Thursday, December 26, 2013

Review: The Deepest Cut

Review of "The Deepest Cut"

Breakdown:

Title: The Deepest Cut A Mackinnon Curse
Author: J.A, Templeton
Publication Date: 10/01/2011

Synopsis: 

Sixteen-year-old Riley Williams has been able to see ghosts since the car crash that took her mother’s life and shattered her family. Guilt-ridden over the belief that she’s somehow responsible for her mom’s death, Riley is desperate to see her mother’s elusive spirit to gain her forgiveness.

When her father moves the family to Scotland so they can all start over, Riley believes her life couldn’t get worse––that is until the ghost of nineteen-year-old Ian MacKinnon catches her purposely cutting herself. An uneasy truce quickly turns into friendship, and soon Riley’s falling hard for Ian.

Riley believes her gift could help Ian end the curse that has kept him tied to the land for centuries, but that would mean letting him go forever and she’s not sure she is strong enough to do that. As if her life wasn’t complicated enough, the spirit of the woman who killed Ian returns and she’ll stop at nothing to keep Riley from helping Ian find eternal peace.


Review:

I kind of stumbled across this one while perusing through the kindle store. I liked the cover and the title seemed intriguing enough to click on it. So I did, click on it. After reading the synopsis and a couple reviews, I was sold.

The story takes place in rural Scotland where the main character moves with her broken family after tragically losing her mom in a car wreck that she was involved in. To deal with the pain, Riley cuts herself. It's her form of a drug fix. The author handled the very real issue of cutting seriously but not preachy which I was afraid it would have been. Never did it detract from the story, but added depth and realism to the character.

Not only has Riley been cutting since that tragic day, but since her mom's accident now she can see the dead. I know flashback to the Sixth Sense, but really it wasn't like that at all. At first it was a little funny. Then she meets her love interest Ian, which quickly because a love interest of mine (sorry hubby). The thing is...Ian is a ghost.

Riley and Ian get close a little too close for the liking one particular ghost. A ghost bent on revenge and the one holding Ian earthbound. Laria, the evil ghost, gets scarier and scarier with each scene. I found myself creeped out on several occasions. I'm reading the second book now and let me tell you that it gets scarier still. She's just creepy and crazy enough to pull it off.

I really liked the combo of horror and regular old YA fiction. The characters and setting were original and realistic, even a little historic at times. I enjoyed it until the very end.

Peace,

Jeanette Pekala
Author of Culture Shock

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway of Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala

Goodreads Giveaway of Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala

 

Up until November 28, 2013 (my birthday) you can enter to win one of 3 signed copies of Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala. Enter to win below.

Book Description:


CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala

Culture Shock

by Jeanette Pekala

Giveaway ends November 28, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Amazon Countdown deals: Update!

You only have until 4pm (PST) today to get Culture Shock for $0.99!!!!! Don't waste another minute. The price will go up at 4pm.




CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...

 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala $.99 limited time.

Culture Shock by Jeanette Pekala $.99 on Amazon


Just wanted to let y'all know that my pride and joy...no, not my kids...can't sell them legally, but my book, Culture Shock, is on sale for a VERY limited time. This YA paranormal is ONLY $.99. It's on Amazon's countdown deals so this price will end shortly. Don't waste another minute to get culture shock super cheap!!!!

Love, peace, and chicken grease,
Jp

Saturday, October 5, 2013

FREE days on Amazon...Worth it?

Free days on Amazon...worth it?

Yesterday was my first free day on Amazon kdp select. I was apprehensive at first. I had the common thought all authors have. "Why would I list it for free? I won't make any money." "I don't want to devalue my work" . Even general skepticism like "will it even working to promote sales. "

After day one I'm pretty confident that it will boost sales. In just one day, I received 3000 downloads of Culture Shock. That's 3000 people that will eventually read it and talk about it, blog about it, review it on Amazon, or post to Twitter or Facebook. 

It's true that I didn't earn a dime but from a promotion standpoint it's gold. I've been getting such great reviews but not enough to generate any real attention. Amazon kdp select will help with that. You know after you read something on a kindle your asked to review it or rate it? Plus, you can post it to your corner of social media. Then after that if you didn't rate it...you get that reminder email about a week later asking you to rate it.

