A Bookish Summer: The Very Best Villains

Welcome to stop #6 on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. Yesterday was hosted by Leslie Conzatti  and the topic was “Some of your favourite authors”.

Today we are discussing villains. The bad guy makes the book go round. Or at least they make the plot go forward. We all love to hate a bad guy, and a really well written bad guy can ramp up the tension of a book until we just can’t put it down.

Here are some favourite villains:

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross. One of the main villains in this series is Francis Ackerman Jr, a prolific serial killer. He’s brutal, cunning, and dangerous. There are so many parts to his personality though, and whilst he is incredibly evil you somehow end up feeling sorry for him and even rooting for him at times.

 

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

The main character from The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. Calling him a villain would be inaccurate, but he definitely did things that were…. not good, to say the least. The book follows the true story of Billy Milligan, a man diagnosed with multiple personalities. It doesn’t take long before the reader begins rooting for him despite his crimes. He was treated at the psychiatric hospital that’s now a part of my college’s campus, so for me, it was very surreal to read descriptions of places I see every day.

Andy

Andreas Ganz: https://www.facebook.com/GraftonGanz/

Hmm. That’s tough. If you’d said movie, it would have been an easy choice. From a book? I’d have to go with The Cardinal from The Three Musketeers. No, you know what, change that to Svidrigailov Crime and Punishment.

He is seriously a bad piece of shit no grey what so ever and totally un- apologetic – you cannot read it and not hate the guy … but the Cardinal is snippy, more of a clown than a villain, you know what, I change my mind, go with the first answer.

 

As for me? I’d say Dr. James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes and Randall Flag from Stephen King’s The Stand.

Moriarty was such a wonderful pairing for Holmes and you could sense a mutual admiration beneath the loathing. He was sharp, calculating, and deceptively charming. Not to mention educated and well-dressed. He was a villain with ambition and drive, not just a random mad-man.

Randall Flag, on the other hand, was a man bent on destruction for the sake of destruction, a master manipulator and deceiver. He had a dark magic at his disposal and he used it to twist a horrible situation into something far worse, drawing the conmen, the manipulators, to him to build an empire from the rubble.

 

So, now it’s your turn. Who is your favourite book villain and why? And why not check out the rest of the tour?

bookish summer 1

 

 

Advertisements

Bookish Christmas Blog Hop

On the fourth day of blog hop some writers gave to me a fictional guest list for Christmas dinner!

Okay, it doesn’t rhyme. Sorry. So, I am participating in the Bookish Blog Hop’s Christmas hop.

You can check out the first three stops here:

A book you love so much you want everyone​ ​ to find under their Christmas tree​ this year so they can read ​​it too.

A book cover that has wonderfully Christmas feel to it.

A book you’d like to find in your Christmas ​​stocking this year.

Today’s question is: Which fiction character would you like to have spend Christmas with?

BelindaBekkers

Belinda Bekkers

www.BelindaBekkers.com

It would have to be Gatsby. Could you imagine the grandeur of it? I bet it would have a giant tree covered in fancy decorations.

Jo Linsdell
Jo Linsdell

www.JoLinsdell.com

I’m torn here. Either Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice or Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones’s Diary. Elizabeth is clever, would no doubt make great conversation, and she can hold her own if discussions come up. Bridget Jones is so real all the time, and I think would be a fun and entertaining guest. She’s so wonderfully not-perfect.

Skye Hegyes

Skye Hegyes

www.skyehegyes.com

There are so many characters I wouldn’t mind spending time with any time of the year, but I think the one I’d like to spend Christmas with would be Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter world. She would be fun and entertaining, but I also feel like I could learn a lot from her too, and not just about magic.

 

And me?

I would like to spend Christmas at the Barrelhaven Tavern with Lucien and Grandma Ben. Perhaps Thorn will come down from the capital for a visit, and with a little luck the Bone boys will be around for a long visit, because once winter lands in the valley nothing goes in or out for months. There’s something about a warm rustic tavern full of savory smells and good friends that appeals to me.

