Thursday, September 30, 2010

Four big, fun, exciting things!

The secret language of the cover! Comment. Win! 
I am over at Bitten by Books with a post about urban fantasy cover trends, and also, some anecdotes about the creation of my own covers, and some little secret anecdotes about what certain things on the covers mean to me. Of course, I'm also giving out PRIZES! TWO signed books and TWO $25 Amazon gift cards! Come say hi and enter to win!

Jessica, my beta reader, speaks out!
True story: I started to get jitters when I read my proofing bound mss/alley of  Double Cross. Between my own constant tweaks, often in response to the fabu ideas of my brilliant critique partner, Tumperkin and my equally brilliant agent Cameron, there were sweeping arc changes, and I was like, nobody has read this as a book lately! Something felt off. I wrote this pleading email to my pal Jessica of Read React Review, whose sensibilities on people and nose for fiction I've always admired, begging for a read. She read it, and pointed out super key things that saved some key scenes. Though, er, some of her ideas, were, how shall we say...too brilliant, too ahead of her time. 

I'm at the RT Book Reviews Blog! 
Woo! I'm in the author spotlight over at RT Book Reviews! I'm talking about getting the idea for the Disillusionists, and also about hammering out where I stand on the disillusionist issue, and where characters stand.

Thing FOUR...WHAT!?!?!?!
Okay, this is a perfect representation of what release week can be like. Especially when you have a day job. (I'm working on that script, I swear!) LOL. So many exciting and cool and important things happen all at once! Seriously, there was something else equally hugely important to me that I was going to post here. ARGH! I'm sorry person who probably did something really kind and supportive and I probably look like I don't care....

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Alert: speshul new line of reader/author/blogger greeting cards!

I'm over at Smexy Books unveiling my new line of greeting cards! I know everybody will be impressed by the sheer artistic quality of these cards, as well as the heartfelt sentiments. Come say hi! You can also win a book! Yeah!

Release day
Release day was emotional and exhilarating! I am still sort of overwrought and also, grateful to everybody who wished me well and bought/checked out my book and posted stuff and more! I feel so lucky. And it's a beautiful fall day, and a purring kitty is sitting in my lap.  

Bitten by books tomorrow
I'm at Bitten by Books tomorrow with a guest post entitled "the secret language of book covers" and a super prize packages of Amazon gift certificates and books! If you RSVP here, you get extra entries!!   

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's release day!! + Vlog and video FREAKOUT at Book Smugglers

OMG, so much is happening. Thank you everybody for all the kind wishes, and the wonderful reviews. I am so overwhelmed and excited! And happy. n' stuff.

Video Vlog madness
Hey! First off, I'm over at The Book Smugglers, where they review book #2, Double Cross, and also, there is a vlog where I talk about the book, somewhat pathetically...and then a video answer to their question of whether I ever have to SMUGGLE books past my significant other. The answer: YES. With techniques. Come say hi!

Blog tour...
Okay, I'm doing a blog tour, and I will put up a schedule as soon as I get caught up on the actual posts.
Tomorrow I'll be at Smexy's unveiling my new (fake) line of greeting cards especially for authors and bloggers.
...and Thursday I'll be at Bitten by Books with yet another Vlog, and a post about the secret language of COVERS.
And Friday, I'm at Buckeye girl's place with a guest post! And there's more after that.

Reviews! 
Also, I don't know if I'm being too self-pimpy, but a flurry of reviews just came out...and I'm pimpily quoting from them. Because, a release day is a book's birthday, right?

