poll: Wolf Point cover redesign

I’ve been struggling with creating a cover for Warriors, the final book in the Wolf Point series.  I’ve also been struggling with writing it, but here’s the thing: I love to have a cover before I start writing.

In trying to come up with a cover, I want to keep the covers consistent across the entire series, and I’m kinda tired of the old covers, so here are my ideas!  I would really appreciate it if you could give these a glance and then vote in the poll at the end.

If you haven’t read the books, all you need to know is that this is a series about teenage werewolves.  Each of the first three books are from a different viewpoint and the final book will combine all of their POVs.

The Original Covers (for your reference):

Here we go!

Cover Redesign #1: The Indie Remix

This idea was to keep the original concepts of a slash across the cover, a vague throwback to the colors used on the originals, and having the main character represented.  I also thought these might evoke more of the coming-of-age themes in the series.

Cover redesign #2: Dark & Bold Remix

This redesign attempts to evoke more of the darkness of the series and not include people, while still having the slash sort of thing on the cover and the original colors.  If you like this one, please let me know your thoughts on the Scavengers and Warriors covers in particular, because to me the lettering doesn’t look as nice as the first two.  I’m also really unsure of the blue tone of the Warriors cover so if this is the winner, the color may change.

Cover redesign #3: Moontime

So, Canva was being a pain in the @$$ and wouldn’t let me download the Warriors cover in this redesign series.  But here’s the photo I’m going to use:

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The Poll!

 

 

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Hitchhikers is featured on Wattpad!

Hitchhikers ebook cover 4Since Amazon changed things, I haven’t been able to list Hitchhikers as free – not a huge problem, since you can download the Kindle format of Hitchhikers for free over on Smashwords.  It isn’t exactly ideal, and because Hitchhikers is not exclusive to Kindle (I want people to be able to download whatever format they need!) I can’t offer it for a giveaway, either.

So, I decided to start posting it on Wattpad.

The werewolf category on Wattpad is huge, and full of those alpha/omega type paranormal romance novels, so Hitchhikers hasn’t been getting very many reads.

Lo and behold, Wattpad noticed, and told me they were going to feature Hitchhikers on a list called Undiscovered, For Now.

This is quite an honor!  Before, you could fill out a form to request that your book be featured on Wattpad, which is what I did with My Zombie Girlfriend.  Then they changed the system, so that the Wattpad team could choose the stories they believed were worthy.  It always feels good to know that someone out there thinks your writing has merit!

As of now, My Zombie Girlfriend has over 60K reads.  Poor Hitchhikers has just over 500 – hopefully this will start to change!  I’d love to get a bigger following for the Wolf Point series before I release book 4.

Which I am working on, I swear!  (right now, my word count is still under 10K…)  I’ve been pushing the release date back for about a year, and I think a realistic release date is May.

all the free books!

There’s a huge sale over at Smashwords, which means all my books there are free!  These include:

I haven’t posted the third Wolf Point Origins novella, The Seer, on Smashwords yet, unfortunately.  You can download these ebooks from Smashwords in pretty much any format, including Kindle (which apparently no longer does the price matching thing).

Once of my goals for this year will be to publish the fourth and final Wolf Point book, Warriors, as well as an omnibus of all the prequel novellas.

I’ll also plug the novel I posted over on Swoonreads.  Waiting Room is a contemporary LGBQIA+ novel, and you can read the whole thing and leave comments and ratings.  (The more ratings I get, the more likely it will get published!)  You can read more about Waiting Room (and why I haven’t talked about it on this blog until now).

how the heck did they go to the bathroom??? and other questions asked while writing historical fiction

To date I have about 8 different novels that can be classified as historical fiction, in varying states of completion. For Nanowrimo, I am writing a novel that takes place shortly after the Reign of Terror in France.  And this isn’t the first time that I’ve had to research historical bathroom habits.

The drawback to writing historical fiction in general is that small details will throw you out of the story and down a rabbit hole of Google searches.

In chapter one of my current WIP (The Red Ribbon), I Googled:

  • where did people get guillotined in french revolution paris
  • place de la concorde (answer to the above question)
  • rue des marronniers lyon
  • map of paris

(These were to simply get a sense of where my main character was walking and where she lived in the first few paragraphs)

  • matches history
  • lighting a fire in the 1790s

(Because my character needed to light a fire in the fireplace, and I wasn’t sure if matches existed back then.  I’m still not sure.  I managed to write the two sentences without specifically saying how she lit the fire)

  • invitation historical ball
  • invitation wording 1700s
  • french phrases with blood
  • phrases of the french revolution
  • french proverbs
  • qui vivra verra
  • Le Réveil du peuple lyrics
  • 1794 calendar days of the week

(My MC receives an invitation, and I wanted to include the actual words on the invitation… The example I found included a quote that gave hint to a theme for the ball, which led me to try to find some proverb that might work for my story.  And since the proverb was in French, I needed to verify that the translation was correct.  I also decided to make the ball happen on Friday the 13th and amazingly, according to one site I found, September 13, 1794 was indeed a Friday!)

