Tag Archives: Amazon

Faded Denim Excerpt: What it takes to be a superhero

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An excerpt from chapter five of my new adult fantasy romance, Superheroes Wear Faded Denim. One of my main characters, Don Shimada, contemplates the sacrifices he’ll have to make to become a superhero.

Everything was going to change now that the fate of mankind was sitting on his shoulders.

Even after he gulped down his drug shots of caffeine, he couldn’t keep his mind off Santiago. He tried to feed his hunger by googling summer tourist spots, Spanish recipes, earthquakes, but it wasn’t enough. Finally he typed in Chile. Everything that came up was about Santiago. Clicking on the link he read, “Feb. 27 an 8.8 magnitude Earthquake occurred 3:34 a.m. local time . . . Over 340 people have been killed, authorities are still searching . . . not much is left of a beautiful city known for its cherished, historical architecture.” It was nothing more than a dry summary that did not do any real justice for the travesty.

Stunned, he didn’t move, not even to breathe. It had all been true. Everything was going to change now that the fate of mankind was sitting on his shoulders. He could wash away his dreams of being a normal frat boy on his way to law school with drain cleaner. Focusing his energy on training for war, he knew where his life would go and what he’d become.

He rubbed his temples with clammy hands. He’d become that stoic little boy he was when traveling the world with his mother.

He used to spend all of his free time dreaming of taking the women he helped to a place where they would no longer need a one room shack for medical care. Being a nurse and health advisor for women in third world countries called for efficacy not a social sphere. His mother and a motley crew of traveling martial artists set up portable hospitals wherever they traveled. Most of the time they were small, one bedroom apartments with no air conditioning or running water. Their waiting rooms were the dusty streets where the crew taught the women and children basic defense. Like the perfect aid, he did whatever his mother commanded him to do.

Afterwards, Don remembered never wanting to practice with other children. His nights would be spent alone, swinging a saif until he collapsed. Later the crew would always find him in the dusty streets staring at the moon. They’d coax him into a circle. After a few jokes, they’d shove him in the middle of Capoeira. A rhythmic dance and hand clapping would ensue. He’d back flip in the air dodging playful blows to his head. They would always let him win.

He cherished those few moments, but good memories were few and far between. Most of his life was filled with angst and—“I don’t want to relive it,” he said aloud. “Not on anybody else’s terms.” If he was going to be forced to save anybody it would be in a business suit in a court room.

He went back to the blinking cursor just waiting for him to write the first sentence to his thesis. It didn’t have to be anything magical. He just needed to start.

‘Sex trafficking is a modern day form of slavery.’ He felt powerful. One sentence down, a thousand more to go. All truths set aside, these were strenuous circumstances. Bull spitting was going to have to do.

“Don,” he heard from out of nowhere. Gabriel’s voice was inside his head, right next to his thoughts.

He kept on typing, ignoring it. ‘It is man’s indirect way of keeping women from obtaining equality with—’

“Don, head to the black streets of campus.”

‘Women.’ Typo. He erased women. ‘Men.’

“You are the Paladin. We await you.”

He wasn’t sure what to type after that. He could elaborate on popular perceptions that deemed women inferior. ‘They are objectified,’ he typed.

“The battle between evil and good wages on. Paladin, head to the black streets of campus. There you will meet the King and Queen of the Low Court. They will aid you and Blissany Cherry, the Key, in this war.” The walls blurred into a vision of a girl with sun kissed skin and copper hued curls dragging herself to bed. Seconds later he was sitting in his car, staring past the glare of his headlights at a girl with her arms stretched out. Wolves flooded streets behind her, transitioning into human form as they paced the black pavements.

Startled, Don burst from his seat, knocking over his coffee. “This is never going to end,” he yelled as his chair toppled to the floor.


He slammed his laptop shut. He wasn’t putting up with this anymore. He was heading to the black streets of campus, wherever the hell that was, and find Gabriel to demand he stop messing with his head.

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Jessica Roberts: how a simple idea evolved into a novel

Jessica Roberts speaks on a very interesting point, the harsh reality of marketing, in her interview.

One of the reasons she said marketing was hard is the tools that are readily available to traditionally published authors are not available to self-published. Then she talks about Amazon.

Although it is a dog-eat-dog world out there for the self-published, it is the same for any artist in any field.

