Maria_David

Maria_David
As his face changes, her fate unfolds. The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past (Book 1 to The Mirrors of Fate Trilogy). Click on the pic for e-outlets.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Busy as a beaver building a dam

Eeek! It's been so long since I've written a blog entry. But I've become even more uber busy lately, which I didn't think was possible :-/. First I was writing like a madwoman for the last month, focused entirely on that until I even got a bit (understatement) sick because I was so one track-minded on writing. It's safe to say that whenever I get into something, I REALLY get into it. Yeah, that's the OCD, perfectionist in me I suppose :-/ *sigh*. And now for the last week or so I'm working on a logo for a water company. In the last week and a half I've come up with over 25 samples. Didn't know I like to draw and fiddle with photoshop and graphics? Then you probably haven't seen my book cover for The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past Book 1 which I designed myself....




You can also get the ebook at these outlets :-D  HERE 
I've also considered taking up some business and finance courses because I'm also pretty interested in money management. So yeah, I've been a pretty busy girl. I hope my writing doesn't have to take a backseat, but for the last week it has, and for me a week of a break feels like an eternity. I'm sure you other writers can relate ;-). I can't even imagine what it would be like to be a mother and having to deal with a cute little crying baby on top of what I already have to do. And I still need to see about releasing Book 2 to the Mirrors of Fate trilogy, but aaach I haven't even begun to think of a proper editor. Who knows where the heck this crazy girl will end up. I know though that whatever I put my hands to I always try to bring out the best result, so I can rest assured that whatever I do do, it's 100% going in. lol Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if Harold Camping's rapture prediction had come true. I could be in heaven stress-free eating grapes ;-). Well, I thank God all the same that He's helping me work hard in everything I'm doing. 


This is Cindz signing out ;-)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Dolphin Cove & Update on Vampire Fic.

Okie dokie, so yesterday I had a nice little writing break and went to Dolphin Cove in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. What is Dolphin Cove you ask? *Gasp* I suggest you go ask Ben Stiller, Tito Jackson, Jane Seymour, Yendi Phillips, Hulk Hogan, Tori Spelling, and Martin Lawrence what it is, because they've all been there. ^_^ Or you could keep reading and I'll you that it's a nice place of water-based entertainment where you can interact with dolphins, sharks, sting rays, pirates, go on jungle trails, etcetera and so forth. Here are a few pics of the trip :-).



Beyond this bridge is a pirate who...well, I won't spoil it for you if you ever go. Just be careful! lol

                                                                My little hombre...or big hombre.




Nurse Shark swimming about. Zoom is a good thing. I was not in the water for this one lol


My favourite pic! I just love how the sun glistens against the water and the nurse shark's back :-D


All in all it was a nice trip. Yes, no dolphin pics. At that time my camera was buried in my bag :-p but you should all definitely go and check it out. You will definitely enjoy the experience. The workers are friendly, engaging, and spot-on. I had no complaints ;-).


Update on YA vampire fic!

It's going great. I'm about 61,000 plus words in. So far it's dark, romantic, touching, inspiring--definitely a cross between the Christine Feehan 'Dark' series, Vampire Academy and Twilight. Definitely something that young adults AND adults will enjoy. I've been wanting to reveal what it's about for a long time, but due to the sheer volume of vampire fiction out there, I've decided to just let the idea stay concealed until it's completed. I may consider a small indie press for books in the future, like this one, so that I can have a bit of a breather on the marketing side. While I love marketing, I'm very busy and I let myself get toooo stressed when I'm working. It would be nice to have more help on that side. I'll definitely be combing the net and my twitter followers for wonderful presses out there. I tell ya, twitter is a powerful tool ;-).

I'll keep you guys updated :-)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Fiction is for fools






If you're a writer, you probably said this at one point or another:
"Mom, I want to be a writer."

And to that your mother might've said one of two things.
A) "Writers don't make any money, sweetheart. You should be a lawyer or a doctor."

or

B) "You can be anything you want to be, and I support you 100%."

