Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Taking Aim at the Comfort Zone

I hope you will excuse any nonsense that appears in my post today. The cold seems to be winning at the moment.

Scheduling the blog tour is going pretty well. I read about someone else's experience while setting up his blog tour. He said that about 20% replied to him. My ratio is probably slightly higher than that, so I’m happy. For the most part, the blogs that responded are the ones with the most followers. I thought that was interesting.

I sometimes have these moments of nervousness, like the most introverted part of me suddenly realizes that I've ventured slightly farther out of my comfort zone. But I'm working through it. I know that if I ever want to write novels to make a living I need to be out in the world, making sure that people can actually find the books.

A few people have actually asked for review copies, which also makes me nervous. I'm terrified of reviewers. I've never solicited reviews before a book release before, mostly because I have a fear that my work won't stand up to a certain level of scrutiny.

I've seen reviews (hopefully not by professional reviewers) that were over the top cruel. They were for authors other than me, but when I read them, I internalized them as a potential thing that could happen to me.

However, when the first request for review copy came in, I did not say ‘no thank you’. Because I am doing my best not to live like a total coward, I said yes. The book isn't quite ready for all that yet, but I've started a list of people who get pre-release copies either in preparation for an interview or a review copy. Hit me up if you want one. Bloggers get preferential treatment. : )

Monday, January 30, 2012

Movie: Your Highness

The weather was AMAZING when I got off work today. Sunny and relatively warm. It was kind of strange because usually by this time, we’re knee-deep in snow or trying to chisel ice off of various surfaces.

The bad news? I think I’m coming down with a cold. Ergh.

Anyway, movie.

Your Highness

Description from IMDb – “When Prince Fabious's bride is kidnapped, he goes on a quest to rescue her... accompanied by his lazy useless brother Thadeous.”

Aw, that’s not a very nice description. Thadeous is actually the main character.

Your Highness is a very interesting movie. It's kind of like The Princess Bride meets South Park (uncensored) meets um, The Labyrinth but with cgi mixed in with the puppetry. The quest takes many strange turns.

I really liked this movie, but it's a lot to take in. A lot of the humor crosses merrily over into obscene, which I find hilarious more often than not. However, the movie tries almost too hard to be offensive in parts.

Your Highness was entertaining but not exactly cinematic genius. C+

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

some book trailer talkin'

I was trying to think of something to write about today when I realized that I just slapped up the new trailer yesterday without really saying anything about it. So today, I’m doing some book trailer talk.

Creating the trailer for Lair of the White Wyrm was much easier than the Fate Binds trailer. You might remember that one had some blooming flower animation…or you might remember not depending on whether you read the blog then.

The animation for the Lair trailer consists of some moving words and also panning around a grove, which is a scene from the book. The grove picture is a composite image created from two digital photos I took at a public park during a day last summer. There used to be a skate park in the background of one of them.

Bouncing back and forth between Photoshop and Fireworks, I extracted the trees and some of the grass, nixed the skate park and other background stuff, and darkened the whole deal to night time. Then, I created a radial glow in the background. Oh, some of the trees are drawn in, mostly the ones in the back.

Also fun was the brush I found (in Photoshop?) that had a leaf-shaped tip. Awesome, right? I used that in various colors to get all the trees to blend together and also add some contrast to the image.

That’s a lot of work to end up not using the graphic. I was really glad that the trailer allowed me to do something with it.

Animating the pan around the grove was a piece of cake. In Flash, you can set a couple of locations and create a tween. I had to mess with the timing a little but overall, it was WAY easier than the blooming flowers, plus you get a peek at some scenery from the book.

The other major graphic in the trailer is the head of the wyrm. If you guessed that it is a skinned over version of the skull on the book cover, you are correct and I have awarded you an extra 5 bonus points for your attention to detail.

Skinning over the skull actually took longer than I thought it would. I figured it would be an hour, tops. I mean the shape is already there. It was probably double that by the end of it.