"This is a story of redemption, love, friendship, justice and so much more. This is such an amazing story-I just want everyone to fall in love with the characters and story as much as I did."  ~Buckeye Girl
"The Disillusionists Trilogy is inventive and original without ever going over the top and losing sight of its very flawed, human characters especially Justine, the force behind the series. Double Cross settles this series as one of my current favourites." ~The Book Smugglers
"I loved Mind Games but Double Crossed gave me a good hard shove into crazy, maniacal fan girl territory...Double Cross is a must read." ~Fiction Vixen 
"Double Cross amazed me. It was a kiss with a fist, a soft caress with brass knuckles, and a love poem covered in arsenic. Well done, evil author Crane. Well done." ~Bitten by Books
"Wonderful writing, fascinating and gripping plot and the right amount of romance. You won't be able to put this one down." ~Book Lovers Inc.
I'm so thankful for everybody who has been taking the time to read and review Double Cross, and Mind Games...more to come tomorrow....

Happy day to all my release sisters!
I am in the most amazing company today: releases by Marta Acosta, Courtney Milan, Joelle Charbonneau, Marilyn Brant, Tiffany Clare, Nicola Cornick, Bonnie Dee, Madeline Hunter, Jennifer Haymore, Illona Andrews, Miranda Neville, Jennifer Estep, Rachel Vincent...

...and release brother and fellow leaguer JF Lewis, with his book, Revamped, featuring a heroine with a flesh-eating 1964 muscle car.

AND...It's WIN a Carolyn Crane book day over at my partner in crime's place. LISABEEEEEEEE! xo

Monday, September 27, 2010

Otto: darkly dashing hero, wacky comedian, or kindly German grandpa?

I'm over at Book Lovers Inc today talking with Susi about the weirdness of names, and telling various namefail anecdotes. Come on over and say hi! Tell us what your NAMEFAILS would be, what names you love. You might just win a book. It's all happening here. 

Double Cross discussion starts Oct. 4th 
Spotted in the Canadian wilds
Melissa of My World...in words and pages and Robyn of The Bookaholic Zone have been holding really fun, interesting discussions about UF and paranormal books, and they've chosen Double Cross for their book this upcoming month!  They'll be discussing a portion of the book every Monday for four Mondays, starting Monday October 4th. Anybody can join in.
All the info is right here!!

It's almost tomorrow! 
OMG, the countdown clock the the lovely Caitlin of Vision Quest fail blog made is counting down in hours now instead of days.

Sometimes I am so shocked at how fast time goes! I'm really excited for my book to release, though. Well, it is already on the shelves in many places, actually!

Here is a photo of my book spotted in the wild by Lea of Closetreader. This was in Canada, I think at a Chapters. The first sighting.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

pull ups challenge FAIL, coconuts, machetes and reviews

Noooooo! I have backslid on my pullups challenge! I am back to two-and-a-half. And, frankly, that is being generous. I don't think I can get to five in the next, er...four days. I think I might give myself a month's extension. Does anybody have a problem with that? Why did I think of this challenge?
Once upon a time...
Nooooo!

Reviews!
GlamKitty, one of the Double Cross ARC winners from my newsletter contest, put up a review on her blog, the Literate Kitty. It's a totally lovely review, and I got such a kick out of the opening paragraph:
Deep, dark secrets, buried a lifetime ago. Blatant deceptions and little white lies. Intense jealousy and bitter hatred. Paranoia and hysteria, obsessions and compulsions. Crazy, pent-up desire and ecstasy. Loneliness and the depths of despair. The mind is a complex and messed-up place, and author Carolyn Crane makes sure we know it. 
More...
Other blog reviews I know about:
  • "Spoiler free-review" from Jenny of Supernatural Snark here
  • Katibabs here.
  • Also, you can find a small, growing number on Goodreads! I am so grateful to everyone who is taking the time to read my book, and compose and post their thoughts! 
...also, a special release week Mind Games review from Moonsanity here! I love how she pulls out the themes of acceptance, anxiety, and motivations.  

Secret blog tour-soup connection
I'm working on blog tour stuff today - I'll post my schedule later. 

As a bribe to my husband to help me with one of the items, which involves elaborate filming *coughI'mlookingatYOUbooksmugglers* I have promised to make coconut soup, our favorite soup that takes forever and involves chopping open many coconuts with a machete. 

Oh, what I won't do for my blog tour! I'm really excited. There is some fun and games coming up. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday fun n' stuff

Good morning fellow citizens of blogland!! A few exciting events. Exciting to me, anyways.