Reviews on Amazon sell books on Amazon. I know as a reader I won't even look at the book's description unless it has over 100 reviews (mostly positive). So the amount of reviews is worth the risk of giving away your book for free for a few days. 

I'll keep you updated when it's all over and let you know how I did. Good luck to you all.

Happy reading, 
Jeanette

******


So it's been a month now since my FREE days on Amazon. I was shock at the amount of exposure I received. Even though I didn't make a cent, I was able to get my book in the hands of 4,125 people!!! I did do a lot of promoting via social media and through many of those FREE book referral sites.

I was a little ticked that many of my friends and family members took advantage of the free promo Thanks for the support!!! You couldn't spew out the $3.99??? No biggie..as long as you leave a review...otherwise, you're getting kicked off my Christmas list.

Anywhooooo, I received after a month only 5 more reviews. It's a long book, so I'm hoping people are taking their time reading it and I'll get some more reviews. I can't complain though. They are all good reviews from complete strangers!

I will definitely do another FREE promo in the future, especially when my second book is released or just to boost exposure. I'll update this blog if the reviews rise drastically so you can see if the FREE days eventually pay off.

Thanks for hanging out and reading through my little experiment. Hopefully you've gained a little insight.

Reaching for the Stars,
JP
 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

CULTURE SHOCK is FREE This Weekend Only! Read a description.


Culture Shock is FREE this weekend on Amazon

I have super-duper paratrooper news to share with y’all! This weekend ONLY!!! And I do mean this weekend ONLY Culture Shock will be FREE (yes, I said FREE) to download on Amazon!!!! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday Culture Shock will be Free on Amazon!!!!

One more time: Oct 4, 5, & 6 CULTURE SHOCK IS FREE~~~!!!!!!

 
What’s Culture Shock? Well, it’s just a fantabulous YA series that has been getting some awesome reviews! Why don’t you check it out on one of the three FREE days and see if it’s any good!

 

Description of Culture Shock:

 
 

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...
 
 
What can I say...I'm a giver!
Enjoy a free weekend of the silly antics of Bougainvillea's residents. I promised you'll miss a night of sleep....Bha ha aha aha aha ha!
 
XOXOXO,
Jeanette Pekala

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Review of Jenny Pox by JL Bryan


Jenny Pox

My Review of Jenny Pox by JL Bryan


I loved this book. You see a lot of supernatural these days. I’m not complaining, but it’s the truth. Some things can get a little run into the ground, if you know what I mean. Jenny Pox was separate of the common supernaturals. It was a breath of fresh air. Could you imagine never in your entire life being able to touch someone in fear that you would kill them? That is…until you met the one person you can. Even for her father to hug her he had to don a suit with mittens and if I recall correctly some sort of net over his head.

There were three supernatural characters in this book with very different and unique powers. One spreads love, one healing, and one disease.

I enjoyed Jenny Pox until the end.

The end was sooooo outlandish. I thought for sure it was all going to be a joke and she would wake up from this crazy dream. The book was so good up until that point. I did enjoy the gruesomeness of it all at the end but it just didn’t make sense and it could have been pulled off in a much better fashion.

I won’t deny it though…even though the end was craziness in a hand basket, I still loved, loved, loved the story. You could really connect with Jenny, Seth, and even Jenny’s dad.
4.91 Stars!!!!
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Collection of Different Types of Creative Writing Exercises

Collection of Different Types of Creative Writing Exercises


What does a marathon runner do to prepare for the big day? They train. They condition. Well, as a writer there isn't much running to do but as all published authors know, writing a novel is like running a marathon. To stay sharp while typing away use some of these exercises to train and condition your brain.

Below is a list of some pretty cool creative writing exercises. Whether you're trying to get out of a writing slump, stuck on dialogue, or just want to brush up on your skills, these are some great tools to use to perfect your craft.

Dictionary Drama: Pick three random words from your dictionary. Write something with these three words in it.

This is me: Write about someone you wanted to be like. Use this opportunity to describe the person in great detail. Who knows? This might become the main character in your next novel.

It’s in The News: Newspapers and magazines provide great ideas. Pick an article from a newspaper or magazine and use it to inspire a story or poem. You could also write a letter to the editor in response to the article.


Picture Please: Pick an old photograph or picture in a magazine. Study it for a few moments and write something about it. Who is in the picture? How old are they? Where are the headed? What has just happened to them? Why are they in the picture? What else can you see in the picture that could be important? What about a title?

