Thursday, December 29, 2011

Freebies and Links

(9-12, ghosts, zombies, adventure) Ghost Town use coupon HZ98W click here
(YA, adventure, mystery, light romance) Cape Ingenue use coupon FT39H click here
(YA, adventure, mystery, light romance) Rogues Bluff use coupon PW82Q click here

These are YA/teen adventures, free ebook novels until Jan.1/2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Book - Holiday Freebies

Original stories are now on sale (i.e. FREE)...

The new ghost/zombie/pirate curse story for the nine to twelve year old set - Ghost Town - is now out as an ebook and is FREE until the New Year. It was published Dec. 22 and is now available for download in many ebook formats.

Also, still firmly in the spirit of the holiday, I've decided to make a couple of the other ebooks free as well. All of these ebooks can be downloaded from Smashwords. They will be made available at the Kindle site later. Only two of the teen novels are available as paperback novels at present - and the price is reduced. The links are below.

Ghost Town - a ghost/zombie adventure for the nine to twelve age group. Use coupon HZ98W for a free copy.
Cape Ingenue - a teen adventure (12+), treasure hunt, light mystery and romance. Use coupon FT39H for a free copy.
Rogue's Bluff - a teen adventure (12+), treasure hunt, light mystery and romance. The boy version of Cape Ingenue (half the same, half new story from the boy main character's perspective). Use coupon PW82Q for a free copy.

The regular prices for these ebooks are $0.99. The Cape Ingenue paperback is 8.99, and Chill Harbour is 15.99.

Links to paperbacks on Amazon:
Cape Ingenue 
Chill Harbour

Cover for the new book Ghost Town:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is a Custom Novel Too Creepy?

Well, I might as well say it. I was thinking it.

You might have been thinking it too.

So... is it?
Is a customized novel too creepy?
Is it an awesome novelty gift you would happily pay twice the price of a regular novel for, or would you think some psycho stalker dude is after you? I really hope you have some thoughts on this. I hope you can shed a little light on what you as a reader would want to have.That's why I dragged you all over here. 

So I'm asking - well, let's call a spade a spade - begging - for some feedback. Is customizing a novel really all that good an idea? Does staring in your own novel appeal to you or freak you out? As a normal reader - would you want your name, face and all sorts of other details about you crammed into a novel? Is being the star of a paperback adventure exciting or is it being a narcissistic dirt bag?  And if you had a customized novel would you show your novel with you on the cover to a friend or just feel weird about it? Would you worry that some creepy real stalker might get a hold of it? Would you worry that the person out there making the customized novel is a creepy stalker?

These are just a few of the negatives I can think of - believe me there are a lot more. I know that there are businesses out there that do this kind of thing regularly and they have all sorts of re-assurances. For example, they might not even see the details you fill out on their forms. They might just have some bot manipulation going on to replace your details with the details in the original story -so the 'personal' worry factor gets reduced. But what if a real person did the customization? What if it wasn't just a straight switching out of details a bot could do - say the author has to give you a bunch of nick names that rhyme with your real name or has to write an embarrassing event from your past into your story? Too freaky? Sometimes I think it's  like using the phrase 'hand made' to sell merchandise. Sure it might work for hand made crafts or furniture, but say, hand made ice cream? Ew. Yuck. Conjures up all sorts of nasty thoughts.

So,  just how creepy is it? There's a lot to think about. And I can only think up some of it. So please help me out by adding your thoughts to this list:

1. Everytime you turn around there's someone out there trying to steal your identity. It's scary. I don't even have to mention all the security you need just to be online. So how safe is all that information about you going to be when you transfer forms and things? Is your information going to a cloud? Is it secure? And what about all those pop up connection security notices and third parties? (This is a confusing last sentence I know - but all I can think of here is how when I sign into sites I often get that message that the connection isn't secure and my information might be seen by 'others.' What? How do we avoid that?).

2. If you want a novel with you in it, you have to give someone information about yourself. Maybe it's a bot and maybe it's not. You also have to give someone a picture of you. The novel has to get mailed to you. And what if you're a kid? You can see where I'm going with this? Creepy right?

3. What happens to all the information, pictures after you've got your novel?

4. Do you really want anyone to see a novel with you on the cover? Are all your friends going to think you're a conceited jerk and make fun of you?

Okay. That's a few of the concerns. But when I first started customizing novels - it really seemed like a good idea - time and costs involved not withstanding. I've customized a few of my novels for some young people and they enjoyed them. In fact some of them raved. (Possibly just because they stared in the novel - so maybe narcisism wins out in their cases or maybe not. Maybe they just liked the gimmick). Anyway, they encouraged me to do this on a larger scale. So I got started and then ... I waffled.

It's the creep factor.

Sure it's easy to do a detailed customization of one of my novels for someone I know, for children of friends or relatives. They know where I live and vice versa. They know me. But to turn it into a business online? I'm not that sure. What's the guarantee? If I order a custom novel how can I be re-assured that the supplier isn't some demented stalker or run of the mill nefarious evil doer bent on re-selling my information to the underbelly of society? And then there's the other side of it to.What if the person I make a customized novel for is some demented stalker nefarious evil doer? What then?

Like I said - I really need some feedback.  So... custom novelling a good idea or just too creepy? And if it's too creepy, what would concern you most about a customized novel? What did I miss? And for the other side...What would make you less creeped out about it? ( Not answering all of the questions on forms that give out information about you? Knowing the person who is making the book for you? Having the book mailed to a friend, relative or your parent's work? Please add your comments on that too).

Anyhow, thank you for reading this post and thinking about it. And please go ahead and add your comments now. I promise my future posts won't be quite this tedious.

Need a New Cover (Feedback Welcome!)

Here's the thing....
I really need a new cover for the Cape IngĂ©nue novel. Try as I might, I still can't make it awesome or grab worthy. Below are my latest attempts at improving. I know the cover can make or break a decision to buy a book - so - this is what I can come up with. I'm not  a designer (obvy). And no - I can't afford a real designer in case that was your next suggestion. So... Anyone care to leave a comment? Which is the lesser -est of the several evils? If this was your book, what cover would you go with? Thanks in advance for your suggestions. I will probably go with the cover that people vote as the least 'meh.'

Yes three of them look the same. The first two and the last one just have the title/author name re-arranged. The third is the original Amazom cover tweaked to have a nearly invisible compass rose added (lower left) and very ghostly image of a girl's face over the water. The original Amazon and Smashwords covers are below (the ones I started with). -----> See post below this.

Original Covers

The top cover is the the thumbnail on smashwords, the bottom is the one on amazon (okay but very boring). Go with a new cover or stick with an old one? I think they're all pretty meh but the best of the bunch is probably the original Amazon cover tweaked a bit (above).