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Good morning!

It was a wild weekend, and equally chaotic Monday morning. Arrived back home late (and tired) last night, so there were a few things that needed to be dealt with first thing this morning. Like getting groceries back in the house. LOL.

My meet and greet on Sunday was wonderful. I think I talked with around 8 people. Two signed up for a newsletter I plan to start doing monthly (details to follow in a later blog, if you’re interested). And one person bought a copy of ‘Son of Corse’. I’d only taken one copy of that and one of ‘Mark of the Successor’, as that’s all I had on hand. Some of the highlights was how giddy the one who bought the book was to meet a real author (I’d estimate she was around 14). Another was having the husband of one woman check out the reviews (and quote them to his wife) for ‘Daughter of Hauk’ as she and I chatted. Having people you don’t know make comments about something you wrote having some good reviews can really boost your ego. LOL.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Only 8 people? You sat there for 3 hours and only talked to 8 people?!?! That’s hardly worth your time! You could not be more wrong.

I’m still new. I’m unknown. I don’t have a household name, and my works are still being discovered. I know, without a doubt, that the majority of those of you who follow this blog haven’t purchased a copy of one of my books yet. Or left a review. How do I know this? Because I’ve got more people who read what I write here than I’ve received in reviews. Does it bother me? Nope. Because you’re still reading what I write. Maybe one day you’ll buy a book. Or leave a review. 

Another point is that there are now 8 people in the world who know who I am as an author. They know my face and book covers/titles. They may buy a copy of one or more of them one day. Still, that’s 8 more people than even knew there was a fantasy author by the name of KateMarie Collins than there was on Saturday night. Say 3 of them actually buy, read, and review one of my books. And tell their friends. Of their friends, 2 may buy a book. Now I’ve gained another 5 readers overall. 

Sales don’t happen overnight. It’s like that massive snowball rolling down the mountain. It starts with a single sale. And then another one, and another. Sometimes it’s a matter of finding enough snowflakes to even create a pea-sized snowball. But those readers who discover, and love, your work will create that hard core that other readers will be drawn to. And that snowball begins to grow in your hand. Another few months, or a year, maybe it’s big enough where you can stop shaping it in your hands and put it on the ground to push around. It takes even more time, but eventually it’ll get so big that it’ll start moving down the mountain and gathering size as it goes.

Oh! Almost forgot! Photos of the event are below!

BB

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Good morning!

We’ve got a small wilderness area with a river behind us, and the county is working to shore up the levy/create a salmon habitat/make run off areas. While it doesn’t directly impact us, the noise and occasional vibrations have made it interesting.

I’ve had a few people tell me later that I inspire them. It’s not something I went out seeking, but I’m learning to be okay with the idea that people see me as a role model of sorts. I can’t control what they think of me, in all honesty, and perhaps they’ve seen something in what I do or how I live my life that inspires them to do the same.

One of the things I think all authors really should be aware of is what your goals are. Are you looking to be at the top of the NYT best seller list? Retire early to a mansion in the middle of nowhere? Will you be willing to donate your time to a charity looking for a celebrity guest? Are you wanting to be surrounded by an entourage every where you go? Assistants to do everything but write and sign the books for you? 

If those are some of your goals, start saving now. Because that’s not going to happen overnight, and you won’t get it from the first day of your first release.

There is no real instant gratification when it comes to being an author. We spend months or years on a single project. Then, more time devoted to either finding an agent/publisher or going through editing/proofreading. It can take 4 years or more of real work to see a book go from idea to up for sale. And, for new authors, another 5 years before it’s discovered by readers. 

Being an author has a certain amount of celebrity status attached to it, yes. I’ve seen it on the faces of people when they find out what I do for a living. I’m one of the success stories. That person who stopped dreaming about writing a novel, and actually did it. 

But I don’t care if I top the NYT list. The mansion? Not my style. Celebrity guest? I could do that. Entourage? Now, that’s a funny one. Because anyone who I would include in something like that would keep my feet firmly on the ground. I’m surrounded by people that all know when, and how, to tell me my ego’s running amok. And that’s one reason I keep them around.

