Throw Back Thursday – When I Started to Write

When I first started to write I simply knew I would be the next big one. The next Stephanie Meyer or <Insert famous author>.  This wasn’t because my vampires sparked, because well, they didn’t.  No.  It was because I had something to say that would bring joy to people. Little did I know that the average it takes a person to get published isn’t exactly a fact, but it is founded on facts.  The average I last heard was 8 years.  Is that true today? I would say no.  Why?  Well now there is self-publication and therefore one more statistic.

Okay – enough depressing words.  So for fun. 

If you are a writer – what is the first thing you tried to publish?

If you are a reader – what have you thought of some authors new releases vs. their later releases?

 

Here is my embarrassment.  Mind you I started to seriously write during the vampire craze about 7 bad ideasyears ago.

Seventeen year old girl who is human, falls for a vampire that is a friend of her vampire family.  Yes – a human raised by vampires.  There’s some crazy vengeance from a few hundred years of feuds, some trips to Ireland and Italy.  Shopping in France.  A crush from a human boy – so a small love triangle.  Love struck girl is kidnapped, but don’t panic.  There is an over indulgent HEA – because all my stories are happily ever after.  The end!

You can laugh now 🙂

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Fun Fact Friday – Calisa Rhose and the Small World

b-w-profile-pic Let’s wish Calisa a happy early birthday.  Her birthday is tomorrow.  Poor Calisa has had a bit of a rough December.  There have been broken ribs involved.  Somehow she’s still smiling and made it through the Christmas holiday.   She’s a nut for Christmas, as am I.

Why this crazy obsession? We both were born within a week of Christmas.  Oh and we were both late, which probably sums up why I was late getting her information on the post.  I think this means she understands me 🙂

One more little tidbit to make the world seem small, is the fact her daughter shares my name.  It’s her daughter’s middle name.  we’re the cool people 🙂

It’s wonderful finding a kindred spirit for the holidays.  Now sit back, kick up your feet with a warm drink, and read a great romance, Risk Factors. 

new release smallerRISK FACTORS – available March 4, 2013

Love, like life, is not without risk.

Blurb- Veterinarian Vivian Dane has purchased her uncle’s practice in the tiny town of Wales, Risk Factors400x600Missouri, where most residents still doubt her ability to treat their pets. But Viv is used to being considered less-worthy than her predecessors. After all, her parents are world-renowned wildlife vets, and most everyone is unimpressed she’s chosen to not follow directly in their footsteps. Now Connor, a patient’s owner, is hot for Viv, but clearly doesn’t think she’s dating material because he has a daughter…who he believes no woman is good enough for. Being a perfect dad is EMT paramedic Connor’s life focus. He can’t seem to stay away from sexy Doctor Viv, but attraction is as far as he’ll ever let it go. His mother abandoned him, leaving him to be raised in the foster system, and then his wife abandoned both him and their daughter. He absolutely will not risk bringing another woman into his little girl’s life and having her feel the hurt of being left…again.

Forfeiting is easier than attempting and failing. So why does Viv feel compelled to prove she’s a sure bet for Connor and his daughter? Can Connor trust Viv–and himself–enough to play the possibilities?

Excerpt It was close to five o’clock and Viv wanted to go home. Winter hadn’t reached the Midwest yet, but from September through October the temperatures often dipped and dove sporadically, before diving for the long winter ahead. There’d been a slight chill in the air that morning and she hoped for a few more weeks of warmth before harsh weather moved in. She looked forward to a hot soak in the bathtub, but Skittles was due for pick-up first. Connor had assured her he’d pick her up, or have his father get her before five. She glanced at her watch again. Four-fifty-six. She didn’t mind staying late if she needed to; it would be a shame to leave the nervous animal alone another night. She opened the small closet to put the dust mop away. “Hello.”

With a start, she spun and her hand caught the broom handle on her way around. Gasping, she grabbed uselessly, horrified as the cleaning tool flew sideways from the closet. In slow motion she saw it shoot out against Connor’s shoulder and fall with a sharp snap onto the tile floor.

“Oh! I’m so–so sorry! Are you hurt?” Instant heat rushed up her neck and she bent to reclaim the errant broom to shove into the closet. She slammed the door and leaned against it on a sharp breath.

“I’m fine. You worried your killer broom might attack again? You might consider putting a lock on the door,” he said with a crooked smile.

Puzzled, Viv looked around and realized with total humiliation how it appeared she’d trapped the broom inside the closet–when in actuality, she wanted to climb through the door beside the instrument and hide.

“Of course not. That would be silly. I didn’t expect you right now.”

