Multi-Genre Mega Giveaway—October 2017

Wow, check out this offer! Enter the giveaway and win free eBooks in multiple genres! Offer ends Monday, October 9th, 2017.

Enter here: https://AuthorsXP.com/mega

Win up to 45+ Series eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize “Gift Baskets” of ALL eBooks!
(45+) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

Kicking an Opportunity Till It’s Dead

[Atomic Blonde]
Photo courtesy of MovieWeb

Several months ago, I entered a contest that offered as the first prize the opportunity for my latest novel to be taken on by a reputable publishing company. Of course, at the time, I was pretty excited. Who wouldn’t be? A chance to have your book published professionally with everything that entails—great editing, eye-popping cover, and a brilliant marketing campaign? So, now imagine reading an email that just hit your inbox saying you are a finalist! Wow, am I dreaming?

Before I go any further, this isn’t one of those stories that go from fairy tale to nightmare. Everything was on the up-and-up. Along with the email, I received a well-written critique and was given a short timeframe to produce a new version for consideration. Presumably, they would read the draft, and if they felt the changes were what they were looking for, I would continue on in the process. And after reading the critique, I have to say I really thought I had a shot. Anyway, soon, a winner will be chosen…but I can say with certainty it won’t be me. Why?

Because I dropped out.

The Dilemma
Look, there was nothing wrong with the critique. In fact, the editor made lots of good points about things I might want to address. But in reading the comments, I got the sense that somehow my book hadn’t fully resonated with them. They just weren’t on board with what I was doing. The things I had intentionally chosen to do—the tone, the protagonist, and all the rest—was somehow not right for them. To be fair to the publisher, my story doesn’t fall neatly into a single genre. It’s what they’re calling these days a genre-bender. Also, I’ve mixed first-person narration with third-person—not unheard of in today’s fiction. Finally, the way I have written the fourteen-year-old protagonist makes her seem impossibly wise for her age. But that was the point! She is, in fact, incredibly precocious.

So, I was left with two choices: Make the appropriate changes and hope I won. Or walk away. Obviously, I’ve chosen the latter path.

But, dude, this was your shot! you’re probably thinking. You could have had a publishing contract! What are you, nuts?

Well, I probably am. But hear me out. In looking at the terms of the contract, I realized that I don’t want someone else owning my book’s copyright. Yeah, I know. This is standard for publishing. But I’m new to the game, okay? And another thing. I imagined myself watching as another company took control of my book and basically did what they thought was best regarding promotion. Okay, so they are probably way better at marketing than I am, I will admit. But I would be losing the one thing I have come to love about being an indie author these past few years—control.

A Silver Lining
Even after what may yet prove to be a bone-headed move on my part, there is one bright spot. The combination of the critique and the fact that I was a finalist in a reputable contest, for me, add up to a huge validation of my work. I am immensely proud of what I wrote, and apparently, there are others out there who feel it has value.

Now, it’s back to my world. The novel is going through a final edit, and my cover designer is hard at work creating something magical—I hope! I plan to publish in the spring. Stay tuned.

Here’s to opportunity!

Come As You Are—September Paperback Offer

[Come As You Are Cover]

Hey, horror fans! From now until the end of September, 2017, you can purchase the paperback edition of my new horror collection for 20% off. Just go to the CreateSpace Store and apply the coupon code UPAUZG6H. Happy reading! Peace and love.

Book Synopsis
Ivan Stein isn’t sure he can survive seventh grade, let alone middle school. Living in a town known for its poverty and violence, he is regularly bullied along with his best friend, Ollie. But fortunes can change. One day, Ivan finds an old notebook in an abandoned locker at school. Despite a stark warning, he takes the book and unleashes powerful magic he can use to punish his enemies. But demonic forces control the book’s pages—a terrifying evil that will inflict suffering on the good as well as the bad and take his soul as payment.

Come As You Are is supernatural horror reimagined as Young Adult fiction. But don’t be fooled. Its violence will disturb you and its depiction of people living in a gloomy, desolate town without hope will make you cry. Pray that Ivan and his family can survive this dark, perilous journey.

Also in this collection:

“Nailed It”
“Brown the Recluse”
“I’ve Been Better”
“A Bone in the Throat”
“Regino Sings”
“A Proper Revenge Takes Time”
“Something to Hold”
“The Widow and Her Magician”
“Walker”

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Come As You Are—Girl Who Reads Review

Wow! Take a look at this review of my new collection Come As You Are, which is available in eBook and print at Amazon. Oh, and don’t forget about the Goodreads book giveaway, which ends on September 20, 2017. Details here.

And finally, for those of you who haven’t taken the opportunity, you can download a free copy of Book One of my horror thriller trilogy, Tell Me When I’m Dead. Just visit my homepage for details.

[Come As You Are Cover]

 

A Collection of Macabre Stories: Come As You Are by Steven Ramirez
by MK French

“Come As You Are” is the title novella in this collection of macabre stories. Ivan Stein and his best friend Ollie are bullied in school and often run off the skate park by older kids. When Ivan finds a notebook in an abandoned locker that seems to be the key to power, he takes it despite his misgivings. Unfortunately, the power is demonic in nature and doesn’t discriminate who falls in its path. It’s understandable that Ivan would grab hold of any hope to get past the bullies and survive seventh grade, even if it’s otherworldly. Knowing others’ secrets at first seems rather innocent, but completing the list in the notebook takes on a more dangerous turn, and Ivan’s soul hangs in the balance. The end of the story was a bit of a stretch, and not one I would have predicted when starting the novella, but definitely was vividly done.

