Friday, 27 September 2013

Christmas in October


Christmas in October

It is almost upon us.  Only five more days!

Every Monday and Thursday during October,
six different authors will be spotlighting their books. 

(READING THE DEAD is available on Thursday, Oct 24) 

Some lucky commenter is going to win over 50 different prizes. 

It could be you!  All you need to do is comment.
 The more you comment, the more chances you have of winning
all of these fabulous prizes!

So mark your calendars for Thursday, October 3,
and be sure to visit


Ho!  Ho!  Ho!


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Independence In A Digital Market

There's no mistaking the signs. Electronic books are more than a passing fad. They've established themselves in popularity as not simply a supplement to traditional books, but as their potential replacement. Though reports show that ebook sales have levelled off in recent years, vendors such as Amazon UK are reporting record highs in ebook downloads, surpassing sales of both hardcover and paperback books.

This changing digital marketplace invites both accomplished authors and newcomers alike to offer their wares in an unrestricted, free market environment. Some readers are feeling the pressure of caveat emptor, as they shop for books from their favorite NY Times best-selling author, now ingloriously set alongside John Doe's latest treatise on "1001 Ways To Pluck Navel Lint." Others are viewing the changes optimistically as they discover exciting new titles from indie authors on sites like Goodreads. No matter how you feel about the digital revolution in literature, this is a trend that's only going to become more prominent as the technology evolves to support even more media-rich storytelling.

In this current, ungoverned marketplace, it's not surprising to find the same sorts of issues that you would find in any unregulated bazaar. Shoddy craftsmanship, price gouging, and questionable reviews are all issues that ebook readers must face on a regular basis when considering the best outlet for their entertainment dollars. To be safe, most readers will stick to familiar names. Some may even choose to purchase the ebook version of their favorite writer's latest works, despite its cost often exceeding that of the print version. Unfortunately, the concept of "getting what you pay for" is the rule of law for established authors in this new marketplace, where an appearance on a best-seller list serves as an open invitation for inflated prices.

The age of the 99¢ ebooks are on the decline. In a recent article in Publishers Weekly, Mark Lefebvre, Kobo's director of self-publishing and author relations, admitted that even the $1.99 price point is "dead." Royalty limitations instituted by the vendors themselves have forced many authors to embrace the $2.99 to $5.99 price range, falling back on the lesser price only when offering discounts. For newcomers to the table, struggling authors with only a small handful of books, this price point is an immediate detriment to their sales figures. Despite the author's best self-marketing efforts, most readers will always have second thoughts about spending that kind of money on an unfamiliar name.

The marketplace seems to be trending towards stabilization on behalf of readers. The increased price for books means that, barring an exceptional title or a phenomenal marketing effort, untested writers will be forced to prove their work belongs on the digital bookshelf, alongside those of established authors. The threat of a bad review forces independent authors to work twice as hard as established ones, to provide a more compelling, original story, complete with professional editing and artwork. The added cost for these services means they either increase their own price tag and risk driving off potential readers, or absorb the loss. Either way, the situation places a first-time author at an immediate disadvantage.

Yet as the mantra for the indie author goes, "Book sales are not a sprint, but a marathon." 

There will always be as many poorly written, badly edited books dumped on the market as there are people seeing digital publishing as a get-rich-quick scheme. Bad reviews and a unfamiliarity with the author usually cause such titles to languish on the digital bookshelf until they fade into obscurity. 

The independent authors to stand the test of time will be the ones who persevere, who make the effort to provide a quality title again and again. Whereas traditional authors had to simply contend with rejection from publishers, this new generation of authors also faces a substantial financial hit, until such time as their accumulated works receive their much-deserved recognition from readers. Though unfortunate, it's a fact of life for serious independent authors in our new age of digital publishing. As any traditional author will be quick enough to declare, a real writer needs to pay their dues. Burgeoning authors in the evolving ebook market are paying every day in lost sales and the increasingly higher cost (both in time and money) of publishing and marketing their books. It's a paradigm that most established authors don't even fully understand.

Over time, independent authors will establish themselves in the eyes of a new generation of readers, in much the same way as the Internet fundamentally opened the doors to a world of previously unknown independent artists in the music and film industry. When that happy day comes, there will be no more discrimination between traditional authors and indies in the eyes of the readers. There will only be good authors and bad authors.

