Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Post - Fave Fall Reads and GIVEAWAY by Rachel from Rachel's Book Reviews

Please welcome Rachel from Rachel's Book Reviews (http://www.rachelsbookreviews.com/). She's going to share some hot fall reads with you! Be sure to check out her blog!


Hi Ya’ll!!!

I’m going to spend this whole post raving about my favorite fall reads ☺. That’s how I roll.

First up,

Forensic Mystery (series) by Alane Ferguson 
It’s about a girl named Cammie. She’s the coroner’s assistant…and she solves lots of creepy mysteries (thus the name…)I’m not going to go into all of these (you can read my review for that *hint, hint, wink, wink*) but it will literally give you CHILLS. Creepy. I hear the author is thinking about writing more, I hope she does. Whatever you do don’t read these in the dark. I did. It adds to the atmosphere….
No! not the ozone, I’m talking about the…aura. ☺

Also:
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
It’s the prequel to Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ how cool is that? You get to experience Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s teen adventure…and learn the truth behind his madness. It was an amazing story. You’ll never regret reading it.

And last but not least:
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
I’m going to go more into this one, because the giveaway is related to it.
In fact This is my review:

My Synopsis:
The last thing Will Besting wanted to do, was be stuck on a bus with six other teenagers. They all had one thing in common: fear. They were all sent by Dr. Stevens to do the impossible, cure their fears. Dr Stevens had said she knew a man who could cure their fears. As they are told to go into the forest, Will follows his instincts. He runs. He observes what goes on in this ‘therapy camp’, Dark Eden, from afar and knows one thing. Things aren’t what they seem. They aren’t going after their fears, their fears are going after them. As Will listens, one question haunts his mind. Can they cure their fears, or is fear the cure?

My Opinion:
Woah. Seriously.
This book is amazing (that word seriously does not do it justice.) *grabs thesaurus*
This book is astounding. Patrick Carman’s ‘'Skeleton Creek'’ is amazing, but I feel that this book is his best. Ever (although, I haven’t read all his books yet.) It blew the hinges off my door of expectations (no joke.) After months of anticipation, I looked at the book before me and wondered if maybe my expectations were too high.
*snorts* yeah, right.

If you read one book this year, this should be it. Will grabbed my attention and more importantly, my emotions. As Will tells his tale you become mesmerized in something so.......…relatable and at the same time, otherworldy. As he laughs you laugh and as his heart breaks, yours breaks too. That was just so…...masterful. Perfect. Not to mention, this book had more twists in it than a stick of licorice. I cannot wait for the next installment. For all you who want to know the ‘'negatives’': two cuss words. It didn't bother me. For all you tech/new wave people out there, the story is also told in app form. It adds to the creep factor…I half hide while watching them…..

GIVEAWAY!
Everyone loves giveaways right?
Alrighty, this is what I have to give away:
Dark Eden temporary tattoo, Dark Eden Lanyard, and some really cool, secret Halloween goodies…
How does that sound? *imaginary croud cheers* Excellent… ☺
(And Karly's throwing in ONE ebook copy of BLOODY LITTLE SECRETS)

To enter, leave your email address in the comments below.
+1 entry for following Rachel's Book Reviews (see link above)
+1 entry for following Karly's blog
***Contest ends Monday, October 31st at Midnight***

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guest Post - Where Oh Where Have All The Books Gone by Aaron Patterson

Books. eBooks. Audio Books.

I love books, or shall I say I love stories. I used to read three books a day when I was a kid. I love the stories, the danger, the exciting places I can go in a book. But what of the paper, the sound, the smell of a book? What is going to happen to books with the digital revolution?

I ask this with a smile and a heavy heart. I know where it is going and part of me is sad and the other part if excited. The sad part is because I like a book, I grew up reading them, and they are going away. Paper and ink are giving away to the eBook.

Are we really losing them? No, it is just changing. The excited part sees the cool ways we can now read stories. How we can have links, and video and cram 3000 books in a small device. How I can listen to an audio book on the same reader I can read a novel on. It all comes down to content. A story is a story no matter how it is consumed. I love story, so give me my story. I don’t care how it comes to me, in a sound over the radio or on a eReader or in a paper form.

With eBooks, I as an author can reach so many more people so much faster. I can build a fan base and make a living as an author where even five years ago would be a crazy thought. I do not have to go to a book signing or travel across the country to sell books. I can do it all from my laptop. Through Social media like Twitter and Facebook.

What does this mean for a bookstore?
They will shrink, and turn into small specialty shops. The first editions, the signed copies, and the cream of the crop. The really good books, the classics will be in bookstores. The price will go up and most of the new books will be published only as eBooks or print on demand publishing houses.

Is this a good thing?
Think of how many trees we will save. Think of the books that are pulped every year. If the average reader knew how many books are burned or thrown away each year it would start a riot. Think of the cost savings. eBooks are forever, do not get old or tear, do not yellow or get lost. Is this good or the end of books? Who knows, all I know if no matter what the real story will never die.




