Free Books on 5/2/12 & 5/3/12–including The Universal Mirror!

This Wednesday and Thursday, you can download a Kindle copy of my novel, The Universal Mirror for FREE! This is also true of a number of fantastic books offered by my press, Hydra Publications. You can see (and find download links) for all the novels here.

But don’t think that the book is only being offered in the United States. You can also download it for free at Amazon UK, Amazon in France, Amazon in Germany, Amazon in Spain, Amazon in Italy, Amazon in Japan

I’ve only sold books in the UK and Germany so it’d be really fun to see someone pick it up in other countries.  (Though I note that it isn’t translated but is only available as an English edition.)

Here’s a little information about the book for those who haven’t heard about it:

“Not blood nor bone shall magic touch.”

On the island of Cercia, God is dead, killed by his followers and replaced with the study of magic. But the people are suspicious of magicians, believing them the cause of ill fortune. If the magicians aren’t kept in check, the people believe that they might wrestle God from his grave and take the universe for their own keeping. So the universities train magicians in the use of magic, as well as in the restrictions — or Heresies — that bind it. Magicians must not leave their homeland; they must not cast spells on the living—whether to harm or to heal.

Quentin, a young nobleman, and his friend Asahel are both magicians. But they come from very different backgrounds. Quentin belongs to an old bloodline, though his grandfather has whittled away the last of his family’s fortune. Asahel, on the other hand, always smells of the sea, his face smudged with dirt. He was decidedly out-of-place at the universities that trained magicians, since most of them came from the upper classes. Everyone but Quentin tormented Asahel in school; their curiosity,even now, is what binds them together. They both long to explore magic, rather than cage it.

Now, Quentin desperately dreams of healing the woman that he loves, Catharine. Catharine is pitted and scarred from the Plagues which came to Cercia just before she reached womanhood. She wants no part of Quentin because of her self-hatred, disliking it if he so much as looks at her. This husband and wife rarely talk, and what little time they spend together is fraught with tension. But Quentin adores Catharine. If he is to save her from herself, he must be able to use his magic to heal.

Learning to heal will take an act of desperation, an unthinkable rebellion — practicing on the bodies of the dead. It is madness — but Quentin convinces Asahel to go along with his plan. Under the cover of darkness, they dig up a grave to work a magic that affects life itself. Afterward, Quentin feels a terrible guilt for involving Asahel, who had defied authority by his friend’s side. Both of them are unaware that the search for this lost magic will bring them both to the edge of reason, threatening their very souls. How far are they willing to go for the sake of knowledge? What will they destroy to obtain it?

Now, I’m sure many authors and readers are curious as to why I’m so excited to give my book away.

First, it’s just fun to give away your book.  I write stories because I like to and it’s flattering to think that people own them and read them and often enjoy them.  I also admit that I like seeing how far up the sales charts my book can go, even if it’s free.  It makes me blush when I see my book anywhere near one of my favorite authors and well, as a small press author, this doesn’t happen that much.

Secondly… well, tell you what.  If there’s enough interest on this post, I’d be happy to write a bit about the experience of KDP Select from my point of view.  I feel that to do that, it’d probably be necessary to wait a bit but I can definitely compare and contrast this time and the last.  So if that’s of interest, please let me know in comments.  (Though know that I may be a little busy and not responding immediately as I try to give my book out to everyone!)

All of that said, I honestly appreciate everyone who follows the blog and hope that I can give a little bit back to you in the form of this sale.  If you’d like to share this post or a link to the book with others, please feel free.   (And in fact, I’ll adore those who do!)

And hey, if you like this book, I’ve got a sequel I want to tell you about. 😉

(And another, even more exciting, project in the wings.)

Guest Post: Survival… or Why I Write Fiction

Today brings us a guest post from author RS Emeline whose new book, Purrfect Storm, has just been released on Amazon.  Today, she’s speaking with us about the connections between life and fiction, something many writers–and readers–can understand.

Survival… or Why I Write Fiction

by RS Emeline

As a teenager growing up in the soggy Pacific Northwest, I kept myself sane wallowed in my misery by writing really depressing and dark poetry. When I got older and moved away from the constant gloom of my familial ‘homeland’, I no longer needed to write about death and darkness.

