Monday, July 20, 2015

The Best Book Sales

*This is my table buddy, Rick, and Beastie 2 with me
at the Christmas in July Craft Fair.
No, I'm not giving advice on where to get bargains on books. I'm talking about this from the perspective of an author who is trying to sell her own books, and what makes a sale "good" for me.

As an indie author, I admit that a lot of my sales are to people I know personally. Friends and family, fellow homeschoolers, former coworkers...other things that start with F ;). (Sorry, alliteration is amusing!) These types of sales are great. Indie authors need these for lots of reasons, from sheer numbers to emotional validation for our hard work.

But there are other sales that are so much better.

This past January I participated in an author event. A teen girl and her mom walked over to my table and began looking at my books. The girl and I immediately connected because she was wearing a Doctor Who t-shirt. I commented, we talked a bit, and she picked up Finding Angel and decided to buy a copy.

That was cool right? Well, that's just the intro, because it could be construed as kinda sales-y, right? I mean, maybe she felt obligated to buy because we'd talked or whatever. But things changed when she and her mom walked away from the table and went to go check out the other authors. She had a chance to sit and read the first chapter of Finding Angel while her mom looked at books for herself. And a little while later, they were back at my table to buy Seeking Unseen.

THAT is the cool part. Because it wasn't me, it wasn't the fellow Whovian who is a local author looking for support that made the sale--it was the first book. It was the story.

A similar thing happened a couple of months ago, when I ran a Goodreads giveaway of Finding Angel. The girl who won the book was excited and agreed to write a review. Well, sure, she was getting a free book. But the story got her even more excited about wanting to read Seeking Unseen. I don't know if she's officially bought it yet, but just the idea that she wants to because she loved the first book, and she's someone who before entering the contest had never even heard of me or the series--that means something,

The most recent incident was just a few days ago. My church has started an annual craft fair and I have participated all three years so far. This past Saturday, I sold several books at the event, some of them to fellow church members--but one sale had me walking on air.

A young boy, about middle school age, came over to my table. He had a grin that would light up a room, and a well-worn copy of a Harry Potter novel in his hand. He told me he loves to read, and to write as well, and someone at the craft fair had shown him my table. I handed him a copy of Finding Angel and said he was free to take a look at it.

He did, and handed me back the book with a grin even bigger and light-ier than before, all the while nodding and saying, "Yes, yes." He left to go tell his dad.

A while later, as I walked back from buying myself a burger for lunch, I noticed him and his dad at the table again, but by the time I got there they'd left. My table buddy* said the boy had told his dad all about the book, and then his dad moved him along. I was disappointed--not because of the money,  but because I had been excited about seeing a kid--a boy in particular--so enthusiastic about reading.

But my disappointment only lasted a few moments, because I noticed him walking--grin bright and wide--back to my table with money in hand. His dad joined him and watched as I signed the boy's book. I could have just burst--because I was, and am, so thrilled by the idea of that boy I'd never met before that day and who had never heard of me or my writing until that moment finding joy reading my novel, reading something I dearly love and put my heart and soul into.

Yes, dear friends, family, and other loved ones, I appreciate you buying my books very much. But when someone with nothing invested in me comes along and buys my books, those are the best sales of all.

*My table buddy, Rick Christensen, writes really cool devotionals. Check him out at www.discoveringandsharinggrace.com.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Join Me on Medieval Mars, and then Escape...

Well, it seems that after a long, quite stretch on this blog, I've suddenly got all these things to post about--mostly releases of very cool stuff. First there was Darkness Brutal by Rachel Marks, then my short story in The Common Oddities Speculative Fiction Sideshow. Yesterday, I did a cover reveal for H.A. Titus's Forged Steel.

And today....

Two more bits of news on short stories of mine!

First, I have a short story in the new Medieval Mars anthology, the brainchild of Travis Perry. First, the cover:




Here's the description as found on Amazon:

A future terraformed Mars, where civilization crashed back into a Medieval Era. Christian Knights called “riders” patrol the Pilgrim Road from Olympus to New San Diego, on the Chryse Sea. The technological past is known as the “Age of Magic” and only a handful of people understand how the remaining ancient devices really work. Lighter gravity in dense air makes flying dragons and bird riders a reality; alloys of the past make “magic” swords; and masters of ancient knowledge wield wizard-like power. 

Nine authors spin tales in this unique story world, one which combines elements of science fiction and high fantasy.

