Best Indie Writer Tools (Part 2)

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Okay, we’re back! I know, I took longer than I said I would but life happens. Right now I’m nursing a sick wife and son back to health, all while trying not to get sick myself. So, a lot of things got put on the back burner but I’m back! Let’s just jump back into this, here are some great Marketing Tools That I use in my writing business…oh and if you missed the first blog about writing tools, just click here

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Like I said in my previous blog, indie authors are solo publishing houses. When we create something or have an event for our work, it’s all up to us to market said event or book. Having the right tools can make designing and sharing info so much easier. Here are some of my favorite marketing tools:

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Square Space:

OMG, let me just start off by saying I mother fucking love Square Space! I used to use Go Daddy for my website but it cost a few dollars more and was annoying and limited when it came to website building. Square Space on the other hand was so easy to work with and allowed me to do a number of things my Go Daddy couldn’t do, like have this blog. For Go Daddy I had to use a third party blogger account and a ECwid account for products, and some other stuff which I had to convert to HTML to place on my site and it just never looked as good as I wanted it too. I had to jump through so many different hoops to get what I wanted without paying an arm and a leg (I don’t know why people say that, what’s the going rate for an arm and a leg these days? I feel like it might be cheaper than we think.). Well one month I forgot to pay my Go Daddy bill and I decided to make the jump and I honestly haven't looked back.

The Good: Blog, Store, Everything you need to start selling your books are all in one place. The set up is simple and the layouts look so smooth. I was able to drop my Mail Chimp account which was $30 a month for Square Space’s newsletter marketing system which is currently free. So I used to pay $60 or $50 a month for a website and mailing list, from two different companies, now I pay $30 a month for everything from Square Space and my site looks awesome, if I do say so myself.

The Bad: I was unable to set up a forum where my fans can discuss things in somewhat real time. Some of the cooler things were for the higher priced set which I went up too but in all paying 30 bucks to do everything I used to pay 60 bucks for is awesome in my book. It saves me some cash so I can start paying for advertisements for my books.

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Anchor (App & Site):

I wanted to start a podcast to help promote my books and talk about subjects I cared about, but I had no idea how to start and I didn’t have the time to learn. Things like Podcast and YouTube channels can get an extra set of eyes on you. People like Joanna Penn, Jim Kukral, Bryan Cohen and many more have become well known names in the indie writer world, due to their podcast and YouTube channels. So, I thought why can’t I do the same, but for horror and zombies…the answer to the why is because it took too much damn time and I can’t justify a day of editing something that isn’t my book.

I almost gave up and then a friend of mine was doing big things with his podcast (Misunderstood Genius) and I decided to see what he was using, Bam! Anchor an awesome website and app that allows you to record a podcast and publish it to a number of different streaming sites, without any of the headache other programs have. Anchor is crazy simple, I hit a button, I talk, I save and I publish. I can put all my segments together on my phone and if I want I can grab a co-host from a number of other anchor users. Take a quick listen to my latest episode of The Planet Dead Radio Podcast

The Good: Simple to use. Free. Allows your fans to tip you for support. Uploads your podcast to a number of the top sites with the click of on button and now they have a sponsor program. All you have to do is do your podcast, say you want a sponsor and they look for ones that fit, then you get paid a little change for all that talking.

The Bad: Maybe I’m just not that tech smart but editing my files on Anchor seems hard or impossible. If I need to edit I do it in iMovies and then transfer the audio. I haven’t really looked too much into the editing because I normally just hit record and call it a day.

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Canva (Website & App):

There is no app I have used more when it comes to marketing than Canva. Canva is an awesome free app that allows you to make promotional images for any social media platform as well as book covers! They have tons of free stock photos, a large selection of fonts and when combined with other apps can lead to some amazing marketing material.

 Image made with Canva

Image made with Canva

The Good: It’s Free. All your past images you create get saved under your profile. They have great templates that fit for things like Instagram stories and twitter headers, so you don’t have to guess about sizes. Free Stock Images and if you want to pay for it, you can give access to others on your marketing team or street team so they know what promo images they can use.

The Bad: Most of the really good images or clip art has to be paid for, which isn’t too bad because they are normally $1. The app seems to be crashing a lot lately, not sure why, but aside from all that It’s a pretty good app.

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Snapseed (App):

 Image made with the help of Canva & Snapseed. 

