Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Affair with the Paintbrush

I almost forgot I have a blog.

I've been painting my house. I'm loving it. However, paint is rather expensive, so I'm limiting myself to one color a week. This week I finally get to do the molding of the dining room and foyer, which will complete my first room.

After that is the kitchen. And then the living room. And so on. This will take months.

In all this, I kind of forgot to write. Anything.

But that's okay. March is almost here and I'll get back to it.

Who else paints in between writing spurts?

Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm an Introvert

Are you gasping in surprise? I pretty much did when I figured it out. I've always thought of myself as an extrovert...

Until I started thinking about it. The clues have been laid out in front of my eyes, and I just ignored them. Things like not liking the telephone (it's still evil!). Needing my personal space. Not liking hugs from people I don't know well (no touchy!). Feeling extremely awkward at social functions unless a close friend is there to anchor me.

So, to those of you who know me, it may not be a surprise. But I'm so outgoing. I don't mind public speaking. I love a party, getting friends together. I thought I was an extrovert.

And then I remembered grade school. All through junior high and high school, I was the quiet girl. I didn't do much to come out of my shell. I made good grades, sat in the back, and never spoke up. I envied those giggly, bubbly people who chattered non-stop and seemed to have more friends than I could count.

When I left for college, I decided to change. This was my chance to change who I was. To put on a different face and re-create myself. I put on a big smile and decided to be talkative and friendly with everyone. For the most part, it worked. But it also wore me out. I could only keep up the extroverted face for so long before I needed some major alone time in my room.

Another classic trait of an introvert.

Fast-forward a decade (give or take a few years), and I've worked so hard at being an extrovert that I thought I was one. It's nice, actually, to finally understand myself. And to know that, hey, I'm not the only one out there!

Introverts unite! What are you? Introvert or extrovert? (You might not know off-hand. Find a book/quiz/something and figure yourself out. It might surprise you.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Telling the Truth

As promised, Kurt Chambers, the author of Truth Teller, is on my blog today.

And he has some things to say.

But so do I. Truth Teller is a fantastic middle grade fantasy. While definitely geared toward preteens, this book is a highly engaging and enjoyable read for all ages. And I have to say that Kurt is a wonderful person. So! Without further ado, I'll let Kurt introduce himself.

Thank you so much for allowing me on your blog today, Tamara. What a journey it’s been. I remember many years ago, Tamara persuaded me to enter the first ever Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award with Truth Teller. We both entered together, and Tamara made it through to the semi finals with Branca. It was very exciting. Unfortunately, Truth Teller never made it through. That seems so long ago now, but here we are today, both published, albeit through different routes. So, for me, coming here today to show off my debut novel is even more special. Let me tell you a bit about my story.
Ten-year-old Charlotte stumbles upon a strange shop when searching for a present. The creepy shopkeeper gives her an enchanting antique snow dome, but refuses to accept payment. All he asks is that she promises to always tell the truth. She accepts his strange request.
Woken in the night, Charlotte is drawn by the globe’s eerie light and hypnotic power. Suddenly, she finds herself stranded and all alone in a dark forest where she is discovered by a sword-wielding maniac. He calls himself Elderfield, and he turns out to be a kind and brave teenage elf. He offers to take Charlotte to his family farm on a promise that he will help her find a way home.
They embark on a journey to find out why Charlotte has been brought to this realm and to pursue the one person who might be able to help. But none of them realise just how much is at stake. Strange things start to happen; visions come to Charlotte in dreams. They are hunted by real life monsters that attack with terrifying fury, but a far greater assassin shadows their every move.
Fleeing for their lives, they reach the safety of an ancient mountain fortress and find the shopkeeper who gave Charlotte the dome. Her hopes of returning home are dashed as she is abducted by the assassin. Charlotte thinks she is defenceless against such a powerful foe, but in this realm, she is not the vulnerable little girl she thought she was.
This is just the start of Charlotte’s action-packed adventures. There are currently two other books in the series, The Wrath of Siren and Favian’s Law. Both books are complete and in the editing process. I hope to release these titles some time in the near future and make a compilation of all three books in a special hardback edition. In the meantime, I’m working on a fourth book in the series, Lost Magic.
Your chance to win a free copy of Truth Teller:
As part of my blog tour, I would like offer all you blog readers a chance to win a free copy of my story. Simply read the post here, leave a comment below and share this post on Facebook or Twitter, or both if you’re feeling generous. One lucky commenter will win a free copy of Truth Teller in e-book format via virtual dice. Please mention in your comment where you’ve shared this link, and include an email address where I can send you your prize if you win. Thank you!
Truth Teller Reviews:

Dawne Dominique - Multi-published author and professional cover artist.

