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Monday, March 28, 2016

March Update

Hello there Readers,

As you may have noticed, I added a new tab for Polaris characters profiles.  I only have San An and Kang Lang posted so far.  Hopefully the others will come soon when I have time.  Let me know what you think.

So, for Polaris, I went back and added more face time with Shu Jin and sort of changed the story a little so I have a lot of rewriting to do before I can even move the story forward to the climax, denouement and endings.  I'm still contemplating 3 good endings total.  Still have the CGs to do and rework the hyperlinks.  I'm guessing late April at the earliest for production, more likely May.  One thing I'll have to consider is the page count, right now I'm sitting over 400 pages... which means this one might exceed its predecessor and hit 700-800 pages.  I'd shrink the font but that's probably not a good idea.

On another note, I'm hoping my art will look a little better this time.  I've been using a $25 drawing tablet I bought some years ago that doesn't have any pen sensitivity and the drawing space is a little stiff... which is why a lot of my pictures seem a little stiff.  Hey, make what you have work right?  In a previous post, I went into making money from home and through those methods, I managed to save enough Bing points and Swagbuck points to trade for about $80 in Amazon gift cards. Which means... I can finally upgrade my drawing tablet.  Still feuding between Huion for the awesome drawing space and sensitivity pressure but Wacom has the Intuos and Wacom is known to last pretty long.  If you have a preference or experience with these two, please let me know your recommendation.  Some pros out there are always pushing the Wacom Pro drawing tablet but I just don't have the $400 to shell out on that.

In terms of sales,  my last work, Poetess Xuan: Huy, wasn't particularly liked.  I saw many folks quit the read-through at less than 20 pages which I'm guessing is due to the "otome-wannabe" formatting (at least I'm hoping that's why and not because of the story).  Live and learn.  I won't be continuing with that format.  I probably made $6 this month from Polaris: Emperor of Nan Rong and another $3 from Poetess Xuan.  They're going into my "quit my job" fund.  So, thank you for your support.

My goal after the second Polaris is completed is to start a book for the Kindle Scout program and maybe earn a contract.  Still debating on a subject; I have two in mind.  Tell ya about them later.  ;0)

Finally, I've been watching the old X-Files episodes.  Am I the only one who thought Alex Krychek and Jeffrey Spender would have made a perfect yaoi story (if Cigarette Man hadn't off Spender)?  And yes... I like BL.  I admit it. <3

These are all the updates I have for now.

Thanks for visiting!
-Lenne Penry




Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring is here!

Spring is here!  Yesh!  Still cold today though. Thought I'd share a few sakura pics from my trip to Tokyo a few years back to greet the season.




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dollar tree find

Found this adorable thing at Dollar Tree, had to show it off.  Three for a dollar.


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Han Bei & Jin

Sigh...

I've been working on Polaris's route for Han Bei v. Jin and can't find the right balance for the guys.  Jin was supposed to the withdrawn, sweet, big brother type character, but he turned out kind of jerky, though it fits with his messed-up childhood.  Han Bei in the last book was a little overbearing, sarcastic, forceful and most notably, known for continuously flirting with the MC when he thought she was a man.  I couldn't give him those traits in this book because he knows the MC is a woman, and not just any woman but a very important one in this route.  Because he has to rein it in, Han Bei became less crazy than I expected and a lot more romantic.

So, my original sweet character turned nasty and the condescending one turned sweet... this makes choosing one or the other too darn easy and that's not what I'd like to convey.  In Polaris: Emperor of Nan Rong, San An seemed the obvious choice because Kang Lang was a cross-dressing psycho in the beginning but once in the middle to the end, he became so prominent and fun that it was difficult to choose between the two (at least I thought so).  In fact, I felt that the MC would have been genuinely happy with either man.

Right now, I'm brainstorming for a GOOD reason why the MC/reader would even choose Jin after the damaging emotional crap he's pulled.  Or better yet, why wouldn't one choose Han Bei who is far superior in every way?  I have a few ideas rattling around in my head but if I were the MC, I'd have proposed to Han Bei mid book.  Good riddance, Jin!  Just kidding.  Jin's a good guy, just complicated.

This book will delve deeper into the MC's past and follow a more grown-up emotional premise instead of the innocent, action-packed, fun-filled, ridiculous adventure in Nan Rong.  The reason why Bao Lai is also more reined in will be made clear (or... you can blame Jin).  Instead of solely Nan Rong, Ning will also be the dominant backdrop.  Of course I say that now but I'm nowhere near finish with the first draft, so who knows?

In conclusion... my head hurts.

Good-night everyone,
-Lenne Penry

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy xx Days

Happy Pi Day!

Happy White Day!

And Happy Birthday to anyone born today!