Image made with the help of Canva & Snapseed. 

This app can be used for anything but I feel it has really advanced my Instagram page, taking it to another level. My page was just some random post with no theme or thought to it. I was told about Snapseed by an amazing bookstagramer Debra Gillis and it has changed everything. There are amazing filters and editing tools that you can use to really make some eye popping images. For this one I’m not gonna do a Good & Bad because I really haven’t found anything I dislike about the app, I’m just happy I found it.

Anyway, those are the top apps that’s I use to create marketing materials and images. Try the free ones out and look more into Squarespace because I honestly love that company. If you know of any cool tools that I missed then list them in the comments below.

Horror Shoutout! (Holiday Deals)

Horror Shoutout! (Holiday Deals)

Looking to avoid the madness of Black Friday and Thanksgiving Dinner? Don’t just nod at your Uncle’s pointless stories, dive into some epic zombie horror and tell your family politely “No, I don’t want any of your dry turkey Grandma! I’m reading!” Check out these two awesome zombie series.

Best Indie Writer Tools (Part One: Writing Tools)

Best Indie Writer Tools (Part One: Writing Tools)

This week I did something a little different. I know some of my readers are thinking about becoming writers and have asked me how I went about it. I’ve been more than willing to help them out and I’ve decided to do a short series of blogs explaining some of the tools I use in my author business.

Arrowverse Stars Who Moonlight As Scream Queens

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Well it’s October, that beautiful time of the year where everything spooky is praised and loved. It’s also the time of the year that The CW brings back their shows for the fall line up. I’m a big fan of their DC superheroes content. The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl and now Black Lightning (They also have the Legends but I’m willing to pretend it doesn’t exist if you are) make up what fans call The Arrowverse, a shared universe of superhero shows with some amazing action and actors. But tights and family friendly fun isn’t all these heroes know. This blog combines two of my favorite things, Comics & Horror! Let’s take a look at some of the Arrowverse’s Stars Who Moonlight As Scream Queens!

Danielle Panabaker

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Danielle Panabaker is Team Flash’s go to medical genius, Caitlin Snow, who suffers from a bad case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Caitlin loses her temper, she becomes the anti-hero Killer Frost, but playing a murdering Ice Queen wasn’t Panabaker’s first time dancing with evil. Danielle also stared in a number of horror movies like Piranha 3DD (2012), Girls Against Boys (2012), The Ward (2010) and the 2009 remake of the horror classic Friday The 13th with Supernatural star Jared Padalecki. The Flash better watch out, Danielle knows her way around a machete.

Find These Movies On Amazon:

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Katie Cassidy

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Next up is Arrow’s resident jack of all trades Katie Cassidy, who plays Laurel Lance on the hit tv show. Not only has Cassidy played a superhero but she’s also been, an alcoholic, a lawyer, a street fighter, a villain, an anti-hero and a demon? Yeah, fans of the second generation star will remember her run on CW’s other hit show Supernatural where she played heroes/baddies Ruby and Lilith. But TV is just one of Cassidy’s horror playgrounds, she’s also been in a number of horror movies, like; Wolves At The Door (2016), The Lost (2006), and some remakes of horror classics such as, When A Stranger Calls (2006), Black Christmas (2006) and A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010). People are always harsh when it comes to remakes, because we have this strong attachment to the original work, but I’ve got to admit, I like the Black Christmas and Elm Street remake. They may not be on the level of the original movies, but for the time they came out and the entertainment they provided, I thought they were great. Now if the remake of The Green Arrow could get their act together and put Oliver with Black Canary that would be great.

Find These Movies On Amazon:

 

My Personal Favorites

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Juliana Harkavy & Katie McGrath

Normally the title of a Scream Queen depends on the amount of work the actress does within the horror genre, but I personally think the body of work is what should matter, Quality over Quantity right? Even if they have one horror title to their name (which isn’t the case here) if that title is the mother fucking shit! Then she gets a crown. These are my two favorite CW Moonlighting Scream Queens, Juliana Harkavy (who plays Dinah Drake aka Black Canary on Arrow) and Katie McGrath (who plays Lena Luthor on Supergirl)

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These women stared in two of my favorite horror projects of all time, Harkavy’s 2014 Last Shift and McGrath’s 2016 Slasher. These things are epic! Last Shift is my favorite, paranormal movie ever. It stars Juliana Harkavy as Jessica Loren, a rookie cop whose first assignment is to man the phones at a soon to be abandoned police station that may or may not be haunted by the ghost of a Manson like family of killers. This movie took me on a ride, I just thought I was gonna watch another random movie on Netflix but I found a gem. Harkavy killed this role and is killing it on Arrow as well. If Last Shift isn’t enough to get her a seat at the horror table then might I also point out she was on The Walking Dead…Case Closed.

