philosopher-mugThe strangest conversations or random thoughts keep me up at night. Sometimes, I write the ideas down and sometimes I call somebody up and ponder with them until that person is either as confused as I am, or ready to hang up, lol. I’m the only only person I know who seems not to need sleep… until about an hour before work. So, here is the latest question that was brought up to me during a writers critique group. What is the definition of “person”? Meaning: what is considered a person and what is not?

I’m steadily working on my second book, The Third Gambit, and for all of you who’ve read or just know a little something about my series Order’s Last Play, you know most of my cast aren’t human. The Fourth Piece, the first book, takes place mostly on Earth, but this second book does not. My characters encounter, interact with, and befriend many different races of alien people. A particular scene has to do with one of the Ladreth brothers discussing the fate of another alien race, and he refers to them as people. A fellow writer said: Oh, I’m confused. I thought Devon was the only “person” in this scene. I blink, confused myself, because there are seven other characters hanging around. Come to find out that to this writer, because Devon is the only character in the scene who is at least half human, he is the only one considered to be a “person”, everyone else is a creature. Another writer said: No, they are all people in this scene because they are humanoid in appearance.

Well, some of my aliens are not humanoid in appearance, are they then creatures? Also, one writer’s definition of “person” was that to be a person you had to be from a certain planet. Well, then to an alien’s perspective, I’m not a person and neither is the other writer. Rather than get into a debate, we moved on to another story, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about it. Especially when the other writer then said she was going to look up the definition of the word “person” for next group.

When I got home, I looked up the word “person”. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: human, individual; the body of a human being; the personality of a human being; one that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties. **Author’s note: This definition has been truncated due to excessive length, lol.** If I were to use the first and second definitions, my fellow writers were right in saying my non-human characters are not people or are only considered people if they appear humanoid. If I were to use the last definition, then all of my characters are people… but this last definition is troubling.

According to this definition, those who are not given rights by law are not people. In certain places in the world, and in certain time periods, there are and were individuals who are not/were not protected by law or given certain rights: slaves, women, non-Christians, the disabled, the mentally ill. Does/did that make them not people? Well, to a lot of others, they weren’t, and did these others make up definitions to exclude folks they didn’t think much of or wanted control over, yes. I would love to bite into that debatable nugget too, but I’m getting off-track. So, back to definitions and writers groups.

So, next week, I know that my fellow writer will probably come in to read to me the definition of “person” that she found in a dictionary, and I need something to combat it with. I started looking at the definition of “person” from a philosophical standpoint and took bits and pieces from others along with some of my own ideas and came up with the following. In my opinion, a person is a self-aware being in possession of higher mental facilities, capable of independent thought, reasoning, and reflection, and that has language or means of communication. Using this definition, I can conclude that all of my characters are people.

I also want to take this one step further as the subject of my first book was meant to parallel current and past equality movements. In my book, Visitors (people not native to Earth) and vulattos (offspring of Visitors and humans) are discriminated against. In the eyes of the humans who won’t accept them, they are creatures and non-people, meaning they don’t have feelings or thoughts and are not intelligent. The moral of the story is that the definition of a person is: a self-aware being in possession of higher mental facilities, capable of independent thought, reasoning, and reflection, and that has language or means of communication. Those who come from a different place and look differently than you and who may do things differently are not beneath you or so unlike you that you can regard them as things or animals, because if you’re not a person what else can you be? And all people are to be treated with dignity and respect and should be given unspoken rights to fair treatment and protected by law.

I wrote about the importance of tolerance, but used aliens as a literary device. I guess it kind of stings to hear that assessment from someone who read the first book and is now well into the second. I wanted to smack myself in the face and moan about how I failed. I wanted to say: That was the mentality I was attacking, and you didn’t get it! But I didn’t want to preach (not at the meeting anyway). Not everybody is going to get what you put on the page and why, but for those who do, and who let you know that they got it, it’s great.

