Achievement unlocked!

A few days ago someone posted First Frost’s 100th review on amazon. I think that’s a HUGE deal since it means that people have actually bought, read, enjoyed my book enough to leave a positive review. Although trust me, some people have given me a few stinky reviews (1-2 stars always suck) but more often than not I’ll see 4-5 star reviews which I read when I’m having a crappy day and that always makes me feel a lot better.
Capture3

http://www.amazon.com/First-Frost-Liz-DeJesus-ebook/dp/B008DQU0CQ/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

My goal always has been and always will be to write an entertaining story. Something that will help someone forget about life for a little while.
Anyway, since I’ve reached this milestone people have been asking me, how did I get 100 reviews on amazon?
I’ll tell you. Sit down, pay attention and take notes. 😉
As of right now here are the stats:
First Frost:
Goodreads: 248 ratings & 106 reviews
Amazon: 100 reviews
Barnes & Noble (Nook): 15 reviews
Glass Frost:
Goodreads: 49 ratings & 28 reviews
Amazon: 23 reviews
Barnes & Noble (Nook): 8 reviews
1. I started promoting First Frost before it was even released. Why? Create a buzz for your book. You want people to wonder about this book. Check out excerpts. Make them wonder if it’s even any good.
2. Look at books that are similar to yours. What is the author doing right? What is the author doing wrong? What would you do differently. You need to come up with some kind of strategy to reach your target reader.
3. Yes, you do have a target reader. A mistake some authors make is that they assume their book is for everyone. It’s not. You can’t sell a fantasy novel to someone that reads only non-fiction. Think of the type of person that will enjoy your book. Where are they? Don’t know? Then find out where they are.
4. Use social media wisely. You can’t just share links to where people can purchase your book and expect all your friends to rush off and buy it. That’s not how it works. It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason. Meaning? You actually have to be active and be…you know…social. LOL Get people talking. Engage. Reply to comments.
5. Research. I love bloggers and reviewers. I’m constantly emailing them and asking them if they would like to read and review my book. Follow the review policy. Be polite. Be nice. Ask them what format they prefer to read their books in. I try to accommodate them as much as possible. It takes a lot of time and effort to read and write an accurate review and then post it online.
6. Don’t expect overnight success. First Frost was published in June 2012. I’ve been promoting the same book for over a year. Why? I love this book. I believe in the story, the message and the characters. I’m emotionally invested in this series and want it to do well. A mistake some authors make is that they give up within a month or two of promoting a single book and move on to the next one. They expect things to happen overnight. Trust me, the authors you think are an overnight success have been working their butts off for a long, LONG time.
7. Patience. And more patience…oh and yeah….more patience.
8. Write faster. I’m pretty sure I’ll have carpel tunnel syndrome by the time I finish typing this sentence.
9. You have to believe in yourself.
10. Get others to believe in you as well. I’m constantly sharing other authors links on facebook and twitter. And I’m lucky enough that when I ask for help, others repay in kind. I’m very thankful to every single blogger, author, friend and family member that has taken a moment to share a link of mine or to participate in my blog tours. It’s not something that you can do completely on your own.

Birthday Bash ~ Sale!!!

Image

 

Morning everyone! Just wanted to let you all know that my YA Fantasy books First Frost & Glass Frost are now on sale for 99 cents! 😀 

First Frost :

For generations, the Frost family has run the Museum of Magical and Rare Artifacts, handing down guardianship from mother to daughter, always keeping their secrets to “family only.”
Gathered within museum’s walls is a collection dedicated to the Grimm fairy tales and to the rare items the family has acquired: Cinderella’s glass slipper, Snow White’s poisoned apple, the evil queen’s magic mirror, Sleeping Beauty’s enchanted spinning wheel…
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Frost wants none of it, dreaming instead of a career in art or photography or…well, anything except working in the family’s museum. She knows the items in the glass display cases are fakes because, of course, magic doesn’t really exist.
She’s about to find out how wrong she is.

http://www.amazon.com/First-Frost-Liz-DeJesus-ebook/dp/B008DQU0CQ/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

Glass Frost:

When joined together, Cinderella’s slippers grant the wearer her heart’s desire.  But whose wish will be granted?
When Cinderella’s glass slipper is stolen, Queen Felicia sends her faithful steward Terrance to the real world to retrieve his love and witch-in-training, Bianca Frost. The power of the glass slipper in the wrong hands could ruin peace in Everafter. Bianca must gather every bit of magic she has learned in the past few weeks to find the slipper and protect her new love. Together, Bianca, Ming, Prince Ferdinand, and Terrance venture deep into the heart of Everafter to seek clues as to who has stolen the slipper and why. Along the way, they uncover what happened to the Seven Dwarves after Snow White married the prince, but also learn the awful risk of tampering with black magic and the high price that must be paid for magical aid, even when used for good.
Bianca and Terrance’s relationship is put to the test. Through the pain of suffering and loss, Bianca must determine if following her gallant boyfriend into his faraway world is in fact her heart’s desire.

http://www.amazon.com/Glass-Frost-Liz-DeJesus-ebook/dp/B00E123XBG/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0DAQD7DNJY4ZZJQPR01J

Fairy Tale Retellings

If you’ve met me in person, it’ll only take you a few minutes to realize that I’m obsessed with fairy tales. I read them, write retellings, I do bilingual story time once a month and what do I read to the kids? Fairy Tales! Duh. Like I would do anything else.

