The Start of a New Year. Wait. What?

@monamis – Stock.Adobe.Com

It may sound strange, but I consider June and July the start of my new year in creativity. This is the season I drag myself out of the author’s cave and head to Denver Comic Con. Talking about my stories, hanging with my author peeps and visiting with the fans gives me the boost I need to head into another year.

In the works for 2017

Audiobook Adventure – Pariah is headed to audiobooks. Stay tuned for details and dates!

Conquering the Wild Wooly World of Editing – It won’t be long before I send Book Two in the Heart of the Warrior series to my line editor.

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So, What Are You Wearing?

So, what are you wearing to Denver ComicCon? I’ve had a sneak peek of a few costumes on FB. So creative! Me? I’m going as the Super Awesome Amazing Yet Boring Author Woman. In my defense, it’s been a crazy few weeks. I’ve been in Maryland working toward a certification in Program Management and eating an insane amount of seafood (at a crazy cheap price too). Now I’m back home in Colorado and ready to see the sights at Denver ComicCon!

Come on over to Author Alley. I’ll be in Booth PP15 on Friday, June 17th (1:45 am to 1:50 pm) doing book signings and interviews.

On Saturday, I’m participating in the “Self-Publishing: Is it For You?” 1:30 pm in Room 502/503

See you there!

It’s Coming!

Denver ComicCon is a few weeks away. This will be my first time attending and I cannot wait!

Check out the Guest list! Cary Elwes, Karl Urban, Kevin Hearne, Clark Gregg, Stan Lee…deep breaths. I’m cool.

Join me on Saturday, June 18th for our panel – Self-Publishing: Is It For You? at 1:30pm

I’ll be signing my books, The Lords of Valdeon and Pariah, in Author’s Alley (Booth PP15) on Friday, June 17th from 11:45 am to 1:50 pm. Just look for the giant lion and the hot looking elf!

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Want more info? Check out my interview on Groovey.TV

Are You Listening To Your Readers?

Reviews and customer feedback are golden. Praise can send an author skipping down the street. Criticism (helpful or not so nice) plummets a sensitive soul into the depths of binge watching, carb-heavy gorging, self-destructive pouting funks. After you’ve spent time skipping or pouting, go back and take an analytical look at what your readers are actually saying. I know it’s uncomfortable and maybe a bit scary, but it will help you direct your next literary steps.

I learned something very important during my recent book tour. If a reader enjoys your book and the world you create, they will invest more than money into it. The reader becomes emotionally invested in your characters. They become invested in YOU.

An author’s primary duty is to inspire, teach and entertain.  Writing a series is an additional agreement you have with your readers.

“I (State Your Name) swear to continue my character’s story with the same or greater level of quality as I did in Book One. I will not disappoint my readers.”

Example: My latest release is the first book in the Heart Of The Warrior series. I looked at the reviews with an analytical eye and found common themes. First: They loved the characters and are invested in them. (Book Two is on the way. Cross my heart!) Second: Nobody liked the prologue, even though they agreed it gave them historical insight.

My Action: Seeing enough people agreed, I immediately yanked out Book Two’s prologue. Snip. Snip. Issue resolved.

Second Example: I released an urban fantasy in 2014 called, Pariah. It was meant as a standalone novel. I had toyed with sequel ideas, but decided to move onto other projects. A high percentage of the comments have a request for a second book with these characters.

My Action: If readers love the characters and the world I built enough to ask for another story, I will begin outlining that sequel as soon as I’m done with the draft of Book Two in my epic fantasy series.

Bottom line: Storytelling gives me a great deal of enjoyment and fulfillment, however, it is ultimately the Reader I keep in mind.

Oh Curses!

“What kind of books do you write?”

This is the most common question I get in a crowd. My answer – Horror and Dark Fantasy – never fails to surprise the non-writers in the group. I’d say 90% of them respond with an “Oh. You look like someone who writes children’s books.” (Snort) I admit it. I’m a short, cheery looking lady in her 50’s who really does look like she should be writing children’s books about purple elephants or orange kangaroos.  Those, however, are not the stories I’m given.

Fascinated by the constant struggles of Good vs. Evil, I write stories with characters who have a foot on each side. Gruff mutant tracker. Murdering convict. Pariah and thief. These aren’t your typical “Dudley Do-Rights” of the world. Which brings us to our blog topic and another question I’ve gotten from readers.

“Oh, why must you curse so much in your books?”

Looking at the characters I’ve just listed, it’s pretty self-explanatory. I keep my sarcastic answer deep inside.

“You’re okay with the sex and bloody violence, but it’s the occasional F Bomb you get heartburn over?”