Who am I kidding?

I still write doom and gloom, but now it has a happier ending.

When I married my Marine seven years ago, I didn’t think anything of my former desire to publish novels. In the constant hustle of everyday life I didn’t have time to remember dreams of the naive drunk crazy young girl I’d been.

Until I got pregnant.

Suddenly my desire for blood and vengeance a record of what was happening in my life and how I dealt with the constant urge to kill people hormones of pregnancy had the old dreams gearing up for a comeback tour.

Since murder is  messy against the law and nobody should do it, fiction seemed a better way to go.

Some of my best stories have been written while my Marine has been deployed. Purrfect Storm, my first published work, isn’t like most of what I’ve written. Mostly because during the original phase of the writing proces,s my Marine was home. If he’d been deployed, there would have been more dismemberment blood and gore  angst.

It still would have had a happy ending though.

I chose to write fiction because it allows me to step away from what is legally right, and still believe in fairy tales. It keeps me sane for the months at a time when my Marine is away, and I’m balancing the roles of mother, father, taxi driver, dispute fixer, and student.

Otherwise, I’d probably be writing this from prison.


About Purrfect Storm: Tavin Chauncy thinks he has his work cut out for him when a fellow Marine gets arrested for assault. He soon realizes that it’s nothing compared to the way his life gets flipped upside down when a mysterious woman appears in the middle of his living room during a rare desert storm.

 

About the Author: R.S. Emeline grew up in the sogginess of Washington State where she nurtured her love of writing with dark teenage poetry. Today she spends her time in the perpetual dryness and sun of the California desert. She lives there with her husband, the Marine; her niece, the Artist; her daughter,the Munchkin; and two animals–King Furry and Mistress Meow– who are the true rulers of the roost.

 

 

To Follow RS Emeline, visit her at:

 

Q&A: Why Write Amazon Reviews?

Courtesy of Boni Idem.

As anyone who is or knows an author knows, many of us frequently go around wishing and hoping that our book will receive reviews on that book giant, Amazon. (I also wish and hope for Powell’s and Barnes and Noble’s but as more and more authors publish exclusively through the Big A, that’s what this blog post is about.) I thought that I’d explain my own reasons for wanting reviews and how they work. I’m choosing to address this via questions that I’ve received from friends and family.

1) I’m no good at writing an Amazon review. What do I say?

The beautiful thing about Amazon reviews is that you don’t have to be Roger Ebert. You can click a star rating and then write a couple of sentences about the book. Reviews can be as simple as “This book was really good. I wish there was more romance” or really elaborate.

Here are some things you could put in a review:

  • Adjectives that describe the book (it was good, it was awful, etc).
  • Say something you liked about it. Things that you could focus on could include the plot, a particular scene, characters, how things changed during the course of the story, etc.
  • If there was a moment or character that personally impacted you in some way, don’t be afraid to say so. Put yourself in the review. Authors love to know their readers and I know that I’m always touched when I can tell someone made a personal connection with what I wrote.
  • Talk about what you wanted to see more of or what needs improvement. Do you wish another character was in the book more? Say so. Did bad spelling distract you? Tell us that too.

Tips to remember:

  • Don’t be afraid to be honest. Do, however, remember to be helpful. Don’t just say “it sucks” but tell everyone why it sucked.
  • Don’t give away the ending of the book. You can allude to it very vaguely (“the ending surprised me”) but don’t say specific plot details.
  • You’re not being graded. Write a review as long or short as you want. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece of art—think of it more as a conversation or what you might tell people you know about this book.
  • Make sure that you read the book before you review. This seems like it should be obvious but… it’s not.

2) Do Amazon reviews actually affect a book’s sales?

