08 November 2011

BLOOD AND FIRE - My upcoming collab

I know I haven't blogged or posted many stories lately, but I do assure you that I have been working on Crooked Fang-related material! Here's a quick link to the post over at crookedfang.com.
(the excerpt and picture looked better on the white background)
<----small preview...

Nerine Dorman and I will be releasing this for a menial price in February 2012 in all electronic formats.

Don't forget, Crooked Fang itself will be unleashed upon the world May 2012!

See Nerine Dorman's post for the other half here!

02 November 2011

Help this band achieve their dream

With three days left, the clock is running out. Sitting at 71% of goal, the $2k is so close, yet so far away. I'm asking you to reach out, share, and donate. Even $5 and a post to your Twitter or Facebook wall would do a big favor to this local Austin band.

Get swag from Powderburn! See "Lights Go Down" vid:

You can pledge here:


ONE FIX, their last album is here at a name-your-own-price bargain.


08 October 2011

Last Call for Horror Submissions!


We’re at the Last Call for Bloody Parchment Horror Anthology submissions and really want to see your work! I’ll be one of the judges this year and we have a cool grand prize win of a manuscript assessment, plus a round of up to novel length (!!) edits! This is a big deal, people. Editing is expensive!
Edits will be performed by the luxe Nerine Dorman, who also happens to be my editor for Crooked Fang. You can story like I do!

Submit your horror pieces of up to 3k (or questions) to Nerine.


Deadline is October 31st, so get those subs in. I promise we don't bite...much.

01 September 2011

Feature at A Reader's Heaven

This made me so happy this morning to be part of their month-long Indie author spotlight. I was even number one! Wow, thanks so much for the warm words and high vote of confidence Paul!

A Reader's Heaven presents Carrie Clevenger

Book Review: Lost at the Con

Lost at the ConLost at the Con by Bryan Young

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Cobb is a jerk, a completely unlikeable self-proclaimed asshole, yet he did odd things that kept me guessing about him. Full of priceless scenes and numerous geek-specific references, Bryan Young nonetheless presents a believable 'noob' of the whole sci-fi/fantasy/cosplay convention phenomenon.



Cons (no pun intended) were a few formatting issues when the character submitted his 'reports' and a couple of typos, but nothing to truly jerk one out of the reader experience. The last half somewhat chugs along initially (but you are rewarded with a very fun culmination of a sub-plot) and there are repeated incidences (lines everywhere) but I attribute this to the author's inclination towards thorough environmental description.



A fun ride, even for non-geeks. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a book to have you laughing out loud for real. Bryan Young is a very skilled writer with wonderful character development skills, a bonus in my book. I look forward to his future releases.



View all my reviews

27 August 2011

Book Review: Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End

Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End (Volume 1)Fallen Nation: Party At The World's End by James Curcio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Wow is my one word for this stunning novel. I give it four stars mainly because it's a little rough, typos and just a few rough edges to make it not perfect, but what book is really perfect, right?



Let's get to the good stuff. James Curcio is an outstanding author. This book is a modern-day crusade against, well you fill in the blank. Comparable to masterpieces dealing with matters of the mind as Pink Floyd's The Wall, Curcio's book hops heads effortlessly, taking the reader into deeper waters, weaving in mythological lore applied to today's society. The plot itself is fairly straight forward, mixed in with a dose of insanity, (but is it really?) a diverse cast of characters, and lots of toe-curling sexy scenes. Add in a big-bang of an ending in this quick read and you have what amounts to a fine piece of independent literature.



But don't take my word for it...check it out yourself.



View all my reviews

25 August 2011

Re: My Last Post - Clarification

My last blog post was intended to be a general blurb, about how trying to sell books has changed. I see there’s some kind of odd reception, as there usually is with all of my writing. Point is, I’m not worried. I have been asked time and time again how I do what I do, and I was going to make a set of posts detailing some aspects of my strategy but I don’t feel I should. I’m not looking for criticism or to be exposed as someone who ultimately wants to make a sale. Let me explain in my oh-so-bitchy-but-makes-sense sort of way:

It’s an achievement. It’s my dream. 

