First Friday Event @ Beyond Barcodes Bookstore

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This evening, I’ll be hosting a booth at Beyond Barcodes Bookstore as part of First Friday’s in beautiful Downtown Kokomo. This will be my first local author event in like . . . six months. I’m waaaay overdue.

This month’s theme is local artists. Fitting, considering I’m a local author.

From roughly 6:30 pm to 9 pm, I’ll be meeting with potential new readers and selling copies of The Quest for the Holy Something or Other and The Wizard’s GambitI’ll also be sponsoring my local group, The Writer’s Cafe. In hopes of attracting new members, I’ll provide a notebook for a “shared write” activity. It should be a lot of fun.

If you’re in or around Downtown Kokomo tonight, come say hi. If not, chat with me on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Happy Friday!

A Recap on Wednesday’s Author Visit & Tips for Doing Your Own

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Last year, I hosted several author events during which I met readers behind a booth. On Wednesday, I was wrenched out of my comfort zone when asked to speak to a group of students at Peru High School about writing and publishing.

I honestly didn’t know where to start. Do I talk about the writing process? Do I focus on indie publishing? Do I promote my published works?

Thankfully, one of my favorite indie authors, Adam Dreece, had recently spoken with a group of students and had some awesome advice:

One of the mistakes I see a lot of author speakers do locally, is they are giving a speech for them, instead of thinking of their audience. If the audience wants more about the series, give it. But start from the position of what are they likely writing, and that your goal really is to inform and encourage

Adam,I hope you don’t mind me sharing that verbatim but the advice was just too good to keep to myself! Actually, he shares more advice on his blog. Follow this link to check it out.

I’m glad I read his post first. Going into the event focused on the audience helped me create a better presentation. Audience interaction was fantastic! I could tell the kids had a really good time. Plus, I even sold a few books (at a special discount).

Why Should Authors Visit Classrooms?

Besides offering a break from the regular routine, an author visit introduces students to the writing process, publishing world, and gets kids excited about books. Most importantly, we as authors have an opportunity to encourage young writers.

Tips for Making Your Author Visit a Success

Be yourself. Kids can spot a wannabe and a fake in an instant. Tell jokes, juggle, and do tricks as part of your presentation if that’s your style. If not, that’s okay. Whatever you do, just be honest.

Be prepared. You don’t have to create a PowerPoint presentation like I did, but at least think about what you’re going to talk about. Prepare an outline if that helps. Practice at home and take along note cards if need.

Be aware of your audience. Find out what grade the students are in, how old they are, and what their interests are. I spoke to high school students from a writing club so I tweaked my presentation with that information in mind.

Plan activities as part of your presentation. Kids don’t enjoy long lectures. Keep their attention and engagement by including them in activities. At least involve them in the discussion. Students love  to share their experiences and knowledge.

Bring copies of your published works. Keep in mind the point of the event is not to make a profit, but some kids might want a signed copy of your book. If nothing else, provide them links to buy your books.

Bring marketing materials. I gave every student who attended a free bookmark and a business card. I encouraged them to follow me on social media.

Have fun. I shouldn’t have to say this, but author visits are supposed to be fun. Kids are fun. So lighten up, relax, and enjoy the experience.

Now go schedule an author visit. It’s totally worth your time!

Attention Readers! The Wizard’s Gambit Kindle Countdown Deal Starts Monday!

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Attention Readers!

symbol colorFor those of you who haven’t gotten your hot little hands on a copy of my latest release, The Wizard’s Gambit, now’s your chance to get it at a discount! From February 22nd to February 25th  you can get a kindle copy for 0.99! Then until February 26th the book will be available for $1.99! After that, it goes back up to $2.99, which is still less than the price of a small coffee at Starbucks!

Can’t wait until then?

Follow the link here to the Amazon sales page. Available in both paperback and electronic formats! (BTW, sale applies to both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk)

Already have a copy?

If you already have your copy, not only do you rock, but you can also help me out by spreading the word. I’m still a new author and can use all of the help I can get. I’ll be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week as well as on Saturday next week on my Twitter, WordPress, and Facebook accounts if you want to share promotional material I’ve already created. I would be eternally grateful.

What is the book about:

Wizard White Beard had a plan, but destiny had something else in mind . . .

After 1,001 years of hostilities among the six—er—seven kingdoms, Wizard White Beard proposes a non-violent alternative to war—a scavenger hunt—to determine the fate of all! The rules are clear: no weapons and no bloodshed. Just clean, honest competition. Simple enough, if only the contestants would follow them. With the fate of the world at stake, it’s up to Mongrel, an orphan with an unconventional upbringing, to intercede. Joined by a hodgepodge group of misfits, including a gentle giant, a magically challenged elf, a feisty female dwarf, and a reluctant wizard’s apprentice, Mongrel just might stand a chance of winning—if he can survive!

