Promotions, promotions!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of doing an interview for the radio to promote the haunted house. I didn’t get a copy of it, although I was told it sounded good. 

This past Saturday, J.R. Daoust of the Northern News came to visit our event, and he wrote a terrific article for us. I love the group shot, too. We were missing several students who couldn’t be there, but it still represents the collective team and their efforts:   

Can you see me in the upper right, at the back? Lol, so silly!

In other promotional news: my main publisher, Melange Books, is holding a Hallowe’en Sale, so you’ve got an opportunity to pick up a couple of my works at a discount! And why not? I love writing spooky stuff for you! 

Take a look at Spellbound 2011, which includes my short story “Telltale Signs”, only $0.99 until November 7, as well as the first book of my Talbot Trilogy, Wind and Shadow, at the special price of just $2.99, also until November 7! 

 Be careful, though — the Talbot Trilogy is rather addictive. Fortunately, it’s also a hell of a ride. Fair warning: the trilogy is explicit, very steamy, and gory, and by the final book, Crystal and Wand, it includes LGBQT material. 

Happy Hallowe’en Week!

5th Anniversary of Blogging!

First, thank you so much to the 150 individuals who are now following me on Romance and Other Dangers — I sincerely appreciate that you’re here. Hope to keep things fresh and interesting for you as my 365 Days of Blogging project continues!

And — WOW — 150 followers?! (happy dance)

And second, I have discovered the active links for Crystal and Wand: Book 3 of the Talbot Trilogy! It’s always so exciting to see one’s work out there in the world . . .

Here’s what the latest paranormal romance / urban fantasy is about. Be warned! It’s gritty, sexy, poignant, and highly satisfying:

Lovers reunite, and are torn apart. Bloodthirsty fiends battle for control of an army of the undead. With the community of Talbot frozen under layers of ice and snow, the domination of the vampire coven seems certain, but in the eye of the storm, the witches and the vampire hunters search desperately for the means to bring an end to the violence that threatens to take over more than one small, sleepy town. Will Rayvin and Charlotte be able to work together, combining their skills in magick, to prevent the loss of more innocent lives?


While the novel isn’t yet available for Kobo (Chapters-Indigo), the first two books and prequel novella most definitely are:

Wind and Shadow (Talbot Series #1)

And the series is available for Nook (Barnes and Noble):

Plus, of course, you can find the books on Amazon:

And at Melange Books:

Still working on a release party, but feeling rather gobsmacked today after all of the travel this past week. Definitely missing the lake, but starting to feel more in the swing of things again. Slowly.

So thank you again to everyone who has stepped onto the Tori Train (so to speak) — I hope that you will continue to enjoy my rants, reflections, poems, and essays!


Road trip! 

 Months after first introducing the teenager to the idea of space camp at the Cosmodôme in Montreal, we have completed the first leg of the journey! 

Tonight we are staying at my parents’ house, an hour and a half south of home, and tomorrow morning he and I will set off early for the 8 hour drive. Meanwhile, his little sister will stay with her Poppa and Grandma for the week while he’s at camp, and I get to visit my dear friend Tara only four hous away from the city!

So I’m going to be across the border hanging out in the world of Latham’s Landing for the release of Crystal and Wand next week, which means I’ll put the online release party together the week after.

I’m wondering whether it might be possible to write a whole new novel over the course of my five days (four plus a bit) of away-vacation. I know that some people can do it in 72 hours (there’s actually a contest every September for that!), so theoretically it’s possible. But I also need to use some time to start contacting reviewers who previously read Wind and Shadow (and Blood and Fire, some of them) to inquire if they would like to see how the story of Ravyn and Charlotte ends. That’s going to require coordinating and comparing my past emails with the records of the reviews on Goodreads and blogs, a job that would be much easier if I had my laptop (little tear) . . . Still, a journey is like a journey is like a project — each begins one step at a time. Or, in my case, one email at a time, in the company of a friend (and within the limits of my data plan).

So for those of you who have read the first book(s) of The Talbot Trilogy and given me a review, I thank you so, so much for your patience! I hope to be in contact with each of you lovely reviewers within the next few weeks. It’s time for the cliffhangers to end, the answers to be revealed, and the final battles won! 


Crystal and Wand: July 23!!!

I’m seriously close to (happy) tears — just got the word that my third novel, the final installment of The Talbot Trilogy, is going live on July 23

Nine years since the initial concept. 