  • rue du colisée paris
  • gossip magazines in revolutionary france
  • garters 17th century
  • how common were pistols in the 17th century
  • pistols history
  • pianoforte
  • pianos history
  • french pianos
  • 17th century french outerwear

(Moving onto the 2nd and third chapters – once again I was trying to place the MC’s home near where the ball was being held.  She also packs a few weapons to bring to the ball because she wants revenge, so I had to figure out a. whether 17th century garters could reasonably hold a knife or pistol and b. whether pistols were common enough for an aristocratic family to own one.  My character also has a moment where she remembers playing the piano, so I had to figure out if pianos existed then, or whether something like a pianoforte or harpischord was more common.  Finally, my MC needed to wear a coat or cloak of some sort as she walked to the ball)

  • waltz popularity
  • panniers
  • french fashion 18th century
  • chic synonym

(In describing the ballroom and the other guests of the ball, I needed to know if the waltz had even been invented, and whether it had reached France, also a few fashion terms, and while “chic” is a French word, it was not in usage at that time…)

  • what poisons were available in france 18th century
  • effects of arsenic poisoning
  • when did red and green become christmas colors
  • old french christmas songs
  • Bel Astre Que J’Adore

(One of my characters dies short after eating poisoned cake, which led to the searches about effects of poisoning, and then what poisons were readily available.  What exactly does rat poison contain?  How long does it take to work?  After I described a color combination as “Christmas-like” I remembered that red and green have not always been used as traditional Christmas colors.  And then I needed a Christmas carol that would have existed back then…)

  • how was it determined that someone was dead in the 1700s
  • pencils history
  • historical term for cataracts
  • what was the bathroom called in french revolution

(Obviously, at this point in the novel, someone has died.  And I was fairly certain that people did not check a pulse to determine if someone was dead at that point in time.  Also, did they have pencils back then and how common were they?)

And the question we’ve all been waiting for.

I know the obvious answer is that people used chamber pots.  You didn’t go to a bathroom in the middle of the night, you just pulled out your chamber pot and went.  But if one was out at a fancy ball in someone else’s home, or in this case, at a hotel, there would have to be a room, right?

In my research I discovered that Versailles and the bathroom situation is a big part of the reason for the stereotype of the French not being very hygienic.  Dogs and other animals that were allowed to roam loose in the palace relieved themselves wherever, and apparently the humans used stairwells or went behind curtains.  Eventually I did find that bathrooms might have been called “lavatories” or “commodes” (I dropped in the term “powder room” as well) and that there might be curtains for privacy while one used the chamber pot.  Obviously, there was no running water.

I also discovered while trying to find this information, that pissing in the streets was such a problem in Paris that in the early 1800s they built “pissoirs” or small buildings where you could go to pee on the street in privacy.

Oh, the things you learn… I just hope the FBI hasn’t put me on a surveillance list…

editing time!

I was so ambitious when I planned for the third Wolf Point prequel to be released May 1.  Quite honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking, because I had planned to write the rough draft during April’s Camp Nanowrimo.  Like when I wrote The Madman, the rough draft was not in fact completed by the end of camp.  With a new deadline of June 1st, I raced to try to finish the rough draft.

Did I mention that the June 1 deadline was my publication date?

Obviously, I missed that deadline as well.  Just last night, I managed to finish the first draft.  Editing is an easier process than writing, so hopefully I can make my new deadline of July 1.  (I will most definitely be pushing back my deadline for the fourth and final Wolf Point novel, Warriors – as of right now it’s August 1, but yeah, I’m planning to write the rough draft during July’s Camp, so August 1 is NOT HAPPENING).

What took so long for this draft?

Unlike the other two prequels, I didn’t have as much freedom in the timeline.

IMG_3940

I had both a historical timeline, and I was working through the years of recent history to where the Wolf Point books begin.  This covers approximately 100 years.  I had to account for all those years somehow, as well as deal with what might have been going on politically and socially in that time.  I knew I wanted to include the Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888 (not to be confused with the 1888 Blizzard that hit the East Coast), and I also had to research what was going on with several of the Native American tribes in that region during those years, which was… a lot.  Famine, being forced onto reservations, etc.  It’s amazing how much research I have to do for what amounts to a paragraph.  Or I try to write something simple, like someone cooking over a fire, only to discover after doing research that the particular tribe I am writing about cooked over hot stones, not fires.

