Monday, August 30, 2010

Meet an Author Monday! And on making book trailers...

Hey Peeps!  It's Monday again, which means we're hopping.  Check out the sites of all the authors on the hop and drop a line to say hello.  Writers, join on in on the fun!

I usually like to post a little top five list to give y'all a way to get to know me while you're here.  Today, I thought I'd share my initial thoughts on making a book trailer.  I took a class offered by the RWA PRO section online over the past week or so, presented by the amazing Jeannie Lin, and took a stab at making one for the very first time.  I'm so glad I did!  To think I was almost willing to pay someone $75 or even $200 to do this!  I'm still editing the trailer, but expect to have it out and about soon!

So, here are top five things I learned about making a book trailer:
1) You CAN do it yourself.
2) It's easy to get lost in the fun of searching for music and stock images and stock video.  Read, time sink!
3) I don't think it would take many efforts at this to become truly proficient at it.
4) It's really exciting to see your book presented in a movie format!  There was definite squeeing last night at 4 a.m. when I finally made myself stop tinkering and go to bed.
5) It doesn't have to be expensive.  I spent $15.00 on stock images--I could've gotten away with less if I'd had a better sense of how many you could fit in.

So, that's what I've learned.  I'll be writing more on book trailers soon.  In the meantime, any tricks and tips out there from those of you who have made them?

Thanks for reading,
Laura


Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Brand New Nook!

I'm please to introduce you to my latest baby, Edgar Allan Poe....er, otherwise known as my nook, who regularly features funky but cool images of classic authors.  (Virginia Woolf's picture was the best so far...).  She is dressed in a stunning basil green and turquoise blue leather coat by Kate Spade.  So far I've downloaded 23 books from bn.com, mostly free titles, but also from their under $5 list.  I'm thrilled at the number of romance titles I found in their free selections and can't wait to find more!  I can just tell the nook is going to help me read outside of my go-to zone, because who can pass up a free book that sounds good, just because it's not what you usually read???  Not me.

I know a lot of people are trying to decide between different ereaders, so I'll be happy to update you on my experience with the nook as I get to learn it.  I spent a lot of time back and forth between the nook and the kindle, the only two I was really considering.  It was almost a Coke-or-Pepsi kind of decision for me (I'm Coke all the way, but you get the analogy...)--that is, it's a matter of taste.

For any of you nook owners out there, any tricks of the trade you'd care to pass on?

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Friday, August 27, 2010

Celebrating with Vampire Eye Candy!

I'm celebrating today, and what better way to do that than to have copious amounts of hawt, sexy, vampire eye candy?  I mean, right?  Enjoy, and do feel free to let me know if I've left any good ones out.  I am amenable to instruction.

Thanks for reading.  Now, try not to drool on my blog.  Too much.

Laura

Gotta start at my vampire beginning: Lestat!


And Angel, and even Spike


Oh, Mick, you know I have a special place in my heart for you, as you were always my Lucien


My favorite vampire family: the Cullens...and, my, oh, my, Emmett...


Oh, Eric, my, Eric


Stefan and Damon, could I please speak to you over here in this dark room, alone?

The sexiest vampires I know...and the ones we have no confirmed visuals for...so, best guesses on a few?  Wrath, Rhage, Vishous, John Matthew, Rev (I love me some Zsadist, but couldn't find a single guess I could embrace.  Sigh.)

Share the eye candy, people!  Imagine the peace and good will you'll be spreading!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Most Thoughtful Present Ever! And a little personal writing history...

Today, I received one of the most thoughtful gifts I ever received.  Completely unprompted.  Totally unsolicited.  100% original.  And so very meaningful and appreciated.  My best friend, Lea (a soon-to-break-out YA paranormal author), downloaded my fan fiction story, The List, and had it published for my personal use and collection in hardcover on lulu.com (all 489 pages!).  This story represented nine months of writing, 190,000 words, and the immersion into a community of women with whom I have become friends, writing companions, and partners in crime. 




