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Archive for June, 2013

Woot! I got new people visiting today!

For those of you who don’t know who Mike is, you’re missing out. His novel, ‘Skunk Ape Semester’ is amazing! Just read the blurb!

Zoology professor Jeremy Fishleder is an avid Bigfoot researcher, his passion sparked long ago by an encounter with Florida’s “skunk ape” during his childhood. He teaches a special interest class on the study of these weird entities, called cryptozoology, until the university cancels it. 
 
Looking to make a change in his life, he goes on sabbatical and plans a trip around the country to visit areas of strange repute and meet other people who study the various phenomena, using a van stocked with files and maps supplied to him by a fellow paranormal investigator. 
 
Three students decide to join him, and together the four of them travel from place to place, and story to story, meeting characters both level headed and eccentric and, in seeking out accounts of Bigfoot, Chupacabras, UFOs, goblins and lake monsters, they discover more about themselves and one another. 
 
As the stories come together, they are drawn face to face with the mysterious.
 
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Mike’s not just a great writer, he’s a terrific person. 

Now, onto the scavenger hunt portion of this post!

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Happy haunting!

BB

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I know, it’s Tuesday! This is what happens when you realize you meant to add things to your Monday blog post and spaced them!

I’ll also be posting again tomorrow, as part of a blog scavenger hunt!

So, what’s so important I couldn’t wait another week to tell you all? It’s a couple of things.

As you may remember, a few months ago I was offered the absolutely amazing opportunity to start my own blogtalk radio show online. I spent a lot of time thinking about it last weekend, and I’ve passed on hosting for now. The timing isn’t right. Our daughters are now in middle school and high school, and the schedule is getting more and more unpredictable. And full. Weekends are quickly becoming the only real family time we have. I’m super busy with work for Solstice (submissions for Shadows are picking up!), plus writing and promoting my own work. Pam, the host of Authors on the Air, was incredibly understanding. I may guest host for her now and then, so keep a watch out for those announcements! But I’m not ready for a show of my own. Yet.

The other thing is to let anyone who hasn’t gotten a copy of ‘Daughter of Hauk’ yet, but have a Nook and/or prefer Smashwords over Amazon, to go get it soon. I’m going to enroll DoH in Amazon’s Prime program next week (probably July 1st). When I do that, it has to come down off of the other sites and be exclusive to Amazon. Why would I do this? I get more sales from Amazon than anywhere else. 

‘Mark of the Successor’ will remain on all sites, and I’ll be listing ‘Son of Corse’ on all of them as well. I’m probably going to put a title on all the sites Solstice sells through for the first year they’re out, then move them over to Amazon only. So, if you own a Nook, I recommend you go pick up a copy!

I think that brings you up to speed. Don’t forget the ‘like’ contest on my FB page! https://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492?ref=hl

I’m at 367 likes now…at 375, I’m posting the cover for ‘Son of Corse’!!!!!!! At 400, you’ll get treated to an entire page from the book!!!!

BB

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Things moved forward over the weekend on the next book. “Wielder of Tiren” will be the third and final book in the Raven Chronicles series. It’s officially started 🙂

To celebrate, I’m doing some promos on my FB author page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492?ref=hl). I’m currently sitting at 367 ‘likes’ for the page. I’d like to see that get to 400.

This is what I’m offering to help get there. At 375, I’ll post the cover art for ‘Son of Corse’. It’s done, and ready to be shown off. But I promised my FB followers they’d get first peek.

At 400, I’ll be posting an entire page from ‘Son of Corse’ on the FB page!!!!!!!

If you have the time and inclination, go to the above link and add your ‘like’ to the total. It’s very likely I’ll share those things here, as well, but I did promise to do it on FB first.

And I plan on keeping those promises!

BB

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Now, I don’t know that I necessarily qualify as wicked…LOL

I had an incredible weekend at a SCA event, where I was being the Merchant Steward. Basically, I was the go-to person for the merchants on site. Helped them get set up, tear down, all that fun stuff. Heard good things, almost everyone went home happy. The guy who had to call a tow truck when his car wouldn’t start probably wasn’t, but he got a good driver 🙂 The guy even helped load up his vehicle with his pavilion, etc.

I was gifted with some pretty earrings and a necklace by the Baron and Baroness in charge of the event for my work. It’s a wonderful feeling to know your time and energy were worth something.

That same thought can be applied to books. Dedications are very personal for me, something that I can use to single out an individual or two for a contribution to either the book or my life that has had a great impact on me. It’s a public way to make a personal thank you.

Acknowledgements have a place, too. While I didn’t have those in my first two books, they’re going to start showing up. A good editor or cover artist can make a huge difference in a book, and deserves to be thanked for their time and effort.

Writing is a solitary craft. We sit at our keyboards, or desks with pen and paper in front of us, and create worlds. Taking it from that humble start to a completed novel that anyone in the world can enjoy is a group effort.

Next time you open a new book, take a few moments to read the dedication and acknowledgements. There are some true heroes listed in there. The names may not mean much to you, but they’re people that are very dear to the heart of the author. 

BB

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Good morning!

Well, it’s finally begun. I wrote the opening for ‘Wielder of Tiren’, the final book in the Raven Chronicles. The ideas are flowing, scenes are forming in my mind, and I’m moving forward.

I’m still working hard at Solstice, trying to find that balance between writing my own stuff and reading submissions. Somewhere in there, I’ve got my family and various things in the mix. Some days are harder than others. But I’m in a place now that I wouldn’t trade away cheaply. 