Unfortunately, I don't personally see the price of ebooks dropping in the near future. The increasing cost of marketing online, coupled with piracy concerns, means there will always be a hefty price tag for digital editions. The same factors that have driven up the price of video games over the years also play a role here. 

Examining that parallel market further leads us to realize that independent game designers provide a substantial savings in their products, compared to established gaming studios. Though (in general) their work may not have the polish of the titles released by industry-recognized giants, that doesn't make them any less enjoyable. Independent titles, whether in music, gaming, or film, fills a niche market as a viable alternative to potentially derivative work delivered by established entities who've lost touch with their customer's desires. Sometimes, the quality can even amaze.

There's a similar need for independent authors in today's marketplace. More readers are discovering this fact daily. Whether these writers choose to retain a lower pricing structure for their work, or emulate those of their traditionally published peers is entirely up to them. Having the freedom to establish their asking price is one of the few perks of self-publishing. Having the freedom of choice to buy their books is the readers'.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Fo' Shizzle, Biatch! Readin Da Dead Is Da Bomb!

Okay... I'm officially loving gizoogle.net right now. I'm seriously thinking of changing my Amazon page to their version!

Check out this sweet book description of Reading The Dead:

Book Description
While investigatin tha brutal murdaz committed by a mysterious serial killa known only as "Raithe," bookish LAPD Detectizzle Sarah Milton is unprepared ta have her entire ghetto turned upside down. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Innate powers ta peep tha dead, lyin dormant since her motherz murder, have reawakened up in her afta a near-fatal blastin fo' realz. Along fo' tha ride is Sarahz irrepressible thirteen-year-old childhood "imaginary playa," Anna Nigma, a most atypical poltergeist fo' realz. Amid fears fo' her sanity, Sarah must come ta grips wit tha realization dat her realitizzle is now a mix of tha natural n' supernatural, where powerful, ancient mystic symbols can grant dunkadelic powers over game n' dirtnap, n' paranormal influence extendz even tha fuck into her current cappin' investigation. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Forced ta hide her abilitizzles from everyone, Sarah n' Anna have no chizzle but ta brang Raithe ta justice on they own, before tha sinista forces behind his crazy-ass cappin' spree claim yet another victim.

and the editorial reviews are outragious!

Editorial Reviews

Review

Reviewed by Tracee Gleichner fo' Readers' Favorite

Sarah Milton had a bangin-ass childhood. Y'all KNOW dat shit, muthafucka! I be fly as a gangbangin' falcon, soarin all up in tha sky dawwwwg! Bein called a 'schizo' by nuff people, cuz of her imaginary playa Anna Nigma, she didn't be thinkin there was anythang wrong. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Biatch loved havin Anna ta rap to, especially when dat freaky freaky biatch had a gangbangin' daddy dat was too busy fo' her n' shit. But, when her mutha takes a thugged-out dirt nap tragically, Anna disappears n' Sarah is left ta fend for her muthafuckin ass. Right back up in yo muthafuckin ass. Biatch learns dat dat thugged-out biiiatch can only rely on her muthafuckin ass n' throws herself tha fuck into her thang hustlin wit tha LAPD fo' realz. After she is shot, her playa Anna returns, n' it might be just up in time ta help her break tha cappin' spree by serial killa Raithe.

When I first started readin dis book I wasn't shizzle what tha fuck ta expect. What I didn't expect was a mad unique plot, interwoven with character pimpment dat you don't peep too often. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch fo' realz. At first I wasn't sure how tha fuck I would feel bout tha relationshizzle between Anna n' Sarah yo, but ta peep how tha fuck these two playaz gots reacquainted n' how tha fuck they thang blossomed afta all kindsa muthafuckin years, was straight-up dope naaahhmean, biatch? Without Annaz help, Sarah would not done been able ta open up her mind ta tha fact dat Anna wasn't imaginary at all yo, but a spirit searchin fo' what tha fuck happened ta her up in her short game here, so peek-a-boo, clear tha way, I be comin' thru fo'sho. Not only did she need Sarahz help yo, but Sarah needed hers.

