Please Review

Once upon a time I said that sending my manuscript off to agents and publishers was like sending my baby off on his first day of school. Well, now I know the real deal. Agent and publisher-shopping is like looking for the best preschool for your little tyke. Putting your novel out there for review is the first day of school. Agents and publishers might just say “No”, and plug in a canned response, and some say nothing at all if they don’t want it. Now, a reviewer–if they choose to take on your book–will tell you what’s on their mind and it might not be nice. It’s the first day of school and your baby might get picked on by the other kids :o!

So, yes, The Fourth Piece is at that point. I do have e-ARCs available to those who would like a free copy in exchange for an honest review. There are many sites and services dedicated to this purpose, and I’ve been shopping so many of them my eyeballs are swimming. I’m signed up for a blog tour in September with YA Bound Book Tours, and for a featured block on YA Books Central that starts on my release date (July 8, 2016! Save the date 😀 😀 😀 ). I’m also lining up a couple of panels, some book launch parties, some readings, a book store appearance and am about to see if Word Press has a calendar function that I can use, so I make my author engagements look pretty on the Event Page. Hah! Hear that? I have “author engagements.” Yeah, yeah, I’m a dork. I know this, but I love saying that.

I want to do everything right for this book, because it’s so special to me, but I know this is a learning opportunity. I’m going to screw things up and will end up “knowing better for next time”. I say that so calmly, but I really don’t want to mess up at all. So, anyways, I want to get into my “gathering potential reviewers” process.

My wonderful publisher gave me a list of places to try, but I also joined some other writing resources groups who list bloggers by genre, one is called: Where Writers Win. I’ve sent out individual queries and I’ve hit up some sites that have huge followings that post your book for review. Right now, The Fourth Piece is up for review on Book Review Buzz , a group that also has a deal with Net Galley.  So, my darling will get a lot of exposure, and I’m crossing my fingers that a couple of people will accept the challenge and leave me a review. And hey, if anyone reading this is a subscribing member of either of those organizations, I’d be honored if you chose to download my ARC.

I’m also extending the offer here, if anyone is a book reviewer or blogger and interested in The Fourth Piece in exchange for an honest review, please send me an e-mail at e.ardell.author@gmail.com, and we’ll talk :).

Now, if you’re wondering how I’m doing all this and still writing… Well, I am guilty of having not written for a very long time… until last Saturday. A simple deletion of yet another chapter and a POV switch flipped my muse right back on. So, now I’m going to be learning how to balance writing new stuff and promoting. Heck, that’ll probably be my next blog post. But, until next time…

Take care and thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

takeover

I can write another book about all the things that have happened since I last made an entry. Call me lazy. Nah, go ahead, do it. I’m lazy. I should have been blogging like crazy these last few weeks. All right, you ready? Let’s go!

BIG NEWS: JULY 8, 2016!

What’s that? My release date! Both print and e-book formats of The Fourth Piece will be available for purchase from the publisher’s website: 48fourteen.com, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and select bookstores.

You can pre-order your Kindle-edition right now: http://amzn.to/24I4HNr  (WOOHOO!!)

Next off, tomorrow, I’m doing an Author Takeover Event through my publisher. Basically, 48fourteen lets some of their authors take over their Facebook page for 6-8 hours a day. My day is Sunday, June 12, 2016 from 12 PM to 6PM Central time ( 10am-4pm for me!) I’m going to be doing giveaways (free stuff for you!) and challenges and interacting with readers practically all day and I’m stoked!

Here’s the invite link: https://www.facebook.com/events/250136265348256/.

Networking events! I’m scheduled to do two readings, one at Old Capitol Books and Juice ‘N Java at PG! (I will post more specific information about these in EVENTS.) I also had a write-up about me in the Monterey County Weekly (http://bit.ly/1Yky5cR) and I’ll be filming a television appearance on August 4th!

