Tag Archives: book release

Viral Blues, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hey, everyone. Welcome to a special Friday the 13th, late night edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and while we’re awaiting the full moon to rise in conjunction with this day, I have something special for you.

Craig thought this wonderful event would be a perfect time to release his latest paranormal story, Viral Blues. He told me to note that it’s also his 13th publication. You have to admit, it seems kind of Karmic somehow.

If you’re familiar with these shows, you know I always have a guest, but I’m the guest today. I’ll explain how that all happened.

Craig wanted to write a sequel to The Hat. One evening, he was commuting home from work when he was joined by his Muse. Lorelei told him he has a lot of characters who could all be living in the same world. He called me at the writing cabin, and set me to work immediately.

I went down to the Character Union Hall, and all these people were just hanging around, looking for new stories to appear in. I interviewed them, one by one, and chose some to appear in the new story with Lizzie and The Hat.

The next weekend, Craig came out to the writing cabin to look over the list, then get started. He said it needed something extra. I was afraid of letting him down, but he was only teasing me. He said what the story needed was a robot girl to round out the cast.

I have to admit, I cried a little. I like being helpful, but I’ve been asking for another story for years. Then to find out I get to be in a story with some of his most popular characters. It was kind of overwhelming.

Superhero team-ups are all the rage right now. Why not in book form too? This is the group of heroic characters in the story:

  • Me (obviously)
  • Lizzie St. Laurent
  • The Hat
  • Dr. Gina Greybill
  • Mohan Gupta
  • Clovis
  • Jason Fogg
  • Clovis’s girlfriend, Justine

This story also has a bunch of Easter Eggs inside for those who have read Craig’s previous work. I won’t go into those, so as not to spoil it for you.

The deal is that Dr. Greybill and, and her helper Gupta, called this group together under her Host Program. There is someone or something tampering with the nation’s vaccine supply. That’s where the story starts.

If you’ve been following along with the teasers, my posters and the music will start to make sense now. The posters all have something to do with the book.

The Hat is Craig’s most popular book, and they are going to be getting even more stories in the future. Just this one time, we all thought it was fun to get together for one huge adventure.

I want to point out that just because this is a sequel, well, for a bunch of us, really, there is no prerequisite reading here. If this is where you start, it will all be perfectly readable.

The story is set up to be a Hat story all the way, so the format is like that book. There are some fun graphics inside, and a lot of dark humor, too.

Also, be sure to check out the secret last chapter at the very end of the book. It’s beyond the author material, kind of like those scenes after the credits in movies.

I had a lot of fun, and I’ll bet you will, too. Check out this awesome cover, and I’ll include a purchase link. This thing just went live about 30 minutes ago.

http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07XVTSYYV

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio, Writing

Make a plan, work the plan

This post poses a conundrum for me, because it could fit into Story Empire, too. It winds up here, because it’s partially about my vacation plans. This one is another stay-cation for me. I want to write and just get some down time.

I’ve gotten to a place in writing where I can get a lot done, and there are a few tricks involved. These take time to farm, but harvesting them really speeds things up. First, I have about six storyboards going at all times. This doesn’t leave me pondering what I might write next. This is a common problem among fiction writers. Think of this like a farm, because it’s a long term project. Some boards are complete, others are partially complete, and some are just a collection of loose notes on index cards. Whenever a decent idea hits me, I make an index card and add it to the appropriate board. (Or start a new one.) Today, when I finish one project, I can dive right into the next one.

Next is my Pinterest app. I don’t know too many authors who use Pinterest, because all of the focus is on promotion. I don’t tend to use it like that. I have character boards, setting boards, and more specific ones like Pirates, or The Hat. When I surf through them, I get a lot of inspiration for my stories. It’s nice to refer to when describing a visual aspect of a tale.

Third is my new concept of more than one story at a time. I’m learning that it’s possible, and super productive. My current theory is to make them very different stories. Character traits don’t seem to bleed over this way, and character arcs don’t get muddled because the stories are so different.

My vacation starts tomorrow, and won’t return me to the office until next Thursday. Now I need some kind of plan.

