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Hop On into Summer – With a Splash!

So it’s not summer here in Brisbane, but it sure feels like it some days with the thermometer still hovering at around 25+˚C most days. Regardless, for the many talented US and northern hemisphere authors I have come to know and love on my self-publishing journey, it IS summer, and they’ve been kind enough to let this little pale-skinned, hairy-legged, wintry Aussie into this years Summer Splash Blog Hop.

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There are many things indie published authors can do to help promote, but few are as fun as a blog hop. The idea is that prize-seekers and booklovers, and even the hop participants themselves, visit all of the pages of those involved to go into the draw to win some fabulous giveaways, and get to know some truly awesome authors in the process.

To find out which authors, visit http://splashhop.blogspot.com.au/p/holiday-blog-hop.html and then hop along from one to the other to find out what prizes they’re giving away. Prizes include loads of Amazon gift cards,signed books, cookie and goodie hampers, jewellery and even manuscript editing! So make sure you check it out.

Also, I’d like to give you guys a chance to win a signed paperback copy of Cruxim. All you have to do is leave a comment telling me why you love paper books, because let me tell you, as someone who is likely to be packing for a move 2500 odd kilometres away into the dusty Australian outback, I’m eyeing my packed bookshelves askance. 🙂

But hey, at least it is ALWAYS summer in Darwin! Happy (fake) Summer, folks. Enjoy the hop.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Blog Hop

 

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Living the Fantasy

Sci Fi Promo Event Marketing Banner2

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved reading fantasy novels. There is something freeing about both reading and writing in this genre, something that enables the author and the reader to exist in realms beyond the imagination, places that seem so real and yet so surreal simultaneously. Currently, I’m working on edits for Creche (add it to your TBR list on Goodreads today), the sequel to my dark fantasy novel Cruxim, and I’m seeing even more fantastical elements creep in as I recreate the world of my Cruxim and their backstories (now that my POV character, Amedeo, has learned a little more about his past). If you want advance notice of Creche’s release, as well as a special introductory price for mailing list members, please sign up for my mailing list at http://eepurl.com/vk_bP

Nowadays, of course, the lines between fantasy and science fiction and swords and sorcery are blurred, and of course, it would be remiss of me to mention the genre without a nod to the greats, like Tolkien, CS Lewis, Mervyn Peake, Raymond E. Fiest and Frank Herbert. But I’m also inspired by the success of more modern fantasy authors and by many fantasy books from my childhood that still resonate with me as a reader. Among them are Robert O’Brien’s The Silver Crown, Maurice Gee’s Halfmen of O, and The Seventh Princess.

As a result, when Tim Flanagan approached me to see if I wanted to be part of the Science Fiction and Fantasy “BIG COMPETITION” Blog Hop and Book Sale, I jumped at the chance. There are some truly wonderful science fiction and fantasy authors participating, and ALL of their books are available for just 99c for 13 and 14 July. Check out the complete list at http://timflanaganauthor.wordpress.com/promotional-events/sci-fi-fantasy-promo-event/

Sci Fi Promo Event Poster

There are also fabulous prizes and giveaways over on the blog page, including Amazon giftcards, signed paperback and other great prizes, so do be sure to enter. I’d also love to hear about your favourite science fiction or fantasy novels in the comments.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A little taste of what is coming soon …

A little taste of what is coming soon ...

I’ve signed on to this fabulous sci-fi and fantasy book sale, starting on the 13-14 July. Heaps of excellent fantasy and science fiction books for just 99c, as well as some great prizes for participating. Coming soon

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Blog Hop Winners & Cover Reveal

Crèche_mediumFirst things first, I’m delighted to let you all know that the fabulous Eden Crane has finished the cover for Cruxim’s sequel, Creche (left). I’m thrilled with it and just had to share it with you early. The beautiful Cruxim lady on the front is Skylar, who will play a large role in the series.

I’m still hoping to release the sequel by July at the latest … so watch this space because I’ll be sharing some snippets with you from time to time on the blog here too. (No spoilers)

Apologies to all of those who have been waiting with bated breath for the results of the Heroes & Villains Blog Hop competition. I’ve been toddler wrangling the past few days and haven’t been well. But I have now entered you all in the relevant hats and the winners are … drum roll…

The lovely silver cross goes to: Elizabeth Bevins (Congratulations)

The $10 Amazon gift card to Liz Ziolkowski (Enjoy!).

Signed print book copies go to: Magen Hasken and Mint Martijin Bkk (Please let me know in the comments if you have any special signing request)

Ebooks to: Kathy Cohoon, Paula Loftig and Tobi Helton (If you want them signed, please use http://www.authorgraph.com).

Bellybutton ring to Shadow Kohler. 🙂

Thanks for entering everyone. Winners, I will try to locate your emails via my blog or message via Facebook to  let you all know in person and grab your address/email details.

