Monday, March 28, 2011

Sleight, by Jennifer Sommersby

Oh. Wow. This book, Jenn's way with words, the descriptions, the story-line, Gemma's snarky sarcasm, Henry's devotion, Lucian's deviousness... ALL of it is 5 stars! I picked it up to support Jenn and then I couldn't put it down because it was awesome!! I cannot wait for Book 2, and Sleight has officially crept into my list of top 10 favorite books of all time! Go and read it. Now.

The story is fresh and original and a new twist on "I see dead people". Gemma is likeable and relatable from chapter one, and intriguing and interesting from PAGE one. "The last funeral I went to was for a lion..."

All of the characters are quirky and original - who wouldn't be, working for a circus? - and the evil reaches a whole new level. (To be specific would be a spoiler!) I can't say enough good things about the book, and the writing. Go see for yourself ,,,,

Click here for Kindle version

Thursday, March 24, 2011

.99 is not a magic wand, guest post: Amy Rose Davis

I've been listening to alot of buzz about price points - and if you're an indie author right now, I'm sure you've heard it, too. The differing opinions about pricing, what works, can you be a bestseller on Amazon with anything other than .99, yadda yadda. There's no clearcut answer so, you've gotta figure out what works for you. Personally, I love Amy Rose Davis' opinion about price, so I asked her to share:

99 Cents is Not a Magic Wand...

When Heather asked me to share my thoughts on the e-book pricing debate, I got a little nervous. I mean, who am I to say? I’ve only been doing this for about three months, and Amanda Hocking and J. A. Konrath and Zoe Winters certainly have more track record and experience in pricing and selling books.


Winters first published Kept in 2008, before the big “gold rush” mentality of the e-book revolution took over. Hocking published last spring (2010), while it was all fresh and new and even Konrath wasn’t convinced it was the way to go. And Konrath—as much as he likes to say it doesn’t make a difference—had a following before he started self-publishing. He and Hocking both had backlists, too, so they could regularly feed their fans new or new-to-them stuff.

Why does that all make a difference? Because the publishing world tilted sideways sometime in the last year, and now all bets are off and things that may have worked before may not work now.

I first published my novella, Silver Thaw, in December 2010 and put it on sale for $1.99. On January 29, 2011, my full-length novel, Ravenmarked, went live. That’s it. I have no massive backlist. I’m new to the game. Yes, I write a lot—I don’t have a “real day job” aside from being a mom and an occasional freelance copywriter—but it’s still going to take me some time to build up that backlist.

This is a very different environment for me than it was for Winters or Hocking or Konrath. And in pricing, I have to take that into consideration.

So here are some general thoughts:

1) A novel is worth more than 99 cents. It just is. I don’t care if it’s a short novel or a long one, a YA title or a gripping mystery, an unedited manuscript or one that’s been validated by a New York Sanctified Honest-to-Goodness Publishing House Editor—it’s worth more than 99 cents. This post sums up my thoughts about the value of the writing art beautifully, so I see no need to repeat what she has already said.

2) Most readers don’t think of pricing the way indie authors do. Time and again, I mentioned my $5 novel to readers, and they said, “is that all?” A co-worker of my husband’s considers a $10 e-book an impulse buy. And when I poke around online, it seems that the biggest complaint I see from readers is when an e-book is MORE expensive than the paperback or even hardback version. Otherwise, they tend not to say much.

3) Furthermore, most readers don’t even think of publishing the way we do. When I mention my book in the circles I run in, the questions of “who’s publishing you,” “who’s your agent,” and “what kind of advance did you get” never come up. The questions I get? “When does your book come out? Where can I buy it?” The average reader doesn’t seem to give a hoot who published a book. They just want a good story.

4) Low prices scream “Indie! Self-published!” And really, as indies, don’t we keep saying that we want to legitimize this? Don’t we want to be indistinguishable from traditionally published book? With ultra-low price points, we only highlight our indie status.

5) Low prices don’t make that much difference in the long haul. Oh sure, it’s great to look at Hocking and say, “well, her 99 cent to $2.99 price points make a big difference for her! I wish I had her millions of sales!” But know what? I wish I had J. K. Rowling, Dan Patterson, Stephen King, Terry Goodkind, or George R. R. Martin’s sales, too. And for every Hocking, there are hundreds of e-book novelists sitting in the 99-cent bin waiting for their millions to roll in. Did they write good books? Possibly. But the truth is Hocking tells good stories that connect with readers. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have sold books no matter how she priced them. It’s entirely likely that she would have had some level of success at much higher price points.

