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
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
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 just 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
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
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.
Gail 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
I’m pleased to announce that “THE UNDERGROUND” was published last week by Blackrose Press. It’s available at Amazon.com, in both print and Kindle editions. Check it out!
I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our interviewee today, Joyce Lavene.
Joyce Lavene writes bestselling mystery with her husband/partner Jim. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley and Charter Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. She lives in rural North Carolina with her family, her cat, Quincy, and her rescue dog, Rudi. Visit her at www.joyceandjimlavene.com, www.facebook.com/JoyceandJimLavene, Twitter: @AuthorJLavene, romanceofmystery.blogspot.com.
Tell us about yourself—the part you tell everyone?
I am slightly crazed, write way too much with my husband/partner Jim, live in North Carolina with my family, enjoy gardening and puttering, and love paranormal anything.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think when I was eight, but I’m not sure. I was already writing poetry and short stories by the time I was eight. My first poem was published when I was nine. My mother thought it was ‘cute’ that I wanted to write.
For your first book, what was your writing process? Is it any different than how you write now?
As I mentioned, now I write with a partner, so my process is much different. We write on networked laptops – all very techie.
I wrote my first novel when I was fourteen, most of it in my dark closet. It took me years to get out of the closet and let others see my work. My husband knew as soon as he saw that… Continue reading
Karina Fabian is an award-winning fantasy, science fiction and horror author, whose books make people laugh, cry or think—sometimes all three. Check out her latest at http://fabianspace.com
Karina is back today with some advice for us. Let’s get to it!
One of the best parts of writing science fiction and fantasy is I get to create my own worlds. Ah, yes, the supreme godlike powers—what a rush! However, with great power comes great responsibility. As writers, our worldbuilding responsibility is to the reader—to make the world believable as well as entertaining, so they can let themselves get caught up in the characters an story. Here are six rules for making sure you do just that.
1. Let the story determine how you worldbuild: There have been some stories where the world was more important than the story—Larry Niven’s Ringworld, for example, or perhaps Terry Pratchett’s first Discworld novel—but for the most part, you need to make sure the world is serving the story and not vice-versa.
2. Keep an internal logic: There’s nothing more jarring to a reader than setting up an expectation that the world will work in a certain way, then having your main character violate that when the going gets tough. Readers will swallow the most fantastic things…as long as your characters accept them as natural, and follow the benefits… Continue reading
A while back, I was challenged to write a ghost story. Now, ghosts are not my specialty. Most of what I write has a firm grounding in science (Archimedes Nesselrode being a stark exception — but I wrote that just for fun). Still, I like a good challenge. So I tried to think outside the paranormal box.
There are all kinds of ghosts, and some of them are not the supernatural kind: They are the ghosts that haunt our minds. These specters rise out of the graves of memory and take on the shape of our fears and regrets. They can be conjured from the shadows of a childhood lost, a childhood shattered. These sorts of ghosts can be very difficult to exorcise, because they do not respond to Bibles waved or solemn incantations. They abide within our neural connections in places beyond our conscious control. In this way, they can be more fearsome than any ghost of dark legend.
This became the premise of my story, “Haunted House” . I crafted it from the clay of my own memories and experiences. On a whim, a woman decides to show her child the house where she grew up. She does not anticipate the box of horrors she opens up in her own mind when she returns. New owners have changed the house, but still, the house remembers her. When her daughter asks, “Mama, why are you crying?” the man who has been kind enough to show them around explains… Continue reading