Monday, March 28, 2011

Do you listen to your books?

Audio books were something I never gave a lot of thought to. Oh, I'd listened to one or two over the years, but I always preferred to read a book. That has started to change over last year. I can't really pinpoint a single event, but I would say the amount of traveling I've been doing had something to do with this change. Anyway, sometime last year I started listening to audio books in the car. Then I brought them inside and started listening to them while I cooked, or made buttons, or any task that took both my hands but not my full attention. Now I wouldn't say I'd rather listen to a book over read it, but I definitely enjoy being able to multi-task.

All that said, when the audio rights for both the Alex Craft and Haven series recently sold, I was a lot more excited than I probably would have been in previous years. Who will the reader be? What kind of voices will she give the characters? What will Alex/Kita/Nathanial/Falin/Death/Bobby/Tatius/etc . . . sound like? In short, I'm very anxiously awaiting hearing the audio versions.

And for Grave Witch, that wait is almost over.

The audio rights for the first three Alex Craft novels were picked up by the great folks over at Tantor Audio. Grave Witch will be read by Emily Durante and the release is set for next month (April). This will be my very first audio release (though I should have more to announce shortly) so I'm all but beside myself. I get the feeling listening to my book on audio will be quite an experience. 

With this release, I also have another first to look forward to--my very first alternate cover. I had no idea the audio release would get its own cover, so I was completely shocked when my editor sent me a cover for approval.  It is a different look for Alex, but I think it is totally eye catching and absolutely gorgeous. I have been given the green light to share so I am very pleased to unveil the audio release cover art:



What do you think? (click image to enlarge) And back to the question in the title of this post: Do you  listen to audio books?

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm talking about myself!

Today I'm being interviewed over at My Bookish Ways Blog. There is a giveaway for Grave Witch, so if you haven't heard me talk about myself and my books enough yet, please go check it out!

Deadlines are closing in again and at the same time spring has hit my sunny town in the Carolinas. I'm spending most of my time with my laptop pounding out words. My limited spare time I'm devoting to my garden while the weather is still beautiful. (It's in the high seventies and mid eighties now, but spring is a short season here and summer will hit with high nineties and heat indexes over a hundred soon, so I'm enjoying the good gardening weather while it lasts.) Because of those reasons, (though the former more than the latter) my blogging schedule will be rather erratic over the next few weeks. I'll try to have a substantial post at least once a week, so if there are any topics you guys want me to blog about, please let me know in the comments. I'm not sure what my reader demographics are these days. For a while most of my active commenters were writers and aspiring writers but I'm not sure that is still the case.

So my questions to you are what kind of blogs do you read and what types of posts do you you prefer? Do you like writing craft posts? Do you want behind the scenes type stuff about my writing or about the books? Do you mostly stop by blogs to find out the newest information about book releases/excerpts/covers? Do you like the author chat videos? Do you read many blogs? How often do you check those blogs?

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Facebook Contest WINNER!!

Do you remember last week's post about the Facebook Author Page Contest? Well, the contest has now ended and it's time to draw the winner!

According to the random number generator, the winner is:

LISA FULLER

Congratulations Lisa! Please send an email on facebook or to contests(AT)kalayna(DOT)com with which book you'd like to receive and where you'd like me to ship it. Thank you everyone who "liked" the new author page. Stay tuned for more contests and book info to come.

(Sorry about the late posting of this announcement. This is the first time I sat down with my internet today. Also, I'm dreadfully behind on email. If you've emailed me in the last few weeks, I should be getting back to you in the next few days. Sorry!)

Happy Hump day everyone!

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Widget and a link to "The Preposition Gnome"

(If you didn't see it yesterday, check out this post for details on how to enter the current contest.)

Hey everyone. This is a just a quick post to let everyone know I'm over at Magical Words today. I wrote a craft post about the preposition gnome haunting my laptop, so I hope you'll head over and check it out.

In other news, I designed a countdown widget for the release of GRAVE DANCE. If anyone is interested in sporting the widget on their page/blog/what-have-you, just click on the grey "Get Widget" box under the counter for the code.



Okay, that's it for me today. (I told you this would be a quick post)
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Facebook Author Page Contest!

I mentioned last week that I was planning a contest for those who "liked" my new author page on Facebook, and I am now ready to get that contest going. Entering is super easy: everyone who currently "likes" the page as well as all those who join by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, March 22nd will automatically be entered to win. Now I'm sure you're all wondering what you could win, right? I'm glad you asked.

