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Archive for November, 2011

Something’s Gotta Go

I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday of severe gluttony and copious quantities of pumpkin pie! (Yes, it tastes especially delicious with a cup of coffee in the morning.)

 

So, I’m rushing to get my sequel out in early January, when all the new kindle owners are desperate to grab up inexpensive ebooks. Problem is, I have a full-time job (mama), it is my sole responsibility to decorate and shop for Christmas presents (I deck the halls hardcore), ugh, I need to send out hundreds of Christmas cards, I’m still trying to get the edits done on my ms, and I attempt to write three blogs a week.

I’m beginning to worry that I just won’t get it all done. So what’s got to go?

Well, I’ve decided I just can’t keep blogging three times a week. I need to completely focus on perfecting this book and, after it’s out to the formatter, I can revive the blog again. I will keep checking in occasionally with big news, but otherwise, I hope all you guys have a productive December and feel free to keep emailing me questions if you need some advice. (I always have time for that.)

Tata!

 

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Thanksgiving Story

We sometimes forget the great story behind our holidays, since each holiday usually requires so much hustle and bustle. We forget while our grocery carts are crammed inside overcrowded aisles. We focus on cleaning the house, making a new recipe, ordering desserts that will surely please. Some, even resent the holiday since it usually entails twice as long a trip to relatives you might not even want to see to begin with.

Children, of course, remember,  since they’ve spent all week sitting cross-legged in circles listening to the tale and metamorphosing hand prints into fat turkeys.

But there is a great story here.

A group of desperate, starving outcasts and adventurers struggle to tame a foreign wilderness and barely make it through their first winter. If it hadn’t been for the generous Native Americans, teaching them how to live of the new land, they would surely have perished. I’m sure it was difficult for these pious settlers to rely on these ‘primitive’ people, but they had no choice. After their first bountiful harvest they celebrated with a three-day feast with the natives who made it all possible.

You could decide to end the story here on a happy note, or you could use it as a cautionary tale, since things didn’t turn out so well for the natives.

 

 

So, for some of you, you might embrace this time to give thanks for what we have. While others might decide not to travel or host their difficult relatives in hopes of avoiding yet another Thanksgiving family argument. Either way, it all goes back to the original Thanksgiving story.

 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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All writers have their retreats, the places they escape to for inspiration. I was thinking about the places I go in order to create, plot, and dream. Here are my most productive:

Walking…

in the woods

in the snow

across a meadow

Sitting…

watching waves

under the stars

on a swing

watching a sunrise

watching a sunset

while doing methodical things like…

washing dishes

driving

taking a shower

blow drying your hair

falling asleep

(The worst since you must get up to jot them down or you’ll forget it by morning)

dreaming

(Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight idea came from a dream)

Where are your best places for creativity?

 

 

Also, please check out Saraflower’s blog here where she reviewed my book, Infinite Sacrifice. Thanks again, Sara!

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Party Confetti

Happy Friday everyone! And this is an even happier Friday for Saraflower, the winner of a $20 Amazon gift card! This will come in handy before the giving season. The random generator has spoken, but if you didn’t win you might take your chances in another giveaway over at Shannon Whitney Messenger’s blog. It’s a terrific prize of “The Book Babe’s” critique/consult/or event attendance. Totally awesome and worthwhile, check it out. Thanks everyone, for helping me get the word out about my launch. I love you guys!

Sara, email me your address and I’ll ship off your prize 🙂

EDIT: Sorry everyone, I misread the contest. She’s giving away five 25-page critiques from “The Book Babe”. Five! Still awesome, check it out.

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From one of my FAVORITE movies ever (Dumb and Dumber):

Lloyd: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me ending up together?

Mary: Well, that’s pretty difficult to say.

Lloyd: Hit me with it! I’ve come a long way to see you, Mary. The least you can do is level with me. What are my chances?

Mary: Not good.

Lloyd: You mean not good like 1 out of a 100?

Marry: I’d say more like 1 out of a million.

Lloyd: So you’re telling me there’s a chance. YEEah!

