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Listen to Your Critics

free-lemonsWait, what? No I didn’t typo the title of this blog.  I really do plan to talk about reasons you should listen to your critics.  Sure there are countless blogs posts about all the reasons you should ignore your critics.  I have even written one (or two).  There are lots of great posts on how bad reviews and the critics of your work should be ignored.  You can’t please everyone and you can’t win them all.  But, after careful consideration, I am not sure that is really the best tip to provide authors, or any artist for that matter.

Working in the art industry, and we can’t forget that writing is an art, attracts all kinds of people.  You have the people who love just about everything.  You have the people who hate just about everything.  Then you have the people who really don’t know what they like or hate.  And finally you have the ones who know what they like and why they like it (and they usually know why they don’t like something too).  One might argue that you can also attract the jealous artist.  The one who wants to do what you do (and probably could) but they never bothered to really work at it.

In the past two years I have written a ton of book reviews.  I realized that reviewing a book on Amazon and Goodreads really helped authors.  Soon I was writing them for Plasma Frequency, and now I am writing them for my own blog.  And in all those reviews, I used to feel guilty when I wrote something critical about a book.  I felt like maybe I was being a jerk.  And I knew how critical reviews bothered me sometimes.  But I’ve realized that I am only sharing my opinion.  Other readers, and the author, can take it or leave it.  It is just my opinion, and I am but one reader.

But over the past few weeks, especially after all the inspiration I got from WorldCon, I have realized that perhaps I am thinking about reviews the wrong way.  That ignoring the bad ones, and basking in the good ones, was not necessarily the best method.

First, we should get this out of the way.  There is one review that you can always ignore.  That is the review that just bashes your book to bash it.  There is no logic to the reviews.  That would be the “This book sucks because I said it sucks but I won’t tell you why it sucks” kind of review.  Any blog reviewer worth your time won’t publish a review like that.  But on Amazon and Goodreads you will see those from time to time.  When I say you should ignore those reviews, I mean just that.  Don’t bother with it.  Don’t waste your time getting it removed or asking all your friends to vote the review as being not helpful.  I just mean ignore it.  It isn’t worth the time you put into it.

Recently I have seen an explosion in sales and reviews for Dissolution of Peace.  I was lucky to sell five copies each month in the past six months.  And I thought five was a great month.  I also seemed stuck at 12 reviews for a long time.  But now, I find myself looking at my 18th review on Amazon.  And 28 text reviews on Goodreads, which is great in my opinion.  I’ve also sold an average of 1.75 books per day (not counting my free promotion earlier this month).

So things are going well right?  Yes, and no.  There are some critical elements in these reviews.

I’m consistently seeing reviewers that love the story line of my book.  There has been a sprinkle or two suggesting better character development, and another sprinkle or two that love the characters.  There have been a few that hate the ending.  There have been a few that love the ending.  But one critical comment has been consistent.  They don’t like the grammar and spelling.  They seem to find errors that I didn’t catch.

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I am very self conciseness when it comes to grammar.  So my first step in dealing with this was to follow the advise we see across the blogging world.  I simply ignored it.  In fact, anything critical, I ignored.  Anything that people loved I relished in, I noted it for the sequel.  I even bragged about it.

But that is a disservice.  Not just to the reviewer, who took time to review the book (which we know many readers do not do), but it is also a disservice to yourself.

Every artist can grow.  And listening to your readers is a great way to learn where you might want to focus your growth.  It also tells you what you can fix to increase your sales.  For example, I’ve hired a new editor to review and fix the mistakes in Dissolution of Peace that I simply can’t catch.  Once she fixes those, I’ll update the book with a new version.

But grammar isn’t the only critique I have got.  I am looking into how I develop my characters and the way I end my novels.  I am looking into what it is that people really enjoy about the way I write stories.  I’m listening to my readers, even the critics.  Because that is how I will grow as a writer.  That is how I will become better.  And once you think you can’t get any better, you’ve become to arrogant and your readers will eventually notice there is no progression in your work and you will fade out.

