Thursday, February 28, 2013

New MG Release: Jump Boys by Alex Banks

Jump Boys: SOS
by Alex Banks
MG Science Fiction

A dare gone terribly wrong.

An SOS from another universe.

A threat from right next door.

Thirteen-year-old twin brothers Jayce and Val are about to jump the multi-verses on a dangerous dare, but true danger is closer to home than they realize. The Jupiter Prime colony has been orbiting the stormy gas giant for nineteen years and all anyone wants is to get back to Earth. Sent to preserve the best and brightest of the population, a grievous error in the Prime’s navigation coordinates sent the colony to an alternate dimension with no way to return to the Earth they call home.

In a society where technical expertise is valued above all else, Jayce and Val are among the most privileged—until they uncover their uncle’s plot to claim dominion over space and time. While attempting to rescue a lone girl from a post-apocalyptic earth, Val will come face to face with space pirates and Jayce will lay his life on the line for the sake of his brother and the little girl who holds the key to time itself.

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Alex Banks doesn’t live on Planet Earth. Alex lives on the Prime Colony Ship orbiting Jupiter or on a pirate ship off the Nova Scotia coast,or on a world called Insulunda where the land masses shift and move like clouds.Wherever there are dreams to be charted like stars in the sky or fun to be had just down that street . . . that’s where you’ll find Alex Banks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FAQ: Any Advice for a New Writer?

Several times a week, I get a question like this:

Hi G.P! I've read all of your books and love them. I've wanted to be a writer since I was young, and I heard you are self-published.  Any advice that you can give me as I start out writing my first book?

I always struggle with this question because it's a loaded gun. Truth is I have abundant advice for new authors, and I would like to share it with you. Practically though, I can't do so in the course of a few paragraphs without misleading you.

But here are a few things to think about:

First things first, should you pursue a fiction writing career? 

Writing, like many of the arts, is a job where you do all of the work up front and then try to sell it. There are some exceptions to this rule but, if you are asking me about self-publishing, likely they don't apply to you. That means that for an extended period you will have to devote time, mental energy, and some money to a create a product that is not guaranteed to produce any income. Ninety-nine percent of the people I talk to who close the book they are reading and say, "I could do that," never do or can't. Some never start. Others never finish. Still others rush through the process without allowing their work to develop and, therefore, the resulting manuscript ends up in an early grave.

Are you ready to be a writer?  Ask yourself these questions:

1) Did you enjoy writing lengthy assignments for school? 
Remember that ten page paper your teacher gave you analyzing a certain work of literature or historical figure? Did you balk at the challenge? Ten pages! Wow, that's long. Did you get frustrated trying to edit or format those pages to your teacher's specifications? 

My average book is around 300 pages long. Not only do I plan and execute the writing of those 300 pages, I edit, format, and market the content. Even with the help of an editor, I as the author have to decide if the edit suggested is right for my style.  That means understanding the rules and knowing when I can break them and when I can't. The process can be exhausting.  And, frustratingly, errors still make it through because finding a missing article in 300 pages can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

For me, I love the process but you have to understand that, when I was in college, I LOVED long papers. My favorite classes were the ones where a paper was the final exam.While the work is difficult, it's ENJOYABLE for me to work for several months on a writing project.

If you can't honestly answer yes to this question, think again about wether this is right for you.

2) Do you need regular feedback to feel good about what you are producing?
When I worked at a corporate job, I had regular meetings with my boss when he would hear what I was working on and give me guidance. I'd bounce ideas off of him. I'd get credit when credit was due. 

Writing is not like a regular job. While you might have a critique group that can give you some feedback on your pages, more likely than not that feedback will be contradictory, untimely, and maybe even destructive (more on that later). Think of it this way, the people who actually have the know-how to really help you are too busy or in demand to do so for free, while the people who have the time are often also new or unsuccessful. 

The hard truth is that with writing, for the most part, you row your own boat. It's a thankless job. Are you okay with spending several months creating a manuscript that might not be salvageable when complete for the sake of learning how to write? Are you okay with not receiving regular encouragement on your writing? 

If you need regular feedback, think again about pursuing this career.

3) Are you disciplined?
Look at your schedule. Can you realistically devote one hour per day, five to six days per week on your craft?  Lots of people start novels. Few people finish.

If you can't be disciplined, or your family won't respect your writing time, chances are you will not finish your book.