Interview and giveaway at Smash Attack Reads. I am her first author interview! Smash (aka Ash) asked for a few photos, and yes, there are many kitty photos! And you can win one of my books. Come comment here!

 *bounces*
Interview and giveaway at The Spinecracker. Another first: this is Spinecracker's fun new "Behind the Pen" series. Come say hi, and you have until tonight to leave a comment to win Mind Games and a chocolate treat! Check it out here. 

Amber Scott's Project Pay it Forward (PPIF)! I feel so lucky that Mind Games was chosen for Amber's inventive and incredibly cool caper! Here, her 10 reasons list!  

Double Cross stuff:

Excerpt is up 
I  put up the first chapter of Double Cross on my author site. Later today I'll put up an option for a downloadable PDF for those who prefer it that way. Find it here.

Early blog reviews
Well, these are the first reviews I know about. Thanks for taking the time to give Double Cross a go, and put up your thoughts!!


Other:
  • My fellow Dupont Avenue denizen, and taker of one of the kitty pics at Smash's, Chris from Stumbling over Chaos, has her usual amazing linkety posts up today.  
  • Rebecca over at Dirty Sexy Books has a links roundup that includes my trailer. Thanks Rebecca! Plus, a lot of other stuff including the page 99 test of a book. Most interesting! 
Image: Clock by Fastily from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Release day to KT Grant! & Win her new book!!

Who has been such a busy girl? My pal KT Grant, aka Katiebabs from Babbling About Books, that's who!! Today's release of The Claiming of Suzy makes FIVE books out this year for our naughty-minded, red-headed blogger. I am so impressed, KT at how you set your mind to things and accomplish them. And also, make risky choices! Congratulations on TCOS!! *snoopy dance*

The KT Grant books countdown:

1
The Princess's Bride - This one came out this summer - a wild and crazy girl-girl pirate romance, featuring "dastardly lady pirate C.W. Dread." LOL. The story arc here is satisfying and saucy, and it totally rampages through standard conventions. OMG, KT!! 

This was her first, a naughty little short in Once Upon a Threesome. That counts as a book! 

And then there's Lovestruck, KT's May-December girl-girl romance. 
4
Leading up to today's release is For the Love of Mollie, about a woman struggling with weight issues. In her quest to better herself for a chance at one man, Mollie falls for another - a gym owner no less. What is so great about this one is that you don't just get one quick line or two that she's plump, or "has curves" or whatever. This character's weight issues are suffused into the story, and they make it feel so real. It makes her feel real. I love the way KT deals with the subject of food, really taking a reader through Mollie's mental contortions in making food decisions. Also, the gym scenes. LOL.
5
And finally, The Claiming of Suzy comes out today! I happened to have already read it. Hah! This is another book with a protagonist who feels like a real girl: a flawed, sex-crazy, exuberant girl with a big heart and weight issues of her own, though she comes at them differently than Mollie. That's another impressive thing in KT's work; women with weight issues aren't painted with the same brush, something that unfortunately happens all too often in today's media. 

The story really springs off the page when JC and Suzy are together. In one of my favorite scenes, love interest JC tries to pay Suzy a compliment:
"I love this." JC fondled her stomach. "It feels like a soft, downy pillow. So full of cushion... where I can lay my head and fall fast asleep.”
Suzy's eyes drifted open. Soft pillow—cushion—fall asleep? She scowled, not sure she liked hearing her stomach being compared to a pillow. Yes, it was a bit too round for her tastes...
She lets it go, but later JC pays her another ill-fated compliment:
"You're cold. I don't think my shirt is going to fit you. It's only a medium. Let me get one of your T-shirts. You take an extra large or is it a double X?"
Her afterglow vanished as soon as it arrived and she sat straight up. "Please tell me you didn't say what I think I just heard. You actually think I'm a double extra large? Why don't you just ask if I have a muumuu while you're at it?”
Suzy stood and threw JC's shirt at his head.
Oops!