We all have aspirations and dreams, whether it’s to build a house to specs, or to finally own that shiny sports car. Mine is to make books. I like writing books and having them be nice and edited, and look sharp in the final formatting. The truth is this: I write because I love the story. I am encouraged to write more because of my readers. I don’t write to become a best seller, or famous, or rich. I’m not looking to eat off my proceeds. I’m even considering different charities to donate portions to.

In conclusion to my gripety-gripe-gripe post, I leave you with this:

Whatever your goal is—it should include a plan to succeed. 

Think about that.




Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com

22 August 2011

How Not to Sell Books





To sell books, you must not sell books. Let me say that again. You have to sell everything but the book. You must sell yourself as a reliable source of entertainment/information. You must give incentive to your readers. You must answer the question why should I buy your books over my other choices?

I haven’t sold a single book yet, but I have downloads. Free tidbits I give to share my world with this world in hopes that it will establish a bond of trust between me and a prospective reader. I spend a good deal of time thinking of new ways to delight and amaze my growing audience. All without selling a single book. Without screaming into the hurricane that is the literary world.

I’ve seen reports of people selling unholy amounts of ebooks. The first question a person would ask is not how, but why? These are not the same questions. An example of why would be that the book was free for a certain amount of time, skyrocketing it into the stratosphere of top-tendom. (I made that up right here)

Maybe it has a pretty cover. Humans are still visual creatures. Anyone trolling the porn on Tumblr can appreciate the free visuals. Art is eye candy and tantalizes the brain. 

Maybe it was a dollar before the big boom of self-published entrepreneurs. A charter member of the Only-A-Buck club. In that case, we must thank it. It’s made it even more difficult for authors intending to live off their earnings to have a ghost of a chance with a book that costs even $1.01.

Maybe it had big corporation backing and a massive marketing campaign. Ah, now this is where it gets fuzzy. Which is the right way to market a product, in this case a book?

The answer is there is no easy answer. The saving grace? Stats. If you have books out on the market, a Facebook page or even a blog, chances are you have stats available to you to show visitor interest, buying trends, even the best days and times to speak to your audience for the maximum effect. This is where I’ve dug in. I’ve found what it is that people enjoy having in their lives. One is cheap entertainment. Another is company, much like a friend, and in many cases, formed friendships. 

Why do we pick up books? Is it in support of an independent author? Boredom? A focused interest?

You better find these things out if you want to survive.

(Photo credit: ardelfin from morguefile.com)

18 August 2011

The Big Sleep, a #Fridayflash

So I did without a little sleep here and there. The extra hours were great for productivity—those hours after the wee one went to bed and before the sun came in to bid me do the Devil’s work at Big Name Corporation. Driving was the hardest part. Icy cold a/c spewing from the vents in December, shaking my head back and forth to rattle out the snooze spiderwebs. Acid metal in July. Windows all the way down as I yanked my aching, splintering bones through another bitch of a day.

I figured it out. How to not sleep. The best thing ever, because I could just keep working. Burning my candle at both ends ’til what I had left was a puddle of flaming wax searing the skin from my hands. It was a breakthrough.  Everyone left me be when they realized I’d discovered that magical secret. They were obviously jealous of me.

It wasn’t until the men from the bank came to collect the things from my house that I fully understood the permanence of what I’d done.


Photo credit: wintersixfour from morguefile.com

12 August 2011

Goiter Ghost, a #Fridayflash



Morning Bob, how’s that woman coming along? You read her the Riot Act like I told you?

Yeap and she didn’t like it one bit. Took the kids and went to her mother’s.

She’s an ornery one, that Regina.

That woman wasn’t just the orneriest thing out there in the swamp. There was that ghost goiter, Sangerria.

--like a real ghost?

Yes like a real ghost, now shut up, you’re breakin’ the ambulance. 

Don’t you mean ambivalence?

Whatever. Me and Johnny grabbed our bibles and rifles and took on off out there in Jim’s old T so we could get a good look at the Devil.

You can’t see the Devil, Bob.

I know that but that goiter had to be the next best thing. Pale as a corpse with yellow eyes. It snapped and hissed at the both of us but we held fast. See, there was a screwdriver buried deep in its side. It was in a heap of pain and probably dying.

