Saturday, May 26, 2012

Getting Your Fanbase's Opinion

   Some people have hundreds of stories brewing in their brain, and it is only a matter of which one they choose to write. Some authors use polls to find out what their readers would like to see most in an upcoming novel, or even what your next book should be.

   Getting your fanbase's opinion for your novels can be helpful in terms of determining which story line people would have the most interest in, or which you think you'd get the most sales out of. If it's a poll that requires an explanation for your choice, than it's even better, because you can find what your fanbase does and doesn't like about an idea. Then, you can tweak it and redo the poll with the tweaks implemented and see if the majority has changed their vote. The smallest things can break or improve an idea. Your fanbase's opinions don't have to be about your book either. It could simply be a matter of which author picture you should use.

   Below are some of my upcoming novel ideas and short story ideas. Which would you like to see happen most?

            Teen Detective: When a rich person is robbed in – neighborhood, -- must find the culprit and claim the prize money.
Crow Story: A serial killer is killing off a jury by sending a crow to their house, with a number attached to its foot—telling them how much longer they have to live. (NAME), a detective must stop the killer before he takes another victim, his wife.
            DreamCatcher: The Army has employed a special soldier, who steals people’s dreams to uncover secrets hidden within them.
            Guardian Angels: Guardian Angels have been watching us. When the world was in danger, they appeared. They look like soldiers, and their technology is far superior then that of the human race. They’ve come to save us from the apocalypse.
            Super Hero: Rope Man, Croc-Head, and Freezer are genetically altered super humans that have been frowned upon by society for their differences. When Sharkface, a scientist with the viciousness of a shark and mind of a madman/genius has a plot that only the super-humans could defeat, they are called in to defeat him by the government.
            Ancient Assassin: An Assassin in Renaissance Italy has uncovered the truth about a corrupt leader, and must put a stop to his evil scheme before he unleashes a deadly virus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Interview with Veronica Rossi

Her Website:
Twitter: @V_Rossibooks 

What is Under the Never Sky about?
UNDER THE NEVER SKY is a post-apocalyptic story about teenagers from very different societies—one highly advanced, one rather primitive—who are thrown together by chance, and have to overcome their differences in order to survive.
Where is your book available?
It’s available through all major book retailers and most independent bookstores!
Where did you get the idea for your book, and why did you settle on writing a dystopian novel?
Several sources of inspiration came up around the same time. I knew I wanted to pit two very different societies together, so I began to develop both a primitive and an advanced society. At the same time, the characters were buzzing in the back of my mind, waiting for me to create a world for them to step into. The plot grew out of the characters and the world.

I’d say that my novel is more a post-apocalyptic novel with some light dystopian elements in it – but I never set out to write either, specifically. I ended up there, by way of writing something that felt interesting to me!

How did you come up with the title?
The title actually came from a line in the book that I really liked. I was fortunate that my editor and agent agreed.
When did you first become interested in writing?
I kept a journal in high school of drawings and writings, but I didn’t really sit down to write novels until about ten years ago. Writing a book just seemed like such a huge undertaking! It took me a while to get up the courage to do it – and I’m so glad I did.
If your book was a movie, who would you pick to play the main characters?
This is such a tough question to answer because I have a really clear picture in mind of these characters—not just physically, but of their essential nature—and I can’t think of any actor that embodies them! The one thing I do know is that I’d love for the roles to go to talented actors who are passionate about the story and characters.
Do you plan on writing sequels?
Yes! I just finished the second book, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, and I’ll be working in the third book soon.
What are other hobbies you have?
I like to run and I love painting. I also love walks – and obviously – reading!
What are your favorite movies/books that have impacted your works?

There are so many, but a few that come up off the top of my head are:

FEED by MT Anderson
GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy
THE DARK IS RISING by Susan Cooper

I really could go on, but I’ll stop there!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Guest Post From Author Emerald Barnes!

   Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Spencer!  I’m truly grateful for your supporting me and my writing!  And to be honest, I’m one of your biggest fans, so it’s doubly exciting!

