Posted on Leave a comment

[Preptober Pt.3] Deciding on an Outlining Method

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please take the time to fill out this form.*** 


 

TheWe’ve made it folks, it’s the second to the last week of Preptober. We have a solid idea, we’ve decided on whether or not to mind-map and if we have, now we’re ready to outline! (Unless you’re a pantser, plotster, etc. Still read on! You might change your mind and avoid the mid-month wall crash).

Last week, I went over three different outlining methods you can use when approaching your outline. HOWEVER! There are many and I encourage you to choose what works for you. 

For the purpose of this post however, I will cover the three I mentioned. 

Good Old Dan Wells

Dan Well’s created an outlining method known as the 7-point plot structure**. This is possibly my favorite method because it forces you to focus on the main points in the story and alleviates focusing too much on details too early on.

This method begins with what he likes to call the “Ice Breaker Monster.” Basically, you’re promising the reader just as they open the book that action is coming down the pike. You might do this as Lord of the Rings did by starting backwards and showing some history prior to beginning the actual story.dan-wells

  • Part 1: The Hook: This is the character in their ordinary world. Where they start before the inciting incident pushes them to move the story forward. In Lord of the Rings, this is when we see Harry in his squalid condition of living under the stairs. It gives us a glance into the world before moving on to the first Plot Turn.
  • Part 2: Plot Turn 1: This is your inciting incident. The action that moves your character forward into their journey. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo is given the ring by Gandalf and told to meet him in Bree.
  • Part 3: Pinch 1: This would follow after your hero refuses to answer the call to action. They need to be persuaded to move into their journey. For example, Frodo goes to Bree but finds Gandalf isn’t there. He realizes he must continue the journey with the help of Aragorn.
  • Part 4: Midpoint: The meat of the story. A point where the character realizes they have to answer the call to action. Going back to the example of Lord of the Rings, this is when Frodo is with the council and realizes he’s the only one who can take the ring to Mordor. The Fellowship is formed.
  • Part 5: Pinch 2: This is when things get bad. The hero often suffers a severe loss and finds themselves alone. After the battle with the Balrog, Frodo loses Gandalf and feels shaken in his resolve.
  • Part 6 & 7 are known as the Plot turn 2 and resolution. The hero is able to get the last pieces of the story put together and move on into the resolution. Frodo and Sam decide they can’t accomplish their goals through the broken fellowship and must continue on their own. In the end, Frodo throws the Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom thus destroying Sauron.

**If you need further elaboration, Dan himself walks through three different examples in this youtube series.


Dan Harmons’ Embryo Method

tumblr_inline_n8sssrntlC1qj0ue8Screen writer Dan Harmon does a dissection of the popular Hero’s Journey template by removing parts he deems “unnecessary” to avoid the “fluff” and move right into the action. His method is broken down like this:

  • You (a character is in a zone of comfort) > Introduce your character
  • Need (but they want something) > There’s something off
  • Go (they enter an unfamiliar situation) > Call to action/ inciting incident
  • Search (adapt to it) > They have no choice but to continue
  • Find (find what they wanted) > The Midpoint
  • Take (pay its price) > Things get bad for the protagonist
  • Return (and go back to where they started) > Finding the power within
  • Change (now capable of change) > The hero is ready to face the beast head on

I use this method from time to time because it’s very basic and doesn’t focus on details much like Dan Wells’. For more in depth study, I invite you to check this wikia.


3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapter Method

This is the method I used for my first novel. It’s miraculous for pacing and can offer great incite on how to break your chapters down into a manageable 27. It was founded by Katytastic on youtube and has since been used by many authors to complete their66714aed90eb335e39bf28c3fcd44a65 novels.

However, because of its length and the way it’s set up, I’m unable to go over every piece here. If requested, I’d be happy to do a rundown. Writer’sedit.com has already done so for the popular Young Adult series, Hunger Games.


But Which is Right for me?

As I mentioned, there are many ways to outline. Chapter by Chapter, 3 Act, Snowflake Method, Hero’s Journey, etc. There is no “right” way to outline. It’s all how you, the author, want to plan your novel. 

Start by asking yourself these three questions:

  1. How much do I want to know before writing?
  2. Which would benefit my story most?
  3. What aspect of my story would I possibly struggle with most?

Once you know these, it should be easier for you to decide, if at all. If you’re a total plotster or panster, then sit down and go for it!

BEFORE YOU GO! PLEASE READ ON!


Thank you so much for joining us this week. We are so excited to share this series with you and hope it helps during these next two months. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter and receive not one but two free eBooks as a thank you! We will never spam you!

As we mentioned above, we’re offering exclusive content only available to those who support us on Patreon. Why Patreon? Because it’ll help us reach our goals of putting out printing compilations, extras and eventually publishing opportunities to authors struggling to either start or are desperately looking to avoid the slush piles of bigger publishing houses. 

We welcome you to join us twice a week on our Twitch channel where you can get to know us on a more personal basis, watch as we work, play video games and chat with our readers live! As of now we’re aiming for 7 – 9PM CST Wednesdays and Sundays! 

If you have the time and want to find some wonderful folks who can help you design the perfect eye-catching book cover, please drop by our friends at Damonza.com. Use the code, FYRESYDE to get 5% off your purchase! We use no one but this team of dedicated professionals for all of our book covers.

Had trouble with Word losing your files? Want a place you can plan, outline, have your character sheets, research, etc? Look no further than Scriviner. Trusted by our authors for almost a year, Scriviner is available wherever you need it to be. Now as an app! Click the links for Mac or Windows.

If you would like to write for us, please get in touch with us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com! We would love to talk with you!

Posted on Leave a comment

[Preptober pt.2] Mindmapping v. Outlining v. Pansting

***Before I get to the juicy stuff, let’s get some housecleaning done. Be sure you read all the way to the bottom for some ways you can access to exclusive content not available to the public. If this is your first time joining us, we here at FyreSyde are a husband and wife duo who made the decision we wanted to offer a community to help our creative entrepreneurs, readers, bloggers and authors alike. Blaise’s book, Blessing of Luna can be found on Amazon in audiobook, paperback and eBook with the second book in the series, Bane of Tenebris, due to be released in July of 2019. If you would like to sign up for the launch team and receive a free digital copy of the book, please take the time to fill out this form.*** 


 

We are back again! This time, we’re facing some serious opponents in the cage: Mindmapping versus Outlining versus pantsing. FIGHT!

To begin to find out how we want to cheer for these titans in the ring, we need to understand what each of them are:

mind-mapping-graphic-100679740-large

Mindmapping:

The real definition, according to Mindmapping.com, is:

“A graphical way to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that helps structuring information, helping you to better analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas. Just as in every great idea, its power lies in its simplicity.”

Put simply, it’s the messiest form of getting anything you can think of down on paper in some kind of graphic. It can be in the circle web, a tree branch system, etc.

A great tool authors can use is called Freemind. It’s absolutely free and makes the process much easier. 