Those of you who missed out, my apologies. However, Cruxim is on sale on Amazon.com for a few days at 99c, if you wanted to pick up an ebook version. Once again, thanks for entering. It’s been fun.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Heroes & Villains & other brouhahhah

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Have I told you all how much I love blog tours? Once upon time, authors had to actually get dressed (okay, so I do have *some* clothes on, don’t worry) and leave the house to interact with readers—unless those readers were stalkers, but that is a villainous topic for another day. Now, we just go on tour virtually, linking up with the blogs of other “Authorpreneurs” who have had the nous to self-publish their works. That creates a huge network of authors and readers and maximises our opportunities for getting our books read and your opportunities for getting cool free stuff—all while we’re sitting at home wearing whatever the hell we like and hammering out our next masterpiece while sucking down a bowl of ramen noodles (the author dietary supplement of choice, for financial reasons).

Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in Martin Bolton’s stupendous Heroes and Villains Blog Hop, running from 3-6 May 2013 on twenty-eight awesome author blogs. As well as writing a piece on the villains in Cruxim and how I came to make them so dastardly, I’m also giving away stacks of great swag, including books, an Amazon gift card, and jewellery (which you can check out down there *insert downward arrows dammit* at the bottom of the post). Better yet, every one of the 28 fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction authors on the tour is also giving away fabulous prizes for readers, so make sure you hop along to all of the blogs listed at the end of this post, check out their books, and enter their competitions too.

So here goes … my little post filling you in on the evil workings of my own noggin.

The Characters you Love to Hate

As an editor by trade, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told authors that they have weak villains.  When writing villains, authors have to ensure that not only is their badass just as memorable as the protagonist, but that his or her motivations are just as clear and grounded in aspects of the villain’s past and his or her personal and psychological development. In real life, sometimes it seems that we see people (hopefully from behind the safety or a TV screen, or simply in a newspaper, rather than in real life) who seem to be just straight-out plain evil monsters. We’ve all seen the news stories that made us shudder at the depths of human depravity. Sometimes, it seems like there is no rhyme or reason to such cruelty, but dig a little deeper and there is often a profile to such killers: a number of factors (not causes, let’s not make excuses for it) that might lead to the kind of evil that serial killers or psychopaths indulge in.

If you’re an author like me, you’re probably a little bit fascinated by the psychology behind killers. What makes them do it? How can they live with themselves? How did they get away with it? When I was writing Cruxim, I wanted Amedeo to be faced with villains who weren’t just out to get him for the hell of it, but who actually had chips in the game. It would have been easy for my Vampire villain, Beltran, to just hate Amedeo because he is a Cruxim—after all, Cruxim eat Vampires. I’m pretty sure gazelles are not too fond of lions: same dynamic. But I wanted Beltran, who is also the primary Villain in the ongoing saga and appears in later novels, to have a real reason to hate Amedeo aside from the sheer circumstance of the supernatural food chain.

That reason became Joslyn—primarily Beltran’s love for the mortal-turned-vampire, and her enduring love for Amedeo, even as he forsakes her. I drilled down to what I thought were the major psychological issues Beltran had to deal with (and again, readers will find out more about some of Beltran’s background issues in book II in the series, Creche, which I hope to have out by July. So if you don’t want to read a very slight *spoiler* look away now). Abandoned by his father as a young boy, Beltran turned his feelings of helplessness into a craving for power. At first, it was just the power to defend himself and those he loved, such as his sister Evedra. But in his longing for it, power became a kind of lust for him. When he became a vampire and finally had that power, he was unable to control either the power or the lust. It manifested as a need to dominate others, particularly women, physically. But when he meets Joslyn, he falls in love with her innocence. He hates Amedeo not only because Ame truly represents the kind of pure, honorable power Beltran once craved, but also because Joslyn loves Amedeo for that sense of honor and hates Beltran for the perverted way he abuses his own power.

The other major villain in Cruxim is Dr. Claus Gandler, who I’ve found has given many readers shivers even more than Beltran. When I was stripping down his character to the bare bones (which is not a bad analogy for Gandler, given his predilection for torture and amputation), I revisited the biographies of some of the most heinous real-life villains in human history. Seriously, you couldn’t make up the kind of horrors these men inflicted on innocents. I wish I could scrub some of the things I read while researching Gandler’s character right out of my head. Among these beasts was Josef Mengele, the abhorrent, seriously depraved physician of the Nazi’s Auschwitz concentration camp, a man known as the Angel of Death. Not only did he personally order jews and those of other ethnic minorities to the gas chambers, Mengele also conducted appalling experiments into heredity upon twins and on others he considered abnormalities of nature, such as those who suffered from dwarfism or heredity conditions. Not even children were spared Mengele’s terrors. I also spent some time studying the hateful practice of travelling “freak shows” in the 18th and 19th centuries. As an Aussie author, I’d read a bit about them before, because unfortunately many Australian Aborigines were taken to Europe and exploited at such shows and “world fairs”, incorrectly portrayed as cannibals or imbecile savages.

