Friday, August 30, 2013

My Love Affair With Writing

First, the thoughts pour into my head. I'll be doing something routine, like going to the grocery store, when a whole world suddenly starts to grow in my head. I see people taking shape. I see the pain in their hearts and the battles they have with one another. I am seduced by their stories. While the world around me continues its routine, I've been struck and fallen in love with a new story.

Like someone infatuated, I picture these characters day and night. Sometimes people are talking to me and thinking that I'm listening to what they are saying. But inside, I'm with my characters, experiencing their life through their eyes and going through emotional turmoil. I hurt with them, fall in love with them, sigh with them.

In my mind I bribe them with any present I can find, so they will tell me more of themselves. I give them attention. Then I sit down and write some pretty prose. I want everyone to understand how great they are through my story. Sometimes I get frustrated because my words don't live up to how wonderful they are in my head.

But I edit the story. I nurture it and change it until it lives up to its full potential. I pour my heart and soul into it. I become more intimate with the story than I become with most people I'll meet in my life time.

And then I give it to other people (critique partners and editors), so they'll give it plastic surgery. I thought it was pretty, but they slice into it and make it more beautiful than it ever was before.

Then with a sadness, I send the story out into the world and hope that someone falls in love with it the same way I did.

I've had a love affair with many books, some I've written and some are ones I read that other people wrote. There are few things more satisfying than meeting a book that touches your soul.

Monday, August 26, 2013

What I've Been Working On - Part 2 - Loving the Astronaut

The other two projects I've been working on are part of a series, I am calling "Loving the Astronaut." Like most of my other stuff, the first book will be available for free.
I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but it's a story that takes place in the future. It's about an empath who is married to a man who has been training for years to go on a mission to explore the end of our galaxy. She finds out she's pregnant and when she goes to tell him the good news, he announces to her first that he's heading out to space in a week. She knows this means that he won't be there for her to give birth, so she keeps the pregnancy a secret. She's afraid he won't live out his dream of exploring space if she tells him the truth. Through some lies and betrayals, not to mention a series of unfortunate events, the future of their lives together is changed forever.

Although I haven't shared my story with critique partners or an editor yet, I have purchased the covers and thought I would share them with you. I got them from here: There's a lot of very reasonable priced covers there. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What I've Been Working On - Part 1 - God of Light

Some of you may already know from reading my facebook that I've been having some trouble concentrating lately. Although I'm writing every day, I've been adding content to a ton of projects, which has been making it difficult to get out new stories as quickly as I'd like to.

Still, there have been four stories that I've been focusing on and even bought covers for, so I thought it would be fun to share them with you. I haven't shared the stories with critique partners or editors yet, so publishing them is still probably a few months off, but I hope to be doing so soon. (If you'd like to read some of these stories and critique them for me, e-mail me at and I'll gladly exchange the favor by reading a story of yours as well.)

The first story in the God of Light series will be available for free. It's called Bright's Passion and the sequel is Night's Lust. Bright and Night are two gods that have power over the day and the night. They are brothers who are fighting for the love of a beautiful witch named Adonya.

It has more romance than any of my other novels have had before now! I'm really excited about the stories because they are very steamy! And obviously it involves a love triangle, which was a lot of fun to write.

Here are the covers I have purchased for the novels. I got them from here: There's a lot of very reasonable priced covers there. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Books That I Read Because People Hated Them

I think a lot of authors get terrified that everyone will hate their books and therefore no one new will read them because all they'll hear is negative recommendations, so I thought it might be fun to discuss books we've read because other people told us they were terrible.

Here's some of mine:

1. The Harry Potter Books - I grew up in a small town and there's quite a few people here who believe that the Harry Potter books teach witchcraft to children. I was lectured on it several times, hardly ever hearing anything positive about them, until I suddenly decided that I wanted to see for myself what they were all about and why everyone hated them.

I become hooked on them and read the whole series quickly. They've been one of my favorites ever since!

2. Fifty Shades of Grey - I'm not surprised to see a lot of people hating on any kind of popular book, but I wanted to see for myself why everyone was talking about it. I don't have anything against the genre erotica, although I know a lot of people see it as trashy. I wanted to know if people were bashing this book because erotica wasn't there thing or if it was poorly written. So I decided to read the book myself!