A hilarious tale of magic, mayhem, and misadventure that turns the classic fantasy universe on its head. A must-read for anyone who enjoys comedic fantasy.

“Middle Earth meets Rudolph’s The Island of Misfit Toys.”

-Random Reviewer

Hungry for more?

Here’s a snip-it from chapter one to wet your whistle:

In the middle of a magical land stood, in a liberal sense of the word, a kingdom . . . or the ruins of one anyway. It had a wall—on two sides at least—and a castle, for lack of a better word. At the most it had potential. Not that anyone noticed. There, in the dusty remains of the castle’s throne room, Wizard White Beard and his apprentice, Margo, waited in anxious anticipation for the arrival of some very important guests. Well, Wizard White Beard was at least. Margo, it seemed, was quite content to just sit there on the edge of the dais while her mentor paced the length of the room, each impatient step echoing off the walls. All the while he stroked his beard and mumbled to himself, periodically pausing in his tracks to glance at the doorway before resuming his pacing.

Margo followed him with her eyes, the most movement he’d seen out of her all morning. After a while, she said, “Pacing isn’t going to bring them here any faster. You might as well just have a seat . . . unless you’re worried.”

He stopped and faced his apprentice, staring at her under the brim of his conical hat.* She shriveled under his critical gaze. He said, “A wizard, Miss Margo, has nothing to fear. He knows exactly what he’s doing and what needs to be done. It’s everyone else who’s fighting against destiny. If anyone should be worried, it’s them.”

“By them do you mean the leaders of the six kingdoms?” Margo was, of course, referring to the seven or so guests summoned by Wizard White Beard on this particular day for an intervention of sorts. After 1,001 years of war and hostilities among the kingdoms, Wizard White Beard decided he’d had enough. Of course, he hadn’t been entirely up front about the reason for this meeting or who was going to be in attendance either. He figured those details were best glossed over if he wanted anyone to show up at all. He only hoped they wouldn’t be too upset when they realized they’d been bamboozled.

“Six kingdoms?” He stared at his apprentice as though she were a grade-schooler and not a fifth-year apprentice. “Don’t you mean seven kingdoms?”

“No,” she said. “There are only six kingdoms. One of elves, one of dwarves, and four kingdoms of men: north, south, east, and west.” She counted off her fingers. “That only adds up to six. I believe you added one for the ogres by mistake.”

“I made no mistake,” he said indignantly. “There can’t just be six kingdoms, not when there could be seven.* Everyone knows that. Shows what you know.”

“Anyway . . . don’t you think the leaders of the six kingdoms—”

“Seven kingdoms.”

“Fine, seven kingdoms. Whatever. Don’t you think they’re going to be upset when they realize you’ve lured them here under false pretenses?” Margo asked. Her violet eyes bore into him like a termite.*

He managed not to shudder; in fact, he offered her an encouraging smile.

“Trust me, Margo. I’m a Master Wizard.”

Margo returned his gesture, but the smile did not reach her eyes, and it slid away quickly. He did not blame Margo for her unease. This was the first time she’d accompanied him outside of the city walls—the university, even. A “field trip” he’d called it, though it was anything but. A little nervousness was to be expected, even justified. But more likely, it was just her typical melancholy and had nothing to do with nerves.

“I just don’t see how you expect them to go along with this.”

“I don’t,” he said. “That’s why we’re here.”

“To do what exactly?”

“To fulfill our roles as wizards.”

“Which is what specifically?”

He thought for a moment and said, “Well, according to The Complete Dullard’s Guide to Wizardry, which you have yet to read, the role of a wizard is to ensure that all predetermined or inevitable courses of events are fulfilled as prophesized.”

It was clear by her vacant expression a simpler explanation was in order. He cleared his throat and tried again.

“Consider these events: the crowning of a king, the dethroning of a dark lord, and the invention of the fish taco; what do they all have in common?”

“. . . Nothing.”

“Wrong! All of these events occurred, by will of destiny, with the help of a wizard. You see, wizards orchestrate all great happenings in this universe so things turn out exactly as they should. That is the role of a wizard. Does that make sense to you?”

“I think so,” said Margo, but her tone was uncertain. “I just don’t see how it’s possible to shape a deterministic universe governed by fate. I mean, if a course of events was meant to play out, wouldn’t they do so with or without the aid of a wizard?”

