All Kinds of Stuff

Hello my fellow writers and readers. I am terribly guilty of ignoring my own blog and am almost embarrassed to post anything new (hanging head and scuffing toes), but there are a few topics that I’ve wanted to touch on for a while now. They are older and I would never have decided to touch on them in my blog, except for the fact that I STILL find blog entries and articles being published regarding the said topics, so I will beat the apparently not-quite-dead horses a bit myself. Sorry, poor horses. Perhaps I will in some tiny way hasten the end of your misery.

First: Twerking is not new, people. Just because the word hasn’t existed for, like, ever, doesn’t mean the move hasn’t.

‘Kay, that’s all I have to say about that.

Next: Since apparently I was the only person in the entire civilized world (Civilized. Ha.) who realized it was not meant to be taken as fact, I wanted to put in my ha’penny regarding Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives. I knew it was a mocumentary, docu-fiction, or whatever fancy name you want to give a fictional documentary, from the preview. Is it still called a preview when it’s for a TV show? Do I care? Point is, if I could figure out that the show wasn’t real, the Discover Channel most definitely did not deliberately mislead anybody. Perhaps I had a bit of an edge over the average viewer because of a more than passing interest in paleontology and a familiarity with shows like The Lost Tapes, Dragon’s World, The Future is Wild, Prehistoric Park, and Alien Planet. Sadly I have not managed to catch either Mermaid show. People, Megalodon was fake. It was meant to be fake. You were meant to know it was fake. They used obviously augmented photos. It is not Discover’s fault that you didn’t realize it at the time.

Third: JK Rowling, please, please, please do NOT stop writing. I very much enjoy your work, at least what of it I’ve read. I admit I am not a mystery fan so I have not read your non-Harry books, though at some point I might out of pure curiosity. I feel absolutely no threat over an author finding success. I do not blame anyone else for the fact that I am an as-yet-failed author. Am I frustrated and bitter? Yes. All I want out of life is an actual career as a writer, and as long as the new Health Care Law is on the books I wouldn’t have to rely on an employer to be eligible for health insurance, it would be a possibility, if I could actually sell enough books to survive on the profits. But so far that isn’t possible, I need an employer’s health benefits to survive, I’m very close to losing my job for taking too long with each customer, and I feel like I’m going crazy. I haven’t yet found a reliable way to get my book promoted without spending money I don’t have. I sincerely hope it’s not the book itself that’s the problem. I know it’s not a complete dog, though I realize I am not the best judge of my own work. I probably would say I was an awful writer, except I know a number of people who have read my published book and quite liked it. One even told me she had trouble putting it down. Another said . . . never mind, that’s not what this was about. I don’t know a single reader who limits their collection to a single author, or two, or three. All the bookworms I know have books by dozens, sometimes hundreds, and in a few cases thousands of different authors. For one author to say another needs to stop writing to give other authors a chance is unconscionable, unethical, disgusting, and more than a bit ridiculous. And to make fun of adults for the reading material they choose is not a great message, either. Yes, I have read the Harry Potter series more than once. Or twice. Or a dozen times. I enjoy it. I enjoy Shakespeare. I enjoy Terry Pratchett. I enjoy many, many writers, some considered adult and some not. No other writer has anything to do with the success or failure of my career.

