Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tales as Old as Time: Guest Blog


With Kristie Cook

Genesis
A father who reveals his truth.
Twins who take different paths—one light, one dark.
Angels who have plans for them both
And Demons who do as well.
So the Earthly battle for souls ignites…

A tale that is over 2,000 years old, this is the story of the Amadis beginnings.

Promise
When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can’t be real, she decides it’s time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family’s secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her fa├žade of normalcy…until she discovers he’s not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel.

Their union brings hope and promise to her family’s secret society, the Angels’ army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy – Satan’s minions and Tristan’s creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell.

Purpose
Lost in despair, Alexis teeters on the edge of an abyss, her lifeline of hope fraying into a thin thread. If it snaps, she’ll plunge into complete darkness. With the help of her son and her writing, she’s been able to hold on. Until now. Erratic impulses, disturbing delusions and her own demonic blood threaten her sanity. When she’s forced to choose between hanging onto hope or letting go to serve her Amadis purposes, she faces a decision with inconceivable sacrifices.
Alexis runs to the one place she thinks will provide answers, only to find herself at the center of another battle of good versus evil, not only with the Daemoni, not only within herself…but also against the worst opponent imaginable. But even if she wins, what will she lose?


Thank you, Patti, for hosting me and the Romancing Your Dark Side Tour! It’s such a pleasure to be here.

I was out the other night celebrating Promise’s entry into the Top 100 Paid in the Kindle Store and got to talking with a man who knew nothing about the publishing industry but was/is a very astute businessman. He asked about my publisher and I explained the chaos of the industry and how my business partner and I saw an opportunity to become a publisher. It went a little like this:

“So you made it to the bestsellers list on your own, without a major player backing you?” he asked.

“Correct. It took a lot of blood, sweat, tears and much trial and error to get there, but we did it.”

“Are you the first?”

I laughed. “Oh, no. There have been many – not a ton, definitely not all indie authors have made it, but there have been many.”

“It must have been a big boost to their careers and businesses.”

I explained how Amanda Hocking went on to sign a $2 million contract with Simon & Schuster to publish three of her books and how John Locke also signed a contract with Simon & Schuster to distribute his books.

“What about the others?”

“They keep writing more books, selling more and laughing all the way to the bank. Some sign with publishers and some don’t, enjoying their lives as indies.”

“So you – all of you – have tens of thousands of readers who go on to read your next books?”

“Right. I get a lot of fan mail from readers begging for the next book.”

“And now you have a built-in market for that book.” He tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Publishers put out crap by people whose names shouldn’t be anywhere near a book [he was talking about *cough* Snookie *cough*] because they have an existing audience. Now you and these other indies who hit the bestsellers list have an existing audience. So instead of the archaic, bottle-neck process you describe with agents and piles of manuscripts that don’t get the attention they deserve and how difficult it is for a new author, why don’t the publishers or at least the agents just look for indies on the bestsellers lists? Why not forego the whole query process and let the agents and publishers look for their next client just like most businesses must do? Seems that it would be much for efficient and less costly for all involved.”

I nearly broke down laughing. Of course, I might have had a little too much champagne, but it made me laugh because this is what I said nearly two years ago, when contemplating going indie. I predicted then that in 10 years, agents would be the ones searching for authors (as it should be) by finding those indies on the bestsellers lists with books and writing styles they like, researching the author to see if they’d be compatible personality-wise (we try to make it as easy to find us as possible) and then contacting the author, requesting an opportunity to pitch themselves as the best agent for that author’s career. I’ve since changed that prediction to 5 years.

No more query letters. No more slush piles. No more agents spinning their wheels with publishers trying to get a title sold. No more publishers investing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in a debut author who falls flat in the market, thereby discouraging them from investing money in yet another debut author. No more authors giving up and tucking away fantastic books under their beds because they couldn’t get past the query process.

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 22 years old, but it was still a little shocking to hear this man with such business acumen say exactly what I’d been thinking for so long. It won’t be long before agents and publishers start catching on – maybe even 3 years, not 5. After all, this is how Amazon finds their clients for their new publishing venture. Perhaps they’re onto something.

About the Author
Kristie Cook is a lifelong, award-winning writer in various genres, from marketing communications to fantasy fiction. She continues to write the Soul Savers Series, with the first two books, Promise and Purpose, available now and the third book, Devotion, coming February 2012. She’s also written a companion novella, Genesis, coming October 2011.
Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, traveling and riding on the back of a motorcycle. She has lived in ten states, but currently calls Southwest Florida home with her husband, three teenage sons, a beagle and a puggle. She can be found at:

Author's Website & Blog: http://www.KristieCook.com

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rise and Fall of a Track Star with O. Keeys

RISE AND FALL OF A TRACK STAR
by O. Keeys


How Does She Do That?
As a military veteran, single mother of three, entrepreneur, book touring fanatic and speaker I get asked time and time again how do I find time to write? Being that I have been out the military for a year now it is a lot easier but when I was in I would find time whenever the urge hit me. While at work instead of taking smoke breaks, because I never dared to pick up the habit, I took writing breaks. Every hour or so I would write for five to ten minutes and then email what I wrote to myself. I had to switch from writing in my note pad or on sticky notes due to nosey coworkers.

It may be hard for some to grasp but I actually wrote Can You Keep a Secret while in Officer Training. For some the school alone was enough without adding extra pressure. For me it was an outlet. A way to slip out the self-imposed hell I was in. Within the first week there as I lay in my bunk battered and bruised from the rigorous activities the story began to form.  By the second week I was using writing as a way to stay awake in the classes and ease the muscle aches I felt at night before the Motrin kicked in. While others heads bobbed up and down and side to side and then were forced to stand. I wrote. To everyone but the candidate sitting to my left or my right I sat there diligently taking notes. The only notes I took were when I heard our instructor give key words. For those in the Army it was “you may want to write this down.”

Now that I am no longer Uncle Sam’s property the writing comes almost as natural as breathing. It is something I find myself doing without applying any thought until I am knee deep in it. Rise and Fall of a Track Star, my latest and autobiography, came to me as a whisper that turned into a shout in the middle of the night. The thought it me, I rose from my bed, and began to write. For a month I was like a woman possessed. The words needed to be out my head and onto my Word Document. I made sure the kids were up and ready for school and out the door and I sat and wrote. My laptop was like a ball and chain as I dragged it to the dining room table as I prepared food, tossed it in the oven, and waited for the timer to go off. It took me burning a dish to resort to the timer. I would become absorbed and forget I was cooking. When the kids came home I checked homework, wrote, gave them some quality time and put them to bed and then went back to writing. 3am often found me pecking away. But, finishing the book was something that needed to be done otherwise it would have continued to haunt my dreams.

With all my books when I get the urge I must write by any means necessary. As most writers will tell you we all have our own process. It is up to you to figure out yours!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

From Pan Am Game bronze medal winner to All American, Omegia Keeys was once touted in Track Magazine as one destined for greatness, but walked away from it all. Rise and Fall of a Track Star is Omegia’s firsthand account leading her to the breaking point. For years Omegia held on to the shame of a dirty little secret, one too common in the African American Community.

Through her memoirs, Omegia takes you on a painful journey through her childhood into her adult years. Her struggles as a teenage mother is only a checkmark on the list of life altering experiences, one she hopes young girls and woman can learn from. 

Omegia’s goals for this book are to educate others about the struggles of young women dealing with assault, help others gain the strength to change their circumstances, and to release the personal pain of hiding a long standing secret.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Omegia Keeys first novel Passionate Playmates was met with great reception as she shocked the city of Indianapolis with her behind the scenes look at the secretive Lingerie Modeling Stores quickly springing up and just as quickly being shut down in the local area. Sense the release of her second novel Seduction.com published by Passionate Writer Publishing, Omegia has been featured in the Blue Print Magazine, Indy Blackout Magazine, and as a recurring author on Street Vibes Mix Radio in their feature the Writers Block. Her third novel Can You Keep a Secret is set to release April, 2010.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Swinging into Adventure with a Jack Ranis Book

Blog Stop with Ryan Collings


Book Title: Jack Ranis and the Book of the Labi

Jack Ranis is a fifteen year old orphan who feels out of place in the only home he has ever known. When an accident nearly takes his life, he discovers a stranger from his past that takes him into a world he never imagined, a world where a magical land holds all the answers to his life story and reveals his true destiny. After many years of war, the land of Brighton is finally at peace, but it is a peace that was never meant to last. Following in the footsteps of his father, Jack, with the aid of his friends, will risk everything to destroy the Book of the Labi and save the lives of all those he holds dear.

Find his book at Amazon in PRINT

http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Ranis-Book-Labi-Collings/dp/1461109167/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1319221003&sr=1-1

And in KINDLE eBOOK.

http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Ranis-Book-Labi-ebook/dp/B0053A6XF8/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1319221003&sr=1-1

AUTHOR WEBSITE:
http://www.ryancollings.com/

RYAN COLLINGS lives in Boise, Idaho with his two children Kaylee and Kasin, his dog Stewie, his cat Rosebud, and the love of his life, Brooke.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lunatics Running the Asylum by Jaz Primo


The New Trend in Publishing: Lunatics Running the Asylum
by Jaz Primo


Whether the focus is upon the largest New York City-based publishers, mid-range publishers, or small press publishers, one fact remains: e-publishing is a term that strikes a mix of fear, angst, and furor in the hearts of today's publishers. But why, you ask? The answer is simple. Today, the newest trend in publishing is that the lunatics are running the asylum!

Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly in publishing today. The good: Today, new and talented authors are being discovered by a sea of readers who might never have had the opportunity to fall in love with their work. The bad: Traditional publishers haven't had the opportunity to take advantage of the sales of these new authors because those authors are independent and unsigned by any publisher! The ugly: The publishing industry is experiencing its biggest shakeup in a long time. How long? Since the initial corporatization of literary agents that forced publishers to sweeten their contractual royalties to authors decades ago!

