Friday, April 29, 2011

Getting Down with Your Dark Side

I don't consider myself a bad person, as I'm sure most of us don't, but man do I have a dark sense of humor sometimes.

For those of you who've been following this blog for a while, this may surprise you because I'm generally cheerful and genuinely enjoy things like YA Romance and cute pictures of kitties.

However, I have been known to laugh like a maniac during movies like MACHETE or PLANET TERROR where there is ridiculous, over-the-top blood-and-guts violence. 

I also recently discovered that I love dark thrillers and horror novels.

Does this mean I'm a sicko, and I have to hang up my Nice Girl badge?  Or can I be a nice girl who likes a bit of sex and gore now and again?

These are questions that demand answers!

Should I trade in my pink cashmere sweaters for leather pants like Sandy from Grease?  Or even better yet, should I get an eye patch or machine gun leg??  That would actually be pretty sweet now that I think about it...

I've recently been working on a 2nd Veronica Grim story to go with "No Rest for the Wicked," and I swear, I'm loving getting down with my dark side.  I'm only on page 5, and bodies are piling so high, I can barely see my main character.

And you know what?  I find it sort of liberating.

I think sometimes we have to shake it up, let loose, and wave our freak flags.  Sometimes my inner geek needs to step aside and let my inner Dexter go nuts for a while.

What do you guys think? 

Are there ever times when your dark side surprises you?

Do you feel mixing it up can make you a better writer?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Best Advice, Ever.

Writer Michelle McLean posted this advice on her blog today:

"The only true failure is not trying at all.  Just go for it."

Why are we always afraid to just go for it and give something a try? 

What are we so afraid of?  Failing?

Because by not trying, we've made sure that we fail.  By not trying, we've defeated ourselves before we even start.

So, what the hell? 

Why not take a chance on yourself and have a chance at success? :)

Extra, Extra: Read All About It!

Eyyyy, it's us pissed off tiny newsies here to tell yous guys about what's going on in publishing.  A lot was goings on last week, so let's go through some of the headlines.  Read it, or fagetabawtit.

Amazon Taking Over Our Libraries!  Next: World Domination?! 

Read all about it.  Last week Amazon announced that it will be participating with over 11,000 libraries across the U.S. to create e-book lending programs for Kindle and apps everywhere.  However, there was a bit of controversy because patrons may be able to leave notes in the books, which only they will be able to see when they check it out a second time. 

The problem?  Librarians say it infringes on personal privacy, since records of what patrons check out will have to be kept to make that possible.  You hear that kids?  No more checking out the Kama Sutra:  your local librarian will know your dirty secret and give you her patented Evil Eye.

Agent Warns Against Fine Print:  Hang on to Your Rights!

Read all about it.  Agent Kristin Nelson posted "Not to be a downer on the Friday but a lot of authors are super excited about getting their rights reverted and then being able to digitally publish those titles themselves.  By all means, I’m certainly not opposed but you might want to check that agency agreement you signed before you run out and do that."

Some agencies have something called "in perpetuity" language in their agency contracts which basically states that they get paid forever on your book sales, even if the rights have reverted back to you and you self-publish. 

You read correctly.  Even if you paid the agent their 15% on the traditional publishing book deal and for all those print and e-sales, when your rights revert back, you get to pay them all over again until the end of time on every e-copy you sell. 

Kristin is an awesome agent whose agency (Nelson Agency) never uses this language.  She's just warning writers to beware of the fine print!  Thank you, Kristin!

Royalty Statements Gone Wild:  Do YOU Know Where Your Money Is?

Read all about it.  This blog post by author Kristin Kathryn Rusch stirred the pot AND rocked the boat simultaneously last week when she called out that not only were her royalty statements fishy, but when she compared her e-book numbers as reported by her publishers and the numbers reported by Bookscan and various retailers, they were straight up wrong.

She and other writers looked into their statements, and the general word is that she was not alone.  Many have written to their writers organizations and are currently auditing their publishing house's records.  It doesn't seem like it's intentional, but it seems like e-book sales are being underreported by a huge margin. 

Kristin urges authors to CHECK THEIR STATEMENTS, do the math, and make sure everything is stacking up.  E-books are changing the way that publishing houses have to keep their records, and the old formulas may not be working. 

Becca Knight Jumps the Gun:  Gets Overly Excited, Starts Contest Too Soon!

Heh heh.  Welp. 

I told you last week that when I have a new project I get *SUPER* excited about it, and, yes, sometimes I go a little nuts ;). 

