Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog on Hiatus 4 "the" Holidays (well SOMEONE's holidays)

It always gets me that Americans talk about "the" holidays like there's only one set of holidays in the whole wide world. I'm Jewish, not Christian, so my holidays were months ago, back in September/October. I gave away my Jewish Inspirational / Romantic Comedy free for "the" holidays--my holidays ;-)

I'm also pretty sure that Muslims in the US are not actually celebrating "the" holidays with the Christians (though Muslims have a busier holiday season than even us Jews!)

I do, however, realize I live and work in a Christian country, so I am living La Vida Loca in "the" holiday season even though it's not my holiday season. It's kind of a ripoff. I come to this conclusion every year and it always amazes me as though it's news. Then I have to laugh at myself for not remembering the stress is universal and not religion-specific. Everyone gets to "enjoy" the holidays here. It's the law! Okay, stop laughing. This is serious. Books are at stake! ^_^

My day job is working in a grocery store so the Christian holiday season is making my life crazy-busy and totally unpredictable right now. I really need these 2 weeks off instead of crazy-busy so it's a double-whammy ripoff! Why? I'm trying to get my first book finished, edited and released.

Conditioned Response was scheduled for a December 31, 2011 release but due to the craziness of the Christian holidays pre-empting my plans on a daily basis, I've had to push the release date back repeatedly and now it's "sometime in January, 2012." To say the least, I'm feeling a little frazzled these days. Since I cannot cancel "the" (Christian) holidays -- the US economy would collapse if I tried! -- I have to focus on eliminating stressors that I can control. Right now, that's this blog.

Sorry but I'm going to put the blog on hiatus for the next two weeks. That means no posting until after New Year's for those of you who don't know what "hiatus" means (smirk) I'll setup Hootsuite's Scheduler to tweet links to past Monday Marketing blogs or Tuesday Tips while the blog is quiet and I'll start blogging again after New Year's.

See you in 2012!

TUESDAY TIP #Nanoworimo Winners Claim UR Prizes @CreateSpace and @Scrivener

If you were a Nanowrimo 2011 winner, you completed 50,000 words in 30 days--and you got to download one of these kewel little icons. Actually, it's kind of a tacky graphic. They keep changing the icon every year and I guess they're running out of ideas on how to make it interesting. I also guess they never heard of branding (haha). Despite the identity crisis at the Office of Letters & Light, the nano prizes have been available a couple of weeks.

When I say "nano prizes" I mean real prizes -- available courtesy of Amazon's CreateSpace (POD production and distribution service) and Literature & Latte's Scrivener, the Writer's Environment for organizing your fiction, screenwriting, dissertation or any other writing project. Click through the jump-break to find out how to get your valuable gifts, you winner, you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 17: Unpredictability #pubtip #amwriting #marketing

Welcome back to the Monday Marketing series. I've gone over branding (as the concept applies to Indie Authors) and looked at branding your tweets  as well as staying true to the Company you want to keep. I'm reminding you about my branding discussions this week because it's been a while since I mentioned it and this week, it becomes particularly relevant to understand your chosen brand.

Over the past few months, I've reviewed one chapter a week from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, the best little book on marketing ever written. It's only about 1/4" thick in paperback, so if you haven't read it already, take 5 minutes to read it now. Done yet? I've given you 5 minutes a week, so you should've read this ten times by now (grin)

Every marketing choice you make should have your brand behind it, should be made so that it strengthens your brand. While it's important to know what the opposition is doing, you need to stay true to yourself above all else.

Today, I'm reviewing Law 17: Unpredictability. This is one of those laws where you need to really know yourself and your brand in order to apply it. The law states (paraphrased here) that unless you can write your competitor's plans, you cannot predict what they'll do next. That's why you need to focus on what you do know and can control: your next move. Click through the jump-break to begin.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

#SciFi #SampleSunday #ConditionedResponse @phoenicianbooks

The new material is nearly all done and I'm about to return to the beginning to start a cover-to-cover read-through and self-edit for internal consistency. Then, I'll pass it onto my First Readers to edit for internal inconsistencies (hopefully not finding any!) while I do yet another cover-to-cover read-through and self-edit for pacing. Then it's onto formatting and proofreading.

So yeah, this is nearly done but all these read-through's take time--periods when I can be focused for a long time, not merely an hour here or there. Getting those chunks of time is the delay so this book won't be released before New Year's. I can sadly admit that with utter certainty now. It irks me no end, but I know the book will be better for holding it off until it's "ready for prime time." Speaking of slow but steady progress, what do you think of the cover art? Yet another revision (changed the foreground again). I like it better with each subtle change I make!

In the meantime, click on through if you don't care about spoilers or have been reading all along anyway, but be warned if spoilers bother you:  MANY SPOILERS LIE AHEAD! For the brave and bold, 2600 new words lie ahead ^_^ Enjoy them all!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TUESDAY TIP 2 New Promotional Tools You Need to Understand @MarkCoker @HuffingtonPost @AmazonKDP @AmazonKindle @socialmedia2day #NewTwitter

Today I have 2 new promotional tools that have just been released into the wild. One is KDP Select from the world's #1 retailer, the behemoth that is Amazon. The other is Brand Pages from the #1 social networking site in the world, Twitter.

Being #1 should automatically make these two tools great, right? Well, not so fast. Let's take a look at the fine print and workings behind the scenes before hopping up on that band wagon, shall we?

Before I say anything else about the new Amazon program, I should note that the entire discussion applies only to US-based Indie Authors and US-based Amazon customers. If you are based outside the US, these programs and services are not available to you, whether you are a customer or content provider. It is possible that some of the content providers participating in the new KDP Select program have made their products available outside the US; however, their business activities are based in the US. That is, they receive their revenues in US Dollars paid to a US bank account.

If you are located outside the US and would like to participate in a program similar to KDP Select, I suggest you contact Amazon's Vendor Customer Support and let them know you are interested in being notified if and when a similar program is launched for Indie Authors in your country. I know it sounds like sending a call into a black hole, but they do actually receive and review a lot of these emails--and it makes a difference. Slowly and not always the difference we want but a difference nonetheless. ^_^

Click through the jump-break to start sifting through the details of both new promotional tools now.

Monday, December 12, 2011

MARKETING MONDAY Law 16 Singularity: Taking the Path of Least Expectation #pubtip #writing #indie #marketing @MelissaConway1

Welcome to my Monday Marketing blog and the ongoing series using of one of the best little books on marketing ever written: 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

If you've never read Ries and Trout's book, click on the book image now and get a copy. It's not very expensive, will take you 5 minutes to read. When I say "these guys wrote the book," this is the book I mean. Even though they're talking widgets sold by multi-national megacorporations like General Electric and Kraft, I've been looking at each of the 22 Laws and how it applies to our Indie Publishing industry.

Today we're discussing Law 16, the Law of Singularity. Unlike the Law of Exclusivity (Law 6), which was the first law not really applicable to Indie Publishing, the Law of Exclusivity is definitely one for us!