Once the process is complete you can move onto your second opponent in the cage: Outlining.


Outlining:

Going back to the official definition, according to Dictionary.com, an outline is:

“a general sketch, account, or report, indicating only the main features, as of a book, subject, or project”

What does this mean? Just as it says. You are putting your story in such a way that you dan-wellscan see it’s pacing, plot line, characters, etc.

There are many ways you can do this. However, some of those I use are Dan Well’s 7-point plot structure, The Embryo Method, and of course my favorite, the 3 Act, 9 Block, 27 Chapters method founded by Katytastic. Each of them are powerful and some of the most efficient ways to outline I’ve found! It’s up to you to decide on what’s best for you and your novel!


Pantsing

Pantsing is the most free approach to writing a novel. There’s no dedication to an outline. Often there’s not even a mind-mapping technique involved. It’s the most Stephen King method out there and still one of my most preferred.

However!

quote-but-it-s-writing-damn-it-not-washing-the-car-or-putting-on-eyeliner-if-you-can-take-stephen-king-89-85-72I am what is known as a Plotster. Most of the time, despite my love for the methods above, I don’t really use them I’d rather have a general idea as vague as possible so I can let the characters and story evolve as they will. When I do outline, it’s often Dan Well’s method which gives you the meat and leaves out the details.


But, which is right for me?

This is for you, as the creator, to decide. Some great questions you can ask are:

  1. What do I know about my story?
  2. Do I want to know everything up front or allow some freedom to move around?
  3. Do I even want to mind-map?
  4. Do I need to mind-map?
  5. What would benefit the story most?

download (2)Ultimately, you know your story better than anyone. you know what it needs, how the world feels and what you want to know – which can be as much or as little as you like.

  • Try each of them out! Maybe one feels right.
  • Do your research. There are many and I mean many ways to go about creating your story.

Never give up! There’s a story inside of you, you just may have to really dig deep to find it!

BEFORE YOU GO! PLEASE READ ON!


Thank you so much for joining us this week. We are so excited to share this series with you and hope it helps during these next two months. We invite you to sign up for our newsletter and receive not one but two free eBooks as a thank you! We will never spam you!

As we mentioned above, we’re offering exclusive content only available to those who support us on Patreon. Why Patreon? Because it’ll help us reach our goals of putting out printing compilations, extras and eventually publishing opportunities to authors struggling to either start or are desperately looking to avoid the slush piles of bigger publishing houses. 

We welcome you to join us twice a week on our Twitch channel where you can get to know us on a more personal basis, watch as we work, play video games and chat with our readers live! As of now we’re aiming for 7 – 9PM CST Wednesdays and Sundays! 

If you have the time and want to find some wonderful folks who can help you design the perfect eye-catching book cover, please drop by our friends at Damonza.com. Use the code, FYRESYDE to get 5% off your purchase! We use no one but this team of dedicated professionals for all of our book covers.

Had trouble with Word losing your files? Want a place you can plan, outline, have your character sheets, research, etc? Look no further than Scriviner. Trusted by our authors for almost a year, Scriviner is available wherever you need it to be. Now as an app! Click the links for Mac or Windows.

If you would like to write for us, please get in touch with us at fyresydepublishing@gmail.com! We would love to talk with you!

Posted on Leave a comment

[Blog Tour] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

 

New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published:  4/20/2018
Publisher: FyreSyde Publishing
 
 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png
Lonely. That’s how it felt when Damien Pierce returned to Big Timber, Montana. It had been his childhood home until the day he was hit by a speeding car only to learn he wasn’t badly hurt. The experience landed him the label of the town freakshow.
Following the death of his foster mom, Damien soon disconnected from the world around him. That was at least, until he met her. She looked human but something about made her appear otherworldly to him. He knew he shouldn’t but he wanted her. He would do anything to get to know her. To have her.
Jillian Styles was immortal. Cursed by a dark god never to find rest. A shifter capable of taking the form of a beautiful wolf. She had searched for her lover’s reincarnated soul for centuries only to find he was nowhere to be found. When she meets Damien, her world is turned upside down. She falls in love with him instantly and begins to pursue him.
However, Damien soon learns the darker part of Jill’s world. He finds himself on the hit list of the same vampire Lord responsible for killing Jill’s lover and reigniting the flames of an old war. His daughter desires Damien and vows to have him at any cost.
With the help of Alexander Kain, the mysterious wolf shifting soldier, Damien will learn what he thought he knew was only tip of the paranormal iceberg. He soon finds himself in the eyes of a vindictive and rage-filled dark god.
If you like hot lycanthrope guys, overly possessive vampire chicks, vindictive gods, strong female leads and some hot sex scenes, this book is for you.

Excerpts:

 

Excerpt 1:

Realization hit Damien as to who he was staring down. The same dark god that had challenged him stood in Lilith’s form. Damien’s heart inside his chest burned as he thought about Kain and all he’d done for him. Jill. Dad…Rob…Gabriel…Holt…Chelsea.

“Looks like it’s just you and me, Damien. You can surrender and die in peace or you can fight and die anyway. Your choice.”

Save him. Luna’s voice inside of Damien’s mind drew his attention. Save him. I beg of you. Please.

Damien’s body became surrounded with a radiant light so bright it forced Lilith step back. Her wing covered her face. He braced himself on his front legs, roaring at the monster in front of him responsible for taking so much.

The light became so intense not even the lycans could stare at it.

When it finally faded, Damien stood in his true lycan form. His white fur blew in the wind like mist at the tip of his stiffened ears to the end of his tail. The dark markings of his wolf form only seen on the tips of his ears, feet and tail. The fur on the back of his neck was thicker, almost resembling a mane.

“By the gods, he looks like…” Lune stood in awe.

“Tenebris.” Gabriel’s finished, his voice nothing but a whisper.

Stoker used the opportunity to sneak off, nursing the wound on his arm inflicted by Gabriel when he shifted into his full lycan form.

The vampires hissed at the light rising from the east, trying to flee towards the waning night. They had fallen right into Damien’s plan and were intercepted. Howls and snarls joined dying screams as the vampires were overwhelmed.

“What trickery is this?!” Lilith’s fangs spat as she tried to speak.

Damien ignored her, seeing the fear in her eyes as he made his way over to Kain on the ground.

The alpha was so weak he couldn’t retain his shifted form.

“Kain.” Damien’s voice was a comfortable echo. Warm and reassuring. “Alex. Can you hear me?”

Kain opened his eyes, slightly jumping. “Tenebris?”

Damien shook his head. “No. It’s me.”

“Damien. How?”

Damien took Kain’s jacket he was always wearing around his waist and covered his friend with it. “Stay here. Don’t move and don’t die.”

He stood back up and went to face Lilith. The lycans in his way stepped aside, their heads bowed. “This ends here, Lilith. You won’t hurt anyone else.”

 

***

Excerpt 2:

Kain led Damien to his tent. “Forgive my intrusion on your time with Jillian. I wanted to tell you one last thing before the fight. Holt nearly mentioned it in the meeting but I stopped him because it wasn’t the time or the place.”

