Thursday, February 28, 2013

The End of Something Wonderful and the Beginning of Something Even Better

Today is the last day of the Fall For Me blog tour, so I wanted to share with everyone my experience so far.

Back in October last year I made the decision to become an Indie author and self-publish my first novel, and it’s been a wild rollercoaster ride ever since. But I have loved every minute of it. I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, and that it would be a lot of hard work, but honestly I didn’t know what to expect.

I soon found out that writing the book was the easy part!

When you choose to go Indie you choose to take on the role of not only writer and author, but proof-reader, editor, marketing guru, publicist, cover artist, typesetter, eBook formatter, and the list goes on. Like I said, actually writing the book was easy.

Someone asked me what I liked most about becoming an Indie author. I love that I’m my own boss. At the end of the day what I say goes. There is no one else telling me I have to have a certain image on my cover, or I have to cut a particular scene. I make the rules. And I break the rules. Everything is what I make of it, and that instils in me an immense feeling of happiness.

The other thing that makes me happy is having the chance for people to read my story. Without the ability to self-publish so much talent would fall to the wayside. I love that I—and so many other Indie authors—have this fantastic chance to show the world what we can do. At the moment for me it’s not about the money—it never has been, although money would be nice—it’s about taking someone away from their troubles just for a little while. I still remember the feeling I had when I read my first review. I was so happy I cried. The fact that one other person in the whole world had read and liked my book told me I’d achieved what I’d set out to do.

I was also asked what I hated about the experience. I’m sitting her wracking my brain trying to think of something I hated throughout this entire process, and I can’t think of anything. I think that hate is too strong a word. I certainly disliked some things that happened, but I dealt with them and moved on. There is one thing I’m terrified of though, and that’s receiving a negative review. I’ve been extremely lucky to have had a fantastic response so far to Fall For Me. I know the day will come when I’ll read something I won’t want to, but as with everything else I’ll deal with it and move on. The good far outweighs the bad. If I had my time over would I do it all again? Hell yes!

My self-publishing experience is like anything we do in life. There’s the good and the not so good. There are steep learning curves, and there are moments of pure happiness. I am so very grateful for all my readers who’ve taken a chance and read Fall For Me. And I’m grateful for the wonderful and supportive friends I’ve made along this journey. In know it’s not over, it’s only just beginning.

K x

PS: You can check out all the tour stops here

PPS: The paperback edition of Fall For Me is ON SALE at Amazon — 36% off! Go check it out.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Getting Through the Rough Times - Ideas to Help With Writers' Block

The last few months have been a rollercoaster ride, and I’ve been so focused on the blog tour that everything else has fallen to the wayside. The tour ends on the 28th and I’m actually quite sad about that. Although it’s been a huge amount of work, it’s also been really fun.

Because I’ve put so much energy into the tour, lately I’ve been struggling to get any kind of creative writing done. I’m in a bit of a slump and I really don’t want to be there. I’m loathed to call it writers’ block, because I don’t believe I have it. I think it’s more a lack of confidence than anything else. Now that people have read Fall For Me and actually liked it, I’m scared for what’s to come next. I know what I want to happen in the next part of Grace’s story, but is it what the reader wants? And can I get it out fast enough?

I’ve spent many hours contemplating these questions, and I think the answer is yes—and no. Things may not turn out how everyone wants them to—and if I’ve learnt anything in this process it’s that you can’t please everyone—but for me as a reader, and a writer, I want a good story. So, that’s what I’m going to try and deliver. As for the time frame, I’ve given myself until the end of the year. I’m hoping it will be enough, but if it isn’t, then it isn’t.

I’ve written 33k+ words of Fight For Me, but I realised the other day that it’s just not working. This has me down a bit because I’ve done so much work already, but I made the decision a couple of days ago to let it lie for a bit, wait until the tour was completely over and then come back to it.

I know I’m not the only one to suffer a bout of self-doubt—ok, you can call it writers’ block if you really want to—so I thought I’d list some ideas to help with getting through these rough patches.

