Go Ahead – Take a Chance on a Self-Published Author

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Confession time! Before I self-published my first book, the whole idea of self-publishing was not on my radar. I’d never, to my knowledge, read a self-published novel. If I’d been asked to define self-publishing, the only thing I would have been able to come up with was a negative impression of vanity presses and the writers who used them.

I didn’t possess a Kindle or any other electronic reading device and had no interest in owning such a thing. I read all the time but my book choices were discovered via print media and radio interviews with authors. I combed best seller and award finalist lists and then either ordered my choices via Amazon, dropped into a Chapters store or visited my local library.

Google imageWhen it became obvious that I was serious about publishing a novel, my son alerted me to the whole idea of self-publishing. Exploration into the indie author world were eye-opening. I purchased a Kindle and, for research purposes alone, I began to buy and read self-published authors. I wanted to know how far removed my book was from what others had self-published.

My first few random purchases were scary. If my eyes were opened to the idea of self-publishing, the reality of what I was reading had me gawking. I was suddenly plunged into a world of unfamiliar genres and, horrors upon horrors, books with all manner of problems. One thing came of these reading adventures. I was sure I could and would compete in the self-publishing world.

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Despite my initial misgivings, I haven’t stopped reading self-published books. I currently read three or four self-published books on my Kindle for every traditionally published book. Suffice to say, this has gone beyond research. I enjoy how my reading horizons have been stretched.

I’m convinced that the self-published books out there in 2015 are simply better than the ones that were around in 2012. But a system is necessary to determine what warrants the dedication of a few hours of my reading time and to help bypass anything that is utter drivel. It works most of the time but now and then a sow’s ear does get through. Such is life and the same thing can happen with traditionally published books.

I study the cover and the book’s synopsis. I’m not looking for something worthy of a slick publishing giant but the cover has to have some well-presented, solid elements and the synopsis has to intrigue me. I read a selection of reviews across the ratings from one to five. It isn’t all about the number of glowing reviews. There are times when a one-star review makes me want to read the book. I make use of Amazon’s look inside feature to read the first chapter. I can skim over a few typos or rambling sentences but if the first chapter doesn’t grab me it’s unlikely the rest of the book will either. I jot down the titles of self-published books that are featured on the sites of trusted book review bloggers and put those books through my system.

I’ve been stretched by stories I never would have imagined that I would read. A boxed set by Johnny B. Truant, entitled The Fat Vampire, is a point in fact. These books are hilarious, well written and have great character development – a total lark.

As an indie author, I encourage readers to follow my system, do your homework and do take a chance on a self-published author. E-books are reasonably priced – most often less than the cost of a latte. And doesn’t reading a good book and having a latte go together?

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Today is Mother’s Day. Many indie authors are moms! Just saying.

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand for all that is life.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

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Third Time’s the Charm – Right?

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Disappearing in Plain Sight, The Light Never Lies, Chasing Down the Night – there is something magical about a trilogy – think Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, the rule of threes, the Holy Trinity. The idea of threes is on my mind as I’ve just released my third novel in the Crater Lake Series. Yippee – a trilogy. That does have a nice ring to it. There is something very satisfying about having brought three full-length novels to completion and launched them into the world.

Write one book and it might simply be that I am a person with one book in me. Write two books and I might have gotten lucky. Write three books and … well … that has to say something. Even if that something only relates to my tenacity.

But whoa! Let’s get back to this whole trilogy thing for a minute. What if I’m not finished with the characters from Crater Lake? If I end up writing a fourth novel, I’m going to wreak havoc with that lovely trilogy thing – ruin the fenestration of my whole edifice. Four novels in a series – the very idea sounds clunky. I could just keep going. Write six books and end up with two trilogies. Twice as much has to be twice as good, right?

You now have had a scary peak into my current thought processes as I worry away at this issue like a dog with a bone. Since you’re already in my thoughts, I’ll share some more. As the third novel evolved, I knew it couldn’t be the last. I was getting used to the idea of letting go of the magical trilogy. In the back of my mind, I had planned one more book to wrap the story up. I’d even storyboarded ideas for that last book. Now, I’m not so sure about ending on book number four.