A few days ago I was speaking to someone taking English in university. She was a bit torn as to her course of study. According to her, she always wanted to do something in the field of writing. But I could see she was letting the voices of doubt and criticism circulating around the university and that circulate in the working world get to her. Those voices that say Humanities courses are pretty much useless when compared to the Social Sciences or otherwise. That you can't get anything worthwhile with a English degree so you're better off becoming a doctor or a lawyer. I could relate to her plight because, heck, doing English at university I heard the same ol' stuff as well.

I remember once even heading to my car and meeting a fellow who was doing...er, I don't quite remember his course, but let's just call him "Mr. Sciences Guy". Mr. Sciences Guy was pretty much the full embodiment of every bit of criticism you could think of when it came to studying English. His reading material stringently went no further than the Bible and the newspaper and "documents", because, and I quote, "you couldn't LEARN anything from fiction"--to which I thought he probably didn't know how much fun, educational, and involving it was to read classic literature that threw you back into those periods of which you were not a part of, instead of solely reading a history book full of dates and feeling removed. And he probably wasn't aware that English students, who have been taught to dissect the simple and the complicated in novels could draw out layer upon layer of great meaning from the Bible perhaps more so than some others, with all its parables, stories, and vast means of interpretation.

But to all of this, I say, if it's your personal ambition to write, you shouldn't let anything stop you. And to this
young lady I say, if it's your dream to get in the field of writing, whether it's to be a writer, a newspaper editor, a journalist, whatever it may be, aim for that and don't give up. There is the reality that writing as solely an author won't help you pay the bills upfront, and if it does, that sort of success may be a long time coming, which is why it's always a great idea to have another degree to fall back on  know what you can do with your English degree and learn how to utilize the kind of flexibility that Humanities-based courses give you in the working world. In case you're wondering what I'm referring to, just glance at that longwinded list.


  • Account Executive
  • Account Supervisor
  • Actor/actress
  • Administration
  • Administrative &amp Program Director
  • Administrative Assistant/Office Mgr.
  • Advertising
  • Advertising Account Executive
  • Advertising Sales Representative
  • Agent's Asst.
  • Announcer
  • Application Developer
  • Archivist
  • Area Coordinator
  • Assistant Account Executive
  • Assistant Editor/Production Editor
  • Associate Company Manager
  • Associate Director of Publicity
  • Associate Editor
  • Associate/Public Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Author
  • Bank Officer
  • Book Publisher
  • Bookstore manager
  • Broadcast Advertising Manager
  • Broadcasting
  • Business
  • Business Operations Senior Planner
  • Buyer
  • Career Counselor
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Child Care Specialist/Teacher
  • Columnist
  • Commodities Trader
  • Communication
  • Communication Skills Trainer
  • Communications Assistant
  • Community Affairs Specialist
  • Computer Manager/Consultant
  • Confidential Assistant Executive
  • Consultant
  • Coordinator
  • Copywriter
  • Corporate Communications
  • Correspondent
  • Counseling
  • Court Reporter
  • Creative Director
  • Creative Writing
  • Critic
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Design Specialist
  • Development Associate/Social Worker
  • Director of Public Relations
  • Drama
  • Editing
  • Editor (assignment, book, copy, dictionary...)
  • Editor/User Consultant
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Educational Researcher
  • Educator
  • Electronic Publishing Specialist
  • Entertainment Agent
  • Environmental Planner
  • Executive Assistant
  • Executive Search Consultant
  • Filmmaker
  • Financial Aid Counselor
  • Foreign Service
  • Fundraiser
  • Government Service
  • Head of Advertising/Asst. Vice President
  • History
  • Human Resources Assistant
  • Humorist
  • Information Officer
  • Insurance Agent
  • Interior Designer
  • Interpreter/Translator
  • Interviewer
  • Jeweler/Goldsmith
  • Journalist
  • Junior Accountant
  • Legal Assistant
  • Librarian
  • Loan Officer
  • Lobbyist
  • Management Trainee
  • Manager
  • Manuscript Reader
  • Market Editor
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Marketing Assistant
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Marketing Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Projects Coordinator
  • Marketing Researcher
  • Mass Media Assistant
  • Media specialist (buyer, planner, director ...)
  • Musician/Composer
  • Narrator
  • News Reporter
  • Newspaper/Magazine Editor
  • Operations Manager
  • Paralegal
  • Paralegal Assistant
  • Patient Financial Coordinator
  • Personnel Manager
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Press secretary
  • Production Assistant
  • Professor
  • Project Manager/City Planner
  • Proofreader
  • Psychology
  • Public Information Specialist
  • Public relations
  • Public Relations Assistant
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Public Service
  • Publications Manager
  • Publisher's Assistant
  • Publisher/Indexer
  • Publishing
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Quality Assurance Assistant Manager
  • Reading Consultant
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Regional Director
  • Regional Planner
  • Reporter
  • Research Analyst
  • Research Assistant
  • Research Journalist
  • Researcher: Opinion polls, Fact checker
  • Sales
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Senior Account Executive
  • Senior Editor
  • Senior Staff Writer
  • Singer/Songwriter
  • Social Work
  • Social Worker
  • Special Agent
  • Special Events Coordinator
  • Special Projects Director
  • Speech
  • Staff Assistant
  • Staff Photographer
  • State Representative
  • Stockbroker
  • Store Manager/Regional Manager
  • Student/Teacher
  • Teaching (all levels)
  • Telecommunications Systems Consultant
  • Television Producer/Performer
  • Text Specialist Engineer
  • Traffic Manager
  • Vice President of Financial Services
  • Writer: Technical, Speech, Freelance

