eboni indie conThe last time I wrote an entry, I was telling you all about my Rone Award finalist status. Since then, I’ve put together a costume to cosplay one of my characters, Desiri Lilias (who you’ll meet in The Third Gambit), bought my first Square and cash box to take to conventions so I can sell my book, had book bling made (I’ll have pictures of that soon), will be on some author panels, will have a signing table at a convention, and… won two more awards :D.

Yeah, you know I wanted to say that last part first. The Fourth Piece, my baby, won Most Promising Series in the Red City Review Book Awards and a bronze medal for Young Adult Science Fiction in the Reader’s Favorite 2017 Book Award Contest. I received a real bronze medal (bit it and everything. It is real!) I am attending the award ceremony for Reader’s Favorite in November (it’s in Miami) and am still going to the Ind’Scribe Reader Con to attend the award ceremony for the Rone Award in a week. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to meet the authors I’ve been in contact with as we prepare for the convention. Woohoo! I’ve also lost my mind and am driving to the convention. Yes, Burbank is only six hours away, but ugh! I’m one of those annoying “Are we there yet???” people. Three hours in the car is my limit.

But wait until you hear the reason I decided not to fly–or rather, the decision was made for me. You can’t bring swords on a plane as a carry-on, not even wooden ones. Yeah, my costume has bokkens, real ones, and they are heavy! I have a back-strap carrier for them that makes me feel like Leonardo (if you don’t get that reference, you are too young to talk to me, lol).  Of course, after I bought said bokkens and realized that now I have to drive, I think “Oh, I should ask the convention leaders if I can bring these.” I can :D. And since my bokkens pass inspection, I will assume my bow and arrows will too (these are fake, but the bow looks great.)

Now that I’ve gushed about awards and swords and wigs, I want to share something else I’ve been working on: National Indie Author Day 2017. The library I work at is participating in this event for the first time, and I was given the task to organize it. It’s probably the biggest event I’ve ever had to put together. Sixteen indie authors will be in- house presenting panels and workshops. Figuring out ways to communicate and get them to communicate with each other was interesting; promoting the event was fun. I’m expecting a small article in one of the local papers about our Indie Author Day event. I can’t wait to share it with the authors involved, though I’m afraid of one thing. A photographer came out and took my picture, but didn’t let me see the shots. I’m afraid there will be a blow-up of me with my mouth half-open, eyes half-closed. Bad pictures seem to live forever.

Jumping topics again, because it’s late and my mind’s bouncing around, I want to end this with a little writing rant at myself. So, I am very excited about upcoming award ceremonies, and wish-wish-wish that I’d had it together and had my second manuscript done, so that I could maybe go to these events and say: The sequel’s coming out soon. Instead, I can’t. I wasn’t that mad about it a month ago, because I’ve really been struggling to get the story out and right. Then, I made a discovery that made me want to smack myself in the face with a brick. (Well, not really, because that’d hurt, but you get the point.) I’m writing multiple perspectives and most of the people are in different places with different arcs. When I switch perspectives, it’s almost like moving to a new story. So, every other chapter, I was writing a new story, and when I’d go back to a particular character, I’d lost touch with their arc. So why did I choose to keep jumping around? Stupid. I should have written each character’s arc straight through to the end, then shuffled the chapters like cards, so that the POV’s still alternate but I’d lose nothing. I would SO be finished by now, if I’d done that before. I’m doing it now. I smell an ending.

And all this talk of endings makes me think I should end this. It just gets more random as I go, and let me tell you, I can keep going. If you’ve read anything on this blog before, you know that last sentence is true. Pictures, of everything, to come!  But for tonight, in the words of Yakko Warner, “Goodnight everybody!” (And if you don’t get that reference, you are WAY too young to talk to me ;D ).

Take care!

 

 

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/

 

 

 

snatching the 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!

 

 

addicted to pinterest

This article could also be titled “How Pinterest Can Be Addictive”. After choosing models that I think are good visual representatives of my characters, I couldn’t let them go. No, I can’t use those people on my book cover, though I wish I could. But I don’t make enough money to pay any of those gorgeous people to grace my cover. So… this is where Pinterest comes in. I created a board of my cast, pinning up pics of models and actors and labeling them. It was really fun.

Now, ask me what I’ve written.