Things I still have to do: plan some book release parties. I’ve got two currently in the making. Talk to some independent book stores. Hit up some more of my library connections to see which libraries might want to carry The Fourth Piece (because of course mine will ;). ) Make some author swag! And finalize which blog tours and review sites ad book promotions tools I’m actually going to use.

I hate to say it, but I’ve been so busy I haven’t written anything new. Ugh! But that will change soon. I’m going to start scheduling writing dates with myself. I get a treat if I do good and write X-amount at any given time. But I need to find a way to make that treat not involve food, or shopping… or spending money… Well darn, that’s a boring date. I’d stand myself up!

Hah, but any way, I’ll figure something out, but new writing will happen and happen soon.

All right, so for anyone who reads my long-winded posts, I just wanted to give you all an update on what’s going on with my book and writing. Take care guys, and I hope you’ll participate in the Author Takeover or hey, pre-order my book :D.

Take care!

 

 

A lot of people knock it at times, but I do love Creative Commons. Sometimes finding good images that are relevant to what I need to do with them is a headache, but I always come away with something. I’ve also found some of the best free music… and some of the worst, lol. This makes me get into debates with myself when it comes to paying for images and software. I’ve seen great stock images, but they can be as limited as the free images when it comes to being exactly what you need. Same with the music. So, do I invest in a subscription, pay for individual images or stick with what’s free? For now, I’m going with free.

On that note, I also choose to use Windows Movie Maker (free) over Animoto, and GIMP 2 (free) over Photoshop. I also use Audacity for mixing music. Still definitely going to pay someone to make the real book trailer, but I like my little homemade teaser trailers. As I make them, I get more excited for the release of The Fourth Piece. I can’t wait to see my words on a printed page.

Now, you know what’s coming next. You guessed right. Another teaser. This is teaser #5, introducing Lawrence “Lawrie” Ladreth, my semi-crazy character who loves gadgets, stunts, and challenging death on a daily basis.

Let’s kick this teaser off with a little Q&A:

Question: How did you come up with some of the slang used in The Fourth Piece?

My answer: It’s all word play. The Earth slang is a combination of modern slang, some retro stuff and some silly words my friends use sometimes like “shiggity” and “shizz”. Then, there are terms like “vulatto” which is a combination of the word “Visitor” and “mulatto”. “Mulatto” means you’re of mixed descent, half Black, half White. “Vulatto” means you’re half human, half Visitor. The term “Vader” is a derogatory term humans in the story use when insulting a “Visitor”. It’s a play on not only the word “invader”, but, you may have guessed it, Darth Vader. (My bestie helped me come up with that one.)

Now, coming up with slang and phrases for the Visitors to use is a lot more fun, because I can be even more creative. I like making up words and then coming up with conjugations and different ways to use them in a sentence. You won’t see so much Visitor slang in The Fourth Piece, as is mostly takes place on Earth, but you’ll see it in the next book.

But hey, even without the Visitor lingo, the Earth slang used by certain characters in the story is still fun.

Meet a Ladreth brother who loves to use his own words for things:

Lawrence Ladreth – sixteen years old, a genius and fearless adrenaline junkie who gets off on the fact that his friends think he’s insane and who can’t wait to say his life was so epic that it inspired a cinematic trilogy.

Lost? I would be too, if I hadn’t written the story. Find more information about The Fourth Piece (coming soon) on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29058267-the-fourth-piece, like me on Facebook: facebook.com/EArdell. Thanks!

 

 

Hey!

I completed my fourth teaser in my “teaser series”, and I’m nerding out because the book is called The Fourth Piece, and this is the fourth teaser. This one was the hardest to make, because the character introduced in this one might be dead. I won’t explain too much, because it’d be a spoiler and I prefer for you to read the book *wink, wink, wink* to get what I’m talking about. So, anyway, this trailer was the hardest to make because I had to someone show alien terrain from the vantage point of a character losing consciousness.

