Friday, November 29, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Anna Erishkigal

BRoP Logo RevisedThe Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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Author Bio:

Anna Erishkigal is an attorney who writes fantasy fiction under a pen-name so her colleagues don't question whether her legal pleadings are fantasy fiction as well. Much of law, it turns out, -is- fantasy fiction. Lawyers just prefer to call it 'zealously representing your client.' 

Seeing the dark underbelly of life makes for some interesting fictional characters. The kind you either want to incarcerate, or run home and write about. In fiction, you can fudge facts without worrying too much about the truth. In legal pleadings, if your client lies to you, you look stupid in front of the judge. 

At least in fiction, if a character becomes troublesome, you can always kill them off.

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Part 1 @ Sandra - Monday, November 25
Part 2 @ Vicki - Tuesday, November 26
Part 3 @ Terri - Wednesday, November 27
Part 4 @ T. W. - Thursday, November 28
Part 5 @ Yup, you made it this far! - Friday, November 29


Section #5: Words of Wisdom


BRoP: Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.
    1. A.E.: Since 2001 I've had a non-fiction legal self-help manual I've been self-publishing because a traditional publisher wouldn't let me bootleg copies and hand them out for free to the low-income and battered women I wrote the book to help.
When it came time to start editing up some of my fiction stories I wrote 'for fun,' (when I got up to 17 manuscripts, most of them crap, my husband started dropping hints it was time to start looking for a publisher), I treated it like I would any other business venture.  I subscribed to all the prestigious writing magazines.  I went online and researched 'how to get your book published.'  I read fiction-writing craft books.  I joined a prestigious writers group (not Plot Bunnies) full of serious, traditionally published authors and picked their brains.  I borrowed 'how to find an agent' books from the library.  And most importantly, I went to several conferences and pitchapalooza's where publishers, editors and agents stood up in front of us and told us how unworthy we were, how likely it was our book would fail, and even if we did meet success, they expected us to do all the work of building our own social media platform to market our own books. 
Huh?  I do all the work and you give me 7%?  I decided right then and there I would rather give away every book I ever write away for free to readers who like my work, the same way I give away my legal self-help manual to low-income women who need it, before I'd hand over control of my 'babies' to those pompous jerks!  I never did pitch an agent.  I will succeed, or fail, on my own merits. 
Being an indie is a long, hard slog.  But if you keep persisting and constantly seek to improve your writing, gradually you begin to build a readership.
    1. DIY:  Formatting is easy once you know how to do it, as is the physical process of digitizing things into eBooks or print-on-demand and uploading it to all the major distribution platforms.  I do that 100% myself.  I still do as much of my own editing, proofreading and cover design as I can, but these days I do pay somebody to final-proofread my work so I don't get embarrassing reviews about missed typos or possessive plural apostrophes in the incorrect place.  And Rochelle does my cover art, though I graft on my own graphics.
The thing with being an Indie is that, to survive, you always have to have a cost-benefit analysis running in the back of your mind of how much it will cost versus how much you're likely to recoup in sales.  The truth is that most books don't sell, especially Indies who don't have the benefit of discovery vehicles such as major bookstore chains where people can find their work.  Even exceptionally well-written, traditionally published books often fail to sell.  Write the best book you can.  Edit it to the best of your ability.  Run it by your critique group and beta-readers.  Then send it out into the world, praying it is enough.
My first book I had no choice but to do everything myself.  It's kind of like that first baby you have when you're young and broke.  You do the best you can with what you have, line a dresser drawer with a blanket from a thrift shop, buy second-hand clothes, breastfeed and puree your own baby food.  Even though it's less than perfect, if you love that baby and lavish it with every bit of attention you can, most readers will intuit that and love your story as much as you do.  By the time you get to your second or third baby, hopefully you've taken any money you've earned on the first one and poured it back into things like taking classes to fix areas your writing is weak, hiring a professional proofreader, and paying somebody to design your next cover. 
Most of my professional Indie author friends, by the time they get to book 6 or 7 and their writing career becomes self-sustaining as a means to earn a living, go back into their backlist, hire the editor they couldn't afford in the first place to rip apart their first story, then re-release their firstborn with the book cover and 'shoes' they wish they'd been able to afford at the time.  These are the Indie authors who are now defying the odds and hitting the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.  I hope to someday join them.

BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing?
    1. AE: Be true to your characters.  If you write compelling characters that resonate with your reader and grip them by the heart to take them for a wild ride, they will forgive all sorts of bugaboos in your writing.
BRoP: What tools are must-haves for writers?
    1. AE: Readers;
    2. Beta-readers;
    3. A critique group;
    4. Taking the time to analyze those 'I loved this story, but…' comments from your readers.  Those are areas you can improve.  An author should always strive to perfect their writing.  It can always be better.  This is just the nature of the beast.
BRoP: Do you have any advice for other writers?
    1. AE: Don't quit your day job.  Not only does writing not pay for 99.9% of the people who write content, but the people and situations you come across in  your day-to-day work will provide a great deal of the inspiration for your writing.
BRoP: What do you feel is the key to your success?
    1. AE: Success?  I'm just an indie still slogging along, but as a writer, I've developed some amazing relationships with readers.  I've got people from all over the world who write to me and I've found inspiration for future stories from cultures I'd never even considered.  Pakistan?  Malaya?  Vanuatu?  Brazil?  Each reader is a gift, and what they tell you they got out of your story when viewed from the lense of their culture is an even bigger gift! 
The other day a friend of mine asked me to compose a bunch of Tweets to broadcast through her social media network to drum up sales.  I'm kind of clueless on Twitter and didn't know what to say, so she went to my Amazon page and pulled out excerpts from some of the reviews people have written on my books.  It was like, wow!  People really said things like that about my work?  It was rather humbling


BRoP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
    1. AE: If you love your readers, they will love you back, especially when they write to you and say things like, 'maybe you could…' or 'why didn't you…'  Yup … when a reader writes to me with a suggestion, I try to figure out if there's some way I can use that suggestion in a future book.  War camels, for example…  You guys rock!
BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)?
    1. AE: I've still got a bunch of rough draft manuscripts to edit and get out in the Sword and subsequent, related Knife series, but as far as new writing is concerned, I've got a second book in the Children of the Fallen series on the draft board, a merman story I'm plotting out.  Picture this … girl meets sexy oceanographer professor in a wheelchair … Nick … muscular … sexy … dark hair and eyes the color of the cold Atlantic in January and, oh?  What's that hidden beneath the blanket of his wheelchair?  A tail?  And oh, by-the-way, my heroine is afraid of water!  Yeah … this next one's going to be pure paranormal romance, but like all of my stories, it will be thoroughly researched and have a message beyond the romantic fluff. 
BRoP: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
    1. Join me doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November!  50,000 words in 30 days … the suckier the story … the better!  And then we can all get drunk together at the TGIO (thank god it's over) party in December and read our sucky, unplotted drivel out loud and shout huzzah at who has the worst story ever!  Whoo-wee!!!  www.NaNoWriMo.org



Author Contact Information:



Book Back Cover Blurb – please include your book’s official back cover blurb below:

Agents of Ki won't be out until the Archangel Mikhail stops whispering to me in my sleep about last-minute edits, but why not download and read Book 1 of the series, The Chosen One, for FREE on most distribution platforms and, if you like it, move onto Prince of Tyre?  By the time you read through those two, Agents of Ki should be out.  [*Come closer, said the spider to the fly.  Just a taste … and then you'll become addicted to my series.*]

SWORD OF THE GODS: THE CHOSEN ONE (Epic Fantasy/Space Opera)
by Anna Erishkigal

At the dawn of time, two ancient adversaries battled for control of Earth. One man rose to stand at humanity's side. A soldier whose name we still remember today.

"A creative alternative to the history of what we call angels. It feels like...Star Trek meets creation mythos." (reader review)


*FREE* for a limited time at:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A90CQSA

Barnes & Noble:
http://bit.ly/1agVZwF

Apple iBookstore:
http://bit.ly/14traol


*Print edition qualifies for the Amazon Matchbook program.


Reader Reviews:

"Erishkigal excels at painting complex characters, with believable flaws and lovable quirks." (reader review)

"This book leaves me without words. For three days I read a story so unbelievably beautiful it stole the very breath from my lungs. If there is a true fantasy book in existence, it is this." (reader review)

"Much better than 90% of current science fiction ....would be epic as a cable series or movie trilogy." (reader review)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Jennie Bates Bozic

Welcome to another Friday of The Blog Ring of Power in the Realm. I hope you are all comfy, relaxed or gearing up because it's interview time. Let me introduce Jennie Bates Bozic. The beginning part of her interview can be found on the following epic sites:

Part 4 and Part 5 @ You are here. (makes me wish I had one of those moving pointers.) - Friday, November 22nd

Alright so let's get to the good stuff! 