My goals as an author are far more simple. To write a story that engages the reader. To have enough success with my books to help our household budget. Maybe help out with college for my daughters. Give us some breathing room each month. 

Am I there yet? Not by a long shot. My stories, I think, are good. And the sales will find me. Eventually. I hope so, anyway. But I already got one goal I didn’t know I was even trying for. I inspired someone else to write, put thoughts to paper, and think about getting published. I can live with that.

Good news alert!

Do you live in the Portland, Oregon area? If so, come to Book Warehouse in Troutdale on Sunday, July 20th! I’m doing a meet and greet from noon-3pm! The books aren’t making it in time for the event, but should be in the store sometime in August. I’ll still be there, though! With postcards, doing a reading or two, and talking about my books and publishing. Hope to see some people there!

BB

I’d like to say a very big thank you to Kate, who is both a writer that I admire and someone who’s become a good friend. I’m never ceased to be amazed at just how much support writers give to each other, and I have to say that this is one of most rewarding things about the industry.

People often ask me why I write, and where I get my ideas from. Well, I’ll give you the same answer that many others will. A story simply pops into my mind and it won’t go away until I write it down. Some may call this a blessing, others a curse. Imagine this tale going around and around in your mind, until finally you have to give in and start tapping away at your tired old laptop. Only when it’s finally all done and dusted, a publisher has accepted and published it, can you sit back with a smile and sigh of relief – only to then have yet another idea pop into your head…

 CULL-final Mark Iles back page

Author Bio

Mark works for Southampton University, and also as a freelance writer in many fields including copywriting. His short stories have been published in Back Brain Recluse, Dream, New Moon, Auguries, Haunts, Kalkion, Screaming Dreams, and the anthologies Right To Fight, Escape Velocity, Auguries and Monk Punk. With an 8th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo he’s also written non-fiction for Combat, Taekwondo & Korean Martial Arts, Fighters, Junk, Martial Arts Illustrated, profwritingacademy.com and calmzone.net.

His first full length work was Kwak’s Competition Taekwondo, and he also has a short story collection available entitled Distant Shores. His debut novel A Pride of Lions was published by Solstice in September 2013, followed shortly afterwards by 4 novellas: A Connoisseur of the Bizarre, Sally Jane, Nightshade and Santa Claws is Coming. The Cull of Lions is Book II in The Darkening Stars series. He’s now focusing on the third book in this series, The Roar of Lions.

 

Blurb:

Selena Dillon and her team return to Loreen after their attack on Mantis, only to find the myriad worlds of Mankind once again plunged into war. As the Penal Regiments are betrayed by the Federation of Man, and fighting spills throughout the galaxy, the dreaded Manta raise their heads once again.

Selena soon finds herself trying to track down her friends’ daughter, Hope, from the rabbit holes of Loreen and then fights to free her home planet from alien invaders.

While a general amnesty means previous sins are forgiven, the Queen has not forgotten Selena’s attempt on her life. Selena soon finds herself torn between obeying orders to protect the monarch, and her ravening thirst for revenge. But strange forces are stirring amidst the

stars and Mankind finds itself with surprising new allies, while a terrifying enemy that’s manipulated events from behind the scenes finally reveals itself for the very first time.

 

Excerpt

“There are still things you don’t need to be aware of, Captain. To be frank, with you going into enemy territory and fighting alongside those backstabbing bastards then you really don’t need-to-know. Now, you’ll join the Second Regiment, Fifth Century.”

“I’ve got one hundred men?”

“Yes, but, as I said, Kes and the others are to go with you, including Lieutenant Jones. We’ll soon see what this new Arthur is made of, if you excuse the pun. Your Commanding Officer is one of ours, General Magki. Apparently he’s of Korean descent. His second in command is a regular by the name of Colonel Bob Matthews, a good man. Do you have any questions?”

“What are the battalion’s current orders?”