I’ve taken a lot of care introducing new characters in Chasing Down the Night. There’s Brigit, the feisty Cook and her adorable daughter, Tabby. And what about Nick, the handsome, financially strapped maker of numerous unwise relationship choices? If I move too quickly to end the series, I will short circuit any chance these characters might have to grow and evolve.

How do I deal with solving this pesky dilemma? Work on something else, of course.

I’ve been creating pages of notes for a future novel that will be entitled, The Jennerville Women’s Chamber of Commerce. The story revolves around five women who run businesses in a small town that has wholeheartedly embraced economic diversification to stave off dying away to nothing. The boom and bust cycles of logging had the town headed into decline. The town’s determination to market itself as a kitschy tourist destination has been taken to often hilarious limits. There are a couple of kids, a dog named Dumbledore and a ghost – friendly, of course. Think Comedy of Errors type romance joined to cozy mystery. Should be fun. At the very least, work on this helps me avoid thoughts of how many books it will take to logically end the Crater Lake Series.

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Writing Dialogue & New Releases

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Writing dialogue can be akin to wrestling with Medusa. It’s a knock-down, drag-out battle with a mess of words that may as well be snakes – they are that slippery and hard to get the better of. All to ensure that a particular character’s voice will hit the page the way it sounds in my head.

Writing dialogue is tricky. It isn’t exactly how people talk – it can’t be. No one would wade through pages that read like the transcript of an actual conversation. Believe me, I’ve transcribed enough research interviews to be sure of that. Conversation may sound okay when you’re present for it, otherwise not so much.

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In his book, On Writing, Stephen King tell us that dialogue is a skill best learned by people who enjoy talking and listening to others.

 

 

I love to write dialogue. When I block out a new scene it’s always in terms of what characters are going to say. Only later do I flesh out the setting, add the beats that allow pacing and the character attributions that keep the reader on track. The compass I steer by is my intimate knowledge of the characters. 

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Here’s an excerpt from my newly released novel, Chasing Down the Night. See what you think?

Izzy shook her head as she remembered their earlier talk about wedding dresses. It had occurred a month or so after their decision to get married. Liam had caught Izzy by surprise when he asked, “What are you planning to wear for the wedding, Iz?”

She had looked up from digging one of Robbie’s T-shirts out of the laundry basket, giving it a brisk snap, folding it and laying it on a pile of the boy’s things. “Oh, I was thinking of not wearing anything at all. A naked wedding might be fun.”

Liam pulled a magazine from a stack of things he’d brought home from the library that afternoon. He flipped it open to a page marked with a blue tab. “What do you think of a dress like this?”

Izzy took the magazine from his hands and sat down on the sofa beside him. She stared wide-eyed at the full-page photo of a young woman who stood facing the camera in an elaborate, formal garden. The model wore a traditional white gown; the low-cut bodice was scattered with pearls and the train swept across the lawn behind her. She held a massive bouquet of pink roses in front of her at waist level. The fabric behind the flowers took on a dreamy glow. Her eyes were downcast; thick lashes shadowed her glowing cheeks. Izzy swallowed in disbelief.

Liam pulled out another magazine, flipped to a similar blue tab and said, “Or maybe something like this?”

Izzy accepted the second magazine wordlessly. This time she saw a woman wearing a white, off-the-shoulder, peasant-type dress; her arms were filled with wild flowers and more of the same decorated her long hair. She was spinning around in a field. Izzy closed the magazine and placed both her hands flat on the top cover, trying to obscure the words, Modern Bride. She glanced at Liam for a moment to see if this was all part of some kind of elaborate joke. When it obviously wasn’t, she said, “Have you lost your mind, Liam?”

“Don’t think so. You did say I could plan the wedding.” He pulled out another book and turned to a red tab. “Do you like the idea of fondant for the wedding cake? It looks pretty fancy.” He flipped to another red tabbed page, “But this looks more like people could actually eat it. What do you think?”

Izzy reached past Liam to grab a notebook from the pile. She held it up and said, “What exactly do these colour-coded tabs stand for?”

Liam smiled as he began ticking off a list of things on his fingers, “Blue is for clothing, red for food and beverages, yellow for the service, green for music, purple for decorations and flowers, orange for the guest list and I think pink is for gifts and rings.”

