Friday, March 30, 2012

A to Z Challenge...

It's almost here. Only two days away! I don't think I've been this excited about anything for a while.
To find out what the Challenge is all About go to A to Z Challenge.

During the next month so much will happen:

* I will have have 26 new posts
* Read approx 260 blogs (if not more)
* meet new people
* form new friendships and solidify old ones :)
* understand creativity on a new level
* And, I will have fun!

Isn't that awesome?! If you haven't joined yet, there is still time. It will be epic! Click A to Z Challenge to join! You won't regret it!

Now, I do have a theme and I will try to stick to it for most posts, but not all (for a good reason). There are a couple of letters I wanted to post about something specific (ie: D for the Insecure Writers Support Group, or M for... you'll have to wait and see!)

All Posts will be archived at the top.

But for the most part, my posts will be about changes through history. From technology to innovation to simple stuff like food. It's all (most) about changes :) I hope to be a little funny, a little informative and fun. Most of all, I hope I can keep my posts brief. So come on by on April 1st and I hope you enjoy!

See you this Sunday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Alternate Endings...


Migraine (n): an extremely severe paroxysmal headache, usually confined to one side of the head and often associated with nausea; hemicrania.

A friend of mine visited this weekend. I hate it when it visits. Yes, I call it, it: as in Migraine.  This time of the year, when the temperatures fluctuate so much, is the worse. So, all my wonderful plans of writing over the weekend turned into long naps on the couch (if you can call them naps with the twitching eye) all the while thinking about the writing. Well, at least I could think, right?

So, what was the thinking about? An Alternate Ending to my WIP. Yes, the kinds you see in some movies. Why not a book? The more I thought about it, the more sense it made. My current project is finished (aside for a few holes to fill between the chapters with a bit more secondary character development), but as I was writing the end of the book I wasn't sure which way to go.

I faced two choices the MC could make, and of course she chose one, but I wondered what would happen if she chose the other. How would her life change? How would it affect the others?

So, to answer my question I decided to write and alternate ending.  Whether I continue the stories or not, still remains to be seen (probably will), but how cool would that be? Don't like this ending - try the other one!

Now, as genius as that idea sounds (at least to me), I'm sure someone has done it already. They have to have done it. Right? I'm sure it's been done, but I haven't heard of it yet.

So my question to you is, have you heard of or read a book with an alternate ending?

Friday, March 23, 2012

KDP Select Update...

Posting later than usual this morning due to an unexpected emergency last night. Everything is fine, but I'd love to take a poll of how many times per year parents end up at ER with their kids because I must be above average. I think the doctors and nurses are beginning to recognize me and I'm becoming familiar with their schedules. There's a pattern for the ER of the best hours to visit (ideally it'd be never) and avoid line ups (although with emergencies don't count on hitting the slower times).

Enough of that, just glad all is ok.

Now, as promised just over a month ago, an update on my experiment. To give you some background, before KDP sales these were the sales for Two Halves. And I'm only including US and UK as the rest are either minimal or non-existent. And, I'm only including Amazon.

And, I'm sorry if this is boring, feel free to drop down to Conclusions.

December 2011:  20 US   (including friends and family)
January 2012:       8 US + 1 UK
February 2012:     5 US + 1 UK (up until Feb 20th)

First KDP Select 2 Day Free Promotion for Marked on Feb 21 & Feb 22.

Sales of Two Halves (the one that's not on promo) o
Feb 21:  6 US
Feb 22: 11 US + 1 UK
Considering my numbers, that's a lot for 2 days.

Total free downloads for Marked:
6038 US
123 UK

I was lucky enough to be picked up by ENT (E-Reader News) which boost the downloads by a ton. At one point I saw 200 in 15 minutes and 600 in 1 hour. Every time the screen refreshed, the number changed. I'm over the obsessiveness with numbers now, I promise. Learned a good lesson from it all: Turn internet off and keep writing.

By end of Feb 22nd I ended up on #1 in my category and #58 in overall Free Kindle. Now what happened next?

Rest of February Sold (stopped tracking UK):
Marked:  45 US
Two Halves: 29 US

March Sold (until March 11 & 12th)
Marked: 29 US
Two Halves:  15 US

Next Free Prmo for Marked: March 11 & 12
Total free downloads 441.
Despite my hours of work to notify all sites possible of the free promotion, that's all there was. Conclusion, unless you get picked up by one of the major sites like ENT or POI, downloads will most likely be in the hundreds instead of thousands, not giving you enough boost in the numbers.

