: Riley and Sara Westbrook

So I've decided to add this new segment to the Write On! series called Our 15 Minute Spotlight. I shouldn't have to tell you that I'm speaking of Andy Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame and not the fact that fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance, but apparently, I just did.

This segment is reserved for authors who I've personally read, loved, and noticed were for one reason or another, not getting the spotlight they rightfully deserved, so I butted my big nose into their business and decided to see how I could help out. Which brings us to our first author couple: Riley and Sara Westbrook. The Westbrooks have written in a variety of genres through the (now defunct) Big World Network publisher, but as of right now, only have one complete series on Amazon in Kindle ebook format.

The series is called "Breath of the Titans" and is epic fantasy, sometimes known as high fantasy, but in the case of this particular story, high may refer to the mental state of some of the characters. This is the type of hero's journey, epic quest, save the world story that is common to fantasy, but at the same time, it's quite different. Case in point: I loved it and I'm not a fan of the genre.

In fact, I loved it so much, that after a friend noted the covers were a little hard to read, I offered to assist in a redesign to see if it would help get more eyes on the books.

Today, we're putting this theory to the test. On this day, Friday the 5th of August 2016, the first book in the series, Little Black Stormcloud, is free on Amazon. My hope is that through the redesigned covers, a semi-aggressive marketing campaign, and word of mouth via this blog and many others, this book will get many downloads by many people who may not have found it otherwise. It is also my hope that these same readers enjoy the book enough to read the rest of the series.
I admit, I do get a kick out of making these box sets. Don't they look nice?

Now, I would also like to note that in addition to being a fantastic author, Riley is an amazing person as well. I can't say that I've ever met anyone who is as friendly, compassionate, and nonjudgmental, especially given the ups and downs life has put him through. So please, if you haven't already done so, go grab this free book, and then read on to find out Riley's views on writing fantasy. And as always, thank you for continuing to #SupportIndieAuthors.

Writing Epic Fantasy

by Riley Amos Westbrook
Have you ever tried to write an epic fantasy? I have, and I loved every minute of it. There's a lot of work and planning that go into building your world. Should I include a prophecy or shouldn’t I? Should I build an intricate magic school or shouldn't I? How much of my plans do I reveal to my readers?

I'm not your typical epic fantasy author. I don't use overly colorful language, though there are some curse words in my books. I tell it as I see it, knowing the story will carry itself in the end. There’s a hint of love that could blossom, but hasn't, and there’s no sex, for those bothered by it. A group of friends and family that only want to help:

There's Nord, an elf who is too pretty for his own good.
Sanche, a stern elven general looking to fade into obscurity.
Missy and her fairy friends try to keep everyone on task.
Tyrosh is a dragon unable to shift forms and held prisoner by the false Titanbringer, Martell.
Jaxon is the halfling friend of everyone, only along for the ride.
Martell is the man who stole Tyrosh's mantle.
And Lovonian is the one out for revenge, while seeking to bring balance to the world.

I wrote the books to learn to write, and I'm glad I chose the genre I did. Writing the story of Lovonian felt like telling people about a movie only I could see. I can still see the scenes clear as day if I close my eyes. It’s almost like magic. If only it was as simple translating the images to words.
There’s a ton of planning that goes into writing an epic fantasy, but I really did none of that for Breath of the Titans. I only sought to write a story I would enjoy reading as time passed. So far, that holds true.

Now I’ve written several different genres, from contemporary fiction filled with zombies and other monsters, to a science fiction adventure filled with a myriad of races. In both cases, it was much easier to start the world building process. It could be experience, but I think it’s genre.

In my horror stories, it’s much easier to get started because they are set in a world like this one. I don’t have to plan a religion, politics, or anything that I know the reader already knows. Whereas in a fantasy book, all of those things need to be taken into account. I can’t assume you know the religions of the world, because I am building it from the ground up. I can’t assume you know how the king will react, as he rules a land only in my head.

