Sunday, January 29, 2017

Guest Post: David Kummer

Continuing our series of guest posts, I'm happy to have David Kummer today, talking about why we love Fantasy and Young Adult books...

Why the beep do people like Fantasy?

What is something you hate? What is something you love?
The thing about opinions is that somebody always disagrees with you. There is somebody that
loves what you hate, and hates what you love.
What does this have to do with the Fantasy genre? You might have guessed by now. If you hate
it, there’s somebody that likes it. If you like it, there’s somebody that absolutely despises it.
So, now that we’ve got all of that understood, let’s discuss. You might be thinking “Why in the
world would anybody want to read about pointy-ear creatures, complicated magic tricks, and
lots of boring battle scenes?” And then, on the other hand, you could be quoting some line from
Lord of the Rings and wanting it to be written on your grave when you die (hopefully in some
Fantastical event, if you were able to choose.)
There are, like any genre, some things that people on the outside-looking-in get wrong. What
are some of those? I’ll tell you, from what I can tell.
First of all, there seems to be an idea that Fantasy is all about magic, battle, elves, weird
creatures, and that some of the elements are just so bizarre that nobody could ever truly write a
good book! You’re thinking, “Have you seen those covers?? What am I even looking at!”
Well, let me clear things up. There are some unbelievable elements in Fantasy (as in every
genre ever written), but there are many great books that are captivating, entertaining, and
enjoyable… and they have elves, dwarfs, magic, complicated covers, etc. If you don’t believe
me, it’s probably because you’ve never even tried a Fantasy book.
Another thing people have accused the genre of is being too repetitive. They say everybody is
trying to copy someone else. Whether it’s Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, or
one of Stephen King’s forays into the category, there are certainly some books that have a
legendary status (depending on who you ask.) But even if some authors try to copy these books
almost word-for-word, the best of them make their own trail through the genre.
Why should you like Fantasy, or at least give it a try? First of all, if you like maps, this genre has
tons of maps. Maps in the stories, maps on the back cover, maps online, they’re everywhere!
And along with those maps comes worldbuilding.
This is one of the few (if not the only) genre where you can see worlds literally being built in
front of your eyes. From the ground up, you see all the chaos and disaster of our own world
history, but on a different stage, with different actors, and with a few unique elements thrown in.
I’m not saying you have to love Fantasy, but hopefully in this short article I’ve shown you that
there are plenty of good sides to the genre -and to every genre of books ever written. If a book
has a good author, no matter what the genre is you will find things that you enjoy.
We all have a desire for the Fantasy in the world, for the unique and different aspects of life. We
all love a good adventure story, or a coming-of-age tale, or a treasure hunt. And all of those
have heavy roots in the Fantasy.
So why not give it a shot? What do you have to lose? If you ever get lost, there’s plenty of maps
to help you find your way home.

Why the beep do people like Young Adult?

What is Young Adult fiction? Is it a genre? Is it an age group? That’s a tough question, and not
the one I’ll be answering today.
What I’m more interested in is why people like and dislike the (for sake of time, we’ll call it this)
very controversial genre. There are many people online who write that it is unacceptable and
almost sinful for adults to read this. And then there are those who think the opposite. It seems
like the book sales and the movies being made agree with the latter, so I’ll try to give you some
reasons why people find these books intriguing.
First of all, these stories are written for younger audiences, clearly. So the themes in them are
more innocent, more simple. That’s one thing that appeals to people: the clear, black-and-white
good-vs-evil conflicts, or even the somewhat murkier stories that have been coming out
recently. As adults read more YA Fiction, the genre becomes more suitable to them, and more
like the Literary Fiction works that adults used to find the most entertaining (according to some
article I read. It said that YA was like the new Lit Fic. I don’t know about that.)
The other thing is that characters in these novels go through tremendous growth, both
physically and emotionally. Not to mention, the characters themselves are younger, and I’m
sure adults get tired of reading about other adults doing other adult things. So YA books are
different, and that can be refreshing.
So why should you read YA books? Well, they always have happy endings, at least 99.9% of
the time (not an actual statistic, although you probably know that.) Along with the endings, there
is normally a long series of books for any given story. So that’s nice, if you’re looking for a long
project of reading.
And one of the most important reasons, especially for some people, is that they keep making
movies of these books! If you’re the type of person that loves to say, “Hey, I read that book!”
when watching the previews of a movie, then this is definitely your genre.
No matter what genre you read, don’t be afraid to try others, and to always keep an open mind
when you’re deciding which next book is worth your attention! Chances are, it has a young adult
in it (even if it’s not this genre.)

