Ray Bradbury Challenge – Week #3

This post is part of my Ray Bradbury Challenge. Click here to learn more! And PLEASE help me spread the word about my writing:

Genre: Paranormal
Word Count: 883

Mystery Shoppers

car_in_the_desertSam's job was to collect souls. Many of them didn't know they’d passed on. It was his responsibility to usher them into the afterlife smoothly enough so they’d go willingly. Otherwise, they would insist on lingering in the plains between the living and the dead.

Sam eased his tow truck to the side of the road in front of the broken-down Ford Focus. Hopping out of the diesel, he grabbed his clipboard and ambled over to the dusty sedan. The couple inside were passed out, shoulders leaning against each other, mouths hanging open, the woman bellowing a hearty snore.

He ran his fingers through his greasy hair, then tapped his ignition key on the window. “Hello?”

They jerked awake. The woman fumbled for her glasses and squinted at her watch. Pressing her mouth into a grim line, she pulled a small notebook from her purse and scribbled. The driver rolled down the window.

“Need a tow?” Sam asked and grinned.

“Well it’s about time you got here!” the blond, clean-cut man man snapped, and pushed his door open so fast, Sam jumped back.

The woman scowled and scribbled some more.

Sam shook his salt-and-pepper head and smirked. Yep, these two are going to need a little convincing. “Sorry 'bout that. If you can take the car out of gear before you step out, that would be great.”

Huffing and sitting back down, the man yanked at the stick shift between the two front seats, jiggling it back and forth to be sure it was in neutral.

And the emergency brake, please,” Sam reminded him.

The cranky man released the brake. Stepping out of the car, he slammed the door and tugged at his grey suit, now wrinkled from sleeping in the vehicle.

Sam handed him the clipboard. “If you wouldn't mind filling this out for me, I’ll get the car hitched up and we’ll be on our way.”

“He wasn't in the mood…to persuade these numbskulls to move on to the sweet by-and-by.” Continue reading

Immortality of Vampire Fiction vs. The Industry

frustratedWARNING: I'm venting a little here today.

The Nelson Literary Agency posted some advice/information in their newsletter about the difference between a “good” manuscript and a “salable” manuscript. You can write a great story, good grammar, character development is tight and storyline is solid. But if the editors don't want it, they won't buy it. I quote the following, but I'm going to put my own adaptation in brackets because I've been told the same thing about my manuscripts (both vampire and steampunk/dystopian):

“For example, dystopian [vampire] stories are hot right now in the young-adult [adult/erotic] genre. As a result, for the past twelve months, editors have been inundated by dystopian [vampire] projects. They are tired of them, even though these titles are still releasing and some are doing quite well. Readers are still enjoying dystopian [vampire] novels, but editors don't want to buy them anymore. So right now, no matter how well written your dystopian YA [vampire novel] might be or how cool the premise, if an agent is taking a look at it, she is probably thinking she can't sell it and will pass on offering representation. That's the bald truth. The timing just plain sucks, and as an agent, selling projects is all about perfect timing: landing the right project, on the right editor's desk, at exactly the right moment.” (my emphasis on the underline)

More than anything else, I think this is a prime example and reason as to why self-publishing is so successful. Yes, you get the crap out there…I totally understand that. But the Big Six (as the big publishers are known as) publish crap, too.

What frustrates me the most is the editors KNOW there is an audience for these books – such as in the aforementioned Dystopian YA and my genre of topic, vampires – and yet because they're tired of reading them, they don't want to see them anymore. This is a business, people! Not your time to have a leisurely read! Print what the readers want!

OMGOne agent told me the reason why editors won't even look at such manuscripts (e.g., vampire, dystopian, steampunk, etc.) is because they're tired of getting a bunch of crap manuscript with the same stories. My response – and I can say this because I'm an editor – OMG get over it! That's your job as an editor. READING MANUSCRIPTS. If you don't like reading crap manuscripts, get another freakin' job. The sad truth is there is a TON of crap out there; it comes with the territory.

I belong to a group called I Love Vampire Novels and they have been my biggest supporters of my self-published novels – my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles. Their FB page boasts over 100,000 LIKES. And I'm sure there are a lot more vampire lovers out there than just 100,000. This group and others like them, J.R. Ward, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon are all proof people love vampire stories and they sell well.

But the editors are tired of them. :\

No problem! We'll just self-publish and make 70% off our book sales and the Big Six can continue whining about how their industry is failing. Enjoy the trip down!

Thanks for letting me vent! If you made it this far, thanks for putting up with me! Do you feel just as passionate about this topic? Does it really matter to you? Do you have your own experience about the industry you'd like to share? How about from a reader's perspective? Am I completely whacked in my reasoning?

