Giveaway + Publishing Tips with Jamie Foley (Arbiter Blogtour)

Today I’m excited to be part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of Arbiter by Jamie Foley, the second book in the Sentinel Trilogy!

Book 1

I just read book 1, Sentinel, and fell absolutely in love with it! Unlike anything I’ve read before, Sentinel is a thrilling fantasy adventure in a fantasy world with modern aspects, fantasy mind-powers, and, oh yeah, an apocalypse — plus great humor, awesome characters, a hint of Christian allegory, and all rolled up in a gripping, good clean novel. 🙂 It ended at a surprising point and left me needing book 2!

Book 2

I’m so excited that Arbiter has released now, and can’t wait to dive into reading it soon. 😀

(Read my review for Sentinel — and the prequel novella, ViperHERE on my book blog!)

Jamie Foley is a great author and a lovely person; I got to meet her at a writing workshop where she was speaking on publishing and marketing and other cool authorial things. I absolutely loved all the cool info she had to offer, so I’m excited to share some of her thoughts about the publishing world and other fun things in an interview below. 🙂

Don’t forget to scroll down for links at the end, and enter the giveaway too! (Who wants to enter to win books and gift cards? You know you want to!)

Interview

1. Welcome, Jamie! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Howdy! I’m a workaholic marketing specialist/webmaster/graphic artist/indie publisher/author. Apparently that’s a thing…?

I live in central Texas with my Irish cowboy husband, hyperactive toddler, and snuggle-bunny Australian Shepherd. We’re rabid gamers and unashamed nerds.

2. Which book in the Sentinel trilogy surprised you the most while writing it?

Definitely Book 2: Arbiter. I didn’t expect the villain to come alive and be so… well… loveable over the course of the story. More than one beta reader said they learned to love him despite his nefarious deeds.

And Jet did some things I didn’t have in my outline. I tried to argue, but he’s so thick-headed.

(Oh my, I can just see that of Jet. XD)

3. What’s next in your writing/publishing plans after the final book (Sage) releases?

I’m working on two new series, both of which I hope to traditionally publish. One is called Emberhawk, which happens in the same world as The Sentinel Trilogy, but thousands of years in the past.

In Emberhawk, elementals vie for control of human tribes and empires, sparking wars that shape the nations of Sentinel. I’m planning for Emberhawk to be a series of three novels with a tad more romance than The Sentinel Trilogy, but just as much action and suspense.

The second series is still early in development, but… *looks over shoulder and whispers* It’s set on a totally new world with rune magic!

(Looking forward to both! :))

4. Zoo or museum, and why?

OK, I love zoos, but I definitely have to go with museums. My hubby and I are total nerds, always slurping up random worthless trivia and awesome historical tidbits. I love learning about the past — the more ancient, the better!

5. If you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?

Do I have to choose one?? Well… then it would probably be Narnia. Assuming that I couldn’t go back in time and ancient Earth. Or Rivendell. Or Kashyyyk… sorry.

(I’m totally up for Kashyyyk or any of those! ;))

6. Which aspects of indie publishing have been the most challenging and most rewarding?

It’s challenging to supply your own funds for crafting a professional work all by yourself, but if you know it’s what you want to do as a career and you save up, you’ll find that most all of the pros out there are happy to work with indie authors. Learning the ropes is tough at first, but boy, is it worth it!

One bonus of indie publishing is that you can be a little more… out there… than some publishers might approve of. Yes, you should definitely hire a professional editor or two, but at the end of the day, you get to make the call when your work is ready for the world to see.

Another reward is when the monetary investment returns and you don’t have to pay any middle-men. But if you can land a contract with one of the Big 5 publishers, signing that baby would definitely be worth it!

7. What is the difference between traditional and self-publishing, and what is a hybrid publisher?

There are a bunch of differences, but really it’s a matter of rights. As an independently published author, you’d maintain all of your rights and would take all of the profits from your book sales for yourself. But you’re a one-man show.

If you’re lucky enough to land a traditional publishing contract, you’d sell your rights to the publisher and make a much lower royalty percentage. But you’d have a team of experts behind you with a vested interest in making your book awesome and selling as many copies as possible.

A hybrid author has one foot in each camp. They have been traditionally published, but also self-publish some of their works.

