Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Word Witch Wednesday - spring patchwork


So many things going on. I'd like to think I will get everything organized and done this spring. Or, at the very least, get them patched together.

First off, pop on over to Untethered Realms (after you read this post!), and check out my review of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It's the 50th anniversary of the book. My experience reading it now is greatly different than when I did 25 years ago.

I've stalled out on the two novels I've been working on. I'm over 25,000 words into both of them, and I know where they're going. Perhaps that's the problem. There are no more surprises for me. I'm poking away at my pen name's novel, but I have not touched Of Death and Sorrow for a while now. Not even the awesome cover is motivating me.

I have written some new short fiction. My latest sci-fi story was given much love from my local critique group this past Saturday. I fixed it up and submitted it to Daily Science Fiction. (That's the first place I send most of my flash pieces.) I have five other stories out on submission. These shorter tales make me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

While I promised myself to step back from excessive marketing, I have been trying a few different things in group promos with my pen name. Nothing has had much success. I know I just need to get more novels out there.

While researching marketing, I came across a genre new to me that thrilled me. It's called LitRPG. Basically it's a story with all the elements of a game in story form. The main feature being the heroes know they're in a game and they must play by the rules of it. (Think Jumanji.) I've read a few books in this genre, but I had no idea it was a thing, and it's HUGE overseas. LitRPG books sell as well as George R.R. Martin. Is it going to catch on here in America? Maybe.

I've hung the carrot of LitRPG in front me. Just finish the two novels I'm working on and then I can write a new LitRPG story. So many ideas have run through my mind. The stories are usually light, snarky, and hilarious. It's possible I might eat that carrot before finishing the other novels, but I keep telling myself that I have to complete them. Hard work and perseverance are vital for a writer. While I'm not under contract to anyone, I started something that I do need to finish.

But that yummy carrot...

How do you resist eating the carrot?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Music Boxes - My Review and a Giveaway

I'm so pleased to share with everyone the wonderful Tonja Drecker's upcoming release. I do know it's IWSG day. I didn't forget! Yet we're a group about supporting one another. Reading, viewing, and sharing is one of the biggest ways to do so.


Music Boxes
By Tonja Drecker
Middle Grade Fantasy / Performing Arts
158 pages
Dancing Lemur Press
Release date: March 5th, 2019
Ages 9 to 12

·         ISBN-10: 1939844568
·         ISBN-13: 978-1939844569


Book Blurb:

“I only desire your talent...”


Twelve-year-old Lindsey McKay's biggest dream is to be a famous ballerina. But after moving to New York, she ends up at the Community Center with a teacher who’s a burly bear in tights.


When she meets Madame Destinée, the teacher of a top dance school who offers her classes for free, Lindsey can't believe her luck. In exchange, she must perform in the school’s exclusive midnight shows, ones sure to make her a star. But something’s not right...

One by one, the other dancers disappear. Each time they do, a music box with a figurine just like the missing ballerina joins Madame Destinée’s growing collection. If Lindsey doesn’t discover the truth about the dance school, she might end up a tiny figurine herself.


Sale Links:




Get a FREE envelope with Swag!

Pre-order/order your book (ecopy or print) before midnight (EST) on Friday night, March 8th, send a copy of your proof of purchase to  tonjadrecker@gmail.com along with an US mailing address, and you will receive an envelope with exclusive swag (bookmark, sticker, etc).

My review: 


Lindsey McKay had to leave her friends, her home, and her dreams in Nebraska when her family moved to New York so that her little sister could go to Julliard. Her parents work a lot, and Lindsey is left on her own to stew in her jealousy. Stopping to pet an adorable dog on the street, she meets Madame Destinée, an infamous ballet teacher. She sniffs out great talent, and Madame believes Lindsey has it. Taking classes with Madame is a dream, but things just aren't right at the exclusive school. When the other students start to disappear, Lindsey discovers the reason is more chilling than she ever imagined. Will she be able to save the other students before she becomes a permanent part of Madame Destinée's collection?

I do love modern fairy tales, especially with a good dose of the paranormal. This YA story hooked me right away in Lindsey's world. The frightening move to a big city, the sadness at having left her whole life behind, and the green streak of jealousy when a sibling gets all the attention. I certainly sympathized, feeling how it all seemed unfair. Lindsey has a strong voice, but not a mean one. She does still love her sister despite everything. Then all the wonder when she meets Madame Destinée and is introduced to her magical school. The details are lovely, and even later when the creepiness sneaks in, it is still hauntingly beautiful, especially with the music boxes.

