Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Black Holes and Ley Lines

Just sent final edits off to publisher... now to wait for it to come out!Hello, my pretties. Well, as you may recall, I've been sick with the flu, these past few days and have not been able to do much but rest--which is what you should do when down with the flu. But today I'm able to sit at the computer--and my eyes aren't burning any more, thank goodness!--so I though I'd bring you a little something about this third book.

I liked the idea of using ley lines in my stories. "Leys is used to indicate ancient straight lines that connect natural points of power in the earth. They were discovered by Alfred Watkins (1855-1935) He believed that the leys indicated the course of subtle earth energies. Where two or more leys cross is a power point that has, in the past , naturally drawn people to assemble or build structers such as standing stones, barrows, tembles and churches." - The Witch Book.

I've had interest in this for years. I don't know how many other authors use ley lines but Kim Harrison uses ley lines for her Rachel Morgan series for her witch and demons to cross from one world to another.

When I began work on my Sabrina Strong Series, I felt that the ley line could be used to make things more interesting, give the main character strange new worlds to explore, and give greater depth in her fantasy world. I other words, she wouldn't always be stuck on Earth, or in the same place book after book.

In the second book, Vampire's Trill, Sabrina travels via ley line to Dark World--a not so nice place--filled with lots of strange creatures, demons and so forth. I don't remember when I decided that the third book, Vampire Nocturne, would mostly take place in a completely different world (BEyond the Black Veil), but it was early on. That was when I began looking into "black holes" and the theories surrounding them.

Carl Sagan (scientist), thought that black holes might be considered a "rapid-transit system" between galaxies. A network of black holes (small black circles within larger violet circles are connected by violet lines), might permit objects to travel through time and space. Scientist have been trying to unravel this, and find an explanation of the possible existence of UFOs--and thus explaining Micheal Jordan (who everyone knows is really an alien, right?)

According to Einstein's theory of relativity, time would pass more slowly for those on board a spacecraft if they were to travel at the speed of light--which is 186,000 miles per second. The idea of slowing down time interested me, and I wanted to show it through Sabrina's watch--which stops, or dies, and becomes useless to her the more she uses the ley lines.

(Spoiler alert!)

In Vampire Nocturne, Sabrina, more or less, learns quickly (out of desperation), how to tap a ley line in a scene where she has been taken to a room to await a visit by Drakulya. A visit whhich she wants no part of, and so she thinks about going home and eventually does. She finds her trips back and forth from one world to the other is becoming easier. In fact, she decides to make a visit to one of her favorite haunts, Tom's Tavern, where she meets up with Rick (leprchaun), Morkel (elf), and the quiet, bu7t psychic Tom the bar keeper, who always knows what you want to drink, and you never have to pay a dime. (Hey, it's my fantasy, deal).

The idea of a portal that opens up to take anyone and anything to this planet was another idea that I used, so that knowledge of our world exists in Beyond the Black Veil. I love to use portals in my fantasises as well. I tied this in with the ley lines and black hole idea to place Sabrina on Beyond the Black Veil--the world that is stuck in Victorian times, and is ruled by vampires who out-number humans ten to one.

When I write, I don't like to put restrictions and rules as to what I can and cannot put into my story. The wilder the better. If my urban fantasy has a little science fiction or fact in it, so be it. This one happens to be a bit of a steam punk, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

Well, until next time, happy reading. I'm just glad to be feeling better, have my appetite back, and hope to get back to work tomorrow.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vampire Nocturne now Available!

After a long wait... my drum roll is a bit weak today.....
Third book is out/available  now!
http://www.amazon.com/Vampire-Nocturne-Sabrina-Strong-ebook/dp/B00BD75KE0/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361635152&sr=1-17&keywords=Vampire+Nocturne

I know that a lot of you have been waiting for this third installment--well, I have too! So here is the link for Vampire Nocturne.

Since I'm feeling under the weather, I'll have to leave you with this for today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meet Author of Secondhand Shoes--Shelly Arkon


      Author Shelly Arkon

Hi everyone. Well, I just wanted you guys to get in on the fun of the give away because today and tomorrow Secondhand Shoes is FREE! You don't want to miss out on this book by Indie author Shelly Arkon.

