• Who We Are

  • Schedule

    Mondays ~
    Tuesdays ~ Snarky
    Wednesdays ~ Dreamer
    Thursdays ~ Naughty
    Fridays ~ Dreary
    Saturdays ~
    Sundays ~

    Whenever ~ Smokey, Mighty, Eerie and Wicked

  • Snarky’s Tweets

  • Kinetic’s Tweets

  • Dreamer’s Tweets

  • Wicked’s Tweets

  • Eerie’s Tweets

  • Mighty’s Tweets

The Ups and Downs of Book Covers

The first major frustration I ran into in the past couple of months was cover art problems. I found an amazing cover artist for the first book in my series, but he has a day job, so he couldn’t drop everything and create the covers for my short stories. So… I had to venture out and try someone new.

I hired a cover artist for my short stories who immediately lacked good communication skills. For a good week, I held my breath, hoping she’d still deliver an excellent product, because she came highly recommended. The deadline for my cover came and went, and still I hoped she was just creating something really beautiful.

In the end, the cover came late and was everything I didn’t want. In fact, it was so far from what I wanted, I wondered if she’d done more than skim our email exchanges. It was that moment when I wondered if I’d have to create my own covers. I used to be good with Photoshop, but those skills seem to have faded, and all my attempts at covers ended up cringe-worthy.

After that, I very hesitantly went with another cover artist, but my stomach was in knots for days. Immediately she had amazing communication skills, and I had a much better feeling. The deadline for the project came… and so did my covers. And I LOVED them. Here is the first cover and blurb:

The_Sea_Goddess_JPEG

“Lady Dessi Quinn feels a connection to Lord Smit Croswell that’s hard to ignore. Something unseen and powerful draws them together, even though she longs to deny it. But on The Feast of Darkness, Dessi has more important things to worry about than the strangely compelling Smit, at least with her grandmother’s prophesy hanging over her head:

The Goddess of the Sea no longer cares just for sacrifices; she’ll punish all those tainted by blood this night. Should any Quinn draw blood, they will be punished by the goddess herself.

As the night progresses, events outside of her control force her to make an impossible choice. A choice that will throw her into danger on the one night each year where The Goddess of the Sea’s powerful magic lingers in the air, stirring violence in all those creatures dark of soul.

Will she survive against mounting impossible odds – or will the Goddess of the Sea crush her? And will destiny bring Dessi and Smit together, or tear them apart?”

Everyone says a cover is one of the most important things to selling your book. All I can say is: make sure it’s something you’re proud of. I can’t stop staring at my new covers, and I hope everyone feels the same way about their books.

(“The Sea Goddess” will be available on June 16th, but is currently available to pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords.)

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

Favorite Books – by Tara Rane

Meme

 

I was given marching orders to submit a blog post about my favorite book in the genre I write in. That sounds easy enough. However, I ended up struggling for days.

The biggest challenge is that I write in a genre that doesn’t exist. My genre is a place where horror, paranormal romance, sci-fi, and urban fantasy make out in the backseat while YA/new adult steers wildly behind the wheel. I haven’t come across many books that are mashups like the ones I write and that’s a damn shame.

So I’ll cheat and pick a favorite book or series from each of the genres that influence my writing.

Horror: The Stand by Stephen King. It’s a fantastic apocalyptic tale filled with rich and compelling characters that stay with you. Even though it has been years since I’ve re-read this book, I still think of Stu, Larry, Frannie, Nadine, and the Trashcan man often. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out.

Paranormal Romance: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. With the interesting spin on Greek mythology and the combustible sexual chemistry between the tortured alpha male heroes and the take-no-shit heroines, these are fabulous reads. Speaking of Sherrilyn, I might just pee myself with excitement when I meet her at Phoenix Comicon in a few days.

Sci-Fi: Frank Herbert’s Dune. This book rocked my world when I read it over two decades ago. It still remains one of my favorites for its superb world building. Herbert went into such exquisite detail on the history, culture, and ecology of his world that you almost believe the planet Arrakis exists. True story. On our first date, my now husband confessed he’d never read this book. Can you guess what I gave him on our second date?

Urban Fantasy: Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series. I love these books because of the evolution of the main character. She goes from immature teen to badass hybrid vampire killer over the course of series. Jeaniene also manages to accomplish what few authors have. She keeps the sexual tension going between the heroine and her master vampire lover throughout the seven book series.

YA/New Adult: Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series. Don’t let the movie sour these books for you. The series is awesome. The heroine’s journey from a mouthy Dhampir student to a battle-honed killing machine takes you on a wild ride. It takes skill to buckle the reader into a roller coaster that spans six books, and keep you somewhere between gasping for breath, grabbing the tissue box, and fanning yourself much of the time.