Up for grabs is a signed copy of your choice of any of my currently released books. (Sorry, I don't have any ARCs of this summer's upcoming releases, so only the three which are already out.) And, just because I think it will be fun, for every hundred "likes" the page gets during the contest, I'll add in another book. That means that if the page passes 300 fans, I'll be giving away signed copies of my entire backlist. If the contest generates even more entries, for every hundred mark after 300, I'll pick an additional winner. So please spread the word about the page and the contest to anyone you think would enjoy the books!

The winner(s) will be selected using a random number generator and announced both on Facebook and the blog on Wednesday, March 23rd. This contest is open internationally. 


Good luck everyone!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

GRAVE DANCE excerpt


Today I'm very pleased to share the first sneak peek excerpt of GRAVE DANCE! If you'd like to check it out, you can CLICK HERE.

This first excerpt is only a few pages long, but check back often because I'll be releasing extended excerpts on or around the 15th of each month between now and the book's release in July. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Author Chat with Faith Hunter

Hey everyone. I'm very pleased to share a quick author chat with New York Times Bestselling urban fantasy author, Faith Hunter. I had a chance to chat with Faith about her books and tips for writers when I was at StellarCon last weekend, so I hope you'll check out the video (below). And for more writing tips, be sure you check out www.magicalwords.net.


Have a great weekend everyone!

(Sorry this is so late in the day--I was fighting with youtube all morning. I finally realized I could upload the video to facebook first and share it that way, and thus circumvented the whole youtube issue, but yeah, way later than I wanted.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quick updates and announcements

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you who have joined the fan page on facebook. Next week there will be a contest that everyone who likes the page will be automatically entered in, so watch this space for more information to come.

 Next on the list, I'm very excited to announce that GRAVE WITCH was nominated as "Best Novel with Romantic Elements" for 2010 by The Romance Reviews. If you have a moment, I'd be absolutely thrilled if you'd head over and vote. Thanks!


And on to more updates, I've been given permission to release an excerpt from GRAVE DANCE. Woohoo! I promise I've been waiting as impatiently to share as you guys have been to read. Tonight or tomorrow I'll be releasing a newsletter with a special preview of the excerpt. It will be up online for everyone next Monday. If you haven't joined the newsletter yet but would like to, you can sign up here:

Don't worry, I send out no more than one newsletter a month. Also, I try to make sure newsletter recipients get first previews of covers and excerpts.

Okay, unless I'm forgetting something, I think that is it for the updates today. Please check back tomorrow when I'll have a video interview with NYT bestselling urban fantasy author, Faith Hunter!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Video Author Chat with Misty Massey at StellarCon

Today I'm very pleased to share with you an quick video chat with Misty Massey from StellarCon last weekend. Misty is the author of Mad Kestrel and a regular poster at Magical Words, an amazing craft website for writers. This video was also filmed in the dealer's room, so the background noise is a little distracting. Sorry about that. I really need to look into getting a mic for my camcorder. Anyway, without further ado, the the video:







Now, when you were watching that interview, did you hear how Misty described her book, Mad Kestrel? She didn't give us a big break down of the plot or give us a long explanation about who her main character is. She gave us just two short sentences: "A rollicking adventure of magic on the high seas. If Jack Sparrow had a little sister, it would be Kestrel."

From those two little sentences, you get an idea of what the story is about (Pirates, magic, adventure) that a longer, rambling explanation likely wouldn't have captured and certainly not it quite so intriguing a way. It gives you just enough to make you curious--which is exactly what it's supposed to do.

They style pitch has many names, depending on who you are speaking to. I'm a bit fuzzy on the exact breakdown of what qualifies as which kind of pitch, so for this blog, I'm going to call that an elevator pitch--which is a short pitch that you could tell someone in the span of an elevator ride. Meaning they ask you what your book is about and you can rattle off "My book is . . ." and be done and have their interest before the doors open again.

To get a pitch like this, you have to boil down your book to it's essence. What is most unique about it? What makes it interesting. At the same time, what evocative words will make the listener immediately form ideas?

At RoundCon a few weeks back one of the other guests was talking about her books and gave a pitch that stopped me and made me think, "wow, I want to read that." Elysabeth Williams described one of her books as "A Steampunk Charlie's Angels" which sounds fascinating. (That is actually probably a 'high concept pitch' which is even shorter than the elevator pitch.)