“Yes—er—no—er—oh, just look it up in The Complete Dullard’s Guide to Wizardry next time you’re in the library!”

“All right, all right. Don’t get your hat all bent out of shape.”

And now she was having a go at the hat. He doubted, as much as she mocked the hat, she even wanted one of her own.

“So why are we here, anyway?”

Finally, a new topic. “Ah, the age-old question that every person—”

“No, Wizard White Beard,” Margo cut him off. “I mean why are we here in this decrepit, old throne room?”

“Oh, right.” He cleared his throat. Even he had to admit the dusty old room didn’t inspire awe. But, according to record, it had once served as a meeting place for the great kings and queens of the seven kingdoms. Now only dust gathered here, apart from rats and spiders. A few birds built nests in the decorative beams above. Cracks climbed the walls like vines, and plaster crumbled to the floor. The rest of the castle was no better for wear and neither were the surrounding buildings for that matter. In fact, the whole city had fallen to ruin. A shame, Wizard White Beard thought, since so many hands had aided in its construction. Now it lay in ruins, much like the alliance among those who had built it.

He smirked. “I thought it fitting, considering this city used to be the great capitol and cultural hub of the six—er—seven kingdoms. That is, until everything turned sour. Also, this is the only place that has the sufficient space to host such a meeting and doesn’t require a reservation. Not to mention I saved a small fortune not having to rent out a conference room. Those can be rather pricey—”

“So, what broke up the alliance?” she asked him, pulling his derailed train of thought back on track. Her own attention wandered to the empty throne atop the raised dais. “Was there a fight for power or an argument over magical jewelry?”

“That’s just it! No one remembers. Yet after 1,001 years, they’re still fighting it out like cats and dogs, the fools.” He snorted. “This intervention was a long time coming.”

Margo was quiet before she scrounged up the courage to ask, “Are you sure this plan is going to work?”

“Of course I’m sure,” he said, heat rising to his cheeks. “How many times do I have to tell you before you’ll trust me?”

“Once or twice more might help.”

The nerve of that girl, baiting him when there were serious matters at hand. And if she had reservations about his plan, why had she waited so long to speak up? Sometimes he wished he’d never taken her on as his apprentice. Now was one of those times.

“Who’s the Master Wizard here, you or me?” He loomed over her like a foot over an ant, threatening to come down.

“Whatever.” She sighed, closing the hair in front of her face like a curtain, shutting her mentor out. “When your plan fails, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.”

Although they were mumbled, the words were as clear as day—well, not day, really—water more like, though not the water back in the city. It was more of a murky brown color. But anyway, her words stung. If ever he questioned his apprentice’s faith in him, it was now. Though he couldn’t honestly think of a time when she’d ever trusted him. Now would be a convenient time for her to start.


 

Footnotes:

* Upon the completion of wizard training, a wizard receives not only their hat and celestial robes but a moniker relating to the color of their beard—or fake beard for those incapable of growing their own (e.g. women and prepubescent teenage boys).

* All things—kingdoms, heavens, and hells—must come in sevens; it’s an unspoken rule in most fantasy realms.

* Violet-eyed people are invariably special, prone to possessing strange or mysterious talents. Those with black or red eyes, however, are always evil.


 

I hope you enjoyed the sample, if you have not already read the entire book. I hope you enjoy your visit to the six—er—seven kingdoms.

 

 

I’m Hosting an Online Scavenger Hunt! Rules, Prizes, and More!

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Only one more day until the release of my new book, The Wizard’s Gambit, and since the majority of the story centers around a high-stakes scavenger hunt, I thought it might be fun to host a sort of scavenger hunt right here on my blog!

symbol colorOn Saturday October 17th, at the start of my online book launch party, I’ll officially open the scavenger hunt to anyone who wants to participate. All “hidden items” should be inserted by then;)

Starting at 11 a.m., participants can search my past blog posts to find the “hidden items” that will help them answer 5 questions pertaining to the author and the book. (Hint: look for the image to the right).

Questions will be posted on the Facebook event page. Participants should submit their answers to all five questions to kyliebetzner@gmail.com. I will note the time the message was received. The first 3 people to submit their answers to all 5 questions will win a prize!

The Wizards Gambit ebook cover1st place: A $5 Amazon gift card and a free copy of my ebook

2nd place: A $5 Amazon gift card which you can use to buy a copy of my ebook **cough, cough**

3rd place: A free copy of my ebook

Everyone who submits their answers by 3 p.m. on Saturday is automatically entered into a drawing for the chance to win a free copy of my ebook.

