Broke Amazon’s Top 100!

Well, today for one brief moment, probably more like several hours, Dead and Kicking kicked its way into the top 100 for its category on Amazon.ca. Good thing I took a screen capture, because it was fleeting at best.  This time at least.

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Self-publishing a book is what you call a long game. Sure, there are some that luck out and find themselves with just the right set of circumstances at just the right time that helps them to rocket up the charts, but for the most part, it’s a slow and steady momentum as you build up your social platform and spread the word.

I think I’m doing the right things, pushing my book, but not pushing so hard that people are put off. Joining in on the conversation on Goodreads and Twitter, contributing to the communities there, without laying on a constant sales pitch. Trying to engage you, my readers both here and on Pinterest.  Getting my book out in front of bloggers and reviewers.

I think I’m succeeding.  I hope I’m succeeding.  I guess if sales continue to grow, I’ll have my answer. Hopefully next time I hit the top 100, I’ll be there to stay.

Vampire Week

Vampire Week is coming to Compelling Beasts and I’m taking part.  Watch here for updates when my contributions go live throughout the week.  In the meantime, I thought I would give you a little background on the vampire mythos of Harry’s world.

Vampires

Vampires and how they are portrayed can run the gambit.  From the traditional

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to the modern/futuristic

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From campy

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to sexy

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to the definitely not-so-sexy.

not so sexy

whitespaceIn Harry’s world there are different types of Vampiro or vampires, with different abilities and powers.

Cutters – These are the wannabe vamps.  They are the Goths that like to play at being vampires.  They are called cutters because of the practice of keeping a small razor blade to slice the skin so they can suck blood.  Most cutters are just posers, but some have the potential to be true vamps.  The ones with potential will actually gain energy from blood, kind of like a high.  Cutters are not undead but they hang around real vampires in the hopes of ingratiating themselves to a powerful vampire in order to receive the ‘Kiss’.

Vampires – are the most common of the Vampiro. They are undead and have retractable fangs.  They must drink blood to survive.  They can still eat and drink but without a daily dose of live human blood they will begin to lose their essence.  Vampires can be of varying power.

Vlads – Powerful vampires are called Vlads. Vlads can go out in the day but tend to have an aversion to direct sunlight.  No vampire, no matter how powerful can be out in the light of the dawning sun.

Princes, Kings, Emperors (and their corresponding female titles) – These are the higher power levels of the Vampiro hierarchy and much more rare.  Depending on how powerful, they can draw life essence from a mere skin to skin touch.  Some can absorb it from their surroundings.  They don’t need to get it from a blood meal.

The Magister – the top vampire in a territory.  The more powerful the Magister, the bigger the territory.

Dhamphirs – Most vampires are made in the traditional way through the Eternal Kiss, but there can also be born vampires. These are people that are born with the vamp ‘gene’ that will kick in on their first death to make them undead.  Dhamphirs are very rare and result from the successful mating between a male vampire and a female human.  While alive, they don’t need blood, but they can get a euphoric high from it.  They may also have some special powers including supernatural healing, super strength and speed, telekinesis, and telepathy.

Here’s my dream casting of the major vampire roles in Dead and Kicking:

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Harry and the Bechdel Test

‘The Bechdel Test’ was inspired by cartoonist Alison Bechdel‘s 1985 tongue-in-cheek comic strip ‘The Rule’ which became a basic measure to see if women are fairly represented in a film.

Anita Sarkeesian, creator and host of the FeministFrequency, does an excellent job explaining what the Bechdel Test is all about.  Basically, for a movie to pass the Bechdel Test, you must be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following questions:

1: Does it have at least two female characters?
2: Do they talk to one another?
3: Do they talk about something other than a man?

Simple, right? Well, you’d think so, but a surprising number of Hollywood movies don’t pass the test. What is even more surprising is the number of films you would think should pass but don’t. This is because, as Anna Waletzko discusses in her Huffington Post article, the Bechdel Test may be an excellent tool in triggering discussion, but it is a superficial measure of female empowerment in film.

Despite these limitations, it can be argued (as in this article by Charlie Jane Anders) that the test is important because it is often a part, or the beginning, of a larger and more complicated conversation about female representation in movies.  It serves as a measure of how we are doing at promoting and increasing the opportunities for women.

So how did I do with Harry in Dead and Kicking?

1: At least two women?

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Yes, besides Harry there are her roommates, Holly and Tess, as well as several other supporting women, including the two sisters and mother of the the main character Nash.

2. & 3.  Do they talk about something other than a man?

green-check-mdYes.  There is a fair amount of banter between Tess and Harry especially, and very little of it is about a man.  There are also plenty of conversations between all the female characters THAT ACTUALLY MOVE THE PLOT FORWARD.

I’ll take that as a passing grade.thumbs up