It states In any given situation, there will always be one action you can take which will glean more results than any other path you could choose. Writers are all about making the right choices, aren't we? Everytime a plot twists and turns, we have to choose which way to go. Why should it be any different when determining what marketing efforts will glean the best ROI (Return on Investment)? Click through the jump-break to find out how to identify and choose that path of greatest ROI.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

#SciFi Saturday Snippets #Conditioned Response

My day job has been crazy-busy this past week so the progress on edits have slagged behind schedule. Even so, I can snippet another 2500 words to get you to the end of the same chapter snippeted earlier. Just bear in mind that all of this content is still in draft form and in fact, the previous snippets have already undergone additional edits, both adding and removing content. The general storylines won't change, but the impactfulness of the delivery might--I hope!

If you haven't been reading along, you can catch up by clicking on Conditioned Response in the tag cloud to bring up a list of earlier snippets from my upcoming SciFi Thriller.

The release date was scheduled for December 31, 2011, but it's looking more and more each week like I'll have to reschedule that for January, 2012. I'd rather deliver a polished work, late, than a mediocre work, early.

As always, 3 words of warning: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD!

If you're kewel with spoilers, go ahead and click through the jump-break to read the end of the chapter, in sequence, with what's been snippeted before. If you don't like spoilers, please don't blame me for accidental clicks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TUESDAY TIP Outlining for the Organic Writer #pubtip #iamwriting r u #reading? @ScrivenerApp #Scrivener #IndexCard #Storyboard

There are two kinds of people in the world: those with loaded guns and everyone else. Do you feel lucky? Oh Clint, you'll always be my Hero! Then again, it's true. There are only two kinds of people in the world ^_^ and when it comes to writing style, there are pretty much just two kinds of approach.

One is to plan everything out ahead of time, point by point, detail by detail, before ever writing a single word of the story. Another is to just sit down at the keyboard and feel lucky. Surprising as some of you may find it to learn, I fall into the latter category. I like to just sit down, load up the MP3 playlist and fire, blasting the words onto the screen "at will." When I do that, yes, I do feel lucky and more often than not, I get lucky because what I write is mostly usable. I don't sit down to write until I've had "the voices in my head" repeating the scene enough times it's starting to get annoying. I have to write it to "excise" it from my brain. Like cutting out a tumor (LOL). Kidding, my writing habit is not a cancer but it's nearly as random and prolific.

However...on the other side of the jump-break you can see why and how I force myself to outline, despite hating every moment of it. I'll even note there are benefits to reap for the effort, so click through now to learn why Russian Roulette is only for the movies (and best-selling thriller novels *haha*)

Monday, December 5, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 15 Candor #marketing #pubtip #myWANA #indie

I am not speaking about the Lost City of Kandor from the Superman stories :) Figured I should say that just in case anyone thought I was confused on how to spell the word. Today, I'm going to talk about speaking openly and honestly to your prospective customers -- and turning that into a marketing advantage.

For those just joining us, the Monday Marketing blogs have been serializing a review of one of the best little books on marketing ever written. One by one, I've reviewed how Ries and Trout's 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing apply to Indie Authors, with a specific eye toward the eBook marketing activity, since eBooks are such a bigger part of the marketing activity for Indies than are the DTBs.

If you've never read Ries and Trout's book, click on the book image now and get a copy. It's not very expensive, will take you 5 minutes to read once--and you'll read it a hundred times again, getting something new each time. I'm a good example since I got this book in the 90s and here I am, 20 years later, still finding new interpretations for the same lessons. This week's lesson, as I said, is on the Law of Candor. No super powers required. Just click through the jump break to find out how being up front about yourself and your product can be marketed as one of your finest strengths.

Friday, December 2, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY #SciFi Snippets #iamwriting r u #reading ? #ConditionedResponse

As I said earlier this week, I wasn't actually planning to serialize Conditioned Response prior to its release date but it sure seems to be turning into a good Freebie Friday snippeting event here, doesn't it? If you haven't read last week's snippet, catch up by clicking here; I even added another 1500 words on Tuesday so if you read it then, read it again ;-)

Three words of warning: SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.

Big time. I'm currently working on--and snippeting from--the section of the book after the big climax has occurred (cough cough...yeah, double entendre intended, sorry, but I couldn't resist). Click through the jump break to read the next sequential scene of the book. Again. it's draft, subject to change, probably contains missing words or typos (or both) not to mention Microsoftian formatting quirks but hey, it's free.  ^_^ Tell me what you think in the comments - your feedback is salve for my soul.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TUESDAY TIP #Nanowrimo Wrapup Next Steps for 3 Nanotypes #pubtip #iamwriting r u #reading?

We are 24 hours away from the end of Nanowrimo 2011 and either you have close to 50,000 words or you do not. You still have a day left but for most of you, it's a done deal. You already know whether or not you "won" this year. Winning isn't really what you might think. It's more of a badge of honor--but I'll admit that I'm going to upload a scrambled version of Conditioned Response today (November 29th) just to "win" a badge for myself this year! ETA got my badge, isn't it pretty? LOL.

It's something a lot of us writers just really want. Plus there are perks. Click through the jump break and I'll direct you to some of them. Be sure to note that some of these perks are only free to Nanowrimo winners or require you to sign up by or before November 30th (during Nanowrimo), so check all links carefully.

Today I'll offer advice on where to go from here--no matter where your personal "here" might be. I'll advise those who did not reach the 50k word mark, those who just made it but don't have a full novel in those 50,000 or so words, and those who finished a complete novel (replete with a beginning, middle and end) but aren't sure what to do with it now that they've got it. Click through the jump break for Webbiegrrl tips on what to do next. Others may (certainly will ) have other tips. In fact, it's pretty much guaranteed that the #nanowrimo hashtag on Twitter will be flooded today with tips and tricks and advise and services--in between all the "woe is me, I didn't make it" and "hoo-rah! I won" tweets. These are just my tips. Use at your own risk.

Monday, November 28, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 14: Attributes - Your Voice is Your Best Attribute #pubtip #indie #marketing #writing #myWANA

Thanks for stopping in on the Monday Marketing series. I've been discussing branding and designing the Indie Publishing Company you want to keep. Like any other business, your career in Indie Publishing requires you to define a brand for yourself--that is, define you, the Author, as a product to be sold. The exact same rules apply to selling the Author product that is you as apply to stores selling widgets. You just have more control over your marketing than they do.

If you're just joining us, we're using one of the best little books on marketing ever written: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by two of the original Madison Avenue wizards. If you've never read this book, it's only about a 1/4" thick in paperback. Take 5 minutes to read it now then check the previous entries of this series to read how these laws apply to the Indie Publishing business.

This week's lesson is on the Law of Attributes, which states "For every product attribute, there is an opposite and equally-effective attribute." Related to the Law of Opposites (Law 9), this Immutable Law of Marketing zeroes in on an effective sales tool you can make your own secret weapon. As noted in Law 8 (Law of Duality), no matter where you are on the Product Ladder, your immediate competition is the book on the rung directly above you in the market. Your goal, as we learned in Law 9 (Law of Opposites) is to identify some attribute to your prospective readers (your potential customers) that makes you "new and different" (read: better) than the same old, same old that is your competition. Click through the jump break to learn more.

Friday, November 25, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY It's a #SciFi Surprise and not even Saturday Yet! #ConditionedResponse Snippet

Warning, spoilers ahead!

