Friday, December 28, 2012

My First Blog Tour

I know, I know. I should've had one years ago, but better late than never! As 2012 was a year of learning what I've been doing right and wrong with my writing career, here's another one of those right instances that all authors, especially indies, should take a shot at.

With the help of the Masquerade Crew, I'll be hosting my very first blog tour in February, promoting "Prossia." During the tour, I'll be discussing numerous subjects such as the motivation behind Prossia, the "humanity" in my alien characters, and the creative universe that keeps expanding with time. On top of that, there will be a book giveaway leading into the week of the tour, and an Amazon Gift Card. Be sure to mark your calenders! I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Monday, December 24, 2012

My "Next Big Thing"

If you're an author, I'm sure you've heard of this "Next Big Thing" . . . um. . . thing happening. I won't lie to ya, I actually had no intent of doing this. . . but then my buddy Lee Stephen of the Epic Universe saga basically said, "Hey, I'm doing the Next Big Thing, and you're doing it to." :P LOL! So, here we go!

1) What is the title of your next book/work?
My next book is still under "pre-title" of Operation: Sand Gnat. I also got another big story I'm working on the side called Operation: Pirate Bee. Both are sci-fi, with Sand Gnat being the prequel to my first novel, "Prossia."

2. Where did the idea come from for the book/work?
People have been wanting another story in the Prossia universe for a long time, and I have regretfully taken way too long to answer that demand. So, this summer, I wrote out a quick origins-story of sorts for my protagonist in "Prossia," Aly. This prequel will shed some light on Prossial readers and give me a little extra time to work on my other numerous projects, like Pirate Bee.

3. What genre does your book/work fall under?
Whoops. I'm getting ahead of myself! LOL! As I said, Sand Gnat is sci-fi, Middle Grade sci-fi to be exact. "Prossia" is a YA, and given the subject manner and age of the key characters in Sand Gnat, I tried to make the story a little more accessible to younger eyes. Still, the people who've read "Prossia" will feel right at home with the underlying message and action. ;)

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
People suuuuuuure do love asking that question, don't they? ^_^ I wrote a book, not a screenplay :P. I like to be ambitious, but I'm a realist too, so there's no point in fantasizing about silly things like that. I got real issues like planning blog tours and stuff like that before something crazy like movie talks could happen!

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young alien girl tries to prove her worth to her tribe by preparing for a dangerous assessment that will test the skills her people naturally have, even when she lacks the most vital one.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Power to the indies! LOL! Nah, I'd love to get published by an agency if they're willing to grant me a little bit of the freedom that I enjoy as a self-published author. In the meantime, I definitely want Sand Gnat to be published on my own since I seriously doubt an agency would be thrilled about the thought of me giving away a free book. :P

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About 2.5 months and 75,000 words later. I'm now just getting myself into that type of writing speed. I went to this seminar in Vegas that encouraged me to speed up my writing process.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
"Mehhhh." I'm really not the type of person to tell someone that my story is a mix between such and such. See, in my opinion, while every story known to us has been inspired by many others, we writers are encouraged to make old ideas our own. Still, whenever people see the illustrations of my character, they always say they think of Avatar. . . 
Even though I started writing "Prossia" and designing its characters YEARS before the movie came out. Grrr :P

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book.
That awesome power of youth. Young people these days get a lot of bad rep for being lazy and expecting everything to fall in their laps a la Generation Me. But that's not the type of people that amazed me when I stepped out into the real world for the first time. I saw young people, even when it seemed like life just had it out for them to fail, kept their tears to themselves, endured, and on top of that, encouraged others to do the same.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
People are pleasantly surprised when they find themselves in a galaxy that doesn't have any humans, but they still relate to the characters very easily. Oh, and people love the areas on the web where they can dwell into the Prossia Universe even more, especially the art gallery filled with characters. That area slowly but surely increases over the months. Granted, there hasn't been a lot of updates to it lately since most of the artwork I'm doing now is exclusively for Sand Gnat, so I can't post those images.
There you have it! Now, if only I could find some people to tag. Hmmmmmmm. . . >.>

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What.Is.This??? Part 2

So the pic, of course, has been done for a while now since I showed its first part wayyyyyy back before Thanksgiving. Still, I'm liking the once a month update on it. In case you don't remember, I did this pic while I was waiting on my pre-edit feedback of Operation Sand Gnat to come back. Not too much has changed in this part since I estimate that there wasn't a lot of time between this part of the illustration and the last part. If you got a good eye though, you'll notice the slight attention to lighting  given here and there. Can't wait to show odd the rest of it! It should be visible just in time for another project I'm working on (Spoilers).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Star Wars In Real Life Anyone?

Hey there! We haven't seen an article like this one in a while, now have we? But I had to cover this after watching the video on Youtube. Those guys at DARPA sure do like to make a lot of fancy toys, after all, and the V-bat drone is the latest project that has a lot of people, like IGN, thinking this when they see it in action: 
Imperial Probe Droid from Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back 
"Using a stereo vision system in tandem with GPS, the drone is capable of delivering one-pound payloads to various targets -- without the aid of human input." For the most part, the entire video to me was pretty "meh" . . . that was until I saw its claw. Oh, and the drone can carry at least a pound-worth payload of presents the bad guys probably wished could be returned if they had a receipt. Yeesh. "Merry Christmas," indeed. . .  