Because on the flip side of the Hocking/Konrath examples are the Michael Sullivans and Brian S. Pratts. They defied the conventional wisdom and priced their books between $4 and $6. And both are making very healthy livings, and Sullivan just signed a six-book deal with Orbit. Again, good stories that connected with readers—not overnight, but ultimately, and that’s what counts.

Which leads me to my big point:

6) The biggest thing you can do to ensure success as an indie author is write, write, write. I’m beginning to think it’s far less about pricing, luck, or Amazon rankings than it is about good old fashioned hard work and persistence. And you know what? You’d have to do that anyway as a traditionally published author. You don’t just sell one book and sit back to let the millions roll in. The authors who make a living do this over and over and over again. 99 cents is not a magic wand.

So, here’s what I’ve decided when it comes to e-books: A short story is like reading a feature in a magazine. I’ll charge 99 cents for those and occasionally give them away for free. A novella is like reading a whole magazine in an evening. I’ll charge $2.99 or more for those, depending on length. And a novel is… Well, a novel. It’s worth $7 to $10, most likely. I’ll charge at least $4.99 for my novels, possibly more.

It’s not about rankings for me. It’s about the long haul—being indistinguishable from a traditionally published book, making long-term sales, and building a long-term audience that loves me and shares my work with other people. It may take longer my way—it may not. That’s fine. I can wait. In ten years, maybe I’ll be an overnight success.

* * *

Amy Rose Davis is an independent epic fantasy author. She lives in Oregon with her husband, Bryce, and their four children. Bryce provides comic relief, editing, and inspiration, and regularly talks her off the various ledges she climbs onto.

She is the author of: RavenMarked and Silver Thaw. Amy’s books are available in all major e-bookstores.

For one with the ravenmark, there is no balance.

Connor Mac Niall has everything he wants. As the best freelance man-at-arms in the known world, his reputation brings him jobs that provide adventure, women, and money in abundance.
But Connor has a secret: He’s ravenmarked. The avenging spirit of the earth, known as the Morrag, has chosen him to be her angel of death–to kill those she wants killed. Connor has run from her call half his life, and working as a freelance helps him keep the need to kill quelled.

When Connor reluctantly agrees to escort a fleeing royal heir to safety, he has no idea that the journey will bring him face to face with the Morrag–and require that he choose between destiny and freedom. He finds himself confronted with old regrets and new choices. On one side pursued by a sorcerer who wants him dead and on the other side tempted by the Morrag to submit his will to hers, Connor unwittingly escorts his charge right into the path of greatest danger for them both. He faces a choice: Submit his will to the Morrag’s control or let the royal heir die.

Set against a backdrop of romance, political instability, and magic, Ravenmarked is the first in a five-book epic fantasy series titled The Taurin Chronicles.

Amy's contact information:


Book trailers on YouTube:


Buy Links:

Amazon UK:
Barnes & Noble:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

writing out of genre and "I pick myself"

     Any second now, my newest short story, Gordy, will pop up for sale on Amazon and BandN. It's .99 and totals just over 5000 words. I wrote it a couple of months ago and while its a cute little story, its definitely not anywhere close to the genre I've been writing and publishing and "pushing". It could be labeled as just lit fiction or it could be Contemporary Christian Fiction or even Inspirational. But definitely NOT urban fantasy or paranormal romance. Or romance anything. Its about a nine year old boy and well... I won't spoil it, but its cute and amusing and heartwarming. You should check it out...

     My point is, I was hesitant to publish it, because it's out of genre. Because apparently, even though I've never actually been a part of the trad. publishing world, I have somehow adopted their mindset, which is: brand yourself early on with the genre you write in and ONLY if you are NYT bestseller successful, ONLY then can you genre-hop. There are rules. You have to prove yourself first, blah blah blah. BUT....

     On the indie side of things, the landscape looks much different. And the advice is, too. I've heard Konrath and a few others say that a writer SHOULD write outside of their genre, specifically as a marketing tool. (It also flexes your writer's muscles and can be fun). The way he tells it, is that you will draw in new readers with this different genre; readers that may not have read you, otherwise. And once they read something they like, they are way more likely to go pick up other titles of yours, even if they wouldn't normally read a thriller/urban fantasy/mystery/whatever.

     Still... even with all this advice floating around from the ones who've blazed the trail, I still wasn't so sure. So, instead, I sent it out to an online mag, still clinging to the whole "I want to be able to say someone published me, someone picked me" mentality. That was six weeks ago. Then, this week, two things happened.