If you are at all interested in reading my upcoming SciFi thriller, Conditioned Response, without knowing what happens, just leave now. I'm going to snippet something I'm currently working on from about the 80% mark of the book and the spoilers are abundant! Video and synchronicity lie ahead with the spoilers, though, so if you're spoiler-resistant, click on through the jump-break for the good stuff. If not, well, sorry...the eBook should be out sometime around New Year's or by the end of January, 2012 at the latest! Paperback edition to follow 3 months later.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TUESDAY TIP #Nanowrimo 8 Tips for the Last 8 Days - R U #writing ? #nanonano

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 and there are 8 days left to Nanowrimo. Today's post is addressed to all of you who are participating in the worldwide event to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I don't know if I can help you but I'm going to try. First I have some questions for you.

Are you ahead or behind as of right now this minute? Even if you were precisely on schedule, and have been doing exactly the 1667 words per day for 22 days, you'd have 13,336 words left to write by midnight on November 30th. That is, as of today, do you have 36,674 words done? Is that you? Some people could write 13k words in a day (I've done it more than once, when I'm on a roll and have no interruptions). Some people can't write 13k words in a month. Which are you?  How you answer this word count question is the biggest danger of all this week. Are you being honest with yourself or conning yourself and everyone else?

Be truthful with yourself. Don't worry about checking in with your Nanowrimo buddies, don't even care about logging your word count at the site and having to explain it to anyone. Just be sure you're being honest with yourself.  You are the only one whose opinion matters when it comes to how you "should" approach your writing activity. In addition, you have to live with yourself no matter what you're doing or how you're doing it, so be honest and you'll have an easier time of sleeping at night--you need your sleep to think clearly and write!

Are you ahead, on schedule or behind? Just make sure you know where you are now and then you can figure out how to get to where you want to be. Nanowrimo is supposed to be FUN not a conscience-breaking activity of guilt, stress and worry. Take a breath, sit back and click through the jump-break to see which of the following applies to you: Ahead of Schedule, Right on the Mark or Falling Behind.

Monday, November 21, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law of Sacrifice - 3 Things U Can Give Up to Gain Market Share #marketing #pubtip #indie #publishing @MikeWellsAuthor

Thanks for stopping in on the Monday Marketing series. I'm discussing branding and designing the Indie Author Publishing Company you want to keep. Like any other business, your career in Indie Publishing requires you to define a brand and market yourself in the most effective way. The exact same rules apply as those used by the Madison Avenue wizards selling widgets.

If you're just joining us, we're using one of the best little books on marketing ever written: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by two of the original Madison Avenue wizards. If you've never read this book, it's only about a 1/4" thick in paperback. Take 5 minutes to read it now then check the previous entries of this series to read my interpretations of how these laws apply to us and our business.

Today we're looking at Law 13: Sacrifice and I think it's timely this week falls just days before Thanksgiving because hopefully, you'll be in the right frame of mind to start thinking about what you have instead of what you have not. That is the key to understanding the Law of Sacrifice. There are 3 areas of Sacrifice: brand focus, target market, constantly changing to keep up with sudden shifts in the market.

The idea isn't new: No one can be all things to all people all the time. You have to choose your brand's focus, choose your target market, and choose your long-term strategy--then keep the Company you just created with those choices. Be "thankful" for your choices by being "faithful" to them. Click through the jump-break for more.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY #SciFi #Romance #Paranormal #Mystery and #Technothriller #action What r u reading? #WAYR @fridayreads @goodreads #weekendgoodreads

Welcome to the last Freebie Friday feature at the Webbiegrrl blog. Due to a number of factors and recent changes to my work schedule (with more coming in the next 30-60 days), I'll be discontinuing this feature after today. I didn't want to just "cancel without notice" but don't worry, I won't leave you without resources.

Today's 3 freebies are selected (by me) from the collection of free eBooks by Indie Authors assembled at Bibliotastic.com. Bibliotastic has only free eBooks--all free, all the time. You simply register with Bibliotastic and you can download the Kindle (PRC), Nook/Apple (ePub) or PDF file in seconds. Please bookmark the site to find new freebies yourself in the weeks to come!

I was first turned onto Bibliotastic.com by Letitia Coyne, whose book, Petra, was featured here back in July, 2011 and will be the first of this week's featured freebies as my way of saying yet another "thank you" to Letitia for the tip. (hugs) Plus, I love that Letitia wrote a story highlight slavery. Given my November campaign to raise awareness to #StopHumanTrafficking and #endSlavery, I cannot think of a better way to kick off my final feature.

Petra is an "unputdownable" non-formulaic Historical Romance by Aussie Indie, Letitia Coyne, which has some fantasy elements of world-building in an alternate reality.

Aya grew up as a scavenger, trailing the Bedouin caravans. Bought from the arena as a young man, his new life as Sethos, the adopted son of a wealthy Roman merchant, is stained by the stigma of his past.

Jaida was raised in luxurious slavery, destined to be a virgin oracle. When the fall of a dice brings her future into question, it is Sethos who must define freedom and slavery, life or liberty – for himself and for her. He has money, strength and cunning, and she has no more than her faith.

Staying with the fantasy and alternate reality meme, I give you The Demon Girl by London-based Indie, Penelope Fletcher (@Miss_Fletcher). This is the beginning of the Rae Wilder series so proceed at your own risk if you're an addictive reader! At the moment (no guarantees about 5 minutes from now or whenever you might check it), this book is also priced at $0.00 in the American Amazon Kindle Store so you can download it for free direct to your Kindle if you'd like. Get the ePub (Nook) or PDF files from Bibliotastic. Check out Miss Fletcher's Facebook for deets on the other 2 books of this series.

Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet.

The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated.

Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.

Lastly, because we seem to have a theme going on here, I'll give you a mystery/thriller that is also set in an alternate reality but this last feature has no paranormal elements. Probably. Unless you count the ghost in the machine! ^_^

I haven't read this book but the reviews imply it is a geekfest of techtalk and since I am, after all the webbiegrrl, I figured Rice Tea by the young "queer Canadian" author/filmmaker, Julien McArdle (@BotnetMovie), was an appropriate title with which to close the final feature. Thank you for letting me use you, Julien! O_o

Seth Arnott is not your typical undergraduate student. Gifted and bored, he uses his computer skills and an uncanny understanding of the telephone network to unleash pranks across campus. When Seth accidentally listens in on the work of a computer criminal he blogs about it on his website. Within a day of encountering the criminal, he is framed for operating one of the world's largest networks of infected computers. Confused, Seth flees underground and attempts to prove his innocence. What follows is an exciting journey through the world of cyber-crime.

What's Next....
I hope you've enjoyed the Freebie Fridays at Webbiegrrl's Writings. If you're an Indie Author and want to be featured "solo" sometime, tweet me @webbiegrrl  (on Twitter) or post a note to the Webbiegrrl Facebook Page. No guarantees, but it can't hurt to ask. I've done an author spotlight before and could do it again. Maybe.

For my readers, I'll have to find some other use for the Friday blog. The Saturday Surprise might have to be cancelled due to work schedule (again, not sure how things will play out for the next 2 weeks but should know by the first week of December if I still have a job and just need to completely overhaul my schedule or am job-hunting for something else entirely).

I don't like to complain about work on this blog but I'm more aggravated about how work is interfering with my writing career than I am about the fact I may need to find a new job (without any notice). I'm this close to finishing the edits on the SciFi thriller (in the Phoenician Series) which was scheduled for release December 31, 2011. Obviously that might have to be put off a month or more if I have to search for and start a new job instead. All in all, I'd rather be writing--who wouldn't?!