4) Do you have a thick skin?
I'm talking rhino tough, people! I don't care if you have your MFA in creative writing, as soon as that book comes out you will be criticized in one way or another. Too literary? Your work is inaccessible. Too accessible? You write like a third grader. Too mainstream? Book is boring. Too much action/sex? Your book is escapist. Believe me when I tell you that you can not win with the critics out there. There are people who love to hate, not to mention that writing is subjective. 

If you don't believe me, look up any phenomenal success and read the one star reviews. I recommend the Harry Potter books, The DaVinci Code, and the Hunger Games. Each of these books had a team of editors and the backing of traditional publishing and they have THOUSANDS of scathing one star reviews.

Aside from reviews, you, as a new author, can not expect to write perfectly from day one. Your first draft will be crap, and that's okay. But unless you are willing to to take criticism from editors, a trusted partner, and/or the reviewing public, you will not survive in this business. 

If your spirit is easily crushed, walk on.

One more thing I need to address here. Rarely, I get a note that says something like this:

I have a GREAT idea for a book. Definitely a bestseller.  All I need is someone to write it for me.  Would you consider writing my book with me for a percentage of the royalties.

If you've been paying attention, you now know how ridiculous this question is. Great ideas are a dime a dozen, its the execution of the idea that's difficult. Unless you are James Patterson, willing to give both your name and your idea to a project, you probably won't find a writer willing to go for that deal.

Are you still with me? Are you a rhino-skinned, self-motivated introvert who loves the process of writing and is willing to devote regular time and energy with likely no return? If yes, welcome aboard! You can do this!

New Release: Found by Stacey Wallace Benefiel

Here's a great new release from a fellow Indelible author. 

From Stacey Wallace Benefiel, the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, comes a New Adult trilogy set in the Society world.
Penny Black hasn’t had it easy. Just about everything you’d expect to happen to a harassed foster-kid turned junkie has happened to Penny. Add in the mysterious power to rewind time, conducting events around her, and it’s a wonder she held up on the streets for so many years. Now, at seventeen, the New Society has found her. Finally, Penny is where she belongs. But that doesn’t stop the visions, or the need to protect the victims shown to her.

*The Penny Black trilogy is a companion to the Zellie Wells trilogy and not a continuation of the series. (It's set 18 years in the future with a new cast of characters.)
*Due to language and sexuality, FOUND is recommended for older teens. (Most of the characters are out of high school and preparing for college.)

Purchase links:

Coming soon to the Apple iBook store and in paperback!

Haven't read the Zellie Wells trilogy yet? Pick up all three novels together for $6.99 at
Amazon  Nook  Kobo  Smashwords  Apple

Monday, February 25, 2013

Grounded Tour and Giveaway

Grounded is on tour with Promotional Book Tours.  Visit their site to enter to win a $100 Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Apple Giftcard!

Here's what reviewers are saying about Grounded: 

“I am seriously impressed with how the author took the simplistic Amish life and combined it with a futuristic, almost dystopian story line as seamlessly as she did. I highly recommend it.”   Crafty Cauldron
“I am also a sucker for Amish stories, and love the idea of the new paranormal/supernatural/dystopian twists using them. This book is electric. You are pulled into Lydia’s story and keep on reading, trying to find out what happens next.I tried to figure out what I would do if I were in her situation. I am impressed by the strength she is able to find within herself.”  Andi’s Young Adult blog
“I never know what to think when I start reading a book by a new author. But this one was electrifying!!! This book had me on the edge of my seat all the way to the last page. “  Taking Time for Mommy
“It begins with the perfect bang, and lights up your mind in ways you may not have thought. As much as it is dystopian it is speculative, and I am all for challenging the minds of the human race.” Literary Sweet
“The characters were so well written that I felt like I knew them. Lydia stayed true to who she was and her personality even when she had to make decisions that were not at all what an Amish would have ever imagine anyone would have to make.” Delphina Reads too Much
If you haven't read it yet, get yours today and find out what the buzz is about! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Soulkeepers an iBookstore Breakout Book!

What's the definition of a good day? Well, if you are an indie author, it is waking up to an email from the iBookstore with this header.

For the Soulkeepers to share the company of such inspired books and talented authors is a huge honor.  If you haven't read the book yet, download it now for free from the iBookstore.  Learn more about the Breakout Books promotion at the Smashwords BlogThank you so much readers for spreading the word about this series! You did this.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

FAQ: Are You Trying To Make Me Believe...?

