Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

We all have them. They are the times when we’ve been hurt and scarred by unfairness and, at worst, inhumanity and evil.

It’s these dark moments and our understanding of what, and who, caused them that helps us eventually understand the dark moments of others and, potentially, the perpetrators of our pain. We understand the pain of others because we’ve experienced it.

In my new novel Blood Visions I’ve taken this theme and built the story of Fortuna Cavalieri and her dark moments. Blood Visions is a horror/paranormal thriller that stares evil in the face an12193364_924946864253046_4061271237306570367_nd asks, ‘why?’

Fortuna Cavalieri is an unwilling receiver. After a car crash which nearly claims her life, Fortuna is cursed with a psychic link to evil which she numbs with the help of bottle of whiskey.

When serial killer Brandon Keys goes on his murderous rampage, Fortuna is drawn into the edges of his world like prey to a spider’s web. Every time Keys kills, Fortuna knows. She knows because her sixth sense is activated by evil; she knows because she can see him in what she calls her blood visions.

But Fortuna is not the only one with a psychic ability. Keys too has been blessed with the second sight since childhood – the ultimate gift for an efficient killer.

With Brandon Keys closing in on her, Fortuna must try and outwit a serial killer and find a way to stop their mind links. If she can find the courage, and the sobriety, she must stop the killings, but Fortuna is no hero. She’s just a drunk carrying a curse.

It’s only with the help of washed up ex cop Danny Manchester whom she meets randomly at a bar one night, that Fortuna stands any chance of staying alive…but somewhere between a new dawn and a blood red sunset, and an ex cop finding himself again, Fortuna finds the courage to turn the tables on Keys.

It’s a showdown with a high price. Who will survive to see the dawn?

Blood Visions is out on 12 November 2015 via Whiskey Creek Press. You can head over to Amazon for more information.

Advertisements

Driving home from Sydney today the lightening arced downwards to a point in the landscape I was glad I was still far enough away from. The skies opened up and the rain came down hard. It reminded me of a storm I struck on the way back from my Canberra daily commute about seven years ago. That storm was equally, perhaps more ferocious, and hammered my car to the point where I had to pull over and stop.

The storm was directly over Lake George, an eerie and mysterious place, full of myth and legends and considered a sacred place to Aboriginal people in Australia. After the lightening and rain, came the hail and only after it abated did I consider driving on. The funny, well actually it was quite a spooky thing, was that once I negotiated the length of the lake, the storm abruptly ended and I drove into sunshine.

Some time before that I had an unnerving dream about an old Aboriginal man and Lake George. He was walking across the lake landscape and there were felled trees all around us (Lake George was turned from a natural setting into Soldier Settlement blocks – small farms – in the 1950’s or thereabouts). I got the impression that this man was very powerful because I knew instinctively that I wasn’t allowed to look into his eyes. Nevertheless, he motioned that I come with him and we negotiated the scarred landscape, walking toward the water in the distance. I also knew, instinctively, that his message for me was that the landscape needed to be traversed, even though it was difficult terrain, and that once I reached the water I would be OK.

Such is the power of a dream that this has stayed with me over the years, ready to be conjured at the memory of an afternoon storm.

I have often wondered why I had this dream at that time but my best reasoning is that it was a portend of the future. There are times in life when a hard-edged challenge threatens to derail you but you just keep walking, one foot in front of the other. You keep walking until you reach the water where life begins again.

If you would like to visit my author page on Amazon, head to http://www.amazon.com/Maryann-Weston/e/B00HSH0OXQ. There you’ll find books from young adult fantasy/paranormal, to women’s fiction, and my latest collection of horror/paranormal short stories, Evil Imminent.

I’ve tried to find the reason why I enjoy writing in the horror genre. I’m still not sure really. It could be a rewind in time when my mother used to scare me with a story about a stranger walking up the garden path. It started with “Mary he’s at the front gate…Mary he’s walking up your garden path…Mary he’s at the front door…” And so it went until the stranger was at the foot of the bed. I’ll leave it to the imagination as to what may or may not occur next.

Of course there was no harm meant in this. She told it with an almost vaudevillian – certainly exaggerated – demeanour and at the end of the story she would grab me for extra affect. I remember oscillating between being wide eyed and holding my breath to absolutely, shrieking terrified. It was much the same as I grew up. I was scared of the dark and, simultaneously, captured by the scary stories my friends used to tell on a sleepover.

In adulthood, I began to read a horror and enjoyed the stories that were laced with mystery. The really good thrillers that left you wondering why something had occurred. I discovered Dean Koontz who writes suspense thrillers a few years back and then began to devour more and more Stephen King, falling in awe of his sheer ability to tell a story. This was also around the time the penny dropped – that the weird and impossible, and the sometimes dark and dysfunctional, do happen. Sometimes there’s a rhyme and reason, and if you’re clever you can pick it up and learn from it; other times difficult situations come seemingly out of the blue and whollup you in the face.Evil Imminent front small

Life is not all serendipitous, but then I guess you already knew that.