“It’s two minutes of five. I told you I’d be here for Skittles. Is it too late?” Right. The skunk.

“No. I’m sure she’s more than ready to go home. Do you have the pet carrier to put her in?” She probably didn’t need to ask when Connor stood empty-handed before her. He lowered his head and she knew he’d forgotten it, fought back a smile at his forgetfulness. “Sorry. I drove straight from work and didn’t think about it.”

“No worry. I have one you can borrow.” Which meant he’d have to see her again. She’d definitely need to see him again. “Thank you. I’ll bring it back tomorrow.”

“Oh, there’s no rush. I keep a few on hand for emergencies.” She led him back to the cage where the skunk still huddled, and got a carrier while he opened the cage to retrieve his daughter’s pet. As he lifted the black fur ball out, Viv set a pink case next to him. He hissed under his breath and almost let the animal loose. Viv opened the cage and held it upright for him to lower the skunk down inside and shut the door. Once he stood with the pet taxi, she detected a smear of red on one finger.

“She bit you?” Skunk bite, rabies, germs…

“It’s fine. When she’s scared she tends to nip a warning like a cat.” Connor’s lack of care concerned Viv, however.
“I should clean it with antiseptic before you go.”

“I’ll tend it when I get home.”

“But, it may have germs…get infected.”

“It’s not the first time, and her rabies vaccination is current. Thank you, but it’s not necessary.” Viv stopped by a cabinet on the way to the front reception area to grab ointment and a Band-Aid.

Where to buy:

Lyrical Press-

Amazon-

Barnes and Nobel-

iTunes-

Also, Risk Factors is on Authorgraph! Get your copy signed.

bio Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers. She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders  and firemen, as well as, the occasional ‘other’ heroes- and their sexy female counterparts, those sassy, stubborn heroines.

author

Find Calisa at her website/blog

Twitter, Facebook/Calisa Rhose, Goodreads, Amazon , and Pinterest

It’s Been Done Before

For the writers out there, something to think about. A published work that has gone out of print, or the rights have gone back to the author does not make it a new story.

Close your mouth. I know that has us all in shock. Or maybe not. It is good information for those contemplating independent publishing, small publishers, magazines, news articles, and even large publishers (although you probably have an agent there).

Before you hit that button that seals the deal on your story, make sure that you are 100% okay with it where it is. If you ever think you might want to change where it is published you need to think about this. Some publishers will reprint or republish a previously published work, but not all, or most actually.

Things that go against the grain are books with massive sales previously or news articles. There are always exceptions to rules. But with all the means of publishing these days and the reality that digital doesn’t always go away, it is a very real concern to worry about where you want your baby to go.

Fun Fact Friday – KR Yaddof and Strong Female Characters

Not every female character needs to be rescued. I know, I know, what am I thinking. Nowadays most writers are trying to write that strong female character that still has vulnerable spots, but is strong none the less. Here is KR Yaddof’s experience and why she chose to write her main character the way they did.

Also another fun fact about this author is that she chose to self publish.  Since this is becoming the new thing I felt that I needed to give a few self published authors a chance to tell their stories about how and why they went down this nontraditional – although becoming vastly popular, road.

Stick around until the end for a chance to win a copy of the Urban Fantasy BLOOD MAGE.Yaddof BLOOD MAGE Cover Web

Take it away!

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Characters’ strength has to come from somewhere. I love strong female characters like Scarlett O’Hara, Princess Leia, and real-life Eleanor of Aquitaine. I wanted to create a character who would take charge of her own destiny and not apologize for it. I knew that I was creating a series, so why not get to watch our character become this strong woman? That meant that she was going to start out as a teenager. She wouldn’t have complete control over her life and would have to rely on others for help. Finding the balance between the headstrong teenage girl she was and the confident women she would become was foremost in my mind when I created Alexis Richmond.

I was tired of insecure teenage female characters, who couldn’t imagine why the cutest boy in school would fall in love with them. I wouldn’t have wanted to be friends with them let alone read about them. Why couldn’t a girl have high self-esteem and still be relatable to readers? Being a teenager, she would naturally have some self-doubts, but in the end, I wanted her to have enough faith in herself to make her own decisions and stand up for herself. 

Seventeen year old Alexis thought she pretty well had life figured out until terrorist attacks blew away the world she knew. So now, not only is she trying to discover who she is, but where she fits in this new society. Throw in magical powers that are surfacing for the first time and you have a lot of turmoil for one teenage girl to handle. Readers will really get to know who Alexis is and how she becomes the woman she will be at the end of the series.

