#SpookySelfie Week 1 Winners

It’s been a great thrill seeing the first entries for the #SpookySelfie contest and I’m happy to announce the winners for Week 1…EVERYONE!

Tony Rapino…you get an ebook!

Linda Kollau…you get an ebook, too!

And last but certainly not least…Matt Butterweck…you win an ebook!!!

spookyselfie_tony

spookyselfie_linda

spookyselfie_matt2

spookyselfie_matt1

 

That’s right…everyone who sends in a #spookyselfie gets a copy of The Lockwood Collection (or they can choose from my other 2 ebooks if they like).

But that’s not all! The contest is open-ended, which means anyone can use The Skeleton Man sticker found in this blog post at any time to create their own photo, upload it to my Facebook page or tag me on Google+ or Twitter and they will also win a free copy of the ebook.

Winners, email me at maryrajotte[at]gmail[dot[com] with the title of your choice (The Lockwood Collection, Flowers for the Dead or Like Flies to Honey) and your file format of choice (EPUB, MOBI or PDF) and I’ll send your prize out asap.

Don’t forget…it’s never too late to send in your own #spookyselfie…because The Skeleton Man is always lurking…

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Announcing the Spooky Selfie Contest

spookyselfieIf you’re a lover of scary stories and you also happen to be a bit of a shutterbug, well this contest is for you!

The Spooky Selfie Contest is open to submissions!

THE RULES
The cover “model” for The Lockwood Collection isn’t much of a looker, so I thought the best way to cheer him up was to get all of you to take a selfie with him.

I will provide a virtual “sticker” of what Regan Lockwood (the main character in The Lockwood Collection) has dubbed “The Skeleton Man” to anyone who’s willing to pose with him.

All you have to do is take a selfie (or use one you already have and add The Skeleton Man into the photo) and share it!

Here’s an example of my sister and I at Christmas. Check out The Skeleton Man sneaking into our pic for his 15 minutes of fame.

mekimba_skeleton

 

THE PRIZE
Winning entrants will receive a free copy of The Lockwood Collection eBook (or another eBook of your choosing, if you’d prefer).

A little birdie told me there may actually be prizes for everyone who enters!

WHERE DO I SHARE?
You can share you spooky selfies on my Facebook page, on Google+, on Instagram or on Twitter.

Don’t forget to tag your posts with #MaryRajotte, #spookyselfie (or +MaryRajotte on G+) so I won’t miss them – or post the link to the wall of my Facebook author page.

Feel free to share this contest badge with your friends so they can get in on the fun!

Good luck! Now…go strike a spooky pose!

GRAB YOUR STICKER HERE

skeletonman_sticker

NOTE: To download the Skeleton Man sticker, click the button below to save the image to your harddrive. The background is transparent, so you should be able to paste it into or over any existing photo image you have.

Alternatively, if you are having trouble, or you don’t have access to a graphic editing program, send me your selfie, I’ll add the Skeleton Man to your image, post it to my wall and enter you into the contest.

Feel free to resize the sticker as needed.

 

SAVE STICKER

 

 

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New Release – The Lockwood Collection eBook

lockwood_ebookThe Lockwood Collection is a short story first published in The Scroll Of Anubis Anthology from Library of Horror Press.

This story was one of my favorites to write because I am an Ancient Egyptian enthusiast. Like…full-on obsessed! Like…I am in the process of exploring the themes, symbols, myths and legends in other stories…but more on that later.

About The Lockwood Collection
After struggling artist Regan Lockwood receives a mysterious gift from her father, her work begins to take on a horrifying tone. Terrified of this darker side and her unraveling sanity, Regan is forced to confront her father and unearths a decades-old secret from her family’s past.

This time, I had an exact idea of how I wanted the cover to look. My graphic design skills are all self-taught, and I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to translate my idea into a killer cover.

I searched around online for a few tutorials and using various images, filters, effects (not to mention a bunch of failed attempts and a number of days debating whether I should even attempt it at all, I came up with a cover that looks pretty cool and gives a great hint at the story inside.