“To kill the enemy, something you appear to excel at. That’s all there is to it. Capulet City’s still standing, the charged defensive metal ring around it has kept them fairly secure, the Manta haven’t been able to get past it. We’ve taken this on board and have recommended all allied world re-instigate the design in their cities. We’ve also ensured our own citadels and bases re-adopt their original design, which included it. You’ll be billeted in Capulets Arena, which we’re using as a barracks for the time being. Oh, and there’s one other thing.”

“Admiral?”

“I know your feelings on the matter but Capulet’s Queen is currently still alive. Just make sure she is when you leave.”

Selena studied him for a moment, her face devoid of emotion, and the admiral stared straight back at her. “Yes, Sir,” she replied, tight lipped.

He leant forward suddenly and jabbed a manicured finger at Selena. “I mean it, Dillon. I know you have an axe to grind, but it will have to wait. As you pointed out, in the old days you’d never have gone back. We’re fighting alongside the Federation of Man on this one and we need to do things by the book. While there’s a temporary truce in place we’ll work together against the aliens. I don’t need the media making the most of any indiscretion. I have enough problems as it is. Do I make myself clear?”

“Absolutely.”

 

 

 

Buy Links: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cull-Lions-Darkening-Stars-Book-ebook/dp/B00LG74IGS http://solsticepublishing.com/the-cull-of-lions/

 

Social Media Links: Amazon author’s page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-Iles/e/B004YZBP3I Website: http://www.markiles.co.uk Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/welcometoearth Facebook author’s page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Iles/279162705557698 Linkedin: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mark-iles/33/67a/822 Blog: http://markiles.co.uk/the-blog

Good morning! I hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July! It was pretty quiet around here, but warm. Yes, I live in Seattle Suburbia. Warm to us, because of the humidity, is anything above 80. LOL. We don’t have central a/c in the house, just a few fans and one portable a/c unit. I’d love to get a few more of the a/c units, but book sales are a long way from supporting them. So, until it cools down, activity tends to be restricted in the afternoon when the house is warm.

I’ve been working intensely with a store manager down in Troutdale, Oregon to get my books in her store and do a signing. The date of the event is rapidly approaching (July 20th), but we’re just not sure if the books will arrive in time. There’s always the chance they will. And that they won’t.

Would it suck to show up and have no books to sign? Yes. It would. But, I had an idea over the weekend and I’m hoping she goes for it.

You see, I don’t go to that area that often. Maybe 1-2 times a year. There’s the 3 hour drive, gas prices, etc. It’s not like it’s 4 blocks from my house and I can just drop in. It’s something we have to put money aside for. 

So, to make the best of the day if books don’t show up, I suggested we do a ‘meet the author’ event. I’d be there, ready to chat about my books, talk them up, and see what people are interested in reading. I may bring an excerpt or two to read. And we let them know the books are on order and will be there soon. Perhaps they’ll be able to reserve a copy ahead of time. I’ve still got a few postcards (thinking I should order more today), plus both author and business cards, to hand out. It can, if we spin it right, be just as informative and fun as an actual signing.

The publishing business is full of ups and downs. You’re on the best seller list today, and sales drop like a rock the next. Books don’t arrive, reviews don’t come in, and you sell 2 copies in a single month. But life is like that. It’s great one day, then one phone call can shatter everything into a million pieces. As authors, you have to think fast and adapt. Take that bushel of lemons and make it into the best glass of lemonade you’ve ever had. Why? Because you can. Even if the books don’t arrive in time, it’s still exposure for me. It’s still getting me and my titles out in the public view. And maybe, just maybe, some of the people I meet on July 20th will buy the books.

BB

Happy 4th of July! I’m in the mood to celebrate, so I’m offering two of my books for FREE through Sunday the 6th!

‘A Stab at the Dark’ and ‘Looking at the Light’ are the two short story anthologies, and they make perfect summer reading over the holiday weekend!

http://www.amazon.com/Stab-At-Dark-KateMarie-Collins-ebook/dp/B00HJYZAXM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1404321651&sr=8-3&keywords=A+Stab+At+the+Dark

http://www.amazon.com/Looking-The-Light-KateMarie-Collins-ebook/dp/B00HJY0GRM/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0HKPFXZQZ7TJX7N0CDE8

BB

It’s the Last Monday for June, and you should know what that means by now for my blog. Today, we welcome fellow Solstice Shadows author, BeBe Knight!

