author C.C.Cole's blog

Monday, March 28, 2011

4 Stars for "Fall Leaves and the Black Dragon" by Erik Gustafson

Mr. Gustafson creates an interesting story of a horrific event through a child's eyes that follow him into young adulthood as a recurring paranormal experience. As the main character Liam matures, he seeks resolution by traveling back to the place of tragedy he witnessed many years prior. The story gives a superb illustration of how the past stays with us all and how imagination often has a source stemming from disturbing real-life issues that plaque society. Well done!!

When NOT to Promote: Why I Quit Every Writer’s Forum But One

When NOT to Promote: Why I Quit Every Writer’s Forum But One

Should Blog Posts be Held to Book Publishing Standards?

Should Blog Posts be Held to Book Publishing Standards?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On New Authors Reviewing New Authors by C.C.Cole March 27, 2011

As a new author I often feel like more is given to me than I give to others.  Meaning, I now read more of everything; from novels, documentaries, biographies, and blogs.  I appreciate the freedom of reading and writing much more than I did before I published my first book.  As a self-publisher, I’ve been on many writers’ threads about their work, and there are a lot of great new authors out there, especially in fiction.

I’ve been given more good reviews than I ever imagined, and that’s not saying I’ve got hundreds.  Just having a couple make my day, so to have more than that I feel blessed.  The bad reviews come around as well, that doesn’t make my day; but I do read them carefully, trying to understand where the reviewer is coming from and containing my sudden rage into deep thought and analysis of what was written about my writing.

So I have a lot of sympathy for new authors.  Since I’ve learned to appreciate them more from my own experience, I’ve begun reviewing novels of various genres.  Just because I write dark fantasy doesn’t mean all I read is fantasy.  Many great works are out there about the time of here and now with intriguing plots and fascinating characters.  For example, I recently reviewed the novel “Bang” by William Butler.  I just plucked it out of Twitter at random.  There is nothing “fantasy” about the story, which is for adults only; the lamentable characters and the social chaos pull the reader in to one disaster after another.  By the book’s end, the message and the characters felt burned into my mind (in a good way, please, I’m no psycho).   His writing skills are excellent and I gave him 5 stars on Amazon.

Mr. Butler was very nice and thanked me on several social sites and offered to read my first book, “Act of Redemption.”  I don’t mind the kind gesture, but I don’t expect him to read my book since I read his.  My work may not be his genre; and that’s OK.  I feel gratification knowing I helped a new author, and certainly welcomed the Twitter “follow” he gave me.  (Many sites these days require hundreds of Twitter followers to join; now isn’t that special?).

Now I’m picking up more books from not only new authors, but some established multi-published authors as well.  The more I read, the more I learn, and I hope the better I write.  My most recent “classic” books were “Revolutionary Road” by Richard Yates and “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.  I’ll have to say, Yates was an incredible writer that exposed inner desires we all carry, and “Heart of Darkness” makes my “dark fantasy” work more like “Alice in Wonderland.”  Both writers were excellent and deserve their place in classic literature.

So how should a new author review books by new authors?  This is the way I see it:  Can I really compare “Fight Club” (a fave film) to “Gone With the Wind?”  I don’t think so.  I ask myself “In the context of what is written, did the author accomplish the task?  Do I understand the message?  Is the book a smooth read, or is it over-embellished and boring?” 

As a final note, reviews are subjective, obviously.  I like action and dialogue, and other readers like long descriptive narratives.  So I try to be as fair as possible.  I don’t want to ever discourage a new author, as we all have room for improvement.  If I think something’s really awful, I prefer to send a private email to allow the author to learn and expand his/her talent.  I hope the same would be done for me, but I know better than to count on it.  Go forth and write, new authors!

Collin Raye - I Think About You

Laurie's Interviews & Guest Blog Spots: Trailers for Act of Redemption and Children of Dis...

Laurie's Interviews & Guest Blog Spots: Trailers for Act of Redemption and Children of Dis...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

4 out of 5 Stars for "Children of Discord" by BookVacation!!


4 out of 5 Stars for "Act of Redemption" by Bookvacations!!


On the New Author and Social Networking by C.C.Cole

When I self-published in 2009 my first novella, “Act of Redemption,” I was so excited that I could find it on Google and it was for sale in Denmark (well, I think Denmark).   I thought surely since it had such a wide listing for sales, somebody must buy it!

