Cat Moon is OUT!!! WOOOOOOOOO!

I LOVE THIS BOOK! Read it before it came out and it’s so incredible! Now it’s out! eee!

‪#‎NewRelease‬ ‪#‎Paranormal‬ ‪#‎YA‬ On sale for $.99.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B012ETA27K

 

Emma has big problems. She has no family and no home. She wanders the streets of The Warren, scavenging for her next meal and trying to keep warm. Haunted by the memory of a mother she barely recalls, Emma dreams of being a part of a real family. She is helped in her search for belonging by an assortment of eccentric characters: a friendly shopkeeper and his cranky uncle, the nice woman who runs the local mission, a ditzy cat lady, and a good-natured prostitute with a drinking problem.

Her biggest obstacle, however, is that every full moon, she turns into a feral cat! Emma is one of the Were. She and those like her are ruthlessly hunted by the captain of the Were-Guard, whose religious zealotry makes him especially dangerous. When the sinister Bram Fitzwilliam enters the picture to assist the Guard, Emma is in more danger than ever. Before she finds what she’s looking for, Emma must find a strength and courage she never knew she had. Her journey will teach her that dreams don’t always come true the way you want them to, that people aren’t always what they seem, and that real families can be chosen. ‪#‎DPPub‬

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Writing and the internet, a marriage made in heaven

Greetings all,

It’s what passes for summer here (I won’t get much into it, I’ll just say the average temperature for the month of  July here is 11C that’s just 52F!) and time for another monthly post. I’ve been slowly working on book 4 of my Newfoundland Vampire series (as book 3 won’t be out until sometime in 2016 I’m certainly not in a rush) and I was thinking how wonderful a tool the internet is for a writer.

I’m a slow reader and I can remember the days when doing research meant going to the library (or in high school digging through my parents encyclopedias/National Geographic magazines) and spending time first searching for a book that might be related to the topic, getting the book, the trying to quickly determine if it was any good for your research before too much time was wasted. It was a treasure hunt and I know for untold hours I would look through journals, textbooks, newspapers, microfilm or even taking the step of ordering the book from the library and waiting for it to come  in.  Sure I got better at it, more efficient and I certainly had help from other students and asked librarians often. Don’t get me wrong I love libraries and enjoyed 90% or more of the time I spent there but still I was thrilled when I did my masters so much material was available on the internet. At that point I had an office (well I shared it with other students but eventually it was just me) and reading stuff on my laptop was just so much easier and convenient but I’m starting to stray.

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When I started to write my first novel “The Newfoundland Vampire” (what, you didn’t think I’d put in a plug?), available now with Distinguished Press, I wanted a main character that was based on a real person from history. Catherine Mandeville Snow was the last woman hanged in Newfoundland in 1834 and seemed like a figure I could really work with. My idea was to get someone from Newfoundland who had a significant/unusual death and she popped up. If I had wrote this book 20 years ago who knows how many hours just discovering that fact may have taken me. In seconds I read a brief bio of Catherine’s life and after a few minutes discovered there was a local author who had written a book on her, I sent him an e-mail and he agreed to meet with me (I did have to leave the house to do that of course).

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To be clear  I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with going to the library and doing research, it’s a great thing if you live nearby and have the time but I find the older I get the more time becomes precious to me. I’m also aware that it is certainly possible to find information on the internet that is exaggerated/half-true or complete lies. Just as you would with a book you check your sources and see if the same info can be found from various sources. It would slow my writing down tremendously if I decided to read a book on a subject I didn’t know about and makes you admire authors like J.R.R. Tolkien or Bram Stoker for the incredible amount of time and effort they put into researching a story. Fortunately for writers past and present (to be precise a those with a publisher) you also have the invaluable tool of your editor to double-check your facts. Ultimately if you’re writing fiction and changing characters (my Catherine is quite different from the real one in many ways) you don’t need to get everything 100% accurate and wouldn’t want to but still do your best.

