Monday, January 27, 2014

No, not POT holes. PLOT holes!

I just saw I, Frankenstein on Saturday night. If you have even an inkling to see this movie, ignore that thought and don't. It's not very good. There's not enough alcohol I could have consumed to make that movie good. Plot holes galore. Big, gaping plot holes big enough to fly a Millennium Falcon through.

For example, Frankenstein leads the gargoyles to the hidden, secret castle of the demons. But it's literally just an alley and one right turn away. Couldn't the great protectors sent from God use...I don't know, Google Earth or something to find their arch enemies who live just a block away?

I love speculative fiction, and the suspension of belief is one of the trickier things for an author to pull off. When you're drawn to the writer's world, that's obvious vital. But to keep them there is a challenge too. Otherwise, you knock the reader right out of that world. Plot holes can be flaws in simple logic or straight-up contradictions.

Here are some of my favorite plot holes in books and movies:

1) The Hunger Games. Okay, so the government allows TWO people to escape the Games with their lives. Then, they change the rules again and say only ONE can be the victor. And yet for a third time, they change their minds and declare that there can be two winners again. This is not for dramatic effect. As a writer, I recognize that Collins wrote herself into a corner a couple and changed the laws of "her universe" to fix it.

2) Harry Potter. Wow. The books and movies....so many to choose from. One gaping hole is the rule regarding the disarming of a wizard. In the final book, The Deathly Hollows, the reader is reminded that when you defeat a wizard in a duel you gain control over that wizard's wand. Throughout the series, there's a ton of disarming goin' on. So doesn't this rule mean that somewhere, there are powerful wizards with a buttload of magic wands? Why didn't Voldemort just go after those dudes?

3) Twilight. I can't think of any series with this many plot holes. There's just too many to mention! Many bring up the fact that the vampires freaked out about a paper cut, yet why was Bella never attacked during her period? Or we could go with the most obvious - why would beautiful immortal beings with super powers even go to high school in the first place?

4) Independence Day. Captain Hiller (Will Smith) volunteers to fly an alien spacecraft because he has "seen their maneuvering capabilities." REALLY? Dude, you fly an F-18 Hornet. So if I watch you fly it around and observe your maneuvering capabilities, I can fly it too?

5) Star Wars (Episode I-III): Midi-chlorians. Nuff' said!

Monday, January 20, 2014

What Works Marketing Symposium - REBORN and After the Curtain Falls Cover Reveals

Welcome to my What Works Marketing Symposium post. Today, bloggers all over are sharing some of their victories and defeats in the hopes that we all can learn from each other. For many authors, marketing is an aspect of the business that is as enjoyable as getting an ingrown toenail cut from your big toe.

I'm new to the whole marketing part of writing, but I'm not new to marketing. In fact, I'm a brand sales consultant when doing the whole day-job-thang. But when marketing and promoting your own work is quite different.

As far as what's worked, I would say that I really haven't pulled the trigger on enough stuff to give you a whole lot here. In fact, I'd give myself an F when grading my marketing prowess so far. So whenever I find myself in a rut, I always reach out to my fellow writers for help. I'm banding together with other authors in February to help promote our steampunk books. And I'm also part of an international steampunk project that I will be unveiling very soon.

My hope is that I will gain some visibility among the steampunk community.

What has not worked? Let me count the ways...I was so focused on getting my book out, that I completely ignored the whole marketing thing. So my book was released, my friends and family bought it because they love me (and who can blame them?), and then nothing. No real momentum.

So I'm starting from ground zero. Hopefully in a few months, I'll have a success story or two.

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It's my pleasure to help beam Cherie Reich's cover for her latest novel, REBORN, all over the interwebs. Behold...
What an amazing cover!

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

On the day of Yssa’s death and rebirth, the god Apenth chose her as the Phoenix Prophetess.


Sea serpents and gods endanger the young prophetess’s journey and sour the omens. Yssa is cursed instead of blessed, and her duties at the Temple of Apenth prove it. She spends her days reading dusty scrolls, which does nothing to help her forget Tym, the boy back home. But the annoying yet gorgeous ferryman’s son Liam proves to be a distraction she can’t predict, even though he rarely leaves her alone for two sand grains.


Her boring temple life screeches to a halt when visions of her parents’ murders consume her. Yssa races across an ocean to stop the future. If she can’t change Fate, she’ll refuse to be the Phoenix Prophetess any longer. Fate, however, has other plans for her and the kingdom.


Yssa must either accept her destiny or fight to change Fate.

Reborn, book one of The Fate Challenges, by Cherie Reich will be released on May 23, 2014. For more information about Cherie Reich and her work, please visit her website or blog. The cover art is created by Laura Sava. To add on Goodreads, click here. If you’d like to be notified when Reborn releases, please sign up for her newsletter here.

