Monday, July 27, 2015

Cover Reveal: Veritas, Shadow of the Rose: Book Two...

Okay, this is it. I've finished book two and all that is left is to get it formatted and up for sale. Easy peasy!

This will currently be an e-book only format, available on Smashwords for $2.99. This is the second book in my Shadow of the Rose trilogy.

I'll be holding some contests, giving away some e-books, hopefully some swag, but that will be later on. In the meantime, as promised, here is the cover reveal:



TADA!



Now, book two will be available July 31, 2015. Again, it will only be available as an e-book for awhile.

I'll also be making a change to the Adversarius cover, simply because I found 3 images that work so well with each other and it only makes sense to have all the covers in the trilogy look similar.

At least, that's what my OCD is telling me.



All right! I hope you enjoyed my cover reveal. Have a great rest of your week!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Missing My Old Groove...

I have to say... I'm missing my old blogging groove. I think it kept me a little more focused and organized that I am right now.

I'm doing a lot these days. Working part-time, babysitting the grand-kidlet, finishing up book two and beginning a new book. I'm doing critiques, teaching myself how to do book covers, because I just do not have the cash to hire someone! Oh! And I am taking an online course for Medical Transcription.

But I miss the randomness that was my usual blog posts. Talking about everything, telling people what was going on. Holding blog hops, participating in the A-Z challenge, IWSG posts...

I could go on, but I might cry!

No, not really.

But I do miss you guys!

Blogging was more therapeutic than I care to admit. The flash fiction, the funnies. I miss the funnies. And I have so much fantasy art on my Pinterest page I should just start up with it again.

But I think the biggest reason I stopped, to be honest, was ... I got burned out. I didn't know what to post about anymore and you guys could only deal with so much stress and whining. You all have your own issues.

So maybe I will get back into this. I have more to say, I have one new book coming out the end of next week!

Whoa.

Gotta get that cover done...

But I also have another story I'm working on, then it's on to book three of my trilogy. And then, from there, who knows! I have so many ideas to choose from.

So, I suppose, keep an eye out next week for my cover reveal and then, book two!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cliche Fantasy Names...

I've been working on the glossary for my second book. I wanted to do a cover reveal this week, but discovered I hadn't purchased the rights to the image yet. Apparently, I was waiting. So now I have to wait some more and purchase said image tomorrow.

Then I can do a reveal.

Book two, "Veritas" will hopefully be ready to go by July 31st. In that time, I need to work on my glossary of names, pronunciations and a map.

I'm doubtful about the map. I have GIMP and have gone through one of the only good tutorials I could find, but my map still doesn't come out the way it should. So I don't have much faith in getting a map done in time. It may be something I add later on to a new page here on my blog.

What I do have plenty of, is hard-to-pronounce, cliche fantasy names.

I'm going to tell you right now. I'm PROUD of this fact, even though it garnered me some bad reviews.

I'm old-school. You all know that. I write what I want to read and for me, those names are challenging, fantastical and imaginative.

I don't like reading fantasy where the name of the character is Karen or Bob.




So how do you come up with those tongue-twister names? Well, there are random fantasy name generators out there. There are your Dungeons and Dragons manuals to peruse and garner ideas. But if you are creative and love the challenge of coming up with names, like me, wing it!

Some of the names of my cities and kingdoms came from generators, but if I didn't like the name, I changed it until I liked it. I have a city called Ouldris (Ool driss) and the sea located near it is called Au-Ouldris (Ow Ool driss). Granted, my pronunciation technique isn't the best, but you get the idea.

I have to say, a lot of my names did just pop into my head. There were times I felt like I was channeling Tolkien. Other names I came up with using Latin translators or even going to the Elven to Common website. I'm not allowed to use any of the Elven language created by Tolkien, but I could mix it with Latin (sometimes I didn't even use the Elven) and came up with my own. That is what I like about a lot of the names and titles. Using your imagination. Isn't that what writing is about?

I have lots of tips and tricks for coming up with names. Baby name books came in handy for characters, sometimes. I would switch around letters, add letters. People would often ask me how I came up with the name Kayta, back when Kayta was a paper Dungeons and Dragons character. Kayta is the product of me. My middle name is Kay, I just added the 'ta'. It worked. Right?

