Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yesterday was a little bit of a nightmare for me. Nothing had been happening writing wise. Outside it was pouring rain and too friggen cold to even enjoy it. One room of my house was hotter than the sun, the next colder than outside. Someone pointed out an oops in my book and it sent me over the edge, I slept in too late, basically the world was out to get me. And then I get this.

Yes, that is a PAPERBACK version of Illumine. Yes, it has a shiny cover. I'm actually giddy as hell for having this come in the mail so soon. It was easily 3-4 days early, so I have to give a huge kuddos to CreateSpace for the speedy shipping. As soon as I got my hands on this a switch must have flipped somewhere, because my whole night went from sobbing to huge leaps of unicorn glitter inhaled giddiness, and it's still following me this morning.

One- I got my paperback proof. 'Nuff said.
Two- Someone randomly gave me a five star review on Amazon. My heart is still fluttering from that.
Three- My 2-liter of Mountain Dew wasn't flat.
Four- Fireflight released their new CD 'NOW' for pre-order on iTunes, and I grabbed their new single 'Stay Close' with a frenzy. This song is used heavily in my writing, so it was only fitting to buy it and stop replaying the YouTube video FINALLY.
Five- Won a dozen little cheesecake bites from a local bakery called the Itty Bitty Bakery on their Facebook page last night! Uhhh, can you say YUM?! Now I just need to plan a date to go down there, pick them up, and not eat the whole box in five seconds. Ahem.

That's it for me today. But I do have a little secret coming up awfully soon, so I'd keep your eyes peeled on here. You know, if you like super cool giveaways and all. ;)

Anyone else having a super cool Tuesday?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

So earlier this week we got the news that Apple would be releasing some pretty wicked content. First, it told us of a new iBooks Store, which for an Apple techie like me, is like getting a Christmas gift early. Then we learned of a new program, called iBooks Author, a free software for authors to use to create books specially designed for the iBooks Store. Can you say, jackpot?

At least, that's what I thought before I took a closer look at their agreements for the software usage. After reading over a dozen different posts on the current layout of this software, and enough appreviations to make my head spin, I figured I'd post about it and sort of break it down for any indie or self-published or techie person out there who's been reading the other posts going, "Whu-hut?"

First, the basics. So the software is most definitely free, which unlike their Pages application (the very one I use to write anything that sets my brain on fire) yanked ten dollars from my bank account. Just like how Amazon's KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program is free to use but takes a cut from your sales, Apple is using the same skeleton of an idea. Software free, pay cut comes when you sell stuff through them for money. Got it.

For most of the self-published industry and the people inside of it, this is nothing new. In fact, it's a little bit of a gift from the heavens. Before it was possible to do digital publishing and market yourself virally people used to scrape the bottom of their bank accounts and shovel it all into a pipe dream of publishing whatever it was they had written. I once met a woman who had self-published a cookbook on her favorite cuisines and she told me she'd invested thousands of dollars into it up front. Thousands. I don't know about you guys, but if someone told me I needed to hand over a couple grand to make my book today, I'd cry and go straight back to work and let the dream fall to the side. So naturally when someone stepped up to the plate and said, "Hey, we'll publish your book for free, you just have to give us a small cut of every sale" it was like hitting the lottery.

Second, the benefits. After hearing about the iBooks Author program, I had to look around into the detailed specs of it. Upon first glance, it looks like an updated version of PowerPoint. But like this site so kindly points out, this program definitely gives PowerPoint the look of age. iBooks Author is fresh, easy to use, and the dragging/dropping technique makes is borderline impossible to mess up on. It's rich, and the beautiful content it produces is damn near perfect.

Third, the complication. If Apple had left the software just as is, meaning it could be used to make books and market them wherever, there wouldn't even be the debate on whether or not to use it right now. Hell, they could have charged for the software and it still would have been fine. But this little complication came up, called the end-user license agreement (EULA, you see this a lot in articles about this.) What exactly is wrong with it? Huffington Post made it pretty easy to understand, stating that this EULA you have to agree to when downloading the software means that anything you make with the software can only be sold in the iBooks Store.

Does this mean they own what you write? No.
Does this mean if you make an awesome book layout in their program you can sell it on Amazon? No.

Basically, anything you make in their store formatting wise is what you can't take with you anywhere else. You still have the rights to your writing, they don't have that, I promise. But they do have the rights to the snazzy layout you just finished with photos and formatting and all that hoopla. It's a little weird, right? It's a little bit of a jerk move, right? But that's okay, worst case scenario you only make a certain book with their software and put it in their store to sell, right?