Now that your eyes are bleeding from that list pilfered from University of North Carolina Career Opportunities list, no more excuses. Do what you will with your English degree, and don't let the voices of doubt tear you down.

Hey all you moms out there and writers out there. Anyone else experience the same kind of criticism going to school, or even now when you're in the working world? If you have any words of encouragement for this young lady, be sure to drop 'em in the comment box. ^_^

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Writer and her lenses

^_^ Time for a 30% blog post. Taking a mini-break from writing, which I totally need since I've been burning the midnight oil like a mad woman. One thing you probably don't know about me that I decided to share today is that I like to collect contact lenses. I have a nice little collection, from the simple to the odd and to the unique. Why you ask? Because I decided long ago that if I'm gonna wear contact lenses for my vision, they better look awesome ;-). And as a Gemini I admittedly get bored fast, so I've gotta keep switching it up. So far at least I have gone between the Western brand Cibavision for simpler but still eye-popping results, and also Korean brands for when you just want to throw convention out the door. Here are some of the ones I've tried and loved.





Super Nudy Gray (Korean)
From: The Geo Big Eye Series
Manufacturer: Geo Medical Ltd

Here's what the general description of the lens says: GEO NUDY EYE has a great big eye effect. The dark black ring make your eyes look bigger and create that stylish with the added natural color. GEO MEDICAL invented innovative dyes engineering technology dying process. Unlike Pigment type contact lens, Geo lenses help transfer Oxygen through Lens. Aurora effect of dyes express natural and mysterious color. With ionized dyes and more water for your eyes therefore, its even more comfortable.(GetYourLenses.com)

My take: When I bought my first pair of "big eye" lenses, my concern was comfort and breathability. But thankfully, having worn GEO for years, I'm glad to report that not only are they comfortable but my eyes never typically get dry in them, which still surprises me today because you think that big lenses should be drying out your eyes like the Sahara desert. The above pic was taken in NATURAL LIGHT by the way.






 
Sterling Gray (Freshlook)
From: Freshlook Colorblend Series
Manufacturer: Cibavision

This is one of my favourites from Freshlook. They look gorgeous in flash or otherwise. Freshlook contacts are comfortable, although I do find that I have to lubricate with eye drops more frequently than I do with the big lenses from Korea. I think anything from Freshlook in general is pretty gorgeous though.

More from Freshlook (Violet):



Okay, I have a ton others, but this was supposed to be a short post :-/. Always be careful where you purchase your contact lenses. I live all the way in the islands. I've had great experiences with purchasing my Korean-branded lenses from asianfashioncity.com and also getyourlenses.com. ^_^ Hopefully I can share with you all more of the lenses I collect, but it's back to writing for me. ;-) This vampire fic won't write itself.