There is also a secret in the book. Sort of...as some know, KT invented the terms "Team Cucumber" and "Team Kabob" for my book, which I totally love. So I was delighted to discover the special cucumber reference in The Claiming of Suzy. I won't say where it is, but it's a fun reference that has the friends together.
  • Excerpts of The Claiming of Suzy here
  • You can buy it here
  • And you can win it by leaving a comment here on this blog!  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three birthday items

Interview & Giveaway
What more appropriate activity to do on my birthday than to talk endlessly about myself?  Lovely Jessica over at the Spinecracker, a totally fun and smart new blog, is giving me just that chance...at her inaugural "Behind the Pen" interview... with an eclectic set of interview questions.

We discuss pet peeves, what it's like to be an author on release day, TV shows and more. And, I'm giving away a copy of Mind Games along with a CHOCOLATE TREAT to one lucky commenter. Woo! Come visit! And comment to win!!

Pull ups challenge
In other news, I might need an extension on my 5 pull-ups challenge! Who set the date as the end of September? I think it was my evil doppelganger! Or is it my evil doppelganger who hasn't worked on it in a week? Either way I'm afraid I've backslid. Nooooooo! I'll find out later during the workout portion of my birthday. But maybe I'll still make it. I have one week and two days.

Books:
I started my first Judith Ivory yesterday, Untie my Heart. OMG, what rock have I been hiding under? I can't believe how good it is! Thanks to my fabulous critique partner, Tumperkin, for the rec! Any leads on what Ivory to read next are appreciated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An interview, contest at ATUF & a non-earth-shattering realization

First off, the interview! I'm over at Nocturne Romance Reads, talking with Brandi and Lenore about getting my start as a writer, inspirations, collaborations, Double Cross, and more! Come visit!

Also, go wish All Things Urban Fantasy a happy first Blogaversary. . . and enter to win a mind-bending 35 books. This is a huge prize of recently released books! Abigail! I can't believe it's only been a year. Wow. Happy numero uno!

My non-earth-shattering change of heart on reading many books at a time
I realized today that I was in the middle of reading FIVE books. I used to be a one-book-at-a-time reader and sort of looked down upon the practice of reading many. I felt switching of ruined the flow of the book. But I've completely changed my mind.  When did that happen? LOL.

I now think reading multiple books is like being a connoisseur, and you switch off depending on your state of mind. One of the books I find inspiring for my WIP, one is emotionally comforting, one is fun and bright, etc. It is like pairing wines with specific meals. What do you think? Do you switch around or start and finish?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Winners!

Okay, Random.org has spoken, and I am busy emailing our winners...

Stacy Stew
Amber S
amanda (amandasbookblog)
Glamkitty
Tamara Morgan

Congrats you guys! And I have a runner up in case I don't hear from everybody by Monday! I am so psyched so many people entered my contest.  Thank you all SO much for coming and playing!  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy weekend instant contest!

So, I have some shiny new ARC author copies of DOUBLE CROSS and a few MIND GAMES, too!  Yee-ha! It's contest time! I'll be giving away FIVE books over the next 24 hours.  

If you win a Double Cross ARC, I'd love it if you posted a review somewhere over the next 2 or 3 weeks. Examples: Goodreads, an online bookseller like Amazon, B&N or Powells or any other, or your blog. Just a request; you don't have to. 

Directions: 
Leave a comment to be entered, saying: 
  1. Which book you want to win: Double Cross or Mind Games (if you haven't read Mind Games, you should definitely start with that one! This is a series you want to read in order.) 
  2. Leave your email address if it's not easily found from your profile or whatever. If you prefer not to, that's fine - I'll announce winners here on Saturday and you can contact me. You'll have until Monday midnight CST.
Contest closes 10 am CST tomorrow (Saturday 9/18) and I'll send out copies as soon as I get addresses. Some could go out Saturday. Open internationally. Final judge will be Random.org.