The other reason I think I like writing horror fiction is simply because you can take that imagination and let it sore to dark outer reaches. There can be doorways to less than heaven like places, or ghostly apparitions, or less than likeable Mermen. There can be star crossed lovers whose depth of commitment reaches between two worlds and alien beings who are not just ‘beaming’ you up into the Enterprise (the ship on Star Trek the science fiction series for anyone who doesn’t follow).

Other dimensions, twisted by life human beings and purple skies and black sunsets…it’s all within the horror writer’s grasp. It may be a niche market of sorts, but when was the last time you could explain absolutely everything that happened to you in your life? The non-linear is always a challenge don’t you think?

So aside from stories on imagination’s edge that are waiting to be told, the other reason I think I write in the horror and paranormal genre is to take my experiences and explore them, embellish and exaggerate them, and add a touch of the vaudevillian to them to, hopefully, entertain my readers and, in the process, myself.

I have a short story collection Evil Imminent that is due out in the next 24 hours or so. I was determined to have it out before Christmas, and I will have met that challenge even though ‘life’ has gotten in the way for a good part of this year. If you are anything like me, you love nothing better than relaxing with a book over the holidays. So, time to relax and kick back for a break. If you like the horror and paranormal genre and want to find out about my new release, you can visit my Facebook Page for details of when Evil Imminent goes on sale.

Happy holiday reading…

Last year I had an itch that needed scratching. I had been thinking a lot about what it takes to belong; that sense of place and a feeling that says ‘this feels right to me’. And, conversely, the feeling that says ‘this is not right for you; a hundred years could go by and it still wouldn’t be right’. A sense of belonging is a feeling felt at the spiritual level that can’t be ignored, I believe.

I also believe that when something is felt on a spiritual level, and that tug is strong and unwavering, the universe conspires to let you know that there is not only something you must confront, but there is also another path for you to fobelonging places tour bannerllow. These watershed moments set you on a journey back to self.

I have a favourite quote that has been with me for years. It belongs to TS Eliot and around 25 years ago I discovered it, not really understanding its significance. Now I know that it means the journey is always towards self-discovery and back to self.

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know that place for the first time.”

And so with something that needed to be said on my chest, I began writing Belonging Places. I broke it into three stories to represent a woman’s life stages: Young Liliana – a girl at odds with the world and moving from the desolate city to a small country town where she finds herself; Estelle the up and coming career woman and mother feeling the tug of war that most working mums confront; and Jill, the elderly lady who loses her life partner and must find her way back to herself and a new life.

These three stories will not be unfamiliar to women, indeed they may have experienced similar circumstances, patterns and, ultimately, decisions. I know I did. But the external journeys these women take are overshadowed by the enormous internal processes they undergo. Through confronting their feelings and finding the courage to change their lives, they find a way through their spiritual crises.

Once I finished writing Belonging Places, I felt much better. The itch had gone and I could look at my characters and, through them, understand my own journeys and decisions over the years. In one way Belonging Places was an intense period of reflection for me that brought with it renewed understanding of what it means to be belong. As a result, I don’t get taken in by smokescreens anymore because in writing this book, like my characters, I have confronted what I deserve, and that is the right to belong and when that is absent, the courage to step forward to find my belonging place.

 

 

Belonging Places is available through Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1qTWEsU, and beginning on 16 April it will be touring selected blogs with Fire and Ice Book Tours. To celebrate the tour I have reduced the Belonging Places ebook to half price for the month of April only. It is also available in print if you prefer to physically ‘read’ a book.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. I had a wonderful surprise recently when Belonging Places appeared in my Amazon reader’s e-newsletter to which I subscribe. Amazon used my book as the first example of a contemporary ebook readers might find interesting: “Are you looking for something in our Contemporary Fiction eBooks department? If so, you might be interested in these items.” And there was my book, as the first example [and also in the email subject line]. I was ecstatic to have this mention and publicity, so thank you Amazon – you get a thumbs up from me for that unexpected and welcome surprise.

If you would like to contact me, head to the Contact Me tab and get in touch, or leave a comment. And don’t forget to follow my book tour at Fire and Ice Book Tours, http://bit.ly/1hL5lAh

As authors would be aware, part of the benefits of listing your book with Amazon Kindle Select is that you can schedule the occasional promotional sale. This can either be a discount on an ebook’s sale price or by offering your ebook for free (time limited). The logic is that by allowing people to download your book either for free or heavily discounted, will help ‘spread the word’ on your wonderful book and also encourage reviews.

This is all well and good if your product is good and worth the read. Well, I’m leading with confidence and, on the 25 March, offering my book Belonging Places for FREE for one day only. Please download it; you are very welcome to do this. And start to read it, and hopefully continue to read it. If you get to the end and you think it’s worthy of review, let me know by leaving an honest and fair account. The story for Belonging Places is below. Happy reading. Download Belonging Places at Amazon

Belonging PlacesWeston1-7 (1) small

Three women, three stories on life, lessons and love. Three journeys towards the belonging place, three journeys back to self.

