Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Reading and Writing Wrap-Up

I spent a LOT of time marketing in September. Unearthed After Sunset releases on October 15th, so I was super busy trying to set up a blog tour and line up some reviews for the book before release day. I forgot how hard the marketing part of self-publishing is.





READING:

Books Reviewed in September:

I didn't review ANY books in September. I finished The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)  a little while ago. I'm just behind on writing up my thoughts. So, that is coming soon.

Books Read in September:

I'm almost done with The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. I'm liking it so far.

Books to read in September:

I also added Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris to my TBR list.



WRITING:

OCTOBER 15th is the official release date for Unearthed After Sunset. It's all set up and ready to go on Amazon, and I'm finishing the last tweaks on Ingram Spark so hopefully, I can make my release date on all platforms, including B&N, Nook and I-Books. You can pre-order it now for 99cents. In between all the fun marketing for Unearthed, I've been working on book #2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles. The first draft is done, and after a read through I decided to add two new scenes to that I'm not quite done with. Once I finish those I'll probably do two more read-throughs before I start looking for beta readers. I also have a greek mythology book I've been tinkering with and a fantasy novel I've been working on when my scatter-brain ways get the best of me.


BLOGGING:

I've been getting back into the swing of blogging. My upcoming release for Unearthed has eaten up a lot of my time, but I did get a chance to put together a few fun posts this month, and I posted a few author interviews. I also typed up a bunch of guest posts for the BLOG TOUR that's happening in October for Unearthed After Sunset. I really wanted to do a few really fun posts, so while there are some reviews and some author interviews I also wanted to write a few "Song for a Scene" posts and there are some Excerpts. Every stop on the tour has something different! You can follow the tour HERE.



My Favorite Blog Posts in September:

Favorite Post Written: 3 Must Have's for Chapter One: Writing a killer first chapter is essential to getting readers into your story. The last thing you want is to bore your reader with the first chapter and have them put your book down before they see how awesome it is.

Favorite Post Read: If Practice Makes Perfect: I liked this post on Y's Words because Yvonne discusses some of her frustrations with both Amazon and Ingram Spark. I'm currently having some of the same frustrations with Ingram, so it was nice to see that I wasn't alone.



PERSONAL:

I went to a wedding this month and had a blast, and I'm currently in ROME for my honeymoon! I'm curious to see what story ideas this city might inspire. 


How was your September?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

3 Must Haves for Chapter One

Most writers know the basics about what should go in their first chapter. Obviously, you want to introduce your main character and give your readers a little background about your story. But, exactly what should happen in chapter one is something I think a lot of writer's struggle with. So, here are three tips to writing that first chapter.

Must Have's for Chapter One:

1. A hook or question to be answered later - You need some kind of mystery, something that puts a question in your reader's head to make them keep reading in search of the answer. Don't start your book with long exposition and backstory. Do, find an interesting moment for your opening scene and sprinkle in backstory as you go.

In the first chapter of Shatter Me we learn that Juliette has been locked away in a cell, but Tahereh Mafi leaves why as an open question for her readers to wonder about.

2. A moment that makes your main character like-able - Have your character do something that makes your readers want to root for them. This is sometimes called the "save the cat" moment. This moment, whatever it is, gives your reader a reason to care about your main character and want to go on a journey with them. This can be a small moment or something major, but it's an important moment. If your reader doesn't care about your characters they have to reason to keep reading.

Having a like-able moment is especially important if you have a character that is otherwise unlikable. If your main character does something sympathetic in chapter one, your reader will have an easier time forgiving them for things they may do later on or looking past other unlikable traits.

In Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout we quickly discover a number of reasons to feel sympathetic toward Katy. On page one its revealed that Katy's father has recently passed away and she's just moved to a nowhere town. But, the moment that really made me care for Katy was when she saw her mom making eggs (and not doing a great job at it). Despite the fact that she clearly didn't want to move, and that she thought the eggs looked gross, she ate them knowing it would make her mom feel better. It was a small moment that showed she cared about her mom and for that reason I wanted to root for her.

In Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, we're given a lot of reasons not to like the main character, Sam. But, the book opens with her death and Sam thinking back on some things that she seems to feel guilty about. This allowed Oliver to build some sympathy for Sam allowing for readers to be willing to watch her do some mean things throughout the book as she learned to be a better person. This isn't as great of a like-able moment as Katy's from Obsidian because dying is something that happened to Sam, where in Obsidian Katy chose to eat the eggs, but it still worked. Your like-able moment will be stronger if your character actively makes a choice to do something your reader will sympathize with.

3. Description to set the scene - Let your reader know when and where they are. Your reader is being introduced to your book's world in chapter one, so be sure to give them enough details to picture it. Poor descriptions can leave your reader feeling confused or irritated that something wasn't as they imagined it. This is especially important for books that aren't set in a conventional modern day world.

In The Selection, Kiera Cass does a good job setting the scene for America's dystopian world. You know by the fist paragraph that America's family has had a hard time, by the first page that she feels crowded in her own home, and by the end of the first chapter you have a basic understanding of the caste system and that while America's world looks a lot like our own there are some big differences in her society.


For me, the best first chapters have all three of these "must-have's". Only including one or two can leave you with a lack-luster first chapter. Big Little Lies, for example, opens with a flash-forward scene showing a glimpse of the book's dramatic conclusion. It meets "must-have" number one, by opening with an interesting scene that leaves the reader with a question to be answered, and it meets "must-have" number three with some nice scene building. But because the POV is not that of one of the main characters it's unable to meet "must-have" number two and leaves the reader unable to connect with any of the main characters. This was one of my least favorite first chapters.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: 5 Reasons Readers Put Books Down

What books do you think had the best or worst first chapters?



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Author Interview with Missy De Graff

Today I have an author interview with Missy De Graff to share. Her debut novel, The Rogue’s Fate, is scheduled to be released Fall 2017. The Rogue's walks the line between an urban fantasy and paranormal romance and will appeal to the older YA and Adult crowds.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I’m Missy! I’m so excited to be here, Lauryn thank you so much for having me. A little bit about me…I have a degree in Criminal Justice, a career in Program Management, and I dabble in herbalism. I live in a little slice of heaven at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains with a pond, an heirloom apple orchard, and honeybee hives (unfortunately we lost our hives this season, but hopefully we will have more hives again in the future). We have a Mountain Cur (dog), two indoor cats, and eight barn cats. I enjoy a variety of activities, which obviously include reading, writing, and daydreaming. I enjoy weaving together fantasy worlds of romance and intrigue, mixed with paranormal elements, suspenseful storylines, and addicting characters. But a perfect day to me is spending time with my husband and son, laughing and enjoying the little things in life.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I was telling a good friend of mine of an idea I had about the creation of vampires. And she was like “OOOOOO, YES! You need to write a book about it!” And, that’s the first time I ever actually thought about writing a book. From then, anytime I had the spark of an idea however big or small, I’d write it down.

Have events or people in your life ever inspired scenes or characters in any of your books? 
Well, since I write about paranormal creatures–no. Real-life people, nor events have inspired my scenes or characters, lol. But, the emotional responses to situations I put my characters through, may have been influenced by real life.

What is your favorite underappreciated novel? 
That is a hard one. I have several favorite books that are by indie authors and are underappreciated. I guess the first one that comes to mind is the Sweet Series by Bailey Ardisone. (If you haven’t read it and you enjoy Elves, you should totally check it out!)

What is your favorite/most frustrating part of the writing or publishing process? 
My favorite process is the brainstorming, plotting, and outlining. I love throwing curve balls at my characters and seeing what they do with it. The most frustrating part are the revising and editing rounds! 

Tell us about your main character. 
Lucinda Mae Ravin is a rogue wolf shifter, meaning she wanders alone with no pack allegiance. She is strong-willed, resilient, and compassionate. Life has thrown so much at her, and she may stumble, but she doesn’t falter. Her life motto is:

I bend with the hurricane when the wind blows.