I typically write about characters who wander on the seedy side of the street. They hang out with the dregs of society. Their dialogue has to be authentic to the story and the setting. Bill Dolan (Lost Man’s Parish) is a convicted murderer in a prison city. If I had him say “shucky darn” rather than a strong expletive, he wouldn’t be real for the readers and he’d probably get beaten up. This truthful (and hopefully helpful) answer usually sets them to nodding. I’m not sure if this is in understanding or agreement.

Cursing can be useful in underscoring a character’s personality. Using it, however, for the shock factor doesn’t make sense in this day and age. Make sure it’s organic to the story. There are times when it isn’t appropriate and can be off putting. In my upcoming Epic Dark Fantasy, The Lords of Valdeon, cursing would be as out of place as “shucky darn” in a prison. In the world of Andara, gentlemen don’t curse. There are those among them that do though. You’ll find an occasional “Bastard” thrown in there, but typically it describes someone as the bastard son of so and so.

Word choices are important. Enhancing the story is good. Awkwardly pulling the reader out of the story is bad.

Book Addicts Unite

Indie Publishing is a journey. No wait. Maybe journey isn’t the right term. Indie Publishing is an exploration mission. There you go. Every path I take holds something new. It could be a new way to reach readers or a dead end. You never know until you get there.

This week my literary exploration vessel is mooring at the shores of Choosy Bookworm. I’m seeking a way to connect with new readers and hopefully get a few reviews for my urban fantasy, Pariah. They have a free “Read and Review” program I’m pretty excited about on two levels. Here’s how it works:

As an Author: I submitted my book for review by Choosy Bookworm. Quality checks are important to build trust with their reader community. They also accept pre-published books now. Big bonus. I plan to use this option for my upcoming epic fantasy, “The Lords of Valdeon.”

Pariah’s feature date started on July 14th. Readers select my book from a list of many others (the selection is awesome by the way) and commit to read it within 2 to 3 weeks. All this is free to the reader. Choosy Bookworm then sends me a list of names and emails at the end of the day. I “Gift” the readers a copy on Amazon and send them a thank you email, reminding them to put the all important disclaimer at the end of their review. This meets the Amazon TOS guidelines.

I listed Pariah for 30 Readers. There are still spots left. If you enjoy urban fantasy and would like to participate, here’s the link – Free Copy of Pariah. I’d love to hear your feedback on the book.

As a Reader: Talk about a Book Addicts dream! Choosy Bookworm features free books from a wide selection of genres. You’ve got your choice of new authors and pretty established favorites. I’ve found at least two books I’ve already read on their site. Oh pooh!

Free books. Personal contact with the author. What better way to sate a book addict’s cravings?  Here’s the link for Choosy Bookworm’s feature page – Awesome Free Books.

He’s a jolly old elf. Not!

Fantasy

Focus on Fantasy

It’s Christmas time. What could be more festive than a story about an elf right? Uh…no. Jin isn’t the jolly, happy kind of elf. He’s a bit grumpy after having been framed for murder. Of course there’s the demon after him too. Pariah is featured with other new releases by several of my author friends.

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Millennia have passed since the corrupt of Seelie society were banished from Otherworld. Abandoned in the Human Realm, their Descendants keep to the shadows, secretly controlling criminal organizations and swaying governments. Jin, a Seelie Descendant, refuses to swear allegiance to any Clan. Marked as a pariah, he is banished from their society. One ill-fated evening, Jin breaks the rules to visit the family he left behind. A chance meeting with an old enemy draws him into a murderous plot that could propel the Human Realm into a bloody war. His warning of insurrection goes unheeded. Determined to keep the plan secret, the conspirator summons an ancient demon with a taste for Seelie blood. It’s reward? A pound of Jin’s flesh.

On the run with a Death Mark on his head, Jin is desperate to find the cunning spider behind the conspiracy. With the help of Gracie Berry, a pre-cognitive with a hidden past, Jin searches for their allusive enemy before his ruthless hunters find their target.

Available for Purchase

Print:

Amazon

Createspace

EBook:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords

Also available on iBooks

“5 of 5 Stars. Recommended!” Ashley’s Paranormal Book Blog

“This was a great read and I’d be happy to get my hands on another C.R. Richards book soon!” Unabridged Andra

“Pariah is officially in my top five funniest books to read list this year.” MAD Hoydenish

“Richards writing transported me into her world.” – SBM Book Obsession

Check out the special December Edition of my Books and Banter Newsletter for more information about today’s story. The newsletter features new book releases from several talented authors. Fantasy, Horror, Humor, Mystery and Suspense, and Romance. You’re sure to find a good read!