“What is it?” Damien replied, curious.

“The dark secret of the vampire noble. As it is with us, the vampire nobles and high class have the ability to change into more powerful forms. Unlike lycans however, they only have a single transformation. I have only seen it once in my many years but it is very formidable.”

Kain pulled a box out from under a pile of old books and blankets. It was covered in dust as though Kain had been trying to bury the memory.

Laying it down before Damien, he opened it, revealing what looked like a talon.

“Kain, what is this?” Damien took it in his hands, carefully examining the detail.

“It was pulled out of my father’s side. When he returned, his body was dripping blood, his side ripped open,” Kain lowered his head. “Damien, he was in his full lycan form. Whatever left this has power. I want you to be very, very careful. Lilith most likely has the power to become the monster much like the one that left this talon.”

Damien’s breath stalled in his lungs. From what he learned about their history, Pentacost Kain was one of strongest lycan soldiers in the war.

To hear he was torn apart so badly in full lycan form by something that Lilith could possibly become sucked any hope Damien had of having a chance against her out of him.

“Kain, I can’t fight her. What if I’m not strong enough.” Damien raced in his chest as fear fought to take hold of him.

Kain took the talon, placing it back in the box. “Damien, you are more than strong enough. Lilith is inexperienced and most likely whatever it was that took down my father was much more powerful. I just wanted you to be aware of her ability. I will be by your side against her. Gabriel and I have already talked about it. Holt, Yuna, Galeck and Lune agree it’s the best course of action. Just be ready.”

Damien nodded, his words freezing in his throat.

“Good. The moon rises. I must hunt with Gabriel and Lune. Damien, if you need to, you may stay here tonight. I know Jillian does not yet understand how strong your bond with the gods is. It may help to be in the company of someone that does. For now, though, I believe I interrupted something between the two of you. Hell hath no fury and all that.” Kain walked out chuckling.


About the Author

FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay started out her creative career in the conceptual art and design industry. For fifteen years she spent her time crafting characters and world for others. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature where she writes mostly paranormal romance. Her debut title, Blessing of Luna is the first of four books in the Wolfgods series. A portion of the proceeds of her book sales go to help charities. When Blaise isn’t busy working with sexy wolf boys, she can be found reviewing books for fellow authors, working for a few tour companies, holding interviews and offering guest posts. A professional book blogger, mom, wife and full blood Texan, Blaise loves nothing more than helping others, meeting new people and coaching folks in Scrivener. If you would like to get in touch with Blaise, the best way to contact her would be via email at bramsayauthor@gmail.com. She loves to hear from people and get questions from her readers.
Contact Links
 
Purchase Links
RABT Book Tours & PR
Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Blitz] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

Blessing of Luna banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 11 till 17 June. See the tour schedule here.

Blessing of LunaBlessing of Luna (Wolf Gods #1)
By Blaise Ramsay
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: April 20, 2018

Blurb:
Damien Pierce wasn’t like normal people. Since he was young, he learned that he had the uncanny ability to heal himself almost immediately. At fifteen he astounded the small town of Big Timber, Montana when an SUV hit him only to find he survived the encounter without suffering any major injuries.

After moving away for ten years, losing his mother and slipping into a deep sense of depression, Damien’s father moves them back home in an attempt to give Damien a sense of normalcy.

Enter Jillian Styles, the immortal, beautiful lycan that has been looking for the soul of her long, lost lover who after many years of being reborn into new bodies, his soul simply vanishes into the tides of time. When Jill first sees Damien, she knows immediately he is the one she had been looking for.

When an old enemy begins re-igniting the flames of a centuries old war, Damien must come to grips with a cruel fact that he is not human while nurturing feelings for the beautiful woman who captured his affection.

Now Damien must delve deeper into the world of the supernatural with the help of the mysterious Alexander Kain and Jillian. He’s about to learn, the secret sleeping within him is much more than he ever could have imagined.

You can find Blessing of Luna on Goodreads

You can buy Blessing of Luna here:
Amazon e-copy
Amazon Paperback
Blessing of Luna is available to read with Kindle Unlimited. A portion of the proceeds of each book sold will go to a charity.

The first five chapters are available to read for free are on Wattpad.

Blaise RamsayAbout the Author:
FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor’s in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn’t for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her Instagram, twitter, Facebook and blog.

You can find and contact Blaise Ramsay here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Blessing of Luna. One winner will win both an e-copy and paperback copy of Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


banner Lola's Blog Tours

Posted on Leave a comment

[Perma-free eBook] Esme’s Piano & My Heart Remembers

Fyresyde publishing (1)

Esme’s Piano*

It was supposed to be a simple transfer. Nothing I hadn’t done before. I was a park ranger. Someone who watches as tourists venture through the wilderness and keeps poachers from breaking the law.

Then I met her.

At first, I didn’t know what to think. To others she was a person to avoid. To me, she held a certain appeal.

Then on my first day I heard it – the music of a piano. I had no idea how far it would take me. I definitely didn’t expect it to lead me in the world where light and dark magic battled each other….

 

My Heart Remembers*When theStars Align

I tried to free him from being hunted by the dark Fae. Then I realized…

I couldn’t live life without him.

Time passed and I began searching for him only to learn he had passed away.

My heart ached.

I tried so hard to give him peace. To let him rest in the tomes of time but the longer I waited, the worse the pain became…

 

 

 

 

Download Esme’s Piano on Kobo, Nook, and iTunes

Find it on Goodreads 

* This is a work of flash fiction. It is incredibly short but I wanted to share it anyway so I hope you enjoy it and feel free to leave a review!

Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Blitz] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

Blessing of Luna
Blaise Ramsay
(Wolf gods #1)
Publication date: April 20th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Lonely. That’s how it felt when Damien Pierce returned to Big Timber, Montana. It had been his childhood home until the day he was hit by a speeding car only to learn he wasn’t badly hurt. The experience landed him the label of the town freakshow.

Following the death of his foster mom, Damien soon disconnected from the world around him. That was at least, until he met her. She looked human but something about made her appear otherworldly to him. He knew he shouldn’t but he wanted her. He would do anything to get to know her. To have her.

Jillian Styles was immortal. Cursed by a dark god never to find rest. A shifter capable of taking the form of a beautiful wolf. She had searched for her lover’s reincarnated soul for centuries only to find he was nowhere to be found. When she meets Damien, her world is turned upside down. She falls in love with him instantly and begins to pursue him.

However, Damien soon learns the darker part of Jill’s world. He finds himself on the hit list of the same vampire Lord responsible for killing Jill’s lover and reigniting the flames of an old war. His daughter desires Damien and vows to have him at any cost.

With the help of Alexander Kain, the mysterious wolf shifting soldier, Damien will learn what he thought he knew was only tip of the paranormal iceberg. He soon finds himself in the eyes of a vindictive and rage-filled dark god.

