Monday, May 30, 2011

Caped CONduit round up with video

Well, I tried to upload the videos from my Streak, but it's not working at the moment. I'll try a different method, and spread out my report over the week instead. So today, let me just give you a little about Caped CONduit.

This is the longest running SFF convention in Salt Lake, and apparently there are a LOT of genre fiction conventions and writers who live in the area. Who'd have thought Utah would be a breeding ground for sci-fi, fantasy and horror? Yet another reason to wish to retire here.

I signed up and on a whim, decided to get a dealer's booth. My daughter, Amber, wants to be an artist (right now, she's leaning toward animation/character development, but she's also thought manga and anime), so she wanted to join us. The dealer's room came with 2 tickets to the con.

I also signed up to be on some panels, although none of my ideas were chosen and I have to maneuver a bit to get on some. I ended up on the Doctor Who panel (as a last-minute add-in when two folks dropped out), Humor in Horror, Mystery in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Building Your Audience. I was tempted to drop out of that one, incidentally, since I'm feeling a little down on marketing, but I'm glad I didn't as there were only three of us (one person had a severe allergic reaction to something in the hotel and had to go home.)

We bought tickets for all the kids, but in the end, only Alex went more than the mandatory first day. Fortunately, they had a D&D game going the first day, so Steven and Liam weren't too terribly disappointed. They just weren't into the stuff that the con offered.

If I can get the video and photos up, I'll spend the rest of the week telling you the things about the con, but here's a sneak peek:

* Good things come to those who wait
* How to get interviews at a con
* See my brain get splattered on the ceiling, scraped, poked and otherwise abused
* Anime eyes and funny faces

Sadly, all my interviews did not turn out well. My Dell Streak's mike is not good. Wah. Tech fail. Next time, I bring my video camera or actual computer. Was hoping the pad would do the job. Figures.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chatterday: Market hard or "Feed the Beast"?

One of my groups on Linked In is discussing whether it's wiser to market your books hard or keep "Feeding the Beast" by putting your time into writing. I've seen arguments for both, and sometimes it depends on the situation. Traditionally published authors, like Dean Wesley Smith, say "Marketing is not my job." Self-publishers, of course, have no choice but to market themselves and hard. But what about us small press authors?

I'll be honest: I'm entering the "feed the beast" camp. I've been marketing hard for years now, but while I have a few loyal fans, my results in no way justify the amount of time and effort I put into it. Meanwhile, I have stories languishing because I'm putting so much time and mental energy into marketing. I burned myself out in April, and near as I can tell the results are on par with having done nothing.

I won't give up promotions altogether. I can't. However, I feel it's time to put it in its proper perspective. I also need to do some research and reflection on what will be most effective for me. Most of you know me well enough to realize that I know WHAT to do, but somewhere, my execution falls short.

So, what about you? Share your frustrations, your successes, your opinions. Come on! Let's help each other out.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Perfect Ten" is here!

When Sheila Mars lands a bind date, she knows she's found a "Perfect Ten"--but on what scale?

I originally wrote this for an anthology called "Anonymous Dates, Inc." whic Lea Schizas was compiling. The premise was a woman gets set up on a first date, which starts out great, but ends in a disaster. What could be more promising--and disastrous--and a first date with Coyote the Trickster God?

Unfortunately, the anthology didn't pan out, so Lea gave me the rights to the story back. Several years later, however, she started her own publishing company, MuseItUp, which also takes short stories. I think it's wonderful that she's publishing the story she helped found in the first place!

For my "Vern fans": This is the Coyote from my DragonEye, PI world. It takes place in Vegas, so you won't see Vern, but Sister Grace makes an appearance--but not until Coyote has a good long time to show is true self!

Also for "Vern fans": MuseItUp will be publishing Vern and Grace's next adventure, Live and Let Fly, in April 2012!

Here's an excerpt:

Well, he’s not so bad. Definitely dark and handsome, Sheila thought as she sat perched on the edge of the chair, clutching her phone tightly in case another decision needed to be made.