I stand as solid as a brick wall when the waves come crashing down.

I am strong.

How did you pick your character names? 
I try to pick my characters names for a specific reason, such as the meaning of the name. Lucinda, the main character, her name means Light. And Caiden, the male lead, his name means Battle. In picking Lucinda’s name, I also wanted a name that had multiple nicknames. Lucinda has two nicknames-Lux and Cinda-one representing different periods of her life.

Do you have a favorite scene in the last book you wrote? Tell us about it. 
I can’t say too much about it without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say this...my favorite scene is when the big bad Alpha drops his shield and we see his vulnerability.

What’s something you had to edit out of your last book? 
I tend to write on the shorter side vs the longer side. While most Authors need to cut down their word count after their first draft, I need to bump it up. I like action. So, during my first draft, I often skip through the finer details and write only the action and dialogue parts. So, during the first round of revision, I need to add all the detail. And as far as editing...there are a few words and phrases I tend to use a lot that needs to be edited out, such as smirks, snarl, flaring nostrils, and clenched jaw to name just a few.

What are you currently working on? 
I’m currently in the first round of revisions for The Alpha’s Secret, which is the second book in The Raven Chronicles. And then I’ll dive straight into drafting the third book, The Witch’s Betrayal.

What kind of books do you read in your free time? 
I read an assortment of books to include YA, NA, and Adult. I love the fantasy genre, which include all of its sub-genres, I also enjoy Historical Fiction, and of course select Romance sub-genres, especially Paranormal Romance.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 
Reach for the stars, but also keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Believe in yourself and just keep reading and writing. The more you read and write, the better you’ll get. And most importantly...Never give up!!!



About the Book:
If your life hung in the balance, would you choose to make your own destiny or leave your life to fate?

Lucinda Raven is being hunted by her ex-lover, a controlling rogue Alpha, who is determined to perform the sacred mating ritual that will bind them together forever. Knowing nothing will keep him from carrying out his ruthless plan, Lucinda is on the run and seeks refuge in the territory of an old friend.

Caidan Moone, cursed Alpha of the Blood Moone Pack, has a tortured history that haunts him daily. He sees the arrival of this beautiful and alluring nomad as a chance at redemption from his prior failures and invites her to stay, despite the danger it brings to the entire pack.

As Caidan and Lucinda grow closer, her two worlds collide and Lucinda must face the events of her dark past in order to save the future. Will Caidan be able to protect her without sacrificing his pack? Or will she end up bearing the mark of her psychotic ex?


Social Media links:
Twitter: @dream_craziness

Monday, September 18, 2017

Author Interview with Scerina Elizabeth

Hello everyone, today I have an interview with Indie Author, Scerina Elizabeth where she talks about her latest novel, Fangalicious Divas.


What inspired you to write your last book? 
My inspiration for my last novel “Fangalicious Divas: A Fanged Sister Prequel” came from me just wondering what if the women of the lives of the legendary monsters (i.e. Dracula, Wolfman, and Frankenstein) – what if they had their own “Real Housewives of…” reality show and how would their lives look if they were apart of such a situation. So, I tried my best to make each main character unique and strong with a very powerful yet with a touch of humor story to tell.

How did you come up with the title for your book? 
The title Fangalicious Divas came from me wanting to give it a very unique title that would not only stand out but also tell a tale in the title itself. Divas being that they are each divas in their own unique ways and Fangalicious because they are legendary creatures that we often hear about. 

