Monday, June 27, 2011

Indie-pendence Q&A!

Hey folks!

Just a short post today to share a little info :) I'm very excited to announce that on July 1st I will be participating in Back of the Book Reviews' "It's All About Independence" Read-a-thon. July 1st through the 4th, Back of the Book Reviews is inviting people to give up 96 hours to reading (not that all of us need to be asked!). Here's the blurb from

In celebration of the 4th of July we are holding a 96 hour read-a-thon. The event will start on the 1st July (Friday) and go through till the 4th July (Monday).

There will be prizes for:

The Most Books Read
The Most Pages Read
The Person Who Reads For The Longest
The Most Trivia Questions Answered Correctly
Our Independence Day Prize Winner (everyone who enters the read-a-thon will automatically gain entry and one special winner will be randomly selected on the 4th July)

We don’t expect anyone to read solidly for the whole 96 hours. We appreciate that people may already have plans for that weekend, but as its fun we hope the above prize opportunities will cover everyone’s needs. If you can think of any prize we haven’t thought of please will you let us know of your idea by the 27th June (Monday).

We will announce the prizes for competitions on the 29th June (Wednesday) so please keep tuned for these as we have some exclusive and amazing prizes to give away. If you would like to donate a prize for the prize bundles then please contact us.

So, if you're interested in joining in on the fun, head on over to their page and check it out. I hope that some of you will even visit Twitter on July 1st and take part in a Q&A with yours truly, hosted by the great folks at Back of the Book Reviews. Once I know the specific times and hashtags, etc... I will let you know!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Indie Review Friday #4

It's been another week already, and so it is time for the next Indie Review Friday :)

The novel:
Wednesday's Child. Wednesday's Child is a political thriller (my own tags, since there are none listed on Amazon) by independent author, Alan Zendell.

Goodreads Description:
Dylan Brice is living his days out of order, but it hasn't always been that way. One Tuesday evening in July, he went to sleep expecting tomorrow to be Wednesday, but when he woke up the next morning it was Thursday instead. A frightening and confusing day ensued with Dylan trying to figure out whether he was losing his mind or the victim of some cosmic prank.

If struggling to come to terms with his new reality on his surreal Thursday wasn't enough of an ordeal, late in the afternoon, just as his anxiety was finally beginning to subside, a voice from the past he'd hoped never to hear again added a terrifying new dimension to his situation. Dylan had once been a warrior in the battle against nuclear terrorism. A sleeper since the months following nine-eleven, he has suddenly been activated to help combat a new, deadly threat. His nerves in a shambles, he finally drops off to sleep hoping he'll wake up to find Thursday was a dream.

When, after his harrowing Thursday, he awakens on the Wednesday morning he thought he'd missed, he doesn't know what to believe. He cannot believe Thursday's events were coincidental. He must be living his days out of order for a reason -- some powerful, unknown entity has cast him in a role he never asked for, and everything he holds dear may be at stake. He "knows" he will continue to live Thursdays before Wednesdays until he figures out how to use the unique perspective that gives him to avert a disaster that may be global in scope.

This was definitely a good read, something that I would recommend to anyone interested in this genre. Mr. Zendell, the author, does a fantastic job of laying his protagonist out there early-on, and making you care about him. Dylan is an imperfect, relate-able character, more than able to carry this story on his shoulders.

The story, background and secondary characters are also well rounded and not forced. The plot is fast paced and kept me eager to read more, every time I turned the page.

Although there are very few grammatical errors to be found, the writing may sometimes be just stiff enough to slow the fast-paced story down (though, I never wanted to walk away). Also, there are some obvious, and at times heavy-handed, political and moral issues where the author clearly wants to take a stand, even at the expense of the story.

Something I haven't dealt with here yet is cover art. Obviously, when it comes to cover art, tastes will differ depending on the individual. In my opinion, though, the cover art for Wednesday's Child feels very dated and had me ready to read a story set in the 1970s, rather than today. No matter what your grade school teachers said, people do judge a book by its cover.