I have to be honest with you and tell you that I don’t yet know for sure as I don’t have the “magic number” yet. This is what I understand to be true from conversations with my publisher and other authors:

  • Around 20-25 reviews, Amazon starts including the book in “also bought” and “you might like” lists. This increases your chances of someone finding your title.
  • Around 50-70 reviews, Amazon looks at your book for spotlight positions and the newsletter. This is HUGE. This is my personal goal although I use Amazon reviews for other reasons (more later on in this post).
  • Number of reviews may affect Amazon sales ranking. (Again, this is anecdotal–I have no actual proof of it.)
  • Some websites will not consider or promote your book unless you have a number of reviews on the page (this is very true of those sites that highlight free promos—I can attest to this).
  • And, of course, readers may read through your reviews and decide to purchase or not purchase the book based on this.

3) Whatever. I don’t care if you sell this wonderful/awful book. Why should I write a review if it doesn’t change how you write the next one?

Oh, but it does.

When I read my Amazon reviews, they tell me things that my editor might not. Let’s face it, an editor is only one person and even with beta readers, you’re working in a group of people who are familiar with the craft of writing. What an author also needs is the opinion of the average reader, that person who just picked up their book and doesn’t have an English degree.

While you have to have a tough skin about reviews, as an author, they’re very helpful. They can reaffirm something that you were already working on. For instance, I’d already decided to make one of my minor characters in my first book a point-of-view character for the second—my reviews have told me that people wouldn’t be uninterested in him. They can also point out things that you need to work on. In my case, exposition!

Likewise, positive reviews tell you what you’re doing right. If people rave about your characters, then that’s likely a good place to keep going. If reviews talk about the fighting scenes in a positive light, then you know you’re making a difference.

So, in short, yes, what you write in that review is fairly likely to change something about the book I’m working on now. Writing is a process.

4) But I really hated the book! Should I still review it?

Here is where I probably differ from some other authors so I’m going to speak only for myself here.

Yes. Absolutely. How will I know where to improve unless I get reviews that tell me so? Yes, it can be painful to read some reviews but am I ever going to say that there isn’t truth in them? No.
After the initial sting, I’ll read it again and take something home from that. I’ll be a better writer for it. To be honest, not everyone likes every book. There are people out there who hate Harry Potter. It would be a little presumptuous to think that all of my reviews would be golden for any book (they’re not now and I don’t expect that to change. Especially not if anyone reads this post. ).

The only thing that I ask is to please make sure you have something to say about why it is bad. The only review that I’ve ever been really irritable about was a one-star on an old short horror story I posted for fun where the reader said they were underage and hadn’t read it.

Having said all of that, it is really tough to be a small press or self-published author (I am the former). Bad reviews can kill a novel if they’re the first ones a book receives or if they’re all that the book has. Please hold this in mind if you decide to go forth. This post by Anne R. Allen does a good job of explaining the impact in more detail than I’ll get into here.

Now that you’ve read all of that, if you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll try to answer them. I am speaking from an author’s standpoint but perhaps others will chime in with their own thoughts on the process.

(Feel free to share this post or copy it for your own blog. All I ask is that if you do, please keep my author note here at the bottom.)


Gwen Perkins is a fantasy novelist who is always on the hunt for Amazon reviews for her first novel, The Universal Mirror (Hydra Publications, 2012). She can be contacted through email at gwen@ironangel.net.

Sykosa! An excerpt from a new YA novel by Justin Ordonez

Please enjoy this excerpt from Sykosa, a YA novel (for 18+ readers), by Justin Ordoñez. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $550 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.


First period. American history.

Who knows which is worse. At this hour, it’s too early to care. Luckily, it’s never too early to bitch and moan. And she would do so, save her teacher is already on it. He’s up at the board—in shock that not a pupil noticed how his cuff smudged all his bullet points. Like wrist trajectory were her problem. That’s a math problem. And math problems aren’t her problem for another two hours. Yawn. He’s still going on—something about full attention being on…

Her fingernails.

Fingernails, you see, are better than lectures.

Particularly these lectures. Particularly this class.

She wishes nail polish didn’t break the Academy’s Personal Code, then her fingernails could be pretty colors, and she’d feel like a pretty girl. They should let her do her nails in class. It’s no different from doodling. It also increases hygiene, and in high school, that’s nothing to scoff at. She may paint her fingernails this afternoon, just for fun, then remove it and—

Hang on. Her teacher said something will be on a test.

