Friday, October 26, 2012

Blood Bound Cover Reveal! Plus, Democracy in Action!

Hey everyone, I haven't done a real post in a while. I've been busy being sick. That's twice in less than a month. It's not as awesome as it sounds. Anyway, the great Vic Caswell has a tough decision to make regarding what cover to choose for her latest work. Check them out and vote!

From here on out, I'll leave it with Vic:

This one's a bit tricksy, because it's a two-fer!
Spencer Hill Press is having trouble deciding which cover they want, so they are giving YOU the power!!!
(MWHAHAHAAAA!!!! Can you feel it going to your head yet?) 

So! Let's hear about the book first!

Blood Bound
   Starting college a year early is hard. Starting fae college and learning to protect the world from the Unseelie is harder.
   Brielle Reed has always been an over-achiever, but this time she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Between her crash course in fae politics, struggles to control her new mind-reading ability, training sessions with the demanding Dr. Schwartz, and discoveries about the father who is still a mystery to her, Brielle finds herself longing for a chance at a normal life.
   But she may not get that chance. Or chance at a life at all, for that matter.

Title: Blood Bound

Author: Keshia Swaim

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press (www.spencerhillpress.comPlease feel free to use any images, text, links, etc. from our website.

ISBN: 978-1-937053-45-1
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Formats: Paper, e-book

Keshia is previously published, but this is her first full-length novel to be unleashed on the world.

Now, the covers:


So which do you prefer? 
Does the hand make you feel like the power could be in yours? 
Or are you intrigued by what secrets the pretty lady is keeping? 
Don't forget to vote!
(you don't even have to register or listen to politicians or anything!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Hero's Journey, A Blogfest, and an Interview

A TON OF STUFF is going on today. It figures. I don't post more than a few times a month and then, bam! Everything happens at once.

I was interviewed over at the A to Z Challenge blog. It was a ton of fun and it should be up today. Please go check it out, it was really cool. .

Today is more of uber awesome Did I Notice Your Book blogfest. Check out my entry at the end of today's post.

And  I've got a guest poster today. My first ever. PT Dilloway is celebrating the release of his new novel, A Hero's Journey, by doing a blog tour. He's here today to talk about the cover. I'm thrilled he asked me to do this. I've been looking forward to this book for a long time.


First of all, thanks Rusty for having me on your blog today!

We’re all acquainted with the expression not to judge a book by its cover.  Most of us are also probably acquainted with the fact that this advice is hogwash.  Everyone judges a book by its cover!  Think of it this way:  if book covers weren’t important than every book would just have a plain white cover with the title and author name.  So obviously having a good cover is very important.

That’s why I was so glad when I asked Rusty that he agreed to do my cover for me.  For my three self-published books I’d done the covers myself, but that consisted of taking a stock photo (or in the case of my novel Virgin Territory it’s a photo I took myself) and throwing some text on it.  That works fine for literary novels where you don’t really need anything too specialized.  For literary fiction you can generally get away with a picture of some shoes or a sunset or something like that.  If you don’t believe me, go look up literary fiction on Amazon and see for yourself.

The problem with a book like A Hero’s Journey though is that you can’t do that.  You could have a photo of some shoes or a sunset, but it wouldn’t really make sense.  It wouldn’t really convey to the reader that, “Hey this is a superhero book!”  That’s what you really want the cover to do, give the potential reader some idea what the book is before they open it, or in the case of buying online, click on the link.

And as far as stock photos go, there isn’t that much out there that’s helpful.  I mean when you’re creating a specific character like the Scarlet Knight, you can’t really expect a stock photo to look the way you want. The best you can hope for is to find a piece that might fit:  a helmet, a sword, a cape, or maybe boots.  Still, it’s not quite the same as having an original cover.

Unfortunately when it comes to drawing I am completely worthless.  The closest I can come to drawing anything is to make characters on the Sims 2.  Which is why I was happy when Rusty agreed to do the drawing for me.
PT's sketch

The obvious hitch was to decide what exactly to draw.  I finally got an idea, though unfortunately for me it came at about four in the morning.  I got up and spent a couple hours before I had to go to work sketching something very, very crude to give Rusty an idea what I was thinking.

He took that and ran with it big-time.  You can see the finished product.  There was some wrangling with the publisher over the size of the text, which took a few weeks to get to the point where they finally accepted it.

