Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I've done a book review for FORBIDDEN by Megan Curd.
Awesome book.

Check it out on my YAlicious blog.

Hope everyone has a great day :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Trailers

I LOVE watching previews. I'm actually a little ridiculous about it. Usually, once a week, I'll pop over to Apple Trailers and download anything new and just watch my little heart out.

So - as you can imagine, to me - the idea of BOOK trailers totally rocks!

I decided I wanted to make one for Golden Blood. It had been suggested to me a while ago, but I wasn't sure I could pull it off, so popped it into the 'too hard' box until I was ready.

Well, the other day I sat down and decided to stop being stupid and just make one. I spent a good half hour on youtube looking at a whole bunch of other book trailers and deciding what I liked about each of them. After that, I decided I could pull it off without creating something mega lame :)

First things first, I needed music, clips, photos and some good little lines running throughout it. I wanted to try and do this for free, so all the components needed to be royalty free and still useable legally.

It was much easier than I thought it would be. Google images was a great place to start, plus the following sites...

http://www.videoblocks.com/ These guys offer a free download trial. I went to town and got a bunch of stuff I could use for future trailers as well.

http://www.stockfootageforfree.com/ These guys have a bunch of free music that is awesome for backing tracks.

http://www.footagefirm.com/ I didn't end up using this site, but I saw the link and thought I'd share. Looks quite good.

Once I had all my material tucked away in a folder, it was time to start construction. I'm a mac girl so I opened up imovie and got to work. imovie is a very easy program to use, so in the end putting the clip together did not take long.

Once I had finished it, got my friends to give me a little feedback and tweaked it some more, I uploaded it to youtube then linked it to all the sites I am associated with. It's had some good responses, so that's great.

The best part about this - I had so much fun doing it. I was really happy with the end result too.

You can have a little look see on this blog - up in the left hand corner. I hope you enjoy it :)

Have any of you made book trailers or had them made for you?
What do you look for in a book trailer?
Do they entice you to read a book?
What's the best book trailer you've seen so far?

Friday, November 25, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Happy Thanksgiving

YA writers and bloggers unite each week to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams about what it's like going indie in today's publishing world.

Thanksgiving. I love it! I think it is SUCH a fantastic time of year and such an awesome tradition. I wish we celebrated it in New Zealand.

Although we don't, I don't see any reason why I can't be thankful. In fact, I find having an attitude of gratitude all year round can actually get you through some pretty tough times.

I just got home from hospital this morning, having spent two nights in there they I did not expect to have. While I was lying in there, my poor husband was contending with a baby and my other son who "had the throws ups." There has been plenty to lament in the last two days... but there has also been plenty to be thankful for.

- My son only had a 12 hour bug so was his bouncy, happy self this morning
- My baby has been an angel, sleeping when he should, eating well and doing everything his Daddy needed him to
- I had a room to myself, so although it was a hospital, and yes I was uncomfortable, I could almost pretend for a moment, like I was in a hotel :)
- I had time to catch up on some reading and got through two and a half books while I was laid up
- I realized just how many people love and care about me as I got numerous texts and phone calls from my family and friends
- I realized just how in love I am with my husband. He is an amazing man and I don't know what I'd do without him

So no matter what day of the week it is. No matter what I am going through, I know I am blessed.

Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and remember that.

So - what do you have to be grateful for?

See what the other YA Indie Carnival goers think about Thanksgiving...

Here's what's new at YA Indie Carnival this week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gemma's Teen Traveling Guide

In case you are interested, Gemma has shared her Teen Traveling Guide with Laura Elliot - Author of "13 on Halloween" and "Winnemucca".

For those of you who don't know who Gemma is yet, she's the MC in Golden Blood. At school, she's considered a very unusual girl with a bundle of secrets.

Find out what some of them are at Laura's Magic Day Blog.

I hope everyone has had or is having (depending on what side of the globe you live on) a great day :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do You Ever Read Aloud?

I read aloud to my son every night. He LOVES stories and it's always a battle to finish story time. He'd make me read all night if he could.

As I was reading last night, adding accents and varied tones to make it fun, it suddenly struck me how much I was getting out of the experience. I was bringing the story to life. It made me realize just how important reading aloud really is.

I remember reading once, that it is essential to read your finished work out loud. The flow of the work becomes obvious, the punctuation jumps out at you (especially if it's wrong) and the dialogue can be tweaked and perfected until you have a conversation that could be acted out in a movie.

When I read, I often hear each word in my head. I know, that makes me incredibly slow sometimes, but it does make me a good proofreader and mistakes are often glaringly obvious to me.

It's harder to pick up mistakes in my own work, of course, because I know what I want it to say, but reading aloud helps me with this.

Reading aloud also helps me touch on the right emotion. If I verbally act out my dialogue, I know the tone I want to portray. I can easily imagine movements that will add to the mood of the scene and it makes it easier for me to place the characters in an appropriate setting. For some reason, hearing the dialogue works for me.