Gonna have to plan some awesome parties for this, folks! 


The Final Proof: General Advice for Writers

The last thing writers do before their work is released into the world is reviewing the proof copy for the publisher, making sure all the little details are right. Going over it with a fine-toothed comb. Comparing it with the list of items that needed to be fixed in the PDF. (I suspect proofing was easier in the time before e-copies, before transferring files from program to program caused glitches and don’t size changes and all those little annoyances.)

Proofreading: it’s both necessary, and it can be pretty tiring. I find it helps to read/review the book both as the author, knowing what to look for, and as a first-time reader. Yup — I pretend I haven’t read it before, as best I can, to approach the proof with fresh eyes. Helps if there aren’t any distractions around, too.

Plus — I am usually also fueled by nervous energy and excitement by this stage, so I have to exercise patience in the extreme.

Pardon me while I get it out . . .

SQUEEE! My book is here! The trilogy is complete! I’ve got the set! Yay!

(Ahem) Resuming dignity in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

As I was saying, patience. It’s no good rushing out and shouting to the world that the book is ready if there are errors hiding sneakily in plain sight — I know, because I was overly enthused and didn’t look carefully enough for them in books one and two, and unfortunately, reviewers were the ones who caught them for me.

So, fellow writers (aspiring or repeat offenders), remember when you are proofing to do the following things:

  1. Take your time.
  2. Use the form and structure required by your publisher to communicate any blips that need correcting. It’s more efficient.
  3. Don’t rush.
  4. Keep all your notes on previous proof reviewing sad reference.
  5. Read your book as though it’s for the first time.
  6. Remember why you wrote it in the first place!
  7. Smile. You made a thing and it’s beautiful. Proofing ensures that it is as perfect as humanly possible.

And thank you to my editor and publisher at Melange Books for her unerring patience with me throughout this whole process. You are amazing, Nancy!

Indie Authors and Marketing/Sales

A big question from non-writers and budding authors is this: How many books have you sold? 

I think another way to look at it is this: How much and what kinds of promo do you do? 

Because it’s a simple fact: if people don’t know your work is out there, how will they read it? 

Marketing is always a bit of a gamble. My daughter learned something about sales this weekend, when she set up a lemonade stand on our front lawn and then, the following morning, added a yard sale. “Where are the people?” she kept asking. “Why isn’t anyone coming? Did you tell the people?” 

Meaning, did I post her yard sale on Facebook? 


But as I said to her, just putting the word out isn’t necessarily enough to tempt people into coming and checking out your stuff. We don’t know what their plans are, whether they’re in town, or even if they are interested in her toys. In fact, she had more response to her lemonade than her things — the nice hot day helped with that. She had a sign in front of her table, but we didn’t put signage up on either end of the street (for some yard sales, it’s not uncommon to see the signs blocks away, often with balloons for attention). I also suggested to her that it might help if she tried again when her dad wants to have a yard sale, because people tend to stop when there is a large amount of stuff to look through. 

There are two kinds of people, I told her: those who will slow down and look closely at what you might be offering, to decide whether stopping and buying is an idea, and those who just keep on going. 

All of this can come right back to promoting and selling books. 

There is no formula for bringing the browsers and potential buyers to the table. Just like with yard sales, there are individuals out there who love to cruise for deals and treasures, sometimes planning their routes and bookmarking places they want to look at again. My husband is one of them! And I do the same — my Amazon wish list is massive. The hard part is encouraging someone who is considering the purchase to take the plunge. 

And letting them know that the plunge is there, to begin with. 

Yard sale advertising is relatively easy. There’s the posters, newspaper ads (if you care to pay for them), and online methods: for example, Hubby runs a community page for yard sales on Facebook, one of several groups doing the same. His caters specifically to yard and garage sales, though — if anyone tries to advertise a product or a service, he boots them off. 

Advertising for a novel is more challenging because of cost. Book posters can add up, even if you design them yourself, and then they need to be distributed to places where your target audience is going to see them. That requires either shipping them to friendly stores and libraries with a nice note asking if they’ll put them up, or physically visiting the locations (I recommend the latter) to do the same. And bringing a few sample books along to see if they can be put on a shelf. Other swag that indie authors can invest in and distribute include bookmarks, business cards, mugs, magnets, notebooks, t-shirts, pens — your basic corporate promo items. Recently, I started considering unconventional swag as well, like making business cards with teabags, exploring buisness cards that can transform with embedded seeds into flowering plants, things like that. It’s also important to send out copies of your work to reviewers (although if it’s a print, shipping can add up). And then there are the free things, like Facebook parties, interviews, and blog posts (hey!). 

See, the problem is that just like the yard sales, there is competition out there. Weekends in our small town see yard sale signs pop up like dandelions. Indie author promos are like that, cropping up in busy numbers and waves on Twitter and the rest of the social media gang. Too many tweets, and followers get annoyed. Too few, and — well, then, nothing. Better to have a voice in the chorus than to sit quietly and twiddle thumbs. 

Because there are readers on the hunt for their next great read, just as there are pickers looking for their next big find. Every time you wear a t-shirt with your book cover emblazoned on it, or get your poster in a window, or say something about your work somewhere online, you are putting out the energy into the universe that someone somewhere is ready to receive. Someone will want to check out your stuff, and pass the word on to someone else. 

Two hours after Bridget had tidied up her sale, two people on Facebook posted interest in her project — one wanted to know if she was still going so she could buy a cup of lemonade, and the other was interested in a yard sale item. Would they have come by if she had still been out there, peddling her wares? Maybe. But just the fact that they’d commented showed that word was spreading and nibbles were there. 

Even if there are no guarantees, the marketing effort is absolutely necessary. It’s an investment in yourself

On Self-Publishing . . . with students

This morning I finally got my Writer’s Craft student anthology completed for printing. The Amazon page should be up by the middle of next week, and I can give the link to my students to order their own copies. 

Remember when I said I didn’t have a list going? Yeah, I totally lied. It’s on my iPhone. And this item is on the verge of getting ticked off . . . as soon as the book is live and I’ve communicated the link, it’s one less thing I have to worry about. 

I had hoped, this time, that the publishing of the anthology wouldn’t take as long as the first time I’d done it for my class. After all, I had more experience with the process this round, knew what to expect, and the CreateSpace program is pretty easy to use. 

However . . .

I’d underestimated how many typos had been caught and fixed in the first and second rounds of edits. I found more in the 3rd. And unexpectedly added some in the 4th. Plus some of the pictures added to files by student writers were moving around, and then I found out that I had to anchor the damned things or they wouldn’t upload at all. 

And I discovered after approving the print (paperback) copy that the file I currently have won’t upload to Kindle Direct as-is, so I’m going to have to do some tweaking again to make it e-book effective. 

I was kind of hoping that my students would be witness to some of this process during our class time, but it didn’t work out that way. I’ll just have to let them know when I post the link, just to reinforce that most important part of the self-publishing process: 

Have patience. Lots and lots of patience.

If you are putting your own work out there, you can’t rush it. Skipping steps or avoiding one last readthrough is a sure-fire way for your work to end up with flaws that might prove embarrassing to you or off-putting to readers simply because they could have been super-easy to fix. 

And having patience also means ignoring or working around distractions. If you are fortunate enough to be working from a writing cave or a den or a she-shed or whatever you have, awesome! Lock the door. Spend 20 minutes at a time and then do something fun so you don’t fry your brain reading over the text again and again. If you’re like me and there’s little to no privacy to be had in your abode except when the smaller fry are suitably distracted, you have to work on it when you can. Patiently. 

That being said, I’m still plugging away at the proofing of my novel, Crystal and Wand, which will be published by Melange Books — I haven’t yet taken the plunge into self-pubbing my own work just yet. Might do that this summer with the snowmobiling novel (it now has a title! Rip Gone Wrong), or the children’s book I wrote about my daughter’s lost toe-nail . . . Or keep polishing and take my chances with submitting the manuscripts to publishers.  Because I suspect that I may have more patience in editing and proofing other peoples’ work after it’s been completed than in doing my own from start (concept and drafting) to finish. 

Self-publishing. It’s a journey. Keep lots of your favourite coffee or tea on hand, trust me. You’ll need it.

Update . . . 

Aaand true to form, when I thought I would sit down for five minutes to look over the Kindle file requirements for the anthology, lo and behold I discovered, unbelievably, that I’d left out the word “by” in some of the Table of Contents. Infuriating. So here I am, multiple deep breaths and three-quarters of an hour later, submitting the updated file again. Patience indeed.