Truth Teller is one of the best children's fantasy book I've read in a long while. Charlotte is so easy to picture in my mind, and the fantasy aspects are brilliant! There are underlying currents of "real life lessons" that are subtly included...ideal for parents looking for that perfect bedtime story to read to their children. I loved the entire premise of the novel and will definitely be purchasing the next ones in this series.

Kurt Chambers has captured the genre with a wonderful story that will delight many a child's (and adult's) imagination.

Annie McMahon - Editor, published author and Novel Workshop moderator.

This book has everything a bestseller should have: compelling story, endearing characters, vivid descriptions, genuine emotions, and a lot of surprising twists and turns. This is a story about a friendship that transcends race, gender, age, and even realms, between Charlotte, a ten-year-old girl, and Elderfield, a teenage elf. Beautiful and heartwarming. I strongly recommend it and have reviewed Kurt’s story on my blog, Dutch Hill News.

Ralene Burke – Writer, Editor for Wives in Bloom:

Honestly, I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read these books. Kurt has written an amazing series that emphasizes such wonderful themes as friendship, family, hope, and faith. I’ve read Truth Teller and Wrath of Siren and, even though they are MG, enjoyed them immensely. If you’re looking for wholesome reads for your children, check out the next big thing for MG.

Assistant Editor, Alicia Crouch

There is a lot of good humor in Truth Teller, things that actually made me laugh out loud. I especially enjoyed watching the bond of friendship between Elder and Charlotte continually strengthen until they had become like family – that’s one of my favorite concepts in fantasy, and the author did a wonderful job of bringing it to life. He has got the skill to make the reader care about his characters, the most important and most difficult task an author must undertake. I really enjoyed the story, and look forward to working on the next book in the series.

Truth Teller is now available in all e-book formats from here:

Amazon UK: Click here to sample or buy
Amazon US: Click here to sample or buy
Smashwords: Click here to sample or buy
Goodreads: Click here to sample or buy
Shelfari: Click here to sample or buy
Barnes & Noble: Click here to sample or buy

You can connect with the author at:

Author’s Web page http://kurtchambers.net/
Author’s Blog  http://geniusborderinginsanity.blogspot.com/
Twitter  https://twitter.com/emailmanROCKS
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kurt-Chambers/296957780317055

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

I've learned something over the past month. I mean, I think I already knew it, but now I really know it.

You can't market yourself as effectively as other people can.

The problem is, nobody will be as passionate about marketing you as you are.

But others can help, right? Right.

So I have an idea. I'm going to call it my "Authors Project." Each week I'm going to "adopt" a book, preferably an unknown book that I've read, loved, and is not seeing the public attention I know it deserves. And then I'm going to toot its horn EVERYWHERE. Remember me talking about the Kindle forums, where readers ask for books BUT YOU CAN'T TALK ABOUT YOUR OWN? So, I'll talk about somebody else's book.

The first book I'm going to do is TRUTH TELLER, by Kurt Chambers, someone I met on an online review forum... oh goodness, about five years ago. (Has it really been that long??) First of all, Kurt is simply awesome. He's from England, and he's been a great supporter/critiquer over the years. Second of all, a few years ago we had a two-week review frenzy and I was assigned to read Kurt's middle grade fantasy, Truth Teller.

What absolutely shocked me was that a book that good wasn't being snatched up by publishers.

It's a wonderful story about a girl who gets sucked into a world where elves still battle evil. She's human, and thus lacking in magical powers, and yet something about her humanity makes her the very key to save her new friends.