The Kindle version is only $1.99 on Amazon, and the print version is coming soon.

The second bit of short story news is....


Voting has opened for the Readers Choice short story contest on the Realm Makers website. I've got a horse in this race, although I'm not allowed to tell you which one. So, go, read the beginnings of the stories, and vote on your favorite! 


Monday, July 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: Forged Steel by H.A. Titus

I don't normally do things like this, but when you've gotten to know someone's writing through multiple venues and found it skilled and creative, then you break your own rules.

So, today I'm participating in the cover reveal for H.A. Titus's soon-to-release urban fantasy, Forged Steel.

Without further ado....


Is that not so cool??

And more info about the book and author:

Downton. Coffee shop. 2 AM.
One minute, Josh is firing off sarcastic remarks at his best friend Marc – the next, they’re running from shape-shifters. Apparently, even best friends don’t share all their secrets.
Now Josh is in danger. He can see the monsters among the humans.
When Marc is kidnapped, Josh finds himself pulled into the schemes of the fae courts, and throws in his lot with Marc’s allies: the lovely Larae, a human named David, and the fighter, Eliaster. But what began as a rescue mission becomes something much more involved…
And all Josh wants to do is get out before it’s too late.

Forged Steel is a new adult urban fantasy by H. A. Titus, releasing on July 17th. It will be available in print (Amazon) and ebook (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and Scribd) If you'd like a chance to win free books, ask questions, and hear trivia about the writing/publishing of Forged Steel, there will be a Facebook event party on July 17th from 7-9 pm eastern time on the author's page, H. A. Titus Author.

The first five chapters are vailable for preview on Wattpad.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

New Published Short Story at Common Oddities!

So, yeah, this story actually came out a few weeks ago. I think. I'm telling you, I've completely lost my concept of time lately. Things are finally slowing down a bit, though, so it's time to catch up and share the news.

My short story "Different" is featured in Issue #4 of The Common Oddities Speculative Fiction Sideshow.

First, check out this awesome cover image:


And now, GO READ THE STORY.

And then, READ THE OTHER STORIES. (This link is to the homepage for the issue, and there is a button at the bottom of the cover image there that will let you download a pdf of the whole magazine.)

OK, that's my news for today, but I've got more coming this weekend...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Ghost of Manuscript Past: 777-ish

Well, I've been tagged in one of those "post paragraph 7 of page 7 of your manuscript" thingies. This one is focused on something old that you've written but isn't published yet--at least as I understand the instructions.

Oh, btw, instructions are for losers.

Like the girl who tagged me -- Rachel Marks, whose post you can find on her blog, and whose awesome published work you can find on Amazon, including her very soon to be released urban fantasy Darkness Brutal -- I'm a rebel when it comes to stuff like this. Call it control-freakism if you must, or OCD, but the fact is, I want my own rules and I want to do it my way.


So, what I'm doing is giving you a sneak peek into a current project that is based on an old short story of mine. I wrote Willing Blood, a 4000-something-word short story, ages ago (at least it feels that way) and it was published in an online zine called The Absent Willow Review. It won Editor's Choice for the month it appeared as well. Unfortunately, that zine has since gone away :(.

I loved the characters in Willing Blood, and so did my husband. He encouraged me to make a novel based on this story. Well, doing so with the story as-is doesn't work. For one, one of the characters dies at the end. Also, the story is told, in full, in the short version. because of that, I decided to just use the characters, "adjust" their relationships to each other, and create an entirely new story, tentatively titled Relent.

Here we go....the opening of Willing Blood:

Simone’s nails dug deeper into the leathery skin of the demon’s neck, and a thick, black liquid oozed over her fingertips.
“I told you to leave her alone, Wraith,” she said, forcing his head to the side and ramming his cheek into the brick wall of the alley. In human form he was devastatingly handsome. In his present state he was anything but. His laboring, sulfurous breath gagged her, but she showed no indication. “She’s mine,” she hissed.
The demon’s eyes traveled up the opposing wall to a second-story window, on the other side of which lay a sleeping girl. The forked tip of a scaled tongue poked out between his black lips. His voice rattled through his constricted throat. “Yes…Lady Simone.”
She eased back on her grip, but held herself at the ready to tackle him once again. “You know the law, Wraith. She’s too young. If I catch you here again, I will be forced to…dismantle you.”
The demon cringed and blinked acquiescence. She released him. He sucked in a breath and exhaled yellow vapor. “Thank you, Lady Simone, for sparing me. I shall not disappoint you.”
Simone’s full, red lips curled into a satisfied smile. I hope you try again. It will be my pleasure to take you apart, cell by cell.
The demon spread his bat-like wings and shot straight up between the alley walls. A howl echoed with his departure, and Simone was left alone in the quiet pitch of midnight. She examined the black ooze that coated her fingers. It was already beginning to congeal, turning from black oil to opaque liquid glass, its freezing point a mere 70 degrees. It tightened around Simone’s fingers and tingled icily as it froze against her skin. With a slight twitch of her finger, the dark glass shattered and scattered silently across the litter-strewn alley. Simone sighed and then walked down the alley, her stiletto-heeled boots clicking on the pavement.


