Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What Series Of Books Do You Follow?

Another weekend gone, and a new week begins. We have snow forecast for tonight and everyone is asking "Will it ever end?" and my answer is "Yes"! I remember the first year we moved to Colorado and there were flakes in June. But, that is Colorado for you, just wait 15 minutes and the weather will change. I do love the weather here though, it makes life interesting.

Well, on to the subject at hand. When I wrote my last post about what makes you close a book, I thought of just the opposite for this blog. What makes you look forward to the next book. I'm sure great writing and a great story is part of it, but are there certain characters that you really enjoy? I follow several author's series. I do love historical fictions with action and suspense. Nothing I love more than to go on a chase around the world for a certain artifact and the character's life is in danger and he/she is against all odds. I also love great mysteries with detective characters that have to solve the crime, with lots of twists and danger at every turn. Even international espionage gets me reading faster.

I also like fantasy fiction books where the main character is a down trodden youth who has to overcome several obstacles and become the hero he/she was meant to be. I think that's why I enjoy series so much, or at least a trilogy, I fall in love with the characters and want to go on another adventure with them. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have some magic and supernatural abilities in the fantasy books. Nothing I love better than that.

So my question to you is, are there certain characters that you love to follow? Do you like to read series? I personally don't want the story to end, if it's a good story. 

So leave me a comment and tell me what characters are you excited to read about again? When the next book comes out in your favorite series, do you rush to buy it and steal some time reading?

I would love to hear who has grabbed you as a reader and held you tight! I guess that's all for today. I look forward to your answers in the comments and have a great week everyone!

Love, Lisa

Friday, April 26, 2013

What Makes You Stop Reading?

As you know we had the issue of the fonts this week on the cover of the book and map. We have come to the conclusion that rather than argue if we can use certain fonts, we will be changing them next week. It would be this week but Mikey is out of town until next Tuesday. That really is the only problem we have left to fix and then back to formatting. It does put us back a few more weeks, but it will be worth it.

In the mean time I was reading a blog the other day and even though I had touched on the same subject at hand in the past, I thought it would be a good one to bring back up again. The subject of what makes you close a book before reading all of it.

I think it's an important topic mainly because those of us that are writers need to come to terms with what we really need to fix before we put our babies out into the world. You don't want to get a lot of negative reviews, and let's face it, none of us are perfect and we need to be honest with ourselves if we want to sell our books. So I thought I would put my list out there and hopefully you will put yours down in the comments section so I can get an idea of what drives you crazy enough to possible close a book.

1. One thing that really drives me crazy is when the writer puts an added thought "column"  after every dialog. I know sometimes you want to add thoughts of the POV character, but every time they say something, or even when the other character answers? So in other words, a dialog sequence takes several pages. I know that is a way for you to bring out the personality of your protagonist, but every time? And then to boot, it's a paragraph of basically mumbling.

2. Info dump can be really annoying too. I know I have been guilty of it myself, but that's why I have critique partners. They keep me in line. You can take the information you want to portray and insert it here and there so as not to put it all in one place. And you can use dialog to get out the information.

3. Head-hopping is another one. You really need to stay in one characters POV within a scene or chapter. And you really should only select a few characters throughout your entire book that you will go into their view. You should have one protagonist (your main character) and one nemesis (your bad guy). Of course you have other characters (secondary) and sometimes need to go into their thoughts, but keep it to a minimum. The story is your main character's story.

4. Telling instead of showing. This is a tough one, but is completely annoying. I know there are times you do need to tell, but really very few. Try to describe "what" the character is seeing, instead of telling. Bring us into the scene. The same goes with their thoughts if it's an important scene in the book.

5. If the story is boring. This is where you want to look at stronger verbs and telling action. Limit the amount of dialog between characters. Not pages and pages of a conversation. Make people want to care about the characters. Come up with action scenes that put the readers at the edge, you can even do this with love scenes. And watch your redundancy.

6. Understanding what your reading. There are certain writers who try to write above the heads of typical readers by using words that most people would never have in their vocabulary. You need to stick to the character's POV profile. If the character is a young girl, would she really use those words? Another one is, and is used a lot in my genre, making up a different language. I have one in my book(s), but I try to make sure that at least 90% is understandable by using the word in "their" language, and in ours. And using made up words that are an inch long so that no one can pronounce them is frustrating because it stops the reader in their tracks.

I think this is the most important point. If you are stopping the reader, they will end up putting your book down. You need to keep the story moving along. Sure there are points where you will slow down, but not for long.

I have put down books for a few of the reasons I listed. Mainly because it will drive me crazy trying to read it. I really hate skimming, but I seem to do it a lot lately. 

7. And the last, but not least, is the 3 page chapter writers. There is no depth in their story. It's simply, this happens, than this. Sure, it moves along, but I have not become invested in the characters. There are quite a few "famous" writers now who have started doing this. They want to pump out the books and don't care how the reader feels about their work. They figure the more books they pump out the more money they make and if they were, at one time, a good story teller, then people will buy them. Or if they have a big name because at one time they were great writers. In my opinion, not any more. 

Well there's my list, what's yours? I'm sure there have been times where you have stopped reading a book. Let me know what drives you crazy, I'm all ears!

Until next week, have a great weekend and I will see you next Tuesday!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Fonts Are You Using?

Okay, this is a new one on me - Did you know when you are self-publishing you have to make sure your fonts are not copyrighted? Well, it's true. Again, I am finding out this stuff the hard way.

Thank God for our friend Ryan or we wouldn't have known half of the information he has shared with us through this process!

Yes, one of our fonts is copyrighted and even though I have not heard back from my book designer, I am assuming he didn't know. Now, we have to check each font for the cover, back and map before we can move forward. I feel bad for the nice young lady who is formatting our book into epub because she is now put on hold, again.

I swear, if it's not one thing, it's another! This is wearing me out! So now we are all on hold with publishing. We have to sort through all of this and redo the fonts. Hopefully when we fix this, it will be the last major issue.

I am sure this will all be fixed and we will launch. It will happen. Thanks to all of you who have been patient and supportive of us through all of these problems. But you are definitely getting a front row seat to all the steps involved in self-publishing.  

One more thing I learned - What font you use is like a signature of your book(s), too. So we have to decide carefully since each book should have the same design. Those of you who now think "I am going through a traditional publisher after hearing all this", I just want to say, it is all worth it, still. Yes it takes time, but not as much time. In fact not even close to as much time as it takes this way.

I know writers that have waited years. So if your going through problems like me, hang in there, it will get better. (I have to tell myself the same thing)

I hope all of you have a great week. Just a small note, Toni had surgery for her collarbone yesterday and she is doing fine. She is at home resting and I did talk to her this morning. 

Thanks to those of you who's thoughts and prayers were with her. 

Take care, Lisa

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Know, I'm Late

The story of my life...late. I would have posted earlier but I couldn't sleep last night. It was probably around 3:00 in the morning before I finally feel asleep. Then I got up and turned on the news and saw the recent developments on catching the suspect(s) of the bombing and couldn't stop watching it. I finally said to myself, "Time to turn it off and post my blog."

So, hear I am with really no new news at this point. From my understanding Mikey will be over on Saturday with the fixes of the cover, spine, back, and map of the book. Then we will be back on schedule for the formatting. I sincerely hope so. 

It has been a long week and very emotional for me since I have been working to get to this point for 4 and a half years. It will happen though and I am trying to keep my excitement going and not let all these set backs damper my enthusiasm. It has been tough, though.

I am sure most writers go through this with their first book, either with trying to self-publish, of even waiting for the publisher to get their books up on line. I know it's a normal process, but I guess when your the one going through it, that's not much of a comfort.

But, hopefully now we will get it done and can put our energy in more of a positive light with social media and the novella we are writing. 

We did, however, finish revisions on a new chapter in the novella and plan to meet with our critique partners next week...moving forward. The novella seems to be going great so far and, to me anyway, sounds like another great story in our made up world of the Djen.

I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the story and believe you will also. Stay tuned for new developments. I will keep to up to date on the process of our publishing and on the new book(s). I appreciate those who have been so supportive. Thank you Ryan for your insight this past week and I hope you enjoy the book, Fable.

See you next Tuesday, Lisa

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Patience is a Virtue

As you all know the plan was to format the book in both epub and paperback this weekend, but of course nothing ever happens the way I plan for it. Murphy's law came into play and we are still at square one. Luckily a cyber friend of mine caught several mistakes on my cover, blurb, and on the back of the book before we had formatted. Not to mention, my cover artist had not finished the map. For some reason he didn't realize we would need that, too.

Anyway, I guess Mike forgetting to bring the finished map was a good thing since we didn't go ahead with the formatting. Although now I am stressed out about getting it all done. I guess it will happen when it's supposed to happen, which will be later this week since we also received more than a foot of snow and more on the way the next few days. 

I know we are so close but it brings me to one question - does it ever end?

I realize it will get done, It's just I am overwhelmed with it all. So, now that we know all the mistakes and Mike will get them fixed this week, (I hope) we will be back on schedule soon. 

At least I am trying to look at the bright side. And I did manage to get our taxes done on time. I guess we will have to be patient a little longer, but it will all work out and Fable will be launched in the next couple of weeks. 

In the mean time I am working on a blog tour. I have 5 writers who are interested, and I hope to get more soon. I have never done a blog tour. This is all new to me. If you know how one is done, please feel free to enlighten me. I'm sure I will figure it all out though. 

So all I ask, is be patient with me. The book will launch and the blog tour will happen. This too shall pass! 

With the blog tour I plan to have giveaway's and maybe some contests. If you have any ideas for those, let me know, too.

Until Friday, I hope all of you have a great week. Thanks for letting me vent and I hope to have better news with the next post.

Love, Lisa

Friday, April 12, 2013

Are Your Ducks In A Row?

As promised I will discuss what was talked about at the attorney's office last week. Toni and I learned a lot, even with the fact that my sister worked for lawyers for years as a Paralegal. There is always something new to learn.

We discussed copyrights, and their protection, and LLC. He talked with us for two hours and was very informative. We were also told that he had dealt with people trying to steal other's books and put them right on Amazon in their name instead. I found that really interesting. 

I do want to say that I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice, only my interpretation of what I learned.

First LLC - Which is what he suggested would be best for us. There's no reason to become a corporation. It is simple process. You can do it on line. Simply go to your state web-site and fill in the paperwork and of course, pay whatever their fee is. Although it is true, there is a limited amount of protection, having a good lawyer can help you if you are ever sued. The purpose of an LLC is to protect your personal assets, but if the one suing you has deep pockets then that can be a challenge anyway. Another good idea is to have an accountant do your taxes. It also shows that you took the proper steps in being held accountable. As long as you have an LLC in place, it does make it harder for someone to sue you personally. It is a protection between you and your business. Just make sure that you keep your business separate from your personal accounts.

Next Copyrights - Most of this I already knew, but I did learn a few things. Anytime you write something on paper, you have the "copyright". But that does no protect you enough from thieves. Protecting your book through the Library of Congress makes it Federally protected. This gives you the right to not only control how it is used, but to distribute copies to the public. If someone steals your work this gives you the right to sue and obtain compensation for any losses due to the theft.

You can take it to a federal court, and under the protection of this you are also protected within the borders of our country. It can make the difference if someone steals your work. And yes, it does happen. It will also protect you from lawyers fees in the since that the guilty party will be responsible for them. 

I think having a lawyer on your side makes all the difference in the world. He knew all the ends and outs and spoke plainly for my understanding anyway. I am glad I was forced to have this meeting because it did turn out positive. 

We are protected within our borders which makes it harder for people to steal our work if you take the steps to federally protect your work. He even suggested we copyright the cover and map art and our business cards, which has a picture of the cover on it.

Okay, back to the story about people stealing on Amazon and turning around and putting their name on the book and reselling it on Amazon. The lawyer told us he had dealt with this a few times. Although it is an easy step to remedy, you can still lose sales and there is no way to locate these people to take them to court. They simply don't exist. Most of the time it comes from a foreign location, (probably someone in a backdoor room or cafe), but once Amazon is notified and is shown that you are registered with the Library of Congress, they will immediately take the other site down and pay your legal expense for having to contact them and take these steps. Which personally I found amazing since you would think that Amazon wouldn't want to have to pay money out of their pockets and would keep an eye on this so it didn't happen in the first place. But that's just me. 

I have heard from a few writers I know that their work was pirated. They would have to chase down the culprit and hopefully put a stop to it. Don't kid yourself, this happens all the time, so it is better to take the steps to protect yourself and the hard work you have created. In a world of endless possibilities with the internet, there will always be people who will take advantage. 

My advice, take these steps. 

All right, now our winner of the Starbucks card. Sunni Morris! Congratulations Sunni! I will be in touch with you via email and get that sent to you ASAP!

We will have another contest in the next few weeks, so stay tuned. In the mean time, have a great weekend and if you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comment box. As always, I love getting comments and if there is anything you wish to add, I love learning more about the legal aspects of protecting our hard work!

Love, Lisa

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A New Day To Post

Yup, here it is Tuesday and I am posting, feels weird, but this will be the new norm. Although my sister hasn't totally recovered from your motorcycle accident on Easter, I still decided to go ahead and change the days I post since I had already announced that I would.

Yes, for those of you that didn't know, my sister, Toni, was in a motorcycle accident. She's okay, except for the fractured collarbone and sprang ankle, she is recovering. In fact she did attempt to go to work yesterday, but only made it through half the day. I personally can't believe she went to work at all. I know she's been in a lot of pain. But, one thing you can say about my sister, is she's tough and a trooper. Her motto is, "just rub a little dirt in it and call it good" yes, she's nuts!

Anyway, she plans to come over on Wednesday to work on the finishing touches on the book. We have done all the edits from Susan, our editor, and now we are adding the copyright page, and the 'about the authors' page. Along with those, we are adding a little 'Orb' in between the scenes instead of the asterisks.

I have decided to read through the book, from start to finish, and I have to say, this is a great story! I feel really good about it! I hope there are some of you that plan on purchasing the book because I can say you won't be disappointed. Not to toot my own horn, but I am very proud of it and believe that this series will turn out to be popular. That is, as long as those of you who like it, write a review for us and tell other's to check it out. I am thinking positive!

On Saturday we will be downloading the manuscript, along with the cover and map, to be formatted. We are also going to go through Createspace for the paperback. I hope that's the right decision for that. Amazon seems to support them, so I guess we will too. If you know of a better route for us to take for the paperback and printing, please feel free to clue me in. I am new at this and welcome any suggestions. I will investigate them. 

I guess after that, we are launching, so not much longer! Again, thanks to all of you who have been so supportive of me and my sister, and the book. You are all wonderful! I hope you don't mind writing a review, since that's the big thing now, and passing the word for other's to get the book. It would mean the world to us!

So, I guess, next week some time, we will be back on the novella. We are at chapter 7 and it's moving right along, too. Soon, it will be going to Susan and we will be working on Lore - Book 2 of the Lorn Prophecy. 

I hope you enjoy our series and the "side books" to our Djen world. Have a great week everyone and don't forget the drawing this week for the Starbucks gift card. I will announce the winner on Friday! Robin Calkins won the Kindle Fire on the fanpage and she should be getting it today. I hope she likes her kindle as much as I like mine!

My next post I will be talking about our little trip to a lawyer and the information we learned about copyright and LLC. I'm sure it will benefit some of you writers. We wouldn't have had to have a meeting with him except that I received a message from another writer who claimed we were stealing her work. Yes, this did happen, and we decided to cover our asses and find out what we needed to do to protect ourselves and the book. Interesting information. Until then, have a prosperous week!

See you on Friday! Lisa

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Finished Blurb

Well, after painstakingly writing and rewriting the blurb we think we've got a winner. At least I hope so. I would love to hear what you think, leave me a comment below. 

Stevie Barrett lives an ordinary life in Golden, Colorado, where nothing remarkable ever happens. That is, until right before her high school graduation. Her mom is attacked by men with glowing gold eyes. That’s when Stevie’s life takes a bizarre turn.

A strange being watches her, hidden in shadow. Stevie has waking visions of a people called the Djen and their ancient world. If that isn’t enough, she accidently heals a stranger with a touch. A tidal wave of abilities awakens within her and threatens her sense of reality.

She discovers that a group known as the Rebellion is hunting her, led by a man bent on possessing her legacy. In order to stop him and save everyone she loves, Stevie and her friends must embark on a quest to find a mystical relic of the Djen, ahead of her pursuers, and return it to its rightful place. A journey that will alter everything she believes and propel her into a life unknown to her, but one she is destined to embrace.

Also don't forget that starting next week my blogging days will be Tuesday's and Friday's.

Next week is the last week for the drawing for the Starbucks card and this Saturday is the drawing for the Kindle Fire on my fanpage. Get on it if you want to win!

Have a great weekend everyone and next week should be news on when the book is launched! See you then!

Love, Lisa

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Musings Again

Happy April Fool's Day everyone! Another new start of the week and lots to fill you in on. I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter!

First, the book is coming along great. We are at chapter 34, only 5 more to go! The cover and the map are almost finished also, just a few little touch-ups and we'll be set. We will need to fix the edits for the Djen language and the acknowledgements, and we have to write out the copy-right page, and then we will be done. 

We have figured out who will be doing the formatting for ebooks, and last but not least, we still need to look into the paperback formatting. Moving right along. 

I'm sure we will be launching in the next few weeks. I am very excited and will let you know when it is finished! 

Also, other things are looking up, my husband found a new job position, (some of you knew he was laid off) and at least on the home-front things are getting back to normal. I'm glad it's a job that he seems to be looking forward to. He needs to be busy!

I have decided that starting next week I will be changing the days I post on here to Tuesday's and Friday's. My sister and I work better in the morning when our brains are fresher and she has a mortgage lending position with her job and has to be available some evenings for clients, so we picked working on Monday and Wednesday mornings. This way we won't (hopefully) make as many mistakes since we should be more awake. 

The contest on here is still going on. Don't forget to comment and get your name in the hat! It is a drawing, but the more times you comment, the more times your name is in there. I also have a giveaway on my fanpage on Facebook. If you get a chance, stop by and 'like' the page and click on the icon that says giveaway and get your name in there for a drawing for a Kindle Fire! That ends on Saturday, so you need to hurry! fanpage

Well, that's about all for today, nothing to exciting to write about, but at least I got all my announcements in in one full swoop! If you plan on any fun pranks today, leave me the details. I would love to know what tricks you have up your sleeve, and it gives me ideas! See all of you on Thursday and don't forget to write!

Love, Lisa