No. No. And No. I write fiction. My writing is a form of art. The words, just like a painter's brush strokes, are supposed to be thought provoking. Things that happen in the story should evoke feelings and emotions in you, the reader, based on your personal experiences. With that in mind, the experience of reading the Soulkeepers is going to be different for different people, and that's okay.  The story isn't meant to lead you to any particular conclusion, it's supposed to entertain you and challenge you to critically think about diversity and self-acceptance.

The Soulkeepers is a story that takes place in the Bible belt (southern Illinois) and is based on Judeo-Christian mythology. The main character resists the pressures around him to conform to the beliefs of his family and community, and even in the end does not believe in a higher being in the same way as anyone else in the story believes. He connects to his role, the small part he plays in defending good against the evil in his world.

This is vastly different than Christian literature where the main character accepts Christ specifically as his or her personal savior. Nowhere in The Soulkeepers does that happen because, as an author of fiction, that's not the story I wanted to tell with this book. I'm really not concerned with what you believe. Your beliefs are as personal and individual as you are, and you should find them for yourself.

What I am concerned with as an author is this concept of traditional cultures merging with modern secular society. There are those who would say that as science and technology advances, we have no need for any religion or personal spirituality. There are others who think that as our society moves forward, we need those things even more. I am interested in this conversation, this clash of opinions, and it influences my writing.

I usually get the follow up question of, 'What religion are you?'  I am now a practicing ELCA Christian. I was raised Catholic but converted after spending a short time identifying with other religions. I have an open heart and an open mind. I like hearing about how other people find their own personal peace.

So, if you read The Soulkeepers and it brings you closer to your personal faith or makes you think about faith in general and its place in our society, I'm happy about that. I hope my story made some difference for you. But if you are one of the very few (usually those who don't finish the book and make assumptions about how it will end) who thinks that the books are Christian propaganda, I'm sorry to say that you didn't read very carefully, and most likely those feelings came from within you, projected onto the work.

And if you are one of those people who just wants to enjoy the action, adventure, romance, and intrigue of the story itself--YAY! It's fiction after all. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FAQ: When's the Next Book Coming Out?

Soul Catcher is on target for a late March/early April release.  Why can't I give you an exact date?  Well I learned with the release of Return to Eden that it isn't a good idea to do so.  As a small, independent publisher, there are some things that I can't control about the release process. For example, Return to Eden took an unheard of six weeks to publish on Apple last March. In comparison, Grounded, my latest release, was available within ten days. Sometimes my books are available on kindle and nook in a day.  Sometimes it takes four.

The book is complete and currently at the editor. It's already been through a round of developmental editing and those early readers enjoyed the story. When it comes back to me at the end of February, I'll make the changes this editor suggests.  If the changes are minor, I'll make them, read through it twice, format it and publish it.  If the changes are substantial, I'll make them, read through it twice, and then send it to an additional proofreader. The first scenario takes about a week.  The second could take three.

The bottom line is I don't want to disappoint you.

In 2012, I made the shift from writing as a hobby to writing professionally.   I won't release a book I don't feel is ready for my readers.  And while every book, even those with teams of editors, formatting gurus, and publishing professionals, has its issues, my goal is to put out the best book possible with the resources I have.

If you want to be the first to know when the book is available, sign up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers are the first to know any and all G.P. Ching news. I will never spam your inbox.  My emails are infrequent (3 in the last year) and only for the purpose of reliably delivering G.P. Ching news to you.

Thank you to all of you who have followed the Soulkeepers Series.  I'm so excited to share this next installment with you.  Soon. *rubs hands together* Very soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Soul Catcher Playlist

Music fuels my muse. Often the more eclectic the mix, the more visual my writing becomes. It's become a tradition for me to create and share the playlist of songs I listened to while writing my novels.  Here's the one for Soul Catcher, if you are interested. Enjoy!

  1. Bush-Little Things
  2. The Toadies - Possum Kingdom
  3. Alex Clare-Too Close
  4. Gossip-Heavy Cross
  5. Tool-Forty Six and Two
  6. Korn-System
  7. Cure-Burn
  8. Bruno Mars-Locked Out of Heaven
  9. Jennifer Lopez- On the Floor
  10. Adam Lambert-Whataya want from me
  11. Pink-Try
  12. Christina Perri - Arms
  13. Florence and the Machine- Seven Devils
  14. Within Temptation - Stand My Ground

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