Guest Author–Sandra Ulbrich Almazan

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan (1)Help me give a warm welcome to Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, my guest for today. Her new book, “Seasons’ Beginnings,” is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Today, Sandra’s got a quiz for us to take, “What Type of Avatar Are You?” Let’s find out!

In the world of the fantasy Season Avatars series, gods and goddesses gift chosen mortals with Their power. These gifted people are called Avatars. The country of Challen has Four Gods and Goddesses, each with their own type of Avatar. If you lived in Challen, what type of Avatar might you be? Please take this short quiz to find out.

1. What’s your favorite season?
a. Spring
b. Summer
c. Fall
d. Winter
e. I don’t have a favorite.

2. What’s your favorite color?
a. Yellow
b. Green
c. Red
d. Blue
e. White

3. What type of magic would you prefer to have?
a. Healing
b. Plant magic (making them grow)
c. Animal magic (communication/healing)
d. Weather control
e. The ability to make magical artifacts

4. What role would you prefer to have in a group?
a. Leader
b. Devil’s advocate
c. Mediator
d. Conscience
e. Teacher

If you answered mostly “A,” you would be a Spring Avatar and serve the Goddess of Spring. She would grant you healing magic and the ability to create a telepathic/magical link with Avatars from the other seasons. The Goddess of Spring is the leader of the Four Gods and Goddesses, so you would also be… Continue reading

Here In Spirit…

Have had some physical issues that have kept me away from the computer, but I’m pretty much back now. Well, for now. Anyway, one thing I’ll say about enforced idleness, it gives you lots of time to think up new stories. I’m just brimming with ideas.

Okay, need to go. Talk at ya later!

Back From Arisia

I went to Boston this past weekend to attend the Arisia science fiction/fantasy convention. As always, I had a great time. I even managed to learn a few things. Like, don’t try to give away tote bags with a book purchase. Giving away tote bags at a con is like carrying coals to Newcastle, since everyone seemed to have one already. Got rid of one bag in conjunction with a book sale, though. Maybe if I just advertised free totes…

I also attended a panel on people of color and the publishing world. POC are often locked out of the mainstream publishing machine, maybe because their characters aren’t white. For POC, there has never been a stigma associated with self-publishing, because that’s the only way POC can get published. There was also talk about making cons a “safe space” for POC. One panelist noted that if a 14-year old blond-haired, blue-eyed boy was seen running through the hotel, security would ignore it, but if her son were running through the hotel, she’d probably have to pick him up from jail, and then justify herself as a conventioneer. This, unfortunately, is probably true.

So, this gives me an idea for Blackrose Press. Cater to POC writers of spec fic. Bet I’d have plenty of submissions. It’s not something I’m ready to do just yet, but I most likely will, in time.

Been So Long…

I’m almost embarrassed to come back. But hey, I have been working hard on the new book.

Anyway, I’m going to Arisia in January 2014, as I do every year. Hopefully I can sell some books then.

Sorry this is so short, but I gotta get back to writing…

Love ya!

Recovery Complete

Spent the last month resting from my marketing labors. Felt like I’ve been on a bullet train since January, when The Underground was published. It was just a whirlwind, scouting opportunities, working on interviews, guest posts, preparing for the book launch and whatever else came along the way. I used up my marketing budget–much faster than I would’ve thought–and now have to save for the next round. Whether I’ll be marketing The Underground or the next book remains to be seen.

And then, of course, I have to get back to writing.

Anyway, I still have some interviews and guest posts that I’ve committed to, but now I’m ready to clean up. By that I mean gathering receipts and putting each in its proper folder, getting all those boxes of swag, flyers and what not out of the den, getting the books out of the dining room and putting them all someplace else (where, I have no idea).

In the midst of all this activity, though, I did keep an eye on my reviews. Boy, is The Underground getting hammered on Goodreads! My 5 star rating has declined to 3.07. Some of the reviewers ripped into my characters so bad we’ve all had to go into group therapy. If it’s that bad, it makes me wonder if I should bother with the sequel. I know a review is just one person’s opinion, but when that many people are of the same opinion, it makes one wonder. Unless they’re being trolls.… Continue reading

The Underground–Book Promotion!

Hey! The Underground is being featured in a New Book Release promo with World Literary Cafe! It runs from May 1st through May 7th. Here’s the link: May New Release Hope to see you there!

…And The Reviews Are Coming In

Been so long, I’m glad to be back…

So how are the reviews? Good, overall, but kind of mixed, if that makes any sense. Two four-star reviews on Amazon. The first gentleman really liked the book, but thought the sex was salacious and coarse–not his cup of tea. The second also really liked the book, but thought the sex “exhausting.” What is it about the sex in The Underground that turns people off? I thought most people liked sex? Maybe they just don’t like reading about it. At any rate, they would both recommend it to other readers. That’s a good thing.