Some of you might've heard this on one of the various interviews I've given about it.  But here's the story of how The List came to be:

Before July 2008, I had never heard of fan fiction.  I had no idea that people wrote stories about, well, stories.  Huh?  But a couple of things happened that July that brought fan fiction into my consciousness and, ultimately, into my life.  First, on July 4th, I hit my head seriously enough that I suffered migraines for several months.  Second, on July 22, I had rotator cuff surgery.  Third, for something to do while I recuperated from both, my husband brought home three books for me to read--you guessed it!  Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse.  Er, I had never heard of these books before then.  Yes, that's right, my husband knew about Twilight before me.  I devoured them, of course, but then there was a problem:  it would be a whole week before the last book was out.  And, what?  I was expected to wait to find out who she would choose (duh, Edward, puh-lease), whether she would become a vampire, whether there would finally be some &!#$! sex!  But I waited.  And waited.  And it was hard.  (*gigglesnort*, she said hard!)  And I went to the midnight release party with Lea and went immediately home to start the book and finished it in less than twenty-four hours.  And I had several reactions:  1) it's over?  it can't be over?  I don't want to be done with these characters yet and you can't make me! 2) motherfarking fades to black! and 3) how the heck am I supposed to wait another four months for the movie?!?

By the middle of August, my migraines were starting to subside.  But there was something new going on in ye olde cranium--I had a brand-spankin'-new drive to write.  I wrote fiction as a teenager, and even won a few awards for it, but while I wrote regularly as part of my professional life, it was all non-fiction.  But I had a drive.  So I started writing.  In an earlier post I talked about some of the weird ghosty/cursy/angely stuff that happened in my family when I was growing up, and I had a story idea based on a lot of that.  I wrote twenty pages, and then, SLAM!  A new story idea parked itself in my frontal lobe and demanded attention.  Less than three months later, I completed the first draft of Forever Freed.

Despite how fast I drafted it, I engaged in copious amounts of procrastination.  I also find surfing the internet often mindless enough that I can relax and let new ideas flow in.  And so, after I started writing Forever Freed, and while I was all sitting on pins and needles for the Twilight movie, I would occasionally search for Twilight-related info on the web, hoping to find something to feed my desire to stay connected to the story.  And that's how I found the Twilight fan fiction site Twilighted.  All of a sudden I had an absolutely brilliant form of procrastination.  More Edward.  Plus sexy times!  Plus, huh, Edward's human?  Okay, why not?  Also, one day while I was really struggling to be productive, I thought, I'm taking my own stab at getting rid of those blasted fades to black, so I wrote my first fan fiction, a "one shot" about their wedding night.  Take that, Stephenie Meyer!

I finished drafting Forever Freed the last week of October and already had another original story idea in mind that I began the first week of November.  I was on fire, people (read: head injury had made things not quite right...)  I was even ambitious enough that I found (through my internet procrastination) NaNoWriMo and entered it with the new story in mind (a dark paranormal called The Night-Mare).  I wrote maybe 10,000 words before I got bogged down with work and the holidays and just got tired.

And then, at the end of December, I got sick.  I didn't think much of it at the time.  But between being so busy and being so tired and being sick, I couldn't focus on my original story.  So I started reading a lot, and the fan fiction was handy (and, wow, surprisingly good--and I don't mean smutty good, although some was, I mean, well-written, well-conceived, original premise, why-the-hell-isn't-this-person-writing-this-original-and-trying-to-publish-it good).  And then an idea popped in mind...an idea that turned into my first multi-chapter fan fiction story, The List.  I really did it at first mostly to keep the writing juices flowing until I got well.  I wanted to continue to practice the art of storytelling--remember, Forever Freed was my first novel--and it turned out to be so much fun--the story, the reviews people would submit, the appreciative emails I would receive.  It was great.  While I was writing The List (one of two multi-chapter fan fiction novels I took on, at the same time), I started working through the revision stages on FF, but I was still sick.  So sick I ended up taking a medical leave of absence from teaching and was home on the couch for the better part of four months.



I finished The List almost a year ago, in September of 2009 (9 months for 175,000 words--not bad (a later epilogue was added for a charity event...)).  By then, it had achieved some popularity and following within the fandom.  The stats on the story simply amaze me.  On Twilighted, as of August 26, 2010, the story has had 1.74 million hits on 28 chapters and 13,030 reviews.  On fanfiction.net, where I posted it much, much later, the story has had another 708,000 hits, 2,500 reviews, and 3,500 favorites.  "What I learned from writing fan fiction" is a blog entry for another day--because while I've been entirely focused on my original fiction for the past year, the debt owed is great, and one I'm not at all ashamed to acknowledge.

So, having nine months of work and fun and friendships and community wrapped up for me in pretty paper with a bow just means the absolute world.  Sometimes, a friend just gets you.  I'm real lucky that Lea's that for me.  And that's the real present.


Thanks for reading,
Laura



Sistahs!  me and Lea

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meet an Author Monday!