If you like hot lycanthrope guys, overly possessive vampire chicks, vindictive gods, strong female leads and some hot sex scenes, this book is for you.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo

EXCERPT:

Realization hit Damien as to who he was staring down. The same dark god that had challenged him stood in Lilith’s form. Damien’s heart inside his chest burned as he thought about Kain and all he’d done for him. Jill. Dad…Rob…Gabriel…Holt…Chelsea.

“Looks like it’s just you and me, Damien. You can surrender and die in peace or you can fight and die anyway. Your choice.”

Save him. Luna’s voice inside of Damien’s mind drew his attention. Save him. I beg of you. Please.

Damien’s body became surrounded with a radiant light so bright it forced Lilith step back. Her wing covered her face. He braced himself on his front legs, roaring at the monster in front of him responsible for taking so much.

The light became so intense not even the lycans could stare at it.

When it finally faded, Damien stood in his true lycan form. His white fur blew in the wind like mist at the tip of his stiffened ears to the end of his tail. The dark markings of his wolf form only seen on the tips of his ears, feet and tail. The fur on the back of his neck was thicker, almost resembling a mane.

“By the gods, he looks like…” Lune stood in awe.

“Tenebris.” Gabriel’s finished, his voice nothing but a whisper.

Stoker used the opportunity to sneak off, nursing the wound on his arm inflicted by Gabriel when he shifted into his full lycan form.

The vampires hissed at the light rising from the east, trying to flee towards the waning night. They had fallen right into Damien’s plan and were intercepted. Howls and snarls joined dying screams as the vampires were overwhelmed.

“What trickery is this?!” Lilith’s fangs spat as she tried to speak.

Damien ignored her, seeing the fear in her eyes as he made his way over to Kain on the ground.

The alpha was so weak he couldn’t retain his shifted form.

“Kain.” Damien’s voice was a comfortable echo. Warm and reassuring. “Alex. Can you hear me?”

Kain opened his eyes, slightly jumping. “Tenebris?”

Damien shook his head. “No. It’s me.”

“Damien. How?”

Damien took Kain’s jacket he was always wearing around his waist and covered his friend with it. “Stay here. Don’t move and don’t die.”

He stood back up and went to face Lilith. The lycans in his way stepped aside, their heads bowed. “This ends here, Lilith. You won’t hurt anyone else.”

Author Bio:

FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor’s in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn’t for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her instagram, twitter, facebook and blog.

Feel free to contact Blaise for an author interview, guest blog opportunities and book reviews. Visit our affiliates’ page for a chance to see how you can get a hold on some of the books we have reviewed.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

XBTBanner1

 

Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Marketing 101] Know Your Target Audience!

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.” – Robert Rose

Let’s say you just finished writing, editing, and getting beta readers to read your latest, greatest book. You’ve made it the best you can be and are ready to release it to the world.

Wait? Where are the readers you hope to find? How are they going to see your book in a vast world of social media, book promotion and saturated Amazon pages?

If you’re asking these questions, you probably hadn’t taken the time to locate what authors and publishers call the “Target Audience.”

Light it up (1)What is a target audience?

Defined, a target audience is the readership you hope to market your book to. For example, for authors of paranormal romance with a focus on wolf shifters, you’re probably hoping to catch the attention of people who are fans of the shifter sub-genre. Taking it further, what age range are you going for? Are you hoping to catch male or female readers or both?

How can you find them?

  1. Go to your local bookstore. Look around at the different sections of the fantasy, young adult, romance, etc. What are they looking at? When in doubt, talk to them. You don’t have to bash them over the head with the fact you have a book. Just strike up a conversation to find out what books they’ve read recently or recommend. If they seem interested, then, author drop. Offer an Advanced Reader’s Copy. Many love a good free book in exchange for a friendly conversation.
  2. Utilize Amazon’s search bar. Type in some keywords you may think relate (and some that don’t) to your book. What are the shoppers in the kindle and book categories looking at? Take down some lists of some popular titles and utilize the “Customers Also Bought” section. Keep notes of the authors and the book titles.
  3. Use GoodReads. Goodreads has this nice little feature called book lists. Many readers have their TBR (to be read) lists named by genre. For example, for Biker romance lovers, you might find lists titled MC Romance or Biker Romance.
  4. Find your tribe. What this means is google some of the forums, facebook groups, book clubs, etc who have a focus on your genre. Offer ARCs in exchange for reviews and see what they have to say.
  5. Use Demographics. This focuses on where they are located, how old their are, financial standing, etc. Yes this is important. You can use Twitter and Facebook to find such information. Who are your main fans?
  6. Check out Market Trends. This goes along with using Amazon’s search bar. Try to use helpful tools like Google Trends to see what readers are doing. Knowing this can narrow down where you should go and who is looking for your book.
  7. Utilize Google Adwords. Adwords is a powerful tool. It can show you some of the top searched words in Google’s search engine.
  8. Ask a bookseller. While you’re in the bookstore looking for some potential prospects, why not get insight from the store on what is selling? Often they’ll share some of the titles that are flying off the shelves. This can help you greatly because you’re getting an insider’s look at the market.
  9. Offer up some surveys. Get some short answers involving popular subjects and genres. Readers often don’t mind answering these because they get curious as to what it is you’re looking for.
  10. When In Doubt; Consult a Mentor. Talk to other authors who have written your genre and age range. Authors love to help new and upcoming authors get over the plateau because too often, they remember being there. We all started out not knowing a thing. Finding coaches may help alleviate some stress.

Some helpful tools:Light it up

  • KDP Rocket – This is a helpful little tool endorsed by Jeff Goins and the Kindlepreneur. It helps to take away the trouble of hours of keyword typing and research. For a one time price of 97$, this is a powerful tool. Hurry because it looks like it might go to a subscription basis.
  • Kristen Martin’s course, Valiance – Kristen walks you through her own journey as a self-publisher. A five-time Amazon best seller, Kristin clearly has things under control as far as finding and marketing to her target audience. She also offers a neat little pdf on how to write a first draft in two months just for subscribing!
  • Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn has some helpful information that walks you through the self-publishing process and a free eBook to help. She is one of the leading experts on indie and self-publishing. Her writing podcast, The Creative Penn offers different interviews and helpful information as well.
  • Jane Friedman is one of my favorites and another successful self-publisher. Her blog at janefriedman.com is loaded with helpful information.

Remember, you are never alone in this journey! Writing and blogging can be lonely but there are people who are willing to offer their expertise. If you have an experience that you found helped you find your audience, please leave us a comment! We would love to hear from you!

If the content here today helped you and you would like to see some more, why not follow via email, bloglovin or right here on wordpress!

Before you go….

Interested in writing for us? Want a book review? Would like to guest post or want to offer your own insight? Feel free to contact us! We are always looking for authors who want to share their experiences!

Contact: website: https://fyresydepublishing.com/ | email bramsayauthor@gmail.com | For guest posts, interviews, booking for events, etc contact fyresydepublising@gmail.com

Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Blitz Open for Sign Ups] Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay

Blessing of Luna banner
This is my stop during the book blitz for Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 11 till 17 June. See the tour schedule here.

