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My name is Sandy. I am Catholic. Besides religious topics, I am interested in politics. This profile is really to showcase my ideas. In the words of St. Bernadette, "My job is to inform, not convince."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Changing Cover for Wicked Magic

So, I have been thinking about this for a while...

When I did the original cover, I had a concept in mind which I loved. Willow looks deeply into Nalin's eyes after being reunited. However, the image I had in my head of Nalin did not quite match the cover. Nalin is a warrior Elf. He looks mean. He is a cold blooded killer. He has pointed ears and so does Willow. They don't look exactly human, but the old cover made them look ordinary.

The old cover is too romantic... too light when the story is dark and has a number of dark themes. So, I had to change the cover art to best match the Elven characters.

OLD


NEW


I kept the black and white theme, because it plays on the two Elven races, but I made Nalin appeared more masculine. Willow, in turn, looks more Elven with large eyes and ears.

Give me your feedback and let me know what you think.

SMASHWORDS ERROR

I just wanted to keep everyone posted on what is going on with Smashwords. I have been getting error messages that don't make sense, and I had to unpublish my works from that site temporarily. I have contacted them about it, but I would be lucky if they contact me within a week.

I have been having a problem uploading RESTRAINT and was told that the problem was on my end. I fixed what they told me to fix and the alert messages did not go away.

Well, today I got a alert message concerning WEEPING WILLOW, saying there was a hyperlink in the product description. Of course, this was not true so I had to upload a new version. The problem was Smashwords was not uploading the document I was sending them. No, the program was uploading RESTRAINT instead. So, basically my work could have been downloaded for free. Good thing I caught what was happening. I unpublished everything, and I won't republish until everything is fixed.

Sorry!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Update on Soft Covers and Pricing


Amazon.com now has both formats up (e-book and soft cover) ready for purchase. The price for the soft cover is $10.99, but you can find it for cheaper on the Amazon Market.

BarnesandNoble.com has the books up, but they are fixing some glitches so the books will not be available for purchase until April 28th. For some reason, Lament's retail value is showing at $9.99 when it is really $10.99 and my editors name is coming up instead of mine. So, Barnes and Noble has some technical issues. However, Barnes and Noble will have the best pricing at 33% off market value. The books will range from $7.41-8.99. These titles may go for even cheaper in the market store once used copies are available.

CreateSpace.com has the books up and ready to buy at retail value of $10.99.

Book Links to Creative Space:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Soft Covers Now Available!

I thought it would take longer, but I was able to format my books quickly. So, they are available for sale on CreateSpace.com and will eventually be uploaded to Amazon. Although I am not sure when CreateSpace will upload it to Amazon. The link will also be available on my website and on Smashwords.com. I chose expanded distribution so it is quite possible it can be found at your local library in a few months.

Thanks for your interest and support!


Book Links to Creative Space:

RESTRAINT: https://www.createspace.com/3850296
LAMENT: https://www.createspace.com/3852462

Monday, April 16, 2012

Josie's Haven Reviews!

All of my literary works have been reviewed by Josie from Josie's Book Haven Blog. Please click the link to read the reviews that are posted for Restraint, Lament, and my shorts.

"Sandra Madera impressed me with these books. I like the fact that all her stories were completely different... It is wonderful to read stories from an author who's very versatile in her writing." - Josie, Josie's Haven Blog

Special thanks goes out to Josie for taking the time to read and review all of my work. It is always exciting to have your work reviewed, but it is wonderful to hear a positive voice through this journey. Thank you!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Q/A Dealing with Criticism

Q: How do you handle critics?

"A critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded." - Tyne Daly




A: Todays topic is one that I have experienced in my first year of being published... Criticism. Some can be positive... Some can be negative, but both can have affects on the creative person's ego.

For someone who is creative, we envision things in our mind before we bring it to life through our chosen art form: painting, drawing, writing, music, etc. Sometimes our art can work out as we envisioned or better. Sometimes it can fall short. However, no one would publicize there work unless they felt it was good. You took a chance which is more than most people have done in order to reach their dreams. Ralph Waldo Emmerson said, "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better."


When someone out there in cyberspace shares your view of how great your work is, it can be amazing. You feel validated. However, when someone tears your work apart, it can be devastating! You may question your abilities, and this may stifle your creativity.