So while critics are everywhere, they are also extremely helpful to the arts.  You, as the artists, may not take all their tips.  I am not saying you have to.  But I am saying you should at least listen.  You will benefit from that. If the majority of readers have a consistent complaint, I would suggest correcting that aspect of your writing.  Either in your current book, or in future works in progress.  For those more 50-50 splits, the choice is yours as an artist.  It could be something to change, or it could be that your style is not their style.

But if you want reviewers, you have to listen to them.  You can’t bash them and ignore them.  You can’t accept only the good.  You have to listen to your critics.

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Book Review: Andes Aura by Ryan Sullivan

AURABIGWhen Ryan Sullivan contacted me about Andes Aura, it was the book description that hooked me on this book.  I like a good fantasy story, and this sounded like it would be a great one to read.  So naturally as soon as I had room in by “to read” list, I jumped on the chance to read this.

Andes Aura follows a Eoin and Saera (brother and sister) who are living by themselves.  Saera has been given an Aura, a power that she doesn’t really want anymore.  Because she has this power, she is exiled and persecuted.

The world here is well thought out, though not well explained.  But you learn as you go, and for some readers that is far better that being “told” how the world works.  But for me, I found myself having to guess, only to find out I was wrong later.  But the rules for this world are consistent, and the world is believable.

I liked Eoin, Saera, and some of the other characters.  But others, such as the Queen and the Thief King were not very well thought out and I found some of their behavior to be plot driven and odd.

Saera was my favorite character, I really enjoyed the way she grew as a character.  Of all the characters she was the most believable, the most loveable, and seemed to have the most at stake.

The plot and story of this book are very well thought out and there is depth to the story.  There is certainly things going on behind the scenes. The story was something that made me really want to press on and find out what happens to Saera.

The prose on the other-hand was hard for me to read. I found the writing style to be over explanatory in some spots where short text would have been better and short passages where more information was needed.  I didn’t like a lot of the dialogue.  Some of it felt forced.  In some parts I felt as if the characters were speaking to me the reader, rather than to each other.

There were several spots where I had to stop reading just to rest my mind from the writing style.  But the story kept calling to me so I had to go back to finish it.  I realized that the story made up for some of the plot short falls.

The book is $2.99 on Kindle, and that is probably a pretty fair price for a fantasy book.  Though after reading it, I would probably only want to pay $1.99 for it.  I wouldn’t recommend getting the paperback, unless you just don’t do eBooks.

Ryan Sullivan is going to get to be a great author.  He certainly has the skills to be phenomenal.  The prose could use a little polish but after a buff and a shine, this book is pretty good.  Story and Characters are what makes this a decent story.

About Ryan Sullivan:

Website/BlogRyan Sullivan

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Amazon Links: Paperback / Kindle

 

 

 

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

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I Don’t Have Time: Setting Priorities

008968716-clock-and-gears-looping-animat-713-57Time seems to be something that is rather slippery.  It is also the first thing people ask me about when they find out I am a writer. “How do you have the time?”  Other people who aspire to be authors will tell me, “I wish I could be a writer, I just don’t have the time.” I often find myself running out of time before ever getting to work on the projects I promised myself I would do, especially my writing.

But we all have the same number of hours per day.  We each get 24 hours.  I spend eight of mine asleep.  And since today is my day off from work, I should still have 16 hours to do everything I wanted to do… right? I woke up with that intention.  But, I’d already slept in an extra hour.  Than I spent another hour laying in bed wondering why I didn’t get out of bed.  I spent another two and half hours tinkering with Plasma Frequency‘s website, which was a projects I planned to leave alone for today.  I spent another few minutes thinking about lunch, and now I am finally sitting down to write this blog post.  I’m only about four hours behind schedule.

Now that I am typing I finally feel like I am getting something done.  But really, I had a lot more planned to do today.  I was supposed to write a lot more in my current work in progress and I was supposed to get some time to do a little more reading.  But in two hours from now I get the kids from school.  After that it is snack time, homework time, dinner time, and then I can relax.  No wait, next I have a sports league board meeting to attend.  Once I get home from that I have to get the kids to bed and go to bed myself.  I have a 5 am shift at work tomorrow.

What was supposed to be a day of writing, maybe even 5,000 more words written in my next novel, is actually going to wind up being little more than a blog post day.  Where did all the time go?  It went right out the widow with a lack of priorities.