BUY YOUR COPY

Head over to the book page for The Lockwood Collection to find out where you can buy a copy or to purchase one directly from me.

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WIP Wednesday – A Writer’s Work

…is never done!

So, I spent a few days (and what felt like a billion eye-crossing hours) in Photoshop working on my ebook cover for The Lockwood Collection.

That, my friends, was just the beginning.

My first attempts were laughable at best. I had an idea for the cover, but I just couldn’t get it to look like anything other than a jumbled mess.

But, I kept at it, found some online tutorials, learned some new tricks, and in the end, came up with what I think is my coolest cover yet.

After that, there was the 3D book cover (luckily I found a Photoshop action for that). Then creating the book’s page on my website (complete with all the buy links to various online bookstores), which also needed a corresponding slide image for my homepage. Then I made a new Facebook cover photo to promote the book, plus a mini book ad to share on social media.

Then, the uploading. Sure, most of that was copying and pasting the book descriptions and such – and even though I uploaded directly to the Kindle store, I used Draft2Digital to hit up Kobo, B&N, Scribd and the Apple store (saves me time and frustration). But it all takes time, you see.

Then…Patreon. There are the update posts, where I announce releases or rewards to the general public, plus ones for patrons.

And that doesn’t take into account all the extras (like behind-the-scenes posts like Inklings; Altered Words poems – which time in and of themselves to “find” a poem in any given work; Spirited Tales, which not only take time to write & edit but to also translate into video format; plus this month I’m giving out a free flash fiction tale, which I’ve also had to write, edit, format, make an ebook cover and blog posts for).

Cripes. I’m exhausted. I spent 5 hours today alone making, pre-posting and scheduling promotional things – and some of the graphic design work was already done. It was just a matter of tweaking and making various images & pre-writing patron perks.

I’m not complaining, really I’m not. I just wanted to offer a glimpse into the self-publishing side of things. I’m sure there are other things I’m not doing, doing poorly, or forgetting about (no matter how many checklists and Google Calendar reminders I set for myself).

Writing the story – coming up with the idea, adding characters & setting, making it MAKE SENSE, making sure it’s entertaining -  is a whole other can of worms.

But as you can see, there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes, not just for me but all of my fellow writers. We work hard, man. But boy, do we love it.

Except for the stories that fall flat, the self doubt, the low sales, the unruly characters…

:)

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Altered Words – Fixed As Death

It’s time for another Altered Words post!

This time, I “found” a poem in a literary classic – Bram Stoker’s Dracula!

What is Altered Words all about, anyway?

In case you missed my first post, Altered Words is my take on “found fiction”, where I take a story, poem, or other literary work and try to “find” a story within by simply crossing out the words I do not want to include in my piece.

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FIXED AS DEATH

Found in Dracula by Bram Stoker, Pg. 376

All was dark and silent.
Black shadows thrown by the moonlight,
full of mystery.
Not a thing seemed to be stirring, all grim and fixed as death.
White mist creeping over me,
mist spreading,
stealing up to the windows,
my waking thoughts merged in dreams.

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What did you think of FIXED AS DEATH? Share your thoughts below!

And hey! If you have a copy of Dracula, I’d LOVE it if you tried your hand at “finding” your own story within! Try the same page I found my story on, or choose your own. And don’t forget to share it in the comments!

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Altered Words – These Dead

Altered Words is my take on “found fiction”, where I take a story, poem, or other literary work and try to “find” a story within by simply crossing out the words I do not want to include in my piece.

I’ve done a few of these little experimental pieces on my blog over the past few years and I always have a great time trying to discover something different in the prose I’ve chosen to work from. It’s actually kind of cool, kind of like finding the hidden meaning or an underlying message that the author tried to bury within.

This one was originally posted on my Patreon campaign in May but now you can read it here! I hope you enjoy them and I’d love to hear your thoughts (or if you happen to have a copy of the same book, I’d LOVE to see what “hidden” prose you find! be sure to share it in the comments if you do!

