Swift Six Author Interview- TM Lakomy- Fantasy

 

Name: T. M. Lakomy (Tamara Lakomy)

What attracts you to the genre in which you write? I was always attracted to the darker aspects of fantasy, the fabric of our dreams and nightmares, where our wildest imaginations often have free rein. I find that this genre allows the story to be raw and cutting to the bone, with a realistic touch, lending fantasy a feel of authenticity. It makes it easier to believe as it reflects the darker aspects of human nature and existence.

What piece of writing advice do you wish you’d known when you started your writing adventures? That the amount of rejection has nothing to do with the quality of your work but rather a reflection on whether someone thinks they can sell and market it, it is nothing personal but rather a business transaction. So basically, keep pushing and don’t be discouraged, write for yourself, pour your heart into it and someone will see the merit eventually. It takes time but perseverance pays off.

If you could have dinner with any famous person or character who would you chose? Tolkien, I would love to hear him describe his own works, and hear his opinion on current events and literature. I am sure he had such a wealth of wisdom exceeding what he bequeathed to his books and I would have loved to have seen his writing through his own eyes.

Who has been the greatest influence on your own work? William Blake. His poetry touched me very deeply, especially the religious/spiritual streak in it. I am deeply spiritual and most of my writings have some sort of message, questioning and seeking answers to divine enigmas. Poetry has always been my weakest spot, the outpouring of the soul in its most poignant form.

 Do you think the e-book revolution will do away with print? No, I think people will always treasure a beautiful library and collect their favourite and previous books, but as we have hectic lives and schedules, it is easier to transport all your books in one small device and read them at leisure. It is a question of convenience. We like that which simplifies our lives.

Which 3 books would you take to a desert island and why?

  • The Silmarillion: that book deeply influenced me, it helped me through some dark times in my teenage years. It was pure escapism into a wondrous world that allowed me to develop and discover my own literary talents.
  • Any book by Mircea Eliade: I was fascinated with shamanism while studying archaeology. I was mostly enamoured with the occult and the spiritual and Eliade’s books are an amazing source of knowledge.
  • “A collection of works” by Guy de Maupassant; I grew up in a francophone environment, exposed to French literature, and his writings deeply marked me, the morality behind his stories are quite striking and often bitter. I learned a lot and became enriched by his style.

 

Author bio and book synopsis

Please introduce yourself (250 words or so): I am T. M Lakomy (Tamara Lakomy).  I was born in London, but grew up as a tribal girl in a North African repressive regime. I spent my childhood between the slums of Mellasine and the affluent neighbourhoods in Tunis.

I studied archaeology and became enamoured with the shamanistic practices of indigenous people.

I am an author and poet who seeks to challenge our notions of reality, and see life with a different perspective.

I work in East Africa with indigenous tribes studying the origins of mankind and the salient golden thread in the tapestry of humanity’s beliefs.

Tell us about your book(s) – title, genre etc (short) My novel is called “The Shadow Crucible: The Blind God”, it’s Dark Fantasy.

Synopsis: in a world where angels, demons, and gods fight over the possession of mortal souls, two conflicted pawns are ensnared in a cruel game. The enigmatic seer Estella finds herself thrown together with Count Mikhail, a dogmatic Templar dedicated to subjugating her kind. But when a corrupted cardinal and puppet king begin a systematic genocide of her people, the two become unlikely allies.

Taking humanity back to their primordial beliefs and fears, Estella confronts Mikhail’s faith by revealing the true horror of the lucrative trade in human souls. All organized religions are shops orchestrated to consume mankind. Every deity, religion, and spiritual guide has been corrupted, and each claims to have the monopoly on truth and salvation.

In a perilous game where the truth is distorted and meddling ancient deities converge to partake of the unseen battle, Estella unwittingly finds herself hunted by Lucifer. Traversing the edge of hell’s precipice, Estella and Mikhail are reduced to mere instruments. Their only means to overcome is through courting the Threefold Death, the ancient ritual of apotheosis—of man becoming God.

 

Links

Social media  Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RedFernManor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Shadow_Crucible?lang=en

 the-shadow-crucible-002

 

 

 

 

 

 

KDP and Publishing – a Noob’s Guide Part 3

It never ceases to amaze me how people (often quite intelligent people) don’t bother to read things beyond what they want to see. Where I work (won’t mention the name) I’m forever yelling things like RTFM (read the f*cking manual) as no one has bothered to read past the first line of the email telling them what is needed, and more importantly how and when. And public wise – honestly – read the bloody info!

