Tag Archives: blog tour

Writers Workshop Blog Tour Starts Today!

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Today is the start of the Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour! I’ll have a guest post on Wednesday, May 8th. Meanwhile, enjoy this excerpt from the book:

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“Nothing fills a page faster than dialogue,” the writer said.

There it is, the blank page or screen, the intimidating and recurring challenge every writer must face. The temptation is to fill that page as quickly as possible, to advance the narrative however you can. Often the easiest way to do that, even for writers who are not masters of dialogue, is to get the characters talking. A few A few writers are even bold enough to begin novels or stories with a line of dialogue, something I don’t recommend unless you possess the skills of the early Robert A Heinlein, who began his story “Blowups Happen” with the suspenseful line: “Put down that wrench!” Orson Scott Card also opened his popular novel Ender’s Game with a piece of dialogue that immediately rouses the reader’s curiosity: “‘I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.” Writing good and convincing dialogue is usually enough of a challenge without relying on it to hook a reader right at the beginning of one’s story. Writing dialogue, whatever the difficulties, is generally easier than, for example, crafting descriptive passages, offering insights into a character’s psychology, creating vigorous and absorbing action scenes, or presenting necessary exposition in a graceful way.

 Writers who harbor dreams of scriptwriting may be especially prone to fill pages with dialogue, but others also succumb, partly because dialogue is a shortcut and a very useful one. Sometimes a few well-chosen words of conversation can accomplish as much in a story as pages of description and exposition. There are also a fair number of readers who are more absorbed by stretches of repartee than by beautifully and poetically rendered descriptions. (Writers meet these people all the time; they’re the ones who tell you they skip all the dull parts, often meaning those carefully wrought passages that cost you so much effort.) Better just to cut to the chase, or in this case, drop in on the conversation.

 

The strength of dialogue—namely that it can be a useful shortcut—is also its weakness. Writers who rely too much on dialogue risk leaving too much out. The writer may hear the characters clearly and easily envision the scene, but that doesn’t mean that the reader will. (In a review of a novel some years back, Joanna Russ wrote that passages in that book seemed to be largely about names drinking cups of coffee, noticing the designs of ashtrays, or riffing on the furnishings in a room, the characters were so indistinguishable.) The beginning writer is likely to produce dialogue in which the reader will find it hard to tell one character from another. The useful shortcut can produce a story that is sketchy, in which too much has been left out

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A self-interview and the latest tour stops

Today’s stops on the blog tour:

Interview

I thought I’d do a self-interview today, sort of like a self-portrait. When a blog asks you to do an interview, you usually get a list of dozens of questions, and answer a certain number, usually 10-20. So I thought I’d go back to some of those interviews and answer ten questions I didn’t answer anywhere else. It should be fun!

Have you ever gone out in public with your shirt on backwards, or your slippers on, and when realizing it, just said screw it?

Sadly, yes! One day I was wearing black flip flops. I wore them all day long. When I went to walk the dog in the late afternoon, I looked down and realized I’d been wearing two different shoes all day! It was a bit late to worry about it them! And just recently, when I was in Uganda, I got up fairly early to spend the day at the hospital in Tororo. There was no power, so I got dressed in the dark (never a good idea!). As we were walking the 30 min to the hospital, my friend plucked my shoulder and said, “Your shirt’s on inside out!” I did eventually get to flip it around once I found a bathroom, but I had it on a good while like that!

If you could have any automobile, which would you have?

In my mind, I’d have a Bentley Continental convertible. But I couldn’t justify the expense (even if I had a ton of money)! So I’d have a Camaro convertible instead.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

At home, I usually either bake something, read, or watch something recorded on the DVR. If the weather’s nice, I like to walk. My absolute favorite way to unwind and relax is to be at the beach somewhere, walking barefoot in the sand, reading, and having a frozen adult beverage!

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

If I’m buying it at the grocery, Edy’s has a Special Edition caramel coconut cookie that is amazing. It’s basically a Samosa cookie ice cream. We’re also big on classic vanilla. If we’re out, I like a good chocolate peanut butter.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?

I can’t help but laugh at this question, because I’ve been reading Rick Riorden’s books over the last couple of years, and my image of the Greek gods has morphed into the descriptions he uses. But I would be Poseidon, definitely, since I’ve always loved the ocean.

You have won one million dollars what is the first thing that you would buy?

A house in the Bahamas. Not a big, fancy one. Just a small one with big wide porches, high ceilings, big windows and a view of the sea.

What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Rainy days (like today!), especially in the winter, are for reading. Sometimes my kids and I will decide to do a movie marathon, which is almost always Lord of the Rings. Although we did a Blue Planet marathon one rainy day at the beach, and that was fun!

If you could take over the world, would you?

No way!! Can you imagine the stress??

Do you like the spotlight or lurking in the shadows?

Shadows! I’m an introvert, and a huge people-watcher, so I’m content to sit back and watch most of the time.

Summer or Winter?

I’m a 5th generation Floridian… Summer! Although I love to wear boots.

