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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All About Me (or, A Desperate Plea for Help!)

Today, I'm going to veer from my normal formula where I share a helpful, writing-related tidbit with you. Instead, I'm going to talk about my writing, and ask for some assistance. Truth be told, the reason I started blogging is because everything I read said authors need to blog. So I blogged. Turns out, I enjoy it and think I've helped a few people out over the years, but at the heart of it all is my writing.

If you've been following my brief author updates at the end of each blog post, you know I plan to self-publish a second edition re-release of my first novel, Crimson & Cream, as well as debut the second book of the trilogy; Mirrors & Mist.

Since Crimson & Cream's release in 2012, I hired a wonderful new editor (R.J. Blain) to review my second novel. However, because it is book two of a trilogy, I also enlisted R.J. to review Crimson & Cream, so she wouldn't have to start in the middle of the trilogy. R.J. provided some fantastic feedback and ideas and I decided to incorporate those revisions into a second edition, and re-release Crimson & Cream with new cover art, a world map, and a glossary, along with the newly-edited text.

Now, here comes the part where I ask for help. While I'm incorporating R.J.'s edits and suggestions into Mirrors & Mist, I'd like to get the 'New & Improved' version of Crimson & Cream in the hands of some beta readers (of which, I currently have none). This is where you come in. I want to start my 'casting call' here on my blog, to give those most familiar with me and my writing the chance to get involved.

So here's my pitch: if you're interested in a free e-book of Crimson & Cream and are willing to provide me your feedback, I'll also give you free advanced copies of Mirrors & Mist and the final book, Warlock & Wyrm (working title) for free (when they are finished), regardless of your continued role as a beta reader (although I hope you would continue beta reading throughout the trilogy, and beyond).

Crimson & Cream is the first book of a character-driven, epic fantasy trilogy that takes place in a traditional fantasy setting. If you'd like to know more about Crimson & Cream before deciding, my web page is the place to find it: http://cmskiera.yourresearchhelp.com/  I'm also happy to answer any questions you may have. There's really no commitment--even if you don't read the book or provide feedback, I won't ask for the e-book back. Also, if you know someone who might be interested, please pass the information along.

Also, below, I've included three versions of the potential new cover, and would love to hear your opinions. Thank you!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Free ebooks on the Craft of Writing

There are probably millions of books offering advice to writers. That's both a blessing and a curse. How do you sort the good from the bad, and find writing guides applicable to your needs? If you're looking for helpful free resources (outside of your local library), here are a few free e-books that are pre-screened (by me) and well-rated (on Amazon and or/Smashwords) with helpful information for writers.

These ebooks are brief and concise, and include descriptive examples, which are three of the main characteristics I look for in guidance documents. I'm not an expert writer, so I'm not looking for super-advanced or theoretical help, just guidance with fundamentals and basic concepts of writing and self-publishing.

I've read each of the books below and found each of them valuable:

Smashwords Titles
Smashwords Book Marketing Guide By Mark Coker
An easy-to-implement guide on how to market ebooks.  My rating; 5 stars.

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success By Mark Coker
The 30 best practices of bestselling self-published ebook authors.  My rating; 4 stars.

How to Edit, Revise and Rewrite Your Novel--A Quick and Simple Guide By Gordon Kessler
A rule-of-thumb style guide for editing your writing.  My rating;  4 stars.

Put the Cat In the Oven Before You Describe the Kitchen By Jake Vander Ark
Twenty writing tips for novice (and intermediate) writers.  My rating;  4 stars.

Amazon Titles
How to Write More Words More Easily (Fiction Writing HELP) By Terrance Field
Guidelines for writing an interesting, page-turning story. My rating; 4stars.

I also picked up The New Author by R.A. Barnes for free, however, it's no longer free, but a still-reasonable $3.82.  However, if you're going to spend a few bucks, I would recommend paying an extra dollar for Martin Crosbie's How I sold 30,000 e-books, which is similar to The New Author, covers a lot of the same ground and is more comprehensive, in my opinion.  Either way, they are both good resources.

Author Update: I sent Mirrors & Mist back to my editor and received surprisingly good feedback, which is an excellent motivator.  So along with watching a lot of college hoops, I'm finalizing the 2nd edition of Crimson & Cream before I jump back into finishing the latest batch of edits on Mirrors & Mist.

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