Who is Shelly Arkon you ask? Well, read on!

Author Bio

When she was nine, Shelly Arkon's mother advised her not to write a novel because no one would publish it...but she wrote it anyway.

Shelly Arkon has never stopped writing since she wrote that first novel as a child. In spite of more family drama than most of us could handle—as the mother of five daughters, drama is unavoidable--she's been writing most of her life. She says most of these stories, written in longhand in spiral notebooks, have been about vampires.

She now lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writer’s of Mass Distraction.

Currently, she’s working on a book series. It’s about two grandmothers, one a New Age hippie, and the other, a Southern Baptist, their grandbaby, their grown children who are pill heads, their extended dysfunctional family, and a dangerous drug dealer.

The two grandmothers find themselves in a dangerous pursuit to save their grandbaby while finding an unlikely friendship between them.

Interview

Why do you write?
There is a constant chatter going on in my head all day. Ideas and dialogue come quickly where I have to write them down. If I don’t, I may miss an opportunity to get it down the way I heard it the first time. Even characters get perturbed when you don’t relay their information correctly. They want their stories told in the right way. Not to mention, all of my characters bug me until I do-I have a tendency to work on multiple projects at a time.

Can you explain the trials and tribulations of writing your first novel or writing in general?
There’s a ga-zillion of those. My first set of trials and tribulations began in the first grade when teachers stuck me in a slow class because I couldn’t grasp reading and writing like the other kids in my class did.

One afternoon, one of my teachers handed me a stool, an eraser, and a piece of chalk. I was to write, say each letter to my name, and then sound it out and repeat. This tiny feat took up an entire afternoon.

First grade through the third were the most tedious years of my life. But I’m thankful to all my teachers for their patience and persistence. By the fourth grade, I was further ahead than most my classmates in reading and writing along with my big love for both.

Once I took off in reading and writing, I read everything I could get my hands on. And I had an affinity for diaries, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, and daydreaming. My imagination ran wild with stories and poems. I wrote non-stop as a child and teen.

Unfortunately, there were people and even myself who discouraged me from writing. Many times I heard ‘no one would publish you’ or ‘there’s nothing special about what you write’ or ‘so-n-so writes way better stuff than you do.’ Negative self-voices are the worst. So you have to find your positive self-voice to talk you out of the bad conditioning. This is something I’m always working on.

Not only do people and yourself get in the way of writing, but so does life. Marriages. Children. Divorce. College. Work. Mundane chores. Traumatic life events. These can really put a damper on one’s ability to sit in a chair and write out your characters’ problems when you have your own.

In 1998, I sat down one evening and wrote the first chapter to Secondhand Shoes. My thoughts were I would be able to finish it within a year, but I found myself suddenly a single mother of five. So I tucked it in a folder and stuck it in my closet. For years, I made notes and wrote dialogue for it and tucked it away.

Several years later, and down to two children in the household, I plunked myself back into a chair and wrote. I wrote it four times over. The first version, I hated and couldn’t relate to it at all. It was like reading a Monday night movie on Lifetime for Women. The second version, the protagonist was a real whiner. When I finally finished the third version, I could finally see the forest through the trees, and the fourth version of Secondhand Shoes was born.

Somewhere between the first and second version, in 2008, I became a member of the Florida Writer’s Association. Every second and fourth Monday evening, we meet at the Barnes and Nobles in Carrollwood. There, we edit and critique each other. The girls and one guy in the group are my checks and balances as I am theirs.

Once I got the okay from my group members that it was ready, it was onto the next stage in the writing experience. Finding an editor. Well, I had the gem of all editors. Kaye Coppersmith. She was a longtime member of Florida Writer’s Association and halfway through my manuscript when she passed. That was this past April. At the time, I felt like God and the Universe had stolen her from me. And the negative voices ate at me again.