Doodle Chart: Design a doodle chart about yourself or someone you know in your journal. Make some basic drawings or sketches and label them. People should be able to learn something about you when they look at it.

Like and Dislikes: Make a list of your likes and dislikes in your journal. Use them to write a poem or a short descriptive piece. Keep them updated.

Proverbs and Quotations: Pick a proverb or quotation. Make sure that you understand its meaning and use it to write a story, essay or poem.

Food: Man must eat. Describe the detail in a set table or pick a certain food and use it to inspire a story or poem. Why do people eat certain foods?  Where do people eat? What foods are associated with festive occasions?

Weather: You always see authors describing weather between scenes, so how about practicing writing about weather. Write about something that you have experienced where weather has played a major part?

Who am I?: Write about something without using the exact word. End off the paragraph with the words “Who am I?” When you are finished give it to someone else to read. Do they know what you mean?

Turn a poem into a short story: For someone like me that is so NOT up-to-speed with poetry. This is a fun one. A poem uses tight language to convey emotional or intellectual ideas in an imaginative and new way. A single poem can provide a rich source of creative writing ideas for fiction writers who can use specifics in the poem as a starting point for a narrative.

Name That Character: I'm totally doing this one next Friday night with my friends. I do this all the time. I'll give people names or make up names for them even if I know what their names are. I can pretty much take credit for most people's nicknames and all of the pets I've ever owed.  Look at a photograph of a person. The photographs can be close up headshots, distance shots, or activity shots. Suggest a name for the character, based on whatever they can learn or intuit from the image.

I hope these are some helpful events for all the struggling wordsmiths out there. Happy Writing!

 Jeanette Pekala is the author of Culture Shock Series, a YA Paranormal series.

Stalk her at any of her usual haunts:


Email: jdpekala@gmail.com







 

 

Monday, August 26, 2013

How to Market and Promote your Self-Published Book

How to Market and Promote your Self-Published Book


My debut novel, Culture Shock, was released on March 26, 2013. I've worked very hard to get my book out there and to spread the word. It has received many great reviews on over 20 different blogs, on goodreads.com, Amazon and B&N. Below are the different avenues I used in the past months to get noticed.

  • Blogging: Blogging has probably been the best avenue of promoting my book. All my posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. all lead back to my blog where you can purchase the book and find all the viable links to purchase it as well. I write not only posts about promoting my book, but posts that will draw people in. Writing Tips, Author Spotlights, Read and Reviews of books I personally read, and of course my favorite Random Topics which seem to be off-the-wall at times, but that's me. You can really grasp the sense of an author's personality from their personal blog. http://adventuresoflifeandliterature.blogspot.com/

  • Website: My website is a static platform on the web and nothing else. It has all the book's information, buy links, biography, etc. I titled it after my name like most authors do: http://www.jeanettepekala.com

  • Facebook: I have my own author page which boasts upcoming events in the life of Culture Shock, funny tidbits about writing and reading and general ups and downs of my life. In only 3 months I was able to hit over 200+ followers and that number keeps rising. https://www.facebook.com/JeanettePekalaAuthor

  • Twitter: I use Twitter as a sounding board for everything going on with my book and blog. I post every article on my blog and the price and link to buy my book. Sometimes I even use a popular quote from my book and the link to buy. Anything to draw the reader's attention.https://twitter.com/JeanettePekala

  • Pinterest: Of course the picture of the book cover is up there and my bio pic, but I also put up images of the setting of the story. It takes place in North Central Florida and partially in NYC, so I like to incorporate pics of both settings. My pics have been shared, liked, and re-pinned numerous times. http://pinterest.com/jeanettepekala/

  • Goodreads.com: Probably my favorite. Goodreads has allowed me an audience of 20 million avid readers and a networking platform with authors, bloggers, and readers alike. It's an online community of all things 'books'. I've joined tons of groups where I've met awesome people, have done guest posts, interviews, read and reviews, etc for the people I've met which only boosts my exposure. I'm also a goodreads author in the author program which allows me a blog through goodreads and I am able to do giveaways which have skyrocketed the amount of people adding my book to their to-be-read list. http://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomlifeandliterature

  • YouTube: I'm fairly new to YouTube, having missed the craze of it. It wasn't that popular when I was in high school. I've only done one interview video and have had my book on a few podcasts and YouTube videos done by others, but not much else....YET! I have grand plans to make some funny videos that will draw in a lot of people. It just takes some planning, but I plan to read excepts from my book and have some silly things happen. You know what? You'll just have to check me out in a month or so on YouTube. Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!!! LOL.