I’ll finish with another example. This week I was writing a chapter set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I have not been to Mardi Gras and so I did a Google image search (if you’re a very young author make sure you have safe search on!) and within a seconds I had dozens of great pictures. I did a little more checking on interesting bars on Bourbon Street, thought about the chapter and I was ready to start. While most of the images have nudity, here is one I can share.

epa03580945 (left to right) A Christian Street preachers yells at a group hanging outside of a bar whiledrag queen Charles Loraine Wendell yells back on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter during Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 12 February, 2013.  Fat Tuesday is the final day of Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans.  EPA/DAN ANDERSON

How great is that? One extreme to the other right in this picture and it’s real. I could right several pages on what these two could say to each other but for me it was just a nice tidbit of what happens at Mardi Gras (besides the obvious beads/drinking/flashing everyone knows about). If Google didn’t exist I never would have thought to write about these two guys and my scene would have been lacking something.

So what do you think? Is the internet a great tool for writers? Should we instead spend untold hours in libraries and more time becoming experts on topics/history? Is there some combination/happy medium I’m missing out on? I’d love to see your thoughts, until next month everyone!

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Paper or digital?

Hi all,

So it’s me, Charles, back for my monthly installment.  I’ve been around a while (I’m 39) and I thought the other day of how much technology has affected what way we ingest our favorite writers. When I was young (up until I was 17), the only way to read was with paper (at least for me, PDFs did exist in 1993 but were only used then for academic papers). Aside from novels (which I have been obsessed with, even now I only have about one-hundred) I had a huge collection of comic books, probably around 3000 of them. I love comics (I still read them) and I thought my collection would be worth something someday . . . well it was worth something but not nearly as much as I hoped. Around 15 years later I started to sell it off piece by piece but I digress. My point here is that whether it was a comic book, a magazine (I used to collection Dungeons and Dragons magazines) or a novel, it was paper and it usually meant just carrying 1 or 2 with you.

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That changed back in 1996 when the first Palm Pilot came out and since I’ve always loved gadgets, I had one that year. With a palm pilot I was able to read books, e-mails and do some other convenient things whenever I wanted to. PDFs were only just gaining popularity any virtually any you found were ones you created yourself or looked high and low for on the Internet. Still though the idea that I could carry around more than one or two things to read and I was intrigued. Sure the display was crappy (it was not even in color but this weird monochrome LCD screen. It was a touch screen though and the ability to tab it with a stylus pen was neat, I had one with me 5 days a week for years, I found them reliable and fairly easy to use (though I went through two in four years).

PalmPilot

Before we go further I know that Laptops were available in 1981 and those with color screens were around by 1991 but they were expensive then and I didn’t carry one around me most of the time. I will add though while comic book subscriptions (or the Comixology app) weren’t around, there were many PDF and CBR (comic book reader) versions to be found, so by 1997 I was reading comics and PDFs on my laptop as well. By the way if you ever think about buying a laptop on Ebay with no warranty (and it’s as strange brand name) don’t do it! I had constant trouble with mine and in the end had to give to my friend for spare parts.

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For me I reached the point when I found that I was still printing stuff off of the internet and buying novels (though I found I could save a ton of cash by never buying hardcover and waiting for sales/going to used book stores). I used to go on binges and once while on vacation in Florida I bought 15 Star Trek books and read them all (most of them were crap if you’re curious. There is something about holding a book in your hands, no matter how cheap/convenient/easy eBooks get, I’ll never be able to give up print entirely.

Move forward some more, this time to April of 2010. My first book was released, “The Newfoundland Vampire” (you knew I was getting a plug in here somewhere! 😉 Oh it’s currently available from the great folks at Distinguished Press and is better than ever with a new cover and touched-up story. I gained a new perspective on books, comics, ebooks and audio books. I could see then that it hurt me when someone downloaded my book for free and I made a point to pay for everything I got from the internet. More relevant to this post, however, is that I got an iPad (it still works fine too!).

AppleIpad

The iPad changed a lot for me. Now I could carry around hundreds of books, the ability to download any comic I had purchased and of course with the internet purchase any book (that was available as an ebook) I liked and read it instantly. With this lightweight, handy device I found myself buy paper books much less, the same went for comics. I did also (just for completeness sake) also buy a Kindle. The reasoning is lost on me (I suppose it was an impulse buy) but I was impressed by the devotion of this device to books and it’s simple connection to Amazon (for free at the time as well) was a great piece of marketing.