I also considered how in real life those who come into close conflict with certain afflictions sometimes come to hate others who suffer from them, and I posited how Gandler might feel if he had a child who suffered from a “freakish” disorder. What if his only son, Fritz, was killed directly as a result of having that disorder: a rare blood condition in which he produced too much blood, making him a target for vampires? Would Dr Gandler understand other “freaks” (and I use the inverted commas because I recognise that these were simply unlucky people who suffered from medical conditions), or would he hate them and use them to try to get to the bottom of vampirism, would he exploit them for his own ends? I decided to make him hate the other “freaks” he collects for all that they represent—his inability to protect his son Fritz, his hatred of hereditary imperfections. That hatred of freaks, and his desire to understand how to correct/avoid such conditions and how to end Vampirism, leads to the horrible acts of torture and “experiments” he carries out. It is only when faced with his own imminent death that Gandler makes the decision which will eventually lead to his downfall. To my mind, Gandler is a particularly evil character because of the clinical way he goes about collecting and dissecting his freaks. His is a controlled, careful kind of insanity, and sometimes that is more dangerous than all-out “batshit crazy” (a phrase which I suppose applies to Beltran in some ways).

So did I achieve what I wanted to do with these villains? Yes and no. In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time letting Amedeo vanquish his foes. But in the heat of a battle, there is not really time to stop and crow over victories, however large or small; all of that must come after, and will to a certain extent in Creche. And as for Beltran … well, you’ll all just have to tune in to the next episode to see what happens to Beltran’s perverted power, and to find out how he gained such a power in the first place.

You’ve hung in this far, AWESOME. So, here’s what am I giving away?

Cruxim_cover_small* Two signed, personally addressed paperback copies of Cruxim.

* Three ebook copies of Cruxim (which the lucky recipients can have signed at http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/Authorandeditor).JW270-1

* A $10 Amazon gift card.

* The adorable sterling silver cross below right (a little larger than in the pic, which is not to scale).654459837_o

* And one of the beautiful angel wing bellybutton rings (far right, also not to scale.)

All you have to do is like my page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KarinCox.Author and leave a message on the Heroes and Villains Blog Hop thread there to tell me which prize you’re most after.
OR, Follow me on twitter @Authorandeditor.com and either tweet about the #villainsandheroes blog hop or RT my tweet about the #villainsandheroes blog hop.
Leave a message on the comments below, to let me know you have entered. Every one of these actions constitutes one entry for each of the prizes. So if you like my page, tweet, and comment, that is three entries. The more entries, the better your chances to win.

Also, make SURE you pop past the blogs of these other 27 incredible indie-published authors, like their pages and enter their competitions too! And lastly, thanks again for joining me. I hope you’ve enjoyed the hop.

Nyki Blatchely
Martin Bolton
Mike Cooley

Eleni Constantine
Joanne Hall

Jolea M Harrison
Tinney Sue Heath
K. Scott Lewis
Paula Lofting
Liz Long
Peter Lukes
Mark McClelland
M.Edward McNally
Sue Millard
Rhiannon Douglas
Ginger Myrick
David Pilling
Kim Rendfeld
TL Smith
Tara West
Keith Yatsuhashi

 

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Fun Ways to Promote

As any author will tell you, the writing (or the finishing writing) is just the beginning. The true grind really comes with promotion. Lately, I’ve been looking at ways to promote but still have a blast doing it. Part of that means coming up with some lovely visuals to promote some of my words and poetry from Growth, Cage Life, and Cruxim.

I made some fun and fancy little JPEGs, like the one at right, for Cruxim, and had such a Imagewonderful, creative time doing it that I put some of them all together with music as a kind of “quasi-trailer” (which I call a teaser) and posted it as a youtube video with some lovely eerie music, so you can check that out here

Will these things help my sales? Who knows? But they’re a heck of a lot more inspiring and interesting than stressing about sales or running around shouting “Buy my book.” With Cruxim having been free this past week, I’ve had just about enough of that for now, even if all of you lovely downloaders helped me get to #1 in my categories and #6 overall in the free Kindle Store (which was simply amazing). If you downloaded it, or have already bought it, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

So I hope you enjoy watching my little “teaser” as much as  I enjoyed making it, and please do stop by and tell me your favourite fun ways to get the word out about your novels and works in progress. I’d love to hear what you’re doing to make publicity and promotion as enjoyable and creative a task as writing can be. 

