Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Reading Zone

With the advent of on-line books, the freebies are pretty tempting, too. While some certainly fall into the substandard category, there are many gems to be had. Some come from the Big 6 publishers, while others are from independents. Sometimes, it's a popular tactic as an enticement for readers to purchase other books by the same author. It seems to be an effective tool for many.

The nicest thing about freebies is it allows readers to step outside their comfort genre zone. It's easy to grab something that sounds interesting, but may not be in a category that would interest you at a higher price (and especially at the price of a hardback).

My favorite change to date is Mozart's Blood by Louise Marley. My first vampire novel, which also doubled up on the fun with a werewolf, too. With an opera theme that crossed the stage of centuries, it also appealed to me as a unique historical. I found it fascinating and well-written; loved the characters and it was a book I could barely put down. While I would be tempted to read other books by this author, it's doubtful I'll be a latecomer to the whole vamp group.

New adventures are always fun.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Literary Gems for the Week

First up is a great headline:

Police Shoot Man with Knife at N.Y. Newspaper Office

(Wonder how many bullets that knife holds?)

Next, as seen around the Freelance Writing World:

"...have a bonus system to encourage our writers for their good work, but in order to maintain a good writing quality we have a fines system as well..."

(That's my bolding between the quotes. Yeah, a great environment, there. How bad would a writer have to be and, the next question, if you're bad enough to get fined, how did you get hired in the first place?)

Last, a new term from a more local source:

New word alert from a Century 21 Real Estate ad:

porta’ cache

Fortunately, a photograph accompanied this description. Go ahead, think about it, first, though. Ready?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Variety is the Spice of Reading

Do you stick to one genre or do you, as a reader or writer, branch out? Do you go through phases or simply grab the next book that looks like it will be a good read, regardless of topic?

Some experts state that's bad, from a marketing perspective, to write across different genres. But, as a writer who does, I find it worth taking the chance. With so many full-length stories ahead of me, it's difficult to limit myself to just those in a particular category.

Next, I'll be focusing on action/adventure/thrillers. They've been a lot of fun to write and I absolutely love the characters in each one. In fact, I have their lives plotted out for sequels already.

I'll be posting a blurb and "test" jacket cover for the next one in a few days and then it will go up as a pre-holiday offering (I hope) back at the Sintra Publishing site.

P.S. As a reader, I've gone through hard-core techno, biographies, romances, family sagas, thrillers of all types, the classics, humorous fiction, and tons more. Our shelves are filled with such a variety - and so is my Kindle!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Write Right

Everyone wants to write, right? And, it’s why you’ll see some offerings in e-books that aren’t quite the best. OK, there are some horrendous offerings out there. While we can all be wonderful storytellers, getting it all on paper is the easy part. Getting it right, not so much.

The truth is, however, that traditionally published books also pack a few typos and grammatical errors here and there – even with a team of proofreaders and editors. Some bestselling authors even go against all the rules and litter their works with all the bad things we’re warned not to do. (Namely, the overuse of adverbs – those words ending in “ly.”)

It’s never wise to point fingers, though. Because sooner or later, even the best books get a low rating. In many cases, it’s simply because readers picked up a book that they didn’t “get.” Perhaps it took a turn into territories they don’t care for; it might have been for the use of a four-letter word(s), too much gore; shocking descriptions, and so on.

Should you depend on reader reviews? Probably, but not always. Consider the source. As in art, the story's quality is often in the "mind" of the beholder.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Page Count v. E-Reader Tick Marks - How Big is that Book?

Readers are often confused in determining the length of an e-book. I know I have been. While authors may have a grasp of "word count," it means nothing to others. You can't count on the size of a download, either, as you don't know if a cover is included and graphics may vary in actual file size.

For those who want to make a comparison, the general rule of thumb is a printed page equals about 250 words. Just divide and you'll have an approximation of size.

In addition, while printed books tend to have a higher word count, the trend with e-books is often shorter. A book that's 50,000 words and higher is now generally within the classification of a "novel" (although some will argue this could technically be a "novella"). There are also novelettes (about 10,000-49,000 words) before you reach short story lengths.

Authors should include the page count in their product blurbs to avoid confusion.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Paper or Plastic?

Traditional books aren't going away any time soon. A majority of readers still enjoy the feel of paper in their hands. We have bookcases full and a stack still to be read waits in a nightstand.

But, when I received a Kindle in all its white plastic and glass-screened glory two years ago, it was like magic in my hands. From almost the minute I turned it on, it became an exciting device to explore, along with the extensive collection of e-books at Amazon. The first thing I did was look through the classics - so many were free, even! It started with The Picture of Dorian Gray, then moved on into more recent reads.

With so many offerings, I could very well be 150 before getting to all of them, but it's a wonderful sense of security. Sure, paper is nice, but having a complete library in the palm of my hand is just purely amazing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Making It All Official - Jackson Debuts

We're Live! Jackson's Neighborhood is now available at Amazon. Additionally, it's in the Smashwords system (available on their site), which will put it in Premium status for distribution to Barnes & Noble (Nook) and the Apple app store.

Here's a promo banner I'll be posting around the 'Net.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I’m CK Kennedy and, with our new imprint, a blog needs to begin somewhere. Here it is. We’re so excited about going live, and especially with Jackson’s Neighborhood as the debut novel. It’s a “short” novel at 51,000 words – that translates into about 200 pages. As an e-book, it promises to be a nice getaway, filled with humor and all the damage that five kids can produce in a short period of time! It’s non-stop, I promise.

Select it as a holiday read or download to save for your next vacation or beach trip. If you’re ready for action in the form of a good thriller, then just wait. We’ll be back soon with our next offering, which is set in Hawaii.

In the meantime, join us here for quick thoughts as we all settle in with e-books, discuss plots and characters, and just take a little break from day-to-day stuff.