Please stay tuned to the Twitterstream and Facebook Page for news of my demise.

Shabbat Shalom (such as it were)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TUESDAY TIP #Nanowrimo Halfway There R U Still #Writing ? #pubtip #iamwriting #myWANA

If you're doing the NaNoWriMo this year, you are either halfway there (got 25,000 or more words written so far?) or you're freaking out because you've stalled and don't know how to get going again.

When the event starts, it's easy to get excited, to get motivated, but as you start spending more and more time alone--writing is a solitary activity--your energy level might begin to fall off. Unless, of course, you're on a roll. One nano'er I know is actually at the 80,000 word mark now (Go, @AmosTFairchild!) For the bulk of you, however, you're probably struggling in either the 5,000 or 15,000 word range and need a new boost to your inspirational juices.

One way, of course, is the Write-In, which I mentioned in my first Tuesday Tip on Nanowrimo. A Write-in is where a bunch of your fellow nano'ers gather together with you in a common location to write "alone together." It's an interactive writer's group where you can ask each other questions (which could be diasterous if you're on a roll and someone else has a long list of interruptions) and where you can get inspired by each other's work.

Since I've never actually experienced the mythical "Writer's Block," I'm not sure I can relate to being unable to churn out words, but I'll try. Click through the jump-break for a few tips on how to approach writing slumps.

Submissions for Freebie Friday (Nov 18, 2011) #pubtip #indie #marketing

Freebie Friday is a feature I run to get new Indie Authors exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading), not to mention driving traffic through my blog. It's a win/win/win the way I see it. I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes (or price change to free) won't be due until 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date. If you use a coupon code, please make its expiration date the Saturday after your featured date (it will expire at midnight Friday when the date clicks over to Saturday).

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I reply

Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market.

Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

Monday, November 14, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 12: Line Extension #marketing #pubtip #myWANA #indie #publishing

Welcome back to the Monday Marketing series on branding yourself as an Indie Author and designing the Company you want to keep. Like any other business, your career in Indie Publishing requires you to define a brand and market yourself in the most effective way.

If you're just joining us, we're halfway through the best little book on marketing ever written: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by two of the smartest guys Madison Avenue ever saw. If you've never read this book, it's only about a 1/4" thick in paperback. Take 5 minutes to read it now. I'll wait. ^_^

All done? Great. Let's back up to Law 12: Line Extension. In the Indie Publishing field the concept of a "line" most-easily translates into a "genre" and line extension becomes cross-genre marketing. In terms of the publishing industry, the gist of Law 12 states that despite the pressure to expand outside your genre, the cross-marketing efforts will effectively weaken your brand. Click through the jump break to read more.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE #SciFi Snippet #ConditionedResponse Coming New Year's Eve!

I'm still working on Conditioned Response, Book 2 of the Phoenician Series, my SciFi Thriller series under the pen name Marjorie F. Baldwin (the "F" stands for "Friday"; yes, just like the Heinlein character!)

I'm getting really close to the end of the easy edits, which culminate in the death of a major character (which is also the climax of this book of the Phoenician Series) so it's getting to the point where I have to combine half of the next book with about 30,000 words at the end of this book.

Oh, and I only have about 20,000 words left in which to do it unless or until I can delete more words to make more room for newer, better words! ^_^ I definitely want to kill about 10,000-15,000 from the first third of the book anyway so that might work out--just need more time to do it!

Oh and on that subject, just to keep life interesting, I only have about 3 weeks left in which to do it, which really amounts to only 4-6 days between now and mid-December since I only get 1-2 days a week (part of Friday and most of Saturday) when I can write. The rest of the time I'm either creating these blogs for you or working the day job. Or trying to keep the email and Twitter and Goodreads and Facebook and everything else under control through daily maintenance.

I'm not complaining just explaining why I haven't been cartooning Dicky (he still lacks a proper left hand or any right hand, proper or otherwise); and haven't been posting much of anything else but SciFi snippets on Saturdays. Nor will I again until after New Year's.

The release date for Conditioned Response is December 31, 2011. I don't know if I'll make it but I'm going to try. Until around Thanksgiving weekend (about 2 weeks from now) you can read sample chapters of the book on the Authonomy web site. If you'd like to give comments, you need to register. If you just want to read the pre-release edition of the book, you can do so free of charge and without registering. Click here to get started.


Nov 29 Update: Just had to note I had 2 days off over Thanksgiving to devote to the cover art and through a thread or three on Goodreads, and posting the artwork on DeviantArt, I managed to update the image to near-final form. I like the new version and can use it, in a pinch, but might have to change the foreground into less "cloned rocky mesa" and more "hot, sandy plains." But I think the latest image is starting to look nicely-professional--thanks to all the fans and colleagues who chimed in on the various threads for helping to make it the best it could be!

Friday, November 11, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY (Nov 11) Veterans Day Special #weekendgoodreads @fridayreads what r u #reading #WAYR? @ruby_barnes

Welcome to the Veterans Day Special Edition of Webbiegrrl's Freebie Friday feature. I wanted to showcase veterans stories this week and have a few "war stories" to recommend.

The first one is by an award-winning author who's been writing about war for over 25 years. Lois McMaster Bujold has written 17 books in a military science fiction (milSF or space opera) series called the "Vorkosigan Saga." She started with the premise of a planet colonized by humans, then cut off from the rest of humanity, left to fend for themselves in a frontier-like manner. She gave this planet, Barrayar, a class system that sets the nobility into a warrior caste (called "Vor") who are responsible not only for running the government, but also for defending the planet against various and sundry aliens.

The Vor (indicated by the syllable before their family name) have evolved into the biggest, strongest, most able-bodied of men (and most delicate of women), so the first thing Lois does to the Vor's most-decorated Hero, Aral Vorkosigan, and his long line of Vorkosigan Admirals who've single-handedly turned the tides of more than one war, is give Aral a crippled son. Overcoming this barrier to glory is the warrior's son, Miles's, lifetime goal--and ultimately, Miles's greatest achievement is that he stops overcoming his limitations and instead, embraces them. After all, "Miles" does mean soldier and he does "soldier on" for 17 or 18 stories spanning nearly 40 years (as of the last book in the series--so far).

The Warrior's Apprentice is an early work--both the introduction of Miles to the series and only the second book Lois ever wrote. Lois proves she already had it down pat by the time she wrote this book. It's designed to be a comedy of errors, a parody of the parody (The Sorcerer's Apprentice) so a lot of the plot might be regarded as AuthorConvenient. I wasn't bothered by how "conveniently" things worked out for Miles, as I saw a lot of the "convenience" to be plain and simple human nature at work and Miles just exploited opportunities. Sometimes, some people just do have all the luck. And sometimes, a plot about people doesn't have to be complex.

Lois's stories are definitely about people not things or places or events--but the events spin out of control in a side-splitting LOL way that definitely does tribute to the 19th century Goethe tale (though my favorite version remains Disney's segment in the 1962 animation, Fantasia). The places are so richly textured and vibrantly described that sometimes I feel as though the universe Lois created in this series is a character unto itself. And when it comes to "things" Lois has some of the best gadgets subtly placed into her stories without any hooplah.