8. What are the advantages of being a hybrid author versus just sticking with indie or traditional?

There are lots of advantages! Hybrid authors have the best of both worlds. They have the full force of a publisher’s resources gunning for their success–large traditional publishers help tremendously with marketing and may even hire a publicity firm for a project or two.

And when traditional authors self-publish on the side, they make a killing on the royalties because they’ve already got a large fan base, thanks to their publisher. Because of this, hybrid authors tend to make more money than both independent and traditional authors (on average).

9. Are there any well-known authors who have chosen to hybrid publish their work?

Oh, yeah! I’ve chatted with bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Beth Wiseman about their decisions to self-publish after many years of publishing traditionally with the ‘Big 5’ publishers.

The sad truth is that authors simply don’t make as much moolah as we used to. The market is changing, and a lot of big-time authors are barely hanging on. This is why you see well-known authors turning to self-publishing–even if they’re also continuing to publish traditionally–to make more money on the side.

10. What advice would you share with an aspiring author?

Decide if you want to write for pleasure or for business. It’s OK just to write for pleasure and not publish everything, just like it’s OK to be a hobby artist or musician!

But if you do want to be a career writer, realize that you’re starting a small business—and all small business require a monetary investment and a start-up period of a few years. Be willing to learn, save up, and sacrifice. Surround yourself with professionals—from top editors to bestselling authors to award-winning cover designers to marketing gurus—and I promise your hard work will pay off.

Great advice — thanks so much for joining us, Jamie!

Tour-wide Giveaway

Blogtour Schedule

The Books

This is getting a bit long, so check out the links to the books to read more about them! 🙂

Sentinel (Book 1)

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

Arbiter (Book 2) — just released!

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

Sage (Book 3)

Coming soon!

Viper (Book 0) — prequel novella

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

What do you think, Roadlings? Do the books intrigue you? Is this an awesome giveaway? (Yes.) And did you find any of the publishing info interesting? Drop a comment to let me know what you think, and thanks for reading! 🙂

Ishness of a February Variety

ishness

Good day! Time for another round of Ishness… 🙂

LIFE

I’ll get to the writing/reading/etc. categories in a little while, but first, I actually had quite a lot going on the “life” front during February, which is odd for me. 😉

The main thing that happened was halfway through the month I injured my back, which has accounted for my trying to be on the computer/internet less since it seems to do better when I’m not doing that. If I’ve been somewhat less active on the interwebs of late, that would be why.

It’s funny how we take things like moving for granted! I’m very thankful now to be able to move. For a couple of days there I could hardly get around at all and hobbled around with a cane and everything — I felt exactly like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, suddenly old! XD (Howl’s Moving Castle makes everything better, including hurt backs and colds. ;)) So if you can move around, remember what a blessing it is, okay? I’m already forgetting and need to try to remember. It’s so good to be able to move! 🙂

It’s been a very interesting experience, and made me slow down and think, which is always a good thing in this hectic life we lead, always dashing about with to-do lists and not stopping to breathe.

But it’s made me realize I need to re-prioritize my life and put health/exercise/looking after myself first. I can’t just live on my computer, apparently, since that’s largely what made me hurt my back.

I’ve been reading some books by a fellow named Pete Egoscue, on using certain stretches and exercises to end chronic pain without drugs or surgery and fix the musculoskeletal system. He makes a very compelling case for many of the health problems and chronic pain going on today being due to a sort of alignment dysfunction of the human body brought on by a lack of varied motion, in this “civilized” world that doesn’t require us to move. It may sound odd but it makes a TON of sense.

I’m still reading through them, but I can’t recommend his books highly enough. Pete Egoscue is AMAZING. The exercises in his book Pain Free got me back on my feet quickly, and I only had a couple of days of extreme pain. Between his books and exercises, prayer, and an amazing family looking after me, as well as a good deal of patience (NOT my strong point… it’s been interesting) I’m happy to say I’m nearly normal again. Yay!

I don’t usually talk about “real”, “important” subjects on my blog, like health and opinions and things, striving usually to just stay on the happy/safe end of the spectrum with things like books and writing and music and movies. But pain is a serious thing, a serious motivator, and I’m quite blown away by Pete Egoscue’s books and simply had to tell the world about them. I’m still doing the exercises for my back, but hope to eventually move on to ones that are supposed to “fix” the structural alignment and help provide a life of motion to prevent future injuries/chronic pain of this kind.