Could my life be better? Sure. I have yet to meet an author who doesn’t want more sales. ‘Mark of the Successor’ sales have slowed down. I’ll have to spend some time this week promoting the books. 

This is the balance I need. Taking the time I spend working, reading, writing, promoting, and fitting those around family needs. One of our cats ended up at the vet last week. She’ll be fine, though she does not like the cone. I’ve got a Society for Creative Anachronism event this coming weekend, where I’m in charge of the merchants, and I’m squaring everything away for that. Candles are being made, scones and camp food need to be cooked, the van needs to be loaded.

Today, though, I’m going to hit the ground running. Do as much as I can, as quickly as I can, for Solstice. Make candles while I’m working on that (yeah for a hobby I can do while multitasking!), maybe throw out a promo tweet or two.

Then, it’s back to Arwenna’s latest problem. Things aren’t so wonderful in paradise any more.

BB

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Everyone say hello to Carl Brush! He’s an amazing author, promoter, and all around good guy!

First of all, thanks be to Kate for providing me some space to air my ideas and talk a bit about my recent release, The Maxwell Vendetta (prequel to the previously published The Second Vendetta.) In addition to her terrific writing, Kate labors fruitfully in the Solstice Publishing vineyards (not to mention her roles as wife and mom), and we Solstice authors are lucky and thankful to have her.

Here, then are a few thoughts not only about my own book, but about the creation of villains in general. Hope they’re useful and enjoyable.

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Snakes in the Garden

 

There’s nothing wrong with stories without bad guys. Kate Atkinson’s splendid Life After Life is only the latest example of many first-class novels without an archetypal antagonist. There’s plenty of conflict and bad behavior in Life, of course. Without that, there would be no story. For others of us writers, however, villains are our artistic bread and butter. They personify the constant threat that evil poses to the order of our lives and society. And they’re also fun to create.  They don’t have to wear black hats, after all. They can assume any form at all. “The devil has the power to assume a pleasing shape,” as the bard puts it. Or not. Your choice. And that choice will determine the shape of your story and the direction the action will take.

Nowhere does the power to assume pleasing shapes have more meaning than in the world of the fantasy/paranormal tales that have become so popular in recent years. And nowhere is that protean ability better exemplified than in the character of the Demon God Corse in Kate Marie Collins’ fine novel The Daughter of Hauk. When Shakespeare wrote that line about the devil, he was talking about humans, who can be confusing enough. “One can smile and smile and be a villain.” But the characters in the world of Hauk can do more than smile and don disguises. They can transform their physical personae, even assume that of a friend. Even for someone with magical powers like the heroine Arwenna, it gets next-to-impossible to tell friend from foe, and one mistake can doom not only herself, but all her people. What delicious suspense for the reader.

Collins’ Corse is evil because, like that biblical snake, he’s simply wired that way. However, Michael Yellow Squirrel, my bad guy in The Maxwell Vendetta (and its sequel, The Second Vendetta), starts off with a legitimate beef. But, in addition, he’s wired to hold tightly to a grudge. And for a long time. The Army forced his Arapaho people onto a reservation in his childhood—the old story of broken U.S. promises—and Andy Maxwell’s grandfather played a key role in the struggle. That was in 1864. It’s now 1908. The grandfather is deceased, and everyone else has moved on, but Yellow Squirrel remains obsessed with wiping out every remaining Maxwell and their Circle M ranch to boot. What began as a true grievance becomes twisted into a fury against descendants who had nothing to do with the original incident. No one has the same trouble recognizing Yellow Squirrel as the Hauk characters do recognizing Corse, but my villain is every bit as clever and relentless and dangerous to the entire world of the family he threatens.

Done well, then, villains provide the yeast, the dramatic tension, that determines whether a story rises to delicious heights or falls flat. Like that yeast, they must be fresh, strong, attractive as the scent of rising dough. And they must be organic to the whole. You can’t just insert them like raisins or sprinkle them on for show after everything else has been kneaded and shaped. When readers taste the final product, the taste of that villain should season every bite. Without him or her, your loaf will be as tasteless as a Disney white bread in which nothing truly bad ever happens to anyone. In other words, no story, not really bread, at all.

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You can buy the e-book The Maxwell Vendetta @ http://amzn.to/16KTlyU

 

Both the e-book and paperback versions of The Second Vendetta are available @

http://amzn.to/PXmxt8

Thanks for stopping by, Carl! 

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Morning everyone!

Things are a bit topsy turvy around here this morning. Normally, my girls have late start (school starts an hour later than normal) on Mondays. This gives me an extra hour before they wake up to get things done, like writing blog posts. However, this goes away every year as school starts to wind down. No more late start until October. Sigh. I think I’ll miss that hour over the next two weeks they have left.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about what I’ve learned over the last 17 months since I got my first contract. Things I wish I’d known before I submitted a single story, how to deal with both publishers and other authors, stuff like that. I’m proud of myself that I’ve been able to keep my sense of humor some days! 

So, my plan for the next month or so is to do some posts that focus solely on those things I’ve learned/experienced that (I feel) are the most important to relay to anyone else out there wanting to get published. Both the good and the bad.

Also, I’ll be hosting a couple of other Solstice authors here this month. The first guest is tomorrow! Later this month, this blog will be part of a scavenger hunt for another Solstice author. 

For today, though, I’ll be moving along. It seems like Monday can be a rather busy day in my world. Maybe I’ll ignore it all and just write. It’s what I’m supposed to do as a author, yes?

BB

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