Monday, November 30, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 171 -- Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday - Joshua Graham 

Today's Motivation Monday is about Bestselling Christian Thriller Author Joshua Graham. He had such an inspirational story I had to share it. If talk of religion or Christianity makes you uncomfortable. You can stop here. 

I'm going to keep going. 

Joshua has written a lot books now but his hit book was called BEYOND JUSTICE. He has such an inspirational message about how a low point in his life drove him to pursue writing and what he believes helped him find success. I loved this deeply spiritual interview. It has a great message. 

His book is below if you're interested....just click the cover. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 170 -- Writing Spree

Anything Sunday --And Now We Write Some More

After six years in the industry this year and just finishing my last book, I've come to a conclusion about my career. There is only ONE thing that I can control in terms of writing results-- and that is the books I write and how much time I take to learn and apply the craft. 

That's it. 

Everything else is really a crapshoot. You can put a lot of effort into marketing and other things but the energy you put in may not equal what you get out of it. If you put your energy into writing a book, as long as you finish, you will get a book. I like those odds. 

Rather than worry about things outside of my control, I've chosen to shift my focus to the things that I can ABSOLUTELY control. So, I'm taking a day to bask in the glory of finishing my 9th book (not too shabby in six years). And now that I've completed my one major deadline-driven obligation--the writing spree begins. 

In between drafts of the romance I wrote for a book set I'm participating in with 13 other authors, I wrote outlines for my next five books. 

I don't know about you, but when I get into a writing groove, it's much better when I can write straight through rather than get in it...and get out of it...then have to find my way back in it. Even now, it is taking me a few days to get my head back in the game. Although to be fair, I did just finish a few very intense weeks of not only editing my own work, but editing for another author. So, I actually deserve a break. 

So I plan to kick up quite a bit of dust next year. Putting everything aside and focusing on attending some writing conferences, learning, writing and publishing. That's it. If I get all these done, I'll end the year at 14 books. Not bad for 7 years. 

I plan to finish two novellas in December, one during my week off for the Christmas holiday. One in January. And then the rest of the year will be focused on wrapping up the J.J. McCall spy thrillers. 

Can she do it? Of course, she can. It's going to take a lot of work and determination but I've got that in spaces. 2016 will be a good year. Stay tuned!

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 169 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Week's Top Five Publishing Stories

More Publishers Fail as E-Books Rise 

We've heard similar stories in the United States but this is actually from the UK. Interesting that the impact of ebooks is being viewed largely the same way. 

Writers on the Pain of Hindsight in Publishing

"If I knew then what I know now..." is an idea that haunts writers the world over. If I could write Book 1 of the J.J. McCall series today, it would be much different than the version three years ago. You live and you learn and, if you're doing what you're supposed to do and continually learning, then you will inevitably look back on some of your work wishing you could change a thing or two. This is a very good article to read. You're not alone. 

J.K. Rowling Loved Publishers' Rejection Letters 

Yes, it's easy to love them when you're a billionaire writer already...but this is a cute story. 

Want to Succeed in Self-Publishing? Have a Plan 

More tips from an indie author. Nothing particularly new but always good to reinforce. 

Author Day: Writers are Divided into Two Camps 

This is an interesting article. There are some indies who have had bad experience with traditional publishers and rejection that might hold grudges and those traditionally published authors who look down on indies.  For me, I don't think there's an US against Them environment in publishing (Traditional vs Publishing) so much as "This works for me and that doesn't." It's a nuance but I think there is a difference. 

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S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 168 -- Joint Deception (A J.J. McCall Novel #4) -- Sneak Preview #1

Fiction Friday -- Joint Deception (A J.J. McCall Novel Book #4)

Over the next few months I will be sharing previews of Joint Deception when I feel they are worthy enough for a preview. They aren't perfect and will probably change a bit in the final but they will give you a sense of what you can expect in the Book 4.