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Seminar of All Seminars For Writers

If you've read my posts before, you know that I'm always plugging in something about the Superstars Writing Seminar I went to this year in Las Vegas, and for good reasons. In case you couldn't tell by my DM3W articles, I've made tons of amateur mistakes since I started to take writing serious two years ago. I've tossed my money into false hopes, marketed to uninterested audience, and waited for things to happen while I just sat back, watched, and hoped for the best. Yeah, I've made mistakes, many horrible mistakes. . . but going to the Superstars Writing Seminars is the first right thing I've ever done for my writing career.
Me in Vegas with new author friend, Sean Young, & the inspiring James. A. Owen

After meeting the awesome Kevin J. Anderson at DragonCon in 2010, and discussing how he became the successful author he is today, he recommended that I go to the seminar. Unfortunately, I was too busy losing money to a book that kept getting reedits since I didn't invest in a good editor the first time. So I brushed the suggestion off.

A year later, I came back to DragonCon, desperate to meet Kevin again since my writing career wasn't working out the way I had hoped. Hehe, if I recall, I think I got up around 5:30 in the morning to make sure I'd catch him at his booth so I could talk to him, realizing I needed this guy to know that I was serious about my writing along with knowing my name. To my pleasant surprise, he actually remembered me thanks to my hair :P. After chatting with him about the seminar and telling him about my current writing experiences and struggles, he explained exactly what SWS could do for me. So, a couple of months later, I found myself in Las Vegas with a room filled with authors from all avenues of life.

Some were indie, some were traditional. Some had published, while others were aspiring. Then there were agents, editors, and even artists like me. Some were around my age, while others were more seasoned. Some were just starting out, and others were either New York Times Bestsellers or some of the best indie authors around. 

Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, David Farland, Dean Wesley Smith, Brandon Sanderson, Moses Siregar III, and James A. Owen. Wow. Respectful titans in their own respect. Not only did these people talk to us at panels, but they sat down with us during lunch time, at the bar, or even while we were seeing the sites of Vegas. 

And what did I walk out with once the dust had settled? Sound knowledge on the business, an arsenal of networks, and amazing people I can't believe I can now call friends. If you are struggling with selling your books, or if you simply want to know how to be better at the lifestyle of an author, this is the seminar for you. Now, this isn't the sort of seminar that dwells on developing characters, plot placing  and better story telling. No, this is all about the business aspect of being an author, a subject matter that's in dire need of discussion. 

Like any good thing, SWS is something that will require some serious planning due to the cost. Buying plane tickets, a hotel room (typically discounted due to the seminar) and the seminar itself will indeed require some bucks. However, this seminar is an investment on our career, and the best investment I've made in mine.  Before the seminar, "Prossia" only had 2 people that listed it as a must-read on Goodreads without a single review. Now. . . lemme see. After the seminar, I currently have 213 people who list is as a must-read and 5 reviews. I'm pretty sure that's not a lot by other people's standards, but considering where I came from, that's huge!  The book was published way back in 2010, but it feels as if its true potential has only been realized since I came back from Vegas. And even though SWS only covers the business aspect of being a writer, my confidence in my creative craft has improved greatly because the seminar taught me how to find the right people who could make my stories stronger.  
Dean Wesley Smith, David Farland, James A. Owen,Brandon Sanderson, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta
In short, the Superstars Writing Seminar will not disappoint. I am very excited to see how my first post-seminar novel, "Operation: Sand Gnat," does since it's a product of the four days I had in Las Vegas. If one can't go to 2013's seminar, then now's the time to prep of for 2014's. See, every writer should feel the way I did as I boarded my plane back home after the seminar: rejuvenated, excited, and ready to write the best story ever.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Next "Sand Gnat" Ad

Here's a glimpse of what to expect for the next "Sand Gnat" ad. It's clearly in its development stages. More characters and details need to be added here and there.There's a lot of more work to be done, for sure, but I'm looking forward to what I can muster up. ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Thoughts On Bullying

Here's the guest post I made on Team Nerd/Nerd Alien Review's "Kind Words, Love Acts Anti-bullying Campaign." I was given three options about how to address anti-bulling, and I thought it'd be cool going back in time and having a conversation with my younger self. Careful, though. I had A LOT of stuff to say since bullying's a subject that hits close to home. In the meantime, be sure to check out Team Nerd's blog for other cool events and reviews!

Best Rewards of Life Come From the Most Difficult of Places
(Letter to Younger Self)

By: Author Raphyel M. Jordan

Hey, kid. Guess what? You're going to be an author. I know, I know. Animation is what you've had on your mind ever since Kindergarten, but don't worry. It won't be that bad. You still get to bring your characters to life and share it with others, so that's cool. You're even going to grow your hair out and lock it up. Yeah, trippy, right? Believe it or not, locks are gonna be the new thing in a couple of more years. That's not the important thing though. I know you got a lot more on your mind right now.

Yeah, getting out of bed to get on the bus is a struggle, isn't it? The kids harassing you just because you're too nice and passive to do anything about it is hard. Being called fat and made fun of because you choose to speak with an intelligent dialect when society says "you people" can only speak improper English breaks your heart. Finding a place to sit in the cafeteria is embarrassing because you keep getting shunned off by people too cool for you. Well, I got news to tell ya, kiddo: It'll get worse.

