Thursday, July 26, 2007

Promo Schmomo

I don't know why I think I'm so damn funny.

So, the promotional blitz continues. My last two days have been devoted solely to coming up with ways to promote Asphodel. It's really hard to come up with an idea that (a) hasn't been done to death and (b) isn't annoying. I've given up on (a)...I'm still working on (b).

Have you guys noticed that, while there are countless review sites and opportunities for free publicity for romance authors, there are very few for speculative fiction authors? It almost makes me want to build another site, although the last thing I need is to have to maintain and moderate it ad nauseum. Without helpful places like Love Romances & More or JERR to rely upon (although I could accurately claim that due to the strong romantic element in Asphodel it could qualify as a romance novel) I'm having to come up with my own ideas.

Boy, I hate that. It's hard enough to do when WRITING much less promoting.

Where is the site that I can just post something like this:

My book, The Reckoning of Asphodel, is a darn good read. Go buy
it. Then tell your friends how awesome it is.

I'd probably have trouble doing that too.

So, anyway, I've sent out press releases, which felt so darn presumptuous that I cringed every time I hit the send button. I've redone ye olde website. I've made a new book trailer (you can see it below) and FINALLY succeeded in getting it posted onto YouTube. I've only been able to get it on the smaller video sharing sites up to now. I finished a newsletter (like anyone really gives a rat's patootie about my world) and it's ready to send out. Now, all I have left of the (a) option is to inundate Myspace (oh won't my kids be embarassed? I'm making them embed my video *snort!*) and then continue my search for other 'new' ways to promote.

Allow me to give you a caveat--I have absolutely refused to spend a dime on this. I promised that I would wait until the book was staggering along its hopeful path to popularity before I strained the family resources with expensive promotional gimmicks. First on the list--my own domain. Then, maybe, someone to do all of these annoying trailers and promo posts and maybe even to redesign my website and make it killer.

Not this blog, though. *grin* It's my baby.

At any rate, back to the grind. We'll see if I find the Philosopher's Stone of cyber-promotion. If I do, though, you're not getting the secrets! Mine...MINE!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yay! Newsletter is done!

I finished my first issue of my newsletter, Asphodelian Fields. If you want to subscribe (and I would there are definite fringe benefits) send me an email at ! Be sure you put Newsletter Subscription in your subject line.

Here I'll give you a hint. If you want to read the prologue and Chapter One of The Reckoning of Asphodel, you can find them at . However, if you want the special, not found anywhere else except the book sneak peek at Chapter Two, then you have to...
_________________________________________________(fill in the blank)

See how easy that is? Subscribe today! The first issue goes out on 7/27/07.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

And more e-piracy notes

So let me ask you: am I unreasonable to think that all copyrighted material should be paid for?

Seriously, what is the difference between downloading a book and a song? Or a movie? Or art? Is the line between public domain and e-piracy blurred beyond recognition?

For example, I've been doing book trailers. Every image that I use is either (a) mine for the purpose of promoting my book, (b) a classical work of art with the original artist dead and thus in the public domain or (c) downloaded from a free image site. Sure, I could make much cooler trailers using screenshots of great fantasy art but I don't. I stick to the images that I can obtain legally. The same thing goes for the music I use. Mozart is dead. His music is public domain. No one owns the copyright to the Requiem Mass.

Now then, here's where it gets sticky. Let's say that someone owns a CD of music. They put the CD into their computer, copy the music, and use that as a basis for a book trailer. Let's say that album is Metallica (yeah, I picked them specifically because of their stance against e-piracy.) Do I have the right, since I bought the album, to use their music as background for a book trailer?

*pauses for a moment to giggle at the thought of Elves and Enter Sandman as theme music. Oh, dear*

Take it a step further. Say that I own an illustrated copy of Lord of the Rings. Add to that the three movies. Since I own those, can I use THOSE images of Elves for my trailers?

My position is: No, I cannot. I cannot use another person's intellectual property (or their faces in the case of actors) to represent my own work. Isn't that frighteningly similiar to, well, I don't know---plagiarism?

The SWFA's position on this is as follows:

Electronic piracy, or e-piracy, is the theft of electronic rights from writers
and artists. E-theft occurs when a party, without authorization from the
copyright owner, makes an electronic copy of a work, and causes it to be
available to others. It does not matter if this is done by the transfer of files
from person to person, or if the work is posted to the Internet. It is still
theft. (link to this article at:

As far as I can tell, that covers the entire gambit of images, text, music, and films now available on the Internet that are not specifically labelled as public domain or available for free download with the permission of the creator. How hard is that to understand?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Makin' Me Jealous

I'll admit it: I was in line at Krogers at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning to pick up my copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

Don't worry, you KNOW I won't post spoilers.

I'll go even further--I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. in order to finish the book. Aside from the bragging rights within my family for being the first to finish it, I also had the satisfaction of knowing I'd foiled the spoilers posters. HA! Didn't ruin it for me, buttholes! Allow me to state here that I really, REALLY enjoyed the book. I thought Rowling did an outstanding job of tying up all those loose ends and the pacing problems I had with earlier books were non-existent in this one.