KDP-wise – check out the forums BEFORE you ask that question that has been asked a thousand times before. I’ve said it before READ THE FAQ. PLEASE. Years ago when I ventured on the Lulu forums as a noob I got totally roasted as I asked noobie questions and certain folks there really were NOT helpful. Anyway general the KDP folks are but it becomes very tedious with newbies asking the same questions as the person 30 seconds before.

Also if you want advice – then don’t fly off the handle if you’re given it and don’t like what you’re told. There are hundreds of threads asking about why books don’t sell, why the reports are ‘lying’, why the big bad Zon are diddling hardworking authors out of their money and mostly it’s bollocks. There are a number of active forum members who are happy to offer advice, point people towards the relevant FAQ area and try and help, but bitching to them as they’ve told you your book needs more work, or you haven’t registered your bank account etc, and getting snarky is likely to piss people off and remove said advice in the future.

So why isn’t your book selling? There are millions of books available on Kindle, and thousands more are uploaded every day. Why should anyone look at, or even find your book, or mine for that matter?

Reasons:

Promoting and marketing are not Amazon’s job – it’s yours. And it’s hard work, it takes time, patience and a certain degree of luck. There are tons of threads asking for advice on how to go about this. What works for one person might not work for another so there is a lot of trial and error. Here are some of the tactics I use and have used but there are plenty of others:

Author interviews. Get yourself on blogs and spotlights. There are hundreds if not thousands of blogs that will offer interviews, features and spotlights either free or at low cost. (This one for a start).  Obviously, there is some effort in this – you have to search around to find suitable blogs – genre related is better but some people do offer to any genre. Ask the host what their following is – what you get – especially if you are expected to pay.

https://princessofthelight.wordpress.com/ – is a great promotional site. The hosters are friendly and although the author does have to pay, it’s worth the money. At roughly $11.50 a shot, it’s within the budget of newbies.

Get your own blog/website. Currently, we are working on a website to companion the blog and promote my books. It’s useful to have a website – especially if you have more than one book. You can pay, or try and make your own for low cost  Try WordPress.com, Wix.com or squarespace.com. I think a blog of some sort is a must. For a start it allows you to network – and this is really important. Generally, indie authors are a supportive lot and will reciprocate.  Also, a blog is a space for readers and followers to get to know you (ditto author interviews). It’s not just about the books.  Some people say it takes time away from writing – well yes and no. It does take time away from stories but you are still writing, and honing skills. It makes you think about what to write, who your audience is, what is interesting, what isn’t. Of course, many bloggers use their space to share research or topics that interest them. I’m big on research and I think this also gives the reader some confidence that the author knows what they are talking about.

Facebook: It’s worth getting an author/book page on Facebook.

Here’s mine https://www.facebook.com/LightBeyondtheStorm

Recently I took a foundation diploma in social media marketing and one of the modules dealt with Facebook and ads. I haven’t used a paid ad there yet (I may next year) but there are plenty of free groups that allow promotion. Some people say FB isn’t a good platform – I disagree. I’ve bought books directly from FB promotions and I’ve made good friends and good contacts from FB.

Twitter: I wasn’t a fan of Twitter and held off getting an account for some while. Does it help? Yes, I think so. It’s a good platform to get the word out.

Why else might the book not be selling?

It’s crap. Of course ‘crap’ is a relative term but generally, I mean it’s badly formatted, badly written and well, bad. We’ve probably all seen them: those books in which the English language and grammar are distinctly lacking and a plot is absent or scraped from the internet. Now every author thinks their book is great, but it’s worth making sure it’s well written, formatted properly and (preferably) edited.  Do you have a decent cover? A decent synopsis?

KDP don’t have a quality check – that’s your job as well, at least in part. Formatting guidelines can be found here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A12NQC9HQPI9CA

I find formatting for Kindle a lot easier than the other formats but with a decent knowledge of MSword it’s not that tricky. If you don’t have a good grasp you may be better to hire a formatter. (That might be a service on offer from us next year) or search the interweb for sites.

It’s worth remembering it takes time to build a following. Very few indie authors release a book and it’s a best seller in a week. It can take years.

There’s a particular poster on the KDP forum who tells newbies to write what sells. If you’re like me you can’t simply sit down and say ‘ah romance is hot this week – I’ll write a romance novel’. Well, I can but no one would want to read it. Besides what is popular changes. Tastes change.

It annoys me – substandard ‘popular’ trash uploaded quickly with no care for the reader. There’s a reason indies have a bad rep. Grr.

What I’m rambling about is basically – it takes time, patience and works to sell books. The writing is easy (sort of). Do the best you can with the resources you can spare.

KDP Support Contact https://kdp.amazon.com/contact-us

Interview with AL Butcher

My latest author interview:) #Fantasy #Lightbeyondthestorm

shona kinsella

Today. I’m pleased to welcome AL Butcher to the blog. Alexandra is the author of several fantasy novels as well as being a poet.

1)     To start with, could you introduce yourself and tell us about your current project?

Hi, I’m Alexandra (A.L Butcher), British fantasy author and poet. My current project? Which one…. Let me see – I have a couple of Tales of Erana novellas I’m working on, a horror anthology, another poetry collection, and the next novel in my series.

2)     Would you mind sharing an excerpt with us, or a favourite quote?

chronicles-banner24Shivering, Dii pulled her old wool cloak around her and looked at the sky, the stars now fading into the grey dawn. Mages could sense the weather, so Dii knew that more rain would follow this day; even now she could sense the pressure in the air. Hunger made her belly grumble, and as…

View original post 1,878 more words

Shaw Academy – Diploma in Social Media Marketing – Course Review

#SocialMedia #Shawsocial #Media

I’m the first person to admit I am not a fan of marketing, if a salesperson is pushy then I won’t buy on principle, unless I REALLY want that item. I’ve worked in retail, a call centre (never ever again – I lasted two weeks), and of course I have to market my books. Time and again there’s guidance on how to sell, what to do and not to do, and a lot of it is contradictory.

I actually find the marketing far more of a challenge than actually writing the books – as I am not especially confident and don’t like to be pushy. So, you ask, where is she going with this?

A good friend of mine recently put me onto Living Social – which is basically a coupon site for discount products. I was looking for an Excel course, I use it in my day job and I know the basics but that’s it. The chance of my work actually providing useful training is pretty low so I decided to look for a course myself, to do in my own time. Whilst wandering around the site I found the Online Social Media Marketing course – for £15 instead of £150 (or close to that). At that price I thought what the hell – it may help and if it doesn’t then I haven’t lost much.

The course itself is run by SHAW ACADEMY, who is one of the biggest online training providers. This is part one of their marketing training, the foundation diploma, and it’s worth doing. Run over 10 weeks there are two hour-long webinars, plus an ‘on-demand’ lecture a week, quizzes to test knowledge and a two hour assignment at the end. They have a You-Tube site, which has extra videos and interaction, plus an active Twitter feed.

http://www.shawacademy.com

The course covers a number of topics: Facebook pages and advertising, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, ORM (Online Reputation Management), You-Tube, Instagram, and a good deal about analytics. It goes without saying that the course is predominantly sales focused but there is a lot of excellent advice.

The tutor – Daniel Gilligan is informed, engaging and has a wicked Irish sense of humour.

Although due to the volume of students the webinars do not allow verbal participation student are encouraged to ask questions, and Daniel and his team are happy to answer emails and phone calls regarding the course. There were incentives to log in to the webinars live (prizes etc.) and as they were at 7pm UK time, that was useful. For a small fee one could buy the slides, notes and extra vids – although everyone got the basic pack. There is a certificate at the end (assuming one does the final assignment) and it is an accredited course.

Not all the aspects are useful for me – I still dislike Linkedin, and although I joined Instagram I’m yet to do much with it. The most useful aspects for me covered analytics, ORM and the discussion on target audience. Times of day are important too. I forget sometimes that my audience are not all in the same time zone, so scheduling a Tweet at 7 pm  my time might not be helpful as it could be 2am in the US, or 2pm when people are at work.

I find Pintrest more of a distraction than a useful marketing tool – that said I have set up a board for my own books (ADD LINK), and many people do like the very visual aspect. But I have, as a reader, looked at books based on the cover there.

I’m working on a companion website for the blog, and have quite a number of ideas, plus I am contemplating a Facebook ad, re-jigging the blog and it has given me the confidence to try some more approaches.

What I learned:

Keep it short and snappy, relevant and regular, new and nice is important. Don’t behave like an asshat – it will ruin your online reputation, and it’s hard to come back from that. We were shown examples of some unfortunate and ill-considered posts and Tweets. For example a particular company tweeting a brand and then #RIPPRINCE on the sad day the singer Prince died. Not only totally inappropriate to the brand this got hold of a twitter outpouring of grief at the death of an icon. Trending hashtags need to be used with care – is it relevant to the post, or is it just latching on to a trend? Think through what you post, keep it clean, and make sure it’s not filled with errors.

Don’t overload the sites with the same message.

Also it’s worth considering what’s working and what isn’t and why? Wrong target audience? Badly written promotion? Misunderstood promotion?