What an immature attitude, I say to myself now.  Not that having your book available for worldwide sales is a bad thing, but how many even see your book for sale, let alone purchase one? So I realized that I needed a marketing strategy.  Who else better than a marketing expert to consult?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the person that helped me; but I do miss my ten thousand dollars as well.  A publicist was assigned to pitch my book to various media outlets and to send review copies, which I had to purchase as well; another eight hundred dollars later.  My first review was from a fundamental religious website who was pitched to review a children’s book.  Just imagine, this strongly religious group was sent a book about a teen assassin smashing and killing demons with swords, daggers, and a skillet!  Well, leave it to your imagination how that worked out.  But outside of the details, that story had a happy ending.  I called the editor of the site and he gave me some great advice:  “Yes, you got a bad review.  You don’t like it, and you will be angry for several days.  But don’t let that stop you from writing.”

So, what happened here?  The publicist never read my book.  I was told they didn’t have to; only general knowledge was standard practice. But for a novella!  Couldn’t the back cover have been read?  After that, the publicist was replaced and I did make some great connections with radio/blog interviews and some print/internet features of the book.  Did it affect sales? Minimal at best!  But I do still maintain a working relationship with the company and it’s not all bad; but it is expensive.  I’ve learned to be very selective on who I trust to publicize my book, and keep up with the costs.

Then I met a group of local bright young people that read my book, saw the website set up when my book was published, and assured me that with a better looking website and the use of social media, sales would follow for a mere ten thousand dollars.  I didn’t fall for that one.  They sat aghast at the conference room table when I told them I didn’t have social media accounts.  Their recommendation was to get with my friends on social media and mention my book.  What friends in social media?  I graduated from undergrad college in 1985!

So after reading more about Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, I got accounts and put my book out there.  I “tweeted” myself for about a year before the light bulb finally went off and I’m still in the process of getting followers, and I’ve grown to see its value.  Facebook has rules that I have yet to figure out.  Some people get to have 5K friends and they threaten to block my page if I attempt to get friends period.  What I suspect happened was either by automation or by a person checking, I got labeled as a spammer.

Great.  I write on a book for years trying to recover from my sister’s death, and have been accused the equivalent of “sex offender” in social media:  spam.  Stupid me, I grew up thinking it was canned pork shoulder and ham (and I’ve had a casserole during my poverty childhood my mom made that wasn’t half bad).   I had to learn that social networking was not making everything about myself; I had to bring more to the table than my little novella that stood up poorly competing with accomplished, traditional-multi-published authors.

So now instead of self-righteous anger that I don’t have a Pulitzer Prize (please, that’s a joke, and an exaggeration), I’m still learning to embrace social media.  I like Twitter, because I meet many talented people that are in the same boat with me.  Also, I’ve met people that spend their time advising us “newbies” on how to use social media.  Accomplished authors also reach out to help and advise us new authors. Facebook is getting better as well, as I’m as careful at inviting friends as I am for accepting friends, and I use a fan page, so I can show my books to those interested.  I’ve met several outstanding people through Goodreads, who’ve helped me learn about social media promotion.  Those are just a few sites I’ve found helpful, but many more are out there, and I recommend checking them out and seeing what is the best fit for you as a new author.

So again, new authors, go forth, and show us your writing via social networking.  Beware of the spam-factor, but that’s OK; we all learn by doing.  And if anyone slams you with profanities and calls you a spammer, just forget about them because that’s not who you want in your writing journey.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Book Addiction: Follow Friday & Blog hop #11

My Book Addiction: Follow Friday & Blog hop #11: "It's friday again so time to partictpate in some blog hopping fun! First of all I'm going to start with the Follow friday hosted by Par..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Prompts for Writers: Creative Writing Prompts: Titles from Random Word...

Prompts for Writers: Creative Writing Prompts: Titles from Random Word...: "Today we are going to have a little fun making titles out of random words. Here is your random word collection I would like you to use..."

Monday, March 21, 2011

On Being a New Author: by C.C.Cole

March 21, 2011

I am dark fantasy author C.C.Cole of the “Gastar” series, and I published my first book “Act of Redemption” in 2009.  My novel journey began following the death of my sister from a domestic violence incident.  For recovery and closure, I used fictional writing as a creative outlet, along with the strong support of my family and friends; I’ve been able to move past a very dark time of my life.

So, like so many other author wannabes, I read about three of the “How to Get Successfully Published” books, giving tips on how to make agents happy, how to make editors happy, and by following the instructions, make me happy as a successfully published author.  After about six query letters to various agents I found said to be accepting “dark fantasy” genre writing all with addresses at “The Villiages” I promptly received the SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope, in case some of you haven’t tried) with a polite single-lined letter that stated they had no interest in my story.

Being the obsessive compulsive and impatient person that I am, I checked into the self-publishing industry.  These companies tend to distinguish themselves from “vanity publishing” and really, I’m not certain of the differences but have been happy with the outcome.  I’ve used two different self-publishing companies for both books published, and each has their strengths. The biggest problem at first with self-publishing is the outright cost of the whole process.  I’m not a professional writer, so I needed an editor, went for paperback prints and later on ebook/kindle versions.  Later I had a book trailer made for my first book, and had it done up front for my second book.  I’m not sure how trailers work out long term, but I enjoy book trailers of most all genres.