The last topic doesn’t fall under the category of dead horse, though I sincerely hope that someday soon it will. The Arizona law, that terrible law they called religious freedom, was vetoed by an intelligent woman. I have read many takes on the veto on both sides of the issue, and I sort of agree with several who have stated that a privately-owned business should have the right to deny service to anyone they choose, were a business out to limit its own . . . er, business. I say sort of because there are certainly cases I have observed where a business should have been able to throw out a customer. Too many times I’ve seen customers abuse employees and even other customers, but it usually takes something major for a business owner to dare such a thing as kicking them out. In some cases I suppose it’s because they want the abuser’s money, but I suspect in others it’s because they fear a lawsuit. But the Arizona law legalized discrimination against one particular group of people. That is wrong, sick, ugly, and against the very ideas America was founded on. I have too many gay friends and family members for such a law not to affect me personally, but even if I had no such ties and did not agree with the lifestyle (which is none of my business since not a single person who has claimed that gays will destroy our very society have been able to explain how or why someone else being gay should hurt me in any way), I would not agree with it. What could be next? Will we go back to the days of black segregation? Force those of Jewish faith to wear Stars of David? Illegalize left-handedness? Shave the heads of all redheads? Legally discriminate against fat people? The last kind of scares me, since I have more than once experienced the way so many see my kind as second, third, or even lower class citizens. No, making hate and discrimination legal is a bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea. That kind of thinking is what will destroy, and has come too close to destroying, our society. Picking one old testament idea (I won’t even get into the evidence that most if not all of those passages are mistranslations because shock upon shock the Bible was not originally in English and some words in other languages are hard to translate) out of dozens to base a chuck of our legal system on is nothing but stupid. Let’s illegalize tattoos, piercings, wearing more than one type of fabric at once, eating meat and milk together, eating any seafood other than fish . . . No, we need to come together as a species to save ourselves, and that incudes gay, straight, black, white, red, yellow, albino, blue, green, spotted (I’ve seen all three don’t laugh) Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan, Muslim, Voodoo, Atheist, blonde, brunette, bald, clean shaven, bearded, everyone except hatemongers, the just plain evil, and perhaps the Church of Satan wouldn’t be exactly reliable, although I’ve never met a member so I can only base that judgment on what I’ve read about the group and wouldn’t make any final statements without more information.

So those are my little thoughts on several subjects. I won’t presume to encourage anybody to see things my way because I was never in debate and have actually had people try to argue with me when I was agreeing with them. (But listen, you have to see it this way. Yeah, I do. No, but you have to think about it this way. Yeah, I hear exactly what you’re saying, you’re right. No, no listen, you have to consider this . . .) Obviously I am not the best person to try and persuade anyone to anything, just letting you know this is what I think.

So, not much about writing this time. Sorry about that. Maybe next time. We’ll see. Yeah, we’ll see how long my poor, not-exactly-top-of-the-line-when-I-bought-it computer lasts. Probably not good that it crashed right in the middle of writing this. At least it didn’t explode. I didn’t just say that, not giving Fate any more grand ideas. Shutting up now.

Good night, sweet readers and writers, and good luck to those of you that need it.

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The Hazards of Being an Indie Author

No excerpts today, I’m going to pause in my cheating and write on an actual subject. Yay! (Aw, c’m on guys, I can hear the boos.)

Well, it’s been over a year since I self-published. The people who’ve read the book have given me good responses, at least so far. One actually said she had trouble putting it down, another told me there was a point where the story exploded for him. No better feeling than getting responses like that. 

But the readers are so far very few. I simply cannot afford actual advertising so focus on social media, which might work better if I’d started with the hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends some have and tens of thousands of Twitter followers, but I simply don’t. I have found a number of free sources of promotion, but every one of them requires you to have a minimum rating of 4 stars on Amazon and a minimum of 10 total ratings. So, essentially, to find a format through which to sell books, I need to  . . . sell books. I suppose I could ask friends and family to read it and leave reviews, but there are two issues with that. One, it is frowned on in all of the forums I have encountered on the subject, seen as chintzy if not outright cheating. Two, I don’t think I actually know enough people to find ten that would be willing to do it. Narrowing the list of possibilities down to the readers, then narrowing it further to the fantasy fans, then even more to the female fantasy fans (yes, my male reader did admit that, exploding plot or no, it was a bit girly and best suited to being promoted as chick lit. Which I am fine with, as I am a chick and had asked him to read it to find out his opinion on just that subject.)

Funny, it never occurred to me that being shy and increasingly introverted would affect my writing career, unless I actually made it big enough to be invited to a con somewhere and froze during a speech, or threw up on stage out of nerves, or something even more humiliating.

Not that I thought it would be easy. Writing isn’t easy and despite what too many people think, it is work, and marketing is work on top of that. Without a big press behind you, it becomes even more work. You have to get people to pay attention to something completely unfamiliar. Sometimes I think it might be simpler to actually start a publishing company. It wouldn’t be the first I’d run into started for just that purpose. And I could help out some contacts that are also self published and also having problems getting the attention.