So, my purpose for writing this is to give a definition of the word “person” as it relates to a speculative writer who features beings from other planets as characters. Why?–because our silly Earth dictionaries aren’t cutting it :D. I know I got on my soapbox a little bit, and got off task, because phew, a lot was said to get out that one little definition. But I feel better for having shared all this. No hard feelings toward anyone. What was said tonight really bugged me. I know it was said in innocence and I doubt the writer was thinking of equality movements or social justice, just the written terms “creatures” versus “humans” and I took it to another level. Had she used the word “human” I’d have been fine, but to say someone who feels, thinks and reacts is not a “person” just rubbed me the wrong way.

Okay, it’s late, I’m yawning, but probably won’t go to sleep for hours. Let’s see if I can be productive and maybe get some writing done. Sorry to pop back up after a month of silence with philosophy, but hey, I like being random. It keeps me interesting.

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, yes, I’m no stranger to showing my age these days it seems. But you know what? Nineties kids had some of the best sayings, and a lot of our phrases are back… or never really left.

I promised that the next time you heard from me, I’d have party pictures. Well, you know what? I do! I had two great launch parties. The first launch party was at Monterey Public Library. At this party, there was face painting. Some people left the party with extra eyes and a lot of glitter.

face-painting

extra-eyes

 

henna-tattooWe also had a henna artist. You can’t really see it in this picture, but I’ve got the Mark of Order from The Fourth Piece on my arm. It took forever to dry, but it washed off after a few days. I’m thinking of getting a more permanent Mark of Order in the future ;).

There was plenty of food. A good thing too, because a man came in and made sure to come over and thank me for such a good time and to congratulate me for my accomplishments… then made a bee-line to the food and proceeded to stuff his face. He refilled his plate 4 times, eating as he was stacking snacks on top of each other. (And I know you’re wondering, so I’ll tell you. No, he didn’t buy a book. Shhh…. I think he was only there for the food.)

food-table

I had music playing as guests entered. I let them grab some treats and mingle, then I kicked off the event with an introduction of myself and The Fourth Piece. My baby has come a long way, and I thanked everyone for attending his first birthday party. I played the official book trailer on the big screen, and then did a reading. A toddler loved the reading so much he screamed for joy… well, he screamed for something at least, lol. After I finished reading, I took questions and then let my teaser trailer reel play. Every 30 minutes, I pulled a raffle ticket and called out the name of the winner of 1 of my 3 door prizes.

mugsMy henna artist, a high school senior, won the first mug, her younger sister won the second mug. Before I pulled the ticket for the third mug, I joked that their mother would probably win the last mug so that the family could have a matching set…. and um… then she did. I made sure to rub their shoulders and promised to purchase a couple of lottery tickets that night ;).

While guests got tattooed, painted, and fed, or sat and watch trailers, I sold mommy-and-ebbyand signed books and posed for some pics. All in all, it was a great event that was actually recorded. I will go through the reel and make clips of it eventually, lol. The lighting wasn’t the best for video, but it made for a cool otherworldly atmosphere for the party.

Two days later, in San Francisco, I had a second launch party at Book Passage book store. I had never been there before the event. It was small, book-passagebut fabulous. The networking that was done at that meeting was amazing and The Fourth Piece is now in a book store. I look forward to getting it into many others in the future, but we’ll do it one at a time for now.  I’m learning about many other literary events going on in the Bay Area that I may be very welcome to attend now that I know “people.” 😀

Next stop on my promo train is my first blog tour. I just sent in all of the information requested from the person overseeing the tour. The Fourth Piece will be the featured book on YA Bound Book Tours from September 19-23rd! I don’t really know what to expect, but I hope I get some interesting reviews and maybe some more readers.

Until next time guys! Take care!

 

 

 

 

MIAIt has been a little while since I blogged last. But come on, even you have to admit I’m not as bad as I used to be :P.

So much is going on. Work has been so crazy busy. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I know why some people say you can’t be a professional writer and hold down a full-time job. Writing has to be your job–or rather, promoting is your job if you’re truly serious about not working, because you have to sell books to pay bills. I do not have any plans to quit my job and thus lose a steady pay check, so I’m gonna keep putting on my big girl pants and get it done.

