Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Indie Authors Down Under & Cover Reveal

Wow, what a big weekend! It was a great one though.

On Saturday, I headed into Surfers Paradise for the inaugural Indie Authors Down Under event. My publishers Bottom Drawer Publications had a table there with some of their books. Because I was attending, they decided to do an exclusive cover reveal at the event. It was great to hear some very positive feedback about the cover.

The whole event was just a rush: meeting great authors, bloggers, and book lovers; forging new friendships; and just generally having a good time at the VIP after party. Can't wait for next year. Given the opportunity, I will be there will bells on--so watch this space.

So, just going back a step, what cover?

This, shiny, pretty cover:

I also have an official blurb:
Evie Meyers’ life is one spent on the run. Every minute of every day, her life is in danger if anyone should suspect the truth about her ancestry. Her father was willing to risk everything to keep the truth hidden, even from her, but the lies he fabricated were exposed when her high school crush, Clay Jacobs, inadvertently stumbled upon her secret. His discovery puts Evie at risk from a secret organization tasked with washing the world clean of nonhumans—and Clay is one of its deadliest soldiers. Forced into a war she doesn’t understand, all because of what she is, Evie is left with no choice but to flee with her father to escape persecution.

When Clay reappears in her life, battle scarred and mysterious, Evie is unprepared and terrified as he forces his way back into her heart. When the battle catches up with her, and a tragic accident tears apart the peace she discovered, she finds herself alone and without the protection of her father, or her lover. Now, she needs to keep her secrets hidden and learn to survive on her own in a world that wants her dead, all while searching for the missing piece of her heart.

And a page on Goodreads.com for the book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21530234-through-the-fire If you like the sound of the book, you can add it to your "Want to Read" list to start sharing the love.

Stay tuned for more details of the release, scheduled for later this year.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fear and Loathing in Bris-Vegas

This is a topic I wasn't sure about writing, but I promised to let you all in on my journey toward publishing and, unfortunately, what I'm going to talk about is a big part of those virtual adventures. I'm talking about the biggies: Fear and Self-Doubt.

A week ago, I was in a dark place--writing wise at least. I was looking at the 15,000 words I've written on my 2nd companion book and hated them. Every. Single. One. I wanted nothing more than to push delete and wipe the lot from my computer. In reality, they're not bad words. The need some editing, a bit of polishing and possibly a little more editing again, but they are covering the parts of the story they need to. So why did I hate them so much? Why did I feel such a desire to scrap the lot?

To examine that, we have to go back a bit I guess. I've always been a bit of a sensitive soul, someone easily crushed by criticism and not very willing to accept praise. I have often got in my own way and not pursued dreams or goals because of the fear of failure and encountering unbeatable obstacles (sometimes very real, sometimes imagined). At some point, I've been able to temper this down a little, although I still can't listen to my boss praise me for a job well done without looking away and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I know I'm not alone in this feeling, I don't think there's a single person in the world who hasn't felt like they weren't worthy, or that everything was going to go wrong, at least once in their life.

At no point have I encountered stronger feelings of self-doubt and fear than when I decided that I wanted to be a published author. There are so many steps, each one a potential stumbling block--the potential for failure. Not just in the grander scheme of will my book sell, will the critics hate it, and all of those obvious sort of fears and failures, but in the little ones too. Am I telling the best story I can for my characters? Is this turn of phrase really the best one to use at this point in the story? Worse, there is no instant feedback system. You have to get the story out--or at least a decent-sized chunk of it out--and only then will you hear an external opinion on it. I have to admit, some days are better (easier) than others. Some days, like last week, the fears and doubt grow so debilitating that it's all I can do not to hit delete on everything on my computer and run away to hide.

So, if I have so much fear swirling around, why am I still here, still pursuing my dream? Because I have to.

How am I still here? Because I have a wonderful support network around me. Some of them probably don't even realize I consider them part of that network. I have an incredible pre-reader who, even though we've never met face to face, probably knows me better than most of the people I encounter on a daily basis. I have a husband who helps by picking up the slack on the housework when I have a section that I really need to finish to keep myself from going crazy with the voices in my head. I have a group of family and friends who are just as desperate to have my book in their hands as I am. One day, I also hope to have fans (outside of those family and friends that I've already mentioned) whose voices will help to drown out the negative critiques. Even with all of these things, I know there will be days when I will be convinced that everything I've written is utter trash, but there will be the good days too.

And that's the most important lesson I've learned: it's those good days that make it all worthwhile.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Falling For You

Happy March! How quickly is this year just disappearing?

Last week, I blogged about book covers which lead to a discussion with a friend on Twitter about how deciding on a book in a bookstore is a bit like falling in love. People who say they don't judge books by their covers is a bit like those who say personality is more important than looks. While I do agree with both of these statements in the long term, I think there needs to be a caveat on them because I believe that there has to be an initial "spark".

When it comes to falling for a person, this spark may not necessarily be ignited by conventional good looks, it could just be an coy smile, intriguing eyes or a . The book cover is this initial attraction, something about the cover calls the attention of the reader. It might be the picture, but it might not. Maybe it's the title. It could even be the author's name--especially if it's an author you've read before and loved.  

What happens after that first spark of interest? From there, it is time to start the courting process. When it comes to falling in love, this comes in the form of dates, phone calls or maybe even some not-so-subtle flirting whenever you run into one another. For a book, the courting continues with the back cover copy/blurb. Just like the most attractive person in the world won't hold someone's interest long-term if they're not good to be around, the prettiest cover in the world won't draw someone who hates high fantasy epics to read Lord of the Rings.

Finally comes the long term attraction. In love, this is the "relationship" stage. This can last a few months or a few years, or--if you are really lucky--a lifetime. The mirror of this in the book selection process is the reading of the words and the story contained within. A good story will hold the readers interest to the end. A great one will linger for a while after the book has been finished. Sometimes, if a reader is really lucky, they'll find a book that will stay with them throughout the rest of their life. They'll read that favorite book that can be picked up and read over and over, or that changes their life in some meaningful way.

There are exceptions to this process of course, there are blind dates (and their counterpart in books - recommendations from friends), online dating (Amazon and Goodreads recommendations) and a whole range of other methods of falling in love.

Of course the one good thing about falling in love with books is that you can do it again and again. The old books never get jealous. Even if you leave your old favorite for years, it'll still be there steady and constant as ever when you come back to it. In fact, re-reading it at a different stage in your life can sometimes enhance the richness of the experience.

I have a number of books which I fell hard for, for a number of reasons. Some of these I'll re-read over and over, some I remember fondly and don't want to revisit just in case it changes my perception/memory of the book.

How about you, what are your old faithfuls?