When I was at WorldCon, I really wanted to be like these folks I saw on panels.  I wanted to speak, teach, and help other writers.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do that this year.  What I was able to do was listen.  And when I really heard what people were saying, I learned.  One thing that really spoke to me came from a panel that I ducked into while waiting for the next one to start.  Unfortunately I don’t know the name of it, or who to give credit to.  But the speaker said, that you had to set priorities if you wanted to be successful as a writer.  And writing had to be a top priority.  Family should come first, keeping a roof over your head and meals on the table had to be next, and third you needed to focus on what you wanted.

I am paraphrasing, and again I apologize that I can’t figure out who said this.  But it really spoke to me.  I’ve spent my recent years trying so hard to be so successful at something, that I am not being successful at anything.  In recent years I have tried two runs for City Council, I volunteered for a sports league’s board or directors, started a magazine company, published two novels, took a trip to Texas, got a promotion at work, started two other novels, and took on coaching a soccer team.  This is just some of what I am doing.  And all of it means that I am trying to do too much.

Now, let me factor in that lazy time.  You know the time I check Facebook and Twitter every ten minutes.  Or the time I spend just sitting on the couch watching TV that I don’t even really care about.  The aimless internet browsing for no real reason.  Or the time I spend just plain sitting on my ass doing nothing.

So I decided to set my priorities in order.  It is time I consider what I really want in life.  I want a family that loves and supports me, which I have.  And I want to contribute real value to the science fiction and fantasy community. My goal is to write quality fiction, and publish quality magazines.

My first priority has to be my family.  There is only so much time any of us has on this planet and I don’t want to remain forever locked away from my family either.  So I’ve committed to try to get out to more family vacations.  When I went to WorldCon, that was the first vacation my family had together since my wife and I had our honeymoon.  Ten years of no vacations made things rough.

My second priority is to keep my family fed, clothed, and sheltered.  Right now, that means I need the day job.  It pays for those vacations I mentioned above, but it also pays to keep the lights on and the roof over our heads.  So for the time being working a “real” job is a priority.

My third priority to become a successful contributor to the writing community, namely in science fiction and fantasy.  I do that through two methods.  I publish short fiction through Plasma Frequency and I write my own books.

Everything else is not that important.  I enjoy volunteering with the sports league, but I don’t think I will coach after this season.  The time I have to volunteer will be spent on the board of directors.  Facebook and Twitter are important to my writing, but not more important than writing itself.  I will continue to do my best to blog weekly, this is after all writing.  But the aimless TV watching for no reason (I’m not giving up Sharks hockey) will have to stop.  Reading is an important part of writing, so I think I can squeeze that in where it fits.  I can read while I wait to pick up the kids.  Or while they are doing their homework.

I also intent to buy a laptop or tablet I can write on.  Right now I do all my writing on a desktop and that limits the time I have to do it.  Hopefully getting more portable will help.  But I don’t know when I will be able to do that.

All and all, priorities have to be set in order to succeed.  Will I always stick to this plan?  No.  But if I try I know I can be very successful.  It just takes time and hard work, and I am prepared to dedicate both to my goals.

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Guest Post: About Ragesong Awakening by J. R. Simmons

JR_BioPictureOne of the things I like best about writing is how fluid and ever-changing it can be.  Some authors I have visited with will sit down and write up an outline that they stick to religiously, and that works for them. When I start writing, however, it is with a completely open mind.  I have a vague idea about where I will eventually end up, but the journey is always wide open.  Creating that journey is what I enjoy most about fictional writing.

When I am involved in non-writing activities such as running or swimming, I take the time to think about major plot points, or how I’d like to develop certain characters, but I usually steer clear from thinking about immediate events.  For me, those events come most naturally when I am sitting down writing and the ideas are flowing.

Some of my favorite moments in Ragesong: Awakening were spur of the moment ideas.  I do not want to reveal too much here, because I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have not yet read the book (if you have, leave a comment and I would love to get in touch), but the most exciting, and in my mind, funniest things that happened were added without forethought.  There are few things that allow me to completely open up my mind the way writing can.

