It’s been months since I’ve last posted here. So much has happened. I’ve started a few times to post, but I never hit the publish button.
The other day, I had the honor to be invited to a fun and entertaining interview by fellow writer and blogger Jonathan Pongratz. He’s the author of Reaper: A Horror Novella, among a few others.
So, without further ado, come take a look!
Through an unknown magic you are teleported to the world of a book you’ve recently read. Where have you ended up?
Jina: Velaris, from A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas. Most make-believe places in books are plagued with war and monsters (at least most books I read), but Velaris is a wonderful place, filled with happy people. So much so that only its citizens know about its existence (to prevent an influx of people and corruption, as well as for protection). To everyone else, Velaris, (or The Court of Night as outsiders know it), believe the place to be in another location, and to be a nightmarish court, fraught with violence.
Jonny: Wow, what a change of scenery from your typical reads! I don’t think I’d know what to do in such a happy setting since I’m used to blood, guts, and scary stuff. Enjoy some deep, calming breaths while it lasts, I suppose.
Woosh! I’ve been transported to D. Wallace Peach’s The Ferryman and the Sea Witch. Oh lordy, I’m terrified of the ocean! As long as I’m in the city of Brid Clarion or Haf Killick I’ll be okay, but put me on a boat and I’ll probably be seasick the entire time. Not to mention the dire fate I’ll suffer from the merrow if I fall overboard. Get me outta here!
Come read the rest – it’s a fun and entertaining post!
As some of you know, I’ve been scrambling to get things ready for an upcoming book release–and it’s been so frustrating!
But let us go back a while. Some of you are aware I’d been trying to get an agent (started querying June 2020). I spent months getting rejected–until I was told by a few that Agents preferred to work closely with authors, and giving my end-of-the-world location, I was a big NO! from the first paragraph in the query: “My name is Jina S. Bazzar, and I’m a Palestinian author.” 👌So I searched and found a nearby agency. Well, there’s a 3 hour flight between us, but at least we’re in the same continent. 😁And yay, the agent offered me a contract after reading the manuscript. Cue the dancing. 🎶
But as days turned into weeks and then a month with not a word from the agent, I decided to send an inquiry, and hey, we were still on. Just some internal details to be finalized. And then more days turned into weeks and, another inquiry, and reassurances and a few months later, I realized I was being strung along.
So I decided it was time to push up my sleeves and do this on my own. Being in a very small dot on a map meant Amazon KDP only offered its bear minimum, so I put in my Brazilian details.
Now able to use its exclusivity program, I went in for the final details – editor, book cover, digital and paperback layout and so on. Despite those having been frustrating, I had friends helping – Tyler Colins (the book’s editor), and E. Denise Billups (who did the layout formats) again, thank you. As for book cover, after a brief stint on fiver, I decided my best bet was a professional designer. But $500 + was some of the cheapest I could find, so I crossed US book covers from the list and moved to Brazilian ones.
I set release date far enough (December 21st, 2021) to give myself enough time should unexpected obstacles popup, and hey, there were (and still are) so darn many! 😢
First was the ISBN number for the paperback. Since I planned to include the paperback version on Ingram Sparks as well, I couldn’t accept KDP’s free ISBN. But ISBN from the US would cost me $125, and honestly, I balked. Countless frustrating hours later, I learned that I could buy an ISBN from anywhere in the world, providing I had the necessary documents. So I tried buying it from here first. Well, the page link was broken, ha-ha-ha, and I put that aside. I checked ISBN in Brazil, and wow, it cost $5. So I eagerly filled all the necessary information – which took me about two hours, since the page wasn’t so accessible to screen readers (seriously, that’s getting old fast). And then, when it came time to pay, they refused payment from my bank (which is Brazilian), asking instead for payment through another (also Brazilian) bank (which I don’t have an account in). They did have another option for other banks that didn’t involve credit cards, but I’d need to be there to use it, so, wall, meet my face.😒
I went back to that broken link, discovered that the URL belonged to a branch of a local university, and I googled that university. Nothing so simple as a link saying ISBN here, of course, so I reached out to the library.