3. The Chronicles of Narnia - Some people told me that it was too religious. Other people told me they weren't religious enough. And still others thought the books were boring. I know a bunch of people had read the novels and I hadn't, so I wanted to see what I would think of them. I read them all quickly.


Books I Want To Read Because People Hate Them:

1. The Da Vinci Code - A lot of people are very offended by this book. It's not generally the type of book I would read, but because of the controversy, I am curious.

2. His Dark Materials - People say it's a type of anti-Chronicles of Narnia. I like authors who aren't afraid to express themselves and I'm wondering what direction he might have taken this. Not to mention that when someone tells me a book is bad to read, that makes it taboo. Which in turn makes me want to read it even more.

3. The Scarlet Letter - I grew-up knowing that there was something naughty about this book, although I didn't find out what it was until I was an adult. I still haven't read it, but it sounds interesting and controversial, which immediately draws me to it.


Surprisingly for me, I read the Twilight books before a bunch of people hated them, when there were no movies and Stephenie Meyer was still writing them. That's why they aren't on this list, but I'm sure a ton of people started to read them as well because everyone around them hated the stories.

Are there any books you decided to read because people around you told you they were terrible?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

How To Cut Costs When Self-Publishing

One of the hurdles that I feared when I self-published my first novel was how I was going to pay for it.

Many people are under the assumption that self-publishing a novel costs thousands of dollars. This isn't true. In the days where you had to print all your own books out, it was, but now with Print on Demand and ebooks, the costs of that are no longer the same.

Here are some other ways to save money:

1.) Buy premade covers - I learned the hard way not to make my own covers. I thought it would cut costs to buy the images and fonts myself. Because I'm not experienced in making covers, I wound up purchasing more images than I needed and trying to swap between them and spending way too much money on fonts. Also, the end product was inferior to what another person could have made for me.

It's good to have custom made covers as well. They aren't too expensive if you find the right person. But it's even better if you can find a premade cover that fits your novel. Premade covers are usually not sold to more than one person (although check the policy of the person selling it, just in case) and they are cheaper than other covers because you had little input in the design of it.

I've seen covers that you can purchase this way for as little as five dollars. I bought some decent ones I found recently for only twelve dollars, but most premade covers run anywhere between thirty and sixty dollars.

It may seem like a lot until you find out that I spent over a hundred dollars per cover when I tried to make them myself.

2.) Swap Stories With Critique Partners - My critique partners usually help me fix my story while my editor fixes my grammar, spelling, and technical problems. I'd love to hire two editors, one to help me with my story and one to help with my grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but I can't afford it right now, so I had to choose.

Critique partners are usually better at spotting problems with your story than with the little details. Have them help you with the overall picture, while your editor helps you perfect the manuscript. If all you can afford is one type of edit, this is the way to go.

3.) Ask Around About Editors - Yes, some editors cost a few thousand dollar to hire, but most of us don't have that much money to give them. If you ask around, you can find some decent editors that will cost a few hundred instead. All of them should allow you to give them a few pages of your work for free, so they can give you a sample of their editing back, and you can make sure you're happy with them. Also, if you read self-published novels and think they are well edited, find out who edited the novel and see how much that editor costs. That way you're already familiar with their work.

4.) Use Free ISBN's - Amazon gives you an ASIN, something similar to an ISBN, that you can use in its place on their web-site.

And if you sign up to self-publish your novel on Smashwords and list them as your publisher (this in no way infringes on your rights as an author, it says so on the site), they will give you a free ISBN as well that they will use to post your story on other sites like Kobo and Barnes and Noble.

5.) Format The Novel Yourself - This can seem overwhelming and I'm not going to lie, when you publish your first novel, you will find mistakes, but it's easier to do than you think.

If you follow The Smashwords Style Guide and are patient, you will eventually get accepted in the Premium Catalog on the site. You can do it all using Microsoft word or Open Office and it becomes extremely easy to do once you get used to it.

For Kindle, I use this guide to help me format my novel:

I know nothing about CSS, yet I was able to make sense of the tutorial. Most of it is a lot of copy/pasting. It takes some time to complete, but the formatting turns out great!

6.) Skip The Copyright - It doesn't have to be permanently. It can be temporary until you make more money.

There are ways to prove that a story belongs to you without getting a copyright. If someone steals your novel and tries to publish under their name for instance, it's obvious because you published it first that it likely belongs to you.

Also, some pirate sites will take down your book without you showing them your copyright and the ones that won't, usually don't care even if you were to show them your copyright.