I’m embedding the video again so you don’t have to scroll down to yesterday’s post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

lots of stuff

Hello! How are we this wonderful evening? This past weekend was very cold. I took this picture of the field behind the house to give you an idea of the fantastic dreariness. Have you even seen a place so white and desolate? This was taken at about 5pm on Sunday.

The good news is, things outside are warming up.

Earlier today I read about reactions to the Academy Award Nominations from various stars. There was a variety of reactions ranging from gratitude to, well, not as much gratitude. I wondered, how much does one’s reaction quote say about their personality? So I compiled this quick guide about what people might think when they read what you said about being nominated for the biggest award in the industry.

Gratitude personified : These are my favorites. They thank specific people by name, regardless of whether they are less famous. I would guess that these are the people who work hard and appreciate the hard work of others or at least realize that they should appreciate the hard work of the people they work with. These people win first prize for class.

Witty: Some stars said funny, witty things. Very nice. Not quite as gracious as the above but a willingness to put thought into what is said shows a certain level of intelligence and friendliness.

Academy Awards? What the heck are those?: Sigh. They try so hard to look cool. They don’t thank anyone. They don’t seem to even appreciate the fact that they were acknowledged. I would guess that these people might not be a joy to work for or with. I picture them in my head as spoiled, rich children who never had to really work for anything.

End Academy Awards talk

Guess what other excitement is here today. Go on. Guess. No, don’t look at the embedded video below. That’s cheating.

Ok, it’s a new book trailer! This one is the prerelease trailer for Lair of the White Wyrm, which is due out 2/21/12.

There will be a second version after the book is released with availability, etc.

Also sort of up is the book page.

Some of the links aren’t active yet, of course, because they don’t exist, but you can get a feel for what the finished page is going to look like. Plus there’s a synopsis. That might not be the final version.

Book Page

Monday, January 23, 2012

a movie and some rambling

Next is a movie starring Nicolas Cage and is about a man who can see about two minutes into the future. There is an exception to the rule. He sees a woman he hasn't met.

There’s a government agency after him because they want to use him to help prevent a nuclear disaster. He is unwilling to assist them, so they pursue him in an effort to basically force him to help.

The plot is well-paced and never boring. Special effects were cool. Nicolas Cage's hair is just as horrendous as it pretty much always is. Jessica Biel’s hair looked better than usual. She had this wavy thing going on.

Next is one of those movies that advances and reverses time but not annoyingly so. It adds a certain level of excitement, I think, because anything can happen to any character and they may or may not get a rewind. Next gets an A-.

We actually bought this movie. We went to our local Blockbuster to rent a movie and discovered they were “moving”. They were selling their DVDs and Blu-rays for like $2 so we figured we may as well try to find a movie we hadn’t seen and just buy it.

When we reached the counter, I asked the girl where they were moving to. Her answer was “online” and she truly looked like she was going to cry. I felt really bad, of course. Silly me actually thought they were actually moving like the sign out front indicated.

Husband and I are quite unhappy about the store closing. We do have Netflix, so we still have access to movies, but I liked being able to walk into a store and choose something off the shelves and watch it the same night. Call me old-fashioned, I guess.

Our economy is evolving in this strange way. Everything is moving to the internet, which causes people in retail stores to lose their jobs, which is sad and not good for the general state of things. But there’s no stopping the future.

I think as time goes on, people are going to have to depend less on companies like Blockbuster to provide jobs. They might not have a choice in the matter.

People who adapt their skills and experience to the internet-driven economy are going to fare better.

Until the terrorists learn how to take it out and drain all of our bank accounts. awww...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

plotting and scheming

First, let's see what was accomplished last week. I finished the edit on AnnaBeth 2. It won't be the last, of course but it is finished regardless.

I received Lair back from Lady Editor and made those changes.

I updated the home page on the website with book cover and release date for Lair.

