Indie Summer Q&A with Kelly Walker

Indie Summer Q&A with Kelly Walker

Q&A

For today’s Indie Summer Feature, please welcome Kelly Walker to Parajunkee’s View.

Kelly WalkerBook Name: Cornerstone
Release Date: 10/01/2012
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My favorite indulgences are chocolate and books. I’ll read anything with a romantic thread. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and our lovestory rivals that of a lot of the NA contemporary romances that are currently all the rage. I think that might be why I like them so much.

When I’m not reading or writing, I’m taking care of a 5 adopted animals and our 2 kids (who aren’t adopted.)

In your own words, tell us a little bit about your book?
Cornerstone is the story of a medieval heroine who goes to great lengths to protect her family, and her land. Her story is a journey of learning who she can trust, and who she can love, as well as one of learning to pick up the pieces when confronted with harsh truths.

Can you tell us about the characters in your book? Who is your favorite?
I guess my favorite would have to be Riya. Sometimes I want to bash her upside the head because of the choices she makes, but ultimately, it was her story that captivated me and begged me to start writing Cornerstone in the first place. Emariya (Riya) is 17, beautiful, and stubborn to a fault. Her mother died when she was an infant, her father is missing, and her brother has strong opinions about what is acceptable behavior for a leaders daughter/sister, that don’t always mesh with her own.

Reeve is Riya’s brother, and he’s uptight, and overbearing, but ultimately he is striving to do what’s right to honor his people and his mother’s memory. He still remembers the day their mother died and it haunts him.

SOTSice1Torian is the prince of a foreign land, and Riya becomes betrothed to him. Riya isn’t quite sure what type of person he is, and I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it at that.

Riya is often accompanied by Garith, her childhood best friend who loves her even though he can never have her, and Jessa, her handmaiden. Riya does her best not to encourage Garith’s affections, because she doesn’t love him the way he loves her, and she also does her best not to treat Jessa as beneath her, even though she technically is. Jessa herself has very strong opinions of right and wrong, and she’s more than willing to try her best to keep Riya moving in the right direction.

What makes your book different from other books out there in the same genre?
Cornerstone is unique in that it is told with many of the factors of epic fantasy such as extensive world building, a unique magic system, and a Hero’s quest, but it’s told from a YA voice and perspective. Try to imagine that Game of Thrones meets Twilight, and you’ll have Cornerstone.

What led to you going “indie”?
I am not a patient person, and I’m a bit of a control freak.

I just hate the thought of waiting two years to get a book out, when my editor and I together can get one out in less than three months. I like being able to have the final say on story and cover art, and while I would entertain traditional offers, it would take a lot of concessions on a traditional publisher’s part to tempt me.

Is Writing your full time profession?
I write full time during the school year while the kids are in school, and part time during the summer, so yes-ish.

Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
When I’m writing, I need noise, but not distraction. I cannot write while the kids are running around being kids, or the television is on. I like music, but I get caught up in singing along ( badly) and then I don’t remember what words I was trying to write. I’ve found that I write best to Epic Soundtracks radio on Pandora.

Kelly WalkerWho are some of your favorite authors?
Elle Casey, H.M. Ward, Jennifer Armentrout to name a few.

What are you reading now?
I’m reading the Drakon series by Shana Abe, and I’m also reading Graceling.

What advice can you give to struggling writers?
Figuring out why you’re struggling, first and foremost.

If you’re struggling to write the story, there is probably an underlying reason why. Maybe you’re trying to force the plot, or you’re missing a character that hasn’t introduced themselves to you yet. Consider finding a critique group who can be an extra pair of eyes. You’ll learn as much about writing from critiquing others as you will from receiving critiques.

If you’re struggling to publish, then you need to think long and hard about why you want to publish, what your goals are, and what would make you feel satisfied. Once you’ve decided that, try to objectively evaluate whether or not the various paths to publishing would meet your needs, or not. Do your research, and go into it with both eyes open.

If you’ve decided to self publish, or you want to be a hybrid author, and you’re struggling with the details of publishing and marketing, I would recommend you visit the Writer’s Cafe on Kboards. You’ll find some of the smartest industry people you’ll ever meet.