  • Blog Tours: Now these cost money, but sometimes it's well worth it. Make sure the touring company you go through has quite a following. Cover reveals are important before your book is released to drum up some anticipation for your book. It's the first introduction to your book that most people will see and if your book cover is any good, it will stick with most readers. Cover reveals are fairly cheap. The review tours and book blasts are a little pricier but well worth it. They usually offer read and reviews, interviews, guest posts, and spotlights on 15-45 blogs (depending on how much you pay) and some of these blogs have hundreds and thousands of followers. Sometimes it's well worth it. You'll have to weigh the costs since it will cut into your bottom line.

I'm trying to hit the local market now with book signings and trying to snag some radio and podcast spots, etc. If anyone has any advice in those markets, please let me know. I hope these marketing and promoting points can help guide you.

Happy Reading Y'all!!!


Jeanette Pekala is the author of Culture Shock. A witty take of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.

Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...









Friday, August 23, 2013

After Forever Ends : Review

After Forever Ends by Melodie Ramone: Review


Orphaned by her mother and brushed off by her dad, fifteen year old Silvia Cotton had lived a lonely life. That is until 1985 when her father moved the family from the Highlands of Scotland to the Midlands of Wales. It is there she was enrolled in Bennington, a private boarding school, met the charming and rebellious Dickinson twins, Oliver and Alexander, and her regrettable life was changed forever.

Locked into a fierce friendship with Alexander and lost to a whirlwind romance with Oliver, Silvia found herself torn away from everything she thought she knew. Married too soon, she moved with Oliver to a rustic cabin deep in a Welsh wood and embarked upon a life she'd never planned for, surviving on hope she never knew existed and faith she never knew she had. She made her way through university and onto a career, only to surrender her ambition to raising her children and living a life that was strikingly "normal". But what is normal? Certainly not what ensued in the wood.

True love, faeries, friendship, loves lost and gained. Old magic, fate, doubt, strength and courage, Silvia's story could belong to anyone, but it is her own. Simple yet extraordinary, told in retrospect with wit and candor, Silvia recalls a life of joy and sorrow, laughter and tears. As she unravels the tangled web of her days, she reveals the secrets that exist in an ancient wood, how hearts given freely can become the stuff of magic, and how true happiness was never any further than her own back garden.




My Review:

My first introduction to After Forever Ends was through a blog roll. I noticed a post from an author explaining why she wrote the book she did, After Forever Ends. I remember reading that post and thinking one word: PASSION. This writer has put her all into this book. Just from the way she wrote that post on her blog persuaded me to put After Forever Ends on my To Be Read list. Not long after that did I have the pleasure of making the acquaintance of the lovely author herself, Melodie Ramone, via social networking and that just projected me further to purchasing the book.

After Forever Ends follows the story of a girl from Scotland who moves to Wales as a teenager and meets these identical twin boys at her new school. It follows the progression of her life from about age 15 to 85. There are many ups and downs along the way. It kept me hooked from beginning to end. I absolutely loved the characters. I felt as if they were friends/family/lovers in my own life. Silvia and Oliver's relationship reminded me very much of my own with my husband. Always laughing/being silly and deeply in love. We make our friends sick. Even though Silvia and Oliver's relationship drew me in, it was Alexander (Oliver's twin brother) that I had the hots for. It's gotta be that bad boy image. Gets me everytime. I'm such a sucker.

You really get pulled into the world Silvia, Oliver, and Alex create in the wood. You start believeing in faeries. You laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. I was emotionally torn by this book toward the end. I won't tell you what happened but I will tell you that someone dies and I was so broken up about it that I had to put the book down for a couple of weeks. I actually felt like I had lost an actual family member--not a character in a book. I tried picking it back up after those few weeks, read two sentences and started bawling again!!! I eventually finished and was very glad I did. What a great read.  

I had the pleasure to connect with Melodie Ramone (how cool is her name?), the author of After Forever Ends, via social networking. She and I swapped emails back and forth and I have to say it was her passion for her story and her overall personality that gave me that extra push to purchase and read After forever Ends. In no way, shape, or form did meeting her online encourage this excellent review. The story speaks for itself.