     1- I read an article titled "Pick Yourself." by Seth Godin. Awesome article. Definitely read it if you're a writer. And I realized: hell, yeah!!! I'm gonna pick myself! (Sounds kinda dumb unless you read the article). Then #2 happened: I got a rejection letter from the online mag I'd submitted Gordy to. Now, I'd only submitted it to this one mag because they had seen some of my other work and strongly encouraged me to send future stuff, with personal notes about my writing, etc. Which is a far cry from a form rejection letter, so I appreciated it, and felt like that's where my best chance lay. Anyway, the rejection... yeah. It sucked. BUT again the personal notes on my writing. Here is exactly what they said, per the email:

You are clearly a good writer, and this is a sweet and touching story. But we found it a little predictable and we tend to go for something a bit more offbeat. In addition, it seemed to lean perhaps more in the direction of Young Adult fiction. We're sorry this one didn't work for us and another publisher may well feel differently. We're always interested in seeing your work, however, so do please keep us in mind for future stories.

Okay, so I know I might be shooting myself in the foot, airing my dirty (rejection letter) laundry, BUT I don't think so, because nowhere in there does it say the story sucked or is even BAD. Not the plot or the grammar or anything. They actually said I am a good writer, and in the world of publishing, that means FANTASTIC writer. No one says that unless it's true. I think. Anyway, so their complaints were predictability, which is kind of one of the charms of the story, and its more YA than they go for. Which is just a matter of the genre they print in that particular mag. Still, nothing negative about the story itself.

     So- I got to thinking, and mulling, and eventually talking to the hubby, and in the end, I decided to publish it. Because- 1. I can- because I am in control in my career, which is awesome, and genre-hopping is not only allowed, its SMART business and 2. I pick myself!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coming Soon... DreamKiller, The Waking Hour

Coming Soon, Book 2 in the Specials Series: DreamKiller, The Waking Hour. (A short story series) Click the link above for more info and Chapter One from The Longest Day (Book 1) available now on and  

Also coming soon: Gordy (A short story)

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Torment (Fallen, #2)
Just finished reading Lauren Kate's Torment. (It's Book 2 in the Fallen series.) And it was really good!!! It was slow to start, just like the first one, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, in this case. I love-love-love Kate's writing style (I want to be like her when I grow up!) because of the way she describes things. Its not just that she is descriptive, its her unique way of describing them. None of it is cliche and its always so exactly right for what you need to really "Get" that scene. Like when she describes Daniel's wings unfurling, and the way out sounds like this: "thwump. Like a duvet cover being snapped open over a bed." I loved that one!
The characters are all fun and interesting, too, and the wedge that's driven between Luce and Daniel is so much deeper than most YA romance. It's believable and you're not even sure where you, as the reader, stand on whether you want them to end up together or not. And you can understand why Luce has a hard time with it all, and relate to even her bad choices. I love that Kate has made that possible, even with all the twists and turns she leads us into and around.
Also- I have to say how much I adore her covers. They're so amazing! I love the girl, and that you can't see her face. Because I like being able to use my imagination for that, so these covers give you just enough. And they're dark and paranormal-ish, and somehow give the emotion that the title is trying to convey, all at once. LOVE it!
So, FOUR stars, and I'm impatiently waiting for the next book in the series, due out this summer: Passion.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sale ends Sunday!

I promised I would give you fair warning, so here it is...

Across the Galaxy is still available in Amazon/Kindle format for .99, through Sunday. On Monday morning, it will go back to 2.99, which is still an awesome price. But if you want it for under a buck, better get it this weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dirty Blood, Urban Fantasy

Coming April 4th, 2011...

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irons in the Fire

Want to update everyone on things worth updating... like upcoming releases!! I've set a date for Dirty Blood of April 4th. I know I said it would be out the end of the month, but I really don't want to sell myself short on editing time. And you'll thank me later.

Also out in April: DreamKiller, Part II (a short story)
I currently have DreamKiller, Part I out for Kindle and Nook for .99 and I've been wanting to write the next installment for awhile. Mostly because everyone who reads it emails me or calls me up and says "Oh my gosh! But what happens next?..." I can take a hint. Part I is just under 5000 words. Not sure how long Part II will be yet, as I am not going to be so picky with word count hovering at 5K but we'll see what happens. It's a fun story to write. Marlena- my main character - is pretty badass. (She's an assasin with superpowers!) So be sure to check that out when it makes its debut.

I also have a WIP titled The Raven, with no release date yet (before Dec 2011) and Dirty Blood 2 will be materializing sometime down the line, as well. Okay, I think that's all. =)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's all in the Details...