A co-worker of mine is pretty techie and she mentioned a free software program that compares to Adobe Photoshop called GIMP. I know the name sounds mean, but the software’s pretty sweet to not cost me anything. I was able to manipulate my images, change the hues and add and take away layers. I’m still not a boss at using the program, but I think my end product turned out okay. So, yes, GIMP is my new toy. I’m also learning new, fun things about Windows Move Maker. I almost spent a lot of money on Animoto, and I’m glad I didn’t. Movie Maker works just fine for the purposes I need it for and it’s also free.

I’m having a great time scripting the trailers, playing with images, and even timing the music in the trailer to match the intensity of the words on screen. I feel like a director of an EXTREMELY low budget film, but I’m still empowered. I jump for joy when I check my YouTube hits and see the counter tracking more than just me coming back to peep at my videos. The videos are also doing well on Facebook and Twitter. Tumblr… yeah, every time I think I’m going to give up on Tumblr, I get a new follower (which makes a grand total of three, by the way, lol).

If you haven’t checked out any of my teaser trailers, please do so. All of them feature different aspects of the story. Some introduce single characters, some delve into the world building. Haha, look at me talking like all the trailers are done. So far I have three trailers about characters and one trailer about world building. I plan to have seven trailers total, so three will be about world building and the remaining four about character. So, I’ve got three more trailers to go!

Latest The Fourth Piece news, aside from the teasers, is that I’m looking at title pages and chapter headings. I get more excited by the minute. I told a friend: Gee, getting ready for a book release is like giving birth…without the gross stuff. 😀

Okay, I started this blog entry to bring attention to my latest teaser, so I’m going to leave you guys with that. I’d like to introduce you to my character, Evan Ladreth.

On THE FOURTH PIECE by E. Ardell…

Time to introduce another character with yet another book teaser for The Fourth Piece. I’m going to do this one a little differently this time, since this character has lived most of his life off-world. Here we go!

Have you ever had “just one of those days?”

Meet Evan Ladreth, who’s having THAT day.

Name: Evan Ladreth or Lauduethe

Age: 18

Occupation: Leader

Hometown: First Dome, West Central, Octagon 6

Planet: Rema

Hobbies: collecting rare knives, learning new musical instruments, cross-breeding plant species, trying new food, and working old magic

Pet Peeves: Being called short or cute, being petted, being underestimated, long meetings, having to wait, bad service…and crappy missions

Want to know what the heck I’m talking about? Guess you’ll need to follow this link and check out THE FOURTH PIECE (coming soon): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29058267-the-fourth-piece.

Like this video, like me on Facebook.com/EArdell
Follow me on twitter: @E_Ardell

 

 

 

 

 

Oh man, let me tell you this teaser campaign is a lot of fun. It’s a little weird, because the teaser trailers aren’t actual book trailers. None of them give you the full scope of the plot; they basically go into world-building or introduce tidbits about the main characters. I really think I’m going to pay a company to do a professional book trailer for me when it’s time for the real thing.

I toyed with the idea of making my own book trailer. Some of the “professional” trailers look as good as some of the ones I’ve made in the past–but those trailers were made with copyrighted images and music. Also, book trailers have really stepped up their game. The really good ones look like movie commercials. I run a teen book group at the library I work at, and I play book trailers for the kids to help them decide what book they might like to read for the month. The kids all say that they may be on the fence about certain books and the book trailer can make or break their decision. Bad book trailers can hurt you. The kids actually critiqued a couple of the trailers I showed last month and compared the homemade ones to the ones put out by authors backed by Harper Collins or Random House, which isn’t fair.

Now, I did inform them on how much a good trailer costs, and told them to consider the author’s budget, but yeah. I’m starting to think a good trailer is something worth saving up for and investing in. And some book trailer companies have popular YouTube listings, so just letting them make a trailer for you will get you some positive exposure. I love this major learning curve I’m on.

Anyway, as with the last two entries, I wanted to let you guys check out my latest teaser. If you follow me on Facebook.com/EArdell, twitter: @E_Ardell, Goodreads, or Youtube, you may have already seen this video. But if you don’t, see it here first, and hey, follow some of my social media links and give me a “like” or three :D.

I will be keeping you all posted on release dates, giveaways, book events. I spoke to a lady who loves hosting events and just purchased a new office space. She wants me to give a book talk and maybe even do a writers panel with a few other local authors there. When I have more information, I will definitely share. And hey, if any of you guys are authors in North Cali, let me know!

All right, here comes the teaser!

Author E. Ardell on her YA novel: THE FOURTH PIECE…

Two weeks ago, I introduced one of the main characters, Devon Ladreth, as your sort of everyday kid who worries about self-image and sports and blending in with his peers. Meet his twin brother who couldn’t care less about any of those things.

Seventeen-year-old Lyle Ladreth is a psychic who hates most people in general. Who wouldn’t when you’re forced to listen to their thoughts day in and out. And to make matters worse, he’s in high school. His powers are a strain on his sanity and he hates putting himself out there for anyone besides family, but even that’s a pain in the butt.

Especially when your big brother’s dying and you’re the only one who can directly communicate with him.

What am I talking about? Well, guess you’ll have to learn more by checking out the book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29058267-the-fourth-piece

 

 

My teaser campaign is doing pretty well so far, in my opinion. The first video has reached over 300 people and has had a lot of views, and the second video is doing even better. One of my friends with a lot of Twitter followers re-tweeted the second video, so it’s getting some Twitter buzz.

I’ve been trying to do Facebook ads with not much success. All of my ads get disapproved because they have too much text. However, Facebook did go ahead and promote the second video, which has MORE text than the first. Go figure. I looked into doing Twitter ads, but those turned out to be a little too rich for my blood right now. I’m saving my pennies for promotion when I have a book release date and an Amazon listing so people can pre-order. I’m basing this off of me, but I think people will forget my book as soon as the ad goes away, if they can’t go ahead and press a button to pre-order. I know I forget about books I wanted to read on a whim all the time.

Now, I really do want to share this second teaser with you guys, it’s up on my YouTube Channel, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr already. Here it is:

On The Fourth Piece by E. Ardell

A friend asked me: What is the world like in 2022?

My answer: Not that different from now. I kept thinking of The Jetsons and how people back in the day thought we’d have flying cars that fold up into brief cases and robot maids, and didn’t want to be that far-fetched. So, no one has a flying car or an android best friend, but there are aliens, some obvious and some as human looking as your next door neighbor. For all you know, your neighbor is a Visitor, but unless he tells you, you’d never know.

Truth is life’s a lot easier for Visitors who can pass as human. Just like in certain periods in history when some people passed for different races, so that they’d be treated better or at least equally. History often repeats itself in strange parallels.

Why’d I choose to set the story in a world like this? Why not a utopia where everyone gets along? I’ve always been told that science fiction often re-tells bits of human history if you analyze it closely. Plus, I do feel that these issues are still relevant in today’s world, and I want to talk to it. My characters learn that they want to make a different… though, this is ONLY a subplot. The main plot has yet to be revealed.

Guess you’ll have to learn more: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29058267-the-fourth-piece

Haha! Yes, that’s what I called it! So, it was recommended that I start promoting my novel by talking about the writing process and sharing interesting tidbits about the book. Because I can’t ever just do anything the easy way, I decided to make book teaser videos. I’ve got them posted to all of my social media accounts to see how well they do.

I shopped different programs, like Animoto and Powtoon, saw the cost, and remembered that I’m a little poor right now. I just moved and everyone knows the first couple of months in a new place are the most expensive, because of all the start-up fees and pro-rated rents. There’s always that week where you are paying rent for two apartments while you’re moving. Ugh. But hey, with all that said, I love my new place. I actually invite people over now! Inviting people over is an amazing feat for me. I’m like a bear in a cave when I get home. I rush inside and hope the neighbors don’t see me and want to–gah!–talk.