  • I need to cut down a significant portion of my peach tree. This isn’t productive on the writing front, but works well on the staying married front.
  • Hauling the tree residue away has to be part of this mix, and is a chore in itself.
  • I need to buy and read one book. This one is a short read, and ought to work well for me. Then there are reviews to post on multiple fronts, too. Copy and paste helps here.
  • HMS Lanternfish hasn’t even set sail yet. It’s time to stock her with pirates and supplies, then hit the open sea. I’d love to get 30,000 words down, but 20K might be more realistic.
  • I need to get some blog posts written for The Viral Blues. It will be release time before I know it, and I want to be ready. Might hit up some of my favorite hosts to check their availability during my break, too.
  • There is a loose plan for some group promo at Story Empire. I need to dedicate some thought to that, and see what kind of posts I might need.
  • I have the formatted manuscript for Viral Blues in hand. I need to check it on every program I have. Stories about Lizzie and the hat have a few silly graphics as part of the shtick. These can be a nightmare formatting wise. Again, I want to be ready. I won’t know for sure until I push it through Amazon’s machinery, but any errors I can identify now will make that part easier.
  • Blurb writing. (La la la. I can’t hear you.)

I’m probably leaving stuff out, but that’s how it goes sometimes. I’m hoping to take full advantage of the Halloween season for Viral Blues. I’m still waiting on a couple of Lisa Burton promo posters, and should have the last ones in time. This means the easy link for The Yak Guy Project will be replaced by one for Viral Blues. If you haven’t read Yak Guy, all you have to do is click that cover image in the sidebar. He’ll live forever on Amazon, but you’ll have to go looking for him.

I’m still considering a pre-release for Viral Blues. My results with these have been mixed. What is the current consensus with you guys? Do pre-release books gain your attention, or just annoy you?

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Time for a new plan

My goal this weekend was to work on Lisa Burton Radio interviews, and work on a few advance blog posts … at a leisurely pace.

This is the busiest couple of the weeks of the year at my office. This means we’re changing the flex schedule temporarily. Which mean I don’t get a flex day for two weeks now.

Then I got The Yak Guy Back from the formatter. I need to check it, and turn it back around. I also need four more advanced blog posts. On top of that, the posts I already have are too short. Maybe with a book blurb it will look better. Oh yeah, I have to write a book blurb.

I decided to set my alarm clock for 4:00 AM. The first mission will be to proof the copy of my book. After I get it sent back, possibly with changes, I’ll work on the advanced posts.

Maybe I’ll schedule in some def-con three grade panic around 10:00.

I actually am ahead of the game on the interviews. The only problem is in the final phase, because my guests aren’t turning them back right away. I have a couple more weeks scheduled, so I can float a bit if I have to. I’d still like to prepare a couple and send them out this weekend.

I should explain the reason for my state of mind. My experience with Summer releases is dismal. In my mind, it isn’t Summer until school lets out. Right out wrong, that’s my position. I’d liked to have gotten this done a month ago, but it was a matter of funds.

If everything happens according to my new plan, I’ll dig out my email list and send inquiries to my traditional hosts. It could work that I’ll have everything I need next weekend. These are folks who have larger followings, because the goal is to spread the word.

I usually leave an option of custom writing something for a couple of my hosts. Once in a while, they have a specific idea and I try to help them. Again, tempting fate, but I might be able to write those next weekend.

Hey, if everything works out perfectly, this could happen.

Disclaimer: I always freak out at book release time. Better have a beer tonight.

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A quick update

The launch for The Hat is going well. Books are selling, and reviews are starting to come in too. It’s a short read, so that helps speed the reviews along. Everyone seems to be enjoying it so far. I got up in the neighborhood of 140 on Amazon’s superhero list, but it’s dropped back now. I decided not to take a screen shot until I hit double digits. The algorithms are strange in that if I sell 10 copies in one hour, the numbers will soar. If I sell those same ten books in one day, they don’t budge at all. Algorithms are fickle.

This is a good reason to hold a pre-sale. All of the advance sales will download at once and stack the deck for an hour or two. It wasn’t that big of a deal to me so I didn’t this time. If it matters to you, it’s a decent trick.

It seems like a lot of people are releasing books right now. I’ve hosted several of them here, and will host several more. This is one of the great things about the author community. We all try to help each other.

There are some traffic jams going on, and I decided to be the one to deal with it. It isn’t fair to ask someone to host me, then dictate when they can post something. I basically have traffic jams every day this week, but I have a plan. I will let my guest have the spotlight here during the day, then reblog content from my tour after 5:00.

You may ask why I’m reblogging at all, and that’s a fair question. My followers already know I released a book, they have a reasonable idea of what it’s about, and whether they might want to read it. Here’s the deal, and it matters to me: I have a lot of followers, and I want to send you guys to visit the folks that are helping me.

As an author, or even an editor, cover designer, or formatter, you need to know a few people to help spread the word. These folks supporting me this week, might be willing to support other author friends in the future. This is your chance to meet some cool people who support authors. I encourage you to visit them and follow their blogs. Leave a comment, introduce yourself, and make a friend in the business.

