Steampunk Hands Around the World

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by Ray Dean

by Ray Dean

What do you like about steampunk?

What I like is the fact that many people like and even love steampunk and they don’t even know it. That would have been me a few years ago. I’d watched steampunk inspired movies and animation, totally digging the spiff and shine, the gadgetry and magic, and the mash up of genres, tropes and imagery to create something, well…unnameable. Except it does have a name. Steampunk.

Until three weeks ago I never thought for a second that I would do more than read a steampunk book or watch a movie. This will soon change.

Steampunk Hands Around the World is the brain child of the Airship Ambassador, Kevin Steil. I was invited to participate by group member, Suna Dasi, who had put out a call to attract a multicultural group of women to participate in this quirky, fun event. I am so very glad that I accepted. The Mission Statement reads as such:

Steampunk Hands Around the World is a month long event in February 2014 showing and sharing that steampunk and the community is global and as such, all steampunk everywhere are connected. There are new friendships to be found in every conversation and event. “Hands” is presented in multiple formats from blogs to videos to live events. Each person is responsible for organizing their own content and format, but the central theme is that of global connection and friendship.

While contributions to this event will be unique and varied, by an equally unique and varied group of artists and steampunk lovers, my part will be a short story tentatively titled The Golden Bird. In keeping with the theme of this event, it will of course, be a steampunk tale and it will be multicultural. I’ll be posting it right here on February 23rd. And, if all goes as planned, The Artist will provide a unique piece of art to go along with my story. I am both excited and nervous because this puts me on a deadline. *shudders*

So…I’m signing out now so I can get back to work on this story.

by Ray Dean

by Ray Dean

Why My Book is Free and Writing and Reviewing With Integrity

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AUW_ebook_1875x2500_72dpiAbout every 9-12 months I feel the need to rejuvenate my writing and my writing goals. I reached that breaking/building point about a month ago. I realized that while I’ve been writing, none of it was coherent, connected, or progressive with regarding to developing my craft or my career as an independent author. I made some promises to myself about what I wanted do. I said these things out loud, which I believe will press me to be accountable, and I’ve set deadlines, so that I will be accountable to myself.

I believe that deadlines are essential.

One of the things that I have decided to do is join the Story Cartel program, wherein I offer my book, An  Unproductive Woman, for free for a period of about three weeks. Each reader who reviews my book is automatically entered into a drawing for the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. StoryCartel will choose the three winners. I first heard about this relatively new program via a newsletter and then later in a podcast by K.M. Weiland (http://www.kmweiland.com/wp-content/podcast/storycartel.mp3). K.M. Weiland placed her new book in this program as part of her new book launch to drum up interest and fresh reviews.

Before making the decision to try out Story Cartel, my intention was to lower the price of AUW on Amazon, open it up on other outlets and then forget it existed. But, I started to think about my WIP and what I would need to accomplish to do a reasonably professional publication and launch. As cheap and easy as self-publishing is, some of these tasks will cost money. I am guesstimating I will spend about $600 to $1000 in the process. This will cover the cost of an editor and a cover artist and possibly someone to format my WIP for Kindle. (I formatted AUW for eBook myself but it wasn’t fun and I’d rather not do it again.)

My hope? That I will make a few dollars on my current novel and use those proceeds to fund my current WIP. I’m hoping that more reviews will make this happen for me. Hoping.

I’ve made AUW free on Amazon before via their KDP program, and I have given away many free copies as well. I have a nice number of reviews (totaling 45 prior to Story Cartel) but I was hoping that if I can manage to double those reviews I’ll light up within Amazon’s complicated system of algorithms and garner more attention and possibly more sales. Also I will have access to the email addresses of all of the people who have signed up to download, read and review my book. They can be added to my newsletter list for my next book launch. It is a win-win situation.

I think that most of us know why honest reviews are important, especially as a self-published author. Though our situation has improved over recent years, many readers still have the sneaking suspicion that our writing will be sub-par. In truth, it sometimes is.  But sometimes it is not. Sometimes our writing and our stories are phenomenal and just as good as any traditionally published author, which brings me to the topic of writing with integrity.

This morning I saw a call-out on Goodreads wherein one member  offered book reviews for five dollars each. She stated that all one has to do is send her a synopsis of the book and the five dollars in exchange for her review. While not surprised, I am ecstatic to see that everyone who responded to this call-out, called this person out for attempting to offer such a dishonest service. Kudos indie authors! Keep living and writing with integrity.

So, this is why my book is currently free. Please put the word out on my behalf. Tell anyone you believe might be interested in a good free book. Check me out at StoryCartel, http://storycartel.com/books/464/an-unproductive-woman/. Click the link and tweet about it or post it to your G+ or Facebook. This indie author would appreciate your support.

What do you think about paying for fake reviews?

Is there ever room for them?

Would you respect or read an author you knew had received fake reviews?

What do you think of authors who review their own books?

I would love to know what you think.

The Milk of Female Kindness

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Back in late spring I was contacted by Kasia James. She honored me with an invitation to contribute in an anthology about motherhood. Being both a mother and a writer, of course I accepted. The anthology is slated to be completed and ready to go by the beginning of the new year, if memory serves, and will be available in both paperback and ebook formats.

My children are ages 22, 20, and 12 and they make me happier than anything or anyone in this world. They are brilliant, artistic, wise, funny, and a joy to hang with. People tell me that my children are such fantastic human beings because I have been such a wonderful mother to them. I say the truth is the opposite. I am a wonderful mother because I’ve been blessed with three children who are among the most stellar human beings that I know. I’ve learned far more from them than they have ever learned from me.

Okay, enough gushing.

Kasia, our contributing editor, has just revealed the cover of our sweet little anthology and I wanted to share it with you all.