Enden: A Fantasy Novel

To hear about the next release in this series,

They have grown strong in the shadows, the kingdom of Oldon. The land is void of hope and of strength against them. The human kingdoms grow corrupt everyday, so that the lines between good and evil are slurred.

One young man from a small village in the valley could change all of that. He fights with the passion of a warrior and the luck of a magician. And when the barbarians force him out of his home, the journey begins.

Trained by a knight, shadowed with secrets, and against the kingdom he once called home, Jonathan is an outcast, a rebel. But more than anything, he is a leader.

Enden is a world filled with wars, famine, sieges, torture, and death. But the greatest battle of all is to survive. Only one thing is certain. Something is rising, in the distance near the edge of the world where forgotten secrets brew. Something has risen. And it is coming.

Get Enden on Amazon here...

My name is David Duane Kummer. I'm a teenager, with a couple published novels and a collection of short stories.

I live in a small, river-town on the Ohio River in southern Indiana. Along with taking care of younger siblings (I have eight total), I make time for writing in between school and sports.

I've been writing since I was young, with As Trees Turned Away being my first published work and She being my first published novel. Along with writing, I am an avid reader and watcher of all things horror, and enjoy writing reviews on them for others who might want to know my opinion on them.

When I'm not writing, I enjoy talking with my hilarious friends and amazing girlfriend, spending time with my loving family, watching movies, and working out to burn all of the calories I get from binge-eating Hawaiian Rolls. Those things are really addicting, am I right? I'd rather get payed in those than money.

Anyways, thank you for taking the time to read this :) Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Guest Post: Andy Peloquin

Continuing my series of guest posts on writing, today I am happy to host Andy Peloquin. Andy has a new release out today so be sure to read all the way to the end of the post for details.

The Simple Secret to Being a Prolific Writer

I'm not going to lie: I find the goal of reaching 1 million words written by 2019 a highly ambitious but reachable goal. When I started writing, just the thought of cracking 100,000 words seemed a huge effort. No doubt for many people, hitting a 40k to 50k word count feels like a Herculean labor. Heck, some authors I know labor for weeks over a short story!
Not everyone is born to be a prolific writer. Some authors will put out one or two books in their lives, but they will be amazing. Others will put out only short stories or novellas. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's simply not who I am.
I'm the kind of writer who never runs out of stories to tell or words to write. By the end of 2017, I will have published around 600,000 words (in 5 books). And I'm going to tell you how I did that, and how I intend to reach the 1 million word mark by my goal.
It all comes down to one thing: writing every day.
As a fairly new author (first book published in 2015), I have to pick up other work to support my family. That means I don't get endless hours to dedicate to writing. In fact, I'm getting about 2 hours a day of pure writing, with the rest of my time focused on marketing, the day job, family, health, etc.
In those 2 hours a day, I'm managing about 2,000-3,000 words. Considering my books end up at 120,000+ words, it seems like such a small drop in such a large bucket.
But that's a mindset that I've learned to eliminate. Yes, 2,000 words is 1/60th of the words I need to write to finish a book. Yes, it seems to take FOREVER to tell a story. I'd rather spend all day every day writing. Sadly, being a responsible adult, I have to limit myself to the time I've carved out of my busy life.
And this is the simple secret I want to share. 2,000 words may not seem a lot compared to the 120,000 words of a book, but what about after 1 week of writing? 14,000 words is a much larger drop in the bucket—more than 10% of the book! After a month, that number jumps to close to 60,000 words—or 50% of the book. In just two months, a 120,000 word book is complete. That's very prolific for someone who is working two jobs, trying to stay fit, and being part of a family.
That daily drop is what eventually fills up the bucket. Put in the writing time every day, and it will add up over the course of weeks, months, and years. It's hard to see that far into the future when you want to finish the story/book NOW. Hells, I've had days when I want to ignore work, family, and health just so I can stay at my desk and hammer out 20,000 words and see REAL progress.

But that's not how it works, at least not for me—and probably not for most people. For those of us who aren't able to dedicate ourselves to writing full time (YET!!!!!), the secret is to put in the time every day. An hour. Two hours. 1,000 words. 4,000 words. However much you can do, do it. Trust me, it adds up over time!