Harmony Kent is one of my partners over at Story Empire. She shared her review of The Hat on her own blog today. I’d appreciate it if you guys would send her a little traffic and help her blog grow. She’s a nice lady, a great author, and does a little editing herself. In other words, a good friend to make. Here is the link: Harmony Kent.

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Warlord of the Forgotten Age

Charles Yallowitz is a good friend of mine. He has appeared on my blog many times, and me on his. If you are the kind who read comments, you’ll find us getting into some fairly deep topics on one site or the other. Charles has what I see as a major accomplishment. He’s completed the final volume of his Legends of Windemere series. As a writer of stand-alone books I am in awe. This series is epic fantasy, and epic in proportion at fifteen volumes.

Many months ago, we got into a discussion about writing characters of the opposite gender. This isn’t something that comes easy to every writer. Our discussion morphed into the following post, and it’s part of his blast to announce Warlord of the Forgotten Age to the world. Read the post, join in the discussion, and get your copy of the book. I’ll also note that if you’re one who likes to wait for completion before starting a series, this is the time to jump on the Windermere train.

Oh, and if you would use those sharing buttons, we would both appreciate it. I’ve released enough books to know that spreading the word is super important.

Thank you to Craig for helping me promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age, which is also the last of the series.  That works for the necessary sales pitch because I want to get to the fun.

A while back, Craig wrote a guest post for my blog about how he writes female characters.  This is a question I’ve seen come up a lot in forums with people asking members of one group how they write characters from another.  It’s almost like readers are surprised when a man writes a strong, interesting female character or a woman comes up with a great male character.  Although, more the former than the latter because many female authors admitted that they find heroes and villains easier to write than heroines and villainesses. By the way, ‘villainesses’ is a word that doesn’t get used nearly enough   So, where do I stand on this?

Honestly, I never really thought about it until now.  Since I was a teenager, I focused more on how the characters acted and evolved.  The gender was important only to denote romantic interests, pronouns, clothing, and physical appearance, but the core of my characters was to make them human.  My heroines had to be able to pull their weight on teams and have unique skills that made them stand out.  In my earliest stories, I gave all of my characters roles and the female protagonists did tend to fall into caster and healer roles.  Only recently did I revisit these characters and redesign all of them to flush them out more.  To be honest, the males weren’t any better, but I think most of us have started out with flat characters.

In regards to the women of Windemere specifically, I started with a character that was introduced in the connected D&D game.  Selenia Hamilton isn’t the best example of how I write female characters.  The reason is because she’s a tough, legendary mercenary who now runs a warrior school, but has eliminated her femininity to the point where she’s very masculine.  A lot of authors seem to think this is the way to go for a ‘strong, female’ character.  I considered changing her, but realized she’s one of Windemere’s pioneers in terms of proving women can be strong warriors.  So, it would make sense that she went this route and paved the road for characters like Nyx, Sari, Kira Grasdon, and Dariana. Does this mean Selenia Hamilton is a bad character?  Not in the least, but it does show one way I used to think when it came to creating tough heroines. The thing is that you do have people like this in the real world, so I don’t see why it would be a problem to have fictional versions.  I’ve met plenty of women who decided that the only way to get ahead is to act more like a man. So, here we have me observing different types of women (men too to be fair) and using the variety.  After all, not every character of the same gender has to be the same.

That’s really the biggest thing that’s helped me write female characters in general.  I look around to see how women respond to things, listen to what they would like to see in heroines, and watch for various personality traits.  This really began because of Nyx, who is easily the most powerful hero in Legends of Windemere.  Seriously, who’s going to try and tell her that she’s not?  Nyx started as my wife’s first D&D character and I worked with her to do the transition from game to book.  I had to keep the personality the same while making it deeper and more flexible since she was going to be facing monsters instead of finals.  It wasn’t easy because the game Nyx wasn’t nearly as powerful, but still ran into battle and tended to get knocked out in the first round.  Mages are NOT supposed to rush into hand-to-hand, which is why the book version knows how to fight and has a massive defiance streak.  This experience led to me doing the same thing, but it gets difficult with characters that don’t have a real-life counterpart.  For those, I paid attention to heroines and villainesses from movies, shows, games, books, and whatever else I could find. I was looking at how other creators handled female characters and went on forums to see what people thought.  Usually, I found more complaints than praise, but it helped me figure out the details.

After all of that, I still came up with one important fact that I use for all of my characters.  It doesn’t matter if they’re male or female.  I write about heroes who stand for good and villains who wish to do bad.  They’re motivations, personalities, and abilities might be different, but all of them stand for something more than what’s between their legs.  I want all of my characters to be seen as strong and flawed, which is why I pay more attention to the core than the fleshy coating.  Personally, I think that should be the goal.  Make a strong character of either gender that everyone can enjoy and you’ve done something special.  Thanks again to Craig and hope people check out Warlord of the Forgotten Age to see how Nyx, Sari, and Dariana do against the Baron.  Oh, I guess the guys will be there too.