Yep. Sorry for the downer. Your freshman year of high school is gonna be a self-defining moment for you after a guy tries to smack you with his. . . uh, "yeaaaaaah," in the football locker room. You're going to see strangers pointing fingers and giggling at you while you walk down the hallway. Get ready for Summer School since all of the stress caused your math grades to drop, and yeah, you're going to hate yourself for all of this, even when none of it's your fault. But you won't let anyone else know how you're just a physical form of agony sitting in the classroom, smiling at everyone, even your friends and family.

Life is going to be hard for you, and it's only going to get harder. How do I know all of this? Well, I'm you, genius. . . Hey. Close your mouth. I know it's crazy having yourself from the future talk to you, but believe me, your imagination is going to even think of wilder things.
You gotta look beyond all of this, kiddo. Remember how I said you're going to be an author? Well, all of this stuff is going to matter because of it. Still, I guess it wouldn't hurt giving you a heads up on the inevitable. You'll know the agony of having a girl break your heart, your dream of becoming an animator snatched away in the blink of an eye because the school you got accepted to was too expensive. Oh yeah, that's right. You DO go to college, and become the first person in your immediate family to get a degree. But enough about that. You'll have to do some insane stuff to get there.

You're going to get up before sunrise to go work at a warehouse, only to drive back to school for the rest of the day. While your friends are out having a good time. . . yeahhhhhhh, another crazy thing. You're going to go out and socialize! Why? Because some people will eventually grow up and see you for what really matters, but who cares? See, it's the craziest thing, actually. Remember how grownups were always yammering about how you can be everything you want? Oddly enough, when you get in your college years, some of them will suddenly start telling you you're too young to know anything about struggling and too young to do this or that. Crazy, right? Actually, I think that's what finally set you off to write your book. I think you just got fed up with people identifying you or something, and who knows you better than you?! Of all the nerve. So, you'll need to vent a little and get it off your chest, and I guess writing a sci-fi novel was the most SOUND idea. Yeah, that's sarcasm.

Like I was saying, in the meanwhile, while you're working out this story, you'll be stuck at home, staying up to the early morning because you also got bills to pay and assignments to finish. You'll also be in school a lot longer than you hoped because if anything could go wrong with financial aid will go wrong. Yep. You're still going to work yourself exhausted though. I mean, one evening, when you switch to night shift, your boss is going knock on your driver door to wake you up because you passed out, and you need to clock in. Still, you won't ask to go home because you're tired. "No rest for the weary. Only rest for the weak." Besides, you got bills to pay. And even though graduating from school seems so far away, you'll still keep at it. Why? Because not graduating isn't an option for you.

And when you finally manage to get out of school, that book you were working on will become your top priority. You'll get it self-published and all that jazz, but that doesn't pan out too well at the beginning since you didn't do your research about marketing a book. So, instead, you'll have to go all the way to a writing seminar in Las Vegas just to. . . Oh yeah, that's right. Las Vegas. So what? See, you'll get encouraged to go by a New York Times Bestselling author you met. His name is Kevin J. Anderson, and he pretty much becomes your mentor and. . . STOP INTERUPTING ME! Do I have to keep repeating myself? Yes, you actually know a NYT author when you grow up, but it comes at a price.

You're going to be networking with other authors, artists, and bloggers, day in and day out. You'll have to make groups and clubs on the internet and maintain them because over 100 people will follow you on them. You'll need to update a website showing off your artwork, and take time to answer interview questions from people on the other side of the world just because they heard about your book called "Prossia." Don't ask me what "Prossia" means. You'll find out.

What I can say is that it's a story about an alien girl who was the odd one growing up, but got thick skin because of it, kinda like you. She'll mirror how you got so much confidence in yourself, how you will stand up for others when other people are too scared to do the same. You'll explain how the faith and values you desperately held on to at this age will shape you into the man standing before you today. Your family will read it, and even your friends and coworkers. But that's the easy part. You'll learn the biggest reward comes when an unbiased stranger says they love your story. Hey, you'll even be talking to a classroom of kids about writing, and they'll be more interested in your book than anything else.

Do I sell a lot of copies? Well, I dunno. Like I said, I made some marketing mistakes when I first published it, but I think I might be on the right track now . .  . oh, sorry. I will be on the right track.  See, you know how stubborn you are now? That becomes a permanent trait of yours. So, for some crazy reason, you won't be able to give up on anything you try to tackle. You won't quit football your freshmen year of high school. You won't quit college, even when you have to go to work as well. You won't give up on your book, because you know it'll help other kids that are in your shoes.

See what I mean? Your concerns don't even matter when you grow up because you'll get the bizarre idea that those silly little "ordeals" you had to go through might help countless others. So, it'll be hard, but you'll keep staying up late at night, writing, drawing, emailing whenever you need to. You might even get up extra early in the morning a couple of times when you have too much on your schedule for a 10 hour work day to handle. Yeah, you become a workaholic of what you love to do, and when you think it's too much, you'll remind yourself that maybe there's some child out there right now who needs to know that things have the potential to change as long as he or she learns the value of self-worth. So, no. Life doesn't get easier. It just gets so much more rewarding. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kind Words, Love Acts Campaign: Anti-Bullying Month in November

As you all know, bullying is an important issue that's been getting a lot of attention lately. With the power of the net, children have to deal with so many different forms of harassment these days it's scary. So, when Annabell of Team Nerd Reviews told me about an event discussing the issue on her blog and offered me to take part in it, it was an easy decision.