Part of the problem is that Indie authors still don’t have the respect that traditionally published authors do. We put just as much blood into our pages as the “real” writers do, sometimes more, but without the big names boosting us up, it is assumed that we are not worthy of that traditional contract. And sometimes that is true. I don’t have the distance to judge my own work as worthy or not so I’m not going to give an opinion one way or another. (It’s good read it if you like fantasy and faeries and elves and magic ahem sorry consider this a subliminal message. Did it work?) I have most certainly read Indie books that you could call dogs. Bad story elements, bad grammar, bad punctuation, I’ve seen every kind of woof on paper. Some would have been so easy to fix. If you’re not entirely familiar with the technical part of writing, either learn or get someone to edit it for you. The harder ones, the story elements, are for me just as hard to get past. I was reading the first book in an independently published series that was actually very good, until about halfway through the main character did something so completely stupid that, though I am curious about how the story turned out, I shall not read any further. The situation the character was thrown into was something so completely avoidable that it ruined it for me. And I have read real gems that did inspire me into buying that second book by the same author.

So, just like in traditional publishing there are good and bad authors. The worst dog I have ever read was traditionally published, and it was one that had the harder to fix kind of errors. I do notice a few more typos in self published works. (My favorite, which by the way was in one of the stories I loved, was during a scene where one of the characters is riding a horse in a hazardous area. Instead of worrying about his horse finding a pitfall, he is worried about his horse finding a pratfall. Of course the first picture in my head was of a giant war horse slipping on a banana peel in classic Vaudevillian over-the-top style. I laughed out loud. Then kept reading.) Since I’ve been taking writing seriously, I’ve noticed typos in every single book I’ve read, including ones written by the biggest names, published by the biggest houses, but the professional editors really do get rid of the majority, while an Indie author usually can’t afford the thousand or more dollars it takes to have it done without that magical contract. The best most of us can hope for is a friend or family member to borrow us a fresh pair of eyes. (I’ve actually got a volunteer for my next book, for which I am so incredibly grateful).

So, in my experience, you are slightly safer with a traditionally published work as far as readability, but only slightly. And the Indie books tend to be–I was going to say cheaper, but that’s only half true. Those published as ebooks are definitely cheaper, usually by a lot. The print books, not so much. I did find that I could have mine produced in print profitably for around a comparable price to a traditional novel. My plan was to sell that cheaper too, but to do that I would have had to pay people to buy my book. Yeah, not gonna work. I priced it at the smallest margin I could get to make a profit through any supplier, so I guarantee that my profit margin is tiny in comparison to one of those “real” writers. All the books I’ve sold have been in ebook format, but there really is something about pages between your fingers. Especially when those pages came from your own brain.

And I digress, as per usual. As I was saying, in my experience as a reader I haven’t noticed a huge amount of difference when it comes to quality. True I’m careful about what I purchase and skip over any with egregious errors in the descriptions, but I really haven’t been disappointed any more often than I have with books purchased at a bookstore.

So maybe if you run into one of us, you’ll be willing to give us a chance even if we can’t wave those comfortingly familiar logos at you. And maybe you’d be willing to go onto one of those merchant websites and leave one of the magical golden tickets known as a rating or a review. We are writers too! At least most of us are.

Thanks all, and pleasant reading, writing, editing, ect.

Links are below, including a free story.

Website:  http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EnchantmentsEndgame?

Twitter: llynkc@gmail.com  Rassilon27

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4397796

Free Short Story: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

New Story

Well, I’m back and slowly getting closer to finishing the first draft of Enchantment’s Endgame: Book Two, The Hunt.  Yes, I know, such an imaginative title.  But it’s short and pointed. It’s a new story, but the characters did appear in Magic’s Guardian in a couple scenes, so there is a connection.  I think I might like this story better, partly because I love stories about the Wild Hunt and they’re pretty rare.  So far I like the way the story is going, and the outline of where it’s going.  Of course that can always change, and usually does, so even I will have to wait to see what happens.

Before then, here is a sample from the first chapter.  I still feel like I’m cheating when I use excerpts as blog entries, but here it is anyway.  Maybe seeing this in a new format will give me some ideas.  I’m afraid I’ve made the lead female come off as weaker than I intended, less independent and capable.

Chapter One      

For he comes, the human child                                                       
To the waters and the wild                                                        
With a faery, hand in hand                                                        
From a world more full of weeping than
he can understand
                                                                                        “The Stolen Child” W B Yeats                                                  

Aidyn Forrester’s heart wasn’t broken, it was shredded. White hot fire and burning cold streaked alternatively through her chest, leaving a numb void in their wake. She felt half-erased, like her limbs floated through a dark quagmire of pain that shrouded her perception. Reality was skewed on its axis, unbalancing her. She watched through a sickly green fog as the world spun slowly, leaving her behind. Exhaustion pulled at her yet she couldn’t sleep. Every time she tried to lie down and close her eyes, she envisioned Seth with her.