Remember when I started this contest last week for the launch of my short stories?  Well, it's only my second week back blogging, and of course folks are still trickling back in, realizing that I'm back in action, etc, so no one is playing.

I definitely jumped the gun :P.  But can you blame me for being enthusiastic?  You can? 


The contest will be back when I am finally ready to launch the real deal:  LEGACY OF THE EMPRESSThere will be partying in the streets, a bigger giveaway, free copies for reviewers, and fun times shall be had!

Until then, the short story contest is postponed.

However, I did upload new cover art, which you can check out HERE.

Also, please let me know either through the comments or email if you'd like a free copy of either one to review on your blog or to review on Amazon! :)  I'd love to hook you up!

That's it for the news this time--what do you guys think of what's going on in the world of publishing?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, Friends!!

In honor of Easter weekend, I'm going to take a break from serious posts about helpful or interesting things, and instead intersperse terrible jokes in between adorable pictures of bunnies.


Let's begin..

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

D'awwww... lookit those bunnies :3
 A writer comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is--”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”

Even if this bunny ate all of my chocolate, I don't think I could stay mad at it.
 A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  Whether you celebrate delicious, chocolatey Easter, or celebrate ressurectiony Easter, I hope you have fun with family and friends.

And while you're doing that, I'll be eating the ears off your choco rabbits...


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tell-the-Truth Thursday!

This is a tradition that I shamelessly stole from the lovely Lisa & Laura Roeker over at Lisa & Laura Write.  These gals are some of my favorite people because of their hilarious blogging, and now they even have a book out!  (Check out The Liar Society  if you need a good YA read.  I have yet to buy it, but this will be remedied shortly!)

ANYWHO, once per week, it's time to spill.

'Fess up.

Air the dirty laundry.

That's right.... it's time to Tell the Truth!

Here are my truths this Thursday:

1.  When I have a new project, I lose my freaking mind.  If you doubt me on this one, ask my poor, eternally patient husband.  This past weekend I was working feverishly on my short stories, and realized I was slipping into old habits of going bat tits insane whenever I have a project I'm excited about.  When I'm like this I have two speeds:  Cracked Out and Asleep.  I don't have time for silly things like "food" or "not working on stuff" because I can eat and not work on stuff when I'm dead, RIGHT GUYS.  Oh...wait...

Apparently, that whole "balance in all things" mantra requires a little practice ;).

2.  I love pork rindsI recently discovered low-carb dieting this year while losing a few pounderoos, but this means I also discovered the sweet siren song of Los Chicarrones, the most delicious way to eat pork fat since bacon.  And you don't even have to cook it!  You can just shovel them into your mouth while watching Biggest Loser, or dip them in cream cheese while writing.  Yes, I know this makes me a redneck. 

But if loving pork rinds is wrong, I don't want to be right!

3.  I have a total crush on Peter DinklageWho is Peter Dinklage, you may be asking.  Well not only was his the super famous author dude in the movie Elf, but he is also playing Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series, Game of Thrones.  I mean, okay, he may not be the best choice for me, since he's 4'5", and I'm 5'9", but if he ever leaves his wife and my husband gets hit by a bus or something, he should totally call me. 

Maybe it's just because I *LOVE* the Song of Ice and Fire series written by George R. R. Martin, so maybe I'm transferring some love his way after watching that show.  Still, Peter, if you're reading this?  You're muy caliente. (like a spicy porkrind)

So, gentle readers, what are YOUR truths this Thursday?

Stealth edit:  I just googled "Peter Dinklage is" and HOT was one of the first things to come up.  HA!  Vindicated.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Giveaway Contest: Celebrating Two Short Stories Available Now!

This contest is currently postponed.  For more details, see the bottom of This Post.  Thanks, All! :)





Today is a very special day, and I'm celebrating with a very special BOOK GIVEAWAY for one lucky reader!

What is the occasion, you ask?  Well, let me tell you.  It's a Rebecca Knight FIRST.  A milestone!

Today is the day that two of my short stories are available on Amazon and Smashwords for purchase--I am out there, baby!

The first short story is WRITE OR DIE, a quirky fun ghost story that poses the question "what if you need to get a life, but you're already dead?  The short story follows a writer through her last days on earth and beyond, poking fun at how seriously we can all take ourselves. Is letting life pass her by truly worth it now that she's stuck in a limbo of her own making?.  

The second, NO REST FOR THE WICKED, answers the question "when monsters go bump in the night, who bumps back?"

