Sunday, April 6, 2014

Awesome FREE Children's Book Giveaway: April 6th - 10th!

It's been awhile since I've done a free children's book giveaway, so to kick things off, I'm giving away three books from April 6th - 10th. All titles are available on Amazon only unless otherwise specified.

The free titles are:
  1. Alphabet All-Stars
  2. Un Pequeño Libro Sobre Ti
  3. The Sweetest Stalk (FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, Versent, Inktera, and Lulu!)
Download them all before they return to full price!


 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Alphabet All-Stars: Animal Flashcards is now available on Amazon

Now Available on Amazon!
Check out the flashcards that all of the animals are talking about! 36 colorful illustrations in all.

Intended for children 2-6. Approximately 40 pages. Descriptions of my other popular children's books are included after the main feature (an additional 5 pages).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eggtastic is now available for just 99 cents!

Exclusively on Amazon!
Spring is just around the corner and it's time to see what the Easter Bunny is up to. This year he's enlisted some help, and it's an odd choice at that. What is that clever rabbit up to and what is he really planning? Find out in this humorous picture book by the author of My Little Pet Dragon and My Crazy Pet Frog.

Intended for children ages 3 and up. Approximately 40 pages in all. Descriptions of my other popular children's books are included after the main feature (an additional 5 pages).

This book is an Amazon exclusive.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Who Wants To Be A Robot?

Now Available Exclusively on Amazon!
The off-world planet of Infinim, which promises a heavenly and eternal existence for its society of robots, is now taking applications. Although one of its applicants is older and not quite as quick as he used to be, does he have what it takes to be accepted? Figure out who he is before the story's end in this clever children's book.

Intended for ages 3 and up. Over 50 pages in all. Descriptions of my other popular children's books are included after the main feature (an additional 5 pages).

Sunday, March 9, 2014

February Eight Hour Challenge Results

February was the first full month of restarting the Eight Hour Fiction Challenge, a call to arms for all able authors that originated on Joe Konrath's blog. A couple of us informally took the challenge in January, and posted the results here.

I hope you'll enjoy what authors came up this month. Hopefully we'll have a better turnout in March


Title: The Most Wonderful Day
Author: Scott Gordon
Genre: Humor
Length: 1,250 words
Completion Time: 4 hours

Description:

Martin Freeman finally took the plunge. He quit his day job to become a full time author and isn't looking back. Brimming with confidence, he's concerned how his wife Greta will take the news. Although being your own boss is liberating, it's also quite scary. If things don't work out, there's no one else to blame but him, a point Greta will most certainly remind him.

But he'll make it work. He's sure of it.

It's just a matter of convincing his wife…

EXCERPT FROM THE MOST WONDERFUL DAY

“Today is the most wonderful day in the world.” Martin Freeman stepped inside his humble home and kissed his wife Greta.

“And why is that, dear?” She scanned over the Food Section of the Washington Post and turned the page.

“Because I’m free to write whatever I want.” He slung his jacket over a chair and pulled it next to her.

“I thought you were already free to write whatever you want.” Greta did not look up. “That’s why you decided not to waste your time submitting your manuscript to traditional publishers and work independently.”

“That’s true, but it’s so much more than that,” he beamed.

Suspicious, she put down the newspaper and looked him in the eye. “I know that look.” She bit her lip. “What did you do?”

About The Author

Scott Gordon is the author of several children's books, including My Little Pet Dragon, My Crazy Pet Frog, Pigtastic, A Little Book About You, A Pocketful of Dinosaurs, Ninja Robot Repairmen and If I Were A Robot. Currently he is hard at work on multiple projects: Secret Agent Disco Dancer, Braedyn Bunny and the Missing Eggs, Baby Bee, Aveline & the Great Pumpkin Bash and more!

Date(s) Free

March 12-16 on Amazon.