And page 7-ish of Relent:

She glanced at the time again. But she didn’t have anywhere she had to be—just a soft couch and book she was nearly done with…

A sigh slipped out, and she said, “I’ll stay. Do you need anything else?”

“Only your company.”

Her heart skipped for a moment. His voice still carried no hint of flirtation, but there was no mistaking those words. They made her realize she’d both been hoping and fearing his interest, but she couldn’t put her finger on why. Just that it felt like the desire to play with fire. She shook her head at the thought.

 “Listen, I—”

“Please. Just sit. I want only to talk.” He leaned slightly sideways and pulled a leather wallet out of his back pocket, opened it, and handed Simone a twenty dollar bill. “There, the bill is paid. You can do what you need to end your shift and join me. Then you and I will go our separate ways.”
All the way to the register she berated herself. It was ridiculous to sit down with him. She should just go. He’d already paid—she had no obligation to stay. For anything.

But suddenly the sofa and book waiting for her at home felt like just that. She rang out the order, grabbed her purse and stuffed her apron inside it. She ducked into the bathroom and ran her fingers through her auburn hair. Her t-shirt and jeans were, fortunately, stain-free. After a deep breath, she exited, slipped between the tables as she crossed the restaurant and slid into the booth across from him.

The sky was fully dark now, and the brightly lit signs and billboards created a colored haze through the greasy window, which vibrated as another tricked-out low-rider eased past the diner. For a moment, as the guy looked out in response to the noise, his black eyes reflected the neon lights and seemed to glow eerily red. But he blinked and turned to face her, and the effect was gone.

Simone shifted in the lumpy vinyl seat and crossed her arms on the edge of the table, mirroring his position. He’d still not taken a bite of his burger or another sip of his drink.

“You know my name,” she said.

“That I do.”

She huffed. “Well?”

“It is lovely, Lady Simone.”

So, he was going to play. That didn’t mean she had to.

“I try not to judge people on their looks, so I assumed your head wasn’t full of muscle too. But I guess I need to explain that when someone says something to indicate she is at a disadvantage because her name is known by another party, but the other party’s name is not, in fact, known by her, the other party should…” at this she leaned forward, “tell her his name.”

He lowered his head almost as if in a bow. “You need only have asked.” When he was eye-level to her again, he said, “I am called Wraith.”

Simone straightened back up. “Where’d you get a nickname like that?” But after she’d said it, it seemed like a silly question. Look at him, girl! He was nearly ghostly pale. She’d never seen such ivory skin on someone, much less a guy, with such dark features otherwise. It made him look almost ethereal—or it would had he not looked like he could crush a boulder with his bare hands.

~~~

OKAY...so I'm supposed to tag someone. I'd really rather just leave an open invitation, but maybe Kessie Carroll, Becky Minor, or Jill Domschot will take me up on this? Maybe they'll even make their own rules, too?? :D

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway of Finding Angel

To celebrate my new book cover, I'm running a Goodreads Giveaway!

Because I didn't know that using the ISBN would link it to the old edition, the Goodreads Giveaway doesn't feature the new cover!

Yep--if it can go wrong, it will.

Still, it could mean a free (signed) book for you with THIS cover:


ENTER HERE:





Goodreads Book Giveaway

Finding Angel by Kat Heckenbach

Finding Angel

by Kat Heckenbach

Giveaway ends May 10, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New Cover for Finding Angel!

And finally, now that everything is done, tweaked, uploaded, tweaked again, uploaded again, linked, etc....

The new cover for Finding Angel!


A great big, ginormous THANK YOU to the cover artist, K.M. Carroll. I am so happy with it!

Oh, and btw--the new price on the ebook is now $2.99. And the print version is on sale for $8.62 on Amazon! CLICK HERE