This scene is a bit intense. After the ending to Book 3, J.J. was in the hospital and believed she was engaged to Six. This obviously is hard on Tony, not to mention the fact that he's conflicted from the lines he crossed in the previous book. So he's a bit of a powder keg ready to explode and Gia catches him at the WRONG TIME. Needless to say, by the end of this scene, his Brooklyn was showing, and unfortunately for him, Six witnesses the whole thing.

Chapter 1

Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake." Napoleon Bonaparte

Trudging through the unforgiving, Manhattan winter winds, Six pressed his way across the hospital parking lot with one goal in mind—to protect J.J. McCall. He sensed her enemies lurking in darkened shadows awaiting the next opportunity to slaughter her, to finish the job and end the sole life on earth that brought light to his. He vowed to rain the fire of hell down on them. The bitter, torturous end the now dead traitor Hawk suffered would be nothing compared to the unbridled terror he would unleash upon them; he could almost hear the bones crunching in their necks as his hands squeezed life out and death in.
Her stay at the hospital had already lasted too long. Tony tried to convince him that taking her home was a mistake he’d regret, claimed she needed to be monitored. But any fool could see his efforts were designed to protect his own interests and not hers. Today, this would come to an end if he had anything to say about it.
He entered the lobby and weaved through the waiting area and took the elevator to the fourth floor. As he exited and turned the corner toward J.J.'S room, the sound of familiar voices stopped him in his tracks and he backed up. Gia and Tony stood next to one another, close enough to exchange whispers, and, he, close enough to hear them. As they traded heated glares, he did what came naturally to him as a CIA counterintelligence operative—waited, lurked, and listened. With only a couple of feet and the turn of a corner as cover, he positioned himself within earshot and peered to see Tony’s form shadowing hers, and he stood at an angle so only a sliver of his face was visible as they battled.   
 “Gia, what the hell are you doing?” Tony hissed. “How many times have I told you never to show your face here again? You don’t belong.”
“A case of the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn’t you say? You’ve been replaced. Six, isn’t it?”
“He could never replace me. But, since you’re already off on the wrong foot, let me offer you a gentle warning. D.C. Tony and Brooklyn Tony—two different people. The latter is not to be fucked with. Hai capito?”
Six jerked his head back and pressed his lips together; he’d never seen this side of Tony. He might scare little girls like Gia, but never him.
“Listen,” Gia said after a pause, her tone shrinking with her courage. “I’m not trying to cause problems for you. I’d speak to you elsewhere, but you never leave. Day and night, night and day, you're here. And, frankly, to JJ you're nobody, not anymore. You don't want me here? Fine, then respond to any one of the twenty attempts I’ve made to contact you.”
Tony rolled his eyes and huffed. “Fine. J.J. was almost murdered and the assholes responsible are on the loose, but feel free to share your tale of woe. What’s wrong? You bought a purse didn’t match your shoes?”
In her frustration, her voice emerged above her whisper. “I know you don't give a shit about me or anything that happens to me, but right now our fates are tied together.”
“You must be smoking. Nothing about me will ever be tied to you.”
Al contrario, il, Signor Donato,” Gia said. Her Italian accent was as sexy as her looks. “J.J.’s memory is coming back. She’ll remember the night she found us in bed, the pain that led her to the slaughter.”
“You mean, the pain you caused her in trying to seduce me?”
“Funny how memories fade. If you recall, you are the one who opened the door and let me inside. So when she recovers, your fate is certainly tied to mine, whether you like it or not.”
Tony turned away sharply, his expression one of a man deeply pained; Six felt not an ounce of sympathy.
“I'm very disappointed that things didn't work out between us,” Gia continued. “But, right now, my problems are bigger than sleeping with you.”
Hmph. You’ve said a mouthful there.”
Gia huffed. “My primary concern is my position on the task force. Successfully completing this assignment would line me up for a promotion to a supervisor slot. If J.J. recalls our…precarious position…she’ll kick me off the team.”
“If that’s all J.J. does to you when she remembers what happened, consider yourself lucky.”
She rolled her eyes and seared him with her glare.
“And if you feel that way, then maybe you should just quit right now,” Tony added.
“Maybe you should quit. You think she’ll want to look at you every day, her mind flashing back to when her little world fell apart?”
“But nothing happened,” he growled, “and you know it.”
“I might know it, but I promise you this: I'm not going down alone. And right now, the truth of what happened behind closed doors lies between my word and yours.”
Tony’s eyes bulged.
“I need an ally; you'll need me to swear nothing happened between us. And I will if you go to bat for me when
“Hold up. Hold up. Let me get this straight. Some crazy Russian out there is hell-bent on executing J.J.—a federal agent and leader of this task force, and you dare ask me to give two shits about your job?” 
“Tony, I...”
“Tony I, what? Tony I’m exploiting this critical situation to advance my career?”
He let out a contemptuous laugh. “And you really think I’m gonna let you get away with threatening to blackmail me over something that never happened between us?” He stepped next to her, invaded her space, his chest hulking, the sound of his breath heavy and menacing. “I don’t know who the fuck you think you’re talking to but let me set the record straight. My last name is Donato, and I am every bit my father’s son. If you so much threaten me with a rainy forecast on a sunny day, for the rest of your life, you’ll fucking regret it!” he spat with Italian venom.
Six's lips curled into a smirk. He'd heard enough.
“Well, well, well,” Six said, emerging from the shadows, startling both Tony and Gia. “I’ve arrived and the gang's all here...and cozy as ever, it would seem.” He his gaze shifted between them.
“Six!” Gia said, jumping away from Tony, her hand to her chest. “Jesus, you scared me.”
“I bet I did,” he said, glaring at the both of them. “Didn't interrupt anything, did I?”
Tony gave him the side-eye. “You wish.”

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Day 167 -- Motivation for Creative People

Craft Talk Thursday -- Motivation for Creative People 

So I spend a ridiculous amount of time on The Creative Penn YouTube page but I've never heard an interview there that didn't provide some immediately useful insight. 
This is a pretty awesome presentation. Probably better suited for Motivation Monday--but there is no improving your writing craft or writing without motivation. The author, Mark McGuinness, provides a very insightful interview on motivation and I highly recommend watching the WHOLE THING!! Good stuff.

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S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 166 -- Laser Keyboard

What's New Wednesday -- Gifts for Writers 

So they've invented laser keyboards. Who knew! As a true gadget queen, I feel I owe it to myself and humanity to own one of these.

I'm so behind the times but this is too cool. All you need is a bluetooth connection and a flat service and you can have a full-sized keyboard anywhere. 

BTC® BTC-LE Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Laser Projection Virtual Keyboard for Apple iPad IOS Android-Black


And they're not so expensive. You can get one for the low low price of $49.99 on Amazon. 
The writer in your life might love it. 

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S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 165 -- Ad Talk Tuesday -- Holiday Book Marketing Problems

Ad Talk Tuesday -- Holiday Promotions 

T'is the seasson. 

I've seen a bunch of authors running book promotion and "Black Friday sales" to get some holiday bumps in book sales. I've seen some authors do free giveaways and 99 cents sales. I've also seen authors running contests for gift cards and other giveaways. 

I'm doing a Kindle and Gift Card giveaway for my latest romantic comedy, but I do this every year following a book release. It just so happened that this virtual book tour was scheduled around the holidays. But running a rafflecopter with a giveaway is a great way to build up your email list. 

I found this Huffington Post article pretty interesting. It doesn't say much new, but it is a reminder that we need to take advantage of the season and all those new ereaders that will be gifted over the Christmas holiday. 



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S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 164 -- Motivation Monday -- Late Starters

Motivation Monday -- Late Starters 

I love hearing stories about authors who caught the writing bug later in life. I've talked before about being miserably successful. You can have a successful career doing something that's not your passion. Sometimes, paying the mortgage offsets the pain. 

I didn't write my first novel until the age of 39 1/2 and, by some miracle, that first book (which I initially self published) got picked up by a Big 5 publisher. The odds of that happening are so small for first-time writers. The point being that no matter how old you are, get out of your own way, and do what you love. Do that thing that drives, moves, motivates you to get up every morning. You may not be able to do that the way you want to do it (i.e., full time), but do it the way you can until you are in a position to do it the way you want to do it. 

Paul Levine, author of the Jake Lassiter series, is a great example of succeeding at a writing career even if you get your start later in life. Check it out!

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S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 163 -- Anything Sunday -- Paperbacks Now on Sale

Anything Sunday -- DeNoWriMo and Paperbacks for Sale


Back to catching up on my blog. It has truly been a harrowing writing week. I finally met my deadline and found reviewers for my latest romance/romantic comedies in order to meet my obligation for the box set. Now, I can dial down my activities through the holidays. I'll still be writing, just not at the frenetic pace at which I was going through November to make the December 1st deadline. Two small pieces of news today.

1. DeNoWriMo 

For anyone else who got slammed during NaNoWriMo in November. I'm holding DeNoWriMo -- December novel writing month. I have done my outlines for the next 5 books so there's nothing for me to do except sit down and write them. Three are planned novellas, and, of course I will be wrapping up the J.J. McCall series.

So, if you're interested in going along for the ride, keep me updated on twitter @SDKYE. 50,000 words by New Year's Day!

2. Paperback J.J. McCall Novels Now on Sale 

I've had the darnedest time getting my book on Lightning Source through the review process. I think I just uploaded the wrong file. Anyway, since I've had some requests for autographed paperbacks and I have a stock here at home, I've decided to offer them for sale via this site.

They are $13.00 -- $10.00 and $3 to offset the cost of shipping. 

Click here to find the link to the books.  

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 162 -- Hot Links Saturday

Hot Links Saturday -- Week's Top 5 Publishing Links

No time for commentary today, but here are my Top 5 links this week with some really interesting stories, including Harper Collins' new imprint focused on indie authors.  Enjoy!!

When the Sharing Economy Comes to Publishing 

Everything's Generic: Why Publishing Needs Tagging 

Why Authors and Publishers Should Embrace Automation 

HarperCollins is Courting Indie Authors

Self Published Books Account for 18% of U.S. Market 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365 Day Blogathon Day 161 -- THE BIGOT LIST -- FREE

Free Fiction -- The Bigot List 

This is the first book in the J.J. McCall Series. A Bigot List is actually an intelligence community term for a list of people with access to super sensitive TOP SECRET investigations, operational information, and sources and methods. 

When cases go bad or get compromised, that list is usually the starting point to find out who's responsible. So, being on it is a catch-22 especially when there are spies lurking about. Such is the premise of The Bigot List -- but you knew that!

This is an announcement about this book's availability. 

In an effort to spread the love around, the J.J. McCall Novels will now be on sale at all ebook retail sales outlets. 

And it's now FREE on iBooks and KOBO. I would've made it free on B&N but they don't provide that option. And this book is no longer in Kindle Select so this will no longer be free, unless Amazon makes it perma-free. 

If you'd like to pick up a free copy on the iBooks and Kobo formats, click the links below. They are 99 cents elsewhere. 

B & N

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 160 -- Craft Talk Thursday

Well, you knew you were going to get a video. Someday, my life is going to slow down enough that I can write the blogs I actually planned to write. 

But this is great short video with excellent advice. Check it out. 


Which one was your favorite. #1 is a key for me. You have to get some time between drafts. The more time the better. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 159 -- Nite Notes

What's New Wednesday -- Gifts for Writers 

Nite Notes

Anybody ever get ready to fall asleep, and just when your brain is supposed to be settling down to go to sleep, your brain is waking up. And it never fails to come up with some "brilliant" idea that you swear you're going to remember in the morning and write it down then, but (if you're me), you realize you're over 40 and yeah, right? 

Well, this is a neat little gift for the writer in your life this year.   

Nite Notes is a lighted note pad that doesn't give off enough light to keep you awake, but more than enough to allow you to jot down the idea, within the lines, so you will be able to use the idea to write a book three years from I have done three times now. So, keeping your ideas is important. 

How does it work? When you remove the ink pen it automatically lights up.  And note the convenient writing surface. Cool, right?

Check it out. 

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 158 -- Ad Talk Tuesday

Ad Tuesday Tuesday -- Guerrilla Marketing Techniques #1

The writing comes first. 

I'm way behind in my blogging  this week because I've been editing like crazy. I had two major deadlines coming up REALLY SOON--I'm editing a manuscript for another author and wrapping up edits on my own before mine goes off to the editor this week. I'm trying to minimize her pain and labor hours. So, the blogs I'm catching up on for this week will be short and sweet. 

One thing I was curious about was guerrilla marketing techniques or the more extreme techniques people use--beyond social networking and book signings--and what authors are doing these days. I remember, for my first book, the one I self published before it got picked up by Simon & Schuster, I spent hours and hours in Barnes & Noble putting my bookmarks and postcards into books of the similar genre as mine in bookstores all over the DC metro area. I must've gone to about 10-15 book stores and left hundreds of bookmarks. I was also get B&N to place my book on the shelves as an indie book--so, in those stores, I'd reshelve my books, placing them face out up front or on the tables close to the entryway in hopes that they would catch some attention. 

Did it help sell my books? 

Who the heck knows? I would say probably few if any. It was chick lit which was a tough sell in those days if you weren't established. 

So I wondered what authors are doing for "guerrilla marketing" techniques six years later since the market has changed so much. 

This article is one I thought was pretty interesting--placing a book that's not in stock at a store and seeing if people actually try to buy it. This is an old one, but check it out. 

I Planted My Self-Published Book on Barnes & Noble's Shelves... And People Bought It


Monday, November 16, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 157 -- Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday -- J.F. Penn

I've been (loosely) following J.F. Penn's career since beginning my self-publishing journey. Not only is she one of the breakout self-published novelists but she also has a fantastic blog and a super informative video series that I frequently feature on this blog...because I listen to and watch them quite a bit. 

I thought it would be interesting to share how she began her self-publishing journey and eventually found success as a self published author. For those of us still clinging to our dreaded 9-to-5 jobs, this might provide a bit of motivation. 

There is life after... 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 156 -- Anything Sunday

Anything Sunday -- More Outlining, Rewriting 

It's been a good writing week. I got feedback from my beta readers on my Valentine's Day romance and it was all good...even from the beta reader who would rather pluck her eyes out than read a shmoopy romance. She loves the J.J. McCall novels. So the fact that she could stomach the sweet romance really speaks volumes. 

I'm really excited about that project but not nearly as excited as I am about wrapping up these last two J.J. McCall Novels. I've spent my weekend outlining the last two books of the J.J. series. I got the main plot for one book done and about one quarter of the second book. I'm trying to ensure these are weaved together well and that all the necessary loose ends are tied up. 

What I found out today is just like I need a little break between writing books to kind of reset my brain to zero so I can think clearly about the plot for the next book, so I must do the same when outlining. My brain literally refused to create any more plot after a certain point. I forced out a quarter of the outline which will probably get rewritten once I get my brain back together. It fell apart a bit. 

I also rewrote the first chapter of the book. I've got several drafted but actually did some editing just so I could get back into the story and finish the outlines. Normally, I wouldn't edit until the entire book was finished. The rewrites are SO MUCH better than the first draft I wrote months ago. Dare I say my writing is maturing...AND a little space and time really does improve the quality of your rewrites. 

I'll start posting previews soon. Hopefully, it will whet your whistles for the next and final installments of the series. 

Have you seen Snoopy yet? I'm hoping to check it out this week.