Blessing of LunaBlessing of Luna (Wolf Gods #1)
By Blaise Ramsay
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age category: Adult
Release Date: April 20, 2018

Blurb:
Damien Pierce wasn’t like normal people. Since he was young, he learned that he had the uncanny ability to heal himself almost immediately. At fifteen he astounded the small town of Big Timber, Montana when an SUV hit him only to find he survived the encounter without suffering any major injuries.

After moving away for ten years, losing his mother and slipping into a deep sense of depression, Damien’s father moves them back home in an attempt to give Damien a sense of normalcy.

Enter Jillian Styles, the immortal, beautiful lycan that has been looking for the soul of her long, lost lover who after many years of being reborn into new bodies, his soul simply vanishes into the tides of time. When Jill first sees Damien, she knows immediately he is the one she had been looking for.

When an old enemy begins re-igniting the flames of a centuries old war, Damien must come to grips with a cruel fact that he is not human while nurturing feelings for the beautiful woman who captured his affection.

Now Damien must delve deeper into the world of the supernatural with the help of the mysterious Alexander Kain and Jillian. He’s about to learn, the secret sleeping within him is much more than he ever could have imagined.

You can find Blessing of Luna on Goodreads

You can buy Blessing of Luna here:
Amazon e-copy
Amazon Paperback
Blessing of Luna is available to read with Kindle Unlimited. A portion of the proceeds of each book sold will go to a charity.

The first five chapters are available to read for free are on Wattpad.

Blaise RamsayAbout the Author:
FyreSyde Publishing owner and founder Blaise Ramsay worked over fifteen years in the graphic design industry, with some experience in indie gaming. Recently she shifted her attention to the world of literature with her debut paranormal romance series, Wolf gods. The debut title, Blessing of Luna is set to release in 2018. She currently lives in North Texas with her two children, her husband and pets. A UTD graduate with a Bachelor’s in History with an intention on teaching, Blaise decided that the world of teaching just wasn’t for her. A stay at home mother of two, business owner and self-publisher, Blaise loves to meet new people and encourage others to follow their dreams through weekly posts to her Instagram, twitter, Facebook and blog.

You can find and contact Blaise Ramsay here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Goodreads
Amazon

Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Blessing of Luna. One winner will win both an e-copy and paperback copy of Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


banner Lola's Blog Tours

Posted on Leave a comment

[Open Book Blitzes] Blessing of Luna

BlessingOfLunaBlitzBanner-1

Letting you all know about the open upcoming blitz opportunities for Blessing of Luna! There is one being held by Lola’s Blog Tours and Xpresso Book Tours!

If you would like to sign up to host the blitz, please head to the links above!

Giveaways are included in both events!

I am also still seeking folks who are willing to review the book! I can offer ePub, Mobi, Pdf, and physical copy (if necessary)! Reviews for Goodreads, Amazon, email or a mix are more than welcome! All reviews are posted on our website! Anonymity is more than okay. We can blur out your full name!

Blessing of Luna banner

A portion of every single book sold in any format will go to The Wounded Warrior Project and Carry The Load! As you may know or learn after reading, the main character suffers from PTSD. So many of our soldiers including my own husband has to cope with this debilitating problem. It is something serious that needs to be taken as such. If you believe the same, help us bring awareness! 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Review] Tattoo by Michelle Rene

525de6_15ce3041c29d4b6888f3a0f52ccd8b27_mv2Tattoo

 By: Michelle Rene
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Age category: New adult
Release Date: January 3, 2018
Blurb:
A mysterious young woman appears in a cynical age. Why is she here … and will she survive long enough to achieve her purpose?
 
Judgment Day was not as advertised. Instead of fire and wrath, our histories suddenly began to appear as tattoos on our skin.
 
No one could hide their past deeds anymore, unless they visited an illegal tattoo artist, who could replace their sins with unmarked skin. Years later, a young woman appears, entirely unmarked. No one knows what her appearance means, but a small band of people find themselves drawn to her, ready to set off on a quest whose purpose is as unknown as the young woman’s past.

The Review:

Where to begin? Honestly, I have no clue. I have never read a book like this. It is truly one of a kind. The story begins with a truly spectacular mechanic that automatically caught my attention because I love when higher powers get involved with human affairs.
The writing of this novel was nothing short of poetic. I adore how it was organized. I honestly felt like I was watching the movie, Crash. The author takes multiple points of view and converge them onto the single subject of the novel itself. It doesn’t follow the typical heroes journey which has become expected in today’s literature.
The main character Jane had very little interaction that allowed for much character building BUT in the end, very little is known about her to begin with. I like this about this character. It’s something completely new to me. She has the uncanny ability to take people from completely different aspects of life and bind them together in a unified purpose.
Amazing! Different stories from different points of a view all thrown together by a single inciting incident! But it’s not the typical, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter formula!
There wasn’t much world-building which is something that usually bothers me but in dystopian novels it tends to be less of an issue. Especially for this book where everyone’s life stories are literally pasted on their skin. The justice system simply has to read what a person has done instead.
Something I found truly astonishing was how the whole story occurs following Judgement Day. Something often eluded to in things such as zombie apocalypse, plague, Mad Max style as something truly terrifying. Don’t get me wrong. Having my sins plastered on my skin for all to see would be a fate worse than death. This is what I really liked about this adaptation. The punishment wasn’t something so devastating. Rather it was something simple. It was simply the removal of someone’s privacy.
It was also really hard to sit down and find the usual errors. Ms. Rene takes great care to make her writing great. Critique for this book, other than the cliffhanger at the end was really difficult to find. It’s not something I see too often.
If I truly were to sit down and rate this novella, it would hands-down get 4 stars. It’s unique, yet simple and uses a writing style so rare in today’s literature.
four-stars
If you are a fan of dystopian fiction or the amazing movie, “Crash”. You will love Tattoo. I am awaiting the sequel with great anticipation.
You can find Tattoo on Goodreads, Amazon, or the author’s website.

About the Author:

Michelle Rene is a creative advocate and the author of a number of published works of science fiction, historical fiction, humor and everything in between.5b36776dbae59363b84a248cd074b2a5

She has won indie awards for her historical fiction novel, I Once Knew Vincent. Her latest historical novel, Hour Glass, released February 20th to rave reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.  Her experimental novella, Tattoo, releases March 7th, and not only does it have a starred review in Publishers Weekly but will be listed in Foreword Reviews top eight sci-fi/fantasy books this spring.

When not writing, she is a professional artist and all around odd person. She lives as the only female, writing in her little closet, with her husband, son, and ungrateful cat in Dallas, Texas.

Find Michelle on her social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

 

Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Review] Most Special Chosen

The Most Special Chosen
This is my stop during the blog tour for The Most Special Chosen by Rachel de la Fuente. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. Read the whole post to discover more about this book, find some links to some character interviews, some video teasers and there are two giveaways! The blog tour runs from 5 till 18 March. See the tour schedule here.