Wrong. Apple states in that little EULA thingy I mentioned above that they have the right to say what gets published into their store and what doesn't. So to make that simple, I'll project an example:

You slave over designing this awesome new book in the new software, iBooks Author, that Apple has so graciously made free. Pretty cover, lovely layout, everything is perfect. And you want to charge for it, so you remember that you can only sell it in the iBooks Store. No biggie, it'll just be an exclusive thing. And then Apple rejects your book.

So what happens next? In a word, you're burnt-toast. You can't technically sell it in another digital store, not with their formatting. You could offer it for free, but Apple already rejected the book, so now you're stuck with something that can't move anywhere and can't generate anything for you. Unless you're prepared to spend however many hours reformatting for another site, it's case closed. All your hard word, gone. Done. Finito.

Personally, I'm not too sure about this whole deal. The software sounds awesome, but for an indie author looking to put your name and work out as far as the eye can see, this is a step backwards! If Apple was looking to make their software a widely used item among authors and book creators alike, it's failing. No ammount of shiny bells or whistles could make some buckle to selling only in a digital store that holds virtually no share on the ebook market.

Have you played with the software yet? Maybe you've heard about it and are confused too? Share your thoughts in the comment box below!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Author Interview!

I'm popping over to Raychelle Writes today for a little author Q&A!

Check it out here!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SQUEE! (I feel like I've been saying that a lot recently.) Have you guys seen the front-and-back paperback cover for Illumine yet?!

All I can say is wow. And a whole bunch of other words like, "Flabbergastingly-wholy-moley-pickled-bacon-tongue AWESOME!"

Everything has been moving so fast since the 7th, I can't even explain it. Obumbrate, book two of the Illumine Series is already underway (yes Mom, that means you can read the draft soon) this week I'm popping up on a  couple of blogs, and from there it's only going forward! I'm still in shell-shock at how many bloggers have been kind enough to agree to read my book, given the no-name status. Book bloggers, you all rock!

I will keep you all up to date with where I'll be stopping at online, so check back often! These next few months are going to be one heck of a doozie.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Projects suck.

Remember those days of Monster energy drink fueled High School when we got a ridiculous assignment about some ridiculous thing we'd never need to know later in life? (Hi Ecology chart of rain water and acidic content.) We'd get a pretty little sheet saying exactly what was needed to be in it for that shiny A guaranteed to save you from community college and its rifraff the councellors kept trying to scare you with to pay for the big pricey colleges where 'nothing bad happened.' (Except learning to binge drink, wake up next to someone you don't remember from the night before, and possibly explore the dark halls for pot.)

Anyway, I'm trailing.

Those pretty little project they had us do had a set-up. They had a start, middle, finish, and enough filler content inbetween to remind you of a piece of pie. You didn't need much thought to complete them since everything was already pre-laid out for you.

Somedays I wish writing was like that.

Don't get me wrong, I love writing, almost as much as I love decorating cupcakes only to watch half of them fall on the floor Thanksgiving day. There's a neat sense of person to opening a document or notebook, imagining people up and watching them get the living hell kicked into them. But every now and then I get a little frustrated, and High School is partly to blame.

Writing doesn't have everything laid out for you. You have to figure out the beginning, middle, finish and filler (and how much of it) to get that shiny A to prove to everyone who's paying 40k a year for college that you took the better road and didn't go off to college.

To me, writing is like one big picture, framed on a lovely matte background and signed. You know the sky is blue-ish purple, and you know the grass is sea grass and not grass-grass but you don't know what house is in the center of the shot. Colonial, Victorian, Modern? So many choices, so little time.

It's okay, though. This is why they invented sticky notes. And multi-colored sharpies.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Everyone Loves a Giveaway!

Yes, everyone loves a good giveaway, but first there is a trial. A trial of fire. A burning ball of flames so flipping hot there's nothing you can do but watch it slowly smolder to a heap of ash, only to re-start the fire all over again. Ahhh, fire. There's nothing like a good, old fashioned, burn-your-worries-away fire.

Specifically, one my manuscript notes from three years ago just went through this morning. 

Part of me wants to explain, and part of me doesn't. Maybe if I leave no explanation save for a few cackles you'll all think I'm insane, or maybe you'll just go through my Twitter, find out I was discussing burning it with a fellow writer CA Moulton, and do it partly for kicks, partly for giggles, and all for retribution. 

Big burning pile of paper aside, I didn't lie in my title blog post. Through a very wonderful blogger, Janina over at Synchronized Reading was kind enough to host a giveaway of two digital copies of Illumine!

Curious about entering? Here's where you go! Best of luck!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Click here to get Illumine for your Kindle Device or App!

Phew! What a last couple of days. Anyone else feel like they've been steamrolled flat then re-inflated with buckets of nachos? That's probably just me.