The winners of the contest will be announced at 3 p.m. on the Facebook online book launch events page, and prizes will be distributed within one to two weeks.

Rules:

  • Don’t answer questions in the comments. That will ruin the game.
  • Don’t email me individual answers in separate e-mails. Wait until you get them all.
  • Don’t be a sore loser. This is just for fun. I’m sure I’ll host another contest again soon.
  • Don’t give up!
  • Do have fun! That’s the point of these things, isn’t it?

Any questions? Post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them as soon as possible.

One more thing. Please help spread the word! Games are always more fun with more players!

I’ll see you tomorrow for the book launch party! Until then, have a fantastic Friday!

You Should Know This is the Strangest Thing I’ve Ever Done! A Recap on Friday’s … Unusual Author Event

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As a new author, I’ve only attended several actual book signings, including a local author book fair and a book signing at Cook McDoogals. For the most part, these events were pretty standard. Friday’s venue  was probably the most … unusual.

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It’s jolly good!

Every first Friday of the month, downtown Kokomo sponsors a community event geared towards promoting local businesses, artists, etc. The goal is to build a stronger sense of community and promote the growing downtown area. Last Friday, I hosted a booth outside of Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe. Meanwhile a historical group reenacted medieval swordplay in the restaurant’s parking lot–ironic, considering my book centers around knights, sword fights, and quests. LOL. More ironic was that this was not planned; it just sort of happened that we scheduled on the same day.

So was the event successful? I’d say so. I only sold like five books, and one of them was to someone I already knew, but fifty bucks is fifty bucks, and I got my face out there, which is important. I also handed out a good number of business cards and bookmarks containing my information so there’s always the possibility of making a future sale. **Crosses fingers** as I log onto the Kindle Direct Publishing page.

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Huzzah!

More importantly, the event was a lot of fun. Being next to a medieval acting group made the event worthwhile. I got to learn some new information about weapons and armor and witness some fabulous swordplay. The pictures turned out great! And they invited me to their upcoming Renaissance fair right here in Kokomo Indiana! I know my nephew will want to go … he was trying to get free sword lessons during their demonstration. Might have to enroll him in their school one day … but for now, I think we’ll just stick with dance class;)

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Book signings are a great way to gain exposure and meet potential readers!

For those of you who have not hosted a book signing, I strongly encourage you to, despite the meager sales. Nothing beats the feeling of being an author or the thrill of meeting potential new readers. It definitely was a satisfying experience.

Well, that’s all for now. I’m off to Judith Barrow‘s blog to share my experience along with some hilarious pictures!

Happy Monday!

Where’s the Most Unusual Place You’ve Had a Book-Signing?

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Author Judith Barrow

Earlier this week author and fellow blogger Judith Barrow posed the question “Where’s the most unusual place you’ve had a book signing?” Hers was at Kilgetty Pharmacy in Wales.

I know I’ve never thought to host a book signing at a pharmacy or retail store before, but now I’m thinking outside the box.

So far, I’ve attended a local library book fair and have signed up to host a booth at this year’s Kokomo Comic Convention. I figured a fantasy series would do well in a room full of fantasy and science fiction fans.

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It’s jolly good!

Today’s venue is probably the most unusual. During the First Friday event in downtown Kokomo, I’ll be doing a book-signing outside of Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe. Meanwhile a historical group will be reenacting a medieval jousting match in the restaurant’s parking lot. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun and crazy event. I can’t wait! I’ll be sharing pictures Monday morning on both my blog and Judith’s.

So, tell me, where is the most unusual place you’ve had a book-signing? Or better yet, go to Judith’s blog (where the conversation started) and share your experience (with pictures) in the comments section!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Upcoming Author Event – First Friday in Kokomo

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On the 7th of August, which is this Friday, I’ll be hosting a booth at Pepperwhistle Bakery and Cafe in beautiful downtown Kokomo during the First Friday event.

First Friday is a monthly event filled with food, family fun, shopping, arts, music, and more in beautiful downtown Kokomo! It’s an event designed to promote local artists as well as a positive sense of community.

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It’s jolly good!

From 5 pm to 9 pm, I’ll be hosting a booth whereat I will be available to discuss my writing, meet and greet potential readers, and sell copies of my published works. There will also be a reenactment group dressed as knights jousting in the parking lot. (Ironic, considering my current title features knights and such). It’s going to be a fun event!

The event is open to anyone and everyone who’d like to join. Please visit this link to learn more about the restaurant. Hope to see you there!

For those of you who can’t attend the event due to proximity, don’t worry, you won’t be excluded. I’ll be sharing photos and thoughts on the event in Monday’s blog!