Kirkus Reviews called The Underground “sexy, twisted” but said it was too much like True Blood or Charlaine Harris’s books. Since I’ve never seen True Blood, and I’ve only read one of Charlaine Harris’s books, I’m in no position to argue. Maybe I should rent the series on Netflix, or buy a couple more of her books. Still, they said, it’s “A diverting urban fantasy.” That’s a good thing, too.

Then we have Clarion ForeWord Reviews. She didn’t mind the sex–she liked that the characters were “sexually expressive,” and exuded “sensuality.” She liked the strong female characters. She also called it an “erotic fantasy.” I’ve been calling it a paranormal fantasy/science fiction blend. Maybe I’ll just start calling it an erotic urban fantasy. I like the way that sounds. Hmm…

Goodreads is definitely mixed. I’ve five-, four-, three-, two- and one-star ratings. The folks who gave me the… Continue reading

Let’s Hear It For The Women!

Please join me in a warm welcome for M.A. Donovan, my guest this afternoon. She has much to tell us, so let’s dive in!

In today’s society, women have been classified as the weaker sex, even though they hold positions of power, run businesses, bear children, and now have the opportunity to join the men on the battlefield. All throughout history, women have shown extraordinary feats and have prospered. Yes, they may not have had voting rights or been allowed into counsel with the men, but they still excelled in other ways.

The clergy respected women, realizing early on that they were intelligent and eager to learn. While their husbands, fathers, sons, and lovers went off to war, ladies of the middle ages ruled their estates and sometimes had to defend them. They managed their property, handled the finances, and raised their children on their own.

Also during this time, chivalry became widespread. It was an honor to win the heart of a special woman. Men oftentimes found themselves battling for the attentions of the same woman. This love affair raised women to the status of goddess.

In The Golden Horn, I throw a naïve princess into the very capable hands of a wordly swordsman. Alyssa is strong and tough on the outside but justfrontcover like most women, soft on the inside. She puts her people before herself and finds herself in very dangerous situations. If not for meeting Galen Hawkeye, the hero of Shandor, she would be locked up… Continue reading

Marketing Mania

Hey, all–

Haven’t been here for a while, I know. Since THE UNDERGROUND came out on January 9 (and the ebook on January 26), I’ve been doing more marketing than anything else. Now I know why people get paid to do this. It’s hard work, and it takes up a LOT of time. Identifying and contacting potential markets, chasing reviewers, and the like. And then I plan to do a blog tour. And planning for the big launch party in May. I’ve barely written a lick since the THE UNDERGROUND came out.

Still, we’ve had some highs. I received a 4 star review from Amazon, with some really nice things to say about THE UNDERGROUND. On Goodreads, while I have no text reviews, I’ve got two 5-star ratings (and two fans!). So at least two somebodies out there like it. Anyway, right now I’m targeting small indie magazines and the like for advertisements. Ads rarely bring in sales, but they’re important in that it’s important to get my name out there. I found one magazine that would’ve been terrific, except for the cost. I’d no idea that placing ads like this was so expensive. I thought it was like, you know, placing a classified ad. I mean, I know some ads can be expensive, but I thought it was just the big, glossy kind you find in higher-end magazines. Not true. I found one magazine that’d be perfect for my ad, and they want almost a grand for one-sixth of… Continue reading

5 Rules for Surviving the End of the World

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Gail Z. Martin, author of the popular Chronicles of the Necromancer series. Her newest book, Ice Forged, was just released this month.

0061-eWomenNetworkGail Z. Martin: My newest novel, Ice Forged, takes place in a post-apocalyptic medieval world.  As the book cover proclaims, “Their world is ending: the adventure is just beginning.”  With the Mayan Apocalypse so recently in memory as one of those “fake” end of the world scenarios, what does it take to survive when the world devolves into chaos?

Rule #1: It helps to be far away when the doomsday strike hits.  My characters begin the book in exile in an arctic prison colony.  Their colony is affected by the catastrophic loss of magic, but because of the colony’s primitive conditions, the effect of the catastrophe  is lessened.  In their case, exile to the end of the world ended up being “lucky”.

Rule #2: Make sure you know how to do important things without magic.  In Ice Forged, people have gotten dependent on using small magic as a short cut for everything from healing sickness to making sure crops weren’t eaten by pests to holding stone fences together.  When the magic fails, everything it was holding together fails, too.  People who only know how to do things with the help of magic are stuck.  Their “power grid” has gone down, and they don’t have back-up.

Rule #3: Have people who will watch your back.  Our myth of the totally independent… Continue reading