Boiling a 100k word story down to a single sentence is hard work. It is also a skill I'm personally still working on and am far from mastering. But for all of you aspiring writers out there, I highly recommend practicing. Before you are published you will use these short pitches as part of your query letter to grab an agent or editor's attention and get them to read on, or in person if you get a chance to go to conventions and conferences. If you hit on a good high concept pitch or short elevator pitch, your agent will use it when approaching editors, and your editor will use it to sell the manuscript to the publisher's marketing team. Then you will use the pitch again once the book is out when potential readers stop by your table and ask about your book or when you're on a panel and the moderator asks you to introduce yourself and tell everyone a bit about your book(s). A well polished and practiced pitch will certainly save you from stumbling over your words going "I, uh, write about shapeshifters and uh, vampires . . . " ^_^

Happy hump day everyone!

Monday, March 07, 2011

StellarCon 2011 and an Author Chat With Marcia Colette

Hey everyone. I'm back from StellarCon and I have a sack of updates to share with you, but I think I'll have to spread them out across the week. For today I just want to direct your attention to my brand new fan page over on Facebook. Please take a second to check it out and "Like" it if you're a facebook user. I'm still getting information up on the page and working out the kinks, but my hope that it will not only be a great place to find out what is happening with me but also to connect with other urban fantasy and paranormal romance readers. I've added a discussion board to the page, so we will see what happens.

Okay, back to the con update. I had an absolutely amazing time at StellarCon. The convention included a lot of firsts for me. My first reading you've seen already, but my other first for a con experience was even more exciting. What was it, you're asking? Well, (to my knowledge) this was the very first con I've been to where I signed books not sold at the event.

Don't get me wrong, I'm always excited when people see me on panels and decide they want to read my books. The fact someone thinks that I said something interesting enough for them to take a chance on my books is awesome. I only hope they enjoy the book when they get home. When someone brings a book from home, one they enjoyed enough to carry to a con and track down the author to get it signed--well, that was definitely a first for me, and definitely an extra thrill! (Special shout out to Larry and to Tom!)

Another first for me was participating in Tony Ruggiero's "Quick Write" session which challenged the participating writers to create a story about a werewolf gigolo in walmart and another about Todd McCaffery involving the Hover Dam and Sexbots. The results were hilarious, to say the least.

Well, there is more to say about the weekend and the con, but I'm going to save it for a future post and wrap up with a vlog author chat!

That's right, I took my camcorder with me to the con, and I managed to pin down a couple of the guests for interviews, so over the course of the week, I'll post those interviews here. First up, we have an chat with Marcia Colette. This chat was filmed during our signing in the dealer's room, so the background noise is pretty bad. Sorry about that. (Oh, and we aren't really ignoring people--I promise!)


Happy Monday everyone, and be sure to check back later this week for another video interview!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

My Reading

This is a flash post because I'm due down at the signing table in 20 minutes.  I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who have me advice and encouragement for my first ever public reading. I recorded it, and I think it wasn't a total disaster.

And now for your enjoyment, if you missed the reading in person, you can watch the clip now.


I'm having a great time at StellarCon and I promise a full update once I get back. Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Con Frantic

It's Thursday, which means tomorrow I head to StellarCon in Highpoint NC and at 4:30pm I have my first ever reading.

I am nervous.

I'm at 28 hours until the reading and I still don't have a clue what passage I'm going to read. I don't even know how long a passage I should pick. I wish I had attended more readings in the past, but I haven't, so I'm flying rather blind. I just had a long talk with fellow author Rachel Aaron, and she pointed out that if you can't do voices, dialogue tends to run together so avoid dialogue heavy scenes. I'd never considered that.

The block for my reading is 30 minutes, but I doubt anyone would like to hear me drone on that long. It would probably be best to split things up and pick a 10 minute passage, talk a bit and get a feel for what the attendees (if there are any and I'm not reading to an empty room!) are interested in, and then read a shorter second passage based on them. What do you think?

Has anyone out there done a reading before? How about attended readings? Any suggestions or tips? Anyone who has read my books want to suggest a passage they think would be interesting for me to read? Will I see any of you tomorrow?

Happy Thursday everyone. I don't know what my internet situation will be at the con, so I probably won't post about the reading and the con until next week, but I will be < a href="http://twitter.com/kalayna" target="new">tweeting from StellarCon if you're interested.

Have great weekend!