  • Set your current WIP aside and work on something else. It could be a new idea you’ve been tossing around in your head, or another WIP you haven’t touched for a while.
  • If you’re stuck, move to a different scene in your story, or write the ending. It doesn’t have to be what’s eventually going to happen, but it will free up your ideas and hopefully get you over the bump.
  • Write from a different POV. Choose one of your character’s that isn’t the MC and write a scene through their eyes.
  • Work on character profiles. Take one of your secondary characters and get to know them better.
  • Pick up the closest object to you and write a descriptive paragraph about it. Describe it in as much detail as possible. Have fun with it!
  • If you’re really, really stuck, walk away. Read for a while instead of working on your own writing. I try to always find time to read every day. Choose a book and read it until you’ve finished. Don’t write in between reading sessions; just enjoy someone else’s work for a while. I’m currently doing this and I’m still reeling from a book I finished two days ago. That’s the effect I want to have on my readers!
  • And finally, drink lots of tea. Tea fixes everything!

I’d love to know what you do to get yourself through a rough patch. Leave me a comment with your best tip.

Now, I’m off to take some of my own advice.
K x

Friday, February 22, 2013

Luke West - Guest Post and Giveaway

Today I have an Aussie author from Queensland, Luke West, taking over my blog. He's here to tell us a little bit about his new release, Hell's Mercenary. Make sure you enter the giveaway at the end of the post.



Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of this highly respected group. It truly is an honour to speak with you all. I hope you’ll allow me the opportunity to entertain your imagination when you open the pages to your next novel. May I suggest Hell’s Mercenary, the first book of the Intervening World Chronicles?

The story’s main character, Arliah, is a gothic, “don’t care” lone warrior, who lives in Hell. Every day she watches Hell’s people reach their expiration date and be strapped into a cart which carries them straight down the Tunnel of Abyss to their fiery death.

Refusing to be a part of this mundane dance, Arliah haphazardly signs a contract with the devil, Tobias. The contract allows her to leave Hell, passing beyond Hell’s reception desk and up a lengthy elevator ride to Earth. However Earth is a game for which Arliah has had no preparation whatsoever. Who will help her? Who will hinder her?

Earth – A deserted world: a place of patience, hope and misery. The only escape is to win the game.

Your target – Those humans with the highest bounties.

As the people on Earth battle and kill each other for a position in Heaven, Arliah soon learns that fewer souls are venturing through Hell’s gates and more seem instead to be climbing the staircase into heaven. This is the mission Tobias has entrusted her to remedy.

Will Arliah find the answers she needs to avoid her own expiration? Or will she be lost to the endless killing game?

Her mission – Find heaven. And once she does, bring it to Hell.

Although I have been writing all my life, this is my first published novel. Throughout the series of three books, the reader will experience every aspect of fantasy that I love: black magic, witches, angels, and supernatural encounters.

As the story progresses, we will dive farther into the characters and their strange experiences. We’ll also get to know our bad-ass heroine who really needs to learn to just calm down.

This first novel will introduce you to the people, the worlds and the different species. The farther we delve into this tale, the farther we will find ourselves caught up in a world we can’t, and won’t want to escape from. Won’t you take this journey with me?

I always enjoy hearing from my fans and appreciate your feedback. What you love and what you hate, who you are – what dark fantasies live in your mind?


Hell’s Mercenary
Intervening World Chronicles

Luke West
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 978-0-9874799-0-7
Number of pages: 203
Word Count: 58, 000
Cover Artist: Jessica Drumm
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/KKSqswiYzRA

Amazon
Smashwords

 


About the Author:
Luke West is an up and coming author from Queensland, Australia. He was raised and still resides on the Gold Coast.

“Life is a journey, who knows the destination.” – Luke West

Luke has always enjoyed creative writing, and his first dream – to become a published author – was realized at a young age. His parents were constant, avid readers of his many short stories and novels, and have always supported his decision to chase his dreams.

After studying the art of writing throughout his teenage years, Luke finally took the leap to pursue his writing career and set out to release his debut novel.
Luke decided to explore the self-publishing world, aiming to prove to the publishing houses that he has what it takes to research, market, and sell his work. With this goal achieved, he hopes to secure a full time career in the world of the written word.

Luke enjoys writing Fantasy, Horror or anything with a paranormal twist. His debut Urban Fantasy novel, Hell’s Mercenary is the first of three books from the Intervening World Chronicles and is available for download now!