But now, I'm going to descend into a momentary morass of professional jealousy. The only person who will be waiting with breathless anticipation for the release of Asphodel is me. This makes me sad. *sob*

Not really. The original print run of Rowling's first book was 10,000--which isn't really a heck of lot. Now think about it: what happened to bring a series from 10,000 to over 2 million preorders on Amazon? What makes that story so special?

I've seen a lot of argument about this on different writers' site over the past few days and I think I have an answer. It's so obvious, but still so elusive. It's what we all try to do but don't necessarily acheive.

The answer? JK Rowling has created characters that are easy to care about. We like them. We root for them. We want them to succeed. Ultimately, we care about their fates.

Interesting, isn't it? She managed to achieve what every writer dreams of--without any apparent effort. The Harry Potter books read so easily--and so quickly--because she makes her characters walk, talk, live, and breathe along with the reader.

Yep, it makes me jealous. But--at least I figured out the secret.

Friday, July 20, 2007



On August 7, 2007, Aspen Mountain Press will release Celina Summers' debut novel, "The Reckoning of Asphodel."


So anyway, as I type this and get ready for whatever media blitz I can generate, I've discover that the youngest cat in the house--Biscuit (I didn't name her)--wants to play fetch with her mouse.

Fetch. Are you kidding me?

It's pretty darn cute, but it's distracting me from my purpose.

Ms. Summers, who also writes under several pseudonyms, describes the novel as "epic fantasy with strong roots in Greco-Roman mythology. I have taken the familiar fantasy archetypes and twisted them, hoping to bring a new type of fantasy to the shelves of readers."

Setting myself up for a fall there. Although, I must admit, smartass Elves is a bit of a twist.

Tamsen de Asphodel is a girl caught between two worlds. Each half of her life contradicts the other. But when the gods have a wager, she must find a way to reconcile not only herself but the world around her. If she doesn't, an entire race will be destroyed.

I'm fairly comfortable with that because I wrote it myself. No, kitten, I don't want to play catch.

More information about the novel and its author may be found at or The novel can be purchased at the publisher's website or Fictionwise ( after its

Always important information. Thanks for not leaving it out.

GET THAT MOUSE AWAY FROM ME. Geeeesus--thank god it's a toy and not a REAL mouse. I'd have blood splattered all over the living room if it was.

Anyway, I'm just a LEETLE excited. Just thought I'd share!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Excerpts! Excerpts!

The Prologue and Chapter One of The Reckoning of Asphodel are now LIVE on my website! Follow the links or go to if you want to check them out!

Make me stop!

Wow. I can see the light reflecting from the floor tiles three back from the end of the tunnel!

If you're not a writer, let me explain. The work is NEVER done. Even after something has been published, I can go back and skim through it and wince. "Gee, maybe I should have reworked that sentence; it's a little awkward." And before I know it, presto! I'm rewriting something that ostensibly is done.

I am soooooooooooooo close to being done with Asphodel. Sooooooooooooooo close to being able to close the book on it (ha ha! made a funny!) and move on to another project. I'm writing the last 15k of the last book. I'm doing the final proofs on book one as it gets ready for publication. I have PRESS KITS for god's sake! BUT I STILL TWEAK THE DARN THING DAILY.

*sigh* Rewriting for me isn't a sit down and bang it out kind of venture. Rewriting for me occurs as follows: I sit down to read my manuscript. If I'm into the story, then obviously there are no mistakes (until the next time I read it.) If something makes my engrossment stumble, there's a problem. I ran the grammar check on Asphodel last night (I hit ignore on it usually. Some of its 'errors' aren't and I will use sentence fragments, damnit!) and the manuscript has a Fleisch-Kincaid grade level of 4.9 and a reading ease level of 80.7. That's pretty good, I think. It means my younger brother might be able to read half of the first page.

So yes...hopefully my editor can pry the manuscript out of my sweaty, desperately clutching hands before I rewrite the whole darn thing. I'm sure she will; she's quite forceful. Make me stop!! I'll be good....I promise.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Spoilers and Buttholes

You know, I'm surprised it took this long for someone to leak Harry Potter.

Here we are, some scant three days away from the resolution of a series that single-handedly is responsible for dragging kids away from the Wii and Playstation and back into books, and some yehaw moron decides to swipe a copy of Deathly Hallows, scan it, and post it online.

Aside from the fact that it's PIRACY which is ILLEGAL, it's absolutely a cold-blooded thing to do. I mean, yeah, I've had my moments of assholishness. the one that immediately pops to mind happened about ten years ago when I was doing summer stock. Another actor was reading "Of Mice and Men". I walked up and asked, "Is this the first time you've read that book?"

"Yeah, it is."

"How cool. By the way, Lenny dies."

He was on page seven. Granted, I didn't like him that much. But, by that point the book had been out for decades. It's not like I broke into Steinbeck's house, stole his manuscript, and spammed it to the world.

Whoever this cheese-eater is, he's in for a world of hurt. As stringent as Bloomsbury has been about protecting the Harry Potter manuscript and its secrets, there's going to be a slew of lawyers descending on this second-rate bookstore employee with lots and lots of papers that will deprive him of all of the comfort he's enjoyed in his mother's basement for the past ten years. Even hear of wage garnishment, pal? Your crap's going to Rowling for a looooooooong, looooooooooong, time.