Positive and negative criticism is found everywhere and in every profession. You will always find people that both love and hate your work. What is important is that you love what you are doing. As long as the work resonates with you, odds are it will find its way to the hands of someone who will appreciate it as well. Never give up, and never give in to critics.


History has been filled with countless success stories, and you know what all of them had in common... Those that succeeded never gave up. They didn't pay too much attention to the naysayers. They believed in their own abilities and success followed. Mark Twain wrote, "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."


While I read both negative and positive reviews, I don't let it stop me. While some negative criticism can be constructive, I am talking about the ones that take personal jabs at your craft and character. The truth is that you will always have people that don't get it. It is their right not to like your work, but things get personal is when there is name calling. NEVER write a response to those critics. You may want to jab back, but it shows that you have more class if you keep your mouth shut! Always conduct yourself with class! Smile and bear it as they say. Your time to shine will come despite what they say.


You will have those that don't want to get it and will do everything possible to pick apart your writing. There will be a time when you receive the worst review ever. Then the next day you may have three awesome reviews. Peoples opinions vary, and you shouldn't give up on a dream because someone may not like your work.


Some of these extra negative reviewers may write something about you that seems to like overkill. They may write comments that go below the belt. Ignore them and push forward. You have to think why someone would say something like that... Perhaps, some of these reviewers are writers themselves. I usually find that those people feel the need to downgrade really great work to make their own skills seem superior. Their motive is to eliminate the competition. I have always been supportive of other authors, and I love following Indie authors on Twitter. Most are wonderful and supportive. Seek out those. I think that variety is fun as a reader. As a writer, I know that no one has my writing style, because everyone's style is as different as a fingerprint. So, I don't mind new writers in the field. I enjoy them and, obviously, have no problem dishing advice.


I have had some hostile critics. I have had people write that I chose the wrong POV for a story, that I lacked skill, that my writing is flat, that my characters had no depth, that my writing is vulgar, that my stories are bloody and heartless. Someone even blogged that they doubted they would hear more about my work in the future. Someone wrote that they wanted the time they spent reading my work back. I am not writing this to acknowledge these comments, but to show that everyone has a critic. The point is that there are always people who see the glass as half empty and are use to being negative. There will always be people who are stuck on the traditional way of publishing and don't want to read anything from an indie author. What matters is that you do what you love and have fun doing it.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reformatting



Right now, I am hard at work reformatting Restraint and Lament for soft cover distribution. I have been getting some inquiries as to whether I was going to release any of my titles in other formats... Especially, from those that don't have e-readers or like to read things on the computer.

I have wanted to, but I didn't know what it entailed, and well, the amount of work involved. So, I did my research... I chose to go ahead and create an actual book using CREATESPACE.com.

As always, I like to do everything myself. So, I put together this book cover and formatted my book into a 6x9 book. However, the process takes many steps so I hope to have Restraint and Lament out in two weeks or so.

When I am done with Wicked Magic, I will publish in both formats; however, the soft cover will include both shorts so that reader doesn't miss reading complete story, because Wicked Magic begins where the shorts left off.

Eventually, I will add to my list of short stories. When I have enough to compile, then I will make a soft cover book entitled Series (as in series of shorts). Some of which, I will reserve only for the actual book. But right now this is only an idea. So, when I make this dream into an actuality, I will be sure to let everyone know.

Just wanted to give everyone who prefers an actual book a heads up. Stay tuned!

Malcontent Bookmark & Wallpapers



So, I have been working on the Malcontent bookmark which is available free on my website as an image that can be copied. I have made actual bookmarks in the past and gave them out at local libraries as promotional tools. It was a success. Eventually, I will print more and have them available for purchase at my online store, but I am not ready to do that yet. Maybe soon.


I have also been working on wallpapers for Malcontent. Above is one that I created with a quote from the ebook which is due out in December 2012. I am going to make another. I will probably get started on that tomorrow. Then I will get started on the book trailer. As soon as that is done, I will post that to my site and blog.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Malcontent Blurb

Malcontent is the third and final extension of the Restraint Trilogy. This will be about Louise May Reynolds and her family. It will also showcase how she fell in love with William Carter, bringing the story around full circle. I just finished writing the blurb and added it to my website. I will be adding the video trailer soon. As well as the bookmark and wallpaper images. I hope to have this novel out by December 2012. I am hoping for earlier, but one never knows what life will throw at them.




