I often marvel at the stars
and the places I can never be
I can sit and dream, but tarry not,
lest I sink beneath the writer's sea
I often picture writing like sitting beneath a tree that is shedding its leaves during a windstorm. Every leaf is worthy of my attention, but their numbers all together are overwhelming. Thoughts and ideas circulate inside my head as a storm of words, pressing ever outward until I want to explode. The only antidote is to place these words on paper, hopefully in a comprehensive order, and do the best I can.
These words will soon become faces and places, events and settings by which a story can finally be told. These building blocks, as they spill forth, form into a large pile from which I can draw, stacking my little cubes in a room of white with no walls. As I build my story towers, I occasionally will find a block that does not fit.
Perhaps the block is flawed, or poorly made. This block will be recycled, tossed into the chipper and put through the process again. However, sometimes I find a block so unique that I simply can't bear to part with it. I stack this one off to the side. As time passes, I find another block that somehow fits with that odd block out, and before long, I am building a different tower.
The process repeats, my infinite room filling with various structures, entire worlds being created and abandoned as I move from tower to tower, discovering odd blocks that have no place or meaning. As the palace of my mind fills with such structures, it suddenly occurs to me that the odd blocks from before have built something that conveniently fits with those original building blocks, and entire worlds merge with one another. It could be as simple as a character merging with a story, or an entire world being consumed by a law of nature.
I find it interesting to create things with no known direction, only to discover that they fit together later. It is one of my favorite things to experience as an author.
Fan art wanted!
I'm afraid that any pearls of wisdom you were hoping to see here won't be available this go around. Obviously, the blog suffers when the real world intrudes, and right now the real world involves standardized tests and middle schoolers.
Of course, I am in the middle of writing TLOK 3 (and a couple of others), and would love nothing more than to receive some fan pictures of my characters! I have always wondered how they are pictured by my readers (which officially number in the thousands!), and I would absolutely love to see your takes on Kimberly, Ip, and Serra. If you use Deviantart, just send me a link to your pic so I can embed it, or shoot me an email with a pic attached.
In other words, I am getting excited for Monty Oum's RWBY. The white trailer is officially out, revealing the second character in the series. Also, Monster Hunter Ultimate 3 is coming out soon, which means I will lose a bit of free time to it (I'm a sucker for Monster Hunter). I also just read the first book of the new Shannara trilogy (Wards of Faerie) and am excited to see his world continue onward, so check them all out.
Like mana from heaven (Legend of Kimberly is officially in the top ten at Amazon!)
Legend of Kimberly sitting pretty in the top ten teen fantasy section.
So, a couple of weeks back, I began trickling out free copies of Inheritance through the ebook market. Eventually, Amazon caught wind, and price matched it. As of sometime on Friday, The Legend of Kimberly was price matched "Free" at Amazon. Shortly after, the website http://onehundredfreebooks.com/ was digging through the mucky muck and hand picked TLOK as one of their books of the day. Please view the attached photo to the left for a visual aid that explains what happened to my sales rank as a result.
Now, I was unaware of what was going on. To be honest, I was carpet cleaning cat pee (my cat had a UTI, which has been bad news for my carpet) and only knew when the author coordinator of the site dropped me a line to inform me. I didn't think anything of it until I checked my sales. In the last 24 hours, I have seen over a thousand downloads.
The reason this is so important to me is I will finally get to see my book stand on its most important quality: its story. Supposedly one thousand people will read this tale, and if ten percent of that thousand really like it, I will see the sequel become moderately successful as well. If that is the case, I am one step closer to living out my big dream of writing full time (and maybe a movie series and a toy line by Todd McFarlane).
So, how does one get their book picked by a website like http://onehundredfreebooks.com/? Well, according to the owner, that's a secret. Suffice to say, when it came time to choose which books were featured, having a professional looking product mattered a lot. Even though the website is devoted to free ebooks, they still need to make sure they are putting a quality product into their viewers hands. As I have said, time and again, have your story edited, proof-read, and have a cover that attracts attention (in a good way). It may cost money, so start saving up your holiday scratch now. A big thanks goes out to the nice people at Onehundredfreebooks.com for helping to introduce so many new readers to Auviarra and the stories of Kimberly. Check them out for free reads on your Kindle, they won't let you down!
Time, and where it goes
I have, on occasion, had people ask me why my blog doesn't get updated very often. I have also been told that if I ever want to "make it," I need to spend more time making myself available, doing guest blogs, interviews, etc.
Well, I've got a little problem. I chose to graduate from college and get a job as a teacher.
What this means for me (and you) is that I have a priority to someone else right now (about 120 someones, actually), and telling me I can't "make it" because I am doing something else that I find important doesn't do me a lick of good. Sure, I could try stay up late, rush through school, and ignore parent phone calls. The truth of the matter is that I write, try and do it well, and hope my work speaks for itself. Sure, if I was making a living off of my books, I may reconsider careers, and devote my whole life to sitting in my office and hammering out tales of horror and adventure. Until that time, I have to rely on my readers. I host giveaways, hoping to draw people in, I have done interviews. Frankly, until summer comes, I don't have time to write, really, so patting myself on the back for the internet is really far down my list of priorities.
Allow me to make my point in a nutshell. If you, a reader, find yourself really enjoying an author's work, you have to tell people. Review it on Amazon, talk about it on Goodreads, or just go to work/school and talk about it with friends. That is the true support an author needs, particularly us Indies who do not have the cash flow to afford any true advertising.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have papers to grade.
On one of the many forums on writing I peruse, there are constant threads about reviews and how they should be handled. There are confirmed reports of "Review Swapping," where authors will trade reviews with other authors in order to help gain their books some exposure.
"Why is that a bad thing?" you may ask. Well, it wouldn't be if everybody played fair and square. If everybody could be honest with their reviews, there wouldn't be an issue. However, some authors have gotten it in their head that if they swap perfect reviews, more people will download their book.
What happens when a book, that is honestly a piece of garbage, receives great reviews from people? It discredits the reviewing system, the author, and the reviewers. Say I write a book and everybody loves it. Know matter how many perfect reviews it gets, there will still be people leery of how many of those people are my friends, family, or even somebody I paid for reviews (yes, you can buy reviews).
I have well over two hundred reviews on my stories, web-wide. Most of them are on Barnes and Noble, the rest scattered around. I have gotten my fair share of reviews, good and bad. All of them have been honest. Now, some of these reviews haven't made a whole lot of sense to me (good or bad), but those are the values these people have chosen for all eternity to associate with my stories and I have to respect that.
So, as far as reviewers go, be honest. A review is your opinion, but make it fair. Don't give an author one star because his scary story was too scary (happened), don't give an author two stars because his short story was too short (happened), and never, under any circumstances, give an author a bad review because he is your/your friends competition (happened, but not to me personally).
As far as authors, I only have one bit of advice. Write the best story you can and live with what people have to say about it. Laugh at the ridiculous, learn from the critical, and never take a review so seriously that you become discouraged.
The latest news and my opinions.