Tell us about your main character
Well I have three main characters and I will tell you about each of them. (1) Mina Tepes is the true love of Vlad Tepes (aka Dracula) who we all know have always been the one woman who have caught his heart as no other despite him having many lovers and brides – in movies and books we often see him with Mina Harker, which says something about her and his love for her. In my book, I have her as a motherly figure to all his other brides yet at the same tie she despises them because of how Vlad would often put them before her and ignoring not just her but even her needs for him as well. She is at the end of the rope and ready to walk out of his life, her story shows whether their relationship can survive and if their true love is truly strong enough; (2) Anya Martinez is a very territorial and possessive she-wolf who discovers her werewolf fiancĂ©e’ Sancehz Vargos is cheating on her with his ex-lover Stanzia Allegra and out of anger, she seeks revenge on him only to pay a very hefty price of her own indiscretion that would haunt her for the rest of her life. Her story just basically shows that despite all that has happened, when is true love and meant to be, true love will always survive no matter what; and last but not least (3) Elsa Frankenstein the bride of Frankenstein. Her story is just a touching story where she dreams of having a child but due to her situation and circumstances she is unable to have children but life has a way of working out for the best and her prayers are answer one fateful night when she comes to the rescue of a young mother with her infant daughter, I will stop here as I don’t want to give away the story.

What makes your book different from others in its genre? 
I honestly think that what makes my book different than most in this genre or other similar books is the fact that I don’t hold back and try my best to add my own personal touch to it without looking like a copycat. It is all in the writing style as well, we each have our very own style of writing and how we write is what makes our stories stands out from all the other similar ones. 

Do you have a favorite scene in the last book you wrote? 
Tell us about it. I do not have a favorite scene but I do have a favorite story and character – Elsa Frankenstein. I love how they came together to take care of the little infant Aurora – they were all like one big family caring for a little human infant. It was truly beautiful.

Who designed your book cover?
I design my own covers.

How did you find your editor? 
I met my editors and proofreaders on Goodreads, my editor Robin Butler has been with me the longest and has always done a good job of editing on my books. She is the only one who I truly trust with editing any and all of my books.

What is the best resource for authors? 
For me, I would have to say reviews from the readers as their honest feedback is what helps improve your stories for the better. I learned the hard way that both bad and good reviews are critical tools in writing. Another good resource is having a really good team who can not only edit and proofread your book manuscripts but also beta read and work with you develop your storyline and characters. Catch what you are missing and in the long run make the book more enjoyable for the reader.

Do you have a day job, or are you a full-time writer? 
At the moment am looking for a part-time job that can help out with paying editors and other expenses related to writing. I prefer to focus more on my writing which is why I am looking for a part-time job.

What are you currently working on? 
Right now am currently working on a non-paranormal erotica novella about a Friendship with Benefits arrangement between a sexy mysterious man and a beautiful seductive woman called “The Arrangement” due out in October 2017

What kind of books do you read in your free time?
 
I enjoy anything with Erotica and Romance in it but mainly Paranormal Romance Erotica is what I enjoy reading the most

Do you have a favorite book quote? 
I am not a 100% sure on this quote but I do believe Lestat de Lioncourt (of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles) once said “Drink from me and live forever” when he first created Louis as a vampire – that is a line I loved. It best describes the making of a vampire and how I envisioned it. 

What are some things you’ve learned from publishing your first/most recent book? 
Don’t blow off bad reviews or take them personally – they are the best tools in improving for the better. Also, take the time to properly edit and revise your book manuscripts before releasing them, make sure the storyline runs smoothly so that the reader can truly enjoy it. Don’t set deadlines for releases unless you are absolutely certain that your book is ready to be published.

What makes your villain so scary/powerful? 
The fact that they display the worst parts of being a human and they are fictional creatures

What is your favorite/most frustrating part of the writing or publishing process? 
Best part of the writing process for me is creating the actual story and the characters that are a part of it. The worst part for me and I know this may make me look bad in some eyes, but the first edits – the actual rough draft edits, that is the only time in the entire editing process which I hate the most.