The Most Special ChosenThe Most Special Chosen (Exalted Bloodlines #1)
By Rachel de la Fuente
Genre: Paranormal Drama/ Paranormal Romance
Age category: New Adult/ Adult
Release Date: March 3, 2018

Blurb:
Elysabeth Vance is so determined not to be lost in her obsession that she refuses to see what’s right in front of her.

Damien is so afraid of ruining his only chance at happiness that he’s blind to Elysabeth’s obsession.

Once they open their eyes to what they have, nearly incomprehensible secrets will be revealed. After all, fate happens, even if you don’t believe in it.


The Review:

 To begin, I really enjoyed the way the book was written. Often I find when an author writes in the present point of view, it can be hard to remain in it. I loved the plot and the twist the author added to the story that took it out of the average vampire/human love trope.

 Damien was an amazing character and so handsome, I found myself wanting to fall for him myself. This being said however, I found the relationship between the two characters incredibly rushed. While I get that the two were “made for each other” according to the lore the author portrays, there were certain dynamics I would have liked to see put in place. For example, maybe Elysabeth could have fought her draw to Damien by trusting Shawn’s advice instead of fighting Shawn so hard. It was almost too easy for two complete strangers to fall into such passionate love.

 The very fact that the protagonist had such an obsession with vampires almost made Damien’s appearance a bit too predictable. I do like however, the slow burn the author put in place. Obviously, the two were sexually attracted to each other but Lys did a great job at holding back her desire.

 There was also an obvious lack of world building. I am an avid fan of being able to feel the heat between the bodies of the characters in moments of passion, I just didn’t feel that in their one moment they had. This is also something I wanted more of. A single passionate scene between the two almost curbs their “addiction” to each other. I loved how Damien drank from her. I could tell it was a sensual thing. Something I think needs to be passionate with a vampire but I would have wanted more emotion in it rather than a brief sentence such as “Damien drank from me”.

 There was also a definite lack of conflict. The story became next to repetitive with little to no conflict. I did like how Damien had to step in and protect Lys from the rogue vampires but I would almost want more than that. Something that almost made Damien want to use his over protective nature of Lys. The characters were all over each other. There was no resistance. It can lead a reader to possibly get bored with the dynamic.

 All this being said, I loved the mythological aspect of the book. It was a twist I rarely see and love as a history major. I loved how the vampires fell in love with their own goddesses. It played perfectly into the dynamic. Very lovely and well wanted plot twist.

 If I were to rate this title I would give it 3 stars definitely. I would love to read the second book for sure. I would however like a little more character development, world building and conflict. I think adding those things would make this series a best seller.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-19-at-3.06.19-PM-666x408


You can find The Most Special Chosen on Goodreads

You can buy The Most Special Chosen on Amazon

Meet the characters!
The author did some character interviews with her characters on her blog, check them out:
Selene Delanciennes
Shawn Dooley
Damien Delanciennes
Elysabeth Vance

Video Teasers
And check out these two video teasers on YouTube:
Video teaser #1
Video teaser #2

Rachel de la FuenteAbout the Author:
Rachel de la Fuente (meaning of the fountain) lives in Maryland with the love of her life and two furry children that meow. The Most Special Chosen is her first novel, but it’s hardly her first story. She’s been writing since elementary school, and telling stories since she could speak. She is an avid fountain pen enthusiast with a bit of an ink problem, and often writes book notes and sections of stories by hand.

Rachel was born and raised in southern California, but spent many summers with family in Mexico. Her parents loved traveling, so she also spent many vacations in various locations, soaking up foreign cultures and sights. She still loves to travel, and is committed to crossing all of the locations off her bucket list.

Rachel is a proud Slytherin, and when not writing, spends much of her free time reading, cross stitching, and watching documentaries.

You can find and contact Rachel de la Fuente here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram
YouTube
Newsletter

Giveaways
There are two giveaways during the blog tour for The Most Special Chosen! One of the giveaways is US Only and the other one is open International.

US Giveaway
One winner wins the following prizes:
• A signed copy of The Most Special Chosen
• An eBook copy of The Most Special Chosen
• A sheet of Exalted Bloodlines series round stickers
• An Exalted Bloodlines logo cutout sticker
• An eBook copy of Elysabeth and Shawn, the Prequel Series
• A bookmark with The Most Special Chosen tagline

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
International Giveaway One winner wins the following Prizes: • An eBook copy of The Most Special Chosen • An eBook copy of Elysabeth and Shawn, the Prequel Series For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway


banner Lola's Blog Tours

Posted on Leave a comment

[Book Review] Making Bad Choices by Rita Sadling

Making Bad ChoicesMaking Bad Choices
by Rita Stradling
Genre: Romance
Age category: New Adult
Release Date: 10 January, 2017

Blurb:
[Recommended 16 + this is a mature YA or New Adult book]

Culter Fuller came back into my life on the day my mother died, as if losing my mother wasn’t bad enough.

We hated each other since childhood. Well, I hated him. He had a very different story.

When I moved to my dad’s house to finish my last semester of high school, we went from bitter enemies to. . . something else. He was suddenly everywhere, occupying my space, determined to pull me into his life, filling me with thoughts I knew were wrong.

I knew that soon we would cross a line that should never be crossed.

I knew crossing that line could have very serious consequences; because Culter Fuller wasn’t just any irresistible boy, Culter Fuller was my stepbrother.

But, I was always very bad at making the right choices.

 


My Review:

First off, very cute story. I am usually not one to like a good taboo love story but this one was very cute. I actually adored how possessive Culter was.

The book was decently written and read well. Good pacing and some really swoon worthy characters. I truly loved Tyler. He sounded hot. Culter was just…. swoon. I loved his name choice.

Unfortunately, it became a bit repetitive. Day to day school is a-ok for teenagers who are probably suffering from some senior-itis and just want to get the heck out of dodge. Totally get it and didn’t mind it. I just wanted a bit more tension.

There was sexual tension and slow burn like crazy and I loved it but there was very little external conflict. Aside from the alpha female who had a crush on the protagonist’s love interest and the loss of her mom, everyone automatically just accepted Cassie. Not to say that isn’t good but if that was going to be the case, add the tension somewhere else. Maybe a really strong rival actually willing to fight Culter over Cassie? I’m not sure. Just something to give that could really ignite the inciting incident.

For example, there was a moment where Cassie almost got into a car accident. That was the perfect Darkest Moment. It could have really been used to draw out the flaming passion in both characters. Cassie could have been hurt, Culter could have felt he almost lost her and gone to her bedside and been openly honest with her. It would have been amazing and really could have added some action.

Also, as a romance reader and author, I want some hot, passionate, burning love scenes. For a new adult, this really didn’t deliver. I feel it read more like a Young Adult novel. The author created some slow burn for sure. So many times I wanted the two to make love only to have it ripped away (I liked that). Then when they finally were able to, I was really wanting more. The feel of Culter’s body. Some heat between them. How Cassie felt, what she smelled. Just some details to set me ablaze.