5 out of 5 Stars!!!!



Happy Reading,

Jeanette P

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to Describe Hair Color

How to Describe Hair Color

 
From natural colors to funky streaks of blue and pink, hair color can help a reader visualize and even understand your character better. There are a few basic shades; blonde, brown, red, black, gray, and white. Why leave it at that? You want a vivid description of your characters so the reader can place together the different attributes the author has given them to create a fictional character in their mind.
 
Below is a list of descriptive words to liven up the natural colors, but don't stop at just describing the colors differently with fancy-dancy words. Remember characters can have almost any color hair you want to give them thanks to an invention called hair dye. There are highlights and lowlights. Natural hair color has highlights too. Exposed roots from where the hair has grown out which is a good description for explaining a disheveled character or someone who isn't vain about their looks and carefree.
 
Don't forget you can also describe hair color without using color at all.
Example: Her hair was as smooth and dark as melted decadent chocolate.  

Here are a list of different words to expand from the natural hair colors.

Blonde: ash, flaxen, golden, honey, platinum, tawny, wheaten, sandy, strawberry, dishwater, fair, bleached

Brown: bronze, mousy, sandy, chestnut, mahogany, russet, sorrel, ash, muddy

Red: ginger, copper, flaming, fiery, auburn, sable, terra-cotta, ruby, crimson, carrot, burgundy

Black: ebony, sooty, raven, jet, greasy, ink, midnight, obsidian, onyx

Gray: steel, silver, ash, salt and pepper, iron

White: ivory, pearl, snowy, cotton ball, milky, fleecy

You can find some of these descriptions in my debut novel, Culture Shock. I like to bring my characters alive with descriptive writing. Hair color is just one aspect, but it can say a lot  about a character, so don't skip over this seemingly insignificant detail.

***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.
Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.
You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, and right here on this blog (see the sidebar).
 
Happy Reading!!!
XOXO,
J

Monday, July 29, 2013

What's Your Writing Routine?

What's Your Writing Routine?



Do you have a routine as a writer? Is there a specific setting you are most comfortable in? Music or silence? Busy coffee shop or an office? Share with us what your routine is while writing.

Here's mine:

I used to be able to write much more often than I do now, so the frequency of my writing spouts are sporadic, but I still carry the same routine each time. First off, I make the biggest, most caffeinated pot of coffee I can. I'll set up my laptop in the meantime while I'm waiting for my pot of coffee to brew. Then I will sit either in the backyard (if I'm watching kids) or in a locked bedroom (if hubby is watching kids) and type away, taking sips from my coffee frequently (actually between paragraphs unless I'm on a roll). While I'm writing I like to have music without lyrics playing softly in the background. My favorite is the Skyrim station on Pandora. The sh*t kicks a$$. It's the perfect mix of soothing and action-packed. It has its highs and lows and is perfect for my genre of writing.

This routine has helped me to stay comfortable and inspired. So what's your routine? Have any quirks (like wearing your lucky underwear while writing)? Do you have a beverage or snack nearby? Are you surrounded by family or in solitude?

Please share. I'd love to know what your routine is when you write...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random Topic Thursday : Morbid Thoughts

Random Topics : Morbid Thoughts



Because I'm feeling stabby today here are some morbid thoughts. It's been a craptastic day in my world and strangely enough, these thoughts are cheering me up...

If a person dies and then springs back to life, do they get their money back for the coffin?
(Money Back Guarantee for Zombies???)


Do they bury people with their braces on?
(They shouldn't. Family members could cash in on the scrap metal...just saying...)

If ghosts can walk through walls and glide down stairs, why don't they fall through the floor?
(Right? The law should still apply?)


If laughter is the best medicine, who's the idiot who said they 'died laughing'?
(Sometimes it's the medication that kills us)

When lightning strikes the ocean why don't all the fish die?
(It's because God likes Sushi)


Do Jewish vampires avoid crosses or Stars of David?
(I'd have to say all religious idols apply)


Why do we sing "Rock a bye baby" to lull a baby to sleep when the song is about putting your baby in a tree and letting the wind crash the cradle on the ground?
(And you wonder where those Mothers get ideas to harm their children...it's been there all along)


How does Freddy Kruger wipe his butt?
(I say this all the time about women who get those ridiculous talon claw-length acrylic nails...how on earth can they wipe their butts with those things on? Same applies for Freddy Kruger...)


