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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blaze is talking again

As some of you may know, I've had a pretty hard time writing one of my current WIPs. Not only did I lose a massive amount of the story that I'd written, but I found that after starting another series, I had a hard time refocusing on my delectable Guardians again. Throughout this week, I've felt that spark of life in my Guardians again. Where there backs have been turned to me for not making backups of my backups of my backups, they're atleast starting to peer at me from over those shoulders, and my main hero in this novel has finally started talking to me again. So, below is a section of Blaze's story. For anyone who has read the story so far, the end of this section may sound familiar...only from a different view. I hope you enjoy, and no I haven't paid much attention to editing, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes.


No flippin’ way. There was a body. She walked right up to it and snapped a few pictures from different angles, narrowing her eyes at the strange elongation of the guy’s face, and the dark bluish-black liquid that ran off his body and pooled in the snow. What the heck was that, oil?

“Campbell.”

Sophie cringed at the familiar, gruff voice and turned, seeing Detective Harris stalk toward her. “Harris,” she greeted. Dammit, she’d thought she’d be here longer than a few minutes before the jerk saw her.

“What are you doing here? You know you can’t get this close.” He lifted his hands up as though he was going to herd her like some sort of cow back to the police line.

“Freedom of the press.” She shrugged, lifting her chin a degree. She refused to back up a single step. She was not a heffer, thank you very much.

“Freedom, my ass—” 

“I’ll handle it from here,” another officer said. 

She turned toward the newcomer and smiled as Harris’s partner strolled up to them with a shake of his head that was directed at her. 

“Detective Larkin. Nice to see you.” She lifted her camera again and snapped a picture at Elongo-Face without even looking through the viewfinder. No need. She was pretty sure she nailed it.

He cocked an eyebrow at her, though she knew damn well he found her charming. Why wouldn’t he? “Right. Listen, you’re disrupting a crime scene and we’re pushing everyone back anyway.”

“Disrupting? Me? Nuh uh, I’m just minding my own business. I promise, I haven’t even approached any dead bodies that have cops around them. Just this guy so far, and he was all alone over here.”

Larkin shook his head warningly. “Sophie. I’ve known you a long time. Your Dad and I—”

“Nuh uh, not tonight, Larkin.” She shook her head, not wanting to hear about how close he and her dad had been when her dad was still alive. They’d been partners in crime, keeping the good city of Newark safe behind their shiny badges. She reached into her bag and extracted her voice recorder. “Can you give me a report on what’s going on here?”

“No more than what I’m sure you heard on your radio. Put that thing away.” He reached for it and pushed it down as Detective Harris sauntered off to speak with other police officers, all of which were tense as they kept guns trained on the house. Even Larkin kept his hand on his gun, even though it was still holstered. It was then that she noticed that he kept himself between her and the house. “Listen. This isn’t some quick story that I can help you out with. This is serious, Sophie. And if I let you get in harm’s way I wouldn’t be living up to the promise I made on your dad’s headstone.”

Sighing, she clicked off the recorder and dropped it into her purse again. “I’m just really trying, you know? I’m up for a promotion.”

“I know,” he smiled kindly, but with an air that he was still keeping an eye-and-a-half on the house. “I heard you were up for it. Put in a good recommendation for you too.”

That was a surprise. “What’s going on? Off the record.”

He eyed her silently for a minute before he released a slow breath. “I can’t say.”

“Come on. Don’t make me sit here all night.”

“Stubborn as your old man.” A sympathetic smile appeared. “Off the record, we haven’t gone in yet, but we have a team on the way. There were…violent sounds inside. It’s gone silent since then, but we have no idea if it could be a hostage situation.”

“Another one?” Jack-freaking-pot.

“Yeah.” He wasn’t nearly as enthused. Not that she was enthused. She hated violence. But this could be just what she needed for a certain promotion and, even better, raise. 

“Have you gotten out the xylophone—”

“Megaphone.”

Yep, as soon as she’d said it, she knew she’d called it the wrong thing. Damn, she needed another shot of Buzz-Be-Gone. “Whatever. You know what I mean.”

“No, we haven’t. We’re working on getting a visual. If you’ll just go back to the street and stay on the other side of the tape, I’ll get statements together and I promise I will talk to you if I get clearance. I just need you to go where it’s safe.”

