Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

Posts tagged “novel

Book Review: Houses of the Broken

I missed touching on this while I was out of town, but please take a moment to enjoy this review of Houses of the Broken!

Houses of the Broken – The Review

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The Heat is in the Tools

Presently I have two very big influences in my life. One is trying to get my writing persona established and off of the ground, the other is a massive restore-o-vation of the very old farmhouse I live in. Neither are for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of crazy to face insurmountable odds and go “Eh… what’s the worst that can happen?”

Life evolves. There’s no two ways around it. Things that were important one day, may not be so important the next. Likewise, something you never thought to be a consideration maybe become the burning desire that spurs you to action. Between renovation and writing I have found a few simple truths.

1. Each one is a lot of work.

2. If I don’t do it, no one will.

3. The heat is in the tools.

#3, obviously being the entire point of this exercise, is the important factor here. Maybe you’re wondering what exactly it could mean, in either context. The answer is fairly simple: Activity keeps you sharp (and warm).

When you’re ripping apart a 160 year old house in the dead of winter, you start to appreciate the concept of movement. To stand still is to be cold. There is no progress. There is no warmth. There is an overwhelming urge just to give up. Too hard. Too cold.  Too dark. Your mind becomes your own worst enemy. Before long you have yourself talked into a nice coffee shop and a cup of coco. But the cave remains, haunting your moments of relaxation and warmth. Only when hammer hits wall do you meet true feelings of satisfaction.

That work in progress is the same way. Be it marketing or manuscripts, sitting and staring blankly at things on results in cold frustration. I like to mull things over, but if it goes too long ambition starts to flag. Ideas fall by the wayside. And it’s just plain easier not to. To write is to work. The catch to being a writer is: you have to write. Even the best imagination imagination in the world can’t call themselves a writer if they don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard.)

It’s hard, but the best thing to do is keep hammering away. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re bored. Even when you think you don’t have time to spare. (And yes, I am trying to convince myself of this as well!)

It’s the only way to knock those walls down and build something great.


Catching up. Signings & Con’s, oh my!

The past calendar month has been pretty much fabulous. And insanely busy.

Mid September I had the privilege of having a signing at the Erie Book Store. I had no idea what to expect, but everything went great. It was great to get the support of my friends, family and complete strangers. I didn’t sell out but I came darn close!

Just this past weekend I was camped out at my booth at Eerie Horror Fest. The weekend went great and I got to meet and talk to people I never would have imagined. It was my first ‘con’ and I had no idea what to expect walking in. Would my set up look ok? Would I even sell a single thing? Would people just eat all of my candy and never make eye contact?…. (the answer to that one is yes.)

IMG_6065

(Note to self: I’m not sure another time I’ve used the word ‘great’ in such a high concentration.)

November isn’t much more likely to be settling down, I’ll just be navigating a different set of hoops. My yearly stint of NaNoWriMo is looming and I can’t resist the call. My friends and family know to leave me alone and/or bring me food for the month of November. It works for me. This year I’ll have the added obstacle of trying to draft my upcoming novel while being bi-coastal. Because 50,000 words in 30 days isn’t enough of a challenge, clearly.  I’m hoping I can pull it off, though I doubt the story will end there.

This is one I’ve been wanting to tell for a LONG time.


Coming in to the light.

My first book signing has been confirmed! September 14th, I will be having a signing at the Erie Book Store. I am both excited and anxious.

Up to now I’ve kept my identity… obscured… in my publications. There are a variety of reasons, but most of them come back to my day job and the potential clash of realities.

There is the question of who I want to be. Who am I? This part of me? It’s not the part that sits pushing technical documents around 8 hours a day. It’s not the part of me that’s expected to be responsible, reasonable and a good example at all times. It’s my artistic side. The side that gets to flex her mind, think outside the box and stir up mischief. The side that gets paid for pushing people into woodchippers. <spoilers>

How do I bring what’s inside, out?

“I am me.” That’s a phrase I often used in adolescences to give myself solace that being different might not be such a bad thing. But the truth is that on the surface, I’m not so different; just your ordinary, average office worker. Nothing to see here. But that’s not who I want to be, that’s who I’m expected to be.

So what’s a girl to do when the facets of her identity are at odds with each other? How do I show who I am and not the facade I’m expected to maintain on a daily basis?

If anyone has some suggestions, I’m all ears…


Hitting expanded distribution and feeling reflective.

Houses of the Broken is starting to hit the expanded distribution network. Now available at Barnes and Noble online!

Houses of the Broken at B&N

I spent so much time at Barnes and Noble in my formative literary years, I had every section memorized. It’s where we went to talk, to learn, to browse, to sample all of the exotic music you couldn’t find just anywhere. It was the first bookstore/cafe in our area, and we drank it up. I still wish they made the Italian Cream Sodas I grew to love… every so often I feel nostalgic. This was before Borders, before Starbucks and before books came inside slabs of silicone.

Giddily, we’d walk down the aisles of our favorite sections, looking for new covers we hadn’t seen before, enticing us to touch them, heft them and see how the pages felt flipping through our fingers. At that age it was probably best that I had to be thrifty with my money. I had to choose… carefully… what next adventure I wanted to take home with me. I rarely left empty handed, if I had a choice.