     A fresh, prickly sob burned in the back of her throat but Aidyn refused to let any more escape. She was lost and alone, yes, beaten and betrayed, but she still had herself. Setting her shoulders straight and square, she raised her chin high, facing her future with a façade of resolve. Maybe herself was all she needed, was all she’d ever need. Yes, that felt right and good. She didn’t need to open herself to hurt; alone was the best way to be, locked away and untouchable . . .

     The self-made stiffness in her spine wilted away before she reached the next street light. Why, oh why had she agreed to relocate with her fiancé? Dumb, dumb, dumb move! Perhaps she was as innocent—make that gormless—as her large, doe-brown eyes made her look. Seth had said more times than she could count that he loved her. Then along came that slut Jen. Beautiful slut . . . Aidyn shook the thought away. Just because the girl was model-lovely, possessed of perfect hair, perfect cheekbones, a perfect body, and huge blue-green eyes to go along with everything else, didn’t mean she was a better person. Nor did the fact that she’d open her legs at any opportunity to any man available, especially if he wasn’t available.

    Aidyn had wanted to wait for their wedding night, only two months away. Seth decided not to

wait with her. She tugged hard at her shoulder-length cherry wood-colored locks, trying to use physical pain to drive away the memory.

     And then there was that bosom . . .

     The street was deserted, all its resident businesses closed for the night. Aidyn welcomed the solitude. Her vision swam and her face felt flushed, and tight, and wet. She paused, scrubbing angrily at the damp streaks before stumbling on, too mired in depression to hear the bay of hounds ringing loud from every direction.

     Aidyn was surrounded before she even noticed them. A pack of gigantic, wolfish dogs swarmed the sidewalk, scruffy fur, lolling tongues, and gleaming teeth pressing close and hot to her legs. Aidyn stopped in mid-step, her heart lurching painfully when one of the animals whirled on her, snapping. Its teeth were long and shining white, its eyes reflecting the illumination of the streetlights like fire, giving them a reddish, flickering glow. Then she heard the hollow clatter of hooves on pavement and felt the impacts under her feet as they came closer, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the snarling, milling pack long enough to dare a peek at whatever else was coming.

     “The witching hour,” a deep voice intoned somewhere to her left. “Not a good time for little girls to be out alone.”

     “I thought the witching hour was midnight,” Aidyn whispered haltingly.

     The speaker’s laughter was a pleasant, almost musical sound. “Only to the, how shall I say, magically illiterate.”

     Slowly, terrified, the girl turned to face her tormentor, not sure she wanted to see what nightmare fantasy her fevered brain had created. When her gaze had travelled the considerable distance upwards, her worst suspicions were confirmed; the sight that confronted her wide eyes was insanity itself. A huge figure, dressed in furs and leather, sat atop a monstrous war-horse. His garments, which put her in mind of something out of the dark ages, or even earlier, were splashed here and there with what had to be blood. A helm that culminated in a pair of tall antlers curving into the night hid the rider’s face, all but his coarse, cruel, wide-lipped mouth. The mount underneath him, a bay with a coat so red it looked like it had blood in the highlights and a mane, tail, and legs the color of burnt gore, was as large for a horse as its master was for a man. Snorting, the titan stallion pranced nearer, exposing teeth that just didn’t look right in a horse’s mouth. He pawed savagely with hooves that seemed big enough to crack the sidewalk, making Aidyn wince with each booming strike.

     The picture they presented was so attention-focusing that it took Aidyn a moment to register the other riders gathered behind the horned figure. They were a big, rough-looking lot, wearing bows across their backs and helmets on their heads. Swords hung from their leather belts and assorted dagger hilts jutted from the tops of their heavy boots. The barbarian faces they turned towards her were feral and fierce, their eyes gleaming with the same light as the hounds’ frightening orbs.

     When Aidyn’s attention drifted back to the first, most imposing figure, her heart began to slam erratically. He was close, and staring down directly at her. His helm was tilted back to expos his brute face and where his eyes would be, red lights burned like mirrors reflecting hellfire. Her legs went weak and folded under her despite her stubborn attempts to lock her knees. I am not fainting. I will not! I refuse! But she couldn’t convince her body. The hallucinations caused by stress and sleep deprivation and no food were too much. The scene wavered in front of her, mercifully disappearing as she crumpled.

