Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest, Celebrations, and Do You Have Goals Wrap Up!

Brought to us by the awesome Blitzer DL Hammons and the fantastic Nicole Zoltak, this fest invites us to re-post a post from this year!

Due to triple threat post I have going on here, I chose a super short one that was overlooked . . . mainly because I was late to the party that day. 

This was my "Endings Blogfest" post from January 9th, 2014 that celebrated the blogaversary of LG Keltner's blog.

When I saw this fest, I couldn't resist. 
However, due to a cold, waking up late, and getting the kids going on their lessons for the day (we homeschool and breakfast is planning time), I'm a little late to the party. Sorry.
And I have thought over what to say . . . but no idea seemed like the right one, until now.
 
The endings I like best are the endings with a sense of homecoming and a sense of open horizon - a look to the possible future.
 
Every ending like that feels like the one described at the end of The Last Battle:
 
"And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has ever read: which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before."
 
What kind of ending do you like?





Celebrate the Small Things, originated by Viklit, has been an awesome part of blogging for me these last few years.

This year, I'm celebrating two things:
1. You, dear blogger buddies, who visit and comment. Thank you!
2. The continuation of blogging. It's been a struggle this year, but I have kept going. 


Do You Have Goals? is a blog hop that has helped me tremendously this last year. Misha and Beth have been wonderful encouragers, and I appreciate everyone involved in this hop.

To Wrap Up the year, but not get too long-winded:

We were encouraged to create huge, amazing goals, and then chase them down. :)

My goals were: Write and Publish two novels/novellas and some short works.

What I actually accomplished:
The finish and publication of Champion in Flight: the second novel in The Champion Trilogy.

The finish and publication of Light Reflections: a collection of poetry.

And, the publication of:
two articles on writing in How I Found the Write Path and IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond.

seven new short stories and poems: "Red Carpet, Take 1," "Red Carpet, Take 2," "Cloud Download," "Seedling," "Big Money," "Green Planet," and "Robot Sonnet." 

and three re-publications of stories in e-title format: "Seedling," "The Bridge Snap," and "The Horse in the Well."

When I list all that out, I realize that although I didn't hit my original goal exactly, I did accomplish a great deal, with more on my horizon ahead. 

What kinds of endings do you like? What goals have you accomplished? What are you celebrating? And, do you have a deja vu post?


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! 
I'll be back for IWSG on January 7th.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Business of Self-Publishing, Part 2

Tip 2: Learn to love the red pencil. 

The Business of Self-Publishing Series is a series that I'll be posting once a month in the middle of the month. You can find the first post by following this link: The Business of Self-Publishing, Part 1.

The tip from the first post was simply: Set aside at least one full year to research self-publishing. Comments on that post are no longer live, so if you would like to discuss that post, please send me an e-mail.

The second lesson I learned from my self-publishing journey is that it is almost impossible to edit all the errors out of a book, but that does not mean I shouldn't try to edit all the errors out. 

With my first novel, Champion in the Darkness, I had a tech issue. My laptop died with my latest copy-edited draft two weeks before my self-appointed deadline. I had a blog tour set up and ready to go. I had blasted my tiny portion of the web-waves with "upcoming release day" posts. And, I didn't have my latest copy-edited draft.

So, actually, this post has an extra tip for all writers. BACK UP WRITING EVERY DAY or EVERY WEEK. It's necessary. Sorry for shouting in bold, but the reality is, I had the biggest stress of my writing journey over an automatic backup error combined with a pc meltdown. 

And, after that meltdown, I made a hugely foolish decision. I thought I could quickly re-copy-edit my book in two weeks and have it completely ready. I worked at it for hours. I had notes for all my mistakes. I thought I caught them all. I didn't. In fact, in my haste, I think I added a few.

So, the second time around, my novel was beta read and proofread three months before the publish date. I went over it again and again. I had my sister-in-law read it aloud to her husband. I checked and re-checked it. 

The red pencil, or at least the "red review comments" via word, became my friend.

So, my simple and obvious tips today are: back up your work always (and check the backup system), don't let a self-imposed deadline put you in a bad corner, and finally, learn to love that red pencil! 

Readers deserve your best, and your long-term writing career deserves your best.