Finished painting
Obviously I’m really happy with how the cover turned out.  It’s a heck of a lot better than some stock photo.  It really gives the prospective reader a good idea of what the story involves.  If you didn’t have a title or description or anything you’d still have a good idea it’s about a woman who’s a superhero in a big city. Maybe you could even figure out her superhero name just from the picture.  I mean she’s got red armor on, right?

I hope you enjoy the cover as much as I do and the rest of the book too.  You can buy the book from theSolstice Publishing website here as well as Amazon, B&N, and other retailers.  To find out more about A Hero’s Journey including character bios, deleted scenes, and a visitor’s guide to Rampart City visit my blog at

Thanks to Rusty for hosting me today and for drawing the book’s awesome cover!

I appreciate PT taking the time to discuss the cover, they can be hard work to do. He is also going to be GIVING AWAY ONE FREE PDF COPY of his new novel to one lucky commenter, so let him know you want it down below.


FINALLY, DID I NOTICE YOUR BOOK? That's right, in a brilliant game of internet scavenger hunt, Alex J Cavanaugh and Ciara Knight have challenged bloggers to find a book, mention it, and see if the author can find it.

Fun game. So Ben S Dobson, author of Scriber, please come find me. You've got until the end of the day today to win.

The blurb:
Disgraced scholar Dennon Lark only wants to be left alone in his self-imposed exile—an exile that ends when a rebel army wielding impossible powers launches a series of brutal attacks on villages across the Kingsland. Forced from his home, Dennon is drawn back into a world he wants nothing to do with. His research into the kingdom's lost past—the very research that sent him into hiding—may hold the answers to a great many questions about the rebels. Questions about their shadowy motives; about their mysterious abilities; and about their ever-increasing numbers, constantly bolstered by those thought killed in their attacks. And only the King's infamous warrior niece Bryndine Errynson and her company of female soldiers trust him enough to help him find the truth before the rebels burn the Kingsland to the ground. Following a trail of historical clues across the kingdom and pursued by forces they don't fully understand, Dennon and Bryndine may be the realm's only hope. But in order to preserve the Kingsland's future, they must first uncover its past.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I've Been Tagged!

From time to time, the internet winds blow my way and I end up getting tagged. I generally don't do anything about it, but this time I figured I would, as it gives me a chance to talk about myself. Yay!

This one came from PT Dilloway, whose novel, A Hero's Journey was released this week, much to his surprise.

Anyway, I'll get right to it.

Ten Questions for the Next Big Thing

1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Total Depravity
The cover I'll probably end up using

2. Where did the idea for the book come from? 

Where they all come from, the ether.

3. What genre does your book fall under? 

Science Fiction, well, is historical Science Fiction a real genre? If it is, then that's what this is.

4. Which actors would you chose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Phht, I have no idea. If they make the movie I'll worry about it then. Although, I must say that one character is disturbingly large. 

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book? 

A colonial era Bostonite is tasked with hunting down an escaped slave that is rumored to be a demon.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

The intent from the very beginning was for this story to be self-published.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft? 

About a month.

8. What other books would you compare this story to in your genre? 

Well, I have no idea. I don't think I'm especially original, but nothing really comes to mind.

9. Who, or what, inspired you to write this novel? 

I love the idea of secret histories, and on a more philosophical level, of how much difficulty humans have interpreting events that fall outside of their cultural or intellectual framework. Like when the Spaniards first began arriving in their giant ships to to explore the Americas, there are stories that natives didn't recognize the ships offshore as... well... as anything. They made up their own stories about what they were or dismissed them altogether. Interpreting the visitors as gods or prophets. I think it says a lot about how the human mind works.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? 

Well, the bottom line about any book is whether or not it's good. My hope is that this is better than anything I've done before. I know I'm excited about it.

That should about cover it all. I'm supposed to pass this along, but I'm not going to. If you want to consider yourself tagged then please, by all means, you were.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monday! I'm Full of Hate!

SORRY ABOUT THAT TITLE, but man, I really, really, don't like Mondays. I generally just want to put my head down and barge on through until it's all over. But I wanted to post today to say thanks to everyone who gave War Angel a download. It managed to get up to #4 in Amazon's list of free War books over the weekend. That was as good as I could have hoped, so thanks everyone.

If you got it, and liked it, then I wouldn't get mad it you put up a review. And again, the version that went up Friday should be free of typos. If you go one on Wednesday or Thursday, then Yikes!

I FINALLY GOT TO SEE Looper over the weekend. It was one part Terminator, one part Firestarter, and the rest was great. I couldn't help but wonder though, if they screwed around with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's face because in certain scenes it looked like he was wearing a prosthetic nose and something in his mouth, I'd guess to make him look more like Bruce Willis. If they did that, then it was a mistake, because I was distracted by it. Am I the only one to notice? 