Kindle

Now let’s bring it up to present day. I find that I listen to an audio book and I’m reading a novel on my iPad but yet I still buy my D&D books in print format and I have a good dozen print books waiting to be read on my bookshelf. For comics I still buy them at Flea Markets/conventions/comic book stores when I see a good deal (or something I can’t get in digital format) and I’m subscribed to four digital titles. So I would say I’m about 60% digital and 40% print. There’s something about the feel of paper and the ease of flipping through pages that I haven’t found a digital book able to replicate, until that day I’ll continue to support both.

How about you, do you think ebooks have print on the ropes? Is there room for both? Which one will win? Is it even a contest? I’m getting tired! Talk to you all next month.

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A CONventional Experience, Part 2

Happy Monday all,

It was a long weekend for me (Victoria Day, or as we call it 24th of May) so I’m happy to have a shorter work week and am feeling fairly rested but onto the post! Last month I told you all about my experience attending conventions, this month will be my experience being a guest/vendor/author at conventions over the years.

SciFiontheRock

My first time as a guest at a convention was at Sci-Fi on the Rock about 6 years ago. Back then I wasn’t an author but I was a huge geek and developed an interest in Klingons, more particularly how to speak Klingon. In high school I used to be really shy, while I had no problem speaking in front of a class (I knew all them after all), giving a talk in front of strangers terrified me. It took a whole degree and diploma at university and my girlfriend (who is now my wife) to finally get me out of my shell. Talking in front of a crowd still makes me nervous and have to rehearse for at least a week ahead of time. Being a teacher for a few years helped me a lot in this regard (I also have a Masters in Education) and I have observed plenty of other speeches by friends, strangers and acquaintances at conventions. I also got involved with this fan made Star Trek show called Star Trek Reliant, a friend of mine asked me to be in an episode and speak some Klingon. I did so and enjoyed it, I was in a few more episodes but eventually didn’t want to give up my Sunday’s, especially in the summer. It did lead me into an idea about turning my lines into a panel on how to speak basic Klingon.

After my Star Trek Reliant time ended I gave a little talk on how to speak basic Klingon phrases, it was fun and it got me into the convention for free. I changed my talk over the years and eventually included some audio clips and handouts. For those who don’t know me I am a lifelong Star Trek fan, I was president of a Star Trek society in University and even have a Star Trek tattoo, so it was a natural step for me. After doing this speech for a while (and having the experience of people walk out of my talk, always annoying) I got tired of it and moved onto my writing talk, “Adventures with Vampires and Publishing”.

The first year  I was a vendor/artist at SFOTR I was very excited and happy. It was April of 2012 and my first book “The Newfoundland Vampire” had just been released and I had my first chance to interact with the public as an author. I gave out candy to get people at my table (I still do that now), had a gift basket (people could put their names down for free) and some bookmarks to hand out along with many copies of my book. I think I sold about 36 copies over the whole weekend and while I was happy with sales, I immediately learned a few things. I wasn’t charging enough for books (they cost me about $10 and I was selling them for $10!) and there was no good trying to push for a sale.

FirstSFOTRTableLowerSizer

The following year book two hadn’t been released by I expanded my table with Magic cards and comic books for sale (and upped my prices). During that second year I had some wonderful experiences, people who had read my book came up to me to talk about it. Some young women asked me to sign them and even wanted a picture taken with me! My ego was through the roof and I had a great time, I don’t remember my exact sales, at this point I started to see that being an author wasn’t about the money but the memories and the people. I gave my talk again (changing the name to “Writing, vampires, and publishing oh my!”) and gave a sneak peek of book two (which came out in September of 2013, also from Penumbra Publishing).

SciFiOnTheRock7Me

You can see my table in the above picture. Being at a convention where you have a table does have its downsides though, I don’t get to see most of the guest, or go to any panels (besides my own). While Friday and Saturday are usually the busy days, by Sunday you can be sitting around for hours with no one coming to your table. I’ve also seen that any time you give something out for free there are always people who take advantage. As it’s just me (aside from family and friends who occasionally stop by), you have to get to know the people around you so you can leave your table for bathroom/food/water breaks. Since then I’m not with Distinguished Press (and I couldn’t be happier! They’re a great bunch of people) and for the sake of length you can read about my latest convention experience here.

Moving on another thing I really enjoyed was being invited to conventions in other places. First it was Atlanti-Con in Corner Brook (about 6 hours from where I live). The main guy, Jeff, knew me from Sci-fi on the Rock and invited me to come to his convention. This meant a free table and a great opportunity to promote my book and meet some new geeky people.

