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A Look Into My Collaborative Effort With Author, Y. Correa on “Peter Blade”

A couple of years ago, Y. Correa approached me with about working with her on, Peter Blade, a novel about an infamous serial killer stalking New York City backstreets and alleys. She went over the plot and more important, the legend behind the main character. I was intrigued and jumped into the project. We have both had other commitments and projects/deadlines due, so we have worked on Mr. Blade’s story as best we could. With things getting closer, Y. announced this project to the public while offering great insight into her thoughts and the creative process … and a few more questions for me.

Y: When I was a little girl, my father told me the story of a man he used to know which in the end turned out to be a sadistic murderer.

The story went a little something like this:
As a kid I was connected to a gang, not a very good one. Because of my connection to it, I met a lot of bad people, but none like V. V had a hard life when he was a kid in Puerto Rico. It eventually drove him crazy and in the end, he became a prostitute killer, living right here in New York. It was a really scary story.
Of course, my father (bless his heart) was never among the most eloquent of individuals, so in his limited verbiage he’d depict an anecdote that he understood little about. Except to say the unnecessary and violent murder of many women. As the years went on, my father slowly but surely provided me with tidbits of information–what little he knew about it.
The man had been murdered and was never convicted of his crimes, as he was killed long before he was caught and identified.
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In 1978 a salsa song was written called “Pedro Navajas” in which salsa artist Ruben Blades (whose last name actually translates into “navajas” in Spanish) talked about a criminal who relished in killing prostitutes.
My father was convinced that this song was the tale of the man he once encountered, as the details in the song were too coincidental. My father swore that his name had been changed, perhaps to hide the man’s identity.
Now, I cannot say for sure that the story my father told was true, let alone accurate, but what I can say is that it left a lasting impression. Every time I heard the song I could vividly picture the occurrences and to this day, it remains that way.
Was it the elaborate mind of a writer at work? Was it that lasting impression that the story left? Perhaps the intrigue of an ominous tale that ended horrifically? Who is to say?
A few years ago I decided to write the story … well, not verbatim, but my fictional interpretation of the same.
It was around that time that I met an amazing horror and dark drama Latino author named A. Lopez Jr.
I said to myself “How cool would it be if two Latino authors joined together to tell the tale? It would be amazing!” And just like that, in came A. Lopez Jr.
A, can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your side of the story?

A: Hello everyone, my name is Junior, but I write under the name, A. Lopez, Jr. I like to dabble in the horror/thriller/suspense genres, but am very open to writing in all categories and sub-genres. I enjoy the dark and macabre settings I put a reader in with my stories, but I always leave a way to escape, if need be!

I grew up in Texas where sports ruled and I participated heavily and still do to this day, now living in Arizona. A fact you may not know, is I’m an avid chess player. Creativity from all sides can only help…yes?
On the entertainment side, and since I can remember, the horror movies and books seemed to draw my interest. Over time, they became the focus and favorite of any aspiring creative activity. My fascination with the unknown and the shadows lurking in every dark corner has led me to my writing in the horror genre.
I feel that I have a great imagination and am able to create on a whim. But, having a background and interest in the macabre has made my writing bit easier. I love when the ideas flood in so fast, at times, that I have to fight them off (as one of my main characters would) and put them on a shelf where I can grab them as I see fit.
So if you ever find yourself in a dark room and a bit of fear creeps in, think of me, because at that moment I’m sure I’ll be channeling your fear and using it to pen my next chapter!
Y: For the past two years we’ve been trying to complete “Peter Blade” and let me tell you that it has been a challenge. The narrative is highly convoluted and all of it happens in the span of 1 night.
One grim, malefic night of pain and manslaughter.
The story starts at the end, and ends at the beginning, chronicling the saga of a man gone mad and turning to violence as an outlet to his anger. It is a dramatic, profound, intense and labyrinthine depiction.
I’d be lying if I said that I can wait until the completion of the project. I’m actually jumping in my boots to want to finish it.
What say you, A?
A: Since the beginning, we have both looked forward to seeing it through and admiring the finished product. But as life has it, other things jumped in and out of the way – especially our own solo projects. Even with all that, Peter Blade has been stalking me in my mind, just as he does with his victims, giving new life to completing this story and passing it along to our readers.
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Y: A, I have a question for you: what were your thoughts and feelings when I approached you about participating on this project with me?
A: When you approached me with this project, I was honored, having read and enjoyed some of your previous works. Once you explained your idea for the story and after reading what had been penned, I was excited to get going and be a part of a fast-paced story like this.
My feelings toward Peter Blade are simple. It is a story with dark violence at times and takes the reader into the mind and soul of a serial killer. This falls right in line with my appetite for creativeness.
Y: A, do you know what I remember?
I remember when we first started. I came up with the character of Sheila, but it was YOU that decided that her character needed expanding. Tell us a little bit about what and why.
A: When I read the very first draft or first installment, the character, Sheila, hit me as a strong-willed, no-nonsense person. I could see the hard life of her past and how it has affected her present state. I also envisioned her as someone who doesn’t give up easily, especially on herself. I felt there was a story to tell about her, and Y. Has been very gracious in allowing Sheila’s story to expand and breathe some life.
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Y: A, you also came up with the character of Detective Alvarez. What does this character mean to you and why was it so important to put him in the story?
A: With a story as dynamic as PB, and with it taking place in New York City, the story must have a realistic feel and capture the true essence of the back streets and alleys where much of the action takes place. Writing a story set in an era before electronic technology became prevalent is very intriguing. To get a story like this correct and make it worthwhile for the reader to spend their valuable time reading it, we could not rush it or speed it along to editing and production. This novel has marinated now and it is time to complete it and round it into shape. I have complete faith in Y. and her creativeness and vision. I look forward to reuniting with Peter, Sheila, Detective Alvarez, and all the other characters we can’t tell you about … just yet.
Until then…
Y: I’ve got to say that I don’t know if I believe that the legend of Pedro Navajas is real or not, but I do know that I think it makes for an amazing adventure. Of course, I don’t think it matters if all of this actually happened or not. I think that the only thing that matters is the justice we do the story once it’s completed.