As an avid reader and video gamer from a young age, my mind was already trained to accept the fantastical.  Growing up, my favorite games always revolved around the Final Fantasy series (and I am ALWAYS up for a good FF conversation, anytime) and my favorite authors have always been fantasy writers: David Eddings, Orson Scott Card, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan, George R. R. Martin, and more recently Brandon Mull (you will notice that J.R.R. Tolkien is not on this list).  As wonderful as those books were, I didn’t realize the difference of exploring someone else’s vision vs. completely creating my own until I started writing for myself.  The limits of what could happen in my book were only set by what I could imagine.

I was glad for the rich backgrounds of the books I read and the games I played because they helped me to open up my mind to what Fermicia could really look like.  One of my favorite worlds ever created was the world of Spira from Final Fantasy X.  The world looked fantastic and welcomed the player in with open arms.  I talk a lot about worlds, but you’ll notice in my book, that I leave a lot up to the reader.  When I play, I love to explore awesome backgrounds, but when I read, I like things to happen.  This was one of the reasons I really struggled with Tolkien.  The man’s ability to describe was magical, but I didn’t have patience for it.  I wanted things to happen, battles to take place, romances to evolve, etc.  I have since found that this is how I write as well.

Ragesong: Awakening is a book of action; things happen and events take place.  Having younger protagonists, this was easy to do.  There is no need to worry much about romance with such young teens (for now anyway), so I was able to focus on their character development and set them up for the rest of the series.  Jake and Sam were a pleasure to work with, both having come from overwhelmingly different backgrounds that forced them to adapt to a new world in vastly different ways.

I love the opportunities and experiences that writing has opened up.  Now that I have had the opportunity to create a world of my own, I find myself looking at things a little differently in real life.  I seem to find  magic in things that I took for granted before.  I am truly enjoying the new places Jake and Sam are visiting, the new experiences that they are having, and the new people they are meeting in book two.  It has been so much fun to see how they respond to new situations as they grow.

I am so thankful for the many people who have helped Ragesong get to where it is today and all the readers who have enjoyed the book and demanded more.  I can’t wait to share the next book with everyone, so that people everywhere can continue the exciting journey in Fermicia.

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Author Interview: Michel Vamrell

Today, Michel Vamrell stops by for a little question and answer session.

RF: Tell us about yourself.

MV: I am an artists, creator, and dreamer.   I love to create things, and dream up things.  I am also a very physical person.  I enjoy hiking, riding bikes, and walking.  I love sports and staying active.  I have a husband that I love and adore.  He and I have two girls.  One is from his first marriage and our youngest is our creation.  I am the youngest of my family, and I have an older brother and an older sister.  I do come from a creative family.  My mother and brother are both artists.  However, my mother stopped drawing in painting in her early thirties.  As for my brother, he still paints today, but as a hobby.  I was raised in Robinson Il.  But, I was not a popular child and couldn’t keep friends in my early teenage years.  I love watching movies, and my favorite genre is horror.

RF: Tell us a bit about your book.

MV: My book is called The Full Moon Slayer, and it is a trilogy.  Or what I call it Alice’s Trilogy of Horror.  The book is about a woman by the name of Alice Blake and her family moving to a new life, but there are unexplained deaths where her family moved to.  And her life changes forever. 

RF: Where did you come up with this idea?

MV: Well, my husband and I were talking one late night about one of my childhood neighbors.  And my mom had mentioned to me once before about how very odd this child was and violent.  And I was telling my husband about this child, and I asked what if he grew up and became a serial killer.  Also, what if we lived next to him?  So then, right after that the first idea of “The Neighbor” was created.  But, it changed and morphed into now “The Full Moon Slayer”

RF: Besides the genre you write, what genres do you like to read?

MV: Honestly, I really do not read many books.  I am a watcher, observer, and doer.

RF: Who do you find to be a huge inspiration for your writing? And why is that?

MV: I would have to say two people.  One was and still is my mom.  She allowed me to watch all those horror movies and pushed me to get my book published.  The other is my love and my muse, my husband.  I didn’t even start writing stories until I meet him.  I did have a few stories in my head.  But, when I meet him and made up “The Full Moon Slayer” with him, it awakened something in me.  Before, I meet him all I thought of myself was an artist not a writer.