Cheers

Karin 

 

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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More Inspirational Indie Chicks: Tonya Kappes

Okay, so my Write Like You Mean It ethos has fallen by the wayside the past week. I’ve had a teething toddler, so my days have been spent administering baby panadol, cooing, soothing and cuddling and all of those “mummy things” that take precedence over my quietly simmering inner “writer” life. Hopefully, the pumpkin will feel better tomorrow for her kindergarten day and I will be more productive. I have a whole stack of posts for this blog planned and all I need is the time to write them. I would like to focus on things like understanding rhythm and poesy in writing, flashbacks, and structure, and, of course, more editing tips. Hopefully, I will find a window of opportunity to jump out of write those soon. 🙂

I am also adding regular author features to help me keep on the straight and narrow with this blogging gig, and to help introduce you guys to some of the incredibly talented ladies I share blogging responsibilities with over at Indie Chicks Cafe. If you haven’t stopped by the cafe for a quick shot of Awesome yet, I’d strongly suggest you do so today. Indie Chicks Cafe is the brainchild of a great writer but an even greater friend, Cheryl Shireman, and is a place where more than 30 super-talented, bestselling and award-winning indie authors hang out and talk about all things “chick.” Sometimes, that’s writing, but more often than not it is just about being a woman in this crazy world, and about our day-to-day lives and observations. It really is a better place to while away a half hour than Facebook. Truly. Far more productive. I promise.

author1Indie Chicks Cafe is also where I met the fabulously talented and popular Tonya Kappes. If you haven’t heard of Tonya, well, it might be time to change rocks. Seriously, get out more! ;-p  She has been taking the indie world by storm with her fun and funky Magical Cures Mystery Series, and her latest release A Charming Wish has, of course, been just as well received. And she does all this with a day job and a family. Tonya has stopped by and consented to share some of her secrets of success with little old me (and you!) so make sure you thank her by picking up one of her books today.

Straight to the good stuff:  You talk about advising other authors on marketing. What are your top marketing secrets? 

I get this one a Lot! Start marketing and promoting NOW! Do not wait until you have a book out. You have to get your name out there and create buzz. I joined a group blog (grog) two years before my first novel was published. The grog consisted of two established/traditional authors and two no-names (me being one). Not only did I have access to all of their readers, I gained my own following and had a couple thousand readers along for the journey and ready to buy my book when it came out.

There are several ways for authors to do this, not just a grog. I have outlined all of this in my non-fiction novel, The Tricked Out Toolbox~Marketing and Promotional Tools Every Writer Needs.

Who would you credit for helping you along the way in your writing journey?

My family first and foremost. They have been so supportive in giving me time to work, seeing me at all their games with a pen in my hand, and put up with talking to myself in public places. Jane Porter taught me how to connect with readers. She is amazing with giving back. I try to do it tenfold!

So, your street team? Tell us about that. 

Readers ( I don’t use the word FAN….I don’t like that word) emailed me all the time about books, news, and other stuff and it just got too big for me to keep up with. I thought it would be a great idea if I had all of them in one place. SO….originally I sent them all an email about a yahoo group, but that was time consuming. We all have Facebook accounts and I opened a TONYA KAPPES STREET TEAM group. We gather there every morning to say hello, wish happy birthdays, congrats on news they may have. It’s not just about me. I do weekly giveaways to thank them for supporting me. I still can’t believe that ONE person would buy my novel in today’s crazy society, not to mention sit down and read it! It’s my way to give back to them.

On the STREET TEAM page I host my online book releases. I have over 100 authors who donate their novels to me as a giveaway, it’s GREAT! When one of my novels is released, they tweet it and Facebook it plus send messages to friends and family. They spread the word. Without them…..I don’t know where I’d be and don’t want to imagine it!

Tell us a bit more about your Magical Mystery Cure series and your plans for it. Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000032_00025]

I absolutely love this series! I have never made up a magical, cozy town that isn’t tooooo paranormal. I write with humor, and I wanted to make sure my readers fell in love with Whispering Falls (the town in my Magical Mystery Series).  The series follow June Heal on her journey from being a commoner to finding a community with magical powers and realize she is one of them. It’s a fun journey with talking crystal balls, animals, genies and lots of fun potion making. Think I Dream of Jeannie crosses Bewitched.

There are six books planned in the series. But there could be more 😉

What’s your favorite Tonya Kappes novel?

Seriously??? I have four teenage boys and it’s like asking me which one I love best….

Okay, good point. I find it hard enough to state a favourite book, let alone a favourite book I’ve written.

Huge thanks to Tonya for being such a good sport and stopping by my little blog, even though she’s a huge superstar and I’m just a little scribbler. I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know her a little, and please do stop by Tonya Kappe’s Blog too.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized