Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marketing vs. Writing

   Hi everyone! I have been spending a lot of time lately working on how to market my book, and not much doing editing or writing on my current projects. But there have been a lot of times where I've seen advice to just keep writing, and not spend so much time on marketing. So what is necessary? Of course, being as new to the market as I am, I don't claim to have answers. Although I am trying to learn a happy medium between writing and marketing. One answer: both are important. In order to have a product to sell, you have to keep writing and working. But in order to sell it, you need to market.
   I am not very good at marketing. This I will admit to anyone who asks. What I am is determined. I am determined to keep working on my writing, to write stories people will enjoy. And then I am determined to spend time promoting myself and my books. Of course I make mistakes along the way (some of which are listed in a previous post about self-publishing) but I am spreading out across the internet in ways I never thought I would. I joined Twitter, something I never thought I would do, about two weeks ago and have over two hundred followers. Of course I made the mistake of following a bunch of authors who are also trying to sell their works, but that is a way to start. Any readers who follow them could potentially see my name, and my books info, and choose to follow me. Is that the right way to go about it? I have no idea, but it is how I am doing it for now. I am also part of several Facebook groups, where I post links to my books, my blog, and my page every couple days to keep my name out there.
   Google+ is another forum I have joined in the last couple months, and I am still working on learning how to use it properly for marketing and helping others to market. Once I start getting some sort of feedback for my books, or comments about anything I am doing, I may adjust how I do things, but for now I simply do what I can.
   Currently I am working on editing the third book of my series: Hunter, tentatively scheduled for a Summer '14 release, and have started writing the fourth book. So yes, I am still working on writing along with marketing. But marketing does have a way of keeping me busy as well. Posting things about myself and my likes outside of writing so I can show people who I am along with what my books are about is not an easy thing to do, because I have always been a quiet person, who keeps quiet about things that are going on in my life. But I am striving to get better. Any comments or questions you have that you think could help in that venture would be appreciated! As always I love hearing from people and would enjoy a chance to communicate with anyone who is interested! Thanks for your time!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Contest Connected to Sale!

   Hi everyone! I just decided that everyone who buys a Kindle copy of Tracker during the sale this week, and leaves their name either on my Facebook Page or my blog, will be entered to win a Paperback copy of Kindred! So, for by purchasing Tracker for the low price of $0.99, you could get both books currently available in the Earthshaker Series! You have until Feb. 22nd to get your name entered! Winner will be determined either late on the 22nd or sometime in the afternoon on the 23rd. Good luck!
Sorry, US only.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


   Hi everyone! I have a sale on Tracker running this week for both and! I set it up so the sale would run until my birthday (Feb 22) as a way to celebrate my 30th. I set the price on as $0.99 and in the UK as £0.99. These prices will remain the same until the end of the day on the 22nd! The link embedded on the post will lead you to your country's amazon, where ever you happen to live :-)
   I have also recently joined twitter, so if you are interested, follow the link to follow me! I also began writing on recently, and have gotten 5 followers there in the few days I've been on it. My post about my self-publishing journey so far has been pretty popular over there, which I was pretty excited about :-) 
   In regard to what I've been working on recently, a lot of it has been online presence in order to spread the word about my book, but I have also been editing Hunter: Earthshaker Book 3, and starting to organize some of the ideas I've had for Earthshaker Book 4 (so far untitled, though I have a couple possible one's in the works :) I have also been trying to figure out other thoughts and topics I can use both for posts here, and on Migzing, so if any of you have something you would like me to write about, or share my opinion on, let me know!
   And wish me luck on the sale! Please +1 or share this post to spread the word! Thank you!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Musings on Self-Publishing