Be consistent.

Tailor content – what is appropriate for one platform/audience might not be for another

Engage.

This is the FOUNDATION diploma – and there is a second part – which currently I am not looking at (due to time, money and other commitments) but I would consider it in the future.

Oh and by the way I got a Merit 🙂

Audible.co.uk Sale!!!! #Fantasy #Audio

Hurrah, Audible are having a sale with 40% off everything until 28th August (members only). If you’re looking for some fine summer reads check out the following:

(UK SITE ONLY)

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends. Narrated by Mike Legate – only £2.65

http://adbl.co/2bxgVrw

In a world where magic is illegal and elves enslaved dare you hear the tales of old?

Five tales of myth, magic and monsters from the world of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles.

The Blue Phial – An apprentice herbalist receives a special gift from her mistress and learns the real wisdom of life.

The Tale of Treyna the Beloved – the sun and moon over the love of a mortal with disastrous results.

The Legend of Oeliana – jealousy exacts a terrible revenge in this tale of love and loss

Storm Born – a lonely mage does not appreciate what he has until it’s gone.

The Moon on the Water – A tale of greed, war and powerful magic from a time long past

 

Outside the Walls – Narrated by Melanie Fraser – only £1.61

http://adbl.co/2brX3D0

Co-authored with Diana L. Wicker

(Expanded edition)

When the tide of war flows who will be caught in its wake? A short fantasy tale of a woman’s determination in time of war.

 

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – Narrated by Rob Goll only £1.55

http://adbl.co/2bGSoi4

He who bargains with monsters beware! A hero forges an unholy bargain with a witch and learns magic never forgets.

 

Kitchen Imps and Other Dark Tales – Narrated by J Scott Bennettonly £2.99

 

Naughty imps, missing socks, cunning thieves and baffled gods feature in this collection of short fantasy fiction.

Adventures in Marketing – Bundlerabbit

An author friend mentioned https://www.bundlerabbit.com/ to me.

Basically it’s a site where an author can upload his or her book and ‘curators’ can bundle books together to sell as a package. Each author gets a share of 70% royalty and the reader gets five, ten or so books to read for a bargain price.

So if the individual book is 1.99 and there are 5 at that price that’s 9.95 but the bundle might be on sale for, say, 7.50. The authors get 5.25 split between them. That may be a sale they wouldn’t have got for the stand alone.

Currently I’m only putting short books in – to see how it goes. It’s a wee bit fiddly, and obviously one has to register and have a paypal account (for royalties).

https://www.bundlerabbit.com/members/author/product/422

Readers can look at bundles they want – and either pay what they want or the set price – then the books are downloaded to their Kindle. They can opt to donate some of the price to charity

Copyright stays with the individual authors and they can be sold elsewhere. (Unless you’re in KDP Select – but that’s another case.

https://www.bundlerabbit.com/home/faq

 

 

Guest Post – Now What?

Today I welcome Dylan Callens to the Library of Erana where he chats about some of the challenges facing the new author.

What to Do Next

I’ve finished my first book.  I have one month to prepare before its release while my editor diligently works away at what I hope are my last few grammatical and punctuation errors.  That leaves me one month to navigate through the insane world of social media, to build some kind of audience before its launch date.  Where do I even start?

I have several ideas; I’m not green when it comes to web design or working on social media platforms.  I’ve promoting things online before with varying degrees of success.  I even purchased a book to help me with online marketing.  Alas, I am only one person trying to build a website, tweet interesting tweets, post amusing Facebook content, network on Goodreads, and create articles for other blogs.

Shit, I think to myself.  Should I create a book trailer?  Should it be shot using live action?  I know how to shoot and edit good video, so maybe I should.  Then I calculate the amount of time it will take me before I would be happy with such a project.  Ten hours, minimum, for a one minute trailer, I figure.  That is ten hours where I am not actively networking.  With only four weeks until launch, how will I fit that into my already congested schedule?

My attention turns to setting up accounts for distribution.  The usual suspects: Amazon, Kobo, and iBooks.  I’m leery about iBooks but I’m not sure why.  Then I notice Amazon’s button for KDP Select.  Some research is required.  On the surface, if sounds like a great plan, except for the part where I can’t sell my ebooks on any other platform.  More reading.  Some have success, some do not.  I can’t decide.  I shelf the idea for the time being.  I still have a few weeks, I’ll figure it out later.

And then there’s advertising.  Where do I advertise?  What is my budget?  I have a little money squirreled away for that but I’m not convinced that it’ll be enough.  I figure that I will be throwing money into a pit.  Yet, I need to get my name out there.  I read a great post about advertising on Amazon that suggests it is a profitable endeavor.  Does that mean I have to enroll in KDP Select to use it?  And what about Goodreads?  That seems like an ideal place.  But those ads look so cheap.