So, do you love the red pencil?


Of course, like I said before, it's nearly impossible to get all the mistakes out of a book. Last month, I found a missing quotation mark typo the day before a book signing. AGH! 
  






Friday, December 12, 2014

Links and Celebrate the Small Things

Yesterday, I re-subbed five stories to four different, new-to-me magazines. I posted links for those on my facebook page and asked where other writers were submitting their work. M Pax kindly added a few links to the list, and so . . . I thought I would share a few of those links here. (I didn't share the one closing on the 15th because that seemed to be cutting it a bit close)

If you are looking to submit your short story, flash or micro fiction, here are a few links:

Fantasy Scroll Magazine - a paying market for fantasy short story, flash and micro fiction.

Oblong - a non-paying, literary, off-the-wall market for micro and flash fiction.

Daily Science Fiction - a non-paying market for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Slipstream micro and flash fiction.

Lamp Light Quarterly - a paying quarterly market for Dark short story and flash fiction.

And, from M Pax - a link for a novella sized work:

The Lost Worlds - a paying anthology in the Steampunk Horror genre dedicated to the post-apocalyptic theme at Eldritch Press. They are looking for novellas up to 20,000 words in length and the deadline has been extended until filled.



Celebrate the Small Things:

Our Christmas tree is up, with lights and ornaments! Yay!

And, I have a new #FridayFreebie for today:

"The Horse in the Well" - a tiny biographic. For more info on it, just scroll down to my last post. :)


What are you celebrating today? And do you have any submission links to share?



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"The Horse in the Well" and The Storytellers Series


As we approach Christmas, lighting advent candles and preparing to gather with family near and far, it is a time when we often remember loved ones from our past. Although they have entered the greatest adventure of all, in the life beyond this one, we remember their lives with us.

My grandma Pearl, one of the storytellers of my family, enchanted me with tales from her childhood and teen years. Although she started the great adventure of heaven a little over 26 years ago, I still remember her voice - the cadence and tones rich with meaning and thoughtfulness.

My favorite story of all of her stories was "The Horse in the Well," a story of heroism and gentleness. When I went to rewrite it a few years ago, I found that although I had a sparsely written version by my Grandma Pearl, it wasn't as full as I remembered it and I realized that without meaning to, I had filled it in with my imagination based on what I knew of her as a child. So, I rewrote it, as if I were her voice, as if I could walk in the same paths she walked.

For Christmas this year, and for my family, I've revised that story and added a few notes about that process to a short e-title that's releasing today for kindle readers. (I'll work on releasing it for nook, smashwords, and kobo next year.) It's not a Christmas story, but it is a family story, and so, for me, it is part of the family gathering for Christmas.

It's just a super short story, and it will be one of my rotating #fridayfreebies for the next few months, so although it is 99 cents today, it will be free this coming Friday, if you would like to download it.

It's the start of The Storyteller Series - a series of stories from my family that I plan to publish over the next few years which will eventually make their way into a larger book. It might be a slow process, among all my other projects, but I have a plan to follow.


When a young girl with no voice of her own witnesses a tragic accident, who will save the day? 

"The Horse in the Well" for Kindle

Do you have storytellers in your family?



Thursday, December 4, 2014

Celebrations!



This week, I'm celebrating:

1. Good books from the library that are inspiring me to write. :)

2. Family cuddle time.

3. Wonderful IWSG!

4. IWSG's new, free book!!!


At: Nook   Smashwords   Amazon    Kobo


5, #fridayfreebie = "Seedling" 

Dunnie has a secret: a power inside him that's gone wrong in the past. When it's time to introduce himself to a new teacher, what will he say? And, will his classmates ever accept the truth? 

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG: Merry Christmas (IWSG Book Present!), and Giveaway Ideas for Marketing



MERRY CHRISTMAS, IWSG!!! Yes, I know it's early, but I also know that as the month progresses, more and more bloggers will disappear into the rounds of merrymaking, Christmas wrapping, and Nativity celebrations. Since I am an incredibly slow comment-returner - sometimes taking between two hours and a month - I might comment on your post and you might not find out until next year! So . . . Merry Christmas, early!
And, because IWSG is so awesome, we get to unwrap our first gift: The Insecure Writer's Support 





The awesome Insecure Writer's Support Group, brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh, has blessed my writing and blogging life, and I am thankful for all of the IWSG list and especially, the IWSG teams (blog, facebook, and website!)
Thank you!

Giveaway Ideas for Marketing

Ok, I'm the first one to admit that marketing is an area I struggle with as a writer, but I have discovered a small increase in sales when I do a limited time giveaway.
Once upon a time, I gave away my first novel for free in three to five day swaths of time via the kindle select program. I gave away lots of copies, but did not increase my sales. Of course, this was partly because I was foolishly running these giveaways when I had only one title. So, first lesson learned: Only do giveaways when you have more than one title.

Next, I discovered that when I gave a title away for free for one day, then I had almost as many downloads as I had when I gave a title away for two to three days. Since kindle select only allows five free days in three months, then I was "wasting" my giveaway days in clumps instead of sprinkling them around. So, second lesson learned: Limit the time of the giveaway to one or two days.

Finally, I noticed other authors who had re-published short stories and poetry in their kindle select stores. Hmm. What did this mean? I toyed with the idea and printed a collection of stories and poetry. It did ok. I hadn't learned lesson #2 yet, and some of my giveaways backfired.
Later, I noticed that some authors had stand-alone short stories in their e-stores that they sold for 99 cents or gave away at random times. Hmm - again. (I'm a slow learner.)

In the last three months, I've re-pubbed three stories with a fourth planned to come out on December 10th. Each of these titles is a kindle select title - which means I'm limited to kindle at the moment and I can give each away five days within a three month period. I've experimented with #fridayfreebies - a one day giveaway on Fridays with different titles on different weeks. I've had between 8-57 downloads on those days.

But what did those giveaways really get me? These giveaways gave me a few new readers who liked my work enough to purchase a copy of one of my other, longer titles. Maybe this isn't much, but it is my newest marketing strategy and has gained a few sales.

If you have a few short stories (previously published are best for the "previously seen in MAGAZINE AWESOME effect"), then I highly recommend re-pubbing them as individual e-titles. Just make sure to adhere to the publishing rights signed in any previous published contracts (some free markets never buy the rights, and some markets purchase rights that give them sole publishing rights for 18 months or so).

Next step for me: I'll be turning one or two of my kindle select titles into titles at other ebook stores and then putting them on permafree . . . next year. These titles will be short story titles, so if you see a short story you think you might like in my amazon store, do not purchase them! Wait for a #fridayfreebie or for permafree possibilities. :)

Have you tried any new writing or marketing strategies lately? And, how did they work?

(Note: I also tried a few "paid" marketing places and basically threw my money into the pit of despair that way - not a recommended marketing strategy unless you have the oodles of money needed to use an expensive marketing group.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Do You Have Goals?

Do You Have Goals? is hosted by Misha and Beth and has been a huge help for me this year. I've been encouraged by this great group, and I've discovered that even in my meandering months where it feels like I'm getting nothing done, I actually have made progress.

Next month, I plan to do a whole year wrap up.

For now . . .

November

For some reason, just writing the month name and saying it in my head seems to say it all. But then, I realize that no one reading this lived my November with me.

So . . . lots of family stuff (good and bad), changes in schedule, holidays, and planning for holiday events . . .

NaNoWriMo Attempt - AGH! I did want to win. I had a plan. Then, I had a plan B. Then, I had a plan C, then D, then . . . well, it didn't happen.

There is a part of me that loves NaNoWriMo, but the last few years have chocked up fails for me. I wish that it were some other month, like . . . well, ok, maybe March? I don't know.

However, I did get around 30,000 words written on various projects - Champion's Destiny, Captain Wrath, "The Clover Wars: A Seedling Story," a hint fiction story that I wrote and subbed for Write 1 Sub 1, and some world building notes for all of those plus others. I actually have this weird, massive idea of trying to world-build a bunch of different story ideas together . . . in some kind of crazy series. I'm not sure that will happen or not.

Then, I outlined a romance story about a skier and a snowboarder . . . kind of a star-crossed lovers idea that I've had ever since I picked up a funny postcard with Romeo and Juliet misquoted by a girl skier and a guy snowboarder. The "angst" between the two groups has gotten better, but it's still there. I know this because I'm a skier (who has snowboarded) married to a snowboarder (who used to be a skier), and there are people we meet who really think that's there's some kind of problem with that . . . which is just weird to me.

Basically, I planned to win NaNo and my brain and my life said, "Squirrel!" over and over again.

How did your November go? Have any crazy ideas or "squirrel!" moments?






#FridayFreebies -  Dragonfold and Other Adventures and "The Bridge Snap."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful Thanksgiving!

My list of Thankfulness for this Thanksgiving could fill pages! God is so good all the time, even in the tough times of life, and I am so thankful for His presence at all times; even when I'm not paying attention very much and am waay distracted, He's still with me.

So, I'm going to go with my tried and true A to Z Thanksgiving list (borrowed from an old Pastor friend of mine - Thanks, Pastor Paul!)

A - Anna, Amanda, Alan, and apple turnovers made by my daughter - allergy free (this is complicated), but oh, so good. :)

B - Brandon, bicycles, and beauty everywhere - in nature, in the lines of people's faces, in the sound of cars humming by on a rain-wet street

C - cuddles, canoeing, cats (not together!)

D - Dads, Darren, Duane, Dane, Despina, dashes, dogs

E - elephant feet :), ergonomic keyboards

F - faith, fantasy, fiction, family, friends

G - God, Grandparents, Gail

H - Holy spirit, huddles, Holly

I - Immanuel (aka Jesus), icicles

J - John, Jessica, Jacob, Jason, Jim, Julie - all wonderful family!

K - kites, Kathleen, Kathryn, Kelly, Ken

L - Light, Love, Laughter, Logan, Linda

M - Moms, Mary, Myron, music

N - newts, night-time

O - oxygen, oceans, and octopi

P - playfulness, prayer

Q - quirkiness, quilts

R - rest, Ryan, reason

S - Stephanie, Sidney, sunshine, snow, skiing, snowboarding

T- Trisha, Terry, Tom, turkeys, truffles, and tigers

U - unicycles, unlikely heroes

V - vespers, vests, and violas

W - water, writing, waves

X - x-men heroes, x-rays, and xylophones (why not?)

Y - Yoda and yellow (but not yellow snow)

Z - zippers, and zest

And, you!!! If you are reading this, feel free to insert your name into this list! Thank you for being you!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday, Early Celebration for Friday

Today, I'm giving thanks for:

1. An amazing book signing at Harbor Christian Homeschool Co-op (where I teach and my kids take a few classes one day a week)! - HCHC represents my largest, most encouraging, off-line group of readers and supporters.

2. The organizational skills of my youngest daughter. I paid her for some of her "personal office assistant" help she gave me this week - organizing boxes of books to go to signings, helping me learn how to use square (too late for the first signing, but on time of the second), and helping me with my bookmark creation.

3. The sage advice of my Commercial Fiction writing teacher, Pamela Goodfellow, from back in 2001 - Just Smile and Nod. This came in handy at my second book signing of the week. I might, just might, write a post of what I mean by that phrase.

4. The time I was able to spend encouraging a young teen writer and a busy-mom-of-toddlers-writer on Wednesday. Time spent with fellow writers is always time well spent. :)

5. I won a critique from Sharon Mayhew through a contest held at Diane K. Salerni's blog. Woohoo! I sent her the first 500 pages of my current version of Captain Wrath.

6. I had great comments on my last post about the "business" of self-publishing - thank you all!

Early #fridayfreebie news:

This Friday, "The Bridge Snap" will be free again. Enjoy! The sale starts sometime in the a.m. on Friday. Next week, I'll have 2-3 titles for free for Black Friday.


And, finally, many thanks to the Celebrate the Small Things group!!! You rock!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The "Business" of Self-Publishing, Part 1

Way back in 2012, I researched publishing options for my novel, Champion in the Darkness. I researched agents and publishing houses online and in Writer's Markets; I looked at the publishing houses of the books that I found were most like mine; I researched small presses; I read articles about self-publishing.

