#TacoTuesday

tacoshells

Disclaimer: This post has absolutely nothing to do with food – sorry foodies!

Welcome to a new kind of blog hop, engineered by moi for anyone who wants to join in. This is for fun, creativity, mostly cuz-we-can and designed to work for both readers and writers!

Objective: Every Tuesday I will introduce a new ‘ingredient’ until we have the biggest and best tacos in town. The only things you need are your own WIPs, published works &/or favorite books you’ve read. Answer as a writer, a reader or both, it’s completely up to you. There are no rules against using a different manuscript for each week’s writer answer, but please make sure to tag them with the story’s title so your followers know which books to look out for!

Here we go…

Writers Menu

Taco Shell/Wrap: Share a moment when a supporting character played a part in keeping your protagonist held together, even if it’s in memory.

“The problem is the whole in so deep already, though,” Reyna admitted, once she’d caught her breath. “I mean, he’s everywhere! He even knows my boss, for crying aloud. There’s no place in my life where he’s not already involved.”

Serena paused and softened, giving her a sympathetic look. “You mean like me and Maddy?” she pointed out. “Do you think it was any easier for us? You’re my best friend and his sister. We all grew up together, our parents used to barbecue together. We went to the same schools, the same family outings. Even if we went out separately, the other turned up there or was friends with those who were there. Do you know how long it took for me to get up the nerve just to admit to myself how I felt about him?”

Reyna opened her mouth, then closed it. She’d never thought of it that way before, but Serena was absolutely right. Madison had already been such a huge part of every part of Serena’s life, just like Corbyn was turning out to be in Reyna’s.

“The hardest part was getting past the fear that I would lose everything I loved, everything I’d known, if we didn’t work out. You, your parents,” Serena continued. “At the very least, that nothing would ever be the same again.”

“How did you do it?” Reyna asked quietly, desperate for any kind of wisdom her friend could bestow.

“I just did,” Serena shrugged. “I knew that if I didn’t try, if I didn’t give him or myself that chance, I would regret it for the rest of my life…”

~ Hearthstone Alpha (The Úlfrinn series, #1)

Readers Menu

Taco Shell/Wrap: Which book have you read with a memorable supporting character, and why did you like them?

itbiotc-front-coverMargo from In The Best Interest of The Child, by Felicia Denise. I loved every moment she was on the page, because her character came across with such a genuinely supportive personality. Even though Olivia hadn’t let her in all the way with her traumatic past, Margo was still there for her, without hesitation or judgment. She brought laughter, a shoulder to cry on, advice and even a good ‘shove’ in the right direction whenever Olivia needed it. I really hope we get to see more of her in the second book. (hint-hint!) 😉

This probably goes without saying…but

IF YOU’RE READING THIS, CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED!!

 

If you do participate, please remember to leave a ping-back in the comments below, so I can read your post. Happy Tuesday Muses!

You Name It!

Your Next Bad A__ CharacterCharacter names are the topic of today’s post, for both readers and writers, so jump right in! The other day, I was given the option to check out yet another free book and being the cover whore that I am, I couldn’t pass it up. I skipped the blurb and went right for the “Look Inside” feature. I made it through a good portion of the beginning, before I was even given the young woman’s name.

It was my mom’s name. 😐

Not a popular girl’s name in this day and age, especially for an 18 year old – but there it was. Glaring at me. I instantly started picturing my mom in what I knew to be an Erotic Romance novel and hit the back-button so fast my mouse filed an L&I claim.

As a Reader

I understand that this awkward situation depends largely on your genre of choice. I read a variety, but mostly Erotic Romance. So, there are definite names that will immediately turn me off to a book. Main Characters who have the same name as:

  • Any of my parents (I have 4)
  • My Kids
  • One of my ex’s that I cannot stand
  • A real life arch-nemesis – though I love it when they’re the antagonist!
  • And, depending on the circumstances, my nieces and nephews

That’s a lot of names when you think about it. Which, is why I usually feel fortunate and grateful that writers can be so creative with names!