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Sadly I couldn’t find a picture from that first year but the above gives you an idea. My book sold well the first two years (and I already knew some people who travel from St. John’s to Corner Brook as I do) and by year three my sales of comic books made up for declining book sales (I know places to get them cheap and had a large collection up to a few years ago). I also had the unique experience of doing a panel with another author (to increase attendance for both of us). I really, enjoyed that as it took pressure off me and let me have some fun with the other author (whom I’ve known for many years). Corner Brook is on the west coast of Newfoundland and has some amazing scenery here’s some of my favorite pics from nearby Gros Morne.

DSC01844 GrosMorneSmallSunset GrosMorneSmallRiver

Yes in case you’re wondering the above is a moose, they are featured in my books (for reasons you’ll have to read to find out!), the others are several places around Gros Morne, a wonderful place to visit if you ever get a chance. As if being at a convention isn’t enough fun I found that as I drove people there (I believe in carpooling) I would get to know them and even hung out with one women during the convention (Jana, who is really nice and helped me do my book reading later in 2013). I went to a party at a bar where vendors,guests and organizers at Altanti-Con went and I have a wonderful time chatting with one of the actors. I was lucky enough to be staying in the same hotel as the guest and got a chance to have breakfast with one and drinks with another on other nights. The person I’ve really had a chance to connect with at Altanti-Con though is the always hilarious (and really nice) Fat Apollo. Who is he you may be wondering? You’ll have to check on the link to find out. Moving on (I’m nearing the end, promise!)

Everything to (what I thought) a climax in November of 2013, as I was an invited guest to a convention outside the province, in particular Nova Scotia and the city of Halifax. Hal-Con is a much larger convention that Sci-Fi on the Rock or Atlanti-con (I’d say actually bigger than both combined). For first convention my wife came with me and she also experienced the madness of that con. I’m not going to dwell on it but this was probably the worst convention I attended, they didn’t have a author badge for me, a table and it took several people to even find me on the list! Once I was set up I discovered almost no one wanted to buy a book from me and due to a mistake with tickets the fire marshal and even the police had to show up to stop too many people from coming on Saturday. (They sold tickets as any day, not expecting almost everyone to try and come on Saturday). I look on the bright side of things though and I did have some wonderful talks with the other vendors around me and I won some money at a casino nearby.

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As you can see there were some amazing costumes and I always enjoy seeing those. I did also sell some of my more valuable comics (worth $50 each) and get to spend some time in Halifax (which is a cool city with some great restaurants and lovely hotels). I did also get to give my talk with the highest number of attendees (some of them asked some excellent questions that I had to work on for the following year) and had people buy my books right on the spot (which is always a feel good moment).

In the end I’m not sure what I enjoy more, attending conventions or being a guest. I certainly get to see and do more just attending, meet people I’ve admired for years, attend great panels but I don’t get the interaction with people and of course only spend money, not make any. They are both rewarding experiences and I’m certainly looking forward to another two conventions this year. Until next month everyone!

 

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Happy Anniversary, Mirror Image!

MirrorBanner

It’s been a year since KG Stutts came onto the independent book scene with Mirror Image. She later went on to publish five more book during 2014, all but two in her beloved sci-fi romance genre.

2014 was a big year for North Carolinian KG Stutts. During the course of the year, the new author released six books, all but two in her beloved sci-fi romance genre. But you never forget your first.

Mirror Image, her first novel, is celebrating its first anniversary onApril 25th. It’s a story of Madison ‘Maddie’ Rhodes, an engineer whose life is forever changed when she finds out she’s a clone. When an intergalactic threat turns toward the Earth, Maddie becomes entangled in a world she never knew existed.She must work alongside of her counterpart, going by the name Mack, to protect Earth, countless other worlds, each other, and the man she loves..

This story is very close to the heart of the author. It started out as a dream she couldn’t get out of her head so she started writing it out. It rekindled the love she had for writing she once thought was gone. As a child, KG, known to others as Kristina, would write stories, songs, and poems to share with her mother. After losing her mother at eighteen, she put away her notebooks. The dreams she had about Maddie, Mack, and the Intergalactic Security Commission opened the doors to the possibilities of fulfilling a life-long dream to become a published author.