I thought, from what I had learned, that only those with a foot already in the door of publishing could get Christian fantasy fiction published. Every author I read in that genre had books published in different genres first. Every agent I found seem to state that they didn't accept Christian fantasy as a genre unless the author already had something published in something like Amish Romance fiction, or Christian Thriller fiction, or secular Fantasy fiction.

Yet, I still wanted to get my book into the hands of readers. I started researching self-publishing, and after six months of research, I thought I knew how to go-ahead.

I didn't.

Well, obviously, I figured out some of it because I went ahead and self-published Champion in the Darkness in February 2013 under my own publishing company name, Wings of Light Publishing.

Since then, I have learned a huge amount. It's been a steep learning curve, and I've often slid back down the slippery slope. I'm no Hugh Howey of success. But, if I can help others who have chosen self-publishing, then I would like to do that.

My very first tip: Set aside at least one full year to research self-publishing. Keep writing during that time, but dig into the subject deep. Read articles and books on self-publishing - both from the cheerleaders and the naysayers. Filter the ultra-positive and the ultra-negative out. Read books by successful authors who are self-published. Study their covers. Study the length of their books. Study the way that they've released their books. Stalk their blogs for advice and information.

Here are four places I suggest to start with:

Susan Kaye Quinn - To celebrate her third Indie-anniversary, she's giving away a free indie publishing consultation. However, even if you don't get that, her site is chock full of information for writers and independent publishers. Sign up for her newsletter, stalk her blog, and learn.

Hugh Howey - Hugh Howey is "the name" in the independent publishing industry. Sign up for his newsletter, stalk his blog, and learn. Also, pay careful attention to the way he released his bestselling Wool series. (More about this in a later post of this series.)

Insecure Writer's Support Group's Self-Publishing Page - IWSG is helpful for every writer. Their page on Self-Publishing has tons of useful links. A collective of writers has created this page, so it's a great place to get a great combination of ideas and thoughts.

M Pax is an indie author who often has insightful posts on self-publishing, marketing, and everything it takes to write and publish.




If a year seems like far too long to research the subject of self-publishing, then I suggest looking at other options. Self-publishing is hard, patient work. Any kind of publishing is hard, patient work. Writing a novel is an accomplishment, and if you are finished, celebrate. But then, know that the publishing side of writing is going to be just as involved and just as much of an accomplishment as writing a novel.

Friday, November 14, 2014

So Thankful, Part Deux

Double #fridayfreebie today! Download my flash story "The Bridge Snap" or "Seedling" today for free at amazon!


I've decided belatedly to run a series of "so thankful" posts for November. It's not a cool blog hop, or a sweet meme, but if you are reading this, feel welcome to join in giving thanks!


Today, I'm so thankful for:

1. Sunshine. It's cold this week, but we have sun!

2. New tennis shoes (running shoes/walking shoes/gym shoes - am I showing my age by calling them tennis shoes when I'll never play tennis in them?)

3. Zoboomafoo - RIP Jovian, the lemur star - but the news reminded me of some fun memories of leaping around the living room with my oldest daughter in the mornings while watching this show when she was tiny and all things animal were fascinating. :)

4. A book win through the Realms Faire! Thank you M Pax and Dean K Miller!

5. A second, more in-depth look at Yakuza Territory by Milo James Fowler. (I haven't read it yet, but I know it's good because I've liked everything else about this series, and I like Milo's writing.)




A detective with no way out.

A telepath with something to prove...

 

World-weary detective Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct late one night to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen Russian gunmen with a score to settle.

What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison's past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? And who is the strange man in holding? Why are the Russians determined to break him out?

Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he's outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.

 

Available from Musa Publishing

Add Yakuza Territory to your Goodreads bookshelf

 
 
Excerpt:

 

 

 

Maybe checking in on Sergeant Douglass late that night hadn’t been the best idea. I should have paid more attention to the warning signs right off; things weren’t exactly business as usual at the precinct. The pencil-necked clerk wasn’t at his post, and an eerie quiet held the foyer as still as a morgue. No cops, uniformed or otherwise, to be seen. In a city that never slept, one expected its law enforcement personnel to share the same god-awful insomnia—graveyard shift or no.

