Blogiversary Link Round-up: Year 2

Guess what? Today officially marks the initiation of Nightwolf’s Corner into the Terrible Twos! That’s right, two years ago today, I posted my first ever blog post. (Holy bejeesus, that’s a long time ago!) Things have changed a lot around here since that first step into the blogosphere — I reached 100 followers, and then passed 200 before I even knew it; I’ve featured guest posts and giveaways, and wrote my 100th blog post; you’ve watched me venture into the world of the professional editor and serialized fiction. But one thing hasn’t changed — me. I’m still the same aspiring author/starving artist who set out to provide a fun, sometimes informative, sometimes sarcastic look at all things creativity. It amazes me that there over 200 of you that care what I have to say. I’m humbled, and completely flattered, and I can’t even begin to tell you what that support means to me.

So, today, I say thanks. And look back at last year with a fond, misty-eyed moment of nostalgia (which may or may not also have to do with the fact that I just ate the last of my Cadbury mini-eggs for the year). Care to relive the glory (of the blog, not the mini-eggs, although they were epic) with me? (Good, because you really didn’t have a choice. 😉 )

Over the past year, I’ve written a grand total of 66,770 words for the blog. While my grand total in actual fiction is lurking somewhere in the 10,000 range. Good to know some things don’t change, right?

Surprisingly, my most popular post this year was How to Write Martial Arts Fight Scenes, while the least popular were Memorializing Firsts: A Celebration of Author Bridget Zinn, Channels of Distribution, The Devil’s in the Details, Plot Bunnies; Friend or Foe?, My Ode to Bose, Storytelling for Demo Teams, & Two Steps Closer Giveaway. Given how old some of those are, I’m thinking it may have had more to do with age, and not necessarily subject. (Perhaps a few will be featured in my new Featured From the Archives series . . .)

My name was the top Googled thing that led people to my little digital home, while Twitter holds the record for highest referrals. Elitism in the Arts, and funnily enough, considering its place in the least popular posts, The Devil’s in the Details received the most shares. (Hmm, maybe my stats aren’t all that accurate, after all.)

The title of Longest Post goes to Exploring the Subgenres of Science Fiction, and the shortest was Writing Workshop Alert: Have You Scene It? Not really surprising, since it was just an announcement.

This year featured a grand total of 9 Guest Posts (conveniently flagged in the Index as such) and brought you 3 new series: From the Editor’s Desk, Featured from the Archives, and Featured Art. Oh, and there was also that little opportunity to read Unmoving well before it’s finished. That was pretty cool, too. 😉

I even learned how to play with GIF’s this year — My Average Day as an Editor (In GIFs) — and interviewed two authors about their journeys to publication — A Double Dose of Awesome: Author Interview & Holiday Giveaway & Conquering the Publishing Divide: An Interview With Author Jessa Russo.

So, all in all, it was a pretty productive year.

But the reason most of you are here, I’m sure, is because today’s the day I announce the winners for not one, but TWO giveaways. (I may have been a little giveaway happy this year, too. But I don’t think you’ll complain. Right?)

Okay, I won’t leave you in suspense anymore. Here are the lucky people winning whatever it was they signed up for:

For the eBook of Divide by Jessa Russo, the winners are . . .

Kathleen P.

Courtney W.

Brock G.

And, because I received over 400 entries in my blog-birthday giveaway, the 5 lucky people walking away with their chosen book are . . .

Alexandra P.

Gabriela C.

Alexandra T.

Mandy S.

Tiffany T.

Congratulations to the winners, and a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated. I’ll be emailing the winners with information about their prizes over the next week.

That’s all I’ve got for today. But before I go, let’s raise a glass of something — water, soda, wine, or, in my case, energy drink — and have a toast: here’s to another year of snarky festivities, helpful information, and lots and lots of writing. Cheers!