After years of trying to get an agent, Kurt decided to do it himself. A few weeks ago, he launched Truth Teller. On Friday, Kurt is going to be a guest blogger here. I can't wait for you to meet him and learn all about his book. If you can't wait either, go check out his blog here.

And get yourself a copy of Truth Teller. At $2.99, it's a small investment to make to discover a fantastic author. Get it here for Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Truth-Teller-ebook/dp/B006TI8JLY.

Want me to talk about your book? Let's talk!

Monday, February 13, 2012

To Be Read or Not To Be

That is the question.

Do authors really care about making money? It would be nice, right? I would love to get a $750,000 advance, buy my dream house, make millions off movie deals, and settle nicely into a comfortable writing schedule with no pressure.

But that's not what motivates me, and I bet it's not what motivates you, either.

What motivates us is being read.

We are motivated by that pivotal moment when the reader gasps aloud with our character, when our character's feelings become so real that the reader cries along with them, or fears for them, or is moved by them. We are motivated by readers who think about our book and our characters long after the book is over, who dream about our characters, who beg us to write more because they refuse to believe that these characters could be OVER, that they are nothing more than figments of imagination who only existed for a few pages.

I would love to have career as an author. Right now it's a hobby. And an expensive one, at that. But I'm thrilled that in the past few days, thousands of people have downloaded my book. Thousands of people are reading my book. And I hope they are falling in love with my characters. I hope they are feeling just a bit of the emotional connection I felt while I wrote the book.

If you haven't snagged it, Perilous is still free. For now.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Can I make it?

Today is day #2 as a free ebook for Perilous.

And thanks to all of you who are helping me spread the word, I am now ranked #42. While of course I hoped to have thousands of people downloading (and reading!) my book, I hardly new what to expect.

I actually saw a woman on Facebook mention that she downloaded my book. Three hours later, she said she loved it. I was like, "What?? You read it in three hours?" But besides that, I felt like, "Really??? You read it and loved it?"

My hopes are up.

I'm raising the bar. Now I want to get into the top 20 so I'll be on the first page on Amazon.com. Can I do it? Can Perilous make it that high? It's #1 in children's fiction right now, which is totally amazing. AMAZING. This is what we always want, as authors. To see copies of our books moving, flying off the shelves.

I'm inspired and excited. But I can't do this on my own. Whatever you're doing is working. PLEASE KEEP DOING IT!

Thanks you for helping me feel successful!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Free!!

Can free be overrated?
Image from http://www.fundchat.org/2011/07/12/the-cost-of-free/

I love free things. I'll give something a shot if it's free that I wouldn't if it weren't.

But what about books? The Kindle world is weighed down with FREE. Does free make you think it's inferior quality?

Not me. I think FREE is a great way to get the attention of someone not willing to take a chance on you, even if your unknown book by unknown you is only $2.99. FREE means zero investment. If they don't like it, nothing lost.

Which is why I'm excited to announce that for the next FIVE DAYS, Perilous is FREE.

If you haven't snagged your copy, do so now!

And please help me spread the word! Click on the facebook and twitter links beneath this post to tell all your friends about this FREE book!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Kindle Boards: Not for me

So, I've spent about a month trying to be a part of the Kindle Board community. My conclusion: For me, it's not a good use of my time. Here are my reasons:

1) You can't talk about your books in the reading forums. So all the owners of Kindles asking for book recommendations, you can't recommend your book. Okay, that's kind of expected. But if someone asks a question about the appeal of self-publishing, you can't chime in about your experience. If someone asks why anyone would write about aliens, you can't share your opinion of why you would/want to/did. You are not supposed to let on that you're a writer at all.

So where can you talk about your book and you as a writer? In the writing forums.

Which leads to number 2:
2) The writing forums are full of authors trying to sell their books to authors. I have yet to see a single post from a reader in there.

But still, many of the authors are quite supportive. Of self-publishing. They encourage each other, they respond, they spread the word. They feel a sense of unity, of pride in bucking the trend of traditional publishing.

I'm not self-published.