RF: Are there any more projects you are currently working on? Do you know when we might get to see those?

MV:  I am working on the second part of “The Full Moon Slayer” called Nightmares: Alice’s Trilogy of Horror.  And I think the book maybe out by Easter 2014 or the Summer of 2014 the latest.

Thank you so much to Michel for stopping by and participating in my interview.  If you would like to find more about Michel, you can find her on Facebook.  Or you can find her book here.

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LoneStarCon 3: WorldCon from a First Timer’s Point of View

LoneStarCon 3, or the 71st Annual World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon), was held from August 29th to September 2nd, 2013.  Those who know me, know I have been trying to get to a WorldCon for three years.  After missing Reno and Chicago, I was finally able to go to San Antonio, Texas for this year’s WorldCon.  I was excited and nervous.  I have not been to any type of convention before, but I was ready to lose my con-ginity and experience a Con for all it was worth.

Location

First let me talk about the facilities.  WorldCon was held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.  There were also many events, including the masquerade and the Hugo Awards held at the Marriott Rivercenter hotel.  The Rivercenter Hotel was also the hotel my family stayed at.

IMG_0533The convention center was very big.  There were certainly enough rooms to host tons of activities going on at one time.  There were three floors of activities going on at any one time, with the main Exhibit Hall being located on the ground level.  The exhibit hall has very well laid out with the art show as you entered.  There were several exhibits, the dealers room, as well as the different Con bidders tables.  They also had the ballroom in use.  The panel and reading room were always quickly turned over by the staff of the convention center getting everything ready for the next event is a short amount of time.

IMG_0522The Rivercenter Hotel was beautiful place to stay.  The rooms were comfortable and clean.  The staff was very helpful.  The one time I had a problem in my room the staff was very quick to reach a resolve and took care of me to make the remaining time I stayed there comfortable.  The only complaint I had was that I was not allowed to use the luggage carts.  When I was ready to check out, I attempted to get a luggage cart from the lobby and I was stopped by one of the employees.  They told me that an employee had to use the luggage carts and that I had to call them when I was ready.  Of course, after several days at a convention I was fairly broke, and I really didn’t want to tip a bellman.  I know this sounds cheap of me, but I was simply out of money.  In any case, that is really a minor issue from such an phenomenal hotel.

The hotel Grand Salon and conference rooms played host to many nighttime activities at the site.  There rooms were a pretty good size and the facilities were always ready and set up for the next activity.

IMG_0244All the facilities were located within walking distance on the magnificent River Walk.  I never had to set foot on any busy downtown streets.  The river walk led to everything I needed to go to, including shops and dining.  It made for beautiful scenery to start and end my days at the convention.  However, once the weekend really started, the river walk became a congested mess.  to make matters worse they had set up these tacky displays that took up the walkway.  Then people stopped to look at these booths and the whole thing became a mess.  I was really surprised no one was knocked into the river.  Now keep in mind none of this is anything that the LoneStarCon 3 could control as the Riverwalk is a completely separate entity from anything involved in LoneStarCon 3.

Overall the facilities for LoneStarCon 3 were excellent.

Programming

IMG_0212

Next, let me talk about the events and exhibits.

IMG_0579The exhibit hall was a huge facility.  They had a mock up of the Starship Enterprise bridge.  It had been put in the program that there would be times we could take pictures in the Captain’s chair.  I really looked forward to that.  However the display never had a schedule listed, and every time I was in there (which is a lot of time) there was never anyone staffing that display.

They also had Doctor Who display with Daleks and the TARDIS.  My kids loved that display and they always wanted to check it out.  Taking pictures was hard, since it was a closed off display.

The other display my kids loved was the LEGO display which had a large display of the different displays.  They even changed it up regularly so you found a lot of funny things that moved or changed through out. They also made a giant LEGO rocket during the convention

The art display was stunning. No photography was allowed so I wasn’t able to take pictures.  But I could have easily spent several thousand dollars there.  I did buy one piece that is currently being shipped to my house. I walked through the art display more times then I care to admit.  It was really amazing.

TIMG_0186hey also had a great display of Hugo awards and other items from the WorldCons in the past.