My head is swirling with ideas.  There is no clear path.  I sit up, take a deep breath and try to clear my head.  There is only one thing I can do, I figure.  Put my fingers to the keyboard and start on something.  Anything.  I will keep writing.  Timelines aren’t that important right now anyway.  As long as I keep pushing forward, I will be fine.  As long as I can contain the fear of failure, I will persevere.  When I’m overwhelmed by the magnitude of work that is ahead of me, I will have to re-center myself on the idea that as long as I am working, I am doing the right thing.  Making mistakes will only delay success, not stop it.

Dylan Callens is a high school teacher in Sudbury, Ontario. He is the author of, Operation Cosmic Teapot, which will be available on Amazon on December 11, 2015
Web: www.cosmicteapot.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/heaveninctheseries
Twitter: @TheNitzsch

#3AnthBlast – Three Anthologies Blog Tour

Today I am pleased to be promoting 3 Charity Anthologies. They’re a mix of authors, styles and genres but they are connected – all the authors gave their time and work free of charge and all profits go to good causes.

Three Anthologies to Support Three Great Causes 

Publication Date: October 4, 2013

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Charity: Exotic Feline Rescue Center

What is it about the tiger that so captivates? Or about the jaguar that enchants? Why are we so drawn to the lethal grace of the large feline predators of the world?Get ready to purr, growl and roar along with six paranormal romance authors in this anthology of love and shapeshifting kitties. After reading these six unique tales, from the sexy to the sweet, you’ll be guaranteed to be saying… Here, Kitty Kitty…

* * *

In ‘His Jaguar Princess’ by A. Star, jaguar shifter Selene Peters can’t deny her feelings for the tycoon Lucas King. Somehow, he’s penetrated her barriers and become more than just a client, but loving a human is dangerous and she fears her past repeating itself. Could he help her overcome the past or will she sacrifice her happiness and succumb to it? Not if he has anything to say about it…

In ‘In Our Nature’ by Jessica Nicholls, when Mira’s privacy and independence are threatened, she can be very nasty. Daniel is an expert on American mountain lions. His assistance is requested after an ‘incident’ on Mira’s front lawn. When the two meet, they recognise each other in more than one way.

In ‘Divine Passage’ by Dariel Raye, Kimani, a breeder with the power to preserve the human race, must depend on her guardian, Ahkil, a black panther shifter with more than one reason to distrust humans, but his secrets could change the course of her life forever.

In ‘The Distance Between’ by Mia Darien, she’s traveled thousands of miles, looking for a safe place. He’s brought her thousands of miles, looking to not be lonely any more. But they both have secrets. Can they bridge the distance between, and find what they’re looking for in each other?

In ‘Hannah’s Fate’ by Abigail Owen, cougar shifters have allied into groups, together in a rocky alliance to protect themselves against other shifters. Hannah Keller becomes the targeted Mate for Kyle Carstairs, the treacherous soon-to-be Alpha of another group. Meanwhile, Nick Jensen, her childhood hero and longtime secret crush, has returned home with hopes of claiming Hannah for his own. But will he be in time to rescue her from the Carstairs’s schemes?

In ‘Full Moon’ by B. R. Kingsolver, the full moon can get a girl stirred up, especially with a handsome cowboy paying her way too much attention. If it wasn’t for those damned werewolves causing trouble and getting in the way…

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Publication Date: May 10, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Charity: American Red Cross

Romance can be found among the darkest of times. In this anthology, you’ll find four tales of sweet romance about those who dedicate their time, and sometimes even their lives, to helping others. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross.
“Cross My Heart” by Abigail Owen
“A Healing Touch” by Jessica Nicholls
“Lesson Learned” by Crystel G. Smith
“Hope” by Mia Darien

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Publication Date: August 1, 2014

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Charity: Wounded Warrior Project

Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unalike and inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s what you’ll find in this anthology.
From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar and new!
100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“SARAH” by Lee Pletzers
“The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel
“Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver
“The Twelve” by Mia Darien
“Ghosts” by Christi Rigby
“Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker
“My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan
“With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls
“The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith
“A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau
“Slacker” by Doug Dandridge
“The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

 

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Titles: Here, Kitty Kitty / Reaching Out / Bellator
Edited by: Mia Darien
Publication Dates: October 4, 2013 / May 10, 2014 / August 1, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance / Romance / Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Charities: Exotic Feline Rescue Center / American Red Cross / Wounded Warrior Project

