I've been out of town on holiday these past 2 weeks and have been aways from my computer for most of that time. I am now back and trying to get RL back on track before continuing with my writing, editing and blogging.
Missed you all!
A few weeks ago I tried Fiverr for the first time. Fiverr is a website where people offer their freelance services. It is a good option for me because I can get a product of better quality than whatever I could come up with and yet it doesn't empty my pockets. One day, if my books do well, I may have a bigger budget, but for now, this is the best I can afford.
Fiverr graphic designers take free photos, blend them together, and after working their magic, they come up with interesting covers.
I tried one such designer to revamp my first book's cover - The Recruit. I plan to use her again for my next book of the series. This time, since my collection of short stories is completely unrelated to N.A.V.S.A., I decided to try someone different.
I gave them a brief description of my short stories and, after a few revisions, they came up with this:
It's a bit dark, but I think it looks amazing. I wanted something that would attract people to read my stories and as I get more experience in the world of social media, I knew it had to be something interesting and catchy. I think they did a good job at that.
This time, I didn't pay for the Photoshop file, instead I used my funds to pay for the spine and back cover as well. That way, I can use it for the paperback, too! - which reminds me, I should do that for "The Recruit".
"Rivals" is the last of my short stories that will be featured in my short story collection "A Few Drops of Fantasy".
This is an important story because it really helped finally get away from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles as I began to imagine the rules that would better serve the vampires in my N.A.V.S.A. Series. This story could have easily grown longer, but I think that my original idea of presenting it as a short story works better for it.
Of all of the stories in "A Few Drops of Fantasy", "Rivals" has to be my favorite.
I hope you enjoy reading it.
"A Few Drops of Fantasy" will be available to download in August 2017.
I started writing Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles fanfiction after reading a lot of them in college. I would go to the library with white sheet of paper and write about these characters that I had grown to love. I remember I wrote a story about myself, because my name is Claudia and in Interview with the Vampire Claudia is a very important character, where I was supposed to be the reincarnation of that Claudia. Fun times.
Not all was about me, of course, but I confess I did write several stories where I turned into a vampire (of course, by Lestat or Louis or someone important like that) against my will. Again, fun times.
I would write in this unlined paper trying to keep my sentences straight.
I then began writing about Dysa. Dysa is a vampire I created. Back then she followed Anne Rice's vampire rules, but that soon changed. Dysa soon became my alias, my avatar. I remember drawing her in different posses and outfits during class (although when you're studying engineering, drawing in class is not always a good idea). You can see some of my Dysa art here.
It didn't take long before I decided to write my own original stories, like the story of Dysa (titled "The Dark Gift", I know, not very original) or my first attempt at a novel, "Marriage Signed in Blood". After I wrote my second novel, "Last Hope", I decided novel writing was HARD. It was hard to keep track of events and characters and descriptions and PLOT. Hard, hard, hard. For the first time I realized that writing was really an art and not everyone woke up one day and wrote wonderful stories. I, for certain, wasn't one of them.
My brother, my one and only faithful critic, read and reviewed everything I wrote. He never missed the chance to tell me about how my characters never seemed to have valid motivation and that sometimes things just plainly didn't make any sense. He still thinks the end of "Marriage Signed in Blood" is the best ending in the history of writing. Yay for that.
My husband, who has read some of my writing, mostly always used to tell me my dialogue was the only good thing about my writing. Now, he's a huge fan of Stephen King and, honestly, he is really, really, really detailed. I don't think I will ever be that detailed, nor do I want to be. My husband also hates stories about vampires and the like, so at some point he stopped reading.
After all my adventures with novel writing, I chance to short stories. Short stories were great because, first of all, they were easy to finish! The plot was also very straight forward and I didn't need to have many subplots going at the same time. Short stories are good. I will publish my fave five in the soon to be published collection "A Few Drops of Fantasy". I am really proud of my short stories. In fact, I remember that back in 1998 I gave a few of my co-workers (I eventually graduated from college) my short story "Family Secret". This is a werewolf story that will, unfortunately not be in my collection, about werewolves. Everybody really enjoyed that story and praised the transformation scene. That was a good day for me.
It wasn't until I started working for Lithonia Lighting that I started to write N.A.V.S.A. I was the production scheduler there. Believe it or not I finished work in 3 hours and then spent the day solving other people's problems. I was good at my job, don't get me wrong. In fact, when I resigned, they had to hire four people to replace me. That raised my self-esteem a bunch! Working for Lithonia allowed me breaks and it was there that I started to outline my now published story: The Recruit. I honestly planned it for a short story. Also, I didn't plan for a series, but sometimes stories just take you for a ride.
There are about twenty N.A.V.S.A. books on my computer right now. All need to be revised and edited. But they are there. Soon, they will see the light of day. Or, at least sometime. Hopefully before I die.
Back in 1992, I discovered the X-Men.
I remember my first issue I ever bought was the first part of X-Cutioner's song in the Uncanny X-Men. I had seen comic books, I had heard of comic book characters, like Batman and Superman, but I had never read a comic book until that day.
The week before, one of my brother's friends took comic books to our house. He was, of course, there to visit my brother, not me, and since I was 16 years old, it wasn't appropriate that I hung out with them at all. I knew this friend since I was nine years old, but it was still not something you did back then. I did, however, stopped by my brother's room often with some excuse or other just because I rarely ever had friends over - nor did I have many friends - and this is how I saw the comic books. They were kind enough to show them to me even if they didn't let me read them.
This was my introduction to comic books.
