Another chance to get free books from Emerson & Abel

Due to the overwhelming success of my time as a free download, which I’ll share in detail in a couple of days, I have decided to extend this promotion through Saturday. I’m sitting at #5 on the free list, which is blowing my mind. So if you didn’t get your free copy of I Wish yesterday, no problem! Feel free to spread the word. I’d love to share my world with as many people as I can.

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All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hot-wire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Charlotte Abel’s books are also still available so be sure to grab copies of the first two books in her witchy series. When it comes to paranormal, witches are obviously pretty close to my heart. 😉

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While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact sh’’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with“”dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys”” She ca’’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
Ther’’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. I’’s not worth the risk…. until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death is’’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Filed under I wish, promotion

Friday Freebie: Books by Emerson & Abel

Have you been interested in reading I Wish, but were a little unsure about whether you wanted to pay full price to try it? Now’s your opportunity to try it for free on Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can download free apps for your computer or phone through Amazon’s site.

wpid-cover_v0-5_web-2012-02-3-00-01.jpg

All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hotwire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Also available for free today are two books by Charlotte Abel. I don’t read a lot of fiction for fun these days, but the premise is so cute I grabbed copies for myself. Check them out if you haven’t already.

wpid-enchantment_charlotteabel_small-2012-02-3-00-011.jpg

While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact she’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with “dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys.” She can’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
There’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It’s not worth the risk … until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death isn’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

wpid-taken_charlotteabel_sm-2012-02-3-00-011.jpg

Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Leave a comment

Filed under I wish, promotion

New Stories and KDP Select

I’m writing this entry with MacJournal so it might take a few tries before I get it uploaded and formatted correctly. Sorry for that!

I now have 3 short stories available on Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. All three of them are free reads you can either find on this blog or others, but I thought it might be worth it to package them up and put them on sale for people who might not read this blog or who want them on their ereaders.

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Perchance to Dream

It’s just a doll. Nothing special unless you know what to look for. People who know are willing to do more than just kill to have her.

They’ll die.

Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

Interesting to note about that one is that it’s featured on a Succubus wiki. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Cool.

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Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle

The movies get vampires all wrong, but there’s one predator willing to explain how it works to a very interested woman.

Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Zane Littlebury has a secret. Nothing new in a town like Desire, but his is different. It’s something he can’t even admit to himself.

Kindle, B&N, Smashwords

You can find this one under my Free Reads page. It’s a piece of flash fiction that is just under 1000 words. It’s a bit of character development on one of my favorite characters from I Wish. It’a a bit more adult in theme.

The other major change that I’ve made recently is to add I Wish to the KDP Select program. I’m still not sure how I feel about the program. I think it’s a bad idea to give Amazon all the power over where a large percentage of indies sell their books, but at the same time I decided I should give it a fair shot before I pan it. Maybe it will revitalize my sales as it has for some people who’ve used it.

It’s only 3 months and my sales at B&N were low enough that it can’t really hurt to pull it. I’ll keep you posted of any radical changes that come from using the program. But I will say that in the 4 or 5 days I’ve had it enrolled I haven’t lent a single copy. I have a free day coming up on February 3rd so I’ll be watching to see if that prods things along. I made sure to have it happen in a new month so I could directly compare the difference between February’s sales from January’s.

I do see that they dropped the money pool for KDP Select from $700k to $600k in February. That’s not a reassuring sign. There was probably a huge Christmas rush with everyone buying ereaders and rushing to get as much content as they could. Now that’s slowing down. We’ll see how it goes for me. I’ve got a new cover that I like significantly more than the old one. I think it’s a little more in line with other YA paranormal books on the market right now so hopefully it finds it’s way into the right audiences.

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Random Trivia and Checking In

I’ve always wondered why there are so many reboots of super hero movies. Batman comes to mind, it seems like there’s a new origin movie for him every 5 years or so.

Yesterday I read that it’s because if studios don’t make a new super hero movie every so often, they’ll lose the rights to those characters. I guess they’d rather make the same movie over and over again than lose the rights.

I thought I’d pop in for a minute just to say I’m still around. So how is my writing goal going? It’s sort of changed directions. I’ve done a great job of writing every day, I’ve just been focused on working on this script. It’s been a really interesting challenge. I’m still not entirely sure I’m doing it right, but I love the process so far.