For the latest news or to connect with Luke personally, visit www.lukewest.com.au

“Thank you for allowing me to entertain your imagination. I hope my books find themselves among your favorite books.” – Luke West

Official Website 
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Youtube

Luke has been kind enough to give away a copy of his book to one lucky winner. Enter below for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

K x

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Young Adult Paranormal Giveaway Hop - Buffy Style!


February 21st - 27th
Hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer
Co - hosted by YA Between the Lines

Featuring Young Adult Books with Paranormal elements

Welcome to my stop for the YA Paranormal Hop

It's no secret that I'm just a little bit obsessed with Buffy. It is hands down my all time favourite TV show. So, today I'm giving away to one lucky winner an eBook of your choice from one of the titles below.


Have a look here at my Buffy obsession post.

Here's something that's a bit of fun.



Now enter below for your chance to win.
Entrants must be over 15 to enter. The winner will be contacted within 48 hours after the competition ends. The eBook will be gifted from K. A. Last via Amazon.


Make sure you hop around to all the other participating blogs on the linky list below.

K x

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Indie-Kissing Blogfest! and GIVEAWAY



Join me, and a cast of others, for an Indie-Kissing Blogfest! Hosted by the Indelibles.

It's Valentine's Day, and what's the best thing about the most romantic day of the year? (Apart from, flowers, chocolate and jewellery.)

Kissing of course!

I'd like to share with you Grace and Seth's first kiss from Fall For Me. This is one of my favourite scenes in the book and I really loved writing it. Enjoy!

Excerpt from Chapter Thirty-Six — Grace's POV

There was a moment of comfortable silence between us before Seth sat up and crossed his legs so his knees touched the front of the couch. Our faces were level, and he leant in slightly. I waited to see what he would do. He was close enough that I could feel his warm breath on my cheek, and I knew I didn’t want him to pull away, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to kiss him either. Now would be a very good time for toothpaste.

You don’t have to, if you don’t want, he whispered in my head.

I don’t know what I want.

He slipped my free hand into his and turned it over, tracing my palm with his finger. Seth’s touch was gentle and warm.

Are you trying to seduce me? I asked.

Is it working?

A huge smile spread over his face, and before I had time to react he closed the small gap between us. Never in my existence had I felt something as soft, and tender and gentle as that kiss. It surprised me; it was so different to the way Josh kissed me. It was like we fitted perfectly together and the moment his lips touched mine, it felt right. I found myself wanting more. Eagerly, I slid my hand behind his neck and pulled him closer, twisting my fingers into his short, blond hair. My mind went blank, and all I knew was his touch. Too soon Seth pulled away and our lips parted. With our foreheads touching I gasped for breath, my heart racing. He gently raised my chin then held out his hand and caught my tear in his palm. I hadn’t even noticed I’d been crying, and we both watched as it turned into a diamond. The tears began to flow faster as I remembered catching Seth’s tear so long ago.

“I have one of those, too,” I said, smiling.

“You kept it? You know it’s said if you catch an angel’s tear and it turns into a diamond, the one shedding the tear is your true love.”

I turned that over in my mind. “You love me?”

“I have always loved you, Grace.”

“So, this is how angels kiss then? I never knew…”

“…how good it was?” he asked.

Exactly. I felt my smile widen.

You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this moment, Grace. How long I’ve waited for you.


I closed my eyes, laid my head on his shoulder, and felt like I was home.

GIVEAWAY
I'm also giving away to one lucky winner an eBook copy of Duplicity by Nikki Jefford. Nikki is one of my favourite Indie authors, and if you haven't had a chance to read one of her books, you don't know what you're missing out on.

So, go and grab Entangled here because it's FREE, and then enter the comp below.









Just look at the awesomeness of these covers!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Make sure you check out all the other participating blogs at the end of this post. 

K x



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Indie Life - Reaching for the Stars


Welcome to my Indie Life post for February. This is a monthly feature posted on the second Wednesday of the month and hosted by the Indelibles. The aim is to promote, encourage, and support indie authors.

Today I'd like to tell you a little something about my journey so far.

I decided to self-publish simply because I love my story, and I wanted others to have the chance to read it and fall in love with it, too. I tried submitting to agents and publishers the traditional way, and I had a few requests for full manuscripts, but I also had a lot of rejections.