7.) Use Open Office Instead of Microsoft Word - It is as good of a program as Microsoft Word is. Don't pay several hundred for an actual copy of Microsoft Word if you don't already have it. You can do all the same things using Open Office and Open Office is free! It's the program I use right now for writing and it can open any files types you may have saved your stories under.

Don't let anything get in the way of living your dreams, even cost.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Reading Gems - Books I Love and Recommend

I was one of those kids that read books instead of doing their homework. My Mom took away our television most of growing up, so we'd get better grades. I decided to read all the time instead.

That love of reading is probably what led me to love writing when I grew-up as well. I want to get back to those roots by discussing books on my blog. No one wants to read negative reviews, so I'm not going to write them. Instead, I want to start a column where I talk about books I've read and loved-either recently or a long time ago. I want to call this column "Reading Gems." You are free to discuss books you've read and loved as well in the comments.

The first book I want to talk about is one that really inspires me. It's called Fish Eyes By Linda Pohring.

I bought it on a whim. I wanted to read a novel about mermaids. I liked the way the cover looked and the description about how it was different than other kinds of mermaid novels. I wanted to see if this was true.

This novel is indeed very unique and should be selling more copies than it is, which is why I had to talk about it. It's funny and pulls at your heart strings. Zazzle has such a unique take on the world and how humans live their lives. It made me look at my own life in a different way as well.

She's very frightened of humanity and all the things we do. She's so terrified and clueless about what it's like to have legs that she behaves like an animal at first. This leads to many misunderstandings, most of which are humorous.

It's also only three dollars to purchase. It was well worth my money, which is why I plan to buy more books from the same author in the future.

It's books like these that I want to point to and say: "See! Self-published authors can write!"

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Getting A Copyright As A Self-Published Author

As a self-published author, you file for your own copyrights and it's as simple as paying a thirty-five dollar fine and uploading your work to Here's some things I've learned from filing a copyright.

1.) You can publish your novel as soon as you file.

For Medusa's Desire, I waited until my copyright was approved before I published the novel. But I read under the FAQs that this is unnecessary. You are protected as soon as you file.

Since it can take months of waiting before your copyright is approved, it's usually more convenient to just get it out there.

2.) You can't copyright an idea.

When you receive a copyright it's for the novel you wrote, not for the idea behind it.

If someone takes your whole novel and tries to publish it under their own name, a copyright will protect you.

If you write a vampire romance story like Stephenie Meyer did and other people try to write vampire romance stories, like many other people did, because of it, the copyright won't prevent this from happening.

3.) Don't get a copyright for the cover of your novel.

I tried to do this and was rejected. It was a waste of thirty-five dollars that I could have used on something else.

There is an exception to this. If you took the photo for your cover yourself and made the font yourself, then you should probably copyright it.

But if you purchased fonts and pictures and spent weeks editing them like I did, then they still don't belong to you, even though you put all that work into organizing them into a way that looks unique.

Just like you can't copyright an idea, you also can't copyright how you edited things together.

4.) Many self-published authors skip the copyright.

It sounds crazy. Why wouldn't you want to protect your work? But when you think about the logistics of it, it makes sense.

Regardless of whether you have a copyright or not, people are going to post your books on pirating sites and steal them in a variety of ways.

It does help when someone steals your work and tries to sell it under their pen name, which I've seen some people do to other authors. But the publishing companies usually know you are the real author because you published your novel first.

For the most part the copyright doesn't come up because it's unlikely that any of these issues will go to a court of law.

I copyright all my work under the pen name E.B. Black, just in case, but I don't blame people who want to cut costs by not doing this.

5.) Your information becomes public domain.

So anything you give them, your real name, phone number, e-mail, address, etc. becomes available to the public. This is so people know who the copyright belongs to and can contact you for permission if they want to use some of your copyright material.

Still, this may disrupt some of the privacy you were hoping to keep. It's easier to hide this information when you have a publishing company to back you that will use their information instead of yours when filing the copyright.

Some ideas for ways to keep your information private is by getting a P.O. Box or starting your own publishing company just for your books. That way you can give the P.O. Box instead of your real physical address and you can also use the publishing companies information instead of your own. You can also copyright things under your pen name.

The one risk of copyrighting things under any name but your own, is you must prove in court that you are the person who owns the publishing company or the person who the pen name belongs to, for your copyright to hold up when challenged.