I’ve shown you mine, now show me yours. What are your favorite books?

Like this post? Check out my website (www.tararane.com) and my blog (www.tararane.com/blog/)

My Favorite Science Fiction Romance – Planet X

My favorite book in my genre is Planet X by Evangeline Anderson. The first time I read this book, it blew my mind.

Literally.

I have always loved science fiction and romance. But when they are put together, more often than not the ‘science’ part of science fiction is sacrificed in order to appeal to more mainstream romance consumers.

planetx

In Planet X, we have a mix of space travel, anthropology, and steamy scenes with an alien hero who looks like Vin Diesel in Pitch Black (and what’s not to like about THAT?!).

We also have some standard science fiction moral and ethical dilemmas – dealing with more primitive cultures, human trafficking, and the ethical use of brain chips.

I deeply respect Evangeline for her willingness to stray into territory not covered by other authors at the time, and for crafting the story so well that the reader doesn’t even realize those social issues are being explored until afterwards. I also admire Ellora’s Cave and Aphrodesia for publishing her work and similar works by other authors that don’t fit into the mainstream market.

Even still, Evangeline had to self-publish many of her works, most of which didn’t become popular until quite recently when her more mainstream Brides of the Kindred series introduced people to her writing.

In addition to Planet X, I would recommend Punishing Tabitha (super hot!), For Her Pleasure (hot and funny), The Last Man on Earth (hot and unique), and Pleasure Planet (hot and diverse) as her other best science fiction works.

I credit Evangeline Anderson with giving me the inspiration to write, and to strike out on my own rather than try to conform to the demands of mainstream publishers. In fact, the heroine of my upcoming steampunk series is named Evangeline in her honor.

 

 

 

Publishing My First Novel, Using CreateSpace

Amazon CreateSpace

Publishing a novel really does take an entire team, or a writer willing to learn a lot of new skills. Recently, I published my first novel (which is available for pre-order): To Kill a Wizard, through Amazon. Even though I’m definitely not an expert, I thought others might benefit from my experience with CreateSpace.

CreateSpace:

  • This is an author friendly program, if you know how to use it. Otherwise, make sure you’re a member of some author groups where you feel comfortable asking questions.
  • Youtube is your friend. After reading a number of step-by-step guides, I found it so much easier to visually see what I needed to do.
  • Use their cover creator program. I uploaded a completed cover and struggled with why it wasn’t meeting their requirements, because I couldn’t actually view the issues with it. In the cover creator, they have a template for covers that are completed. It was much easier to use. I will say, however, I still had my cover rejected twice, before one was accepted. Each time it took about a day to discover if I’d been approved, so leave yourself some time.
  • The inside of the book requires a certain structure, including making sure you have mirror indents, so it actually looks like a “real” book. You might also need to spend some time messing with the font size and spacing. After asking a number of authors, I realized everyone sets their books up differently. Some people use size 14 font, others use size 12. Some people insist it must be double spaced, others use single space, and still others use whatever looks right. But playing around with everything takes time. And sometimes everything looks perfect to your eyes, but it won’t pass review for one reason or another. I know I uploaded at least ten different versions of my document before everything “looked” right and passed their requirements.
  • After you’ve created your book, you can order a proof. This was the most exciting part for me! I’m still waiting to actually be able to hold the book in my hands, but I’m beyond excited about it. This is the moment when everything becomes real.

I’ll continue to share my experiences with the publishing process, even though right now I’m working on the two short stories I plan to release before my novel is available to order at the end of June. If all goes well, I’ll have my hands full with a lot of fun projects!

Like my posts? Check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow

Books by Lisa Morrow: Lisa Morrow Author Page

Reading as a Writer

Blue Colors

When I first started writing, I never thought it’d impact the way I read to quite the extent that it has. But it did. Now, I find there are books I absolutely cannot stand, simply because of the way they’re written… novels that, as just a reader, might not seem that bad.

For example, I recently started reading a new romance series. I was really enjoying the creativity of the world and the depth of the characters, until I realized the plot seemed non-existent. The more I paid attention to the plot, the more I was aware that there was no plot. Nothing drove these characters or challenged these characters, beyond the complications that just sprung up from chapter to chapter.

I still enjoy the series, but I find myself constantly thinking, my writing group would never let me get away with that.

But now, let’s talk about books I love even MORE as an author. Of course, my mind immediately snaps to Harry Potter, but I’d rather discuss a less well-known novel. Namely, Dragon’s Winter by Elizabeth A. Lynn. It is an absolutely amazing book! I think it’s the first novel I read where I realized it was possible to love and empathize with a character who may do some things that, by all logic, are unforgivable.