So many things were there. Basic outlines which could have been used to really make this a hot, passionate conflict which just fell short. I would have actually liked less dialogue and more conflict.

If I were to rate this book. I would give it 3 stars because I really did like the storyline and saw the potential. Maybe for the next book, really dig into the details to make the story stronger.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-19-at-3.06.19-PM-666x408


 

Making Bad Choices Teaser 1

You can find Making Bad Choices on Goodreads

You can buy Making Bad Choices on Amazon

View the book trailer here

Making Bad Choices Teaser 2

The Playlist for Making Bad Choices
This is the playlist for Making Bad Choices:
1) The Temptations – My Girl
2) The Rolling Stones – Wild Horses
3) Bright Eyes – The First Day of My life
4) Modern English – I Melt with You
5) Elton John – Your Song
6) The Lumineers – Ho Hey
7) Stand Inside Your Love – Smashing Pumpkins
8) Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns n’ Roses
9) Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
10) Coldplay – A Sky Full of Stars
11) BØRNS – Electric Love
12) Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
13) Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel
14) Joshua Radin – I’d Rather Be with You
15) Paul McCartney – Maybe I’m Amazed

You can listen to the playlist on YouTube

Making Bad Choices Teaser 3

Rita StradlingAbout the Author:
Rita Stradling is the author of The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Novella Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.

Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.

She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult: romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.

You can find and contact Rita here:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads


banner Lola's Blog Tours

Posted on Leave a comment

[Author Interview] Mark Engels, Author of Always Gray in Winter

 

9781945247194By: Mark J. Engels

Genre: Paranormal Sci-Fi Thriller

Age category: Adult

Release Date: 8/10/17 (trade paperback); 10/1/17 (ebook)

 Blurb:

A distant daughter. A peculiar device. A family lineage full of secrets. When werecat Pawlina Katczynski finally resurfaces, her location previously unknown to anyone close to her, the reunion is short of welcomed. Instead, she finds herself thrust tooth and nail—tooth and claw—into a feud between opposing werecat clans as her family and their enemies reignite a battle that has raged for years. Always Gray in Winter invites the reader to join the feud and see if blood is truly thicker than water…


The Interview:

1) How did you get the idea for your book?

I’ve been a fan of anime, manga and anthropomorphics for over thirty years.  My muse came to me one night at work, imploring I write her story. When I ignored her, she “charmed” me with fangs and claws.  And told me her name was Pawly.

2) As a small press author, can you describe your experience through the process?

I’d been on the publication trail for some while before I got a couple small press offers, so I had some idea of what to expect.  Every small press is different, and each is at a particular stage in their development. My publisher had been around a couple years before I signed on, though at the time they were in the middle of an expansion and eager to sign new authors.  We negotiated a number of terms in the contract, which I had come to understand by talking to other authors, agents and editors I’d met during the query contests and Twitter “pitch parties.” And what I’d learned helped establish just exactly what my publisher and I came to understand we could expect from one another.

3) When you wrote your book, did you know you wanted to get it published or was it something you started as a hobby?

After having been an anime, manga and anthropomorphics fan for so long, I wanted to give back to the fandoms I’d come to love, through which I had found such joy and made so many dear friends.  Wanted to create content after consuming it for decades. Because I thought my characters and concept were kewl and labored under the delusion others would too.  I was determined to take their story to a wide audience, which was the main reason I queried agents and, later, submitted to small presses.

4) What was your general writing process?

I’m an electrical engineer in my day job, specializing in the design, construction and commissioning railroad and rail transit signal and communications systems all over the United States.  An iterative design process is second nature to me, starting with the abstract and working toward the specific. So I can’t not be a plotter, really.  I laid out a series outline in prose form detailing three generations of my werecat protagonist Pawly’s family, from the height of the Cold War to the present day.  Then I figured out a starting and an end point for the first book, which takes place in media res.  Drafting came next.  A year or so later I was ready to begin my edits.  I’d both joined a real-life writer’s group by then and picked up a copy of Browne & King’s Self Editing for Fiction Writers.  Boy howdy, did both of those underscore just how much editing I needed!  About another year’s worth, in fact.

5) How many hours a day do you devote to writing? If you have a day job, how do you find the balance to write?

“Balance” is not found, as if one is out in the woods looking for berries or mushrooms.  Balance is struck, it is made, it is hard fought. And it is always a compromise. Along the lines of “this isn’t he arrangement everyone likes most, this is the arrangement everyone dislikes least” more of then not.

I’m very fortunate that I enjoy my day job for its intrinsic value (I play with trains and electronics all day, yay!) and make a decent living for my family doing it.  I do work full time, though, and during business hours the job needs must be my priority. I’m also a father and husband. Every night after my son goes to bed, I devote two or three hours to “writing”, but I don’t use such a narrow view as “words on a page.”  Research is writing, mentally picking away at the Gordian knot my plotlines have bunched themselves together into is writing, dispositioning critique partner feedback is writing, reading other’s books is writing, platform building is writing, etc. Many activities don’t get words down on a page but are part and parcel of my writing process nonetheless.  To help make sure the words I do get down are the right ones, and that those words have a fighting chance of reaching their audience.

6) When did you decide you wanted to become an author? Who were some of your inspirations?

I really didn’t set out to be an author, or a writer for that matter.  It just sort of happened. Being an anime and manga fan at the dawning of the Internet age, I came upon newsgroups, bulletin boards and mailing lists where I could meet and get to know fans of one particular franchise or another.  On a couple of occasions after a dramatic shift in a story or after its conclusion, I felt that the creators had left “money on the table”, leaving characters undeveloped, plot threads twisting in the wind or entire stories gone untold.  So I set about to fill in the spaces between with fanfiction. Including several novella- and novel-length stories.

My books aren’t all that different.  I came to know an artist featuring anthro characters whose work I adored, who wanted to release a web comic featuring them but wasn’t sure how to begin.  He was struggling with his antagonist’s motivations especially. We began a dialogue about same with an outline I’d prepared and expanded into a complete story arc.  After sitting down at a convention together over coffee, he told me “this sounds like a great story, but it’s not my story” and that was that.

Or so I thought.  I was fully prepared to put the experience behind me and go on with life, but my muse had other ideas.  She came to me and started shredding away at my consciousness, insisting I tell her story. And that of her family.  Turns out my muse she be a werecat. One who looks strikingly like my story’s protagonist, in fact. Pawly makes a convincing argument with fangs and claws.

7) How long did it take you to write your book?

A year to draft, a year to edit, a year to query/submit. Nearly another year before release during which time I built out my web site and social media presence.

8) When you wrote the book, were you trying to make it a stand-alone story or are there any sequels planned?

After I finished my series outline, I sent it around to some friends and fellow writers in the anime fanfiction communities to get their feedback.  All of them thought the premise outstanding and unique, and all exhorted me to not to try to cram the story into one book. So after spending a fair bit of time re-organizing my outline, I’ve determined I have enough plot points to cover at least three books.  Or four should I decide to dive deep into Pawly’s family history.

9) As you know this is blog is mostly geared towards authors trying to get their platforms built, market their books, focus on personal promotion, etc. What are some of the best ways you would advise our readers to market their books? To get themselves out there and get on podcasts, guest posts, etc.

“Best ways?”  Uhm, I’m not all that sure I know, truthfully.  Because marketing is every bit as much subjective as editing and critique.  What worked for them/there/then (that is to say, for me or for any other author) may not be useful nor effective for you/here/now.  If one desires to write a book in a specific genre, while reading deep in the genre, pay attention to what successful authors in that genre have done and are doing to build their platforms.  All of it is worth considering, even if some of it might not work well for you.  Or for your book.  You’ll be prepared to make an informed decision yea or nay.

That said, I believe successful marketing strongly correlates to an author’s willingness to build relationships.  Especially online ones, where so many of us find and reach our audiences. There is a lot of awful out there on social media, but there are also pockets of like-minded creatives eager to make new friends.  “Getting yourself out there” is salient advice, though I would qualify “early and often.” Writing is frequently a solitary exercise, and I’d suggest one run silent and run deep while one is developing their first draft to avoid distractions.  Though it’s high time to seek out other creatives once the story has something of a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Start working on a query letter right then; there are all kinds of query contests online to help with that.  The friends I made there (and on the Twitter “pitch parties” once the manuscript was complete) today number among my most valued critique partners.  And my most ardent supporters.

The same folks ought to come in real handy as you’re going through editing your own book prior to submission or publication.  They can also help make suggestions as to agents or editors that may really enjoy your book, or help refer you to their trusted resources if you decide to self-pub.  Because having done so, getting on the podcasts and guest posts was fairly simple. I just had to ask my friends who asked their friends.  Voila!  They were glad to have me.

10) As a writer, we all know we are bound to deal with harsh book reviews from people who just don’t like our work. How do you go about dealing with “bad press”? For good reviews, do you tend to reach out to the reviewer and thank them?

I make it a point to reach out to reviewers who take time to share what they liked about my book, what maybe didn’t work for them, how my book made them feel–good or ill.  Though never as a comment to the review itself; those are written by readers for readers.  Author responses to such are seen by many as rude, seen as an intrusion into a private conversation between readers.  To the extent possible, I use the reviewer’s handle to track down an email address or social media link where I can reach out and thank them.  Because I find even disparaging remarks often provide unique opportunities to consider what most to improve in my future work.

“Bad press?”  I leave it lie and recommend every author do likewise.  Nothing I say will change their minds about my book, and it’s not my place to try.  I’ll only wear myself out in doing so. Besides, a reader’s opinion is just that. One person’s opinion, to which they’re entitled.  And I’m entitled to respond with but a shrug and move on.

When bad press does come, I endeavor to remind myself of a couple key principles: first, that the book I had in my heart to write may decidedly not be the book any one person had in their hearts to read and, second, that that is okay.

11) Your first book is a mystery/ thriller, is there a reason you chose this genre?

Just happened to be the book I had in my heart to write, of course!  The sort of book I had in my heart to read but couldn’t find.  It was only after I’d written the book that I began to bill it as a “paranormal sci-fi thriller”, because I had to assign it a genre for query contest and Twitter pitch parties.  Up until that point, I was complete clueless to genre conventions and subtleties (and, frankly, I’m still figuring them out.) All I knew was that my story was my story, though I set about to understand them by necessity when I began to pitch my book.  Contemplate just what sort of audience I would endeavor to reach out to. And how best to engage them.

12) What are your views on writer’s block? Do you believe in it? If you do, do you have ways to cope with it that you would be willing to share?

Yes, writer’s block is a thing.  A thing I fear, actually, which is in part why I do so much work up front plotting.  If I know the story has a defined beginning, a middle and an end, then I can just plow through the places where the story drags and sags.  Because I can always edit later! Pantsers suggest that doing such layouts stifles creativity, to which I can only say “to each their own.”  This is what I do and why I do it, and it seems to work for me. Your mileage may vary.

What does seize me up from time to time happens after I’ve gotten feedback from my critique partners.  They’ll point out what works for them and what doesn’t, and I’m always grateful when they do. When several of them point out one particular thing that didn’t work, that suggests strongly there’s something there I need to fix.  But it’s always a struggle–I gave it my best!  A bitter pill to swallow that one’s best isn’t good enough.

Or, as I’ve come to understand, it’s not good enough yet.  I’ve found that if I put away the feedback for a period of time, like a couple weeks or sometimes even a month or two, then when I come back to it I can more better see what the issue is.  Often with such clarity arrives the answer unbidden to the problem that had me stymied.

13) What time of day do you find is your “creative time for writing”?

Evenings.  After my grade-school age son goes to bed and before I crash.  To those who write early in the morning, God bless yer pea-pickin’ hearts.  That just doesn’t work for me. I find I need a full day of doing unrelated stuff to get my brain “spun up” fast enough so I can write.

14) Do you have some advice for the new authors that may be reading this post right now?

The book that you have in your heart to write may not be the book any one person has in their hearts to read.  And that’s okay. You’re okay.  Your story is okay, though always be willing to take into consideration points-of-view that might be hard to hear.  Because often those help you figure out how to tell your story even better.

What’s worked for them/there/then may or may not be practical, feasible nor helpful for you/here/now.  Don’t let anyone tell you your way is wrong.  Your way is your way, every bit as valid as you are.  Consider other people’s successes and failures as you soldier on, keeping Bruce Lee’s timeless advice close to your heart:

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”

Reach out.  Put yourself out there.  I know it’s a daunting prospect to introverted types, but I believe doing so will pay dividends for people like it has for me.  Query contests, pitch parties and forums like Absolute Write’s “water cooler” forums are great ways to learn things and make friends.  I did just that and now have a cadre of resources I can depend upon to help me write, edit and promote my stories.

15) Last but not least, what are your future plans now that you have published your first novel?

“I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!”

*eyes royalty statement*

Well then, maybe not.  Back to working on my next werecat book…


You can find Always Gray in Winter on Goodreads 

You can purchase Always Gray in Winter on Amazon 

Read an excerpt!


About the Author 

Boyhood interests in trains and electronics fostered my career as an electrical engineer, 120c9a380f5682af4516508841a3af37designing and commissioning signal and communications systems for railroads and rail transit agencies across the United States. Authoring rail industry trade magazines articles led me to write novel-length fiction, inspired by my beloved anime, manga and anthropomorphic fandoms. Growing up in Michigan never far from the Great Lakes, my wife, son and I live in Wisconsin with a dog who naps beside me as I write.

I am a member of Allied Authors of Wisconsin, one of the state’s oldest writing collectives, and the Furry Writer’s Guild, dedicated to supporting, informing, elevating, and promoting quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators.

 

Find and contact Mark Engels here:

Twitter / Facebook / DeviantARt / linkedIn / Website