Never mind, she already knows it.

Anyhow, if she does do her nails, she has a problem. She doesn’t know what to do. However, she does know she doesn’t want to do something she’s already done. If she’s gonna do her nails for one night, then it’d be nice if it were a departure of some type. Alas, her brain has no ideas. Being pretty is hard! Yet, she likes it so very much. That does it. She needs to talk to Niko. For one, Niko’s her best friend. Two, Niko’s gifted in the department of being glamorous. And luckily, Niko’s her neighbor, so she drafts a note that she passes across the table.

What should I do with my fingernails?

Niko reads the note in delight, then dies of boredom.

I thought you were gonna share good gossip or something.

No, I want to do my fingernails.

Do something slutty. That’s always good for a thrill.

That’s a good idea.

Niko always has good ideas. Niko’s brilliant!

She wishes she were Niko.

And Niko wishes she were Sykosa’s breasts. That’s me, Sykosa! Well, technically, it’s my breasts. Breasts are an urgent topic for Niko, seeing as her prime puberty years have passed, and to Niko’s horror, she’s all As in the bra and all Ds on her report card. That’s harder on a girl than people think. And it’s why Niko collapses her cheek on her hand, then inconspicuously stares at those far-bigger boobs. Niko thinks she does it for a second or two. In reality, it’s seven or eight. Now, before anyone makes any assumptions, Niko’s not gay. She’s about as boy-crazy as a girl gets. To the point that she collects boyfriends as if they were Girl Scout badges.

And to be fair, this breast-staring is harmless.

Though every girl has her limits.

Hers have been exceeded. Not by Niko, but by Tom. He also has his cheek in hand, his eyes overcome by her chest—for what is maybe ten or eleven seconds.

Unlike Niko, he’s thinking of her as if she were some toy.

He may be right.

In the only snowstorm of the year, as the Academy froze under the sickly sweet smell of a dysfunctional oil furnace, she retreated behind the two bell towers of the Academy chapel. And on that very day, this very boy—in his ski jacket laden with those sticky tags they put on bags at airports—stumbled onto her smoking self and put his tongue in her mouth. It was a bold move. And it impressed her. They didn’t need to “talk.” Besides, it woulda fucked up the moment. I get shy fast. Accordingly, she kissed him until her heart beat so hard she became faint. It meant something. This feeling. She caught her breath. They sat beside each other. Seconds later, she wished they hadn’t stopped, so they restarted, then kept at it.

This time without the tongue.

Niko steals the note, then writes a new one.

Why is he looking at you like that? Only I’m supposed to look at you like that!

Niko’s the type who admits her faults shamelessly. While it’s slightly backward, Niko does so not as a deterrent from such behaviors, but to enable them. She rarely complains. Because that’s Niko. And somehow that excuses everything Niko does. That said, she supposes she’s predisposed to Niko’s jealously over her body, perhaps to the point of flattery. You see, this Tom-thing is nothing. Or if it is something, it’s certainly not enough of something. Not enough for her to buy a prom dress.

Why do you think he is looking at me like that?

Because you * him.

Not to delve too far into the well of note-passing dynamics, but she—and the Queens—use secret codes in case of confiscation. “*” means fuck, in all forms and conjugations. She has not * Tom. She has not * anybody. Her lips quiver at the *. It feels like something she’ll put off until she is thirty. Simultaneously, she also feels like it could happen in the immediate future.

Sometimes she just “knows.”

Gross.

Afraid?

No!

But, she is afraid. Everything is too complicated. It should not have to be. She goes behind the chapel. He goes behind the chapel. They make out. Simple, right? It’s not. Regardless, if even that must be complicated, then certainly the concept that she wants to go to Prom, thus he should ask her to Prom and then they should go to Prom is simple, right? It’s not. You see, he has this best friend, this confidante, this main focus, this everything—and her name is not Sykosa, but Mackenzie.

Or as you will soon find out: “M.” That’s what he calls her.


One random tour commenter will win a $100 Amazon gift card. Just leave a comment on this post, and you’ll be entered to win. For a full list of participating blogs, check out the official tour page. You can enter on just my blog or on all of them. Get out there and network!