Jennie1_00000 Author Bio:
I’m a visual effects artist for film and television by day, and at night I don my author cape and
pen stories for the YA crowd. I love a good fairy tale, especially if there’s a creepy twist, so that’s what I write.
I met my husband in the World of Warcraft and we live in Los Angeles with our cat. We spend our time playing video games, reading, hiking, sweeping up cat hair, and cursing the terrible traffic.

Section #4: About Your Current Work

BRoP:  Tell us about your new book and when it is out? Where can people purchase it?

JBB: I have two! DAMSELFLY is a futuristic retelling of Thumbelina. Sort of like Tinkerbell goes on the Bachelorette. It will be available on November 11th in print and ebook from all major online retailers.

SUGAR PLUM is a companion novelette (very short novel)  that will be permanently free as an ebook. It takes place at the same time as DAMSELFLY  featuring different characters that will play a big role in the sequel. It can be read before or after DAMSELFLY.

BRoP:   Is there anything new, unusual, or interesting about your book? How is it different from other books on the same subject?

JBB: There are some dystopian elements in my book, but it’s not a fight against a totalitarian government. Instead, at its heart, it’s about a girl who faces circumstances she cannot change in a significant way and has to decide who she will be. I thought a lot about how to work out Lina’s story and her involvement in deciding her own fate. A lot of YA heroines right now are very kickass (which is great!) but sometimes we can’t do much to actually change our environment. I felt it would be more realistic in her case to show how she grows in personal strength in that sort of situation and takes ownership of herself and her choices.

BRoP:   What was the hardest part of writing this book?

JBB: The romance! Writing romance makes me so nervous because I personally don’t enjoy reading it unless it’s done very well. It was really important to me that the relationships felt authentic, especially since the setting is so removed from real life.

BRoP:  What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

JBB: I loved writing the scene where Row and Lina team up to do some investigating. It’s creepy and a really fun reveal of a vital plot point (Well, fun from my point of view. Maybe not the reader’s!).

BRoP: Tell us about your book’s cover – where did the design come from and what was the design process like?

JBB: I’m a visual effects artist, so I decided to design my own cover. I wanted to portray Lina because--hello!-- awesome wings! But I didn't want to dictate how other people should see her in their minds, so I went with a silhouette. The web was a fun addition that I didn't originally plan.


Section #5: Words of Wisdom

BRoP:  Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.

JBB: I have an agent who submitted DAMSELFLY to a number of interested editors at major publishing houses. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a good fit for my book, so my agent suggested that I self-publish. I’d considered going indie for a while at that point because I know that book acquisitions are very subjective and it’s not necessarily a sign that your book is bad. When I wrote this book, fairytale retellings were just starting to take off, and I knew that if I waited and wrote another book in the hope that I could sell DAMSELFLY later, that I would probably not get that chance. So I decided to go ahead. If DAMSELFLY is really successful, my agent will try to sell the rights again just as he has for several other successful self-pubbed clients.

I contacted several different editors (some through recommendations, some through internet searches) and got sample edits. I ended up going with Rebecca Weston as a copy editor and she was great. I hired Polgarus Studio to do the formatting and they did a fantastic job. Finally, I designed the cover myself since I had a good idea of what I wanted and I have enough experience in design.

BRoP:   What are the most important elements of good writing? 

JBB: Beyond the obvious (solid grasp of mechanics), the most important thing is that you put your soul in it. The story has to matter to you personally, otherwise no one else will care. There should be parts that are hard for you to write because they reveal something personal about you. Other parts should be hard because they’re outside of your personal experience and force you to see things in a way you usually do not. If you have those things and the mechanics, I think you’ll end up with a great story.

BRoP:  What do you feel is the key to your success?

JBB: Reasonable expectations and a strong work ethic. I know that not everyone will like my book, and that is totally okay. It’s my job to work hard and put out a book that I’m proud of and then work some more to help it find its audience. I've learned to keep going even if I’m not enjoying myself at the moment. The love always comes back when I push through.