Author Bio & Social Media

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

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All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

Catch the rest of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE on Amazon!

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With a Little Help from my Friends

It feels like it's been a long time coming, but The Enhanced League is a genuine book now. I played the usual games with my Mac before uploading it. It generally works like this:

“You've been logged out. Please enter your iCloud password.”

I loaded my password.

“You have upgrades.”

I start downloading the newest and greatest to the operating system.

“Your upgrades have just been upgraded.”

I start over. Looks like it will take about thirty minutes. I check back in half an hour. Twenty seven minutes remaining.

Play with he dogs and talk to my daughter before checking back.

“You've successfully upgraded your operating system. Please enter your iCloud password.”

When I clicked the keys, nothing happened. Replace the batteries in everything.

“Something went wrong. You have upgrades.”

Start all over again. Repeat the waiting times, and password entry.

“Do you want to activate Siri on this machine?”

“Whatever! Just get on with it already.”

“Please enter your messenger password.”

“I don't even want messenger on this machine!!!” I click the red dot to close the window.

“Please enter you messenger password.”

“FINE!”

Anyway, after about three hours I was allowed to do the only thing I need the Mac for. Everything else can be done on my iPad.

I just got the email from Amazon that I am live right now.

I'm not the best blurb writer, but here's what I wrote:

The Enhanced league is a collection of short stories and anthems centered around a year in a fictional baseball league. It has a slight science fiction background. This league has a lot more pomp than you might be used to, and nobody seems to care if the players use performance enhancing drugs.

Stories involve existing heroes, up and comers, and falling stars. While there are the obvious stories that take place on the field of play, there are also human interest stories that take place around the baseball gyrations. These stories involve scouting, trades, ruthless business decisions, and even relationships.

I enjoyed researching and bringing you The Enhanced League, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — CB

***

This is where I ask for a little help from my friends. There are a few things you can do to help, if you're willing.

First is to reach down inside the couch and find ninety-nine cents (99¢), then go to Amazon and pick up a copy of The Enhanced League. This is the link. The widget on my sidebar is also linked. If you need an e-reader, there is a link for one of those on the side too. Grab a hotdog and a beer and have some fun with it.

Second, I need some blog hosts. I have several different posts already written. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to participate. You can request me, or a visit from Lisa Burton, and Lisa has some awesome new posters to share with a baseball theme to them. Let me know in the comments.

I also have a couple of posts I've written by request, and need to get them out to the hosts.

Third, don't be afraid to share the news, reblog one of the posts that pops up online, and tell your friends. I'll be doing the same on your new releases.

Finally, to the awesome group of volunteers who served as beta readers. I used many of your suggestions to improve this book. There is no expectation whatsoever, but if you'd like to post a review I'd really appreciate it.

I'm off to do a whole list of things next. These involve Goodreads, pinned tweets, my book club and more. I'll surf through and keep up with the comments.

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The weekend… ends

I don't have much of a progress report. After the trip to Shoshone Falls, we turned Saturday into an errand kind of day. Pretty mundane lifestyle things mostly.

We had date night at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. The food is always great, but I always think I could have gotten two steaks elsewhere for the same price.

Today, I finally got around to my reading. I spent several hours getting past the halfway point of a very good book. My eyes got too tired to go on, or I would have. Reading has to be a priority for me now. I have my RRBC club goal to meet for this quarter, plus I accepted a beta reading project and an ARC for review project that I need to finish before May.

I still have Yak Guy waiting around for me, and the delay brought me some clarity on his journey. I know what to do to reach the conclusion. I simply need to find the time to bring it all together. Since I don't have a publisher breathing down my neck, it has to wait for higher priority projects.

I did a bunch of blog work today too. My cohorts over at Story Empire and I have a promotional push going on soon. I think it's going to be a good event, but all the work has to happen ahead of time.

Beyond that, I ordered a cover for The Enhanced League and three new Lisa Burton posters to help me promote it. Once I get a break, I'll start the editing process. It is possible to have it available by the end of school. I'm still hung up on summer releases, and may hold it back until fall if it takes that long. Some of you might be able to convince me that summer releases are okay, but I think some genres are better suited to it than others.

Time for The Walking Dead, then I have to turn in early. Four AM comes around pretty early.

So, how was your weekend? Did you do fun things? Did you make progress on your projects? What do you think about summer releases?

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