30.3.11

Harry Potter Finer Things Club


For Michael's Blogfest, rather than telling the fictional tale of me and my imaginary buds at Hogwarts, I thought I'd tell you about my real life Harry Potter mates---the Harry Potter Finer Things Club that started out as a trio, just like Harry, Ron, and Hermoine.

In the midst of the Harry Potter Series, me, my sister, and my nephew used to huddle together at family gatherings to discuss all things Harry P.  This didn't go unnoticed by the others, and at one family party my brother claimed we'd formed our own Finer Things Club (ala The Office).  Little did he know we'd sink our grimy meat hooks into his joke and turn the "club" into a whole thing---engraved bookmarks and all.

Here's a new video I made in tribute to my HPFTC mates.  If you watch, please note: a major perk of club membership is getting to taunt non-members regarding their non-membership, so sorry 'bout that.  But hey, if you can answer the initiation questions contained in the video, who knows---we just may grant you a blog-level membership. ;)


28.3.11

The Countdown Begins...C...B...A...

I got a really nice surprise last week when I found out that one of my very favorite writers has published her first novel---and it promises to be like nothing else you've ever read.

Katella's stories are filled with biting sarcasm that makes me laugh out loud every time. But her characters aren't just hilarious---they've got true depth, and Katella has a great way of revealing them layer by layer throughout the story.  And oh yeah, they're werewolves! 

Here's the blurb: 

(Available on Amazon Kindle)

This is a novel based on the notion that it doesn’t matter what you look like, because beauty lies within the soul. Age, race, and sex are all meaningless because when it comes to being human we are all the same. Each chapter is packed with humorous themes of government control, individuality, and battles between the sexes. It tackles cultural differences and discrimination in a language that young minds can understand. It will speak to anyone who has never had anywhere to belong.


In the meantime, I'm getting set up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge, which begins April Fools Day...hey wait a minute, I wonder if there's any significance to that...

Well, too late now!  But not too late for you to sign up if you haven't---just click on the tasty apple in my sidebar.  Last time I checked there were well over 600 bloggers singed up.  That's more than double Arlee's initial goal.  It's going to be nuts!  Which is precisely why I'm in. ;)


And speaking of nuts, here are some wild and crazy authors for you to hop around and meet during the Meet an Author Monday blog hop hosted by Cali Cheer Mom.

Authors---hop on!

21.3.11

Self-Promotion Sucks

That's why I don't do it. But if there are people out there who I think might enjoy my book, then I feel it's only right to do what I can to let them know Three Daves is out there. I mean, if I don't do it, who else is going to? And if I'm joining a super awesome blog challenge to improve myself as a blogger, why, it would be selfish to not spread the word any way I can, wouldn't it?

That's why I took A to Z Challenge founder Arlee Bird up on his second challenge---to get a story about the event in a local paper.

Turns out it wasn't challenging at all. Arlee gives a lot of great tips for how to go about crafting an article that highlights both you and the challenge. Then it's a matter of getting it to the right place---many towns have local e-papers that allow community members to directly submit articles, or at least events.

Once you've got the article written and submitted there, it's a press release you can e-mail out to the submissions department of local print papers. There's really nothing to lose, and it's a very small time investment.  So far the reaction I've gotten is editors thanking me for the contribution.  So see, it's a public service. :)

Here are three things I've learned about press coverage in my first year after publication:


1. What Have You Done for me Lately? 

I don't believe in trying to sell somebody something they don't want or need.  So it's important to know who might actually give a ratt's butt about what you've got to offer---what's it going to do for them?  Why do they care?

For example, I've found local papers have an interest not just because I'm a local author, but because the setting is nostalgic for many local residents.  The alumni association of my alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, has been wonderfully supportive because the setting is heavily influenced by EIU's campus. I've also had some success with 80s websites.  So who might have a particular interest in what you do?

An area in which I've hit a brick wall is radio stations.  Music plays a significant role in the book, so I sent my press release to local stations as well as national 80s stations, but they are so not into me. If anyone has any tips on how to break through in that venue, I'd love to hear them. 



2. One Thing Leads to Another

 A year ago, when I peppered the world with my press release---I must've sent that thing to at least 50 different venues---I heard back from two people.  Two.

Ah, but the article in the free weekly newspaper (which I was sure was destined to become nothing more than shredded bird-cage litter) posted on-line, and since I made mention of my former university, the alumni office picked it up and included a link in their monthly newsletter. And an alum from another newspaper saw it and contacted me for another interview. And the director of the local TV station read the article in the local coffee shop (where I'd asked the owner to pin it up), and she contacted me for an interview, and so on and so on.

So you never know where a mention, no matter how small, might lead.


3. A Thousand Points of Light.

As I said in my earlier post titled Fifteenth Time's a Charm, not every article is going to result in a huge response, and sometimes crickets will chirp.  But getting your name in front of people has a cumulative effect.

The first time they hear it, it may slide right through their brain, but when they see your name again, or another image of your book, or someone at a party mentions the article they read about you, they'll start to pay attention.  No effort is wasted, no matter how small, so take advantage of any reason you can think of to get your name out there again---like, say, participation in a super awesome A to Z Blog Challenge...