PS: There are also chances to win by signing up for my newsletter. And, *coughcough* that is also the only place you can get a sneak peek of chapter one on Monday. Because I'm a total copycat of Lara Adrian! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My new trailer!

Okay, my book trailer is finally finished! Well! This was like a fun art project where my OCD perfectionist editor ran wild! Quick watch it before I take it down and make a completely different one. (I'm just kidding. I won't do that. I have other things to do. Like write books!)


LOL.


Some very nice twitter pals totally volunteered to be my beta watchers, back when this thing was even longer and had slow, porny music. And other problems, not that it doesn't now, but it's not the fault of: Joe Alfano (Zombie Joe), Renee Vincent, Closetreader Lea (Toriaimeegirl), Katiebabs, LB Gregg, MagdelenB, Melissa (MelLHay), Jo Evans (girljo) and Debs (debsholloway)! Thanks for beta-watching and giving feedback you guys!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Why aren't men like Jamie Fraser?

The other day when I was looking at my search stats, I noticed somebody had arrived at this blog by typing in the query: "Why aren't men  like Jamie Fraser?" 

That is a really good question, and one that, unfortunately, I don't think this blog answered. Until now.

Dear Google Searcher: Why can't men be more like Jamie Fraser? Yeah, I'm with you sister. I, too, have read Outlander and wondered that. In fact, I think most women who have read Outlander wonder this at some point. It's time for answers! I hope that this list helps.  

Reason #1 Men can't be more like Jamie Fraser: 
Prime time medical dramas
Toward the beginning of Outlander, Claire uses rudimentary medical skills to set Jamie's dislocated shoulder and disinfect his wound, saving his life. Even though he thinks she is an English spy, he is totally grateful and impressed, and thus begins his fierce, passionate loyalty toward her.  

Now, even though I am not a nurse, I do know some things about medical treatments, and I have seen enough movies to know how to set a dislocated shoulder. I can also figure some other things out, and I'm sure I could impress my man in the exact same way . . . if only I got that chance. Do I ever get that chance? No. Thanks to the fact that there are so many doctor shows on TV, my man knows all about clinics and hospitals and modern medicine. When he is wounded, what does he want to do? Go to a doctor. Thanks a lot, House, you jerk!! 

Reason #2 Men can't be more like Jamie Fraser: 
Modern therapy
While belt whipping is one of the few Jamie traits I do not encourage in my man, I think we are probably in agreement, dear Google Searcher, that irrational jealousy, crazy protectiveness, boy-ish benightedness and the need to adhere to primitive clan mores and show dominance are definite signs of passion in a mate. Unfortunately, there is a subset of people who seem completely and entirely dedicated to destroying this, and I think you know who I'm talking about: Therapists. I don't imagine I have elaborate on this point.  


Reason #3 Men can't be more like Jamie Fraser: 
9-1-1 emergency services
When Claire is about to be burned at the stake - unfairly - for being a witch, what does Jamie Fraser do? He rescues her, of course. By himself. With a SWORD. It was a totally amazing moment. "Jamie drew the sword completely, with a flash of steel, then thrust it point-first into the ground, leaving the hilt quivering with the force of the blow. 'I draw it in defense of this woman, and the truth,' he said. 'If any here be against those two, they'll answer to me, and then God, in that order.'" 

Does my man ever come to rescue me with a sword when I'm in trouble? No. And it is not for lack of a sword, I guarantee you. Santa has brought my man numerous swords for Christmas. Unfortunately, my man seems to regard them more as a wall decorations than tools of battle and chivalry, no matter how many hints I drop. Why? Government emergency services, I believe, is at the root of this problem. 

Sadly, the message "Call 9-1-1 in case of emergency" has been emblazoned into my man's head since boyhood. That is who he calls whenever I am in trouble. The availability of 9-1-1 rescue services has thwarted his natural instinct to put his life in danger to rescue me in a manly way. 