BRoP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

JBB: Yes! I would like to say “Thank you!” It has been so much fun to get feedback from readers that I have never met. It reminds me of why I do this - to share these characters and worlds with others. It makes everything worth it.

BRoP:  What are your current / future project(s)?

JBB: I’m working on three novels right now. Cue the deep sigh! One is the sequel to DAMSELFLY, which I’m really excited about. Another is a book about a teenage girl who becomes homeless along with her family. Finally, I’m revising (yet again) the first book that I ever wrote. I just love the world and characters too much to give up on them!

Follow Jennie:


Damselfly 
DamselflyIn 2065, the Lilliput Project created Lina - the first six-inch-tall winged girl - as the solution to a worldwide energy and food crisis. Isolated in a compound amidst the forests of Denmark, Lina has grown up aware of only one purpose: learn how to survive in a world filled with hawks, bumblebees, and loneliness. However, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, she discovers that she’s not the only teenager her size. Six 'Toms' were created shortly after Lina, and now her creators need to prove to the world that tiny people are the next logical step in human evolution. In other words, they need to prove that reproduction is possible. Um. No thanks. Lina's already fallen in love with a boy she met online named Jack. Only he has no idea that thumbelina1847 could literally fit inside his heart. When her creators threaten to hurt Jack unless she chooses a husband from among the ‘Toms’, Lina agrees to star in a reality TV series. Once the episodes begin to air, the secret of her size is out. Cut off from any contact with the outside world, Lina assumes Jack is no longer interested. After all, what guy would want to date a girl he can’t even kiss? Slowly, very slowly, she befriends the six young men who see her as their only ticket to happiness. Perhaps she can make just one guy’s dream of love and companionship come true. But her creators have a few more twists in store for her that she never thought possible. She’s not the only one playing to the cameras

Friday, November 15, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Presents: Crystal Collier

Welcome to this week’s Blog Ring of Power guest, Crystal Collier, author of MOONLESS. We were fortuntate enough to grab Crystal for some words during her blog tour. Don't forget to check out the Rafflecopter giveaway. Wooohooo on perfect timing! Okay, let's get down to the interview, shall we. 
Here’s the link to her Rafflecopter giveaway!
Crystal is a Young Adult Author who's been accused of an obsession with cheese. She answers that anyone who accuses her merely of "obsession" is grossly misinformed. Cheese is the best food on the planet. Cheese makes the world go round. Cheese=happiness

Don’t miss the rest of Crystal’s interview at:
About You — Sandra — 11/11
The Writing Life: Vicki–11/12
The Creative Process: Terri–11/13
About Your Currant Work: T.W. - 11/14
Words of Wisdom: Emily–11/15

Words of Wisdom

BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing?

Crystal: Heart—followed by a determination to LEARN ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT WRITING. And practice it. The end.

BRoP: What tools are must-haves for writers?

Crystal: Hold on, let me shuffle through my writing tool belt. Let’s see, we have a computer, inquisitiveness, moxie, critique partners, willingness to learn, oh—and a wedge of cheese for good measure. 

BRoP: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Crystal: STUDY, and write. Don’t neglect the first, or the second.

BRoP: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Crystal: Follow your dreams. People will tell you they’re not possible. People will tell you it’s not worth the effort. People will tell you the sky is blue, but I regularly see the sky in purples and reds and oranges and greens. It can be any color I want, as long as I’m looking at the right time of the day. (Or change my glass lenses.) You are more powerful than you can ever imagine.

BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)?

Crystal: MOONLESS is the first of a tri-series. Yes, you read that correctly. Tri-SERIES. The first book of each series is complete, and I’m currently working on revisions for MOONLESS’s sequel, SOULLESS.

BRoP: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Crystal: Thank you so much wonderful Blog-Ringers of Power for inviting me to bask in your cheesy awesomeness. And readers, thank you for being the wonderful, supportive people you are.

Alexia’s nightmares become reality: a dead baron, red-eyed wraiths, and forbidden love with a man hunted by these creatures. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with her beloved and risk becoming one of the Soulless.

MOONLESS is Jane Eyre meets Supernatural.

"MOONLESS is powerful, compelling, and packed with soul." --Bethany Kaczmarek, editor at A Little Red, Inc. 