But in a contemporary environment, I can mention the president, and you can imagine how they could react. Same with religion, if I say Christianity you automatically know what I mean. That’s not to say that horror can’t have the same planning and storylines that go into an epic fantasy, just that if the author chooses they can be a bit lazier about the entire process.

Science Fiction is a bit closer to epic fantasy, as far as world building goes. I cannot rely on the reader’s knowledge to fill in the blanks on the same issues. But I can include modern gadgets and whizzbingers. I can say, “They carried a communicator in their hands.” and you can picture an image of what I’m talking about. You may even understand on a basic level how the contraption might work.

Harder to do that in a fantasy world. Harder to explain that the titans are robots made by magic. Or how a magician uses his mind to shape the very fabric of the world. These are concepts that, while not difficult to understand, are much harder to put into words. It’s much harder to convey exactly what propels them, versus in science fiction where I can point to the gears, nuts, and bolts and say, “That’s what makes it tick.”

Having written several genres now, I can officially say that they’re all equally difficult. The thought and planning that goes into any book is monumental. It just seems to me, that epic fantasy takes that little bit more planning. As it is, I'm amazed at how quickly my books came together. I learned a lot from the experience about pacing and telling the story you want to tell.

The great thing about an epic fantasy, or really any work, is you can put your ideals into it. Take Breath of the Titans, I wanted to write something that reflected all of the many religions I’ve tried to study in my life. I wrote the series with an approach to life that a new age spiritual person might use. I meditated and sat in the sun, thinking positive thoughts and listening to the world around me. Then I would go inside and sit in front of my computer, and the story would literally pour from my head onto the page. I didn’t have to think, I didn’t really plan all that far ahead. I had my characters and their limitations. With those in mind, the story seemed to build itself from the ground up. There’s a bit of foreshadowing in the book, though I freely admit most of it was accidental. It’s amazing what our minds can do when we sit and put them to work.

Everyone Dies At The End and Journey From Atremes have a little bit different process, but the premise is still the same. I go and I think. I work my brain muscle until it hurts, and then I work it some more.Keeping the voices of the characters different was simple, though I admit the dialogue is probably a bit more contemporary than in most fantasy novels.

I know this is going to sound a bit like schizophrenia, but when a character speaks to me, I hear their voice. The inflection, the way they carry themselves. I see it all in a million little images, shapes, and feelings. The problem I have comes from translating the sights and sounds in my mind onto the page for someone else to understand.

I tend to write in Rilenese, which means I need a lot of translation from what I originally put down upon the page to the finished story. People, places, names, anything can and will change during the process. Breath of the Titans never suffered from that problem. Once I started writing it, I had all my characters already pre-planned. Those characters are what compelled me to write the story. Having to choose between having them bug me or putting their words upon the page.

Even though I went into everyday with no idea what I wanted to write, I never had a problem getting words onto the page. I didn’t struggle to find things and events to add to the book. If anything, I struggled with finding places to fit their adventures into the novel. There are a thousand things I never mention in the books, because if I did the trilogy would be 1,000 pages long, and I didn’t want to write that.

I wanted to write a fun little adventure, full of excitement and imagination at every turn. I think I did that. Feel free to let me know your opinion.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Gab Session

There's a bit of advice I've seen splashed around the internet that says: if you want to accomplish your goals, don't talk about them. By talking about your goals, supposedly, you get a false sense of accomplishment and never really do anything.

I'm not a fan of taking advice from random internet sources, or anyone really, so if you don't mind, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about my current project. You see, I mentioned it last year, but I suffer from a made up syndrome called Summer Brain. When the mercury rises above 90° F, my ability to think creatively goes away. The problem with this, however, is that I try to fight it tooth and nail.

You see, despite trying to project this image of a free spirit with no timetables or boss to report to, I have been chugging along on a pretty strict schedule for a while now. You probably didn't notice, but since November, I have published something every 90 days. There's a reason for this. It keeps my silly little name on the new release list. In fact, that's the whole reason I waited until May 29th to release the Discordant box set. I also wanted to buy myself some time for my next release, since I'm starting fresh, having just completed that series. My next release is supposed to be August 29th.