Aaron Patterson
Blog: www.TheWorstBookEver.blogspot.com
Twitter: Mstersmith
Facebook: Aaron Patterson
Website: www.StoneHouseInk.net


Books:
Sweet Dreams
Dream On
In Your Dreams
Airel
19 (Digital Short)
The Craigslist Killer (Digital Short)
The eBook on eBooks (Digital Short)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Guest Post - E-Book or an E-Novel? by Alain Gomez

Short story aficionado Alain Gomez shares with you some information on different types of literature now available to e-book readers. Be sure to check out her blog, http://shortstorysymposium.blogspot.com/ for more information on her short stories!

E-books have definitely changed what is available to me as a reader. I find myself going to physical bookstores less and less. Consequently, I'm no longer stuck just immediately gravitating to the tiny little section of shelves that usually contains something I might like to read. Amazon has changed that for me. I admit, I'm totally addicted to the "customers also bought bar." The only time I ever even use their "search" feature is when I know exactly which title I'm looking for.

While I think most people who have e-readers will recount similar changes to their reading tastes, I think something people are less aware of are the changes in what type of things are available in e-book format. A "book" does not necessarily mean "novel." A novel is a type of literary genre. There are certain style elements in them and they usually have to be at least 40,000 words in length.

It might surprise you to know that not every e-book you purchase is a novel. Many of the e-books published today are closer to what is termed "novella." Like the novel, the novella is also a literary genre. Generally, a novella reads a lot like a simplistic novel due to the fact that it is shorter in length (17,000 - 40,000 words). A lot of people like this length because it's a fast read.

Which leads us to the "short story." The short story is, yet again, another literary genre. But the word length on this particular category (1,000 - 8,000) completely changes what kind of experience you should expect to get. Yes, it is an "e-book." But that doesn't mean it's an "e-novel." The short story has different goals. It's not written with the intent of being the first chapter of a book. It's not written to try and rip the reader off. It's designed to unfold an entire experience with as few words as possible.

As a reader, it's very important to be aware of what you're getting yourself into. Make a concerted effort to figure out what kind of story the author is trying to tell before you buy an e-book. Otherwise it's like watching a half hour TV show expecting it to be a full-length movie. The TV show may not have been bad, but you're bound to be disappointed due to the expectations you had going in. With e-books we kind of lost the whole "seeing how thick the book is" element to shopping. So take a few extra seconds to see what the summary says about the book.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Post - Thoughts on Author Events by Robert Collins

Author Robert Collins is here to give you his take on author visits. Robert is well-experienced in hitting the trails, he's got 3 author events this October alone! Robert has an expansive list of books available, including fiction, non-fiction, and short stories. He most recently released a YA short novel titled True Friends (available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, & Goodreads). Also be sure to check out his website at robertcollins.blogspot.com.

I've been doing events to promote my books for close to 20 years now. Over that time some of the things I do have changed as I've gone into areas of nonfiction and fiction. Some things have worked for me and others haven't.

Take book signings, for instance. This is the traditional way to promote a book. But if the venue doesn't do much promotion, or schedules you at an odd time, you end up sitting around for a couple hours doing nothing. Right now I'm being picky about signings. I want to do them in stores that welcome independent authors. I want to try to make them special. I'm also steering clear of chain stores.

Another typical event is the book talk. These I like for my nonfiction. I talk about my subject with people who care about it like I do. Libraries and museums are good venues for nonfiction talks. I used to do talks in front of clubs and organizations. I had to stop because I wasn't reaching readers. That's important in deciding to do any event.

I've noticed some authors going in together on a signing or a book talk. I haven't done this myself, but I attended a museum event where 40 people came to meet 4 authors. What's key is finding authors who write in genres similar to yours. With some genres this is easy; with others, well, be picky.

For years I had a table at train shows, and recently I've started buying space at dealer rooms at sci-fi conventions. Special events like these offer you the chance to meet plenty of readers, and to get a decent number of books sold. Don't worry about whether you pay for your space or not. Look at these events as investments in promotion, with any sales as an extra benefit.

If there's one piece of advice I can offer about these events, it's this: stay until closing or just before closing. One, you never know when that last sale will happen. Two, your display will usually take much less effort to put up and take down than the other vendors. Waiting for them to start tearing down is a nice thing to do.

Before booking any events, ask yourself why you want to go anywhere. What are you promoting? What's out there? Why go there? If you can find authors with experience at those venues, talk to them. A little planning is the best insurance against wasting your time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Call For Guest Posts - Writers, Readers, Bloggers!

I'm looking to jazz up the blog a little this fall and I'm interested in finding some new perspectives to share with readers. I'm happy to entertain a lot of different ideas:

Writers - write about your publishing path (traditional OR epublished), or your writing process, thoughts on author events, conferences, critique groups.

Readers/Bloggers - write about genres (what do you like, what would you like to see more of?), pet peeves about being on the reading-end of the biz, or whatever you think would fit.

And since it's October and nearly time for Halloween, anything with a spooky twist would be cool and can be contributed by readers or writers...tell us about your fave scary stories, books, movies, or even your local myths and urban legends.