Veronica Grim is out to do one thing: complete the mission by any means necessary and take out the villain. However, this time, fairy tales are real, and the villain may be more than she bargained for.  This story is a fast, grisly thrill ride based on a Grimm's fairy tale.

They are both only $0.99!  Together, cheaper than the energy drink I have this morning :).

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

What about the contest already???

I am e giving away three gently read, AWESOME works of fiction to one lucky winner:  SOULLESS by Gail Carriger, along with WAKE and FADE by Lisa McMann!! (see pic at the beginning of this post.)

There are several ways to enter this contest and increase your chances to WIN!

You get entries for the following:

  • Buy a story!  -5 entries
  • Buy BOTH stories! -15 entries
  • Write a review on Amazon or Smashwords -5 entries
  • Tweet this contest -1 entry each time
  • Link this contest on Facebook -1 entry each time
  • Post about this contest on your blog -5 entries
Leave a comment after this post with what you've done, and links to any reviews, and I'll tally them all up! :)

This contest will end CINCO DE MAYO (May 5th), so good luck, and have fun!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekend Reading: HOUSE OF SKIN by Kiana Davenport

Recently, I've been haunting author J. A. Konrath's blog, and I came across a lovely new author totally by accident.

Everyone needs to read this moving story about how she went from the absolute blackest depths of depression to starting a new writing career.  J. A. shared an email he received from her telling her story, and asked the readers of his blog to please purchase her collection of short stories, because, in his own words, she's a better writer than he is.

I took a $1.99 gamble on her, and let me tell you, that dude wasn't messing around.  I devoured the first two stories during my lunch break at work and they are both breathtakingly beautiful and chillingly sad.  They are the kind of stories that make your heart ache, but it's a sweet ache... the kind that makes you sit back in your chair and sigh after you read the last sentence.  I'm SO glad I picked this up.

This is not fluffy reading, but the stories are wonderfully crafted--absolutely gorgeous, lush language on every page.

If you pick up one book to support a writer for this weekend, please download Kiana Davenport's HOUSE OF SKIN.

Also, for those of you who don't have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle app for your PC here, or download the free app for your iphone.

Happy Reading!


Note:  I'd love to start recommending great reads on a weekly basis, but I'd also be delighted to hear from you guys! :)  What books do you love to read?  Also, if you'd like to do a guest post recommending something, please email me at rebeccaknightbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Self Publishing: Why I Changed My Mind

AKA, "Is she nuts or what?" ;)

I'll admit it. 

I used to think "self publishing" was a dirty phrase.  It conjured up images of people who got suckered into buying a few thousand dollars worth of books from a vanity "publisher" and then ended up trying to sell them out of the trunk of their cars.  I did not want to be one of those people.

Money should flow toward the author, not away from it, and I'd never heard of anyone making money with a vanity press except the presses themselves.

Recently, I learned that self publishing is not what I thought it was.  True self, or Indie Publishing, has recently been made possible by the explosion of products like the Nook, Kindle, and Sony e-readers.  Hell, even by the iphone!  Authors can upload their books and sell them directly, often receiving 70% royalties with no up front costs.


Why did I not know about this?  How did I not get that the e-book explosion has officially changed the power dynamic for authors?

Honestly, while I was writing and editing and learning all about the publishing industry, the publishing industry was changing around me.

Today is a brand new day, and the world of publishing is a brand new world :).  E-sales are dominating in a way they never have before, and I'm helping them by downloading fistfulls of books to my iphone, even though I swore I'd never enjoy digital as much as print.

Hell, I bought a Nook this winter.  And I *love* it.

Before making my decision to have a go as an Indie Publisher, I did some research, and it was hearing from these authors and bloggers that really made me do my 180. 

Author J.A. Konrath is a huge advocate of indie publishing, and has basically made a total killing off it, as opposed to going with a traditional/legacy publisher.  Check out this amazing, in-depth conversation he had on his blog with author Barry Eisler about Barry's decision to turn down $500,000 to self publish.  It's a lengthy read, but FULL of incredible information.  Worth it, for sure.

They both give straight talking sales numbers, and even answer commenter questions in this second blog discussion.  There are even graphs...... I love graphs!

Then I thought "Pfffffft, maybe this is only a viable option for fancy, luckypants writers.  I wonder if there are any folks in the comments section who are regular Joe Authors with similar experiences." 

Turns out, there were!  There were plenty.

