New Covers! New Covers For Everyone! (Plus A Rafflecopter Giveaway)

You get a New Cover! YOU get a New Cover! New Covers for Everyone!

You get a New Cover! YOU get a New Cover! New Covers for Everyone!

As you can probably tell, I’m a bit excited. Not Oprah-giving-away-trips-to-Australia excited, but pretty excited anyway. I’m trying a new experiment which involves new covers for two of my books.

Ain't it purty?

Ain’t it purty?

A Time-Traveller’s Best Friend has a lovely, easy-to-see cover, thanks to my good friend Josh Atkinson (be patient as he’s still setting up his website). Thusly –> And now Ruth and the Ghost has an absolutely FAB cover from Covers For Romantics.

So much gorgeousness, I Can't Even.

So much gorgeousness, I Can’t Even.

In honor of Ruth and the Ghost‘s gorgeous new cover, I’m hosting a Rafflecopter Giveaway of 3 Kindle copies! So break out the typing fingers and enter for a chance to win a copy of Ruth and the Ghost! Just click on the Rafflecopter Link to enter. (And don’t forget to check out the blurb below).

Enter Rafflecopter Giveaway Here! (Sorry, too late!)

He’s dead. She’s not- but someone is poisoning her.

When Ruth, sick and ailing, moves into her inherited estate in England, she brings with her a stepmother and a stepsister- and a murderer. But that’s nothing compared with what she finds there… George is dead, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a bit of fun. Unfortunately for Ruth, his idea of fun is making sure that his new friend stays with him. Forever. Can Ruth survive a poisoning murderer and a murderous ghost, or will her inheritance be the death of her?

Final Edits for ‘Spindle’

Last night the hubby was watching Caprica. You may be wondering what that has to do with Spindle – or last edits, if it comes to that. What it has to do with both is precisely this: I can’t stand Caprica, or for that matter, Battlestar Galactica. (I’ll have to try the original series- I hated the new but love the old V). It’s nasty, grotty, by far too soapy for my taste, and I don’t think there’s a single character I like. As far as I’m concerned, the Cylons can eliminate the lot of ’em.

So while hubby was watching Caprica, I put on my big, white noise-blocking earphones and searched Youtube for Stuff. I found Lindsey Stirling, which I binged on for a while as I typed away madly at the last few thousand words of Spindle. Then I changed to Evanescence for a while and continued to type away madly. It was probably the easiest, most profitable night’s writing that I’ve done in quite some time. Honestly, the hardest bit was not looking at the music videos as they played (Lindsey Stirling in particular has such lovely, visceral music videos – see Roundtable Rival for my favourite).

I did cheat a few times, skipping ahead to other scenes when I got stuck with the one I was writing, but the writing got done. Which means I’ll be able to send Spindle off to beta readers at the end of the week. Hoots! It also means that I’ll have a two week break from the MS while I go on with Other Things and prepare for Final Edits. Fortunately I do a lot of editing as I go, so only the last third of Spindle will need a second and third round of edits (hopefully). That and the feedback from my beta readers should keep me busy for the next month after my break.

So in celebration of Spindle reaching Final Edit stage, I have another small excerpt for you all! Enjoy, and don’t forget to preorder Spindle.

* * *

                Poly woke the next morning to uncomfortable heat and a distinct feeling of claustrophobia. To add to her discomfort there was a tiny, sharp elbow digging into her neck, which suggested that Onepiece had turned boy some time after he curled up on her pillow but hadn’t moved from the pillow. One of his legs was dangling over the side of the bed, but the other had managed to work its way under the covers. The rest of him was wrapped snugly in what seemed to be . . . hair.

“Good grief!” groaned Poly, giving up the attempt to lift her head from the pillow after one painful effort.

“Oh, you are awake,” said Luck, making her squeak in surprise. He was stretched out at the foot of her bed with an open book in one hand, his boots only just off the quilted blanket; and that, thought Poly crossly, must be why she couldn’t move her legs. “I wouldn’t try that again if I were you: it’s lashed underneath the boards.”

“Yes, I thought it might be. What do I do?”

“Lie very still, I suppose. Poly, the curse is being sneaky again, but I think you might have been sneakier.”

Onepiece stirred and murmured: “Tosh,” but that was more likely to be because it was his favourite word than because he’d understood Luck. Poly was left wondering if she agreed with the sentiment.

“I knew there was something niggling away in the back of my mind,” continued Luck, disregarding Onepiece’s sleepy mutterings. “Your hair is too helpful: it’s keeping the curse at bay by growing. Even if you’d pumped all your magic into it, it shouldn’t be that clever.”

“How does growing keep the curse at bay?” asked Poly. She’d given up trying to explain yet again to Luck that she didn’t have magic, hadn’t had magic, wouldn’t ever have magic. His reiteration was insidious enough that Poly thought she might just come to believe him, in the end.

* * *

That’s it from me! What have you guys been up to this week? And what is your writing music of choice?

SPINDLE - 2000

Experiments (Of The Kind That Don’t Go Boom)

I’ve been doing a few experiments this week (and last). Unfortunately none of them involved high explosives, but ya can’t have everything, right?

Mostly my experiments have been with ads: Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Goodreads ads, etc. I wanted to see which (if any) provided bang for buck, and which (if any) would provide hard sales. I began with Goodreads ads, which I’ve had some success with in the past. I ran an ad and a giveaway for my new book Wolfskin. Those are still running, but my conclusions from this and past campaigns is that Goodreads, although providing a few scattered sales, is mostly good for name awareness. It gets my books out there for the notice of readers. And that’s not accounting for the slow burn of sales: each of my books on Goodreads is on a couple hundred To-Be-Read shelves. I’m hoping that will mean sales in the future.