   There are a lot of times when I've questioned whether I made the right decision in self-publishing my novel. Mostly on days where I just feel low in general, and see that there aren't very many sales, and marketing doesn't seem to be working, no one seems to be looking at my postings etc. Then I look and find a few more 'like's' on my Facebook page, and a few more views of something I posted on my blog, or a person mentioned that the premise of my book seems really interesting, and they'll have to check it out. Then I realize, if I hadn't self-published, most likely my book would remain unseen and unread. Sure I may not be making a lot of sales, but it hasn't been published for very long, and the amount of sales per month have been increasing. I have gotten more people reading my blog and short stories, and I have my third book in the editing phase. A lot of things are looking up, and I don't know about the rest of you, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!
   That's not to say the road will be easy, because obviously it isn't, but the richest things in life are the things you have to work for. I may not be the best at marketing (or even any good at it at all) but I am learning, and trying to avoid making too many mistakes. I already know that I have posted links to my books too often, both here and on Facebook. Then I figured out how to post permanent links to the top of my blog page, and started sharing links to my author pages and blog posts in addition to book links on Facebook groups. I've also tried to use different summaries at the tops of the links, to avoid having exactly the same thing posted all over the place.
   Also, I quite often have trouble figuring out things to post on my blog, so I end up having update after update that have little to no importance in the grand scheme of things. So now I am trying to post more about my own thoughts, a little more on characterization of the people in my books, and the short stories (which will be few and far between at this point, although I do enjoy writing them :-)
   The moral of the story is, while I have made mistakes, I try to correct them and do better. (And in case anyone is wondering, this isn't a response to any criticism or comment by someone else, all of this is simply my own views on what I have learned in the few months since I started self-publishing.) I hope I have been succeeding! Anyway, I'm sure other self-published authors have been through similar problems, and if any of you have further improvements you think I can make, please feel free to let me know! I'm always looking for ways to get better at marketing! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Guardian- Earthshaker Short #4

Hi everyone! At long last, here is the short story I have been promising you. This takes place directly after my story Stray, and shows how Jason became the unrivaled protector of his group of children.