I have been doing online promotions, author interviews, radio shows, TV shows (okay, yes, one radio show and one TV show, lol), doing readings, running a critique group, planning launch parties, doing author take-over events online, PLUS maintaining my fabulous front of being a teen librarian by day…and sometimes by night. I also dare to go out from time to time, lol.

I think things are going well. I’m pleased with the reviews I’ve been getting and the welcoming responses from the community I live in. (Monterey is awesome!) My co-workers are really putting themselves out getting things ready for my launch party at the Library. (September 10 from 2-4 for anyone in North Cali.) There will be henna. A high school senior will be doing interpretations of Order’s Mark on willing guests. There will be make-overs. My friend’s lovely daughter is an amazing artist who is practicing designs to make brave guests ready to blend in with the other Visitors. 😀 Also, I will have door prizes! I ordered mugs and a travel cup with character images and quotes on them. The food is going to look very sci-fi (but it will be safe I swear.) I’m going to read, show some books trailers and teasers, do some Q&A, sell and sign some books, and take a lot of pictures.

I’m excited. This is my first book launch party. My second will be a few days later in San Francisco. Check my event calendar for more details. That one I’m not so sure about what will go on. It is being thrown by a group called Left Coast Writers. They’re sweet! They are the ones who got me the radio spot. The party will be held at Book Passage, a large independent book store.

Okay, now I bet you want to know why I’m rambling, because I am rambling. I do have something I want to show you. I want to debut my new professional book trailer for The Fourth Piece and let you guys see a “do-over” trailer that I felt one of my characters deserved.

I’m going to end this with the trailers. I hope you all are doing well, I want you to take care, and next time you hear from me I’ll have PARTY PICTURES!

 

microphones

I hear about other authors doing interviews and I think: that’s cool. I read them and get to know the author’s demeanor a bit and decide, hey I like her/him. We could be friends, therefore, maybe I’ll go see if I can find their book. So, if an interview can do that for other authors, could an interview I give potentially do that for me.

I don’t know. It’s just like when you start a new job or join a new meet-up group. You never know if people are going to get your humor or be off-put by you. So, when I did my interview, I was as “me” as possible, and we’ll see what happens.

Thank you to Magda from the Magic of Books blog for wanting to ask me questions, an if you all would like to check out my first author interview, here you go: https://maginibooks.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/interview-with-e-ardell/.

Until next time! Take care :).

 

The-Fourth-Piece-Promo-5

It arrived at noon today. Well, maybe before noon. The package was waiting for me in my chair when I came back from working the reference desk (yes, I am an honest to G librarian). The stork finally delivered. First, I walked around the office area, holding the package like a baby. (And it kind of felt like one, the peanut wrap inside felt like a Huggies.) I got a little misty eyed. Then after some urging from my coworkers, I cut open the package and held my baby!

baby born kissing book I wanted to kiss him, but I didn’t want to get lip gloss on him. Then I paraded him around the library and had my coworker take pictures, lol. Then, I flipped through the pages and admired. Then I went in search of my coworkers who hadn’t seen it yet. Some of my library people have already started reading the book and they are telling me good things. We’ll see how they like the entire thing. I hope they do :).

So, now I’m constantly looking at ratings and Amazon stats. I don’t know how to read Amazon stats, so I hope the stuff I see is good :D. I checked Twitter and YA Book Central to make sure my ads were going as planned, and YES they are! So, I’m going out tonight to celebrate.

Thank you to anyone who rated or bought my darling. I hope you enjoy him. Feel free to leave a review and tell me what you think!

whats up book!Until next time. I’ll probably have some stats or something to talk about then. Take care!The Fourth Piece‘s birthday is today! RSVP for the party at:

 

The-Fourth-Piece-Promo-4It’s almost here. Tomorrow. I just got my Net Galley stat report back today. One hundred and five people downloaded ARC’s of The Fourth Piece. I don’t know if this means I should expect 105 reviews, though, lol. I wonder what percentage of people download and review. I mean, you also have to take into consideration that maybe they didn’t like the book, and kindly chose not to review. I can respect that. If I feel that I can’t leave at least 3 stars, I don’t review it. It obviously wasn’t my cup of tea, but maybe somebody else will like it.