Larkin looked exhausted. No doubt this new development was nerve-wracking, especially after what happened at the Children's Hospital in Newark. The police had been cautious then as well, and an even bigger disaster had struck, which had rocked the entire state of New Jersey. Investigations were still going on, and a lot of families mourned those lost, hoping and waiting for some kind of answer. 

“Deal. Just give me two minutes.” Sophie stepped around him, heading toward the house. She couldn’t help but take a few more pictures of another body that was in front of the home, despite the detective’s attempt to stop her. From this view she had a nice angle of the house as well, with two windows behind the body—one of which was broken. Holding the viewfinder to her eye, she snapped one picture, then another. 

Something moved in the background as her camera snapped a picture. She quickly zoomed in for a better look, focusing on the windows. She snapped another pic without even realizing she’d moved her finger. Sophie lowered the camera, unable to rip her gaze from the unbroken window. 

There'd been a man peering through a gap in the curtains. In that split second of seeing him as her flash went off, she'd noted black and blue, spiked hair, and wide frame. And if she wasn’t mistaken, she’d seen blood on his face before he’d dodged out of her view.

Detective Larkin stood next her, so close that her shoulder brushed his arm. “What’s wrong?” 

Her eyes never left the window, even though she couldn’t see that deadly apparition anymore. “There are definitely people inside. Or, at least one person.”

“You saw someone? Where?”

“In that window. He’s gone now.” Hitting the view button on her camera, she pulled up the last picture she’d taken, holding it for Larkin to see. Yep, right there. The man’s eyes reflected back at her in the picture. Coupled with his large build, spiky hair, and blood streaked face, he looked a good deal more than merely frightening.

Detective Larkin cursed under his breath and gripped the radio at his shoulder. Speaking into it, he informed the station that there was confirmation on people inside. The crunch of snow under his boots alerted her that he’d hustled over to other cops, where he told them to watch for movement in the windows. 

Sophie pulled the memory card out of her camera. There was no way in hell was she giving that up if they seized her camera. She removed the card and stuck it in her pocket, all while keeping her eyes trained on that window. 

She willed the man to return to the window so she could catch another peek. It hadn’t been his hair or the blood that smeared his face that had captivated her. There was something in his eyes that took her breath away, that made her feel as though she’d never forget the way they looked. His eyes hadn’t just reflected back at her in that picture. They’d been that way when she’d seen him in the window, when there’d been no flash at all.

It was almost as if they glowed.

© Copyright Katalyn Sage

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's contest time!

I am completely speechless! I logged onto WattPad today only to see that The Highlander's Curse reached over 25,000 reads! (!!!!!!) I cannot believe the overwhelming support I've had for this book and I'd like to send out a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has read, commented, shared, or liked The Highlander's Curse!

As a show of appreciation, I'd like to throw a "Birthday/Mother's Day/Celebration of 25,000 Reads" Dreamcast Contest!

What's up for grabs? 
Three lucky winners can win one of the following:
1 paperback copy of The Highlander's Curse (Legions of Fate, Book 1)
1 paperback copy of Dark Seduction (Primordial Guardians, Book 1)
1 paperback copy of Passion Ignited (Primordial Guardians, Book 2)


How to enter:
I promise, this isn't daunting. :) All you need to do is Like my Legions' Facebook Page and submit a photo of what your favorite character looks like from that series. And don't forget to tell me which character it is!
Each entry will be added to a spreadsheet and the three winners will be chosen at random on May 16th, 2014. Entries must be submitted by May 15th, 2014 at 11:59 PM (Mountain Time). Limited to 18 years and older, please.

More info:
One entry per person. Pasting images of the book covers (in whole or in part) will not qualify as an entry. The first random drawing on May 16th, 2014 will be for the winner of The Highlander's Curse. The 2nd random drawing will be for the winner of Dark Seduction, and the 3rd drawing will be for the winner of Passion Ignited. Winners will be notified through Facebook messages.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Holy jibberjab...

Over the last few months, I've been helping a new author. Granted, I've only answered a few questions here and there, offering advice and telling her about my personal experiences, but today I sent her this very long email on what to do now that the book has been written. Please keep in mind that I'm not trying to sway anyone in any particular direction, these are just thoughts from my own experience. I'd love feedback from other authors as well in order to help these new up-and-coming authors.

So, what do you do now that the book is done?