Facebook ads. Well, I tried. I got no further than using my book cover as an image. Initially, the ad was approved. Five seconds and two click-throughs later, it was disapproved. Why? Apparently it had ‘more than 25% text’. It’s a book cover. It has a title and an author name. What you gonna do? Until FB ads allow book covers, they’re going to be pretty useless to me. I canceled the ad and won’t be bothering again.

Twitter ads. Huh. What can I say? Oh, I know: don’t bother. Not unless you love being retweeted and faved by fake accounts. I don’t know whether it’s a dodge by Twitter themselves, to earn easy money, or whether it’s just a whole bunch of fake accounts that love retweeting and faving random stuff, but it was next to useless. I got a heck of a lot of click-throughs, but since all the retweets and faves were from fake accounts, I’m not holding out much hope that the hundreds of clicks are from real people either. I guess the next couple days of sales will tell. At this stage, I don’t think I’ll be bothering with another Twitter ad, though. It’s too much to pay for fake interest.

have been doing other things these last couple weeks, though, so All Is Not Lost. I’m very close to being able to start final edits on Spindle, I’ve written a guest blog post over at Tiger Hebert’s Blog (entitled The Problem With Self-Publishing– check it out!), and I’m having lots of fun on Twitter apart from bogus ads and fake followers. Oh, and I just sent off the review copies for my Xpresso Book Blog Tour of Wolfskin! It’s a week long from July 6-10, and will have 2 Guest Posts, 2 Author Interviews, and roughly 10 book reviews, so YAY! Also keep an eye out, because There Will Be Excerpts!

Maybe next week I can start with the kind of experiments that do go BOOM.

Mistakes I’ve Made This Week

  • Calling a woman ‘sir’ at the dayjob. In my defense, she was wearing bloke’s jeans, huge sneakers, a bloke’s flanny, and had short back-and-sides. And I only saw her from behind, in my peripheral. Still . . .

  • Waiting so long to read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I was gonna try and finish up the book I was reading before I began, but I’d heard such good things about it that in the end, I couldn’t help myself. Now I’m sorry I didn’t start on it first. It’s simply wonderful so far.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. NOT my cover, unfortunately. It's lovely.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. NOT my cover, unfortunately. It’s lovely.

  • Eating maybe just a teensy little bit too much chocolate. Okay, I overloaded on sugar. But it was in a good cause, because the hubby was forcing me to watch Vampire Diaries. Which brings me to . . .

  • Being inveigled into watching The Vampire Diaries. Aarrrgh! My eyes! The soap! Seriously, either Elena needs to stake both of the boys to stop having to INTERMINABLY CHOOSE BETWEEN THEMor the boys need to cut Elena in half so they can each have a piece. I mean, it’ll be bloody, but they’re vampires. They love blood. WIN/WIN.

  • Not drinking enough tea. I need to drink more. Tea is the great relaxer; comfort and contentment all in one lovely warm cup.

  • Messing about on the internet instead of writing. Oh boy, did I do this! Someone may need to stage an intervention.

Must  . . .

write . . .

must . . .

finish . . .

book!

  • Twisted my ankle while carrying the washing outside and down the stair. Yes. Stair, singular. Just one step. And I managed to twist my ankle on it. Huzzah! I’m half-way to Mary-Sue YA heroine status already!

How ’bout you guys?

Breaking The Rules

I’d like to start out this blog post by saying that I break the rules. A lot. (Not laws and work rules and such- I’m almost offensively straight-laced when it comes to following those. I am not a rebel.)

Nope, I’m talking about writing rules. The ones that say things like ‘Cut ALL adverbs and adjectives’ and ‘Never start a sentence with a preposition’ and ‘Never use any dialogue tags’. Stuff like ‘Always sit down and outline your book before you write the first word’ and ‘Never use semicolons’. No run-on sentences! Not to mention all the various grammar rules and regulations. Let’s face it, when it comes to writing, there are a lot of rules.

For the record, I use quite a reasonable amount of adverbs and adjectives, and although I don’t tag every bit of dialogue I write, I do tag some. There are some rules of grammar that I break for effect or in line with a particular character’s voice. I quite often, for stylistic purposes, start a sentence with a preposition. I may, in fact, have broken most of the rules of writing. There’s a time and a place for everything.

HOWEVER.

There is a huge, monumental, gaping great difference between breaking the rules for stylistic/characteristic/etc purposes, and breaking them because you don’t know what the heck you’re doing. A huge amount of my favourite authors break the rules constantly, in one way or another (reading Terry Pratchett last night just reinforced this) and I don’t think there are many people who would be daft enough to tell Terry Pratchett, Patricia Wrede, Steven Brust, etc, to pull their socks up and get their grammar right. This is because they know the rules. They simply choose to break them every now and then. But they do know them.

I’ve read a heck of a lot of bad books. Books with bad spelling, the wrong homonyms, atrocious grammar: errors that stick with you whether or not the actual stuff of the book is good. I’ve also heard a lot of authors, when their errors are pointed out, say something along the lines of: “Oh, I didn’t realise that. But it’s okay, insert famous author here does it all the time.”

It’s not okay. Breaking the rules is okay, but there needs to be a reason. And you need to know that reason. You need to know the rules before you break them. It makes all the difference between good and bad writing. You might get it right by accident, breaking the rules, but you’re far more likely to get it horribly wrong and find your book being mocked for the rest of its (probably short) life.

So pull your socks up. Learn the rules.

Then go ahead and feel free to break ’em.