Today, a sizable majority of new titles being released in eBook format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble are those being self-published by unsigned, untried independent authors who have no contract with either a publisher or a literary agent. The system that filters new talent for consideration has collapsed under the sheer weight of its own bloated bureaucracy, resulting in a sort of French Revolution in publishing where the peasants (aspiring authors) have laid siege to (and overtaken) the Bastille (publishing industry) which  has been guarded by royalty (traditional publishers). The result is the democratization of publishing where authors, aspiring and perspiring, talented and untalented, are casting their literary creations into the public forum as fast as their word processors can generate content. For $2.99 or less, though mostly leaning to the 99-cent price range, a litany of new novels are available for easy purchase by a hungry, recession-beaten readership. Though hardly drowning, the traditionally published novels are being slowly buried and culled out of potential hearty eBook sales by a sea of often-inferior produced/edited/formatted competing content.

Now, I'm hardly being an elitist by pointing out these realities. Instead, I hope to help publishers understand where the problems, and possible solutions, reside. The floodgates are open, so stemming the flow of new entrants onto the literary field is no longer an option. However, an effective first step is attainable: There has to be a more streamlined, timely, and efficient method established to sort through the "slush pile" of prospective manuscripts to find worthy content that can be published. This, of course, means changing the traditional paradigm of publishing. No longer should a publisher plan to invest thousands of dollars in limited print run paperbacks intended for nationwide or worldwide distribution for untried talent. Instead, leverage the next-to-no-cost e-distribution channels and only use eBooks for market testing of new talent. Granted, you still have to edit a manuscript, pay for cover art, and pay for layout of the work. But the editing is becoming streamlined by refined software enhancements, and cover art licensing costs pennies on the dollar for eBook rights versus print rights. (You can always acquire print rights later if sales warrant a hardcopy print run.) Essentially, once uploaded to e-retailers, the distribution costs drop nearly to zero, and the process for handling sales is entirely hands-off. The publisher simply sits back to tally sales numbers while concentrating on the very important task of speedily assessing the slush piles, as well as new manuscripts that continuously float into their email repositories. That way, the Amanda Hockings of the world get the initial exposure they deserve, the readers get new stories that they're craving, and publishers get to take advantage of many more "hits" than "misses" without substantial initial investment costs.

It's easy, right? Well, perhaps the process isn't entirely seamless. And yes, there will still be a lot of new authors who self-publish substandard quality content that hasn't been properly edited, formatted, or adorned with decent, marketable cover art. But at least the publishing industry will be offering their readers more fresh content at a reduced price and with limited capital outlay. In essence, the publishing industry can regain some of what it has lost; namely, it's credibility as a responsible steward of polished, marketable content. I already sense the hesitancy out there. However, consider this. . .the question isn't really "can we afford to do that" but rather, "can we afford NOT to do that?" The future of the publishing industry rests on how publishers respond. . .or not.
I'm author, Jaz Primo, and I approve this message. *wink*

My sincere thanks to Patti for the opportunity to appear here today. Before I sign off, please consider reading my Sunset Vampire Series. The first novel, Sunrise at Sunset, was published in October 2010, and the second novel, A Bloody London Sunset, was published in May of this year. A third installment, Summit at Sunset, is being released in January 2012. All novels are available in both trade paperback and multiple eBook formats from major retailers including as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Apple iBookstore.

Here's the teaser for Sunrise at Sunset:
When is a bloodthirsty predator the best protection against a psychotic killer?
When the predator is both a vampire...and the woman you love.

“We vampires are focused and tend to shape our own realities.”
My name is Katrina Rawlings, and I am a vampire. I declare that with neither pride nor ego. I am simply nature’s most dangerous predator. On occasion, it’s a very valuable quality. It helped me protect Caleb Taylor one day when he was very young. But that single, traumatic day is behind him now; wiped from his memory, or so I hope.

Caleb has finally matured into a rather striking young man, and believe me, I like what I see. I’ll readily admit that there are issues for us to confront and overcome, though a sense of mutual commitment isn’t one of them. I’m feeling hopeful for our future together, in fact. But an adversary from my past has returned to haunt me, and she’s trying to get back at me through Caleb. That was her first...and last...mistake. I’ll protect my Caleb at all costs, and I’ll make her regret the day she was born.
So, I suppose that I’m not just a vampire. I’m about to become someone’s worst nightmare!


Jaz Primo is an author, history aficionado, "pun-master", and all-around fan of things vampire and urban fantasy. He has enjoyed a fulfilling background and career in higher education, including teaching undergraduate U.S. History classes during evenings. His lifetime of creative writing, coupled with an eclectic and creative imagination, has generated the perfect storm for a new voice in urban fantasy and paranormal romance via the compelling Sunset Vampire Series. He is a native of Oklahoma where he lives with his wife and a long-lived cat.

You can find or follow Jaz at the following locations...
Twitter:   @jazprimo