Synopsis

Here, Kitty Kitty
 

What is it about the tiger that so captivates? Or about the jaguar that enchants? Why are we so drawn to the lethal grace of the large feline predators of the world? Get ready to purr, growl and roar along with six paranormal romance authors in this anthology of love and shapeshifting kitties. After reading these six unique tales, from the sexy to the sweet, you’ll be guaranteed to be saying… Here, Kitty Kitty… * * * In ‘His Jaguar Princess’ by A. Star, jaguar shifter Selene Peters can’t deny her feelings for the tycoon Lucas King. Somehow, he’s penetrated her barriers and become more than just a client, but loving a human is dangerous and she fears her past repeating itself. Could he help her overcome the past or will she sacrifice her happiness and succumb to it? Not if he has anything to say about it… In ‘In Our Nature’ by Jessica Nicholls, when Mira’s privacy and independence are threatened, she can be very nasty. Daniel is an expert on American mountain lions. His assistance is requested after an ‘incident’ on Mira’s front lawn. When the two meet, they recognise each other in more than one way. In ‘Divine Passage’ by Dariel Raye, Kimani, a breeder with the power to preserve the human race, must depend on her guardian, Ahkil, a black panther shifter with more than one reason to distrust humans, but his secrets could change the course of her life forever. In ‘The Distance Between’ by Mia Darien, she’s traveled thousands of miles, looking for a safe place. He’s brought her thousands of miles, looking to not be lonely any more. But they both have secrets. Can they bridge the distance between, and find what they’re looking for in each other? In ‘Hannah’s Fate’ by Abigail Owen, cougar shifters have allied into groups, together in a rocky alliance to protect themselves against other shifters. Hannah Keller becomes the targeted Mate for Kyle Carstairs, the treacherous soon-to-be Alpha of another group. Meanwhile, Nick Jensen, her childhood hero and longtime secret crush, has returned home with hopes of claiming Hannah for his own. But will he be in time to rescue her from the Carstairs’s schemes? In ‘Full Moon’ by B. R. Kingsolver, the full moon can get a girl stirred up, especially with a handsome cowboy paying her way too much attention. If it wasn’t for those damned werewolves causing trouble and getting in the way…

Reaching Out
 

Romance can be found among the darkest of times. In this anthology, you’ll find four tales of sweet romance about those who dedicate their time, and sometimes even their lives, to helping others. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Red Cross. “Cross My Heart” by Abigail Owen “A Healing Touch” by Jessica Nicholls “Lesson Learned” by Crystel G. Smith “Hope” by Mia Darien

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

Bellator
Science Fiction and Fantasy, two genres that are both unalike and inextricably entwined, stretching the imagination to the expansive boundaries of time, space, and magic. These boundaries are often filled with warriors and war, fights and causes worth fighting for, and that’s what you’ll find in this anthology. From fighting aliens in space to demons in a world of magic, you’ll find many stories to suit your starship’s entertainment collection or your favorite bard at the local tavern…or just your imagination here and now. Sit back and enjoy twelve stories from authors both familiar and new! 100% of the proceeds to be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project. “SARAH” by Lee Pletzers “The Summoned Rise of the Phantom Knights” by Kenny Emmanuel “Border Patrol” by BR Kingsolver “The Twelve” by Mia Darien “Ghosts” by Christi Rigby “Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher & Diana L. Wicker “My Brother’s Keeper” by Raphyel M. Jordan “With Our Own Blood” by Jessica Nicholls “The Connection” by Crystal G. Smith “A Fly on the Wall” by Chantal Boudreau “Slacker” by Doug Dandridge “The Light Bless Thee and Keep Thee” by Mason Darien

 

Giveaway: There is a giveaway for this blast. $10 Amazon/B&N G.C. or a $10 credit at the Book Depository.

Thunderclap – One User’s Experience

After my recent post about Thunderclap, the crowd-speaking platform, I decided to interview author David Toft about his experiences.

Hi David, and thanks for joining us. How did you first discover Thunderclap?

The more I think about this question, the less sure I am about the answer. I think a writer friend contacted me asking for support for their campaign, but I honestly can’t remember.

 

Can you tell us about your promotions?

I’ve run three promotions. The first to generate interest in my current trilogy and linked to Amazon’s listing of book one.

I decided to visit my back catalogue for the second and chose Ishtal, a fantasy published by Wings ePress a couple of years ago. Again I linked to the book’s Amazon listing.

