Thursday, January 31, 2013

Indie Author Spotlight: Bryna Butler

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

The next author to feature in our spotlight this year is, Bryna Butler.
This lovely lady is the author of the Midnight Guardian Series, which you will find out more about below, but first, let's get to know Bryna

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 After graduating with the honor of Outstanding Communications Student from the University of Rio Grande, Bryna Butler settled down with her high school sweetheart on their family farm along the banks of the Ohio River. She put her bachelor’s degree in mass communication to use, working in radio and for civic groups before starting her career as an accomplished financial public relations and corporate communications professional. Over the years, she has authored hundreds of publications and press releases.


What is your all-time favorite book and why?
I adore The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Its style is like nothing else I’ve ever read. I found it to be almost hypnotic with its imagery and near poetic cadence.

 
Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
Because I tend to write about strong female characters, I think that one could draw a comparison with Charlaine Harris.  I had the opportunity to meet her this summer and, to my surprise, she is a down-to-earth hillbilly just like me.

Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?

One of my favorite quotes comes from my newest book, Shadows Rising. In this scene, Keira faces off against the leader of a group of extremists that believe her charge is keeping her from her destiny. I think this quote is a great mix of Keira’s courage and her youth.

“You keep yapping about my charge being a distraction, but here I am dealing with you again. Leave us and my charge alone or die tonight at my hand. I mean it, jerk wad.”

What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I’m very inspired by my favorite authors. I often name characters, places and things in my stories in homage to these authors and their work. For instance, in the Midnight Guardian series there is a goth girl named Mikayla Collins whom everyone calls Mikey. Mikey is clearly named in honor of Michael Glass and Shane Collins, two of my favorite characters from Rachel Caine’s Morganville series. Her goth look comes from another beloved character in that series. Also, I’m a huge Joss Whedon fan (who isn’t?). If you look hard enough, you will find several subtle references to Buffy and Firefly sprinkled throughout my books.

Describe your typical writing day or week.
Just call me the “Night Writer”, not because it sounds like an insanely cool superhero, but because it is true. For me, writing typically begins after the kids are tucked into bed somewhere around 9 p.m. I grab a soda from the fridge and settle in with my laptop. Typically, I first re-read and edit the last thing I wrote before I start writing anything new. That refreshes it in my mind and allows me to move forward. 

Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
I can’t eat while I write. Sounds good in theory, but it never works in practical application. BBQ sauce on the keys…melted cheese on the screen...a whole chapter about brownies.

Can you tell us what you're working on right now?
Shadows Rising was released on January 18th. In this 4th installment in the Midnight Guardian series, Keira and her friends race to rescue her charge before The Harvest and the rise of a new form of evil, the shadows.

Book 5 is well underway with the working title of Book of the Lost and an anticipated late spring release. I’ve also begun work on a young adult werewolf trilogy set in Alaska. The story centers on a girl that walks the line between two feuding werewolf packs. 

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If you'd like to connect with Bryna online, you can follow the links below:

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 And just for a treat, here's a little excerpt from Shadow Rising for you to enjoy...

Exclusive Shadows Rising Excerpt that you will only see on YA Indie Carnival author sites…

     The night was warm, even though a slight breeze stirred. Keira made her way through the soybean field. She knew the way over the uneven path, even if she couldn’t see. That was nearly the case as clouds worked to block out the moon and stars. The air was thick; the kind that always preceded the summer rain.
     As the dirt started to dimple here and there, her steps came quicker. Cool drops chilled her shoulders left bare by her tank top. Steps turned into a jog as the two-story farmhouse came into sight. If she ran hard enough, she could reach his porch before the downpour.
     In seconds, she covered the yard. Just a few strides more would land her on the steps where she could wait out the rain on the porch.
     Maybe that’s why it happened. Keira was so focused on escaping the rain. Her sneaker slid on the wet grass. Arms circled wildly over her head, eager to find balance or support. They landed on clean, soft cloth. Her feet skittered beneath her as the man under the white robe grabbed her hair and pulled her head back.
     “The guardian,” a whisper rose and echoed among the small group. “The guardian,” their murmurs above the tumbles of the strengthening rain. “The guardian.”
     Hands flew to her sides and held her arms out. She pulled against them, but there were too many. “Let me go,” she screamed.
     Immediately, they let go. She hadn’t expected it and fell on her knees.
     “We wish you no harm, guardian. We have come for the midnight child. Trust that this is for the best,” a tall man said. His mouth barely moved, unmarked by expression or emotion of any kind.
     Rain began to pour over them. Keira scanned the group to etch every face into her memory; two eager young men, perhaps twins, with strong chins and light coloring; a plump, young woman with red curls falling out of her hooded cloak; a buxom brunette with a permanent sneer; and a mustached brute with a nasty scar through his left eyebrow.
     Then, her eyes flickered back to the leader, a bald man with soulless black eyes. Him she knew. It had taken her only a moment to realize he was the one that crashed Jumper’s last Halloween party. He had come for her charge that night too.
     “You know that I will never allow you to take him.”
     “Your loyalty is misplaced with the Hayes family,” the bald man answered with a voice that chilled her to the bone. “Allow us to remove the distraction so that you may fulfill your true destiny.”
     “He is not a midnight child. He is my charge.”
     “He is of no consequence.”
     A crack sounded, causing everyone to look up. A dark figure stood on the edge of the roof. He stepped forward and landed softly on the ground. He stood tall beside Keira.
     Brun’s voice was heavy with anger. “You heard her. The child is not to be touched.”
     “But…” the leader of the group started.
     His dispute was not heard because Brun was behind him in the next second. The shine of Brun’s short sword glistened at the man’s ear.
     “If you will not listen, perhaps you do not need this ear,” Brun growled. “From this day forward, let it be known that the guardian and I both protect this child. Whoever dares to approach him will succumb to the full wrath of the Empire and Elsted. You will leave now…ahhh!”
     The leader wrenched his dagger out of Brun’s side. Blood dripped from the dagger’s edge. Brun stumbled back, his face a mixture of disbelief and horror.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Facebook Groups - What They Can Do For You.