The Vorkosigan Saga is, above all else, a soldier's story. The harsh realities of war are driven home--repeatedly--in the opening duology, Cordelia's Honor (includes Shards of Honor and Barrayar), where Miles suffers his in utero cellular damage) and Miles, being the right little soldier that he is despite flunking out of the Academy, will carry the weight of many wars on his bent little back for the rest of his life. The Warrior's Apprentice sets the stage and cuts out the heart of the star soldier's courage, leaving him with survivor's guilt and blood on his hands for the remainder of his life (and the series). Like some great Shakespearian Hero, Miles will never get the blood shed in The Warrior's Apprentice to ever leave his hands. Twenty years later, though I can tell you he's started to live with the stain.

The Warrior's Apprentice is available FREE through the Baen Free Library. Download it by clicking HERE (then tell all your friends).

There are other war stories and series available free in the Baen Free Library (such as Lt. Leary Commanding by David Drake or the Honor Harrington series by David Weber not to mention the prolific assortment by John Ringo) so if you like milSF, be sure to browse around.

All books in the Baen Free Library are available through the Webscriptions service. Although there is a price listed, you do not have to pay for these books. You can just download the file (or email it to your Kindle device). The price is a suggested donation to keep the Baen Free Library running.

The second book I want to offer today is one I have not read but have heard a lot about--from its author, anyway. Michael Hicks has broken into the SciFi genre with his series, In Her Name, and he's made the first book of the series, Empire, free. I cannot personally speak to this book but since it's gotten a bazillion 5-star reviews on Amazon, I suspect it's a pretty good read. Its description reminds me of a cross between Haldeman's Forever War and some of David Weber's alien invasion war stories (see the Baen Free Library).

In the first book of an epic futuristic fantasy trilogy, this is the coming-of-age story of Reza Gard, a young boy of the Human Confederation who is swept up in the century-long war with the alien Kreelan Empire. Nightmarish female warriors with blue skin, fangs, and razor sharp talons, the Kreelans have technology that is millennia beyond that of the Confederation, yet they seek out close combat with sword and claw, fighting and dying to honor their god-like Empress. Captured and enslaved, Reza must live like his enemies in a grand experiment to see if humans have souls, and if one may be the key to unlocking an ages old curse upon the Kreelan race. Enduring the brutal conditions of Kreelan life, Reza and a young warrior named Esah-Zhurah find themselves bound together by fate and a prophecy foretold millennia before they were born.

This book is priced at FREE so no coupon is required.

Technically, I've already mentioned way more than 3 free reads but there is one more book I'd like to recommend to you today. It's a slightly different milfic by John Ringo titled Unto the Breach. You can read the first few chapters free online but the book, itself, is not free.

It is, however, possibly the best book John has ever written. The series (Paladin of Shadows, but we all just call it the "Ghost" or "Kildar" series) is not a scifi series but a sort of alternate reality. The series was written to be a sort of wish fulfillment for the author--not to be taken seriously. Then he created these make-believe people, the Keldara, in Book 2 and somehow the series took off. They are a warrior people and since John's a big fan of Lois's Vor Series, it's no surprise if you see similarities.

I reviewed Unto the Breach here, for the 4th of July weekend (with some spoilers mentioned). If you really want to get a copy of this book for free--and really love scifi or milSF--you'll have to do a little bit of work but it can be done.

First, follow me on Twitter (@webbiegrrl) then ask me for a link (@mention me). I'll follow you back and then via DM I'll send you to the location of the Holy Grail (or at least somewhere you can find a bunchaton of great books by Ringo and other Baen authors). It's totally legal (and okay with the Baen Books folks) but I cannot in good conscience advertise the link here since it's only shared by word of mouth....and we like it that way. Keeps the server running quickly.


Even though you've already got way more than 3 books here, they are all somewhat serious soldier stories--which was the point, given it's Veterans Day--but there's one book I featured over Labor Day weekend that has risen to #31 on the Amazon Kindle Store's Top 100 Free Books list (Edited to say it's risen #30 just in the last hour!! Go, Ruby!!) I just had to give a shoutout to Ruby Barnes for this great achievement. Plus Peril is a bit of comic relief you might appreciate right about now (and the bookending of comic relief for this blog post is a symmetry I cannot resist!)

Peril is priced at FREE on Smashwords so no coupon code is required. I'm sure it's still FREE on the American side of the Amazon Kindle Store but since I'm in the US, I cannot check the price status for the UK Kindle Store. If it's not free in the UK Kindle Store, European and other non-American readers can just stop by Smashwords to get your free copy.

What's Next....

Tomorrow I'll have more SciFi edits done but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to snippet. Some serious stuff is going on in Conditioned Response right now and giving away all those spoilers might ruin someone's fun. I'll have chapters up for commenting until about Thanksgiving weekend so tomorrow, if you'd like to get another free read, visit the Authonomy site to read Conditioned Response through my current state of repair. If my editing keeps progressing as nicely as it has been this past week or two, I should be able to get the book finished by mid-December but then it'll be a serious scramble to get it formatted and released by December 31st! As Emperor Gregor (in the Vorkosigan series) always says, Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

TUESDAY TIP 4 CRAP Rules to Design ur #Nanowrimo #novel #iamwriting r u #reading ? #pubtip

Some writers are great at description, others do better with plotting and yet others--such as, myself--find their forte is characters and dialog. So what do writers like myself do when faced with a plot that's plodding or a description I need to write but can't force myself to do unless I "speak" it to the reader through some character's voice?

The key I've found that works is to use a basic rule of design I learned years ago when doing graphics design. It's a cute little acronym that's easy to remember: CRAP. Apply the rules of CRAP or a crap design is what you'll get. So what's this crap all about? :) The 4 elements of design are:

C = contrast
R = repetition
A = alignment
P = proximity

I've discussed the idea previously, back when I was discussing book covers. It works for designing images and amazingly, it works for designing your writing, as well! You have to think in terms of your book being a whole thing, not individual pieces. Make the entire work operate in synchronicity by applying unifying design rules.

Most importantly for Nanowrimo participants, while you're writing, whenever you get to a spot where you're not sure what to do, go through these 4 rules in your head to see if one or more of them might be the answer to getting those words churning out again. Click through the jump-break to read about each rule in turn.

Monday, November 7, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 11: Perspective #marketing #pubtip #indie #myWANA

Welcome back to the Monday Marketing series on branding yourself as an Indie Author and designing the Company you want to keep. Remember, you might be writing books for the sheer joy of it, but if you're looking to make money off that joy, you're in business. Like any other business, you need to choose how to brand yourself, how to market yourself and how to present yourself to the public as your Company's #1 spokesperson.

If you're just joining us, we're halfway through the best little book on marketing ever written: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by the same guys who coined the phrase: Perception is everything. We examined the Law of Perception here. Now we're looking at perspective--related but not the same even if you misspell it (grin)

Short-term gratification can be nice, and Indie Authors tend to use a 99-cent "sale" (limited time only!) as a method of getting short bursts of high numbers of sales. The problem pointed out by the Law of Perspective is that, to maintain volume over the long term, you would need to have one long, continuous sale. Why? Because having had one "sale," your prospective customers are now trained. They'll hold out for the next sale, instead of buying on impulse at the moment when you would otherwise have captured them. In other words, short-term gratification will produce long-term failure more often than not.

Long-term effects are often the exact opposite of the short-term results.