I’m attempting to write an R rated comedy. It seems like a natural choice for me. Of course, that puts a lot of pressure on me to have funny things happening. I read through the script for Bridesmaids and started breaking it down page by page. I realized that there is something funny on almost every single page. Either an action line that sets up a physical joke or a funny bit of dialogue. YMMV since some of the gags didn’t really tickle me, but I could see where it was something that someone would laugh at.

One thing that is bothering me is that my second scene, which is really a huge part of setting up the character’s first act life so it really has to exist in some form, takes place in a car as he and his best friend drive to work. It makes good sense logically since the next scene is of them at work. However, I don’t think it’s a good idea in a comedy. I noticed that Bridesmaids does pretty much that exact thing with the main character and her bff in a coffee shop, just sitting there talking. I’m honestly not even sure how that scene even got to stay. I would have figured someone would have rewritten it so that they were riding camel back while they chatted or something.

I’m starting to become quite the expert about raunchy comedies lately. I feel like I’ve watched pretty much all of them by now. As far as I’m concerned Revenge of the Nerds is the best of them. Although I’m pretty sure they’d all be in prison by the end for the crap they pull throughout the movie, it’s still such a great example of a fun movie. There’s not a single character or situation that feels like it doesn’t belong or that it could have been done in a better way. I can’t think of a single other movie that I feel that way about.

It pains me to say this because I am a huge fan of Stepbrothers, but there were a lot of scenes that just weren’t funny to me. The sleepwalking scenes, for example, were painful. The Christmas dinner tryst was just awkward.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to ramble. I’m hoping to finish up my first draft of my script on Monday. At that point I’m going to set it aside and work on another idea I have. So I’m excited about the idea of finishing an honest to god script. Or at least the first draft. That’s something else I never thought I’d do.

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God Bless 3 Act Story Structure

I started looking at 3 act story structure last year. I didn’t have the first inkling when I wrote I Wish… I made an outline sure, but it was just based on a story that occurred to me. I was blissfully unaware that there should be a midpoint or that the B story should reinforce the theme. I didn’t even have a theme in mind. I just went for it.

It was an amazing feeling. Words just poured out of me and onto the page. But was it flawed? Oh yeah. Most notably is the ending. It ends abruptly. I reworked it a couple of times and it still doesn’t flow quite right.

For this first experiment with script writing, I’m relying really heavily on the Save the Cat beat sheet, which is influenced by Syd Field. I’ve watched around 8 or 10 movies since I started this project and they all pretty much followed his formula within a minute or two. I did have some troubles pinpointing the beats in Little Miss Sunshine. They are probably there, but the emotional highs and lows are so mild that it’s really hard for me to spot. A character dies and the family is no worse off than they were. The emotional low point is color blindness? Really? Oh well, it’s something I’m not getting, I’m sure. It has to be because that movie is pretty much universally agreed to be a good one.

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve got my little digital cork board all set up with 40 index cards. I’ve got a story that’s sitting in my head in a fairly complete state. I’m still missing a few filler scenes, but pretty much every important scene is stewing away up there. Now I’m in the process of plugging those scenes into the framework. And incredibly they are starting to fit.

This isn’t going to be the script where I internalize the structure and neither will the next one or two, but I can see where there’s potential for it to happen. Before long I’m going to be able to write a script that hits the marks at all the right places without having to rack my brain and decide if what I’m thinking should go in the second act or the third.

This can only mean good things for the stories I will write in the future. I can already tell that my endings will be much better paced. In fact I’m going to take a look at my outline and make sure that there are clear cut beats for the midpoint and plot points. I think I had some idea of them when I laid it out before, but it’s definitely becoming clearer to me as I work with this concept more.

If you’re working on a novel and you feel like something is missing, it might be the underlying structure isn’t quite right. I’d strongly recommend that you read up on 3 act story structure and see how well your story works. It sure can’t hurt. And in my case, I think it’s going to be the best thing I’ve done to improve my writing yet.

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So You Want to Plan a Screenplay?

Ok, don’t get the idea that I know what the hell I’m talking about because I don’t. At all. As I’ve mentioned before, a goal of mine for the year is to write a screenplay. Ideally, I’d like to submit it and see if it’s salable, but my main focus is just learning the nuts and bolts of the format, which has always seemed so mysterious to me.