So how do you come up with names for your characters and other things in your books?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

If You Gave A Mel An E-Book...

If you gave me an e-book at any point of this year, (the year being 2015) or the end of last year, (2014), for a review, I'm ashamed and horrified to admit I might not have gotten to it.

I know of at least three e-books I promised to review. My Kindle was not being cooperative. It would not show up on my computer when connected for me to take the downloaded .mobi files and put them on my Kindle.

It has been a source of frustration for me for some time, now. I try to keep my review requests in a separate folder, but for some reason, I dropped the ball. I've been searching my Inbox and found these three e-books from as far back as April. I feel like a fool.

I dropped the ball and it never bounced back up.



So I am here to offer up a humble apology, regardless of the excuses of faulty technology and the fact that time just seems to slip through my fingers some days. I. Screwed. Up.



I currently have three books on my Kindle that I KNOW I'm supposed to review. Those are the three I will be reading here in the next day or two. If, for some reason, you do not see a review from me in the next month and you know I promised you one, email me and chew me out!

Seriously, I'm giving you permission to go postal. I don't allow people to get on me like this, usually. Take advantage.

Aside from all that, I hope you are all having a good week.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Revisiting Old Ideas...

You know, when I was MUCH younger. I mean, we're talking a little over 20 years ago, I had a story idea that was paranormal. But I didn't know exactly what paranormal was at the time.

Paranormal has been popular over the last ten years, at least I think it has. I don't know exactly when paranormal became a genre in writing, but when I had that story idea, I don't think it was even a thought.

When you thought about writing about ghosts, vampires, werewolves, it was considered horror, not paranormal. Young Adult wasn't even really specified. It was teen novels. Things like that.

So when I had this story idea, I was trying to find a way to make it work. It's a good story, a good message and I was going to throw a lot of history into it. But I certainly didn't know how to classify it at the time when my friends asked what it was about.

"Uhhh, hard to explain..."

I bring this up, because I ran across the notebooks of this handwritten story. It needs work, it's almost complete, but I didn't finish it because I didn't know what to do with it at the time.

Now, well, psh! I can totally pull it off as a YA/Paranormal if I wanted to.

But isn't it funny how, when you're younger, you have all these ideas that seem so crazy and far-fetched at the time and you tuck it away because of that, instead of pursuing it and naming a new genre? Then you find it years later (or in my case, decades) and go, "Oh! I can totally make that work now!" and it will be acceptable.

So what do you have in your closet, drawer or in a box under your bed that you've hid from the light of day because no one, not even you, understood it yet? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Author Tips: How to Review/Critique...

Okay, so last week I posted about the Bad Reviews. If you haven't seen it, or would like to recap, the link for that is here.

I decided, on the opposite side of that coin, to post a topic on how I do a review/critique.

Before we get going, I'll do the usual: This is just my opinion, take it or leave it, blah blah blah.



When I first started writing, I went over to Writing Dot Com (WDC) and created a portfolio. My user name over there is Caledonia Lass as well. I started reading stuff people posted up, looking for "honest reviews" of their work.

I'm blatantly honest, if I'm anything.



So I thought, "Sure, why the heck not. It'll get my work out there, people will critique my stuff" and so on.

Apparently I'm too honest. Or, at least, I was not being helpful. I had one person read my work and critique it to the point I was in tears. He was rude, he attacked me personally, calling me stupid and immature. I avoided WDC for months after that.

Then I went back. I read his review, again, of my work, and looked at the things he was pointing out. And then I messaged him back and thanked him, looked at one of his stories and critiqued the hell out of it. Never heard from him again, I can tell you.

Now don't get me wrong, I did NOT do it out of spite. At first I was going to, but then changed my mind and decided not to sink down to his level and tarnish the small reputation I acquired of being fair and helpful.

So here is my point to all of this. When you review someone's book/work or critique it, there are rules to follow. The first is the most important:

1. Don't. Be. A. Jackass.

2. Make notes as you go, either in a notebook or in a separate document. Don't wait until you've gone through it completely, because you may forget some very important things. Yes, this interrupts the flow of reading, but it keeps you focused on the task of critiquing.