So this pretty much sums up how I feel about self-publishing. In the vast sea of  books, my book is like throwing a pebble into that sea. I should be worried about how I’ll get my book seen among so many, yet, I feel just like Lloyd right now.

YEEah!

Why? Because I’m optimistic.

  • I’ve reached all my pre-launch goals.
  • I had a great launch day where I made some sales that weren’t actually friends or family (love you whoever you are!).
  • My early reviewers left fantastic reviews (thank you all so much!).
  • My crit partner, Bethany Yeager, wrote this truly amazing blog review (you have my undying gratitude).
  • I sent out like fifty ebooks to reviewers and already ten have promised me reviews within a few months.
  • Plus, I’ve got some promotional tools up my sleeve that I’ll use in the next few months.

So, I’m trying to think of sales like a swine flu…you infect one person who goes spreading it around to others and you have an outbreak. I’m happy to take this one reader at a time. I’m going to continue with Lloyd’s optimism for now, because I think it’s much better than looking back and saying,

“I could’ve been a contender.”

(PS remember to join the $20 Amazon gift card giveaway if you haven’t already!)

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Taking a sick day

Due to a nasty cough that is circulating around my house, I’m neglecting my blog today. Hopefully, I will dodge this germ and be up and be back and blogging on Wednesday. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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For less than a latte, you can support a poor, fantasy-prone writer’s delusion.

Seriously though, I’m proud to say that I’ve reached all my goals thus far. I did everything I said I would, (besides losing all the baby weight), and in fact, launched on the day I chose months ago!

Yay!

*Crowds cheer*

I’m so happy to say that my debut novel and first of the Infinite Series, Infinite Sacrifice, can now be purchased at Amazon, Smashwords, and B & N. There is also a print version available here.

Maya’s shocked to discover it’s not the heaven she imagined;in fact, a life of adventure begins the moment you die.

Zachariah, her faithful spirit guide, explains the rules of the dead: in order to regain complete awareness and reunite with loved ones all souls must review their previous lives.

Maya plunges warily into her turbulent pasts as a sociopathic High Priest in ancient Egypt; an independent mother protecting a dangerous secret in glorious Sparta; an Irish boy kidnapped and enslaved by Vikings; and a doctor’s wife forced to make an ethical stand in plague-ridden England.

All the while, Maya yearns to be with those she cares about most and worries that she hasn’t learned all of heaven’s most vital lessons. Will she be forced to leave the tranquility of heaven to survive yet another painful and tumultuous
life? Or worse, accept the bitter reality of having to go back alone?

To kick-off off the launch, I wanted to host a little giveaway…

A $20 gift card from Amazon!

$20 can buy you…

…and you might even have enough left to buy a certain someone’s newly released ebook . *wink-wink*

Rules of the giveaway:

1) One point for subscribing to my blog or already being a subscriber (you guys rock!)

2) One point for twittering news of my book launch

3) One point for mentioning my book launch on your blog

4) One point for answering this question in the comments:

If we really do reincarnate, do you have a particular affinity for a time or place? Feel free to list them all.


No purchase is necessary. Please post in the comment section your total points, each point will get your name added into the random generator-thingy, and I’ll announce the winner on my blog next Friday.

Well, good luck to all you launch promoters, and I just wanted to say thank you to all my amazing, supportive blog followers for sticking with me throughout all of this.

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Hello everyone!

Only two more days until my launch! *Eek!* I’m so excited! I’m planning a little giveaway on Friday, so be sure to check-in to win! I’ve finally finished the historical background page and thought I’d post it here to give my readers a chance to check out some of these interesting links before they read my book.

 

Historical Background

I’ve included some direct links that will help the reader appreciate and understand my novel better. Some elements seem unbelievable and most readers would be surprised that many of the events and details have historical basis. Since I didn’t want to interrupt the fictional reader with footnotes, I’ve included actual ancient prayers, quotes, and poems that I featured in my novel below. If the reader would like to peruse the sources I used for fictional inspiration please scroll down to the bibliography. I highly recommend each one and thank them for all of their teachings.