Where To Find It

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IVRVXN2/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00IVRVXN2&linkCode=as2&tag=thwoofsego-20


Title: La Flor Más Hermosa
Author: Scott Gordon (author), Ligia Gordon (translator)
Genre: Children's Book/Girls
Length: 500 words or more (picture book)
Completion Time: 3-4 hours book creation and publication, 5-6 hours translation

Description (Spanish Language)

La búsqueda para encontrar la más bella flor, lleva a una madre a descubrir el bien más preciado de todos. Con obras de arte deslumbrantes en cada página, esta es una lectura obligada para todas las madres e hijas por igual. Aproximadamente 40 páginas.

Descripciones de mis otros libros populares para niños se incluyen al final (un adicional de 5 páginas).

Where to Find It:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ILYD89M/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00ILYD89M&linkCode=as2&tag=thwoofsego-20


Note: This following title was written back in August 2013, but was too late to qualify for Joe Konrath's original challenge. Since February was a light month for entries, I decided to include it here. Enjoy!

Title: Something Under the Sea is Drooling: A Halvin and Cobbs Adventure
Author: Ken Naga
Genre: Science Fiction/Comedy
Length: 6,011 words
Completion time: 7 hours, 56 minutes

Description:

Halvin an' Cobbs vs. Cthulhu!

Halvin "Hal" Ferguson spent his childhood day-dreaming, but even in his wildest imaginings, he never thought he would find himself thrust onto the ragged edge of reality.

Hal's fantastic and unrestrained imagination placed him at the head of a motley but mighty band of beings known as the Mindknaves who tirelessly battle against the forces from Beyond.

But now, the Mindknaves are all but gone. They cannot help him. Cthulhu made sure of that.

Cthulhu - a rancorous and insanely-powerful psyche-shredding force from Beyond has captured Hal's Mom and Dad. Hal knows Cthulhu's plan. The monstrous being of ancient evil plans to force Hal to give up the source of his power - his imagos - and Hal knows that Cthulhu will do anything to get it.

So why is Hal, accompanied by his ever-faithful friend and guardian, the talisman-toy lion Cobbs, diving straight into the reality-warping citadel-city of R'lyeth--straight for Cthulhu's home?

Because Hal knows something that Cthulhu doesn't...or at least he hopes he does.

About The Author

I love to write. I try to write everyday, but I sometimes fail. Regardless, every time I write I try to write better than I did the last time. I think that makes me a writer. I hope my writing pleases those who read it.

I am terribly afraid of snakes.

Additional Comments

See my original blog post:

http://kennaga.blogspot.com/2013/08/trying-something-for-fun.html

Where You Can Find It

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ICXCSP2


Title: The Crappiest Author
Author: WTF Man
Genre: Humor
Length: 5,400 words
Completion Time: 22 hours

Description:

Borges Svelt set a goal; a goal that he has no hope of achieving: writing 100,000 words in one day. At first he takes baby steps, averaging 25,000 words per day before encountering his first obstacle. With a little ingenuity, can the eccentric author conquer his dream? Or is he totally out of his league?

About The Author

Where You Can Find It

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ILWVNXC/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00ILWVNXC&linkCode=as2&tag=thwoofsego-20

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-crappiest-author-wtf-man/1118732174

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-crappiest-author

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/411938?ref=wtfman

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Eight Hour Fiction Challenge - February 2014

Back in August 2013, bestselling author Joe Konrath issued a challenge to see if his readership could write, edit and publish a work of fiction in under eight hours. This included everything, from the initial concept to cover design. In the end, 140 participants successfully posted their works, myself included, and got recognition in Konrath’s epic blog post.

Afterwards, there was no talk about revisiting the challenge, which disappointed many of us. Sure, classics like Bottling Farts weren't up for any literary awards, but they were fun to produce and entertaining in their own right. The overall quality was better than expected, which made it all the more puzzling why no one was pushing for a second Eight Hour Fiction Challenge.

After lengthy deliberation with members of Kindleboards, the rules were finalized and a target date was set for February 2014.

Here are the official rules:

THE IDEA

To write, edit and publish a work of fiction in eight hours or less. The author is responsible for all aspects of the creative process, including cover creation (whether you do it yourself or have someone else do it) and posting it to at least one major e-book vendor (typically Amazon).