Liliana Flint-Smith is starting out on her own. Leaving a dysfunctional family behind her, and with nothing but a uni degree in librarianship, Liliana moves to a remote village in central NSW. Different from everyone else in the town, she must find her place in a society that doesn’t take kindly to strangers. With the help of an embittered old woman who lives in the flat next to her, Liliana begins to find herself and discovers it was never about her changing, but about learning to be herself.

Estelle Wainwright is successful. She’s burning up the career ladder and has just made editor at a national woman’s magazine. Her husband Joel is also carving out his niche as an architect and together with son Corey, are the picture of success. Or are they? Journey with Estelle as she fights the tension within herself: work and home, career and husband, businesswoman and woman, and navigates through a crisis that will test the decisions she has made about how she lives her life.

Jill Bridges is struggling to stay afloat. With her husband gone and her children busy with their own lives, she’s facing the prospect of a nursing home. But it’s her independence that makes her life worth living and she’ll be damned if she’ll bow to society’s plans for her. With a fierce will, Jill must find a way to triumph over old age and emerge into a life that still holds meaning.

Publisher: Caerus Publishing Australia

Release date: 7 March, 2014

Download Belonging Places at Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IVHNYPM

Well…I launched myself into indie authorspace on 6 January 2014 – coincidentally on my mother’s birthday. After going through the processes of cover design, editing, formatting, ISBN getting, researching online bookstore options, researching everything…I pushed the publish button on Book 1 of my new paranormal series for teens.

ShadowscapeWeston1 (4) small is now on sale just about everywhere. Yeah, possibly a bit of overkill given that most of my sales will come from Amazon, but I covered the bases, listing with Smashwords, Lulu, Kobo and a rather unusual option Gumroad.

So it’s out there. I’ve even established my own publishing arm Caerus Publishing Australia. And now the waiting begins, or does it? Definitely not. Anyone who thinks you just list your book and dumbly wait for sales is going nowhere fast. Writing the book is one thing, marketing and pushing it day in day out is quite another.

Consistent marketing is the one thing that will sell books over the long term, and I’m willing to be patient. I’m not marketing Shadowscape for today or tomorrow but for next year, my next book, the next 5 years, the next 5 books. I’m willing to be patient because I have a lot of stories to tell – plots and characters whirling around in my head and heart. Half formed dialogue and the periphery of scenes fermenting in my imagination. 

So given I’ve got the drive to write the stories because that’s what I love – yes love (not cliched) – then I’ve got to find out all I can about marketing my books. That’s the reality and it’s a long term reality unless thousands of readers automatically find Shadowscape on Amazon and decide to part with a couple of dollars, as if by magic. It’s early days yet, but this is what I’ve tried:

* Getting the buzz happening on Twitter and very ably assisted by the Masquerade Crew via @PromoMasq. They are dedicated to promoting indie authors and their price range is very reasonable. Also using my own account – not to bombard hour upon hour – but to autoschedule random tweets at strategic times while I get on with the business of my usual tweeting.

* Listing my book on specific Young Adult websites. This has taken a bit of research, but I realise I have to search out my young readers and not expect them to come to me.

* Getting as many reviews as I can. Incidentally, if you are interested in reviewing Shadowscape – on your blog or website – please let me know and I’ll send you a PDF for review purposes. If you are an indie author I’m happy to return the favour and review your book on my blog. Or add a review to my Goodreads author page

* Accessing the free public relations press release sites. There’s a good list on Mashable. Though dated, it’s a good start: http://mashable.com/2007/10/19/press-releases/

* Making some content available free – readers will decide for themselves whether they want to download the rest of the book. Usually, I choose 15%. And then there’s Wattpad which I intend to set up over the next few days.

* Using Amazon’s Author Central Page – might sound like that’s a 101 but it’s very effective. I’m endeavouring to let as many readers know about me, as I can.

* Paid advertising – I’m still investigating this but I’ve set myself a small budget and I will choose judiciously.

* Enticing journalists and publications to write about Shadowscape. I will be pitching over the next few weeks to specific young adult book publications, online and print.

* Establishing a website. It’s an oldie but a goodie and many authors will say it is the thing that makes a difference.

* As a new author, setting a realistic price point is just common sense. Readers need to get to know me, and ultimately trust that I have a story not only worth reading, but buying.

In addition to the above, I’ve set myself a goal of doing one new marketing activity every couple of weeks. This means I’m always moving forward and keeping the momentum going.

The major learning curve for me is that establishing a presence in outer authorspace takes hard work and perseverance but it’s kind of fun to discover what works and what doesn’t. I figure in a few years I’ll know a bit about book marketing.

If you want to check out Shadowscape, head to Amazon and if you have any marketing tips, I’d love to hear about them – leave a comment if you have time. You can also contact me on westonfamily1@hotmail.com if you’re interested in reviewing Shadowscape.