Sep 242010
 

<——First off, I added a subscribe by email link on my left sidebar for those who want to keep up to date on my ramblings. :)

Now for the real post. My mama warned me about getting into the wrong crowds. The pastor preached about the media I put into my head. They were right.

It all started with Zoe Who? and her crazy ideas of selling books in the Walmart parking lot. I mean really. That Zoe girl has a lot of nerve filling my head with ideas and such. Who does she think she is?

I was perfectly unhappy to wallow in my pile of rejections. After all, I only revised my query letter about 36 times. Maybe I’ll revise twice today just to outdo Brad.

Seriously though. I’d stopped writing for a long period of time. A couple of months I’ll say. The whole traditional publishing thing is such a downer. You know it took me a two and half months to write the first draft of Shadow Cat? I was so excited and motivated. I’d beaten the odds and finished a book. How many people could say they’d done that? Yet I’ve still to finish another book.

Then I got into the critique groups, which are invaluable for developing prose as long as I don’t let them take over my work. There’s always more to learn, but I’m getting there.

I’ll be honest though. Eventually I did stop participating in critique groups. The negativity really dragged me down. There was always someone who didn’t like something about my characters or the way I laid out a scene. No matter how many changes I made, someone was always unhappy. Just too many hands in the pot. I guess that’s why agents tell their clients not to read book reviews. Then again, that goes back to not letting critters take over my work.

Okay, I’m rambling. So, I’ve tried to be strong. I’ve played the game. I’ve gotten my fair share of rejections. And you know what? All it’s done is sap my will to write. The whole process of doing the traditional publishing route is just so exhausting. Not just that, but depressing. I have a few works in process now and dread the idea of going through another query round when I finish. I’m confident in these works in progress.

I’m excited about these pieces, like when I finished Shadow Cat. I don’t want to feel about them the way I feel about Shadow Cat. Just the idea of opening the file makes me apprehensive. The phrase “not good enough” comes to me again and again.

Funny thing. In my mind, I still think Shadow Cat is a great storyline. Deep down, I still love it. I know many writers look back on their old work and think it’s crap. But I haven’t gotten to that point yet. I’m still wondering why agents don’t want it. One agent was kind enough to give me insight after reading my query: “I’m a little oversaturated with shapeshifter UR and PR and this one doesn’t stand out as anything fresh or different.”

As a PR junkie myself, I can understand that. It takes a bit to get me revved about PR these days also. Yet, I’ve not read any stories like mine. Of course that means nothing since I haven’t read EVERY PR out there. :) Still, my research shows it’s yet to be done. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just wishful.

I know, I know. Get on with it. You’re probably thinking, if you’re book rambles like this, it’s no wonder you’re not published. :) So what I’m getting at here is, why can’t I self-publish. I’ve had readers in critique groups excited to read more after the first 3-5 chapters. I get apprehensive about posting more than the first few. It’s just a bit too public for me to feel comfortable offering more. But perhaps they’d enjoy the rest of the novel too.

Lately I’ve gotten a boost of motivation at the idea of not having to go through the traditional route. But like I said, I scurd. I don’t want to embarrass myself by publishing crap. The appeal of traditional publishing is having many, many eyes on my draft before going to print. I also don’t want to bore readers with scenes that drag. But as someone so close to my work, how do I know what’s what?

Then there’s editing. Who will I get to edit my work? So many people advertise editing services, but I don’t know where to start. wah wah wah. I can go on, but you get the point. I’m just so overwhelmed with the venture, it’s paralyzed me into inactivity.

For you self-publishing gurus out there. How did you get started? What was the first step after writing your book (and polishing it, of course)? Someone needs to publish a non-fiction called “How to Self-Publish a Book that Doesn’t Suck.”

Now for a bit of a self-advertising. I am looking for a beta readers. If you’re interested in checking out the first three chapters of Shadow Cat, fill out the Beta Reader Form or go to my Got Beta Reader? post for more information.

So, share with me your fears and successes of self-publishing. Offer advice. I’m listening. :)

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Sep 152010
 

I’ve collected a few goodies this week. A couple of them unexpected, but hey! I’m not returning them. No way! So let’s see what my mailbox produced.