Yay! Congrats on finishing your book! I am sooooooooo sorry I turned out to be such a jibberjab on this email. I had no idea it was going to go this far…

It’s really hard to choose who to go with and/or which path to take. From here, you’ll want to decide if you want to submit the book to agents (to try to get picked up by one of them and then they’ll try to get you picked up by a publisher). Another option is to submit directly to publishers. Some publishers (pretty much all the big-name ones) only accept submissions from agents, and won’t even look at submissions sent directly from authors. A third option is to go the self-pub route. With my first book, I sent to agents but never got picked up (and rarely even received an answer after waiting for months) so I started to research publishing houses and each one’s specific submission guidelines. I got accepted by two publishers and chose which one to go with based on the terms of their agreements.

I would probably write out a Pros and Cons list for each option and choose which one you’re most comfortable with. For example (in my opinion):

Agent:
Pros: They have an in with publishing houses and can get your manuscript in front of more eyes. They also know who would be most likely to pick up your book. They may also work with the publisher on your contract and royalty rates. Many will also work with you to polish the heck out of your MS, synopsis, and blurb so they shine before it is seen by publishers.
Cons: They get a portion of each book sale, so your royalty would be X% of the sale price, minus X% the agent would get (might not be a biggie if they get you in a big box publisher and you become a bestselling author).

Publisher:
Pros: For the most part, publishers have a following of readers, and the authors generally support one another. They (your fellow publisher authors) may try to help market your book through blog hops, spotlights, etc., especially if you’re willing to return the favor. Publishers also handle all costs associated with getting your book ready for publication. They pay for/create the cover, pay for editing, and pay the ISBN fees to get your book assigned the different numbers needed to get it out there. They will likely also have an in with different vendors to get your book available on different sites.
Cons: You’ll be in a contract with them, and many of your rights to your book will basically be on hold until your contract is up. They set your price, and decide when/if to do promotional prices on it. You really don’t have control over it once it’s all said and done. Also, they usually get more than half of the money you would normally get on your royalties. When vendors sell your book, they keep a big chunk of the sale price (let’s just say 30% for example), so 70% of the sale price is sent to the publisher. The publisher then keeps whatever % was agreed on in the contract (we’ll say 55% as an example) and you’re sent the rest. So if your book’s sale price was $2.99 and we used the sample %’s above, you would end up with roughly $0.94 on each book vs. roughly $2.09 if you’d gotten the whole royalty. However, that being said, it’s to start paying the publisher back for all those upfront costs. With the big publishers, many only offer you a 6% royalty because they will usually pay to have a bunch of books mass-printed, which isn’t typical of the smaller ones.

Self-Publishing:
Pros: You have full control over absolutely everything. You’re in charge of the cover, the editing, the formatting, the marketing, and the pricing.
Cons: Not all vendors will let you upload to them. Many will only allow books from publishers. Also there can be costs to self-publishing. Since you’ll need to create (or buy) a cover, those costs are up to you. Same with editing and formatting your books. In my case, I bought a cover that I absolutely fell in love with because it fit the book so well. I did my own editing (many times over) until I was happy with it, so there wasn’t a cost for me there other than my time and sanity. I also did all the formatting myself as well for the different vendors that would accept my book as a self-pubber. One cost I hadn’t realized I’d need to pay was for the ISBNs. Many vendors will let you use an ISBN that belongs to them, but I have found that there are usually some downsides to doing that (one, for example, claimed that if you used their ISBN then they would own the cover of your book). Needless to say, I forked out the money and got my own ISBNs, and now I have enough for a few books when I’m ready.

Now that I’ve summed up a few Pros and Cons for those, I’ll move onto what your actual next step is, no matter which option you choose: The Blurb.
I’m not sure if you’ve done one yet, but you’ll want to try to write something that will really draw a reader to your book. If you’re anything like me you’ll probably write a bunch of different versions of it, and pick and choose the most compelling parts to go in it.

Another step you’ll want to do (and so not my favorite step) is the synopsis. This is really only needed if you’re going with an agent or publisher. When I first started to submit my MS to agents and publishers, I found that each one had a different page-count on the size of synopsis they wanted. Some wanted 5, others, 1. So I wrote out my synopsis, got it to 5 pages and saved it. Then I tweaked it down until I had one that I saved at 4 pages, and then 3 pages, and 2 pages, and finally 1 page. That way I was covered no matter what size they wanted. If you need any tips on how to write this let me know (I won’t go into it now since I’ve already gone like 400% more than I’d meant to, hahahaha).