Seriously, I’ve done just about everything to these fairy tale princesses. I’ve written erotic fairy tales, fairy tale poems, The Frost Series is heavily inspired by fairy tales (YA fantasy), my new comic book Zombie Ever After is also inspired by fairy tales. Not everything I write is inspired by fairy tales, if you look at my other books you’ll see that I do come up with my own original ideas. The Jackets, Nina, Morgan, Decode (current WIP), and Zoe’s Tears (another WIP). But the one thing that makes me happier than anything is playing with fairy tales. And yes, I do mean playing, for me it’s like dress up. I may not be wearing a tiara (at least not literally) but I love pretending that I’m these characters or at least going along for the ride.

Sometimes I’ll reread certain stories just to refresh my memory. I love being able to take a story that was originally a few pages long and turn it into a whole entire novel. I love discovering who these characters are. What are their likes, dislikes, favorite color. What are they afraid of? What is their hearts desire? Would they go left or right? Why? Why not? First kiss? Last kiss? Etc. I wanna know. I’m curious. And it’s that curiosity that fuels my engine. I’m just nosy that way.

Anyway I decided to write a blog post because my author friend (and fellow Musa Publishing author) Dean Pace-Frech posted this on my page:

Can I just say, writing fairy tales is harder than I thought! Any suggestions?

So here are a few tips. I’m not an expert, okay. The only person I would consider an expert in the whole fairy tale retelling genre is Gregory Maguire and I think he’s busy doing other awesome stuff. Probably coming up with another awesome fairy tale retelling that I can’t wait to read in one sitting.

1. Read the original story. Think about why you love this particular story.

2. What elements do you want to explore? Ask yourself what you want to know more about and try to come up with your own answer.

3. Stay true to some elements of the story. For example, in Zombie Ever After, I have a character modeled after Beauty and the Beast. Beauty is still a beautiful scientist but her boyfriend is a zombie. See what I did there? Kind of like that. But you can make this work in any genre.

4. You can change it up a bit. People want to read something new and unique. Make sure you tell this story in your own voice with your own style of writing whichever one that is. Add a few twists and turns that no one will see coming.

5. Names are important. In Glass Frost, Bianca visits the remaining dwarves. They’re names aren’t based on the Disney version. I try to stick to the original story as much as possible. And in the original story the dwarves weren’t given names. So put some thought into that. For example, Bianca’s full name is Bianca Silver Frost. I wanted to find a way to incorporate Snow White into it. Yes, I know, it takes some twists here and there in terms of translations but it works. 😉

6. If there’s a prince in the story, please make him interesting. The one thing I hate seeing is a cardboard, transparent prince. Give him some quirk, something that makes him interesting. This is why I decided to make Prince Ferdinand a little goofy, and carefree. I wanted to see the opposite of the dashing prince that always saves the day.

7. Have fun. Readers will know right off the bat when you’re trying too hard. Why do you think I write so many fairy tale retellings? Because it’s the most fun I can have as an adult without leaving my house. Don’t forget I’m a stay at home mom to two very rambunctious little boys. My writing is my only means of escape. Why would I waste my happy fun time doing something that’s not fun?

Anyway feel free to chime in. What are your favorite fairy tale retellings? Why? What made you pick up that particular book and read it from cover to cover?

Dreams….

When I was 12 years old I wrote my very first list. It was filled with things I wanted to do when I ‘grew up’. It was filled with places I wanted to visit. New York, Italy, France, China, Ireland…the list went on and on. I loved listing these dreams and goals. The way they looked on a sheet of paper made it feel like I was halfway there. I couldn’t wait to grow up. I felt like nothing would ever happen to me if I stayed in Puerto Rico. I have a complicated relationship with that little island. Love and hate…I guess. I love some of the traditions and cultural aspects of it. But I didn’t enjoy the town I grew up in, I was bullied in school, there wasn’t a bookstore or a library I could go to, My brother and I spent a lot of time at home…alone with nothing to do, nowhere to go unless it was to move the cow from one side of the field to the other so it would have fresh grass. So yeah….Puerto Rico wasn’t exactly a paradise for me. It looks really pretty in pictures though. But living there was not fun for me.
Anyway five years after I wrote that list my family and I moved to Delaware. It was a bit of a culture shock because coming from a farm in Puerto Rico where there was NOTHING to do and all of a sudden everything and anything was possible. Holy crap there was a library I could go to? And then I found Borders. Books everywhere. Books wall to wall. I’m pretty sure I cried.
Going to school to be a writer wasn’t an option for me (but I did go to Del Tech to get an associates degree in Human Services…never finished). But then I wandered to the reference section and discovered the writing books. My jaw dropped. There were books that could TEACH me how to write novel? This was the first book I bought.