Author Bio: A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a speculative fiction writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies, and her ebooks include the horror series Nightmare, a space fantasy trilogy titled Gravity, and a fantasy series The Foxwick Chronicles. She is Vice President of Valley Writers and a member of the Virginia Writers Club and Untethered Realms.

Her debut YA Epic Fantasy novel Reborn, book one in The Fate Challenges, will be released on May 23, 2014.


Website Link: http://cheriereich.webs.com
Blog Link: http://cheriereich.blogspot.com

Newsletter Sign-ups Link: http://eepurl.com/j3D5X

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How about another cover reveal? One from author Ainsley Shay. Here's the cover to her latest release:

You all know how partial I am to dragonflies!
Erik never had to be anything other than a 
freak… until now.

Ainsley Shay's new book is ready for the world to see, and she couldn't be more excited! A short blurb is below; but coming Friday, January 24th, she'll tease you with the first chapter.

After the Curtain Falls Blurb:

Two hundred fifty-three days is a long time to fake being normal when night after night you perform miraculous feats on stage in a freak show. Thousands have paid to witness the miracle, suspecting nothing more than a hoax. But it is very real and it is slowly destroying him. Erik is weakened to the point where he'll stop performing and start going to school for the first time ever—in his senior year. His only goal is to rebuild his strength so he can return to the stage and perform doing what he loves most in this world. What he didn't plan for was the appearances of beautiful Addison and mysterious Naya. Now, unfamiliar feelings and bizarre new friendships threaten to unbalance Erik's future as a miracle-performing freak.  

After the Curtain Falls will be released on January 31, 2014.

Edited by the amazing Todd Barselow.
The beautiful cover design was created by Najla Qamber.

About the Author

Ainsley Shay avoids insanity by living mostly in the fiction world. She believes surrounding herself with positive people, and strives for balance in everything. She owns more jeans with rips and holes than without; and has recently found the magic of patches. For her, reading or writing the perfect sentence is better than the smoothest piece of dark chocolate melting in her mouth. She is a deltiologist for pure enjoyment, not for the study of. She longs to move north one day, even though she hates the cold. (Go figure!) So, for now, she continues to live in warm south Florida with her incredible husband, three beautiful daughters, and two lazy cats. (We won’t mention the dog.)

Ainsley Shay's website: Ainsleyshay.com

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Can you relate to my marketing-mishap? What do you think of Cherie and Ainsley's covers? Have you signed up for my little blog tour in March to help rectify my marketing goof? If not, you can click HERE to fill out a very short form to help me organize my Dragonfly Warrior Tour.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog Switch With Brinda and Chasing Anya

Thanks for all of your encouraging words on my IWSG post last week. I'm a sales guy, and our lives revolve around our numbers. But I believe all the work I'm doing behind the scenes will eventually lead to finding more readers. I'm willing to sacrifice short term sales numbers.

I was out of town all week, and I'll be working to catch up with everyone.

I am planning a little blog tour for Dragonfly Warrior in March. If you're interested, please click HERE and fill out the short form.

Rusty posted an in-depth interview with me today. Go check it out HERE.

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Five Things I Shouldn't Have Done in 2013

When Jay Noel and I decided to trade blogs for the day, we thought it would be fun to do this reflective topic. Then I tried to sit down and narrow this list. Sheesh! In hindsight, who can limit a list like this?

#1. Hit My Husband's New Car. My husband is a very calm sort of guy. So when I backed up into the car he'd owned for a couple of weeks, he didn't blink an eye. Of course, that may have been because he was asleep at the time. He did awaken to my very loud ranting about why he'd parked his vehicle behind me. This was followed by his very logical explanation of the purpose for a rear view mirror. And side mirrors. And checking behind you when you back up in a vehicle. No. Matter. What. 

Maybe I should have checked. Don't tell him I said that.

#2. Discovered Netflix. Friends have talked about Netflix for years. I snootily responded, "I don't watch television." Aside from my lack of free time, I actually thought there wasn't much that interested me on the tube. Wrong. I want to watch everything. I started with Sons of Anarchy, added Breaking Bad, became mesmerized with Arrow, and have Dexter on my to-watch list. I'm addicted. 

#3. Said "Never." That thing about never saying never is true. Because inevitably you will eat your words. Not to be too vague...but yeah, I'm keeping this one vague. I said I would never do something in my writing career.  Of course, I ended up doing it. 

#4. Discount altitude sickness as a possibility. I went to a writers workshop near Denver, Colorado. I've been to other mountains in the past. I wasn't really worried about altitude sickness, but I took the vitamins just in case and only because the writing coach, Margie Lawson, said to take themWhen I arrived, I was sicker than a ten-year old leaving the carnival tilt-a-whirl ride.