By Adrianne Lemke

   Paul, Buster, and I had remained together so far, but I could tell the other boy was becoming irritated by something. We remained at the abandoned house where I'd found Buster, the dog, abandoned in a shed. We were, unfortunately, going to have to say goodbye to our canine friend before much longer, as we were running out of the food I had found in the shed with him. Paul sat on an old mattress, absently stroking the dog's silky head as he stared aimlessly at the house in front of him. "What's on your mind, Paul?" I was hesitant to ask, worried I would be told that he planned to leave. What he told me next was a shock.
   "I think there's someone in the house," he said quietly, still staring. "The curtain on the upstairs window moves, but we've been here for almost a week and haven't seen anyone come in or go out." He glanced almost shyly at me, "Have you...felt any motion? Is there anything there to tell you if someone is in the house?"
   After our encounter with the bullies just short of a week ago, I had told Paul about my abilities. Well, more accurately about my tracking abilities. The scarier power I kept to myself for now. He had met my explanation of my skill with doubt at first, but then had wondered at how it could be used. "I have someone I would like to avoid, if possible," he had spoken softly, sounding ashamed, and a little scared. "Would your...ability, be able to help?" Of course I had told him I would do whatever I could, but he had yet to trust me enough to show me the person he feared.
   I knelt at the base of the house, "I can't always feel through a foundation," I warned. "Especially if the only motion is on a second floor." Setting my hand lightly on the base of the house I closed my eyes and focused on any vibrations or echoes coming from inside the supposedly abandoned home. Expecting nothing, my eyes opened in surprise, "There has been motion in the basement recently. I can feel echoes of someone moving in there. But,"
   "Why would they stay hidden when we've been living here for so long already? Why haven't they reported us to the police?" Paul interrupted, backing away fearfully.
   Shaking my head at the interruption I pushed more energy through to try to get more information, but I jerked back slightly when the ground under the house began to rumble. "What was that?" Paul's eyes widened.
   "It was nothing," I answered quickly, withdrawing some of the power before I lost control over it. Apparently I had answered too quickly, because now my companion was eyeing me warily. 
   "Jason," his voice was serious and I kept my gaze on the house, still trying to figure out who was inside. "Is there something you aren't telling me?"
   Choosing to ignore the question, I instead focused on the more immediate problem. Buster was scratching at the door and whining, and I knew someone was inside. "There is someone in there, but I don't think they are a threat to us. I think whoever's in there is too scared to come out."
   He eyed me warily, but said, "Maybe we should go in, you know, see if they need help or something. You know, after the little earthquake they just had," he said the last as he stood, still keeping his eyes on me.
   "You may be right. We should make sure they're okay." And not only because of the almost earthquake I had inadvertently caused, but also because there could be something wrong that had caused the person to be locked in their house. 
   Breaking into the house became unnecessary when we discovered the door was unlocked. Pushing the door open we entered slowly, Paul behind me. Despite wanting to run away from a potential threat, something I fully appreciated, he wanted to first make sure there was nothing wrong. He put up a hard front, but Paul was a good kid, and I hoped he wouldn't decide to leave. I had meant what I'd said when we met, we needed to stick together to last on the streets.
   The floor above us creaked, and instinctively I froze. "Jason," Paul whispered. "Why are you stopping?"
   "The same reason you're whispering, we don't belong here. This person has every right to call the police on us. We're in their house without permission."
   Buster had no such reservations. The dog, who had stuck close by my side for the last week whined a bit and dashed forward, racing up the steps to find whoever was hidden there. "Buster!" a young voice exclaimed happily. Sharing a glance with Paul, we rushed upstairs to find a child. One that was at least three years younger than me, and had been apparently living in this house by himself for at least a week. 
   The boy hid behind Buster as we entered, and I crouched, Paul standing behind me making no move to enter the room as I calmed the obviously frightened child. "Hi there, I'm Jason and this is Paul. We've been staying in your back yard. I think you've probably noticed us. Is Buster your dog?" I figured an obvious question might be the easiest way to get the boy to talk, and I was right.
   "Y-yes," he stuttered a little, glancing up past the dog's neck to look at me. I was struck by how scared and innocent this boy was, and wondered how he had come to be in this house alone. 
   "What's your name?" 
   "J-Jeffrey," The stutter remained, and I wondered if it was just a reaction to being scared, or if he always had trouble speaking. "Wh-where are m-my parents?" he asked suddenly, his question coming out slowly and a bit nervously. 
   Shaking my head I wasn't sure how to tell him, "I'm not sure, kiddo," I answered sadly. "Let's check the rest of the house for anything that might tell us. Do you want to come with us?"
   He nodded slowly, standing and holding Buster as he came to stand next to me. "J-Jason, did they le-leave?" 
   "They may have, kiddo," now it was my turn to hesitate. "If they you have other family?" he shook his head and my heart sank. This innocent little boy had been abandoned, whether on purpose or by some accident taking the parents away. What was I supposed to do with this?
   "Jason," Paul tapped me on the shoulder and I motioned for Jeffrey to wait for a moment while I went into the hall. "You could call that police officer you told me about. There has to be something she can do to find this kid's parents."
  "Probably, but then what? He has no one else, Paul. Are we just supposed to let him be on his own?"
  "As opposed to what? Coming with us?" he scoffed. "What good would that do? We can hardly do anything for ourselves let alone for someone else."
   I looked at the floor and back up at the boy I'd already decided to help. "I have to offer. He obviously has some problems, but he was abandoned. He needs people who understand that, and I think you do."
   He glanced away from me toward the younger boy and nodded. "Yeah, I guess in a way. My parents were there, but never in a positive way. Always fighting and either ignoring me or blaming me for everything that went wrong in their lives. But the question remains, what can we do to help?"
   "We can be his family. We can keep him safe, but we can't stay here anymore. Once I tell Officer Alice about this...well, I'm not sure if we'll be able to do much, but I don't want him in the foster care system. I have heard some pretty bad stories from other runaways, and I wouldn't be able to stand it if I played a part in putting him there."
   Jeffrey came into the hallway and handed me a slip of paper. "I c-can't read this," he said, his innocent gaze tearing through me and making me hurt for him as he obviously wanted me to read the note his mother had written, explaining how she and her husband couldn't be seen with a 'mentally-challenged' child. In the note they claimed they loved him, but couldn't stand the shame they would feel if any of the neighbors found out about him.
