New Additions to the Site

As anyone who’s recently visited this site may have noticed, there’s a new addition to the navigation menu: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Character Profiles.

I was finally able to upload character images to go with most of the profiles I’ve created thus far. Please feel free to check them out. I will also be doing some “Meet the Characters” videos on my Youtube channel in the near future. (read: before the end of the year, hopefully.)

State of the Book

Maelstrom of Fate is now available in print format on Amazon, at least. It may take a few days to show up on Books-A-Million or Barnes and Noble. The only reason I can come up for why it or last year’s The Daedalus Enigma haven’t shown up on Kobo is the erotica tag both books received on Smashwords. Just a theory, though.

Make no mistake; the books are NOT erotica, but they both have at least one scene which falls in that category. I am the first to admit I did not write this series for children or the overly sensitive/easily offended.

Meanwhile, I’m considering adding a character profile for Hell’s Breath Island. The island is sentient, and it’s personality does make itself known in these last two books. I found a great photo to use for it on one of the pirate groups I’m a member of on Facebook. Photo courtesy of Patrick Yanaton; used with permission.

Hell's Breath-photographer Patrick Yananton

Don’t forget to come by Hallowcon October 27-29 if you’re in the Chattanooga area then. I will be offering signed copies of all my books for less than the current retail. Some of the prices are just the original retail rates and/or convention bundle discounts. The printer my publisher uses raised their rates back in September. Maelstrom of Fate will retail at $18.99, but I will be selling copies for $15+tax at Hallowcon ONLY. Starting next year at Chattacon (which has moved from the Chattanooga Choo Choo to The Chattanoogan) all single copy prices and bundle discount prices will reflect the new retail rates.

I will produce and post three new excerpt readings videos in the coming month or so (as free time allows) for Maelstrom. I also plan to add it to my Take a Pirate Home for Christmas ad campaign and will probably do a video for that, as well.

Reader’s Poll Results and Other News

Although the official final tallies are not up yet, the Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll has ended. Unofficially, the current tallies show The Daedalus Enigma tied for 8th place in the Horror Novel category and placed at 18th in the Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel category. The SFF competition is always tough.

I want to thank everyone who voted! This makes six years running a Waves of Darkness title has placed in the top ten in Horror Novel!

I’ve stumbled across a new potential model to use for Viktor’s profile pic: Alessandro Etrusco, an Italian actor and model best know for his role as Jesus in the Italian film 7km from Jerusalem. All I need is someone with the PS skills to darken his hair a little and change his brown eyes to green. Otherwise, he has the features and body language which comes the closest I’ve seen yet to how I picture Vik Brandee.

alessandro-etruscoa-etrusco-2a-etrusco-3 What do you guys think?

In writing news: I’ve finished the rewrite of Ghost Riders in the Sky: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Episode 11 and gotten a good start on completing Castle In the Clouds: The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe Episode 12.

In convention news: Chattacon 42 is this coming weekend! I will betaking pictures during my convention-long costume hunt which will be posted in a Facebook album on my wall and author page. I will also be holding the first drawing for the last three Red Shirt spots available in Maelstrom of Fate, Waves of Darkness #7.

I’m still not sure if I will have a table on Author’s Alley at ConNooga X in February or not. I am still waiting to hear if I will be seated on any panels at that convention; and the convention has changed their policy on Author’s Alley tables this year. They will no longer be providing free author tables for panelists, as they have been steadily losing money due to authors not showing up. The table fee for authors will be $70 USD, which is rather reasonable. A table and badge will total $110 USD, only ten dollars more than what I pay for an Author’s Alley table at Chattacon; and ConNooga is a much larger convention. I have already purchased my badge; I just don’t know if any tables are still available, or if I can currently afford the fee. (There have been some rather large and unexpected expenses pop up this past week.)

I may tap a few of my fellow authors who’ll be in attendance and see if they would like to split a table. It is allowed. (Why didn’t I think of that earlier, when I first got the news about the fee?)

That’s all the news I can think of to share right now. If something else occurs before the convention, I’ll put up a bonus post.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for my book!

New Character Profile and Cover Art Update

Well, that was interesting. I had to re-add my Waves of Darkness banner to my media library to set it as the featured image for a new character profile page. I don’t recall ever deleting it. For that matter, the available library seemed to be missing several images I know I have not deleted and which are still in active use on this site. Perhaps the fact that both the desktop and the laptop are in use at the same time has something to do with it. (I use an Ethernet cable for the desktop, and the laptop operates on wifi.)