So, without further adieu, please enjoy this Altered Words piece!

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soundtrack_altered

THESE DEAD
Found in “Soundtrack to the End of the World” by Anthony J Rapino (pg. 195)

The darkness and lantern glow fell, as if drawn within.
These dead
sprawled on the road,
abandoned,
strewn,
no more than a glance in the ambient glow.
Numb, still,
absolutely undeniably gone.

———————————————

What did you think of THESE DEAD? Share your thoughts below! And hey! If you want to know more about “Soundtrack to the End of the World”, check out Anthony J. Rapino’s website [http://www.anthonyjrapino.com/]. He also has a Patreon campaign going on as we speak at http://www.patreon.com/Rapino with some pretty sweet rewards!

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WIP Wednesday – In My Own Mind

I’ve had a bit of a lull in the freelance work so I’ve been trying to take advantage of it by putting in some work on my own writing.

Right now, I have 4 story ideas in various stages, as well as 2 flash fiction pieces on the go and the novella edits.

2014CampNaNoAnd then…there’s the serial idea. I have a plotted novella that I thought I might turn into a web serial. I started reading through my old notes last week and I remember why I abandoned the project – something just isn’t right with it. I’m not excited about the plot I ad worked out and if I’m not excited to write it, I can almost guarantee you that readers won’t be excited to read it.

So I think it’s time to start from scratch. Take the initial story seed and try to come up with something different. I’ll keep the parts I like but maybe looking at it with fresh eyes will help me to find the story i want to tell.

I’m hoping to get it worked out and have a viable plot so I can start writing it in July for Camp NaNoWriMo. Like I don’t have enough projects on the go…but my plan is to edit each segment and possibly start posting it to Wattpad. My goal with it is to get more people acquainted with my writing, since I’m a virtual unknown. Right now, I’m only a rockstar in my own mind :)

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STOP IN THE NAME OF HORROR!

Don’t forget…you can grab a free copy of Like Flies To Honey when you Pay With A Post – or get a free eBook anytime when you sign up for my newsletter

GET A FREE BOOK!
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Add Another Book to Your Library

It’s summer and time to celebrate with another free eBook! My Patreon campaign is still going strong and you can get the June eBook free when you Pay With a Post!

likeflies_miniHOW DOES IT WORK!
All you have to do is click the PAY WITH A TWEET button to share the info about the eBook on TWITTER, FACEBOOK or GOOGLE+. That’s it! Then you can download the short story and read it to your heart’s content.

This free offer runs until the end of the month, so be sure to encourage your friends on social media to get in on the action.

After you’ve read it, be sure to send me a quick review or post it on Amazon, Goodreads or Kobo. And don’t forget if you want to get access to new eBooks, my experimental prose series and other dark literary goodies, don’t forget about my Patreon campaign. You can get your mitts on my nightmarish tales for just $1!

BUT I DON’T HAVE AN EREADER!

Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?! You can still read the eBook, even if you don’t own an eReader. You can download free apps & software, such as Kindle or Kobo (for Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac/PC, Blackberry & Windows 8).

So go on! What are you waiting for? Pick up the eBook and help me spread the word!

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Taking Over

Things have been a little hectic behind-the-scenes so I thought I should put together a post to keep you all updated (not to mention keep it all straight in my head).

I kind of jumped into the self-publishing thing without expecting to.

I had already planned to offer eBooks to Patreon supporters, but distributing them on Amazon, Kobo etc. wasn’t originally my plan. Why? I wasn’t sure people would pay to read individual short stories – but I also didn’t want to make decisions based on “what ifs” or out of fear of rejection. What good were these stories doing sitting on my harddrive unread? So, I took the leap and I’ve got 2 books out there just waiting for new readers to discover them.

It’s not exactly for the faint of heart, putting oneself out there. But what’s the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t like my book? Oh well. Some day, the right person will read it, love it and buy another right?!

noisetradeNoiseTrade
Right now, you can read both Like Flies To Honey and Flowers For The Dead on NoiseTrade for free!  All you have to do is sign up and you can download ebooks from a variety of authors and share your thoughts on social media.