writing book

Another step toward making my dream come true. It was a lot of work. There were things I didn’t know. I took a technical writing class once and the teacher asked me to drop out of his class because I was so god-awful. LOL I didn’t know what an indentation was, I didn’t know how to use the tab key. I seriously wish I were joking. I wanted to be a writer so badly, and I felt like this was a sign that maybe I should just take a step back from my dream. So I dropped his class…but not my dream. I decided that the only sign should come from God and maybe have some skywriting involved. A message written in the clouds saying ‘Liz, don’t be a writer…be something else.’ LOL Lucky for me, I just went to Borders and bought another book on writing and learned even more. And I’m still learning. I’m still trying to be a better writer. I still buy writing books and magazines.
I published my first novel when I was 21 years old. God, that was ten years ago. And it was a terribly written book. But I learned about the publishing industry and made lots of friends (some that I still have to this day). What is the point of this blog post? That you can have a dream, but you need to have work ethic, guts and persistence in order to make it happen. Some luck may be involved but if you don’t believe in yourself then why should anyone else. You have to be your biggest cheerleader and that’s what I do everyday. Even when I don’t feel like writing or promoting my book (trust me, it does happen) I try to do just a tiny little bit because I keep thinking of that little girl I used to be. Who had big dreams, who didn’t think they would come true, who didn’t think anything remotely interesting would ever happen in her life, I want to show her that dreams can come true. I know somewhere in the back of my mind, spirit and soul, that little girl is somewhere smiling.

  • franny

2nd and Charles Book Signing ~ Liz DeJesus & J.M. Reinbold

flyer
JM Reinbold is the Director of the Written Remains Writers Guild in Wilmington, Delaware. She is the author of the novella “Transfusions,” published in the anthology Stories from the Inkslingers (Gryphonwood Press, 2008). “Transfusions” was nominated for a Washington Science Fiction Association Small Press Award. Her poetry has appeared in Red Fez Magazine. Strange Love (2010) and A Beat Style Haiku (2012). In 2011, she received an honorable mention from the Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowships for her novel Prince of the Piedmont. She has been selected twice (2008, 2012) by the Delaware Division of the Arts as a fiction fellow for the Cape Henlopen Poets & Writers Retreat. In 2009, her novel-in-progress, Summer’s End, was a finalist in the Magic Carpet Ride Magical Realism Mentorship competition. You can visit her online at http://www.jmreinbold.com.
Liz DeJesus was born on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. She is a novelist and a poet. She has been writing for as long as she was capable of holding a pen. She is the author of the novel Nina (Blu Phi’er Publishing, October 2007), The Jackets (Arte Publico Press, March 31st 2011) First Frost (Musa Publishing, June 22nd 2012) and Glass Frost (Musa Publishing, July 2013). Visit her website http://www.lizdejesus.com
Check out the facebook event here. Hope to see you there!
Can’t make it to the book signing? No worries. Pick up a copy of either book on amazon (or your favorite book store).
inkslingers
someone wicked
first frost
glass frost

Sample Sunday

I touched my chest, stomach and arms, which further confirmed what I already suspected. I was definitely a girl. I stared at my hands. They were petite. I had olive toned skin. My nails were short and oval shaped. I gazed upon the lines on the palm of my hands as though they were a map to my past. Something I could follow, that would lead me home. But all I saw were lines. My name didn’t magically appear. None of my questions were answered. I checked my clothes. And something caught my attention. On the left hand corner of my shirt there was something written on it. I twisted my neck until I was able to read the name ‘Penny’.
I said it out loud a few times.
My name is Penny. I feel like a Penny…that seemed right.
A waitress. That’s what I’m supposed to be. I was sure of it. I was supposed to work the lunch shift. I remembered the glow of the yellow-orange sun shining upon my skin.  I could still feel my ponytail swinging from side to side as I gave people their meals and drinks.
I stood up and then ducked as something zoomed above my head.
What was that?
I ran to the edge of the wall and pressed my back against it. I raised my arms to shield my head and face as blocks continued to whiz past me. Where the heck am I?

©  Liz DeJesus 2014