Anyway, I’ve added a character profile for Xandricus, one of the antagonists in The Daedalus Enigma. I used the photo of the portion of the cover art which depicts him in dragon form as his profile pic. I will have to hunt for an appropriate image for his human form to add later.

Which brings me to the cover art update. The cover for The Daedalus Enigma is now two thirds complete. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

001

I ended up turning my drawing table work light off to get a good photo. It wanted to cast a glaring reflection off the darker shading. Acrylics dry shiny if left undiluted.

I realize it looks a little odd he isn’t looking down at the ship; but, as the reader will discover, his eyesight is not very good in that form.

Q & A Wrap-up

crew quarters

Well, my Question and Answer sessions were mildly successful. They were attended, just not as greatly as I’d hoped. I think holding them on a holiday weekend probably played into that.

As promised, here are transcripts of the questions asked, and my replies. Screen names or first names only are used to protect participants privacy. I’ve arranged the questions according to topic rather than chronological order or forum asked on. (One was on Plurk, the other on Facebook.)

Feel free to ask me questions about the books or characters. Feel free to ask the characters questions. Be prepared for spoilers if you haven’t read any or all of the books yet.

 

Manateehugs: Oooh yay Q&A! This is more of a business-y type question. How is the experience of selling your book at Conventions? I love the energy at cons and artists alleys so I have a fantasy of doing like wise, but I was wondering if you could give me some pointers and or insight.

I admit I wish my sales were better. But considering I can only afford to attend the same 3 cons every year (because they’re all in town), my expectations aren’t high.

Still, I do make some sales each con, occasionally of more than the first title in the series. Don’t judge how it will go by me, though. J B Garner just finished a con this weekend and had what I consider stellar sales. 27 books!
Price figures in, too. I have a publisher, so there is only so much wiggle room for discounts, unlike self-pubbed authors. I have to pay 60% of the cover price for every physical book I order, which means I can’t afford to sell them for $10 each (cover price is $15.99). I wouldn’t even make enough to cover shipping.
One thing I’d like to do for my next con is get some proper banners. It will make my table look more professional.
It also helps to be outgoing… or as one of my author/musician friends says: Be a shameless attention whore. Don’t be afraid to STOP people walking by your table. Compliment their cosplay, if they’re doing that.
Manateehugs: Thank-you my friend that is really helpful!
Implore them to give a poor book a good home. Put something shiny and eye-catching on your table. (I give away Mardi Gras beads, glass fish tank jewels, and plastic coins.) Some authors put a candy bowl out.
Cards and bookmarks with your website on them are VITAL, especially if you do ebooks, too or people have limited funds, so they can look up info and purchase links to order the books later.
Manateehugs:I keep pondering if there is a way one could sell an e-copy of one’s book, say if it were on Amazon.
The only way to confirm a sale of an ebook is if the person has their reader with them and downloads it in front of you. I’ve only had this happen one time. It was during a panel at Chattacon this past January. The woman bought my 1st book and a book from the other two authors on the panel.
Manateehugs: Oh okay that makes sense. It’s a shame one can’t do like a redeemable card specifically for one’s ebook.
I haven’t tried that.
Of course, Amazon’s ebook return policy means there is the possibility of never seeing a royalty payment on a Kindle sale. Too many out there won’t hesitate to buy an ebook, read the whole thing, then return it before the quarter is up, which means no royalty, even though they read the whole book.

Karen: Describe how you come up with ideas: I.e., plot, characters, setting, for example.

My husband and I hashed out the bare bones of the seven-book story arc back in 2006, when it was still in the early stages. Before I start each manuscript, I’ll write out several pages of plot points which cover the main plot for that book and the sub-plots which run through the series. These do NOT always get followed strictly. The first book was entirely pantsed. All I knew was my basic formula. As the story progressed through the books, I was better able to plot ahead; but I often have cases of characters introducing themselves unplanned or established characters not following directions. Usually, this works out better than hoped.

Karen: Thanks!

Some of my inspiration in the early books came from articles in National Geographic or Smithsonian Magazine. Usually, this was when I was trying to decide where to stage the story, or elements to include in connection to a book’s Sister of Power. (Each book deals with a separate one, hence a seven-book arc.)