I’d actually completely forgotten I’d won this in a twitter contest from Angela from Reading Angel. I’d never even heard of S.W.A.G. before I started blogging. Truthfully, I’m really starting to enjoy it. To the Left we have “Losing Faith” by Denise Jaden. The right is “In the Blood” by Adrian Pheonix. And the center one, “Meridian” by Amber Kizer, is even signed on the back. I’m thinking I might have to sign up on some Author’s mailing lists so I can start a new addiction. :)

Will you check out that cover? That’s right, it’s the UK cover. I got to say, that’s one of the things I like about  the Book Depository. They don’t try to force the US version down the throats of Americans. The choice is the buyers. Though I’m an affiliate of the Book Depository, I am going to fuss about them right now. The US version released September 1, 2010, and the UK version released a day later. Because the UK version was out of stock for the longest time, my pre-ordered copy didn’t arrive until Friday, I think. I tell you, I was ANXIOUS! Anyway, if you’ve followed my goodreads progress or my updates on twitter, you know I just finished this book today. So this mailbox post is rather late for it. Another complaint I had about the book itself was the pages! Some of them had not been properly cut so, I had to tear them apart. Yeah! That’s right. TEAR them apart all jagged edge and all because I had no scissors and wasn’t willing to wait for some. Shame on whoever put this book together. Moving on, my review is scheduled next Monday for it. :) And I promise, it’ll be better than this mailbox post about it.

Please join me for a brief intermission. If you haven’t seen this video, it’s well worth your time. :)

Back to our regularly scheduled program. Last but not least!

Now winning this book was a complete surprise to me. You see, I’d purchased the eBook during Zoe Winters‘ internet release party. I took some time to surf through the blog tour and posted a comment on Mama Kitty’s Reviews. Unbeknownst to me, that comment was an entry in a contest. And Voila! I became the brand spanking new owner of a personalized signed copy of Blood Lust! Woot. If you don’t know, Zoe is an indie writer and advocate for other indie writers. If I ever get the gumption to self-publish, I’m definitely looking to her for mentorship. Is mentorship even a word? Focus, Reena. Focus! My copy of Blood Lust is so SHINY. All I could think about as I stared at my copy was the double rainbow video. It’s so bright and vivid. What does it mean? And the pages are nicely cut…completely straight-edged. It really does put my copy of Demon from the Dark to shame in terms of quality. Anyway, I’ve hidden my signed copy until my destructive 3 year old graduates high school and leaves the house, only to be taken out for special occasions.

So that’s it. I leave you with this. :)

I sure love the Book Depository. I wonder if it’s possible for Zoe Winters to get her books there.

The Book Depository

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Sep 062010
 

I’m not sure how I started following Zoe Winters, but I know in terms of my twitter lifetime, it’s been awhile. I’ve talked to her a few times, but have never gotten around to reading her work. Kinda felt guilty about that, but not guilty enough to do anything about it. You know how that goes. :)

Anyway, I came across these videos called Zoe Who? They were quite amusing. And what do you know, they were created by Zoe Winters. I mentioned them in a post about Indie authors (see here) a week or so ago. I haven’t taken many chances on Indie writers but gave her a try after the post. I found Kept (Novella 1 Blood Lust) as a free read on Ms. Winters’ blog. Now before I get too caught up in my ramblings, the teaser from Ms. Winters’ website:

As a cat therian (shifter), Greta’s blood is already sought after to enhance spells and potions, but due to a quirk of her birth, her blood is potent enough to kill for. When her tribe plans to sacrifice her, Greta must ally herself with Dayne, the dangerous local sorcerer, and the only person strong enough to protect her.

Without beating around the bush so much, I’ll admit I had a false start with this book. The beginning started a bit shaky. Only after reading a few reviews did I decide to settle down and read the entire novella. I’m certainly glad I did, because it was an enjoyable read. Before I get to the good stuff, let’s just get out in the open what made me balk.

Mainly, I don’t think the story started in the right place. The earlier scenes focused on the introduction of minor characters which reappeared once or twice later in the novella. Very little time was spent on these scenes, other than to give identities to names. It gave the read a jerky feel with Greta popping in and out of people’s lives.