After widely querying, I ended up with some doubts about readers being able to relate to Yaddof DYNASTY MAGE Cover WebAlexis because of agent feedback. They liked my style, but weren’t sure about Alexis. She isn’t the type of character to ask you to feel sorry for her but could readers still root for her? I got my answer after I self-published the first two books in the series. The second book’s main character is Zachary Godard, Alexis’s love interest. When readers first started the book, they kept saying, “We love Zach but where’s Alexis? We miss her!” That is when I knew that I was right about her all along. Maybe it was the fact that it was written in third person which is rare for Young Adult fiction with a female protagonist. Or maybe it was because the series doesn’t really fit into Young Adult and may be more New Adult. I’m not sure why the agents didn’t see what the readers saw in her. All I know is that Alexis Richmond wouldn’t waste any time worrying about it. She has better things to do like saving the world from the Blood Mage Order.
Book Blurb:

All Alexis Richmond wants is for life to be somewhat normal again. What she gets is trapped in the girls’ restroom by a knife-wielding classmate, who blames her for being forced to go to school in a lovely prison-like setting for national security reasons. But Alexis can’t help that her father was catapulted into the presidency when the U.S. Capitol was annihilated during the State of the Union Address. Or that he still hasn’t found the terrorists responsible for blowing every major city on the planet into a post-apocalyptic state. All Alexis can do is to try to defend herself from this crazy girl. Then her late mother’s locket starts glowing and sending waves of energy coursing down her arms, and she nearly launches her attacker through the puke pink wall of the school bathroom.

Fantasy becomes alarmingly real in Alexis’s already shattered world when she learns from her aunt that she is descended from a family of powerful mages and warned to trust no one. Thrust into Alexis’s life through school and for those annoying security reasons, the vice president’s playboy son, Zachary Godard, claims to have the answers about the magical legacies their families don’t want them to know. Alexis tries to fight her dangerous attraction to Zachary but knows that he understands her as only another mage can. Leaping down the rabbit hole hand in hand, together they overhear a secret society of sorcerers, the Blood Mage Order, plotting to take over the globe. As the two young mages struggle to stop the Order and save their country, they discover just how deep the world domination conspiracy goes. And Alexis will realize that nothing is black and white. Especially not magic.

Excerpt 

from BLOOD MAGE:

“Why do you need a ride, again? Where is your car?” Alexis crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him.

“I called my driver and told him that I wouldn’t need a ride when I saw you show up.” Zachary relaxed into the black leather. His tie was loosened, and his brilliant hair was the usual mess. He laid his head back and closed his eyes. “No need to waste more of the taxpayers’ money than necessary.”

“So you knew that I was there?” And he had acted so surprised to see her in the hallway.

“I got there right before you did.” He opened his compelling blue eyes and surveyed her anger.

“So all that carrying on with Meagan was for my benefit?”Alexis asked.

“Oh, don’t worry. I benefited from it, too, sweetheart.”He winked.

“Ah! You make me sick.” She punched him on the arm.“You’re such an asshole!”

“Come on.” He held up his forearms trying to deflect her blows. “Let’s not fight, Lexi.”

“You were the one being a jerk today,” she said kicking him in the shin.

“Ow!” He pretended to rub his shin but then wrapped his arms around her pinning hers down. Against her ear, he whispered, “You’re the one who was lying to me.”

“I’m not lying to you!” She struggled against his much stronger grip.

“Oh, yes, you are.” He chuckled at her wriggling but didn’t release her. “I know you better than anyone has or ever will, sweetheart.”

“You just met me!” She could smell his cologne mixed with sweat from the hot day.

“But I’ve been looking for you all my life, Lexi.” He kissed her neck where her pulse was throbbing.

“Zach!” Her mind was clouding, and her body had begun to melt. From the back of her brain, a voice shouted, “Stop!”

“Fine.” He freed her, and she almost slid onto the floor. He offered her his hand, but she pulled away moving back onto her side of the seat tucking her long black hair behind her ears. He leaned back and closed his eyes again. “Have it your way, Alexis.”

They didn’t speak the rest of the way downtown with only sounds of the radio filling the car. She was glad that he couldn’t hear her heart pounding. She tried to think of something to say to smooth things over between them but knew that she couldn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. It would all only lead to another fight. Her body felt hot all over, but she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of turning on the air-conditioning. When they got off the freeway, she rolled down the window. The air from outside was a little cooler, but the humidity it carried with it licked at her face.

“It’s going to storm,” Zachary said not opening his eyes.