Friday, 29 April 2011

The Wedding the World Watched


Congratulations to Kate Middleton and Prince William! I tried to stay up until 3 am my time to watch the wedding, but fell asleeeeeep! Aaaaargh! But I woke up just in time for the rush to Buckingham Palace and the two kisses on the balcony. Not mega swoon-worthy kisses, but the second one was much better. The first kiss was just a bashful warm up ;-). Who wouldn't be a bit bashful in front of hundreds of thousands of people at your wedding? Adorable couple. *Sigh* I think when I was a wee lass I imagined marrying Prince William one day! lol  ;-). Ah well, as a CNN anchor just said, "Prince Harry is still available!" Haha ha!


Now I go back to watching the wedding rebroadcast. I wish these two all the best! In case any of you are trying to find some of the best links on the wedding and video, I've gathered some of them for you. Be sure to comb through 'em.

 For a Rebroadcast of the wedding and proceedings. The Royal Family's official Youtube channel
 
Royal Wedding Highlights (courtesy of the Telegraph)


Kate Middleton's Wedding Dress in Pictures

The second BETTER kiss video

A throwback to the Charles and Diana. (video kiss and procession)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Small Tips that Help in a Big Way


I always pass on good advice.  It's the only thing to do with it.  It is never any use to oneself.  ~Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, 1895

 


The writing process can be arduous and frustrating, but it can also be fun and relaxing if you allow it to be. Here are some small helpful tips that might help in a big way once you pick up your pen or start typing your next novel on that keyboard. They're reminders that help me out in a big way. Here are some quick do's and dont's.


- DON'T get bogged down by the speed at which others write. You've heard writers boast they've written Lord of the Rings length novels in 6 weeks. You've heard others say the only way to write an effective novel is by going slow, perhaps taking months or years.  

-DO figure out what speed works for you. Everyone is different and every book and every story has different needs. Just because someone got through writing a chapter in one day doesn't mean your 1000 words or 500 words a day isn't significant. When you're inspired to write, then write. The more time you spend worrying about someone else's progress is the less time you'll have to make your own. And remember, some of you out there are mommies or fathers or have other time-consuming professions. You have to determine what works for your individual situation, even if someone else seems to making "better progress".

- If you're a fast writer, DON'T make any apologies for it. Some people just have a natural ability to get their thoughts out quicker and require less editing. But DO take time out though to ensure that you're still fast but effective, not zipping through your outline or sacrificing the quality of your work to just "get that book on the market as fast as possible". Yes, you want to see your name coming up several times on Amazon, Smashwords and the like. But rushing writing a book is like rushing baking a pie. It's still edible, but do you really want to dig in once you slice that sucker open and see the inside? Probably not.

 -Feel like your novel pace is too slow? Too haphazardly fast? If you're concerned about the pace of your novel, DON'T get discouraged and throw in the towel. I've seen people do that and have even been tempted myself a few times. DO visit this link entitled "Pacing Your Story" which offers some good helpful advice about how to manipulate the pace of your novel. http://www.fiction-writers-mentor.com/pacing.html

-As a writer, you might know what it's like to get repetitive sometimes. But that might not be your problem. You may not even realize you've used the word "tall" four times in the last six pages. But how do you catch this quickly without having to spend endless hours combing through your manuscript for repetition? DO get yourself a handy copy of Microsoft Word, like Microsoft Professional 2010 that brightly highlights for you in a nifty navigation box to the left of your screen how many times you used in your manuscript whichever search word you specify. Just a quick hit of "Find" and putting in your word will do the trick and open up the navigation box to search through the results. Unlike some other versions of Word, you can then individually click on each instance of the repeated word used and then determine from there how you want to change that sucker and make it more original.


Hope those tips helped guys! But I know there are more nifty small tips I've missed that you writers use all the time. Let me know by dropping a comment below! :-)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Scream 4 Movie Review

Time for a '30% everything else' blog post. During one of my recent writing breaks, the few I unfortunately take when I get started on a piece of work, I caught Scream 4 at the movies. So I decided to take time out and write a review. SPOILER ALERT.



Before going to see this, I had already watched all 3 installments of the 'Scream' franchise. The first two left me impressed. The third, meh. So I didn't go in with a lot of expectations. I pretty much went to see this only because a part of me wanted to 'complete' the franchise. I expected a lot of stabbing, some more stabbing, some close calls, a few jumps, a very loose connection to the character Sydney Prescott, and some laughs. The movie brought a wee bit more to the table than I expected.