Sales up to date for March:
Marked: 41 US
Two Halves:  78 US (due to a nice boost I received on a promo from Kindle Fire Department)

Do not waste your money on Kindle Nation Daily. It did not work for me and I tried three different options they had. Saw no results other than perhaps a total of 5 sales.

* Not as good as others who ran their promos, but for my numbers, it was not bad.
* Would I do it again? I don't know. I don't think so because I'm exploring other options to release a book, and they may be better. It can perhaps be used to launch a book, but unlike some say don't worry about the reviews, I would get some in during a soft-release (about 1 week before the announcement is made)
* Will I stay in KDP for Marked?  Probably no. The sales for my other distributors are picking up, so I don't want readers with other reading devices to be deprived of my work.
* Stop being a full-time promoter and make sure your writing doesn't suffer. (Unless you only wrote to have a one hit wonder)
* Next step: finish current WIP (almost done)

Now, for the important question: How many times in the past year have you visited the ER with your kids?

p.s. rushing the post a little, no proofreading (sorry for any errors), got to drop off the kids to school

Monday, March 19, 2012

Second language story...


Linguistics (n) the science of language, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and historical linguistics

I've carried this story with me for a few months, told by a family member who shared it at dinner table. Coming from an immigrant family, we often joke about the English Language and Polish Language and how they mix. Some of our direct translations are hilarious and simple misunderstandings of phrases can make for funny stories. 

My kids favorite one is translating "butterfly" literally to make it sound like the butter is flying.

At home, me and the hubby mix both languages, so someone who speaks only English or only Polish would think we're crazy. We have our way of combining words into new ones and our conversation often becomes a language of its own. I bet it's confusing for the children. I speak very quickly (or so I'm told) trying to communicate everything at the same time. But, perhaps I should leave that for another story...

Now, for the second language story...

When we cross the border to the US (especially my parents and the generation older to us), paranoia sets in. Even if you're just going for a visit, crossing the border is a big deal. So, one of our "older" family members (and I'm referring to generation, not age) was going with her spouse to the US to visit friends for Thanksgiving.

Now, her English is very good. In fact, she used to teach English in Poland. When I have a question on grammar, that's who I call. So, being that she's well spoken, when asked at the border what you're bringing into the country, she'll be so honest and list everything and talk to the customs agent to make her sound like a suspect when she's not, and she'll get pulled over (although she has nothing to claim and is not bringing anything illegally).

So, instead of her driving this time, she asked her spouse to drive and talk to the customs himself. Now, he speaks English, but with a thicker accent. His experience with English is not as thorough and words, even sentences can mix up.

Before the border she tells him: "If they ask you what you're bringing into the country, say 'bread and cake'." (as requested by their friends in the US whom they were visiting)

Spouse: "No problem. I got it."
At the border:

Customs agent: "What brings you to the US?"

Spouse: "Bread and cake."

Let me tell you, as composed as she tried to be, she burst out laughing. And, as composed as the customs agent tried to be (as they're taught), he could hardly keep it together.

No, they did not get pulled over, but it made for a funny story.

Have you had experience with funny second language stories?


Friday, March 16, 2012



Jalousied (n): 1.a blind or shutter made with horizontal slats that can be adjusted to admit light and air but exclude rain and the rays of the sun.

I had a very busy week writing. I've been working on my dystopian fiction and it's coming along better and better every day. I'm happy and excited. If all goes well I should have it done in the next two weeks, put it aside, then revisit mid-april for revisions.. Temporarily I'm planning its release for this fall. May, it goes to my editor.

Next week will be just as busy. We have a birthday in the family to celebrate and I need to continue writing.  Lately, it's the only thing that keeps me sane. My own time. My imagination. My characters. My writing. My precious.

I feel like this is me and the ring is the writing.

My other writing included composing 13/26 posts for the A-Z Challenge. So, halfway through. Phew! I'm hoping to have most of them done by the time April arrives.

This week I also joined Pinterest. Still trying to find my bearings, but it's very neat because you can post on the board things that interest you most, from fashion, to cooking, to books. I'm still figuring out the pinning part and how to use it best, but the concept really intrigues me.