Hi guys--I'm hopping today, so it must be Monday!  It works like this:  visit any author's link and see the full list of links, so you can easily return or navigate on.  If you're a reader, please drop a line to say 'hi'; if you're a writer you can join the fun by clicking on the linky below.

In honor of school starting this week, here are five fun school-related facts about me:
1) Beginning with kindergarten and going all the way through the end of graduate school, I attended 24 year of full-time schooling.  Wow.  God, that's how I got so old lol!
2) My first love was always history.  I grew up in western Maryland, just a few miles from Antietam, and so the history of the Civil War always fascinated me.
3) My second love was biology.  I won a lot of science fairs with my biology field research in high school.  Some days I wish I would've gone that route, particularly marine biology.  Oh, to work on the water!
4) Yes, it's true, I was a band geek.  Drum major, even.  Geeky as it might've been, those are still some of my most fond high school memories.
5) I won a writing contest in high school with one of the few pieces of fiction I wrote before a few years ago.  The writing prompt was to write a story that made significant use of technology.  I wrote a piece called "Peter Saves the Czar"--it was a science fiction/time travel story about a high school boy who invented a time machine and went back to Russia to save the Romanovs from assassination.  I wonder what ever happened to that...

Okay, your turn--share a fun school-related fact!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Sinister Man" or, Holy Freaking Abs!

So, the cover designers at The Wild Rose Press came through for me and provided me with the stock photos of the man they used for Lucien on the Forever Freed cover.  I love that the photographer named the image they used "Sinister Man."  I don't know why that tickles me so.  But then, oh me, there's also sensitive man, sexy in-bed man, tortured man, and hot-ass abs man 1 and 2!  Sorry I have to link the images rather than post them, but I haven't yet taken the plunge to purchase the images.  However, I'm beyond excited to know that these other photos of Lucien exist for my book trailer, which I'm planning to create this fall (I'm even going to try my own hand at it, after taking a workshop provided by Savvy Authors...).

Until then, enjoy the many faces (and other, er, parts) of Lucien Demarco.

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let them eat cake!

Cake and picture courtesy of the lovely Shelley!
I had the wonderful pleasure of supping with some writer friends while at the RWA conference a few weeks back, and a few of us had reason to celebrate.  Shelley surprised me, Lisa Sanchez, Alison Oburia, and Killian McRae with this incredible chocolate cake -- and, yes, it tasted as good as it looks! -- to celebrate the release of our first novels.  Check out these titles if you already haven't:

Lisa Sanchez, Eve of Samhain (Omnific, 2010)
Alison Oburia, Passion Fish (Omnific, 2010)
Killian McRae, 12.21.12 (Omnific, forthcoming)
Laura Kaye (that's me!), Forever Freed (The Wild Rose Press, 2011)










Friends like these prove that writing really isn't such a lonely enterprise after all.

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Blog Hop Monday & Random Facts About Me

Happy Monday!  Another great chance to get to meet some new authors and explore their sites.  Drop by, say hello, leave a comment.  We love to hear from you.

For visiting, here's a little something for you.  Five Random Facts About Me--geography-style:
1) From my house, I can hear the waters of the Chesapeake Bay lap against the beach
2) I have lived in the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia
3) I spent most of my growing up years in the small, small town of Clear Spring, MD
4) I can be to the Atlantic Ocean in just an hour and a half
5) I have only seen the Pacific Ocean three times (from Seattle, L.A., and San Fran)

Tell me a little about the settings of your life!

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dream Builders

Stealing a few last hours in Florida for myself the Sunday morning after the RWA ended and before my flight departed, I was wandering through the Magic Kingdom when I saw this sign.  And I was so struck by its relevance to the craft of writing that I just had to take a picture so I could remember the sentiment.

Get a good idea.  Inspiration for story ideas has never been a problem for me.  In fact, one form of my procrastination seems to come in the form of new-idea generation, sometimes to the point where I have to write the new idea to get it out of the way of what I'm supposed to be writing.  But, still, the good idea / original premise / big concept -- we're all in search of this.  When we find it, it's golden.

Stay with it.  Perseverance is probably 90% of writing / publishing success.  It's so easy to be too tired, too uninspired, too busy, too distracted.  But books don't get written without butts in seat and fingers on keyboards.  Whatever you gotta do to make that happen, whatever time you can carve out, you gotta do it.

Dog it, work at it's done, and done right.  Editing, revising, rethinking, reassessing, getting feedback and adding that in.  Drafting is such a small part of the process.  This is also the step where you admit to yourself that this little issue here or that little bit of awkward flow there is bugging you for a good reason.  And, no matter how witty or clever that bit might've been, it doesn't work right, and it's gotta go, or be reworked.