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Now, McGrath is a Scream Queen and I don’t care what anyone says, because she stared as the final girl in one of the best horror tv shows ever, yes I’m talking Slasher! This was a tv series much like MTV’s Scream and Fox’s Scream Queens where a masked killer is on the loose and the final girl spends the whole season figuring out who the killer is, but Slasher does it ten times better. Slasher originally aired on Chiller (which went the way of soap net and other awesome channels) but I saw it when it came to Netflix and it blew me away! McGrath played Sarah Bennett a woman who returns to her hometown where she is known as the only survivor of a Halloween massacre (so like a horror Harry Potter) upon her return she learns of a copy cat killer & she must finally face her past.

These two can be picked up on Amazon but you can also find them on Netflix:

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Well those are just some of The Arrowverse Scream Queens, if you know of any others then be sure to post them in the comments. If you want to stay updated when I write these blogs, get discounts, exclusive stories and access to The Survivor’s Den, sign up and become a Survivor Among The Living!

Planet Dead: Love Bites Chapter Five

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You ever wonder why fish kill each other when they're in a tank together? You would think they would just swim around, living their little fish lives but every now and then they turn on each other and fight to the death like their sharks. The inner workings of a goldfish always puzzled me, until now. Now I'm trapped in a little tank and I finally know why one fish would kill another because they lost a fin and they're annoyed as all hell by the sight of that damn Joseph fish!

"You're scaring me," Joseph said with his legs pulled up close to his chest. He was huddled up in the corner by the cell doors as if he was too fearful to step any closer to Ruby and I. To be fair, we may or may not have tried to suffocate him while he was sleeping.

"What?" I said.

"The way you're staring at me like you're thinking about killing me..." Joseph's legs came out and he pulled his self to his feet before staring at Ruby and softly saying, "again."

"Whatever shit for brains, the time for murdering you has passed," Ruby said with a wicked grin. I watched her comb her fingers through her long black hair and as I followed the strains I could see a long scar that ran around her neck. I quickly looked away before she could notice.

"You had a chance of getting out and you blew it!" I shouted.

"Yeah, I did. Because I was more than able to fight off five armed men. I didn't see you fighting them..." Joseph paused and closed his eyes tightly, he had that look on his face that Kevin would have, whenever he fucked up. I think it must be a universal look that all men got from time to time. I got to my feet and started walking toward him and then he put up his hand, "I'm sorry. I misspoke, what I meant to say is fighting isn't gonna help anyone. We need to stick together if we're gonna survive this," he said.

"There's no survive this, no way out," Ruby said. Her head rested back on the cell wall most likely revisiting her failed escape. I wonder if she blamed us if she would have shot us right when she saw us maybe she would have gotten away, "This is home, get used to it or end up like that guy," Ruby said pointing at the body in the other cell. The rat had crawled out the man's eye a few hours ago, now all that was left was a bloody mess on the floor. Joseph shook his head in disgust and turned away from the sight.

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"We'll get...we'll get out-" My hand shot to my chest and I held it tightly. Sweat ran down my forehead and in an instant my world was turning upside down. Joseph's face became a blur. All their words sounded like a high pitch buzz. But nothing was worse than the heat my skin was giving off. The cell was now an oven and I was the only one being cooked for dinner. I dropped to my knees when cramps took over every muscle in my body. Muscles I didn't know I had started to twist and tighten. My eyes started to roll back into my head and as much as I wanted to scream out in pain, to let them get some kind of idea what bone breaking agony I was in, I couldn't. The words were trapped in my throat. All I could do was moaning.

Joseph rushed over to my side, his dirty black dress pants, dragged along the floor as he slid on his knees to me. "Damn, it!" He shouted and tilted my head back, cupping my cheeks in his hand. "Roll that sheet up," Joseph demanded.