Cheesiness, from the nachos or just natural we'll never know, aside I wanted to do a quick little blog post officially saying that yes, Mom, now you can go buy the book. And everyone else too. Not that you didn't already know that I'm sure, most people I know are tech-savvy enough to do a little Googling and find the link.

As for everything else going on right now, with my book finally released into the wild (may you all have mercy on me) I am very ready for a night of completely undisturbed sleep. I cannot tell you how weird it is to be sitting in front of a computer at 6:38am the second night in a row without sleep and trying to figure out why everything's moving when you just need it to stand still for a teeny, tiny moment so you can read the line over again and fix it. Again. Times a million.

Friday, January 6, 2012

You ever have that sinking feeling that you've forgotten something? You know, like when the back of your neck itches or all the hairs on your arm stand up and it isn't because it's negative one billion degrees outside? (Hello, PA weather.) And then you finally remember just as you sit down and start to write/paint/doodle on your notebook in Math class and it hits you so hard you...

Well, go kaboom.

Let's just say I'm there right now.

Yesterday I sat down to do a quick once-over on my precious book, thinking I could get it done in a few hours and make sure all my pieces make sense and fall into place and look pretty. So I went digging in my purse for the papers I was so-sure I had with me from work on Sunday. It's so perfectly envisioned in my head that I can see the blue ink and my ridiculous wannabe-high-school-girl handwriting bunched all over it.

But what's this? It isn't in my purse? ...of course not, because that would mean I actually didn't forget something for once.

This is the post I soon uploaded to Twitter following my spaz-out on the missing paper (aka MY FREAKING HOLY GRAIL)

Needless to say I quickly scrambled and tried to remember as much as the key details and little bits as I could and jotted them down. But next time I know better. Next time I make a plot sheet I'm taking a million pictures, sending them to various emails, and when that fails, well, I'll do what I told one person on Twitter...

Mustache time! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Check out the final cover and synopsis here!

I don't know about you guys, but I love this cover! Sure, it may have taken roughly seven hours (along with the synopsis) to complete but hey, it was worth it in the end. 

This is insane- it'll be three years ago on the 7th that I first came up with the concept of Illumine. Looking back I never would have thought I would be here right now counting down the hours until my book is released into the wild. Kind of nerve wracking, honestly. Anyone know a good paperbag wholesale guy? 

Hyperventilation aside, the link up top will take you to the new tab on my page that includes the full description and also has a link to Goodreads for making the book as 'to-read' on your digital shelves!  

And now I'm going to return to looking for that paperbag guy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I'm going to make one horror of a confession: I can't stand Christmas, and the New Year always makes me queasy. Now, before you go off and grab staple guns to stick me to the nearest Christmas tree while screaming 'HAPPY NEW YEAR ALIVIA, HAPPY NEW YEARRRRR!' let me explain why.

Think back to NaNo, back when November was running along and everyone you knew was fueled on coffee, Mountain Dew or whatever tea you sipped repeatedly from the testing kettles inside Tevana. Or maybe that was just me. We all hung over our computers and pen and paper, scribbling as furiously as we could manage to hit that 50k word count and declare ourselves victorious.

And somewhere along those lines, I failed.

The build-up to my idea for my NaNo novel fell completely flat on its face. And when I say it fell on its face, I mean it ate dirt, coughed it up, and ate it again. I hit only several thousand into it and choked as if a hot dog lodged itself in my throat. No matter how hard I coughed it wouldn't come out, and somewhere in the midst of that never-ending choking nightmare November ended.

What a mess, right? Humiliation is the only word I can properly use for the situation. I was actually afraid to visit the NaNo boards, my blog, Twitter (I'm coming back there, FYI, I promise) anywhere that I was connected to people who knew of my writing journey. I felt like if I shared my failure notice with everyone that they'd all walk away and leave me alone, forced to play endless hours of FarmVille with myself.

It's okay, I told myself. I'll just go back on tomorrow and move past it. The calendar told me it was only December 5th. I could still come back from that, right?

It's January 1st now. I took a whole month of sweating things out (and one random semi-tipsy promise to myself to blog every two days from here on out unless I'm struck by lightning or eaten by a shark) to bring myself back here, man up (do you really man up if you're a woman?) and do everything I was supposed to do weeks ago in the next six days.

See, if I remember right, Illumine, my little book of pure passion and love, is publishing digitally in six days. Yes, six. Print I'm guessing will be in another month depending on how much I play with the cover and the format types (and also it depends on how much sleep I'm willing to sacrifice this week). That means I have six days to upload my page on here, send queries to book reviewers online, double-check the manuscript and still have time to see family/friends/random pet.

Bring it on 2012, you don't scare me.