Guilty As Charged?

I read an interesting thread on Goodreads the other day. The OP asked if anyone felt guilty on days they didn’t write. She said she did.

If I don’t write, I certainly don’t feel guilty about it. I used to, but then I realized that there are instances when I just won’t have the time–or the inclination–to write. I think one of the greatest frauds perpetrated on new writers is that they have to write every day to become better. While I believe everyone who writes needs to practice to become better writers–just like musicians have to practice to become better on their instruments–I don’t think skipping a day or two or even a week is going to damn you to mediocrity forever. Because of various events in my life, I’ve gone months without writing. While I market my books, I rarely write. To me, marketing itself is a full-time job. So is writing. And I have a full-time job, one that sometimes requires me to work on weekends and holidays. Something has to go, and it isn’t my day job. That means I have to make a choice. While I’m marketing, I don’t write. While I’m writing, I don’t market. I would love to pay someone to do all my marketing for me–I hate marketing, anyway–but I haven’t won the lottery in a while.

Is it frustrating? Yes. Sometimes I get itchy fingers, but the current situation–whatever that may be–just won’t allow for it. Take now, for instance. It’s… Continue reading

Christmas in July!

Dear Santa:

Normally, I don’t make Christmas wish lists, but this time I have to make an exception. You see, I’m an author, and am always looking for new experiences—grist for my mill, as it were. I work according to a five-year plan, so if you’ll grant my wishes this Christmas, I won’t bother you for the next five years. Sound like a good deal? Okay—this is what I wish:

Year 1. Seeing the world with Xena, Warrior Princess. I love to travel, and though these days my idea of camping out is any place without room service, and I’m getting a little old to sleep rough, I’m not so old that I can’t do it. At least for a while. And don’t forget the big bag practically overflowing with dinars. I usually travel with a certain minimum amount of cash on my person, but back then, automatic teller machines hadn’t been invented. Besides, if I had a bagful of cash, Xena might be more amenable to having a middle-aged tag-along. She may even let me ride Argo, her horse.

Year 2.  Gallivanting through time and space with Dr. Who. The TARDIS is a magnificent machine, and I’d love to get my hands on it. Well, maybe not. The good Doctor once said only he can operate it. Very well. Maybe he’ll teach me if I ask nicely enough. At any rate, exploring new worlds I’m sure will generate lots of ideas. And between the two of us, I think… Continue reading

It’s All About Marketing

The Moreva of Astoreth has been published. Now it’s time to market, the hardest job of all.

I hate marketing. It’s not that I don’t like putting myself out there, it’s mainly that it takes time away from writing. I have written anything on my work-in-progress in ages. It’s been so long I’ve forgotten what the book is about. Well, that’s not true.

Am I complaining? You bet. But I’d better stop before you decide you don’t want to read anymore.

So what am I doing? Posting my book in as many places as I can, for one. That’s a lot of posting, let me tell you. And there are so many places out there. I have to do it way more than once, lest I get lost in the babble. I’m also running giveaways. Completed one on Amazon not too long ago, and am contemplating running another one. Running a Goodreads giveaway at the moment. It ends on August 5, so you might want to enter now, before you forget. I’m also looking to create an author website. I know, I know–should have done that ages ago. Better late than never, though. Anyway, at least I’ve got my domain name–www.roxannebland.rocks. Is that cool, or what? As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. Let’s see, what else? Oh–I’m doing a radio interview on July 30. I’ve done one before, and it was fun, much more fun than writing a blog interview. Speaking of blogs,… Continue reading

The Story Behind the Story

I’m sometimes asked where I came up with the idea for The Moreva of Astoreth.

It has its roots in a game a friend and I played in college. We collaborated on a story, taking turns. I don’t recall the details—it was more years ago than I care to remember—but it went something like this. A woman, the daughter of a king, is exiled from her homeland in the desert because she refused to marry a man the king had picked out for her. She travels north. After many adventures, she arrives at a village willing to take her in. The village chieftain is enamored of her, but does not want his people to know since she’s a stranger. The woman genuinely dislikes him. After being at each other’s throats for a period of time, the woman falls in love with him. The chieftain confesses his feelings. They marry.

Meanwhile, the woman’s father, feeling remorseful for exiling his daughter, gathers his army to go look for her. They wander from village to village, searching, but they do not find her. Concluding that his daughter must have headed north, turns in that direction. Still, they do not find her. Frustrated now, the king begins laying waste to every village he and his army come across. Finally, they arrive at the village where the woman is living. The king demands his daughter return with him. She refuses, telling him she is now married and happy. Her father threatens war. The chieftain accepts… Continue reading

Whirlwind

It’s been quite a two months. I’m on a The Moreva of Astoreth blog tour at the moment, writing out interviews, writing blog posts, and things like that. I’m still writing interviews, though not for the tour. Can’t say it’s resulted in sales, but my name is getting out there. Maybe that’s a good thing. At least it’s been better received than The Underground. I got trashed on Goodreads. In contrast, The Moreva of Astoreth is getting five stars all the way, except for one who gave me three.