The vacant front desk didn’t sway me from my course, though. Little glitches out of the ordinary seldom did. I’d trained myself over the years to file them away, but not focus on them too much. As a detective, it was easy to get distracted by particulars while going after the big picture. Besides, I was suspicious by nature. I questioned everything as a matter of course. But as far as I knew, everybody on duty was partying in back, throwing Douglass a well-deserved soirĂ©e after his recent ordeal and return to the land of the visible.

I paused at the unlocked door leading into the bullpen—an open-concept area with clusters of desks for everybody ranked lower than lieutenant. Access into the station’s inner workings wasn’t usually so free and easy. As I quietly stepped inside, I knew without a doubt something was amiss.

The whole room lay empty except for five guys standing in the middle with assault weapons slung over their shoulders—AK-12s and SIG MPXs by the looks of them. Not what your average citizens usually carried around concealed on their person.

“Hey.” I saluted the first one to notice me. “Am I late to the party?”

He glared my way, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was back in high school; once again, I’d forgotten the beer. They weren’t in uniform—unless black nubuck jackets and jeans counted, not to mention the scruffy stubble, slick hair, and stocky frames. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the look of your standard-issue thug for hire these days.

“Charlie—get down!”

I would have recognized that Scottish brogue anywhere. I’d already assembled a good enough picture of the situation to know it was in my best interest to hit the floor a split second before the deafening staccato of weapons fire and a hail of bullets headed my way. The rounds blasted straight through computer monitors and potted plants on desks; sparks flew upward along with shards of clay and clouds of potting soil. Chairs disintegrated as I cringed behind a solid steel desk and drew the snubnosed Smith & Wesson from my shoulder holster.

“Sarge, you all right?” I barely heard myself over the stampede of slugs plowing into the steel that sheltered me. The rounds were making some serious dents, but none had punctured through—yet. It was only a matter of time.

I wouldn’t be able to stay put for long.

 


Get to know the man behind the book:

 

1. When did you start seriously pursuing writing as a career?

I've been writing since I was a kid, but I started submitting my work for publication in the summer of 2009. I'd always thought I would pursue publication at some point—probably after I retired from teaching or turned 40. My first story was published in January 2010, and I've had another 96 accepted for publication since then. I won't turn 40 for a couple more years, and I'm still teaching full-time. Doesn't look like I'll be retiring anytime soon!
 

2. How did you create the character Charlie Madison?

When I was a kid, I learned to type on an old-school manual typewriter. That's where I learned to write, too. My first novels were messy, full of typos and plot holes. But they were fun. And at age 15, that's what it was all about for me. Private eye Charlie Madison was one of the first characters I created, based on Box 13 and Dixon Hill, and The Double Murder was his big debut. By the end of it, I had over a hundred pages of snappy banter, mob hits, double-crossing dames, car chases, and even some alligators on leashes. It was a horrible parody, and I knew it.

Halfway through Write1Sub1 2011, I came up with the first Charlie Madison story I'd written in decades: Girl of Great Price. It wasn't anything like his original case, but he was the same quick-witted, intrepid detective I'd known before. I transplanted him into a more serious and gritty "future noir" sci-fi setting, and once I'd envisioned that world, I knew I'd be back. Immaterial Evidence soon followed, and Yakuza Territory will be available from Musa Publishing on November 7th.
 

3. Are you working on more Charlie Madison stories?

I'm outlining the follow-up to Yakuza Territory, and it's going to be full of assassinations, kidnappings, killer robots, and maybe even a mad scientist. The working title is The Gifted Ones, and it follows the origins of the mysterious suprahumans who have appeared in all three Charlie Madison detective stories so far.

 

Author Bio:

 

Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he's not grading papers, he's imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. He is an active SFWA member, and his work has appeared in more than 90 publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology.

Visit www.milojamesfowler.com and join The Crew for updates about new releases as well as exclusive promotions.

Monday, November 10, 2014

So Thankful!

First, I want to say thank you to all the Veterans of the USA military. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. And, thank you family members of those veterans - you have served and sacrificed too. Thank you for your dedication.



I'm also thankful for  an amazing weekend watching my daughters at Frostbite Camp. Olympic level coaching, international and national athletes, and cold weather made for an exciting but tough combination for the weekend, and my daughters learned huge amounts and grew in skill and technique. They also amazed me with their tenacity and dedication, as did all the athletes there. It takes determination to go out on a Sunday afternoon in 40-50 degree Fahrenheit weather, have it go from drizzling to pouring rain with wind, and still stick it out.