This was a great read, and I give Wednesday's Child 4 out of 5 stars
It can be found in paperback and ebook format. I got my copy directly from the author for review.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Excerpt from: Clockwork Charlie

Prologue to Clockwork Charlie:

The smoke from her cigarette drifted lazily through the falling snow, toward the streetlamp. The windows of the buildings across the way were all dark, making their flat, gray stone facades shine out, ghost-like, in the orange fluorescent light. Somewhere in the distance the young woman heard a temple bell ringing out mournfully, trying to break through the silence of the winter's night.
It would come as no surprise to her mother if Charlene stayed another night at the shop. Bernice was sure that her daughter couldn't carry the workload her husband had left behind, and nights away from home convinced her that Charlene was struggling to keep up.
"We could ask one of the neighbor boys to give you a hand," she would say.
"I've got it under control, Mother."
"It's not safe for a young lady to be out that late... and it might give people the wrong idea."
"I'm not out. I'm at the shop, and it locks up a whole lot safer than this place."
It was the same conversation they'd had dozens of times, and it inevitably ended the same way. "Fine, Charlie," her mother would say in that special bitter tone she had cultivated, "I just hope I never get to say I told you so."
"Fine," and that would be the end of it, until the next time.
Truthfully, though, Charlene wasn't behind in her father's work. She finished on time, every day, and never had any iron come back for the same problem twice. It wasn't the cars or the customers that kept her away from home... it was her project.
The idea had come to her one night, after she'd finished fixing a Buick that had been built nearly a decade before, and rebuilt that day. It was a heap when it was came into the shop, but now it shone out all black and chrome, and purred like a kitten. As she stood there, admiring her handy work, it struck her how closely the round, aluminum headlamps resembled eyes. As a matter of fact, the polished, chrome grill looked like nothing more than a jagged set of teeth, and the lumpy wheels like ears that stuck out just a bit too far.
It was an odd and fleeting thought, easily brushed away with a laugh and hidden behind the hours of cleaning that followed. Charlene's subconcious mind, however, was not so quick to let it go. She tossed and turned, her dreams filled at first by the facial expressions of different autos, and then by a mechanical man from one of the stories her father had told to her when she was younger. She always loved the stories he would make up, and all of the characters young Charlie met in her adventures; but the loyal robot had been her favorite.
She awoke the next day with a picture in her head; a mechanical man to help her at the shop, and immediately she began to collect the things she would need. For weeks she gathered gears and sprockets, scrap metal, and copper wiring. It started as a personal joke, a lark that was not to be taken seriously, and she never wrote any plans or drew a single diagram.
It was three months since those first dreams and anticipation had her shaking so badly she could barely keep the cigarette between her fingers. This was the night that she would test her experiment, the night that she would try to start her first real adventure, but she was afraid.
Failure could mean a lot more than just wasted time. Though the robot from her father's stories had been powered like a harmless clock, wound tight and left to be, Charlene's creation was not so simple. It was a new age, and she believed she was living at the beginning of the future. Machines didn't run like clocks anymore, they ran on diesel fuel and heat, fire and electricity. One simple mistake, and Charlene's whimsical project could end catastrophically.
She turned away from the street and the ghostly buildings across the way and the falling snow, and let her gaze fall to the rigid form lying on her makeshift table. The pale, yellow light hanging over the table was unflattering and almost useless. The machine wasn't a pretty sight, with uncut rivets sticking out in every direction, and wires hanging loosely where there was no metal plating. It was in the shape of a human, but Charlene hadn't bothered to finish covering the body. She didn't figure there was any reason to make it look nice, until she knew whether or not it would even work.
She took one last drag, allowing the smoke to work its calming magic, before tossing the pill into the street. It was time to get to work, time to find out if Charlene's "magic" could stand next to the magic of the young, adventurous Charlie from her father's stories.

So, since I haven't mentioned it this week, if you are interested in joining in on the 50 to 100 follower giveaway, where you can win a copy of The River Runes and a $50 Amazon giftcard, just click on the badge below and read the instructions :)

Thanks for reading!
buh bye then

Monday, June 20, 2011

WIP Wed... err Monday, and some other stuff.

Wow, things are going crazy and I just can't seem to hit my schedule here. At least not the way I want to. Oh well! I've got some stuff to share, so share it I will.

I have been featured on the website, Lost in Fiction, and they have posted my short story, From Under The City. You can check that out RIGHT HERE.

And, I have decided to drop the price of The River Runes to $.99 on all ebook formats. My hope is that this will help me to 1. Raise sales and 2. promote Clockwork Charlie.

Speaking of, I finally have a description up for Clockwork Charlie, along with some temporary cover art. I'm not sure what the cover art will be in the end because I have a great friend of mine working on it, but for now I actually really like what I've done :) Here it is:

Also, here is the description (again, this will likely change before the book's release):

Even after building her own mechanical man, and bringing him to life, it never struck Charlene Collins that she was special. When she was younger she had dreams of being great, like the people in one of her dad's stories, but that was before the Great War and before her mother's death. Now that she's an adult, she just wants to fix cars in her father's old shop and tinker around with Mac. It's a good life, and she's happy with it...