 

So . . . I hope you didn’t find Aidyn wimpy or annoying.  I’ve already been told her name is pretentious, or at least the spelling is, but the meaning seems appropriate and the spelling more feminine than Aiden or Aidan.  Of all characters, her name has been the most difficult and has changed the most times, so unless I find something truly awesome that is just too perfect to pass up, it isn’t changing again.  But now she needs to live up to the name.

And dear readers, since the temperature is dropping, the floor of my computer room is cement, and I can no longer feel my toes, I will leave it here.  I wish you all the best for the new year, in your writing and everything else.  Take care and enjoy playing with words, whatever form that play takes. 

 

I really should know better than to copy and paste from Word by now. Oh well, it’s sort of fixed now.

Here are some links, including to the free short story Kingston. I have gotten some good personal feedback for it.

Magic’s Guardian Amazon (print and ebook)
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0
Nook (so far ebook only, should include print copy soon)
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313

Kingston Smashwords (links to multiple formats, ebook only)
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

Author website
http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#

Typing and Covers and Designing, Oh My! (Oh, Brother.)

So . . . I am preparing to seriously start typing.  Not writing, typing, completely different.  Though to be as honest and accurate as possible, I will do some editing as I type.  I always do, can’t help it.  I am addicted to editing.  But, as moving the words from paper to my computer is my least favorite, almost (not quite, but very close) disliked part of writing, it takes me the longest of any other task.  And no, don’t tell me to just type it in the first place.  Too much of my writing is done in places where a computer is not feasible, often not allowed, or liable to get wrecked if I try. 

But to make it faster, I’ve finally come up with the most brilliant of ideas.  Much of what I loathed about the typing was that I had nothing to hold the notebooks, so typing consisted of a lot of picking up, putting down, typing a few words, starting it again, craning my neck to try and see without picking it up . . . I spent more time wrestling with my notebook than actually moving words.  Then today, out of a blank brain occupied not with writing but with helping to make the annual family Chex Mix, the idea explodes.  The old music first I then my sister used in school.  So my sister dug it out of her closet and handed the battered old thing over.  The right size, the right height, it holds the pages.  Perfect!  And for once, my idea really was perfect, see below.

 

musicstand

If any of you are still old fashioned luddites dependent on pen and paper and find yourself with the same problem of nowhere convenient to put your notebook, it works. It really, really works, and a used music stand shouldn’t be too hard on the pocketbook.

So The Hunt shall be out soon. Of course soon is relative when you’re talking about finishing a book, months instead of minutes. Still, the sequel is coming along.

In anticipation, I’ve been playing with cover designs. Here’s the updated cover for Enchantment’s Endgame: Book Two The Hunt. One wishes that one could actually make writing a semi-lucrative career so one could obtain a program with a few more functions, but Printmaster Platinum has done all right for me so far.

The Hunt ebook-001

And I’ve even started updating the cover for the third, Moon’s Children. I’m liking it so far.

moonschildrenebook-001

I have been encouraged by several people to let others do my cover design, but for anywhere between $100 and $1000 dollars, I think I will continue on my own. I don’t think they’re terrible. I was even pretty pleased with my first attempt, the cover for Magic’s Guardian. The final result isn’t too far off others I’ve seen, at least I don’t think so. Of course I’m a writer not an artist, so I could be totally wrong and they may want to make you want to tear your eyes out. Please tell me if that’s the case.

Does anyone else do their own cover design? Or is it just poor deluded little unprofessional me?

Ta for now, all you authors and agents and publishers and readers. I wish you all the best, all the luck, and all the profits you deserve. Just remember not to lose all the fun.

As usual, links to other stuff follows.

Magic’s Guardian on Kindle and in print http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B0KHUW0
Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magics-guardian-kacie-llyn/1114134634?ean=2940015956313

Kingston (free short story)
Nook
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingston-kacie-llyn/1115373226?ean=2940044633025
Sony Reader Store
https://ebookstore.sony.com/ebook/kacie-llyn/kingston/_/R-400000000000001085499
Diesel ebook store
http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/item/SW00000333840/Llyn-Kacie-Kingston/1.html
Kobo
http://store.kobobooks.com/pt-us/books/Kingston/uqly087luUyfUTznXLT17w
Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333840

Author Website http://llynkc.wix.com/kacie-llyn#

Facebook fan page https://www.facebook.com/EnchantmentsEndgame?