On the to do list, finish the damn Lair synopsis. I worked on that today and I think I’ve got it. There might still be revisions, but I’m 95% happy with what I’ve got.

Also on the task list is book trailer work. I hope to have the trailer and the book page (minus buy links) ready for a prerelease launch by the end of next week. We'll see how that goes. I will put the link here on the blog when that’s all ready to go.

Then I’m going to start soliciting interview spots and such for release time (book release 2/21/12). I figure if the book trailer and the page are up and running, that would add to my writer cred. I have an order in which I want to accomplish certain tasks. There is method to the madness.

I’m strongly considering releasing an excerpt before the book is available, like a preview or whatever. I'm not totally positive I want to do that, but it's an idea that currently lives in my head.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

two movies: You Again and I Am Number Four

Being late with the movie post is more acceptable.when I gave two movies, right? right.

You Again

description from IMDb: “When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school, she sets out to expose the fiancĂ©e's true colors.”

You Again brings the star power - Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White, Kristen Bell. I love seeing all these ladies together. They are awesome!

Of course the movie is very funny. There are actually two bully relationships in which the hurt feelings and competitiveness have been carried into adulthood. Girls (and women) can really make each other crazy. This story takes that over the top.

There was a character that I wasn't big on. That would be Will, brother of Marni. He's the one planning to marry the bully. I though he came off cheesy and annoying.

You Again gets an A-.


I Am Number Four

description from IMDb – “Aliens and their Guardians are hiding on Earth from intergalactic bounty hunters. They can only be killed in numerical order, and Number Four is next on the list. This is his story.”

I read some bad reviews of this movie when it first came out. I actually thought it was awesome. The acting was fine. The story was interesting. Timothy Olyphant was in it. That's always good.

The special effects were amazing. Toward the end, there were some really awesome fighting sequences. Loved it, seriously.

Unfortunately, I don't think it did well enough in the theatre for there to be a sequel. It cost about $60 million to make and only made about $55 mill. Awww…that’s too bad. I really liked that movie. I Am Number Four gets an A.

Off the subject of movie reviews and on to new releases, had anyone seen the trailer for The Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe? He's so grown up! You may remember him in the very small role of Harry Potter. lol. I want to see how he does with that role. The movie looks really good.

That’s all I have for now.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday 13

Today is Friday the 13th! I was trying to think of something interesting to slap up here for the occasion. The husband showed me these commercials, which were supposedly banned in the US. If you watch them, you will see why. Those kooky Brits. Gotta love 'em.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

author vs writer

I read a post on another writer's blog yesterday about the difference between being a writer and an author. He started out with a bit of a, hmmmm, shall we say a 'superior' tone? but by the end of the post, I knew what he meant and I agreed.

He broke it down like this (my paraphrasing) - an author is someone who writes a book and focuses more on promotion than the next project. A writer is someone who is already immersed in the next project. They focus more on the writing activity than the advertising push.

Guess which class I'm in, or at least the class I think I'm in.

I do some extra things with the books like the trailers and the illustrations, etc, but the actual act of putting it out there for audiences to find, not my forte.

I would really like to write novels full time. I probably won't get there by ignoring my lack of promotional efforts.

So here's my plan. I'm going to finish up my edit on AnnaBeth 2, finish writing Llewyn's Faith, which I swear is thisclose to being done, and then I'm going into author mode for the next month or two. I have to. It's the only way for me to get what I want out of this next release.

Lair of the White Wyrm will be out 2/21.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

book working and other stuff

Tuesday. it's like riding a bike with nails in the tires.

What is going on? Anything exciting?

I'm working on another read-thru on Devil (AnnaBeth 2). This time around is exponentially smoother than the last time. Today was day 6 and I'm almost done. That previous edit that was so tortuous was well worth the trouble. I'm actually enjoying it now, which is a good sign.

Other projects. I work on Llewyn's Faith a bit each day. It's going to round out to long short story length, if that makes sense. I think it's between 8 and 9000 words, and I have a couple of scenes left.