Since its release, Mirror Image has hit a chord with sci-fi and romance fans of different ages. Its been in the Amazon Top Ten three times, most recently coming in at number eight. The books that followed, Mirror Shattered and Mirror Reformed, rounded out the trilogy. The trilogy has a number of character focused companion shorts already available for reader consumption. In November, a spin-off launched known as the Amethyst Chronicles was introduced to the world.

Kristina also serves as the marketing manager for her series-only independent publisher, Distinguished Press. She’s proud to be launching a podcast for the company in May.

To celebrate, the entire series is on sale for $.99! MirrorImage
ShatteredCover
MirrorReformed

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A CONventional Experience, Part I

Happy Monday everyone,

I’m soon off for work but beforehand I thought I would do up my monthly post here at IWAssocation. This month I thought I’d focus on conventions and attending them (next month will be as a guest/vendor) and how great it is to meet actors/writers you admire (at least it has been for me).

My earliest convention experience was here in Newfoundland, it was a small one in a hotel (it’s 20+ years ago, so I can’t remember much more). It didn’t have any guests, just people selling stuff and societies/groups giving out information.  What I took away from it was a connection to a larger world of geekdom and meeting more people who had the same interests as me. Back then I was huge into Star Trek (I still enjoy it but don’t spend 10+ hours a week watching the various series). The Star Trek club I discovered at that convention was called the USS-Avalon. I used to love going to Sunday meetings, playing board games, watching the show and eventually I got more involved. I started out holding onto the records, then I contributed to the newsletter, than ran it and eventually the whole club. The newsletter was the first opportunity I had to write and see it published, I later enjoyed the control of picking articles I like and of course publishing segments of my first attempt at a novel (it was a Star Trek one of course and probably terrible). I experienced what it is was like to have my writing/editing/organizing skills criticized and I improved a little,  but I’m getting  off topic.

SteamPunkSciFiontheRock7

Move forward in time, the club becomes the Avalon Society and eventually ceases to exist (I got tired of running it and most of the people I liked in the club were gone). I decided to go to a convention in Halifax (Nova Scotia), while they now have Hal-Con, I think it was called something else back then. Here I got to meet a Star Trek writer, Marc Okrand (he also created the Klingon language).

MarcOkrand

I was a little star struck to be sure but I had a great time at the convention and felt once again the warmth and friendliness that geeky people have for each other. At this point, however, I’d moved from writing Star Trek to Star Wars and had begun to show the first few chapters to my friends (once more I don’t think it was very good.) I didn’t forget Marc Okrand though and later I would do a panel at conventions on the Klingon language, for now though, moving on again.

star-wars-vs-star-trek

Sci-Fi on the Rock became the first serious convention here in Newfoundland (now in it’s 9th year) and I finally got to meet local authors, Darren Hann (who also ran the convention for several years) and a book company owner (and author) Matthew Ledrew (who owns Engen books). Here I saw people who did it, who wrote books, put them out (Darren is self-published) and promoted them. I was intrigued, I talked with the both of them and purchased their books.

SciFiontheRockCostumes

I was a very shy person growing up, all throughout high school and into my early 20s, going to conventions and meeting outgoing people was a turning point for me. I saw that if they could do it, why couldn’t I? Eventually I got back to writing (this time a vampire book, which I had started in 2002 and finally finished in 2010) and by November of 2010 sent it off to various local publishers (including Engen) books. I’ve detailed my publishing history elsewhere so let’s continue with the convention theme.

MegaCon2014

Once my book was published (two technically) I started to go to larger conventions. This time one in Florida called Megacon in 2014. This was the biggest convention I had been to yet and had some people I really wanted to meet. Two of them being writers, first there was Wil Wheaton, who many of you may know from Star Trek: The Next Generation and more recently The Big Bang Theory, he’s a big geek like me and he’s written several non-fiction books. I really enjoyed talking to him and I gave him a copy of my first book. I once did journal/autobiographical novella type thing but I lost the only copy (it’s just as well, I’m sure it was terrible). None the less it was great to see a geek guy be successful and remain so friendly an down to earth, a genuine pleasure to meet him.