Izzy put the book down carefully. “No coloured tab for psychiatric institutions?” She threw the folded piles of laundry into the basket, got up and headed for their bedroom. As she yanked open Liam’s dresser drawer to throw in his underwear, she heard him say, “I’m not sure you could pull off this sixties flower-child look anyway. The traditional gown has more class. What do you think?”

She balanced the laundry basked against her hip, walked out of their bedroom and passed him on the way down to Sophie’s room. “I think you should make an appointment to see a doctor. You are way further gone that you realize, Liam.”

This is release weekend for the e-book edition of Chasing Down the Night. Please pop over to the venue of your choice and pick-up a copy. Early sales always boost an indie authors confidence. Winking smile 

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon. ca

Or if you read on another device:

Kobo

Nook

iTunes

As always, many thanks for your support.

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Weekend Release Party for Chasing Down the Night Continues

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My weekend release party goes on with Chasing Down the Night now available on:

 Kobo

Nook Books

iTunes

Amazon shoppers can follow these links:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

 

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Book Description

One might be excused for assuming that an idyllic life unfolds for those who have chosen to live and work near the shores of Crater Lake. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Long-time resident, Izzy Montgomery juggles the stress of a new job with her burgeoning home life. Family dynamics go into overdrive when Alexander and Cynthia launch plans to build a home nearby and Liam’s sister, Fiona shows up to do an internship with the local doctor. Lisa-Marie and Justin are back for the summer and sparks fly. While crusty, old Reg keeps sawmill production booming, Beulah runs the organic bakery and plans the First Annual Caleb Jenkins Memorial Ball Tournament. Bethany discovers her own hidden talents working with young people at Micah Camp.

As a nine-year-old’s dreams reflect a dangerous reality, many encounter issues from the past. This is a novel for all those who work at building family ties by strengthening the traditional and creating the new. Chasing Down the Night explores a wide-ranging emotional landscape while highlighting the many aspects of day-to-day, rural life. Tears and laughter are inevitable.

Please help me celebrate the release of the 3rd novel in the Crater Lake Series by:

  • Purchasing your copy this weekend – early sales are always helpful Smile
  • Reblogging this post
  • Tweeting or sharing this post on Facebook
  • Visiting my Amazon Author Page

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Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan–Free All Weekend

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Promoting my own new-release (Chasing Down the Night – 3rd book in the Crater Lake Series) twenty-four/seven gets a bit boring, even for me. Smile But see how I subtly snuck it in there? Ah well. Being an indie author is tough slogging at times, folks.

So – in the spirit of indie sharing, I want to shout out Kevin Brennan’s latest book, Occasional Soulmates. I just finished it last night and it blew me away. And what about that cover art? Pretty awesome. A glowing five star review is definitely in the works. But, time is of the essence. Kevin’s book is free this weekend.

Check out the book description:

When the thirty-eight-year-old San Francisco doctor meets her new patient, a handsome British expat with the unlikely name of Dylan Cakebread (and an uncanny resemblance to Jude Law), she’s convinced it’s the start of her own relationship novel. He’s an architect, no less — always a key piece of her most indulgent fantasies — and the heroine of a relationship novel always gets her fantasy man, right? Though their shaky start raises red flags that her oldest girlfriend, Jules, is quick to point out, Sarah can’t help it. She falls hard for Dylan and it appears to be a two-way street.

But maybe meeting your perfect mate in the exam room isn’t the best opening act. Sarah thinks she’s the cure for what ails him, but soon she learns the secret Dylan has been keeping from her. Now she has to choose between happiness and the illusion of it — if Dylan doesn’t take the choice out of her hands first.

It’s starting to look like this isn’t her relationship novel at all: it’s his.

Okay, you’re hooked, I know you are. What author isn’t going to smack that ball right out of the park with a character named, Dylan Cakebread? Do pop over to the Amazon site of your choice and download a free copy of Kevin’s book. You won’t be disappointed. And take a quick trip over to Kevin’s blog – What the Hell – he posts about a host of interesting things.

And if you just happen to have some extra reading time – well – I am obliged to say – Chasing Down the Night is now available. Subtlety is apparently not part of my vocabulary these days.