Buy Links:

Book Blurb:

Child of the Night Guild (Queen of Thieves Book 1)
"They killed my parents. They took my name. They imprisoned me in darkness. I would not be broken."
Viola, a child sold to pay her father's debts, has lost everything: her mother, her home, and her identity. Thrown into a life among criminals, she has no time for grief as she endures the brutal training of an apprentice thief. The Night Guild molds an innocent waif into a cunning, agile outlaw skilled in the thieves' trade. She has only one choice: steal enough to pay her debts.
The cutthroat streets of Praamis will test her mettle, and she must learn to dodge the City Guards or swing from a hangman's rope. But a more dangerous foe lurks within the guild walls. A sadistic rival apprentice, threatened by her strength, is out for blood.
What hope does one girl have in a world of ruthless men?
Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Scott Lynch, and Brent Weeks will love Queen of Thieves…

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Our Books Are Not Free

This is going to be a huge event. Support authors who want to actually sell a few books.

Please follow this link and join the event...

Our Books Are Not Free

Monday, January 9, 2017

Guest Post: Paul White

Continuing our series about writing, this week I am pleased to host Paul White. Reading this I am struck by how nice it is when a reader tells you they can see the scenes in your book taking place in their mind. When that happens, you know you have done something right.

Guest Post:

Getting intimate with your readers.

By intimate I mean really intimate, telling your readers about your ‘ills’, your personal peccadillos, your most secret sexual pleasures.
Sounds like something you would never do?
Well, maybe you should.
Now, bear with me whilst I, in my usual rambling fashion, seem to digress. I assure you all will become clear as you read on.

A short while ago I read an article by…(I forget who!)…which said, that reading is just using words to make suggestions, it is the readers mind that creates the images and makes the story.
To explain this further; when you introduce a character into your story, regardless of your own imagination, each reader will ‘build’ their own personal vision of how that character is; what they are wearing, how they walk, the tone and rhythm of their voice.
The finite details of the car or train they ride in will appear in the reader’s head like a movie scene. Each person will imagine this in a style which is unique to them.
As the reader turns page after page, the houses, the streets, the towns and cities evolve to create that readers own singular and distinctive world. Your words become their (the readers) own story, set in their own world.

All you have done, as the writer, is string one suggestive idea after another; the rest is perception, imagination and vision of the individual holding your book.
This is something I find fascinating; the ability to share thoughts and ideas with another person, a person who you, most likely, will never meet. Moreover, this ability to ‘suggest’ to place guided concepts into another’s mind has no limitations regarding time or space.
Whether the reader is a few meters or a million miles away; or indeed is reading your book a year, a decade or in a thousand years from now, your suggestive words will still stimulate their own imaginations, still allow and encourage them to create a version of that nether-world, a world you fashioned from thought in some timeless point and place.
At this juncture you may be asking yourself “what does any of this have with intimacy?”
Allow me to continue.

We all have personal and private thoughts; many we never share, even with those closest to us. This is not a fault or a weakness of character. It is simply what we do, as humans, as people.
Now, these things can be simple; like a certain smell evoking a memory. Possibly a memory from childhood, good or bad. But because it is an innermost secret we never reveal the emotions it stirs within us.

Another could be sexual pleasure, a certain touch, in a certain place, given by a former lover or during self-stimulation? Possibly, probably, never shared with another. The reason could again be many, primarily held within to protect us from the possibility of ridicule, however unjust or superficial that may be in reality.

Often not revealing such is matter of privacy, of not wanting to be embarrassed, or at least not wanting to give someone else the opportunity to embarrass us. Sometimes it may be protection of another sort, defense against the risk of giving leverage; presumed or real.
That all said and done, I know not a single person upon this earth who is not holding such personal secrets close. We all have them. Even you. Although sometimes we try to hide them from ourselves because of the pain, the hurt, the sorrow or guilt they dredge up from our pasts.
This is the form, the type of intimacy that I believe, as authors, we should share with our readers.
Now, before you shout at me, call me crazy, deluded or worse, let me clarify my train of thought regarding this matter.

I am not saying we should all blatantly reveal our souls; neither am I proposing a mass catharsis. I am simply expressing my view that, as each and every reader is creating their own version of your basic story, as suggested by the words you have written, that to get under the skin of your readers, to endear them to your story, your style of writing, your narration and, of course, to identify with your characters; what better way than to share with them some of the most intimate, emotive and emotional secrets a person can hold?
Doing so will further the perception of true-life, of reality for your readers. Just as you share some of your secrets with those closest to you, your partner, husband, wife, best friend, mother?
Such intimacy builds trust, strengthens relationships, cements bonds. What better way to endear your readers?

This does not mean you have to write a ‘tell-all’ revelation of your own life.
It does mean that you can and, in my humble opinion, should draw on your own life experiences, even those dark and deeply personal ones, to share with your readers. Remember they shall be relating your words to the intimate areas of their own lives not yours.
As fiction writers we cloak reality with fiction, mix fact and fantasy on a daily basis. Nothing changes; what may be perceived as fact is realised to be false and vice versa.
You can become as intimate as you wish with your readers when you draw on your most confidential of life’s experiences. They shall not be judging you, they will be judging you work…and their own lives.