Of course, there was no reply. (Did you believe after all the above, that it would be that easy?) 🤷♀️
So, I went back to KDP, telling myself when I figured the ISBN problem, I could trim the book size to a new one, and use that one for Ingram Sparks (each book size has its own ISBN).
So, ISBN appointed through KDP, I got both the digital and paperback forms uploaded, with the digital set on pre-order. Yay. ✌
Time to gather book reviews and set up some ads so I could get eyes on the book.
First, of course, I contacted reviewers I knew. Out of 60 some emails, I got 5 replies.🤔
Mmm, maybe their emails changed. So I went hunting for them on social media and discovered that many of them haven’t posted for months, some even years. Given what’s happening around the globe, I wondered if they were okay, but put them aside as nothing I could do about. So I started reaching out to other reviewers, and while I waited for replies, I decided to tackle some ads.
Since some indie friends I know mentioned Bookbub ads , I headed there first. And discovered their page is mostly inaccessible to the blind. Well, I discovered that long ago when I tried posting reviews and recommending books I read, but I honestly thought their ad page would be accessible. Foolish me. 🤦♀️
Complaint sent to their customer service, I headed to amazon and hey, their page is accessible. But… yes, of course there’s a but: I can’t access their payment billing with paypal, so I’ll need that other payment method the Brazilian ISBN people asked for.
I admit there was plenty of hair-yanking.
So now while family members in Brazil scramble to get my bank account in order, I find myself in limbo, hands tied with nothing to do but reach out to reviewers. The problem? 200 emails and change, and I’ve rarely got back any reply– I wonder if my emails are going to spam?
So there it is, peeps, the condensed version of a few months and a lot of frustration, sprinkled with some achievement.
Any author here have any good suggestions – for book reviewers, places where I can put up some ads? Any readers here interested on a free e-book in exchange of a review when the book releases? 🤞
Ps: On an unrelated note, it only took me two days to get this post up and (hopefully) presentable.
It’s been months since I last posted here, and though I’m still on that hiatus, I wanted to share a piece I guest posted for a friend. It’s a bit different than my usual posts – and there’s more about my personal life there than I’ve actually shared here. So, come take a look!
As I sit here pondering what to write, rain drenching my face, the salt of the ocean stinging my eye, the… Wait, no, no. There’s no rain in the summers here in Palestine. We have, however, blistering hot, very dry conditions. The sky is clear, the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming. It’s the perfect time for beach vacations, the gentle lap of soothing waves, the shade of swaying frond leaves, the call of seagulls. Wait, there are no beaches on this side of the wall either. Okay, let’s try again… it’s the perfect time for picnics, sightseeing, fruit picking, doing dishes, house chores, mosquito baiting, and there are no F-16 bombings nearby, no riots, nor any sound of gunfire today. (Sorry, had to drop that last part in. You know, in case you wondered when you saw Palestine mentioned above.)…
I’ve lost a third of my ratings on Goodreads overnight. According to Goodreads customer services, they’re experiencing a bug. It’s got full priority, but they have no idea when it’ll be fixed. Meanwhile, I’ve dropped from 4.41 average rating to a 4.09 – because most ratings that disappeared were 5 and 4 star ratings.
1. Phone NASA. Their phone number is (713) 483-3111. Explain that it’s very important that you get away as soon as possible.
2. If they do not cooperate, phone any friend you may have in the White House–(202) 456-1414–to have a word on your behalf with the guys at NASA.
3. If you don’t have any friends in the White House, phone the Kremlin (ask the overseas operator for 0107-095-295-9051). They don’t have any friends there either (at least, none to speak of), but they do seem to have a little influence, so you may as well try.
4. If that also fails, phone the Pope for guidance. His telephone number is 011-39-6-6982, and I gather his switchboard is infallible.
5. If all these attempts fail, flag down a passing flying saucer and explain that it’s vitally important you get away before your phone bill arrives.
(Taken from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams)
While the world is getting vaccinated and covid cases decrease, we’re going through our 4th wave here in the Middle East, and starting a new two week lockdown, trying to manage the spike of British and South African variants – that we could have prevented without a lockdown, if only the boarders remained shut. Or simply by quarantining those arriving.