Hey, why not get your name out there in this week's Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop hosted by Cali Cheer Mom!  It's your chance to mix & mingle with other authors. 

Authors, please join, place this icon in your blog post, and hop away!

19.3.11

Self Promotion Sucks

Uh, sorry anyone who's here from the link on your dashboard.  I hit the wrong button free smiley emoticon and didn't mean to publish until Monday.  The post is on self-promotion in print media (which I know is intimidating, but necessary if you want people to know you're out there, so I don't actually think it sucks, I just can't let myself think of it as self-promotion or else I won't do it.  Don't worry, this'll all make sense on Monday. ;))

-Nicki

18.3.11

Write Hard

Hey!  The amazing Jen Daiker has interviewed me at her unedited blog.  It would be tremendously fun to see you over there. 

I am doubly honored because Fallen Monkey, a talented writer with an always insightful and inspiring blog, has bestowed upon me the Write Hard award (created by Aaron Polson: see rules here).

Now I get to pass it on to three more writers who I feel live up to the "write hard" spirit (i.e. writers who work at their craft, writers who never give up despite the odds, writers who constantly turn out quality work).  I give this award to:

 Jen Daiker at unedited, whose blog is uber-successful for good reason.  I greatly admire her energetic and engaging posts as well as her discipline to post regularly. And all the while she's writing her own promising creative works as well as getting out there and meeting other authors both in the cyber world and at real life book signings.




Jennifer DeLucy, author of Seers of Light and Whisper of Light.  Awesome writer, awesome series of books.  She's currently working on the third in the series, and while we all wait...some more patiently than others...the Light series is getting quite the buzz.



Jess Bowen, author of Breaking Point, first book in The Order of the Elements series.  Jess is a writer who's shown she's up for any writing challenge and comes through brilliantly.  I cannot wait for the world to discover and fall in love with Breaking Point the way I have.





If you haven't joined the A to Z Blogging Challenge yet, what are you waiting for?  Click on the shiny green icon in my sidebar to learn more about it.

14.3.11

A Deep Thought for Your Monday Morning

Not feeling terribly verbose on this Daylight Savings Monday, so I think I'll let Jack Handey say it for me:





I wish I would have a real tragic love affair 

and get so bummed out


that I'd just quit my job 

and become a bum for a few years, 




because I was thinking about doing that anyway.



-Jack Handey 


 
And now for more orange icons.  It's Meet an Author Monday, hosted by Cali Cheer Mom, your chance to mix & mingle with other authors.  

Authors, please join, place this icon in your blog post, and hop away!
 

7.3.11

Reality and Fiction Collide: A Letter from Aunt Lou

One of the best---and most nerve-wracking---things about having a story published is knowing that friends and family members are reading it...and wondering which character is them.

The truth is, even though it's fiction, as writers we draw from our reality, so it's only natural that certain physical characteristics, personality traits, and even experiences of those we know will find their way into our stories in some form.  But as I've explained over and over again, even though bits and pieces of reality make it into my stories, they're all split up and scrambled and then melded together in new ways so that none of my characters are wholly based on any one real person.  And...well...now it's confession time.

There is one character in Three Daves that was written with one and only one real life person in mind. That'd be Aunt Lou, my MC's Godmother. For the part, I needed someone warm and honest and fun and with that certain je ne sais quoi that draws people to her. And I wanted someone gorgeous, a real presence in the room. Lucky, lucky me that my real life Godmother just happens to be precisely that woman.

So "Aunt Lou" has read the book and her reaction is in---last week I received a letter from her. Wanna hear it? I thought you would:

Darling Bev,

You are one bad girl. I always knew you were one cool. smart, good-looking chick [see why I love her so much?] but I didn't know how raunchily hilarious you could be.  I read your book in three nights. I couldn't wait to get to the next chapter. I was literally laughing out loud at 4 a.m. all by myself. I don't know if you've read any of Lisa Kleypa's books. They have plenty of sex but not your ability to make it so funny.

My favorite character besides Jen was, of course, me!  I couldn't have described myself better. I am eagerly awaiting the sequel.  How lucky am I to have you as a Godchild?


Love,
Aunt Lou

Major *whew*!  Isn't that note the sweetest?  And yes, she actually signed it "Aunt Lou." I hate to inform her there's no sequel planned, but I'll certainly do my best to come through on my raunchy hilarity in the next story. ;)

So how about you---any "fictional" characters in your stories not quite so fictional?


A few more items:
1. Enjoy the show Chuck & want to see it return for season 5?  See post below.

2. Think you know your 80s Movies?  See the Three Daves Facebook Wall.

3. Join us for the Meet an Author Monday blog hop, hosted by Cali Cheer Mom, where you can mix & mingle w/ other writers.

4.3.11

Save Chuck and Sleep Well at Night


Any other Chuck fans out there?  Looks like the show is on the bubble for NBC's fall line-up, so if you need you some Chuck, here are a couple ways to help keep the fun and quirky show alive for another season.

While you're at it, you can get this darling lambie for half price---how cute would he look in an Easter basket? 


(Vote for Chuck and all your other favorite TV shows)

Did you miss the sleep sheep's TV debut?  Check out this clip 
(I promise you'll laugh even if you don't watch the show)