Is it appropriate to say "good mourning" at a funeral?
(I guess it depends on whose funeral you're attending. Some people just can't take a joke.)


Ahh, I feel better now. My day is a little poopish. Back to work. Later Suckers!!!!

Heart,
J

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

TBR: To Be Reading .... My List is Growing

TBR : "To Be Read"


The List is Growing


I'm trying to finish off some books. One caught me off guard and I had an emotional reaction to it so I had to set it aside for a while. It hit too close to home for the time being. But here is what I'm currently reading along with what is on my TBR list. All this while writing Book #2, Shock Wave. LOL.

Currently Reading:



To Be Read:




The Birth of a Book: Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel

The Birth of a Book: Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel


This is Part 3. Click these links for Part 1 and Part 2

The writing, editing, and publishing process was such a long and extensive journey that I finding it hard to remember all the steps I took.

We covered the writing in part 1 and the editing in part 2.

We started on Cover Design, but never finished.

The cover design was so difficult. Not to mention every channel (KDP, Pubit, Createspace) want a different size or format. Argh! I had already chosen my cover image, so next was the font of the words. I went to http://www.dafont.com/ and chose a free font that I loved. It's fancy and romantic but looks like dripping blood. Romantically Gruesome! Perfect!

My cover designer and I must have tried 15 different placements of the title and author name on the cover. But it just didn't work until the graphic designer at my office suggested using a strip of grunge wallpaper behind the lettering to make it pop. I had never heard of it, so I went and Googled it. Found a super-awesome-mega-extreme one that I loved and put it behind the lettering. Perfection!

After a few more sizing adjustments, we were golden.

So I had my cover, ISBNs, and my business was formed. I still had to format. After doing some research I found it was fairly easy. I couldn't imagine having to pay Createspace or other author services to do it for me. One lesson I learned is to format while writing to cut out that extra step. That's what I'm doing with Book 2, Shock Wave.

I turned up some Snoop Dogg and did some page breaks after each chapter, did my cover pages (copyright page, title page, dedication page), did the table of contents and made sure all the text was within the format that was needed for uploading to Amazon's KDP. It took literally 20 minutes.

I was ready to upload to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Createspace (for my paperback) when I learned that all three required different formatting. No  problem.

The ebooks didn't require page numbers so with the paperback version you had to make your electronic file look exactly how it will on each page. I had the hardest time with the page numbers (getting them to go on the outsides of the pages, so I gave up with that and put them in the middle of the pages). For ebooks the ToC is hyperlinked to the chapters (reasoning for the page/chapter breaks and ToC without page numbers - all ereaders are different sizes), so for the paperback I had to do a real table of contents. Plus, I did an author page with a pic and bio of me in the back of the paperback.

I had done all of this, but I still hadn't received any real useful feedback so as my photographer friend and I were talking she mentioned that she can't wait to read it. She's extremely intelligent and very literary (she's also a talented poet) so I offered to give her an advanced copy if she could help me with some final edits and changes.

She gave me what I needed. A comprehensive edit. She read and re-read it to find errors and inconsistencies within the text and we were able to rid the novel of many errors. I'm sure there are still some, but you show me even one (professionally published included) book without an error and I'll bow down to you because so far I haven't encountered one.

So I had the completed versions uploaded and ready to present to the public. I was so nervous at this point. From the advanced readers, I was given the idea that it was really good, but I knew them all personally. I wanted to hear from a complete stranger that they liked it. So that was the true test. Will the public accept Culture Shock and love it?

Marketing. The endless task. Marketing when you're self-published is so important. I started marketing early on. I started when I first started writing Culture Shock. I started this blog first, Adventures of Life and Literature, to document my journey as a writer, to give book reviews, and to spout the random strange musings of my brain.

Then I discovered the world of Twitter and have over 2000 followers. I created a Goodreads account as a reader a while ago and then opened an author account with Goodreads. It's a fantastic networking site for authors. It helps create that bond between reader and writer. The giveaways have received many entries through that site. Finally, I got on Facebook and Pinterest. I also have a website where you can learn more about the book, author, etc. jeanettepekala.com

So the book was now up for sale and I was hoping since I hyped it up big time up until the release date, I would get tons of sales. Not so....it is very difficult to sell books. Don't get me wrong, my sales are steady and I'm happy with the progress and attention, but please don't have delusions of rolling in the dough. It takes self-published authors a while to become recognizable to a few people besides family and friends. Hopefully, you or I can gain popularity quickly and sales will skyrocket, but for the meantime it's steady, but I'm happy.