When Sidney Prescott, now a successful writer who has chronicled her experiences and built herself back together through her writings, returns to her hometown after ten years, she is once again revisited by the Ghostface Killer. Her cousin, Jill Roberts, played by Emma Roberts, who is that cute little kid who used to be on that Nickoledeon show 'Unfabulous',  finds herself pulled into the whole mess, receiving death threats from the Ghostface Killer.




This being the 4th installment, Scream 4 has no choice but to make fun of itself and the Hollywood obsession, of which it is a part of, with stretching out like laughy taffy considerably impressive standalone movies into long franchises. The first striking thing about the movie was perhaps all of the celebrities that did a cameo in the beginning for the fake movie franchise 'Stab' within the real 'Scream' movie franchise, based off of Sydney Prescott's horror story with the Ghostface Killer. We had Anna Paquin from 'True Blood', and a lot of celebrities who appeal to a younger audience like Lucy Hale from 'Pretty Little Liars', Shanae Grimes and of course Emma Roberts, so if you hoped your teen at home wasn't going to watch this slasher flick, those names probably helped rope them in. If you'd added Robert Pattinson in this, one can only imagine what the lines at your movie theatre to see this would've looked like.

I can appreciate that Scream 4 doesn't pretend to be something it's not. It's another installment using some of the same trends that made the franchise famous. A slasher flick like this has to poke fun at itself and try its best to jolt you as much as it can in the process. If you're gonna actually use that fried, dried and overused trend of girls at home alone, watching a horror movie, and then they get that mysterious call from a killer, you have to make fun of the trend and put a little spin on it where you can. From the beginning Scream 4 lets you know what it's about but adds a bit more. Sydney's in trouble. The spin is, so is her adorable cousin. We've got the same bumbling police force, complete with Dewie being the sheriff, his bug-eyed 'Betty Crocker' deputy with a thing for him, and this guy (who brings on the funny in any movie he enters):



Perhaps the only real things, besides the humor, that I liked about this movie were the end and the 'whodunit' process of trying to figure out who the killer was. I actually heard a lot of people in the theatre trying some guesswork.This is what it sounds like in a Jamaican theatre:

"No sah, look pon him good! A di boyfriend a di killa. Look how him creepy like Edward from Twilight."

Scream did a nice job of casting suspicion on minor characters. From Jill's mother, to the deputy with a thing for Dewie, the boyfriend, to the two police officers, to even one of Jill's friends. The end was the most surprising where we find out that Jill, Sydney's sweet little cousin trying to avoid the obsessive boyfriend, is the Ghostface Killer, along with a know-it-all horror movie buff and student.




This is where I give credit where credit is absolutely due. Emma Roberts' scenes at the end during her reveal and attempt to finally finish off Sydney were impressive. I never knew this girl had such acting chops. She went from cute and sweet to psycho in a heartbeat like someone smashed her Ipad or something and didn't say sorry. In the end, fame and fortune is revealed to be her motivator, and she tries to eliminate everyone else to become the ultimate heroine. She's tired of being left out of the spotlight in a family that revolves around Sydney. While at first you may not believe fame or even feeling like the Watson to Sydney's Sherlock Homes are convincing motivators for the character Jill, this is pretty much art imitating life. Nowadays, fame is the ultimate goal for people, and as Emma's character points out, you don't need to do much to become famous. If you haven't seen Jersey Shore, you might not know what I'm talking about.


The movie didn't really impress me until the end with Emma Roberts' performance, but I did enjoy the fact that the movie kept me guessing. It was a nice little distraction from writing. If I had to give this a rating, I'd probably give it a C+.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A Vampire Bit Me...But I'm Still Laughing





Yes. It's true. Since late March I've actually started dabbling in writing vampire fiction, which I've never done before. As much as I love reading about paranormal romances, I never quite had any original idea for romantic vampire fic that I thought was worth pursuing, nor any particular desire to create any. And when I don't feel like my storyline has enough originality in it, I just don't write it. Plain and simple. I get a little scared when someone says, "Hey, your story is EXACTLY LIKE [fill in the blank]." I'm slightly more comfortable with, "If you like [fill in the blank] then you should check out her work too."