Madame Destinée herself is a striking character. Mysterious and dominating, yet seemingly kind to her students. All those pretty cakes and treats. Yum! I was a big fan of Robert. I sympathized with him, too, that his family wanted him to play hockey and not dance. The whole cast of characters was varied and enchanting. Or enchanted, as the case had been with some!

I highly recommend this book to fans of YA paranormals. It had me under its spell.

All about the author...


Tonja Drecker is a writer, blogger, children’s book reviewer and freelance translator. After spending years in Germany exploring forgotten castles, she currently resides in the Ozarks with her family of six. When she’s not tending her chickens and cows, she’s discovering new adventures, nibbling chocolate and sipping a cup of tea.


Links:



Giveaway

The giveaway will run from midnight (EST) on the night of February 21st, 2019 until midnight (EST) on the night of March 15th,  2019. Entries will be made through the Rafflecopter. One winner will receive a music box (the one found in the book video: https://youtu.be/ww_RY4IVg3w) with the author’s golden signature on the bottom as well as swag (US addresses only). The second winner will receive an Amazon GC of $10 (US). The second winner must be in possession of a qualifying US Amazon account.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only, ages eighteen and over. No purchase is required for entry. All winners must claim their prize 48 hours after notification. Winners will be announced on www.tonjadrecker.blogspot.com on Saturday, March 16th 2019 by 10:00am (EST). All addresses and personal information will be used only for prize allocation. Sponsor, Tonja Drecker, assumes no responsibility or liability of any kind. Please email all questions to tonjadrecker@gmail.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The 13th Floor Complete Collection Gets A Makeover!


Ah, the old cover. The one where I took an image of some stairs and photoshopped a silhouetted couple in it. Not horrible, but not that great either. I wouldn't call this an eye-catching cover any longer.

I've been wanting to change it for a while now, but I could not decide what I wanted to be on the cover. It had to scream paranormal romance. Researching covers, looking at hundreds of them, I came up with a list of what I should have on it.

1) Setting. Dark background. Don't let it overwhelm anything else on the cover. It can just be a faded partial bit.
2) Title/author. It should be easy to read in thumbnail form. Font is important. I had complaints about the font I used on the original cover. The style of it makes the letters uneven. I liked it, but some people thought it was just bad design.
3) Hunky man or dynamic couple. It's tough to find an image or images of a couple that work together for what you want. It's easier to go the hunky man route. But having a person or people on the cover is key. (Sidenote: usually having just a woman on the cover is more representative of urban fantasy than paranormal romance.)
4) Something paranormal. Lots of magical swirls or mist is popular.

Even with these guidelines, it was tough to figure out what to do. The book consists of six different novellas with various characters. I spent hours searching through image sites.

I finally decided I would feature either Marc (The Marquis) or Xan (The Dragonslayer). They are my two most popular heroes. And it was easier to find a dark haired muscle man than a blond one. Marc gets to represent the collection!

I don't know how pleased Marc was with the decision, especially when I knew immediately how I wanted to present him. I imagine some grump going on, but Mae would convince him to be a good sport about it.

I found the background at Pixabay and the model at Unsplash. These two are my favorite free image sites. Lots of variety and beautiful shots.

As I've leveled up my Photoshop skills, I've learned to layer, but I've also learned that if you can get away with a few layers, all the better. Simple and clean without so many things to distract the eyes.

Behold! The new cover!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

#IWSG for February 2019

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is the brilliant idea of Alex J. Cavanaugh. The purpose of the group is to share doubts and insecurities and to encourage one another. Please visit the other participants and share your support. A kind word goes a long way.

This month's awesome co-hosts are: Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace!

This month's optional question: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Currently the other main outlet I have is playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends. I've been the acting Dungeon Master (DM) for a while now running The Rise of Tiamat campaign. We're nearly at the end! I've used a lot of different things to help me in my position as the DM. I've used puppets for council meetings and perler bead dragons when the heroes were conferring with the metallic dragons. I write little notes and tie them with ribbons. Yesterday I wrote a speech one of the non-player characters would share with one of the heroes. It was 2,000 words!

