Contests galore!

The Twitter contest is over.

But don’t fear! I have another contest starting today!

Head on over to my Facebook page:

 JP Marshman

And you’ll find this photo. That’s the contest entry. All you have to do is like and comment on the photo to be entered. Sharing gets you a second entry.  The winner will receive a FREE copy of my novel PURITY from Smashwords in the format of their choice. My only stipulation is that they review when they’re finished reading.

The winner will be drawn at random in a week, so get you entries in and good luck!

The Library: Take One

We have a winner!

After a week of votes – and thank you to everyone who came over and did just so – and several ties, my first genre has been chosen.

Fantasy is the first choice!

So now here’s the hard part.

I need everyone to vote once more – but this time on the author.

Now, because fantasy is the largest of my genres, I’m narrowing it down a little. I’m removing those authors whose books I’ve read, and only giving the option to vote for those I’ve never touched ooh la la. If there’s an author who I haven’t listed who you would like me to read, just leave me a comment 😀

And bear with me, here – this is my first time initiating this event, and there may be a more effective way of doing it down the road.

Once more, this puppy will be up for a week for voting.

And the Library is here for you to peruse titles.

If all else fails, just pick an author at random or by whichever name you recognize 🙂

And thanks for stopping by!

The Library: an Interactive Reading Extravaganza!

I had an idea the other day, as I sat in my living room surrounded by an ocean of books. I keep a list of the books I own for both neurotic purposes and in case there’s a fire, and as I was adding the most recent purchases to the list, I had a sudden thought:

What if I let people decide what I would read?

I have been thinking for a while that I would go through alphabetically and read all the ones that I haven’t read yet, but where’s the fun in that?

I’ve spent the past few hours reorganizing and reformatting my library into genres and whether or not I’ve already read them, and turning that into a .pdf file that’s easily accessible.

There are kids books. There are teen books I took from work and would never really want to read. There are epic classics that would probably make me want to weep. There are beloved tales dear to my heart.

The options are there.

With over 300 books to choose from, this could get real.

And maybe I’ll have friends at work pick books for me, to add to the fun.

It’s an opportunity to influence the life of another person, even a little – and to potentially humiliate them.

Each book I read I’ll do a review for, on the website here – and I’m considering doing a vlog review as well, if the book is a spectacular mess or particularly good.

So here’s your job, Internet:

Review the Library, pick a genre, and once we have a majority vote, we’ll cast another vote for books within the genre.

And I will read that book.

Without complaint.

This has the potential to be a big deal.

Think of it like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story – only you’re really effecting someone’s life.

The Library is here, waiting to be perused and admired.

And yes, Star Wars gets its own genre. Obviously.

So vote as much as you like, and get your friends to vote. Let’s get an overwhelming majority.

And pick something for me to read.

 

I seem to have taken an involuntary sabbatical

I’ve been pretty busy in my tangible life for the past while, so things have been pretty quiet here since Purity was released. James is home, which means I’m spending most of my spare time with him. The busy season is beginning at work, so I’m there full time in any case, and tired all the time but that’s really nothing new, is it. My grandmother has been in and out of the hospital for the past month, and I’ve been worrying about her like crazy. And, as the icing on the cake, my car is coughing his last, I think. Which is genuinely heartbreaking, because sweet Percy has such personality.

So I’m here to apologize for my neglect. I’ve finally acquired my ISBN prefix from the government of Canada for the Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords formats of Purity, so once I finish the last bit of formatting and get my rear in gear, I’ll be putting her up on those. I’ll keep everyone informed. In the meantime, I’ll continue putting up reviews, since I’ve been reading a lot, and maybe I’ll stuff up some teasers – most likely the Of the Arbour rewrite, or even some enticing tidbits of Purity. We’ll see.

Sorry if this post is scattered. I’m not really all here right now, and concentrating for me is hard even on the best of days.

Knowing when you’ve made it as an author

It isn’t when you start making an actual profit on your books, or even your own satisfaction with your writing and your plot.

You know when you’ve made it as an author when a reader feels genuine emotion for your story.

It has to be for your story and characters, too – emotion felt for their plight, because they’re unhappy with a character’s behaviour or thrilled when something finally goes their way. When I feel intense hatred reading Twilight, that isn’t a compliment to Meyer’s work at all – it’s the exact opposite, because I have no respect or enjoyment from the way she writes or her listless characters.

You have made it as an author when a reader weeps over the death of a favourite minor character. When a reader forgets to eat or sleep because they have to know what the hero will do next.

I have experienced this kind of thrill and joy as an author several times, but several rather notable times in the past.

I got my friend Bethany to read Of the Arbour and its sequel, Of the Arena, when I was first writing them. As she was in the midst of the sequel, I accidentally let it slip that one of the minor characters dies. This minor character happened to be her favourite. She was so upset with me she had to put the story down and hasn’t touched it since which actually works out okay since I’m rewriting it anyways.

More recently, my friend Lexi started reading Changeling. When she finished, I printed off a short story collection, The Time Between, that takes place between Changeling and its sequel, Abomination. She was so upset with the behaviour of one of the main characters, one usually charming and endearing who turned into a bit of a brute, that she almost phoned me to chew me out. Rather than do that, she stifled her rage until we met up at work the next day.

This very day, too, she read a defining chapter in Abomination that upset her. I hadn’t planned this chapter – I don’t really plan anything except major plot points though I guess this counts as one, technically, and the characters just sort of started acting this sequence out. It is a rather heartbreaking chapter, I’ll admit – and I even hesitated to put it in the book in the first place. But I decided that keeping it would allow for a sweeter, happier ending, so it remained.

Lexi read the chapter on her break today. I was putting out magazines when she finished. She found me, crouched down, picked up an ad slip that fell out of a magazine, crumpled it up, and threw it at me.

Don’t get me wrong – there is more to my stories than sadness. The happy stuff gets them too, but the things that upset readers seem to really stick out to me. I’m terribly attached to my characters, and I love it when others are, as well.

Despite the fact that both Bethany and Lexi were upset with me, I feel like I’ve accomplished something great, here. They were both so attached to the characters that when they did something decidedly out of character – or died – it genuinely touched them.

To me, that feeling is more important than any amount of money I might make.

A punctuation pet peeve

Sometimes I wonder about authors and their editors. I’ve just recently started reading The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, the novel which the movie Lawless was based on (and which in turn is based on the author’s family members’ lives), and for some reason they didn’t find the need for quotation marks. It isn’t as hard to get used to as I first expected, because the book is more narrative than dialogue, but the dialogue is still awkward once you realize, oh, Jack was saying that to Forrest instead of just observing Forrest. Continue reading