I highly recommend dis book ta mah playas dat loves a phat plot, some paranormal twists, n' charactas dat will leave you wantin mo' n' mo' n' mo' fo' realz. A great read!

From tha Author

Da Readin Da Dead series originally fuckin started as a screenplay I freestyled back up in 2011, purely fo' fun. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch fo' realz. After movin on ta short stories, I fuckin started ta feel tha urge ta try mah hand at suttin' bigger n' shit. While goin back n' readin mah original gangsta script, rough though it was, I found a lil' bit of magic up in tha evolvin relationshizzle between tha two main characters, LAPD Detectizzle Sarah Milton n' her teenage, pimply sidekick, Anna Nigma. I realized as I read it dat not only did tha rap work across different genres, encompassin every last muthafuckin thang from a paranormal comedy ta a cold-ass lil crime thrilla yo, but at its ass, dat shiznit was straight-up bout none of these thangs. Da five-o drama, suspense, thrills, supernatural n' mystic elements - they was just tha icin on tha cake. What drew me ta mah original gangsta script, n' what tha fuck I endeavored ta pass along up in dis book, was tha tale of two dopest playas, separated by years, whoz ass must find a place up in they lives fo' one another again, afta goin on ridin' solo fo' so long. Thatz what tha fuck dis book series means ta mah dirty ass. I hope you gonna find suttin' of equal value when you read it fo' yo ass. 

 God bless the interweb...


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Share The Love Wednesdays

CALLING ALL AUTHORS...

I'm seeking to start a new Wednesday tradition with authors on Twitter.

The concept is very simple: "Share The Love Wednesdays." Instead of simply retweeting authors in our circle, if every author could spare a few extra minutes to retweet the book of an unfamiliar author, maybe spotted from a friend's retweets or from their own followers list, that small act of kindness can snowball into a good day for everybody.

If you like the idea, please pass the word along on Facebook and by tweeting one of the following messages (or better still, one of your own if you're a member of a writer's group on Twitter). Let's get the word out that Wednesdays is our day to collectively shine as not just talent, but as a community of enthusiasts.

#RT #WW Share the love of #authors on Wednesdays! RT authors you've never RT'ed before! Pay it forward and show your support. #LOVEAUTHORS

#RT #AUTHORS need love too! RT a good #book and help spread the word, on Share The Love Wednesdays. #payitforward

#RT Share the love of an unknown #author this Wednesday! RT the #books of someone new and brighten their day. #Kindnessmatters


~o~

A FINAL WORD...
 
Thank you to everyone who participated in today's "Share The Love Wednesday" on Twitter. I hope you'll be back next week to RT more excellent authors. It's a great to widen your circle of friends and help other authors get noticed!

 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Indie Book of the Day

Cool! I was just informed that READING THE DEAD - THE SARAH MILTON CHRONICLES is the official indie book of the day. It's nice to know that warm feeling in my heart isn't due to clogged arteries.


Friday, 13 September 2013

Screenplay excerpt from FIDELIS IN AETERNUM

After basing READING THE DEAD on an original screenplay, I find the easiest method of organizing a lengthy body of work is to complete my first draft in a similarly scripted format. Both the second book, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM, and my newest book, currently in development, began as a hybrid of sorts. I thumb my nose at the rules of proper screenplay writing to incorporate additional thoughts and actions to be developed into the written version of my second draft. Like any revision, not everything I write in the script makes it to the final work. Changes are inevitable as new and (hopefully) better ideas occur to me during rewrites.

Presently, FIDELIS IN AETERNUM is still in the editing stages. It's on target for release later this year, or early next. For fun, I thought I'd offer up something a little different. Instead of providing a preview of a scene from the upcoming story itself, I thought I'd provide a glimpse of the work in its early stages, as a scene from the original screenplay. It's nothing too dramatic (sorry, but I'm trying to keep spoilers at a minimum), but it does give a little taste of Sarah and Anna hard at work on their latest mystery. I hope you enjoy it.

INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT, LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
SARAH places a laptop computer on her coffee table and sits down at the sofa to use it.

ANNA wanders into the room.

ANNA
Updating your Twitter?

SARAH
(while opening her web browser)
The warden said Sands received that amulet from a Reverend Corrivale. It's probably an alias, but just in case, I'm checking the database for any records on the name.

