Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book covers mostly changed and progress on Night Rises

This will be just a short note. Well, I got the book covers almost all changed like I meant to on Monday. For some reason I cannot change them on Goodreads, but I have a help ticket in with them to ask why I can no longer change them myself. It is a little confusing to have the different covers and I hope people will realize by reading the description, which hasn't changed, that they are the same.

The writing is going for the next book. I don't know what it is about my brain, but it has come up with yet another book idea, not Nyx or Avery related, that I am forced to jot down notes when they come to mind and try to keep focused on the project in front of me. I am hoping to get some nice quiet time to get the thoughts for Night Rises typed out before too many other ideas overload my brain.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Things I have learned since starting this journey

Don't let anyone tell you the self-publishing route to getting your words out there is an easy route. Depending on your level of self-publishing you end up wearing enough hats to make your neck shrink up into nothing because of the weight. I am currently still doing that one woman shop and I am pretty sure at times it is giving me ulcers.

My journey began May 1st of last year when I decided it was finally time to sign up for a Wattpad account. I had been reading stories on there for a year or so, some good, some very, very scary, and I thought I could probably do just as well as those scary ones. My character Avery was based a lot on myself. No, I don't work for some government agency as a computer geek, but there are a lot of other places in the books where I put in my personalities and general likes and dislikes.

It was really just a rambling of things that ended up making itself into five books, so far. When I got through with that fifth one, one of my beloved puppies past away so I took a little break from writing to do a little grieving. During that time, Nyx's world started to knock and I had to switch gears. Nyx started in my mind as one little scene. I imagined a female assassin going in for a kill and after asking if the perp had any last requests, she was given the answer that the perp was her father. That really was the whole premise of the book. Things just went from there. I wrote the first Nyx book and then again felt the need to take a little break. I continued to have ideas of where to take the series, but if I don't have that opening line ready to go, I cannot always get a book started.

In January of this year, someone on Wattpad asked if there were any more books in the Nyx series. That jump started me and I was able to write books two and three within three weeks. Book three will always be one of my favorites, and not only because it is the first book with Clyde. I was so into that book and it flowed so well from me that it only took a week to write.

Anyway, by the time I was done with those two, I had heard from fans and friends that they thought my stories were good enough to be published. Of course, they meant me taking my works to a publishing house and going mainstream, but that thought gave me a few more ulcers. I had read books on before and knew that it was a place for indie authors to publish so I took the first Nyx book and put it up there and set its price as free. I wanted to see on a grander scale than Wattpad if other people enjoyed my work.

I think the first mistake I made was twofold. Putting it as free did garner a lot of downloads, but it also found people that went and took my work and published it in forums for others to download. Bad people. They don't get any cookies. The second part of the problem was that I hadn't found all of the self-editing techniques that I have in my bag now, so that version was pretty much a hot mess.

It took me a while to learn how to at least make my books not totally laughable on the proofreading side of things. I know there are still going to be some typos here and there. I admit that upfront. Do I like that fact? Not really, but it is going to take me a little while to get to the point where I am ready to ship things off to an editor. I have found one I think I like, but she has a waiting list at least a month long already and I would like to have all of the books done before I ship them off. Maybe there is some kind of bulk discount.

Moving past my current editing process, I looked into getting my books on Amazon. If you believe pretty much any of the websites in the world, Amazon is the place to be if you want to sell books. Smashwords' site says they ship some of their books over to Amazon, but you have to be a big seller on their site to get this service. Lucky for me, Amazon has KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing, so anyone can put a book up on the site. I have since learned that is not a good thing because there are so many options out there and there are some not so great indie authors that turn readers away from the rest of us.

I am pretty technologically sound so formats for uploads weren't too scary for me, but I do read a lot of people have questions for figuring that out and there are even people you can pay to do the formatting for you if it is too overwhelming. I quickly found the KDP forums and learned that there are certain ways to format, beyond the front facing directions on the site. Those forums have been really invaluable to me. You won't find me posting any of my own questions though because those people are scary.

I have fine tuned and gone through my process six times now and I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Smashwords gives you the opportunity to publish through them on Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Diesel, and a few other sites. At first, I was all for that, but the time it takes for updates or changes to make their way out to the other sites is a little too long for me. We are talking weeks in some cases. Most of the third party sites have ways to publish on them without the Smashwords' hookup, so I decided not to distribute anymore through them. I haven't gone through any of the other platforms yet, but I see myself doing that soon.

So, that is basically the writing, editing, proofreading, and publishing hats. I should also throw in wannabe graphic designer because I draw and design all the current covers. Once you get past that point, it is time to learn marketing. This is still the hardest part for me. I know what to do and how to do it, but a lot of the methods for putting yourself out there seem mildly spammy. I want people to want to read my books, not think I am a nuisance that needs a little RAID bug spray to get rid of.

