Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Husband is my Excuse.

Hellooooo Handsome!!
I ADORE my beloved troll. He's sweet, funny, smart, generous, loving, handsome and endlessly supportive. I'd like to make enough money writing so that he could quit his job. It's the LEAST I can do for the man who has supported my writing pretty much from the day I met him. (I told him I wrote poetry, and he asked to hear some. Then he asked for a copy of the one I recited for him.) When he gave me the key to his apartment, it was so I could work on my writing on his computer, since I didn't have one. Not because he was crazy about me or anything. That would be admitting he had 'feelings' that were distinctly un-guylike.

But lately, I'm thinking I'll have to make enough to get an office outside the house as well. You know what I mean ladies? Honey goes on days off or vacation, and suddenly he seems kinda, sorta...underfoot? I don't know what that is. When he's at home, nothing gets done.

When I'm home alone, I write, do laundry, do yardwork, pay bills, get groceries, mind the furchildren, occasionally scrub or dust things, cooking, gardening, painting...

When he's on days off? I pretty much sit on the couch. Why IS that? And how can he be underfoot when he hasn't left his computer games all day?

Wearing his Canadian tuxedo on the morning of our wedding day. Photo by:Dawn Dalton

 I try to get moving, to get on all the things that need doing. Butbutbut...He's home. And we should do something? Like what? I dunno...something fun. Like. What?

Let's see...We've been to every museum in the entire city. Restaurants? Gettin' old. How about movies? Find one we BOTH want to see. IMAX at the Telus Science Center? Only all the time. Road trip? NO. That means one of us has to drive. Which one? The one who wins the argument. Know what I mean?

Oh, sweet grumpy honey...Could you, I dunno....Go away for several hours or something?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Things I Learned from my Recent Reviews

This is the 'Butterdome' I mentioned in the novel.

So as you all know, I had a book tour last week for my second novel, 'Aphrodite's War'. Sorry about the links...I tried to fix them, but it was a futile and irritating endeavor. I read every single one, and I hope the bloggers know how grateful I am. They ranged from a 3 star to five stars. Not bad at all! Thanks everyone for writing detailed lengthy reports on what they liked and disliked. Which brings me to today's blog topic. I should call this entry "Things Reviewers Say that I Find Disconcerting." There's only two, but they've both come up enough times to cause me some concern about my writing patterns.

#1...Multiple POVs. For those who don't know what that is, it's short for Point of View. In a lot of novels, particularly YA, there's only one--The main character. Mine have several. Not every personality, just the ones that I feel need to show their side of the story.

I've noticed that a lot of people have been confused or distracted by that, and I'm not really sure why. No sarcasm--I REALLY don't get it. I'm in the habit of switching POVs, and separating them with asterisks. I feel that there are certain times when the view needs to be switched up, without head-hopping back and forth. Especially when there's more than one storyline. I feel it adds more depth if you can see how HE feels about the romance...Not just HER. And I got that idea from Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and my former critique partners. Am I out of the loop? Am I missing something? Am I just doing it wrong? I wouldn't mind some input.

#2...Edmonton is NOT a town. The main location of 'Aphrodite's War', Edmonton, Alberta is a city with over a million people. But I've noticed more than one reviewer call Edmonton a town. Uh-oh...The first time it happened, I privately asked the reviewer, "Did I give you the impression it was a town?"  She confirmed. I was confused...I'd mentioned two universities, a bus system, an LRT train system, a state-of-the-art-cancer center with access to isotopes and held a scene in West Edmonton Mall, one of the largest malls in the world. How did people mistake it for a town?

When I asked my best friend, she said, "It DOES have a small town feel."

This is part of the downtown area, with a view of the River Valley.
"Really?" I said, "I mean, I've always said Edmonton was a big small town, but..."

"Well, that explains a lot," she said. "because that's how it feels to read it."