Be sure to check out not only the TWO giveaways happening for the Kind Words, Love Acts Campaign. Also, be sure to read up on the posts about bullying various authors (like yours truly ;)) will have on Team Nerd's blog throughout the rest of November, which is Anti-bullying Month. It's time to make a difference on bullying, but it starts with every individual, like you. Why dontcha see what you can do on this end? And be sure to check out Nerd Reviews in the future. ^_^  

a Rafflecopter giveaway )

a Rafflecopter giveaway )

Monday, November 12, 2012

What.Is.This??? Part 1

Here's a lil' sumthin sumthin' I'm working on while I take care of Operation Sand Gnat. I guess it's not bad, for a quick 25 min sketch :P

Friday, November 2, 2012

DM3W: Don't Forget To Write

It always seems to come as a shocker of what I originally thought the author life was going to be like. Looking back at the way I went about promoting Prossia tends to make me go "How did I possibly think that was going to work?" At least time can bring wisdom if we look for it hard enough, right? ;)

So, after spending what I consider two years of bad marketing for my book, I saw the need to play "catch up" with the new knowledge I gained this year. After coming back from the Superstars Writing Seminars in Las Vegas this year, I finally felt like I had the knowledge to get on  the right track. Because of that, I started running right when my feet hit the floor once I got back home. The following days and weeks following the seminar included the following for me:
  • Blog shopping 
  • Network building
  • Graphic designing
  • Facebook Page building
  • Facebook club maintenance
  • Agent Queries
  • Editor Queries
Yep. Right when I woke up in the morning all the way to going to bed that night, this was what I did for days. I was so fired up, I was ready to do anything and everything to help market my current book and future books. . . except for one thing.

While I cannot stress the importance of finding one's own method up promoting our stories, I forgot one itty bitty thing on the list. Taje a look. Do you see it? Yep. I didn't save enough time to write. Ironic, isn't it, especially after the seminar stressed the importance of making time for that little to-do item? ;) As we go about branding ourselves as writers, lets not forget that one thing that gives us such a title, and that's writing.

Most if not all established authors will tell us that we need to have a complete manuscript before we can even think about those several examples I have bulleted above. There is SO much work involved beyond making sure that the story we're writing is a good one. So we better make sure we have something already written down before we're all gung-ho. Still, it's vital to keep our creative juices flowing even when we're marketing that story that we dream about being a NYT. :P

Write some short stories. Get started on the next installment if  a story is a series. Whatever it is, we need to make sure we're doing some form of creative writing even when we're in the "post-production" of our latest book. I'm afraid I can't give a guideline as to how one is supposed to fit writing in a schedule that is already severely cramped. We all have different jobs, families, and other obligations that require our daily attention as well. So, while some of us can find enough time to get 3,000 words out in a day, some of us might only be able to get out 1,000 or even less. Whatever it is, each word we write down is making us better at what we love to do.

Don't forget to write, writers. This lifestyle we've decided to give into isn't anywhere near as romantic or luxurious as many would fancy it out to be, but we still do it, don't we? That's because we love the world building, the character development, that tingle we get in the back of the neck when we know we're closing in on one of the most powerful scenes in our adventure. We do it because we love to write. So, as this lifestyle takes us away to meet so many other obligations, there's nothing wrong with rewarding ourselves with a little creativity from time to time ^_^. Happy writing!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Operation Pirate Bee: Ad 2

(Click Image for full view)

DM3W: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 3

Ahh, I think we're nearing the end. In the 1st part of this discussion, I talked about the misunderstandings I had when wanting to self-publishing houses. In the 2nd part, I explained what a self-publishing house/"vanity press" along with what one might get from cover art to editing services. We're going to close this with the final two pointers on why one may not want to pay to have their books published: Pricing, and marketing.

Pricing- I'm not talking about the price of services in this regards. I'm talking about something FAR more important, actually, and that's the price of your book. The retail price of a print copy "Prossia" is a staggering $19.99! The reason why it is that high is simple: I had no say-so in the matter. Xlibris was kind enough to print my book for me, so it's only fair that they get a cut out of it as well, right? Well of course it is, silly! ^_^

All that being said, who in the world is Raphyel M. Jordan to people? Wait, but who is Stephen King? See what just happened? You didn't even really have to think about that second name did you? So, who would you be willing to invest 20 bucks into? Some new guy that just has one current book out there, or a numerous NYT Bestselling author who has a strong and solid name in the industry? Don't feel bad. I'd go with King or any other well-established author too. ^_^

Now, when I first published "Prossia," I figured I didn't have much of a choice since this was the only way to self-publish. Oh, the things I know now. I took the the time look up how much I would've paid for "Prossia" to get printed at CreateSpace, a company that has been spoken highly of from many authors, bot indie and traditional, in my network. After putting in the number of pages I have, Prossia would have cost a little under 6.00 to print. If I  recall correctly, I currently pay 15.99 for a softback copy of the book with my author discount. As an author, do you think I'd rather sell 200 books for $8.00, or 8 books for $20.00? 