Random Post: "Sweet Fuse: At Your Side"

One of the first otome games I've ever played was recommended by a sibling who likes to read game reviews.  When I saw the cover of Sweet Fuse: At Your Side by Aksys (on the PSP), I was, honestly, turned off.  After playing Hakuoki, I was used to extremely good-looking men while none of the characters on Sweet Fuse's cover box even remotely seemed interesting (maybe except Urabe and only because I secretly like men with long hair and mature dispositions, like Hotohori from Fushigi Yuugi).

There was a small handful of reviews at the time, mostly positive, so I gave it a try.  I'm glad I did because the price was about $17 back then and now it's more than doubled that for a new copy.  Even with a used copy, talk about a profit!  Not that I would sell my games; my babies!

This is one of those occasions where a 'visual novel' shouldn't be judged by its cover.  It started out 'so-so,' transitioned into 'what the heck is going on?' to 'OMG, what's going to happen next?'  And, as it turned out, the characters (including the MC Saki) were very enjoyable.  They had depth, strengths, weaknesses and intelligence; sometimes quirky behaviors which only made them even more likable.  The one notable trait about the MC is that she's smart.  She's loved for her intelligence and strong personality.  Sure, she was protected by some of the men and in other cases, she was the protector.  Mostly, she was the central brain when it came to analyzing info that could mean life and death for the team.  This, I think, sets the game apart from many other otomes which focus on women being perfectly pretty but dumb, good cooks, feeble, and are only good for giving pep talks while not actually doing anything.  This includes an MC who carries weapons, draws them and still needs to be saved because apparently with all of her xx amount of years of martial training, she's only good for beating up oblivious noobs (Yes, I'm talking about you, Ninja Destiny 2!).  The other thing that I find irritating about some otomes is that the women are practically sexually harassed by possessive male characters, she does nothing but blushes, and then rationalizes that he must really care about her, especially when he manages to show partial kindness once in a while.  Just sounds like they're suffering from Stockholm Syndrome to me.  But that's my opinion.  Lots of games use this model so it must be popular.

Anyway, I went off on a tangent.  Back to Sweet FuseThe game follows Saki, who was invited to the opening day of her uncle's (Keiji Inafune--also the game creator irl) theme park.  Then, Count Hogstein took over the park and provided an ultimatum.  Saki volunteered to play his games for seven days in order to save the hostages.  Each game required skills and cleverness while the MC and her team mates were in constant danger of losing their lives.  In the end, Saki found out the reason for Hogstein's wrath.  A crime was committed and every player involved (except Saki) somehow had ties to it.  After the first play-through, the game adds an additional (secret) male character the MC can vie for.  This provides another twist that I liked.

Overall, I highly recommend Sweet Fuse to otome lovers if you're not after perfect men whose only flaws are their convictions or perfect MCs whose greatest shortcoming is judging themselves too harshly without any precursor reason.  This is especially true of MCs who think they're not pretty only because they woke up one day and decided so, and yet every guy they meet hits on them.  Maybe you MC's need some new glasses, ladies!  I really like Sleepless Cinderella Party but their MC is one of these.  Maybe I'm a nerd so I like Saki's 'knowledge is power!' approach.  Well, I'll admit, I'm probably not as smart as she is, but I like her approach. 

So, if you're into MCs who are conceivably realistic, who aren't as pretty as a doll, or win other characters over through her abilities to cook well, perform house chores, and give useless pep talks, then I recommend this game.  And, if you're also into quirky male characters who aren't super gorgeous up front but become more charming once you get to know them, then I'll also recommend this game, because you'll come to <3 them!

If you've played this game, please let me know your thoughts on the characters.  It's good research for my otome novels ;)

Thanks for reading my random post!
-Lenne Penry 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Writer's Block 2

My dog found out I was paying him minimum wage.  He quitted, so my bear took over. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Writer's Block

I hit writer's block so my dog took over.


Another Kindle Countdown Deal

FYI--

There will be another Amazon Countdown Deal starting this Saturday all the way to next Saturday (3/19) for Poetess Xuan: Huy if you're interested.  Prices will be $0.99. 

This might be my last countdown deal for a while.  I'm curious to see if it's promising.  The previous countdown deal for Malphas, Amazon only allowed the campaign to run for less than a day and so total sales were 0.  I figured that would be the case.  With this one lasting a week, this experiment might turn out better.

Anyhow, if you're interested, please check it out.

Thanks for visiting.
-Lenne Penry

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Malphas Count Down Deal on Kindle

Looks like the priced flipped to $0.99. Please check it out if you're interested.  Thanks ahead for your support!
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3/9/16 Update: FYI,  just saw the message from KDP that this is only on www.Amazon.com and not other Amazon sites (like Amazon.co.uk).  It is now 6AM and prices haven't flipped to the discount yet. I'll check back in a few hours and keep you posted.
_________________________________________________________________________________
Hello all,

Malphas (Book 1 of Phylactery) will be on Kindle's countdown deal tomorrow (3/9/2016) for $0.99.  The sale ends on the 10th.  It's my first time using one of their promotion tools so I'm not sure how it'll go.  I guess we'll see.