Of course, you want to believe your baby will always be somebody’s cup of tea. But hey, who here can claim they have liked every book they ever read? Even if it has rave reviews and all your friends loved it? I can’t claim that either. Far from it. So, whenever I read a review, I have to keep that in mind. However, that said, the reviews I’ve gotten so far haven’t been bad. A few were rather critical, but not bad. I look forward to more feedback. Book II is still in the making after all. Of course you can’t take all feedback and restructure a planned series, but if someone makes a really good point… Well. Who’s to say they might not see it later?

Okay, I just wanted to post to continue my count down until the day (tomorrow!)

Save the date: July 8, 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

The-Fourth-Piece-Promo-1

Is it almot the 7th? I’m about to jump out of my skin I’m so antsy. I’ve also been looking into more promotions. I joined this group AAYA that has great promotional suggestions. The new resources I looked into are: Book Barbarian, Book Discovery, The Fussy Librarian, K-Boards and another blog tour company called Chapter by Chapter. just confirmed dates for a Chapter by Chapter Blog Tour to happen a month after the YA Bound Book Tour. YA Bound likes for authors to wait 30 days before going on a tour with another company. They say it’s to avoid chaos. I’ll take their word for it, because I’ve never done this before, lol.

I also looked at Xpresso Tours and HEA Tours (I actually looked at HEA a few weeks ago), but I did want to share the feedback. Both of these places have excellent customer service, and I was informed that they do not really have a blogger market for YA Science Fiction or Fantasy, especially ones that aren’t romantic. Both places offered up other resources; HEA actually recommending YA Bound Books.

I also came across a directory of YA Bloggers. I haven’t started going through the list yet. I wonder how many people on it are still taking requests from new authors. This is fun and I love trying to figure out what else I can do to push my book. I even discussed the possibility of an audio book and listened to other authors tell me about their experiences with ACX.

Oh, and I planned my own little get together celebration for July 8, 2016. (Yaaaas!) Some co-workers and I are getting together after work. I will probably have some more small parties and then the real launch parties. I sent out an e-vite for the get together on Friday, telling my co-workers to meet me at a restaurant. They’d know me because I’d be the one wearing my book, lol. That kind of makes me kick myself, though.  I should have had a shirt made. Dang it.

Anyways, enough rambling. One more day! Tick…tick…tick…

Save the date! July 8, 2016

The Fourth Piece will be available through:

 

 

 

 

The-Fourth-Piece-Promo-2

July 8, 2016 is almost here. One of my friends just let me know that she pre-ordered a print copy of The Fourth Piece and it will be delivered to her on the 8th. I just sent the message out on Facebook: Hey everybody! Order the print book now and you’ll get it on the 8th, same as the eBook!

I just know that when that book is in my hand I’m going to kiss it like a newborn baby. Tears will flow. I will blubber. And then I’ll dance around like a crazy person (so… I guess that means I’ll dance around like myself then, hah!)

My eyes keep going to Goodreads, checking my stats. Every time a review gets posted or my rating changes, I’m on it like a hawk. The reviews have been great to read. One of them got me so excited to write more of the sequel, The Third Gambit, because the reader felt so strongly about something that I’m going to address in Book II. I guess what I’m saying is, this is nerve-wracking but crazy exciting at the same time! I wonder if I’ll ever stop being intrigued by reviews? Nah! Whether they be good or bad, I love feedback.

I’m still booking blog tours and e-mailing bloggers and reviewers. I have a reading booked for the end of July, but hopefully there will be a launch party this month too. If not, I’ve got one scheduled in August as well. I don’t know, it kind of feels like I’m not doing all that much for the actual day of release, or month of release. So… I changed that. I’m going on a twitter rampage starting the 8th, and I’m also running an ad on YA Book Central starting on the 8th. Got some prime real estate on there ;). Check it out on the 8th.

Sorry, I guess I don’t have all that much new to say right now, but I’m too excited not to post anything. Plus, I want to show off my new promotional images :D. Expect daily posts up until release date… and then a few after that too, maybe.

Take care guys, and don’t forget to save the date! On July 8, 2016 The Fourth Piece will be available on:

 

 

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!