Each day was supposed to have a theme in the Exhibit Hall, but every day nothing really changed.  It was the same displays each day.  That or the changes were so subtle I never noticed.  Overall, the Exhibits were repetitive in nature and it might have been nice to see some more exhibits in there, there was certainly space for it.  I would say the Exhibits were good though.  I did enjoy most of them.

The dealers room was also housed in the Exhibit Hall, which I didn’t really like.  But the dealers were a selection of various different types of products.  I did purchase from the Angry Robot booth, Amy Adams’ booth, Pegasus Publishing, Epic Buttons, and Wire Rim books.  That was really just a fraction of what was there, and what I might have liked to buy given I had a bit more money.

I would say the dealer selection was great and the quality of the products was great.

IMG_0862Off to the side, where in my opinion they should have put the dealers, was the Con voting and booths.  Each year WorldCon members get to vote for the next Cons, in this case 2015.  I voted for Spokane, for the main reason that I can drive there easily.  Spokane won and I was excited to hear that.  We also voted for the NASFiC, which is held when WorldCon will be over seas.  WorldCon in 2014 will be held in London.  So I voted we have the NASFiC in Phoenix (again because I can drive).  However, Detroit won.  I also bough a supporting membership for Loncon 3 (London), in the small dream that I might be able to go next year.

The press booth was also in this area.  I stopped by there on my first day. I had registered as Press for Plasma Frequency because I am going to cover the Hugo Awards for our next issue.  The lady was not rude but she was very harsh with me, saying that I wasn’t allowed in the press booth because it wasn’t open for the public.  But when she same my membership, I guess she recognized my name from her list.  She was very apologetic.  Unfortunately, I had another harsh run in with someone when I got to the press area.  Clearly the press staff was under a bit of stress since they seemed to be so edgy.  None of it was big deal, but as a first timer and a first time press person is made me feel a bit unwelcome.

IMG_0664There were a lot of panels to attend.  I really wish I could get to them all, but I had trouble even getting to all the ones I wanted to go to.  The two social media panels were outstanding.  I learned a lot and I will be significantly changing the way I handle my social media pages.

The Self Promotion, Military SF, and writing combat were some of my favorites as well.  Though I wished the writing combat one talked a bit more about writing styles to use when writing combat rather than making sure you know what you are writing about.

The only panel I walked out of was Writing outside Genre.  It just wasn’t covering the topic in my opinion.  It seemed to be more about the panelists.  My other critique would be that the first time WorldCon panel, the panel for first time World Con attendees to learn about the program, wasn’t held until Saturday.  By then I had already spent two full days on at the convetion, and had missed out on a lot of things that I could have been taking advantage of.  Things like the parties and the Con Suite which I knew nothing about.  I could have saved a ton of money on drinks had I know I could stop by the con suite for water.

Overall though the panels were a wealth of information for me as a writer, and me as a short story publisher.  They had panels on both the craft of writing and the business of writing.  The program was diverse and I really wish I could have go to more, but the kids needed time with dad too.

Which leads me to the kids programing.  My wife did a lot more of that with them then I did.  The first day I spent a lot of time there and I really enjoyed the activities and planning that went into each activity.  But on Monday when I went in the I so furious with how unorganized the Lego Doctor Who stuff was.  My kids were by far the most excited for that event and it quickly turned into a mess.  It just was ever lead, and the kids took over.  My boys managed to get a Dalek built but couldn’t build a TARDIS because by that time the younger kids had been pushed out by the olders.

IMG_0876The childcare facility, Kiddiecorp, was a nice.  There were not a lot of children there and my kids had a blast while I enjoyed a date night with my wife.  As a member, the kids each got six free hours, though I think we only used three.  I am always a bit nervous about leaving my kids with any babysitter, but the Kiddiecorp staff was great.

I only managed to attend one Film viewing.  Though I watched Ray Bradbury’s Kaleidoscope staring Brett Stimely and directed by Eric Tozzi.  I have a love for Ray Bradbury and Kaleidoscope is one of those stories that is difficult to imagine in a film.  But this film absolutely nails it.  It is fifteen minutes of genius and I really liked it.  From the fragments of other films that I saw, there was a ton of talent in these films.  The next time that I go, I will need to see more of the films.