     As a lot of you know, I'm in the editing process right now, with Dirty Blood. It's a roller coaster experience for me (always is) because the monster that haunts me every so often when i write seems to grow a twin, similar in looks, slightly different in personality, when I edit. This one isn't quite so adamant in convincing me I suck. Instead, he makes me second-guess, which is just as annoying, but does, at least, allow me to keep going when I'd have walked away to paint a room by now, with the other guy.

     Other than the inevitable twins rearing their heads, its actually going pretty well. This is the part where I realize how far I've truly come as a writer, just in the past year. My draft of Across the Galaxy needed ALOT of edits. ALOT. Dirty Blood may only need two, or three. That's exciting to me. And makes me proud of myself, too. (Not including grammar) I know my writing is still new, and still improving, but its important that I recognize my own progress. Since I began writing seriously (with the intent to publish) I've always said that it was completely okay to sound 'new' in my writing, as long as I didnt suck. You can laugh, but that is always what I've said, because I know that as long as I don't suck, and my brain keeps working like it's supposed to, I can learn and improve my craft. I firmly believe that writing is a skill, just like any other, and if you want to improve at it and get good, lik bestseller good, you have to practice. Alot. That's the key. No one wakes up one morning and just magically is the next Stephen King, never before having put pen to paper.

     But what about all those people that make comments about certain writers being 'gifted' and having 'talent'? While I think those things exist, I DON'T think that's all it takes to be a good writer, or that those things are magically either bestowed or not. Talented and gifted writing comes from practice. They forgot to mention that part for the rest of us, who are comparing ourselves to those bestselling authors - nevermind we're not supposed to compare - and find ourselves falling overwhelemingly short of the mark. Its sad and depressing and discourages us so we practice our craft even less, or believe in our words a little less. Either way is completely detrimental.

     I also appreciate the editing process because this is where I step back and see the big picture enough to catch the details. That may or may not have made sense, so an example is in order. I was sitting in the garage yesterday, watching my kids ride their bikes and without really trying to think about my story, it popped into my head that I hadn't really nailed Tara's relationship with her mother early enough in the story for you to understand chapter twelve, when they have a blow out. I needed to go back to the beginning and add in some much needed details, like how her mother worries incessantly and it isn't unusual to find her having pulled all the dishes out of the cabinets and scrubbed them and the cupboard, just because she can't sit still with her thoughts. So, yeah the big picture and the details go hand in hand, and when I'm writing the rough draft, I can't stop and see those details because I'm too focused on the overall story. These things are why I like the edit.

     I read a pretty good book about writing called Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. She is the author of Ella Enchanted and wrote the book to be aimed at young adults, but it was helpful, no matter the age. I loved her chapter on capturing the details. She suggested that for a whole day, once an hour, you write down what you smell or taste at that time. So that you begin to notice these things. Like what makes you love pizza or hate broccoli. Describe it. Her excercise helps you bring those details into your story so that as the reader, you are pulled right into the skin of your MC. If you're like me, and you need help with the details, check her out. Now, back to editing.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where to Find Me... and Books that make you cry.

    I've got a couple of things going on right now and wanted to be sure and let you know about them all. Plus, I'm assuming you're just dying to know, and I'm doing you a favor by telling you. So the first is my author interview by Genevieve Ching, over on her blog, So, Write. Big Thanks to her for posting it, and it has a little about me, so that might be fun since I try to stay kind of hush hush about personal stuff. You can read it here: I also have a book giveaway going on over at my new Goodreads-YA-book-club friend Heather's blog (incidentally, she has the best name ever!!). You can read those details here: Heather's going to do a review and interview post for me when she finishes reading the book and you can enter for a free digital copy of Across the Galaxy by going on her blog and following her instructions. The contest runs through March 25th I think. Don't quote me, though. Check her site. I've got another interview coming up, too. I think on March 20th, but I can't remember that for sure either. Wow. This is too much to keep up with. I need an assistant.  Wouldnt that be cool? Anyway I'm also putting together a couple of giveaways for the launch of Dirty Blood, which will begin in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that. Editing is going well - unless I just jinxed myself by typing that statement - and I am still hoping to have it released by the end of the month.

In honor of Fun Friday - that's what we called it in elementary school, anyway, whether it was really fun or not - I am doing a poll. BOOKS THAT MADE YOU CRY. Leave a comment and let us know what book it was and why. Misting up doesnt count, either. There had to be a falling tear somewhere in there. No cheaters. Nicholas La Salla gave me the idea in his comment on my previous post. I think its a fun way to learn about new books to read, that must really be worth reading if they made someone cry.

My answer is easily, hands down : New Moon, by Stephenie Meyer. There have been others (Linger, Maggie S.) but at the end of New Moon, I bawled like a baby. Here's the thing about my answer, though. It's tricky. Because at that time, I was going through some pretty messed up stuff in my personal life, and for whatever reason, that book touched a cord with the existing pain, and it all shook loose. So, it was a great book, IMO, but I think I was only half crying about the book. There's no way to tell, but Stephenie Meyer does a great job with portraying loss, so I still have to give her credit.

Oh, one other is this: "This is Graceanne's Book". I can't even talk about it. It's lifechanging. Go get it. Now.

Alright, how about everyone else?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Across the Galaxy, now available in ...wait for it...Paperback!!

Oh. My. Gawsh. I can't believe I actually, finally, really, seriously, despite all the issues I battled through... did it!!!! Across the Galaxy is now available in paperback!!

You can go here: purchase it directly through CreateSpace's e-store, right NOW!

I'm so excited, I'm wiggling in my seat as I type this. I might even look like I'm doing the potty dance, but I'm not. I'm doing the "You can now buy my book in print" dance. Woohoo!! It will be available on Amazon very soon and I will let you know as soon as it's up. Thanks for the support guys!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2)Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, so I debated on how many stars to give this book but in the end I had to do all five because it made me cry!!! and I am not a crier. Believe me. I try to avoid it because its messy and makes my eyes puffy and i hate that. But this book got to me. I can't say more because it would be a spoiler but its sad and happy and tragic and hopeful all at once. It actually sent me away with a slight romeo and juliet feeling. Anyway read it. If you dont do anything else, read this book. Right. Now.

Love maggie's writing style by the way, and Isabel is still my favorite!

View all my reviews Also, one other announcement: we are having a Girls Night drinkin Party on Twitter on Friday night!!! Be there or well... don't. But you should because its going to be so much fun! I'm celebrating finishing the rough draft of Dirty Blood, and you can celebrate with me or pick something else to celebrate for. But pour yourself a drink and log in and hang out with me. See you on Friday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tell everyone you know, and maybe some strangers, too.

For a limited time, expiring I'm not sure when, I've priced Across the Galaxy at .99 on Amazon!! So, pass the word along to fellow Kindle readers. I will see how this goes and am thinking about leaving it that way until Dirty Blood is released, to help boost my reader base for when I launch the new book. I'll definitely give you fair warning before I raise it again, though, so no worries. And I was really hoping to get a bunch of work done on my rough draft, trying to get it ready for beta readers, but my 5 yr old is home sick (again, yes, you may remember he was home sick last mon and tues as well) so I don't think I'll get much done today. Instead, I'm probably going to curl up with Linger (Book 2 of Shiver, Maggie Stiefvater) So, hopefully this won't set me back too much, but basically it just means I still don't really have a firm release date, either. Sorry. You'll know when I know, though, so calm down - and maybe go buy my book.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews I finished this book in less than a day! It's got a great, if not simple, storyline, made addicting and beautiful by maggie's unique writing style, and really well-developed characters. (i liked Isabelle! and will dream about sam!!) Loved the new twist on the werewolf curse, and the fascination with temperature. I have (LINGER) the sequel already - thank goodness - and I'm reading it today!! Yup, it's that good!! On a side note: I'm rewarding myself with a weekend read-a-thon because yesterday I finished the rough draft to Dirty Blood!!! woot woot!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Can March come in like a lion, please?....

     I want to give you a sales update for February. Okay, well, no I don't WANT to, actually, because the numbers are kind of puny. But I committed to it when I started this blog and I'm going to keep my word - for now. And because it's still exciting, no matter how few copies I sell, because at least I'm published and I know my work is good, just unknown, which will eventually change. So here's what I ended with:

Across The Galaxy - 11 (incl B&N and AMAZ UK)
DreamKiller            - 5

     And to be honest, I'm pretty stoked about these numbers because I look at it like this: In January, pretty much all of the copies I sold were to people I knew and that were doing it to support me (and read it, too, don't get me wrong) but February I was all on my own. These 11 copies were ALL to people that I've never met and/or that were genuinely interested in reading my book. And all I can think is, it's probably not a whole lot less than I would've sold if I'd been paper published as a new no-name, first time author with no marketing by my publisher because my name isn't Janet Evonovich or Nora Roberts. So, I'll take it. And I can't wait to see what March does, since I'm still hoping to release Dirty Blood before the month is over.

Also- the 5 star review that Across the Galaxy received is now posted on Barnes and Noble. So exciting!