I belong to several Facebook Groups. I was a little unsure when I first started out on Facebook and kind of fell into a couple of groups without meaning to. Initially, I don't think I took advantage of them at all.

However, after nearly a year of actively using Facebook, I'm getting a handle on groups and am SO grateful to belong to them.

Due to time constraints and writing deadlines, I can't participate regularly in every group, but there are four that have become very precious to me and here are the reasons why...

1. They provide me with a place to ask questions, vent my concerns, celebrate my successes and feel supported in a job that can sometimes be quite lonely.

2. I have learned so many cool things about the publishing industry, gleaned helpful tips on how to market successfully and how to write better.

3. Reading comment threads on interesting questions or topics has helped me to evaluate my own writing journey and given me ideas on how I can tweak and improve my work.

4. My writing groups help me promote my work, vote for my books on Goodreads lists, like my book pages and generally help me get word out about any new releases or giveaways I have going on.

5. Belonging to these groups gives me the opportunity to give a little back. I love being able to support and promote other writers. I love feeling part of a group and knowing that I am doing my part to help them in their journey as well.

If you are a writer and you don't belong to any decent groups or networks yet, seek some out. Or you could form one of your own with a few contacts you know. It's great to be part of a team and makes the process of writing and producing books a million times better.

To my precious Facebook groups (Inklings, IU, II, SSoFIYA), thank you so much for your awesome support and friendship. I love and appreciate you all so much xxxx


Friday, January 25, 2013

Kindle/Amazon - All In Or Diversify?

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

I think this is a really interesting discussion for the week. I have read many comments on this topic and although I can see where everyone is coming from, I still remain firmly on my side of the camp.

I diversify.

Amazon is amazing and I am really glad I have my books featured on their site. I like their set up and I buy most of my books through them.

However, I never want to feel like they are my only option, so I have made sure that my books can be purchased in as many places as possible.

I have spoken to various people about KDP Select and looked at how it has worked for some and not for others. Either way, I don't like the idea of having to make my books exclusive. I want my market to be broad. The more people who can access my books, the better. This makes sense to me. 

Amazon is still my top seller, but I am starting to sell more and more books through Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and Sony. Who knows what will become of each of these retailers. I like the idea that my options are open.

What do you think?
Do you have your books published everywhere or is Amazon the one you like to stick with?

If you'd like to hear what the other YA Indie Carnival members think, then you can check out their sites below.

You can also check out the YA Author Club for the latest updates and news on what we're all up to.

1.Laura A. H. Elliott2.Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3.T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series4.Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5.Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog6.K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7.Gwenn Wright, author of Filter8.Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9.Ella James10.Maureen Murrish
11.YA Sci Fi Author's Ramblings12.A Little Bit of R&R
13.Melissa Pearl14.Terah Edun - YA Fantasy





Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Will You Venture With Me?

Last week I put forward the question - is it okay for an author to write in multiple genres?

If you'd like to read the post, you can check it out here.

I asked the question because I guess I've been a little worried about writing in a slightly different genre. You see, my next project is a YA fantasy... and I'm talking old school fantasy - you know with magic and mythical creatures, adventure and a treacherous quest.

It has been SO much fun to work on, but it's also been super scary. I've never done anything like this and it is stretching me so far. I've nearly given up a few times, but I feel like the story is good and worth telling.

Doubts have accosted me at every turn, but for some reason, I keep on ploughing ahead. Hopefully I will look back and be grateful for my tenacity, but I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

So - to my dear readers - who I respect and appreciate so much... in June when the first book of this trilogy is released... will you venture with me? Will you journey into new territory? Will you take a step into the Unknown?


UNKNOWN COVER REVEAL COMING FEBRUARY 19.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Indie Author Spotlight: Suzy Turner

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

To kick of the Indie Author Spotlight Series, we have the lovely Suzy Turner. Now, this is one awesome, chick. She is super nice and supportive and the more I get to know her, the more I like her. 