RULES

1. Everyone is welcome to participate in the challenge.

2. You may take the challenge as often as you like.

3. You are free to write whatever you wish. No work will be excluded because of its subject matter or genre.

4. The hours worked do not have to be consecutive.

5. Although writers are encouraged to attempt the challenge in eight hours or less, they may use up to 24 hours to ensure quality and completion of their work.

6. E-mail me the following details to donaldrump@segordon.com by 11:59 p.m., February 28th, 2014 (early submissions help tremendously):

  • Book Title
  • Author Name
  • Genre
  • Total Words
  • Completion time (This is used to determine the 8/12/24 hour categories.)
  • Book Cover (Please limit this to 300 pixels in width.)
  • Description
  • Author Bio (No more than a paragraph or two.)
  • Date(s) free
  • Link(s) to your entry on Amazon (If it's not on Amazon, a link to one of the other major vendors will do. Affiliate links are accepted and encouraged.)
  • Comments (Optional. Tell us what you learned from the challenge, obstacles that you had to overcome, etc.)
All of this information will be added to a spreadsheet so that I can easily sort on genre, length, completion time, etc. I may put this information in a database in the future, but for now a spreadsheet will suffice.

Results will be posted on my personal blog http://segordon.blogspot.com the first Saturday following the end of the month. If you're looking to conserve your free days, that Sunday may be your best bet. In the future, I may give the Eight-Hour Fiction Challenge its own blog or website, but let's get through the first challenge first!

Additional blogs are welcome to include the results of the Eight-Hour Fiction Challenge. Just contact me and I'd be happy to share the source code (and most importantly, images) so that it can be easily posted on your website/blog and there isn't a duplication of effort.

JANUARY CHALLENGE

Although I was still incorporating feedback for the official rollout in February, a few of us took the challenge anyways. (Once you’ve done it a couple times, it becomes quite addicting.) Here are the two submitted entries:


Title: The Iron Border
Author: Cora Buhlert
Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction
Length: 5,600 words
Completion Time: 11-12 hours

Description:

Ana has lived in the shadow of death all her life. For when she was six years old, a TV broadcast announced that an asteroid would hit the Earth twenty-two years later, extinguishing all life as we know it.

As Ana grew up, she put her faith in the worldwide lottery supposed to select the chosen ten thousand, the survivors of humanity who would escape the doomed planet in giant space arks.

But the lottery is not as fair and unbiased as Ana has been led to believe. And even her best efforts to turn herself into someone who would be useful aboard the great space arks do not bring Ana any closer to the gleaming shuttles that are being constructed behind the iron border only a few miles away…

About The Author

Cora Buhlert was born and bred in North Germany, where she still lives today – after time spent in London, Singapore, Rotterdam and Mississippi. Cora holds an MA degree in English from the University of Bremen and is currently working towards her PhD. Cora has been writing, since she was a teenager, and has published stories, articles and poetry in various international magazines. When she is not writing, she works as a translator and teacher. Visit her on the web at: http://www.corabuhlert.com.

Read Cora's experience taking the Eight Hour Fiction Challenge.

Where To Get It Free

XinXii: http://www.xinxii.com/en/the-iron-border-p-350154.html
Use coupon code 8HOUR2 (valid until 02/11/2014).

DriveThruFiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/browse.php?discount=87796
(Discount expires on 02/11/2014.)

Additional Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I3TO5RY
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-iron-border-cora-buhlert/1118357741?ean=2940148206866&itm=1&usri=2940148206866
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/de-DE/ebook/the-iron-border
ARe: https://www.omnilit.com/product-theironborder-1410636-245.html


Title: The $500 Question
Author: Donald Rump
Genre: Fart Fiction/Humor
Length: 2,100 words
Completion Time: 6 hours

Description

Perkins Deadwood can't believe his ears. His twelve-year-old son just asked for a pet fart for Christmas. And not just any fart, a Spanish fart. Hay caramba!