Blog tours have been a supertastic outlet for this author! Dedicated readers who have review blogs will read your book and write reviews. They cost anywhere from $20 and up. Depending on what you're looking for. A cover reveal, review post, interviews, promos, etc. They have gained me many bits of attention and quite a few sales.

I keep plucking away with my networking and have distributed these beautiful bookmarks and done many giveaways. But you or anyone else who purchases ebooks know, reviews sell books. If it doesn't have at least 100 reviews/ratings, I don't even consider it unless it's free. I know...I'm so bad, but we are all guilty of it. So that's my goal is to raise the number of reviews so people will stop and take a look.

I've been getting some great reviews from complete strangers so I've accomplished what I set out to do. Bring hours of enjoyment and entertainment into people's lives. I can't wait for book 2 to come out. It should be ready in the fall.

So that's my story so far. Share your story. Your failures or successes. I would love to hear them.


***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

You can stalk me on:

Email: jdpekala@gmail.com







Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Birth of a Book: Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel

The Birth of a Book: Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel


To read the first part of the story, click here.

Ah, so where did we leave off. Yes, that's right...my epiphany of when I discovered that I truly wanted to self-publish sort of. My book is published through a publishing company, but I own that company. Hey, it still counts.

I finally had gotten through the editing. It was terrible. Absolutely hell on earth, but the final product is worth it, but I still hadn't received some helpful feedback. I was so burnt out on the editing that I had to put the book aside.

I decided to start my own publishing company and have Culture Shock's series be its very first title. I plan to take on other authors in the future, but for the time being it's only me. I'm unfortunately only one person and can only handle so much. I then became an official business owner of TNT Publishing, LLC.

I started researching about formatting and cover design. I decided not to go with Createspace author services because I figured I was smart enough to format on my own and not pay someone to do it for several hundred dollars, plus I found that Createspace will list themselves as your publishing company, especially if you use their free ISBN, so I negated that route.

I started searching around about copyrighting my book. I do own the rights to it, but never actually got it copyrighted. It's expensive, timely, and unnecessary. The book is my own and I read that if you wrote it, it's yours and I have proof if it's even brought before the courts so I didn't stress on that front.

Next came the ISBN number fiasco.

Do not...I repeat, do not get an ISBN # from anywhere else except Bowker (see link below). They are the official site. I tell you this because, I tried saving a few cents and went with a company that claimed their ISBNs were half of what Bowker costs. It was true and I thought I had beat the system. They seemed totally legit until I went to assign those ISBNs (since you need separate ones for the ebook and paperback) to my publishing company. It said that those ISBNs were already owned by someone else. So I went online and typed in my ISBNs and found they were owned by MooDoo Productions or something like that. I was P.O.ed. I couldn't believe I wasted $70 on ISBNs that I don't own the rights to and I would never want the word MooDoo associated with my book.

So I researched some more and found out about companies that do that and don't tell you up front. I knew something was fishy when they said to email them my book information but didn't ask for the publishing company.

So I went to Bowker and got my official ISBNs. I ordered 10 so all my numbers would by in sync for future projects. It cost about $250, but it was worth it. I don't have to order another ISBN for a very long time and they are mine. Or at least TNT Publishing's. Here is the link for Bowker: http://isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp

After acquiring ISBNs for my publishing company, I started talking with a photographer friend of mine regarding cover design. I knew already that I didn't want some generic cover art, plus authors have been running into problems to where cover designers are using the exact same cover image on book after book. No thank you. I want an original. My photographer friend really wanted to do it for me. I love her work, she's truly amazing but I was nervous that she would not be able to pull off what I was looking for.

I took the chance.

We drove down to Micanopy, FL which is just one town north of where Bougainvillea, FL (the fictional town in Culture Shock) is located. It's a picturesque little town with tons of history. It's fabulous. So we drove down there on a weekday with 6 kids in the back of her minivan and did the photo shoot for Culture Shock. We went to various locations. It took her about 2 months to edit about 5 phenomenal cover images for me to choose from. I was torn between two. I was hoping it would speak to me and I would know it was the one (much like my wedding dress did), but it didn't. It was tough. I was trying to choose the right image for marketing purposes, what encompasses the story and tone I'm looking for and to really showcase the main character's personality. I decided early on that there would be a theme to my covers. It would be Macy Holmes, the main character, on each cover alone with her back facing the reader to see what she sees.