In preparation for the goal I’ve read both “Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need” (Blake Snyder) and the third book “Save the Cat! Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get into … and Out of” (Blake Snyder). I have the second book as well, but I’ve been using that as a reference as I watch the different movies it covers, rather than reading it from front to back.

The books really make it seem pretty doable. They don’t cover formatting at all, but luckily for me Scrivener has a screenplay template so I’ll let that handle the basics for now. Since I don’t know any better, I decided to just trust Mr. Snyder’s system for structuring a script. Why not? I’ve got to start somewhere.

He suggests in the book using “The Board” to arrange your 40 index cards, which he seems to think is the magic number of scenes a screenplay needs. I’ve decided not to question it until I’ve had at least one or two tries using his methods.

I don’t have a literal corkboard (although I have made a habit of sticking post it notes to the wall behind my computer area) so I decided that software is a good route for me to go. There is software available based on his books (“Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0” (Blake Snyder Enterprises, LLC)) which seems pretty cool, but the price is prohibitive. I’m willing to give most stuff a try if it’s $25 or less, but $100 is higher than I’m willing to go. Time to figure out how to make this work with something I’ve already got.

I’ve seen people use notecards with Scrivener, but I’m pretty much awful at using that program for anything than the basic word processing functions. If you know me at all then you probably guessed that I turned to my new favorite planning software, Curio. It worked great.

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I set up the 10×4 structure that Blake Snyder recommends and filled in some of the cards with the different beats he recommends in his books. That still leaves quite a few cards blank, but it’s a good start.

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I filled in the first one with the information he says to put on each card. It’s my little reminder of what I need to include as I fill them all in.

I will keep a copy just like this and just copy it for every project I start and fill it in with scenes that are relevant to those projects. Since I do all my work on my computer, this is a handy way to have that information available no matter where I go.

I do realize that there are probably a dozen programs that do something similar. It would actually be more useful to do it in Scrivener and then shuffle them around in there where it will actually affect my script, but this is actually perfect for my needs since I use Curio to keep track of everything that goes on in my life. I can keep The Board right next to my character sketches and brainstorming mind maps.

And how is my screenplay project going? I’ve got a pretty well developed idea, I think. I came up with a log-line and have a decent concept of the major scenes (plot points, midpoint, and final scene). I’m hoping to come up with a rough outline today and see how workable I think it is at that point. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a surprise novel. It started out as a naughty story, but ended up being way too funny to be truly sexy. So now it’s on it’s way to becoming an erotic comedy. I’ve got a pretty good start written. I’m curious to see how it works out since I’ve never started a project that I thought would be a short story only to realize that there was a lot more potential there than I thought there was.

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I Wish gets a new cover

The blog post contains major spoilers. I did finally commission a new cover for I Wish… after months of talking about it. I originally talked to someone a couple of months after I released I Wish… but that fell through. Being that I’m exceptionally lazy, I never pursued it again. What I did do was whine about it. Incessantly.

Finally it happened the other day that I was complaining that with my new price (I raised the price to $4.99 around the first) I really need to get serious about getting a cover that better conveys that my book isn’t a fluff coming of age story, but an edgier, darker YA paranormal.

My love, who is much more patient than I am and has been hiding some amazing photoshop skills like a ninja, offered to take a crack at it. We looked at a bunch of the covers of books in the genre that have been released this year and then he found a blog entry that compared a trend of girls in pretty dresses on covers this year. I know it was more to point out that it was done to death, but instead I said, “Squee! I want a girl in a pretty dress on my cover now too!” Because I’m a sheep.

Unrelated to the proceeding paragraph I thought I’d mention that while I was looking for that link, which I couldn’t suss out via Google and finally had to go through hundreds of entries in my browser history (you’re welcome!), I found a very interesting blog about the literal darkness of YA covers in 2010. You should check it out. It’s really cool, actually.

So anyway, that’s the backstory about how I came up with this particular vision for the cover that has almost nothing to do with my actual story (there are woods in my story and the cover model has long dark hair, at least). But my love gets all the credit for making what I think is a lovely cover. I picked the image and when he wanted to add ornamentation, I asked him to stick with the dandelion-puff-represents-wishing thing I had going in the original version. Other than that, it’s all him. It should go up sometime in the next few days.

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