Magical Ways to Make Friends and PR

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As writers we are always looking for ways to get our work before the public. Then, when we do get something (books, series, whatever) started, we are looking for ways to *keep* our work out there, in front of the public. If you are lucky and smart (it’s always better to be both, you know) you make friends in the business and not enemies. When you do make friends, when that magical *something* clicks, be sure to capitalize on it and take that friendship in the PR realm. Friends can take that to all sorts of new levels! Brainstorm ways to help each other. Help between friends goes way beyond networking, into creating a community of friends, even if you never see them in person.

This site, MagicalWords  came from a brainstorming session between David and me at a Con years ago. We immediately brought in Misty. And I then took my heart in my hands and asked CE Murphy (who I had never met) to join us. I really don’t have the right anatomy to call it a ballsy move, but it was, believe me. That virtual meeting with Catie, (who I have never met in person) led us to today’s post, and an example of a PR experiment.

Catie has new book out this week, Spirit Dances, with her heroine Joanne Walker. On Monday, we opened on my site with a tag-team interview between Joanne Walker, Jane Yellowrock, Beast (yeah. Beast was there), Catie and me. It was a blast. And my site traffic doubled in one day. Go take a gander at Monday’s post, if you like. www.faithhunter.net  I’m mighty proud of the post and the comments!

Yesterday, Catie posted on her site the first snippet of a Jane Yellowrock/Joanne walker short story, one we will release this summer as an e-book. Today, I posted part two on my site. Oh – and did I say? We made it contest. The winnings are pretty great!

The intros to each segment posted are pretty important, so pay close attention to the way Catie structured them. (I copied hers to creat mine!)

Below is Catie’s post. I didn’t ask her if I could post it here. I just told her I was doing that. But it’s PR, you know? I knew she’d be okay with it. So with no further ado, Catie’s words: 

********

Some of you will have seen this before–it’s the start of a crossover story I wrote in the flush of delight after reading the first two of Faith Hunter‘s Jane Yellowrock novels. But here’s the cool thing: Faith and I have decided to go ahead and write the whole story! Over the next couple days we’ll be posting more of it until there’s quite a substantial teaser for you, and sometime this summer we’ll release what I’m tentatively titling EASY PICKINGS: A Jane Yellowrock-Joanne Walker Crossover Story.

Please note, for those of you already trying to figure out where it fits into the continuity: it doesn’t. This is a world that wasn’t; essentially fan fiction by the authors themselves. Faith’s world and mine have a lot of similarities, but not enough to pretend even for a moment that they’re actually the same world. So while I hope the story will provide a great introduction to both characters, it doesn’t actually belong in either of our universes.

That said, please enjoy this excerpt from EASY PICKINGS!

  ********

 There was something weird about crossing the city lines into New Orleans. Not just that the Big Easy was by anybody’s standards–in fiction, anyway–the center of all things supernatural in the States. It was bigger than that, a nasty jolt that wrenched everything a couple steps to the left. Even the city’s aura looked different from inside than it had from a few miles out, and I had absolutely no clue why.

The exciting thing about my life was that I’d probably find out.

For all my traveling around as a kid, I’d never gone through New Orleans. N’awlins, the way the natives said it. I loved that sound, like it was a word to be rolled around in and licked off the skin. So I did what any tourist would do upon arriving in the heartland of American Weird.

I hit the French Quarter.

Three days before Mardi Gras, the Quarter was hopping. It was probably the worst time of year to visit if I actually wanted to see New Orleans, but it was the best time if I wanted to throw myself eyeball-deep into beads, streamers, costumes, half-naked girls–Gary was going to deeply regret not having come along–parades, parties, obscene amounts of incredibly good food, and bourbon. I’d never actually tried bourbon and was kind of looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t indulge right away, because the fish-hook sensation in my belly, the one that had been hauling me around ever since my shamanic powers had awakened, was getting tighter and more uncomfortable the deeper I got into the Quarter. I didn’t think my magic would give me an even break–let me heal up from a hangover, in other words–if I ignored it in favor of tying one on.

The city was a veritable teeming mass of humanity. Scent bombarded me from every direction: booze, perfume, pot, food, oh, God, the food, and the pervasive stink of sweat that no amount of deodorant or cologne was going to drown. Voices rose and fell in shrieks of laughter, joy, dismay; shouting was the only way to be heard, even if you were talking to the guy standing next to you. Everyone was beautiful in that flush-of-life way, though here in the heart of the city, so close to Mardi Gras, there were an unnatural number of genuinely beautiful people. They ran the color spectrum from rich blue-black all the way through to translucent white, with me thrown in on the whiter end, though when one of those really white girls stumbled into my arms, the skin tone comparison made me look rich and gold beside her. It was only back in Qualla Boundary, surrounded by others of Cherokee descent, that I felt stand-out pale. I pushed the girl to her feet and watched her trotter drunkenly away.

Maybe it was thinking about North Carolina and the life I’d left behind there that made me notice her. There were too many people to explain it otherwise, though the fish-hooks in my gut pulled so hard and sharp that they might’ve been an explanation on their own. It didn’t matter: she was half a block away and visible for about five seconds through a break in the crowd. She wore black leather damned near head to toe, all of it so snug against her body it had to be custom-made. Silver sparkled all over it, zippers and guns and blades and silver stakes in her hair like an Oriental fan of death. She looked hot, both literally and figuratively, and I thought the reason I’d glimpsed her at all was everybody else thought so too, and was backing up to get a better look at her.

