Friday, February 24, 2012

The Difference between a Newbie Writer and A Master

You’d think this would be obvious. But it isn’t, especially if you THINK you’re a Master.

In fact, I’m not sure I ever WANT to be a Master writer. Let me explain.

Being a newbie means you are in a constant state of learning, you’re willing to be humble enough to allow another writer, editor or reader teach you.

When you’re a Master, you know everything. You are supposed to have the answer to every plot problem, every character flaw, every marketing issue. And writers block? What’s that?

Being a newbie, if you make a mistake, you can be forgiven. You are after all new at this. ;p
When you’re a Master, a mistake is the death knell for your career. One “bad” book can really set you back.

Being a newbie, you can try different genres, stretch your wings and figure out if you CAN write erotic romance. Okay, no? No problem, back to children’s books.

When you’re a Master, every move you make is scrutinized, and dissected to the point where you might not ever stretch your wings. I mean, why, you’re a Master right? You don’t need to do anything else.

The funny thing about all this is that I KNOW writers who ACT like they are a Master in their genre, so much so, that they feel the need to be superior about EVERYTHING. I find this amusing, because they are so busy lording it over the rest of us, that they don’t keep writing.

So me, the newbie (and glad to be one) is happy to nod and smile, write my books and publish them regularly. I don’t think there are many writers out there that I would call TRUE Master’s of the art. Very few.

My gut feeling is that we should ALL remain in a mental state of being a newbie. That way, we can keep growing and learning, which of course is the whole trick with being a writer. Right?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dragons R Us

Dragons are a central part of the fantasy world of both books and movies. If you know fantasy at all, you know dragons and the myriad forms they come in. Geographically, dragons can be found in lore all over the freaking world from every point of the compass. Big small, kind, intelligent, ugly, beautiful, vicious.

There is not a single facet of dragons that hasn’t been explored in books, movies or legends. And yet still, we humans are fascinated by them. To the point where we seek them out, in an attempt to uncover a hidden magical place, somewhere in this world, that contains within it a dragon or two.

Take the shows Monster Quest or Destination Truth as examples of this. They both look into supposed sightings of legendary creatures, dragons included, all over the world. Why? I think it’s because we WANT to believe that they are somewhere out there (Had a Disney moment, sorry) and that they are just waiting for us to find them.

I’m not even going to list the number of books written about that slave, lowly stable boy, milk maid, nobody who turns out to be the one to DISCOVER a dragon, becomes its friend, and swoop through the skies while clutching to its pearlescent scales; reign down fire on the wicked ones, and save the world from certain captivity from evil overlords. Sound familiar? It again is this desire to be what a dragon encompasses with the best of the qualities we have given them. Honour, bravery, intelligence, the ability to protect those we love.

Then there are those that think it’s a genetic twist that kept REAL dragons from walking among us. You know, the whole dinosaur dying out business? You’ve got to admit, some of those are pretty draconian. From the research I’ve done (okay, I Googled it) there is the thought that PERHAPS we did share some turf with the last of the dino’s (okay, maybe I just made that up but go with me here). Maybe that left a lasting impression, one passed through our DNA that has made us both fascinated, frightened and entranced by large, lizard like creatures.
I mean, some people are going so far as to make a dinosaur a la Jurassic Park. Oh yes, they are.

What I’m trying to get at here is that our desire to read about, watch movies of, dream and write stories that center around dragons seems to be undeniable. And that is really all we need to know. No matter how many stories there are, there will always be more when it comes to dragons.

Do I believe in dragons? Well, if I told you, you might laugh, because I’m a grown woman. But until that logical side of me is proven wrong, I will have to satisfy my cravings of riding the wind on the back of my dragon with the books I read, or better yet, the books I write.

Now the real question is, do you believe in the creatures that line our fantasy worlds?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Goodreads or is that SnarkyReads?

There is an interesting reaction amongst authors when I mention Goodreads. You'd think it was a fabulous place for writers to meet readers, garner reviews, spread the word about their "babies." But apparently, not so much.

I mention Goodreads and authors *Cringe*. I didn't understand at first. But now that I've had my books up there for some time, I'm beginning to understand the *Cringe*.

With reviews on Amazon, you are tied to your account (and your credit card), meaning it's difficult to make multiple fake accounts (from what I understand, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

With Goodreads, that really isn't the case. You can have hundreds of accounts under false names, with pictures pulled off the Internet. Why would you do this? Well, it seems to be, so you can pull down your "competition".

Crazy! My experience was this. I had a 1 star rating on one of  my books, but no review. I contacted the person, very politely, asking what it was that they didn't like. I'm a big believer in taking the good and the bad from reviews and allowing them to help you be a better writer. Like with this review.

Anywho. No response from "Jaime". Then I started to look at "Jaime's" other reviews. Thousands of books "read" in less than a three month period, most of them 1 and 2 star reviews. And upon closer inspection, over half of the books weren't even released as ARC's (advanced reader copies) yet!

To be fair, I contacted Goodreads, as apparently several other people did and this account has been shut down as a spammer. But, just this last week, "Jaime" is back, and staring books with 1 and 2 star ratings yet again. Jerk. 

From what I understand, this is a VERY mild problem as far as these sorts of things go on Goodreads. Over and over again, authors are CHOOSING not to put their books on Goodreads, and I can see why. When other authors, or their cronies, or just mean spirited people are going out of their way to slam you and your writing, it's hard to keep your chin up.

How do you combat this? Well, if you respond with, "Hey, you're just doing this to make yourself look better" YOU end up looking like a douche. And if you say nothing, you end up looking like a doormat, or worse, like you deserve the bad treatment.

Critical reviews are FINE, if they are critical and not going out of their way to be cruel, rude, sarcastic or snarky. That is how writers improve, by taking the good with the bad. But it seems that Goodreads, if they don't clamp down on these miserable people, may just have to change their name, to "Snarkyreads" because "Good", will have nothing to do with site.

What about you? Have you found certain sites that seem to cater to the snark and nasty side of the writing world?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire, all you want is a Kindle Fire!

That's what I thought, YOU want a Kindle Fire! Don't ya?

Easy peasy my friends. The Fabulous Coral Russell has put together Win With Ebooks, where you can enter to win a Kindle Fire or $200 Amazon Gift Card with NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

All the details can be found on 

The only downside? Oh.Right, there isn't one. So get to it, entries are waiting for you to take them!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing

This is a guest post by Coral Russell, author, marketer and pretty cool all around gal!

I know I should consider myself a self-publisher because Indie is usually associated with Small Presses, but I think the new wave of authors taking the reins and publishing their own books via the Internet and specifically eBooks are Independents in the true sense of the word.

As a life-long reader, I was a die-hard paperback fan and thought I'd never switch to reading eBooks. All that changed last year and I haven't looked back. I love my Kindle and a survey revealed that once readers switch to using eReaders, they don't go back to pBooks. I fall in that category.

So when the fiction-writing bug bit after winning a contest (I've been writing non-fiction for a long time), it was natural for me to look into publishing eBooks instead of pBooks. That look lasted seven months and is still ongoing. Here's what I've learned so far:

Write a darn good story or at least a story that you would want to read or at least a story that you are extremely happy with.

Write a short story that compliments the genre you're writing your novel in, then give it away – feedbooks, wattpad, BookRix, and others sites are great for this. Include it in an anthology-you have writing friends don't you? Collaborate. Include it in an anthology for charity-everyone likes contributing to a good cause and there are a ton out there (i.e. No Trees Harmed for First Book).

It's good to be a control freak. If you enjoy every aspect of the process of creating an eBook, then the only thing you may have to pay for is a book cover and for sure, editing. Editing is a must. Editing separates the writer from the hobbyist. Also if you enjoy the process, then you will be happy no matter what the outcome.

Adopt the motto – I don't know any strangers. That is fairly easy and painless with the Internet and social media. Don't know the first thing about building a blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Technorati, Blogcritics, etc.? The Indie Book Collective has great seminars to get you on your feet. My daughter announced one day she wanted to build a homework robot. I told her, that's called the Internet, honey. If you have any problem or are unsure of how to do something, Google it. Someone, somewhere in the world has had the same problem and probably offered a solution for free.

Get to know your reviewers. You need good, honest, objective reviews and you can get them on shelfari, goodreads (eBook Giveaways group), LibraryThing (Member Giveaways), and more. Cozy up with blog tours – Novel Publicity, Nurture Your Books, Author Blog Tours, Indie Book Collective, BLB Book Tours – some are higher priced than others, so pick what you can afford. OR, you can go it alone. I add book review sites to my blog roll all the time and these three sites make it easy to find blogs that may be interested in reviewing your masterpiece – BookConnector, Step-by-Step Self Publishing, The Indie Book Blog Database.

Want to pay for reviews? If it's good enough for the first self-published million eBook seller, John Locke, it's good enough for you. He used 15 Dollar Reviews and BookRooster (I already went undercover at these two sites and blogged about it).

Support your fellow Indie authors. Tons of ways to do this through networking, collaboration, book reviews, exchanging forewords, linking to your books, sharing, retweeting, guest posts, etc.

And this is just the tip of the ice burg.

Sound like a full-time job? It is. I have a calendar set up with the times to do the different activities I need to do so I won't spend too much time on any one activity. But it is working, I sell every month and those sales are increasing every month. Good luck and feel free to connect with me, I'm always interested in meeting new Indie authors!

Coral Russell reads/reviews Indie authors on Check out her Stalker Package to connect. She has written The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, Playing with Fire , Twelve Worlds, Peace on the Peninsula, and Amador Lockdown.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Winners be here . . .

Two Contests came to a close and so we have a whole lot of winners!

For the January Cover Art Poll, the winning author/cover combination is :

Guy Harrison and Agents of Change

The winning commenter is
Jessica Klassen

The winning commenter will receive all 15 e-books from the authors as well as her choice of Sundered or Dark Waters.

There is still room in the February Indie Cover Art poll, so get your entries into pronto to be a part of the fun!!

Now, on to MORE prizes!
I have the 5 runners up in the review drive for Dark Waters. Each one will receive a $10 gift Card for

1. Amber Spedding
2. Sandy Hunter
3. Matt Sloderbeck
4. Verity Linden
5. Sandy Wolters

And the grand prize of $150 Amazon Gift card goes to . . . .
Kriss Morton!!

I will be sending out the Gift Cards asap, thank you so much for participating in these contests, without you, the readers, my blog would be empty!

Friday, February 03, 2012

40 F * R * E * E Books; All genres!

Yes, two posts in two days isn't my usual fare, but this is IMPORTANT!

These authors (yours truly included) are trying to reach as many new readers as possible by giving their books away for FREE! Many of them are Kindle Bestselling Authors. . . .there really is no losing in this situation.

Go HERE to check them out, Heck, download them all! That way you're set for the next few months, free of charge!

Did you miss that? Okay, once more click HERE to go the home page and check out all the fabulous books!

Or, here are a few right off the top of my head-

"Dark Waters" A sensual mix of monsters, magic and deception by Shannon Mayer.

"Blood Awakening" by Wenona Hulsey, Hidden powers, ancient grudges. Evil starts the clock ticking.

"Gifts of the Blood" She can only hope the vision won't come true, by Vicki Keire.

" Toonopolis Short, Anchihiiroo" A young man ' s desire to make his own path by Jeremy Rodden

"Love Lust" by Amber Scott This succubus physically craves...and dreads love. A fiercely addictive HOT! novella.

"Dance of the Winnebagos" by Ann Charles, a Jack Rabbit mystery with plenty of comedy and suspense.

"Catch Me If You Can," Caught between duty and desire by Nina Bruins.

"Honk, Honk My Darling, A Rex Koko Private Clown Mystery" by James Finn Garner. Revenge, corruption and murder. Will "circus justice" prevail?

"Sundered," a Zombie-ish Apocalypse; a novella with true bite by Shannon Mayer.

* "The Story Shell" Can Pibbin solve the mystery of the missing shell . . . alone? by Gloria Repp.

* "Enchantment" Magic, treachery, humor and thrills by Charlotte Abel.

* "Exiled" An alien princess exiled to earth. Can she survive? by RaShelle Workman.

* "In Dreams" by J Sterling Unconditional love, unimaginable heartbreak.

"The Ghost in Me" Ghost Adventures meet Freaky Friday by SK Wenger.

"Quick Kill" A sassy sleuth in a fast paced mystery by Patricia McCallum.

And that's not all of them, so take a chance, really they're FREE so what kind of a risk is that I ask you? And then you can feel all warm and fuzzy inside that you've helped an indie author out.

There is a time limit on this so hop to it, will be all over by tomorrow, Feb 3rd!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Holy FRIHOLES Books! KDP Select in Overdrive

What can I say except these are 4 AMAZING authors with some BRILLIANT writing that I can't even believeare FREE! What are you waiting for? They won't be free forever!

Blood Awakening by Wenona Hulsey

**Nominated for the Best Adult Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Book of 2011 on Goodreads**

Evil starts the clock ticking, leaving Nicole's life changed forever....

Hidden powers, ancient grudges, romance and action that will leave you begging for more....

Gifts of the Blood by Vicki Keire

Before her world tilts towards impossible, Caspia Chastain thinks the only strange thing about her is that she sometimes draws the future. Only her brother Logan knows what she can do. When she draws a man surrounded by brilliant light, dark wings, and frightening symbols, she can only hope the vision won't come true.

But when a stranger named Ethan appears, determined to protect Caspia and her brother from dangers he won't explain, she's not sure what to think. Strangers almost never come to Whitfield. They certainly don't follow her around, frightening her one moment and treating her like glass the next. And they certainly don't look exactly like the subject of her most violent drawing.

What the Heart Wants by Kelli McCracken

Do dreams foretell the future? Are there soul connections that go deeper than love?

He can sense her emotions at any place and time. Their bond is powerful but a mystery. One thing he does know: She's plagued his dreams for months. Maybe even longer.

Being involved with a celebrity is the last thing she imagined...or wanted. Can she forget the pain from the past? Can he let go of his fears?

Love Lust by Amber Scott

This succubus physically craves...and dreads love.

Her hunger demands she feed on human lust. Unlike others, love is the only thing that sustains the fix and thereby, her life.

But long-term feeding will enslave her lover, annihilating who they are, condemning her to a perpetual cycle of love and loss.

On the run from her maker, deeply drawn to a new love, she desperately hunts for a cure for this Love Lust.

IF that isn't enough free books, check out the FREE PAR-TAY! There are books from EVERY genre FREE for a LIMITED TIME!