"What's wrong with her?" Ruby asked frantically. I couldn't see her, but I could tell she was afraid. Fear was a tone that couldn't be hidden well, it would always push or peek it's way out, making itself known to the world. Ruby's fear caused her voice to drop low, like a haunting whisper.

"Roll up the fucking sheet!" Joseph hollered. Ruby quickly grabbed the bed sheet and started rolling it up as tightly as she could, then she rushed over to Joseph, who stanched the fabric out of Ruby's hands. "It's alright Jess, just hang in there..."  Joseph said before pushing the rolled up sheet in my mouth, keeping my teeth from doing me any harm. 

Ruby stared down at what must have been a horror show. A doctor, or whatever Joseph was, trying his hardest to save a one-armed woman. Then like a light switch, it finally clicked in Ruby's mind, "She' infected," Ruby said shooting a judgmental finger at me, "She's fucking infected," Ruby shouted and then she ran to the cell door. "Lamar! Lamar!" Ruby screamed into the empty cell block. If I wasn't twitching and turning on my death bed, I would have felt extremely betrayed. I thought me and Ruby were really starting to connect, maybe not braiding each other's hair and trading beauty tips, but I was pretty sure we were both in the same boat, the 'let's get our motherfucking asses out of here' boat. I was wrong, much like with every other choice I've made since the outbreak, this one was gonna bite me in my ass too.

Joseph sprung to his feet and grabbed Ruby by her shoulders, pulling her back from the bars. He spun her around and his hand went over her mouth, "Stop that, you can't just go around screaming shit like that," Joseph said softly. Their eyes locked and Joseph held Ruby's month tightly, "That word is a death sentence, don't ever say it again, do you understand?" Joseph asked. It took a moment, but Ruby nodded and his hand slowly started to lower from Ruby's lips. "She's gonna be okay, I'm helping her,"

"Like you helped that pregnant lady?" Ruby asked.

"That was different, she was bit, there was no way to get it out of her system," Joseph said while turning his head back to look at me. "I removed the infection from Jess. She's twenty-four hours into the forty-eight-hour window. She still has a day to pull through, and this is the first sign of the virus I've seen," Joseph replied.

"That two-day thing is a fucking lie," Ruby said.

"It's not. Some people can turn faster but if a person hasn't turned within-"

"I heard the fucking news broadcast, just like everyone else. Doesn't mean they were telling the truth." Ruby said. she leaned back on the bars and stared at me, "This is fucked up," she said. 

"She has twenty-four more hours. Just give her a day, if she doesn't beat this, then I'll put her down myself." Joseph said.

"You want me to sit in here with a ticking time bomb?" Ruby asked.

"Yeah, because you owe us," Joseph said.

"I don't owe you shit pencil dick," Ruby said with a glare, she walked up to Joseph and shoved him in the chest causing him to stumble back, "I don't owe anyone anything," Ruby said.

I slowly pulled the sheet from my lips, "She's right," I weakly replied. Their eyes quickly panned over to me. I rolled over to my side only to feel Joseph's hand on my cheek. He was guiding me back down to the floor. I rested my head on the floor and closed my eyes, "You don't owe us anything, no one owes anyone anything nowadays," I said softly. The tears start to string as they pushed their way free of my eyes. I had a fifty percent chance I could make it and for the first time as the cold floor eased my burning skin I knew, fifty percent wasn't good enough. "But you escaped once and odds are good that you'll do it again," my lips curled into a weak smile for a moment and then I looked over at Ruby, "We're just asking to be there when you do," I said. 

Light hazel eyes tried their best to burn a hole through me and then she did something I wasn't expecting, she laughed, "Fine, but if you turn-"

"She won't," Joseph quickly replied. His fingers were laced with mine, I didn't notice it before due to the heat my body was giving off, but they were. It felt odd, good, but odd.

Ruby rolled her eyes and folded her arms over her chest, "If you turn, eat him first." Ruby said with a smirk.

"Deal," I replied.

Joseph's hand quickly retreated from mine and he stared down at me. If you ever told a toddler 'no, you can't have Mcdonald's today,' then you are familiar with the look that was on Joseph's face, "What?" he shouted.

The door to the cell block pushed open and a line of women started walking through the cell block, well shuffling through the cell block. Their ankles were chained to one another and their hands were handcuffed. "All the way to the fucking end!" One of the men shouted he had a black and mild cigar poking from his lips and dark black dreads that cascaded down his back in a neat ponytail. I got to my feet slowly and I watched his every move as he pointed the gun at the women, "Stop! Stand still," The man shouted.