On the other hand, if you are reading someone's book, well, how you do that is up to you. If it is a published book, I'll do an overall review once I'm finished. I take a day or two to soak it all in, then write my review.

3. Be. HONEST. If someone approaches you, asking for a critique or review, they're looking for honest, helpful feedback. So, remember Rule Number One. If you find an area in the story that is particularly troublesome, point it out and move to Rule Number Four:

4. Give constructive criticism. Don't be snide about it. Don't be condescending. Give some helpful advice to problems and issues you find. Unless of course it is a typo or grammatical error. In that case, just keep referring to Rule Number One. Don't put comments in there like, "Can't you effing spell?!?!?"

5. Following that line of thought, when you find a typo, give the correction. When you find a grammatical error, offer up suggestions. However, in the end, the author may just reconstruct the sentence and not use your suggestion. Don't sweat it.

In the end, the author is the creator. Their work is their baby, the physical representation of their imagination. Don't beat it to a bloody pulp and expect the author to be grateful. Don't breed resentment and hate.

As authors, we're all in this together. There are a lot out there who think that they don't need anyone's help except for the people they hire. Sorry, but they're wrong. The readers dictate success and if you're an arrogant ass hat (pardon my language), people are NOT going to read your work.

Among your fellow authors, if you're a jerk and ask for some reviews or critiques, no one will be willing to help you. Or, if you offer the review/critique and are a jerk, no one will ask you again. If you have an opinion about something, be honest without being brutal.

I've been told several times I have the tact of a brick wall, but even I manage tact when reviewing and critiquing.

Have anything to add to this? I'd love to hear what you have to say. Leave me a comment!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Almost There...

I'm so close to ending book two.


I know it has taken me a long time, I know you've all been patient. I do have to let my characters "speak to me" on a certain level and figure out the way the story is going to go.

This is my first story idea, adapted several times over because it just "wasn't right". I used to have a bad habit of scrapping everything I had and starting over and was trying to stop doing that, and due to certain companies that Shall Not Be Named, I did end up doing just that.

So, I had to make it right, make it where I would be happy with it and not throw my hands in the air and say, "Screw it!". And due to that fact, I was literally writing by the seat of my pants and not plotting anything out, so when it came to book two, and soon, book three, I found myself having to plan around something that didn't originally have a plan.

That's... difficult, to say the least. I don't know how many of you wrote a book by the seat of your pants, then had to plot out the rest. It's stress inducing, for sure.

If there is one thing I have learned from all of this, it would definitely be patience. When this story idea first popped into my head, I was so, so eager to share it with the world.

Scared as hell, but eager.

I couldn't wait to get it out there and see the reactions of others! I had stars in my eyes.

Now, after all has been said and done, after all the reviews, I'm a hell of a lot more cautious than I was that first time out. I'm trying to perfect the middle and ending of this story.

If I had the opportunity to go back in time, and retain the knowledge I have, I would definitely sit myself down and say,

"Hey. Don't be a moron. It's going to get published, even if you have to do it yourself. Which, will be possible. So don't rush it. Don't hack it to pieces and panic about it later. Just. Slow. Down."

I'm writing this now, because last night I had the end of book two come to me.

Prepare yourselves, it's going to be a cliffhanger, just like book one.


It's how I roll. I don't know what to tell you. Some people love 'em, some people hate 'em. I know there are quite a few people out there waiting for me to just finish the series before they read it all. I get that. I really do.


But these books have taught me to plan out a story now. So the next few ideas I have, well, they're all planned out, beginning to end. The characters are waiting in the shadows of my mind to be released onto the world. And with this planning, comes speed. I'll be able to hammer these out, get them edited while working on the next one, etc.

I see stories in my future.

So tell me. What has writing taught you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Scrivener...

Okay first, before I start this post, I need to say

OH. MY. GAH!!!!!!

Okay, I think I'm done.

I just spent the last half an hour trying to find something in Scrivener and it has now prompted a blog post.

Seriously.

