Saturday, January 28, 2012

Giveaway Cancelled

Since we received practically no response to this giveaway after three days, I've decided to cancel it for the time being and postpone it until after the book is released. 
Keep checking for updates as we near the release date.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Best Books of December 2011

We spoke on Monday about your author platform, and we mentioned Facebook and author pages. Today I wanted to add another site you should add to your arsenal: Goodreads. 
My YA thriller, Lost in the Bayou, has been on Goodreads since it was released on December 2. But I'm beginning to realize what a powerful and valuable tool it can be for an author.

I found out today that Lost in the Bayou is currently in the #2 position for the Best Books of December 2011 on Listopia at the Goodreads site. That's a great honor for me, and I certainly appreciate all the support the book has been given. However, Cassandra Clare is currently occupying the position I'd like to claim. So, I'm going to find out how many people read this blog, because I'm going to ask each of you to visit the link below and give me your vote. It would be a great accomplishment, not only for me as the author, but for Musa as a new publisher. I promise I'll be forever grateful. 

So, if you can spare a moment, and you'd like to make my day, head on over to Goodreads and cast a vote for Lost in the Bayou. Here's the LINK.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Yay, Goodreads!

Today I wanted to spread a little publicity for a great website known as Goodreads. I don't know how many readers there are who visit that site, but I know there are a ton of them. If you're a reader, this is a great place to find new books and read reviews of books that other readers have left.

If you're a writer, Goodreads is also a great addition to your marketing and publicity mix. You can set up an author page, post your books, and get reviews. Also, your book can get added to lists. My YA thriller, Lost in the Bayou, is current on The Best Books of December 2011. It's in 7th place from the top. Naturally, I would love for it to move upward because more readers are likely to pick it if it's closer to the top. If you're not busy, here's a link where you can go and vote for it. And I would be very grateful for that.

Lost in the Bayou, Best Books of December 2011.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Designer creates award-worthy cover

Artists sometimes do not get the appreciation and the notoriety they so justly deserve for their wonderful talents. I have just received a final art file from my Artist Extraordinaire at Musa Publishing, and I wanted to sing her praises.

Her name is Kelly Shorten, and, aside from being an absolutely, wonderfully talented and fantabulous designer, she is a dream to work with and has a bit of a psychic or clairvoyant ability. She read my mind and created the exact image I was visualizing for this cover.

Take a look and leave a comment. I absolutely love it.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Diner. (No Chicken.)

If you want to click that square icon on the far right sidebar, that will take you to the contest post and you can read the winner's name, selected randomly by Rafflecopter. If this happens to be you, please go to Facebook and search for Author Cornell DeVille. 

Once you find that page, click the message button and let me know it's you. I'll need to know which of the two shirt you want, what size, and where to ship it. Congratulations! I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today is the day

You've been waiting, wondering, and hoping, and today is the day we find out. Of course, it won't be until midnight, but at least it's today. If you're not part of the party, there's a big square icon on the top of the right sidebar with a question mark on it. You can join the others by just clicking that and following the instructions.

Good luck!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Have you met Conrad?

Have you? If not, you probably don't know that he has a shiny metal claw where his left hand used to be. And you're probably not aware of his fixation with the Lone Ranger. If you haven't read Lost in the Bayou, you probably don't know who Uncle Conrad is, unless you've been paying attention on here or visited and read the blurb.

But even if you aren't familiar with him, you'll have to admit that both design are pretty cool for a t-shirt. And one of them can be yours if you want it. So just click that icon on the top right and that will take you to the right place where you can fill in your information. It ends tomorrow, so don't delay.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Trailers 101... Easy and Fun

A while back, Myrlin Hermes was a guest blogger on Nathan Bransford's great blog for writers. In his post, he shared the process of creating a book trailer using Windows Movie Maker, which you can download for free! It's very intuitive. I didn't even need to read the "How to" section, although it's there if you have any difficulty getting started.

I gave it a try. I have to tell you that I had more fun than a kid at an amusement park. It's very easy to use. One other item of value was the link to a website called Incompetech, which provides free downloads of royalty-free music tracks. And there's a ton of them to pick from! You can spend a half day listening to find just the right soundtrack for your trailer. What about art and graphics? Those are free as well. Here's a great site with thousands of photos, clip art, just about anything you need to put together a great, professional book trailer: Photos and Art. So, if you have a PC, download the Windows Movie Maker program and start exploring the possibilities.

If you have a Mac, don't despair (why would you ever?) because there's a program built right into your Mac that's just as good as the PC counterpart. It's called iMovie, and I've been playing with it, too. The example above was created with iMovie. I like it just as well, although both programs are slightly different in the way you move through them.

I also found a few other sites where you can get great stuff—for FREE! If you'd like some old black and white movie clips that are in the public domain, visit Public Domain Flicks. Another site with great video loops of different types can be found at Stock Footage For Free and Vimeo. Give it a try. It's all free and you just might discover something you really enjoy doing.

Now, you have no excuse. Give it a try if you're so inclined. You may be amazed at what you're capable of creating! I'm wondering if a high quality video trailer might someday replace the old (so-hard-to-write) query letter that we just talked about. What do you think? Leave a comment. Maybe we can start a trend.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Contest Begins Today!

Here we go!

As you learned from the previous post, we are having a contest related to Lost in the Bayou. By entering, you have an opportunity to be named the WINNER of one of the two T-shirts shown in the previous post. You get to pick whichever one you like. You get to pick the size and whether it’s a men’s or a women’s style shirt. It will be short-sleeved and black. It’s 100% pre-shrunk cotton.
The Rafflecopter widget below will keep track of your activities and make sure you get entered. Here’s what you have to do:
2. Tweet a message about this contest.
That’s it. The contest begins RIGHT NOW! and will end at midnight EST on Sunday, January 15nd, 2012.
Now here’s a BONUS! I want to encourage you to pass the word along to your followers and friends. The more, the merrier. Here's why:
If we get 200 entries, we will double the prize and award two T-shirts to two randomly selected winners. With 300 entries, we will award three prizes. So the more entries, the better your chances to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Contest - With a Prize!

We are going to have an activity designed to provide some additional exposure for Lost in the Bayou and result in a nice prize for one lucky winner. We're doing this prior to our big event that's coming up January 27th. I haven't posted that info yet, but it's coming, so be prepared for a BIG giveaway on that one.

This time, we're giving away a T-shirt. Obviously, it's a T-shirt based on Lost in the Bayou. I have created two designs. If you're named the winner, you can select either one. But, just out of curiosity, leave me a comment on which one you prefer. I may print some extras to have on hand, and I'd like to know which one you like better. So here they are. 

T-SHIRT NUMBER 1 is on top. 
T-SHIRT NUMBER 2 is on the bottom. 
You decide.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A little tease

I am so pleased that Lost in the Bayou has been getting such favorable reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. The video above is a book trailer that's currently on YouTube. In addition, I thought I would post a bit of the first chapter today (a slightly condensed version) to see if I could entice some of you into wanting more. (I'd like more please, sir.)

In the opening scene, we join Robin and her younger brother, Andy, as they wait on the veranda of their Louisiana mansion. Their parents have disappeared in the bayou a week earlier, and their only living relative, their Uncle Conrad, has been named their guardian. Robin hasn't seen him since she was a baby and has no memory of him whatsoever. Andy has never seen him. He's about to arrive at the Sherwood Estate.

* * * *

In Louisiana, summer wraps around you like molasses. Thick and sticky. July is hot and humid. Always. August is worse. And the summer of 1963 has been a record breaker so far.
This morning, the sky is cloudless. It’s muggy, and there’s no hint of a breeze to blow away the pestering flies or the lingering stench of whatever crawled under the porch and died a few days ago. The rhythmic buzz of locusts fills the air, but it stops suddenly as a deep rumble comes up the road. My heart races as the sound rolls across the terrace and toward the covered veranda where we’re waiting.
There’s an uncertain look in Andy’s eyes when he glances up at me, and his voice is thin as water when he speaks. “He’s coming.”
“It’s going to be all right.” I squeeze my younger brother’s narrow shoulders and give him a reassuring smile while trying to hide my own fear of what’s heading toward us. Since our house is quite a distance from the wrought-iron entrance gates of our estate, we have a minute or so before the car gets here.
Andy stares down the long driveway toward the entrance, waiting and watching. The sound is getting louder. And closer. The locusts have gotten used to it and started buzzing again, their cadence in time with the seconds ticking by. Andy and I stand side by side at the porch railing, waiting to face whatever the future has in store for us.
A white sports car comes into view with a cloud of gravel dust following closely behind it. The morning sun reflects off the polished chrome in a brilliant silver flash. The car continues up the long driveway until it reaches the circle. It makes a slow turn around the big fountain in the center before coming to a stop.
We wait for the driver to emerge, but nothing happens for what seems like a very long time. Finally, the car door opens slowly, and a tall man wearing sunglasses and a serous expression steps out. As we watch, he turns his back on us and removes a couple of bags from inside the car. He’s heading toward the veranda now and getting closer with each step. I force a smile as he walks toward us.
He’s almost to the porch now. As he gets nearer, my smile starts to fade when something confuses me. The sun is reflecting from a strange object at the end of Uncle Conrad’s arm. It looks like metal. Large. Silver. Shiny, like the chrome on his car. What is that thing? As he gets closer, a flurry of horror rushes through me as I realize what it is.
Oh, God!
It’s a claw.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What's your writing style?

The article below originally appeared on this blog in February 2010. I have altered it somewhat to refresh it, but I decided to keep the original twelve comments, since they add some additional insight into writing. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you'll share your writing techniques by leaving a new comment.
I read a post on Cordelia Dinsmore's blog this morning that got me to thinking about how we write. It brought a question to mind, and I figured this would be a good venue to ask it.

The question is simply this: How do you write?

Do you start with a well-developed idea, pencil in a plot line, create character models, outlines, scene-by-scene synopses? Or do you begin with the barest hint of an idea and let the story and the characters develop as you hit the keys? What do you do?

I’ll be the guinea pig on this one. Even if you’re eccentric and quirky, when you read my method, your process won’t seem nearly so weird, I’m sure. At least I don't think it will seem so weird. I guess we'll have to see about that after you make your comment.

When an idea floats into my head from wherever those things originate, I think about it for a couple of days. Sometimes a couple of months. In the case of Lost in the Bayou, it turned out to be over fifty years before I actually got started. But that's an exception, for sure.

During that incubation period, I jot notes while sitting in the McDonald’s drive through, or waking up in the middle of the night. You never know when an idea might sprout in your dark subconscious and push its way into the light of awareness. I figure out what the protagonist wants, and what is preventing her/him from getting it. I come up with a setting that works for the situation my characters are about to find themselves in. I figure out who the rest of the characters are—most of them anyway. And how they're related to my protagonist, or antagonist, and what their individual agendas might be.

After I have a general idea of the plot, I consider which point of view would make the most sense for the writing and provide the reader with the most enjoyment. I sometimes write a few pages in first person and then alter it to third to see how it sounds or what advantage a change in POV might create. I play with the idea for a couple weeks, making notes, figuring things out (somewhat) and then start writing Chapter 1.

Before I write very much, and after I've gotten a better concept of my characters, I switch hats and become a casting director. I figure out the perfect actors for each of the roles I’m creating for the movie that’s going to play out in my head as I write the story. I surf the web for photos of the actors I’m imagining in those roles. I print them out and tape them to the wall beside my computer, with their character names on them, so they can be there ever second of the day as an inspiration. I try to imagine the characters saying the dialogue I’ve written (until I get to the point in the story where they start speaking for themselves and I have to type as fast as possible to keep up with their words. It's surprising sometimes how much they know.)

Sometimes things change—and sometimes it's for the worse. Maybe that brilliant idea for a sub-plot suddenly fizzles when I realize there is no way in the world my protagonist would get into such a ridiculous situation. Or the villain is way too smart to fall into that lame trap. So I have to rethink it. If I’m lucky, an even better solution emerges. If I have written a lot of material when I discover the faux pas, a few, or several, changes may be required. So I head back to Chapter 1, page 1. I typically edit as I write. It is an obsession I am trying to change. It's resisting. As my mentor, Stephen King says (over and over) in 11/22/63, "The past is obdurate."

Eventually, the first draft is completed. I email it to Kinko’s and have a copy printed. Then, I sit on my front porch in the sunshine, drinking my morning coffee from my mug with all the Australian creatures on it (yes, I do know what a bandicoot looks like! Thank you, Trish.) and I start reading while my purple pen scribbles marks all over the pages. Edit mode. I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I constructed a particular sentence and used specific words that could have been so much stronger and exceedingly more visual. I remove all of the unnecessary dialogue tags. It's amazing how many you can do without. And on it goes, until I have an even better version than the original “masterpiece” I thought I had created.

Now, it’s your turn. I want to know how you write. How do you start? What’s do you do? Give us any unique aspects of your writing efforts. Do you listen to music? Do you have a special coffee mug, or a hat you wear when writing? Our readers' mind’s are hungry to know.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Winner Announced has provided the winning number for our Lost in the Bayou giveaway. The lucky winner this time around is


I will be forwarding a copy of Lost in the Bayou to Chaz as well as the $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. What a great way to start the year. Congratulations Chaz! Enjoy.

And thanks to all the others who participated. We will have other contests and prizes coming up soon. So stay tuned.