Marketing- You know I'm all about marketing! As previously discussed, self-publishing houses offer tons of options for you if you're willing to pay. If I take away the cost of getting my novel printed and copyedited, 
I paid around $900.00 for promotional items like a press release (which didn't provide any buzz, btw), a website,  5 posters, and 50 bookmarks,business cards, and postcards, all of them being "meh" in regards to quality. I also got a web site, and 100 outlets for a press release. I would've paid twice as much, actually, but I got in during a promotion. So the usual price would have been $1800.

My website, (it's not up anymore), was very basic, having a basic "home" button, a page covering "Prossia's" summary, an "about the author" button, and then a paypal link. That-will-not-cut it! Content updates were not an option for my site. . . that is unless I paid an extra $87.00 for an update. So, there was that site, and now there's this site instead. See the difference? And this isn't to say that I have the best looking author site out there. Regardless, it's a place on the web where I can constantly update content, something that webbers expect out of people they expect to follow. Best of all, my newer site cost me under $100.00. All the items that I got through Xlibris could have been done on my own for roughly $200.00, $300.00 is I was feeling a little "riskaye." :P

Marketing your book doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg, guys and gals. Go to sites like the ones I listed below to get posters, business cards, bookmarks, and other things that you might need printed for your book for reasonably and competitive prices.

 Make a blog or wordpress for free. Create a facebook page for free. Go around town to the local bookstore or library to see if they can help you with promoting your story. Get the word out about your book by talking to those nice book blogging people. And guess what? A lot of them do it for free ;).


Final thoughts, as I said before, companies like Xlibris aren't scammers or anything like that by ANY MEANS. They gave me the freedom to design the book I wanted to design, and I didn't even have to go through all of the hassle of making sure my book was on sites like Amazon or B&N. Also, I learned a great deal about how to promote my book. All in all, I agreed to pay them a certain amount on items for certain services, and they delivered. For this, I will forever be grateful. Regardless, if one is willing to do a little extra research and find the right sources, you can hold on to a huge chunk of money that can go to more effective items for your book. Invest in your book, but make sure you're not tossing away finances in areas when all that needed to be done was a little more time investment. Believe me, your writing career will love ya for it. ;)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blurred Reality Blog Hop

Yoooooo. It's been awhile, eh? After having such a HUGE Birthday Month, I needed to take a couple of steps back and catch a breather. Well, break time's over. Time to get back to work, and I'm starting out with another giveaway!

I'm taking part in a the Blurred Reality Giveaway Hop, this time tagging along with some fellow indies. Be sure to get a chance to wind "Prossia" along with books being offered by these other cool authors. ^_^

The Giveaway starts on the 20th, so be on the lookout for links and other posts soon.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Prossia Prequel, Operation. . . Sand Gnat?

click on image to enlarge
No, no. That’s not what it’s going to be called.
Over the past two years, I keep getting asked if there is going to be a sequel to Prossia. For those that have read it, the ending would imply to such a hope. However, I wanted to see how successful my novel was going to be, so I decided to sit and wait if there was enough of a demand for another book. . .  annnnnd after attending a much needed writing seminar this year, let me be the first to admit that such a logic was a mistake. Another book should have been out last year! Hmm, I think I might need to cover that in my D3MW series. :P
Anyways, while I’m busy hacking away at my writing with other sci-fi stories like Operation Pirate Bee (announced last week), it’s only fair that I give something back in return for everyone having to wait too long, and it's coming in the form of a free prequel. I don’t have a title for it just yet, so I’m still calling the project Operation: Sand Gnat for the moment being. You all know how I love dubbing my books as Operations! ^_^
This novel is a prequel to Prossia, focusing on the upbringing of Aly and Catty. It will cover how these two developed such a friendship–and rivalry– along with dwelling into Goolian culture and why this race of people are the way they are. Oh, and you’ll also see how Aly’s people deal with her little. . . um. . . .situation (Spoilers from Prossia).
The manuscript is currently in its pre-editing stage and will be in the hands of an editor by the end of the year. I’ll continue to keep you updated on the progress of Sand Gnat from here on out. 
. . . 
"Sand Gnat." Time to brainstorm some better sounding titles. . . 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DM3W: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 2

In the 1st part of this discussion, I mentioned the basic misunderstandings I had when looking at self-publishing houses. We're going to dwell a little deeper into exactly what these sort of publishers are, what they do, and the reasons why they may not be the best idea for authors that want to make writing a career.

What I call self-publishing houses is what people generally refer to as vanity publishers or vanity press. I personally don't like using that term since "vanity" can have some negative implications behind it, and I believe in a "you get what you pay for" way of thinking. And as I tried to stress before, I'm not trying to make these companies seem like "the bad guys" for us authors. There's simply a misunderstanding between what some of us expect out of them, and I'm hoping to redirect some people's ideas before they make the same misconceptions I did.