I made a point to research piracy and areas the story takes place in before beginning to write. Have to know what the rules are before you can break them, after all.

Karen: Haha, good point.

As a writer, I’m always intrigued by methods & schedules other writers use. How does a typical week of writing or revising/editing go for you?

Most of my writing has been done during work breaks over the years. There always seems to be too many distractions at home (cats, husband) to get good writing concentration. Lately, I’ve been frustrated and not getting as much writing done during my lunch break. I have a coworker who has gravitated to the table I use and feels the need to fill the silence with constant inane chatter. Kristina knows who I’m referring to. I keep telling myself I won’t get sucked in and will just ignore them, but it’s like not being able to log out of FB when you want to. Luckily (or un, depending on your POV) I got a good deal of writing done during time off for a recent med procedure.

I CAN make myself focus on typing up MSs and revising them, when I need to, though. (I do all my first drafts by hand in composition books; after all, you don’t have to worry about anyone stealing one of THOSE like you would a tablet or laptop.)

Just Sunday (May 30), I made myself stay offline until I got the MS of a horror short story unrelated to this series typed up and gone through one revision. I still need to figure out how to trim another 500 words off it, though, to meet the min-max word count requirements for the publisher it’s slated for.

Manateehugs: Vik definitely has the morality of a pirate of his time, has that ever been emotionally hard for you to write?

Actually, no. What has been hardest for me to write with him has been the first part of book 7. He’s a bit depressed and mourning the loss of a very important person to him. Getting in that mindset has been rough.

Manateehugs: I understand the roughness of writing the depression part. I have a really hard time sticking with a narrative if the character has lost their fighting spirit and there seems to be no end of the depression in sight.

^^this

I think he’s coming out of it some. He’s still putting off finishing his quest. Juma holds a special, unreasoning dread for him, another emotion he is completely unfamiliar with dealing with.

Kristina: Belladonna is so far one of my favorite characters. When you write about her do you identify with her? To me she seems like this beautifully scary, feminine (in human form) yet sexually lethal creature.

That pretty much pegs how I see Belladonna. She’s very fun to write. I do get into her head space, but she would be viewed as borderline sociopathic by an analyst. Since she’s not human, she doesn’t always fully understand WHY humans react the way they do to some situations. She doesn’t really feel remorse and only understands it academically. She is several thousand years old, despite her youthful appearance, so she knows her prey very well and can almost seamlessly mimic humans.

She does feed on sexual energy as well as living flesh. I still remember some of the guys [at work] saying they wouldn’t hesitate to “hit that” when I showed them a drawing of her true form, even after I explained she would literally EAT them for food.
So, if she were real rather than a figment of my imagination, she definitely wouldn’t go hungry.
 
Kristina: Does Jim Rigger/ Lazarus regret being turned? Or is the power and connection reward in itself?
Does Jim regret being turned… not really. I first addressed that in Demon Bayou.
(spoiler ahead, since I know you haven’t gotten that far in the series yet)
 Jim was fiercely loyal to Viktor ever since they first teamed up in their teens. He knows how valuable he is to Vik as Lazarus. He’s given the choice to regain and retain human form as a vampire or continue as Lazarus. He chooses to remain Lazarus.
A spoiler/tease for all my readers: There will be a major event involving Jim/Lazarus in book six, The Daedalus Enigma, due later this year.
Kristina: Do people in your day to day life often inspire your characters?
Not really, with the exception of the one’s who’ve won or earned “red shirt” status. Even those are usually minor characters I’d already written with my victim’s name pasted on… with permission, of course. For anyone wondering what I mean by “red shirt”; they are characters who meet an untimely or horrible demise. I’ve gotten rid of a few coworkers this way in the past.
All of my main characters and secondary characters were initially created years ago when I first started planning and researching for the series.
I will admit benefitting from watching the interactions of my male coworkers to get a better feel for how the pirate crew interacts. Of course, I was already writing the first draft of the third book in the series by that time.
And, this concluded all the questions and answers.

Procedures

I apologize for not doing my usual Sunday blog post. I have an upcoming medical screening which has occupied most of my attention this past weekend. Nothing serious, but it does require being anesthetized. This is what I get for surviving half a century on this screwy planet.

I will post a regular update next weekend. I also intend to gather the best questions and answers from my upcoming Q& A sessions next week an post them here. There has been a slight change of plans for the Facebook portion of the sessions. I will host it as an event rather than group only.

