Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Treat From Me To You... A Peak Into My Upcoming Novel "The Vampyre Blogs"





*HAPPY HALLOWEEN everyone!  I decided to give you all a treat by sharing a snippet from my upcoming novel "The Vampyre Blogs", which will be coming out this Christmas. 

 I was careful to choose this particular entry since it involves all three of my main characters dealing with a the scene is one most of us can relate to.  Here we have Marisa a seventeen year old young lady being comforted my vampyre Nathaniel and his goddaughter Lisa.  Marisa (who has no idea what Nathaniel really is) has an intense dislike for vampires even though they don't really exist according to her.  She hates movies, books and television shows about them because in her mind they have come to embody cancer (which her father is struggling against) in a human form.  

The scene takes place inside an old four story building Nathaniel owns.  He keeps a dance club downstairs, while on the top floor he has an art studio where he likes to paint at night.  Marisa has just had a run in with another girl and is been being comforted by Nathaniel and her best friend Lisa (who is also Nathaniel's goddaughter).  As you might expect, Lisa knows all about him, including how to keep his secret.  

The three are up in the studio where Nathaniel has been showing the two of them some of his paintings, which include several images of a young woman of Romani descent.  He's just finished explaining she was his wife and that she died in his arms after being abducted, a few years ago.  

This book IS part of my Para-Earth Series, but does not involve any of my earlier characters.  However, this doesn't mean they won't meet down the road...mwahahah.  Also, this is my first attempt to introduce a character from this world who went into one of the Para-Earths and came back... alive, but changed.

So without further ado, here are Marisa, Lisa and Nathaniel.  Happy Halloween my friends.*


MARISA’S MUSINGS - October 7th, 2012

It’s been such a strange day, especially this evening.  I still don’t know what think at the moment. 
Waking up and finding Dad was still at home sitting in front of the TV just like in my dreams, gave me a start.  Especially when I saw he looked a little greyish, but then Mom opened the curtains and I saw he was just tired.  I literally blew a sigh of relief, but it still set me on edge for the rest of the day.
Unfortunately, most of my classes were on the quiet and boring side today, which meant I kept worrying about my dad.
Thank God Lisa was in all of them with me.  I don’t know what I would’ve done without her around trying to distract me.  But I still couldn’t get that damn dream out of my head.  It had felt so real.  Then, just as we arrived at The Crypt, I started wondering if it had actually been some kind of warning. The idea it might be really put me on edge. 
Unfortunately, that’s when Dianne showed up and started in with me, as usual.  Normally I can ignore her comments, but tonight, I just couldn’t.  God I feel so bad about what happened.  Poor Lisa got caught up in things and could’ve wound up getting hurt if Nathaniel hadn’t stepped in when he did.
I still feel bad about blowing up at him the way I did at the time.  But that’s not the only thing that’s bothering me about him.  After tonight, I can’t look at him the same way I used to.
Finding out he was once married and that his wife pass away in his arms, really hit me hard.  I guess that’s why I kissed him the way I did.  I just wanted to wipe away the pain I knew he was experiencing at that moment, along with my own.  I didn’t tongue him or anything, but for a second I nearly did.  Something about him that made me feel so alive that I didn’t want it to stop.  But I remembered Lisa was with us and I know she has a crush on him.  So I backed off.  But a part of me wanted to go right back to kissing him.   I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone so bad in all my life. 
And truth be told, I still want him.  But I’m also a little leery of him, because of because of what happened next. 
I excused myself and started to fix my make-up.  After all that crying I’d done earlier, I knew I must look like hell. 
Nathaniel was kind enough to walk away and give me my space, while Lisa checked on me quick before she went over to join him at the window.  As I heard the two of them talking quietly, I stole a glance over my shoulder.  Lisa was hanging onto him in a playful way, and I started to get jealous for a moment. 
Quickly, I shook my head and pulled out my compact so I could use the mirror as I fixed my make-up.  Surprisingly, I didn’t look too bad and was able to make myself presentable rather quickly. 
Then I decided to use the mirror to take another at Lisa and Nathaniel to see what they were up to.  And that’s when it happened.  I could see Lisa still acting if she were draped all over Nathaniel, only he wasn’t there. 
I blinked and stared at the mirror again, but the image had not changed.  From the way Lisa was positioned, I knew she had to be hanging onto someone, because there was no way she could keep her balance in that pose.  But there was no one there. 
Carefully I took another look over my shoulder and saw the two of them just as I had before.  Then I looked back at my mirror and saw only Lisa holding on to empty air.  I let out a little gasp and dropped everything, including the compact which shattered on impact. 
Immediately, Lisa came rushing over to see what was wrong and quickly helped me gather everything.  Nathaniel on the other had stayed by the window.  He seemed to be in deep thought. 
Naturally, I didn’t tell either of them what I saw, or rather what I didn’t see.  Instead, after Lisa helped me get all my make-up back in the purse, I told them I felt like going back down to the dance floor.   I’d remembered there were huge mirrors on the walls down there and wanted to see what would happen when we got down there. 
To my amazement and relief, I saw all three of our reflections in every one of them.  At that point I was fully ready to believe my eyes had simply played a trick on me. 
But now my mind has gone back to the day in my Aunt Betsy’s office when I first met Nathaniel.  She had brought in those beautiful fresh cut flowers.  But after he went near them to get his coat and hat,  we’d found them black and withered.
Is he what I think he is?  I’ve seen enough movies to know all the signs.   Yet, I saw his reflection in the mirrors of the club.  Plus he has a bunch of mirrors in his home which I’ve seen him use.
No, I think I’ve just been stressing out too much lately.  There’s no such thing as vampires.  Right? 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Reviews... Are You Afraid To Leave One?