“He” was one Kyle Loaty: Emigrated to America from Faerie last year and had spent most of his time on a reservation in Montana, where he “lived off the land” and worked “helping the Sioux relearn the ancient legends.” 5’11”, Native American ancestry--if such a thing existed in Faerie--well muscled. Health Risk Assessment 5.2 at first blush, her assessor brain whispered. And there was something about him that made Sheila blush.

Nonetheless, she hadn’t gotten a good look at his face. He kept focused on someone off-stage (Martha, she realized), and his shiny, long black hair obscured his profile.
As if on cue, Martha’s voice urged, “Kyle, dear, please talk to the camera.”

“How can I talk to that machine when there is so much woman I can look at instead.”

Martha tittered, then cleared her throat. “But the women who want to meet you will watch the tape. Can’t you act as if the camera were one of them?”

“Oh!” he said earnestly. “Oh, I’m very good at playing pretend.”

He turned and gave the camera a smoldering stare.

Sheila dropped her phone.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Press Release: Zombies: National Disaster, or Local Pest?

Since the CDC has issues a warning to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, I just had to issue a statement of my own. Feel free to repost on your blogs or wherever! CDC article is here:


Karina Fabian Kim Richards, Publisher, Damnation Books

2712W 1475N PO Box 3931

Layton, UT 84041 Santa Rose, CA 95402

801-593-0531 707-595-4738


Zombies: National Disaster, or Local Pest?

Layton, UT: When it comes to handling the zombie apocalypse, author Karina Fabian has a little more faith in the government than its own Center for Diseases Control. While the CDC assumes an overwhelming contagion of Zombieland proportions, Fabian's book, Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, postulates a country where private and government resources rally to tackle the problem.

"Look at how we handled H1N1. As soon as we recognized the problem, we mobilized. From public service announcements to vaccinations, we were on the problem like ugly on the undead," Fabian said.

In Fabian's zombie-infested world, thirty years in our future, zombies had gone from international threat to local pest. How? Federally mandated spine severing to prevent the reawakened brain from making the body move and private- and government-funded research institutes to not only seek a cure, but find more effective ways of battling the shambling undead. (Incidentally, "undead" becomes the official legal moniker for zombies, and the government issues professionals licenses to "re-kill.") Also in the private sector, extermination companies have found a new niche market: zombie extermination.

Of course, Fabian notes that she put in a few parameters to control the spread of zombie-ism.

"I didn't have a widespread sweeping contagion that took everyone at once," she said. "It didn't make sense to me. For the most part, diseases don't work like that, anymore, thanks to human knowledge and intervention. Also, my zombies have a few unusual characteristics that make them easier to manage. They aren't just brain sucking monsters. They have just enough brain function to retain bad habits. A smoker in life will take a pack of cigarettes over brains. TV will distract most zombies. Cleaning products repel them. It's ridiculous, I know, but so are zombies."

Fabian extends that "ridiculous" to include the world's reaction to zombies: zombie rights activists; conspiracy theorists, self-help videos ("You CAN Survive the Zombie Apocalypse!") and the reality TV show, Zombie Death Extreme. (Check out the website at

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, published in December 2010 by Damnation Books, stars Neeta Lyffe in the first season of Zombie Death Extreme as she deals with maniacal directors, bickering trainees, lawyers out for blood, and zombies out for brains. She's working on the second book, I Left my Brains in San Francisco.

Fabian said she realizes the CDC issued its release as a fun way to draw attention to disaster preparedness. "It's an important subject, especially with all the extreme weather we've been having. However, my vision of a 'zombie apocalypse' is just a bit different--and a lot more fun."

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator, is available in print or electronic formats.

* * *

Photos, press packages, and more available upon request.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Novel's Journey: Mind Over Mind cover art

I had a blog post written for today, but it was whiny and I debated using it. Then Gwen Gades, publisher of DragonMoon Books, made the decision for me by sending me the awesome cover of awesome!

Behold...MIND over MIND!

(Note: back cover blurb not added yet, but Gwen said I could post.)