Finished my run on NetGalley. Not too bad, except I got lots of thumbs down for my cover. Well, to tell the truth, I’m not too fond of it, either. The company that made it was absolutely incompetent. They totally disregarded what I asked them to do. Then, little by little, my vision sort of emerged. So eventually I’ll have another cover made, and submit to NetGalley again–see what happens. Using a different artist, of course.

Didn’t make it to Arisia this year–damned flu. And it’s the one event I look forward to all year. If I’m going to sell any books, it’s usually there. But from the Facebook posts I’m seeing, a good time is being had by all. And today it’s over.

So between all of that, I’m looking for job, since I retired from my last one. This is the first time in twenty-five or so years I’ve been in the market, and it has changed. A… Continue reading

Step One

Spent almost the last 24 hours looking up reviewers for The Moreva of Astoreth. There’s a website called “Indie View” and it lists prolific reviewers who either specifically or are willing to review indie books. There are a lot of them–about three hundred, listed from A to Z. So it takes a while to sift through them.

The good news, though, is that many of them review science fiction and romance. Since mine is a bit of both, I sent off a query. I’ve already had two responses, which kind of surprised me, considering how many requests they must get. Anyway, I’ve no idea how many queries I sent off and to whom. It didn’t occur to me to write it down as I was going along until after I’d finished. Not good business sense on my part, but I’m still learning.

Now, it’s on to Step Two.

Later, gators!

 

A New Addition to the Family

Yes, yes–I haven’t been around much lately. But that’s because I’ve been so busy birthing The Moreva of Astoreth. And I’m happy to say I’m now the proud Mama of a brand new book! TMOA went live on Smashwords on November 1, 2015. Since then, I’ve been working hard to get it into other distribution channels. It’s available on Amazon in both print and e-book form. It’s available on Kobo, and will soon be available on Nook as well. I’m keeping my eye out for other distribution channels (I’m working on Ingram right now) and when I find ’em, I’ll put ‘er up.

As with any kid, once you have one, you have to raise it. That means looking for opportunities to market your work. And there are lots of ways you can do that, many without leaving the comfort of your desktop. But it’s not necessarily easy. Book reviewers are flooded with authors clamoring for them to review their work. Some require payment (which is not always feasible if you’re on a budget). Personally, I don’t  think there’s anything wrong with paying for a review, as long as it’s an honest one. And face it, the big publishing houses have long-standing relationships with outfits like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, so the chance of an indie getting into their main review magazines is well-nigh impossible. Kirkus will publish a review for a price–and like I said, nothing wrong with that–but the price is steep. That’s really my only beef with… Continue reading

Kickstarter Project!

Hi, everyone–

To help me with the costs of marketing The Moreva of Astoreth, I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign. My goal is to raise $6,000 in the next sixty days. If you donate, you can get lots of nifty things, including a signed copy of my book! And if you donate $500, dinner’s on me! Just click on the link to the right to get to my project page! Kickstarter Project

COVER REVEAL!

At long last, here’s the cover for The Moreva of Astoreth. One of the things I learned about this process is how difficult it is to communicate your vision to the artist. I painted a word picture for them, but there was so much I left out. Now it’s finished, and here it is!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00027]

Cover Art

Work on THE MOREVA OF ASTORETH progresses. I’m now in the final editing stages of the manuscript. And I’ve contracted with a cover artist. The last time I contracted for cover art, I went through Createspace. I was–and am–unhappy with the cover of THE UNDERGROUND. Maybe it’s because there’s only so much you can do with stock photo images, but it is barely what I wanted to see. The elements are there, but they don’t mesh in the way I envisioned. So why did I give it my okay? Because I got tired of going around and around with them on what I wanted. Sometimes I thought they were doing this just to make me tear my hair out.

But back to TMOA. We’re not there yet, but it seems we’re on our way. Here’s something I’ve learned through this process: communication is key, and it can be hard. I painted a word portrait of what I wanted. Much of it was there, some of it not. But some of it wasn’t there because though I saw it in my mind’s eye, I didn’t clearly put it down with pixels. So I’ve taken to sending pictures (or pics, as the Brits abbreviate) to illustrate what I mean. And, of course, she has some great ideas, too. It never occurred to me to put clouds in. I like what she did. All we need to do is take out the moon and substitute a sun, and we’re golden. At least for… Continue reading