It’s been a crazy few months, but I’m pleased to announce that Troll Curse is out! You can grab your copy at Amazon now.
Jasyn is at the bottom of the food chain in the troll camp. As a mage, he lacks the brute strength that he could use to demand respect. He certainly will never catch the eye of a warrior woman like Kriss. But when he finds a book in a human village detailing unknown facts about the curse of the trolls, he knows he has to act before the trolls fight themselves into extinction.
Ever since she was a little girl being bullied around by her brothers, Kriss has been determined never to be weak. She’d never look twice at a troll like Jasyn. Strength and being able to beat anyone is her goal, and she won’t let anything distract her from it. Until Jasyn stands up to their leader and insists there is another way. A more peaceful way.
The two of them form an alliance, bound in a marriage of convenience, focused on finding a way to end the fighting. An alliance that tests them in more ways than one. But can a people who have been ruled by strength and war ever find a peaceful solution to their problems? And can Kriss and Jasyn find time to look for their own happiness?
It’s that time of year again, countdown time to NaNoWriMo 2014. I’ve done this competition every year since 2006, though I haven’t always won! Nonetheless, I always find the forums, groups and best of all, the cool graphs, help keep me motivated to write more than I otherwise would.
Again though, I’m faced with that yearly decision – what to write!
Some years, a novel just jumps out at me and there is no decision, I just know what I’m writing. Now that I’m a published writer, with fans (Fans!) waiting for the next book, I have a little more responsibility. I should write the next book in either of my current two series. I have people asking for both.
But there’s also this other idea that just won’t leave me alone…
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How do you decide what to write? And if you want to vote on what I should write next, feel free!
With the rough draft of Troll Curse finished, I’m into the editing stage, and I decided to try something different this time. I’m looking for a team of beta readers to give me some actual reader feedback, instead of just an editor.
What is a beta reader?
The job of a beta reader isn’t to catch every spelling or grammar mistake (though feel free to point out any your notice if you want!) Beta readers are for story development. The typical information I’ll be looking for is:
General impressions – did the story flow well, did you identify with the characters, were there any bits that were too fast or too slow? Is there a section I skipped that you wanted to know more about? Do you think the characters did something unexpected, or something that makes you not like them?
Did I miss anything? – When I read the story, I know the characters and background information, and sometimes I forget that a reader doesn’t! If anything doesn’t make sense, or you feel like you’ve missed something, let me know.
Description – As above, I have the characters and places in my head, and sometimes I forget to write that down (or don’t put in enough details). Let me know if you’d like to know more, or are having trouble visualising the scene.
Any Confusion – If something doesn’t make sense, for whatever reason, let me know! Or if I change character names, ages, places, or anything else without warning or explaination.
Anything else – If there’s anything else you’d like to comment on, let me know!
The Good and the Bad
If there’s something you really like about the story, I love to hear it! But that doesn’t mean you should praise everything. I want to know the things that are bad or wrong so I can fix them.
What if I haven’t read the first book?
That’s okay. Though Troll Curse is the second in the series, it’s written so that it will stand alone. In fact, if you haven’t read the first book, I’d particularly love your feedback to make sure I’m not leaning too heavily on the knowledge of the first book.
There are Two Options
Mostly, beta readers get the book after the author has done an initial edit to smooth out the rough spots, and read it straight through then send the writer a list of their thoughts.
I want to try something a little different. I’d really love to get feedback as I’m going, chapter by chapter. That way if there is a major story problem, I can fix future chapters as I go, rather than having to do extra passes. I’m proposing setting up a private Facebook group, and posting each chapter as I go. You can either write comments on the post, or send me them by email. My plan would be to post a chapter a day.
Of course, I’d also love people to read straight through and give me their overall thoughts as well, so choose whichever option works for you. If you choose this option though, I’d need feedback in 2 weeks, as I’m hoping to have this book out some time in November.
How do I sign up?
If you’re interested in either of these two options, contact me and let me know. Send me an email at email@example.com, or a message on Facebook. If you comment on this post, please make sure you leave your email address, or I can’t contact you back!
With the upcoming release of Troll Curse, sequel to Twin Curse, it was clear that I needed some series branded covers, which means Twin Curse needed an overhaul. I loved the initial cover (I love all my covers!), but I felt it needed more of a fantasy feel, so I’ve added a dash of magic.
Don’t forget, it’s available to borrow through Kindle Unlimited.
Would love to know what you think.
Sorry I’ve been absent. I’ve been busy writing Troll Curse, the sequel to Twin Curse. I’m on the last chapter now (or maybe the second last, sometimes it’s hard to tell!), and hoping to have it out in the next few months. Once this draft is done, I’ll be looking for a couple of beta readers, so if you’re interested, leave a comment (and your email address!) below.
I’m hoping to keep this blog a bit more updated, but when it comes to choosing writing blog posts, or writing novels, novels usually win! But I do post short updates on Facebook more frequently, so if you want to keep up with the latest, follow me there, or over on Twitter.
Of course, the best place to start is with Kerit, who is the character we all know from the first two books.
Name: Kerit Bekkert
Height/Weight: tall, thin and wiry
Body type: wiry and lean
Scent: outdoorsy, beachy? (Can someone smell beachy?)
Texture (i.e. of hands, skin, etc.): firm and smooth
Clothing style/frequently worn clothes: tidy casual. At the beach, he’d wear board shorts and a rash vest. Around home, probably casual shorts and a t-shirt, going out, jeans and a collard shirt, not tucked in. (Need to check this with Reckless Rebellion)
Hair: blond, longish around his face, often hangs in his eyes
Characteristic tags: laid back and easy-going. Keeps to himself, and doesn’t get involved in other people’s problems. Or he didn’t, until his brother and sister-in-law were involved.
Race/Ethnic group: Born on Urslat to a high-middle class family
Years of schooling: finished high school
Any special occupational training: spent many years and hours surfing! And doing a lot of other outdoorsy activities such as rock climbing and hiking.
Occupation: surfer, paying the bills through sponsorship
Skills, Abilities, and Talents: surfing, swimming, rock-climbing
Admirable personality traits (strengths): Positive, kind, thoughtful
Negative personality traits (weaknesses): self-conscious, doesn’t think much of himself
Things that make angry: Kerit is hard to anger. People putting him down, or thinking less of him, annoy him, but it has to be pretty blatant for him to become angry
Method of handling anger: walking away, talking it out, suppressing and ignoring it
Things that embarrass: just as he’s hard to anger, Kerit is hard to embarrass. If someone teases him, he’s likely to laugh along with the joke (although possibly be embarrassed inside?) Mostly, he dislikes being compared to others.
Method of handling embarrassment: joking, usually at his own expense
Method of handling fear: avoidance, and a little bit of superstition
Philosophy of Life: have fun, do the things that inspire you in life, and stay true to yourself
Favourite Foods: Anything! Kerit likes pretty much all foods
Favourite Books: Kerit isn’t a big reader. His favourite books are probably surfing inspired
Favourite Place: Out on the waves, or at the beach
Item(s) special to character: dolphin necklace that he passed on to Tyris, and his surfboard
Person/friend close to character: his brother, Tyris, and now Marlee as well
Description of home, home life, and economic status: Kerit lives alone, in an apartment. His income comes from sponsorship of his surfing, and isn’t huge. He drives an average car. He comes from a high achieving family, so is the odd one out.
Most painful experiences in character’s past (to prove why they act the way they do): Kerit has had a pretty easy life. The only painful experiences he’s had are his parents not supporting his surfing, and his serious girlfriend wanting him to get a ’proper job’. Or… Maybe not knowing where Marlee had gone, and if she was ok, made him feel like he let his brother down.
Character’s goals (What they want)(Their biggest dream): Kerit is drifting at the beginning of the story. He’s left his surfing behind to follow Tyris and Marlee, and isn’t sure what he’s going to do with his life now, besides hope that Semala has a good ocean to surf. (Maybe one without sharks?)
Character’s motivation (Why they want the above goal): Kerit wants to be accepted, and to live a fun and happy life. Besides finding a good surfing ocean, and maybe building a beachside shack, he doesn’t have many goals
Character’s conflict (What is keeping them from their goal): the people on Semala, who don’t want anyone else on their planet! And the alien, keeping chasing him, and making his life more difficult.
Summarize character’s Fatal Flaw (the main problem to work through): Kerit constantly compares himself to his brother, and feels lacking. He is plagued by doubts, and avoids making decisions, preferring to defer to someone else
Is there anything else you’d like to know about Kerit? Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
Following his brother half way across the galaxy seemed like a good idea at the time, but it hadn’t hit him just how much he was giving up. Stir-crazy after three weeks in space, Kerit, professional surfer turned interstellar colonist, jumps at the chance to get off the ship and onto the new planet’s surface—even if it is a little inhospitable.
He expects searing heat. He expects acid rain. He even expects the sunburn from hell. What he doesn’t expect is to meet Folly—the most prickly, irritating, and fascinating girl he’s ever known. And he needs her help if they want to make this planet their new home.
Determined to find her father’s ship and prove he was a brilliant scientist, Folly has no interest in getting to know Kerit. The cute stranger is just a distraction. Unless of course he can help her in her search…
But something sinister lurks in the ruined city, and neither of them realise how much they are going to have to rely on each other if they want to make it out alive.
Reckless Recon is the third book in the Barren Planet Romance series.
Each book can be read alone, but is best enjoyed as part of the series.
The suggested reading order is:
As some of you may have read, I finished the rough draft of Reckless Recon for Camp NaNoWriMo, just before the end of April. So here it is in the middle of June, and it’s not out yet. What gives?
In some ways, editing is almost as difficult as writing the rough draft. For that first job of getting the story down on paper, I try to switch off my ‘internal editor’, as he/she tends to bring writing to it’s knees. If I’m wondering if I’m making the right choices for the story or giving enough description, or following the right plot points, I tend to spend a lot of time staring at a blank page. So instead, I write. And I write whatever comes into my head. (In this case, it was large, and black, just saying.) For me, this leads to a better, and more interesting book. But also one that inevitably has some problems.
And by the time I finish that rough draft, I really can’t see what they are. So I send the book to my sister, and she picks up on bits lacking description, characters acting out of character, and bits that don’t make sense. Sometimes I post scenes I’m having extra trouble with on writing groups, for some alternate opinions. And of course, I work through two passes (one for story/character, one for sentence structure/grammar/typos) with my editor. Then hubby does a final proofread. Each of these passes can take a week, sometimes two, and really, they can’t be done concurrently.
So given that, I’m pretty pleased to announce that I’m almost done. I have a few little issues to fix, then it goes to hubby for a final proofread. While he’s doing that, I’ll be starting formatting. I already have these beautiful header graphics that my sister made up for me.
As with Reckless Rebellion, I’d love to have someone who hasn’t read the first two books do a read through for me, and see how this one reads as a standalone, so if you’re interested, leave a comment!
As I posted on Facebook, I created an entry in my bookshelf for Reckless Recon a couple of days ago. I like to do this a week or two before the book is ready to publish, just to keep my motivation up, to start filling in all the fields (keywords and categories can take a bit of thought, not to mention blurb. No, let’s not talk about blurbs yet). Sometimes, you even discover a problem that needs to be solved before the book can go live. In this case, when I uploaded my cover, I could instantly see that something was wrong. The beautiful yellow colours looked muddy and washed out, as you can see in the picture below. The image on the left is the one shown on my Amazon edit page, the one on the right is a screen capture from my own webpage.
I tried uploading several different formats. Tiff instead of JPEG (no difference), CMYK instead of RGB (wouldn’t let me upload), larger files, higher quality. Nothing made any difference. Every time I uploaded, I was faced with this same, washed out image. I posted on a writers forum I’m on, and received sympathy, but no suggestions. I even emailed KDP, and began the process of going through their canned responses in the hopes of getting an actual solution.
Then I checked back on the forum, and someone posted a comment about specifying a colour profile, and how I could right click on the image, select properties, and find out what colour profile the image was using. So I checked it out, and low and behold, my colour profile was ‘unspecified’. Hmm. So I did a bit of research to find out how to change it, (under Edit–>Convert to profile in Photoshop), changed it to sRGB (recommended by Amazon), and started the upload.
It took forever! I waited, staring at the spot where my image would be, torn between hope that it would display correctly, and fear that it would still look awful.
Luckily, it worked!
So I’ve spent the morning changing all my other covers, and now they’re all beautiful, just like they’re supposed to be
Seems like I’m never done learning about all this publishing stuff!