I've seen this problem already with Dicky's Story. I use Dicky's Story as a vehicle for experimentation, a learning process, and I've learned a lot since releasing it in March, 2011, so I don't mind, but it does illustrate the point nicely with cold, hard numbers. Click through the jump-break to find out what the Law of Perspective advises to do instead of going for the "limited time only sale!" tactic.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE #SciFi Snippet #mystery #thriller #sciencefiction #iamwriting r u #reading ?

I'm going to share part of the chapter I'm currently working on in honor of the fact it's #Nanowrimo month and I have, in fact, been writing quite a bit while working editing the SciFi thriller I'm planning to release December 31, 2011 (hahaha, plans, so cute that I have plans for release, isn't it?).

This is actually four chapters being reduced (from 14,500 words) down into one (about 6,500 words now). The first part (before the "#") was already shared on the Phoenician Series blog as a Sample Sunday last week. I've been working all week at finishing up the edits to get the rest of the plot points summarized or removed. I don't want to keep spoilering the book on that blog before I publish it in December, so I'm snippeting here...not that anyone couldn't figure out I'm running both blogs since I keep mentioning it :) Let's just pretend for marketing purposes that it makes sense.

There's no character introduction in this chapter since it takes place almost 75% of the way into the book and you'll already know who all the players are if you've been reading the whole book. For those of you who are new to the Phoenician Series books, or reading this as your first sample of that book, click here to open a text file (in a new window) with a summary of the book to this point (spoilers included). Alternatively, you can read most of the earlier chapters on Authonomy (only need to register if you want to comment). Of course, if you just want to get to the snippet already, click through the jump-break now. ^_^

Friday, November 4, 2011

Submissions for Freebie Friday (11-11-11)

I just want to note before I get into anything else that this particular week is a special one since Friday is Veterans Day. It would be AWESOME if people with military fiction or at least law-enforcement related stories to give away were to submit their stuff. I might have to "censor" to hold out for some for a change. Normally, it's  just "first come, first serve," no other requirements. This week...we shall see. I'm posting the submissions thread early in hopes of getting the kinds of books I want for Veterans Day, November 11, 2011 (or 11-11-11).

Freebie Friday is a feature I run to get new Indie Authors exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading). I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes won't be due until (at the latest) 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date.

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I reply

Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market.

Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

FREEBIE FRIDAY (Nov 4, 2011) #weekendgoodreads #fridayreads @reganblack @KirstenWriter @rogerstelljes #mystery #thriller #romcom

This week's feature has a little something for everyone! Remember, if you download one of the freebies, just send the author a quick tweet to say thank you for the free gift (their Twitter IDs are after their names) or even better, leave them a comment or review after you've finished the book! Reader comments are the golden nectar that feeds a writer's Muse.

Speaking of feeding the Muse, first up we have an imaginative urban fantasy, Tracking Shadows (approx. 73684 words) by Regan Black (@reganblack). This one reads like a suspense/mystery thriller with paranormal elements--a lethal combination if I ever heard one!

In 2096 Chicago, Slick Micky is the king of smuggling, known to deliver anything, anytime, anywhere. But an old enemy, eager to take his place, has ordered his death.

Trina Durham has a sterling reputation among assassins, thanks to her unique ability to induce deadly illusions. She left Chicago when Slick Micky killed her best friend, but this job offers an irresistible chance for vengeance.

To get this book free, use coupon code CA34Y at checkout.
(Coupon expires November 5, 2011)

If you enjoy this free read, be sure to check out Regan's other books in the Shadows of Justice series on Smashwords.

After that taut read, we need to have a little comic relief.  Good thing the next book I've got for you is Can Job (approx. 66478 words), a Romantic Comedy by Kirsten Mortensen (@KirstenWriter).

A bumbling boss. An eeeevil executive. A newbie who didn't want this stupid job in the first place. Now their lives are about to collide. A plate of humorous satire with a side of romance, Can Job explores what happens when normal people try to live -- and love -- inside a dysfunctional corporation.

To get this book free, use coupon code AZ26S at checkout.
(Coupon expires November 11, 2011)

If you enjoy this free read, be sure to check out the short story that introduced "Poor Rocco" and some of Kirsten's other books on Smashwords.

The third and final entry is another thriller that's based in the all-too-real-world of St. Paul, Minnesota. Deadly Stillwater (approx. 107650 words) by Roger Stelljes (@rogerstelljes)

Award winning author, Roger Stelljes, delivers an action packed pulse pounding thriller that is the second book in the McRyan Mystery Series. An abduction is just the beginning in a case of betrayal and revenge that will ultimately strike at the soul of the St. Paul Police Department.

Mac McRyan, a 4th-generation cop, is faced with a complicated brazen daytime kidnapping, a media storm surrounding the case, and political scrutiny. From the searing streets of St. Paul to the icy shores of Lake Superior to the murky waters of the St. Croix River, "Deadly Stillwater" is a non-stop rush you won't be able to put down until its last thrilling minute.

This book is priced at FREE so no coupon code is required. Warning, it's book 2 of a series, so you'll be addicted after the free read and "have to" visit Roger's web site to find out when the next one's released. Hint: he has a newsletter, sign up for it.

What's Next....
Tomorrow I'll have another SciFi Saturday Snippet to share, as my progress on the SciFi thriller continues ever-so-slowly but steadily. I wish I could just focus on this book and not do anything else. I think I need to find a different job sooner than next winter. If I decide to watch TV, I might also have a bit more done on the Cartooning Dicky artwork, since that's something I can do while I watch TV. For writing, I need to turn off everything (including the internet) and turn on the music ^_^

Shabbat Shalom, everyone!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TUESDAY TIP#Nanowrimo Bonus #iamwriting r u #reading ? @NaNoRDU

So I posted this morning with a few "getting started" tips on how to set yourself up on the Nanowrimo web site--at least, if you can get their servers to load the web pages (grin); however, as I went about other business today, I kept thinking, I didn't actually deliver any tips on writing. So I'm back, but this bonus post will be a quickie - just 3 tips.

One, before I forget, I meant to advise you on when and how to get onto the Nanowrimo web site.  I do not advise anyone to do this at work.

A lot of people (both in the US and in the UK) seem to think it's totally okay to use company resources to do personal activities (which nanowrimo is unless you are in a job which pays you to be a writer or professional reader). It's not okay. Don't do it.

Not only are you risking your job (it's grounds for termination in most employment contracts even if you didn't read the terms of your employment documents when you were hired--trust me, it's in there!) but it's also not the best time of day for you to access the Nanowrimo web site anyway.

Instead, I'd advise you to get up early, an hour or two earlier than you usually do, and plan to be online before 7am Eastern Time (USA). A lot of writers are night owls but force yourself to shift your sleep for this one month because you'll find that access to the Nanowrimo web site is sluggish in the evening. That because it's when both Americans and Europeans (mostly Britons) are online, talking in the forums or playing with the nano distractions.

When I did Nanowrimo in 2006, I actually switched myself to third shift. I got up at 2300 hrs and worked all night, getting offline by 9:00 am or 10:00 am Eastern Time (USA) because that's when the nano site got intolerably slow. I found that from about 3:00 am Eastern (which is 8:00 am (ish) in most of Europe) until about 8:00 am Eastern, the site was pretty good. Then by 8:00 or 9:00 am Eastern, the Europeans were hitting their lunch break and Americans started heading into the office (and west coasters/Pacific Time residents were just getting up) so it's a double whammy on the slow server performance. If you need access to the site (to upload your word count, forex), do it early in the day.