Here’s the link: Waves of Darkness Series Q&A w/Tamara Lowery and the Crew

It’s an open-ended event so no one feels pressured to be there for a specific amount of time. All are welcome to ask questions. All questions will be answered. Trolls will be fed to the siren… and she’s a messy eater.

Procrastination

Procrastination_Stop

This is something I have been very guilty of over the years; sometimes without major repercussions, sometimes at great cost, and occasionally to my advantage.

For instance, a lot of stress might have been avoided on my job over the past two years if I hadn’t kept putting off putting in for a department transfer. Still, I’ve made it through the worst of the repercussion so far (I just have to hold out to August for this particular problem to be completely off me).

I apologize for being so deliberately vague about this, but I try to post as little as possible about my “day” job (the one that pays my bills and afford me health insurance and other perks for which I am extremely grateful).

I also tend to procrastinate on taking action on things to do with my writing career. In fact, I am very good at talking myself out of doing some things, either because I’m lazy or because of fear. I know some things would be a risk, but I also know they have the potential to pay off greatly.

What I need to keep in mind is that I’m not getting any younger. I have been on this planet for half a century now. Given my health issues, I know I will be lucky to enjoy two more decades here. Then again, I may be around for a full century. I do know that the next moment is no more a guarantee than the next day, year, or decade. I’ve seen people my age, younger, or older leave this world behind, often without warning.

I have  got to stop procrastinating on things that are important to me, face my fears, and take calculated risks. (I have no intention of taking foolish risks. My goal is to enjoy the rest of my life, not shorten it.)

On another note:

Viktor, Grimm, and Belle recently granted a group interview on Mom With a Reading Problem . I’ve also posted this link on each of their character profile pages.

P&E Update and Other Stuff (HNY)

It would figure I’d make my first post of 2016 here two days late. Sorry about that.

Anywho, Hell’s Dodo has been doing well in the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. (Yoyo-ing a bit, but that’s to be expected.) A few of the characters have lent a hand promoting/begging-for-votes on FB. Today is Mr. Grimm’s turn.

Hezekiah Grimm model Thomas Gunter Hezekiah Grimm aka the Reaper [model Thomas Gunter courtesy of Invicta’s Art Photography]

There are nine days left to vote. This morning’s standings are 5th in Horror Novel and 7th in Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel. I sincerely thank you all for your continued support! Please encourage others to vote, as well. http://critters.org/predpoll

Now for the “other stuff.”

Although the tree has been undecorated since New Year’s day, we just put it out today. Probably gonna be picking tree needles out of the carpet for months.

I still need to inventory my stock of print copies of the series to see what I need to order for the upcoming conventions.

Speaking of… this will be my first year to sit as a panelist at Chattacon. As soon as I get a schedule from them I will post it here. I will be at my table in the Dealer Room when not on a panel (during dealer room hours, of course). The rest of the time, I will be wandering around the convention and hunting cosplayers to photograph.

Other plans for this month include expanding the character profile pages, once I find suitable images.

Spy-vs-spy

I also am about to embark on the next stage of a Seekrit Projekt I’ve been working on. I’ve done the research stage and am ready to set things in motion. I just hope this pays off.

Finally, tomorrow marks the end of my Winter vacation. Back to work in the morning.

Changes and Improvements

under construction

As I learn more about how stuff works in WordPress, I will continue to tweak this blog site. The latest tweaks have involved reworking the BOOKS and SHORT STORIES section to improve and streamline navigation. I’ve given each book or story its own page and made this the parent page with links to them. The individual book pages have publication dates, blurbs, purchase links, and review links.

I have also added interview links on my About page and on Viktor‘s character profile. There were at least two author interviews I could not link, however. The posts or sites they were on have been removed since they were done. (They were a few years old, anyway.) I hope to add new interviews in the coming months.

There may or may not be a weekly post next week. Work has gotten very, very busy. Next weekend is a turn-and-burn for me. I’ll be coming off of night shift for a 50+ hour week on Saturday morning and have to go back in to work Monday morning the following week.

Oh, and I have my ticket for ConNooga next year. I’m still waiting to hear back from the vendor coordinator at Chattacon about getting a table in the dealer room and my convention membership. However, I have heard back from the program director and need to send her a list of panel subjects I’d be willing to do. 2016 will be the first year I’ve sat on any panels at Chattacon.

That reminds me. I need to add an Appearances page. werkwerkwerk