Both of my kids have uncommon names. It’s very rare that I pick up a book and see my oldest son’s name. I have never seen my youngest son’s name used… as a first name… so it doesn’t have the same ‘scarred for life’ affect.

The rest of my family all have more common names. In the case of one niece and nephew, though, their names are sooooooooooo ridiculously common, that I know a dozen other people by their names and for some reason that makes it a non-issue. It’s like I have mental blockers for them, rather than the names, themselves. (Yeah, I’m a little weird).

More often than not, it’s that one ex-boyfriend situation that I run up against. I can’t even stomach seeing his name in print, let alone spend 1 to 300 pages reading it over and over again, picturing him in my mind, instead of the character I’m supposed to be seeing. A hero with his name is the last guy I’d ever root for, no matter what amazing qualities he supposedly has.

Just. Ain’t. Happening.

I’m probably missing out on some really great stories, but it’s not worth the nausea. Am I alone in this? Are you able to overlook these situations?

As a Writer

When I started writing in my teen years, I used names I wished I had, or that I could see myself naming my kids one day. Now that I have kids, I know better – especially with the kind of books I read and write! o_O

Typically, there are 3 different ways my characters can get their names:

1) It just comes to me and it fits. It might even come to me before the actual plot.

2) I get an idea for a story, and as I sketch that out a little more the character names start coming to me, usually as I imagine them be spoken aloud in dialogue. Actually, some of my ideas begin as dialogue, but that’s a whole other post!

3) The character is from another country and I research names until I find a combination that I like or feels the most fitting. I also do this with foreign sub-characters. Sometimes, it’s just their surname, because their first name has already made itself known.

With my Dark Day Isle series, Tessa’s first name came to me easily, then I had to wait for her last name, but I had to research to find Felix’s whole name.

The name Felix, itself, has been around long enough to have a very wide reach. However, in these modern times, it’s more commonly found in and around the kingdom of Luxembourg. My character happens to hail from Metz, which is nearby and politically linked to Luxembourg. I was excited when I came across the name during my research, and knew I’d found the perfect fit. Yes, I love Felix the Cat, too – stop aging us, gaw! 😀

While there’s no rule against using any name you want, it can be really useful to run a deeper search into a country’s various regions, for they each have their own unique traditional and modern list of names. Just searching for “French boy names” never would’ve given me Felix as an option. It only takes a few extra minutes of research, if you’re looking for something more authentic.

Of course, I’ve had characters whose names came to me first and only afterward revealed that they were of a certain heritage. For example: The main male character in my upcoming novel, Hearthstone Alpha (June 1st!) is Corbyn Bruschard. I didn’t choose his name – he did. I think I gave him a duck face, but he was 100% set on it and since he’s presumably ‘the boss’, I was in no position to argue. [insert exaggerated eye roll here].

Bruschard doesn’t even exist in Google’s world. At least not that I have found. Corbyn and his, ahem–pack–of guys, are Scandinavian, so I apologize profusely if Corbyn Bruschard is like the exact opposite of anything viking – you can take it up with the boss. Personally, I’d just let it go… I’ve met his cranky side. 🐺

Readers: Have you ever found yourself unable to read a book–no matter how enticing the blurb–simply because of one of the character’s names?

Writers: How do you come up with your character names? Is it different for each book? Do you have names before anything else, or do you have to flesh your characters out a bit first before their names come to you?

Series Updates & Introductions

typewriter

What are you writing?

So, after a great comment on my last Dear Indie post (you know who you are, lady), I got a bit of a guilty conscience on whether or not I’ve shared current updates on my series with everyone. If this is redundant for my newsletter subscribers, I apologize – just want to make sure everyone’s getting the same info.

Indie Series Updates

Dark Day Isle Series:

Scavenger (Book 2) has returned from beta readers and is in the revision process. I’m hoping to get it to my editor by the end of January. If all goes according to plan it should be published by March at the latest.