I am so thankful that my daughters have become a part of Flat-water Sprint Canoeing and Kayaking.  I'm kind of blown away by the opportunity that my daughters have had to do this really cool sport. It's one of those Olympic Sports that kind of goes "under the radar" of televised American sports because our last Olympian medaled in 1988 - my kids had the privilege of racing with him a few weeks ago at another race (although they were nowhere near him on the course, it was still cool).

Here's a bit of what the high level junior women's canoe looks like:




In addition to that, I am thankful for my new shipment of books coming safely and soundly in the mail from Createspace.



I'm also thankful for a friend who is helping me with bookmarks. I'm almost ready to go with two book signing events for next week. I've learned a few things like how to create QR codes, and I've been happy to learn that it's doable even for non-techies like me.



Also, an anonymous amazon customer reviewed Champion in Flight! It's the first review for my second book, and I am thankful for that too. :)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Celebrating Authors, Realms Faire, A New Cover, NaNo, and the Friday Freebie

Today I'm celebrating:

Cathrina Constantine's Newest Book and Giveaway:
**GIVEAWAY**
Wickedly They Dream
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Fantasy
Publisher: Black Opal Books Grab it today for only 99 cents!  HERE How Far Will Jordan go to rescue her mother. It will cost her everything--even her angel, Markus!


Buy Links: Amazon
Author Cathrina Constantine resides in Western New York. When not with her family, you'll find her in the forest behind her house walking the dogs and conjuring a new tale.
You can find Cathy Here:

And I'm celebrating:
Milo James Fowler's book:
A detective with no way out. A telepath with something to prove... World-weary detective Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct late one night to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen Russian gunmen with a score to settle. What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison's past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? And who is the strange man in holding? Why are the Russians determined to break him out? Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he's outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.

Musa Publishing

And I'm celebrating:

With nine super fun events and an amazing stash of books for the giveaway, this Realms Faire promises to be the best yet!!!  To start exploring the event, go here!


Lastly, I have these celebrations:
1. The new paperback cover for Champion in the Darkness is done! Yay!
2. NaNoWriMo is both crazy and good so far - I'm working two projects at once.
3. My two daughters are attending Frostbite Camp this weekend - a flat-water sprint canoe and kayak camp hosted by the Seattle Canoe and Kayak Club.
4. I have awesome IWSG friends! Thank you for your encouragement!

#FridayFreebie: Dragonfold and Other Adventures this week again for kindle readers and apps!
Next week it will be: "Seedling." The week after that it will be: "The Bridge Snap."




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: Running in Sand Circles


Have you ever run in sand and experienced how it sinks beneath your feet so that every step takes extra effort?

Have you ever felt like you've been running in circles?

Now, imagine that you are running in sand in a never-ending circle.

This is what my marketing strategies feel like to me: running in a never-ending circle in sinking sand.

That's right; I pretty much suck at marketing. I've tried giveaways, four paid services (not the hugely expensive ones), twitter posts, limited time only type sales, and just being plain obnoxious.

All of these have either drained me of time or money, or both.

Despite the fact that my profit margin is nil when I consider expenses and it's only coffee money when I don't consider expenses, I am still writing. I am still submitting short work out there. I'm still noveling. I'm still re-pubbing short stories that I plan to use as kindle select giveaways.

I keep hoping that this is my strength training time, that eventually, my writing muscles and my marketing muscles will be hardened enough to head down the actual beach of semi-success.

This month, I have two book signings scheduled.

So, I'm still working at it. I'm not giving up, even though on some days, I think about quitting. It's part of the reason I've been having trouble finishing Champion's Destiny. Despite a 4.6 star average rating at Amazon, I'm beginning to wonder if my trilogy totally sucks.

What about you? What does writing/marketing feel like to you this month? And do you have some super secret amazing marketing advice to share?

Oh, and do you think that offering the first book in a trilogy permafree is a good idea if the last, third book isn't out yet? Or, should I wait until the third book is out? Or, should I not do this at all? Please, please, give me your wisdom.