Back to the Kyklos Trilogy for campaign number three, and again linking to Amazon’s listing of book one, The Cycles Turn. It’s reached 140% support and is due to go ‘live’ in a couple of days. If it’s not too late you can add your support at http://thndr.it/1nzIjXj

 

What is involved? How much leg work did you have to do?

Thunderclap campaigns are amazingly easy to set up. If I can do it, anyone can. Getting those one hundred supporters is where the work comes in. It doesn’t sound a lot, but believe me it isn’t easy. I was on my own for all but the last few days of my first campaign and spent an awful lot of time that should have been writing time begging for support from facebook groups, on twitter and on Google+. If you’re thinking of setting up a campaign, join a mutual support group such as Thunderclap Campaigns, or Stormbuilders, on Facebook

 

Tell us about your successes? How have you benefited?

I think there’s a danger that running a successful campaign becomes an end in itself. All my campaigns have been successful in that they’ve all achieved the required support and gone live. My aim when I started was to boost book sales, and the first two campaigns failed to do that to any noticeable extent. Here’s hoping that number three is different.It’s all about exposure, people tell me, and yes Thunderclap campaigns have increased my exposure, particularly on Twitter, increasing my follower numbers and generating retweets and favourites.

 

Did you discover any pitfalls?

None, really, but remember that if you’re in a mutual support group, every Thunderclap campaign that you support will appear on your Facebook timeline. If you don’t want that timeline plastered with erotica, be selective.

 

Would you recommend Thunderclap?

I would, as a means of increasing your exposure, and it’s free which appeals to me as a Yorkshireman.

 

What promotional advice do you have for others looking to use such crowd-sharing features?

Join a mutual support group, but be a little selective, if you want to keep your Facebook timeline free of certain posts, support via Twitter only, you’ll get your support returned and keep your timeline clean.

If you choose Thunderclap, when you support another campaign click on the ‘tweet’ option. Doing this doubled my number of Twitter followers and gained me more retweets and favourited tweets than I’ve ever seen before.

Enjoy! It can be fun and you’ll make more friends.

Author Interview – Bellator – Chantel Boudreau – Sci-fi, Spec-fic, Fantasy

After my promotional about Bellator, the sci-fi and fantasy charity anthology, I’m delighted to welcome a selection of authors and characters involved with the book.

 

Today I welcome Chantal Boudreau, who chats about her story and tells us about herself.

Bellator story: “A Fly on the Wall” – Carlisle of Feltrey is a stellar mercenary apprentice of the Redsun Mercenary Guild who has come to the end of her term and must face Minerva, the guildmistress, for her final assessment.  But the meeting does not go quite as expected and the results are going to alter the course of Carlisle’s future.

Where are you from and where do you live now? I was born in Toronto but my parents moved to Nova Scotia before I turned two, so I don’t remember living there.  I grew up in an Acadian fishing village called Wedgeport and moved to Halifax for university.  I now live in Sambro, a rural area on the outskirts of the city.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write a variety of speculative fiction.  “Palliative,” my first published short story was zombie horror (I’ve published many more since), Fervor, my first published novel (now a series) was dystopian.  I also write a fair amount of fantasy, including my Masters and Renegades series, and I love to experiment with cross-genre tales.  I’ve completed 21 novels to date, 10 of them published, and dozens of short stories

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere and in everything.  There’s a little something in all my stories rooted in life experience.  If I find something interesting or intriguing, it will work itself into my writing.

Do you have a favourite character? If so why? My favourite character would be Dee Aaronsod, introduced in Casualties of War, Book #2 of Masters and Renegades (I expand on her character in later yet-to-be-published books in the series.)  I relate to her on some levels and admire her on others.  She started off based on a friend of mine but gradually grew to incorporate a part of me and while she stays strong in the face of her struggles, she still has her flaws and her vulnerabilities.

Do you have a character you dislike? If so why? I have several I dislike, mostly villains.  I’d have to say the heroic character I like least is my elfin mage, Finch.  She often acts on her insecurities, is more interested in status than I like and does something cowardly in Casualties of War that almost spelled the end of the people she was supposed to be helping.  However, she followed that act by doing something quite brave, in a way redeeming herself, and fortunately for her, my other characters are more forgiving than I would be.  Dee, however, is the least forgiving and that carries over into later books.

Are your characters based on real people? Many of them are, and those who aren’t often display a few traits from different people I’ve known.

Have you ever used a person you don’t/didn’t like as a character then killed them off? Guilty as charged, although those books have yet to be published.  It’s rather cathartic, a way of dealing with personal demons without actually hurting anybody.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I love researching to add an extra element of realism to my speculative fiction, plus I get to learn new things along the way.  I don’t have one favourite resource.  The Internet is a wonderful tool that lends access to a myriad of resources.