I'm also reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer. An author whose blog I read on a semi-regular basis recommended it. I like it so far. There's a lot of positive thinking stuff. I need that, being the die-hard pessimist/cynic that I am.

One of my favorite parts in the book was about reverse paranoia. Operate as if everyone is part of a plot to help you succeed; that was the advice. I thought that was kind of funny.

I'm posting less on Journey Reader. I decided while on holiday hiatus that I need to spend more time promoting my own books on other blogs. I like what I do there, but it's really time consuming. I'm still taking interviews and stuff though, so there will be posts, just not 4 days a week like I was trying to do before.

What else? Ah yes. I have been ungrateful, not intentionally, but ungrateful nonetheless and it's gnawing away at my innards. In my rundown of last year’s events, I forgot to thank my readers.

If you downloaded or purchased or even read one of my books, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Reading books takes time. I hope mine were worth the minutes and/or hours you devoted. And even if you only read the blog, that's okay too because I'd like to think I'm not randomly tossing out words that just float around in cyberspace with no one to read them. Lonely words are sad words.

I would write even if no one read my work, however doing so would not be as much fun.

Monday, January 9, 2012

movie: Green Lantern

I said I didn't want to see this movie. Husband put it on the Netflix queue, so it showed up in my mailbox. What was I supposed to do? Not watch it?

Here's the description from IMDb – “A test pilot is granted an alien ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers, as well as membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.”

The movie has weird parts - surreal scenery and aliens and bizarro superpowers. I didn't think the movie was bad. However, the only people who would probably appreciate it to the fullest would be Green Lantern fans.

Personally, I'm not a member of that club.

The plot was interesting. The special effects were big budget Hollywood. Ryan Reynolds is still pretty. Its worth watching if you have nothing better to do. It gets a biased B- -.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


After running pretty much nonstop for the past few days, my brain is tired. I've been editing the Devil in the Branch manuscript and finishing out the rough draft of Llewyn's Faith.

I have a post planned for JourneyReader, but I can't spare the energy to write it at the moment. I should have it up tomorrow evening. Until then, please enjoy this picture of this morning's badass sunrise.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

cover art

Here we go! This is the cover art for Lair of the White Wyrm. My starting point for the skull was the dorsal view of an alligator skull. I'm fancypants like that. Skull shading took a while. I did it by hand on my Bamboo.

I reserve the right to make minor adjustments in the future.

If you've been hanging out on my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I didn't use the original illustration I put up on the blog. I changed course, and I think this looks better and fits the book better. I put together a whole evolution of the cover art thing that will go up with other Extras on the media page for the book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 in review, 2012 in planning

Hello, 2012!

Let us evaluate the progress made in 2011.

My work was downloaded well over 20000 times thanks to the blessing that is an amazon freebie. I was in the top 20 free titles for a few days. That was awesome. I did sell some books too, which us equally awesome.

I have released no new work since February 2011. Boo.

But I finished writing two books, which are currently in editing. Yay!

I learned to make book trailers, first in PowerPoint, then in Flash. And I made great strides (in my world) in web page design by deviating from the Microsoft Live Builder. Yay, DreamWeaver!

I started a book blog – http://www.JourneyReader.com which is returning from holiday hiatus in the next hour or so. Through that, I met a lot of very nice authors.

I feel like I’m leaving something important out. Hmmmm…oh well, moving on.

Lair of the White Wyrm will be released in either February or March. Cover art reveal for that will be tomorrow.

Devil in the Branch will be a summer release if all goes as planned.

Goals for 2012 - Write another book or two, be better about marketing and soliciting reviews and other similar kinds of exposure. I think that's it. I would like to get a book on a library shelf. I planned to do that last year but then chickened out.

Oh yes, I will probably get a print book storefront running on either lulu or createspace. My print book sales on amazon are abysmal, so I probably won't bother making them available there. We'll see, though. I'm good at changing my mind.