Reason #4 Men can't be more like Jamie Fraser: 
Mens' magazines and HR departments and their stupid anti-kilt dress codes.  
Of course one of the key things that makes Jamie so lovable is the fact that he wears a kilt - in the traditional way...I think you know what I'm talking about here, Google Searcher.  

Kilts are totally hot, but does my man think so? No. You can buy him the manliest of manly kilts, all buckles and rough-hewn fabrics, and still he refuses to give up his precious underwear and pants. It doesn't help that he sees the men in our neighborhood wearing pants, too, so it makes him not want to wear a kilt, even around the house. This is reinforced by the fact that men on TV and in magazines also don't wear kilts. It is like a vicious cycle! And he won't even wear a kilt to work. It's not like the neighbors will be around to laugh at him then. But nooooo, apparently it's against the dress code AND the health code.  When you call the human resources department to complain, they are not understanding at all. 

Reason #5 Men can't be more like Jamie Fraser: 
Middle school sex education, dirty magazines and movies, lax morals
When Clair met Jamie, he was a virgin, and not only that, but hardly knew anything about sex. At one point, Jamie says to her, "While I dinna pretend to know all there is to know, I’ve lived a good bit of my life on a farm, and unless people are verra different from other animals, it isna going to take that long to do what we have to." and "I’ve seen horses and cows, of course, pigs, chickens, doves, dogs, cats, red deer, squirrels, rabbits, wild boar, oh, and once even a pair of snakes. Did ye know snakes have two cocks? Male snakes, I mean."


Oh, Jamie! You are so delightful. I loved how Claire got the chance to open his eyes  to the wonders of sex, and what an eager pupil he was, and how hot it was, too!

Just before our first intimate encounter, I naturally began to explain to my man that, even though he had likely spent a lot of time viewing animals performing sexual acts, that human sex is far different than sex between animals . . .  well, imagine my surprise when he acts all insulted! Not only that, but it turns out he'd done it before. I blame this on society, education, and all media. Needless to say, this ruined the moment. (As if things weren't already ruined enough by #4!!)

Oh well. I hope that answers your question, Google Searcher. But wait, there's more...

The Verra Good News...
Even though men now aren't like Jamie, we can still enjoy him in book form - more than ever now, since the Outlander is coming out in a graphic novel format in a week! I'm verra psyched!!  

What? Do you think by this post that I didn't like the Outlander? Wrong. I'm just being silly, because I loved the Outlander. It took over my mind when I read it, the way very few books do. And, I remember when I read it, I really would have loved some pictures. 

The Exile will be a re-telling of the story from the point of view of Jamie, with pictures, of course. (One of which recently appeared on Gabaldon's blog. Thanks, naughty Katiebabs!) Also, here's a free read about the Making of The Exile from Scribd. And, this graphic novel will be discussed at Dirty Sexy Books on October 25th. Yeah! 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Three cool things

Cool thing #1: Veil of Shadows by Shiloh Walker
This baby just came out this week, and how much did I love it? The vivid and ruined world, the fierce, dark hero, and all the juicy revelations. This book rocks like crazy.

I think Veil of Shadows is even better than the first book, Through the Veil, which was fantastic (see my write-up here). If you haven't read TTV, don't worry, Veil of Shadows can easily stand alone, though it's a big treat to revisit the older characters. Walker is amazing at creating realistic, engaging characters who take on lives of their own.

Cool thing #2: Krazy Michele's contest at the League blog + the release  of Cross Your Heart
The video below outlines the fun and weird prizes you can win with this release contest...just for leaving a comment over at the League of Reluctant Adults blog. It's so easy to enter...you don't even have to watch the video, but look how cute Michele is with her crown! Also, I sort of want that T-shirt. 
 
 
To enter, you just go comment at the league blog. (not here!!)

Cross Your Heart by Michele Bardsley (book 7 in the Broken Arrow series) 

Even vampires can be afraid of ghosts... 
After the death of her husband - and her dreams of motherhood  - Elizabeth Bretton returned to the family estate in Broken Heart, Oklahoma. Little did she know she would also give up her life as the Silverstone heiress.