Can the used car salesman talk his son out of it? Or is this Christmas really going to stink?

For mature (and not so mature) audiences.

About The Author

When he's not writing about old, crusty farts, Donald Rump writes about actual farts--the stinkier the better. He is also an advocate of the No Fart Left Behind program and marriage equality for all gaseous entities great and small.

Mr. Rump lives in Southern Maryland with his pet fart Floofy.

Where To Get It Free

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/395386?ref=donaldrump
Use Coupon Code LW73P (valid until 2/22/2014).

Additional Links

Donald Rump Direct: http://donaldrump.contentshelf.com/shop
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HZY1E0Y/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00HZY1E0Y&linkCode=as2&tag=thwoofsego-20
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-500-question-donald-rump/1117997303
Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-500-question

Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Crazy Writing Life - Day 12: The Christmas Spirit

When I don’t start with writing, it gets difficult to squeeze it in during the course of the day. But if I write when I first wake up, even if it’s only a few hundred words, it puts me into the right mindset, and I find myself being drawn back to it time and again. To a certain degree, the writing feels natural, and I don’t have to force myself to put down a few words.

If I don’t get started early, any number of things can happen. It’s easy to get distracted, make excuses, and seek out other forms of entertainment. And the longer that the day progresses, the more of a burden writing becomes. The distance that we put between a task and actually doing it alters our perception of it, making it appear more difficult than it actually is.

Oh, the mind games writers play!

To avoid this pitfall, clear your mind and jump right in. Not only does the act of writing shatter many of the preconceived notions that a writer has (it’s too hard or you don’t enough motivation to do it), you may find that it’s one of your most productive days. Don’t be quick to judge the day before it has unfolded. There’s plenty of time to get back on track and turn things around.

I remember one such day when I was working on my languishing project The Christmas Spirit. I got stuck on a transition where my main character spies a thief at the end of the hall going into an apartment. He follows him inside and, err…ugh! I had established a good rhythm up until this point before grinding to a halt. This was going to be more difficult than the previous 3,000 words and writing description isn’t my strong suit.

But a funny thing happened when I finally sat down and started writing. Although the first few sentences were difficult as expected, once I’d gotten past them, I was able to move the story further along than I imagined. Not only that, the writing was good and didn’t require tons of edits. By showing up to write and taking a shot at it, I was able to break through any mental roadblocks.

Unfortunately, The Christmas Spirit still isn’t done. It’s one of those projects that’s lingered far longer than it should. The original draft was written back in December 2010, during a series of vigorous writing sessions that also produced Literary Dynamite. Although I was pleased with the result, I knew that it needed a lot of work.

A year later, after I’d finally published a few short works, I decided to dust off The Christmas Spirit and do an all-new version. Since the original was 2,000 words, I figured that if I doubled the length or hit 5,000 words I’d be happy. Once I got started, the manuscript kept growing and growing. I surged past 5,000 words in no time and wasn’t close to the finish line. But instead of staying the course, I switched to another project.

When I missed my goal of publishing The Christmas Spirit by December 25, 2011, I was mad at myself. I’d missed the most important holiday of the year and had the perfect product for it! I didn’t get back to it until the following summer, determined not to miss another Christmas. After reading over what I’d written, I decided to edit what I had and push the story forward. But this time, progress was very slow. Every paragraph felt like a mountain, and hours dragged by with getting little done. When I finally admitted that I wasn’t being productive, I switched projects yet again.

It wasn’t until December 2012 that I begin working on it seriously. Despite all of the time and energy that I had invested into the project, it was still moving at a snail’s pace. Finally, I gave up. Too many other projects demanded my attention. If I couldn’t be productive, I’d try my luck on something else.

Then I had a change of heart. In early 2013, I vowed to make one last attempt to get The Christmas Spirit done. I set up a blog and began posting what I’d done, bit-by-bit. This proved to be beneficial since I hadn’t broken up the story yet. By concentrating on each chapter, I zeroed in on what I was trying to accomplish and moved on. I did this for a while until the first ten chapters were up, the last one giving me plenty of trouble.