Then, she finds out that her dad has died, off in the city. Before she even has a chance to deal with the news, a stranger that calls himself Nash arrives to give his condolences. He knew her father and her mother... and he knows about Mac. Nash talks about talents and Muses, tells Charlene that she's more than she knows and that her dad's death was no accident.

Now that everything has changed, Charlene is more grateful than ever to have Mac by her side. Together they will journey through a landscape of war and blood that has been built for thousands of years on lies, myths and religion. Everyone wants the young woman and her special abilities on their side of the fight, even if they have to take her by force.

Charlene is going to have to find the truth and make a choice, but in order to do that, she'll have to find out just how special she really is.

So, yeah. On Wednesday I think I will toss up an excerpt from the book. I'm crazy excited about it, still having a ton of fun with it, and can't wait to see what others think as it comes out.

Thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, June 17, 2011

Indie Review Friday #3

It's Friday, and that means it's time for another indie book review.

The Novel:
Black Moon. Black Moon is the first part in the Moon Trilogy, by C.L. Bevill.

Goodreads Description:
Donovan is a werejaguar sworn to fight against his enemies, the dreaded werewolf clan - the Whitelaws. Isabella is an uncommon librarian, a member of the Committee. When she faces down the Whitelaws to retrieve a very dangerous book, she encounters Donovan and their lives will never be the same.

With this being only my third book review on this blog, I really wish that I had more positive things to say about this story. We start by meeting Donovan, a werejaguar, who is sneaking around in his enemy's territories when he comes across a super hot and athletic girl that he just knows he's in love with.

I think one of the big issues with this story is that it seems to be an adult story, written in more of a YA (young adult) style. The author spends most of the narrative by interrupting whatever is happening to remind us of how badly each of our protagonists want to be all-up-on each other. There are also more than an acceptable amount of grammar issues and even missing words.

On the upside, Bevill opens up a whole new world, filled with werejaguars, werewolves, werelions and even a wereocelot. This part of the story telling is more unique and and gives me some hope for the rest of the trilogy. I also picked it up for free from Amazon, so as a quick read it was definitely worth it.

Overall, I can only give Black Moon 2 stars. **
It is available in Kindle and other ebook formats.

Monday, June 13, 2011

That First Novel

Good day, all you... people. (dang, I just couldn't find anything clever to finish that with today)

Wow, it is tough out there finding people that will read your book when it is your first published novel. Right? Riight? Yes, it is. (Although I think that most of these things are likely to pertain to anyone, I have to admit that I am writing about my experiences as an indie author, rather than an author involved in legacy publishing)

There are lots of reasons for this:

Almost all readers already have favorite authors, and if this is your first book, you are not one of them. It's sad and not likely to change soon, (due to the not reading of your book) but it's something you need to be able to deal with.

There are thousands of books out there that cost less than yours, and were there first. People with ebook readers tend to have their readers loaded with free and cheap ebooks that they hope to one day, eventually, hopefully read. Yours is a newbie and it takes a while for people to find it.

Umm, who are you again? Aside from the handful of friends and family that are kind enough to read your blog once a week or so, not many people know who you are. Yet.

And then there are the reasons that are kicking around in your head, the may or may not be true.

Your writing sucks. I believe every writer worries about this at some point. Maybe you didn't edit enough, maybe your dialogue is horrible, maybe your characters are unlikable, etc... These things could be true. If you think they are, maybe you should reread your book, re-edit, and decide if you really want it out there.

Of course, this is a short list that could be much, much longer. The truth of the matter is this: Finding an audience is a marathon, not a sprint- paraphrased from J.A. Konrath

You're not going to sell a million copies in your first month, probably not even 50 copies. This can be stressful, even if you went into it with realistic expectations. You believe in your work, you know it will succeed, so why should you have to wait? Because it takes time. Finding an agent, finding readers, finding your place... these all take time.

Hold out. Make changes if you think they are warranted, but keep moving forward. Write. Every. Day. If you want your work to be its best, you have to keep getting better.

Things to do that might help, maybe but also might not because this game is a lot of luck, include:

Have good cover art. If it looks dated, it's probably a turn off to today's readers. Hell, the stock art provided by places like Lulu or Createspace is better than a lot of the covers I've seen lately. This is the first thing people see, and no matter what they say, people do judge a book by its cover.