I also had a chance to attend only one reading.  And it came out of surprise really.  I had attended a social media panel that had only two panelists.  One was a last minute addition, Emma Newman.  I absolutely loved what she had to say in that panel that I did two things the next day. I bought two of her books, and I went to her reading.  Emma did such a great job in the reading that I wished I had attended more readings too.

Until Next Time

When it came time for me to leave on Monday, I nearly broke down in tears.  I don’t mean that as some type of joke.  I literally was misty eyed. There was such a mixture of emotions from that trip.  I had so much fun, I learned so much, and yet I feel like I missed so much.  I was so happy to have a vacation with my family, something I have not had in ten years.  I was sad because I doubt I will get to London to do it again next year.  I was disappointed it was over.  I had wanted to quit my job and dedicate my life to science fiction. But that job is the only way I can afford to come out to conventions, publish my books, and keep Plasma Frequency going.  I was worried it might be ten more years before I can afford another vacation. I also have a horrible memory.  I don’t remember a lot about anything long term.  The thought of forgetting this family trip was the most frightening of all.  My memory issues scare me more every year, and no one seems to take  it serious. But I digress.  The convention was such a great time, both as a person in the industry and as a family vacation.  I can only hope that I can somehow continue to attend WorldCons for many many more years.

P.S. You may have noticed I made no mention of the Masquerade Ball or the Hugo Awards.  I plan to cover the Hugo Awards in depth in Plasma Frequency.  And, unfortunately, I missed the Masquerade Ball.

 

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FREE eBOOKS!

As I announced a few days ago, today my books are officially free on Amazon.com.  Get a copy for your Kindle for free!

Both Volition Agent and Dissolution of Peace are 100% free for Kindle.  Please pick up a copy and share the links with your friends.  We can make these books top sellers!  The are free until Labor Day so get your copies soon!

Volition Agent - Kindle Cover (Hires jpg) Dissolution of Peace Cover

 

 

 

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WorldCon Upcoming and Other News

Last week I didn’t do my normal blog post, the one from the Monday before was very emotionally draining and I needed a break.  I wasn’t surprised that post got little attention, even from my friends, but there is still something about laying it all out there that drains you.  The good news is I am feeling much better.  I wrote more on my work in progress, got a very good review on Dissolution of Peace (see below) and have been working hard to get ready for WorldCon.

WorldCon!

For those that don’t know about WorldCon, it is the World Science Fiction Convention.  It is held annually and also is the host for the Hugo Awards.  I’ve been trying to go to one for three years now.  When I first learned about WorldCon, I tried to go to Renovation, but at the last minute I had to cancel.  That was a shame because it was only about a four hour drive from my house.  Chicago was just not going to happen, the cost was too much.  But finally this year I get to go.  Lone Star Con 3, in San Antonio looks like a ton of fun.  But I made several mistakes that I will have to plan for next year (though I don’t think I will get to London, I hope to get to the North American Science Fiction Convention (takes place when WorldCon is not in North America).

First, I had no idea about the panels.  That is to say, I knew that there were discussion panels to see.  What I didn’t know was that I could ask to be on them.  Second, I delayed to long to get back to them about a signing.  Third, I couldn’t get a Dealer’s Table for Plasma Frequency.  But, I think this actually works out better.  I get to experience the convention, learn all there is to learn about it, and hopefully next year I will know better where I can help out.

I am beyond excited.  I’ve got some business cards to hand out for the magazine, and I have some postcards to hand out during the event.  The postcards are for my book and they are announcing a way to get both my books free.  I’ll explain that more soon.

Whether you are a fan of my books, fan of Plasma Frequency, or a writer/artist looking to talk to me in person about getting your work in Plasma Frequency; I hope you will seek me out.  I’d love to meet with writers, artists, and other professionals in the industry.  If you see me there, please feel free to say Hello!  If I have  a moment I would be happy to talk to you.  Also, I understand that you can leave a message for me on the Voodoo message board.

While I was not able to get involved in any of the panels as a panelist.  I fully plan to attend a lot of convention activities.  Below is a list of some of the activities I plan to attend.  Of course, I may have to cancel some of these depending on what else I discover.  But maybe I will see some of you at these. (Sorry if I butchered any of the panel names, I wrote them from my memory).