Marketing is probably the most difficult part of self-publishing because an individual does not have the wide access to buyers like a publishing company.  Social networking does help with promotion, but there’s always that “don’t promote too much, or you’ll be spam” issue that leaves a newbie confused about what people want.  The many articles about social network use give good advice, but take time to place their recommendations into action. 

Advice to the new author:  write.  I read some article by an obnoxious Hollywood screenwriter (don’t recall who it was, honest!) who made a profound statement:  “If I can talk you out of being a writer, then you’re not a writer.”  He was right.  Not even his arrogance could talk me out of writing.

So, new writers, go forth, write, and make it work for you.  If traditional publishing works, that’s great!  If self-publishing is right for you, then go with it.  Some writers’ groups/bookstores resist the ‘taint’ of self-published writers, but I say they are not part of your audience so mark them out of your life as you come across them.  Writers don’t need to apologize for doing what they love.


About the author: Shawn Lamb

Shawn Lamb lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband Rob. Married for 26 years they have a daughter, Briana, who is following in her dad's footsteps in pursuit of a career in film production.  Shawn began writing in her late teens and eventually wrote for the 1980s Filmation animated series BRAVESTARR. She continued honing her craft, winning two awards and earning recognition from the American Screenwriter's Association.

ALLON came about at the request of her daughter, who wanted a fantasy story. Peeking the curiosity of her daughter's friends, what started as one book, grew into a series. Most of the teens were immigrants or children of immigrants to the U.S and in search for hope. The result are stories of commitment, faith, hope and endurance; commitment to a cause, the faith to overcome obstacles, hope to endure to the end.


For 500 years the Dark Way has ruled Allon, but an ancient prophecy speaks of a time when the Guardians will return led by the rightful heir. Sixteen year old Ellis must prove he is able to defeat the evil. Each event test his character, his wisdom, his courage and ultimately, his heart.

Allon: Book 1 by Shawn Lamb - Book Trailer

ALLON Book 2 - Insurrection

Four years since the defeat of their uncle King Marcellus, 16 year old Wess, his younger brother Bosely and their twin sisters live like commoners. When the brother become caught up in a coup, they must a choice, join the coup and reclaim their royal heritage, or aid the man who changed their lives. The choice could have deadly consequences.

INSURRECTION -The Dark Way Doesn't Die Easily

ALLON Book 3 - Heir Apparent

Shortly after a defeated enemy arrives in Allon with the offer of a royal marriage, strange things begin to happen. What is the connection of four mysterious stones and a jade statue? Are these linked to Prince Nigel's haunting nightmares? The Guardians must learn if this is a marriage for peace or an act of revenge.

Allon Book 3 - Heir Apparent

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In the Spotlight: Book Spotlight: Act of Redemption

In the Spotlight: Book Spotlight: Act of Redemption: "The Spotlight Is On: Act of Redemption by C. C. Cole: The city of Gastar stands in ruins with a minimal population following centur..."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Remote Control Airplane

That Bookish Girl: Review Policy

That Bookish Girl: Review Policy: "I would be elated to review a book for you. I review Speculative Fiction (Dystopian, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal..."

My Bookish Ways: ARC Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

My Bookish Ways: ARC Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum: "Die For Me by Amy Plum Publisher: HarperCollins Release Date: May 2011 ARC Courtesy of Book It Forward Tours When Kate Mercier’s parents d..."

Delights and Dilemmas.: Welcome 2011 !

Delights and Dilemmas.: Welcome 2011 !: "2011 Is Here! If you are anything like me, I was more than happy to see 2010 leave! This is not to say that there were not som..."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

5 stars for "Bang" by William Butler

Though I write dark fantasy, I enjoy many genres including non-fiction WWI books to the classic comedy "A Confederacy of Dunces."  So below, I took an "out of fantasy" journey to read "Bang."

"Bang" caught my eye on Twitter, with its catchy title and attention-getting synopsis. This novel for grown-ups hurls the reader into a small world of a few lamentable characters caught up in a complex dilemma that intensifies all the way to the dramatic end. The non-fatal shooting of a man begins the collision course of events that expose common social disasters affecting marital, parent/child, and adult relationships as well as the desire for revenge. The story moves fast, and as the chapters flow, the curiosity grows despite the flawed characters. I recommend this novel highly to adults looking for a well-written, twisted, entertaining story.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shaded: Review Policy

Shaded: Review Policy: "I review most kind of books- ARCs, galleys, e-books, pdf- everything is more than welcome. My reviews will consist of a blurb of the book, t..."