And so, 3) If you are not what they consider "indie published" (never mind that Indie actually refers to independent presses, not self-publishing), they don't consider you a part of their group. No matter what I post about, how I try to contribute, my posts aren't responded to. Perhaps many of them feel that they've been snubbed by traditional publishing, and therefore this is their opportunity to tell traditional publishing where to go.

I haven't figured out where that is just yet, but anyway.

If you are self-published, you need to be on these boards. If you're not, it can't hurt to announce yourself and see what happens. But I wouldn't devote a lot of time to it.

Just my 2 cents.

Friday, February 3, 2012

That Dang Proposal Again

It's been busy. When is it not? My oldest turned six yesterday. Wow! I can't really believe it.

But let's dissect that non-fiction proposal. The thing to remember about non-fiction books as that often the book doesn't have to be written to get an agent/publisher. Sometimes you can sell the book on the proposal alone. But that means your proposal has to rock. It should have an overview, biography, marketing/publicity, chapter outline, comparative works and sample chapter.

Overview: To me this is the equivalent of a the main part of a query. It's your pitch. It tells what the book is about. A lot of sources say this should only be one or two pages. For me, it was about half a page. Maybe I am too used to writing a pitch for fiction, but I can't seem to help keeping things brief and concise. Other things to include would be timeliness: such as for my book, it would be helpful to point out that the first/second/whatever anniversary of the Joplin tornado is approaching, and we could launch the book based on that. It's also good to mention here if you have a blog with 400 followers (or almost 400 and holding, as is my case), or a great platform for selling the book. Special features such as charts and photos should be included also.

Biography:  This is about you, of course. You sold yourself a little bit in the previous section, but make it a little clearer here why you are the best person to write this book. Agents are looking for CREDENTIALS, so this can be hard if you don't have any in non-fiction (like me). So why did you write this book? I used it to explain that my experience as a novelist made me the best writer for approaching this topic and making it interesting to readers who normally don't touch non-fiction. I also dropped names of key people who helped me with my research. This is where you talk about the big stuff: all the people you can reach, how, and why. And don't despair if you don't have any of this. It's harder, but not impossible.

Marketing: Is it starting to sound redundant? Yeah, I thought so too, but the truth is, all publishers really care about is if your book is going to sell. So what are you going to do to market it? Lay it out. Give them your marketing plan. Include your schedule for upcoming book signings, speaking events, whatever you have going on. Brag on yourself, show off the hard work you do or plan to do. Make your marketing plan look stellar! If you can prove there's a market for your book, do it here. What demographic is going to read your book? Do you have media connections?

Chapter outline: This is exactly what it sounds like: a synopsis. Summarize your book, but also include a Table of Contents! A chapter summary is a chapter-by-chapter break down. Include all the information for each chapter in here. Try to put your voice in here and not just say, "Chapter one will include..." I know, hard, right? Yeah. Still working on that part. This part can be anywhere from one paragraph to 5 pages long.

Comparative Works: Are there other books on your subject? Mention them, and point out how yours is different. Do you have the corner on the market? Then mention books that will attract the same readers as your book. List a few book titles and talk about how your book is different from them.

Sample chapter: This should be a perfect example of your writing style and how the entire book is. Don't be tempted to grab the first chapter. Go to the heart of the matter. Give the most exciting chapter you have written. You should have two sample chapters and an introduction, if you have one.

Extra things:
- Page numbers! Put page numbers on your proposal!
-Grammar! Make it clean!
-Author photo? Send it along if you can include attachments.

Good luck! And tell me about your experiences with non-fiction proposals. I know lots of people are writing them!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Write a Non-fiction Proposal

I have started querying my narrative non-fiction about the Joplin tornado. At first I had the hardest time thinking "book" instead of "novel," since I'm usually a novelist. But even worse was tackling the proposal. I seriously had no idea where to start.

It's been a learning process. Most people never think about writing non-fiction, but in case you need it, here's a break down of a non-fiction proposal (this could vary from agent to agent, so if they have "suggestions" for your proposal, be sure to follow them!):



Chapter Outline


Comparative Works

Sample chapter

The baby just woke up and my internet time for today has expired. But I'll expound more on these categories later!
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