Goodreads has been one of my favorite places to work on marketing. They have groups that have read to review programs, which is really helpful when learning what works and what doesn't in your books. Goodreads also has all sorts of authors tools where you can set up Q&A groups yourself and send out events letting people know of publishing dates and cover reveals. Both Goodreads and Facebook have advertising availability too. I have heard varying stories on whether either of them are any good, but I haven't tried them out myself yet.

That's basically all I have got. Here are a few key points for me:
1) The editing process is basically never over. I could read through a book a hundred times and still find things I want to change. I have learned if the book flows well, leave it alone.

2) Not everyone is going to like your work. As much as I want everyone to just fall in love with Nyx and the world I have built, it isn't going to happen. A thick skin is a must in this world.

3) When you have a series, the greatest feeling in the world is seeing someone has purchased the second book. That is followed closely by them purchasing the third and so on. I don't have a ton of reviews yet, so when I see someone continue on with the series that always makes me smile. (Just to not be confusing, I cannot really tell if it is a single person buying each of the books. I just assume it is.)

4) Write more. As an indie author you need to have multiple books out there to let people know you are serious about writing. Having them in e-book and paperback is also advised. (Still working on the paperback part. They will be coming within the month.) It is helpful if the books are good, in fact that is probably crucial, so keep that in mind. Get some beta readers to read the early versions and let you know if there are any huge plot issues or if they want to have you committed to the closest psychiatric hospital after reading your book. If that later option is the case, you are in trouble.

5) Always remember to thank people. Without others, this process wouldn't be possible. From readers actually reading my books, to the feedback they give it is all really important. My husband and best friend have a lot to do with the behind the scenes work by giving me ideas without them even knowing it. I am working to figure out ways to adequately thank everyone involved, but I don't think the Internet has figured out how to deliver freshly baked cookies out of your CD-Rom drive just yet.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

And the thunder rolls

Looks like it is going to be a rainy day here in the capitol city of Iowa. That is going to make going to the hardware store to get a hundred and fifty pounds of powdered mortar a really fun task. Rumor is in four or five hours the rain will at least break for me to make a mad dash up the street, which is good because I am so ready to get this floor put in.

In the meantime, I guess I should get working on that seventh book. Parts of me cannot wait for it to be done, but a lot of me wants to drag it out. The ending is already done, though, and the middle is all sketched out in my brain, so delaying any longer won't be possible. Nyx would probably start showing up in my dreams to torture me if I wait even another day. She can be mean like that.

My two dogs are scared of the rain. I know that seems like a rather odd statement out of nowhere, but it means they are really clingy right now and are being really helpful while I type. One of them likes to hit the backspace key, just to annoy me, and we spent a good ten seconds going back and forth between webpages earlier today. Evidently there was something he really wanted to read on one of those pages.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend here in the States. If you are going out, drive safe and stay away from the loonies.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I hit the button

I have hit the button on to publish Night Finds. It takes up to 12 hours to appear on the U.S. site and up to 24 to show up elsewhere. So hopefully it shows up eventually tomorrow. Work and home life are super busy right now, but I am hoping to get a good jump on Night Rises over the long weekend. I am thinking about changing the covers over to the new models come Monday, at least for a couple of weeks. Meaning the one that looks like this:

Will magically change into this for a while, possibly forever:

That's it for now. Time for bed. A night of editing makes me sleepy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

How to be an author when you are shy

The title is more of a question than a statement, one I am still trying to learn the answer to. I won't say I am the shyest person in the world, but I am right up there in the top ten. If it wasn't for the ability to self-publish, I guarantee my work would remain Word documents on my computer because the idea of trying to connect with an agent or publisher causes me to break out in cold sweats. The Internet helps some, but I am still afraid at times to talk to people through email and forums. How I convinced myself to start this website, I am still not sure. I don't drink alcohol so I cannot use it as an excuse. I think I got an overload of fresh air one day that made it sound like a good idea.

I do a ton of reading online for marketing ideas and they all sound great, but for someone like me it is hard to actually go to sites like Twitter and start following people that post things about my genre, as a lot of sites I read suggest. Every time I think about joining Twitter I feel stalkerish. I also don't think I have enough stuff to keep people interested in following me. I won't say I am not interesting, I just have a weird fear of saying the wrong thing that usually keeps my fingers from typing and my lips zipped. I have a feeling that talking about me not rushing out to do all this social networking and such makes me sound lazy, but that isn't the issue. I have found a few book sites that I have joined and I am working in baby steps to get networked.

