Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Tip On Making a Self-Published Cover

My Favorite Cover Tip: Textures

I love covers. I love making covers. I especially love that moment in creating a cover where everything just suddenly comes together and the clouds part and angels sing. I'm absolutely no expert, but the cover for my first book in the Marionettes series got some really positive attention for standing out amongst a slew of professionally made Young Adult fiction covers. That's some pretty solid cred right there.

So, in this little image-heavy article, I'll explain how I used the above textures to take my image and make it into a cover.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Yep, we used to work at a haunt

Is that something I could put on a resume?

Okay, albeit it was a small-scale haunt held every Halloween by my old boss, a family friend, but he's a serious Halloween haunt hobbyist. Each year, he and his family would build their house into a walk-through haunt for the heckuvit. They'd start planning in August just to have it ready for one day at the end of October, and each year had a new theme.

(Got some minor makeup gore in this post down below, so bewaaaaaaare.)

I'm not really a haunt-type person. Little me, I'm an introvert. But, despite that, I also participated in stage plays and musicals every year of my high school career. Kinda odd, I guess.

But scaring people is a whole lot different than speaking onstage in front of an audience. If anything, it's actually harder. It's a lot more intimate, and the audience is expecting a whole lot more out of the performance from every actor.

It's pretty demanding, even physically. My bossman has worked plenty of professional haunts, and he'd wake up the next morning sore and beat -- and got the worst cold of his life one time (misssserable). The first time I participated in his haunt, I bruised my hand up to my arm just to create the perfect slap-of-flesh-against-hard-surface tune. Those were some wicked bruises. Ah, good times.

Victoria's first go at the haunt utilized her vocal chords to the utmost capacity. As in, she screamed. Shattered glass with those screams. And every time my boss has his birthday bash with the whole family present, everyone always remembers her by that scream.

I mean, the makeup's convincing enough. I'm rubbing my neck even as I try very hard not to look at that picture. (I'm not a big gore person either. Yikes. Give me a psychological horror film, okay, but blood and guts? I'll make some embarrassing noises I'd rather not talk about.)

Just to give an idea of how intense her scream was, as soon as people entered her "chamber", so to speak, and she let loose that deadly shriek, people would fall over themselves and create some awesome fire hazards. Ah, yes. Memories.

After my first couple haunts, I got to be one of the walkers, antagonizing the line and perusing the haunt at my own will. At least then I could chose the people I wanted to approach, and I mean, a good and proper doll-like role was perfect.

Yo, also, that's totally my real hair. That's 100% my own hair attached to my head, and that was the end of the night after it had deflated from the elements.

I'd walk around barefoot just like that. All I had to worry about was dodging out of the way of shoes when kids went screaming.

And when I say "kids", I mean grown adults, as well as adult men. The guys were the most satisfying to get to wet their pants, I have to say. They come in with the most swagger, and then leave with the least.

But, this picture doesn't really show my face. So let's take A CLOSER LOOK.

Ah, yes. There we are, still getting ready. I hadn't emptied a can of hairspray into my hair just yet, but don't I look like just a dear? Almost as inviting as he looks. That's a guy you'd introduce to your parents, for sure.


But, if there was one thing I learned through these haunts, it was how to effectively scare people. There's "shocked scared", but there's also "buildup scared". When I write, the buildup scared is my favorite. I love some good tension, the "ohshit ohshit ohshit" moment before the explosive "OHSHIT".

I mean, "Interlude" is a perfect Halloween story, and we constructed it with my typical breakneck pacing style. Mmm, sweet, suspenseful tension.

Maybe next year we'll be able to market Interlude as a perfect Halloween story. For now, we're focusing on our marketing plan for November and December to get some momentum going -- and, as I've mentioned on the writing tumblog and blog, I'll be doing NaNoWriMo this year to get a head start on writing book 4.

Awesome times ahead.

Everyone stay safe this year!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

INTERLUDE is now available!

SO, as you can see, INTERLUDE is now available! You can get your digital copy through the Amazon or B&N store. Formatting the paperback will take a little bit longer as I take care of some other priorities first.

Also, we DID mention that we were going to make the novella free — but we’re not sure if that’s breaching the Amazon contract. I understand it a little better now and have a better idea of how Amazon’s price-matching system works. Seems to be a rather fuzzy conflict there.

Instead, what what we’ll be doing is giving away free digital editions from now until October 31st. All you have to do is go to our contact page and send us an email, and make sure to put “Interlude ebook request” in the subject line. Let us know if you need either a Mobi (Kindle) or Epub (Nook) version or any instructions on how to transfer the ebook from your computer to your e-reader.

We’ll only be doing this through the last days of October, so make sure you get your email into us!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Book 3 Cover Reveal + New Updates!

Yo, I meant to update about seven times already, but I kept getting distracted by -- shockingly -- the novella and book 3! But since intros are boring and totally skippable (shh, it's a word), let me just jump into the most exciting part:

WOO! Look at that cover -- aw, yisss. I'll be updating Goodreads with the new entry soon. With how things are going, we're right on track for a December release, and we've got much more room to stretch than we did with book 2 (which we finished just days before September 1st).

I'm not supposed to play favorites, but if I were to play favorites, then I would say book three is my absolute favorite so far. Don't ask me why or else I'll start gushing spoilers.

The manuscript is currently sitting with betas, who are very nearly complete with the novella. Once the novella's back with us, we have one last run-through before it's all set to go.

After all these months revising, it'll be a relief to actually start writing book four. My fingers are itching for some day-long, 10k marathons that finished the original 120k words of book 3 in about a month's time. Those were the days where I wrote until my fingers hurt. Aw, yes. Good times.

(Tip: if you're going to write until your fingers hurt, make sure your hands, wrists, and forearms are level so you don't get carpal tunnel, okay? Carpal tunnel is bad.)

On a final note, I've finally put together all the songs for the first book's soundtrack. I'll make a little banner and try to figure out the mystery that is 8Track and post it soon! Also, since this cover involved some more intricate changes than the others, and nine variations, I'll of course have another cover process post in the future!