"I fell head over heels for the characters." --TC Mckee, BookFish Books 

"Power-packed action, heart stopping mystery, unpredictable twists and turns..." --I Am a Reader Not a Writer

Contact Information:

Other: Coming soon to Barnes & Noble
Is your book in print, ebook or both? Currently only an ebook, but watch for it in print and audio book spring of 2014. 
Brop-Members

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Blog Ring of Power Presents: PK Hrezo



Welcome to this week’s Blog Ring of Power guest, PK Hrezo, a native Floridian whose life could easily be a Jimmy Buffet song. She shares her home with her firefighter husband and their two children. When not creating characters and their worlds, PK can be found at her other job of rearranging passenger’s itineraries for a major international airline. The only hobbies she loves more than traveling, are reading, writing, and music, and when the four are combined she exists in total bliss.
Don’t miss the rest of P.K.’s interview:
Part 1 @ Sandra - Monday, Nov.  4
Part 2 @ Vicki - Tuesday, Nov. 5
Part 3 @ Terri - Wednesday, Nov 6
Part 4 @ T.W. - Thursday, Nov 7
Part 5 Is here, take a seat and let's check out out PK
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Section #5: Words of Wisdom


BRoP: Tell us about your route to success – how/when did you decide to self-publish? Did you query an agent first? How did you handle the editing, proofreading, cover design, etc.

PK: I do have an agent, and she’s read Butterman Travel, but I told her upfront I wanted to self-pub it. I have other stories that I hope to go the traditional route with, but I felt BT was better suited for indie. It’s book 1 of a series that I plan to crank out fairly quickly (if possible,) and I didn’t want to go through the waiting and subbing process. Plus, there are some scenes in BT that some editors may have issue with, and I didn’t want anyone to tell me I had to change them. I’m trusting my instinct on this one, and it may be wrong, but at least I’ll only have myself to blame. 


BRoP: What are the most important elements of good writing? 

PK: Good writing encompasses so many things. The prose and sentence structure are vital to keeping the reader engaged, but the story design must absolutely be top-notch. The voice has to captivate the reader from page one, and if the characters fall flat, it doesn't matter how riveting the plot is. Readers fall in love with characters—the characters are what bring readers back for more. If the reader doesn't care about the character, they lose interest. Every character must have a goal and motivation, and they must be clear throughout the entire story.
BRoP: What tools are must-haves for writers? 

PK: Confidence and authority. Research your topic and own it as only you can.
BRoP: Do you have any advice for other writers? 

PK: If you’re not fully invested in your stories, your readers won’t be either. You have to believe your characters are real people so your readers will also. That being said, writers have a responsibility to the craft. Read bestselling novels in your genre, and read books on craft in between. And make it a point to critique other writers’ work as often as possible. I've learned so much from critiquing others. Also, as writers we have to accept that not every project will become something great—but write it anyway. Those unpublished stories are a necessary step in making us great writers.
BRoP: What do you feel is the key to your success? 

PK: Perseverance and dedication. Athletes don’t make it to the Olympics by giving up and saying it’s too hard. In order to persevere, we must believe in ourselves. Even when no one else believes in us, we must believe in ourselves. But that means working hard.
BRoP: What are your current / future project(s)? 

PK: Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. is book 1 in a 3 part planned series. However, I also have a memoir/life story book I’ve been asked to write for someone else, so I’ll be a very busy writer this next year. 
BRoP: Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

PK: Rock music and rock heroes are a big part of the Butterman Travel story. My other main character, Tristan Helms, is from a popular boy band and he’s searching for his solo niche. As a new adult myself, music was a huge part of my identity, and I had the pleasure of revisiting the music from my new adult years while writing this story. About halfway through my first draft I realized I wanted to dedicate the book to my own rock hero, Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and Mad Season. He passed away in 2002. I contacted his mother and got to meet her this past August. I’ll be sending her a copy of the book. So that, including this book being my debut, is all very surreal for me. Time travel and rock music = PK in heaven.

Contact Information:

Blog:                                            http://pk-hrezo.blogspot.com
Facebook page:                         https://www.facebook.com/authorpkhrezo
Goodreads author page:         https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7327816.P_K_Hrezo
Twitter:                                      https://twitter.com/pkhrezo


Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. will be both eBook and print. Launches 11-12-13 (Nov. 12)

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated

We are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides. *Terms and conditions do apply

Conference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.