IMG_3941

And then there were the family trees.  I have pretty much determined that it’s impossible to make a cohesive family tree for the Five Families.  The characters kept having babies and I kept forgetting to write them down.  I found myself with two characters named Charles, three named Sarah, and one whose name was both Ainsley and Kieran.

But the good news is that the end is in sight!  My goal is to have The Seer published before summer reading madness hits at my library, and get busy with writing Warriors (so far there’s just a rather vague outline and some scenes written when I had planned the series to be 6 books and the 4th book was from Misty’s POV and titled Fighters).

i’ve hit the Big Time.

That’s right, folks.  I’m Big Enough (or little enough?) to get plagiarized.

madman-cover-2-copy
Poor, plagiarized Madman…

Someone, and I won’t name names at this moment (because I have already lodged a copyright infringement complaint with Amazon and I’m hoping this plagiarized book will be taken down soon), has taken the entire text of The Madman and thrown it up on Amazon with a new title and cover.  Selling it for exactly the same amount as I am.

Several questions arise.

First, why choose a book five deep into a series?  Or, if you consider the Wolf Point prequels as a separate series, it’s still the second book.  Like, did they even read the work they were plagiarizing?  They haven’t plagiarized any other books in the series, and didn’t bother to even change the characters’ names.  The Madman doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  There are references to the characters in almost every other book in the series.  Never mind that the first chapter is an alternate-viewpoint retelling of the last chapter of The Beast.

Second, did they really expect to make money off of this?  The book is actually free on Smashwords, and by extension sites like Barnes & Noble, and I’ve had 60 downloads in the 3 weeks it’s been available.  Zero actual sales over at Amazon.  I’m honestly not understanding what the thought process is here.  Maybe try ripping off a bestseller?  But yeah, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the plagiarized book was published on the day The Madman was made available on Smashwords (a day later than it was available on Amazon).

I’m confident that I will be able to prove my case should it come to that.  I’m just more annoyed that it even happened.  Apparently, according to this article, Amazon doesn’t have screening software that is anywhere close to other self-publishing distributors like Smashwords or Scribd. And this article talks about how profitable it is for people to plagiarize works on Kindle.  Even if Amazon eventually takes them down, the “authors” can make thousands of dollars before that, and the original author won’t see any of that money unless they pursue a lawsuit.  The examples here aren’t even as blatant as the plagiarism of my book (and the author did the same word-for-word plagiarism of almost all the other novels listed on her Amazon author page).  The article indicates that because Amazon takes 30% of the profit from Kindle book sales, they get more profit from leaving up these plagiarized works (this other article says the same thing).

This whole thing seems ludicrous to me.  I want to laugh at the title and new cover – literally, there’s a werewolf standing atop a bloody stagecoach (which never happens in the book).  The author has about six books, all from different genres.  But the more I looked into it, the more this plagiarism thing is a huge scam that is actually paying off for people.  It’s bad enough that someone would take a self-published work, which isn’t making any money to begin with.  But a lot of plagiarists seem to take from fanfiction and other freely posted writing (for example, from Litrotica), and these works aren’t as safe in their copyrights as even a self-published book would be.

All I want is for people to read what I’m writing – which is why most of my ebooks are freely available and I run a lot of promos.  I’d rather have people reading my work than making a profit.  I have work posted on fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, figment.com, and Wattpad.  All of which could be plagiarized at any time.  Like it isn’t hard to enough to be a writer.

P.S. I first heard about the plagiarism last night, and filed a complaint almost immediately.  As I was writing this post I went to check and thankfully, the book has been removed!  I hope the other books under this author’s name (Elsa N. Neuman) are also removed.  In case anyone has found their own work plagiarized, Amazon has a form for that.  You just need the ASIN for the offending work.  I also included the ASIN for my own work.

P.P.S. And 45 minutes after posting this, all of Elsa N. Neuman’s works have been removed from Amazon.  Victory!

 

Read a ebook week: March 5-11

In honor of “Read an eBook Week,” Smashwords is having a huge site-wide sale, which means all the Wolf Point series books will be free!

So, you can get Wolf Point books 1-3:

Hitchhikers ebook cover 4

dreamwalkers ebook cover

scavengers ebook cover 6 copy

 

 

 

 

 

And you can also get both of the prequel novellas (that’s right, The Madman is now available!):

beast cover 2

madman-cover-2-copy

 

 

 

 

 

Smashwords is great because you can download any format you need.  There’s ePub (for most ereaders), .mobi (for Kindle – use the Send to Kindle app to get on your device), and PDF (if you prefer that for ereader or to read on your computer).  You can also read online at the site.  And getting an account on Smashwords is free!