Warren Richie’s article, Inside US lawsuit: How Apple, publishers allegedly brought Amazon to heel, describes how the environment is changing. Here is also a more recent update on the lawsuit, written by Julie Bosman, Justice Dept. Sues Apple . . . After reading these articles, one is not only educated about the publishing market, but learns a favorable environment for self-published authors has been created, one they can capitalize on if they have a superior product and knowledge of marketing.

Even in such an environment, only the best will succeed. I am of the opinion just because someone is traditionally published does not make them the best. Only readers can determine such.

For all you readers, read Roberts’ experience when it comes to writing, and the tools she has learned to use when it comes to marketing her novel.

Straight from the author’s mouth: how a simple idea evolved into a novel

1. Can you tell us about Reflection? Why did you choose to write this book? 
I’ve always loved to write. I can remember in one of my high school classes—way, way back when (laughs)—doing a timeline of my future and filling in the blanks with phrases like “Complete my first book when I’m 20”, “Write my second book when I’m 25”, and so on. So I guess I’ve always had the desire to write.

Also, I knew I wanted to write for a young adult audience since those are the books I enjoy reading the most. Those first looks and first kisses—there’s nothing better!

One day I was in my bathroom drying my hair in front of the mirror, and a scene popped into my head—the balcony scene in Reflection. The following day I was on my computer. I enjoyed writing that scene so much, I knew I had to write a beginning and an ending. And that’s how it all started.

A few years later I finished my debut Young Adult novel, Reflection, a sweet, spicy college romance with a twist!

What is Reflection about? The short teaser on the book’s cover says:

“What if six perfect months with the guy of your dreams, turned out to be nothing but a dream?”

So the book is basically about a spunky high school grad named Heather who leaves her small hometown and ventures off to college. Something happens and she lands in a coma. In the beginning of the book she wakes up from the coma and proceeds to retell her story of attending college and falling madly in love with a rugged classmate named Nick. Throughout the whole book, we as readers are trying to figure out if her love story is real or if it was just an amazing, potentially heartbreaking dream she had while resting in her coma.

2. How long did it take you to write Reflection? Can you talk about your writing process?

If I compiled all the writing days together, it probably took about 4-6 months to write Reflection. But since I wrote in spurts, here and there whenever I had time, taking the summers off in the process, I would say it took about 3-4 years from start to finish. I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way. It’s hard enough to sustain some semblance of fluency even if you write every day. But when you’re a mommy, you do what you gotta do!

Writing process . . . hmm. I don’t know if I have one particular writing process. Obviously, any novel starts with an idea. I’ve always had an active imagination. It’s bothersome at times, especially late at night when I want to fall asleep and my thoughts won’t let me. I can’t tell you how many times I had to tell the characters in Reflection to shut-up so I could get some sleep.

I guess I’m not the best person to answer that question because I know I should have some sort of writing process, but I don’t. For me I write when the dialogue and scenes come to me. Then I compile the scenes together so the story flows, with an engaging beginning, a climax, and an ending.

3. Any editing tips? 

I’m psycho about editing. Still, I can’t tell you how many edits I went through – am still going through. The best advice I can give is to let A LOT of people read your manuscript before you publish it. A LOT!!

4. If you could share one tip you learned with self-published and traditionally published authors who share the same dream of being a successful author what would it be? 

I’ve realized that if you go the self-publishing route, it’s a lot harder to get your book out there so people know about it—which is soooooooo frustrating!

Publishing companies, in contrast, have marketing tactics and promotional connections that bring their books to the masses fast, and those avenues are just not as readily available to self-published authors. It sucks, but it’s the truth. I got ahold of Amazon one day and asked what it would take to be a part of their “featured books” email blast. The rep. told me they are reserved for companies that have contracts with them – namely the big publishing companies. However, there are base packages that include a little advertizing corner in some random location on the Amazon website, starting at $10k. No biggie. Only the price of A CAR! (laughs)

If you do self-publish: goodreads; book bloggers who offer review services; and self-promotion through social media such as facebook, twitter, etc. are great places to start. The goal is to reach a large audience. And don’t forget to be patient. It takes time!

Website: www.jessicarobertsauthor.blogspot.com
Email: jessicaroberts.author@aol.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/JRobertsAuthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica…