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!

 

 

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! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Reading from Chapter 5 of The Fourth Piece in Lawrence Ladreth’s POV.

The entire book is told from the shifting first person perspectives of four brothers. Lawrence is the one often misdiagnosed by strangers as having ADHD.

 

 

I read this section so fast that even I am amazed at the speed. I talk fast, listen to my audio books at double speed, and am a fast reader, silently and aloud, LOL. I haven’t read to an audience in years and really need to practice to a beat now.

the book of flash

 

I’ve realized something after my reading on Thursday. It’s something I’ve known, but it’s really funny to actually see it in action. I talk fast, I read faster. I used to get frustrated listening to audio books because I could have read a page twice over before the narrator finished it once.  Then a genius friend said: “Um… why don’t you increase the speed?” As a result, I always listen to audio books at double speed. So, when I got up to my reading, I practiced vocal inflection, voices, being animated, using my stomach voice to keep from being nasal, but I read the section as fast as I read things to myself or listen to audio books.

Watching the playback, I found it simply amazing how fast I could act out a section. It was like watching a video in semi-fast forward. My mouth was going at 60 mph. I thought the reading went well, I got some giggles, had some folks interested, but yeah, it was FAST. I will start practicing with a metronome. (Yes, I’m a dork and was in band for 6 years. I know all about tapping your foot to a clicking beat to keep tempo. 😛 )  I wonder if there’s a metronome app. Heck, there’s an app for everything. I’m going to look into it.

Overall, I love reading aloud. A few people who didn’t know me well mistook my fast reading for nervousness and a need to practice before an audience to get comfortable with reading. When you tell people that’s not the case, they all give you that “oh sure” or the “you’re getting defensive” look. But it really isn’t the case. I used to do story times for kids, and I used to read to the high school classes I taught (for one year before I ran screaming for the door and another profession, lol. Teachers you are saints with a higher calling.) I’m comfortable reading to people. I just haven’t done it in a two years and have developed Quicksilver/Flash tendencies. I need to set a beat.

Now, here’s some publishing news! Cover art for my book… the cover artist who initially had the job was dismissed and a new artist has taken over. I’m really excited to get to see some new cover designs. I also received my second round of edits from the publisher, so I’m getting started on that. I also think I’m ready to submit the first two chapters of the sequel to the publisher. I wanted to let my writers groups go through them first, and they finally have.

Okay, to close this entry out, if you go to the category, The Fourth Piece Readings, you’ll find pictures and links to the speedy reading of a selection from The Fourth Piece. I’ll see if I can actually upload the video onto the blog, but I think it may be too big. If it is, as I said before, there will be links :).

Until next time, take care!

mic

Don’t they know how dangerous this is? Apparently not, because I’m participating in an author-created and run event called “Curated Words”, and the hosts are going to willingly surrender a microphone to me.

I’m doing a live reading from my work for about 7 minutes in front of an audience, which means I get to choose a section of my novel that I think can sort of stand alone. I was advised to pick a funny part, because funny or tear-inducing goes over well with the audience. I don’t do tears unless they’re from laughter, so I chose funny. Only thing is not everybody thinks I’m funny. I’m always worried that people won’t get me or my humor. Most folks take me WAY too seriously. My sarcasm is dry and I deliver it deadpan, no hint of a smile. People who don’t know me think I’m the meanest person ever. And sometimes I let them think it, because duh… it should have been overly obvious that I was joking. 😀

So, anyway, off that tangent, I picked a funny section. I practiced it a few times, and recorded myself so I could time the length. I edited and chopped down descriptions that aren’t needed in the context of the reading, and still go over my time limit by a minute. But the host says it’s fine. So, I’m excited. I get to act out my story. I want to practice voices. I always feel stupid making different voices, but when multiple characters have dialogue, you don’t want to talk the same each time.

I used to do story times for kindergarten through second grade at my previous job and really just had to get over feeling self-conscious. My audience then was comprised of small children, I’ll be reading for mostly adults this time, and most of these adults might be there to hear poetry, essays and literary short stories. I’m gonna be outrageous and outlandish with my young adult sci-fi/fantasy reading. (Another reason why I want to practice voices.)

I chose a section narrated by my craziest character, and I’m gonna get into it. I might even get more into than I practiced once I have that microphone in my hand. There’s something about a microphone that just brings out my inner diva. They might not be able to get it away from me. I might have to do some impromptu karaoke, some impressions… I could go on, but I won’t.

I made this post so I could advertise “Curated Words”. An event created for authors by authors so that published authors and those seeking publication can share their writing with others in the community. The authors who read must submit their work to be considered for a time slot. The hosts truly emphasize that they want quality material presented. Makes me puff out my chest and strut a little.

Now, I’ll just hope that no one throws stuff at me. “Get off the stage!” lol.

The event is the last Thursday of every month at Juice N Java in Pacific Grove, California. Reading starts at 7:30. I’m going to be there this Thursday, February 25, 2016. If you’re in the area, please drop in and see what’s going on. I might even let you share the mic with me and we’ll sing a duet… and all get kicked out :D.

Seriously though, it’s a great event put together by great people. I appreciate that they included me and hope they’ll have me back. So, I’ll have to behave. But I’m still going to really give my piece a lively performance. Maybe I’ll see if someone can record me doing it, so I can share.

Until next time, take care!