Then fresh doubt set in. Something was off, I knew it. Not only was it off, I felt that the monster that I had created was mortally wounded. The beginning had been promising, but now it had gone down the tubes. It stunk, in fact. I was no longer laughing at the ridiculous things that my main character was doing. He was annoying, and I was just trying to find the end so that I could put it out of its misery. Rather than pushing forward with a half-hearted effort, again I took a break.

September would be the last time I worked on it in 2013. Afterwards, I didn’t want to see it again. It was going to take a minor miracle to get it done.

But I’m not a quitter, am I? I’ve encouraged many authors not to give up. So why was I? Everyone starts a project for a certain reason. You owe it to yourself to see it through. Don’t throw away your effort. Collect yourself and try again!

Many pulp fiction writers would disagree with this assertion. Georges Simenon famously discarded everything he’d written if he’d stopped writing for more than 48 hours. It didn’t matter if he was nearing the end—once the spell was broken, he couldn’t rekindle the passion to finish it off. Considering that Simenon wrote in excess of 500 books in his lifetime, he certainly knew what he was doing. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to toss a project every now and then that’s causing problems rather than let them pile up like I have.

But there’s a lot that can be gleaned from Simenon’s stance. I stopped too early, thus breaking the spell. Once I got going again, I introduced editing into the process too soon. And once you begin to edit, look out! You’ll always be searching for the perfect turn of phrase before moving on. Don’t be surprised if your pace slows to a crawl.

Lack of discipline is my real problem. If I had worked a little on it each day, The Christmas Spirit would be done. Knowing this, I decided to revisit it two days ago. If I could produce 250 words per day—merely a page—I could finally put The Christmas Spirit to rest.

On Friday I read the first twelve chapters, tweaking here and there (I couldn’t resist). Afterwards, I worked on the thirteenth unpublished chapter, which was better than I had remembered. Surprisingly, I even liked it. With a little work, I polished off chapter 13, posted it, and then decided that was enough for the day.

When Saturday rolled around, I took another stab at The Christmas Spirit. I read chapter 13 again, made a few more tweaks, and then started writing the next chapter. Again I was confronted by the same question, “What should I write next?” You see, just ahead in the same document I have pages of notes that I’m incorporating into the final act of the story. There are some real gems mixed in with horrible writing and none of it’s organized. Rather then bumble my way through another chapter, I took aim at the notes.

It took me a while to get through them, and I found myself adding to them just as much as I was trimming the fat. Although I had added quite a bit of new content, I couldn’t say for sure how much I’d written. All I knew was that I had righted the ship and finally organized the project. That’s not to say the writing is going to be a piece of cake from here on out. If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s not to underestimate a task. At least I couldn’t blame my lack of organization anymore.

By working on the notes, I also got a good idea of how much is left. Originally I thought I could wrap it up in a couple thousand words, but that’s no longer the case. There are three sequences left (this I know for sure), and it will be another 3,000 – 5,000 words before it’s all done. Since I have 9,100 already, that means I have about two thirds of the story.

I’m close. Very close.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how much is left. As long as I make a little progress each day, it’ll get done. That’s all I can ask at this point. There will come a day when everything snaps into place and I sprint towards the end. But I’ll take it slowly for now. It’s given me so many problems, the best way to defeat it is with patience.

It’s too bad that I didn’t write the story in its entirety while it was still hot in my head. Life happens, and it’s easy to get out of sync. It’s not in my best interest to be writing the same thing months or even years later. Six weeks should be enough; otherwise, I’ll start dreaming about writing something else. Anything, even these journals.

Wait a minute. What?!

Day 1: 1,035 words
Day 2: 1,045 words
Day 3: 1,035 words
Day 4: 1,560 words
Day 5: 1,193 words
Day 6: 1,157 words
Day 7: 1,102 words
Day 8: 1,643 words
Day 9: 2,057 words
Day 10: 1,038 words
Day 11: 1,560 words
Day 12: 1,601 words
Total: 16,036 words