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

 

Midnight Hunt – Scavenger Hunt Cover Reveal

BBB03_emptyWe're goin' on a scavenger hunt…

For the pieces to the puzzle that will complete the cover of my next novel MIDNIGHT HUNT!

Join me and a number of wonderful authors and reader bloggers on a cover reveal tour like you’ve never seen! Each piece of the cover will be revealed and the entire cover assembled at the end of the tour on July 1st.

  • Tour Dates: June 17th – July 1st
  • Cover Reveal: July 1st
  • Tour Locations: author blogs, reader blogs and various stops around the World Wide Web, such as my Facebook author page, my Google+ page and other related sites
  • Prizes will include…
    • Grand Prize: Signed paperback copy of Midnight Hunt, swag cards & RTC and $20 Amazon/B&N Gift Card
    • 1st – $15 Amazon/B&N Gift Card
    • 2nd – $10 Amazon/B&N Gift Card
    • 3rd – $5 Amazon/B&N Gift Card

Once the tour begins, I'll post a white cover space with the first piece and a link to where you can find it. As the tour progresses, I'll be updating the graphic and the link to location of the next piece. Each piece will have a number/code. At the end of the tour, participants will send me an e-mail with all the puzzle codes to be entered into the final drawing. Contest rules will be posted closer to the date. Click here to see a calendar of this and other upcoming events.

Wanna Host a Piece of the Puzzle??

I still have some dates open for the blog tour, so if you're an author or a book blogger and want to host one of the pieces, please contact me ASAP to get booked: arial (at) arialburnz (dot) com. Slots are filling up fast! I have 15 pieces to reveal and many are already spoken for!

I’m Falling in Love…with Google+

Facebook SucksYes, I'm going to publicly confess…I've never really been a fan of Facebook. But as a writer, it's a necessity to use the darn social media networking tool. My biggest beef is all the changes they keep doing. The YouTube video “A Facebook Update In Real Life” says it all. That's EXACTLY how it feels when Facebook changes something. However, if it wasn't for Facebook, I probably never be in contact with my relatives back in Chicago. It's really the only interaction I have with them. And I have indeed met a lot of WONDERFUL people in the publishing world. So many awesome readers and fans and authors and *sigh*. Love all the people I've connected with.But it's not the people that make Facebook suck. It's the interface and all the bloody ads.

I love Google+Now Google+ (aka Google Plus, G+ or GPlus) will be celebrating a 2-year anniversary come June 28th, so admittedly I've been a little slow in getting on board. Yes, I've heard it went through an embarrassing launch and there were a lot of bugs to work out…so did Facebook. And I know it's changed it's interface, even very recently…so has Facebook…many, many, many times (see previously referenced YouTube video). But I just really started using G+ in the last month or so…and OMG I'm really liking it.

There is indeed a learning curve, especially since I've been using FB for a few years. You don't go to someone else's wall and post something. You actually post it all on YOUR G+ profile page, but address it to either individuals or groups or even a community. That was a little scary at first because I wasn't sure if I just shared my latest endeavor of shopping for panties with one of my girlfriends…or if it was out there dangling in the breeze for everyone to see. Lucky for everyone, it was a private post.

What do I love about Google+?

Well, that's the kind of embarrassing part. I don't know! I just do! I like the way the individual posted messages flip around like, well…a card. I think that's what they're called. It's just freakin' neat! And they have these communities you can join where people share like-minded ideas. Yeah, FB has Groups you can create, but the interaction just seems cleaner and more organized…without all the ads…in G+. It's bizarre. I go to Facebook and I can almost hear the din of activity and noise traveling through cyberspace. I get to Google+…ahhhhhh! Blessed silence.

The one thing I think I can nail down about what I like about Google+ are the Circles. It's soooooo much easier to share information with a whole group of people or a community when you have your connections sorted into these Circles. They're so easy to sort, too. Just drag and drop. And you can have the same person in many Circles.

In FB, they do indeed have lists you can add people to when you become friends…but then what? I can't use them when I want to send a message to all my reader friends or to my writer friends. It's crazy! Create a list for what purpose? Of course, I could be using it wrong. But here's the point…I've been using G+ for a month and I already know how to do that. I've been on FB for over 4 years…no clue.

So that's my rant for the day. Anyone else getting into G+ and have some fun tips to share? I'm new, so I'm eager to learn new ways of using the fun social media interface.

That's my two pence… Arial 😉

Audio Books Narrated by Arial Burnz

I'm so excited to announce that I have done the narration for two of Victoria Vane's Devil DeVere Series! They're Georgian erotic romance and they are just delightful! You can buy them either at Audible.com or Amazon.com. Below are the links and blurbs. And if you're interested in having me narrate YOUR books, visit my ACX profile to hear audio samples.