Comic books are amazing. I quickly fell in love with them. Once again here were stories of super humans who were really regular people. The stories didn't always make sense. Comic books also had short, medium and long arcs and they had a way of retelling what had happened that I quickly got the hang of previous issues without having to read them. If anything, the X-Men (and all related titles) showed me that crazy stories about super powered people not only existed, but had been told for decades.
I never picked up a Superman issue until he died and then came back to life, and now that I'm an adult, I like reading Batman comic books compiled in graphic novels. I also read other comic books/graphic novels that are aimed at adults, but nothing will ever compare with my first experience getting to know the X-Men.
I have been a stay at home mom since November 2016. It was always my dream to be able to stay home, take care of my family and work on the projects I have always felt I didn't have time to work on.
There are many things I like to do. I like to write, draw, read. I would also like to learn how to code and perhaps become a web developer. In my life, there's always something to do. Of course, being a stay-at-home mom also comes with other responsibilities. One of them is to make sure the house is clean and that my husband and my children (ages 7 and 10) aren't missing anything. Part of the day I spend cleaning, washing and scheduling the kids' activities. Another part of the day I prepare breakfast and lunch for my husband and I (he works from home). Sometimes I volunteer at the kids' school. Then the afternoons are filled with driving kids here and there and making dinner. Summer won't be much different.
Perhaps I should use my time more wisely. I do get on Facebook three times a day for about 15-20 minutes each time. But, I rarely watch TV or do anything else that distracts me from my goals of becoming a published author and a web developer. Even my reading I only do at night when I go to bed.
I am a very active person and I am grateful for that. I am sure everything will work out in the end.
I understand it is recommended to have an author blog to get people to get to know you and trust you with the books you have to offer them. I do. And I want to communicate and I want people to read my books because I love them and I think they are awesome. Seriously, I do.
I started my blog with updates on my stories and my adventures and struggles publishing and editing my books. I have had several bumps in the way and as I solve them, it's not only material for a blog post, but also a good outlet to tell someone about what I've been going through.
Today I decided to get help, so I am going to cheat and will be following the following list of blog post ideas for a while. I share it with you here.
I want to thank Darla G. Denton for having written this list. I really do appreciate her.
With that being said, let's get to work!!
I love to write.
I have been writing since 1994.
I became a serious reader in 1993 and one year later I was writing fanfiction. Fanfiction later turned to original stories.
I've written novels and short stories (and more fanfiction) since then. My brother is the only one who has read every single word I've ever written. You could say he's my number one fan. He's also my number one critic. If he doesn't like it he tells me, and he tells me why. He doesn't care if he hurts my feelings and I'm grateful for that; though I confess sometimes he does hurt my feelings. Even so, I want him to keep reading and I want him to keep telling me what he likes and doesn't like.
From every one else in my life, friends and family, I do get support. I do have friends who've read my stories. I have friends and family who have not only downloaded my book from amazon, but paid for it. I like feeling loved. I love my friends and family.
And then there is everyone else.
We live in a world of digital media and I am one who likes to be as anonymous as can be.
Clearly, that needs to change.
And it has. It has changed.
It took just as much courage to create an author Facebook page as it did to actually publish something. It took just as much courage to expand my list of followers on Twitter. It is hard work. It is time consuming work that, unfortunately, takes away from my writing. It is a two edged sword, isn't it?
Bottomline, this digital socializing is exhausting and nerve-wracking. Day after day I put time in writing blogs and twits and at the end of the day I look at my amazon author page to see that no one even downloads the book. Sure, it's still 99 cents. True, I won't be able to offer it for FREE until the end of July. And of course I've made mistakes.
The problem is at the end of the day I am exhausted from all the marketing that I don't make time to write and, honestly, it has gotten to the point when I don't feel like revising my work to be published and I need to publish the rest of my stories. That's the plan.
So, I'm in this vicious cycle right now and I am trying to get out of it. Maybe it's just a phase. I won't give up, not yet. I will keep trying to get people to know me enough to trust me with the stories I want to tell. Eventually I will get better at writing, revising and editing my stories to continue with my author career. It will get better. It should get better.
In an ocean of millions of writers, I am trying to stay afloat.
As you may know, I am trying to create a network on Twitter with the goal of letting people get to know me a little better and eventually take a chance and read my books. I am, by nature, a very shy person - digitally, as well. Until I published my book I was never active on Facebook, rarely even looked at Twitter and don't even have a Snapchat or Instagram account.
Now that I've joined Twitter and have gotten to know a world of indie authors I didn't know existed, I get a lot of book promotions on my feed. What caught my eye about most of them is the fact that they are mostly clickable images.
Twitter can't do that.
That's how I came across Twitshot.
Twitshot is basically a service that helps you twit images connected to an image. In my case, I was looking to do what I see other authors do and twit a promo of my book with the cover as a clickable link:
Here are the basics of Twitshot:
I also downloaded the shortcut on chrome in order to have it readily available whenever I want to tweet my books as clickable links. Here's my first one:
One more step into becoming known.
I met Robin Hutton on Twitter. Immediately he messaged me a link to his webpage. I went ahead and downloaded his book "17 Self-Publishing Bullets for Writers". I have found that Twitter is filled with authors who want to be known and want to help other authors. I hope I can be that author one day.
Right now, I am reading Tim Hutton's book.
It will take me some time to go through it all, but so far, he has outlined my author life perfectly. Like many, it took a lot of courage on my part to publish my book. It took me 18 years to gather that courage. Then, I became one of the many in an ocean of writers trying to get people to invest in my books.
I have abandoned the dream of making any money with my writing. Right now, I just want people to get to know my books because I, myself, think they are great. I highly recommend you follow Mr. Hutton and download his book. If you are like me, you'll need all the help you can get.