Alas, that didn’t happen, so now we’re responsible for the spike, because “we, the civilians” didn’t take enough precautions.
At least we have the promise of vaccines dangling like a carrot in front of us. I’d say I hate carrots, but that would be a lie, so along I trod, hoping those vaccines arrive – and my turn as well.
My writing has suffered meanwhile, though I’m not sure if it’s because of the chaos the virus made of everyone’s life, lack of focus, stress, or something else I can’t think to name at the moment. I have to force myself to pick up the draft and add word after word and make cohesive sentences. It’s a struggle, though none that affects any other aspect of my day-to-day in a big way.
Just my writing. Where once I could tune out the world, now I’m easily distracted by anything and everything going on around me – and considering now that the kids will be home for the coming weeks, I probably won’t even manage those few sentences a day.
It’s all covid’s fault.
Any suggestions? Something I could do to return that focus? An exercise I can do, a vitamin I could take, something I could smoke? A planet I could escape to?
Well, I’ll leave you here with something that happened a few weeks ago (when the kids returned to school for the second semester). I’m totally blaming covid for this.
My daughter, 3rd grade, returned from school the very first day happy and excited. So happy that she wanted to teach my niece, 2nd grade, some math.
I, as the proud mother, paused what I was doing (tinkering with my fantasy draft of course), and listened.
Daughter: “Let’s do the times table. 3 X 4=?”
Niece: “I know. 20!”
Daughter, now smug: “No. Do you want me to tell you?”
This one’s been a long time in my document folder, waiting to be posted. Instead of Barth and “I”, this one is about Barth and “my cousin”, Alec.
Just a special edition for covid19
Alec stood apart from the twelve other candidates in the spacious but efficient lobby. So far, no one had been called in for the job interview. To his side, Bartholomew, aka Barth the Mew, aka his cousin’s nightmare, stood, one shoulder leaning against the wall as he picked his teeth with a small Swiss knife.
Alec quickly looked away, afraid Barth would catch him watching and feel obliged to engage in conversation. The only reason he’d agreed for Barth to drive (and not escort) him to the job interview, had been to take him away from the house and his cousin – Barth’s current obsession.
Thankfully, no one was paying them any attention.
A guy in the group gave a hearty laugh, and Alec shifted his focus back to them. He listened to each individual boast about their experience and degree, and slowly, Alec’s confidence deflated. He had hopes for the job, but he didn’t have any experience, he didn’t even have a degree because of the virus lockdown. He felt stuck in limbo, unable to move forward without his degree, unable to attain any experience without getting a job.
He should just leave and save himself the embarrassment the rejection would cause.
Alec hugged his one page CV to his chest, afraid anyone would see his pathetic resume, and hung his head low.
“What’s wrong?” Barth asked near his ear.
“Nothing,” Alec said and shifted away.
Barth, because apparently he was as clueless as Alec’s cousin claimed, leaned forward and closed the gap. “Why are you lookin’ so low?”
Alec shrugged. “We should leave,” he said. “I can’t compete with them.” He pointed his chin to the candidates.
“Don’ you have a resume just like them?” Barth asked, eyeing where Alec hugged his CV against his chest.
“My CV is pathetic,” Alec admitted. “Let’s go home.”
“CV? Ain’t that what covid is called on social media?” Barth asked with a confused frown.
“Curriculum Vitae. It’s the Latin name for a resume.”
“Ah.” Barth turned his frown to the group. “I can fix this,” he said and moved away before Alec could stop him.
With dread, Alec watched barth pause beside the tallest candidate and say something that caused the guy to glance back at Alec with alarm.
Alec’s face instantly heated.
Oh shit, he thought with a muffled cough, his cousin was right, Barth was a walking humiliation magnet.
By the time Barth had moved to the third guy, Alec was pressed against the wall, praying a higher dimension would open and swallow him whole. His cheeks were in flame, no doubt the color of ripe tomatoes. Alec continued coughing into his fist to cover his face, but all that accomplished was help his eyes to water and make him look like he was crying.