Recently, I tried to get some new reviews for my two novels on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.  I even offered free Read-2-Review copies of the books to anyone who wanted to do a review.  The results... not a single bite.

I couldn't believe it.  Giving away "FREE" copies of a book in exchange for an honest review is usually one of the very best methods known to get some reviews for a book.  But I wasn't getting any takers.  In fact I actually heard back from a few people who had read the books and loved them.  Yet when I asked if they would be kind enough to leave a review this is what I kept hearing from a number of them..

"I love to read, but I don't know what to say in if someone asks me to review their book..."


Does this sound familiar to anyone else out there?  If it does, don't be embarrassed.  A lot of people feel that way.  Some don't know what to put down because they see all these other reviews that are like several paragraphs long and go into great detail about the structure of the story, the plot, etc.  Or perhaps you just don't have a lot of time to sit down and think, much less write up a big ole review.

These are all valid excuses.  But not every review has to be several paragraphs long.  Even the simplest review can be just two or three sentences.  And of course you'll be asked to give a star rating usually on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being (why did I bother) and 5 being (dear God I want to read more like this).  


While you may feel like you cannot convey all you want to say in just a couple of sentences, but that rating and a few words can make a world of difference as to whether that book becomes a hit or not.  Every review added to a book can make it a sensation that spreads across the nation and even the oceans.  Most book buyers want to know what the book is about, which is the writer's responsibility to convey in their synopsis.  But buyers also want to know what other people thought of the book, especially since we're all so spoiled for choice these days thanks to Indie Authors, Kindle, Nook and other e-reader devices.  

20-30 reviews, even if half or more of them are just a couple of sentences long can help push that book you just finished and fell in love with, to great heights.  The more reviews the better for the author and the book.  Amazon and other places base a book's popularity through a logarithmic system that is based on the number of reviews a book is given.  If the book has a lot of reviews and ratings they'll suggest the book to other buyers with similar interests creating more sales. 

But if a book only has a handful of reviews, they won't do much with it.  It's not the length of the review but how many and how favorable they are.  So if you really want to see an author or a book get the recognition you think it deserves, please go ahead and leave a rating and just a couple of sentences.  The power to make or break an author and their works is in your hands.



So please, support your favorite authors and books by leaving reviews as well as spreading the word about them throughout your networks.  You could be helping someone become the next Stephen King or JK Rowling.  Remember, without readers we authors are nothing.

Thanks so much for tuning in and please keep writing.
  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Free Read-2-Review Copies Of My 2nd Novel "The Ship"...

****REVIEWS NEEDED ON SMASHWORDS****


I'm looking for honest reviews of my 2nd paranormal/mystery novel "The Ship" for my Smashwords site. Recently there's been a lot of traffic over there but no sales. Part of the problem may be the fact that there's been only one review done on the book at Smashwords.