“NoiseTrade Books provides an alternative for people who love free eBooks and audiobooks to download great content and directly support the authors. As the reader, you can choose to help in a few ways. You can tip the author, share eBooks & audiobooks on Facebook or Twitter, and email your friends. And you can embed NoiseTrade Books widgets anywhere you are online. “

It’s a great deal for readers and authors alike, so if you’d rather read my stories that way, head over to NoiseTrade, sign up and get to downloading!

So far I’ve had 2 new readers – why not add your name to the list!

kobo_likefliesAmazon, Kobo & Goodreads
As you’ve probably seen, my ebooks are also now available on Amazon & Kobo for downloading.

And hey, if you want that bad boy signed, head over to Authorgraph and I’ll digitally sign your ebook!

Shop Local
If you don’t want to buy your eBooks from an online bookstore, why not buy it directly from me?

You now have the option of buying my first 2 ebooks in your format of choice directly on my website!

There is a BUY button on each story’s info page, and you can use Paypal to send your payment. During the checkout process, you can select the book in your format of choice (PDF, EPUB or MOBI).

If you decide to do it this way, I earn more bucks, which will support me in continuing to write more scary stories!

amazon_lifefliesreviewReview It
Whichever way you get your books, reviews are always welcomed and encouraged! Feedback from readers not only helps other readers find books but they make it all worthwhile!

I’d love it if you left a review of the books on both Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo or wherever else you can. Reviews are a great way for me to reach other readers so I’d be forever grateful if you took a little time and wrote a short review :)

You can also submit a review directly to me – just head over to the CONTACT page!

Camp NaNoWriMo
2014CampNaNoWell, all this promotion is tiring! What I really want to do is WRITE – so I decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo again.

I’ve had this idea for a serial for a while now. I even tried to write it once but something just didn’t gel. So, I’ve decided to rework the plot and tackle the project this July.

I know…this, on top of new stories I’m writing for submission, the novella edits (which I admittedly haven’t touched in a month), Patreon stories – it’s a bit of a crazy decision. But I feel like I’ve been flailing a bit and need something to ground me.

So, there you have it. The crazy life of a modern writer. Are you tired? I know I am! :P

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One Month In

patreon_webbannerSo it’s been a month since I launched my Patreon campaign and I thought it would be a good idea to take stock and see how things are going so far.

In terms of the actual content I’ve been creating for patrons, I’ve had a blast. Altered Words, flash fiction and Inklings are all things I used to do all the time but somewhere along the way, I stopped.

In terms of patrons – well right now, I’m at a nice round number of 2 patrons, who both signed up in the 1st week of my launch.

I’m not going to lie…I was hoping more people would sign up from the start but I also know that I’m a relative unknown in the publishing world. Followers and friends on social media are well and good but if no one knows my writing or my style, it kind of doesn’t bode well for picking up patrons.

I’m hoping that by putting some of my content out there for free, and adding some flash fiction to the mix, people weill get a feel for my style and hopefully sign up if they enjoy what they read.

It’s difficult though. It would be the same if I were putting out a book and not just short fiction. No one knows me – so why should they take a chance? I can only hope that the few who do help spread the word.

I’m kind of surprised that people didn’t even take me up on my free offers of an eBook for a tweet/post/like though. Maybe what “they” say is true and the flooding of free eBooks on the market has made the novelty wear off.

Either way, it’s given me the push I needed to start self-publishing, something I wanted to do but always held myself back on. It was a bit daunting – I’m learning as I go, doing my own layout & cover design, trying to balance promotion and trying not to be annoying about it, still making time to get actual WRITING done – and making mistakes along the way (like putting the wrong settings for my Patreon account and not getting paid for the first month of content because of it :P)

But…I’m trying. It’s an adventure. All I can do is keep at it, keep putting out my work and hoping something catches on and reaches the people who will enjoy it. The key is finding those readers.

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