We were at the cell bars now, taking in the sight, "What's going on?" I asked.

"The last shift is over, which means lights out in a few minutes," Ruby said softly. Her fingers slipped away from the bars and she cautiously walked over to the middle of the cell. Her knees dropped to the floor and her hands fold and rested behind her head.

"What are you doing-" Something warm splattered across my face. My eyelids snapped shut to avoid it getting in my eyes, "Oh, fuck!" Joseph cried out. My eyes sprung open to the sight of red everywhere. The buttstock of the guards gun slowly pulled back through the bars. I watched the blood drip from the black metal.

"Assume the position, boy," The guard said. The black and mild was tossed to the floor. A gray puff of smoke came from his lips as he unlocked our cell.  The muzzle of the rifle came in first and then it chillingly turned toward my direction. "You ain't special sweetie, get down on the fucking floor."  I walked over to Joseph and put my hand on his cheek, before trying to pull him up to his knees, "Hurry the fuck up!" The guard shouted and I don't know what happened. Maybe it was losing Kevin and the baby. Maybe it was losing my arm or being locked up like a dog, but something in me snapped.

My blood soaked hair flipped to the side and I locked eyes with the man. A shit eating grin was painted on his face, "If it happens..." I looked over at the back of Ruby's head and then back to the guard, "I'm gonna kill him first," I said. The buttstock of the rifle rushed toward my face and then everything went black. Take notes people, this is not the way to act when your a prisoner and your guard has the upper hand. Get it? He has the upper hand...Yeah, it's still too soon.

Five Facebook Groups For Zombie Fans

Five Facebook Groups For Zombie Fans

This one is for you social media addicts (Like Me) I spend a lot of time in Facebook groups and I thought I would share a few of my favorites. Check these groups out if you need something dead in your life.

5 Indie Books For Walking Dead Fans!

5 Indie Books For Walking Dead Fans!

There is no hiding it, The Walking Dead is the big man on the zombie genre campus. People love it even if they are horror fans. So, it would be foolish of me to ignore the impact it has had on the Genre. Season 9 is coming around and for those of you who need that zombie/drama fix, here are 5 novels worth checking out if you’re a Walking Dead Fan!

Planet Dead: No Way Out (Chapter One Part Two)

Planet Dead: No Way Out (Chapter One Part Two)

Read the last known communications from the Atlanta outbreak. Also listen to an episode of Planet Dead Radio

Planet Dead: No Way Out (Chapter One Part One)

Planet Dead: No Way Out (Chapter One Part One)

Step into Atlanta, GA the day of the outbreak and follow a young photography student as she explains the moment Atlanta went to hell and the world turned into Planet Dead. It’s a race against time as a group of survivors battle to escape an apartment building infected with bloodthirsty zombies.

Four Epic Horror Movies On Amazon

Four Epic Horror Movies On Amazon

Well you just killed another week, so take a load off and watch these four epic Amazon Prime movies, where some bad ass women take horror to the next level!

Planet Dead: Love Bites (Chapter 3)

Planet Dead: Love Bites (Chapter 3)

Jessica and Joseph go searching for anything to save Jessica from the infection, but what they find is a shotgun happy, crazy woman and a whole new world of problems. Chapter Three starts now, are you ready?

Planet Dead: Love Bites (Chapter 2)

Planet Dead: Love Bites (Chapter 2)

Jessica got into it with her husband Kevin, the horrifying lose of their child coupled with the guilt of abandoning a woman in need caused their relationship to come to a quick halt, well that and the horde that took over the road. Jessica awakens hours later with a strange man hovering over her and Kevin is no where to be found and he’s not the only thing that’s missing. Welcome To Chapter Two (Reread Chapter One Now, Click Here)

Target Practice

Target Practice

A short story in the world of Planet Dead to celebrate Father’s Day. Love the father’s you have and remember the ones you’ve lost today. Have an amazing father’s day everyone and thank you for all your love and support through this very hard year.

June Reading Spotlight

June Reading Spotlight

Yeah we all love horror and zombies but I do read another things. This month I decided to do a spotlight on five books that I enjoyed lately. If you like it, let me know and it maybe a monthly thing