This is the Waterpark in Phase Two of WEM
After much discussion, we figured that just a few extra sentences about atmosphere might have solved that problem. Did I describe the rush hour traffic? Or the shade of downtown Jasper Avenue from all the skyscrapers? Should I have gone into more detail about the enormousness of West Edmonton Mall? Maybe I should have made the pace a little more frantic, even though I myself don't find rush hour traffic intimidating. For lack of a more appropriate cliche, "D'OH!"

This isn't even all of Edmonton. You can't see WEM or my end of the city in this shot, or even the southside.
Since 'Chasing Monsters' also takes place in Edmonton for several scenes, I solemnly swear to improve. I'm just kind of irritated to find myself "Learning to Write in Public."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'm Grateful...And a Little Slow.

Cover by Terra Weston Koster
I knew I had a blog tour coming. I was given a heads up. But I was too busy running errands last Wednesday to turn on my computer, When I came back on Thursday, I had a message from my publisher telling me I would be hearing from Ena from Then my author page had a message from Ena, giving me a nice long list of bloggers who've participated on the tour. Here they are:

Wanda Loves Books
Mean Who You Are
Blimey! I Fancy Reading
Indy Book Fairy
Book Boyfriend Reviews
Bawaka's Book Fair
Reading Bliss
Orchard Book Club

I tried to thank all of you. Sometimes I came up in comments as Donna Milward, or Thoeba, or just 'D' (I really need to fix that...) I'd like to point out that Independent writers and Publishers like me, along with Staccato Publishing, love and need these people. They are our lifeline , and huge THANK YOUS!

I'm so grateful, to everyone. Endless, eternal thank yous. <3 <3 <3 I got a few really good reviews--Four and five stars.

These are my favorites:Jess's Book Blog Not because she gave me 5 daisies...It's because she obviously DEVOURED the book. All of it. She understood the little things. The first important thing she pointed out, is the fact that Ares is her lover. And the fact that she left her husband for him. She mentions 'The Kevin Incident' and Hugh. I think she understood, you're not supposed to like Adrian at first, and he needs to win the reader over.  It just felt like she loved the novel as much as I do.

The other came from Becky on Books She's as big a mythology nerd as I am, and obviously enjoys it too. She's quick to remind readers how there is no 'good and evil' when it comes to gods. Just selfish bully, and less of a selfish bully. She pointed out her favorite bits, and it's obvious how much she enjoyed the book. She even caught my mistake that I hoped no one would notice... Like I said, this girl knows her mythology.

I DID get a 3.5 rating from Reading Bliss Aphrodite's War fell a little short for her. I understand a lot of her complaints. For the record, I thought I had Aphrodite clear up Ares' intentions when she explained how Ares would never be satisfied with just Edmonton, or Alberta, or even Canada. That he would start there and work on global war. At least i thought I did.  Still, despite the criticisms, she'd still recommend it.  That doesn't suck.

So this blog is several days early, but I'm sure you understand why I did it. I just wanted to say thank you to the bloggers, and to point out all their giveaways.

Also, thanks to reading all these reviews, I know what to write about on Thursday. :) See you then.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What if 'Thoeba' Were a Movie?


Cover by Terra Weston-Koster

I've given it some thought before, but it wasn't until my fellow Staccato author, Emma Hibbs did it that I decided to blog about it. Here's Emma's blog about HER cool dream cast.

 I thought, "Awesome! It's been a long time since I thought about who would act in the movie...and I've never blogged it either."
So I made a small list. Not everybody is going to be here, but the major characters will be. What do you think?

PETER MASON: This guy...Henry Rollins?! You ask. You're probably wondering why I would choose a punk icon to for a romantic lead. It's not just because he's my muse. It's because he's handsome, a good actor, and when I think of a tough guy with a compassionate side, this is the face I see. 

Thomas Gibson from 'Criminal Minds

Of course, I wouldn't kick THIS guy out of the role either.

Apparently she was in Paranormal Activity 4
Next we have his daughter, KAYLA MASON. Too bad Dakota Fanning is too old for the role. I had to think about this one. I googled "teen blonde actresses' and I got this...Her name is Kathryn Newton and she looks exactly how I imagine Kayla looks.

