Shopping Small: The Indie Author Edition

Over on my personal Facebook page, I indulged in what has become an annual tradition, in which I pimp out my many creative friends’ small business endeavors and exhort folks to spend some holiday cash with them instead of big box stores that dupe you into getting up at the ass crack o’ dawn on Black Friday so you can fight massive mobs for a limited quantity of deep-discount sale items.

I’ve decided to do something similar here for the benefit of my many indie author buddies, as well as for anyone who might be looking for some new hidden gem of a book. Click on the images to jump to Amazon.com (or the appropriate direct sale site) to grab a copy.

YA – SUPERHERO FICTION

Obviously I’ll start with my own books, but I won’t belabor the point since 99 percent of this blog is dedicated to that. Go here and you’ll fund all the links you need to grab any or all of the Action Figures series, or check out this post to learn how you can grab signed copies.

HISTORICAL FICTION

Jake Hawking and the Bounty Hunters – J.M. Aucoin

SYNOPSIS: The Caribbean. 1715. Jake Hawking — pirate, rogue, and scourge of the Spanish Main — is known for his quick blade and cunning wit. It’s earned him some friends in the Caribbean, but it’s also earned him his fair share of enemies. The governor of Havana has hired three of the most dangerous bounty hunters in the West Indies to track and capture Hawking and his crew. It’s not an unusual predicament for a pirate to find himself — hunted to the end of his days — but if the Spanish governor manages to persuade the lot to fly under a single banner, it could make life a little more interesting than Hawking wishes.

With the giant ex-slave Little Queen and the rest of Hawking’s crew aboard the snow-brig Broad-Wing, they’ll need every ounce of wit, sail, and steel if they’re to survive and out duel the bounty hunters. Included in the collection are the first three Jake Hawking short adventures — “A Pirate’s Honor”, “The Royal Bounty Hunter”, and “Little Queen’s Gambit” — previously only available as eBooks (also available on Amazon). This edition also includes a foreword by J.M. Aucoin, the original single story artwork, and four bonus pirate stories and swashbuckling poems.

Inspired by the swashbuckler tales of the early 1900s as well as the likes of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, the Jake Hawking Adventures promise to thrill readers with swordplay, daring, intrigue, and plenty of high adventure.

CREEPY CHRISTMAS

The Stocking Dead – Dean Calusdian

SYNOPSIS:

A sleighful of pop culture satire and a splattering of the zombie genre, The Stocking Dead will chew at your funny bone and gnaw on your heart strings.

It’s the day before Christmas and all the elves of christmasville are getting ready for santa’s big ride, but one of Santa’s helpers isn’t so merry.

Nothing ever goes right for poor little Wendell. Bored at his job, picked on by the toy shop bully and unnoticed by the elf of his dreams he hopes that somehow this Christmas will be different.

His problems are about to get worse. Much worse.

When a bite from a toxic bunny starts turning all the residents of Christmasville into flesh eating fiends, Santa’s winter wonderland becomes an undead wasteland.Wendell and a small band of survivors must desperately attempt to escape the carnage, but the zombie plague is spreading faster than Christmas cheer.

With all hope dwindling, it’s up to our holiday heroes to save Christmas, but can they even save themselves?

Wight Christmas – Rob Borkowski

SYNOPSIS: Wight Christmas, a flash fiction short, tells a cautionary tale of the consequences of interfering with holiday spirit.

Saving Christmas: A Feel Good Macabre Tale – Jess MacLean, Dan Desilets, Rhiannon McCulloch

SYNOPSIS: It’s all your fault. You could have stopped this from happening. Belief in Santa Claus begins to fade and Christmas is in jeopardy. Santa is despondent and his well meaning elves take it upon themselves to “Save Christmas”. Try to remember that their hearts are in the right place as the blood begins to fly.

Saving Christmas is a lighthearted romp through the “Feel-Good Macabre” genre. As you laugh, sigh and cringe your way through this delightfully grim tale, remember this. You are just as awful as we are for enjoying it.

CHILDREN

Ricky’s Spooky House – Micah Edwards, Tom Brown

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest storytellers ever, and you’d like to share him with your kids. But isn’t he too scary? No longer!

Ricky’s Spooky House, the first in the Li’l Eddie series of books, is a retelling of Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher. The beautiful pictures and entertainingly tamed story would horrify Poe, but will delight children and parents alike.

Saving Santa’s Seals – T.M. Murphy, Adam Taylor

SYNOPSIS: When 8-year-old Ryder asks Santa to help his Uncle Ted overcome writer’s block and create another amazing story, he cannot know that they’ll both be getting the best present ever–a wild adventure. But is it real, or just a wonderful Christmas dream?

URBAN FANTASY

The Life and Death of Lily Drake – T. Michelle Nelson

SYNOPSIS: For Lily Drake, slaying vampires is easy…Dating them is the hard part. Lily Drake is your everyday hard-working single mom…until a gorgeous vampire shows up on her front door who she mistakenly assumes is her blind date for the evening. As one crazy scenario after another unfolds, Lily finds herself falling in love with two vampires, slaying the evil ones, and being prophesied as the savior of the entire undead race.

Deciding between pizza and Chinese take-out will no longer be one of the hard decisions facing Lily Drake once she is immersed into vampire society. Humanity or immortality? That doesn’t hold a candle against this question – which of the two handsome vampire cousins? The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene. How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn? Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?

YA – ROMANTIC THRILLER

Mobster’s Girl – Amy Rachiele

SYNOPSIS: Gripping my chest is the only way to hold myself together or what’s left of me will fall out. The past week has enlightened me on one thing-I don’t care. Megan, Mobster’s Girl I didn’t even hesitate. I took two strides and blasted him in the face with my fist. He was ready for it this time-unlike in church. He tried to hit me back but I ducked and smashed him again. Antonio, Mobster’s Girl You can’t help what family you’re born into or what lies they keep from you. You can’t help it if they mold and shape you just the way they wanted. Are monsters born or made? Antonio and Megan have a timeless issue. They were told to stay away from each other. They try, they really do. But they are drawn to each other. Antonio is eighteen and the up and coming mob boss of Palmetto, New Jersey. Megan is a girl uprooted from the grassy plains of Ireland at the age of five. Now she’s seventeen and faced with horrors she never thought existed.

PLAYS – COMEDY

WHACKED – Scott Kegler

SYNOPSIS: A full-length comedic play, “Whacked” follows the life of Jack Murphy, whose wife walks in on a private moment and makes an embarrassing discovery the night before Thanksgiving. The next day, all the in-laws come to celebrate and promptly notice something is not quite right in the Murphy’s little love nest, so they decide to play the parental guessing game. The family of course overshoots numerous times causing the pressure to mount and explode into an array of immoral confessions, misguided religious interventions and plenty of excessive holiday drinking. A Thanksgiving farce stuffed full of sex, family, awkwardness and hilariously needless shame. In the end, the message is clear that (of course) everyone is blameless for their own self-gratification— but that doesn’t make it good dinner conversation.

Meet Carrie Hauser

My friend and fellow author J.M. Aucoin invited me to take part in a “blog hop” project, which I thought was pretty cool in concept: an author answers seven questions about the main character in his/her current or upcoming novel, tags off to another author, who then does the same thing. So, here is my entry.

First, I formally accept the tag-off from Justin, whose entry is right here, and tag off to T. Michelle Nelson, who previously interviewed me for her blog, and Amy Rachiele, who interviewed me for her Uxbridge Community TV show Book Talk.

Now, for the seven questions…

1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Small Headshot
Artwork by Patricia Lupien.

My protagonist’s name is Caroline Dakota Hauser, but her friends call her Carrie. She’s fictional, but inspired by many young ladies I’ve met through various professional channels who possess her more positive traits: intelligence, maturity, independence, and self-confidence.

2) When and where is the story set?

The when is “now-ish,” meaning the present day, but it’s not anchored in a specific year. The where is Kingsport, a fictional community on the South Shore of Massachusetts.

3) What should we know about him/her?

Carrie is the daughter of recently divorced parents, and she moved to Kingsport with her mother, who was looking to start a new life. Carrie is very much her father’s daughter, and her love of Bruce Springsteen, James Bond movies, and The Hobbit were all inherited from her dad. Her stubborn streak and tendency to argue she inherited from her mother.