   As some of you may know, I recently self-published my full-length novel, Read Me Dead.  (My first book was a novella.)  Writing Read Me Dead was quite different than writing my first book.  This one was, of course, longer, but also, with this one, I had some amazing beta readers, a great editor, and a support team backing me!  I published Piercing Through the Darkness alone, and I tell you, writing doesn’t have to be a solitary experience!  It’s so nice to have the backing of good people who understand what you’re going through.
   I never realized how much of a difference being part of a community is when you’re in your writing process and afterwards.  Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary experience. 
   If you blog, you’ve probably gathered a following and have regular followers who comment on your blog.  They can be your community.  There are groups you can join on Goodreads.  There are even websites that make you feel like part of a community.  I volunteer at one, the World Literary CafĂ©, where you can promote your book as well talk to other writers in our forums.  Readers, reviewers and beta readers also participate. 
   But, when it came to writing Read Me Dead, I soon realized I couldn’t do it on my own.  I needed someone to talk to about the decisions I had to make.  There was a particular decision I still sort of regret making.  It was tough, but it was necessary to the plot.  And if I didn’t have anyone to talk it out with, I don’t think I would have gone through with the right decision. 
   Having a community backing you not only helps with decisions, but it helps with promoting.  We all have to do it, and you don’t have to do it alone.  Some authors are some of the best people at giving back.  Giving back in the promotion area helps you and helps them.  It’s a win-win for everyone! 
   Are you on Twitter?  Using certain hashtags will bring you together with other authors.  #indie, #amwriting, and #amediting are just a few!  Find some authors.  Befriend them.  Start up a chat about writing.  Chances are they’ve been through the exact same thing you may be going through with your novel.  Search for people who write in the same genre as you too.  That will definitely give you something to talk about! 
   Most importantly, finding a community will make you feel like you aren’t the only person in the world who understands what you’re going through.  We all understand.  We’ve all been there at one point in time in our writing career. 
   We understand that characters are in fact completely real and not fictional.  They have real emotions.  They make their own decisions.  They’ve completely taken over our brains!  You aren’t alone.  You don’t have to do this alone! 

If you need someone, you can find me here:

Buy Links:

Read Me Dead a YA Romantic Suspense
Alexia Wheaton’s problems go beyond picking a dress and a date for homecoming.
 For seven years, Alex has lived with a painful memory - her parents' horrific murder. As the sole witness, she has kept quiet to protect herself, but when the local newspaper reveals her secret, Alex is plagued with fear that her parents' murderer will soon find her - and silence her forever.
 Alex is catapulted into a race against time to save her own life and bring her parents' murderer to justice. 

Piercing Through the Darkness, a YA Suspense/Thriller
It’s on the edge of her memory like a word on the tip of her tongue, but Kandi can’t remember what it is to save her life.

Despite being a cop, Jimmy can’t protect Kandi from the one thing that haunts her. She’s in danger and doesn’t even know it. After it happened, her brain repressed her memories of the accident, and now, she’s taking a Biology class under a man who wants to see her dead. The memories have started coming back, and it feels like she’s miles away from him. How can he protect her when she doesn’t even know she needs protecting?

Can these characters pierce their way through the darkness?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

I woke up, ready to eat breakfast and do some edits, when I saw that I had gotten a blog award from CR HIATT! I have gotten some blog awards, but had not heard of the Versatile award.

I received the award from CR HIATT, and she received it from M.G. Edwards. Thank you!

This was M.G.'s definition of the award, and I don't think I could phrase it better:
A mutual admiration society where bloggers recognize their peers for writing quality blogs that touched them in some way. The VBAs honor the blogger rather than specific posts. It’s a chance for bloggers to pat themselves on the back like the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does with the Oscars. Until someone starts giving out Blogscars, the VBAs will have to suffice.

Here are the rules when you are selected for the award: 
  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Include a link to their blog!
  • Next, select 10 blogs/bloggers that you've recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those 10 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
Thank you so much CR! I really appreciate you giving me this award! Go to her blog here:

Below are my ten nominees:

Laura Pauling:

The Book Guys:

Congratulations, all!

Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

  1. Not only do I like to write, but I love to draw and sketch things out.
  2. I have always liked to write, even in early elementary school.
  3. I listen to Classic Rock music (Van Halen, RUSH, Duran Duran, Def Leppard, RATT), and actually ventured out to see Van Halen earlier this year with my dad!
  4. I get a lot of writing ideas from video games.
  5. I love action movies!
  6. I love office supply stores! 
  7. I love music, but enjoy seeing the bands live even more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ink Slingers Press

We will be issuing a quarterly (more or less!) e-newsletter with the latest tidbits, news flashes and promotions on our projects. The e-newsletter will be issued via email (subscribe by emailing and put 'Subscribe' in the subject line) and our blog (subscribe at

Thanks and we look forward to hearing back from you!
Here's a summary of where we're at right now:

Elise Stokes, Seattle, WA
Author of Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula and Cassidy Jones and Vulcan's Gift
  • Writing a superhero-themed series for Middle Grade/Young Adults: Cassidy Jones Adventures
  • Currently writing Book Three, Cassidy Jones and the Seventh Attendant
  • Website:
John Rykken, Portland, Oregon
Author of Bloodwood
  • Writing a vampire series that's not what you expect
  • Currently working on the sequel of Bloodwood
  • Website:
Martin Gibbs, MN
Author of The Spaces Between, and various short stories
  • Writing fantasy... off-beat, adventure, survival, a little like Flewelling
  • Finishing a Christian historical fiction piece... will be out before Christmas
  • Website:
Monica La Porta, WA
Author of The Priest
  • Writing about life on planet Ginecea, an alternate Earth, where women rule over a race of enslaved men.
  • Currently finished writing the final book in The Ginecean Chronicles, editing book two: Pax in the Land of Women.
  • Website:
Spencer Brokaw, OH
Author of The Impenetrable Spy
  • Writing a Young Adult espionage series and multiple short stories
  • Currently working on a spin-off series of The Impenetrable Spy, Agent J.
  • Website:
Vered Ehsani, Nairobi, Kenya
Author of Diary of a Part-Time Ghost and Where Shadows Dance
  • Currently obsessed with things that can walk through walls
  • Working on books 3,4 & 5
  • Website:

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Guest Post From Author Darlene Jones

Living in Mali - the experience that started it all

A long time ago, I lived in Mali. Every single day, I wished I could wave a magic wand to relieve the heart wrenching poverty. My experiences there led to the writing of EMBATTLED, which reflects my desire to wave that wand and make the world a better place—if only wishes could come true.

Initially, I intended to write “a” novel. The story and characters took over and the ending demanded another. EMPOWERED is that “other.” I've always believed we can't be the only beings existing in the vastness of the universe, There must be others “out there somewhere” and I'd like to believe they're not all that different from us. Those beliefs are reflected in my writing. My novels stay, for the most part, within the realities of our world, but I've found that I love the magic the sci-fi element of other beings could bring to a story.

Excerpt from EMPOWERD

“Honey, can you talk to me? Please. Talk to me.”
The little girl stared straight ahead, eyes wide, unblinking. In all her years of teaching, Mrs. Craig had never encountered anything like this with a student—this … trance …?
“Sweetheart, come back. Come back.” She rubbed the child’s back; saw the flicker of an eyelid. Thank God. “Sweetheart?”
“Where are they?” the girl asked. She looked around the room and then at her teacher. “Where are they?”
“The babies.”
“What babies, sweetie?”
“The babies all in pieces.”
Jaz crawled out of bed. Three in the morning and she wouldn’t sleep now. She was seeing them again—the visions from her childhood. They’d been with her forever, tucked into a back corner of her mind, hovering over her protectively. Now why did she think of them as protective when they were mostly bloody and brutal and harsh and cruel? What happened in those visions was atrocious; she’d known that even as a child, so why hadn’t she been afraid then? Why wasn’t she afraid now? Why did she think of them as a safeguard, a shield? And a shield against what? Those babies in pieces … She shuddered, wrapped her arms around herself and paced.
God, she had to find him—the man she could share this with, the man who would help carry the burden, the man she’d been promised in those dreams.

For more information about my books and for links to buy go to my website.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Condensing Your Final Draft

Stephen King once said:

“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

  It's true. On my final draft of Future Dreamer, I cut out somewhere around 10%. That's not the greatest amount, but there was a lot of excess information. In math, our teacher has always said that cutting out useless information (that is normally meant to trick you) in a math problem will help you get to the answer easier. Although you'll get to the end of the book just as easily with extra information, if you can get rid of it, people will read through it easier. 

  I think that this rule is one that should be taken seriously and followed. But, it doesn't mean you should go through your book and take out every other sentence. In Future Dreamer, I cut out a paragraph of useless information that had nothing to do with what was going on, and actually disrupted the action going on. That's the kind of information that should be taken out.