Okay, onto the tips. First of all, there is no "correct" way to write. Everyone has their own system and trying to use someone else's way of working may actually cause you problems where none need exist. For a few more quick tips on how to tackle your writing to make it exciting and energetic, click through the jump-break.

TUESDAY TIP #Nanowrimo Begins...Getting Started #myWANA #iamwriting r u #reading ?

Welcome to Nanowrimo Month! For anyone who's participating in the event, first of all, breathe ^_^ Your brain cannot function without oxygen so don't forget to breathe. Second, don't hyperventilate (haha) Although Nanowrimo is exciting, it's not going to be the end of your world if you don't "win." Plus you could "cheat" if it's really that important to you. But of course, you'd have to live with yourself afterwards.

For non-authors reading this, you're probably wondering what this is. Properly written it's National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo but we tend to abbreviate it and write it without the capitalization and sometimes even shorten it to just "Nano." Or for this year's event, Nano 2011. I did Nano 2006 (finished my 50,000 words on Nov 12th and began editing) but have not bothered to do it again since because I find myself more productive without the tempting distraction of an online community of fellow writers (grin)

Nanowrimo, Defined
It's a fairly popular annual writing event that takes place from November 1 through 30, the entire month of November, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in those specific 30 days. It's an impetus to inspire writers to write daily. That is, for those who actually need a reason to write daily, Nanowrimo provides a measure of accountability and comaraderie. Me, personally, I just need to quit the day job and I'd be writing 16 hrs a day, 7 days a week--and loving it!

Some people aren't as inspired or motivated without external forces holding them accountable or helping to nudge them in the right direction. In fact, I do my best work when I get feedback on my writing so even though I don't suffer from the mythical beast called Writer's Block, I do enjoy the burst of creativity sparked by external fanning. Click through the jump-break to read more about Nano 2011.

Monday, October 31, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 10 Division #marketing #pubtip #indie

Throughout my Monday Marketing blogs, I've discussed branding (as the concept applies to Indie Authors), from branding your tweets to staying true to the Company you want to keep. This series delves even further into how to make the brand you've defined work for you.

We're halfway through the 22 Laws but lately, it's been sounding more like mathematics than marketing: Law 8, Duality; Law 9, Opposites, Attraction; and Law 10, Division. I don't know about you, but I hate arithmetic.

The sad reality is, marketing really is about crunching the numbers. You need to know where you are and where you want to be to calculate the distance between those two points. That distance is (or should be) your goal. Never mind #1, just look at the distance from your current position to the next rung on your product ladder (review Law 7, Law of the Ladder, for what this means).

The Law of Division simply states that over time, that product ladder you've chosen will split into two or more categories. It's unlikely that you can or will lead with one product on multiple ladders, so you'll need to choose where you want to be when the split occurs.

Remind yourself of the importance of Law 5, Focus, in order to maintain your position on the product ladder in your chosen category so that when the market shifts, you won't fall off the rung that is your current footing. And be assured, the market will shift. Publishing is one of the fastest-changing markets out there today. Shift with it, being a leader, or be one of splinters that will be excised and cast aside. Click through the jump-break to read how to apply the Law of Division.

Submisions for Freebie Friday (Nov 4, 2011)

Freebie Friday is a feature I run to get new Indie Authors exposure to new readers (and to get my readers some free stuff they'll enjoy reading). I feature 3 books each week on a first come, first serve basis. You should enter your book as soon as possible, but your coupon codes won't be due until (at the latest) 1700 hrs ET the Thursday before your featured date.

I'll reply with a comment using my Heidi Klum voice (like from Project Runway, You are IN. You may leave the runway.") I'll review your submission, test-click your link and then post a comment. Until you get that reply, you are not yet "in," so be sure to tick the box to subscribe to the comments and you'll be notified when I reply

Sounds great! How do I join?
If you're an Indie Author, you'll need to have an English-language book that is on a web site and/or can be downloaded in multiple formats. I won't specify formats, but I highly suggest a minimum of Kindle (MOBI) and Nook/Apple (EPUB) formats, as those 2 file formats alone will saturate 90% or more of the market.

Click through the jump break for detailed instructions on submitting your free read to be featured.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE #Cartooning #Dicky - The Hands Project

So I had a fun, if time-intensive day today. I want to update the left hand of the Dicky cartoon. I'd posted this update to the Dicky cartoon project after using one of David Kawena's cartoons (Milo) as a model but then decided the left hand hanging there at his side didn't match the "motion" of the image.

He's supposed to be twisting around to look over his shoulder, after hearing something, and his left hand wouldn't be hanging at his side that way.

I knew the pose I wanted, sort of: his left arm slightly bent at the elbow, his hand sort of bent back at the wrist, fingers in a "surprised" level of splaying. I could see it but couldn't draw it out of my head. So today, I took a bunch of pictures of my left hand then pulled them into Photoshop and erased out all of the background/fill so I could trace them.

I still need to redraw his left arm (bent) but have the hand choices narrowed down to two "poses" (posted to my Facebook Page and below).


I think I like pose #2 better because it has more "motion" and character to it. What do you think?

Even though this took all day to get to this point, I started with nothing and have two new hands from which to choose so I think I want to do this method for the right hand as well. Problem is getting the photo of my right hand holding a piece of cloth might be harder than it was to get the left hand.

Anyone who wants to volunteer to be a "hand model" and pose for Dicky's right hand, please let me know! Ideally, I need a right hand holding a Kippah, but just holding/clenching (loosely) a piece of cloth would suffice because I plan to adjust stuff in Photoshop anyway. Forex, I still need to alter the hand shape a bit more. My hands are long and slender but I wanted Dicky's hands to be...thicker than my lady hands :-) hee hee Mostly, what I need though is the palm-facing view of the right hand holding some small piece of fabric (which would look totally different than holding something hard, like a coffee mug, forex).

I really wish I didn't have to work a day job! I could get this kind of thing done a lot faster if I didn't have to stop just as soon as I get going. It's sooooo frustrating working like this (not just on the drawing, on the writing and editing, too!) In any case, this artwork is going to be fabulous once I'm done with it!

What's Next....

I'm up (late) tomorrow at about 0500 and off to the day job all day then Monday before I head into the day job we'll have a Marketing blog on Immutable Law 10: Law of Division. It's a good one! Hope to see you then.

Friday, October 28, 2011

FREEBIE FRIDAY Halloween #weekendgoodreads @fridayreads what r u #reading

I only got one entry for this weekend's feature, not sure why, so in addition to Dawn Gray's new release, I've gathered together some scary stories I think you'll enjoy this weekend. The weather here on the Atlantic Coast is going to drop sharply between now and Halloween (Monday night) but these stories will get the chills going up and down your spine even if you keep the heat turned up.

Speaking of heat, we start out with a steamy paranormal romance:  Vampire Legacy: The New Queen Rises (approx. 67229 words) by Dawn Gray.

Ashley has always known she was different, that something about her set her apart from the other members of her family. Until she met the mysterious man next door with the grass-green eyes, she didn’t realize just how different.