WilWheadon StanLeeMyBook

The biggest thrill for me was meeting Stan “The Man” Lee. As you may know he co-created so many Marvel characters, Hulk, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Ant Man, Daredevil, Dr. Strange, X-Men and Thor just to name a few. He was always the face of comics for Marvel and a personal hero of mine, he make comics fun and (in recent years) even cool (and most certainly successful). It’s not often I’m genuinely excited to meet someone but I was here, it was a nice moment in my life. As with Wil I gave him a copy of my book. I also thanked him for all the great characters he’s created. While his writing may now by dated, in the 60s to the 80s he was certainly one of the great comic book writers and certainly an inspiration to me.

So that brings me to now, I’ll be at a convention this weekend (Sci-Fi on the Rock April 24-26) as a guest. I’ll tell you about my experiences selling and talking a t convention, at another time.

So have you been to conventions? Did you meet any great writers? Was it everything you hoped for? Let us know!

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Judge a book by it’s cover

Hi again all,

I’ve had a fair amount of experience with book covers. Two different companies and a bunch of artists/cover designers. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings and I don’t believe in spreading negativity, so for that reasons some names will be left out. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case I think the covers can speak for themselves.

NewfoundlandVampire-coverFRONT700.jpg Here’s the cover for the first book (published in 2012 by Penumbra Publishing). There are parts of it I’m happy with (the blood red sunset, the water, Cassandra and the obvious vampire traits.) I’m not much pleased with Joseph or what he’s wearing. Newfoundland is an island so the water is fine (and some important scenes do take place on a rocky beach). After hearing lots of comments on it (and people who said it was terrible) I came to see that it gives an impression. It often makes people think of a romance novel (and a cheesy one) and all the things that go along with it. While there is romance present in the story, I don’t like people to get the wrong idea and not take my work seriously. Let’s move on to the cover for book 2.

 

 

 

NewfoundlandVampire2-coverFRONT  This time I took a much different approach, I paid a guy to make a cover for me (and I don’t mind saying it cost almost $300). He did many versions of this (at least 30) until the cover had to be sent it or the publishing would have been delayed. This came out in September of 2013, also by Penumbra Publishing. I’ll just call the designer Alex, he was agreeable and made many changes as I asked him to and tried lots of different things. He thought I should pick out a scene from the book that was important and created a creepy atmosphere (I picked an abandoned amusement park in New Orleans). I found some real pictures of it from a website (there was no one I could ask permission from) and he incorporated them to my satisfaction. What didn’t occur to me at the time was that the title “Killer on the Road” has nothing do with the cover. I also never thought about how much is going on, looking back I can see it looks jumbled. I do like the eyes above and I thought Cassandra looked even better than book 1 (these are both real people after all). I thought he did her fangs and the blood well, I liked Joseph face hidden almost completely in shadow. I also thought the splashes of blood were cool. The moon above was a nice touch a subtle nod to time passing (as book 1 was a sunset). Still though I wanted something different, which brings us to an attempt I made getting a cover done for book 3.

 

NFLVthumbnail  Here’s the rough draft I got for what could have been the cover to book 3 (tentatively called) “The Gathering Dark.” This time I wanted to try hiring an artist to do something with no stock images and nothing computerized (aside from scanning and minor alterations of course). I’ve been told this looks terrible and while I think it needs work, it has potential. He incorporated what I wanted, each character ready to fight at an airport (St. John’s in particular) in the background, the moon large in the sky (and it would have been blood red), and different characters reflected in each sword. Casandra’s hair is different and their looks are meant to convey that events have taken a dark turn in the story. The artist was a nice guy but ultimately he just said he was too busy to go any further (he never asked for any money in advance.) At this point I decided to leave Penumbra Publishing so this brings us full circle for a look at the new cover for book 1.

NLVampireDPCoverRough Vanessa (Armada West) has been working diligently on a new cover for me now that I’m with Distinguished Press (and I love it here by the way, everyone is great!) What you see here is just a rough mock-up but I like the direction it’s going. Once again I wanted a red sunset and this time I choose a university building (it was a dorm in the book) as the backdrop (several important scenes happen on campus). Cassandra looks great (no vampire traits here) and Joseph is fine but I’m looking for a better model to choose from. This is a return to photo stock images but it’s not costing me $300 and Vanessa has been very accommodating. I’ll be sure to share a more finished version of the cover when it is ready. I still may one day pay an artist for something really different but not for the re-issue of book 1 or 2. Oh I should say book 1 will be out April24th and book 2 will be July 24th (of 2015) and of course from the fine folks at Distinguished Press.