I don't think originality in vampire fiction is dead--no pun intended. I think you've just gotta write what you can, respect the myth, but put your own spin or story to it, and see where it takes you. Best-selling author Stephenie Meyer did it and changed the game. So far, a solid story has definitely come together, with some nice twists on the original myths, so I'm pretty pleased with how it's going so far. Five words to describe what I hope will become a series: Romantic, hot, touching, dark but uplifting. It falls into the "YA that adults will enjoy" category. I'll watch the progress and mayhap I might release the first one before the second installment to The Mirrors of Fate. I'm not sure.


A few of my friends gave me the, "CINDI, NO, PLEASE DON'T WRITE VAMPIRE FIC! IT'S PLAYED OUT!" Yes, it might be, but I'm a reader too, and I gobble up a well-written paranormal romance. Christine Feehan could pump out 5100 books in her Dark Series and I'd probably consume every last one of them. But I can sympathize with those who feel irked or humored by the newer young vampire trend of books like Twilight. You really do just have to laugh along and have a sense of humor. And if you don't get at least one giggle from this "Emo Vampire video" you probably are already part of the undead. 7 million views on this ridiculously funny parody and climbing.

Have a laugh and get back to reading your vampire fic if that's where your taste is at ;-)


Friday, 8 April 2011

The 4 Cardinal Sins of Indie Authors

Years ago, if you said you were an indie author or self-published, you usually received this look.


Being an indie author usually meant to most people's ears that you've been rejected by the big business traditional publishing houses and you were like a mere mortal standing outside the building of vampire gods. It meant that whoever you told outside of your family members about your book was probably not going to read it, let alone touch it with a ten-foot pole or they might get "Unsuccessful Author Syndrome." Nowadays, the scene is a lot better. Times have changed and as more and more people talk about the distress the traditional publishing system is undergoing, more and more people are undertaking self-publishing, not just because some of the stigma has disappeared, but because it now seems--if you can pull it off--like an attractive venture with the potential to make you greater financial returns, and give you more control over what you put out and how quickly you put it out. I don't believe the traditional publishing route is dead at all. Hey, I still like it. I'd much prefer to see indie publishing and traditional publishing step out of that boxing ring a little and act like friends, but that's not what we're here to talk about today. If you're going to take on self-publishing, recognize that you've got some specific challenges. Learn from the mistakes of your peers who have taken on that venture. You won't do everything perfectly, but at the very least you can avoid the FOUR CARDINAL INDIE AUTHOR SINS.


1) An Unedited Book



Jack pulled oof his shirt. Marissa's heart melted like a stick of hot, greasy butter under a Tuscani sun. That  smoldering gaze fried her senses. "Jack...I love you." He was different than most men she knowed. So intense, passionate. If she only could say the words her heart were feeling. Jack, take me know.

No.....Just no. A reader shouldn't have to struggle through your grammatical mistakes and poor metaphors. In order for a story to be properly communicated, the brain needs to be able to decode it. But you say, "My God, editors cost so much!" I agree with you. They can cost you over US$300 to do basic edits of a full novel manuscript. It can be pricey, and chances are if you're purely a writer, you're no Donald Trump. You could and you should shop around for an editor that works for YOUR budget. There are plenty of freelance editors out there and editing companies with great, reasonably-priced services. Find one at a good price and arrange to see a sample of their work. But, if that's still too much for you, at the very least you need to have another pair of eyes looking at your work. Preferably a teacher, another author, or what we in the indie world call beta readers who comb through your stuff for errors, mistakes, and things that don't seem quite right. It stands to reason that whoever you get to check over your grammar and syntax actually know the rules of English and the rules of writing. You're editing to make it better, not make it worse.


2) A Lame Cover

                    This isn't how people should feel about your book cover.