So what’d you do? Pull it out and make friends?

Hell no. We did what any self-respecting country boys would’ve done. We had him for dinner.



(Photo credit: gxman from morguefile.com)

06 August 2011

Publishing Update - August

In my last blog post I hinted at holding a contract for publishing of Crooked Fang, the novel I’ve been working on forever and a day. It is time to announce that particular publisher. I created a Crooked Fang newsletter and released it out Friday to the mailing list and to the general public today. You'll find the full publishing announcement, plus other links and tidbits in there, as Xan worded them better than I could have. [wink]


What’s next on the agenda for me? More Crooked Fang. Since I can’t seem to work without concrete deadlines, I’m imposing them on myself. This is also how I finished the first novel. My schedule is as follows:

·         August 2011– Outline of Crooked Fang 2 completed
·         September 2011 – Anthology with two other female authors submitted
·         November 2011 – First draft of Crooked Fang 2 completed
·         February 2012 – Second draft of Crooked Fang completed, submitted for beta view
·         May 2012 – Crooked Fang (first novel) releases, Crooked Fang 2 goes into publisher’s hands.

All too often I hear people state that they have a novel in the works, but either don’t know how to finish it, or feel overwhelmed by the daunting aspect of revision. To this I say: Do it. Just keep working on it. Even if it’s a page a day. Don’t stop believing in your story.

Other News – Crooked Fang

I’m currently working on merchandise, focusing on wearables and stickers. Granted, I have no concept of how great the desire is for branded Crooked Fang gear, so I plan to release a limited line initially, increasing as demand also increases, if it does.

Testing t-shirt design and graphics application

There are a few other creative ideas in the mixer also, but nothing fully gelled. I’ll keep you posted.I also want to start releasing flash stories again, hoping for one a month, maybe more as time allows.Again to those of you who read my words, thank you immensely for your support as I walk in a different direction. The terrain is becoming more familiar as I go, but it’s still an uncertain future.

-CC

01 August 2011

Contract Pending - Crooked Fang (Going to the Dark Side)

I announced a few months back that I was finishing Crooked Fang, the novel and would be self-printing both the book and the accompanying album. Embittered by small burns left behind on my resume of writing, I wasn’t looking for a publisher to trust any longer. I’d set up a team of devoted individuals to help me achieve my dream of creating a full-length novel. 

Things have changed. 

I’ve submitted to a publisher and have received an offer for contract. Crooked Fang will be published soon in the near-future in ebook format. Printed versions should follow eventually.

I will be releasing a public Crooked Fang newsletter once the contract has been signed. Album details will also be included in this special edition. I really appreciate all of you and your support for me throughout this entire process. 

22 June 2011

Newest Feature for Xan Marcelles - Free Download

I had the distinct pleasure of working with an author I admire, the rather-luxe Nerine Dorman. Together we came up with a short teaser story featuring Therese Willegen and Xan Marcelles (from Crooked Fang) for our combined readers.

I would love it if you'd give it a try. Approx 9k words. You can download it directly from Smashwords in any format you desire. Feel free to review it on Goodreads.



Crooked Fang Facebook page
Nerine Dorman on Facebook

09 June 2011

Writing is...Worth Fighting For


I was tagged by Icy Sedgwick for this meme “Writing is…”

Writing is worth fighting for. It’s worth the loss of sleep that a new idea or a plot unkink causes. It’s worth the money spent on obscure, rare, or collectible volumes of research. It’s worth the time spent hunched over the keyboard so long my back cracks when I finally stand up. It’s worth starving over for just a few more hours until I can wrap up a scene or put the final touches on a short story.
There is no easy way to write. To write, I must suffer in isolation. I must buy strange music and subject myself to oddball hours to seek the silence that exists only when the others are sleeping. But I’m not the only one who must bend to the will of inspiration. My family has to understand why they can’t visit on a deadline weekend, or why I can’t just sit down and watch a movie when I’m posed in front of an open Word doc so long I may as well gather dust.
I must battle with my introverted nature when promoting my writing. I must spend months of my life writing blurbs, editing commas, and thinking/pursuing new and interesting ways to convince others to read what I’ve produced. The quaint, quiet writer of yesteryear has gone. Now an author must Tweet, Facebook and blog if he/she wishes to enjoy even an intermediate measure of success.
So then here I blog.

I tag:

05 June 2011

June Updates, Crooked Fang News - A Letter to my Readers


Hi everyone!

It’s been some time since I’ve updated this blog with much to read, and for that I’m sorry. But I’ve been busy working behind the scenes on so many things.

Crooked Fang
As many of you knew, I was writing a web serial called Crooked Fang. After receiving so much encouragement, I pulled the contents of the blog and compiled the story with intentions to make it into a true-blue novel. That particular project is in the revision stage, which is the stage before submission to the publisher. Currently it’s about 1/3 complete, which is great considering I’m fairly much retyping the entire thing and also writing more scenes into the story.
My newsletter mailing list has appreciated a substantial amount of growth, and for that I truly wish to thank you. The fact that each of you subscribed voluntarily and humor me by reading whatever static Xan throws out every Saturday night keeps me with full intentions to continue making it a high-priority item.
Scrivener has been a great big help with compiling Crooked Fang, and for those of you skeptical of its usability, there are a number of very useful video tutorials. One ten-minute video set me on the right path and although I still keep a master Word doc, I’m slowly learning to trust in this wonderful writing software.
Here’s a screenshot of it in action, straight from my desktop:

The revisions are tentatively scheduled for completion by the end of July. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Future Plans
I’m in talks with a possible home for Crooked Fang, but the challenge has been to find a publisher willing to take a chance on something not done very frequently before, and that’s a multimedia production. Because of this, the album will most likely precede the book itself. No worries though, we’re looking at putting out a Crooked Fang album 2, which will lean more towards the metal genre in music. Feedback is always welcome. I would enjoy hearing what any of you imagine Crooked Fang would sound like as a real band.
After I finish the Crooked Fang novel, I’ve already got the second one partially written. I also have plans for my 500 project, a horror/thriller novel featuring the Grim Reaper. That too has an album in talks. The album would feature various artists and have a wide range of sounds, as I am very much a David Lynch fan.
And that’s about it for future plans. Along the way, I might put out little short stories here and there, but my focus will remain primarily on the aforementioned projects.
Feel free to join me on Twitter or my Facebook page.  You can also give Crooked Fang a like on Facebook. For fresh Crooked Fang flash stories, you’ll need to sign up for the Crooked Fang newsletter. The sign-up is located on the Crooked Fang site just above the big blue bass on the right sidebar.

I really look forward to the rest of this year and the next and only hope that I can fulfill your expectations from me. Thanks for reading and being my friend.

20 May 2011

Book Review: Khepera Redeemed, by Nerine Dorman

Khepera Redeemed (Khepera series, #2)Khepera Redeemed by Nerine Dorman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I love the direction this second book in the series took. Dorman flashes more magic and world-building knowledge at us than you can shake a deathrattle at. Jamie (who now calls himself James) continues in his evolution as a human even as he comes face-to-face with something more terrifying and powerful than even he could ever imagine.



Where does the author come up with this? This book was even better than Khepera Rising, which also received the highest rating from me. I think that this book is more general-public-reading friendly, as its contents concentrate on worlds other than ours, rather than Jamie's questionable moral standing.



If you enjoy books of magic, and tire of the friendly, fuzzy magician books and fairies of urban fantasy, look no further. This was an amazing book.



View all my reviews

19 May 2011

My Romance Cherry has Been Popped

Tainted LoveTainted Love by Therése von Willegen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


There's so much to like about this story. Smokin' hot read, tall, dark and looming dead center in the book? You bet. Couple that with a heart of gold, not-so-easy resolution and well, you get the idea. Tainted Love takes place not in your usual humdrum American city but South Africa, in a city called Cape Town. The little taste of exotic culture really spices up the scenes and Therese has a way with descriptions and words that will knock your stockings off. Get it, if only for the gorgeous "scenes". Mm.