All Authors Blog Blitz: Penelope Silvers

130203-165744I am pleased to have author Penelope Silvers on my blog and as part of the All Authors Blog Blitz. I’ll let Penelope tell you more…

My journey to being an author began many moons ago when my kids were little. When our daughter was about 2 1/2 years of age, we discovered that she was partially deaf. When she was school age and after much discussion, we decided to home-school her. I would work with her at home on speech therapy so that she would not be labeled as a “dummy” and filed away into a program inside the public school system–or worse–send her away to attend a special school for the deaf and the blind.

 I worked with her daily, teaching her to read, write and speak. When her brother was born, he just naturally absorbed the lessons I was teaching to his sister. Once they were both old enough, we began a multifaceted language arts program called “Total Language Plus”, which combined all the language arts into one curriculum through the reading of classical literature (reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) . I was actually getting an education I realized, for the first time in my life, by teaching my children.

 It was also during this time that I began journaling. I have struggled with depression my entire life, and sometimes things in my life felt so dark and bleak that I didn’t know how to cope. Sometimes, I felt as if I just didn’t want to go on. Journaling, along with prayer, helped me to at least get these feelings out of my head and sorted out in such a way that I could make it through each day.

 Since I was a young girl, I have always been a voracious reader. I used to hide away in my room with the latest “Nancy Drew” book, and found myself swept away by the fun and mysterious stories of Nancy and her pals Bess, George, and Ned. When I began teaching my kids, we had weekly library runs and brought home stacks and stacks of various genres of books to read. We loved finding new mysteries, biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction–whatever grabbed our attention at the time. I always had my nose inside of a book right alongside my kids. I knew that if dinner was on the table, and my daughter was nowhere to be found, she would be hiding out in her room, immersed in the pages of a book.

 I did not consider seriously writing for publication until about seven years ago, when a traumatic life situation sent me back to serious journaling. I wrote and wrote and wrote to again sort out my feelings and combat the depression. I would go back over the journals later, and think, “Hmm…this is pretty good stuff.” I could definitely write a book from this.

 I received an Amazon Kindle for Christmas about three years ago, and became intrigued with digital ebooks. I was also dismayed by the sheer number of garbage books that I was downloading–non-fiction and fiction. The material was weak and there were so many glaring errors in the formatting. I knew I could do better.

 I began the process of investigating courses that taught writers how to write and publish digital books, and the last two years has been spent learning the process of writing for Kindle; the formatting, uploading, and promotion. It has been quite a journey. Not easy, but well worth the time. I decided I would write non-fiction to begin, since that seems to be the fastest type of book to get written. I have several written sitting on my hard drive, but five books are finished and currently up for sale on the Amazon marketplace.

 The book, “Put the Pause in Your Menopause” was written purely as a lead-in to a series of books entitled “Body Revolution Solution.” I had no idea how popular the book would be, and this book has turned out to be my biggest seller.  I set out to write about my journey using the “Body Revolution” weight loss system of Jillian Michaels, and that’s how those books were born. As my husband and I were living this weight loss journey, it dawned on me that the changes I was making to my diet and exercise were benefiting my menopause symptoms. I am a part of several women’s groups, and it breaks my heart reading about the stories of women who are crying out for help and relief. They think that they have to take hormone replace supplements in order to feel good. They are going to their doctors and begging for HRT’s and the fact is, that they are unproven, and can actually provoke more symptoms and cause more problems than they help.  I wrote the menopause book to talk with women about this natural phase of life and how their bodies will respond to natural methods, using diet and exercise for feeling good and looking great.