What works for you?
Do you read your work aloud?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

YA Indie Carnival - Popularity of YA Fantasy

I've just joined the YA Indie Carnival. This is a place where writers and bloggers come together each week to share their thoughts on a topic. So come join us and see what we have to say :)

Today's topic is the popularity of YA fantasy.

What is it about YA fantasy that really gets us excited?

I can only speak for myself, of course, but there is something about the magic of it all. It's so far from reality, yet the people inside these worlds still deal with real, human emotions. It is so easy to connect with them, in spite of the foreign world they play in.

I often say, there is nothing better than stepping out of reality for a while and losing yourself in another world. I love getting caught up in amazing stories with characters I'd never normally meet and situations I'd never encounter. It's exciting.

My heart begins to hammer, my muscles grow taut as I live out perilous situations with my characters, wondering if they'll make it out alive. My mind is awed by the amazing places they travel to, the awesome creatures they encounter, the super natural things they can do. My emotions take a roller coaster ride of epic proportions and I usually finish the book with a huge smile on my face. What a trip.

So, maybe that's why YA fantasy is so enticing. Maybe that's why people are drawn to it.

What do you think?

Find out what other carnival goers have to say: http://yaauthorclub.blogspot.com/

I hope everyone heads into a fantastic weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bring on the blogging!

For those of you who don't already know, I've just launched a new blog called YAlicious. I wanted to set up a blog to celebrate YA fiction. I have a whole bunch of fun ideas (my list of possible posts is getting ridiculously long!) I'm starting tomorrow with Friday Favorites!

Anyway - it got me thinking.
What do you look for in a blog?

Personally, I like a blog that is eye-catching, organized and not over crowded. I like blog posts to be relatively short and sweet and I always appreciate a picture. I like to read posts that get a good discussion going, that teach me something, or reminder of why I am crazy enough to want to be a writer :) I like to see how popular a blog is. I like gadgets that tell me a little more about the blogger and their interests. I'm not too fussed on regularity, but I think a blogger should try to be posting at least once a week, if not twice.

Those are the main things I look for, but I'm aware that everyone has different tastes. I'd love to find out some of yours :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take A Look

Hey everyone :)

I'm hanging out with Reece today. He invited me to do post a guest blog about self-publishing. It was a hard one to write. I had so much I wanted to say! I also needed to word it carefully , because obviously I didn't want to give anyone the impression I was anti "the big six." I think traditional publishing is awesome, I just think self-publishing is the best option for me.

I've entitled the post, "It's All A Matter Of Opinion"

Check it out...


Monday, November 14, 2011

Is that too much?

As you can imagine, I have been swimming in a sea of marketing for the last week. In spite of how difficult it's been, I'm actually really enjoying it. I've never done anything like this before and new challenges are good for the personality :)

I was doing some research while I was away this weekend and I stumbled across an article about Amanda Hocking. She's done pretty well for herself, so I read through it to try and get some ideas. One thing she did, that would be very easy to implement, was to charge 99c for her first book then any subsequent books in the series were $2.99.

It's a smart move. Get people hooked, then move the price of your book up to the 70% royalty rate on Amazon.

I can't decide how I feel about this. I think it's a very clever move, but do I want to do it?
It's more important to me, that my work is out there and enjoyed. But, I would love to earn enough money so that when my youngest boy starts school, I don't have to go back to full time work. I want to stay home and write. In order to that, I need to be intelligent in my marketing strategies.

However, I am a brand new author and I almost feel as though I don't have the right to charge more than 99c until I make a bit of a name for myself.

Amanda Hocking did it though, and people still bought her stuff.

If I were a reader, I don't think I'd be offended if an author did that. If I liked the first book enough, I'd happily pay $2.99 to get the second and third books in the series.

But I'm interested in what you guys think.
What's your opinion?
If you were me, what would you do?
And as a reader, how do you feel about paying more for subsequent books in a series.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My First Interview!

Very fun.
I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Reece.

Check it out on his blog: http://rhanzon.blogspot.com/

Have a great day everyone :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Close together or far apart?

Golden Blood is on the market and I'm now preparing Black Blood for release in December. I've decided to put the books out relatively close together as I can't stand reading a trilogy and having to wait MONTHS for the sequels. By the time you get the second or third book, you've usually forgotten all the little details of the other books.
Now, I haven't done any marketing research on this strategy, so I don't know if it's a wise move or not, but I've decided to go for it anyway.

I wrote the trilogy as one before deciding to pursue publishing. This was a story I had to get out of me and it felt incomplete writing the first one and leaving the other two books for later. I wanted to get the ENTIRE story out. I'm glad I did it this way, because after my beta readers gave me their feedback, I went back and rewrote 80% of Book One. Book Two and Three, reaped the benefits of that decision too. I can safely say that what I have put out there for readers to enjoy is what I consider to be my best work so far... and they won't have to wait an age to complete the trilogy.