Blogiversary Link Round-Up

Well, the day has finally arrived– the one year anniversary of my first blog post. (And the announcement of the giveaway winner, which is why you’re all here, I’m sure.) I’ve made some incredibly awesome new friends over the past year and written a total of 51 posts. (Not counting this one, obviously, or my year would have magically lost a whole week. You know, now that I think about it, maybe that’s where all the non-existent time I wish I had disappeared to.) That’s a grand total of 60,172 words! (Yes, I counted them. So what? I was bored, and just a tad curious.) That’s officially a record for me. Sad, but true. Just think, if I had spent all that energy on Unmoving, the darn thing would be almost done by now! But then I wouldn’t have met all of you and discovered that I actually thoroughly enjoy blogging. Most of the time. 😉

Before we find out who the lucky winner is, (Don’t you dare scroll down and spoil it….Don’t do it…Darn you! I told you not to do that!) I want to share a few highlights from the past year by way of some statistics. Think of it as a little mini-archive, a chance to catch up on some of the cool things you might have missed.

My most popular post, with 49 page views was: Marketing via Wattpad & Authonomy–Smart? (I’m not counting the miscellaneous catch-all known as Home Page/Archives or any of my Bio pages, which surprisingly outranked everything else. Who knew I was so fascinating?)

Randomness Galore: An Interview With Me received the most likes, (again, who knew I was that interesting?) while Nightwolf’s Corner Birthday Giveaway clocked the most comments. (Not shocking considering that was one of the ways you could enter.)

The Devil’s in the Details was shared the most, while my series on the merits of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing– The Traditional vs. Self-Publishing Debate (Part One), The Traditional vs. Self-Publish Debate (Part Two), The Traditional vs. Self-Publish Debate (Part Three) — received the most references on other sites.

My record-breaking day, with 58 total page views is thanks to Storytelling for Demo Teams, the last installment in my demo team basics series. The other posts in that series are Demo Teams: A Brief Introduction, So You Think You Want a Demo Team, All About Staging: The Invisible Spotlight Effect, and A Lesson in Musicality, just in case you missed them.

The Definition of Black Belt is a fan favorite outside of the blogosphere, and Featured Image: Myusa Won Hwa Logo has been the most Googled, thanks to a shout out to Larry Wick’s Split Second Survival program. (Which appears to have vacated the web temporarily and is currently unlinkable.)

Writing…With a Twist is my least popular post (poor thing, maybe go show it some love?) and Introducing REUTS Publications is the shortest. The honor of being the longest is currently held by All About Staging: The Invisible Spotlight Effect, but that could change by this time next year.

I had originally intended to do a round-up of all my favorite posts. But conceited has never been on my list of personality traits, so I decided this was a better approach. I’m curious though, do you have a favorite post from the past year? If so, please share in the comments below. I may not be conceited, but I’m also not anti a little ego boost now and then. 😉

Which brings us, finally, to the moment you’ve all been waiting for– the giveaway winner. Drum roll, please!

The lucky winner…

is…

Jon, of Jumping from Cliffs fame.

Congratulations! You’ve won your chosen prize– the substantive editorial critique. Be sure to check your inbox for more information.

But wait, there’s more!

I decided I was feeling extra generous, and to thank all of you for showing me more support than I expected, I decided to extend the total number of prizes to three. (Apparently I think three is the golden number. That’s how many winners I did last time too.)

So….the second winner…is…

Rose B.

and, last but not least, the third winner of the Nightwolf’s Corner Birthday Giveaway is… (Kudos to anyone who figures out the reference I’m snarkily mimicking, by the way)

Raven P.

Both of whom also selected the editorial critique as their prize. Looks like I’m going to be doing a lot of reading soon. Thanks again to everyone that entered. It truly means a lot to me that you did. And thanks to Rafflecopter for providing the venue and random winner selection tool. Look for more chances to win something around the holidays! Until then, I return you to your regularly scheduled program of sarcastic commentary on the nuances of storytelling.