What about you? Where would you spend Christmas? And who would you spend it with?

 

Be sure to continue on down the hop!

December 14th – A fictional character you’d​ like to kiss under the mistletoe.

December 15th – A fictional creature to replace Rudolph and meet on the roof.

December 16th – 5 fictional characters you’d invite to your New Year’s Eve party

The Value of Trades

Remember opening your lunch kit in elementary school and there it is, that snack you just hate? For me it was Wagon Wheels (thank god my Mom never bought the damn things) and Gushers (which she did buy, thanks Sis). If there were Gushers in my lunch it was going to be a no good awful day. Unless someone was willing to trade me their granola bar or their cheese and crackers for those damn squishy sugar-water filled sorry excuse for a fruit snack. Technically trades weren’t allowed but if you did it quiet-like and under the table maybe the teacher wouldn’t notice and you’d actually get to eat snack that day.

For writers, trades come in many forms and all of them can be important for marketing and networking.

Blog Hopping

This first type of trade deals in blog posts. You interview me, I’ll interview you. You do a post on my newest release, I’ll do a post on your upcoming reading. Whatever the format or content of this trade the purpose remains the same: expanding your online visibility and reach.

Presumably each author has a different set of followers with some overlap from shared groups. By getting your name and information and book cover on someone else’s blog you are making yourself visible to the unique set of followers they have access to and maybe some of them will be interested in you.

When doing any sort of blog trade be sure to include an author photo, at least one cover photo, and links to the other author’s blog, Facebook page, Twitter, or whatever. Make the post conversational – which is why interviews work so well. You want to generate interest in the person, not sound like a bad sales commercial on the shopping network.

Oh, and make sure you’re trading with someone you can trust to come through on their end of the bargain. Blog trades are free but they do take up time and effort. And if someone burns you in a trade feel free to take down the post. Also, if you see them volunteer to do a trade with someone else quietly and privately offer a warning that you got burned. I never advocate for making a public spectacle of these situations.

Digital Copy Trades

Generally these are the dreaded review trades. I do this a lot because I have a book addiction and no where near enough money to buy as many books as I read in a year. Over the summer I was reading two books a week!

First, be clear on where and when you will review the book and get a clear answer on where and when they will review yours. Is this a blog review? Will they post to Amazon or Goodreads? Will they get to it this week? This month? Next month? Don’t nag but do check in to make sure there are no errors with the file or no emergencies that may cause a delay on their part. There’s nothing wrong with staying in touch and up to date.

Second, a trade has to be mutually beneficial. That not only means both authors get a review and both authors get a free e-book, it also means both authors get a book they are potentially interested in. You need to talk to each other first and make sure you’re both getting a book you’ll actually read and hopefully enjoy.

Third, be clear on what you want the other author to do if they don’t like your book. For me I say as long as you’re willing to post something polite and constructive I don’t care if it’s a 1 or 2 star review. I know other authors don’t like getting 1 and 2 star reviews so they may ask to receive the review by PM and not have it publicly posted. You can ask someone not to post a review but  you cannot ask someone to post a faked review. If they don’t like your book, or if you don’t like theirs, then there shouldn’t be a 5 star review going up. Please. For the continued credibility of book reviews, be honest.

Paperback Trades

I went to When Words Collide, a readercon in Calgary, this August. I could go on for a few blog posts about how awesome WWC is (and I did, you can go read them if you’d like) but for now I will share this one story:

At the mass autograph session I got to talking with another author (who is also a musician) and he gave me a copy of his novella (which comes with a soundtrack!). Yeah. GAVE me a copy. “Here, take it”. So I gave him a copy of my novel, Pieces. There were no strings attached. I do plan to write a review on my blog and we keep in touch a little on social media, but this wasn’t a “you review mine, I review yours” sort of trade.

I highly encourage authors at conventions and other live sales to trade books with other authors. First, it’s a cheap way to build your own library. Second, it’s a cheap way to build connections with other authors. Third, it’s a cheap way to build an audience (I’ll explain that in a minute).