   Paul was reading over my shoulder and shook his head slightly. We couldn't tell Jeffrey his parents had left, never intending to return. They couldn't even be bothered to realize that their son wouldn't be able to read their final goodbye and would wait in the house for them to return. "No one knows about him," I whispered to Paul. They never let him out of this house. Buster was his only companion."
   "Jeffrey, do you want to go outside?"
   He looked confused. "M-mama said n-not to go outside."
   "But do you want to? You can play with Buster and get some fresh air."
   Jeffrey still looked a little confused and frightened, but he nodded following Paul past me in the narrow hallway. He surprised me by grabbing my hand and pulling me along, and I knew I couldn't let anything else hurt this child. 
   "Wait," I said, halting in the doorway. "We should look around, see if there's anything here we could use. And he'll need clothes. Jeffrey, do you have a bag somewhere?"
   As we packed the bag with anything we could use, including clothes and food, Paul kept glancing over his shoulder at me, like he wanted to ask something. “Do you have a question, Paul?”
   “Are you serious about us sticking together?” his voice was soft and hesitant, like he couldn’t believe anyone would want to keep him around, and, despite my own painful past, I felt my heart twist in sympathy.
   “As long as you want to stay with me, yes. We will do better together, and we can keep each other out of trouble.”
   “I have a friend who is in trouble. She still lives with her family, but they treat her horribly. She’s too afraid to leave, but if she knows someone is out here ready and willing to take care of her, she might be able to get the courage to do so.”
   Cringing, I hesitated to agree. Even in an abusive home, a kid usually went to school and had the chance to better themselves. “Life on the streets isn’t for everyone, Paul. And it really should be for no one. Are you sure you want to convince her to leave a home, even if she is abused? We could just try to get her to ask someone for help in removing her from her home and get her somewhere safer.”
   “Like you’re doing for Jeffrey? What’s the difference? His parents left him, they should be arrested and other family members found, but you’re taking him.”
   Wincing, I realized he was right. If I took Jeffrey, I almost had to give this girl the option of coming with us. “Fine. I’ll meet her and if she wants to come with us, she can. But I will not force the issue. If she feels better staying with her family, I won’t push her to come with us.”
   “Thanks Jason.” We finished gathering the supplies we were able to carry, and Paul led us toward his friend’s house. He was getting more nervous as we got close, and I wondered why, until he stopped near the house and asked, “Is there a big man near this house right now? I know you don’t know the guy, but he is large and should leave some sort of imprint if he was nearby recently, right?”
   For someone who didn’t believe me completely when I told him about my ability, he actually had a pretty decent grasp of how it worked. “Yeah, I might be able to tell. I knelt in the side yard of the house and put my hand on the ground. “The most recent prints by this house are a heavy tread and a slightly lighter one leaving. Not sure when, exactly, but I don’t think any large people are in the house currently.”
   “Good,” Paul relaxed, and Jeffrey stood behind him quietly. 
   “Are you going to knock?” I asked after standing for a few moments. The other boy nodded and made his way to the front door. He rang the doorbell, then knocked three times. 
   Noticing my questioning glance he said, “It’s a way for her to know it’s me. I met her a while ago, and sometimes she doesn’t answer the door. We worked this out when she realized I would never do anything to hurt her.”
   Proving his point, the door cracked open, and a young girl poked her head out. “Paul, what are you doing here? My daddy will be back any time now, it’s not safe.” She noticed me and cringed back. “Why did you bring someone else?”
   “It’s okay, Ginny. Jason is like us. He’s been hurt, and wouldn’t hurt anyone. He has a way to protect us, and I want you to come with us. Get away from the bas…man who hurts you. You deserve to feel safe, and we can be the people who keep you from getting hurt.”
   Her eyes flashed for a moment with something that looked like hope, but she shook her head. “I can’t leave. They’re my family.”
   “We could be your family, Ginny. A better family. One who will never mistreat you.”
   “Paul,” I had a warning tone, he was pushing too hard. “We can’t make her come. Ginny,” I spoke to the girl for the first time. “Paul is right. If you want to get away from the people who hurt you, you are more than welcome to join us. But we won’t force you to come with us. We’ll be here any time, if you feel ready to leave. If you don’t want to come now, that’s fine. We will check on you, if you would like, and see if you change your mind.” Some strong vibrations were heading our way. “Paul, I think her dad is coming back. It’s time to go. Ginny, we’ll talk to you another time, okay?”
   She nodded, the flash of hope returning, and I knew. Even if she wasn’t ready now, when times got too hard, she might be willing to become a member of our little group. Paul hesitated. “Paul,” I grabbed Jeffrey gently, leading him away. “Time to go!”
   “Word of warning, Ginny,” I called softly over my shoulder. “He’s drunk, so you might want to do whatever you can to stay out of his way today.”
   “Thanks,” she said, closing the door. I heard the lock click into place and we disappeared around the corner just as her father reached the front door. Looking around the corner, I saw a large man, about 6’ 1” and very drunk. He looked like he was ready to pick a fight with anyone, and right now the only one in his path was a helpless little girl.
   Frustration gnawed at me, and I knew I wouldn’t leave her forever, but the ground beneath me rumbled, echoing my anger at the situation. “Stop it,” I muttered to myself.
   “What?” Paul asked, looking up at me. He had been glancing at the ground in concern as it shook slightly. 
   “Sorry. Just trying to keep my temper.”
   He looked at me in shock. “The ground rumbling, here and at Jeff’s house, that was you, wasn’t it. You can do more than feel footsteps. You do have the power to protect us, don’t you?”
   “Sometimes. Other times I have very little control,” I cautioned. “I don’t know how it works, or how to use it to my advantage.”
   He shrugged matter-of-factly. “You’ll just have to practice. If you’re going to be our guardian, then you have the motivation you need to use whatever means possible to keep all of us safe.”
   Jeffrey took my hand, looking at me with trust already. How could an abandoned boy learn to trust so quickly? “You already know I won’t leave you behind, don’t you?” I asked him softly. The little boy nodded, and I knew Paul was right. I would do whatever was necessary to keep these kids safe. Including Ginny, if she chose to join us. “Alright, Paul. We’ll do it your way. I’ll practice, and you need to know that if I say to move, I mean right away. My range isn’t great, so if I feel a threat, I need to know you’ll listen.”
    There was a tone of authority in my voice the other boy seemed to respect, and he nodded without hesitation. “I’m sorry I didn’t, before. I was really hoping…”
   “She may still come with us, Paul. She’s just not ready yet. We won’t abandon her either, okay?” I interrupted. “I’ll keep us all as safe as possible. I will be your protector.”