This month's insecurities: Perhaps prepping all that gaming stuff might be why I haven't done much writing otherwise. But I'm having great fun with it. I figure as long as I'm writing something, it's okay. Just keep the mojo flowing. And even as I say it, I feel guilty. I can't erase that feeling completely.

I've been doing better exercising and eating. I'm almost done a new cover for The 13th Floor Complete Collection. I've been doing a lot of things other than writing my WIP. I tell myself it's okay, but part of me doesn't believe it yet. I need to do it all! I don't, really. But you know how over-ambitious muses can be...

Friday, February 1, 2019

Free Romance & Fantasy books!


FREE BOOKS!
Do I need to add anything else?

Other than the fact that my paranormal romance, The 13th Floor Complete Collection is part of the promo!
Just click on the image to take you there.


100 books for 99c!
This fabulous promotion includes the first novel from my pen name, Morena Silver. Love and adventure on the endless seas in Harnessing the Winds!

As an added bonus...

Please consider leaving reviews for these authors. Even though you're getting a book for free or 99c, it doesn't devalue all the hard work they put into these stories.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Two marvelous free promo events looking for author signups!


I've got two awesome free promo events coming up in February to share with authors!

Paranormal Candy is hosting both. The first is an all month free book campaign on Book Funnel. Already we have nearly 50 authors signed up. Imagine the social media reach with this!

If you have fantasy and romance books (any sub-genre welcomed!), you can signup HERE. Click on the image above to see who is participating so far.


So many authors will be doing promos for Valentine's Day next month. We planned to do something different. February 26th is Tell A Fairy Tale Day. We love fairy tales so much, we want to celebrate them for a whole week!

If you have a fairy tale book or any type of re-telling, you can join this wonderful free promo event. Signup HERE.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

My 2019 Writing Goals - Making It Work


This might be a little late for a start of the year post about my goals, but that's all right. I'm taking it easier on myself. Last year was rough, and for the sake of my health, I need to be kinder to myself in 2019.

I'm not going to pretend that I will find the perfect balance this year. What I will try to do is be okay with that. Easier said than done, I know!

I've been giving a lot of thought about what I want to do this year. My first instinct is: I WANT TO DO IT ALL! My first instinct is highly ambitious and unrealistic. Someone ought to give it a talk.

Nothing has lessened my drive to want to do all I can do, to make myself better, to release tons of stories into the world. So to satisfy that drive, I will make this the year of little steps. One little thing a day for my career. It might not be writing. It could be just tweeting or blogging or critiquing. They're all small things, but add up a whole year of them, that's huge!

Here are the goals I want to accomplish:

1. Finish writing and publish Of Death and Sorrow. This will be the only major project for my name. I already have 25,000 words down, and it's going to be a big book. I won't be setting a deadline. I will give the story as much time as it needs. I will give me as much time as I need.

2. Write two books for my pen name. Last year I published two. (I wrote 69,000 words in four weeks to be able to release one novel by Christmas!) Writing for my pen name is much easier than what I write for my own name. I'm following tropes, and the stories are light and fun. Two isn't unrealistic.

3. Blog twice a month. While I've been keeping up with posting, I haven't been very good at visiting blogs in the latter half of last year. I want that to change. If I only post twice a month, it will give me time to visit your blogs. That makes me happy.

I'm also happy to welcome writers to guest post on my blog. I already have two terrific guests lined up for February and March. If you'd like to take over my blog for a day, please email me ( christinerains.writer@gmail.com ).

4. Spend less time marketing. I got into the habit of using my entire mornings to work on social media, email, marketing research, etc. I put in a lot of effort and got little back. As proven through my experience with my pen name, I don't need to spend a lot of time marketing to get the same results. Less time spent doing that means more time for writing. Because as a writer, that should be my focus.

5. Get up and move more often. This old body isn't tolerating hours spent sitting in front of the computer anymore. Even if I just go fold some laundry or do the dishes, I'm away from the computer and shaking out the stiffness.

6. Read and review 100 books. I made my goal last year, and I'm excited to do so this year!

I will not say my WANT TO DO IT ALL instinct won't push me at times, but I hope to keep it more check.

Here's to a great 2019 for all of us!