Thursday:

4pm Self Promotion

5pm Opening Ceremonies

9pm Best Practices for Booksellers

Friday:

4pm The Romance of Military SF

5pm How Magazines are Changing in a Digital World

8pm How to build a Book Campain

Saturday:

11am How to Write a Short Story

12pm Planning a Starship

2pm LSC3 Film Festival

4pm The shift for Print to Electronic

5pm Writing Combat

Sunday:

10am Mars and/or Bust

11am Should SF consider the Furture

1pm Crowdfunding

2pm Real Animals in a Fantasy World

5pm Extend your book into Social Media

8pm Hugo Awards

Monday:

10am Writing outside Genre

12pm Armed Society is a Polite Society

3pm Closing Ceremonies

The rest of the time I will be either moving around the convention to see the exhibits or out sightseeing in San Antonio.  I plan to spend some time at the Riverwalk, the Tower of the Americas and the Alamo. When I get back, I plan to write a blog post all about my experiences there.  I’ll also be on my Twitter and Facebook with updates of where I am and what I am seeing.  I also will have an article in Issue 8 of Plasma Frequency all about the trip.

Get My Books Free!

Design by Mister Signs

Design by Mister Signs

Design by Mister Signs

Design by Mister Signs

In honor of my first WorldCon and because I can’t think of a better way to get the attention of a ton of Science Fiction readers, I have made Dissolution of Peace and Volition Agent free for Kindle from August 29th to September 2nd.  Five full days to celebrate my books and WorldCon.  I would really like to see my book make some “Top Seller” lists on Amazon.  My readers did wonders with Dissolution of Peace on its first free day.  So please spread the word that these books are going to be free on Amazon.  The more people who know the better!  Thank you!

New Dissolution of Peace Review!

Bookworm Babblings reviewed Dissolution of Peace today!  They were very excited about this book and said some excellent things.  It really brightened my mood.  Please go give it a read, and leave a comment if you’d like.

 

Hope to see some of you at WorldCon!  See you next week for my post about the trip!

 

 

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Author Spotlight: Carolyn Arnold

New Release: Life Sentence, Romantic Suspense by Carolyn Arnold

Life Sentence Cover Kindle“If I pay with my life, you will pay with yours.”

Defense Attorney Bryan Lexan may have just taken on the case which will cost him his life. When his client, a Russian mafia boss, is convicted of first-degree murder, he vows to make Bryan pay.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pratt has always prided herself on being a modern woman–you know, the kind who doesn’t need a man to make her feel complete. So when she finds herself torn between two, she realizes that not all decisions are based on facts. If they were, her boyfriend, Bryan, would be the logical choice. He has the family name, wealth, and a stake in a successful law firm. Only thing is, when she meets Mason Freeman, the chemistry between them is irrefutable and he won’t take no for an answer.
With both of them caught up in a struggle for survival, and a powerful enemy on their heels, they’ll need to decide where their loyalties lie.

What reviewers are saying:

“Carolyn Arnold…continues the trend of writing exciting stories that keep your attention throughout…Life Sentence is a thriller all the way…Arnold never disappoints.”

—Barb, The Reading Cafe

“Though unique in her own right, author Carolyn Arnold is a masterful blend of such greats as Shirley Jackson (horror), Joseph Finder (thrills), and Janet Evanovich (humor and romance). Life Sentence is powerful and gripping, with so many twists and turns it left me gasping…”

—Betty Dravis, Award-winning Author and Journalist

Get your copy now at one of these fine retailers.

Available in E-Book or Print formats.

 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Kobo

Smashwords

Sony & Diesel to follow

Carolyn Author Photo 2013 ColorCAROLYN ARNOLD’s writing career was born when a co-worker said “tell me a story”.  From there what had started off as a few paragraphs grew into her first length novel—LIFE SENTENCE. Her writing has been compared to New York Times Bestsellers such as JD Robb, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and more.  She is the author of the best-selling Madison Knight series, and Brandon Fisher FBI series.  Carolyn was born in 1976 in Picton, Ontario but currently lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband and two beagles.

Connect with Carolyn online:

Website

Twitter

Facebook Fan Page

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