Charles Bernard ( does cover art for the big traditionals, too, so this is the one cover I had little say in. Rather, he came up with four concept sketches and I was allowed input on which I liked best and to make MINIMAL change suggestions. All of them were so amazing that I got chills, but I kept coming back to this one. I love the impact it has and the expression on Deryl's face and how he's stuck between two worlds, neither of which is very appealing. (That's a mental institution in the background.) Also, it had the fewest conflicts with the worldbuilding aspects (most of which we'll see in the next book, Mind over Psyche.) Fortunately, the folks at DragonMoon agreed with me.

Got a not-so-secret secret to share. A week or so ago, I went back to the website where the concept sketches were, just wanting to geek out again, and I found that he'd replaced them with color renditions of the cover and the lettering. I flipped--it was so good. I showed it to my kids and husband only, and we discussed which lettering we liked best, etc. None, however, were the lettering you see here, and this lettering has so much more impact.

The back cover blurb, etc. are still to come, and I'll be sure to post. However, let me just say that once again, I hit the jackpot with covers. Thanks Charles and Gwen!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Small Press Author Blues

Been a long time since I've been inspired to bad song lyrics, but Friday night, I was tuning my harp while bemoaning my marketing successes (or relative lack of success when you consider work vs. results), and I came up with this. BTW, I did not put it to the harp--harps are not well known for the blues. Imagine a harmonica doing the the bada-ba da Dum!

bada-ba da Dum Wrote me a book
bada-ba da Dum But it don't sell well
bada-ba da Dum Though I've been marketing
bada-ba da Dum Like a bat outta hell
bada-ba da Dum The bookstores won't take it
bada-ba da Dum 'Cause the press is too small
bada-ba da Dum Each store had a new excuse and I have heard them all!

Oh, I got the blues!
The small press author blues
Wish I were in Stephanie Meyers' shoes
I'd kick those small press author blues.

bada-ba da Dum Now I love my publishers
bada-ba da Dum So don't get me wrong
bada-ba da Dum They all do their best
bada-ba da Dum They deserve this song
bada-ba da Dum 'Cause the industry screws them
bada-ba da Dum And bookstores do, too
bada-ba da Dum Makes them pay for the returns and rips the covers off them, too!

Oh, we got the blues!
The small press business blues
If we could just wear Amazon's shoes
We'd kick those small press business blues.

bada-ba da Dum Now some folks are sayin'
bada-ba da Dum Self-publishing's king
bada-ba da Dum I can put my book on Kindle
bada-ba da Dum It don't mean a thing
bada-ba da Dum A billion books on Kindle
bada-ba da Dum How do I make the scene?
bada-ba da Dum When even with small press I don't get folks to notice me?

Oh, I got the blues!
The small press author blues
Wish I were in JA Konrath's shoes
I'd kick those small press author blues.

bada-ba da Dum That's it; I'm done!
bada-ba da Dum I'm in this for fun
bada-ba da Dum Got so many stories
bada-ba da Dum And I love every one
bada-ba da Dum So I'll write my stories
bada-ba da Dum And I'll find them good homes
bada-ba da Dum Because my life is better when my imagination roams

Oh, who cares about the blues?
The small press author blues
I'm comfy in my shoes
My bunny slippered, funny flippered, what no author can do without
To kick those small press author blues.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chatterday: Anybody reading this?

I missed Thursday, but I'm making progress on my goal of building up to 3000 words a day. In the meantime, I have to wonder--does anyone read this? Or better yet, what would make you read this more often?

So far, chatterday has been kind of a flop. I'm willing to take topics for discussion.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Re-Upholstering Chairs

Sorry this took so long to post--I never downloaded the photos!

I have a beautiful dining room set that I bought from my neighbor in California. I adore the rich color of the wood and the intricate carvings on the back. It's nice and big and even came with a glass top. However, the seats were a problem. They were a washed out goldish color, and the cushions were thin--so thin in some places, that when you saw you were poked with the screws that held them on!