I loved the image now the choose the font and placement of the title and my name. It sounds easy, but was much harder than we both imaged.

Tune in tomorrow for more of the trials and tribulations associated with the Birth of a Book.

Happy Reading,

Jeanette P


***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

CULTURE SHOCK is a witty tale of mystery and romance with a large helping of southern hospitality.
Macy Holmes is a seventeen-year-old socially-isolated introvert since her best friend's death a year ago. When her family decides to move from Manhattan to the quaint country town of Bougainvillea, Florida, Macy finds she's in a completely different world. Macy is no longer the outsider hiding behind designer clothes when she is sought out by three strange students, one of whom she is particularly interested in. The more time she spends with Chad the more things don't add up. When his true identity is finally revealed, Macy is pulled into a supernatural society with its saturation of inhabitants residing in Bougainvillea.

You would think she has enough on her plate, but no, then her dreams become infiltrated by an external magical force, Macy and her band of supernatural misfits must find the culprit behind the magic-induced nightmares. They must dodge zombie assassins, shifty shape-shifters and high school bullies in order to stop this perpetrator before Macy, her friends or her parents pay the ultimate price. Especially when Macy has the sneaking suspicion that these dreams are reality...
 
 
Stalk me:
Email: jdpekala@gmail.com
 





Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Birth of a Book : Becoming an Author and Publishing a Novel

The Birth of a Book

This will be a series of posts. It includes my experience of becoming a debut author and my trials and tribulations along the way with lessons learned, tips and other fun stuff.


First off, let's start with the writing. I got the concept for Culture Shock, my debut YA paranormal novel, from a nightmare. The nightmare was so intense and real. It left me freaked out for the rest of the night, but I wrote down the entire nightmare and it became the climax of Culture Shock. You need to have great ideas/concepts and jot down everything. Any idea about the plot, scenarios, characters, settings, etc. EVERYTHING!

It took me 3 months to write the first draft of Culture Shock. Most people find that shocking, but it just flowed. The story was literally spewing out of my mind and onto the page. Where I needed more clarification, I researched. This was the easy part for me.

Next...my dreaded nemesis...editing. Oh, editing how I loathe thee. Even though it only took three months to write the first draft, it took 8 months to edit it to where I wanted it. I like to separate the creative process from the technical process. I do not edit while I'm writing. Never. It will screw up your creative juices, drink them dry, and you'll be left second guessing everything. Don't edit while writing your first draft; you'll only bug yourself out.

I probably went through the draft 28 times before I felt it was right for my proofreaders. I chose four people that were close to me, but little did I know, I chose the wrong people for proofreading. They would tell me they loved it, but I have yet to have one of them tell me an error or inconsistency. It wasn't until right before publishing that I received some real feedback.

Oh wait, I take that back...one proofreader told me I spelled 'crash' wrong on p.78. One error though there were many in a book of nearly 700 pages. Wow!

Next, I tried the traditional publishing path. I researched agents. Even made a darn spreadsheet of them and queried almost every single one of them that would except my genre. I did hours upon hours of research and queried so many agents, but it was futile. They weren't interested. I can sleep at night knowing that out of the 500,000-250,000 submissions each agency receives a year, they usually only publish 5, so I didn't feel so bad.

So I decided to self-publish with a twist. I started my own publishing company, TNT Publishing, LLC. Yes, as of right now I'm the only author, but I plan to take on more one day. For right now, it's just me.

I was a little down about now being picked up by an agent, but being the person I am, I always look on the bright side. I have freedom to be as creative as I'd like and I get to choose my title and cover. I won't have to fight to keep a certain scene in my book. I didn't have to answer to anyone and it felt great. I could be as artistically free as I'd like, which should be how art is developed with a freedom mixed with passion and strong feelings, not some business venture.

So now came more research. How to self-publish...tune in tomorrow for the second part of this series, The Birth of a Book.


***Read an excerpt from Culture Shock, my debut novel and a love story with a dangerous edge.

or contact me:

Email: jdpekala@gmail.com