View all my reviews

Shade



Something about my life traded in a parade of egos and glittering trail of what could be disturbs me. A piece of the pie, tin star in my eyes, reaching for that next branch in the tree. Take time to assess the damage of being me, around me, inside me, and figure out if you come out on top.

Stop.

I'm closing the door, pulling up anchor and departing golden shores to give this black mist in the distance its due. Without a fucking clue I'll drive all night if it'll only lead me to where I was supposed to be. A little bit of me in encased in words and typography on my screen. A breath I made extends half way across my universe and darker things lurk in shade where it's just a little bit cooler.

A few degrees.



20 April 2011

Book Review: Khepera Rising, by Nerine Dorman

Khepera RisingKhepera Rising by Nerine Dorman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


James “Jamie” Guillaume starts out as a thirty-something man who runs an occult shop, has a proud reputation as South Africa’s “Wickedest Man”, has his pick of all the kindergoths in town at his disposal, and wears carefully applied make-up, completing his immersion in his self-constructed fantasy world. Piece-by-piece, this meticulously-maintained environment is slowly reduced, laying bare the true man beneath the veneer and positioning him against larger-than-life adversaries.



Khepera Rising is a stunning masterpiece of dark paranormal urban fantasy beyond typical glittery fae or vampires. This book is reserved for readers who want to sink chest-deep in satiny prose, vivid descriptions, and a plot that keeps them turning the page long after their body has made the call for sleep in the wee hours of the morning.



I finished this book in two day’s time only because I simply found it impossible to put the book down. The characters are each bright and memorable, and I didn’t run into the problem I encounter often, which is forgetting who is who and wondering what exactly their significance in the greater scheme of things is. No, every individual is well-placed, an essential piece of a magnificent chess set in Dorman’s universe.



Dorman further flexes her literary skills by exposing her in-depth knowledge of the subject matter and takes her reader by the hand to lead them through a labyrinth of blacker subjects than your typical St. Martin’s novel. This book provides a deeply engrossing and educational read, set on the shores of Cape Town, in South Africa.



Not since Dean Koontz’s olden horror-writing days have I been so enthralled by a story.





View all my reviews

14 April 2011

A Moment of Pause

Remember if you knew. Discover if you're still in the dark. It's been a year, leaving me at a loss yet I feel my part is to ensure everyone gets a chance to love Peter as much as we do:

His family has put together a blog and is doing regular postings of their memories of him. 

The Official Type O Negative website is hosting fan-created art in a special gallery.

MetalSucks did an extensive two-part interview with his family and friends. These are really in-depth memories/thoughts. It was often hard for them to speak:

Part I

Part II

Code Bass Radio is doing a special show in Peter Steele's honour today.
The listen-to link is here. 

Nerine Dorman did a heartfelt post here.