More importantly, she has super-powers, which she received from a dying extraterrestrial she chanced across (hey, things like this happen all the time in comic book universes). After moving to Kingsport, she was discovered by a group of super-powered teens, and joined them to form the Hero Squad (she didn’t choose the name).

final front_nocover

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

I’m answering these two together, because they tie into one another quite closely.

Carrie, like a lot of teenagers, is simply trying to figure out who she is, but a lot of people interfere with her attempts at self-discovery: well-intentioned adults like her parents and teachers, who often don’t listen to what she wants for herself; those with more selfish motivations, such as schoolmates who simply want to tear her down; and super-villains who want her (or rather, her alter-ego Lightstorm) dead.

However, while these and other obstacles make Carrie’s journey much, much more difficult, they keep her focused and driven. By trying to deny her what she wants for herself, her challenges only make her more determined.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

Again, taking two related questions at once.

There are two full novels already available: Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins, and Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women. You can read the first two chapters on this website (check out the links on the left), as well as a free short story here.

Work on book three is already underway, and the working title for that is Action Figures – Issue Three: Pasts Imperfect. My goal is to have it finished and out by this fall.

Debut Number Two – And More!

Oy, what a crazy week.

Obviously, the big news is that Action Figures – Issue Two: Black Magic Women dropped last week. The Kindle version and the print edition hit Amazon within hours of each other, and several copies have already gone out.Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00009]

I’m hoping to see some brisk business later on as a result of the free giveaway campaign last week. I was hoping to hit 1,000 downloads of book one, but I topped out at 850 — which I will not complain about! I’d call that pretty damn good, considering my avenues for promoting this giveaway were social media and an assortment of free e-newsletters and websites that list freebies.

Those results give me hope that I’ll be able to find ways around Facebook’s recent system changes, which suppress how many people organically see posts by business pages (in order to wring a few more advertising bucks out of them). Since I tap a lot of other social media sites, I should be able to continue to effectively promote myself to potential customers, but the Facebook situation is still annoying as hell, since FB is, for now, the premiere social media site.

More reason to stay positive: I recently did an interview with fellow indie author T. Michelle Nelson (the Lily Drake series) — who will get a reciprocal interview with me soon — did a taping for the show Book Talk with Amy Rachiele (the Mobster’s series), and this summer, I’ll be joining an old friend, T.M. Murphy (the Belltown Mysteries series), in my home town for a group book-signing event. Busy busy busy!

The last thing I need to do here is let everyone know that, on top of the new book, I’m be debuting a new Action Figures short story — as in, right now!

If you haven’t finished reading book two yet, take care of that now, then come on back. If you haven’t read either book, don’t worry: you can read the short without getting totally lost (though you’ll enjoy it more if you’re familiar with the characters already).

Freebie Frenzy!

Big crazy week ahead!

Today is the start of the week-long giveaway for Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins for the Kindle. I submitted the giveaway to a few dozen sites and e-newsletters that promote giveaways, so I’m hoping to see a ton of traffic and lots of copies flying off the metaphorical shelf.

BTW, if you already have the book, now might be a great time to snag a copy for a friend and let him or her try it out, and I’d definitely appreciate the added word-of-mouth.

The timing for this campaign has worked out perfectly; I wanted the giveaway to lead up to the release of Issue Two: Black Magic Women, and as of today, the back cover art — the very last step in the process — is almost finished.

As soon as the cover file is done, all that’s left is to upload the file, get a proof copy to review and, assuming there are no issues, unleash the book onto the unsuspecting public. Mwa ha.

Amy and I at the taping. Well, don't I look imperious?
Amy and I at the taping. Well, don’t I look imperious?

Another bit of good timing: over the weekend, I met up with Amy Rachiele, author of the Mobster’s Series and host of Book Talk on Uxbridge Community TV. I was interviewed for a future show, which will hopefully show up online somewhere, for the benefit of those of us who do not live in Uxbridge (which, I suspect, are most of us).

I’d been contacted by another indie writer about doing a podcast with him, but he’s been incommunicado since our first chat. I think he might be hiding out on an island with a couple of people who were supposed to review my book for their respective websites but, two months later, have yet to do so. Disappointing, but self-promotion, I’ve learned, is very much a numbers game.