But I rose above it, wiped my tears, and went forward. It wasn’t easy finding an editor who could keep my writing voice. So many editors out there try to change everything so much so they lose the characteristics of your characters and their voice. I also found a lot of people labeling themselves as editors, only to find out they didn’t know much about the profession.

And how did you publish?
I ended up going Indie (self-published). Yes. I did try the traditional route but after sending the requested manuscript to agents and publishers, most times I didn’t even get a rejection. Not getting a response bothered me more than not receiving one. It would have been nice to at least hear they didn’t think my novel was marketable. To this day, I haven’t heard back from one agent who requested my manuscript ‘as is’ in 2010. Getting published isn’t as easy as one thinks. No one writes a novel and becomes instantly published.

 Let me tell you, self-publishing isn’t easy, either. Since I’m not a computer geek by any means, I thought many times I would throw my computer into the street over formatting. My eyes thought they were going to fail me over the many times I proofread. Right now, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with the marketing part. Indies are a one man or woman show wearing many hats while maintaining their day jobs.

Also, being self-published takes the cost of making a book out of your pocket. Nothing is free. One has to hire a cover artist, an editor, and someone who can format for an ebook. It all takes time and a lot of dedication.

My novel, Secondhand Shoes is now available on Amazon either in paperback or as an ebook. Paper back is $13.50. Ebook is $4.99. But from February 19th through the 21st the ebook is FREE to everyone.

Spread the News and Cheer on the Run-Away-Bride Give-Away

Also, I’m giving away two $15.00 Amazon cards and two autographed paperback copies of Secondhand Shoes. Since I don’t do rafflecoptors, all I ask is for you to leave the best advice you can give someone on their wedding day and promise to spread the news. On March 1st, I’ll announce the winners on my Secondhand Shoes blog, http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BLOG PART-AAYYY!! Secondhand Shoes by author Shelly Arkon

Secondhand_Shoes_Cover_for_Kindle
Hello, my pretties. Yes. You heard right! It is a wonderful blog party with prizes you won't want to miss! FREE eBOOK AND $15 AMAZON GIFT CARD.

What do you have to do to win? Well, let me get down to the party. This blog party goes on from the 19th to the 21st, so you have chances to win these three days.

What you need to do is Tweet the following:

Free books and prizes @http://secondhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/ Feb. 19 to 21st#FReeBooks#KindleAmazon  Please Retweet

For Facebook:
Secondhand shoes is FREE Feb. 19,20 &21. Get your copy: 

So, join in the fun, Spread the News and Cheer on the Run Away Bride Give Away and Blog Party. You could win a $15 Amazon card or an autographed copy of Secondhand Shoes! Go and visit


http://www.shellysnovicewritings.blogspot.com/   Now Tomorrow I'm going to run an Interview of Shelly Arkon, so you can get to know her better. I hope you all can join in the fun!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Hello, my pretties. I'm introducing this new thing to my blog. WIP WEDNESDAY because I basically have so many Works In Progress that it might be difficult for some of you to keep track.

While I'm currently writing the 6th book in the Sabrina Strong Series, and waiting for the 3rd one to be available to all of you wonderful fans out there, I'm also working on one book which is very close to my heart--Spell of the Black Unicorn.  This was my very first self-published book. I paid a "POD" Publisher to get it into print form and place it out there back in 2008.
Spell of the Black Unicorn
Since it has not been selling as a print book in a few years, I've decided to work on it some, and present it as an ebook--which would have a much lower price on it, and I'll be in total control of the pricing and so forth. It will be absolutely a self-published book.

Today I wanted to tell you a little bit about the book and how it came about. I believe I began working on it in 2003 or 2004. I was inspired by J.K.Rowling's work Harry Potter Series. I fell in love with the idea of magic and all the great characters which came from that series. I also was inspired by the TV Show Bewitched--it was one of my very favorite shows on TV while growing up. And, not to forget my love of vampires and all things weird, and whatever my imagination might dream up.