So, a "vanity press" is a company that a person can pay to print their books along with other services. If one pays the certain amount, one can also have some marketing items like bookmarks, post cards, a press release and business cards. Other services could also include copy editing, copyrighting, an ISBN, the inclusion of one's book on various websites, and just about any marketing idea one can possibly think of. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, that's because it is, for the most part. ^_^

However, self publishing houses tend to be more effective toward people that might be looking for a smaller audience. A person who wants to give books out to family, friends, and maybe some coworkers would probably be pretty content with paying someone for all this work. However, call it a hunch, but I'm guessing you want to share your books with a broader audience if you're reading this article, right? ^_^

I'm going to break off this segment into 4 parts.

  1. Cover
  2. Editing
  3. Pricing
  4. Marketing
We'll discuss the first two items that vanity press does for an indie author, and why one might want to reconsider going strictly solo.

Cover- While self-publishing/vanity houses offer so many items in their packages, quality may not be included in the criteria. Many people might be able to decipher a "vanity press" author just by the look of a cover. While these companies have an arsenal of designers, they may not necessarily put their best foot forward with effort, and yes, people still do judge a book by its cover. I got my degree as a graphic designer, so I'd like to think I have a basic idea on what a good design is or isn't ;). Now, I'm not the best designer by any means, which is why  "Prossia" is getting a cover redo.

Still,In many cases, many of the cover designs seen from vanity press companies are considered hit or miss. I've seen some covers that are just downright awesome while others arrrrrrre. . . not so much. >_> One's best bet is to simply go out and find a designer that you know will get the job done right. Besides, it'll save you some money. ;)

Editing- Another issue is the editing. Most of these presses provide copy editing, which is very important, but not nearly as effective as having a a full fledged editor. For those that don't know the difference, copy editors can correct grammar issues in one's story. No one likes typos! However, a regular editor goes beyond the mere grammar issues. He/she will offer insight on how to make a story stronger. In most cases, an editor is more expensive, but if you've been following my posts, you should know by now that I consider editors one of the best financial investments an author should be willing to make for his/her book. A finely edited story can be the difference between a 3 star or five star review. Don't believe me? Read a review I got on "Prossia" that could've been more positive if I invested more. So, instead of saving that money for all of the packages self-publishing houses offer, one might be better off saving that money for a solid editor.


I will say it again. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED. Patience is the key. We need to do our research in regards to making sure our stories get the quality attention they deserve. Besides, we've been too reckless by skipping meals, staying up late, and having family and friends get angry at us for suddenly becoming "antisocial." And by the way, none of those are really necessary either, but that's a whole 'nuther story. ;) 'Til then, keep those creative juices flowing, and stay tuned for the next segment! Pricing and marketing are some of the more important reasons why a self-publishing house may not be the best fit for you. More on that later!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Operation: Pirate Bee

(Click Image for full view)

I always like to name my current projects with interesting surnames. Prossia was originally called Operation: Spanish Moss, paying homage to the place where I wrote it, Savannah, Georgia. And here we are with Pirate Bee, another project I spoke very little of while I was writing it during my college years. The bee is in reverence to the first college I went to, Savannah College of Art & Design, while the pirate is a shot out to Armstrong Atlantic State University, where I spent most of my college career.

Since it's still early, I can't really discuss a great deal about Pirate Bee. What I can say is that it's another science fiction novel, and it's a little maturer than my first novel. A lot of the social issues mankind is facing today has played a very influential role with it as well. That's all I can leave with you for now. ^_^

More news about this will be very casual since I got another project that's closer to being ready. As a matter of fact, you'll be hearing about it pretty soon. How soon? Well, why don't you come back next week? ;)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pick A Cover

After having the pleasure of meeting James A. Owen and getting some insight on how to make a better cover for "Prossia," I found myself in a bit of a pickle after finishing the designs: I like them all! So, I figured I'd let you good folks decide the best cover for me instead. Be forewarned though, the cover you pick will determine the theme of future covers in the series. No pressure :P. In the meantime, have at it!


Pick A Cover

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Don't Make My Mistake, Writers: Never Pay To Publish Your Book- Part 1

Geez, if there was only someone that phrase to me years ago. Now, this DM3W hits VERY close to home for me, which is why it's taken me so long to post this one. (I wanted to make sure I got it right.)

When I first looked into self-publishing my book, I researched, just like we all should do, but I was apparently researching the wrong thing. I wasn't too familiar with the ways people went about making their books a reality on their own, so I figured I'd start simple: Googling self-publishing companies. 
. . . 

And some of you guys and gals are already saying "Oh noooo." So, after the searches came up, I was given a list of sites that compared various companies, what their services included, and giving some pretty solid insight on how where one's money is going.

  • Outskirts Press
  • Xlibris
  • Publish America
  • IUniverse
  • Author House 
These were a few of the names I came across, with all of their services and prices varying. Some were around $200.00 while others were in the $1,000+ ballpark! Ooh, unless you came across the company during a special sales time where you got a special deal. I "fortunately" came across Xlibris around such a time, so I went with them.

Now, let me start off by saying that I am VERY grateful for what Xlibris did for me. "Prossia" was printed beautifully, they always followed up with me to see how my book was coming along, and I even had a consultant that knew me by name since I called them so much. And for that reason alone, it's really hard to speak ill of them in this regards. I sincerely believe that self-publishing companies like them are seriously trying to help authors with their careers. Thing is, there's a better and far more economic way if one knows where to look.

After I self-published "Prossia," I figured now would be a good time to learn how to market it. And that thought was a mistake in itself. Know how to market your book BEFORE you publish it. But in regards to me wanting to learn how to market my book, I decided to attend the writing panels and seminars they had at DragonCon. Surely enough, the issue of paying to have one's books printed came up with successful authors during some panels. Every single one of them thought the concept to be blasphemy, and for good reason.

Consider this: Writing is a career, and people get paid for their careers, right? Now, if you went into a job interview, and the employee said you had to pay x amount of dollars to get started, what would you say? Yeah, I probably wouldn't have much to say either since I was getting out of my chair and leaving too. :P

But here's why some of us, me included, thought needing a self publishing house was necessary if we want to go the way of the indie/self published author. There's so much more to a book than just getting it printed, right? We need bookmarks, posters, postcards, maybe even a website. Or how about a press release, an actual ISBN code, and at the very least a copy-editor to get the grammar kinks out of the way? We're ogled by all of these amazing offers included in bundles that these self publishing houses present to us. . . not realizing the sum of all of the items in these "packages" do not add up as far as pricing is concerned.

It seems authors go to these sort of companies just because we don't know any better, at least it was for me. That's one of the reasons why it's vital we build a network of fellow writers that have gone to the places we've gone before, looked at the same things we've seen, and thought the very same thoughts. Be sure to read my previous article about our comrades in arms for more insight.

But here's the rule, plain and simple. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT PAY TO HAVE YOUR BOOK PUBLISHED. We should never have to give some sort of down payment for our works. Authors get paid to get their books published, traditional and indies alike. 

Since this is a hefty subject, I'm afraid I'll have to break it down into parts. Don't worry though. You won't have to wait long for the other increments. In the meantime, I'll leave a link to a site my author peers, both traditional and indies, have recommended. I really hopes this helps. I'm sure there are other companies like this one

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Interview With Team Nerds

***Here's part of my AMAZING interview with Team Nerd's Annabell.

Annabell: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Raphyel Jordan: I'm just a guy who likes to let his inner dorkism show through the story he writes. :P

Annabell: What are some attributes that would qualify you as a nerd?

Raphyel Jordan: Hmm, lemme see. Video games? Check. Comics? Check. Anime? Check. Why, I even played old school RPGs here and there! You know, the one where you have a notebook and a dice? Yep. That serious. :P

Annabell: Describe the plot behind Prossia.

Raphyel Jordan: Prossia is the tale of a young alien girl named Aly. There's a danger lurking among the friends she's sworn to protect when she gets drafted into a galactic war with them. This danger is worse than any enemy weaponry, any being known in the galaxy, and it has the potential of crumbling both hostile and allied forces. The worst part is this: That danger is Aly, herself, and she doesn't even know it. I'd like to think of Prossia as being that classic coming-of-age story we can all relate to since many of us had our perspective of the world turned completely upside down when we left the "bird's nest."

Annabell: You essentially went to school for your first passion, Graphic Design then jumped into the world of writing. How did Graphic Design inspire you into writing your debut novel, Prossia?

Raphyel Jordan: Actually, I wanted to be an animator for the majority of my life, but that never came to fruition. I've been drawing since I was three years old, if not younger. Since the animation thing didn't work out, I figured graphic design was the next best thing since I could implement my life-long passion of drawing with it. When I was a kid, I used to do "graphic novels." So, in a sense, what I did with Prossia really wasn't anything new to me. It just involved a lot more words and thought! :P

Annabell: Prossia is centered around aliens without any human characters. Why did you decide to create a story absent of humans?

Raphyel Jordan: For starters, I knew the things I wanted these characters be capable of doing was going to be impossible by human standards unless I went the way of the genetically enhanced super human soldier, or something like that. Those stories have been done countless of times, and done so well that I needed to do something different. I also thought it would be cool to see how advanced sentient life would conduct itself. Oddly enough, the way they govern one another is very human-like in my story, but a lot of their customs are different due to their natural habitats and biochemistry. On top of that, it was just a blast being able to do all of this world building from scratch.

Annabell: The cover to Prossiais pretty cool! How did you approach creating it?
Raphyel Jordan: Uh oh. You just asked me a good art question! LOL! Thank you so much for the compliment, btw! The cover is actually inspired by an older illustration I did of Aly, called "A Soldier's Burden." In the original pic, I wanted to show Aly being weighed down by putting on the heavy toil of war. Soldiers give up so much of their, well, humanity, so the rest of us can keep ours.

So, with the cover, I wanted to convey a similar message, but put more emphasis on what Aly's protecting. . . and absolutely how terrified she is. She's only a seventeen-year old whose only main concern was making it pass high school. She didn't volunteer for the war, but was drafted! Who wouldn't be scared?! In the image, she almost has a "What am I doing here?" expression on her face. I also "cheated" with her armor a little bit for the same purpose, making it seem slightly bulkier than her form can manage. And, I hate to break it to ya, but I have plans on the cover's getting revised in the future. Sorry. :P But I promise, it's gonna be for the better.