11 April 2011

Self-Publishing: Behind the Scenes with G.L. Drummond - Guest Post


G.L. Drummond
Hey there! Many thanks to the lovely and talented Carrie for allowing me to be here today.
I’m going to babble about the self-publishing process as I personally do it, using my newest title, Code Walker, as my example.
My tools are MS Word and YWriter5.
Obviously, the first step is to write, and complete, a story. Which can be a bit difficult for me, since I’m the Hop-a-long Cassidy type of writer. Code Walker is an excellent example, as I began writing it back in 2008, and then set it aside for two years before recently completing it.
I used to post each new part to my blog or a site that I belonged to for feedback while writing. I don’t do that anymore, though I do have five beta readers that I send works in progress to. 
Beta readers are invaluable. They offer constructive criticism, point out inconsistencies, and help steer me away from trusting the reader too much. I have a habit of thinking readers can read my past brainwaves and will KNOW what I meant when writing a particular scene.
I am an alien, y’all. My brainwaves don’t always stretch into the future for readers to tune in to. Heh.
During the writing and beta readers’ comments, I go over the story a dozen or more times. Polishing, re-wording, cutting, and adding as needed. Once the story is the best it can be from all of that, I send it in for editing. I have two lovely ladies who edit my works, @BiblioBrat and @tmycann.
Both are excellent editors. Editing fees can range from $20 or so, up to several hundred or even $1k, depending on the final manuscript’s word count.
While the story’s in edits, it’s time to come up with a blurb and the cover.
I suck at the blurbage, and usually ask my editors and/or Kate Smith, a fellow KKP author, to write one, or to clean up the fumbling garbage I spew out. For Code Walker, I asked Kate to come up with a blurb:
In the fickle worlds created when cyberspace and reality overlap, it’s all too easy to blur and shift lines…moral lines, lawful lines, lines of code and destiny, until the surreal becomes real. Walking those lines back to the source, and rebooting the system, isn’t exactly a job for a girl who plays nice - but it does pay extremely well.
As Riley Cabot never qualified as a ‘nice girl’, life as the Code Walker is sweet.
Only thing about codes is that they break.
This year, I’m doing something new where covers are concerned. Before, I used the tools I had available (namely Poser) to create my covers. But after a few fellow indie authors politely pointed out that my covers might be partially responsible for my rather pathetic sales, it was time for a change.
Since I currently can’t afford to shell out $100 or more per cover, I’m still designing my own. But I’ve begun using stock photography instead. There are several sites where you can purchase royalty free licenses for quite reasonable fees.
Code Walker’s cover cost a whopping $29 in licensing fees, and took about 4 hours to create. First, I selected some images and used the preview of each to create cover mockups. Once I had one that I liked, I purchased the licenses and downloaded the larger, higher quality images. Then all I had to do was put them together (I didn’t use Photoshop for this cover, but FireWorks).
One thing to note: Code Walker isn’t long enough to justify releasing a print version, so its cover is purely for web advertising. Advertising usage is allowed under the standard license – but print book covers aren’t always included in the standard licenses. So check for that if you take the same route and plan to release a print version too.
By then, I’ve likely received the edited manuscript, so it’s time to approve edits and make any suggested changes that I agree with. To be honest, I do usually agree with changes my editors suggest. It’s rare that I don’t, but it does occasionally happen.
Now the story is ready to become an ebook. I use the Smashwords’ style guide to format it (it’s a free download). Something I’ve learned is that the final .doc can usually be uploaded to Amazon’s KDP without doing more than changing a bit of the info on the copyright page.
I prefer to distribute my ebooks DRM free where possible – Amazon and Smashwords.
Here’s where it might get a bit tricky: you have to upload the file to Smashwords before you can purchase an ISBN for it. So I upload, purchase that, add the number to the file in the appropriate spot, then re-upload the file.
An ISBN is $9.95 through Smashwords, if you want your own imprint to be listed as the publisher of record. If you don’t care, Smashwords has freebies and getting one of those means that they will be listed as the publisher of record for your ebook.
I have my own imprint (Katarr Kanticles Press), so prefer to purchase ISBNs.
Last, I opt-in through Smashwords to distribute it through their partners, which include B&N, Kobo, Sony, and others.
Ta-dah! New ebook published and distributed.
Code Walker’s wrap up:
Roughly 70 hours writing/acting on beta readers’ advice/polishing. Four hours to design the cover. A couple of hours approving edits; the same for formatting, and an hour or so to upload to Amazon and Smashwords.  Production expenses are just under $400 for editing, an ISBN, and stock image license fees. I don’t count my time in those, because you start thinking about charging higher prices.
Oh, I forgot to mention pricing. That’s something else I’ve made changes to this year, and I price based on finished word count.
Hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at my self-publishing process. Thanks again, Carrie! =)

Thanks Gayla for your insight into the self-publishing industry. You are truly a shining example of professionalism in Indie and take your craft seriously (else you wouldn't have all those spreadsheets and historical stats!). I want to wish you good luck with attaining your first 500 sales. 
 To all my readers, please consider buying this book up to help Gayla attain that goal. It's on sale right now for under an American Dollar. See links below.
- CC
 Code Walker is on sale for 99 cents during the blog tour at Amazon and Smashwords . After that, the cover price will be $2.99, and it will be available at other sites.

G.L. Drummond is a sword-toting alien with a fetish for fur and four-legged creatures who writes fiction & tweets. Indie author/self-publisher.


Follow her on Twitter for highly amusing tweets about House Hunny, her adventures in writing, and the paper toss gig.