My parents gave us some money for Christmas, and we decided to put it into upholsetring the chairs. My mom is terrific at recovering furniture, so she offered to help out when they came to visit, which was the first week of February.

Here's the fabric I found. I loved the deep, rich colors, and the red was just enough to complement the color of the chair itself. Even better, it was on sale at Hancock Fabric: $13 a yard! Because of the design, we ended up buying 10 yards, about a yard a chair, and we had a lot left over. That's not a problem for creative people like us, though!

The cushions were a little tougher. When I took apart one chair, I realized I could not recreate the shaping. So I decided to just buy high density 2-inch foam to put under the original foam instead. I also did not want to risk getting stabbed with screws anymore, so I decided to use 3 1/2-inc bolts with washers and nuts to lock them in place. That meant we had to drill holes in the wood bottom of the seat and in the chair. One lesson we learned quickly: the screws had been put in at angles, so sometimes, we had to drill an entire new set of holes in the wood seat to match the holes in the chair itself. Next we threaded the bolts with washers through the holes in the seat so that the bolt heads are on top--ie, they would be covered by the cushions.

I marked the centers of the top, bottom and sides of the seat so I could line up the fabric. I set the fabric, wrong side up, then the original cushion on it, the new cushion on the old, then the seat on the cushion, bolt heads down.

After that, I stapled the upholstery fabric on. First, I only did the four centers, then flipped it to be sure the pattern was right. How excited I was when I saw how good the first one looked! Then I went back and did the sides, then did the four corners. I had to hammer the staples down because the thick cushion absorbed some of the force of the staplegun. Then I trimmed the extra upholstery, put the liner back on the bottom of the seat and stapled that into place.

Finally, I threaded the bolts through the holes in the chair and put on the washers and nuts. Voila! they are beautiful and so comfy!

When we had removed the old upholstery fabric, we found the original gold cotton fabric covers were on it. So we washed these swatches and cut them into squares, then sewed up the edges for napkins.

We had a lot of excess material, so my mom made a huge table runner and a valance. We also recovered a couple of old ugly hot pads. Here's the final result. I LOVE IT! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My Novel's Journey: Focus and Word Count

The thing about being an accomplished writer isn't so much about being able to write huge amounts of text, but about being consistent.

My first novel, which will be published in September as Mind Over Mind, was written with a single vow: one sentence before bed each day. Sometimes, I got on a roll and did a few paragraphs, rarely more than a page. However, most of the time, I only got that sentence done--and since I was homeschooling two kids and had a toddler and a baby, it was a sentence done half-asleep at that.

Now, of course, the kids are all in public school, and I have several hours to myself, so I am managing, I'd guess, probably 8,000-10,000 words a day. Trouble is, those words aren't all toward my books. I write blogs, facebook posts, e-mails, and waaaay too much marketing stuff. Before that, I did a lot of posts on Yahoo groups. I also write things for the Catholic Writers' Guild and various websites.

Lately, I've been re-evaluating my writing, and have come to the conclusion that a lot of the writing I'm doing isn't giving me the joy I am working toward. Thus, I need to refocus on what I really want. Which is to write stories.

In order to do that, I'm resetting my goals, and building up. Last week, the goal was 1000 words a day, five days a week, just on the novel. The plan is to work to 3000 a day. To accomplish this, I need to set a few things aside, or to give them their rightful place--break times and after the main writing is done.

What's helping me to do that? I post my writing word accomplishment on Facebook. Yeah, it's kind of a silly "Look at me!" thing, but it helps me feel accountable. Second, I have a new writing buddy. Nancy needed someone to be accountable to as well, so she and I meet on IM in the mornings and keep each other on track. Finally, I simply discipline myself. Some days that means turning off my internet access, less I be tempted.

This week's goal is 1200 words a day, five days a week. I'm certain I can make that, and that by the end of the year, I'll be going strong at 3K a day. If Life doesn't toss a curveball at me.

BTW, one thing I plan to do to minimize my marketing efforts is concentrate on my newsletter. I invite bloggers as well as readers to join in. Each time a book comes out, I'll be sending information that you are welcome to post. Register here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

War of Attrition--Review and Interview with Frank Creed

Summary: (From Amazon):

Set in 2037, Calamity Kid and his muscle cell are targeted by the One State's Federal Bureau of Terrorism and must survive alone in Chicago's Underground. At one-half its usual might, the cell encounters traps and snares set by a faceless opponent-and question the suspicious arrival of a bio-engineered One State traitor. Blamed by the media for the very violence they're trying to contain, CK and his fellow saints race for their lives to avoid the high-tech crosshairs aimed into the underground. War of Attrition, Book Two of the UNDERGROUND, is the sequel to Frank Creed's award-winning Christian sci-fi/ cyberpunk novel, Flashpoint.

Mini Review: Once again, Frank Creed spins another exciting tale of a cyberpunk Chicago in an Apocalyptic world. I love his imaginative use of technology to enhance the gifts of the Holy Spirit--and the really cool Matrix-style skills with a new (pardon the pun) twist. I enjoyed the chemistry between Calamity and Lethe--hope to see more of their relationship in Book Three. The only thing I didn't like was the way it just seemed to end. Really, I was roaring along on the El of adventure--and suddenly the track ended! I wondered where the rest of the book had gone. Of course, if the worst you can say about a book is that it ended too soon, well--bring on the next!

Note: This is unapologetically Christian speculative fiction. Much quoting of the Bible, some moral discussions from a very Christian perspective, and of course the Christian underground is the good guys. That said, I think this book is a lot of fun for readers of any denomination, and even for those who do not necessarily ascribe to a particular religion, as long as you understand the characters are talking to each other and not that the author is trying to preach to you. It's not that kind of book, really.

Interview with Frank Creed:

1. What’s different in War of Attrition from Flashpoint?

Our heroes get some upgraded tech capabilities. They get uploaded with a mindware update that has advantages, like using their mindware abilities without being detected. Also, Calamity Kid gets some electromagnetic swords.

Another change is a new player in the power struggle. If a One State bully pokes you every day, you assume that when you get poked it must be the bully. What if you get poked and the bully is not there? A third party enters the fray, and shocks Calamity Kid.

Also, our main characters’ Mommy and Daddy are not around. Calamity Kid and e-girl have grown up.

2. What do you love best about War of Attrition?

Easy question. The new characters that were not in Flashpoint.

Lethe is someone Calamity Kid knew from online gaming. Back then, she ran under the name Heartbreaker, but she hates that name. Heartbreaker was a One State experiment who got away. She seems to be fleeing her former masters, but can she be trusted, and will she break Calamity Kid’s heart?

Barren is CK’s new partner. We learn early that Barren’s whole family has been killed by the One State. He has little to live for and looks forward to seeing his family in Heaven. How does Calamity Kid deal with such a man?

Vex also came from the One State. He worked with the peacekeepers as a sniper. Vex came from Mexico, fled his duty in Vancouver, and wound up joining the underground in Chicago. How will his skills fit with CK’s needs?

3. What lessons did you learn from Flashpoint that you applied to War of Attrition?

Not a fair question with my brain injury—I learn so many nit-picky details about writing that would bore readers . . . here’s an easy one though. Flashpoint’s ending was too long. War of Attrition has a final scene that satisfies without boring.

4. How’s the role playing game coming?

Slowly. Copies of Join the Underground, by Mike Roop, are just not selling. I had hoped that there would be a great crossover between Christian cyberpunk readers and Christian gamers, but we have not been able to effectively reach the gamer market. It is sad because a lot of effort went into developing the gaming system and even though it only uses normal easy-to-find six-sided-die, nobody is enjoying it.

5. Got more Underground books coming?

Yes! I’m currently writing Devil’s Hit List, Book Three of the Underground. All your favorite characters are back, doing what they do best. This time the saints are trying to stop a diabolical technology, Virtual-e, before it can be offered to the public. I will say that Calamity Kid is running out of friends!

Book Four of the Underground will be co-authored with an author friend of mine from New Zealand—Grace Bridges.

Buy it on Amazon!