Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What Do You See...

...when your characters come to life?

I need a reference when describing or interacting with my characters. I need a mental image, a face, or person. 

Actions, whether in a book, music, or on the movie screen, help me to define and shape my people.

And yes, they are people, as real as the cat sitting beside me. 

I have conversations with her also.

A little older but still the Wilder Mage
Justus Aubre, the wilder mage, is a strong man. He doesn’t think so. He thinks he’s broken, has nothing. Needs no one:

Crystal Ball by Styx
I used to like to walk the straight and narrow line.
I used to think that everything was fine.
All alone and trapped in time.

At war always with the ones who would enslave him. Running.
Bad Company by Five Finger Death Punch
...always on the run.
Destiny is the rising sun.
Oh, I was born shotgun in my hand.
Behind a gun I'll make my final stand.

The people in his life are fleeting. He accepts that they are like the seasons, they come and go. But that is fine. To tie himself to a person, especially a romantic alliance, is to lose his existence. 

Wicked Game by Chris Isaak
No, I don’t want to fall in love.
With you.
What a wicked game you play
To make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to say
You never felt this way.

Who do you see as Justus Aubre, my wilder mage.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Using Amazon as a Marketing Tool

...before they use you.

Kindle Unlimited—started in July and conceived by Amazon—is for die-hard readers. Participants pay a monthly fee of $9.99 and can read as many books as they want. The catch is, not all books are included in the program.

How does the program help authors?

Payout started in the $2.20 range but has dropped since to 1.43 in December. It had declined to approximately $1.33 until the last month's bump. 

Readership is up. The author can rake in new readers and get name recognition in that way. 

It is voluntary. No one is holding a gun to the authors’ head and insisting on their participation. I used it as a marketing tool for my prequel to The Magic Withheld series, Out of Magic, because the novelette was never intended as a money-maker. 

But the other books I've written...eh, I’m not so willing to do this.

Some are happy with KU. Others are not. Some are pulling out of KU due to a massive loss of sales. 

The problem? Too many books. Amazon tends to market for their own benefit. The company is geared for profits and getting that monthly $9.99 fee is gravy. The number of e-books especially self-published has exploded from 600,000 in 2010 to 3 million in 2014. Amazon has an endless supply of books. 

They don’t really need yours.

Depressing? I’ll say. But it is a fact that some writers fantasize so much about the words published author that they take a few short cuts and publish before crossing the molten lava of critique. Their books go into the caldron with authors who have gone through the fire, formatted correctly, polished their grammar. Kinda dilutes the mix in a way. Plus creates a skeptical public who notice poor writing.

Amazon highlights their Kindle Unlimited and that goes for the books in that program. Where does it leave those who don’t participate? Their sales show the same dip that KU authors report. 

The only way to combat the trend is to keep your name and brand in front of readers. Examples:

Author page on Amazon. Make a page. For Pete's sake, take the time to make a doggone page.

Social networks. Yep, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are becoming wall-to-wall ads. But get your name into them anyway. New books and authors have caught my eye more than once and I’ve bought a lot of books that way.

Connect the two. Set up your author page on Amazon with your social networking.

And for heaven’s sake, blog. Post occasionally and link that to your FB page and Amazon author page.

There are ways to use Amazon and service them as well as yourself. Don't let them call all the shots. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG - Beside the Dying Fire

IWSG—Insecure Writers Support Group, coming together on the first Wednesday of every month for a virtual pat on the back. 

Intro. Just the facts. Pertinent and otherwise.

Published author of Wilder Mage and Mage Revealed and hard at work with the third and last in the series, Chimera Mage.

I color not only outside the lines but on another page entirely and worship at the altar of Fantasy. 

All kinds, all flavors. Kinda like pizza.

Beside the Dying Fire.

IWSG. If you are a Walking Dead enthusiast, you'll recognize the above title from one of the episodes. To me, it epitomizes the flame that once blazed bright for some writers and now has died to glowing embers. Or are as cold as long-dead ashes.

So many bloggers and forums that I started out with, so many have faded away, gone.

How completely depressing.

Are you wavering? Is the conflagration that once burned like a lava flow dwindling? Are you worried that you are Pretty Much Dead Already?

It is hard to hold onto the passion that gripped my senses, white-knuckled and fervent. But it is necessary to create a routine, follow it without regard to the shiny objects that distract me.

What Lies ahead for the writer who wanders? The answer is keeping the passion. Hug it close like the Wildfire it once was. 

Because it is Clear that the end you will regret those Days Gone Bye if you give in to the miasma.

Insecure Writers Support Group: The Final Frontier.

These are the continuing voyages of the Ninja Captain, AJC. His mission, to explore all new writing venues, to seek out new authors and new blogs. 

To boldly go where no blogateer has gone before.

Monday, January 5, 2015

How Did I Miss These?

Call me secluded...or plain clueless, but I tend to miss the trends until they’re over.

It wasn’t until Galaxy Quest came to the network that I came, I saw, I wallowed in it like a cat in catnip. And those lines. Most of the bloggers in my sphere can fill in this quote: “I have one job on this lousy ship. It’s – but I’m gonna do it.”

The Avengers. I didn’t believe the hype and the box office numbers. The Hulk was never one of my favorites and didn’t it have that green critter in it? Blech. Surely it isn’t any good. Boy, Howdy, was I ever wrong. I've watched it on my Amazon Prime more times than I can count. 

And The Hulk? One of the best quotes, “That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.”

Best scene:
Loki: “Enough! You are, all of you are beneath me! I am a god, you dull creature, and I will not be bullied by...”
[Hulk flattens Loki with repeated smashes into the floor]
The Hulk: “Puny god.”

Guardians of the Galaxy. Sure, I’d heard about it. Yes, I had the example of The Avengers so why didn’t I believe all the hoopla? Beats me. Rocket the raccoon seemed, er, stupid. All I can say is I Am An Idiot.

How to Train Your Dragon 2. I thought this sounded good but yanno, sequels sometimes disappoint so I was a bit leery. Then I rented the movie and Holy Talking Cats, this is one to watch through the end, rinse and repeat. Several times over.

And speaking of which...The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Yep, this has been around for a while but I didn’t see it until December. Funny, cool, and I love Jay Baruchel. Every time he’d speak, I pictured Hiccup.

In the book arena:
The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. It starts with Assassin’s Apprentice and continues through several storylines. Amazing stuff. Can’t wait for book two in the new series by her.

On TV:
It took until January 2013 and a marathon for me to discover The Walking Dead. By then, it was in its third season. Can’t live without it now. Even the hubby is coming around, LOL.

There are other examples that I tried and didn’t quite make the connection. TV shows like Breaking Bad, Homeland, and Game of Thrones. True Blood wandered into the weeds and I lost interest.

Books like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles. They didn’t trip my trigger.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll come around to Lestat someday. In fact, after seeing the book cover, maybe about right now.
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