 

 

NLVampireRoughCover2

Here’s another version of the cover for book 1, this time I choose a different male model, I like him better as he looks more like me (and a regular guy). You’ll notice Cassandra also has fangs and some blood about her lips. It’s an ongoing process but I’m excited for the final version.

So what do you all think? They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but I think most people do. You can’t help it, a cover is your best form of advertising for anyone browsing in a store or on a website (or app). Talk to you all next month!

 

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Stop! Rewrite!

When I first submitted Embers for edits, my editor sent it back to me with notes and corrections that didn’t even go past Chapter 3, and I was told to rewrite the whole thing.

In short, I was mortified. I thought that my entire book had to be awful for my editor to not have bothered to do a complete edit all the way through. I despaired for days. I convinced myself that I was a terrible author and that I’d probably never write another book again. In time, though, as the despair faded into determination, I realized that what my editor had done was really a blessing in disguise.

In Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki, the author recounts her journey to becoming a renowned geiko, starting back from her early childhood. While she was taking dance lessons, every girl there dreaded hearing their teacher tell them “stop!” For them, being told to stop was the dance teacher’s way of saying that their dancing was horrible and they should leave class and never return.

At one point, Mineko, who had been a proficient dancer and named successor of the okiya that took her in, received a dreaded “stop!” from her teacher and she returned home in tears. Upon arriving home, she was confronted and asked what was the matter. When she explained what had happened in dance class, she got an unexpected reaction.

The purpose of the “stop!” was not a punishment or an unofficial ban from dance classes. In actuality, it was a much-needed push. Mineko had been hitting a wall with her dancing, and her teacher had only been trying to give her that extra push to do better, to try harder. Ultimately, Mineko went back to dance class, and she returned stronger than ever, surprising even herself.

So, what does dancing have anything to do with my editor’s own instructions to rewrite Embers? I, too, was hitting a wall creatively. Writing Embers was a long and difficult process. I had a lot of challenges in life to overcome, so being able to create with such burdens on my shoulders was difficult.

When my editor told me to rewrite Embers, it was much like how Mineko had been told to stop. It was my push. I realized that it was the moment I could either allow myself to submit defeat and continue to wallow in despair, or I could stand and fight and turn Embers into the amazing novel it could be.

I’d worked too hard on it to give up. So I broke through the wall, and I shattered it. I came back strong, and now here we are, just days away from Embers‘ launch day.

So, I say to you other authors out there, don’t be afraid. If your editor tells you to rewrite your book, don’t greet it with despair like I did. See it for what it really is–the push to do better. Because what it boils down to is simply whether you’ll choose to give up, or choose to exceed everyone’s expectations, including your own. Face the challenge head on. You can do it.

Write the novel you were meant to. Take good and turn it into greatness. Take greatness and become extraordinary.

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Book Review: The Gathering Storm, Book 12 of Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re making it through the doldrums of winter. Our winters (I live in eastern Canada on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) drag on and on (I’ve seen it snow in June) but I’m doing fine. The snow is melting (at least for today) and my back is getting a welcome rest from shoveling. More importantly winter gives me some time to catch up on reading (I’ll admit a lot of comics but some novels too) and the “Wheel of Time” series is one I’ve been trying to finish for years. All the books are out and I’ve got just two more to go. Here’s my thoughts on “The Gathering Storm” and some of my feelings on the series as a whole.

p.s. be sure to check out the re-release of my first novel “The Newfoundland Vampire” by the great people at Distinguished Press. It will be out March 27th, mark your calenders!

The Gathering Storm: Book Twelve of the Wheel of Time

Robert Jordan , Brandon Sanderson

Initial Thoughts:

Ahh “Wheel of Time”, this is for a lot of geeks a fantasy classic, a truly epic tale that sadly outlived it’s own author (Robert Jordan) and was completed (with his widow’s guidance) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m not going to get into a long discussion about the series as a whole. I was late picking it up (book 7) and I’m such a slow reader that I’m still not finished despite the fact that the series has been over two years. Suffice it to say not matter how long it takes me I will finish reading the series and this book was one I completed a few weeks ago.