He could just picture himself standing there, face flushed red, eyes glassy with unshed tears, hunched in on himself. In other words, pathetic.
It was said that everyone could become a murder, given the right circumstance at the right time, but Alec didn’t feel it. Instead, he was resigned to the embarrassment. He lowered his head, fixed his eyes at a bland spot on the floor and allowed the moment to wash over him.
“Done,” Barth said an eternity later. Alec’s head jerked up, but before he could grab Barth and skedaddle out of there, the door at the far end opened and the interviewer stepped out.
Alec found his cousin in the living room, seated on the sofa with a steaming mug, watching the local news.
“So did you get the position?” she asked the moment Alec sat on the sofa beside her.
Alec grinned. His face was still a little flushed, but he didn’t care. “Sure. I’ll start in two weeks thanks to Barth.”
His cousin paused in the process of sipping from her mug. “Oh? How’d that happen?”
Alec snickered and dropped his pathetic CV on the table. “Barth went around telling the candidates he heard me mention how strong my CV was. I was the only one left by the time the interview began.” Alec waved his hand. “The company’s only concern was that I get tested for the Covid before I start in two weeks.”
*Note: I have no idea if I’m getting the format of the posts right. So if it’s crooked, or words appear out of nowhere, please ignore it the way the new editor is ignoring all my commands.
I read this a few weeks ago , and it stuck with me. These past few months have been hard on me, on the majority of the world. A lot of people passed away, many still will.
It’s been a while – months – since I last posted here. I didn’t spend these months wallowing in sadness and self-pity.
I read a lot, I wrote a lot, I queried many agents and publishing houses. I let my kids drive me crazy, though I’ve never been sane to begin with, so they only needed to take me around the corner.
I even created a facebook author page. I’m posting the link below – I’m in need of followers! If you have a page, give me a follow and I’ll follow back. I’ve also updated my books here on my blog, and started posting on fb.
This week, I decided it’s time I started writing reviews for the books I read, to return to wp, and straighten my routines again.
I’m hoping to connect again to the friends I made here – looking forward to making rounds again!
Liars and Thieves is the new enthralling release by fellow blogger and prolific author D. Wallace Peach. It’s the first installment in a new trilogy, and today is my stop at the launch tour.
Behind the Veil, the hordes gather, eager to savage the world. But Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, is untroubled by the shimmering wall that holds his beasts at bay. For if he cannot cleanse the land of life, the races will do it for him. All he needs is a spark to light the fire.
Three unlikely allies stand in his way.
A misfit elf plagued by failure—
When Elanalue Windthorn abandons her soldiers to hunt a goblin, she strays into forbidden territory.
A changeling who betrays his home—
Talin Raska is a talented liar, thief, and spy. He makes a fatal mistake—he falls for his mark.
A halfbreed goblin with deadly secrets—
Naj’ar is a loner with a talent he doesn’t understand and cannot control, one that threatens all he holds dear.
When the spark of Chaos ignites, miners go missing. But they won’t be the last to vanish. As the cycles of blame whirl through the Borderland, old animosities flare, accusations break bonds, and war looms.
Three outcasts, thrust into an alliance by fate, by oaths, and the churning gears of calamity, must learn the truth. For they hold the future of their world in their hands.
Read on to find out more about the author, watch a book trailer and read an interesting tidbit about Naj’ar The Halfbreed Goblin.
Let’s start with a Q & A
Q: Naj’s weapon of choice is a glaive. What’s that?
A: Originally, I made up a word “tarik” to represent Naj’s goblin weapon. But it was a glaive (sort of), so why not call it a glaive. Duh?
A glaive is a pole with a long, curved blade on one end, so it has a longer cutting reach than a sword. The goblin version of the weapon is bladed on both ends. It can be used like a scimitar, a quarterstaff, or spear, but is designed for sweeping cuts.
There’s some argument among weapon’s experts that holding two weapons is probably more realistic and flexible, but Naj’ar is quite skilled with his double-bladed glaive. His mate had it made for him, and he’s quite attached to it.
D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, bats, owls, and the occasional family of coyotes.