Top comics I want to read thanks to Free Comic Book Day

You’d think Free Comic Book Day would be good for your wallet, because—you know—it’s all free.

It’s rough on your wallet long-term, though, because you end up finding new series to love and spend money on. Granted, it’s not all bad, since that money goes to your local comic store, a small business that fosters the local geek community. Raising awareness for these stores is the whole reason we have Free Comic Book Day in the first place.

But still. My poor wallet.

I got a good haul last weekend once I figured out how to actually get the comics. My local comic shop had this system where you write the numbers of the five free comics you want on this little card, except I didn’t see the place where they had the numbered comics displayed, so I walked around in confusion for a while.

But I got my free comics and read through them last week. Some seemed more like ads than stories to me, and not all of them caught my interest, but a few definitely hooked me. Here are my top three. Continue reading Top comics I want to read thanks to Free Comic Book Day

Creating a Book Cover: The Ghost Machine

A good cover alone doesn’t make a good book.

I’d wager there are plenty of books out there with gorgeous covers that were quickly forgotten because the story inside didn’t live up to the captivating image on the front. But on the flip side, amazing stories go overlooked everyday because the cover is ugly or bland.

A cover has a critical job: to get readers to pick up the book.

As an indie author, I have complete control over my covers. This is great, because I won’t end up in one of those situations where the publisher chooses an inaccurate or just plain bad cover, and the author can’t do anything about it. This is also terrible, because I’m a writer, not a designer or marketer, and I don’t always know what type of cover will sell best. And I pay for the cover up front, so if the book doesn’t sell, I don’t get that money back.

What I’m trying to say is this: trying to figure out the best cover for your book can be… stressful. Continue reading Creating a Book Cover: The Ghost Machine

Why I Love Journals (And You Should Too)

I’m kinda obsessed with journals.

It’s not my fault. There are so many gorgeous journals out there just begging to be bought, and I’m a writer. A pen and paper are tools of the trade, so buying journals is a pretty much a business expense.

The thing is… I hardly ever write in them.

That’s awful, right? I have so many cool ones. Take a look at these:

My writing journals
Of course there’s a Wonder Woman one. You should know me by now.

They’re too pretty to write in. No, seriously. A blank journal is a book of limitless possibilities. I could write the greatest genre mashup novel ever inside one, or jot down ideas for characters and settings that eventually spawn off into a giant epic fantasy series. Or maybe tomorrow I’ll fall through a magic portal and need a journal to record my thrilling adventures. (Hey, it could happen.) Continue reading Why I Love Journals (And You Should Too)

The White Knight & Black Valentine Series is EVERYWHERE

Good news, super readers! For years now, my superhero books have only been available on Amazon, but as of today, I’m sending them out into the big, wide world.

They’re still available on Amazon, of course. But if you prefer to buy ebooks somewhere else, you can chose from Kobo, Apple iBooks, and a variety of other stores. I hope offering more options will make it easier for you all to read and enjoy my novels.

Hero Status

Hero StatusA retired superhero marries his former nemesis, then has to prove her innocence when she’s framed for murder.

Click here to buy at your preferred online retailer

Continue reading The White Knight & Black Valentine Series is EVERYWHERE

Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee

Mirror Dance CoverYou know the feeling of finishing a good book? You loved it but end up depressed that it’s over, longing to spend more time with the characters.

If I did my job right, that’s the feeling you got at the end of The Ghost Machine. And do I have good news for you.

The Braden Banshee, a short story set after the end of The Ghost Machine, is available for free in the latest issues of Mirror Dance Fantasy Magazine. You can read the whole thing online here.

The basic premise is that Ella, working as a spirit medium after everything that happened in The Ghost Machine, is hired not to do a seance but to banish a banshee to prevent the death its wail foretells. There are plot twists, steampunk machinery, and ghosts, of course. I hope those of you who liked The Ghost Machine will enjoy another gothic adventure with Ella Rosenfeld. Continue reading Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee

The Ghost Machine Sale and Extras

Ghost Machine CoverHey, guys! If you haven’t read The Ghost Machine yet, it’s on sale for 99¢ this week as part of the promotion for Clockmaker‘s upcoming release. Grab the ebook off Amazon before it goes back up to $3.99 this weekend.

Also, I had so much fun making a Pinterest board for Clockmaker that I decided to make one for The Ghost Machine, too. Check it out to see pictures of beautiful Victorian Era gowns, steampunk robots, and spooky scenery.

Finally, here’s a bonus look at one of my early drafts of The Ghost Machine‘s first chapter. It’s not as drastically different as that early draft of Hero Status that I posted a while back, but there are still some interesting changes.

The Ghost Machine was originally an epistolary novel told entirely through diary entries and letters like Dracula or The Woman in White. When early beta feedback pointed out that format killed the tension, I changed it to a regular novel with letters and journal entries spaced throughout. Continue reading The Ghost Machine Sale and Extras

The Evolution of a Novel

Hero StatusHero Status sprang from my mind, fully formed, like Athena from the head of Zeus.

Lol, no. It was actually a painfully long first draft, followed by countless rewrites, beta feedback, and even more rewrites. Scenes were added, the structure tweaked, and the writing ironed out before it became the version you now read. But that’s pretty standard for most novels.

I’d almost forgotten about the bonkers early version I abandoned before going back and restarting the whole thing from scratch years later.

Way back in 2008, I started writing my first piece of superhero fiction for National Novel Writing Month in November. This was the precursor to Hero Status, though it’s pretty much unrecognizable. It starred not Dave but Elisa–or at least the character who would eventually become Elisa. She had a different name in this and a different origin, being an experiment of Dr. Sweet’s whom Dave rescued and adopted. The book was about her going off to college and dealing with Dr. Sweet’s attempts to recapture and brainwash her.

Looking back at the file, I made it about 24,000 words in before giving up. I moved on to other books, but something about the concept and characters of that old untitled novel kept calling to me. I began outlining a new version, changing Elisa’s character to being Dave and Val’s biological child and having her torn between her parents’ heroic and villainous legacies.

But I didn’t like that either.

Eventually it dawned on me: the daughter character wasn’t what made this idea interesting. It was her parents, the retired superhero and former supervillain, and the question of how two people with such conflicting morals and personalities could have such a stable, happy relationship.

Once I focused on Dave and Val, the idea for the plot followed, and Hero Status was born. But I still find that old version morbidly fascinating and thought you might, too. So here, in its unedited and awful glory, is the first chapter of the story that sparked The White Knight and Black Valentine Series: Continue reading The Evolution of a Novel