About the book: YA fiction for the 18+ crowd. Sykosa is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to reclaim her identity after an act of violence shatters her life and the lives of her friends. Set at her best friend’s cottage, for what will be a weekend of unsupervised badness, Sykosa will have to finally confront the major players and issues from this event, as well as decide if she wants to lose her virginity to Tom, her first boyfriend, and the boy who saved her from danger. Get it on Amazon.

About the author: Sykosa is Justin Ordoñez’s life’s work. He hopes to one day settle down with a nerdy, somewhat introverted woman and own 1 to 4 dogs. Visit Justin on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Casting the Novel: The End Begins: The Nine

A warm welcome is due today to Jeffrey Zweig II who joins us again on the blog for a fun guest post that plays off of both his career as a novelist and his film making experience. Today, Jeff is going to give us the scoop on his dream cast for The End Begins: The Nine, available now on Amazon in both print and kindle editions. Thanks for joining us, Jeff!

Hello Readers!

Before we get started, let me thank Gwen for letting me post on her blog today. It’s an honor and I’m happy to oblige.

Before becoming a writer, I was a film maker. I took it seriously in high school and throughout college leading into getting my major in 2008 from Indiana State University. Throughout that time I’ve directed, acted, produced, wrote, been a production assistant, and been an extra. One of my dreams during that time was to have one of my screenplays be a Major Motion Picture, That still holds true today.

I’m always on the lookout for actors who could play the roles of the characters I create. I like to at least know what my characters would look like in the real world given the choice.

Not being so heavily involved with film making these days, I have to go off of stuff I’ve seen that I’ve liked, has made the news, or become popular so most of my choices will be known to an American audience. I’ve no qualms going another direction if an actor can perform the roll.

Cassarah Telmar, our young Alchemist of the Nine, was a hard decision. Cass is young, but has a maturity and discipline going beyond her years. She shows this through her words and her natural demeanor. The role requires the ability to play off an awkwardness from other characters that are “in the know” to the norms of the world she’s experiencing for the first time. The role would also require actress to be heavily involved in the action aspect of the film.

My choice for Cassarah Telmar would be Emma Stone.

I’ve familiar with Emma Stone from her roles in ZombieLand and Crazy Stupid Love. I feel she has that potential for a role like Cass. Her face is so expressive – emotion comes through so subtly, I feel she has the chops to deliver the right kind of characteristic-atmosphere – a know it all like Bones (from the TV series of the same name), pulling off the oblivious super nerd while going through some growing pains. Though one might question her in the physical portion of the role, I think if given some training she could pull it off.

James Kesumare has the look of a young guy but shows hints that he’s anything but. At the beginning of the book he’s a very typical teenager who’s thrown into this parallel world with a magic sword and is the center of the villains plot. But by the end of the movie he’s in the thick of the action spouting stuff about wibbly wobbily, out-of-this-world sciencey stuff while blasting bad guys with laser powers. The actor has to showcase that change and be able to be physically capable of the role.

The role of James, for me, would go to Anton Yelchin.

I first saw him in 2009 when Star Trek and Terminator 4 came out. It wasn’t until I saw him in the remake of Fright Night that I was convinced that he could do the job. Evidence from The Beaver and Law and Order helps me to solidify that decision.

Just on appearance he looks young (he’s only twenty three), but he’s shown an immense amount of talent from portraying a vast amount of young men’s roles with such variety and believability – this role would fit him since James makes such a dramatic change on his adventure. Anton had had very physical roles in action movies as well that plays in his favor, having done stunts and seems to like actions, paranormal, scifi films.

Caleb Knight is a mess all his own even being older and more experienced than the rest of the trinity. He is divorced, lost a child, he’s been battling one war or another for half of his life. And now he’s on this crazy adventure that continues to bend backwards almost everything he knows about the world. Yet he remains a rock of stability whereas Cass and James are anything but.

Also the choices I have are American actors, where someone like Caleb is obviously going to be from Europe and might have an accent, I’ve chosen a person who has the ability to change himself for a role, and one who could slip right in.