“How can you tell?” she asked, studying the clouds brewing on the horizon that she knew he couldn’t see. The car slowed as they pulled up to his condo.

“I can smell it.” He opened his eyes and held her gaze.“Are you ready?”

Before she could answer, an agent opened the car door.

“Goodnight, Alexis.” He slid out of the limousine and was gone.

bio

I was lucky enough to take a few writing classes at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop when I was there as an undergrad getting my degree in cinema. BLOOD MAGE is the first in an urban fantasy eBook series, MAGES, in which each book is told from a different character’s perspective. The final chapter of every novel is devoted to the next book’s main character. In the second novel of the series, DYNASTY MAGE, Zachary Godard strives to find out who is trying to kill him while running his family’s corporation to finance the rebellion against the Blood Mage Order.

giveaway

I will be giving away a copy of BLOOD MAGE to someone chosen from those who leave a comment on this post or ‘like’ The Mages Series Facebook page.

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Also Available:

Amazon:

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords:

You can keep up with KR’s latest news at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagesSeries

Twitter: @KRYaddof

Pen Names – Why Should you?

A rose by any other name …

Do you want to feel mysterious or just always hated your name? Well legally you could rose 2just go change your name then. Look at prince.  Now his name is symbol – eh er, or maybe it’s the Artist Formally Known as Prince since you can’t actually type in the symbol. Okay bad example. Why is this a bad example? Because he chose something that would make him nearly unsearchable. Had he not had a HUGE name and a HUGE following I doubt he’d have succeeded in his change. I am not a Prince fan – no offense to those that are, but he is an example of what not to do for someone starting out.

• Now if you have a very common name or you need or want to keep your anonymity then a Pen Name could be a great option. I have an author friend who has a horror story of an ex and needs to remain hidden; that’s a great reason to have a pen name even though there are ways to hide your private information.

• Another example to use a pen name is if you write two very different genres or two genres that you don’t think the readerships would mix. If you write YA by day and erotica by night, I would suggest a pen name for one. You don’t want a YA to pick up a copy of your erotica by accident. I had this happen – not YA to erotica, but Contemporary Romance to erotica. I had no idea this author wrote both. Talk about a bit of a shock when page 4 had some explicate things occurring already.

• Have you published under another name and had bad sales or did you self publish and not do as well as hoped? Well a pen name could reinvent you.

• Trying to hide from the day job or from family? Well a pen name will help. Granted they have to be searching for you to find anything. Maybe my family isn’t very curious or maybe they are the norm, no one suspected me of writing. Even now they all just seem to wave it off as a crazy notion. I don’t know why I was afraid of family finding out and I don’t make enough for my day job to care.

When choosing a name Google it.  See what comes up.  No point in going from one common name to another, or choosing a name a million others already use.  Don’t go for hard to recognize or hard to pronounce.  You can always go by initials too such as JK Rowling.

There are a bunch of reasons that a pen name can be a good option, but there are reasons to stay who you are also. It’s easier to brand you as you after all. There is also something exciting about seeing your name on the cover or in Amazon. I recently got to hear another authors take on why she chose to go with a pen name. See that post here.  I did not go with a pen name – not yet.  Part of me wishes I’d done something a little different since my name is fairly common.  But for now it will work.  Please don’t stalk me.  That would be highly unappreciated, although flattering to know I had fans.

How about you?  Did you or didn’t you?  Will you or won’t you?  What are you reasons for staying with your name or choosing a pen name?

A related article with a few more things I didn’t think of. Karen Woodward

Thoughtful Tuesday – A Balancing Act

Is there really a balance between rushing to finish something and giving something your all?  Anyone else feel like their life is on constant fast forward?

I feel like just to get another story done or finish the blanket I said I would make for my daughter, that I am missing the quality that needs to happen on day one.  Sure it got done, but now I regret that there might be errors or badly lined up stitches. bal

Maybe it only matters when someone else notices.  Well for writing and submitting the odds are pretty huge that someone is going to notice the rush job.  Then again practice makes perfect and maybe, just maybe, quantity might be in my favor if I improve every time.  Of course I need to spend a teensy bit more time on quality.

What do you think?  Are you always in a rush or do you get everything done right the first time?

A Contest – a Road to Nowhere?

Merry Christmas Eve – have you entered any holiday writing contests or submitted any holiday themed stories?  I haven’t, but I got the most random e-mail from a contest I thought was over about two months ago.  Happy Christmas to me- I finished close to not last.

Contests seem like a great option.  The free ones mean you have no risk, but usually come with little  in the way of bragging rights.  The question is, what can we learn from contests and should we actually pay to enter?

