Sunday, February 27, 2011

Six Sentences from MetalMark

This is from my current work in progress, MetalMark, a lady space pirate story that I'm so in love with! (It's also a prequel to Silver Bound).

This is the first meeting of gal pirate and the prince:
Hand on sabre grip, Jazz shot to her feet and rounded on the newcomer.
     The sight shocked her speechless.
     A tall young man, skinny and pale in a voluminous purple robe seemed to float in the middle of the room. Partially covered by a lock of shiny black hair, his deep, green eyes grew wide. His fragile appeal broadsided her, and she took a step back.
     With a tilt of his head toward Carner, who’d come around to stand near her, the prince asked, “Red?”

***
This is the one year anniversary of Six Sentence Sunday. Yay! There are prizes to be had, to celebrate, be sure to visit the Six Sentence Sunday homepage!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

epub files downloading as zip files

Recently I added epub versions of my free reads to my website (here). I did due diligence, or so I thought. I created the files and tested them. I added them to the page as downloads, uploaded, and then tested the downloads again. Usually I would do all this testing in all browsers, but since this was a simple click to download, I didn't (shame on me). Everything worked fine in Firefox for me, but today I was contacted by someone who ran into a problem.

When my website visitor tried to download the .epub version in Internet Explorer, it tried to save it as a .zip file. I did some research and thought I'd share how I fixed it, in case you are like me and would like to post .epub digital books on your website--and in case you run into this problem.

The basic issue is that the web server doesn't know what an .epub file is. You need to tell it to treat it in a certain way. On your server, there is likely a .htaccess file in the root directory of your website. If not, you can create one. It just needs to be a text file named ".htaccess"

In that file, you need these two lines:
AddHandler application/epub+zip .epub
AddType application/epub+zip .epub

I'd also recommend changing your link to your .epub file to include a type. Here's my code as an example:
<a class="link" href="http://www.elladrake.com/freereads/Grounded%20-%20Ella%20Drake.epub" title="Grounded" type="application/epub+zip">epub</a>

That's it! If you have this problem & this doesn't work, leave a comment, and I'll see if I can help.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Release Day for Jaq's Harp!

So happy to announce this!!!

Jaq's Harp
Jaq’s Harp 
Now available!
Futuristic Romance/Twisted Fairytale/Biopunk -- Short (ebook)
In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the Mother organization—agents like Jacqueline “Jaq” Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own—to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister’s wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant’s headquarters high above the city…even though she’ll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn’t afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he’s made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won’t have her again, it’s clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp’s determined to get a second chance with Jaq—if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece…


Available from Carina Press


Download hot ebooks from Carina Press

Also available  from:


Kindle  |  AllRomance.com  |  BooksOnBoard  |  Diesel  |  Nook  |  Kobo


To read the entire first chapter, check it out on Kobo.And then if you're here for part of Excerpt Monday & would like, please leave a comment!



Links to other Excerpt Monday writers
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.
As always, our hostesses Bria Quinlan (PG13), Alexia Reed (R), Rachel Jameson (PG13) and Kendal Corbitt (R) thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One more peek of Jaq's Harp

From Jaq's Harp, novella coming Feb 21st from Carina Press. This is a snippet from when our intrepid heroine, Jaq, is climbing the beanstalk:

Eyes closed against the dizzying sway of the vine, she took deep breaths. She could do this. She had to.

Her hands started to sweat. She held on tighter as a chill worked under her jacket. Behind her, a low churning sound grew louder.

***
Be sure to visit other Six Sentence Sunday participants! 

***
Text Copyright © 2011 by Ella Drake
Cover Art Copyright © 2011 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Upcoming Jaq's Harp Schedule

Jaq's Harp releases on Monday, Feb 21st (I'm trying my best not to run around screaming in panic). In celebration, I'm visiting around the blogosphere and giving away copies to random commenters as I go. So, here's the scoop:
Today, I'm at Sandra Sookoo's Author Folk Friday and at my usual bi-weekly spot at Contact--Infinite Futures discussing Science Fiction and Details.
Upcoming:
20th, Six Sentence Sunday, here at my own blog with another sneak peek at Jaq's Harp
21st, Release Day!
22nd, Carina Press Blog (giveaway)
22nd, Manic Readers Blog (giveaway)
22nd, Contact--Infinite Futures (giveaway)
23rd, Quirky Ladies (giveaway)
And I'll also be at the The Biopunk Reader. More on that soon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Jaq's Harp

From Jaq's Harp:

The familiar need to keep her safe pissed him off again. Close enough to touch, he didn’t. He put a hand on each side of her and leaned toward her until their exhales mixed, combined, caressed. Her scent, clean and rich, green, overwhelmed him and brought it all back, the feel of her in his arms, the wholeness of being with her.

She panted.

Good.

Thought I'd go with the general theme from last week of breathing. This is from Jaq's Harp, novella coming Feb 21st from Carina Press.

Be sure to visit other Six Sentence Sunday participants! 
***
Text Copyright © 2011 by Ella Drake
Cover Art Copyright © 2011 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fixing Covers on the NookColor


I received the lovely gift of a NookColor for Christmas & yay, happy day! Now I'm ready to move my ebook library onto the device. But, there's a problem. When I sideloaded my previously purchased, non-DRMed books onto my NookColor, some of them didn't show up with a cover.

Off I went to research what to do. I tried a bunch of tricks. I followed several threads on how to fix the epub files. What has finally worked for me turns out to be rather easy.