So, off my tangent and back to what I was actually getting at. I saw the cost of Animoto and Powtoon and said: “Um… Windows Movie Maker is still free, right?” I’ve dabbled and made goofy little things with the program before, so I figured for quick book teasers, I could play around with free stuff. I started surfing Creative Commons for free images and music and got started.

I’ve also been looking into all sorts of book promotion sites and twitter accounts and blog tours and book reviewers and readying my bank account. I’ve also joined author groups where I live (there are a LOT) that help out with promotion, getting your foot in the door in the local bookstores, and throwing book launch parties. It helps that I’m a librarian at an awesome library many people around here know and love. It really helps with making great connections.

All right, I want to show you guys what I’ve been working on. Here’s my first book teaser trailer!

It starts off with a brief interview:

People often ask why my main characters are boys?

My answer: They just are and always have been. These guys popped into my head in sixth grade and camped out there until I wrote their stories. They’ve grown and changed over the years, but yup, they’ve always been boys.

Meet one of them:

Devon Ladreth – seventeen years old, loves sports and fast cars, and has a crush on a college girl who treats him like jailbait. Has a twin brother who hates everything, maybe even him. When his parents go on vacation and leave him and his brothers to govern themselves, he throws a party, but…

 

View the next teaser: https://eardell.com/2016/04/25/the-world-in-2022/

 

 

 

THE FOURTH PIECE

thefourthpiececover

 

Yaaaaas, I can finally share it! This is the cover for my first novel, The Fourth Piece, Book I in the Order’s Last Play series. I love looking at it and seeing my pen-name on there. I mean look at that. That is mine. I really think I’ll cry when I finally have this book in hand. It has truly been a long journey. I almost didn’t think it would happen traditionally and that I was going to have to go the self-pub route, but here we are!

What is this book (my precious baby) about? Here’s the official summary on Goodreads! (Please click on the link and like, follow, or just look at it :).

Admitting what you are will end everything you know. Embracing who you are will start a war…

Life is great when you’re good-looking and popular…so long as no one knows you’re a vulatto. Being half-alien gets you labeled “loser” quicker than being a full vader. So it’s a good thing Devon, Lyle, and Lawrence can easily pass for human—until the night of the party. Nothing kills a good time faster than three brothers sharing a psychic vision of a fourth brother who’s off-world and going to die unless they do something. But when your brother’s emergency happens off-planet, calling 9-1-1 really isn’t an option.

In their attempt to save a brother they barely remember, Devon, Lyle and Lawrence expose themselves to mortal danger and inherit a destiny that killed the last four guys cursed with it. In 2022, there are humans and aliens, heroes and monsters, choices and prophecies—and four brothers with the power to choose what’s left when the gods decide they’re through playing games.

I don’t have an official book release date yet. I’m still in the final editing phase of the manuscript, but hopefully I’ll have a summer release date. I will definitely keep you all posted. I just wanted to share this cover with you! 😀  I’m so excited and ready to see this on Amazon with a pre-order link. And then will come the next stage in the journey: author visits and talks, doing paid ads and making book trailers. I can’t wait!

Until next time!

 

 

yaaas

…I didn’t mark up that much. The newbie that I am took those words to mean there just wasn’t that much to critique. So, naturally, I open the story to see the “final” round of edits to be done, and there are revisions EVERYWHERE, lol. I don’t think there was one page without notes, strike-through’s, or RW. They were all great and I made the necessary changes, but if that is an editor’s version of not marking much, I’d hate to see them mark a lot! 😀

I would get off from work and stay up late into the night and then wake up early the next morning to do more. The first 100 pages were tedious, but it got easier after I fell into the flow of things. But then I started noticing something wonky with MS Word. When you are in “review” mode and turn the pane on to view comments and revisions, the program moves slower than dial-up. (Oh yes, I am showing my age right now. I know all about dial-up.) And don’t try to add a comment; the whole file would freeze. When that happened, I prayed that MS Word would eventually start working again, because I usually hadn’t saved the last few pages. I had to redo so many revisions.

I did finish it all tonight and shipped the revised document back to the publisher. I hope I don’t get labeled as a “slow” author, lol. I always take a few weeks to return full-story edits. It would help if I didn’t need a full time job to do things like pay bills and eat and stuff. And it would also help if I wasn’t preparing to move to a new place and taking care of business. This month has been busy. Maybe April will be a little more chill.

Well, I really only came on to say: WOOHOO! I FINISHED MY REVISIONS AND SENT THEM AWAY! And now it’s late, so I’m going to say goodnight. I am so tired.

Until next time!

plateau point

A writing plateau, I mean. A month ago, my fingers were flying over the keys. The flow of my sequel was non-stop. I couldn’t spend enough time writing. Then, I took a break to do some editing, and the flow stopped. I was very smart–because I know myself–and got the sequel to a good plot point before I stopped to edit. I did it mainly because I knew this would happen. I still have a goal of finishing before my birthday, but I am much farther behind than I’d planned to be.

I’ve got about 10 new pages now, but it’s not the flow I had before. I started scheduling writing marathons and such, wanting to meet up with people and write. I’m going to start kidnapping myself after work again and going to cafes to write. I swear my apartment is like a black hole that sucks up all energy when I arrive. I open my laptop and end up surfing the web. On a high note,  I did finish a fan fiction chapter for a story that’s been dead in the water for 6 months :D. Happy about that? Yes, I am. But is it what I’m supposed to be doing? No, lol.

I think my problem with the sequel is, as I’ve said before, that I’ve never gotten this far in the story I’m telling. I’ve always had the plan for The Fourth Piece in mind. There are so many drafts of it. But making it to Book II and knowing all the ground I have to cover? Maybe I’m intimidated. I don’t know. I really like what I have. I think it’s exciting, and I think it has the potential to be better than The Fourth Piece, but I have to deliver. It does make me nervous. I slurp in all the feedback I can get as I write The Third Gambit (Book II). I want to know how it’s doing, if it’s losing people, if I’m drowning the audience in backstory or leaving them too thirsty for knowledge.

I miss having deadlines. When I was in grad school, once a month, I had to have 25 pages of something to submit. I’m a member of multiple writers groups, but I’m cheating. I have so much of The Third Gambit already written that I have materials for two months worth of meetings. So, there’s no pressure there. But you know what, I should respect my personal deadlines the same way I’d respect an assignment’s deadline. I’m really going to shape up and do this. I will write something on my book everyday, even if it’s only a few words. Who knows, those few words might be what turns the flow back on. I still have another round of editing to do on The Fourth Piece, but this time I won’t stop writing new stuff while I’m going through edits.

New news (hah!) for The Fourth Piece. I got to do some sketching. I haven’t sketched in years, but I’m not terrible at it. My main characters, the Ladreth brothers, have strange markings on their spines that end up being very important to the story. I describe the marks, and then was asked to draw them because they might look cool on the cover. I sent over a rough sketch, which will be redesigned, and I might get to see a version of it on the new cover mock-ups. What else? Networking is awesome. I know some fabulous people and authors who are imparting me with their knowledge…and connections for promotion. It’s all so exciting!

New news (haha!) for me? I just got Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Somebody did spoil a little of it for me, but I’m still looking forward to reading it. I’m not quite ready to leave the world of the Shadow Hunters just yet. Do I hope to read some cameos of Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood? Yes! Do I want to see Jem and Tessa wander into the plot and never leave? YES. But I’m also happy for a new story too. So, I’m sure I’ll love it. Other news? I’m moving to a new place! Totally renovated, which is what I like. Maybe a new space will spark some creativity (here’s for hoping!)

So, back to writing… and reading!… and editing. Until next time! 🙂