Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hop 2013!

August 1st to 7th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer , BookHounds

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my giveaway! I'm so excited for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop and offer one lucky winner a $15 Amazon gift card to go toward the next book on your summer reading list.

Here are the official rules/guidelines for the giveaway:
  1. You must be a follower of this blog. Just click the Join this Site box below "Followers" on the sidebar.
  2. You can gain extra entries by following me on Goodreads, Twitter,"liking" my Facebook fan page, adding my books (Provex City and/or SUSY Asylum) to your Goodreads "Want to Read" list, or leaving a comment below.
  3. This is open to international followers.
  4. This contest runs from August 1 - 7.
  5. The winner will be selected on August 8th via Rafflecopter random selection and announced in this post. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will draw another winner. 
Thanks Again & Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Also, make sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Giveaway Hop, too!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Unpublished SUSY Asylum Preface

Below is the original, unpublished preface for my second book, SUSY Asylum. After sending the finished book to my CPs, the feedback was that a new beginning would be more effective. I really liked this beginning, and I already had the song for the playlist that fit this opening of the book perfectly. But after a bit of humming and hawing, I look the advice of my readers and wrote a new beginning, which is more action oriented and what I ended up publishing. I still have a special connection to this opening, so here it is for your reading pleasure.

Original SUSY Asylum Preface

There were still blood stains on the concrete where he had taken his last steps and collapsed. Desiree was powerless to her memory of the gruesome final moments of Kafka Lorne’s life––the end of Oliver’s bogeyman. She was cold and alone on the observation deck of Lorne Tower. She could almost see the body. She could still feel her own body flying through the air, crashing into the railing––the only thing between her and a thousand foot drop onto the unsuspecting citizens of Provex City. This was one place she never imagined she’d return.

There has to be another way.

She shivered, not from the cold, but from remembering that day, sure it would be her last. It had only been a month since she last stood on this roof. She’d been trying to return to her ordinary, everyday routine ever since. But her travels to and from Provex City had opened a door she couldn’t reclose. Her realization that there were two separate worlds in shrouded coexistence brought on a barrage of questions. And it was rumored there were more. TJ helped her find Provex City the first time, and then he disappeared. It was the second time he’d neglected to say goodbye.

Desiree pried her eyes from the nauseating stains and inched toward the railing. She gripped the top bar and peered over the edge. The city was so elegant and beautifully lit. She felt so tiny and insignificant. Down below––far below––was a city functioning in perfect harmony.

There has to be another way.

The wind was drowning out her own thoughts. But the voice, the voice she’d heard every time Oliver and she returned to Provex City, led her here. She never told Oliver and she felt guilty for it now. The first time Oliver had come to Provex City, leaving her behind, she’d been devastated. Desiree didn’t know if Oliver would feel the same about her coming here.

The voice was even louder than the wind screaming in her eardrums. Desiree climbed over the railing and shakily stood on the edge of the building, clutching tightly to the top bar. She couldn’t bear to look down. Her muscles were fully flexed like she was holding up her entire bodyweight and more.

There has to be another way.

Desiree stared back at the blood, balancing just inches from where Oliver had nearly lost his life. She was on the outside looking in. Oliver still dangled in midair from Kafka’s vicious grip. It was only a memory now, but it felt like the violence was unfolding in front of her all over again. She couldn’t get the haunting images out of her mind as the scene replayed sadistically over and over. It was a mistake to come here, she thought. She believed. She knew. But the voice said––

There has to be another way.

––to jump.

TJ had made his choice and she’d made hers.

Desiree closed her eyes and let go of the railing. She felt her weightless body slide back and take flight.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Sound of Inspiration

I'm constantly on the lookout for new songs that inspire my writing. I love making playlists that whisk me away to another world, into the worlds of my stories where I can be an onlooker--the observer (yes, that's a Fringe reference)--and record the action as it unfolds with the magic of fiction.

Though with the search for something new, I sometimes forget about the familiar and the power it can hold. Finding a familiar song with a new adaptation or arrangement can truly be as amazing as finding a new one. A new take on an old idea can take on a full life of its own.