It took me more than two years to get Fall For Me to the point where I thought it was good enough to publish, and then I realised it still had a way to go. But the first step was actually making the decision. Once I’d decided I was going to do it all myself, and set a date to work towards, everything started rolling. It was a very hectic and stressful few months, and when it came time to hit that publish button, I started to have doubts. Doubts about myself and if I could do it. Doubts about my work and if it would be good enough. I was so stressed to the point I actually felt physically sick.

Then I pushed that button.

Now, I’m in the middle of my first promotional blog tour. Not everything has gone the way I’d have liked, and it’s not taking off as well as I’d hoped, but I got it out there in front of people and the feedback I’ve had so far has been mostly positive.

If I were to offer any advice to someone who was considering becoming an indie author, I wouldn’t hesitate in saying, do it! Sure it’s hard work for little gain, but the sense of satisfaction and achievement is immense. Don’t doubt yourself, because it’s contagious and others will doubt you, too. I know my time to shine will come, and I know once I start getting more titles out there, a lot of people will read and hopefully like my books. But, I’ve had to remind myself that not everyone will like my work. There will be haters. Don’t hate them back. Don't waste energy on the negative, focus on the positive and keep reaching for the stars.

K x

Friday, February 08, 2013

Better Than Chocolate Books for a Buck Hop


Bestsellers
Award Winners
Hot New Releases
30 authors offering 35 titles at an amazing 99¢ price (limited time offers)


For two days only Fall For Me will be available for 99¢ as part of the Books For a Buck Hop. Get it while it's hot!
 


View this book on Smashwords


Savor the Savings

Titles by Category:

Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Horror
Day of Sacrifice Omnibus by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Fall For Me by K. A. Last
The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton
Reunion by Jeff Bennington
Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2) * 1st book FREE! * by Karina Halle
Guardian Of Fate by L.J. Kentowski
Ember's Curse by Gena D. Lutz
FEARLESS by Tawdra Kandle

Young Adult
Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent (romance/verse)
Ghost Hand by Ripley Patton (paranormal)
Seen by Heather Sutherlin (fantasy)
Sally Singletary's Curiosity by JM Cataffo (fantasy/mystery)
Blue Sky Days by Marie Landry (contemporary)
Duplicity (Spellbound #2) * 1st book NOW FREE! * by Nikki Jefford

New Adult/Upper Teen: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Treason (Grimoire Saga #2) * 1st book NOW FREE! * by S. M. Boyce
The Renaissance of Hetty Locklear by M. Pax
ReVamped by Ada Adams
Troll Or Derby, a Fairy Wicked Tale by Red Tash
Neverlove by Angela Brown
Flight (The Crescent Chronicles, #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy
Vaempires: Revolution and Vaempires: Zombie Rising by Thomas Winship
What Kills Me by Wynne Channing
Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford

New Adult/Upper Teen: Contemporary Romance
Preservation (Preservation, #1) by Rachael Wade
The Unloved by Jennifer Snyder
Make It Last by Bethany Lopez
My Paper Heart by Magan Vernon

Science Fiction and Fantasy
Perfection Unleashed by Jade Kerrion
To Ride a Puca by Heather McCorkle

Contemporary Romance and Chick Lit
The Reunion by Elizabeth Aloe
The Game Changer by Marie Landry
Broken and Mending by J.B. McGee

See full hop list with book covers at Shop the Hop.


K x 

Saturday, February 02, 2013

A Quick Lesson in Grammar

One of my pet peeves is errors in basic grammar. Now, I know we all make mistakes from time to time, and a word may get spelt (spelled - you can actually use both) incorrectly, and we've all been victims of auto-correct, but there are some instances where incorrect grammar and usage make people look unintelligent.

Especially when some of those people are writers!

Please don't get me wrong, I'm not about to point any fingers, and I know I still use words incorrectly sometimes, but I think that if we're going to put our work out in the public arena for everyone to see, it has to be as perfect as possible.

I thought I'd point out a few common mistakes people make, and the ones that annoy me the most.

Your versus You're

Your is the second person possessive adjective, and is used to describe something that belongs to you.
Is that your hot pink car?

You're is a conjunction of you are, and is often followed by a verb ending in -ing (or the present participle).
Are you embarrassed? You're turning as pink as your car.

I love this episode of Friends - the one with the jellyfish



Would have, Could have, Should have

When we speak, it often sounds like we're saying 'would of'. The correct usage is would have. The 'of' comes from the use of the contraction would've. Using 'of' is bad grammar and simply really annoying. Have a look here for more info.