I belong to a local authors’ cooperative and we do a lot of these events together, 2 or more authors at one table or booth with all our books on display – it’s a wonderful experience. Sadly, a lot of authors in the group have never read the books of the other authors. We’re supposed to be supporting each other but we don’t even know what the other books are about, or what the writing style is. This may not sound important but I sold a book by one of my fellow authors because I’d read it and could honestly say I couldn’t put it down, and why it was so exciting to read. Actually, I’ve snagged more than one sale because I’d actually read the book I was trying to sell. I was selling to them as a fellow reader, not as a desperate author, and it worked REALLY well.

And that leads me to:

Benefits

I get it, giving shit away is counter-intuitive. We’ve all done giveaways and free-weekends, and forever-free-first-books and seen minimal translation into hard sales. The internet loves free and books are horribly undervalued. So let me explain why trades are different from other forms of giving shit away.

First – Trades are not like other freebie deals because instead of shouting at the whole world you’re targeting people who like to read, who understand the value of reviews, and who want to support you in some way. General freebies get lots of downloads but never translate into sales because you’re targeting mostly people who like free stuff, and not people who like to read, like to review, or like to support authors.

Authors are great readers but horrible customers. Most of the authors I know fall into one or more of the following categories: living paycheck to paycheck, supporting more than one person on a single reliable income, living with some form of disability which affects their ability to work, raising kids, attending university or college. All those things, in some way shape or form, limit expendable income. Most authors are pretty damn close to broke. So they save their money for those few books that they just HAVE TO HAVE – the next book in a series they love, or by their favourite author. They want to support fellow indies but they don’t have the money and won’t have the money unless they A) make it big or B) you can edge your way into their “Favourite Author” or “Must Have” lists.

In short, they won’t take a chance on your books if they have to spend money on it, not because they’re elitist but because they’re broke.

2) Trades have long been a viable economic structure. I have chickens, you have cows – I’ll trade you some eggs for some milk. You have sheep, I have a garden – I’ll give you veggies in return for winter hats for my kids. You have a book I want to read, I have a book you want to read – let’s swap books and leave each other a review and point other people towards these lovely books we have discovered.

Remember, with a trade you’re not really giving something away, you’re paying for goods with goods, or services with services. Just make sure that the trade is economically fair in both directions.

3) Digital books cost us nothing upfront. Yes, they cost us that elusive “sale” we’re all chasing but you’re not out the cost of paper and shipping. As with my second point, though, you’re not giving it away, you’re exchanging it for something of equal value PLUS, hopefully, a review and some good word of mouth marketing.

4) Personal connection – this is HUGE. You’ve spent some time talking with this other author, either while working a table together at an event, or working neighbouring tables, or you’ve been in an online writing group together. You know what sort of pet they have and if they like notebooks and whether they’re a coffee drinker or a tea drinker. Maybe this isn’t enough to spark a romantic relationship, but you do have a connection to them now. You are more likely to actually read the “free” book you got from this person because of that connection, and they are more likely to read yours for the same reason. This connection is lacking in those “free for 3 days” offers you see on Amazon. Readers download the book but they have no reason to pick it out of their TBR piles because they have no connection to you.

5) Readers sell more books than writers – Who are you going to listen to? Your BFF who just finished reading this awesome book in a genre you both love? Or that guy on your Facebook page who talks about his book ALL THE TIME?

This goes back to what I was saying about my local authors’ group. I’m really good at selling books by other authors because the potential buyer is viewing me as a fellow reader. I have no financial investment in the outcome of their purchase if I’m not selling my book and that makes my opinion more credible.

This is also why I post a link to a review I’ve done when someone posts about their book in a self-promo thread. It’s not to derail or get more views it’s a way of saying “Here, don’t take the author’s word for it. I’m a real reader and this is what I thought of the book.”