I ADORE Scrivener, truly, I do. But these last few weeks have been a complete nightmare with it.

First of all, if you are using Windows and having an issue with Scrivener (Not Responding), allow me to enlighten you.

Go to your C:\Program Files\Scrivener, or, C:\Program Files(x86)\Scrivener and find the .exe file.

Right click, select Properties.

Select the "Compatibility" tab and check the box "Run this application in compatibility mode for" and leave it for whatever is the default or already highlighted selection.

If this doesn't work, re-start you computer and try again. If it still doesn't work, select the compatibility mode until you get it to work properly.

Now that we're through there, let me just say I could not find my live word count bar to save my life. Each section used to show me a live word count and character count. I didn't know what happened, but when I finally got Scrivener to boot properly, my word count was gone.

*POOF!*

Disappeared. Like I said, I just spent a half hour trying to find it again, searching Google, getting warmer when I learned it was called a "live word count bar". This is something I need to have showing! I can't just stop and do an overall project statistics to find my word count or pause to hit Ctrl+whatever...

I got used to that little guy down there and I thought he was gone forever!

But I found it. So I'm sharing this information with you in case you run into a similar issue. Because my bar did just disappear when I finally got the program to launch.

It's in your Footer display. Which I did not know. I feel sort of silly, slightly stupid, but hey, it's all good now.

So if your live word count bar is gone from the bottom of your screen, select "View", go to "Layout" and make sure there is a check mark next to "Footer View".

Thank you, that is all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Advice For Newbie Authors...

I read something over the weekend that prompted this post. I have to say, this is something that we, as writers and authors, are constantly having to deal with.

It's... The Bad Review.

Change 'company' to 'book'.

(Cue dramatic music...)

We've all had them, those darn Bad Reviews. I have quite a few on my debut novel, which I honestly expected. But I took those Bad Reviews and used them to help me in my writing. To help hone my craft.

Bad Reviews are going to happen, like breathing, whether we like it or not. They just come naturally because *GASP!* we can't force people to like our stuff.

::Looks around with shifty eyes::

If we forced people, that would be bad and we'd go to jail.

So what CAN you do about a bad review?

Weeeellll...

Not a damn thing. You can't take it down, you can't react to it, you can't ask the person who left it to remove it. It's like trying to censor their opinion.


The reviews aren't going to kill you. Well, unless they become solid and land on you... but that'll never happen.

Bad Reviews will:

~ Make you feel like hammered dog poo.

~Make you feel slightly nauseated. (Unless you're actually a pregnant female. Might want to go get that test now.)

~ Make you feel like a World Class Idiot.

~ Make you want to give up writing forever.

But that's okay! Yes, I said that in my most Chipper Voice Ever! And no, I'm not in need of a straight jacket, despite what my family thinks...

A Bad Review should:

~ Help you.

~ Motivate you to be a better writer.

~ Point out the weaknesses in your writing that you CAN correct.

~ Make your next book much better than your last.

You should NEVER:

~ Respond to a Bad Review.

~ Throw a fit, publicly (and by publicly I mean outside your house or on the internet...).

~ Ask the person to remove the review.

The only time you can honestly ask a review to be removed, is if the person is knowingly bashing you and harassing you and you've got proof that they are Out To Get You. I have to admit, I've got my book up on Goodreads and someone actually put on there, "Marked it as Not Going To Read". I think if they could have put, "EVER" on there, they would have. Don't know who the person was or if I ever pissed in their Wheaties, but whatever. What am I going to do? Force them to read it?


::Snorts::

No, that would be BAD.

But seriously. Don't be a troll about your book. Don't be a jerk. Roll with the punches and grow a thicker skin. We've all been there, we've all done that. We'll be doing it again with Every Book We Write. You can't escape the Bad Review, so let them come! Take your time off of work to deal with them. Eat some chocolate, curl up with some tea and a chick flick, and then move on.



It'll be fine and after awhile, you won't even know they exist.

We'll know, but you won't.

You'll develop blinders for them.

We'll still see them, but for you they will seem to disappear like a fine mist.

Okay,okay, I'll stop now.

Have a good rest of your week!