Is there a message conveyed within your writing?  Do you feel this is important in a book? Not one message, no.  I have a few that are recurring, but I don’t think I should limit what a book has to say in anyway.  I do like to offer the idea of substance over style, that strength of character in the face of hardship is important and that friends and family should be a priority.  I also believe in challenging the status quo and doing what is right versus what is popular.  I think you’ll find most of these concepts in the majority of my stories.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters are the most important to me as a reader, so I have to value them most as a writer.  Trying to rank the other three is a little fuzzy, solid plot is definitely something I look for but I can overlook a few weaknesses for the sake of an entertaining story and a story isn’t likely to be all that entertaining without the flavour great world-building brings, but I’m okay if it’s a little sparse.  I don’t demand technical perfection but if there are too many issues it distracts from the story.  It’s sort of like making a soup.  Characters are your main ingredients, plot is the soup base, world-building is your seasoning and the technical is cooking technique.  Who wants a soup lacking in main ingredients, with a weak base, devoid of seasoning or burnt beyond being edible?  They all have their place.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason?  So far, e-books and print (one novelette is only available as an e-book).  I wanted to expand into audio, but there are logistic problems because I reside in Canada and not the US or UK. I’m hoping that will change in future.

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I do self-edit, but I also have others who lend a helping hand who have the educational credentials to serve as an editor, and the small press I work with has their own editorial staff.  I think you always need a second set of eyes.  There are some problem areas in our own work we writers are just blind to.  I think some books suffer more as a result of this than others, depending on the strengths of the writer.

Do you think indie/self-published authors are viewed differently to traditionally published authors? Why do you think this might be? I do, and I think it’s unfair, especially when some self-published writers are going to the expense of paying for professional editing, formatting and covers.  Granted, there aren’t the same “gatekeepers” there are in traditional, but they don’t guarantee quality.  Also, there are plenty of great books with niche-appeal turned away by traditional publishers because they won’t draw in a big enough market.  Without indie/self-publishing, these books would be lost.

Do you read work by self-published authors? Yes, several of my favourite writers are self–published (or started out that way.)  I try to champion them when I can because they don’t deserve the stigma associated with being self-published.

What are your opinions about authors commenting on reviews? How important are reviews? I don’t think authors should comment on reviews even if someone is being unfair because it opens up a whole can of negative worms.  I’m not talking about reasonably written negative reviews, everyone should be free to express their opinion, positive or negative, but rather trollish ones where the reviewer hasn’t actually read the book or attacks the writer personally.  I believe in the adage “Don’t feed the trolls” because all these folks are doing is trying to get a rise out of the author or the author’s supporters.  Reviews can be important because it increases exposure and some readers do base their purchases on the reviews they read.

When buying a book do you read the reviews? No, but I’m a word of mouth buyer.  I tend to buy based on recommendations from trusted friends who know me.  Taste varies.

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? I have a policy that I only review books if I want to recommend them.  While I think people should be able to leave a negative review of a book, there are complications when the reviewer is another author.  For one, it can be considered bad form and can dissuade fans of the author receiving the bad review from considering your books.  Secondly, if the author is in the same genre that you write in (and most authors read books in the genre they write in) it can be viewed as an attack from a competitor – not a good idea from my perspective.  Also, it can incite trollish reviews for your own books as a “counterattack.”

What experiences can a book provide that a movie or video game cannot? There’s a level of personal investment, because of the added component of imagination on the part of the reader, in a book compared to a movie or video game.  With a really good book, the characters become a part of you and never really leave you.

Can you name your favourite traditionally published author? And your favourite indie/self-published author?  I have four favourite traditional authors: for modern fantasy, my favourite is Theodore Sturgeon, for horror/dark fantasy it’s Tanith Lee, for science fiction I prefer Robert J. Sawyer and for fantasy and crossed genre I love Anne McCaffrey.

Do you have any pets? A 9 year old beagle named, Sparky, a fluffy cat named Charleston and a flock of chickens.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? My Snowy Barrens Trilogy began as the plot for a comic book (that didn’t get past page 2,) became the foundation for a LRPG session (I have pictures…) and finally ended up three generations worth of novels within a framework format.

Bio: Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines.  Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence.  Magic  University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by  Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013.  Find out more at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

Links:

Website: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Chantal-Boudreau-WriterIllustrator/107318919341178

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Boudreau/e/B004O1FP2E/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chantellyb13

http://www.scribd.com/chantal_boudreau

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4446228.Chantal_Boudreau

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