It's versus Its

It's is a contraction of it is or it has.
It's been a long time since we spoke.
Baby, it's cold outside.

Its is the possessive form of it.
My cat has a mind of its own.

If you can replace the word with it is or it has, then use it's. Otherwise it's just its.

Then versus Than

To put it simply: Then is mainly an adverb, and often used to situate an action in time.
I brushed my teeth, and then I went to bed.

Than is a conjunction used mainly to make a comparison.
She has lighter hair than you.

Then has many synonyms, whereas than has no one-word synonyms. For a full explanation have a look here.

Did I make any mistakes in this post? Do you have a grammar pet peeve? I'd love to hear about it.

K x

Friday, February 01, 2013

Character Cocktails

Today marks the first day of the Fall For Me virtual blog tour. My first stop is at Cocktails and Books where I've concocted a list of cocktails to suit each of my main characters. Check out the post or read them below.

You can find the Cocktails and Books four star review here.

The full tour schedule can be found here where you can also enter the giveaway.


GRACE
At five feet, two inches tall, she’s a tiny pocket rocket and a pretty kick-ass chick. Grace knows how to be sensitive, her compassion and loyalty often get her into trouble, but she also knows how to hold her own. You don’t want to be a vamp when Grace has a stake in her hand. This cocktail suits Grace perfectly, symbolising both her hard and soft characteristics.
Cocktail of choice: Black Velvet
Ingredients: Equal parts stout beer (such as Guinness) and champagne
Method: Fill a champagne flute half way with chilled stout beer. Float the champagne on top of the stout by pouring over an upside down spoon so the liquid runs gently down the sides instead of splashing into, and mixing with, the lower layer.

ARCHER
On the outside, Archer could be mistaken for a really nice guy. The kind that helps little old ladies cross the street or lays his jacket down over a puddle, but then he opens his mouth. He’s a bit too cocky sometimes, and he always has a comeback. But, he is tough, and a very good person to be on the right side of. Archer is not much of a cocktail kind of guy, he’s more likely to be at the bar tossing back shots than sipping a Tequila Sunrise and twirling a paper umbrella between his fingers.
Cocktail of choice: Fireball Shot
Ingredients:
1 shot cinnamon schnapps
1 shot white rum
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
Method: Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain into a shot glass and drink immediately.

JOSH
He’s Mr Popularity, but he doesn’t let it go to his head. An all round nice guy, Josh would prefer less attention directed at him, unless of course that attention was coming from Grace. With his likeable demeanour and good looks, a glass of scotch looks right at home in Josh’s hand.
Cocktail of choice: Rusty Nail
Ingredients:
1½ oz Scotch
¾ oz Drambuie
Lemon twist for garnish
Method: Pour the ingredients over ice into an old-fashioned glass and stir well, then garnish with the lemon twist.

SETH
There’s always a resident bad boy—someone who likes to cause trouble and sit back to watch the aftermath—and Seth doesn’t disappoint. He’s dark, and angry, and pretty much pissed off most of the time. Seth likes to fight hard, and he also likes to win. He’s a very fiery kind of guy, which is why this cocktail suits him perfectly.
Cocktail of choice: The Blue Blazer
Ingredients:
2½ oz rye or bourbon whiskey or Brandy
2½ oz boiling water
1 tsp powdered sugar
Lemon peel
Method: Pour the Scotch, water and sugar into a heat-resistant cup with a handle (traditionally a silver-plated or pewter cup). Light the mix on fire. While it’s ablaze, roll the mix into another identical cup and back again several times. Pour the mix into another heat resistant cup with a lemon peel. Extinguish the flames by placing a cup over the top.

CHARLOTTE
This girl is a bit of a mystery to most. She comes across all sweet and innocent playing the victim, but it turns out she has a lot to hide and for a very good reason. She’s also the master of betrayal, even when it’s not her intention. Charlotte has a ‘special’ diet, so when it comes to drinks, simple and sophisticated is best.
Cocktail of choice: Dirty Martini
Ingredients:
2½ oz gin
½ oz dry vermouth
Olive brine to taste
Olive for garnish
Method: Pour the gin and dry vermouth into a mixing glass then slowly add the olive brine. Stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the olive.

K x