Nightwolf’s Corner Birthday Giveaway

Birthday Candles

Birthday Celebration” by CĂ©dric Boismain
Copyright 2013

Last week, I mentioned that the one year anniversary of my first post was rapidly approaching– in 3 weeks, 1 day, to be exact. I honestly never expected to last this long. (I don’t exactly have the best track record for finishing what I start unless there’s money involved.) And I certainly never expected to have so many wonderful people support me with follows, likes and shares every week. So, in honor of this milestone, I’ve decided to celebrate. It is a birthday after all. And no birthday is complete without presents! Or, in this case, a giveaway.

I’ve got some rather interesting (and hopefully exciting) prizes for you. As you know, Nightwolf’s Corner is split between the three aspects of my storytelling life– writing, art and martial arts demo teams. Therefore, it seemed only fitting to offer a prize from each area. But my schedule is a little flooded right now, so as much as I’d love to pick a winner for each prize, there can only be one. That winner will get their choice of the following:

 

Prize 1: A Substantive Editorial Critique

 

Writing has had an unfair advantage on this blog over the last year– something I hope to change in the coming months– so I suspect a majority of you will be interested in this chance to score editorial services for free.

I’m offering the writers in the audience the ability to gain some outsider input on your WIP. I’ll give you a full substantive (structural) critique, illustrating what’s working and what might need a little improvement. I’ll cover everything from flow, to character/world development & consistency,  to believability,  to scene transitions, etc. I won’t provide feedback on a line-by-line basis, (you’ll still need a copy editor at some point), but this will give you a definite leg up on the way to publication. And the best part? I don’t care if your manuscript is finished or not.

That’s right, you can submit your WIP in all it’s unfinished glory and still receive the same level of critique I would give a finished manuscript. That’s pretty cool, if I do say so myself. There aren’t many chances out there to get an editorial critique on an unfinished work, so I would jump on this opportunity, if I were you. 😉

 

Prize 2: A Custom Logo Design

 

I realize this may be the least popular option, since most of you haven’t seen what I can do artistically. Art has been sadly neglected over the past year, all my grand topics languishing in the draft queue unfinished. But that’s about to change. I’ll be posting examples (specifically of logo’s I’ve done) to the Art Gallery over the next few weeks, so don’t rule this prize out just yet.

I’ll create a custom, vector-based logo design for whatever you want– business, t-shirts, decals, whatever! (Remember, a logo is a simplified image meant for wide distribution on various printed materials, so please don’t request something that would be better served as a traditional painting/sketch.) The value here, besides having someone design your vision into reality, is the inclusion of commercial rights to the image– meaning you have the exclusive right to merchandise and profit from it. (I still own the copyright though, and retain the right to display it in my portfolio.) These rights can cost hundreds of dollars above the design fee itself, so this isn’t an offer to scoff at. If you’ve ever wanted to create a logo for something, or need a revamp on your current one, here’s your chance!

 

Prize 3: A Ready-Made Demo Concept

 

I’m not gonna lie, this is the prize I’m most excited to reveal. Many of you are familiar with my particular brand of demos– a hybrid of theater, dance and martial arts. Many of you have also expressed desire for learning how I create them. Over the past year, I’ve delved into the nuts and bolts of my demo team storytelling technique, but there’s nothing quite like actually applying it. And since I can’t travel to every school that might be interested and literally coach you through the process, this is as close as I can get to loaning you my brain.

For the first time ever, I’m offering to supply a ready-made demo concept. What does that mean? I’ll supply the music (usually something I’ve mixed for optimal storytelling capability. Yes, I can do that and I’m quite good at it, so stop giving me the skeptical eyes 😉 ), the overall concept (aka theme), a script detailing the storyline and how to sync it to the music, the costume/prop design and casting recommendations in terms of abilities needed per role. All you have to do is create the choreography. (You didn’t think I was going to give you everything, did you? There still has to be a shred of your creativity in there somewhere!) Pretty cool, huh?