Main Points:

I just don’t have the patience I used to, as such I find a book of this length (over 1000 pages) very hard to get through. Don’t get me wrong this book has some amazing action scenes, some lovely quiet moments, good character development and advances the plot at a much better pace than some earlier ones (7-9 in particular) but still here it just gets bogged down in parts far too often for my liking. I love Rand and I enjoy Matt and Perrin (along with some other characters) but I think the authors do Matt and Perrin quite a disservice here.

I know that Perrin doesn’t like to kill but he KNOWS the last battle is coming and yet he is paralyzed and unable to act on almost anything in his life. He is a wolf brother (I think that’s the term) and his inability to embrace this (or speak truthfully to his wife) is incredibly frustrating and makes his parts rather dull. The same goes for Matt, all he seems to do anymore is complain about his wife to be, Tuon and women in general. He does have a good scene with town of people who go insane and can’t stay dead but overall I think both of the characters are wasted in this book.

The book does show a lot of different places in the world and is slowly drawing the main characters together. I also especially enjoyed how the Dark One has a much larger impact on the world at this point. Crops spoil, rooms shift, people die mysteriously, weird accidents, it all makes everyone aware that something bad is coming.

I also thought a lot of the time spent on Cadsuane Melaidhrin is wasted. She is rather dull and do very little until almost the end of book. The same goes for a lot of the happenings in the rebel camp and with early chapters with Egwene al’Vere in the tower, there’s just so much buildup that seems unneeded to me. The ending, however, is a little odd so I’ll say…

SPOILER ALERT!

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Okay so Rand thinks about killing a large portion of the Seanchan, doesn’t do it, then thinks about destroying the whole work and (of course) doesn’t do it. He does finally destroy the Choedan Kal and silence the voice (Lews Therin) in his head along with quelling his madness. All that’s fine and good but why does it work? Rand was driven mad (at least partially) by the tainted male half of the power. Even though he cleansed it my understanding was that it was too late for him. So his madness is cured because he can no longer channel unheard of amounts of the one power? I just don’t follow this reasoning. Sure it was a temptation and he was obsessed with the access key but I don’t think destroying it would suddenly make him all better.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book but the length and several frustrating passages (and a weird ending) takes away from my overall thoughts on it. Also I like to see characters go to a dark place, I liked emotionless/more crazy/decisive Rand, though I guess one of his companions would have tried to stop him eventually. I think Sanderson is a worthy successor to Jordan and I am looking forward to the two last books. A friend of mind pointed out to me that almost all of the male characters are dismissive towards women and immature. As I read the book closely I do admit this comes through in several places. This may be due to the fact that WOT is aimed at a younger audience (thought they aren’t YA) who are primarily men. Well this has gotten long. So I give this 7.5 out of 10. I do recommend it to anyone who has read the Wheel of Time (though not readers under 12), though obviously if you’re starting with this book you’ll be quite lost.  Wheel of Time is one of those series that will have moments and characters that stay with you and that ultimately makes the series a modern classic for me. Until next time, have a great week everyone!

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Book Snapshots

Wen is sexy as hell and wealthy beyond belief. Women are constantly vying for his attention, but he has set his sights on Jasmine Sinclair, a strong-willed journalist; who has decided to wash her hands of all men.

Reviewers have said:
“Interracial at its best”
“It’s a good old fashioned sweet and steamy ride.”
“This story was a great read from start to finish.”
“I loved Wen. He’s a great (sexy) character with integrity.”
“A romance you won’t want to put down.”
“Storytelling at Its Finest.”
“A perfect love story.”

 

$2.50 US Ebook

USA: http://amzn.com/B00J1BQ1LG
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00J1BQ1LG
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00J1BQ1LG
AU. http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00J1BQ1LG

USA: http://amzn.com/B00J1BQ1LG
UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00J1BQ1LG
CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00J1BQ1LG
AU. http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00J1BQ1LG

2015-01-17

Maddie thinks life is comfortable, until she comes face to face with herself. Intensity, romance, fear, and family all come together as she comes against the worst the universe has to offer.

Mirror Image (book 1) .99

Amazon

US http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Image-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00JWZZ20W
UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mirror-Image-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00JWZZ20W

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http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mirror-image-kg-stutts/1119689102?ean=2940045986410

 

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