I am currently working on a recipe book to go along with “Put the Pause in Your Menopause”, a romance novel, and some flash fiction. I hope to have all of these published by the end of July. The journey has been very rewarding, and the work of an author never ends!

Penelope also has a radio show named  Blog Talk Radio. Click here to listen to an interview with her:  Blog Talk Radio

Also connect with her at:

Facebook

Twitter

PhilosBooks

Thanks to Penelope for sharing her journey and story!

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Win 2 Signed Paperbacks – 2 Genres!

In celebration of the upcoming Ace-Hil-Ink Dual Genre Release (2 different authors – 2 different genres), Ace-Hil-Ink will be giving out FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK COPIES of both stories to 3 select winners.
MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis” by. Y Correa (Romance)
Floor Four” by A. Lopez Jr. (Horror)
Entering is SIMPLE! Just leave a comment here telling us what your favorite Romance and Horror stories are – and instantly you will be entered into the drawing to win FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK copies of BOTH stories! To increase your odds of winning, Join The Project, the free newsletter of A. Lopez, Jr. (Exclusive content and giveaways to members)
You may also leave a comment at Fate Books Blog for a chance to win!
Winners will be chosen June4, 2013 . . . Good Luck!
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by Y. Correa
The year 1585. The Anglo-Spanish War. England invaded Spain for crops, land and supplies. A war had started. Land against land. People against people. Hatred, despise and intolerance were a way of life. Why were they so apposed to one and other? No one knows for sure…
MarcoAntonio, was a Spanish gentleman and knight. Amaryllis, an English lady. Prohibited from being together. Taboo romance. Intermingling of bloodlines was sinful and forbidden. Interracial love affair in the Middle Ages…? Yes! That was exactly it! Though, their love was not allowed, they loved each other regardless.
What would it bring? What would the outcome be? How would they overcome?
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by A. Lopez, Jr.
The old, abandoned Saint Vincent Hospital is said to be haunted by the ghost of David Henry Coleman, the notorious serial killer, known as The Mangler. Coleman died on the fourth floor after being shot by police. For the three Jr. High boys, their curiosity gets the best of them as they explore the old hospital, despite ‘Old Man’ Jake’s warning. No one knew of Jake’s dark connection to the killer and the hospital. And now, on the anniversary of The Mangler’s death, a group of high school kids are planning a private party on the haunted fourth floor. Jake must keep everyone out and protect them from the true evil that lurks on Floor Four.

Exclusive…To Be or Not To Be?

To be exclusive or not to be?

That’s a question that has been floating around the self-publishing world for some time now. Many blogs and articles have been written on this front. It seems that every few months, either because of technology – or just because of the powers-that-be move forward with a new idea – things change and a new way of thinking must be incorporated into the self-publisher’s mind. The question for authors who do not have a traditional publishing deal, is deciding which way to go – exclusive or non-exclusive.

I’ve been writing for three years and self-published my first book in November of 2011. A year later, I put up my second piece of work. From late 2011 until now, 18 months have passed, and I have calculated my sales over that time. Although it is a short period of time, it is enough of a sample-size for me to conquer the question mentioned above, as it pertains to my sales.

Amazon is king for just about every author’s sales, and for some, it grabs a much higher percentage than the other ebook stores, and sometimes more than the others combined. Amazon’s KDP Select is enticing to many because of the various perks that are included with it, along with five days where you can put your book up for free. KDP Select is the big arm that Amazon has extended to authors. It’s hard to blame any author for giving it a spin in their strategy to generate more recognition and or sales for their book. Author, Joe Konrath has blogged about this many times. To each his own, and more power to you if you make it work for you. After all, we are all in it because we love to write. Getting your work recognized is what comes next.

In calculating my sales, I looked at percentages. It better represents an overview of where my books are being bought, and gives a clear view of what my future strategy may be. The numbers break down like this…

ebook-channelOver the past 18 months, Amazon leads my sales at 36%. Following them at second and third in my sales are Barnes and Noble with 25% and Apple with 22%. That adds up to 83% of my total sales. The Big 3 are holding their own in my sales. The last two rounding out my total sales are Sony  with 10% and Kobo with 7%. While those numbers are a little lower, my foreign sales have come mainly through Kobo. (Apple comes in right behind them) Kobo’s reach outside the US is significant and getting stronger. Plus, they have just released their new HD reader, Aura. Only time will tell if that picks up their business, and if it affects their percentage within my sales.

As a side-note, my last few sales have come from Kobo and Apple, and those particular sales have been outside of the US. At any rate, the numbers are the numbers and it bears out the fact that it’s a pretty even “selling field” for me.

What does it all mean? My sales, in the overall scheme of things, really don’t mean anything to anyone but me. But, it did answer my question – to be exclusive or not to be?

Answer: I’ll remain in a monogamous relationship with all of the ebook retailers . . . for now, anyway!