Friday, June 29, 2012

Client Work: the Guur Part 1

Exactly what is a guur? . . . Well, this is a guur. . . but I'll explain exactly what it is later :P. Creepy though, eh?  The guur on the left is a reference image done by another artist my client used some time ago. However, he's wanting a more elaborate image of his creation, and he's hoping I can bring his creature to life with some more detail. I did some sketches and I presented the comp on the right to him yesterday, and I'm glad to say he was thrilled. Can't wait for the coloring part!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A List Of Indie-Friendly Book Bloggers

I mentioned how difficult it can be when looking for a book blogger to read your book a few posts ago. However, the search can even be more difficult for indie authors at times. When I first hopped into the book blogger hunt, I mainly came across bloggers that had a pretty anti-indie sentiment. And that's okay, if not understandable. Anybody can write a book nowadays, and sadly, that means a lot of people out there have scared away a lot of prospective reviewers since some indie authors don't put in a great deal of effort into their writing.

However, if you're one of those people that see the logic in seeking out an editor, doing some research on how to properly write, and follow the industry on a professional level, this a place you definitely want to look up. I was fortunate enough to find this site that lists bloggers that got a lil' "street cred," and are very indie-friendlie. :P Why, this is actually how I found Austine Decker and the Magick Pen blog that gave me my first blog review and interview.

The Indie View lists indie-friendly bloggers that review various types of books. Romance, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, mystery, etc. All you have to do is find them! And considering there's 164 blogs listed, this place might be a good start for indie writers to find and network with some people that can get your book some attention. The lists of followers vary by blogger. Some can have 50 people while I've even seen others in the 1000s! Either way, if one extra person reads your book due to a book blogger, you should consider it a win. :)

There is one little catch with the Indie View, however. A few of the blogs listed haven't been updated in awhile, going from months to years even. So, I encourage (as you already should be doing when looking for book bloggers) to check the latest several postings on blogs you're thinking of considering. Doing this will give you a good idea of how often the blogger updates his/her site, and if you're actually going to hear from them since they're constantly in need of books to read.

Now, no blog is alike, and every person has certain items that need to be followed. We should always make sure to look over the review policies, and not just send every single indie blogger out there the same ole' email "template" that can just be copied and pasted. These blogs matter to the people that made them, so we should be willing to look over their web spot to see if we authors are a good match.

I'll go a little deeper into what I've learned in regards to conducting yourself when approaching bloggers in the future. In the meantime, you have a pretty good list of options that are definitely worth looking over thanks to the Indie View. Hopes this helps! ^_^

The Indie View 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Man-made Object About To Leave Our Solar System

To envision the Sun s presence in the Milky Way galaxy  think of a ship plowing through the ocean  b...

Get ready to brainstorm some ideas off of this one, sci-fi people! This past week proved another instance where the genre once again nears sci-fact. I remember reading about Voyager 1 in Astronomy class back in college, and now it's about to make me go "wow" all over again by doing something never done before!

Voyager 1 was built with Voyager 2 in 1977 so we could observe our Jovian planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune when they aligned that year. So, Voyager 1 did its job when it flew by then-9th-planet, Pluto in 88. Needless to say, NASA was quite pleased with the successful mission, and they could all call it a day, right? Ahem,  not exactly.

Just because the probe's mission was done didn't mean it would/could stop. And since then, Voyager 1 has sailed across the system with very minor bumps beyond some systems shutting down. So, on June 14, it was announced that the spacecraft had reached the border of our solar system, and will be in interstellar space by the end of the year. That means Voyager will be beyond 

Now, think about it, everyone. The solar system. SOLAR SYSTEM! Lets put in some figures so we can get an idea. Voyager 1 is moving at around 17 kps. That's about 10.5 miles per second, which would equal to. . . hmm, math, math, math. . . 37,800 mph?! This thing is moving! But Voyager 1 was sent out almost 35 years ago. Why would it take something moving so fast to reach the end of our solar system? Well, it's over 11 BILLION mls/ 17.7 BILION kms away. Fun fact, eh?