She spins the story of man who is unable to transform into a dragon, because his younger brother has stolen his amulet. He seems to have a great reluctance to confront or harm his brother, because he feels guilty for something that isn’t his fault… that he has inherited the ability to transform, while his brother did not. I empathized with both characters until his younger brother crosses a line, bringing cruelty on a level that is unforgivable on every level.

This book captured me, not just because of the unique world, but because of its main character, a complicated man who is riddled with flaws. I think it takes an incredibly skilled writer to create a character who crosses so many lines, but who the reader can’t stop rooting for.

What are some books you absolutely love?

Like my posts?  Check out my books available on Amazon: Lisa Morrow

Or, check out my personal blog: Lisa Morrow Author Blog

Excuses

I haven’t posted anything about the evanescence story in a couple weeks, and of course I have myriad of excuses why I didn’t. I sat at a blank page wondering if I should barrel on through the creation of the middle (which is where we left off) or if I should do something else.

To be honest, I haven’t been “into” this story right now, so I figured , I should write a blog post about excuses.

We all have excuses, and some of them are actually valid. Many, however, are not. The first week that I missed my blog post I was on-call. I think that’s a valid excuse for not posting. It was a very busy week, I lost a fair amount of sleep that week due to issues overnight at work, and I was just lucky to have finished the week w/out going crazy.

The second week is where it starts getting fuzzy. Part of the week I told myself that I was “recovering” from on-call. While there is a small amount of truth to that, it’s really just a lie I tell myself to justify why I’m not working on something. The other thing I tell myself is that the blog posts I put up aren’t my ‘core writing.’ Again, there is truth to that statement. It’s something fun and different that I do that I really enjoy, but it’s not what I do when I “sit down to write”. It’s a side-project, one that I want to finish, but it’s definitely low priority when I have time to write.

My first main project, one the other Dwarves can attest to, is a Paranormal adventure/mystery book. It’s consuming most of my available-writing time right now, despite the fact that I already wrote this book for NaNoWriMo back in November. I’m currently in a complete re-write of the book due to some major flaws I found in my first draft. A lot of POV issues, too much telling, way too much backstory, and a lackluster ending made me realize pretty fast that I needed to go back to the core of the story I wanted to tell, and rewrite it from scratch.

So that’s what I’m doing. My main goal is to make sure I’m writing enough to keep submitting regularly to my writing group, editing said submissions, as well as critiquing my writing group’s stories. After that I work on this other side-project.

Maybe someday I’ll have the time to juggle multiple projects, and know that each one is contributing to my success as a writer, but for now, I only have a certain amount of time, and unfortunately the Evanescence story takes a back seat from time to time.

Till next week, keep writing!

Building the Plot: Pt. 04: Beginnings

Last week, we examined the ending to this illustrious in-process story. This week I want to start with the beginning of the story, so let’s jump right in.

I imagine the story opening with one of the first scenes I’ve ever had once I formed the character of Peter in my head. Hooded figure, calling himself the Black Angel, prowling around at night. He is sneaking around in alleys, crouching on rooftops. Doing pretty much a Batman kind of thing here.

When suddenly he notices a girl getting pulled into an alley. He swoops into action! Peter comes up behind the man to meet out justice when suddenly the voices in his head stop screaming. It throws him off his game enough that the mugger gets the jump on him. (I’m not 100% sure I want this to happen this way.) Maybe he doesn’t realize the voices in his head had stopped screaming immediately—anyway, back to the story.

This is clearly different for Peter. He’s not used to this, but he eventually gets back into his groove and sends the guy packing, and by packing I mean the dude is crumpled on the ground.

Peter then goes to check on the girl. She screams at him. Peter is just trying to help. She puts her hands over her head and runs, terrified of Peter out of the alleyway.

Peter is going to let her go, turns to scrounge stuff from the guy lying unconscious beside him, when the voices in his head come back.

Peter then realizes being near the girl has something to do with the voices being gone out of his head. He has to follow this girl.

Peter bolts off down the alleyway, turns and tries to follow her now.

He follows her as close as he can while still having the voices in his head. Sometimes they disappear and he realizes he’s too close. Eventually he tails her back to a building where she ducks in.

Peter waits around outside for a while trying to figure out what to do.

That’s when someone comes up behind him to attack.

How’s that for a beginning?

Yeah, I’m pretty excited about it myself.

Next week we’re going to keep going with the middle of this story—expect about three blog posts dealing with the middle, as it’s the longest part—and I’m still working things out in my head. We have to get Peter from this street to being tied up and almost sacrificed. Strap in, it’ll be a bumpy ride!