Raised in a world where the first born are often sacrificed, Louise May Reynolds believes it is her destiny to appease her family by entering into an arranged marriage. However, Louise May struggles as she finds marrying Bryan Froster, a powerful and ruthless vampire prince, revolting.

In her discontent, she tries to devise a way out of the union, fearing the only way to truly be free of Bryan Froster is death. Scared of turning her back on her family and the clan, Louise May struggles inwardly between what others expect of her and what she wants for herself. Until, she rebels against everything she has been raised to believe. Secretly vowing to escape a life of servitude, she risks disturbing the balance between vampire and servant which can cost her more than she can even imagine.

Can Louise May turn her back on her family in order to follow her heart?

Q/A Behavior Within Social Networks

Q: What is appropriate for an author to talk about on twitter/facebook?

A: I am writing this post, because I was disgusted by the way certain authors acted on social media websites. While these types are a minority, I felt it necessary to discuss this topic.

Like many of you, I follow various authors on Twitter and Facebook. I tend to add anyone who is aspiring to be a published author like myself. Most indie author's fall into that category.

When I was on one of these websites, I witness authors asking followers for money, ranting about how miserable their life is, and begging followers to purchase their ebooks while threatening to quit writing.

It could be my pride, but I would never beg my twitter followers to donate money. I don't think it is appropriate. If they donate that money, they don't know if it is really going to your writing business or anything else you may want to spend it on. I don't ever ask for money! If one wants to buy my book, that is fine. That is why I write, but to ask for handouts seems wrong to me. Don't do it! And don't get angry when people aren't willing to donate either!

I want to be clear about this. While it is okay to post a friendly reminder that your book is available, it is important to conduct yourself with class. I don't expect to be bombarded with a hundred messages to download your ebook. Nor do I want to follow someone that only tweets that. Tweet about your life. Be positive and inspirational. Let the fans get to know you. No one would read a book without either sampling the author's work, hearing rave reviews, or getting to know them as a person of authority within the field.

For authors, your books are your business, and you are the image of your business. There is never a time when cursing is acceptable! Cursing at fellow authors and fans who are trying to help you is contradictory to your focus. One is never truly an expert in your chosen field. The point is we keep learning as we go on, and the best way to learn is from someone who has been there. Listen to your fellow authors!

Now in the case where a fan is asking for your work for free, it is not correct to unfollow them or write unsavory things. Just remind them that your work is available at all online outlets for the price which is set. If you have shorts available online, remind them of those. Unless someone is nasty, there is never a time when threatening to unfollow people is appropriate!

Remember that once something is on the web, it is there forever. Conduct yourself with some decorum.

Wicked Magic Update

I have been hard at work writing Wicked Magic: A Weeping Willow Novel.

The story is based on a dream I had that stood with me, haunting me. So, I decided to write about it. However, there have been a few hold ups. After I started writing, my pacing seemed wrong. With the short stories, something happened every minute, because I had to fit a lot of information in a small amount of words. Remember that Weeping Willow Shorts were only intended to showcase my writing style to potential readers. I never intended to make a novel.

So, when I started writing the novel, something was off. I had to give over a few chapters to my editor, Susan, for review so that she could explain what was off. I had to put my writing on hold for a short while, but she didn't find anything wrong with the flow.

The pacing of the short is really fast, but then again it was a short story. Not a novel. Anyway, I got used to that frantic pace of the short. It basically became the signature of the shorts. With the novel, the passing is longer, but the tricky thing is not to lose the feel of the original shorts. It has been tricky, but now, I am developing a flow.

This novel is darker than the shorts, because it is based upon a nightmare I had. Without giving too much away, there will be creatures from other realms that make their presence known. I was inspired by Dante's Inferno and the idea of combining it with my dream. This book will take off where the other one left off so the shorts must be read before attempting to read this novel.

I am really excited to get this one out. I hope everyone like it. I don't know if anymore Willow novels will be in my future, but I am sure all of my readers will get back to me with input about that.

So, I am back on track with my schedule. I am hoping to release it by Late May/Early June. Then I will begin work of, Malcontent: A Restraint Novel, the last of the Restraint Trilogy.


One chapter of WICKED MAGIC can be read at FEEDBOOKS where I have posted a chapter preview.