I found two such songs in this past week, which I've now listened to countless times. One new. One covered. The new song I found was Ellie Goulding's Bittersweet, which is unfortunately only available on the Breaking Dawn, Part 2 soundtrack (album only). I have very little interest in purchasing the entire album for one song, no matter how much I love it, so I've just been listening to it on YouTube.

The covered song I found is an amazingly ethereal rendition of Elliott Smith's Twilight. It's one of my favorite Elliott Smith songs (which I put on my SUSY Asylum playlist), but this harp version gives it new life. 

Maybe these songs will inspire new stories of your own or just provide a few minutes of relaxation and appreciation for what beauty is present all around us. Either way, I hope you enjoy them. Happy listening & happy writing!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Indie Life: A Bowl of Serial to Start the Day

I've read posts for Indie life for the past few months, and as part of my re-commitment to my blog (which has been suffering from inconstancy this year), I thought it would be a great time to join this monthly blogfest. Indie Life is hosted by the indie authors of the Indelibles as a 2nd Wednesday of the month feature. It seems like a great extension of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, which I found shortly after creating my blog a year and a half ago. Click HERE to sign up for Indie Life.

Writing and marketing with a full time job is tough, especially when that job takes up nearly sixty hours a week with my two hours of daily commuting. One of the top success tips I received from Indie ReCon was to write more books, to not solely rely on the release of one or two books, but to have new books released regularly.

Now regularly is a subjective term. But with having two books released in the past three years, I can honestly say that that's not regularly enough and see where that's not enough to generate continual interest and build my brand without the support of a publisher. I want to write more and have multiple releases a year, but my current workload to sustain my livelihood does not allow me to crank out a book every few months...not even poorly edited trash (which I would never allow myself to do).

I've recently looked more into the successes of authors releasing serialized books and series, novellas or book parts fifty to one hundred pages at a time. With the prevalence of ebooks, this seems to be a growing segment in the marketplace...and an opportunity for someone like me, since I can't write as much or as fast as I'd like.

I don't want to change the format of my remaining books in the Lorne Family Vault, but my new WIP, Project Winter, could make for a fun experiment into the serial ebook segment. With the shortened format I could release three to four serialized books per year, plus some Lorne Family Vault short stories I have planned.

The industry is changing rapidly and there is no one path to success, so I believe this is a way for me to better adapt to my current time constraints and still get the stories I want to write out to the marketplace. I'm curious to hear the experiences from other indie authors already releasing serialized books. What recommendations do you have?

Well, I've already made my forty mile drive and it's nearly 8 o'clock, so it's about time for me to get to work. Have a great Wednesday, and as always, thank you for reading!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG Wednesday: The Heat of Summer

Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I'm sure everyone's felt the heat of summer finally kick in. I know it's not as hot here in southern California as it is in other parts of the country, but it's been hot enough for me. I already can't wait for fall, but can certainly wait to see my next electric bill.

Summer also brings a lot of distractions. I thought getting work done around the holidays was tough, but summer is not an easy time for concentrating. Vacations, family events, and sickness (what? you can't get sick in the summer! I guess I can) have been eating away so much of my time...kind of like the langoliers (hungry suckers).

Not everyone needs a schedule, but I sure seem to. If I don't hold myself to a schedule, then I push unscheduled tasks off. Something in the moment becomes more important. Then an entire month goes by with only one blog post to my name. No more. Wednesdays will be my posting day. There...I've said it, I've scheduled it, and now I will be forced to keep myself to it.

I recently found out that you can use a custom domain name on Blogger. This really excited me because I had a custom domain name, michaelpiercebooks.com, which I've been using for a website that I never took the time to update. It was so much easier to move that domain name over to blogger and delete the website altogether. Now I can keep the domain name and forget about a secondary website. For being an indie author, the blog has more than enough information about myself and my books...as long as I keep it updated. Now, from the advice of successful indie authors like RaShelle Workman (who is also an IWSG member), my July project is to build a newsletter using MailChimp.

Do you have any newsletter building tips? Have any unique ways of beating the summer heat? Are you watching Under the Dome? Any fun and exciting 4th of July plans? Stay cool, stay safe, and as always, thank you for reading!
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