Multiple reviews spurs more sales, so if anyone is interested in doing a review there, I'm willing to supply you with a free e-copy of the book from the Smashwords site.

For those not familiar with the story here's the blurb from the back cover of the book:

Cassandra Elliott is a billionaire heiress, who has just come out of the closet. She's also a powerful psychic who has seen incredible and terrifying things. In fact, just two weeks ago, she and her girlfriend Julie Cloudfoot, survived a horrific battle alongside their two friends Alex Hill and Veronica Ross. They faced a being from a parallel reality where evolution took a much different course than in this version of Earth.
As a result of that encounter the two of them have come to Santa Cruz to bury one of their own as well as to see if their knew relationship will work out.
While taking a surfing class Cassie finds herself under attack and barely escapes with her life. But this is only the beginning. Whatever attacked her left a mark on her leg and now she is experiencing terrifying visions and senses the approach of something hiding in the fog. A legendary ghost ship is coming for her. However this is no ordinary nightmare of the sea. This vessel is alive and wants to make her a part of it, literally...

*So let me know if you are interested and in what e-book format you need (Nook, Mobi, Sony, Apple, or even PDF)*

If you want to sample the book before committing yourself just click on the link below and click on the version you need where it says "First 20% Sample"...



Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting Your Novel On Some Bookstore Shelves... Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, I received these packages in the mail...


I shared this photo on FB and teased people for a couple of days about what might be inside, before finally revealing their contents.


At least one of my FB friends asked, "Wow, that's a lot of books  Are you having a special event?"

My answer was no.

So then someone else asked, "Well then why did you get so many?  What are you planning on doing with them?"

I responded with, "Well, I'm making them available for anyone who wants a signed edition for just $15.00, plus $3.00 for shipping.  If they want a copy of each book it will be two for $25.00, plus $5.00 for shipping."

Then came the inevitable question of, "What happens if you don't sell them all?"

My response was this...


I went to one of the local public libraries and asked if they would like some free copies of a local author's books for their shelves.  They're response was a huge smile and "Yes, we would thank you so much..."  From there the conversation drifted to the subject of the books and discussions about whether they ever had authors come and give talks.  I'm currently getting lined up to go back in a month or two to give my first talk about writing and becoming an Indie Author.



My next destination was to return to Cabrillo College, where I received my Associates Degree in Human Services.  I went straight into the college bookstore and began looking over their shelves.  I saw immediately that they carried books by alumnus and local authors (I of course happened to be both).  Then I made my way over to the nearest salesperson and asked to speak to the manager of the bookstore.  After a quick introduction and a brief explanation, she told me they'd be only too happy to carry my books.  But instead of asking me to supply the copies she wanted to know who my publisher was.  When I told her it was Createspace, she smiled and said, "Great, I can order directly from them, we have a good working relationship with Createspace."  

I then asked about authors coming and doing book signings and she was quite interested.  She told me they don't have many but enjoy doing it whenever they had an opportunity.  In fact they were getting one set up for one of the instructors at the college.  I'm to get back in touch with her in a month, once the books are on the shelves and we will try to arrange a date and time for me to do a signing there as well.

Before I left, I went to say hello to a few of my old instructors and also slipped over to the college's newspaper office.  There I found out who I needed to contact to try and get some publicity in the campus newspaper.  I'm waiting for when the books are on the shelves before we get anything in print to help drive people to the bookstore.


So all this happened last week.  What did I get up to this week?  You'll have to wait for the next installment to find out.  

Until then, take care and keep writing.





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Important Message For All Writers...


Go GOOGLE yourself!

And I mean it folks.  Now I'm not trying to be rude or obnoxious, I'm actually being quite serious about this.  Sometimes putting your name in Google and checking out what pops up can be a real eye-opener.

The other day when I was sitting in the library with my wife who was tutoring a student of hers, I pulled out her spare laptop and set it up so I could do some writing.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my flash-drive with me.  Which of course meant, no writing.


So I just started net surfing.  I don't know what prompted me to do it, but I decided to put my own name into the Google Search to see what would happen.  The results took me ever so by surprise.