But escaping the past isn't that easy-especially with a vengeful ghost trying to kill her, a 150-year-old mystery to solve, and an outrageously hot were-jaguar named "Tez" trying to get into her boudoir...

Cool thing #3: Iron Duke approaches...in a short story!!!
Okay, color me clueless; I didn't realize two things about the Burning Up anthology, which came out last month:

First, that Meljean Brook's story in it, “Here There Be Monsters,” is the prequel to the Iron Duke! I am so feverishly excited for the Iron Duke, I can't even say. So, this will hopefully hold me over.
Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series as a desperate woman strikes a provocative — and terrifying — bargain to gain overseas passage.
And two, that Nalini Singh has a story in it!
Nalini Singh returns to the world of her Psy-Changeling series as a woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector-and lover. 
Angela Knight and Virginia Kantra, two writers I don't yet know, also have novellas in here. Yeah!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Anatomy of my crappy author bio & my strategy to change it!

Note: I did this post last February for a blog that is now broken and defunct...it's still out there, floating, but it's like one of those spacecrafts on Star Trek that don't respond to hails, and when the crew of the Enterprise boards it, everybody on it turns out to be dead. Nooooo! Anyway, I'm reprising the post here before it disappears altogether.

Anatomy of my crappy author bio
...and my strategy to change it!

The other day I was tweaking my long bio for my Amazon author page and I got to thinking, Wow, this is a really pathetic bio!!  Oh, WHAT was I thinking? Here, for your inspection, this is actually what I had:
Carolyn Crane began writing at age 7 with a poem about earthworms during a rainstorm, which she can still partially recite, but ONLY under dire threat.
[NOTE: who cares? And I opened with that? A childhood anecdote? In UF?]
Ever since then she's dreamed of becoming a real author, scribbling on various fiction projects while working menial jobs, and later graduating to ad agencies and the freelance writing life. 


[NOTE: Basically, I work hard at writing. Shouldn’t every author? And I have a job that relates to writing. Uh, the more I examine this, just…uh! This is not an interesting or cool bio!]

The trilogy that begins with Mind Games takes place in the fantastical Milwaukee/Chicago of her childhood imagination (she grew up in suburbs of both cities).
[NOTE: not terrible, but could be cooler]

Today she lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two daring cats, and when she's not writing novels or day job stuff, she can be found reading in bed , running, helping animals, or eating Mexican food - or at www.authorcarolyncrane.com, along with sample chapters, contests and extras.
[NOTE:I guess some of this is okay. I mean, it’s true personal stuff. I think a bit of that is good.]

I’m so going to change it. Probably after I write this post. Versions of this are on my site, Goodreads, all over. Below is the short bio from the back of my book and the part of the Amazon page I can’t change until book #2:

“Carolyn Crane lives in Minneapolis with her handsome husband and two daring cats. She enjoys reading and running and loves animals of all kinds. For more than a decade she’s made her living as a freelance writer. This is her first novel.”

What in either of these bios would make a person go, wow, I would love to read a book by her? 

What was I thinking?

So, I was casting around to look at other cool author bios to get inspiration, and I came across this fine article written by Barry Eisler on an author’s bio as part of an author’s marketing.

A bio is part of an author’s brand. It helps to sell the book. (If you’re unpublished, this is a good thing to consider for your query, too, on a small scale.)
You know what is really hilarious? Take a look - I’m actually a freelance advertising writer. Part of my job is to try to get companies to think about what their personality is, and why it makes them different and better, and I write their communications in a way where that shines through. That is my job, but I never applied it to my own author bio.

**headdesk**

There’s a reason for that, of course. In my mind, novel writing is my personal anti-advertising zone. In advertising, I’m strategic and goal oriented; in fiction, I get to play and be wild and free. In advertising, people tell me what project or concept to work on, and it pays the bills; in fiction, I decide what to write, and the money comes out to like 10 cents an hour, and then I turn around and spend it on promo. In advertising, I have a certain decorum. In fiction, I can swear and make up words and write smutty and it's all about enjoyment and entertainment. Advertising is a job; fiction is a labor of love, and never shall they meet.