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Blog tour blast o’links

Several links today! Check them out:

I did an interview with Kathy of I Am a Reader Not a Writer. You find out that I always wanted to be Aquaman, and that I eat weird things for breakfast!

At Crafty Zoo with Monkeys, you can get my original recipe for Biscoff Nutella cheesecake (yep, you read that right!), and a short guest blog on how I feel about my kids growing up.

Breath of Life Reviews will have a review up soon – it’s not there yet, so I’m going to be waiting along with you to see what she thinks! UPDATE:  5 stars!

And finally, a not great review at Brooklyn Berry Designs. Can’t win ’em all!

So that’s it for the day! I hope you enjoy the great blogs who were kind enough to give me space on their sites. Thanks for reading!

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Marketing, Promotion and Life’s Other Mysteries

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I am the first to admit that I am not a marketing guru. In fact, up til last July, I was perfectly content to be completely unknown. But then I published my first book, the necessity of self-promotion became apparent. Obviously, people can’t buy my books without knowing those books exist. Thus began my crash course in marketing.

I am a reasonably fast learner and a hard worker, but the art of marketing is just that. An art. Were it a science, I’d have it down by now, but no… just when I think I have things figured out, I realize I don’t. Here are some examples:

  • During my final free days with Amazon for my first book, Solomon’s Throne, I placed ads with Bargain Ebook Hunter and Pixelscroll. I paid for featured ads of one day each. I also did an ad with FreeBooksy. I had done the first two before, and had pretty decent free days, but I’d never done FreeBooksy before. That’s important, because it seems to be the only thing that was different than any other free day promotion. But I had almost four times the downloads! 7909 in TWO days. For some genres that would be considered low, but for action adventure, which is a teeny tiny piece of the genre pie, it was huge. Obviously, I have elevated FreeBooksy to the top tier of advertising. But that’s for FREE books… Which doesn’t actually make me any money, right?
  • I am currently participating in two blog tours, as I said in my last post. (Well, one starts the 20th, but they’re doing some Twitter blasts about the free giveaways now. Here’s one link to enter.) I have gotten a lot of new Likes on my Facebook page, but so far no sales of IXEOS, which is what the tours are highlighting. Now, if people actually see my posts on Facebook (you have to specifically make a selection to see all posts), it is certainly possible that they will decide they like what I have to say enough to check out the book and/or this blog. I enjoy both the blog and Facebook, so that’s totally fine with me — I love the whole relationship aspect of being an author. But the tours aren’t free, so I do have to look at both exposure and sales when analyzing the effectiveness of the dollars spent. So far, I’d say an A for exposure, but an Incomplete on sales. (There have only been 3 posts so far, with MANY more to come over the next several weeks, so I’m withholding judgment for the moment.)
  • The weekend I was traveling to Uganda, starting 2/16 and going through 2/17 or early 2/18, I sold over 125 copies of Solomon’s Throne.  I normally sell an average of 20 a day — sometimes 16, sometimes 25, but I average 20 of that book right now. Sales are climbing, but slowly, 5-10% a month. So what happened in the middle of February? I have no idea! I had done the Kindle Book Review HOT DEAL the two days following my free days (those had been 2/12 and 2/13). But that ended Friday. I had virtually no sales, no even my normal 20, during those two days. But then, over the weekend, it exploded and kept going, although not to that big an extent all month. That made February my biggest month to date, beating December by over 10%. But why?

You see the quandary. I will probably try the Kindle Book Review again soon with IXEOS under their HOT NEW RELEASE package and see what happens. If those sales had happened while that ad was running, I’d say that was surely the catalyst… But they didn’t, so it’s not cut and dried. At $40 a pop, it’s not a lot for a big boost in sales… But it is a lot if that had nothing to do with it. And at this point, I honestly don’t know.

This coming week, I’ll have both blog tours going, plus I have two free promo days for IXEOS on Tuesday and Wednesday (please go over to Amazon and pick it up!). I’ve got an ad running all week on The Cheap EBook, both days on FreeBooksy, and one day on Pixelscroll. Monday and Thursday (and then the following Tuesday)  I will have social media blasts from the Book Tweeting Service. Saturday I have an ad with Ebook Impresario, and all the following week, I have an ad on The Cheap. After that, I go out of town for Easter… (Maybe going out of town is what does it?!)

I’ll let you know how it goes. Obviously, by layering all these things for the launch, I won’t be able to pinpoint any one venue as the most helpful, unless one particular day just goes crazy. But I think layering for a new launch to get exposure is a good approach, one I couldn’t afford when I launched my other books. (I launched three books in four months!) Especially since I make things hard on myself by switching genres all the time, I am having to continually reach new readers — basically start over.

If you have any tips, please let me know! And stay tuned for the continuing saga… Will we unravel the mystery, or only become more deeply mired? That is the question!

 

 

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Enter to win!! IXEOS blog tour

Ixeos tour

You can win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash on my blog tour!

Enter to win!

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