To read the rest of this review, please visit Girl Who Reads.

[Amazon Buy Button]

Book Review—The Angel Maker

[The Angel Maker Cover]For me, a short story is like a stranger on a bus you happen to sit next to. The trip is short, but in that interval, you see that she’s crying—you don’t know why. She may take an urgent call, and you overhear snippets of conversation about a broken relationship, missing money, or a nightmare she once had. Then at the next stop, she gets off and is gone forever.

I enjoyed the stories in this collection because they remind me that suffering is all around us—most of our own making. Bad choices, a desire to be forgiven, a sudden awareness that our world is being torn apart by unknown forces. It’s all here. My favorite was “The War.” I sincerely hope the author will use this as the first chapter in an as-yet-to-be-written kick-ass novel.

If you enjoy the creepy, then grab this book. And be glad you made better choices in your life.

You can find this review at Amazon US.

Book Description
A drunk driver tries to get home. A college coed takes a devastating turn in her life. A lawsuit against the devil? A young woman comes face-to-face with her father’s past. And an invading army. These are the situations that are explored in these spine-tingling stories. Reminiscent of the old Twilight Zone episodes, these stories take ordinary situations and turn them into extraordinary experiences that will leave you unsettled and looking over your shoulder. You might not want to read these in the dark.

Where to Buy
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

More Reviews
Did you enjoy this review? Check out my other Amazon reviews here.

Better Writing Through Reading and Research

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot more. Mostly, I stick to contemporary fiction—especially in the genres I write in. This helps me in two ways. First, I get a look at the competition. And second, I see what’s hot and what’s not as far as reader tastes go. But there’s another benefit and, depending on what you buy, you can take advantage of another writer’s research.

But wait, you say. I thought writers just make crap up and hope they can fool you. Well, that’s true—for bad writers. Good ones take the time to learn about the world they are constructing and endow their stories with a rich undertone that immerses the protagonist—and the reader. Here’s an example. I just finished a novel about a journalist who gets caught up in a conspiracy that involves soulless corporate giants and an assassin with a love of greasy food. To be honest, the book isn’t great. Though the story is well constructed, I felt the principal characters lacked believability. In other words, they just didn’t ring true. Nevertheless, I am so glad I read the book. Here’s why.

The Only Source of Knowledge Is Experience
Einstein said that, and I happen to agree wholeheartedly. The author of the book in question is a former journalist and, when it comes to dogged reporters on a beat, he knows what he’s talking about. I really enjoyed learning about the mindset of the journalist, as well as hearing the faint praise and jeering commentary about the profession as a whole. The author has also peppered the story with discussions of the power of big media and print vs. online. I’m not saying that after reading the book I could go off and write my own novel about a journalist/detective. But I could certainly create a secondary character who’s a journalist and make them sound authentic. Experience counts.

Reading for Pleasure and Learning
When I was a kid, I always compartmentalized my reading. There were books I read to learn and those I devoured for pleasure. But it was rare that a book served both ends. I say nuts to that! Providing you pick good material, every book can be a learning experience. Often when I read, I like to pore over the language. This is what helps me to write better. But I am also aware of the setting and the jargon a character uses. Recently, I reviewed a horror collection. There was one, in particular, I fell in love with—“The Corpse King” by Tim Curran. Now, I could be wrong, but I am of the opinion that the author researched the hell out of the period and in particular about how resurrectionists plied their trade. This is an excellent example of a story that is pleasurable to read and teaches you something in the bargain.

Apply Your Knowledge
I’ve read a lot of nonfiction books about the demonic and possession. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I do bring that background to the stories I write. The last thing I want is for someone in the know to read my work and dismiss it as uninformed drivel. And this is apart from the writing. Readers either like my work, or they don’t. I just don’t want to be accused of ignorance when I could have just as easily researched before I wrote. And neither should you! Remember, writing isn’t just about the words—it’s about what’s behind them. Have fun.

Come As You Are—Goodreads Book Giveaway

Exciting news! The publication date is nearing for my new horror collection Come As You Are. To celebrate, I am giving away ten signed copies of my book. The giveaway starts tomorrow, August 22nd, and runs through September 20th.

All you need to do is click the link below to enter. Winners will be selected by the folks at Goodreads at the end of the contest. Note that you must be a US resident. Best of luck!

Enter the Contest

[Come As You Are Cover]Come As You Are
by Steven Ramirez
Release date: Sep 07, 2017

Enter for a chance to win one of ten signed copies of Come As You Are by Steven Ramirez.

“Ivan’s innocent and unwitting flirtation with the demonic is first-rate supernatural horror. Ramirez’s characters are beautifully defined, particularly Ivan and Hershey, the school janitor, who turns out to be much more than that. His plot is beautifully scripted and the suspense and supernatural dread emanating throughout this story make it impossible to put down until the last page is read.” —Readers’ Favorite

Opens for entries on August 22, 2017
Format: Print book
Availability: 10 copies available
Giveaway dates: Aug 22 – Sep 20, 2017
Countries available: US

Enter the Contest