Julian Deveraux has seen many prophecies come to pass in his lifetime, but never one so close to home or to his heart. As destined events begin to unfold, he must choose whether to interfere or lose the woman who has turned his world upside down forever.

Brought together by an evil enemy and pushed apart by duty, Ashley must face the man who destroyed her life, while desperately trying not to lose her heart, torn between two mysterious brothers. Can she withstand temptation or will she give in to the torrid triangle of emotions that may cost her the ultimate price?

To get this book free, use coupon code TZ38Y at checkout.

Next is a Zombie tale because what would Halloween be without the undead walking among us? Circus of the Dead (approx. 10734 words) by Seth Blackburn is a novella you can read in one sitting--if you dare. And you thought clowns were scary before!

For young Gabriel, the walking dead are merely the memories that haunt the eyes of those old enough and lucky enough to have survived. He is more concerned with his hard life in America's desert, where his chores keep him busy and the husks of books stashed beneath the cellar of the library are his only freedom. Until the circus comes to town.

This book is currently priced as FREE so no coupon code is required.

Besides vampires and the walking undead, Halloween celebrates ghosts and goblins and ghouls . Haunting Memories: Four Short Works (approx. 7259 words) by Joshua Scribner gives up the ghosts in four bite-sized pieces (caution, new author ahead).

Then we have a ghoulish mystery from a slightly more seasoned John Grover: The Disembodied (approx. 4952 words) will tempt you into the forest...where you know no Good can lie waiting for you!

Both of these spooky tales are priced at FREE, so no coupon code is required.

Now I want to share some classic scary stories you should read--if you haven't already--available free from the Amazon Kindle Store (and one from Archive.org in multiple formats). These are the stories I think of as tapping into the vein of scary thoughts inside each of us. These authors didn't just shock or horrify with splatterpunk or gore; they tapped into our deepest darkest fears, infusing our reality with the unexpected.

Even if you like Stephanie Meyer's reinterpretation of the vampire mythology, check out Bram Stoker's original Dracula. This Transylvanian Count is not shiny, not sweet and not refraining from sucking your blood! He's vicious and bloodthirsty and in my mind, defines what a vampire really is!

Then of course, there's the contemporary threat for Halloween: alien invasion. Who has done it better than H.G. Wells himself? No one, that's who! The War of the Worlds is the most-enduring Wells story of all time--except maybe The Time Machine.

Granted, when Orson Wells did a Halloween spoof by reading this book on the radio in his gravelly voice (before the days of television or special effects), it was probably more horrifying because listeners honestly had no idea if it was real or just a "show" but this story is a classic a hundred years later for good reason. It's a story of simple humanity triumphing over "Evil."

Wells had a knack for imagining how simple things could morph into something horrific. In fact, "morphing" and "Moreau" might sound a like for a reason! Even before Aldus Huxley's Brave New World (click that link for all formats available from the Archive.org "banned books" list) putting the evil of eugenics to the public consciousness, H. G. Wells was writing about the horrors of genetic engineering--and not just for humans anymore!

On The Island of Dr. Moreau, see what happens when a mad scientist splices humans and animals together--and not just to make werewolves! This is the original story where the idea of taking the fiercest predatory beasts and combining them with human intellect was first conceived! Never mind X Men. Wells did it better because he kept it so close to reality you can almost believe it's possible!

I don't believe in most of these paranormal ideas nor do I normally read these kinds of stories, but the classics listed here are more than merely "scary stories." They're studies of humanity and our desire to be more tomorrow than we are today. They also get your heart racing in the process! Enjoy!

What's Next....

Tomorrow evening, I'll definitely be updating the Dicky cartooning effort. I have a lot of editing to do on the SciFi thriller (Marjorie really needs to start doing her own work, doesn't she? LOL) but should have some cartooning done in between, as a means of resting my eyes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TUESDAY TIP It's #NaNoWriMo Time! #nano #pubtip #writing #amwriting #myWANA

Every year, tens of thousands of writers around the world gather in the month of November and churn out hundreds of millions of words (actually, last year, I think the word count topped the billion mark). It's an event called NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month (though it's an international event). It was started in 2001 by Chris Baty whose great little advice book, No Plot? No Problem! has helped more than one "nano'er" get started with the event.

What is it? What's the point of it? The basic gist of Nanowrimo is an eent designed to break through writer's block (and if you believe in that mythical beast, I also have a unicorn to sell you ^_^) The idea of the event is to provide an environment for the entire month where writers are spurred to write. I really don't understand the need for spurring because I don't find writing painful (and spurs hurt!) but I suppose misery loves company and there are many would-be writers out there who  cannot actually bring themselves to start writing. All of these types hold each other accountable on a daily basis via the Nanowrimo event. There are also a lot (read a LOT) of writers who are writing all year long and just enjoy the way high energy of the site during November. I fall in to this latter category.

Participants in the event often call each other all sorts of names--but only in good humor--from "nanos" to "wrimos" though I don't think there's ever been a stand off between nanos and wrimos; unlike Team Jacob vs. Team Edward, the nanos and wrimos are all united with a singular goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

Fact: writers write.

That's it. There's no qualification to it. Writers don't write only when....or only if....or except in November (grin). Writers write. Always. Other than the tips I gave in my August, 2011 article for breaking through your mental resistance or writing for the "wrong" reasons, below I'll go over a few things you can do if you want to participate in Nanowrimo 2011 but you're still unsure whether or not you can do it. You can. Everyone can. Not everyone should, but that's a discussion for another day. Today is Tuesday Tips for Preparing to do Nanowrimo 2011. Click through the jump break to read on.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MONDAY MARKETING Law 9: Opposites Attract #marketing #pubtip #writing

Throughout my Monday Marketing blogs, I've discussed branding (as the concept applies to Indie Authors), from branding your tweets to staying true to the Company you want to keep. This series moves onto discuss what to do with the brand you've defined.

If you're just joining the Webbiegrrl blizzard, I'm going through The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, a not-new book by Al Ries and Jack Trout, which I believe is one of the best little books ever written on the subject of marketing. It's only about 1/4" thick in paperback, so if you haven't read it already, take 5 minutes to read it now. This weekly series discusses how these generic laws of marketing apply to Indie Authors specifically. Go ahead and catch up. I'll wait. Click through the jump-break when you're done. ^_^

(taps foot)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

SATURDAY SURPRISE SciFi Snippet at Authonomy

Yep, it's another surprise! I didn't do any Dicky cartooning this weekend because I was wholly focused on editing the SciFi stuff. It was well-worth the investment of time because I got over 7,000 words edited (I'd only slated myself to get half that much done!) Actually, I wrote about 5,000 new words and deleted about 4,000 old words and only edited a couple of thousand in between, but the net effect is a new chapter to upload to Authonomy a little later this evening.

Rather than tossing you the chapter in the blog post (and the emails that go out), I'd like to direct your attention to the fact that all of the chapters are available to read for free on Authonomy. You don't even have to register to read them (unless you want to leave a comment; then you have to create an account but it's just an email address and password adn voila! you can leave comments).

I'd particularly recommend reading the chapter titled "the mad scientist." Why? Because it's hilarious--and after that chapter, the story just clicks right along with one thing after another. You won't be able to put it down again!

What's Next....

Monday's Marketing blog will be another entry in the ongoing 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing series, looking at Law 9: Duality next time! See you then!