Find out more about Kelly Walker and Cornerstone here:
Amazon Goodreads Author Web Twitter

IMAG02611 Kelly Walker is a YA and NA author of several romantic titles, including the Souls of the Stones series. She has an unhealthy appreciation for chocolate, and a soft spot for rescued animals. Her best lessons on writing came from a lifetime of reading. She loves the fantastical, and the magical, and believes a captivating romance can be the most realistic magic of all. Kelly, her husband and her two children share their Virginia home with three dogs who walk her, and two cats who permit her to occasionally share their couch.

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Creating Progress Bars for your Reading Challenge

Creating Progress Bars for your Reading Challenge

This post had been previously published in 2011, but because of the Worpdress change-over it had issues in formatting and I had moved it to a draft. Since I needed this tutorial myself, I figured you guys might like to check it out also. News section & questions of the week are new. So, please welcome back…The Book Vixen:
Today for BB101 I would like to welcome The Book Vixen…she has kindly offered to teach everyone how to do the progress bars. Give a warm welcome to one of my favorite fellow book bloggers…and if you don’t follower her already, her blog is quite a treat, you should go over and check it out.

The Book Vixen

One of the questions I get asked a lot is How did you get the progress bars for your reading challenges? Well, Iím here today to show you how to do just that. I’m going to walk you through the process, step-by-step. You do not have to be a HTML expert (I for one am not) but youíll need to be able to decipher some of the code, which I am going to help you do in this tutorial.

Decide – Image or no Image?

There are two ways you can do this: (1) you can include an image (usually the reading challenge button) or (2) you can just use the name of the reading challenge instead of using an image. Why would you choose one way over another? Well, if youíre only participating in just a few reading challenges, then I would include an image. Iím a visual person myself so I like to see pictures. However, if you are like me and have gone a little crazy with reading challenges and have signed up for *cough*13*cough* of them, then you won’t want to bog down your sidebar with lots of images. In that case, I would recommend you either create a page for your reading challenges (if you want to use the images) or list them in your sidebar without the images.

Start with One of These Codes

Copy this code if you want to use an image:

<a href=”URL TO READING CHALLENGE POST“><img title=”NAME OF READING CHALLENGE” src=”IMAGE URL” width=”190″ /></a>
<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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Copy this code if you do NOT want to use an image:

<a href=”URL TO READING CHALLENGE POST“>NAME OF READING CHALLENGE</a> 
<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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Paste the code somewhere where you can work with it – in Word, Notepad or in a Blogger Widget. Anywhere. You’ll be making some changes to the code before you’ll be able to use it.

Customizing the Code

Before I break down the code, let me explain a few things. Some reading challenge hosts will include a button that you can grab — meaning they have provided the code for the image and link (to the sign up page on their blog) for you to copy and paste into your own blog post. I always use this for my reading challenge post but I do not use it for my sidebars. Why? Well, because in my sidebar, I want to link to MY post, not the sign up post.

Let’s break down the code for the image and link part first. (We’ll focus on the code for the actual progress bar a little later in this post):

<a href=”URL TO READING CHALLENGE POST><img title=”NAME OF READING CHALLENGE” src=”IMAGE URL” width=”190″ /></a>
<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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  • URL TO READING CHALLENGE POST” – this is going to be the link to your reading challenge post – the post where you are going to list the books you’ve read for the reading challenge. Don’t forget the http:// and don’t forget the quotation marks at the beginning and end of the link. My URL looks like this: http://www.thebookvixen.com/2010/11/reading-challenge-men-in-uniform.html
  • NAME OF READING CHALLENGE” – this is simply going to be the name of the reading challenge. Don’t forget the quotation marks. Mine look like this: “2011 Men in Uniform Reading Challenge”
  • IMAGE URL this is the link to the image. If the reading challenge host didn’t provide the link to the reading challenge button in their sign up post, you will have to upload the picture somewhere like Photobucket, Picasa, Flickr or some other photo uploading site. Once you upload the image, grab the code. Don’t forget the http:// and don’t forget the quotation marks at the beginning and end of the link. I uploaded my image to Picasa and my IMAGE URL looks like this: “http://lh3.ggpht.com/_TayA8XRqTEM/TPZdRMW0pJI/AAAAAAAACSc/5xOpsH1YgTs/s800/MenInUniform.jpg”