No matter what you think of the commercialism of his empire, Walt Disney knew creativity.  He understood the process; he got what it took.  We, too, can be dream builders--for those few hours someone gets immersed in our worlds and experiences something fun and exciting and romantic about which to day dream.  So, for this and so much else, thanks, Uncle Walt.

Thanks for reading,
Laura

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Twitter Ahoy!

Okay, folks, I'm paddling out into the deep, dark waters of Twitter.  Throw me a rope, please!

@laurakayeauthor

Thanks for following/friending/tweeting!
Laura

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meet an Author Monday

It's Monday again!  Time to meet some authors and find some new reads.  Take a look at the authors' sites listed here and drop a line to say hello!  Thanks to Lisa Sanchez (California Cheer Mom) for organizing this each week!

Join the fun!

Thanks for stopping by,
Laura





Thursday, August 5, 2010

Opinion Poll: Which Title Do You Like Best?

I'm still riding the high from receiving my latest contract, despite this little hiccup:  Another story at the same press already uses the title I had in mind (Hearts in the Dark).  I'm so bummed!  Alas, no sense wallowing, as another title is needed and needed soon!  That's where you come in.  Please read the very brief description here, go take a look at the longer blurb under Short Stories, if you like, and let me know which (if any) of these titles does it for ya:

DESCRIPTION:  Polar opposites find acceptance and love while trapped together in a pitch-black elevator.

TWO QUOTES THAT INSPIRED ME: "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind" (Shakespeare), and, "The windows of my soul I throw / Wide open to the sun" (Whittier)

OFF THE TABLE:  Dark Lover (J.R. Ward, damn her! Psst, J.R., when's the next BDB book coming???) and Love in an Elevator (cuz, well, the Aerosmith song just doesn't well reflect the tone of the story...) and Heart of Darkness (because I'm not Joseph Conrad and never will be) and Dark and Lovely (because I'm not selling hair products here). Cover of Darkness and Blind Love are also out for being previously used at the press.  Okay, on with the poll:


THE NOMINEES:
1. Dark Hearts (I kinda wanna keep "hearts", somehow...)
2. Hearts and Farts in the Dark
2. Embrace the Dark (alt. Dark Embrace)
3. Gettin' it Up and Goin' Down in an Elevator
3. Nothing but the Dark
4. From Darkness to Light
5. From the Dark (alt. From the Dark, Love)
5. Tight Spaces (courtesy of Stephanie Dray, thanks, dear)
6. Hearts in Darkness
7. Darkness Reveals (alt. Dark Revelation -- too paranormally?)
8. Love in the Dark (boring?)
8. The Shaft
9. Wide Open to the Dark (a play on the Whittier poem)
10. Hearts Revealed

Vote early! Vote often! And feel free to offer anything that springs to mind. I'd be much obliged, too, if you wouldn't mind circulating this post around a bit--I need as much input as I can get.  My mind's not ready to let go of Hearts in the Dark yet!

Thanks for reading, and voting,
Laura

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Contract!

I'm excited to share that I've received a contract for my contemporary novella, HEARTS IN THE DARK, from The Wild Rose Press.  The story is about polar opposites who find acceptance and love while trapped together in a pitch black elevator.  So excited!

This is my second work of fiction to be published, and I'm two for two with TWRP!  Information on release date as soon as I have it!

Thanks for reading!
Laura

Monday, August 2, 2010

Blog Hop Monday--Come Hop Along!

Hey guys!  It's a great time to meet some new authors!  Follow the links to learn more about all these authors--this list will appear on each author's site, so you can easily return here or move on to the next new-to-you author!  Authors, click on the linky tool to join in the fun.




 


Since you're here, I'll share five random facts about me:
1) I'm a Virgo!
2) Yellow roses are my favorite roses
3) I prefer salty stuff over sweet stuff, though living with someone with a major sweet tooth has moderated that so now I'm pretty much an equal opportunity eater
4) I've read Wrath's Black Dagger Brotherhood book (Dark Lover) five times so far (just finished it again today) (Do you have a favorite Brother???)
5) Likes: Utz potato chips, peanut M&Ms, Snickers, mango body butter from The Body Shop, dangly earrings, turquoise (actually just about every color blue), thumb rings, sleeping with multiple pillows, painted toenails (but not fingernails), dark wash jeans, tattoos, my daughters' mispronunciations (calipitter for caterpillar and lellow for yellow)

Thanks for reading,
Laura