Infinite Sacrifice

Ancient Egyptian Life

Circumcision & priestly initiations (page 16).

Egyptian dream interpreters and also dream incubation (page 17).

Ancient prayer to ward away nightmares: “Hail to thee, Isis my mother, thou good dream which art seen by night or by day. Driven forth are all evil filthy things which Seth, the son of Nut, has made. Even as Ra is vindicated against his enemies, so I am vindicated against my enemies.” (pg 29). Naphtali Lewis, The Interpretation of Dreams & Portents in Antiquity. (Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 1996.) 15.

Ancient book titles: “The Book of Driving Away Lions, Repulsing Crocodiles, and Repelling Reptiles; The Protection of the Hour, Protection of the Body, Spells for Repelling the Evil Eye; The Book of Capture; Knowing all the Secrets of the Laboratory; The Book of Smiting Demons; Book of Medicinal Cures for Fertility and Contraceptive Purpose.” (pg 33). Serge Sauneron (Author). David Lorton (Translator). The Priests of Ancient Egypt. (Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 2000) 135.

Priests rotated their shifts . (pg 34).

Serapis. The composite god, Serapis, was created later on in the Ptolemaic period, but for fictional purposes I included him in my pre-Ptolemaic novel.

Ancient Egyptian pregnancy test (pg 37).

Court System (pg 39).

Ancient Spartan Life

Spartan women (pg 56)

Spartan earthquake (pg 56)

Helots (pg 57)

Spartan Infanticide (pg 64)

Agoge (pg 67)

Spartan marriage (pg 69)

Proclamation for Spartan women to breed with helots (pg 87) – “During the archaic period, when the army was in the field for many years and it was uncertain whether the men would ever return safely, the Ephors (“Overseers,” elected magistrates) directed that the women have intercourse with helots in order to produce a new crop of children who could replace the men in case they never got home. When the army did return to Sparta, the children born of miscegenation were sent off to found the colony that became known as Tarentum.” Sarah B. Pomeroy, Spartan Women. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 48.

Wife sharing (pg 108)

Siege of Sparta (pg 112)

Spartan women stayed to fight during the siege. (pg 113) – “A century later, anticipating an attack by Pyrrhus, Archidamia, grandmother of Agis IV, rallied the other women to oppose the men’s scheme to send them to safety in Crete. They declared they had no wish to continue living if Sparta were destroyed. They performed heavy manual labor in behalf of Sparta, assisting men in digging a trench in a single night as a defense against the elephants of Pyrrhus. Finally, they told the few soldiers who were present to go to sleep and finished the trench themselves. The next day they cheered the army on. Chilonis, wife of king Cleonymus, held a rope around her neck so she would not be taken alive.” Sarah B. Pomeroy, Spartan Women. (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2002) 16.

Viking Life

Viking’s attacked many settlements on the Irish coast.

Christianity came to Ireland (pg 124).

Viking thralls (slaves) (pg 125).

Ansgar “Apostle to the North” pg159.

Viking dowries (pg 132).

Viking hoards (pg 133).

Hereby (pg 139).

Shield-girl (pg 143).

Town Bath (pg 144).

Angel of Death (pg 147).

Viking duels (pg 161).

Part of a Viking poem: “The halt can manage a horse, the handless a flock, the deaf be a doughty fighter, to be blind is better than to burn on a pyre: there is nothing the dead can do.” (pg 164)  Else Roesdahl, The Vikings, revised edition. England: Penguin Books, 1998) 63.

Newry & Vikings .

Viking quote by King Magnus Barefoot: “Kings are made for honour, not for long life.” (pg 176) Else Roesdahl, The Vikings, revised edition. (England: Penguin Books, 1998) 72.

Viking Thrall Sacrifice (pg 181)

Viking thrall sacrifice prayer although I have shortened it and changed the gender: “I see my mistress sitting in paradise, and it is beautiful and green. She calls to me. Lead me to her.” (pg 185) Else Roesdahl, The Vikings, revised edition. (England: Penguin Books, 1998) 157.