I have read this now about fifty times, so I think I am just going to hit the publish button. Before I hit it though, I want to say my thoughts and prayers are with all of those that have been touched by Mother Nature the past couple of days.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Really confused...hoping someone can enlighten me

So evidently mentioning reading other authors bad reviews made my first one appear on today. The really bad thing is that it is perplexing me to no end. This is what the reviewer wrote.

this book was cute except that i read it already from keri arthur and the riley jenson series.same name of vamp and the same as the wolf! couldnt even bother to get new names. an agency where she kills rogues and then tries to escape? love triangle with 2 mates ? so plagiarized . so sad bc she writes well

I have heard never to reply directly to a bad review, or any review for that matter, so I am not going to ask for more clarification, but I am having trouble finding the facts to back up the review. By the same name of vamp and wolf, in my mind that would mean she is referring to Sebastian and Alex because they are the main vampire and wolf in my book. I read the series in question a couple of years ago, and frankly don't really remember what happened in it, but searching through my copies I am not finding Sebastian or Alex's name mentioned. I found Alex Hunter I think in one of the books and that was a girl.

I know I picked my names at random because they felt right to me while I was writing and I really think the world I have built is different from any of the other worlds I have read about. Yes, I am sure there are basic concepts in my books that are like others, but to say I copied the whole book from another source is a little bit much.

I guess I am just curious if anyone else has read that series and can shed some light on things for me. Things I remember from reading the synopsis really quick is that Riley was a werewolf/vampire hybrid and for sure had a werewolf mate, maybe she had a vampire one too, but I only saw a mention of a vampire lover, neither of those two were named Sebastian or Alex, or any other names I have in my books. Even in the first Nyx book, which this review was on, it is revealed that Nyx is more than human, but there are many pieces to that.

So to sum things up, I am really confused. Oh wait, the title of the post already said that. Plagiarizing is illegal last I checked and to be accused of it has me questioning a lot of things. I am not rushing to pull down my books because I really do think they are different, but there is a part of me that kind of wants to throw in the towel because of the claim. Great. Now I am all depressed instead of just being confused. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guess what came in the mail today

That's right, my paperback version of Night Calls came today and if you heard some weird tapping today that was me doing my happy dance. It looks awesome and I may just have my husband talked in to actually reading it. He has been showing it off to the neighbors and offering it up to everyone. I will be overjoyed if he does commit and is able to give me his opinion finally.

There will always be a part of me, no matter how many of you out there tell me otherwise, that thinks I am just kidding myself thinking that my stories are any good. I, for some reason, have this horrible fascination with reading other authors bad reviews and always ask myself if someone could say those things about my books. Maybe one of these days I will stop that and for sanity's sake I hope it is soon.

For anyone hoping to get a physical copy, I am going to spend a little time looking through my proof and then hit the button. I expect that will be before the Night Finds publish date, but you never know I might do make them both that Friday.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The excerpt of Night Finds I promised

The day is getting away from me and this afternoon is going to be spent away from the computer, so I better post this now. Here is the first five chapters of Night Finds. Keep in mind that I have done the initial edit, but no proofreading yet, so there is most certainly going to be typos here and there. It may also leave you foaming at the mouth to get read the rest of it. I should be all done with the fixes and have it published by the 24th. At least that is the goal. Link to excerpt on scribd.

Opinions welcome

Is everyone ready for a good laugh this morning? Last night, after what felt like years of deliberations, I hit the button that would make Night Calls a paperback version. It was something I have been thinking about for a while and through CreateSpace it doesn't cost me anymore than the amount it takes to print and get a proof copy sent to me, which I am told is already on its way. I had been hesitant to try it out because my books are generally pretty short but I really want to see what at least the one will look like printed out. (Just to clarify here, it isn't available just yet in paperback. I have to get my copy first and make sure it doesn't look crazy, then I will hit the final button)

One of the things that also was hanging me up was the fact that my e-book covers with my drawings didn't really feel right to me on the paperback scale. I tried it out a couple of different ways and I just couldn't get into it. So, last night I played around with some public domain night images and came up with five covers for the five currently published e-books. I don't know if I will even do paperbacks for all of them, but I had a lot of fun playing with them. They aren't exactly done yet because depending on how the printed version looks, I think there are some positioning issues.

I guess my big question is now whether or not I replace the e-book covers with these. I think these do look a lot more professional and would probably appeal to more people. Oshawa, I know you will give me your opinion, but I would really like to hear from others as well. I have posted the five covers below. I hear everyone has an opinion, so let's hear it.