Ooops.

So anyway, I am going to revise my bio. Being that this is a writer’s site, I thought I would share the way I’m planning on approaching it. Because a lot of people talk about keeping your author brand consistent across social media and all that, but what the hell IS your author brand? How do you determine it?

Below, I’ve modified some actual client branding questions I use in my day job to fit to an author bio project. Maybe somebody has already done this author bio/author brand discovery sort of thing, but I couldn’t find it. You don’t have to use every bit of material you generate here; this is more about getting pointed in the right direction.

The “don’t be pathetic like Carolyn Crane” author bio branding questionnaire.

1. Why are you the best person to write a book like this? Do you have any insights, personality traits or life experiences that make you a natural in the world of (Urban Fantasy, mystery, writing about girls’ boarding schools or whatever.)

2. What do people tell you they like about your work?  Your detailed knowledge of x?  passion for y? irreverence? your fun sense of humor? shocking crassness?  For example, (sorry to seem to toot my own horn, but I’m actually in this process now) people like the plotty inventiveness of my book, and I have always loved puzzles and psychological intrigue and the hidden workings of things. I wrote the book the way I did because I have a passion for that sort of thing. So I might try to work in an angle like that. It’s something about me that is relevant to why people might like the book.

3. What are 5 words you would want people to associate with you and your book? This overlaps #1 and #2. Not like these words have to appear in your bio, but think of them as the fertilizer for it. For example, I even see some authors write really imaginative bios, like, raised in the woods by wolves, etc. This tells me the author is fun and creative, without the author actually saying “I’m fun and creative,” which would be a boorish thing to do.

4. Realizations, inspirations, defining moments: if you look around, a lot of companies have a little story they tell. The founders of Caribou coffee were inspired by a hike in Alaska. Another client of mine woke up in the hospital and decided quit her job and start her own business in what she loves. Another made and lost fortunes two times over and now he coaches CEOs through crises. A little anecdote like that would work for a writer, too. (Of course, a lot of companies make theirs up. Sometimes they hire me to help them do that. LOL. Don’t make yours up, though.) I don’t actually have a defining moment. I’m pretty boring. 

Hopefully this article has been helpful to avoid the sort of bio I wrote above. Does anybody have any other bio writing and branding hints? Feel free to leave them!

UPDATE: So here is my refurbished long bio. Which I of course want to change yet again.

Images: Monster of wall, a public domain image by an anonymous artist, from Wiki commons
Man: 1970's JCPenney cataolog, Ship: personal collection.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book clubs, trailers & pull-ups!

Book club at the Spinecracker! Starting today + Win a book!
Whether you loved or hated Mind Games, this is your chance to go dish and download with Jessica and others, and you could also WIN a signed copy of Double Cross! No, I don't have any copies yet, but the winner'll get one once they become available.

Book club at Literary Escapism - started August 30th and on now...
Also open to anybody, and it's taking place in LE's chatroom! Details here. Should be a fun and lively conversation with lovers of all things UF-fy. These book clubs look like lots of fun, but....
  • FYI: I don't lurk on book clubs, so feel free to say whatever you please. I won't peek! 
My big wicked-freaky book trailer
Okay, not so wicked. I had one whole high concept trailer that I slaved over (and my husband partly starred in it!) but it didn't work out. After I was done I hated it! I guess I'm a writer, not a movie maker.

But, I am getting back on the trailer horse and working on a different angle. I want a cool trailer like everyone else! I'm feeling good about this new one which should be done in a day or two. Also, I might repurpose the other one for a secondary trailer, but with a whole different spin.

THREE gnarly ass pull-ups!!!
Check it out! Do we see three pull ups on the progress bar? Oh yeah! Only four weeks to get to five pull-ups. Cue the Rocky music. No, not the Rocky Horror Picture Show Music!!!