For example, Sarra Cannon decided to self publish her YA series a mere five months ago and has already sold 13,000 copies and counting.  13,000.  If she's selling her books at $2.99 for the Kindle, she gets a 70% royalty.  Logically, this means she could have made $27,209 in five months.  All on her own.  As a newbie author.  (Disclaimer--I have no idea about the money she's made, I just know she published 5 months ago and sold that many books.  I am just making a point that a total newb has already sold more books than many a debut author could dream of selling.) 

Publicist and wife of successful author Michael J. Sullivan, Robin Sullivan has a blog post comparing two mid-list genre authors, one who was published by a legacy publisher, and one who chose to self publish.  There are charts there, too.  Sweet, sweet charts.

In a nutshell, she discovered that the traditionally published author with several books out wasn't quite making a living wage, while the self published author quickly went from $800/mo to $12,000/mo with sales holding steady.  They both have comparable books and backlists, yet one is living the writer's dream.  He got to quit his day job.

I don't plan on striking it rich, and I definitely don't want to be famous.  All I've ever wanted out of my writing career is to be able to stay at home and be a Full Time Writer.  Oh, and not starve while doing so ;).

It seems to me that indie publishing my work is the most practical way to accomplish that goal.  And how cool is that?  Now, I can rely on my own hard work for my success, which is something I'm very comfortable with.

I'm gambling on myself... and it feels great.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some Exciting News!

As promised, I'd like to share some exciting news with you today :)!

Some of you may remember when the kindle first came out, and I blogged about the end of physical books as we know it.  Well, thankfully, the hardcover isn't going anywhere soon, BUT new opportunities have opened up for the aspiring author as far as e-publishing goes.

I'm sure by now everyone's heard of Amanda Hocking, the 26 year old author who self published her YA Trylle Trilogy on Amazon, sold 450,000 e-copies, and just signed a $2 million book deal with Random House.  This definitely got me thinking--she may be a stand out, but what is the downside to publishing your own e-books?  IS there a downside?

The publishing industry is rapidly changing with the new impulse-buy-ability of e-books.  Now, self publishing doesn't have to be a dirty word.  A writer's options are no longer limited to either a traditional publishing contract, or paying a vanity press to print books that will never see the light of day.

The e-book train is moving down the tracks, not just for the one-off success stories like Amanda Hocking, but some established authors are opting for self publishing when it comes to their e-releases, because they take control of the profits.  When authors are already doing their own promotional work, suddenly releasing an e-book starts to make sense.

For those of you who read my blog before I took my break, you know I am not a pie-in-the-sky type person, but rather a work hard, practical person.  E-publishing my book that isn't a popular genre right now is speaking to my logical side (high fantasy hasn't been sellable for awhile in lieu of more contemporary fantasy, even though it has its niche).

After a lot of research and debate, I've decided to self-publish Legacy of the Empress as an e-book.  I see it as gambling on myself--I don't pay anything out of pocket, and I stick to the same marketing plan as if I had a physical book coming out.  I'd always planned to do the legwork myself, so putting my own book out there seems like an ideal plan :).  I believe in this book whole heartedly, so why not put it out there?

So there you have it:  I have an artist cooking up a fantastic cover for me right now, and I'm getting ready to launch this mofo.  More info to come!

What are your thoughts?  How do you look at e-publishing versus traditional publishing?  Have you ever impulse bought a low-priced e-book?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I'm BACK, Baby!

After many months away, I'm back, baby...

And I'm ready to do more than just blog.

This past year I took some much needed time to figure out what it was I really wanted.  I spent time relaxing, spent time with my husband, hanging out and reconnecting, and spent time doing something other than writing.

What?! you say?  I know!

I didn't worry about writing for several months.  And strangely enough, I think I'm a better writer and artist for it.  I burned out.

One of my main problems, and also main strengths, is that when I believe in something, I go full out.  I go balls-to-the-walls crazy trying to make it happen.  That's what happened with my writing:  I was so focused on where I wanted to end up, I wasn't paying attention to the moments I was letting pass me by.  I stressed myself out to the point where it wasn't fun anymore.

And isn't that the whole point?  Don't writers write because they love it?

Since I didn't love it anymore, I took a break.  I painted, I sculpted, I watched TV... and most importantly, I learned to cut myself some slack.

I've come to a lot of realizations this year, and have actually made an exciting decision ;).  More on that as the week progresses, but I wanted to check in now and say that I, Becca Knight, am BACK.

I love blogging, I love writing, and I'm ready to do it all over again.  This time, with balance.

Let me ask you:  how have YOU been, readers?  :)  It's good to be back!