You cannot guarantee a book cover that everyone will like. That's like saying you're determined to write a book that everyone on earth will like. It just doesn't happen. Many traditionally published books by some of the bigger names have awful covers, so don't think that indie books are alone in this. But at the very least your cover should be intriguing, eye-catching. You're battling big competition here, folks. Your cover should make me, as I stream through dozens of works on a shelf or in the e-catalogue on smashwords, stop and say, "Hmm. This looks cool." Some indie ebooks don't have covers at all and miss that opportunity to snag a reader by the jugular if even for a second to entice them to read your blurb. Designers can cost you a lot. That's where your friends come in. Remember Paul, your artsy friend who is married to Adobe Photoshop? You need to give him a ring. Remember that camera collecting dust on your counter? You need to start taking original pictures that can be implemented. If you don't know what stock, royalty-free photos are, they're basically free photos offered by websites that you can use for your projects. They also have stock video sites that you can use for your trailers. They won't cost you a penny and the pictures can often times be gorgeous and high quality.


3) Shameless Promoting

 "You want my book. You NEED my book. BUY MY BOOK!!!!"


Your book is your baby. You love it, you nurture it. You want others to read it. But indie authors especially need to be careful of shameless promotion tactics. Let's not confuse "tiger blood" promoting for shameless promoting. To get your name out there it takes hard work. You should use every convenient opportunity to tell others about your book rather than using every opportunity, convenient or otherwise. If you see P.Diddy doing an interview about St. Jude's Children Hospital but then in the midst of it or even at the end he drops an uninvited, "Yeah, my album drops March 12th. Go pick it up in every major outlet," not only are you, a potential buyer turned off, you don't appreciate it. That equates to you as an indie author going onto a Kindleboards forum or Book Blogs forum in a topic where everyone is peaceably talking about the weather and then you drop something inappropriate and self-promoting, "Yeah! My book has weather in it too. On a cold and stormy night, my..." You get the drift. So, what can you do to not come across as a creepy sales person but still have some upfront, aggressive marketing?

DO get reviewed by book blog sites that accept indie books. Request that they put their reviews on the sites that you sell your material. A great place to find a list of reviewers who support indies is here.

DO have a website and also a blog where people can catch up with you. You are also a brand.

DO make use of social media. Have a twitter account, a facebook acount, and interact with people. DO use these methods to promote your work in a friendly, interesting way.

DO make use of twitter hashtags. The best way for people to find your interesting tweet is when it falls into a twitter hashtag category. Got an ebook you're promoting for the kindle that's 99 cents? Then hastags like #99cents, #ebook, #kindle and #amazon will apply to you.

DO make use of topics in forums on book sites like goodreads and book blogs, etc. that allow  you to promote your book. Create your own topics as well and engage others.

DO talk to other authors and spread the word about your book.

DO find blogs that will feature your indie book and do Q&A's.

DO have your indie ebooks available in various formats for readers to get access to. At the very least, DO have your book available on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

And don't worry. You may have at one point done a shameless tactic before. Everyone who has ever had to promote something has made the mistake of pushing a little too far. It's just important to become aware of how best to take advantage of promotion opportunities.


4) Taking Bad Criticism Badly


 "Ho, what do you mean 'she carried her stocky build down the street' ain't a proper sentence?!"


Responding negatively to criticism is actually something anyone can do. But for indie authors especially, often seen as the underdogs, it's extremely important to always display a high amount of professionalism when dealing with criticism. Not everyone's going to like your book. Some people or reviewers may even be unnecessarily nasty about it. Unfortunately, that's the nature of the game. You do have to develop a tough skin. Trust me, it is not easy. But when you do receive negative criticism, it is important to say your thank you's and be on your way.

If a reviewer says they hated your book because it was too boring, you may be thinking: How's a book about 9-11 boring, you unpatriotic, dungeons and dragons playing, attic-living, mama's boy?

What you should be saying is more like: "I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy the book. I do believe that 9-11 is still a very interesting and relevant topic today. Thank you for taking the time out to review my work. Best regards..."

After that, you move on to the next reviewer. Yes, a bad review can hurt your sales. That is too the nature of the game. But the more reviews you seek from those interested in your genre, the higher your chances of gaining notoriety and better reviews. Don't have a meltdown. The last indie author who did is now the poster-child for indie author meltdowns and her book on amazon went from having a good dozen 5 or four stars reviews to having well over 60 1-star reviews. You get the picture. Always be professional because it may hurt your career. You will thank yourself in the end that you brushed yourself off after that scraped knee and kept moving forward.


Now go forth indies everywhere and do your best to produce the most impressive quality of work you can.


