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.


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.