1. What’s the title of your latest release? Link?

 My Paranormal-Suspense-Romance, An Element of Time, was released this past September. It’s Book One in my Eternal Flame Series. A vampire and a slayer walk into a bar… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but for Veronica and Mackenzie, it’s the beginning of the rest of their lives…

http://amzn.com/B00HQNKNNS

2. Why do you like writing in this genre?

 Trust me when I say it’s not a genre I ever saw myself writing in. I blame books like The Sookie Stackhouse Series and The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series entirely for shaping me into the vampire lovin’ freak that I am. Once I started reading ever vampire romance book I could get my hands on, I just couldn’t help but try writing my own for NaNoWriMo one year.

3. What do you like to read?

 I enjoy all types of Romance. Paranormal, Historical, Westerns.

4. Favorite movie?

 “Say Anything” is one of my all time favorites, hands down! But really any sappy

5. What are your writing habits? Music or silence? Daily regimen or spurts of creativity?

 Complete silence for me! I use music to get the creative juices flowing, but love story with John Cusack could fit the bill. Once I start to type I need it to be alone with my thoughts. Right now I’m having a bit a dry spell for one reason or another so I’ve been listening to a lot of 90’s music to see if I can get something going.

6. What was the most surreal moment you’ve had as an author?

 The day my book was released I was sandwiched between Stephen King and Charlaine Harris on Amazon’s Bestselling list. I immediately took a screen shot to remember the moment!

7. How can readers find you?

Website: http://www.bebeknight.com

Blog: http://www.readinguntilifallasleep.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BebeKnightAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Bebe_Knight

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/Bebe_Knight

CafePress: http://www.cafepress.com/theeternalflameseries

8. What do you know now about being published that you wish you’d known before submitting?

 The amount of time and work that goes into promoting yourself and your book. I’m also a self conscious person and I hate putting myself out there. It’s a struggle every day to get on the computer and think of something to say without saying BUY MY BOOK.

9. Favorite snack/drink while writing?

 It honestly depends on the scene. Coffee is always my go to writing accompaniment, but if I’m writing a “sexy-time” scene a glass of wine is a must.

10. Look at your writing area…what’s the item you keep to inspire you (piece of artwork,figurine)?

 I don’t have any trinket that really inspires me, but I like to fall back on my many years of Soap Opera watching to help me get through certain scenes. I thank my mom every day for allowing me to watch General Hospital as a kid. When I’m stuck, I like to ask myself “What Would (Fill in the blank of a character) Do?”

Happy Monday!

No, I didn’t post last week. Insanity, thy visit in my life was not wholly unexpected but you stayed far longer than I’d anticipated! LOL. Life outside of writing has calmed down again, though, so I’m back at it. I *may* even get forward momentum in a wip this week! LOL

This week, I want to talk about trust. Do you trust your publisher? Do you think they are going to do what is best for your book? Are you willing to let go that clenched fist you have around your m/s and let someone else play with your child? Because, if you’re not, then you either signed with the wrong publisher or should self publish.

You’re going to encounter all sorts of people who claim to ‘know’ things…people who don’t work in the industry. They may be well meaning, or they could be envious that you did what they couldn’t and seek to undermine your accomplishment. But do they really know why a decision was made by your house? Can they honestly say they know better than the person you’ve entrusted your story to?

There should always be author input along the way. Editing is a very involved process, and the author should get some say on the cover art. But leave things like distribution channels and the like up to your publisher. They want the same thing you do – a successful book. They aren’t going to limit where they make it available to, and sometimes they’ll have to make decisions based on information you don’t have (and have no reason to know). 

In short, it comes down to trust vs. being a control freak. Are you willing to trust your publisher to do what is right for your book? Or do you want to question every single decision, have final say in each and every bit of minutiae that’s involved in putting a book out in the world? If it’s the latter, seriously consider self-publishing. Because a traditional publisher is not going to win your trust, and the partnership will be a miserable one.

BB

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