A Wild Night's Bride - Book 1 of The Devil DeVere Audio Book

A Wild Night's Bride

Buy Links: Amazon | Audible | iTunes

With the devil in charge, there will surely be hell to pay…

What happens when a struggling actress and a grieving widower come together in a night of unbridled debauchery orchestrated by a bored and machinating rake?

She's a lonely lady down on her luck…Phoebe Scott, alias Kitty Willis, is a struggling Covent Garden actress with a bruised heart and a closely guarded secret.

He's steadfast and eminently respectable…Sir Edward Chambers, Ned to his intimates, is guilt-ridden over his beloved wife's death and has avowed to live out a rustic and mundane life…of celibacy.

Devil-in-disguise Viscount Ludovic DeVere is determined to return his best friend, Ned, to the land of the living. His meddling machinations result in a night of mind-blowing passion after which “Dull Dog Ned” awakes to find himself in the King of England's bed!

The Virgin Huntress - Book 2 of The Devil DeVere Audio Book

The Virgin Huntress

Buy Links: Amazon | Audible

Desperate times call for devilish measures.

When the object of one's passion has eyes for another…it's time to take matters in hand!

Lady Vesta Chambers is accustomed to getting what she wants…and what she wants is Captain Hewett DeVere…. Coddled and pampered since her mother's death, Lady Vesta Chambers is beside herself when her father goes to London to prepare for her come-out and returns with a young bride of his own. With her world turned upside down, Vesta accompanies her godmother, purchase klonopin online no prescription Diana, to town where she is smitten the moment she lays eyes on a certain captain of the 17th Light Dragoons. But when the object of her passion has eyes for another….

Captain Hewett DeVere, younger brother and heir to Viscount Ludovic “The Devil” DeVere, has returned from the American war scarred, disillusioned, and looking forward to settling down to a quiet and respectable life. But when the handsome and straight-laced captain turns his eyes toward the widowed Diana, Vesta is prepared to take devilish measures to prove to Hew that she is no longer a little girl, but a woman with the passion of…a huntress.

Note: This is the second book in an ongoing award-winning series.

Where Are Arial's Audio Books???

Nandana's Mark - Audio Book coming soonYes, I know! I've had many friends and fans asking me when I'm going to narrate my own books. I promise, I'll be working on them very soon. Right now I have one other audio book I need to record for Heidi Garrett titled Nandana's Mark. It's a lovely YA fantasy and I can't wait to record it! However, I'm still getting over bronchitis and fear it may have developed into walking pneumonia. Don't worry, I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning to get checked out. I hope to have my normal voice back again in a few days. *crosses fingers*

Once my voice is back to normal, I'll be recording her book and my own. In the meantime, I'm plugging away at writing Book 3 – Midnight Hunt! I have a tentative release date of July 19th, 2013 for both print and eBook. Be sure to join my mailing list so you can be notified when it's released.

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

Vampire Didn’t Exist until 1732…According to Etymology

A Vampire in London – 1582

London Night - Vampire LurkingAh…a creepy setting…a vampire lying in wait. This may be great stuff for a paranormal tale…but something's not right.

~~~~~~~~~

A fog crept in from the Thames, gliding through the streets like a phantom, shrouding the darkened alleyways between the tanneries, breweries and slaughterhouses…a perfect place to hide. Tucked into the shadows, a cloaked figure stood, listening. Staggering footsteps clicked against the cobblestones and feminine laughter fluttered against the high walls of the surrounding industry buildings.

The dark figure stepped from the shadows, seized her by the shoulders and whirled her into the doorway. Her eyes as wide as saucers, she gasped as he opened his mouth, revealing his fangs. “Wha-what are you?” she shrieked.

“I’m a…” He paused. “Well, I’m a…” He scratched his head.

~~~~~~~~~

Go ahead…I know you want to finish the sentence. He’s a vampire, right? Actually, as you read above, it’s 1582 and the word vampire didn't exist. That’s right! Vampire from French or Vampir from German didn't make it into the written language until 1734; or 1732, in an account of Hungarian vampires, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Dictionary.com says 1725-35 for the German Vampir, so it depends on your sources.

Vampire-like creatures have existed for centuries in a multitude of cultures, but they more resembled demons and spirits or walking, bloated corpses. Not the hot, sexy, intelligent and alluring creatures of the night that fascinate modern culture today. And they definitely didn't sparkle. Imagine my dismay when I started writing my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles—which starts in 1486, and the back story even earlier—and learned I couldn't use the word vampire! Well…I had to come up with something!

Midnight Conquest - Book 1 of the Bonded By Blood Vampire ChroniclesThe number one question I get about my vampires is, “Why did you call them Vamsyrians?” Obviously, the above was my motivation. I chose to create a word that could easily morph into vampire through the years…and that’s exactly what some of my readers have done by mispronouncing it by adding a “P” where none exists—vamp-seer-ee-an. It’s already on its way to morphing!