You know, it's amazing to me that so many people derive so much pleasure out of ruining it for everyone else. I really, really hope this guy gets what is coming to him. Running his toes through a woodchipper comes to mind. As a reader, and a fan of Rowling and her work, I am very, very angry. I'm an adult, so I can deal with it; I just hate to think of how this makes the kids who've been eagerly waiting for this feel.

As a writer it really pisses me off. Rowling, too, has been waiting for this release for ten years. The excitement she must feel at bringing her quest to conclusion is incomprehensible to me, mostly because I can't imagine anyone wanting to know the end of MY series on this level. So some anonymous slimeball thought it was funny to ruin it for her too.


So, I hope you got your rocks off, pal. I hope you're getting a big old chuckle out of this. you won't be laughing for long.

And if anyone thinks that my rants about e-piracy were ridiculous, think about how ten million children worldwide must feel tonight. The glory, the curiosity, the fascination, the anticipation of these last few days has now been ruined for them--and all because someone thought that freedom of speech extended to thievery.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Stream of Conciousness

Well, life is never dull, is it? After going to fight with a fly-by-night car dealer who defrauded my daughter (I told the kid not to buy the car...) my fangs are totally itching. I just want to beat somebody.

Good thing I'm tending bar tonight.

We just got wifi here at the Fariview so now I can entertain myself during slow periods. My trusty laptop comes to work with me every day anyway, and I have lately discovered the joys of showing people my video trailers while I'm at work. Hopefully , some of them will BUY MY know, just to be different.

Promo would be very easy if all I had to do was spam the world with the words BUY MY BOOK. Shame it doesn't work that way. I'm getting my press kits (gasp! press kits? Are you KIDDING me?) ready for Asphodel. Apparently, I need a picture. *grin* Guess you guys finally get to find out what I look like. Oh dear.

Four more days until Harry Potter! yay!

So I'm sitting in the bar (I work in an hour) and all of the guy regulars are looking at me as if I'm bizarre. *sigh* Why do laptops scare the elderly? I'm not hacking into the FBI computer, guys, honest I'm not.

Went to my back doctor last week. I'm back on meds again. *sigh* It does make the bartending easier, but isn't doing a heck of a lot for my ability to see straight. I have to remind myself, however, that the first drafts of the Asphodel books were written on Percocet. maybe my muse is a secret pill popper. Maybe that's the secret! Maybe, just maybe, I NEED to keep her medicated in order for her to produce!

Wait a second...has she been undergoing DTs since I've been off medication? Is THAT why she's been so snippy? Hmm.....point to consider.

Oh well.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

And life interferes again

You know if I could have a one month period where nothing went wrong, I'd be a much happier person.

And I'd drink less.

After yet another week spent in hospitals and dealing with family crap I am back online again. Hopefully, it will remain calm for a while, since Asphodel is about to be released and I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on writing once more. Stay tuned--I'll be announcing some BIG news later this week.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mega-Rant-Warning! Danger ahead!

I hate the weekends.

Friday through Sunday my days are not my own. Having reached the decision to cram a week's worth of work into 2 1/2 days so I can do unimportant things like...oh, I don't know--pay my is absolutely driving me nuts to be trapped in the same space with a whole slew of drunks when I could be working.


Let me just tell you all first thing that no matter how funny you THINK you are when you're drunk, the only sober person in the room is invariably NOT amused.


Particularly if aforesaid sober person is trying to work through a plot snag on her notepad secreted in the back corner of the bar while you whine and bitch on your barstool. Oh? And tapping that empty beer bottle on the bar to get the sober person's attention does NOT equate "Excuse me, Celina, I'm sorry to bother you but can I have another beer?"

No. It's Morse Code for "I am an asshole." After about three taps it becomes permanent Morse Code for "I am a THIRSTY asshole."

I mean seriously! You guys think I'm vindictive when I blog? You should see me when I tend bar! Geesch.

THEN, imagine my surprise to discover that not only is my weekend screwed up but that not one but two bartenders are 'unavailable to work this week.' Yep--you guessed it. I get to work the Fourth of July when the carnival and fireworks are across the street from the bar. Huh? Okay, well there goes another day of work this week. Freaking lovely. I should be in bed right now hoping for a few hours of sleep. Instead I have to get myself kicked into high gear on the off-chance that I have to produce 80,000 words in the next week. Just to add insult to injury I have to work open to close next Sunday. Just to put that into perspective, that's 11 a.m. Sunday morning to 2:30 am Monday morning.


How lovely. At any rate, I'm sitting at a fairly comfortable 37,691 words at the moment. If push comes to shove I can do a quick cleanup of the first three chapters and write a final chapter to submit. Still, it's a grind. *grin* Story's fun to write though.

In other news, the first beta reader is about halfway through the anthology. So far the response is fairly positive. The second beta should have his response in some time this week. Hopefully, it will exceed our expectations.

Oh well. Back to the millstone. I'll let you guys know if I survive it.