Here is what the code for my reading challenge looks like in its complete form:

<a href=”http://www.thebookvixen.com/2010/11/reading-challenge-men-in-uniform.html><img title=”2011 Men in Uniform Reading Challenge” src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/_TayA8XRqTEM/TPZdRMW0pJI/AAAAAAAACSc/5xOpsH1YgTs/s800/MenInUniform.jpg” width=”190″ ></a>
<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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Changing the Color of the Progress Bar

You canít tell right now because your progress bar is set to zero but once you update it you will see the coloring. Mine is set to green and since you copied the code in this tutorial, yours will be green too. So let me explain how to change that.

You will need to use RGB color codes to create the color you want. You can use this RGB Color Wheel to find a color you like and get the RGB color codes you need. When using this site, you will need the numbers for R, G and B. Ignore everything else (ignore the H, S, V and the # numbers).

If you know the HTML color code for the color you wish to use, you can convert that to the RGB color code using this easy converter site.

Once you decide what color you want the ‘progress’ part of your bar to be, change the color code you see here:

<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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137, 197, 96 is the RGB color code for the green that I use. Enter the RGB color code for the color you want in that spot. Note: there is a SPACE between the COMMA and the next number.

For example, if I want it to be red, I would use color code 255, 0, 0 and it will look like this:

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If I want it to be blue, I would use color code 0, 0, 255 and it will look like this:

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How to Update your Progress Bar

Once you start reading some books for your reading challenge, you’re going to want to update your progress bar. There are two things you need to change in order to update your progress bar: (1) the width of the progress bar that shows how much of the reading challenge you have completed and (2) the number of books you’ve read so far. Here is how the code will look before you make your changes:

<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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Let’s say for example that you’ve read 2 out of 12 books for the reading challenge. For the width, change the 0% to 17% (2 divided by 12 is 17 – rounded up). If you look at the code closely, you’ll notice that there are TWO width’s. Be sure you change the width that has the percentage sign, not the one that has “px” after the number. Then change the number of books from 0/12 to 2/12. Here is how the code should look after you have made your changes:

<div style=”width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 17%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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This is how it will look:

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How to Center Your Progress Bar

If you’re sidebars are already centered, then you don’t need to read this section.

Centering is a little tricky. If you try to just stick the center tags at the beginning and at the end of the code, it will also center the coloring in your progress bar and it will look like this:

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You don’t want the coloring in the progress bar centered. So in addition to the center tags, you will need to add text-align: left; as show here:

<center><a href=”http://www.thebookvixen.com/2010/11/reading-challenge-ya-of-80s-and-90s.html”><img title=”2011 Men in Uniform Reading Challenge” src=”http://lh3.ggpht.com/_TayA8XRqTEM/TPZdRMW0pJI/AAAAAAAACSc/5xOpsH1YgTs/s800/MenInUniform.jpg” ></a>
<div style=” text-align: left; width: 185px; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(255, 255, 255); border: 1px solid rgb(0, 0, 0);”><div style=”width: 0%; height: 15px; background: none repeat scroll 0% 0% rgb(137, 197, 96); font-size: 8px; line-height: 8px;”></div></div>
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So there you have it. That’s how to get a progress bar for your reading challenge. I hope it wasn’t too confusing. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments.

Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger Tips

Question of the Week

If I were to do an excerpt or an interview with one of the characters, would I need permission? – Sasha

Hey Sasha, for excerpts longer then a paragraph, yes you do have to ask permission before posting. This falls under the “fair use” rules and regulations and anything more then just a critique of the work is considered copyright infringement. Authors wouldn’t like it if you had unauthorized chapters on your blog and excerpts can be anything from a few paragraphs to whole chapters. It all depends on length. As far as character interviews, if you are using your own “creative” process to answer as the character would answer, you are in the clear. This would fall within the guidelines of fan-fiction.
Parajunkee, Urban Fantasy, Blogger Tips

Book Blogger News

Hillary Duff be damned!
Hillary Duff is not the only Disney TV Series Star to land a fiction book deal. Why write an auto-biography when you can make the big bucks with a Paranormal Romance!! Bella Thorne, the 15 year old, that is the star of Disney’s Shake it Up has made a deal with Delacorte to publish a YA Paranormal series, title AUTUMN FALLS. About a girl that unexpected falls into MAGIC and comes up with a sparkly vampire. Sorry, that last part was me emoting on the story.  {source}

Let’s Share
Avon Romance launched a “Share Your Book” section of their website, where would-be published authors can share excerpts of their books and get critiques and “love” from readers and even Avon editors. This sounds promising especially if your dream is to be published through Avon. And now Avon just has to look around and see who gets the most hits and then scoop them up like a BOSS!
Write for Prada
I’ve always wanted to write for Prada? Um okay. The “internationally well-known” fashion megalith has decided to set it’s sights on writers. Their goal it would seem, is to sponsor a writing contest to promote “careful development of the artistic ‘languages…'” They are asking for submissions of short stories 10 to 20 pages. They even have specifications of what font to use when submitting your story. I don’t know about you, but they kind of freak me out. But, I guess it would be a good way to get your awesomeness out there.

Happy Thursday. Talk Less. Read More. Blog with Integrity.

Have a question? Fill out the form by clicking here. This will go into a spreadsheet to be looked over at a later date and hopefully answered on this blog. This is completely anonymous, you do not have to leave your real name. Urls will not be included in your question unless it pertains to the question.
Book Blogging 101: A Critique or Mean Comment?

Book Blogging 101: A Critique or Mean Comment?

When I decided to begin blogging I knew that I would be putting myself out there. I post pieces of myself for everyone to see and it allows people to comment on my thoughts. They can choose to not comment, or the can choose to comment positively or negatively. It is what blogging intrinsically is, a way to share yourself and interact with others that get to view those pieces.

[pullquote align=”right”]Mean Spirited Comments or Critiques Have Bite.[/pullquote]No matter how many followers you have, if you just have a handful, or a horde you should be receiving feedback. In my case, most of them are positive. “This was great,” “Excellent post”, etc., but every now and again something pops up that makes me stop, get my feelings hurt and want to grab a bat.

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Book Blogging 101: Social Media Fuzzy Bunnies

Book Blogging 101: Social Media Fuzzy Bunnies

Social Media brings out the best and the worst in the literary community. Yet, mostly everyone seems to be blaming the book bloggers.

Back in August I read a nondescript article on SLATE about social media changing literary culture. [source] Prompting bloggers and other authors to adopt these über happy personas and LOVE ALL mentalities because of an intrinsic self-consciousness of a negative social media shit-storm. It would seem that authors and other social media personalities are learning from the misbehaved one’s {1} {2} mistakes via twitter, Amazon and Facebook and taking Thumpers Mom’s advice, of not saying a word unless it is nice. It has more importantly trickled down into the reviewers mentality, because of certain negative retaliation via troll sites masquerading as “anti-bullying” sites.

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BB101 Tutorial: Social Icons

BB101 Tutorial: Social Icons

Book Blogging 101 – Tutorial

HTML can be easy!

I was supposed to write a Brainstorming post for this week, but brainstorming gives me headache from the many “brainstorming” meetings that I had to sit through when I was delegated to the 3rd Circle of Hell in a past life (corporate marketing = 3rd circle of Hell). Thus, I’ve pushed Chapter 6 back to next week. I decided to interrupt my boring, yet hopefully helpful take on blogging tips with a bit of knowledge dropped regarding a question I get asked all the time. “I have social icons – now how do I install them?”

Step 1: Find the Image, I have Free Social Icons for you!

Oh look — I have some for you here:

 

These are the most common social icons that book bloggers usually include on their blogs. If you want more options there are usually tons of images available for free download across the web. Just search “Free social icons” in Google. Or if they are available like I have  here, just right click and save them to your hard-drive and keep them for your own.

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