Now, how about her crush, PRIVATE BREWER?  This is Alex Pettyfer aka Number 4. He seemed pretty good in that movie. What I actually watched of it, I mean. He'd be great if we could bulk him up a bit. Which could happen. He'll be in Magic Mike 2.

JIM (Oh my God, did I even give him a last name?) has to be the toughest actor to choose by far. I can think of at least three actors who could fill the role. What do YOU think?

Sean Bean might be too handsome, but the caption up there actually happened at a bar in England.

Or maybe...

Michael Rooker was fantastic as Merle Dixon, and maybe I like him because Merle reminded me a lot of Jim. And because I'm a HUGE fan of 'The Walking Dead'.

But my very first choice is this actor: Don't know who Jackie Earle Haley is? He was the hottie way back when in 'The Bad News Bears'. He's the new Freddy Kruegar. He was Rorschach. Enough said.

And I saved the best for last. There's only ever been ONE actor that fits the role of THOEBA. I always thought she was stunning and talented, and the very first time I visualized THOEBA it was her.

     I'm curious to know what you people think. Any other ideas out there?

Oh, and if any of these fine actors see this after I tag their names in this blog and think they'd like to produce a great movie to be in, message me on Twitter or Facebook! I'm Donna Milward :D

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Free Advertising, My Ass

Photo by: Karen Bursey, Edmonton, Alberta
     You know what is a really bad thing to say to a writer who has been pirated? "Think of the free advertising." What a stupid comment. I'm so angry I just lit a cigarette.
I've been told that if one person downloads it, and likes it, he might tell his friends, and THEY will buy it. And so on. You know what I think will happen? I think they'll download it for free, and then they'll tell their friends where to download free books. And so on.

When I worked as a meat manager, I constantly had to deal with shoplifters. We could never catch them all. It was a full time job. The more shoplifting that happened, the more thieves came in...we developed a reputation for being an easy target. What did these people do with our expensive steaks and roasts, the ones clearly tagged with the 'Champions Family Foods' logo? They sold them on the street. Should I call that 'free advertising?'

We GIVE e-books out. We spend hundreds of dollars on 'swag'. We do our own advertising and marketing, thank you. We don't need any help from people who distribute our work illegally.

You've read my rants about piracy before, but I've been pirated AGAIN. Over 460 copies of Thoeba went out without payment. This was after I saw this post from an author I know from Facebook. If you think I'm pissed, wait until you read this. *language warning* With her expressed permission, I give you Gracen Miller...

One pirate site…

Rockin' the Heart downloaded 1,325 times (and it just released the end of Jan 2014).
Taboo Kisses downloaded 2,219 times.
The Road to Hell series (that's ALL 3 books) downloaded 2175times.

For you selfish bastards who think this doesn't amount to much in cash, let me break it down for you.

Rockin' the Heart pirated downloads would've netted $3,312.50 in sales.
Taboo Kisses pirated downloads would've netted $5,547.50 in sales.
The Road to Hell series pirated downloads would've netted $3,632.25 in sales.
That's a GRAND TOTAL of LOST sales in the amount of $12,492.25!!!

FUCK YOU VERY MUCH YOU PIRATE THIEVES! Yes…every single one of you who downloaded a free ebook off of a pirate site—mobilism, torrent, etc. NOT Amazon, Nook, etc.—YOU ARE THIEVES!! Why don't you take a $12,492.25 pay cut…and that's just ONE pirate site. I'm so angry ATM. I'm honestly at that point where I'm about ready to say fuck it and quit writing. I didn't even make $600 off of the entire Road to Hell series in 2013, but the pirates happily stole $3Grand from me off one site for the series!

I'm livid for her, and all of us. There's been talk about putting a halt to giving out free ebooks for contests. It feels like we can't trust anyone. Some of us want to give up, myself included.  What's the point of spending all the time and money to promote our work if we get nothing out of it but grief and anguish? Would you?