Hell on Earth Series:

Avarice Unleashed (Book 3) is still with my last beta reader, expecting a return by the end of this week. I wanted to get this one published by February, but just learned that my cover artist is booked all the way to April 😦 So, unfortunately, this won’t get released until sometime in the Spring – if that changes, I will let you know! *fingers crossed it’s sooner!*

Publisher Series Introductions

Summer 2017 will see the release of a brand new Paranormal Romance series from my publisher, Red Sage. This will undoubtedly be labeled as a Wolf Shifter series and delves into ancient Norse and Greek Mythology without leaving present/modern day times. In total it will span 10+ full length novels.

June 2017: Hearthstone Alpha (The Úlfrinn series, #1) – A Contemporary Paranormal Romance with a touch of naughtiness thrown in. This is completely done and with my publisher.

July 2017: Little Queen (The Úlfrinn series, #2) – An Erotic Paranormal Romance starring the same MC’s as Hearthstone Alpha. This is completely done and with my publisher.

August 2017: Violet Night (The Úlfrinn series, #3) – A Erotic Paranormal Romance starring different MC’s than the first two books. This is about 1/3 of the way done and I’m working on it!

Sometime in Fall or Winter of 2017, two more new series will be introduced by my publisher.

Dark Descendants Series: An Erotic Paranormal Romance that delves into legendary historical and fabled figures – some villains, some heroes. It will span approximately 6+ full length novels.

Unknown: Dark Duplicity (Dark Descendants series, #1) – An Erotic Paranormal Romance set in present day/modern times and an alternate plain of existence. This is completely done and with my publisher.

Pleasures of Paradise Trilogy: A strictly BDSM Fantasy-Meets Modern World mash up with a full cast of characters that switch POV’s much like Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones).

Unknown: Euphoria (Pleasures of Paradise, #1) A BDSM Fantasy/Modern World tale that follows a cast of characters through various places in New Paradise. This is completely done and with my publisher.

Continued Trilogy

Fall of 2017 will finally see the 2nd novel following my first publication: The Zen Lounge (Matron City Trilogy, #1). This is a Futuristic Erotic Romance trilogy with prominent Crime/Detective elements and spans 3 full length novels, each with a different set of MC’s and though they can be read as stand alone novels (no cliffhangers) the character backstories and over all experience will be better if read in order.

September 2017: Shades Soirée (Matron City Trilogy, #2) – 20k words to go, then it’s done – I’m currently wrapping it up!

Of course, I’m also trying to make sure I stay ahead on the next installments for ALL of these series, so stay tuned for more updates as they come along & thanks for reading!

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Dear Indie ♥ Weekly Resource Post

Independent

Whew! What an exciting week it’s been. So many things happening, changes going on with my publisher as well as my self-publishing – fortunately, they’re mostly good things. Or I should say, blessings in disguise. 😉 Last week I promised to share some non-mandatory options you can use for pre-marketing your book before the big day. The three most popular choices are:

  • Book Trailer
  • Teasers
  • Book Playlist

I loved the idea of having a Book Trailer, so I shopped around, read “How To” articles, then opted to make my own for my first novel The Zen Lounge (the trailer is right down there on my side bar —->). I used the ‘slideshow’ feature on the free online movie maker Kizoa, because the Windows movie maker was both too complicated and didn’t have half the features I wanted. Here are the pro’s & con’s from my experience:

Pros:

  • I spent $30, rather than $400.
  • I got the experience, worked through all of the kinks, bugs and learning how to do it (was frustrating at times and I almost quit) and can now make my own trailer with confidence.

Cons:

  • I haven’t received a single book sale from having a book trailer.
  • It’s extremely time consuming, having to shop for the right stock photos and videos, on top of actually making it and then finding the right song for it, adding the credits at the end, etc. It took me a week or more before I got to the finished product.

So, there you have it. You’ll have to decide on your own if it’s worth the time to make your own or even the outrageous price for a professional trailer when it probably won’t help you sell any books. I’m now completely ambivalent about book trailers and am in no hurry to make another one.

Teasers are far easier and a fan favorite. As you all know, I made all of my own Teasers for Collar Me Foxy using the free design site Canva. I signed up for a membership through the stock photo site Dreamstime, because they were offering the first 5 photos for only $0.05/each and they’re about $5 cheaper a month than iStock or its sister site, Getty Images. So, shop around for those bargains!