If you still hold concerns about this, let me leave you with these words:
“Everything I write is fiction, except the bits that are true. Although my readers tend to think the truth is fiction and fiction the truth. I just wish I knew the difference”.

Thank you for reading me, a guest of the wonderful Rose Montague.
You may want to read my new book collection, ‘Tales of Crime & Violence’, several short (& some not so short!) focusing on the cognitive and emotional aspects of those involved with, or caught up in, unusual circumstances.

These tales focus on the people, their emotions, fears and dreams. Something quite different to the usual book in this genre.

Kindle Worldwide

Friday, January 6, 2017

Guest Post: Jennifer Zamboni

This year on Fantasy Fun Reads I will be featuring various writers in different stages of their author journey talking about the whole writing business. Today I am pleased to host a guest post from Jennifer Zamboni. Jennifer is working on that debut novel and doing all the right things that I wished I had done more of when I published my first book. She is making friends in the author and reader community, networking, participating in writing discussions, and of course, reading!

Guest Post:

I am a lover of books. I love the look of them on my shelf, the feel of them in my hands. I’ve learned to love the ease and convenience of e-readers.

Early on in elementary school I was in a title one reading class, because I wasn’t keeping up with my peers. After three years, I caught up. After that, I was addicted.

I started so many novels, then got distracted by other ideas, and life in general. When I hit high school, I got more serious about my writing. I delved deep into a sword and sorcery style fantasy, entirely hand written in a large binder. 

I wrote by the seat of my pants, with notes in the margins to keep me on track. At 19 I completed my first ever first draft. I polished it to the best of my abilities (which weren’t as awesome as I thought they were), and started querying agents. 

In the mean time, I started penning a sequel, this time on my brand new lap top.

After receiving a few rejections, all form letters, I went back and read back through my manuscript one more time. I made a startling discovery: My writing was crap. Well, at least my editing skills were.

I put that manuscript on a shelf. I’ve read through it a couple of times. I love the story, I love the characters, but the words on the page need more than love.

Enter National Novel Writing Month. I meticulously planned and plotted another fantasy novel. I finished it, I love it, but it still wasn’t “the one.”

When I discovered Urban Fantasy, a switched flipped in my head, and lit up my world. This was it, this was what I am supposed to write.

I wrote a rough draft. I went on to another book, but that first one stuck with me, and I’ve gone back to it. This time, I’m better armed. I’m reeducating myself on grammar (a continual process for me), and networking, and reading.

It’s a slow process. I’m not sitting in a quiet room with a notebook anymore. I’m a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers. I’m exhausted, but I can’t stop writing. I’m doing edit after edit. I’m hoping this will be the year, maybe even the spring, I’ll send it off to beta readers, and editors. I can hire a cover artist! 

Hopefully soon, I’ll hold my book in my hands, put it into the hands of others, and wait with baited breath to see if it’s really as good as I feel it is.

On that day, every book I’ve ever read, every connection I’ve made in the last couple of years, will be there with me, cheering me on.

Read. Read a lot. Write and write some more. Edit, and edit again. And while you’re doing that, reach out to others, and they’ll be there for you too.

Follow Jennifer:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cats, Subcats, & Keywords

Rose Montague: Amazon Best Selling Author

It sounds good, doesn't it? Amazon likes top 100 lists and they do it by both categories and sub-categories. If you get into one of the top 100 best selling lists, it not only sounds good, it can also help your sales and boost your marketing efforts.

Norma Jean's School of Witchery, Book One: Jewel was at one time, ranked 92 in the Sword & Sorcery category, making it an Amazon best seller. Of course, it's a lot easier to get into the top 100 in a sub category than a major category or overall Best Sellers Rank.  Now if a reader is looking at another book in this sub category and clicks on the Sword & Sorcery line above, they will be taken to that top 100 list.  I have done it myself in categories and sub-categories I am interested in. You get on a list like this, it will help your sales. Fans of teen fantasy sword & sorcery may have purchased this book because it was on this top 100 list.

Unfortunately, a lot of these sub-categories are not something you can pick and choose from.  When you set up your book on KDP it gives you choices only from the main categories. In this case, I selected Juvenile Fiction > Fantasy & Magic. What got it into the Sword & Sorcery sub-category was likely my choice of keywords. As you can see from the screenshot below, I used sword as one of my keywords.

The good thing about KDP is you can always go in and edit the details of your titles, including the keywords.

Jane is also an Amazon Best Seller...