If you'd like to explore this dark world of Vamsyrians I've created, CLICK HERE to check out the boxed set! Or CLICK HERE to start with Book 1, Midnight Conquest. And if you aren't a member of my VIP Club to get vampire freebies, CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW! It's FREE!

Enjoy!!

Arial 😉

Guest Spot on Bathsheba Dailey’s Blog

I am very honored to be featured on Bathsheba Dailey's Blog! And she's as cute as a button, too! Please be sure to stop by and leave a comment or say hello. We did a fun, short little interview. She's been very helpful in spreading the word about my Mother's Day book promotion and chatting with people about my books.

A little about Bathsheba:

Bathsheba Dailey

I've just met Bathsheba, and in the short amount of time I've come to know her, she's shown herself to be a courageous woman, being a single mom and raising three girls, and gifted with a loving heart. She's a talented writer, too. She has a new book coming out soon, which I cannot wait to get my hands on, titled Five Year Old DeathPlease click on the link or the cover to read the description and learn more about her story.
As always, please show your support of indie authors by LIKING and SHARING where you can and as much as you can. Readers will only know about us if we help each other spread the word.

Thank you!!

That's my two pence…

Arial 😉

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

FREE Book for Mother's Day

If Mom likes historical romance with a paranormal twist – or you think she'd like to give it a try – she just might love my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles. Maybe YOU'RE a mom and would like to sample hot men in kilts with fangs!

The ebook version of Midnight Captive – Book 2 – is FREE all Mother's Day weekend. What's that you say? Neither she or you has read Midnight Conquest – Book 1? Perfect! The ebook version of Book 1 is only 99 cents.

Here's how to can get both ebooks:

Share to Win!

We indie authors are nothing without our readers! If you help me spread the word, you could win a signed, trade paperback copy of both Midnight Conquest AND Midnight Captive. You will be entered into the drawing for each of the following. The more you do, the more buy ambien online legally chances you have to win.

  • If you're not already on my mailing list, fill out the form in the sidebar – 1 entry.
  • LIKE my Facebook Page – 1 entry. Everyone who LIKES my Facebook Page this weekend will be entered into the drawing.
  • Share my Facebook page with friends and family – 1 entry for each share (please make sure the SHARE privacy settings are set for PUBLIC or I won't see who shared)
  • Follow me on Twitter: @arialburnz – 1 entry
  • Retweet any of my tweets for my Mother's Day Promo. Look for the hashtag #BBBMom – 1 entry for each RT.

I'm giving away TWO SETS of my novels. The two winners will be drawn on Monday, May 13th. Depending on how you participated, I will contact you through e-mail, Facebook or Twitter to obtain your shipping address and for your personalized inscription in the books.

Thank you for helping me spread the word and supporting indie authors!!

Updates & New Release!

Midnight Captive - Book 2Sorry for the blog silence. Been REALLY busy lately and working on many things in the background, but being very productive. Here's the skinny on what's happenin' and if you leave a comment below, I'll enter you in a drawing to win a free, pre-released copy of Midnight Captive.

New Release – Midnight Captive – Book 2

I know…it's been a long time coming, but Midnight Captive is finally coming out in mid-February! This is book 2 in the Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles and I've received many e-mails from my faithful readers over the holidays, asking when Cailin will have her story told. The other updates below will let you know why the writing and editing of this has been delayed, so I'll let the events speak for themselves.

Book 2 is going to reveal Continue reading

Direct Access to Editors

Grand Opening

It is with GREAT pleasure and much excitement that I announce my new business endeavor with my dear friend/fellow editor pal AJ Nuest. Today is the first day of our Grand Opening celebration and this is the announcement we're lucky enough to post as guests on several upcoming blogs:

September 1-15th marks the official
Grand Opening of Mystical buy cheap cialis india Press Services!!!

This means 50% Off all our classes
and services through September 15th!

http://mysticalpress.com 

In case you haven’t yet heard about our website, allow me to introduce you to a place where you just might find the fulfillment of your dreams. That’s right! The talented folks at Mystical Press want to help you reach your publishing goals!

How do we do that? I’m glad you asked!

Mystical Press is the culmination of an idea that came from two authors and professionally trained editors—AJ Nuest and Arial Burnz—where we help authors bridge the gap between the form-letter rejection and publication. In fact, we believe in this venture so passionately, our tagline is “Helping authors achieve their dreams.

At Mystical Press our primary goal is to help writers. As authors, we understand the frustration of not receiving constructive and useful feedback, the aggravation of navigating the murky depths of the publishing industry and that, sometimes, authors just need a place to vent. Well, we’re here to tell you, the insanity can end! Continue reading