Happy first everyone! As is now officially tradition here on my blog, it’s time to start a new book cover of the month competition.
Siren’s Lure by Frost Kayjoins 31 brand new covers this month.
You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.
As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.
If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.
Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.
A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.
I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.
Spoiler Free Summary: In Guilty by Association by E.A. Copen, Special Agent Judah Black has just gotten to The Paint Rock Supernatural Reservation. She’s new. She’s an agent for a hated government program responsible for the supernatural creatures’ current position. The local law doesn’t appreciate her position much more. So when a young werewolf is found dead, and her questions stir up the locals, she has to do more than just solve the case. She has to understand the political and societal intricacies of a town composed of every supernatural being you can imagine, all while trying to keep her own secrets that, if discovered, will put her in violation of the very government agency she works for.
Character: The good news is this story is full of great, deep, proactive and sympathetic characters. Honestly each character in this story grows the way only great serial fiction can. My only beef isn’t with Judah’s drive and emotion. It’s one specific decision she makes that I just couldn’t find realistic. If you really want to know what I had beef with, you’ll have to read the book because I don’t want to create reader bias. That decision is still something I couldn’t let go. However, that didn’t take away from a good story with a wonderful cast.
Exposition: As is typical with first person narrative, this story has more exposition than I like, and it might have more than it even needs. That amount of exposition doesn’t drag the story down unnecessarily. The way I measure this is how hard it is for me to read through the story. Usually, when it takes me a while to get through a book, it’s either really long or (frankly) really boring. I tore through this book pretty quickly despite a pretty rough week. That’s a good indication that the exposition was at least acceptable.
Worldbuilding: I have to give first books in a series a lot of slack in world building. You don’t want to bury your reader in the details of your world before they fall in love with the characters and gain interest in the plot. This book does a solid job of giving me the context I need to understand the plot without overwhelming me with details that never affected the overall story. What I like most is the implication of a deeper plot with more world building to be discovered. This really motivated me to read more books in the series. (I’m not saying I will. My TBR is huge right now, and I won’t read any what I call tangent books until my actual reading obligations get back under control. But if I do find myself with a clean TBR, I’d probably pick up book two in this series just to see more of how this reservation works.) The concept of this reservation is the number one draw for me in this book. I want to know more. I want to see the other cultures and how they interact.
Dialogue: I’d say this is solid. I can’t quote any one segment of the book, but none of the interaction felt forced or contrived.
Description: I think there was a bit of room for some more details. I don’t need (or like) to be told about every piece of lint in the room, but I would have liked a few more well-placed adjectives.
Overall: This was an entertaining urban fantasy murder mystery story. This has a fascinating premise I like the feel and setting. The world building in this book is enough reason to recommend it to fans of the genre. Yes, the MC makes one decision I just don’t believe any other person in her position would ever make, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from recommending it to others. (I would warn them about it though.) There’s a lot to like about this book.
I’ve had a few days to rest (at least a little), and I think I’ll be back to work in another day or two. It won’t be long at all before my next event, which is Shore Leave. I’ve just learned bout some more opportunities coming my way, so stay tuned for that. With that said, I wanted to give you all a bit more insight as to how AwesomeCon went.
First off, some special thanks. The first must be my helpers. They get the chance to attend the event and have some fun, but they have to help me sell books and give me periodic breaks. Events like this take a ton out of me as it is, and I wouldn’t be able to do them without help, so I’d like to offer special thanks to Peggy Trujillo and Keith Simmons. They made it so I could step away when I wanted. They made it so I could attend my panel (more on that later), and they made it possible for me to check a few items off the bucket list (yes, more on that later, too). A note about Keith, turns out, his cosplay costume was well liked by the AwesomeCon folks. He made their list of favorite costumes.
Next I’d like to thank Andrew Hiller. He actually joined me at my table this year. Teaming up with him gave me another person to talk to. I’ve read A Halo of Mushrooms, and A Climbing Stock is on my TBR. It was a pleasure working with him, and I want to make sure I say thanks for sending some traffic my way and keeping me company.
Last, but in no way the least, is the new group of friends I made during my panel. I didn’t have anyone to be on my panel with me, and I truly wanted those in attendance to get the most out of the experience. So I approached a group near my table and asked if they’d care to join me. They call themselves the Awethors, which is a clever name if I do say so myself. They were a super group of people to meet. Jeffery Cook, D.R. Perry, and E.A. Copen were fantastic additions to the panel, and they made it a huge success. I had several people come up to me and tell me they loved it. I owe that success to them. Thank you all for joining me.
For those interested in the marketing side of things, this is the spot you should be interested in. Jeffery wrote a book called, “Working the Table, An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions.” I can’t wait to dig into that. I brought around 300 business cards, 75 bookmarks and a ton of QR-Code cards I’d made a while back. I should have brought more of the bookmarks and business cards. I ran out of those on the first day, and I think they were effective. All told, I sold about 10 more books than I’ve ever sold. Caught finally gained some traction, and I’m hoping readers start posting reviews soon. I’m also nearly sold out of soft-cover editions of The Journals of Bob Drifter. I’m proud of the fact that I sold enough product to make up the table, gas, new books (sorry, TBR pile), and parking. By any standard, that’s a success. I’ll admit I didn’t reach my super goal, but I’d still call that weekend a success.
I think my favorite part of the event was having people approach me and tell me how much they liked my work. I posted about that earlier, but I can’t say enough what it means to me for people to show their appreciation. A lot of those conversations gave me some much needed motivation to stay true to my dream and keep at it. It’s amazing to think anyone would take time out of their day to stop by and just say they liked my books. Thank you!
A note on the value of reviews: I had a large number of people who spoke to me about my book. They took a night to think on it and then came back. A lot of them said my reviews on Goodreads made a convincing argument to try my books. I’d like to thank those who reviewed my books. I’d be ever so grateful to anyone else who’s read my work to do the same. They really do matter. If you hated them or loved them, there is no such thing as a bad review in my eyes.
The convention wasn’t 100 percent business. Last year, I made it a point to meet Summer Glau. This year I had a chance to meet someone who was fundamental to my dream to become a writer. If I’m being honest, Stan Lee was far too busy to do much more than sign a comic, but this Uncanny X-Men #101 is right up there with my signed copy of The White Dragon. I honestly only need one more autograph to have my own personal Rushmore of authors (ok, look, Tolstoy would be on that list, but I don’t think that’s in the cards). I didn’t pay for the photo or any of the events, but having that signature on my favorite comic ever is really special, and I’m glad I got the chance to do that.
It feels weird. This post is under 1,000 words, but I feel like I only scratched the surface. I wish I could talk about every conversation and every cool thing I saw, but there’s just too many. All I can do is say it really was a great time, and I can’t wait for next year!