Another option is that if you’re going through a professional cover designer, they might offer Teasers for an additional price. My designer for my upcoming novel, Avarice, offers a package of 5 Teasers for $75. Considering that if you don’t have a membership with a stock photo place, most pictures are upwards to $45 a piece, that might be worth it. Or, simply if you don’t want the hassle of making your own.

Either way, I highly recommend having Teasers for your book to use not only for pre-promotion, but with your Release Day tour.

You may have already seen Book Playlists on other author’s tours. These are fun to make and 100% FREE. Some people make them from the songs they listened to while writing their book, I chose songs that best represent what the book is about, or that matches my character’s personalities. I never made one for Collar Me Foxy, but my Hell on Earth series has one for each book that I’ve already started. It’s just another fun thing to include in your book’s Release Day tour for fans to check out.

All you have to do is sign up for a “Channel” on YouTube. You can create however many lists as you want under your “Library” and name them after your books. Hint: When you’re searching for the music videos to add to your list, make sure to have YouTube open in two different tabs, because the search bar that comes up while “Creating” the list will not list the official videos, but other people’s “covers” of that particular song. I don’t know why, but it happens. Use the regular search bar provided by YouTube on the second tab and then copy and paste the URL into your “Add to List” box on the first tab.

If you’re interested you can check out my YouTube Channel here.

Well, that’s all for this week. Just some things to consider and keep you busy while your MS is in the capable hands of your editor. Next week we’re going to be getting into the nitty-gritty work that comes between editing and publication. This will be the busiest time in your journey, so get ready to roll up your sleeves and turn your MS into an actual publishable novel. 😀

Weekly Accomplishments: I got the first mock ups for an upcoming novel through my publisher, Hearthstone Alpha, and it is smoking hot! 😀 I also got a new publication schedule worked out with them, so now my series will be publishing consecutively (a book a month) starting next summer, rather than 1 book every couple of years. I’m also super excited to see the first book I ever beta read, His Hostage by Anna Adler, getting released this week on the 15th! What are you celebrating this week? Please share with us in the comments so we can celebrate with you!

Two Some?

Well, it’s not a two-for – but, I do have two very exciting announcements to share!  The first is that Hearthstone Alpha has been accepted by my editor! It was actually accepted yesterday, but I’ve been filling out the forms for it, so it took me a second to get on here, sorry for the delay.  Go figure that writing Blurbs is actually harder than writing the whole book! I’m really looking forward to working more on the series and already have a good start on the second book.  Just keeping my fingers crossed the muse doesn’t run out on me anytime soon!

My second announcement, is for my blog tour:  Tomorrow I will be over at Long and Short Reviews with a guest blog on some researching tips I use and of course, the prize rafflecopter!  Only one more week to get in on the chance to win some free stuff!

Happy Monday!

Weaver or Seamstress?

BookBinding

image: blogs.arts.ac.uk

I’m very happy to announce that I’m progressing well on the next book, Hearthstone Alpha.  It seems like every new chapter is a major feat, since I’m not weaving the world into existence, but stitching two worlds together into one.  If you’ll recall, I stupidly wrote two different versions for the book and have been attempting to merge them together.  My sleeping schedule is completely off, my fingers are stiff and aching, but I’ll bet you $10 I’ll do this again! LOL  I never learn from my bad habits, as much as I do from my mistakes?  Hey, don’t judge me, at least I’m learning something!

I’m also trying to find just the right piano piece for another book of mine.  Something tragic, dark and powerful.  I already know about Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and it’s my first choice if I can’t find anything else.  I’m drawn to Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 72 1 in E-minor, as well, but it just doesn’t have the same kind of power behind it that Moonlight does.  I’ve already listened to all three movements of the Apassionata, and the rest of Chopin’s Nocturnes, but while passionate and fantastical are both nice, I think I’m looking more for heartbreaking.  Thanks to anyone who might have a recommendation!

Tolerance is a necessary step in the right direction; but only acceptance and compassion could ever hope to change the world.  – Anonymous

Have a Great Weekend!