My choice for Caleb would be Christian Bale.

Bale’s known for gems like American Psycho, the recent Batman franchise, among other things I like such as 3:10 to Yuma, the Fighter, and Terminator 4. He’s got the chops for a role like Caleb who is a war vet having to deal with a complex mission and his own feeling towards the crew he’s raveling with. Bale is able to put himself into many different roles, have different accents, change his appearance. He also has the physical capability and the presence that the role requires. He would help add some weight and experience to a group who are rather young.

Thanks again for Gwen hosting me! She’ll be posting something for my blog very soon. In the meantime, please check out my book on Amazon right now!

Worldbuilding: Extinction Events

Blood: The Brotherhood Saga

I am pleased to introduce to you my first guest blogger, Kody Boye, author of Blood: The Brotherhood Saga. Kody and I first connected on Facebook where I discovered this novel and became rapidly engrossed by the work (expect a review forthcoming). It’s currently available at Amazon. If, like me, you enjoy epic fantasy, I recommend picking up a copy.

But for now, on to the post!

* * *

Extinction Events
A guest post by Kody Boye.

It became prevalent early on within the writing of the Brotherhood saga that much of the world and the sentient creatures that populated it had already died off. Due to human encroachment, disease, mass extinction events or all-out genocide, several races that bore intelligent thought within the world of Minonivna perished or are in the process of dying off as the first book begins.

You might be wondering after reading the introductory paragraph: Why?

Why did entire species have to die off, you ask? Simple: they just did.

If we are to follow what the fossil record shows, there have been many a man (or things resembling men) that have fallen to the greater acts of nature. Who can forget the Neanderthals that roamed parts of Europe and Asia or, more recently, homo floresiensis (better known as the Hobbit) in Indonesia? These are only two of the many examples of sentient, human-like creatures that existed on planet Earth throughout its billions of years of existence, yet they died out. Nature is a cruel and savage beast, as she whittles out many a creature either through predation or natural disaster. Many a theory has been proposed about how the Neanderthals died out (climate change and lack of food, interbreeding with or being killed off by homo sapiens.) Even the Hobbit is believed to have been wiped out by a volcanic eruption that completely annihilated its species, so to think that such species-killing disasters are common are not entirely out of the question.

However, though history has shown that life on Earth has a tendency to die out, what does that mean for life in a fictional setting? Why kill of entire races of creatures when a world builder can avoid such atrocities?

There’s a few reasons.

Reason numero uno is simple—I wanted there to be depth and realism to the world. Earth’s history has shown that life, especially dominant or intelligent life, has a predisposition to death. I wanted to explore the concept of mortality within the world I call Minonivna, particularly because it’s interesting to see the demise of grand creatures, but also because it makes a more well-rounded world for there to be extinctions.

The second reason, and possibly the more complex of the two, is the idea that humanity may have played a role in killing off some of their fellow sentients. This theory has been proposed particularly for homo erectus (what we modern humans are.) We have, over the course of several millions of years, hunted dozens upon dozens of animals to extinction. Off the top of my head in but a moment alone, I can name: the Moa bird in New Zealand, who was killed by foreigners by stealing their eggs after settling on the island; the Thylacine, who was hunted to extinction in Australia; the Yangtze River Dolphin, who was killed for food and poisoned by garbage dumps in China; and the Passenger Pigeon, which was wiped out in a mass hunt in North America. These are only a few of the creatures who, though not sentient in any way, were wiped out by humanity. Since there are no modern examples of humanity wiping out something that is capable of thinking intelligently and with a conscience, I wanted to explore the idea of human cruelty or ignorance and how, through rash choices and decisions, our actions may have killed off creatures that may have compared to us emotionally.

What kind of creatures were or are in the process of being killed off within the Brotherhood universe, you ask?

Allow me to demonstrate.

The Centaurs were a race of humanoid equine creatures that existed within a part of the world southwest of the Northern Coastline called The Whooping Hills. With a human torso connected to an equine lower half, they lived in tribal structures and hunted local wildlife. Called ‘abominations’ by modern humanity due to the belief that they were ‘created by horse demons who slept with women,’ they were hunted to extinction.