Have I caught your attention yet? Good. Here’s how it works:

The giveaway will run from now, April 12th, until midnight on May 4th, at which time I’ll randomly select the lucky winner and notify them via email. All you have to do to enter is click here and follow the prompts.

That’s it! Let the birthday celebrations commence! Here’s to another year full of sarcastic storytelling awesomeness and wonderful people to share it with. Thank you for reading! 🙂

Memorializing Firsts: A Celebration of Author Bridget Zinn

Poison_cover640

This week I’m doing something a little different. During my weekly perusal of the blogs I regularly follow, I stumbled on a story that really moved me– the story of a girl who finally realized her dreams but was never able to see it. Her story touched me so deeply that I decided I wanted to help commemorate her accomplishment by promoting the release of her debut novel: Poison.

A fellow Portlandite, Bridget Zinn was a librarian and writer who loved making people laugh with her creations. She believed the young adult genre needed more humor, and so, created a book that she hoped would inspire, entertain and be loved by her teen audience. In 2011, two years before the release of that creation, Bridget succumbed to her battle with cancer, passing away at the much-too-early age of 33. But her legacy lives on in the form of her novel.

About the novel

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart
misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

I pause today to honor Bridget’s accomplishment and to feel grateful for the small successes in my own life. I have yet to publish a novel, but I still remember when I received the acceptance letter for my first short story. I stared and stared at it, in the clichĂ© fashion of someone gaining admittance to their top college, unable to comprehend the words that very clearly said, “we’d like to publish your work.” I had to get confirmation from someone else before it really sank in; I’d finally done it. After all the rejection letters, all the failed attempts, all the years of pretending I didn’t really want to be a writer, I’d made it. Yes, it was only a short story, but that magical moment of validation is what every writer dreams of. The first toe in the door to becoming an author.

I can only imagine that Bridget felt very much the same when she finally received notice that Hyperion wanted to publish her book. It’s unfortunate that she didn’t get to experience the second burst of joy that seeing Poison on shelves, in the hands of her readers, would have brought. Thankfully, we can still give her spirit that satisfaction by spreading the word and hopefully helping Poison become a bestseller.

Sharing so many similarities with Bridget, I am saddened that I will never get to meet her. Her story of optimism in the face of adversity is an inspiring one and reminds us that every day is a gift we should be grateful for and that no victory, no matter how big or small, should ever go uncelebrated. Here’s to you, Bridget; may your book find all the success you dreamed for it.

bridget_zinn_photo

Bridget Zinn

You can learn more about Bridget and Poison, including how you can help, at Bridget’s Official Website.

Thankfulness

The First Thanksgiving, painting by Jean Louis...

This week, we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the States. It’s a holiday devoted to stuffing ourselves with as much food as humanly possible, passing out in a drooling pile on whatever surface is still available, followed by trying not to die in a stampede at the local Target when the doors open at midnight, heralding the official start of the Christmas shopping season. Basically, it’s every woman’s dream holiday. A license to eat as much as we want without worrying about being judged, followed by the insanity of a massive shopping spree! What’s not to love?

But Thanksgiving isn’t just about pigging out and then spending every dime you have. It’s actually about being thankful. So in the true spirit of the holiday, I’d like to say a big “Thanks!” to everyone who’s been reading my blog. I honestly didn’t think anyone would, (although I strongly hoped someone would), when I carved out my tiny portion of the internet, staking claim to it like the settlers did to the shores of the east coast.  But turns out, I’m not doomed to anonymity and I want you to know that really means a lot to me. I appreciate each and every page view I’ve received and treat every comment as if it were the corn that saved the starving settlers’ butts, precious and rare. So thank you. I really mean that.

Next week, I’ll be back with more opinions on writing, publishing, demo teams or whatever. But for now, what are you thankful for? Even if you don’t celebrate Turkey Day, you can still celebrate the real meaning behind it by sharing in the comments below. It’s never a bad thing to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!