Spell of the Black Unicorn is basically about a sorceress, Zofia Trickenbod, who has come to Earth to hide from an evil sorcerer who was so evil he was placed in Hamparzums--which is magically fortified to keep all evil wizards, and nasty things inside and other people out. But when the wizard became sick, the wards all fell and the evil sorcerer, Vesselvod Blood escaped and went looking for Zofia. She doesn't know this until things begin happening around a small, quiet town where she lives. When she and her family begin seeing the black unicorn, the know that the evil sorcerer has found her, because the black unicorn is known to follow Blood everywhere (it's thought that the poor creature merely wants his white coat back, since Blood was responsible for turning him black).

Zany characters include a very nosy neighbor who constantly calls the police on Zofia believing that "something strange is going on over there"--this is reminiscent of the nosy neighbor in Bewitched who always spied on the Stevens.

Zofia, as a sorceress, has an invisible servant called a ghogal, and two cats--which are not cats, really but deadly warrior women--who happen to also be cannibals of men (why they were turned into cats).

Also, Zofia's husband, Dorian, was believed to have died at the hands of Blood. But when she opens the door to him one morning, she learns he's not exactly dead, but un-dead, as in vampire.

I'd saved a few ideas from when I thought about writing a funny book where the husband comes back as a vampire, and the wife is magically endowed for decades. I wanted something for adults, and yet be zany enough to keep anyone entertained.

At the moment, I am going through this WIP, after my beta reader, Shelly Arkon, has read through it.

I don't recall how many copies of the book I sold, but it was more than enough to get back what I spent on the POD publisher's price. Now I simply want to make it available in e-book formating so that more people can enjoy it.

Also, this having been my very first book and had been so very lucky that I had a local BORDERS in my area, I look back upon this as my dream-come-true book. I got to see my name on the cover (the cover I drew), and held it in my hands after decades of being rejected by every agent I tried. I felt validated when people who read it came up to me and told me how wonderful the book was and when the next book would be out. I was offically an author the day Spell of the Black Unicorn came out in print.

So, I hope, my dear readers, fans, and friends alike, you'll be on board when I do release this ebook--I'm hopeful this spring.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Teaser Tuesday from Vampire Nocturne

Hello, my pretties. Well, as promised I'm here to give you a teaser from this next book to get you all salvating for it. Haha. I'm so evil. But rest asured it will be out soon.
Just sent final edits off to publisher... now to wait for it to come out!

In this book Sabrina has been sucked through a portal that has taken her to a different world where vampires rule--and out number the humans something like 10-1. Also since this is a steampunk, as you realize their dress styles would be from the Victorian era.

In this teaser that I've chosen Sabrina is at a ball in a castle. She is with a newly formed vampire, his name is Drachen--and is he just yummy.