This is what works for me:
1. Open Calibre. I use this to manage my ebooks and to load any and all ebooks not purchased from B&N onto the NookColor. Using it with the NookColor is as easy as plugging in the USB cord.
2. Find the book that doesn't have a cover. (If you downloaded the ebook directly to your NookColor, then select "Device" at the top to view the ebooks on the NookColor. Then right click book & select "Add Books To Library". Then go back to the "Library"--icon at top)
3. Right Click on the ebook and select "Edit Metadata" then "Edit Individually"
4. Find a copy of the cover online (perhaps from the ebook store where you purchased it).
5. Drag and drop the cover from your browser or file manager into the "Book Cover" area in the "Edit Meta Information" window.
6. Fix any other metadata info while there then select "okay"
[edited to add: To ensure the rest of this works, I've found that you might need to add a step here. Right click on book, select convert book individually, select EPUB in top right corner as output format EVEN IF you're already working from an epub file. This will recreate the epub file correctly with the new cover]
7. Right click on title, select "Send to Device" and "Send to Main Memory". (or "Send specific format" if necessary. Choose epub!)
8. The ebook will either replace the one already there or copy a second ebook. If that happens, go to "Device" and delete the older ebook (right click, remove).

When creating the new cover, Calibre creates the metadata with the new cover and viola! It works on the NookColor.

This may sound like a lot of steps, but if you're like me & can't stand not having covers, it's worth it. Once you get the hang of it, it's fast and easy. And it works every time, so no more frustration.

Themes

I've been thinking a bit about themes and branding for a variety of reasons. And mulling this over, looking at my published work as well as those in progress, I've realized something. I tend to write characters who have issues of control.

In Silver Bound, Jewel loses control over her own memories, her thoughts, her body. In Scent of Cin, Cin also loses control over her body when she's killed then brought back to life by a nephilim , who ends up owning a piece of her as a result. In Wolf-Bitten, Alaya ends up getting herself mated to a werewolf whether she wanted it, or not. (Or, maybe she did.) In The Forbidden Chamber, Isabel's passion is controlled by a curse. (Or is it?)

In every single one of these stories, the heroines learn to understand what's controlling them and finds a way to take back that control. They're all fighters.

I'm working on a story set in the same universe as Silver Bound, where you'll be happy to know that the hero gets a dose of control-loss.

This concept of loss of control of your own body's reactions is a disturbing one that gets to the heart of how many women must feel at one point or another. In some way, writing the fictional heroine who finds how to take back control is a theme I'm finding may to with frequency.

I'm sure I'll be exploring this theme again!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If you write SFR, pay attention!

From Heather at Galaxy Express: "Lois McMaster Bujold recently posted her introduction to DAW’s LOVE AND ROCKETS anthology (*waves to Mike B. who tipped me off*). Since she always writes/speaks about blends of science fiction and romance with such eloquence, my post today will serve as a gateway for her incredibly insightful comments."

I read & loved this intro by Lois McMaster Bujold. Can't recommend it highly enough. Go forth & read!
Seriously. Like, now.

...are you done, yet?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

Joining in the Six Sentence Sunday fun with six lines from Silver Bound!

She forced her lips into a smile, and he moved again, silencing the flutters. He stepped between her bound, outstretched legs and bent over her. The rest of the room, everything, faded away, and all she saw, all she felt, all she breathed, came from him.

“Jewel,” he whispered, his mouth against hers before he licked her shivering lips.

She moaned with the exquisite pleasure. His soft, luxurious clothes rubbed against her instantly aroused body, sensitive and aware of his every movement.

(Silver Bound will be available for free from Carina Press on Wed. February 9th only)

Be sure to visit other Six Sentence Sunday participants!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Breaking Tropes

The trope. I happen to both love them and roll my eyes at them.

What is a trope? In some ways, they are cliches, or in the case of Romance, they can be a type of situation we see in many stories. For instance, I love the friends-to-lovers trope. There's the secret baby trope. There's the Gothic heroine trapped in a creepy castle/mansion trope (The Forbidden Chamber). There's all sorts. Some of us will go out of our way to buy books with a particular one. I know I love the arranged marriage trope in historical romance. Something about a couple being stuck together and then falling in love really does it for me. But I know some readers can't stand that one and some say it's overdone. But there's something about the familiarity of knowing the type of story you're getting into. Like your favorite music, or your favorite pair of fuzzy socks, it's comfortable knowing what to expect.

In the case of my writing, I do tend to like twisting or breaking tropes, both in honoring them and in maybe poking a little fun at them. I think it's possible to do both.

One big example of this is Silver Bound, where I both go with the trope of futuristic love slave (there's a fairly large subgenre of these stories in erotic Sci-Fi Romance) and break that trope. Delving into the expected while staying within theme, allowed me to explore different sides of creating a story.

My upcoming release, Jaq's Harp, also tackles tropes and twists them. I've taken the Jack and the Beanstalk story and flipped it, created an alternate futuristic world of fairy tales, and ran with it. There are further tropes within the story that I addressed and I hope you read it and have as much fun finding them as I did writing them. The biggest one being, flipping the action hero saving the heroine standard.
I also liked tackling the ideas of danger and sex, the ethical questions of Jack stealing from the Giant, and magical beans. They're all in there... but slightly twisted.

What are your favorite tropes? Or, have you read a story that breaks them and pulled you right along a reader?