Have events or people in your life ever inspired scenes or characters in any of your books? 
Yes, certain individuals who stands out in my life whether they are someone who am close to or not or if they are bad or good – if they are most memorable, I will create a character based on them.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a North American of Jamaican descent who lives in the New England region of the United States of America. I am a new up and coming author who enjoys writing Paranormal Romance and Paranormal Erotica stories as well as Poetry. I also enjoys reading Paranormal Romance & Paranormal Erotica stories as well. My favorite books include but not limited to: Anne Rice’s “Vampire Chronicles” series, Bella Forrest’s “Shade Of Vampire” series, E.M. Knight’s “Vampire Gift” series, Terry Bolryder’s “Rent-A-Dragon” series, and Stacy Clafflin’s “Transformed” series. My favorite authors are: Anne Rice, Stephen King, Bella Forrest, E.M. Knight, Terry Bolryder, and Stacy Clafflin.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
All my life I have always dreamed of becoming a writer and publishing my own writings. Now that I am, am so glad that I discovered the world of Self-Publishing and becoming an Independent Author.



http://www.scerinaelizabeth.net

You can purchase Eternally Yours: Bloodlines on Amazon and Lulu 

 Kindle Unlimited Members can get Eternally Yours: Bloodlines for *FREE*.  You can also get it for *FREE* on ScerinaElizabeth.NET with this coupon code - PG4JINJHV4NV 


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Six of My Favorite Quotes from Unearthed After Sunset

Unearthed After Sunset will be published on October 15th, 2017. Below I've included six of my favorite lines from the book. Click here to pre-order for 99 cents.

"We walked among them and they knew nothing of what we really were, of the things we'd done. Was this how it'd always been? How many of them had I passed on the streets at night?" - Lauryn April, Unearthed After Sunset

"Caroline, the ghost of my humanity, haunted me in my sleep." - Lauryn April, Unearthed After Sunset

"I should be scared of her, and I did feel the fear deep in my guy, but on the surface, it was hard to be scared of something so beautiful." - Lauryn April, Unearthed After Sunset

"I dreamed of Caroline as the cold set in." - Lauryn April, Unearthed After Sunset

"The road to darkness is paved in shiny promises, the likes of which not even the purest of us could ignore." - Lauryn April, Unearthed After Sunset

"She was the only thing I could think about; this strange girl, so innocent yet strong. A dealer of death disguised as a Barbie doll, and I was fascinated with her." - Lauryn April, Unearthed After Sunset



Saturday, September 2, 2017

August Wrap-Up

Lots of Unearthed After Sunset updates this month! I can't wait to share them with you all. I have a release date picked and I'm planning a blog tour! As I've gotten into publishing and marketing mode I haven't been reading much. But, I have some awesome books I added to my TBR list last month so I'll be getting back to reviewing soon.





READING:

Books Reviewed in August:

I didn't review ANY books in August. *Gasp* But, I'll have one posted for The Gunslinger soon.

Books Read in August:

I finished reading The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King. I liked it but didn't love it. The review will be coming soon.

Books to read in August:

I just downloaded The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware and I plan to finish that before the end of the month. I've been in the mood for another suspense/mystery novel.

I also added Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris to my TBR list.



WRITING:

OCTOBER 15th is the official release date for Unearthed After Sunset. I've already been giving away ARC's (and am willing to hand out more - e-mail me at laurynapril@gmail.com if you're a blogger who's interested). I'm also planning a blog tour and to give away some signed paperback copies of the book. I have spaces available for the tour still. So, stay tuned, more goodies are coming.



BLOGGING:

August was a busy month as I started preparing for the release of Unearthed After Sunset. I know my posts were a lttle skimpy. I did an author interview this month, which is not something I normally do on my blog. You'll see a few more of those in September. My plan is that while I'm trying to promote my indie book, I'm going to promote some other indie authors and pay it forward.

My Favorite Blog Posts in August:

Favorite Post Written: 5 Profound Book Quotes. I wrote this post as I was thinking about the different books that have inspired me in one way or another, and I had five quotes that have stuck in my head. Reading can take us to new places and also open our eyes to things in our own world.

Favorite Post Read: 10 of the Weirdest Things about the Online Life of a Book Blogger, I loved this post not only because it looked at what it's like to be a book blogger, but also about how the internet has changed how we interact with people.



PERSONAL:

My best friend had a baby! That was pretty crazy and exciting. My husband has been practically living in our backyard as he works on this garage. Oh, and I've just now started studying Italian for my Honeymoon/Anniversary Rome trip at the beginning of October. So, I gotta cram on that. 


How was your August?