Once we got past the gate house, we entered the inner ward. Having never seen a real castle before, I was interested to see life inside an actual working castle. It would have been better to have been on a tour of castles in England, or Scotland—not in another world where vampires were kings and queens.
Especially where loads of vampires were partying. Now my butterflies were beating on my stomach trying to escape. I'd be with dozens of vampires. I thought of it like being in Tremayne Towers, only they had different rules here. Knowing who was and who wasn't a vampire might not seem difficult at first, but knowing what I now knew about how the children of vampires—those who could be eating a nice salad one day and suddenly want to drink human blood the next was really disconcerting.
I removed my right-hand glove, now that it had warmed up, before we entered the main hall. A matching glove and bag in one hand and a fan in the other. I mimicked what the other women were doing and flicked the fan open and nearly put my eye out. It fell out of my hand and clattered to the floor. Drachen swooped in and picked it up for me. I smiled and thanked him. I realized it, along with everything, was too much to hold. I would have to ditch the fan. The whole ensemble was a tad silly, really. My uncovered hand became cold within moments of having pulled the glove off. I would have to avoid touching anything with the hand, like always, but I wasn't going to risk being thralled by some pretty boy-vampire if I wanted to survive this night, so it would have to be left exposed.
Nervous?” Drachen asked.
Yes. Drachen you're only one of the reasons I'm nervous.
Not every day I get to rub elbows with the rich and blood-thirsty,” I said.
Drachen threw back his head and laughed. We stepped forward behind a long stream of people. Drakulya and Gwendolyn were further up, at the entrance of another hall.
Candelabras, iron sconces, and huge hanging chandeliers lit up the old castle well enough to see with my human-Were eyes. Tapestries hung on every wall, yet a chill found my exposed areas easily and made me shiver, even though several huge fireplaces were roaring with log fires. Beyond the large opening, I could see dancing people, music from another era streamed to my ears. I recognized a waltz when I heard one.
As ball gowns go, they came in every color, beautiful and lavish with ruffles, and lace. The women wearing them dappled the stone floors like a MonĂ©t painting, while men in their velvet frockcoats in nearly as many various colors with elaborate stitching around the buttons complemented them. Other men had worn tails and vests, like the Drakulya men had. And, yes, women were wearing silly hats. I looked past the shoulders and over heads of shorter people and saw women wearing the wildest looking hats which sprouted plumes of some poor bird's tail feathers, or—in some cases—whole bodies. I spotted one with a mink curled up on top of a woman's head, and to be truthful, I wasn't quite sure if the thing was dead or alive. I knew it was a style, but really I found it deplorable to prance around in a hat with a dead bird or an animal perched on it. Masks were worn over a few faces. These were quite fancy, glittering from jewels and sequins, green, red, purple or yellow feathers sprouting from the tops looking like exaggerated brows.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Talking Steampunk, Dracula, and Sabrina Strong's Next Adventure

Hello, my pretties. As you know I've got my very first steampunk coming out soon, which is the third book in the Sabrina Strong Series, Vampire Nocturne.
Just sent final edits off to publisher... now to wait for it to come out!
When I started out with this, I didn't consciously decide it was to be a Steampunk. Just sort of happened. I realized as I wrote it and had Sabrina deal with being in another world that they were stuck in the Victorian age. I love the dress stlyes of that time, and some would call it a more romantic time. Perhaps it was.

At any rate it caused me to look up the meaning of Steampunk. It is really a sub genre of science fiction, alternate history and speculative fiction which came into prominence in 1980's-'90's. It basically involves an era/world where steam power is widely used--about 19th century, or Victorian era. In any case it incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.

In some cases I think it can blend both. I've read certain books which are works with steampunk themes. Anno Dracula was one, and Vampire Empire was another. While I didn't care for the rendering of vampires in the latter work, I thought Anno Dracula a rather fun alternate history using characters from several works like Dracula and historical people of that era, including Jack the Ripper.

After reading these works, I was certain what I had was a Steampunk, and worked on this story with the basic elements in mind.

The Basic Plot:

Sabrina learns that her cousin, Lindee, has gone missing. Because Sabrina is a clairvoyant, she, of course, knows she should be able to find her. Little does she know that Lindee has been transported via a ley line to a whole other world. Sabrina also falls through this portal that takes her to this world, and, in fact has already visited one character on this world, prior to her falling into the portal to begin her investigation.

While all of my Sabrina Strong books have a lot of adventure, romance--to some extent--and dangerous situations, this one by no means fails in this. But it is different in that it is nearly a stand-alone book. While some new readers may not know who Vasyl, Rick, Morkel, or Bjorn Tremayne are, but these characters, basic to the series, only play a very small roll in the total of the book. Sabrina spends most of her time on Beyond the Black Veil (this other world), and finds herself on a world where vampires rule, and humans are basically food and sexual partners--oh, and entertainment.

Not only does Sabrina need to find Lindee, but almost right away she deals with a murder mystery, and some very nasty beings who stalk humans and make them sick until they die. Plus, she finds that the real-life Dracula has managed to turn himself into a vampire and has lived on this planet for many centuries. Sabrint going up against Vlad the Impaler is one of my favorite scenes in the whole book. I had to open up a book on the historical Dracula again and found myself with a wealth of information.

This week I hope to take passages from the work, Vampire Nocturne, and post them, giving everyone a chance to read a little bit about the characters and get a feel for the work.

Until then, adieu, my pretties!