Meanwhile, I'm off to  finish that trilogy . . . for the twenty dedicated fans who have been asking me to. And, on my crabby days, I'm spending some time with Captain Wrath because his attitude makes me happy in those moments.




Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrations and Do You Have Goals?




Many thanks to Viklit and her team for hosting Celebrate the Small Things, and Many Thanks to Misha and Beth for hosting Do You Have Goals?

I'm going to combine posts, so hopefully it all makes sense, and is short enough to read. :)


1. Progress on Champion's Destiny sputtered and nearly died, and then I started up again - new plan, refreshed perspective.

2. I wrote a grouping of poetry/fiction/vignettes and submitted them at the beginning of the month, so my "short works" Write 1 Sub 1 goal is on track. Plus, a previous submission, "Cloud Download," was published at Espresso Stories.

3. I'm working on several "short" projects like: my micro-fiction series, Ashes Burn, a free, ongoing series; plus some re-pubs of individual short stories like "Seedling," "The Bridge Snap," and "The Horse in the Well" - which are all kindle select publications which I plan to use for my Friday Freebies. (Hint: wait for them to come up free on Fridays in the months to come.)

4. I had a sale on my books this month - trying to earn some coffee money, at least. Marketing seems to be a skill that has escaped me entirely, but I'm still persevering.

5. I'm signed up for NaNoWriMo. At first, I planned on focusing on Captain Wrath (finally), but now it looks like I'll be working on dueling plots: Champion's Destiny in the mornings, and Captain Wrath in the afternoons/evenings. I will get them finished, by hook or by crook. (does anyone else actually say that?)

6. The red carpet premiere of Ghost Noir - a little indie film that both my daughters acted in this last summer and fall. (2 pics at the end of post - added late)



What are you celebrating? And, do you have goals that you're working towards this year?


#FridayFreebie Dragonfold and Other Adventures - only free on Friday



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Meet the Character


Last Friday, I was tagged in the Meet the Character Blog Hop by the sweet Cathrina Constantine, the ultra-talented author of multiple books including:
Cathy's Book Tallas - Dystopian, fantastical creatures, and characters with depth!
and
Cathy's BookWickedly They Come - Angels and Demons face off in this novel!
Click on the titles to get to the Amazon buy links. :)


Now, let's meet Clara

What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?

 Clara is a teen sword master with a heavy destiny on her shoulders as the chosen Champion against evil in the world of Aramatir. She's definitely fictional.
 
When and where is the story set?
The world of Aramatir, which is a world similar to our medieval history but with sorcery and faith-based power that can enslave or free people, build up mighty fortresses or topple mountains. Clara is originally from the kingdom of Septily, but as Champion, she fights for all of Aramatir.
What should we know about your character?
Her internal struggles affect her ability to act as Champion. She is loyal, compassionate, and tough. Skilled as a sword master, knife thrower, and in hand-to-hand combat, she also likes music and spending time with her friends. (I want to say more, but since I'm in the midst of book 3, I might throw spoilers around if I get too far.)
What is your character's goal?
Throughout all three novels, her over-arcing goal is to protect the land and her people from the evil enslavement of the Dark Sisterhood.
What is screwing up  your character's life (main conflict in writerly speak?)
 
Kalidess, the Dark Sisterhood, Drinaii mercenaries and assassins, doubt, grief, and anger. (And the fact that what she doubts/feels will affect her ability to wield her sword - the focus of her powers as a Champion - a blessing and a problem at the same time)
What is the title?
Champion's Destiny is my current W.I.P. but Clara has struggled through Champion in the Darkness and Champion in Flight, books 1 and of The Champion Trilogy.

Champion in the Darkness, Champion in Flight, and all my books for kindle, for Nook, and at Smashwords are currently up for 99 cents through the end of October. This price is due, in part, to celebrate the new cover for Champion in the Darkness (the new paperback cover will be coming soon).


 
Champion's Destiny will follow a similar motif.
 
 
Now, I tried to find two authors who were excited about this blog hop . . . and I found one author who was interested! So, presenting Jay Noel!!!
 
Jay Noel, writer on fire and awesome author of Dragonfly Warrior and Shadow Warrior.

 
And if you're interested in joining the fun, please considered yourself tagged!!!