Steps to Self Publishing

Dream

Everyone will have a different experience when it comes to publishing. Some of this will be determined by the route they want to follow:

  • Large publisher
  • Small publisher
  • Self publishing

But there are other factors that are equally important. Basically, how do I take my finished first draft and get it to a published book in my hands?

This is what I’ve done so far:

  • Took first draft and submitted portions of it to my writing group for critique
  • Combed through all feedback, and the entire book, and edited everything
  • Resubmitted it to my writing group as a completed novel
  • Submitted it to a handful of family and friends
  • Took all feedback, complied it, and slowly combed through all the comments, applying what worked
  • Went back through and made sure all the edits worked
  • Read back through as a “reader”
  • Resubmitted book to past readers, as well as, new readers
  • Applied final feedback
  • Read novel again
  • Had an editor comb through it
  • Self published

Okay, so I’ve still got a couple more steps to do before I can self publish, but I am nearly there. And how long has all of this taken? I think it has been about two years.

It’s a bit crazy to realize that, but no one ever said being a writer is easy. It takes a lot of work and dedication. And, I think, a true love of writing.

At the end of the day, maybe no one will even read my book, but there is that flicker of hope that at least a few people will pick it up… and I might have people read my story and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

That’s the dream anyway. Then, maybe, all of this will have been worth it.

Like my post, check out my personal blog at: https://lisamorrowbooks.wordpress.com/

Building the Plot: Pt. 03: The Ending

I have to apologize for being a day late in my post. I was struggling with what I should post up since there will be more spoilers in this portion. After some ruminating on the subject, however, I’ve decided to post up everything but the twist at the end, to keep some surprise for the actual story once I get it out.

Let’s talk plot!

I’m going to break this down into three chunks:

The Ending

The Beginning

The Middle

All in that order. I’m doing it this way so that I ensure I know where I’m going before I start off with anything else.

As a matter of full-disclosure, I actually do have the complete ending figured out, but I will be leaving the twist off this blog. You’ll have to RAFO (Read And Find Out). Since I’m building this story on the blog as a sort of experiment, I will be posting up everything else related to the plot otherwise.

So here goes: this is a bit rough, more of a brainstorming idea, but it’s what I have right now.

Little backstory: Bael has created a runed spell on the ground that requires blood sacrifice every moon cycle (still working out specifics on it).

At the end, Peter has arrived to offer himself up as a sacrifice to the demons so that he will close the portal with his mixed-angel blood, but it turns out that they were waiting for him the whole time due to REDACTED. Because of this they actually wanted him to show up. Bael has been planning for it the entire time.

At the same time, Celeste, who Peter left behind, has also turned up, and tricks the demons into allowing her onto the rune in order to comfort Peter before he is sacrificed. She knows fully well that REDACTED, and since the demons were blinded by hubris, they won’t think about REDACTED.

Thus the rune will fail right before Peter is sacrificed and the portal to hell that Bael and his minions have been working so hard on for the last few years will be thwarted. The block that was keeping the Angels in Purgatory will be opened, and the angels will sweep back down to earth in righteous fury to cleanse our world of the demon taint once again.

So there we go! I am holding a couple things back, but next week we’ll take a look at the beginning. Then go from there with the middle. We might spend a couple weeks on the middle. Once all that is done then it’s on to the entire plot as a summary post then I will begin writing out the rough draft of the story. Once I have the plot down we’ll know a little better just how long this story will be.

Till next week, have a good one!

Rogues

Rogue

The world is not all black and white, at least not for every author. There are those authors who see a whole spectrum of grey, and try to create fascinating characters who exist in this grey zone. Recently, I finished reading a collection of short stories about rogues, which I found absolutely fascinating.

I’d assumed characters who existed in this grey zone were those who failed to live by any code of ethics. However, after reading these stories, I’ve realized I’m wrong. Rogues aren’t characters who lack a moral compass; instead, they are characters who live by their own standards of right and wrong.

Some of the characters did things that I wouldn’t personally consider the right thing to do. They might have been cowardly, selfish, gluttonous, or have any number of other poor character traits. But they were also loyal, hard-working, or followed a certain code of how they lived their lives.

In my own writing, I usually have an easy time creating a protagonist who has flaws, but is wholly good. My antagonists I usually like to make a little more complex, showing that even though what they are doing is wrong, they don’t see it this way. When we can see things through their eyes, we may also understand where they are coming from, even if we still think what they are doing wrong. These stories, however, inspired me to try to create a protagonist who exists in this “grey zone.” I think it’d be a bit of a challenge to create a rogue, with questionable behavior, but that special something that still draws a reader to them.

Like my blog?  Feel free to follow my personal blog at: https://lisamorrowbooks.wordpress.com/

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