It's so awesome to have you on my blog today, Suzy!!

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 Suzy Turner has worked as a journalist, assistant editor, features editor, magazine editor and has even been the Script Supervisor for a full length feature film. Early in 2010 however, she began writing full time and has since completed a trilogy for young adults, The Raven Saga (the first of which is FREE) and started a brand new series, The Morgan Sisters. The first full length novel in this series, The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw is now available, as is a shorter novella, Daisy Madigan's Paradise which is FREE!

 Although Suzy is a Yorkshire lass at heart, she left her home town of Rotherham, UK, to move to Portugal with her family when she was ten. For now, the Algarve continues to be her home, where she lives with her childhood sweetheart and husband of 14 years, Michael.

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1) What is your all-time favorite book and why?
Ooh it's so tough to just have one book. But I'd probably go with The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I studied the book at college and totally fell in love with it. I guess it was because it was so different to anything I'd ever read. Perhaps the dystopian side of it also appealed. I'm not sure. Strangely though, I've never read anything else by Margaret Atwood. Not sure why!

 2) Is there an author you could be compared to or popular fictional characters your book's characters could relate to and why?
Recently, my newest series (The Morgan Sisters) was described by a book blogger as 'possibly the next Harry Potter'. Clearly this made my decade and I'd love to be compared to the Great Almighty JK, but I would never compare myself to another writer. I'd like to think my writing is my own... kind of unique, you know?

3) Can you give us your favorite quote from one of your books and explain it?
My favourite quote? That's a toughie, hmmm. How about this...

     'She could hear her heart beating, feel it thudding in her chest. She couldn't open her mouth; it was too dry. All she wanted to do was scream but she couldn't even do that. Please God don't let me die, she thought.
     A sudden massive gust of wind took her feet from beneath her and she was forcefully pushed from the top of Carlton Point, falling silently and peacefully to the rocky hills below.'

The reason I like this scene so much is because I have such a vivid image of it in my mind. When you read on to the next chapter, you'll see that she didn't actually fall. That image of Lana slowly floating, almost in slow motion, reverberated with me. Almost like a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

 4) What types of things/people/music inspires you and makes you want to keep writing?
I am particularly inspired by places. For instance, my first series (The Raven Saga) was inspired by the awesome mountains and forests of Western Canada. My new series (The Morgan Sisters) was inspired by places I've been to in London (as well as by a London actor I met last year).

I think the UK is perhaps one of the most inspiring countries I've ever been to. Every time I visit (although I'm English, I currently live in Portugal), I am blown away by its capacity to inspire me... with its historical buildings and heritage. I'm actually selling up and moving back to England. One of the reasons why we chose England is because of its hold over me with my writing. I can't wait! (Anyone wanna buy a villa in the Algarve?)

5) Describe your typical writing day or week.
When I have deadlines, I write every morning until I've reached my target (if I'm in the zone, I'll write a lot more) and then I chill out with my favourite TV show and a nice cup of Rooibos tea :)

6) Is there a food or drink do you have to have when you're writing?
Just Rooibos tea and water.

7) Can you tell us what you're working on right now?
I'm about to start the second novel in The Morgan Sisters series but it doesn't have a title yet!

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If you'd like to connect with Suzy online, follow the links below:

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Suzy's Books are available through Amazon



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Good Stuff To Know - January 2013

Hey everyone. Yay, my first "Good Stuff To Know" post of the year. How completely cool.
I have a nice little list for you today. I hope you can find something useful within it.

Jodie Renner Editing put together a great post listing a bunch of excellent resources for writers. There is a long list of helpful books here plus a couple of "must read" articles for aspiring authors.

Once again, The Bookshelf Muse (I love these guys!) has put out another great post. This one is called, What Makes A Strong Author's Visit - A Teacher's Perspective. Being a teacher myself, I found it really interesting and I thought there were some great points here. If you do have the opportunity to ever do author visits or public speaking, this article is worth a read.

The lovely, Suzy Turner, led me to this post - The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet. It gives you dimensions for all the different social media sites. An excellent resource for you to refer to.

I stumbled across this blog post through Indies Unlimited and I wanted to share it, because I thought it was really interesting. Aaron Patterson shared his publishing predictions for 2013. His message at the end - "Just keep writing" is why I wanted to share this post. He's got a really good point.

I've decided to sign up to be part of The Indelibles: Indie Life monthly blog hop. I missed the January one, but come February I will share my first post (the 2nd Wednesday of every month). At this stage there are 30 blogs involved and I think it's a great way to share information and learn from each other.

Indie Book Bargains is a UK site that I subscribe to. I get daily emails with current bargains and I find it really interesting to skim through and see what's out there. They have just completed their 2012 Book Awards. I thought there might be a title or two in there that interests you. Oh yeah - and Betwixt won Best YA!!! Sorry - just had to share. Super excited!

That's me for this month. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more helpful links and resources to share in February. If you have any you'd like to add in the comments section, please feel free.