SARAH types the name CORRIVALE into the LAPD offenders database. ANNA sits down next to her to watch.

SARAH (CONT'D)
How are things going with Chelsea?

ANNA
Surprisingly dull. I think I might have caught her on an off day. She talked on the phone for a couple of hours, made some tea, watched some TV, and went to bed alone. Talk about a letdown.

The search comes back with No matches found.

SARAH
Hmm. Maybe nationwide?

She opens a connection to the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) and tries her search again.

SARAH (CONT'D)
What did you think? That Chelsea's life was like her movies?

ANNA
Not necessarily. I just expected it to be more interesting than... well...

SARAH
Mine?

ANNA
You have to admit: you and Ryan haven't exactly been hitting your smooch quota lately. How can a ghost be expected to live vicariously around here?

SARAH
Are you sure that's it? See, I think you're just using me as an excuse to see another naked man. I saw how you were at the crime scene.

ANNA
First: eww! Second: I can see naked men any time I want. I hardly need to wait for you. If I wanted to, I could even visit your boyfriend in the shower and catch an eyeful.

SARAH
You wouldn't dare.

ANNA looks up with a knowing smile.

SARAH (CONT'D)
You already did, didn't you?

ANNA
I was just looking out for you, that's all. Making sure that everything is where it's supposed to be.

SARAH
(fumes)
You need to stop talking right now.

ANNA
Okay. Just one more word. Birthmark. Or is that two words?

SARAH
I am so warning you...

SFX: Beep from the computer.
The message No matches found displays again.


SARAH (CONT'D)
That was a colossal waste of time.
(BEAT)
And he's not my boyfriend. He's just a friend friend.

ANNA
I'm a friend friend. Does that mean you're having dirty thoughts about me too? Here, let me try something.

ANNA turns the laptop screen to face her and starts clicking and typing.

SARAH
What are you doing?

ANNA
I'm running a web search on this Corrivale guy.

SARAH

Oh. How do you know how to do that?

ANNA
What do you think? That I'm just watching TV all day while you're at work? To my online homies, I'm DEDGURL6357.
(BEAT)
There. That should do it.

SARAH
You found him?

ANNA
No. But the search did pick up something about his name. See?

ANNA turns the laptop so SARAH can read it again.

SARAH
You spelled his name wrong. It's Corrivale, with an E, not corrival. That means... hum...

SARAH reads the first entry on the search results. It is from a dictionary website, returning the literal meaning of the word: cor·ri·val - n. A rival or opponent. syn. competitor, challenger.

SARAH (CONT'D)
(muses)
Challenger.

ANNA
(reaches for the laptop)
My bad. Let me try again.

SARAH
Wait! It can't be...

SARAH types something into the search engine. One word: SEBASTIEN. After considering, she adds a second word: MEANING.
The first link on the list of results is a page labelled Meaning of the name Sebastien.


SARAH clicks on the link. It opens to a page with suggested baby names. The page contains the following information at the top: Sebastien - as a boy's name is a variant of Sebastian (Greek), and the meaning of Sebastien is "revered".


SARAH (CONT'D)
Revered... Reverend. Reverend Corrivale could be an alias for Sebastien Challenger.

ANNA
Friend of yours?

SARAH
From the Raithe investigation. Sebastien Challenger was the author of some obscure book that I found buried in Charlie Dobson's locker. I never really thought about it until now. What was it called again? Soul... something.

ANNA
That's pretty random. What makes you think that this same guy is in contact with the Fancy Dress Killer?

SARAH
The sigil on the amulet. We never did figure out how Raithe learned how to create them. We just assumed that one of the ghosts taught him. With everything that happened, I never really thought to follow up on it.

ANNA
You think this Challenger guy wrote a supernatural how-to book?

SARAH
I wouldn't mind reading it for myself to find out. Luckily, I know right where I can get my hands on a copy.



Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Black Dwarf


I haven't had much time to update my blog recently. Life and illness have been getting in the way. To make up for it, you'll find an unedited horror short story now on Wattpad. Entitled "Black Dwarf," it's the tale of a horrific face off between Hollywood stars of the past and present. I hope you find it sufficiently creeptastic.