I had the notion that a contest or two would give me the publication credits I needed to put on a query.  Something that might just help me catch the eye of an agent.  Some contests even attract agents for you.  These are great benefits, great opportunities, or so I told myself.  The problem is that most contests won’t tell you where you failed.  They won’t tell you why you didn’t make it past round 1, 2, or 3.  So then what?

I suppose this is where finding a writers group is beneficial.  If you failed to finish in a number of contests take a rest. Try something new.  Branch out.  If you don’t have a group with experienced writers perhaps you should look for groups online.

Contests can be great, but when you don’t know what you are doing wrong in the first place they could just be a waste of money.

I had a short story finish in the top 200-should I be bragging about this or not?  I guess I don’t think it is worth much since I still can’t tell you where I went wrong, other than the typo’s I embarrassingly missed.

Do you contest or not?

Fun Fact Friday – Kristin Nelson and What She Wants to See …Maybe

The Nelson Literary Agency is probably one of the most informative agencies I have found.  Yes there are others, and feel free to enlighten me on them in comments too.

Kristin Nelson, the founder of Nelson Literary and an agent, can’t quite sum up what she wants in submissions.  The good news is, she can’t because she feels like genre categories are limiting. What that means for writers?  Well it means that not all agents feel like you are limited to exactly the definition of a category.  Do you write romance with a hint of horror?  She isn’t going to list horror on her web site, but she’d probably love to see it.  The key take away is that if your book can fit into one of the major categories an agent wants to see, try submitting.  I have no idea how she would market a cross genre book but that’s for her to know and you to find out.

Always follow submission guidelines and obviously play up the parts of your book that fit an agents request, but don’t be afraid to send something with a bit of a genre twist.

Do you know of other agents who blog helpful information?  Share their links here for other writers.  If the agent is geared towards one genre more then another list that.  Happy Friday.

Thoughtful Tuesday – The End before, Once upon a Time?

Are you a cheater?  I am – sometimes.  Sometimes I cheat and read the end to decide if I should bother finishing a book.  Sometimes this is to see if the story ends Happily Ever After.  Other times it’s to check that someone does or doesn’t die.  Really it comes to “can I live with the ending?”

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could just skip to the outcome before deciding to go down one path or another?  So – are you a cheater?  Do you read the end first?  What makes you be that person, the one who will skip the remaining book until you know what is to come?

The latest books that made me read the ending first was – the second book of the Hunger games, Catching Fire and The Black Dagger Brotherhood book 7 – Okay actually I started reading book 8 to make sure things worked out.

Carol Hedges! Guest Blog On Her New Ebook-Jigsaw Pieces

Starting out as a writer there is one big trick in order to learn the trade; branch out and meet new people.

One person I have had the pleasure to meet is published author Carol Hedges. Carol has several traditionally published books but is expanding and trying out self-publication.

Carol calls it “reinventing herself.”  In todays publishing world things are rapidly changing.  New complications, new challenges and hurdles, and new platforms to explore.  Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks?  I am not calling Carol old mind you, I am simply saying that for a woman who has had several traditionally published books and is agented, it might be hard to try something new.  Granted, if you get to know Carol I doubt you can say she see’s anything as a challenge, just more of a new beginning.

Carol has been a guest blogger on several other occasions.  She gave some great insight into her inspiration for Jigsaw Pieces.  Please feel free to visit her guest blog at Juliet Greenwood, Guest Blog from Carol.  I think this sentence says a lot for Carol’s book:  Jigsaw Pieces, my first ebook, is so chockfull of personal stuff that I had to put the line “Not all the characters and events in this story are fictitious” at the beginning.

Carol is proud of her new book and happy with her choice of an ebook.  She is happy for her new book to see a broad new fan-base.  Without further babbling here is Carol’s new ebook.

Jigsaw Pieces

‘He had been part of my everyday life. I hadn’t liked him much, nobody had liked him much, but he’d been there. Now, I’d never see him again.’
Annie Skjaerstad had been searching for her identity since being uprooted from her native country of Norway. With a spiky personality winning her no friends, and family members suddenly torn out of her life, she is left seeking comfort from a growing intrigue into the stories of fallen war heroes.
But one day, a boy from her school unexpectedly commits suicide, changing things forever. Confused by the tragic tale of someone she knew, Annie soon finds herself conducting her own investigation into his death.
What she uncovers will bring her to a dark and dangerous place, as suddenly – her own life is put at risk.
A tense, coming of age crime thriller by the author of ‘Dead Man Talking’.

Download Jigsaw Pieces here

Visit Carol at her Blog here