Please check it out if you're interested.

Thanks for visiting!
-Lenne Penry

Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Publishing

Hello Readers,

I've been self-publishing for a little over a year now and wanted to share a little of my experience with anyone interested.  I find that there's a real satisfaction in knowing someone read my books all the way through to the end and real heartbreak when someone can't get past 30 pages.  Once, someone couldn't get past the first page, which only has the title *depression* ( -.-)

Overall, writing can be fun, stress-relaxing and allows for the creative side to explore.  Then, on some days, I feel like pulling my hair out and questioning why I'm doing this when I could very well find a second job and make enough to buy a pound of peanuts?  A plethora of excuses will come up to avoid the computer while it sits there sucking on electricity, and in fact, the excuses are more colorful and creative than anything that will come to mind.  In other words, writer's block is a real b-word. 

Why bother at all?  Then, it comes to me...  When those holier than thou folks go on rants about knowing everything in the world and how their geniuses are so blindingly brilliant, they cannot be contained!...  I can always counter with... "Oh yeah?  I'm a paid author." Possibly followed by the slight exaggeration of Zoolander's Mugatu. [What have you done?  Nothing!  Nothing!]

So... why self-publish?  Well, some folks will say you'll get to retain control over your works and print your words instead of your editor's.   I say, it's because no publishing company will want to talk to me without an agent and I won't spend a couple hundred bucks on a maybe.  Let's be realistic here, I got bills to pay.  But, that's just because I know my works aren't in the league of Oscar Wilde, JK Rowling or anyone so grand.  Some folks have that kind of talent and could probably find a well-connected agent simply by sending over a manuscript.  I've thought about that but have yet to script anything I could even hope to get past the preliminary glance.  That doesn't mean this isn't a way to go.  Depends on what you're more comfortable doing.

Anyhow, if you feel like joining the club of hair pulling recluses who spend weekends in front of a computer and live only half-time in the real world (or maybe that's just me), then give writing a chance.  These are the resources I have tried so far but there are others.  I plan to find a third party to take my books to the Apple Store soon so I'll let you know how that goes.

Resources

CreateSpace (https://www.createspace.com/)
This is a physical book publisher.  You don't pay them for anything unless you want additional help; ie, book design, reviewers, editors, copies of your book to keep, etc.  This company is owned by Amazon.  The best thing about CreateSpace is that you don't need to keep inventory.  They print it when someone buys a copy and you might find your works on the Barnes and Noble website.

Amazon Kindle (https://kdp.amazon.com/)

This is an ebook publisher.  This company is owned by (pretty obvious) Amazon.

*To publish both ebooks and physical copies through Amazon, I'd recommend starting with CreateSpace since they'll give you the option to send your book to Kindle once you've reached the end of the physical publication.

Amazon Kindle Scout (https://kdp.amazon.com/)
I have not used this but I am planning to give it a try later this year if possible.  This allows users to submit a finished (never before seen) book and possibly earn a publishing contract with Kindle. The ones who vote for the contract winners are the readers/Amazon customers.
 
In my opinion, the hardest part for any writer is to get started and afterwards, the most difficult thing is knowing when to stop.  So, if you've published through other venues and would like to share your thoughts, recommendations and/or successes, please feel free.  I'm sure the readers (and I) will appreciate it.

Thanks for reading!
-Lenne Penry 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Malphas (Book 1) Last Chance to Read for Free

Hello Readers,

In keeping up with my New Year's resolution to increase sales and distribution, I'm planning to test out a third party company that sells through Apple store.  Maybe at the end of this month, I'm not sure yet.  Anyway, I just wanted to give a heads-up on Malphas (Book 1 of the Phylactery Series) because I'll probably be testing out this one.  It  received very little interests from Kindle so I'm guessing no one will mind.

Currently, if you have an Amazon Prime account and an Amazon device, or an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription, the book is free to read (and I make about half a penny for every page read) because the book is enrolled in the Kindle Select program.  Kindle Select requires an ebook to be sold through and only through Amazon Kindle. In order to sell the ebook on an outside venue, I'll have to remove the book from the Kindle Select program.

What this will mean once I remove Malphas from Kindle Select is that you'll still be able to purchase the ebook (for $2.99) but it will no longer be free to borrow from Kindle.

If you have an Amazon Prime account or a Kindle Unlimited subscription and would like to check Malphas out for free, please do so soon.  And thank you for doing so!  I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for visiting!
- Lenne Penry