Medieval London Life

The black plague arrived in London in 1348.

Surgeons at this time studied astrology and its effects on health (pg 190).

The major conjunction of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter in Aquarius. (pg 192).

Europe was hit with a great famine due to unusual weather from 1315-1322. (pg 191).

“…making smelling apples with black pepper, red and white sandal, roses, camphor, and four parts of bol armeniac.” (pg 195). John Kelly, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005) 172.

“One mixture of fig, filbert, and rue—all said to be beneficial. A bottle of little white pills of aloe, myrrh and saffron. I also have a few little pots of theriac, mithridate, bol armeniac, and terra sigillata.” (pg 197). John Kelly, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005) 173.

Surgeons would read stools, urine, blood, and spittle to check health (pg 198).

“Ring-a-ring o’rosies, A pocket full of posies, A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down!” (pg 231).

Massacre at Strasburg Friday, the 13th of February (pg 236).

“…the hearts of good Christians and Holy Communion wafers” (pg 241). John Kelly, The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005) 139.

Pneumonic plague (pg 249)

Bibliography

Clark, R.T. Rundle. Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. New York: Grove Press, Inc., 1960. Print.

Gottfried, Robert S. The Black Death: Natural and Human Disaster in Medieval Europe. New York: The Free Press, 1985. Print.

Kelly, John. The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print.

Lewis, Naphtali. The Interpretation of Dreams & Portents in Antiquity. Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 1996. Print.

Jones, Gwyn. A History of the Vikings. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. Print.

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Spartan Women. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.

Posener, Georges. A Dictionary of Egyptian Civilization. London: Methuen and Co.. Ltd., 1962. Print.

Roesdahl, Else. The Vikings, revised edition. England: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.

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Oh, it’s the time I dread most of all. Book reviewers! I feel like I’m turning my term paper in and most of my grade depends upon it. There is something so scary about sending your baby off to someone who is going to look your it over and point out all the flaws to the public. Hopefully, you chose carefully enough that you pick the right match for your book but anything can happen after you hit the send button.

I’ve found that most reviewers have three-month backlists, so the sooner you send them your book the better. The process is very similar to agent querying: you need to check each reviewers guidelines and follow it to the tee. They all want different formats, but I found that the Smashwords coupon was the most accepted form and the easiest. Another great reason to upload on Smashwords. It took me most of the day, reading the kindle boards for suggested reviewers, finding good matches, and submitting to them.

Here is a list I’ve gathered of indie book reviewers:
Motherlode

Readers Favorite

SF Book Reviews (Submisions closed until 2012)

The Tattered Scroll

The Fantasy Book Critic

The Self-Publishing Review (Costs $40, but you’re allowed to decide to publish review)

POD People

The New Podler Review of Books  (Submisions closed until 2012)

The Compulsive Reader

The Indie Spotlight

Rambles.net

Books on the Knob

Candy’s Raves

Fyrefly’s Book Blog

Good Book Alert

Adarna SF

Doubleshot Reviews

To Publish or Not to Publish

Daily Ebook Reviews

…and for an amazing list of book reviewers that I have yet to attack here.

A few say they won’t review the book if it’s less than three stars–these I like. The ones that can be brutal and will point out all the problems, are the ones I’m worried about. But negative press is better than no press at all, right? Oh, I hope so.

Do you know of any other book reviewers (large or small) that are willing to review a fantasy indie book? Let us know.

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Maya continues to delve into her past lives after death, and strives to complete the tentative journey required to reunite with her loved ones in heaven.

She must relive and explore her former incarnations as the scandalous and misunderstood Lucrezia Borgia in renaissance Italy; a young stowaway on the doomed Spanish Armada fleet; and the rebellious Irish Robin Hood, Count Redmond O’Hanlon.

Her companions prove truer while her enemies grow stronger as her bygone adventures spin forth. This time she must experience the trials of loyalty and endure the hardships that only supreme devotion brings.

Expected to launch January 2012

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