If you enjoyed this story, please let me know! You can also check out the earlier Earthshaker Short Stories: Trust, Stray, and Rescue, and the first two novels of the Earthshaker Series: Tracker and Kindred, available on Amazon (Kindle and Paperback). Thanks for reading!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kindred Chapter Five


Chapter Five: Kindred-

   Warm liquid splattered my face and the last struggles of another violent man ended in futility. His wife would be pleased. Not that I did it for her pleasure, but if she was pleased, I would get paid. If she wasn't, well...let's just say I always get paid. One way or another. Blood payment may not spend well, but it was an acceptable option.
   The camera snapped a picture of the man's face, wide-open eyes seemingly staring into me accusingly. I shrugged away any thought of guilt, surprised at the unfamiliar emotion. He'd been abusive. Plus he worked for Mason. Those were two strikes against him, the third being that he'd been part of Mason's inner circle, who'd kidnapped and tortured the Tracker. He had eluded the police, but I was much harder to avoid. The tiny flutter of guilt flitted away and I allowed myself to forget it as I washed the man's blood off my face. The rest I wouldn't worry about until I reached my apartment.
   Anyone who saw me wouldn't see the blood soaked into my clothes. The illusion I'd broadcast would make sure of that. I walked back into the living room and thought for a moment. He had helped hurt the Tracker. The kid would want to know that another of his tormentor's was off the streets. Besides, it had been a couple days since I'd checked on him. I took an envelope and note card from the shelf near my victim's phone and snapped a second picture with my Polaroid camera. I watched it develop, unconcerned when a neighbor knocked on the door and peered through the window. The woman was looking right at me, but would see nothing amiss in the house until after I left. Before I'd entered I'd set up a field of my energy that held the illusion of a quiet, empty house. Anyone who came near it would have that image in their head.
   It had been a trick Mason had made use of on several occasions. It still surprised me that he hadn't made sure I'd set it up at the Farm after he caught the Tracker. Even then there had been something about the kid that told me to help him. So, I had. When the undercover cop had requested a visit, I had allowed it, knowing full well that he'd be bringing a couple dozen of his closest friends.
   I wrote a note on the card and slipped it into the envelope and in block letters wrote: TRACKER on the envelope. After receiving a couple notes from me already, he would know who it was from. Perhaps at some point, he would begin responding to my notes. I hoped he'd get the note after I returned to my apartment, so I could see his reaction. If not, I'd just have to watch the recording.
   Without another look, I walked out of my prey's house and got into my car. I felt my illusion dissipate as I drove away, and took a deep breath through the slight discomfort. I'd always preferred my illusions to be one on one. It took less of my concentration and energy, but the mass illusion was definitely useful.
   As I pulled closer to the Lady Cop's house, I could feel something was off with the Tracker. He seemed agitated and scared, but I sensed no direct threat. He was in the house, and the only other people there were his brother and his friends...I felt my lips turn down as I thought. Whatever they were doing, his friends were causing him pain. I couldn't allow that to continue. I would deliver my note, and then go back to my apartment. I had some planning to do.

End Chapter

Please let me know what you think! Keep watching for Guardian: the fourth Earthshaker short story, coming soon!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Short Story Update!

   Hi everyone! I just wanted to give you all an update on the short story I am currently working on. This will be the fourth Earthshaker Short story I have written, and follows directly after the story Stray. In it I am trying to show Jason's transition from just another runaway to a protector and Guardian (title) for other children in need. So far I am about halfway through writing it, but got stuck on how to continue. I will hopefully be able to get it the rest of the way written by this weekend, and I can then start editing so I can post it. Meanwhile check out Trust, Stray, and Rescue, the three available short stories published September-November of last year. As always, please let me know what you think! I would love to hear your feedback! Thanks!