I admit, I still like the feel of a trade paperback. Hardcovers are nice, but just too pristine. The paperback, ideally one that fits in your pocket, is a great companion. It goes everywhere with you, there to quell your boredom or sooth the anxiety while waiting for something unpleasant. The tattered edges growing dark from use and life experience. Favorite pages creased from being read again, and again, and committed to a memory always held close to the heart.

But now we have iPhone and Google for that…


And now on Kindle! … I hope.

With any luck my newly posted Kindle book will behave.  I say luck because it took 2 of us working on multiple attempts to even get close to some consistent formatting. I don’t know where the ‘easy’ button was for this transition, but they sure hid it well.

Only when researching in the depths of the forums did the real truth come out… complications. Formatting issues. Shifting images and line spacing… Even now, while it looked good on the preview, I still can’t be truly… perfectly sure… that it will look right on the various devices and formats…

So I’ll cross my fingers and share the link… the content is there… if only it looked pretty…

Houses of the Broken on Kindle


Createspace on your shelf for me!

See what I did there?

I’ve been sitting on pins and needles since the launch of Houses of the Broken last week. To put it mildly, I’ve learned a lot. It’s been interesting watching how Createspace and Amazon handle the publishing, and sales. And torturous as to how long it takes for sales to report from the various outlets.

Every day I check my ‘sales’ list, and my Amazon ranking. Some days I’m happy, some days I’m said, some days I’m just plain confused. I need to get a better media blitz together, but it’s difficult when no one returns your inquiries… I could argue back from a ‘no,’ flat out ignoring is a lot harder.

In many ways, it’s what I expected: It’s a lot of work. It’s a leap of faith. It’s not great for immediate gratification or questionable self esteem. And Kindle formatting… good grief. Don’t let the ‘it’s easy as pie!’ sales speech from CS or Amazon fool you. If you have a formatted file for a print book… be prepared to completely reformat it. This is still a work in progress and I even have people to help. I’m already wondering if the $69 fee to convert it in CS might have been worth it… but I’m the stubborn sort, and I like to know how things work for myself. So… Kindle version will be out… eventually… Besides, spreading out the action should be good… I think.

For now, I’m keeping an eye on the sales numbers vs. the number of copies that are showing up in people’s hands. If they don’t match, I’m not going to be a happy camper and that will lead to a whole other series of blog posts in the future. But for now… I must wait.

Take a chance on me!


Houses of the Broken

Now available in print, and soon in Kindle format, Houses of the Broken.

Anna Shaw never intended to go home again. On the run from her demons since an early age, she never looked back to her sadistic father and the family she left behind to suffer at his hand. But with age comes the nostalgic longing for the familiar, and after years of distance from her estranged family, the only contact remaining to Anna — her sweet baby sister Lacey– uses their mother’s illness to lure her back into the fold one last time.

What starts as a bittersweet family reunion with her ailing mother and four of the younger siblings Anna so willingly abandoned as a teenager soon becomes a snare of animosity and deceit, proving once and for all that the perverse legacy of their father is more than just skin deep. And when the handsome stranger Anna met on the arduous journey back to her family shows up on Lacey’s doorstep with her vagabond sister, Silver, Anna discovers that her gruesome tendencies are not just hers alone.

With no one left to lead the family, Silver and Anna fiercely struggle for control of a twisted birthright. Anna must face a difficult reality that gives her only one choice to stop the fraternal darkness from spreading, setting off a chain of events that will leave her an unsure fate and no place left to call home.

Houses of the Broken is currently available at the following outlets:

Houses of the Broken on CreateSpace

Houses of the Broken on Amazon

 


Burden of Proof.

It has arrived. Snuck right up behind me, in fact, a day early. My hands trembled in excitement as I tugged at the packaging. In a moment, the reveal. Glossy cover, straight spine, not a bad heft… my PROOF is here.

I flipped through the pages, surveying what I could at a glance. Text right? Check. Images formatted? Check. Any obvious glitches? Nope. So far so good. Closer inspection… where did that ‘s’ go… gah, there’s another one missing…

Yes, there are typos. After all the eyes and editing, there are still typos not willing to reveal themselves until they’re in glaring black and white. But I’ll find them., as many as I can. I still have time.

There will be tweaks inside and out. Little things. Picky things. Things to add more polish and shine, but overall I am very very pleased. And soon it will be ready for public consumption.

But will the public be ready?


If at first you don’t succeed… do it again.

This is the theme of the week and this potentially wine laced tirade. Nothing has worked right the first time, but perseverance is paying off. I hope.

I bought ISBN numbers. Or at least I thought I did. A few hours later my celebration was cut short by a note from customer service… somehow I had managed to log in to their site during a test phase. So neither my account, nor the numbers I bought were valid.

Try, try again.

ISBN numbers re-claimed, profile re-established, onward to the final phase. Createspace and uploading! *the crowd goes wild* The proof comes up, I start to page through it. The few minor image issue flagged aren’t really important until…

Where did my header go? *crap*

I had wanted blank pages in the front of the template, which CS hadn’t provided. Apparently in my previous attempt to insert them, I manage to scrub out the header information in the entire file. Not good news. Thankfully there was a formatting fairy to the rescue, and I was able to get the doc fixed to re-upload. On to the cover.

Oh, we only take PDF not JPEG. *sigh* Ok… cue email to my friend doing cover art. //facepalm.

It’s taken 2 tries on everything this week, but things seem to be working… now I wait to hear from CS and see if my info and files are all up to snuff.

And now we wait, until the morning…