Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Motivation you CAN'T pass up

I am the little engine that could. I keep on chugging along. I have something to prove. Little fish, big pond.

But even I run out of steam sometimes. And when that happens, I look for places to find new motivation to keep me on that track. When doing that, I found something, or more like, someone, I couldn't keep to myself.

In need of some one who I could relate to and respect, I came across the self-publishing and a success section of Google. This blog is a life saver. It made me realize that I don't need a big name company to support my writing; to believe in me more than I ever could for myself. What I need is really a dynamite agent that respects my desire to remain self-published and can propel me despite that. And to teach myself the ways to break into the self-publishing industry until I find that special someone to work with.

I knew what I am about to say and even though I already knew it, it didn't infuriate me until I read it: when you go with a big house publisher, typically they give you some kind of advance, take 30% in royalties and then OWN you. They decide what the paper back and ebook is priced at, what the cover art is going to be and so on. So even if I wanted to change the price or format for MY own book, I couldn't. 

I don't know about you, but I am too controlling for that. And as far as I have seen, charging $9.99 for an eBook when the soft cover coasts the same, doesn't make sense to me. If I don't have a say in my product/brand, it is no longer me. And I refuse to represent anything that is not completely me.

So, here is a successful traditionally published and e-published author with MANY great guest posts and interviews. This will motivate you - it did for me. It is also really nice to see someone else's process and experiences.

Here he is!


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Do Celebs blush when THEIR idols compliment them?

I kind of feel that way. It is one thing to have someone like something that you do... Don't get me wrong, compliments on whatever it is that I am doing, as long as they are one hundred percent un-basis and authentic, mean a lot to me.

But I feel like... oh, I don't know. Who is someone starting out and is pretty wicked? For example sake, let's say I am Krystan Ritter. And say Julia Roberts was my idol and she walks up to me and says, "Hey, I really liked you in She is Out of my League!"

I feel a bit like that. It is not that Kelly the reviewer and blogger is the Perez Hilton of blogs or has a large amount of popularity or influence, but as a writer, I really respect how she writes. Or in my case, reviewed.  And to have her like something I have done, is huge for me.

So even though Kelly's review is 60% great feed back and 40% unhappy or annoyed, she is precise and detailed and I appreciate and respect that.

So I am Krystan and Kelly is my Julia. And that really rocks.

Review: The Shade and the Nine Lower Levels

The Shade and the Nine Lower Levels by Tannis Skye
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Release date: October 18, 2011
Pages: 154 (328 KB)
Format: eBook
Below our feet, where the damned roam undetected, a whole other world exists. Once a distinguished, high ranking tier nine angel, Lucifer challenges the vision of The Light King. Before a rebellion can be formed, Lucifer is banished from the Upper Levels, where he plummets to the center of the Earth. Lucifer forms a lava oasis, which descends nine levels deep, into the very core. In this new world he creates an army of hellions, renounces his former identity and stands as Abaddon. One of his hellions Valafar has been in his service since the beginning and millenniums later, it is his turn to prove himself worthy of being Realm Lord of level Four. Before doing so, he is released from the hell-mouth with the task of dragging a soul back with him. Thinking himself triumphant, Valafar’s intended victim becomes his greatest folly. Kai’s soul has been stolen, but his body remains. Without a soul and not quite dead, Kai lives on, as a shade. It’s been over seventy-five years since the birth of his new life. Kai seeks a quiet existence with the possibility of the human interaction he has been without. But Kai is not the only supernatural being to reside within the sleepy town of Madeira Park. Unlike Keetes, Kai’s soul has been stolen from his body by a demon, leaving him as a shade; a stronger version of a vampire. Keetes is the best friend to Riley, the town’s fire cracker and hot mouth. Meeting at night classes and sharing a mutual love of art, Kai’s connection to Riley is undeniable. Riley is unaffected by any form of compulsion thanks to a shield her unaware clairvoyant friend and she is a puzzle that Keetes has grown bored of trying to solve. It’s time to change her. Kai struggles with his need to remain anonymous and his blossoming feelings for the infuriating red-head. Unwilling to let Keetes turn her, Kai is forced to reveal his unequalled skill. As he is thrust onto a wooden spike and lit aflame, Keetes vows to seek out Kai’s maker within the Lower Levels and inform him that his mistake is siding with humans rather than his own kind. There is only a matter of weeks before Keetes will find Valafar and when he does, a whole army of hellions will be sent to wreak havoc on the disobedient shade. The only hope Kai has is seeking out the phantom Unholy Priest.
“What will he be able to do?” Riley asks.
“Show me the hell mouth entrance.”
“And then what?”
“I go in and retrieve my soul. With my soul, I am human.”
Have you ever read a book that you felt just lukewarm about it while you read it and right after you finished it, but then after some time passes, you realized it was better than you thought? That is exactly how I feel about The Shade and the Nine Lower Levels. (Warning: This is not going to be a short review!)
I was so frustrated with this book while I was reading it! Initially, I couldn't stand Riley. She annoyed me in the littlest ways, like how she always called her car her baby, but then drove it pretty recklessly. And I hated it that she didn't seem to like very many people--she complained a lot. And her jealously toward Lance drove me nuts. BUT. Yes, there is a but. BUT, Riley had redeeming qualities. She might not have liked a lot of people, but there were people she cared about, and when she cared about people, she did so with all her heart, it seemed. She was so incredibly loyal to Willow and Fly, even if she didn't like who they dated or the choices they made.