Uh… well, you see. What had happened was…

I’ve turned into a couch potato, lol. I know I need to write. I know I’m behind. I signed up to do a writing marathon with a group of writers I’ve never met before, out in Oakland. I really need to get back on the ball, and off Pinterest and Tumblr, and Twitter, and Goodreads, and whatever else I will find to distract me between the marathon and now. But honestly, I’m so excited about what’s going on with The Fourth Piece, I can’t concentrate very well on other things.

It’s like now I finally feel comfortable talking about the story. If you want to see a write-up for it, visit: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29058267-the-fourth-piece . That’s right. I have my own Goodreads Author page! I won’t have my own Amazon Author page until the book actually comes out. But, man, I feel legit. I’m doing things to self-promote, like starting an Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eardell/. If you guys click on some of these links, and feel so inclined to like me or follow me or rate me, I’ll give you gummy bears. Well, imaginary gummy bears. That way you can pretend they’re all cherry or whatever flavor you prefer. It’s the thought that counts, right? 😀

So, anyway, I wrote this post, because I wanted to share my Pinterest board for my characters with you all: https://www.pinterest.com/eboniardell/orders-last-play-characters/ . I’m such a nerd, I know. Don’t ask me what I’m watching on Amazon Video right now. You don’t want to know.

Yeah, okay, so I might be watching Ninja Turtles, the Nickelodeon version that turned incredibly dark in its last few seasons. (Hey, it’s funny and it’s got the spirit of the cheesy 80-90’s Turtles I grew up with.)

All right, so wish me luck on my writing marathon. I do still want to meet my goal of finishing the sequel to The Fourth Piece in my birthday month of April. Here’s a plus, I really like how the sequel’s going and maybe I’m afraid to write more because I think I’ll mess it up, lol. Silly, right? Eh, it happens.

Next time, I hope to be popping in to tell you about some sequel-writing progress and giving out further publication details. I can’t wait to be able to unleash a cover for people to see.

Take care!

 

 

my books

The third and final book in the Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown came out today. The closest Barnes and Noble to me is 45 minutes away, but that didn’t stop me from hitting the road after work and driving out to get my book on its release date. There’s something special about getting a thing you’ve been waiting for right when it comes out. It’s the same as needing to see a movie on its opening night.

Yes, I’m one of the people who went to the midnight Harry Potter releases, in costume. Graduate robes look a lot like Hogwarts robes. I thought of myself as a role model to all the kiddies who saw me and said: “Great robe! Where did you get it?” Well, little one, if you get a master’s degree, you too can have a Hogwarts robe.

Yes, I completed my MFA in the same year Deathly Hallows came out. It was a milestone–and not just because of Harry Potter, lol. As always, these posts always have to come back to writing. Where am I right now in the publishing process? Languishing over creating just the right summary. Summaries are harder than writing the book, ugh! Also, I’m looking at cover models and their clothing and facial expressions, and objects to be used in the background art. (FUN!) I might have a book cover to preview soon. And, it’s time to make promotional materials. (YAY!)

I’m setting aside little chunks of change from my paycheck, so that I can help promote myself too. Last night, I went to an author networking dinner where we talked about marketing plans and social media. I got some great ideas and I’m ready explore and research them further.

When I was in grad school getting my degree, we had a panel of professors, all published authors, who were asked how hard it was to be a full-time writer and hold down a regular job. Most of them said the equivalent to: marry well, because if you really want to take this writing thing as far as it can go, it needs to be your only job.

Well, I know a lot of folks who still work and do fine, but I see why someone might want to say the heck with it, let me get on E-Harmony and find a rich hubby! It’s like having two jobs, and it hasn’t even gotten hard yet. But you know what, bring it on. I can take it.

Until next time, note that I’m going to start reading Morning Star tonight. I will resurface when I have finished and know Darrow’s fate. (…still grumbling about how stupid Darrow is… and Roque better live…and Cassius and Darrow better make up…)

Oh, let me just go read. Take care!