Further southwest, beyond the Whooping Hills, exists a place known as the Abroen Forest—a vast, sprawling forest that is commonly known as the home of the Elves. Within the forest exists a multitude of intelligent or somewhat-sentient life. A race of rat creatures known as the Unclean were hunted to death in a mass genocide by the Elves. Known as the Great Hunt, the creatures were hunted to extinction because the Elves could not prevent the creatures from preying on and killing their children.

Beyond the coast of Minonivna, in an arctic wasteland known as Neline, a race of upright-walking bear creatures known as the Kerma are afflicted with a flesh disease that creates tumors along the body that rot through flesh, bone and, eventually, the matter of the inner body. Though not yet extinct within The Brotherhood Saga, the creatures’ numbers are rapidly declining. No source to the disease has been found, though it is believed by the Kerma people that human settlers brought the illness to the island that is ultimately decimating their numbers.

Within the world of The Brotherhood, I tried to create a realistic background in regards to not only humanity, but the creatures that coexist or have coexisted around them. It’s a harsh stretch to destroy entire creatures that could have added a positive dimension to the story, but as a writer, and as a world builder, I believe killing them creates a more well-rounded, three-dimensional world.


Kody Boye

Kody Boye was born and raised in Southeastern Idaho. Since his initial publication in the Yellow Mama Webzine in 2007, he has gone on to sell nearly three-dozen stories to various markets. He is the author of the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the first book in The Brotherhood Saga, Blood. His fiction has been described as ‘Surreal, beautiful and harrowing’ (Fantastic Horror,) while he himself has been heralded as a writer beyond his years (Bitten by Books.) He currently lives and writes in the Austin, Texas area.

Tools for Authors: Kindlegraph

I’d planned to write a post about the difference between yWriter and Scrivener but because of a number of things (including the snopocalypse in western Washington), I haven’t put enough time into using Scrivener to feel that I’d do a fair job of it.  So instead, I’d like to spotlight a tool called Kindlegraph.

Kindlegraph is a tool that allows authors to autograph e-books, at least those formatted for Kindle.

How it works:

1) You sign up as an author, preferably using your Twitter account.

2) Upload your books.  The site will search the Amazon database for you so this part is fairly easy.

3) When you have an autograph request, it will pop up (within about a minute, in my experience) in your inbox.  Click on that and you will see the name of the person who requested your autograph.

4) Go to “sign” the book.  This screen will look like the one below: 

Image

Here are a couple of things to know about signing your book.  First, Kindlegraph will force you to put something in that top box.  If you want the entire inscription to show up in your handwriting, I’d recommend just putting a period there.  

Secondly, you’ll have to write everything in that second box using your mouse.  Unless you’re fantastic with a mouse or trackpad, my advice?  Try it with a tablet.  Or resign yourself to having the signature of a first-grader.

I initiated the process myself and discovered a couple other things from the fan perspective.  The kindlegraph can’t be edited or resent by the author once completed (if any of you find differently, please let me know).  

The other thing–and this isn’t obvious–is that Amazon may bounce the signature back if it thinks that it’s spam.  In that case, the reader may never get their signature from you.

To avoid that, I recommend you tell readers in advance to add the email signature “@kindlegraph.com” to their approved senders list for Kindle.  This can be found by using these settings: 

1. Visit Manage Your Kindle page.
2. Sign-in to Amazon account. 
3. Go to “Personal Document Settings” under “Your Kindle Account”.
4. Under “Approved Personal Document E-mail List” click “Add a new approved e-mail address”.
5. Enter the e-mail address to approve and select “Add Address.”
6. Instruct the sender to resend the document. 

Is Kindlegraph a good tool?  I think it will be.  I can’t count the number of people who have said they were waiting for print in order to get a signed copy.  Those publishing in e-only might like this tool for that reason.

But does it have far to go?  Yes, I think that having no ability to resend autographs is a major problem.  I’d like the ability to edit as well, should the signature somehow get written incorrectly (misspelled names, etc).  But this is definitely a step in the right direction.