My other main point of frustration was with Kai. We know he's a shade. But I've never heard of a shade before, so I didn't really know what it was. I went through the book frustrated that it wasn't explained what a shade was until almost the end. Looking back on it now, though, I think it was subtly explained throughout the novel, and I just didn't quite pick up on it. Now that I realize this, I'm thinking, "Oh, I see what the author did there. I think I like it."

The writing was shaky in some areas. There were instances of the incorrect words being used (for example, "wondering" instead of "wandering"). I usually try to overlook these kinds of things, but I have to admit that it drove me nuts with this book. It was a little distracting sometimes. But then there were times when the writing was good. And when the writing was good, it was good. I loved the descriptions of the landscape and town. Some of it seemed to be randomly placed (there's a chunk about halfway through the novel that describes the town in a very thorough manner; it took me out of the story a little bit, and I wish we would have gotten it in bits and pieces instead of one big piece), but the author did a great job of creating a place that I could see. I could imagine Riley's cabin (which is adorable in my mind, by the way) and the woods surrounding it. I could imagine the Grasshopper in detail. And then there's a scene near the end of the novel that revolves around Kai, Keetes, and Riley, and that is where the writing is strongest. During that scene, I was so nervous for Riley! That scene really grabbed my attention and held it. I couldn't wait to see how it would unfold.

As good as that scene was, it actually wasn't my favorite part of the novel. My favorite part of the novel was a scene during Riley's art class, when the class has to draw a picture from France, 1826. I love characters who create things, whether they're artists, musicians, or writers. Those kinds of characters really resonate with me. For me, too, watching a character play an instrument, write a poem, or draw something, tells me so much more about the character than anything else can. Riley pulling a painting out of the trash and cleaning it up to hang her room because it was too beautiful to be thrown away tells me more about her than anything else can. I loved the descriptions of what Riley drew compared to what Keetes drew. I loved it that she wanted to know what kind artist Kai was, because that's how I am with books. Whenever I see someone reading, I do everything I can to figure out what they're reading--without actually asking them. It goes back to that kind of thing being able to tell me a lot about a person, and I feel like maybe that's how Riley felt--knowing what kind of artist Kai was would have told her a lot about him.

I also really loved the mystery aspect of this book. I've noticed that in some books, the "mystery" is revealed right away: so-and-so is a vampire, this is how he lives, this is who his enemies are and why, and this is what's about to happen. That wasn't the case with The Shade and the Nine Lower Levels. By the time I finished the book, I didn't know everything. I know what's going on with certain characters, but I don't know everything yet. There's still a lot I don't understand about the Nine Lower Levels and the role Fly and Riley are going to play in everything. There's still so much I don't know about the way things work with characters like Kai and Keetes, and I like that. It makes it more interesting, and it gives me a reason to keep reading.

Tannis Skye

Monday, 14 November 2011

I am no Steve Jobs, but Sax is

And I realize I am no Steve Jobs. I can't stand in front of you for hours and make you understand, enjoy and want to buy everything I just spent an hour talking about - even if I am one of those computer illiterate kinds.

I don't have his skills. So when I watched something that was going on while watching T.V that paid homage to the amazing accomplishments he achieved, I couldn't help but feel like I was watching an old friend.

He actually reminds me of a fun character I just started writing about in my second book. In fact, I would cast someone like Steve to play Sax if the second book in the series was ever made into a movie - with just a little more hair. Bush man him up a bit. 

Even if I didn't know how successful, or how brilliant Jobs is, just the way he speaks would have earned my attention. Both Sax and Jobs are calm, cool and oh-so collected. 

I watched the program, entranced by him - and I am one of these not-so-great-with-technology kinds. I wished I was sitting in that audience, applying nearly everything he said, into ways to propel my book. I was a little in-love with him in those sixty glorious minutes; the way his tall, skinny frame strode across the stage, looking everyone in the eyes. I would have been one of the many bright-eyed youngsters looking up at him, enthusiastic to learn; to sap some of his brilliance.

I would have shouted, "You inspire me!"

I would have done so loud enough for him to hear. He would maybe have blushed, I would have laughed - and likely mostly everyone else too.

I could imagine Jobs giving me a polite node and a "That's great!" before he launched into another piece of genius. 

It was funny watching Jobs, loving him, all the while, feeling like I was watching the character I created in my head, and smiling in wonder on how someone living (or was when the program was made) and someone fictional, like Sax, are one of the same.

Tannis Skye