And really anything else related to reading or writing would apply. I'm happy to entertain all ideas, so run them by me. I'd love to see some entertaining and thought provoking posts that will bring readers and writers together.

If you're interested in contributing, send me an email at karlykirkpatrick (at) gmail.com and put BLOG in the subject area.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coming Soon - EIGHT by Karly Kirkpatrick

Now that I've got a cover to show you (thanks to the very talented G. P. Ching) I'm excited to announce my first short story collection, EIGHT, which I plan to put out very very soon.

This is a collection of 8 shorts (hence, the title) that have appeared as part of Friday Flash when I participated in that last year and also a new, previously unreleased short story, Grenades. Along with each story, you get a set of author's notes explaining how I created that particular story.

It's suitable for ages 14 and up, and most of the stories are YA in nature, although there is one action adventure with an adult main character. It runs about 8000 words (around 40-some pages) and will be available for the great price of 99 cents.

Not to worry, I'm still working on more novels, The Green is in the editing phase and Darkness Rising is in progress, hopefully coming out in the first quarter of 2012.

As soon as EIGHT is available, I will post it here! Stay tuned!

Monday, October 3, 2011

How To Balance Your Writing Schedule

Someone suggested in the last post I wrote that maybe I could come up with some suggestions on ways to help maximize your writing time. It's funny, because after the last few weeks I've had, where I've really only found time to write about 500-800 words a week, I don't feel super qualified to write this, but maybe there is something in here that you may not of thought of. Hopefully it will help you (and maybe even me) balance writing with your life.

First, it's important to set your priorities. And that may not be writing. For me that's my daughter/family and work. Those are things that are necessary,especially in the case of work as it pays for the roof over my head. In the case of my daughter, because I'm already gone at work 8-9 hours a day, I don't want to take any more time away from her. Then there is my Spanish class. It's important that I learn Spanish for myself and for my job, so that has to come next. This used to be the writing area. And so now, writing comes last. But that doesn't mean I don't ever do it.

Second, set realistic goals. Some authors say they won't get up from their computers until they get 1,000 words down a day. That's great. That's also assuming you have an hour a day to purely write. My suggestion is that you look how long you're aiming your piece to be. 50,000 words? 75,000 words? Set your goal first. For me, I usually shoot for 50,000 because I write YA. I usually go over that, but it gives me something to use as a guideline. Then think realistically. Can you do 5,000 words? In a week? That's much more doable. You could have a really good Saturday and knock out 3K in one sitting. Then spread the other two out over the week. At 5K a week, you've hit your target word count in 10 weeks. 2 1/2 months. Not bad at all. Less time? Spread it out even more. But then at least you have progress. If it takes you 6 months to write a book that's okay. Look at George R.R. Martin. That dude took years. And I also don't believe you have to write every day to reach your goals.

And there are ways to carve out that time. Are you a morning person or maybe don't start work until 9 AM (I fall into neither of those categories), try getting up a half an hour early to get some words down. Have a free lunch hour? Maybe you can get in 300-500 words. Put the kids to bed? Maybe you've got another hour before you have to get ready for bed. That's usually what I look for. If your child is involved in multiple activities, take a laptop or even a notebook with you and jot down ideas or even write if you can. The biggest problem is distractions. When you do write, don't answer the phone, don't answer the door, and DON'T have the internet open. Dedicate your time, whether it's 10 minutes to wrap up that chapter or a full hour to really lay down some quality words.

Another culprit....TV and/or video games. I always thought about how much more time people would have to pursue their interests if they cut back on TV or video games. I have 2 shows that I watch every week and dedictate 1 hour to each of those shows (Vampire Diaries & the Amazing Race). Everything else I DVR and watch when I have time. So needless to say, they tend to pile up, but then when I do sit down to watch TV, I have plenty to pick from.

And for me, as it will be for you after writing a book, there is a lot of other work to do. Being that my writing time is limited, I focus on a different project that I can do in small pieces without feeling like I'm getting nowhere. Right now, I have some short stories open on my computer and I'm working on editing them and getting them ready for a release. I can do it in bite-size pieces and make some decent progress with only 10-15 minutes of work. I've made a personal goal to perhaps to release that this month. That keeps me moving forward.

Third...understand your limitations. I love to write. It's my favorite thing to do. But it doesn't (yet) pay my mortgage. In my current situation, I'm making healthy money off of something I love. So if I can't write for a few days or even a week, I try (though it's hard) not to beat myself up about it. It will get done. I have the drive and desire and when I find the time, even if it's takes awhile, I'll reach my goals. Someday, if writing takes over as my offical full time job, it will receive the 8 hours a day of dedication that it deserves, but even then...it's not possible (in my mind) to write 8 hours a day straight. I would bet my other hours would be made up of administration/social media/advertising/etc.

I'd love to hear your suggestions as well. How do you make time to write? Anybody have the weirdest place they've written? Mine aren't so strange...I've written while in the waiting room at the doctor's office and in the bathroom while giving my kid a bath.