It’s going to be a journey, and one that I know many people (including myself) feel they don’t have time for. But I don’t have time to stop my life for a week due to pain, either. I may say more on this in the future, but in the meantime, I highly recommend his books Pain Free (which I haven’t finished reading), and Pain Free at Your PC (which I read in its entirety since, after all, for a couple days there I couldn’t do much besides lie in bed and read… my back was helpful like that. ;)).

But it wasn’t all bad, this month of February! I also managed to do some fun things, even after the whole back fiasco, which I’m super thankful for being better enough to do.

For one thing, I made it to a library booksale, which is always fun, and found a smallish stack of books.

librarysalefeb16

And I had the chance to go to a writer’s workshop held by Christian YA Fantasy/Thriller author Jamie Foley, speaking on writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. It was extremely fascinating and Jamie herself was super sweet, funny, and informative.

WRITING

KW2coverPI was supposed to get back into writing during February, after my month off from writing in January… But this month arrived and I realized I had no idea where to START. I was trying to decide what story to work on and consequently got hardly anything done, just editing a couple chapters of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

Then with the whole back thing and suddenly spending a bare minimum of time on the computer, writing just suddenly wasn’t a priority anymore, and I gave myself permission to relax on that front as well.

OHEcoverWith the consequence that, since computer time was precious, I actually got around to starting The Other Half of Everything! I’ve written snippets before (over 6K words of them…) but hadn’t officially “started” it with an opening and everything. So I did that. Which is most exciting! Even if it was only 400 words, at least I “started” it! ^_^

But what with everything else going on, a couple of edited chapters and a page of OHE is something to be proud of, so I’m pretty happy with the pitifully small amount of writing I got done in February. 😛

INTERVIEWED

The last day of February (I told you it was for leaping!) I was interviewed by Heidi Peterson! Some fascinating questions there that I had a ton of fun answering — check it out if you haven’t. 🙂

READING

feb2016read

I read 12 books in February… quite an odd bunch, as you can see!

I was thrilled to find the Jackaby books at my library, and read them both, plus the free Kindle novella, all in a week… I’m rather addicted, and very excited about the next book, coming in August — which just had the cover revealed! *flails*

Also, can I take a moment to say: R. F. Jackaby himself TALKED TO ME ON TWITTER. *dies of fangirl feels overload* (Yes, he’s on Twitter. Yes, this is the coolest thing I’ve heard in a long time.)

jackabytweet

It was the best thing EVER.

I also took part in the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge held by Grace Mullins @ Fictionally (and she just won a place in the Five Magic Spindles collection! Yay! :)) so it was fun to read some more fantasy for a change, even if I didn’t get to everything I planned to read.

And, as I mentioned, Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue, which is amazing.

I should have another Reading Roundup over on my book blog soonish, talking about all the books… Speaking of which…

ON MY BOOK BLOG IN FEBRUARY

LISTENING TO…

Blessings” by Laura Story. (And, to be honest, still Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey. What can I say. The obsession runs deep. I adore it. <3) Both have been apt for this chapter in my life. Sometimes life has clouds and it’s hard to keep going when it’s hard to remember that there are sunbeams… somewhere…

(There were also large amounts of Silly Wizard music consumed and re-consumed on Youtube, but that’s not unusual…)

WATCHING

Occasional episodes of Jeeves & Wooster, since I found a few at the library sale. So much fun! (I still love P.G. Wodehouse’s books better, but the episodes are quite different and still hilarious, in a different sort of way.) Bertie and Jeeves are a great pair and their actors are just perfectly hilarious together.

AROUND THE INTERNET

I haven’t had this category before, and I don’t know how good I’ll be at keeping up with it in the future, but here are a few things that went on or are going on around the internet recently or soonish.

MARCH PLANS

I… don’t really know what my March plans are. Aside from a few books to read for beta or review, which looks to keep me busy, nothing else is set in stone… I hope to do some writing of some kind, but we’ll see what happens. I’d love to read some Diana Wynne Jones books but might be too busy… I may try to keep my computer time down, and I’ll be trying to figure out a new outlook on life involving exercise and actually taking care of myself — novel concept, right? 😉

I’ll also be attempting to survive Daylight Savings Time this week. …Ahem.

How was your February and what are your March plans? 🙂

I’ll just leave you with this. XD