Not only did I find all the usual links to my blogs and Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, FB, Twitter, etc. but I also found a host of other book sites that were carrying my two novels "The Bridge" and "The Ship".  Naturally I was flattered, but then I started checking some of the places listed that I was not familiar with.  It turns out that most of them were outlets that Createspace and Smashwords (who I used for my printed editions and my non-Kindle e-book editions) had forwarded my information to.  It was quite interesting to see how thorough they both were about getting my work out there.  

But then I started seeing sites that really surprised me carrying my books.  Places like Chegg and Half.com which are usually associated with school textbooks.  I checked into them and found they were simply selling used copies by people who had grabbed up a copy on the cheap and were now reselling it.  Which came as a relief because, I have known other author who have had their work 'pirated' by others.  

These 'pirated' copies are put out by various people who sell copies of the book without the author or the companies like Amazon, Smashwords, and Createspace knowing about it.  And just like in pirated movies or music, the author gets nothing for every sale made by these people.

So it is important to research who's carrying your works every so often in case someone has stolen your work and is making money off of it.

But, it's not all doom and gloom folks.  Sometimes you'll find something that will really take you by surprise...


One of the things I found in my Google Search was a newspaper review of my first book "The Bridge" which I had never known about.  Why?  Because it was a newspaper over in Michigan and I'm in California.  Apparently, one of the people who had gotten a free e-copy during one of my Kindle 'Free-Days' lives there and did a nice review of my book.  I'll be sharing that review in an upcoming post. 

I was completely blown away by this fact.  The only newspaper review I was aware of was one that had come out recently for my 2nd book "The Ship", where I had personally contacted the newspaper to see if they'd be interested in reviewing the book (hint-hint... remember to do this with your finished works folks.  Contact those local newspapers, radio stations, and even local TV stations).  

So it really does pay research your name on the internet sometimes.  It's not about vanity, but seeing who might be saying what about your work.  And also guarding your creative property from piracy.  Plus you might find some sweet and wonderful reviews you never knew about before.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Forgotten 1st Draft...

For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you'll remember I've mentioned a number of times about saving your work on Google Drive, or on a Memory Stick, or even a CD.  I've also suggested that when you edit your work, if you're going to cut a scene to save it in a special folder.  I say this because even though the scene, or even a character, doesn't fit in the story you're working on you might be able to recycle it for another story down the road.  

The thing I forgot to mention is that occasionally you should go and look through that folder every so often.  Especially if you're looking to start a new project, or have hit a bad case of writer's block.  Something in that folder may be just the thing to help you get your scene going again.

I also have another special folder that holds works in progress that are unfinished.  Or in some cases, are pretty much a complete first draft... (said under my breath while looking away in embarrassment)


You forgot you had a completed 1st draft?

"Yes, I' did.  I got caught up in other things,now be quiet Roscoe!"

As I was saying, yes I found I had a complete first draft in that file folder.  It needs reworking of course, but the entire story is there.  Unfortunately, it will be a while before it sees the light of day. 

Why?  Because it is a historical period piece that involves Brandon Elliott, one of the major recurring characters in my Para-Earth Series.  His spirit appears frequently in order to watch over Cassandra Elliott, his many times great-grandchild.   However, her story is not finished yet and I cannot tell his tale until hers is finished (sort of).  The two are intricately connected in such a way I have to finish telling her secrets, before I can reveal his.  

However, this will be resolved soon.  Cassandra's secret will be revealed in "The Door" which I hope to have ready in May 2015.  Then after releasing the second installment of "The Vampyre Blogs" in December 2015, I will aim to release Brandon's story in early 2016.  His story is so big it will take at least two or more books to do it justice, but I'm looking forward to doing it.

Anyway, getting back to my original point...


You actually forgot you had a completed 1st draft?

"Yes Roscoe, now let it go please... sheesh!"

As I was saying, the practice of keeping special folders and backup copies of my work has helped me on a number of occasions.  I've even got a 50% finished first draft of "The Door" waiting for me to get back to.  Like the other works I have on the back burner, having some of it already waiting for me to get back to it, actually gets me eager to return to it.

So remember, save those parts you edit out and keep checking the folder you put them in. You never know when you might find a treasure in those folders that can totally turn your work in progress into something fantastic.  

Until next time...

He actually forgot?  Oh that is rich!

(sigh)  He is just not going to let this go is he?

Until next time take care and keep writing.