#5. Ignored blogging. Can I blame it on #2? That's a cop-out. Honestly, I got a little frustrated with everything (except Netflix) in 2013. I'm not blaming it on the time that it takes to blog. But I do need to set a more reasonable schedule for myself in 2014. There's an issue with pushing something completely to the back burner. When you quit exercising, eating right, or BLOGGING, it's tough to get back into the habit. 

I'm looking forward to a productive and fun 2014. Anything you learned or regret from 2013? Make sure to visit Jay's list at www.brindaberry.com/blog.html. 


Watcher of Worlds
By Brinda Berry

On Amazon /  Kobo  /  All Romance /  B & N   /   Renegade YA

Senior year should bring fun, friends and happiness. Not portals, treachery, and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Mia Taylor, gatekeeper to an interdimensional portal, wants nothing more than to heal from her romance gone wrong. Illegally falling for her co-worker Regulus had been a huge mistake. But when Regulus goes rogue to hunt down a murderer, Mia must forget her broken heart and use her unique abilities to save him. Traveling across dimensions, she enters a strange and hostile world where a rebel faction holds the key to their escape. Her gift of synesthesia is in high demand, and a secret organization of the otherworldly kind has her in their sights. But sabotage and murder may be the least of her worries. Her ex-boyfriend wants a relationship. Her dad wants her to act normal. Her friends want her to stop moping. Who knew faking happy would be the easiest part of senior year?

AUTHOR BIO:

Brinda Berry is the author of The Waiting Booth (Whispering Woods #1),Whisper of Memory (Whispering Woods #2), and  Watcher of Worlds (Whispering Woods #3). She also contributed a short story to the anthology, Wild at Heart, Vol II.

Currently working in higher education administration, she spends her days thinking of ways to improve education for college students. Brinda spends her nights devising exciting tales that involve teens who might be saving the world.

Connect with Brinda on the Web:

WEB     BLOG     FACEBOOK    TWITTER   GOODREADS    YOUTUBE

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And now, I'd like to announce the release of J.L. Campbell's latest novel, Chasing Anya!



Been there. Done that.

Feisty and independent, Anya Davies lives by her own rules. The one thing she’s hell-bent on avoiding is a conventional relationship. Nor is she interested in romance, thanks to her abusive ex who refuses to stay in the past. The second complication in her life is a secret that condemns her to constant guilt and a solitary life. A series of near misses and escalating threats are a third and worrying factor. Only a special man would understand or live with Anya’s challenges and demands.

Casual sex...so not having that.

Enter Christophe Mondesir. Two years ago, Anya dumped him without explanation. An accidental meeting shoots Anya back on Christophe’s radar. He refuses to be denied and plans to breach the fortress Anya has built around her heart—if she’ll commit to more than a casual liaison. He’s also determined to find out what she’s hiding. That’s if the stalker who’s after Anya doesn’t end her life first.

Genre:  Romance, Women's Fiction
Content/Theme(s):  Sexual Content (not graphic), Post Abortion Sydrome, Relationships, Spousal Abuse,
Release Date:  January 13, 2014

Publisher: The Writers' Suite

Author Bio: J.L. Campbell is a proud Jamaican, who is always on the hunt for story-making material.

She writes romantic suspense, women's fiction and young adult novels. She is the author of Anya's Wish, Chasing Anya, Contraband, Christine's Odyssey, Dissolution, Distraction, Don't Get Mad...Get Even, Retribution, Saving Sam and Hardware (written under the pen name Jayda McTyson).

Social Media
Goodreads: JL Campbell
Twitter:     @JL_Campbell
Facebook:  JL Campbell
Amazon:    JL Campbell

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group, A New Year Brings New Insecurities



It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month.

Publishing my debut novel in December has been an incredible learning experience. Some cool things that happened since then:


1) Dragonfly Warrior went as high as #39 on Amazon's Best Seller's List for Science Fiction/Steampunk


2) I got to hand deliver personalized and signed paperbacks of my book to old friends. It was great to visit with some people that I haven't seen in a long time


3) My book was put on the shelves of a great bookstore here in town


4) My kids have been incredibly proud of me. This one has affected me the most. My youngest got a betta fish for Christmas, and he named his new pet after one of my characters!


But, when there's highs, there's also lows in this business.


1) After all my friends/family bought, nobody else did. My rankings dropped faster than the temperature from the polar vortex slamming into the Midwest


2) I worry constantly what everyone thinks of my book. Just the old fears and insecurities tend to resurface every one in awhile


3) I didn't prepare very well for the marketing/promotional side of all of this, so I'm scrambling to get some of that put in place


4) I've got some lofty goals this year - namely to finish THREE big projects. I lose sleep wondering if I've set the bar too high for myself


The big thing I've got going for me is all of your support. Your comments and emails have been my crutch. My outlook is also brighter after one of you reaches out to me to offer some encouragement and a helping hand.


So a big THANK YOU from me to you. 2014 is going to be a great year, and I look forward to continuing on this adventure.