Wanna know something else crazy? Voyager 1 is still sending a signal back to Earth! Granted, it takes 16 hours for it to reach us, but that's crazy! And as far as NASA can tell, it will keep on sending a signal until its lifespan depletes in another 8 years in 2020. 

As far as Voyager 2 is concerned, well, it's doing pretty darn good too. According to NASA, it's currently 9.1 billion miles away from the sun, and is still sending back data as well. Both crafts are part of the Voyager Interstellar Mission, which is an extension of the original mission. Now the probes are being used to explore the solar system beyond the neighborhood of our local planets and beyond. Ah, science. Isn't it great when the awesome accidents happen?

Get ready to get some insightful info and ideas from this one sci-fi readers and writers. Be sure to check out the article from Digital Journal for more info. You can also look at the Voyager Mission in its entirety on NASA's site

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Blog Check: There's "Magick" In the Book Blog World

The Magick Pen

Update: A HUGE thank you to Austine for reviewing my novel, "Prossia." Oh Cool! She actually liked it! Be sure to see what she had to say about it on her Magick Pen Blog.

Book bloggers are getting very popular out there nowadays due to digital books. However, it can still be a little bit of a drag finding some that have a keen interest in what you're offering. However, I lucked out in finding the Magick Pen on to match my particular criteria.

The Magick Pen is ran by Austine Decker, an aspiring author who loves reading YA novels. Her particular interest are sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance in physical form (no e-books)So, this blog caught my interest for several reasons. First and foremost, Magick Pen is very active, so you won't have to worry about getting some news one week and not getting any sort of update for months. You can expect on average 3-4 postings a week with some insightful articles from reviews, author interviews, or guest posts.

The other item is the most important thing I look for in a book blogger: Honesty. Now, now. I know we don't want to have our pride and joys belittled and posted for the whole world to see, but that's a fair risk that writers should be willing to take when looking for bloggers. The Magick Pen  has no problem telling that you are either insane for not reading a book, or if you should let one slip on by. However, if you look at the reviews that she didn't really fancy, you'll notice that it's not all doom and gloom. Oh, so there's the other thing: Austine is nice. ^_^

The final point is that Austine looks for all the key elements that makes a good story in her reviews. Pacing, character development, an interesting conflict, she'll point out how a story utilizes those pieces  and offer examples.

The Magick Pen is one the few blogs that's willing to go off on a hunch for something new, whether you're an indie or traditional. Be sure to check out what this page is doing in the future. If you think you have something that might be up Magick Pen's alley, you better make sure you drop a line! But be sure to give the blog the respect it deserves by checking out some of the reviews, author interviews, and be sure you fit her review policies before going off the limb. Still, the blog is currently taking in review requests, so you better hurry!

 Magick Pen

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Must-Read For Indy E-Authors

I've been under a rock with this one. I got some good insight from another one of my Fellow Superstars Writing Seminar authors (Thanks Moses!) on how to format your e-book. I started reading Smashwords Style Guide: How To Format Your Ebook (STG) only yesterday, and I gotta tell ya, it's priceless!

. . .

Funny that I mention that, since it actually is free. :P

In case you don't know, Smashwords is a powertool site for e-authors. Not only can you publish your book there, but there are major online ebook retailers the site will send your e-book to. For example, there's Barnes & Noble, IBookstore, Sony, Diesel, all major smartphone apps like Stanza, Aldiko. . . phew! Get the idea?

I'll admit it. I had no idea that there was such a difference between an ebook and a traditional book's layout until I looked through STG (I had Prossia formatted through Xlibris). Like some authors, I thought that I could take my manuscript in its print format and just change the file to be an Epub, the typical word for an ebook compatible file. That simple. However, doing that is setting up for one's own failure. If you take your manuscript over without revising the format, then you're going to have a lot of angry readers who probably won't bother finishing all of that hard work you put into your masterpiece. And then there's the wonderful world called the Internet, where people have no problem telling others what they love and hate. You don't want your credibility ruined just because your book doesn't look professional, do you?

STG lays it all out for you. Not only does it include the basic fonts, sizes, and what-nots to follow, but it also talks about proper spacing, chapter separation, how to get your ebook to have a table of contents for your chapters, inserting illustrations, the list goes on and on!

And here's the crazy thing. Reading this book is going to help me with formatting traditional printed manuscripts in the future! Yeah, that good. Oh, and did I mention the guide has illustrations that shows you exactly how to do what it's saying, step by step? Yyyyyep.

If you're an author that's intends on trying the e-book route sometime in the future (and by the signs of things, you should ^_^), then you NEED STG. Download it at Amazon ASAP. AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN E-READER, DON'T WORRY. Amazon has a free kindle app that you can download onto your PC with no hassle.

 Most people can probably finish the book's directions in probably two hours or so. That means you can get back to the most important thing that you can do as a writer, which is write! It only takes an hour or two to format your ebook the right way with Style Guide: How To Format Your Ebook, but doing so might determine your future successes for a lifetime.

Friday, June 8, 2012

"You Know You're A Sci-fi Geek" 2012 Contest

Hey there, bloggers! Here's your chance at winning a signed copy of my sci-fi novel, "Prossia," with a fun contest running from June 8th to July 6th.

The basis is a simple fill-in-the-blank contest. Here’s an example, given from the PSFC Assistant Admin., Erik Johnson:
[You Know You’re A Sci-Fi Geek When . . .
"you see a statue of an angel, and you refuse to blink." ]

Get the idea?

You can place your phrase in by leaving a comment, and you'll be automatically entered. If you're anonymous, however, please be sure to make it possible for me to contact you somehow in case you win. You're free to post more than one fill in,  BUT PLEASE, lets not spam the postings, okay? That should be self explanatory^_^. 

A signed copy of my sci-fi novel, Prossia, and a $50.00 gift certificate to a place of one's choosing goes to the person with the best post. Careful though. You'll also be competing against members of PSFC, the Facebook club that's hosting the contest. Good luck! Have fun!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Contest Time This Friday

 Alrighty, people. It's about that time again. My PSFC club on Facebook always has a contest of sorts where prizes that include a signed copy of "Prossia" are given to the winner. The main objective for me is to give some of the quieter members who are always watching a chance to get active. 

One of the more popular contests done was inspired by a game a lot of people in one of the the Barnes & Nobles forums do. It was called "You Know You're A Sci-fi Geek When. . .". After seeing how much fun the people were having, I figured it would be a fun thing to make into a contest. So, here it is again, running from June 8th to July 6th!

The basis is a simple fill-in-the-blank contest. Here's an example, given from the PSFC Assistant Admin., Erik Johnson:

You Know You're A Sci-Fi Geek When . . . "you see a statue of an angle, and you refuse to blink." 

Get it? Now, the contest doesn't get on the road until this Friday, but you can get a head start on some ideas. And here's the best part, you can enter more than once! This used to be a PSFC exclusive contest, but I'm making it public so anyone can get in on the fun. Careful though, if you've been a loyal  PSFC member that wins, you're bound to get a little something extra. ^_^

Prizes include: A signed copy of "Prossia" along with a $50.00 gift-card of your choosing.

A PSFC member will win the above prizes along with a Prossial poster as well.

Can't wait 'til Friday!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Artwork Added To Site

A new Storm picture was added into the Fan Art section of the CG Gallery on my site. There was also a Dark Phoenix illustration added as well last month. With my writing schedule, it's hard for me to find time for my original passion, which is drawing, but I try to make time for it whenever I can (usually on the weekends). My current goal is to have at least one finished pic per month, but given that I'm trying to become a little more elaborate with my pictures, it's not an easy task to meet when you're also working on stories! But hey, some good art takes time, and I would never pic one of my passions over the other. Put my ice cream on top of my cake! ^_^

Be sure to check out an enlarged version of the pic along with other illustrations at