Also, after watching the movie I came home and found this:

Old Looper - watch more funny videos
Now that's great stuff.

IN OTHER NEWS, I have now completed the wiring for the barn we bought last month and it has power! It has lights and electrical outlets and it all works. No fuses blew and nothing smoked and nothing caught on fire. I feel like a younger Bob Vila. 

I worked until 10 p.m. on Saturday night and through Sunday afternoon. Once we called it done it was time to see Looper. It was my reward for a rough couple of weeks with this horrid project. 

Anyway, happy day folks.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's An Update!

On Wednesday, I released for free, War Angel, my WWII tale of love and loss. A few hours after putting it out I started getting reports that there were typos in it. Lot's of typos. Lots and lots of typos. So, it's confession time.

I wrote that story years ago. So long ago that I did not have a digital file of it any longer. All I had was the book it was printed in. No big deal, I thought, I'll just retype the thing. It's already edited, proofread, it's ready to go.

Anyone who picked up a copy on that first day that has bothered to look learned that I'm not a great typist. Sorry folks.

In the two days since, I've made two passes, some with the help of readers, and have tried to clean it up.  Thanks to everyone who passed along specifics. Everyone is great.

If you still haven't downloaded it, it's free through Sunday. A version picked up now is much cleaner than it was on Wednesday or Thursday.

For those of you that already got your copy and still haven't read it, but intend to. I'll try to get Amazon to send you one of those emails that tells you that a new downloadable copy is available.

IN OTHER NEWS... wait, I don't have other news. Happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insecure Writers ... Halloween Edition!

ALEX J CAVANAUGH, in his great wisdom, created the opportunity for any writer who feels like he or she needs a guilt free forum to vent all about their insecurities. Every first Wednesday of the month is the day for all who want to, to let it out. The Insecure Writers Support Group.

So, what’s my deal this month? Well, my plan to be super positive went out the window, as I’m feeling a bit down about everything.

I think I’ve always been looking for ways to gauge how close I am being a pro-level writer. I realized about a year and a half ago that the best way to tell would be to submit to pro markets. So I did, and I have.

And since that time I’ve had zero sales. Nada. I’ve had multiple stories out to all my dream pro short story markets for a while now. They keep not being accepted.

I received a rejection last week for a horror story I’d written. It had several personal notes in the rejection. That’s supposed to be a good sign, right? But then, when I read the notes, they say things like they didn’t care for the name of a secondary character, or, they think my math was wrong when used in the story (it wasn’t, but upon rereading, I can see why they thought that – that really is my problem).

And I’m thinking, WTF? I can change the math, I can change names. Don’t use that as a reason to reject the story. Tell me what’s wrong!

Of course, they rejected the story for other reasons, I know they were being helpful, or trying to be. It’s just that, well, I want someone to say, ‘Hey, this is pretty good, we want to publish it.’

So, I joined an online critique group for some feedback. I submitted a story that I thought was pretty good, but still didn’t seem quite finished to me. And that’s when I started getting feedback. And more feedback, and more, and more. And now I just want it to stop. It’s too much.

One person said it was the best (that’s a paraphrase) thing they’ve read since they’ve joined the group.

Someone else said it was such a mess that they weren’t sure if it was good or bad. It was just too all over the place.

The grammar was awful… no, wait, it’s actually pretty tight.

The aliens at the end were awesome! The aliens at the end was a stupid idea (an FYI, my story had no aliens – that looks like something I need to address, since more than one person thought there were).

And on and on it goes. Crits are pouring in and I want them to stop. I don’t like it. I’m not sure what I can take away, since stuff was all over the board about what was wrong with the story. It did manage to make me feel beat up.  

/End rant

IN OTHER NEWS, I self-pubbed a new novelette this week. I've done my darnedest to make it free on Kindle for the next few days. Please download it now if you're ever going to be interested. Well, unless it's not free, in which case you should wait until it is. 

I don't know if it's a good cover. But it was damn hard to do.

I wrote it several years ago for a charity in town, the book it appeared in sold horribly, but the charity still got something from it. I reread it recently, realized the rights are all mine, and thought it was still a pretty cool tale – even if I had to fight the urge to rewrite every word. Since not that many markets are interested in reprints, I figured I’d put the thing up for the world to see. It isn’t spec fic at all, just a story about a guy discovering his grandma’s secret history.