But how does that affect the momentum of book sales? Do publishing companies purposefully wait so long between books because they want to make their audience extra hungry? In my case that strategy has sometimes back fired. I've had to wait so long that I've forgotten to look for the next book or I have forgotten too much of the last one to bother.
Maybe publishers wait so long, because the author hasn't completed the next book and they want to see how sales go on Book One before taking a risk on Book Two. That could be one of the benefits of self-publishing. No matter what my sales are like, for the people out there who enjoyed Golden Blood, they are definitely going to be able to finish the trilogy, because I WILL publish all three books.

What do you think?
Would you prefer publishers/authors to release their books close together or do you think it's better to have this big gap in between them?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's your preference?

Like everybody out there, my life is busy and time to do the things I love is always very precious. If you're anything like me, you snatch whatever free moments you have to work on your writing or any aspect related to that.

Because my book went online this week, I have decided to dedicate this week to marketing. Next week, I need to establish a routine where I manage to fit in marketing and writing. I know the balance is going to be tough to find.

I find social media all consuming, but it is so necessary. I have a Facebook page, this blog, a twitter account (MelissaPearlG) and author pages on Goodreads, Amazon and Smashwords. Keeping up with all of these things takes time and finding minutes spare for writing is becoming harder and harder.

I guess what I'm wondering is how people fit it all in? I love to blog, so I often fall back on that as my main form of social media. I know others prefer Twitter, some are Facebook fanatics. Realistically, we can't do it all.

So, what's your preference?
How do you like to get yourself out there?
How do you find time to fit it all in?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's Your Motivation?

Well, my book has been on line for a couple of days now. I am finding it hard not to open my laptop every two seconds to see how many copies I've sold. It made me step back today and say, "Whoa, what's your motivation here. Is it the money?"

I had a good think and I can safely say, that no - I'm not being obsessive about checking because of the money. I mean, I am only selling it for 99c! I do have to admit, that if I could earn enough from this to be able to stay home and write, I'd be the happiest person on the planet (so buy my book J). Seriously though, that's not the main reason I put my book online. It's the sharing. The more copies I sell, the more people are reading my work and that is such a buzz for me.

Someone left a review on Amazon and Smashwords yesterday. Five stars with awesome comments. It made my day, because what that means, is that I gave someone a chance to lose themselves in a book... and they had a great time.

So why do I write? To lose myself in a story.
Why do I share? So someone else can get lost in a story too.

Why do you write?
Why do you share?
What's your motivation?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ready, Set, GO!!

Okay, so I uploaded my book this weekend and it's all happened very fast!

Golden Blood is now available for only $0.99 on Smashwords in multiple formats or through Amazon.

It's so amazing to see it online. A total dream come true. I've been working with these characters for three years now, so to see a cover up and people purchasing my story is such an amazing feeling.

If any of you would like to review my book, I'm happy to supply you a free copy. Just leave me a message in the comment box and I'll get in touch with you.

I know announcing this on the weekend when the blogging world takes a small breather is probably not the best strategy, but I just couldn't wait. For those of you reading this, forgive me if I do a similar post again on Monday :)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Big Reveal

Heart palpitations! I'm actually doing this!

Okay, so like I promised, here is the cover and blurb of my first self-published novel.

First, I want to say a HUGE thank you to Amanda Crane for the amazing job you did. I'm so excited with how it turned out. You are legend.

Second, I have to thank my beautiful model, Frankie. You are gorgeous and you look beautiful on the cover. Thanks for helping me out.

Last, but not least, thank you to my amazing husband, Peter, and my best friend, Bree, who understand how passionate I am about writing and always help me out anyway they can. What would I do without you guys?

Golden Blood, will be available on Amazon and Smashwords next week. Will post links when the books come on line.

Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.

Gemma's parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be "used and abused", as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew... Harrison Granger.

Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can't stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I know I'm going to find this review hard to write. My views are a little contradicting, so bear with me :)

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.

Firstly I want to say that I loved this book. I would definitely read it again and I highly recommend it, but be warned... it is also hard work.

Helen is a shy, awkward student who can't stand attention. She keeps her head down and gets on with life. This all begins to change when she meets Lucas, the most beautiful boy she's ever seen. To her surprise, she is overtaken by an incredible urge to kill him. An ancient curse means Lucas and Helen are destined to hate each other, but love can be stronger and so begins an epic battle of will power.

What I loved about the book was the awesome characters. The backstory and Helen's history is so cool. I found it really hard to put down, because I wanted to find out more about her, where she came from and all about Lucas' family.

What I found hard going was the fact that Lucas and Helen, in spite of their love, could not be together. It was so frustrating. Every time I got my hopes up, they would once again be dashed. I was constantly battling between elation and disappointment as I turned from page to page.

I am pleased to see that this is only the first book in the trilogy, so my hope for the pair lingers. My advice would be be to wait and read the book closer to May 2012. Book 2 is due out then and it might be easier to slide straight from this book into the next. Having to wait months, is going to be tough.

Definitely add this to your reading list though. In spite of my emotional roller coaster ride, I can't wait to read it again in May :)