But, on that note, it means you have to talk about books you’ve read and enjoyed. And not just the latest by Stephen King or JK Rowling or Cassandra whats-her-name. Talk about the indie books you’ve read just like they’re the latest book by your favourite big name. Read the books in public, talk about them at coffee dates and cocktail parties. I mean, of course talk about your own books in a non-pushy, conversational way too, but I repeat: readers sell more books than writers.

Have you done many trades before? Do you prefer digital or print trades? Did you have a good experience with it? Do you do blog hops and interview swaps? I would love to hear your stories.

 

Book Lover’s Blog Hop

Today I am hosting the Book Lover’s Blog Hop. Each day of August a different author will be hosting the QUESTION OF THE DAY on their blog. I invite you to check out posts 1-8, and to head over to the rest of the blogs throughout the month. Here’s the schedule:

1st August http://www.JoLinsdell.com
2nd August http://www.skyehegyes.com
3rd August http://www.katherineapisana.com
4th August http://www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
5th August https://bookenthusiast2016.wordpress.com
6th August http://karaswanson.com
7th August http://www.brandypotterbooks.com
8th August http://www.BelindaBekkers.com
9th August http://www.casiaschreyer.wordpress.com
10th August http://www.katherineapisana.com
11th August http://www.virginialorijennings.com
12th August http://www.virginialorijennings.com
13th August http://www.cjbrightley.com
14th August http://www.JustBJordan.com
15th August http://www.saderena.com/blog
16th August http://www.angelaguidolinauthor.co.uk/blog
17th August http://www.tabithacaplinger.com
18th August http://www.skyehegyes.com
19th August http://www.landsuncharted.com
20th August kmcarrollblog.wordpress.com
21st August http://www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com
22nd August http://www.JoLinsdell.com
23rd August http://www.belindabekkers.com
24th August http://www.fabianspace.com
25th August http://theliteraryapothecary.blogspot.com
26th August http://www.JustBJordan.com
27th August http://www.jebraunclifford.com
28th August http://www.brandypotterbooks.com
29th August http://www.skyehegyes.com
30th August http://www.brandypotterbooks.com
31st August http://www.landsuncharted.com

My QUESTION OF THE DAY is
HOW DO YOU ARRANGE YOUR BOOKSHELF?

Jordan 300dpi
Just B. Jordan http://www.JustBJordan.com

I don’t do anything super cool. I just organize by genre and author, putting my favorites in the most accessible spots. 🙂

Brandy Potter
Brandy Potter http://www.brandypotterbooks.com

By collection really and then by height, tallest to largest. I have a library corner in my bedroom. I have very old books (one from 1834). Those and classics occupy the top shelves. Then I have my series authors, Eddings, Tolkein, Riordan, Rowlings, Graham, Doyle, Lewis, Snicket, Christy. Again by height. Next contemporary artists. Grouped by author then height. Last non-fiction grouped by category.

Jo Linsdell
Jo Linsdell http://www.JoLinsdell.com

I don’t really have a system as such. I tend to organise by size, and genre. Books from a series always go together, and I try to put books by the same author together too.

SkyeHegyes
Skye Hegyes http://www.skyehegyes.com

I have three different categories. All my non-fiction is on one shelf sorted by topic and then book size. Then I have mass market paperbacks sorted by author’s last name. The last is all tradeback books and hardcovers, again sorted by author’s last name. It works for me, but I need more shelves.

BelindaBekkers
Belinda Bekkers http://www.belindabekkers.com

I change them from time-to-time. Currently they’re organised by the book’s cover colour. Sometimes it’s by genre, height, or whether they’re read/to-be-read.

Laurie Lucking Author Headshot
Laurie Lucking http://www.landsuncharted.com

My top priority in organizing my bookshelves is to make them look pretty 🙂 I do try to group by genre a bit, but mostly I put books by the same publisher together and books that are the same size together so they line up nicely.

vljauthorpic.jpg
V.L. Jennings http://www.virginialorijennings.com

I sort my books by type, how much I like them, and then by size. It is absolute sacrilege to put books in a series separate from each other. The home improvement books never go next to the Fiction books. The books that are the prettiest or those that I love reading the most go near eye level. It’s sorta complicated.