You join by invite only, but if you send them an email, it takes only a couple of days for the invite to come through.

So far I've posted my books and the link takes you directly to amazon. You can basically pin anything that you like from the web because the source is automatically referenced by a direct link. Very convenient.

You can embed the item to your blog to look like this:
Source: via Marta on Pinterest

Have a great weekend everyone! Have you joined the A-Z Challenge yet? Over 1000 people have and we're waiting for you! What's been precious for you this week?

Monday, March 12, 2012

How I develop my characters...


Characterization (n):1.portrayal; description: the actor's characterization of a politician.
2.the act of characterizing. 3.the creation and convincing representation of fictitious characters
Some characters are easier to develop than others. While there are many books on how to make your characters believable, this is my approach:)
1. I stalk family members, friends and co-workers and write their little quirks, habits, accents, phrases they use. They don't know but I'm watching all the time (well, I guess they know now if they read this).
2. I figure out what role they will play in the story. 
 - Are they the protagonist or antagonist. 
 - Are they in the main story or the back story
 - Do they have an occupation, hidden talents
3. I think about what they look like and who they are
- their sense of fashion
- physical description including scars, posture, crooked teeth etc...
- personality, fears, accomplishments, goals (these may change as the story develops)
- habits/mannerisms (ie: chewing a thumb, fixing their hair, snapping fingers)
4. I think about their background and what made them who they are
- how do they relate to the other characters and their surroundings
- what kinds of conflicts can I expect from their background, what they've been taught, how they were raised

That's pretty much the gist of it. Some characters come alive immediately and take over. Their names come to me right away and it feels like I've known them once in a past life. Others need a little work and nurturing. I feel like a mother all over again raising her babies.

Do you have a secret to developing your characters?

p.s. I've completed 6/26 posts for the A-Z Challenge. They are not in any particular order, I pretty much wrote for the letter that popped into my head. I hope to have another three done tonight. Have you joined yet? Are you ready and excited?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Marked available for Free

"Marked: A Two Halves Novella" is available for free today and tomorrow at Feel free to pick up your copy:) 

Don't have a Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC for free on Amazon's site

 Xander is a shapeshifter, a watcher, a demon. Stuck in an oblivion between good and evil, he impatiently waits to be marked—with the sphere that will identify him as a servant of the underworld; or with the water mark, serving the keepers of humans, vampires, and warlocks. His twin sister, in love with a man bearing the water mark, wants Xander to follow the path of the good. But Xander is in love with a black witch, minion of the underworld. All he has to do to join her forever . . . is kill. After all, there's something good about being bad.

Friday, March 9, 2012

In the news and award answers...


Censor (n): 1. an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.

Some interesting things happening in the news that I'm sure will be talked about by many writers in the coming days regarding e-book price fixing. Check out Thursday's article on CNN:  Apple and publishers targeted for e-book price fixing.  What do you think?

Beginning of this week I was awarded the Sunshine Award by Annalisa Crawford and I haven't had a chance to answer the questions which go along with the acceptance of the award. So here are my answers today :)

1. Favorite Color?  Green

2. Favorite Animal?   I don't really have one, and I think it's because I love all animals. But if I could have any animal I think it'd be a monkey (because of Pippi Longstocking for those of you who remember her).

3. Favorite Number? 21 (b-day)

4. Favorite drink (non-alcoholic)? Coffee (always)

5. Facebook or Twitter? A little bit of both.

6. My passion. My family and writing.

7. Getting or Giving presents? Both. I would give everything away to those I love but I love getting presents, especially if someone can surprise me (and that's very difficult to do).

8. Favorite pattern? I don't think I have one.

9. Favorite day of the week?  Sunday because it's a family day.

10. Favorite flower? Daisies (my wedding flowers)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group


Insecure (adj): 1. subject to fears, doubts, etc.; not self-confident or assured: an insecure person.

It just occurred to me today that I have not defined 'insecure' yet. Perfect day to do so above as today is the First Wednesday of the month and time for the IWSG.

The brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh and Matthew MacNish :)

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

I follow many blogs and once in a while someone writes something that makes me say "OMG! That's exactly how I feel."  Today, I'd like to post a quote by J.A. Konrath from one of his latest posts. Whether you agree with Mr. Konrath's views or not, what he said rings true for all writers and authors - at least it should. I found these words very inspirational, to know someone who has been successful in this industry feels exactly the same way I do about writing. I hope these words help you with today's insecurities:)

"I love writing. I loved it for the 12 years where I didn't sell a single thing, and I've loved it for the 12 years I've been a professional. I have all the conceits that every writer has. I think about my characters as if they're real people. I dream about scenes. I secretly believe my stories are the best in the world. I laugh at my own jokes, cry at the emotional parts, and often dislocate my elbow patting myself on the back after a good bit of dialog or a fun twist. Being a writer does more than define me; it isn't a job, it's a way of life. And when I put my life out there for the world to see, I want it to be the very best that I am capable of. I want readers to enjoy it as much as I have. I want every chapter, every scene, every sentence to be deliberate, to convey exactly what I want it to convey."

Have a great Wednesday everyone! 
If you have not yet done so, don't forget to sign up for the A-Z April Challenge!

This is a Blog Hop!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why Books are like Fish


Sate (v): 1. to satisfy (any appetite or desire) fully. fill to excess; surfeit; glut.

First, I don't know what's going on with my Google Friends Connect, because the box seems to be loading forever and my friends are not there  :(  So, if you're a follower of this blog, sign in using the new Linky Tool on the right.

Thank you to Hope Roberson for the sunshine award! I'm still smiling.

Books vs. Fish

The thought of books being like fish came to me last week. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. So, here are my thoughts on why books are like fish:

* there are plenty of fish in the sea with millions being born each year
* many books available to buy, with millions being published each year

* schools of fish survive longer than singled out ones
* authors with larger backlists have greater chances of survival through sales

* fish often attract mates through display of their colours, size, strength
* books attract readers (their mates) with beautiful and well designed covers

* fishing takes patience
* finding a good book and being published takes patience

* a good hook will catch a good fish quicker
* a good blurb will catch a reader quicker

* a fish that's thrown back in the sea is lucky to live
* a book that's picked up by a new reader is lucky to live

* fish will lay many eggs to increase its chances of survival
* a writer will continue writing, increasing their word count and number of titles to survive 

* it takes luck not to be eaten by a bigger fish
* it takes luck for a small author to be discovered amongst the big ones

So, are you a shark or a sardine? I'm a carp, hoping to be a barracuda by the end of the year:)
Will you be swimming with us for the A-Z Challenge this April?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I am a reader not a writer interview

Today I'm at I am a Reader not a Writer and there is a giveaway! Pop on over and say hello :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Why I love my Scrivener


Croft (n):  1. a small farm, especially one worked by a tenant.

Friday's featured blog is: Melissa Sugar's blog. I encourage you to visit it. She walks through the options for keeping your blog friends if and when Google friends connect disappears and she explains it much better than I could.
I've added a Linky tool just under Google Friends connect, so click away and follow.


Haven't heard of it? It's writing software and you can find more information on it here. If you're not sure about it you can give it a try for 30 days (that's what I did). They walk you through a tutorial (very clear, precise and informative) on how to use it. It takes a couple of hours to get through, but well worth it.

But, I'm not writing about it to sell it, I'm writing to let you know the three reasons why I love it and I haven't even used all of its features.

* I'm a writer who may jump all over the place, seeing scenes in my mind further in the story. Scrivener makes it easy to jump chapters, re-arrange them, put them on a "cork-board" where you make notes on what the chapters contain.

* I can have all of my research in one file. Right under the chapters I have a heading called:
   - Characters (where I keep all important items on each character.  From clothing to appearance, quirks, manners, favorite sayings etc.)
   - Spares (anything I don't use or cut out from the chapters goes there. You never know when you'll need to use it.)
   - Outline (self-explanatory, but it stays empty for a while for me as I'm a panster. I begin to write down ideas I want to see in the story as I write, so I guess it's sort of an outline)
  -  Places (the different cities or areas my story takes place in)
  - Research (includes reference photos, websites)

* It allows you to convert your document to format for ebooks and print. I haven't done that yet, but will brave to do so very soon. I'm looking forward to learning about this feature.

* ok, cheating here, fourth reason is I no longer have a need for tons of post-its, papers, notes etc, because it's all in one place.

Have you used Scrivener? Do you like it? Do you use different software or do you prefer the pen and paper style instead of the computer? (I know many authors do)
And, most importantly, have you joined the A to Z April Challenge yet?