I can tell you right now, that is not going to happen.

What I'd hoped to have was book one of an eventual space opera trilogy. Yes, this was the project I've been semi-jokingly calling Princess Robot Commander. I've got the bones, but the meat isn't there. I wrote a grand total of 65, 000 words, fifteen chapters, before I realized I had no idea what this dreck and drivel falling out of my brain even was. And before you say, but that's just the first draft, I'll have you know that that's not how I write. Plotholes I can fill, typos I can fix (mostly) but a meandering plot that has no real direction isn't fixable. That's a start over scenario and quite frankly, I'm tired of messing with it. I think this one will be my next Eyes, which means look for it sometime around 2022.

But I'm not just sitting here doing nothing. I have another book in the works, at least I'd like to have. Summer brain is holding me back, so I was hoping that maybe telling you all a little about it might help me focus. Well, sort of. You see, I don't want to give too much away. Earlier in the week, I posted a couple of clues to my Facebook page: the working title (Twigs) and the main character's birthday (May 16th). I've asked that anyone who thinks they know what this means to send me a message privately as not to spoil the surprise for everyone else.

So what can I tell you? Well, this one is a standalone young adult sci-fi thriller. Sound familiar? Yes, I figured it was time to add a little cohesion to my bibliography. This book will be meant to bridge the gap between fans of Kind of Like Life and The Eyes of The Sun. This as of yet unnamed book will follow Annabelle Swenson, an eighteen year old from Piper's Bend, WA (a fictional town readers of Kind of Like Life might recognize) who is attending her freshman year of college on the other side of the country thanks to a scholarship to Ravencrest University, a school hidden deep in the mountains of upstate New York.

What follows is the usual college woes, but also mystery, intrigue, mistaken identity, murder, and lots of carbohydrates. Annabelle and her gang of friends, some old, some new, some trustworthy, some not, find themselves playing amateur sleuth when it's revealed that their lives may be in danger. Why? Well... Let's just say Ravencrest is a top ranked school of science and for more, look to the clues above.

Sound interesting? I'm hoping to finally win my war on summer brain and publish this tale, a standalone with the potential for more in-universe works, some time this fall, hopefully in time to do a debut promo for the fall SIAFBB event. I've got an outline, several scenes already written out, and what I'm hoping is a strong opening where I shall once again lift my middle finger to the fiction police and have Annabelle awaken in the first sentence of chapter one. When I have more, I will surely post about it here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

#SIAFBB Presents: Hash's Bash 2.0! A 4 Day Weekend of Free & Bargain Books!

Image Credit: Steven Verdile
Hi Everyone! 
It's almost time for America's birthday! Last year, in celebration of all things boozy, 'splody, and book related, a ragtag group of indie authors, led by the courageous Mr. Charles Hash, got together and offered a bunch of books for free. Well, one year later, that ragtag group of twelve authors has grown into an unruly mob of nearly fifty authors! That's right, it's time for 
Image Credit: C.B. Archer

This year, we're pulling out all the stops. The event will run from July 1st through the 4th and we'll have nearly 100 free and discounted books!
Image Credit: Marie Silk

As has become a tradition, in the week leading up to the event, we like to give our potential readers a chance to get to know all of our participating authors. While the group has outgrown the interviews this time around, we have dedicated a section of the event website to author biographies and social media links, so please, do take a moment to check out and follow these fantastic indie authors!

Image Credit Virginia McClain

Since we've got four whole days to work with, we have a lot to offer. More than fifty titles will be free. Each day, the free book offerings will change, so don't forget to come back! Do not miss out on any of the freebies! In addition, we've got over thirty books priced at just 99¢ AND if that wasn't enough, we've got box sets of whole series and author collections as low as $2.99!

Image Credit: Charles Hash

So mark your calendars and bookmark 
Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to not only load up your summer reading, but also to know that by downloading these books, you are doing your part to help #SupportIndieAuthors! 

Image Credit: Marie Silk