Keep your prices competitive.

Make sure your writing is at its best.

I think that's it for today. :)
thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, June 10, 2011

Indie Review Friday #2

Wow, I have slacked through this whole week! Sorry folks, but I did read another indie book and am ready to jump into Indie Review Friday #2!

The Novel:
Demon Girl (Rae Wilder #1) Demon Girl is a YA/Paranormal Romance written by Penelope Fletcher.

Goodreads Description:
Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.

I'll be completely honest here: I am not the biggest fan of Paranormal Romance. What a shock, right? So why would I choose a PNR as my second review? Because I am doing my best to review as a reader, rather than a writer who reads. And as a reader, this genre is hothothothothot-hot right now.

So I dove in. Honesty again: I finished this book in one day. Not only because I had set it as my goal for the day (so I could be sure that I had a review), but also because it was a fun read. Rae Wilder is a likeable character, with human flaws and issues, even though she's not quite human.

Although this story is sort of confined to a handful of locals, it is easy to see that the world Penelope Fletcher has built has some depth to show us yet. Now, parts of this story are very typical of this genre; there is a love triangle and a hidden heritage... However, these things become formulaic for a reason. Readers like them. (period) I didn't think these elements were forced and the story moved along comfortably.

On the downside, there were more typos and grammatical errors than I think the average reader would be able to easily forgive (You WILL find typos and errors when you read indie, but I believe it's only an issue when it slows the story). This wasn't a huge problem for me, but I think it should be noted. I am also hoping that the next part of Rae's adventure allows for a little more character building. These are great, likeable characters and I want to know more.

I liked this story and I will definitely read more from Miss Fletcher in the future. Overall, I am giving Demon Girl 4 out of 5 stars. It is available in both ebook and paperback versions.

And, just in case you didn't know... My own novel, The River Runes, is available from KINDLE as well as in PAPERBACK!

Also, if you haven't already, you should click on the 50 to 100 badge on the right side of the screen to find out about my giveaway! :)

Well, thanks for reading,
buh bye then

Friday, June 3, 2011

Indie Review Friday #1

It's time for my first indie book review! And for my first, I thought that I would dive right in with the horror/thriller story, Serial, by Blake Crouch and Jack Kilborn (aka JA Konrath).

Goodreads description:
Remember the twin golden rules of hitchhiking?

#1: Don't go hitchhiking, because the driver who picks you up could be certifiably crazy.

#2: Don't pick up hitchhikers, because the traveler you pick up could be raving nutcase.

So what if, on some dark, isolated road, Crazy #1 offered a ride to Crazy #2...

This story was a short, quick read, written in a very unique way. According to the info at the back of the book, Kilborn and Crouch each built their killer, and their killer's pre-story before sharing what they had with one another. Then, they collaborated and finished it up together. Sounds sweet, huh?

It's anything but sweet. As far as stories about kindred souls finding each other go, this one was dark as all hell. Even in such a short format, Crouch and Kilborn are able to stick you into the warped minds of their characters, and make you never want to be on the side of the road again. It's gory and perverted and definitely not for people with queezy stomachs.

I give it umm... (wow, hadn't thought of a rating system so I guess I'll be generic for now) 5 Stars. I was hooked from page one, Serial is well written and the characters grabbed my attention. I would recommend Serial for anyone that wants a quick and bloody read.

I wish it was longer, but to be fair, there is a longer story out there, Serial Uncut, that I haven't picked up yet. This one is only available in ebook format, and I got mine for free, on

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WIP Wednesday

So, we meet again, Wednesday.

For those of you that are interested, here is a little about my WIP (work in progress, since I haven't said the actual words in a long time)

Word count for Clockwork Charlie: 26,547 (Not a big change here, trying to focus on the day job for now so we can continue to live in a house with a roof and eat food. I'll be back to a daily word count soon, I hope.)

To be found in those words:
Lots of things on fire (a hotel for instance)
Handcuffs made from the roof of a car
A robot using swords

I will post an excerpt here soon :)

Also, I am still waiting on Smashwords to approve The River Runes for their premium catalog, though you can already find it on KINDLE or in PAPERBACK, if you prefer. Just click those links to check it out!

If you have not already, you should join in on the 50 to 100 Giveaway. Just click the badge and read all about it!

That's it for today,
thanks for reading,
buh bye then