***Thanks so much, Annabell. To read the rest of the interview, just click on over to Team Nerd Reviews

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Cy Pic

Cyleroa is such a challenge to draw for me since his facial features are so complex. Still, it's rewarding when you execute some things on him accurately. Going off of what I was trying to do with my previous Aly pic, I was looking for some good textures to use.

Prossia Birthday Month

My goodness, is this a month to remember. :P Hey everyone! I just got back from DragonCon, so it's time to get back to work! :P

Prossia's Birthday Month officially started with the launch of the "Prossia Giveaway" on Goodreads. If you look at the top of the blog, you'll see that there's already a bunch of people ready to snag a free copy!

Be sure to be on the lookout for other announcements going on for my book throughout September. Thanks for your support, everyone! Now, time to get to work so I can watch some football tonight. Ahhh, football. This is the best time of the year. :P

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Blog Check: Mega Book Blog Database For Indies

Here's another great source for authors looking for indie-friendly bloggers. The Indie Book Blog Database (IBBD) is HUGE! I mean HUGE! I started using this site to find book bloggers for reviews and interviews around the end of July. On average, I email about two bloggers per week requesting a review, and I'm now just getting to page 3 for the sci-fi database. "Ahem," that's page 3 out of 8, by the way, and each page consists of ten blogs. Yeah, it's like that.

IBBD is obviously well-established, having people that have been in their database for around 2 years. The genres that cater to your writing/reading are easily accessible at the top of the site. Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance, Thrillers, Horror, it's all there, just waiting on you! You'll probably be using this database for weeks if not months to come. Oh, and if that's not enough, the site is a review blog in its own right, and also offers formatting and other services for various book types. Kindle, Smashwords, book covers fro Lulu can all be handled here if you're in need of such services. Hey, if you even need a blog designed, these people got you covered!

The only setback that some of us might come across is in regards to review requests, believe it or not. Since IBBD is so popular, a lot of the bloggers on the site have already been found out by plenty of other authors. Because of this, a lot of them may not be able to accept any more work at the time since they already have plenty of books to analyze. Still, what's the harm in asking? After all, a lot of these blogs have members in the 4-digit range, so there's a lot of potential exposure if you get lucky.

So, happy shopping, and remember to follow the 5 Basic Rules To Proper Blogger Shopping I posted a while back. Good luck, everyone! ^_^

The Indie Book Blog Database

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A True Champion Among Men

The world is mourning the loss of the man that took mankind to boundaries never known. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died today at the age of 82 due to cardiovascular complications, according to his family. In 1969, Armstrong was a 38 year-old astronaut for NASA when he made the famous "Leap for mankind" declaration during the Apollo 11 mission. However, in spite of making one of the largest contributions to our species, the he tried to live most of his life out of the spot light.

While Armstrong could have lived like Scrooge Mcduck, swimming in his glory for all his days (and who would blame him?), he decided to teach engineering at the University of Cincinnati for nearly a decade after retiring from NASA. Armstrong lived a life of humility, through and through, even noting that landing on the moon was just a part of the job. While there are many lessons to be learned by such a man, the family asked that we could honor Armstrong by trying to practice his modesty and giving a wink at the moon the next time we see it. Here's to you, Neil Armstrong, for thinking big on a galactic level, but always keeping that mellow spirit that kept you down to Earth with the rest of us simple humans. And now, whenever we look up at Luna, our moon, we can actually say, "Yeah. We've been there before." For that, you'll always be a champion among men, and will be dearly missed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Some Fellow Nerds Ask About My Love For Writing Sci-fi

A big thx to Annabell and her crew at Team Nerd Reviews for hosting my guest blog post ^_^ 

"On August 6, NASA sent a mobile lab that had to travel over 154 million miles away, landing on another world in order to learn if there was ever a remote possibility of life on it." Hmm, funny. Had I written that sentence a century ago, this probably would've been found in a science fiction novel. However, we're living in a time where such a statement is  being read in magazines, on websites, and other forms of information across the world. Looks like what visions we write for fun today may very well be what our descendants will be considering headline news in the not-so-far off future.

"Fist man lands on Mars."

"First Martian colony."

"First human-friendly exoplanet discovered."

"Mankind discovers FTL possibilities."

Sure, the further the imagination goes, the less possible it seems. Still, someone had to think of it first, right? Some kid had to read the idea in some article he/she read, or maybe in some summer reading he/she had to for school.

Nowadays, writing such books as a sci-fi writer is a heck of a challenge, for me at least! What fictional items I might have thought were groundbreaking in my books could actually be a common thing to hear in three years because our knowledge and technology are advancing so quickly. So, what can I possibly do to keep ahead? Well, for me, I try to think big, on a galactic level.

When I used to write stories as a kid, they were usually fan fics, inspired from characters already well-established. As I got a little older, around the age of middle school, I wanted to make stories that branched away from other people's creations since I figured following someone else's establishment was limiting my own creativity.

Even with that simple logic, I had no idea that I laying out the foundation that would expand my imagination in the years to come. At the age of 9, when I was making a picture book about ant colonies going off to war, I never imagined I was going to tell the journey of a young alien girl shaking the foundations of her world due to war like I did when I started writing my first published novel, Prossia, at the age of 19."
Read the other half of my post at Team Nerd Reviews