 

 

 

e. ardell

I’m on a mission to get on everyone’s nerves. I can’t help it. I want to show off. Everything that’s going on right now is so amazing. Editing, discussing cover art and tag-lines and back-cover summaries. Also, if you follow this link you can visit the publisher’s site to see ME at: https://48fourteen.com/profile/E.+Ardell/

So let me tell you how much it is to discuss cover art. First, I got to find a bunch of covers of other books in my genre that I really like and think could translate well to the series. Then I got to think about concepts like what scene or image do I want on the cover, and do I want cover models, a symbol, and what not. Of course I want cover models. 😀 I love books with realistic looking people on the cover. So then I got to send in pictures of actors and models who look like my characters to give the cover artist ideas. Surfing the web for cutie pies that fit my characters’ descriptions was awesome sauce. I even got my sister involved. Next thing I know, it turned into a project to find models and actors for ALL of the characters in the series. I only sent in images of the main characters, so four guys (all cutie pies), but it was a blast finding all those other pictures and making graphics and name plates for them. I think Pinterest and I are going to be best buddies from here on out :D. I can’t wait to see some drafts of what this book cover is going to look like.

The other thing I did was come up with tag-lines. Tag-lines are hook phrases on the front of your book. I made a list of different phrases, some funny, some serious, some cute, and paraded them around my social circles, letting people vote on their favorites. I ranked the tag-lines according to popularity and shipped them out to the publisher. She liked a lot of them.

Now we’re just working on the summary for the back of the book (which I tell you is harder than writing a book itself), and I’m coming up on another round of editing for the manuscript. This has really been a learning process and I love being so involved with everything.

I’m going to close this by saying, if you’re not a Facebook buddy of mine (you should be, jk), the image above is what you missed out on seeing! Click the image and get taken to the link! I appreciate any visits and participation I can get :).

 

 

 

We_Can_Edit

The publishing house’s edits came last Tuesday. Yes, last Tuesday. I read the e-mail from the publisher which gave general directions on how to proceed in the editing process and then gave praise. The editor said: “Wow… this author is freakin’ fabulous!” Made my morning. I went to work in the best mood.

Then, I had to decide when to look at the edits. I have been on such a roll writing the sequel that I didn’t want to switch gears right away. I decided to get book 2 to a good stopping point. I didn’t want to stop in the middle of an action sequence or while I was building tension. I didn’t want to come back and have to reread to try to find that inspiration again. So, I gave myself a deadline. I said that I would write either 25 pages more or complete the current chapter because the story would totally change pace after the occurring events.

But let me tell you how tempting it was to break open those edits. I kept gazing at the e-mail all week, like hmm… just a little peek. But I resisted, because I know me. I would open the attachments and be a No Limit Editing Soldier on book 1 for the next week or so and lose my stride on book 2.

So today, I got to my perfect stopping place in book 2 and cracked open my edits. The first attachment was just a generalized one-pager with overall notes about being careful of word repetitions and overuse of ellipses, em-dashes and dialect. However, there was a special emphasis on the dialect suggestion to let me know that it was only an opinion. So, then I had to think about just how much dialect to change if it isn’t crucial.

So, after I let all that sink in, I opened the actual story with the track changes in it. The notes in the suggestion column are easy to follow, and there are even some compliments tossed in there. The editor offers suggestions for word repetitions and does a good job eliminating unnecessary words.

I look over and see that while my document’s 94,000 words there are only like 1700 revisions throughout the whole piece. So, I’m like okay, that’s really cool.  I’ve heard stories where people say an editor ripped their work to shreds, but here it’s not so. I like the usage of overall suggestions and I love the grammatical advice. Sometimes you just don’t notice lazy habits until someone points them out.

I want to give a shout out to everyone who has ever critiqued or just read through The Fourth Piece. It was a clean manuscript before submission and it’s all because of my unpaid friends and editors. That being said, no matter how clean you think your work is, there’s always stuff that can be better… and always a typo.

Going through the edits and accepting or revising changes and justifying leaving something the same is fun. The only pain now is Microsoft Word. The more comments that are left in a document, the slower the program moves. Grrr…

But it’s okay. I’m making pretty good progress. I think I can have this done in a week, and then I’ll wait and see what happens next!

Oh, and as for the sequel, I reached 115 pages in a month. Hopefully I can get this draft done before my birthday in April. How awesome would that be? Then I’d start… book 3. That’s kind of scary to think about. Book 3 is the end of the main story–a story I’ve wanted to tell since 6th grade.

Sniff, sniff, my baby is growing up.

Thanks for reading my rambles. Until next time!