If there's anything I missed or you'd like to contribute another tip or cardinal sin, you can drop a comment below.






baby pic courtesy of Mediabistro.com

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

It's April. Who gives a hoot?

Who gives a hoot? I hope you do. You know you like my convenient owl gif ;-). I've got some more feature updates for my debut novel The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past and some important articles for all you indies out there. First off, I've gotta say, I love these blogs, sites, and organizations that go above and beyond to support the indie authors globally. A special shout out to the Indie Book Collective. I discovered them on twitter actually. This is a great place with awesome articles and supportive information for indie authors out there. And their tweets are often, for lack of better rephrasing, a swift kick in the butt for when you're slacking off on the writing and promotions level. A very awesome place and I recommend a follow!

So updates!



--> Just got a feature on Spalding's Racket! The blog that "makes a noise about indies on the internet!" If you've read "Life...With No Breaks" by Nick Spalding, then you know who this nice little place belongs to.
 
--> Had some recent features on those constantly-rotating cyber twitter dailies. Had my book trailer featured on Between the Lines daily. Definitely proud of that. ^_^ If you haven't seen the trailer for the ebook, please check it out here. When a trailer is this good, and this well-synched, (tooting my own horn here but I'm def. proud of it) you've just gotta ask how come this was all FREE?

--> Had my "99th page feature" of my book shown on a Fridayreads Daily. Thank you all for checking it out. That little tasty appetizer from the book can be consumed over yonder, although I'm kind of more in love with the more recent appetizer from the book here. VERY intense when "Alan" tries to figure out his consuming emotions for Maria. (And pardon my way of interchanging book and ebook in the same breath. Force of habit. This is a nice afforable ebook right now.)

--> Also got featured on the Self-published author daily. My article "Do you Really Need an Editor?" for all you indie authors out there can be found here. It's an imperative question you have to ask if you're looking at not only putting out a good product, but pumping out your works faster than the competitive traditional houses.

--> EDIT! On April 7th, TODAY I'm featured on this awesome indie-supporting book blog INDIE BOOK BLOGS with Q&A to boot! Read it here.

That's it for now guys. Thanks for tuning in. :-) Back to my work in progress.




(Gif from Gifs.net)

Friday, 1 April 2011

Why Did I Kiss Her?


The last excerpt that I featured from The Mirrors of Fate: Out of the Past was all about high school student Maria. We saw her world slipped from underneath her feet when she heard the words she never wanted to hear from Alan: "I'll be leaving." And at the very end of that tasty 99th page feature, we got a mere flicker of the cruel fire that exists within this volatile, tempered character. (Read it here). But even Alan is not immune to emotions of the heart, and when Maria unsuspectingly breaks down his defenses, he forces himself to return to his plan of revenge.



TEASER from CHAPTER FIVE 

 
No matter how long it took, no matter how many it took, he refused to stop until the thoughts melted away with the burn. But why wasn’t it working?
The first one, to help his mind escape. The hundredth, to force it to. But no matter how many reps he did, there seemed no escaping the shameful memory of what he had allowed to happen between him...him and that damn girl.
The sweat beads drowned his face. Getting carried away was his fault and no one else’s. He had only meant to kiss her, not to become so entrapped in the moment like a damn schoolboy.
To have kissed her. Touched her. Why did he? No. He knew the answer. To continue the game. But what confused and irritated him beyond belief was why he felt as entranced by the moment at her house as she had obviously been. As long as the kiss continued to plague him, he was going to avoid Maria until he set his damn mind right.
Another surge of repulsion with himself urged him to move faster, to block the thoughts by any means necessary. In the darkness of his apartment, his arms pumped his body up and down faster in his pushups, his hatred amplifying his adrenaline. The sweat streaming, the tom-tom heart racing, and the ground shrinking and growing with every dizzied rise and fall to the depleted rhythm of insufficient short grips of breath all blocked rationality, and then guilt.
When he eventually collapsed onto his back to catch his breath, thoughts of her melted away into nothingness, and as he nursed air in beaten lungs, he nursed his determination once again. His task here had to be completed before his short time grew even shorter.




A deadly romance. A deadly vendetta. A fate unfolding...Grab this ebook read, Book 1 of The Mirrors of Fate Trilogy at any of these available OUTLETS