Guest post from Leigh Lane

I’m so happy to have Leigh Lane here with me today… as she talks “Why Poe?”

Why Poe?

byLeigh M. Lane

Edgar Allan Poe is to Gothic romance/horror what Stephen King is to the supernatural thriller.  I very affectionately refer to the former as the Master and the latter as the King.  While neither was the first to tackle his genre, he was/is, without question, the best in his class.

When the idea first hit me to write a Gothic horror tribute to Poe, the first thing I did was search the Internet to see if others had already tackled the idea.  In my research, I found two noteworthy bits of information:

1. While there are many works about Poe and his writing, most of what is out there revolves mainly around a handful of his most famous short stories and poems.  Most people think of “The Raven” when they think of Poe—but many have no idea that he was just as famous for his deductive/detective stories such as “The Purloined Letter,” “The Gold Bug,” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (which were the inspiration behind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories).  Moreover, most people have no idea just how prolific he was.

2. The most common tribute to Poe seems to revolve around attempts at finishing his final (unfinished) work, “The Lighthouse,” which I feel does little justice to him or his work.  No one but Poe himself should have finished the short story, and I personally believe that others’ attempts to do so undermine the integrity of his work.  “The Lighthouse” was a first draft that barely got to page three, and what he left behind would have likely been redrafted, had Poe the chance to finish the story.  To use that unfinished (very rough) draft as the beginning of another author’s endeavor does no one any favors.

Finding Poe was a labor of love for me.  It was emotionally draining to write, but I knew in my heart that this was a work that needed to be done.  For two straight months, I abandoned myself to the muses, adopting Poe’s voice so the feel was just right, that I might write a something completely original, while also working as a comprehensive tribute.  It was one of the most difficult works I’ve written, and at times I needed to step away from the computer to decompress or allow my mind to wander from the creepiness I had just relayed.  At times, it was hell—yet also somehow thoroughly satisfying.  I’ve never been so relieved to finish a novel, and yet I long for a similar writing experience in the future.

Why Poe?  Because his soul—his muses—needed resurrection.  Because he was more than just “The Raven” and three pages of “The Lighthouse.”  Because he was and still is the Master of Gothic romance/horror.

About the author:

Leigh M. Lanelives in the beautiful mountains ofMontana. She writes dark speculative fiction that often contains strong social and political commentary.  Her novels span billions of years of science fantasy and historical thriller past to just decades into a dystopian future, while her shorter works offer readers a taste of her fast-paced and unique prose.

Leigh is very active on Facebook and has an author page devoted to her books.  Readers can also check out her website or visit her author page at Amazon.

Click here to read an excerpt from Finding Poe.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Some guest posts for If Errands Could Kill

I’ve been traveling the internet lately… promoting If Errands Could Kill.

Check out these posts/interviews:

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The mystery of suspense

I think they work together…

Suspense and mystery.

We try to find out who did what to whom and why, but within that, we need a swirl of possibilities and events to make that final scene all come together.

Building suspense can be fun, but also a pain in the you-know-what.

In the first Minivan Mom Mystery book, I had a few key scenes in mind from the second I sat down at the keyboard.  I had this idea for a black car to play throughout the book.  It was actually easy to write the suspense scenes because in the first book, Eve’s life was in danger.  I entered her into the story more directly than she is in the second book.  In the second book I feared falling into a trap where it’s like reading the same book but with a different scenario.  They key of course is the murder… someone dies in the second book.  Unlike the first one, Eve doesn’t know the person murdered, but something about the scene just bothers her.  She can’t get it out of her mind… and it’s not just because the murder happened on her street.

From there, I found myself thinking of what makes up suspense.  It’s those little moments in the story that could go either way.  The moments where Eve is questioning something and you, as the reader, are right along side with her, questioning it too.

The second book was not as easy to write as the first because I kept going back to the first book to see what I did and when I did it because I refuse to have the Minivan Mom Mystery Series become the same story regurgitated.  I want what the readers want… the same character (Eve Bailey) in a new story.

The good part here is that I think the second book a few extra twists and turns and a few more suspenseful yet subtle scenes that will keep you clicking and reading.

But think about it… the mystery of suspense.  They work together, they work separate, but sometimes, they can be very tricky to handle.

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A couple writing articles

I found two very cool links… writing advice from Steinbeck and Orwell…

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Within the Walls (part one) – FREE

To show my thanks for all the love of horror I have received, I decided to make Within the Walls (part one) as a freebie today… that’s today only… so hurry, click and download!  Oh, and when you’re done, be sure to leave a review.

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A win for the indies

I’m not one to get in the mix of controversy… but in the past month, there has been a huge uproar about the changes that PayPal had made to their TOS.  Primarily, it dealt with certain subjects that were often explored in the erotica genre.

I’m not here to debate what should and shouldn’t be published, but the notion of a single company refusing something was quite scary.  I hovered on the sidelines and watched the battle ensue because that’s where I felt most comfortable.  The initial idea of banning certain subjects started to spark the notion of “what-ifs”… what if they refuse certain types of horror?  What if they determine that certain murders in books aren’t allowed?  Etc…etc…

Through the efforts of Mark and Smashwords, along with an amazing group of authors and readers, it seems the decision has been reversed.  Again, while some may not agree with the content, the important to remember here is that free speech should not be taken away… if you don’t want to read it, then don’t.