Jebraun Clifford
Jebraun Clifford – http://www.jebraunclifford.com

We’ve got bookshelves in every room of the house except the kitchen and bathroom. Even boxes of books we’re storing in the attic for my daughter! (breaks my heart to keep them there, but we literally have no room for another bookshelf!) I try to keep everything tidy and in it’s approximate genre. That’s as much as I can manage.

Karina Fabian headshot Aug 2013
Karina Fabian http://fabianspace.com

The family bookshelves are organized by genre and author. I don’t have my personal ones up yet, since we just moved into our new house, but there will be a shelf for friends’ books, a shelf for mine, a shelf for writing, then a shelf for my favorites by author.

C. J. Brightley

The main bookshelves downstairs have all the fiction books organized alphabetically by author’s last name. The bottom shelves hold books to be read (in no particular order). The books in the arts and crafts area in the basement hold all the non-fiction books grouped by topic, and one shelf has young adult books we own that my daughter isn’t quite ready for yet.. The bookshelves in our bedroom hold library books, books I’ve borrowed from friends, and books next up on my TBR list. My children both have their own bookshelves, which are always disorganized, although we try to keep their library books on the bottom shelves.

And me?
My big bookshelf is organized by size first – books go on the shelves where they fit. Then each shelf is sorted by author and series. I have a second shelf that has my photo albums, oversized books and text books. There’s also a shelf in the basement with kids’ books which is sorted by reading level.

Thanks everyone for sharing! I hope you’ll take the time to visit some of the other blogs on the tour.

Fabulous Five Blog Hop

I was tagged for this blog hop by Victoria, the editor over at Witty Bard Publishing. You can check out her blog post in this series here: http://www.wittybardpublishing.com/#!FABULOUS-FIVE-BLOG-HOP/c1q8z/92AAE453-2540-4EE1-8777-F59F5253ABA1
I got involved with Victoria and Witty Bard when I submitted a story to their science-fiction competition and won!
So here are the questions and answers and, of course, the next five people in the blog hop.
What am I working on?
My current project is a contemporary young adult novel titled Nothing Everything Nothing. Come November I’m hoping to switch gears to a sweet fantasy romance.
How does my work differ from others in the genre?
Nothing Everything Nothing is pretty dark and deals with suicide. The fantasy romance takes place in a parallel Ireland which exists out of synch with our world but connected to it.
Why do I write what I do?
I’ve drawn my inspiration from the cases of Amanda Todd and Megan Meier. Cyper bullying is debated and discussed by educators and politicians and often I feel like no one believes it’s a real thing. I wanted to confront it head on and show what a few cruel posts can do to a person.
The fantasy romance is just something I enjoy working on.
How does my writing process work?
I do a gradual outline. I start with a very loose series of events, sometimes as few as four, and then start writing. As I go more scenes along the timeline will come to me and I’ll add them to the outline. I’ll also add in scenes to tie the key scenes or inspired scenes together (these I call transitional scenes). I often work on more than one project at a time so I always have something to do even if my muse for a specific piece flits away.
Who’s next on the blog hop?
Christopher Ticehurst is  science-fiction fantasy writer from Australia whom I have know for 10 years now. – http://www.christicehurst.me/
Ashlyn Forge is a science-fiction writer who focuses on M/M themes. I beta read for her a few years ago and fell in love with her (and her work) – http://www.ashlynforge.com
Helen J Bradley is a romance writer and a recent addition to my Friends list. I’ve just downloaded her first book in her series. –
Deb Daniels Lerew is a fellow NaNoWriMo writer and a frequent visitor of the Nano Facebook page, which is where we met. http://www.letaphawk.wordpress.com
Rachel James is another NaNoWriMo writer and Facebook friend of mine. http://www.moussemoose.wordpress.com
Please check out these lovely writers on September 29th!