UPDATE - Spent a few minutes putting something together for the last two and I wanted to see them all together so I am posting them as well.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Boy am I happy to see those words. I do believe that the initial write out of Night Finds is finally done. With all of my home projects and work projects butting in the last month, it has taken a little longer than I usually like to take on that first draft. My two week max normal went about an extra week. I also didn't write the end early on for this one and that may have made things drag a little for me. I really like having an end point to head towards. Good thing I have the next book's end already written.

Another first for this series, it is an even book in the series and Sebastian doesn't have any negative mojo going on at all at the end of it. It is actually quite the opposite and I would almost call it a happy ending. For those out there that know me, that is probably a pretty scary statement. Happy endings for me could very well be Night Owl City blowing up. Since only about five seconds of this book takes place in Night Owl City, I think it is a safe to say that isn't the case.

Anyway, it is on to my initial edit and then many, many proofreading sessions. I will probably post the first five chapters after a couple of those proofreading sessions, like I did for Night Lurks. I don't know if anyone likes to read that kind of thing, but I like hitting buttons, so I will do it anyway. I would post some of my favorite lines now, but only about 15 people have probably read Night Lurks and the lines would most likely give away the other book's ending.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Some days you have tons of motivation and others you just don't want to get out of bed. I have, thankfully, never had any difficulties climbing out of bed, but there are days when I do have problems focusing on writing.

One of my biggest problems is having Internet access. Some people may call me a little obsusive compulsive when it comes to certain things, no laughing little miss Oshawa. Numbers fascinate me and I find myself finding ones to check on constantly. This image does a good job of summing my brain up.
I try to keep my browsers closed in the middle of writing sessions, but my fingers just won't let it be so. They want to check email, track page views on the blog, has anyone liked my Facebook page yet? (No, no one likes my Facebook page. I do nothing to promote that I have one because I don't want a few certain people - none of which are fans - to know it exists. Dang it, I think I just blew that cover), what are the other authors saying in that one forum I like to visit? If I didn't need them fingers to type, they may just find themselves in danger.

That being said, I am down to the last three chapters of Night Finds. There is still plenty of time to get the editing done before the end of the month, but I really need to just turn off the wi-fi for a while and get focused. Now, if I can just get my fingers to complete that keystroke combination. I should also work on making them not type the things that are just rambling through my brain. A lot of people probably find what comes out scary.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3-4: Night Calls free on Amazon

Just a quick post to let everyone who hasn't read the first Nyx Slaughter book know that today and tomorrow it is free on

A little bit about the series -
Nyx Slaughter's life has never been easy. She was groomed at a young age to become an assassin for the Collective, the agency that governs the paranorms of the world. She was raised to believe she was a human and an outsider from those around her. Accepting those facts, she has made the best of things and has become one heck of an assassin.

A chain reaction of events shows her there is more to her than meets the eye. She finds the paranorm world just may have a place for her, as long as they except freaks. Along the way to finding where she fits, she meets new friends and picks up some nasty enemies. She also learns that only her mother probably knows exactly what she really is and getting any kind of secrets out of that woman is dang near impossible.

There are currently five books out in the series and the last two, for now, should be ready to published by July. They are on the short side of novel length. Partly because I write how I like to read and end up leaving out long descriptions of things that I would just skim over myself. Some people don't like that, but I have heard others say they love that I give them a chance to fill in the descriptions themselves.

General consensus is that they are fun books and that is what I was going for. They each come with the following warning (prior to Night Bites, the sexual content part was not applicable) Warning: This book is the musings of a foulmouthed female assassin with Violence for a middle name. Reader discretion is advised due to language, violence, and sexual content.

So, like I said, Night Calls is free today and tomorrow for you to kick the tires a little and see if you want to dive into Nyx's world. That being said, you can now continue on with your regularly scheduled Friday. Have a nice day!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Yesterday at this time I was out sitting on my deck enjoying temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit trying to get some writing in. Today I am huddled under blankets because of a wind chill around 35. Iowa weather is crazy like that, but I really prefer the warmer temperatures. My brain doesn't want to function as much in the cold.

I am down to about six chapters left in Night Finds and I am hoping my brain defrosts enough to get one or two chapters in today. In other book news, I think I am going to unpublish the first Nyx Slaughter book from the Smashwords site so I can do some exclusive marketing on Amazon. I am pretty sure I will be hitting the button tomorrow night, but I wanted to post something to let people know it didn't just disappear. I hear good and bad things about joining KDP Select and since I am still trying to grow a following, I figured I might as well try it.

In non-book news, tomorrow is my ninth wedding anniversary and I got a bathroom remodel as a present. I am one of those weird women that doesn't like jewelry and absolutely hates chocolate, so it is a great gift. Of course, my husband got the same present, but he may also have a special dinner in his future.