The same goes for any genre… some people don’t like blood and guts just like some people don’t like romance.

So I’d like to extend a big congrats to the indie community and those who stood up to fight and make their voices be heard.

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If Errands Could Kill… in sales…

I cannot express how thankful I am for anyone who clicks here on this blog, my other blog, my Twitter, my Facebook, or just happens to see my name or book on Amazon and goes for a copy.

This past weekend had been my personal best sales weekend ever in a single weekend.  On a personal note, I needed it because this weekend saw so many changes that it was a little emotional for me.

I attribute the Select program for the boost but then again, without the readers (YOU!) clicking to buy, I’d have nothing to show for myself.

I will say this though… those who aren’t sure about Select, do your homework.  It’s not guaranteed at all and it’s an exclusive contract with lots of things to read to ensure you don’t break that contract.  We have TONS of books on Barnes & Noble that made a home for themselves and the Nook readers have been great.  With If Errands Could Kill, we decided to run this series strictly through Amazon.  We wanted to try something new, test the waters, and see what’s out there.

Part of this business is luck.  Part of it is skill.  Part of it is risk.

The trick is to find the perfect balance between the three.

Have I perfected that balance?

NOPE.  But I feel I’m getting damn close.

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My first day with Select, and Free

Well now, it’s been a fun ride in the past 24 hours.

I put If Errands Could Kill as a free book yesterday and the response was amazing.  I saw four digit downloads, was in the Top 5 in Women’s Sleuths and came oh-so darn close to breaking the Top 100 in the Kindle Store.

I’m waiting right now for all the rankings, etc. to reset themselves and see what happens with the sales of the book, but either way, I feel it was a success for a couple reasons…

First off, this is a series.  I’m fine right now with the free books being downloaded because if I’ve done my job, those readers will hopefully be back for the second book (which is due for April!).

So I have quite a bit of people hopefully reading and enjoying Eve Bailey.  In the back of the book, I have an email address I made JUST for my mystery books for my readers to keep in touch with me.

The next reason I feel this was a success is because I still have 4 more free days to use.  I’m still reading and figuring out the best strategy with Select, but I know that I have a little freedom with my days for when the second book comes out.

And for the record, behind the second book comes the third book… and even a fourth one.  I’m not just looking at this series as a “new thing that’s out” but rather “a growing series that you all need to read and get hooked on”.

I’ll report some more figures come Monday morning to see how the post-free sales go.

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We’re coming back…

So, I’ve been having fun on my other blog… creating days like Chocolate Milk Tuesday and Pink Floyd Wednesday, but I still want to talk about writing… I have to because I’m a writer.

And over there, things get a little crazy… mixed in, mixed up, etc., so I figured why not jump back here and talk about books and writing.

Let’s start with a great post I read today by Tonya Kappes… she’s now a “hybrid author” which means she uses elements of both traditional and indie publishing.  Last year there was a huge battle between indie and trad publishing.  I’m sure that battle is still raging on right now BUT publishers are seeing the potential in having someone build the basic steps beforehand.  I think it’s great.

Some people will always be indie and some will always be trad… and that’s okay.  The balance works, and frankly, who cares?  I don’t view any more or less if you go for an agent or work at it yourself… OR if you work at it yourself, then sign with an agent.

Look at what Amanda Hocking did… look at the John Locke did… but then again, look at Joe Konrath.  I’m sure he could have a big ‘ol deal right now, but he sticks with Amazon.  All three of those writers took their own paths, make them successful, and I commend them.

As you for, or me, we need to keep at what we’re doing and honestly, I think we all need to keep our eyes open.  Let all the roads open and instead of walking past them or around them, let’s walk along side them.  Why?  Because you never know when one of those open roads is going to serve you better, or best.

Read Tonya’s post here:

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Shifting gears, and sites…

To kick off the new year I’m condensing my blogs.  I started this as a business side blog while I had a personal blog.

Frankly, the business side of things gets a little repetitive… so I’m merging the blogs.

My “new” “main” blog will be here:  I invite you to join me there where I’ll be posting like I do here but it’ll also have stuff about what I’m reading, listening to, watching… my personal thoughts on life, quotes, Tweets, and my link roll to some pretty cool sites.

It’s personal with a touch of business.

To those who won’t follow me over there, I understand, and the only part of this business that matters is WRITING.  You can read blogs all day long but at the end of the day you won’t have the word count needed to publish and make money.

Find your own path and follow it until it ends.

A year ago I sat at a computer confused with nothing to show for myself.

Today we have 45 titles published with 10 more being prepared for January 2012.  We’ve cross the “thousands” mark in sales figures and have seen steady growth since September. We have NO secret to anything… some people have grown faster than us, some haven’t.  The one thing we’ve done is simple:  WRITE.  The writers we work with WRITE.  I myself WRITE.  Our team WRITES WRITES WRITES.  It’s what we do and it works.

This will be the last post on this blog, so if you don’t follow me to my new blog, save this post and read it.  WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE WRITE

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