And finally, if you’re going the Publisher or Agent route, you’ll want to write your query letter. With this one, you’ll want to remember this: The Hook, the Book, the Cook.
This is the letter that will either make the Agent/publisher fall in love with your concept enough that they want more, or they’ll read it and move on. Make that first line really stand out and punch them in the face, then move onto your blurb (or if your blurb had that awesome first line, then just start off with the blurb). After your book details, tell them about you (“the cook”): Whatever credentials you have, if you’ve received any awards, any degrees in writing, anything that will make you stand out. If you don’t have anything like that, just add that this book is your first one and try to sound like the awesomesauce person you are.

Anyway, I hope that helps. Let me know if you need help with anything. I know we’re heading into scary-territory now. Just know that you’re not alone. :)

What about other authors out there? Any advice or Pros and Cons for new authors?


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ready for some progress

As you may know, I've had nothing but problems with my computer. Crash after crash has made me lose data and an incredible amount of patience, and worst of all, it has made it extremely difficult to actually get any writing done. Even though I've attempted to write and have had a few days of luck with writing down some of these storylines swirling around in my head, the fact that I never know when my computer is going to crash again has made it more than difficult to keep up the writing.

Well, I'm so happy to say that after my most recent computer crash a few days ago, my husband and I decided it was time to give up on that computer and go get a new one. I still need to see if I can rescue any of my most recent progress that I'd achieved before this last crash, but with any luck, I will have some confidence in this new computer and I'll actually get some writing done. I've got a Guardians book, a Legions book, and a new project that are all ready and waiting patiently for me to write them. Guess I'd better get crackin'!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

10,000 reads? Holy crap!

When I woke up this morning, I groggily logged on to my computer and did a few checks to see how everything in my author world is going. When I checked out WattPad's site, I couldn't have been more surprised that The Highlander's Curse hit over 10,000 reads! For only posting a little over 2 chapters of the book, I couldn't be more blessed that so many people have given my book (and by default, me) a try. With the incredible feedback I've gotten about the book and the support everyone has shown me, I want to give a big shout out to WattPad's readers. You guys rock!

And to make my week even better, earlier this week, I hit Amazon's top 100 best-selling list in Canada for time-travels. Seriously, so blessed that so many people have bought and enjoyed The Highlander's Curse.

Friday, February 21, 2014

You'd think I would have learned by now

I won't even start off by saying I'm a slacker. I know well-enough now that I've started a lot of my posts that way. However, I will say that I'm pretty much an idiot. After my computer crashed and I lost a lot of hard work, I've had one heck of a time getting back into writing. I think it's because in my mind, I know I've already edited and perfect a lot of that particular book, so now now my brain and my characters are on strike for that story. I want to finish it, I really do. I want to have storyline and edits I already did already appear in my document and be ready to put some finishing touches. Is that going to happen any time soon? Well, I'm starting to think "not so much."

Why, you might ask?

Well, I'll tell you. I think it's because I'm trying to force myself. I don't know how many times I've told other upcoming authors that they can't force anything, and here I am trying my best to work on that book because I feel it's those characters' turns for their story. Alas, I just don't think it's going to happen soon. I've got to work on what is speaking to me at that time, otherwise I'm not going to get anything worth doing done. So, instead, I'm proud to say that I just completed my outline for the second book in my Legions series. Between that, the Guardians novel I want to write again, and a number of other ideas dancing our in my brain, I have plenty to think about. Now all I can do is have all my WIPs open at the same time and let my fingers fly for whatever book is talking to me.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Short stories

I know it's been a while since I last posted. A lot has happened recently and it has really put a stop to the progress I actually made. Unfortunately, my computer was attacked recently and I lost everything I hadn't backed up (and when I say that, I mean: made a back-up of my back-ups since my regular back-ups were corrupted). Anyhoo, as you may know, I am in a small group with three author friends. We're called the Writer Chics. This month, we each posted a short story (or rather, in some cases, a short beginning to longer stories). I just posted mine here, as well as on WattPad. I'm so excited that everyone can get a chance to showcase our imaginations, so stop on by and check it out.