However, once we got beyond the introductions, the story really got underway. I stayed up well into the night to finish this read. If it weren’t for the breaks I had to take between laughing fits, I probably would have finished sooner.

One item I enjoyed about this book was the realism in terms of romance. I’ve never understood how people in novels could fall head over heels with one another without knowing anything about them. I guess I just don’t believe in the love at first sight. Lust at first sight? You better believe it! And this novella had it. Greta and Dayne had an immediate attraction which I could completely buy.

Sorry, Greta, but Dayne was my favorite character in this book. When he wasn’t lustful (which I loved!), he was cold, calculating, and a bit of a dick. Not the greatest personality traits, but it was his honesty in being himself which attracted me to him. It was more on the lines of you get what you see. I could trust that. Besides that, he was funny as hell—an endless source of amusement.

In terms of plot, I was up and down on that issue. The main plot itself was very believable (as far as realism goes in the paranormal scene) which kept me in the book. However, a few areas were kind of glitchy and distracted me with thoughts such as “why did they do that?” Even so, my understanding was this was Ms. Winters first published book. Not a bad first attempt, I have to say.

So a few of my favorite lines:

  • That little shit was my bestest best friend until he found out I wasn’t out saving the world every night. (bestest best friend you say? tee hee)
  • Greta suppressed a giggle as she tried to imagine Dayne Wickham, the hapless victim of a timeshare scheme. (Been there, done that :( )
  • Even ten years ago, Dayne never would have made a speech like the one he’d made in the basement about locking her up. It sounded like it had come out of Evil for Dummies. (I’ve got to get that book.)

Other than a few plot issues which didn’t quite make sense or seem reasonable, this was quite an enjoyable read. Now that my computer is functional (even though not really fixed), I think I’ll get around to finishing Blood Lust.

BTW, Anyone else get a craving of Star Wars episodes after reading this book?

Kept is available at Ms. Winters’ blog || Barnes & Nobles || Amazon  Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

Or get the complete collection (Blood Lust) at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes || Smashwords

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Aug 202010
 

I’m skipping my Friday writing post. Why? Cause I’ve got something far more amusing to share.

So it’s late night. 2:30 am here. I should be in bed. When I wake up in the morning, things might not be as funny. But for now, I’ve laughed so hard, there are tears in my eyes. And I’ve yet to finish. Finish what you ask? Watching episodes of Zoe Who! That’s what.

Why do I find this so amusing? One moment. Let me pull out my spreadsheet of queries, rejections, and rejections, and rejections, and…

Moving on. :) Zoe Who dispels many of the scare tactics which discourage authors from self-publishing. Now I’m not saying self-publishing is for everyone. And I’m also not saying every book that doesn’t land an agent/editor is worthy of self-publishing. So what am I saying? :)

I’m saying self-publishing isn’t a dirty word. I’m not even sure why people are so down on self-publishing anyway. I’m trying to figure out whom self-publishing threatens for those in the traditional trade to bash it so hard.

If you’ve followed my reviews, you know I haven’t enjoyed every book I’ve read. In fact, the list of books I have not finished is growing quite high. I don’t even bother reviewing those. For the record, my did not finish pile is all books published by traditional means. As they (whoever “they” are) say, taste is subjective. Shouldn’t that subjectivity travel into the indie realm also?

Anyway, there are some great books out there which are self-published…well at least one which I’ve read. Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas (review here), which is the only Indie book I’ve taken the time to read. And if there is one, I’m sure there are more. Readers just have to keep an eye out for recommendations. Cause really, there’s no slush pile to wade through. Self-published books typically get advertisement through word of mouth. Otherwise, they go unnoticed. Out of sight, out of mind. At least they’ve been out of my mind until I received the Comfort Food Recommendation.

So, now for a bit of Zoe Winter free advertising, cause I liked Zoe Who so much! Here’s the thing. I’ve not read any of Zoe Winter’s books, so I can’t in good faith recommend her. However, you don’t need my recommendation to take a chance on Ms. Winters. Head to her blog for a free download of Kept, the first book of her series Blood Lust. It’s a short read, only 75ish pages. See if you like this Indie author’s novella and go from there.

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