She had to be at least my height, just a hair under six feet tall, even without the shit-stomping motorcycle boots she wore. And speaking of hair, if you took my crop cut and her four foot braid and divvied them out, we would both end up with what society considered a normal amount of hair for a woman. She was even built a lot like I was, rangy long limbs, though I thought I carried more muscle across the chest and shoulder from years of working on my car. Her skin tones were darker than mine, more pure Indian, but if somebody’d told me we were sisters, I’d have been inclined to believe them.

Particularly when she glanced my way and a flash of light caught the color of her amber eyes.

In my world, yellow eyes meant magic user. I should know: my own eyes were probably gold as sunrise just then, as the Sight kicked in to study one of the most complex, gorgeous auras I’d ever seen. Earthy colors tangled with something absolutely inhuman: dark, sleek, sentient and dangerous. A hunter, sharing body and soul with a human, and just ever so slightly bubbling with resentment over it.

I sure as hell knew what had brought me to New Orleans, now.

********

Then, today, on my site *this* went up:

No one has seen this before. It’s the second part of a crossover story CE Murphy started in the flush of delight after reading the first two Jane Yellowrock novels. And here’s the cool thing: Catie and I have decided to go ahead and write the whole story! Over the next couple days we’ll be posting more of it until there’s quite a substantial teaser for you, and sometime this summer we’ll release what We’re tentatively titling EASY PICKINGS: A Jane Yellowrock-Joanne Walker Crossover Story.

Please note, for those of you already trying to figure out where it fits into the continuity: it doesn’t. This is a world that wasn’t; essentially fan fiction by the authors ourselves. Catie’s world and mine have a lot of similarities, but not enough to pretend even for a moment that they’re actually the same world. So while I hope the story will provide a great introduction to both characters, it doesn’t actually belong in either of our universes.

For those of you who missed the first segment, it’s still up at http://cemurphy.net/archives/577  and I suggest you start there and then come back here and pick up the story!

That said, please enjoy this excerpt from EASY PICKINGS

********

Something was wrong with the city. It wasn’t all the extra people in town for Mardi Gras. It wasn’t the reek of body odor—though my Beast was rising close to the surface, taking that in, her pelt abrading the inside of my skin like sandpaper, her claws kneading my mind painfully. It wasn’t even the wild energies I felt on the air with so many magic users in town to play. New Orleans smelled different. It felt different. Something had happened.

I had felt it an hour ago, while on the edge of the forest in the New Orleans City Park, my Beast’s fangs buried in a rabbit’s throat. A ripple in … it felt stupid even remembering what I’d thought I’d felt. A ripple in reality. A shift in the way light worked. In the pull of the moon. Followed by Beast’s awareness that the smells were subtly different. I had wanted to shift back to human from my puma concolor form, but Beast had held on until she finished the freaking rabbit before she allowed me to take back over. Then I’d shifted back to human, pulled on my loose cotton clothes and raced my bastard Harley back to the French Quarter to eat a fast meal and pull on my fighting clothes. Whatever had happened, I wanted to be weaponed up.

Now, walking the city, I was carrying more weapons than a Special Forces soldier, my Benelli M4 across my back and four holstered handguns under my leathers, a half dozen silver-plated vamp-killer blades sheathed in my clothes, and a dozen wood and silver stakes in my hair. But the weapons weren’t enough. I was still on edge, smelling and feeling a weird energy dance along my skin. Something was wrong. Really wrong.

I reached the Royal Mojo Blues Company, a blues and rock and roll club I frequented when I needed to let off steam and dance. And the name of the bar was different.

I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise, a low growl caught in my throat. I knew my eyes were glowing yellow with Beast and I couldn’t force her back down, couldn’t hang on totally to humanity. I had been here last week, danced here last week. It had still been the RMBC.

Businesses changed hands, closed and reopened under new management so often in this town that it wasn’t impossible the bar had been sold. But the sign was old and faded. Now it was the Vamp Mojo. And it smelled—no it reeked—of vamp and human blood. In four days—four short, totally impossible days—it had become a vamp-blood bar. Crap. I stood in the shadows, pulling scents in over my tongue and through my nose in a soft scree of sound.

Leo was inside. But a drunk and well fed Leo. A … a passive Leo. One without the energies I’d come to associate with the Master of the City. I smelled Katie, of Katie’s Ladies, and some vamp who scented of power like I had never known in a vamp before. And sex. Lots of sex.

I almost went in, when something else caught my attention. A woman. Just ahead. She was the reason things were different, though how I knew that, I wasn’t certain. But I did. I turned and walked away from the bar. Toward her.

She was tall like me, but with more muscle. Hair cut short, skin paler than my Cherokee, but dang. We might have been sisters. Beast stood in the forefront of my mind and studied her. I could see the energies in her, not pouring off her, but contained, restrained, like high water behind a dam.

Magic. Smell magic. Smell little brother of wolf.

I didn’t have time to ask my Beast what she meant. The woman’s eyes were glowing like mine. Yellow. I stopped in front of her, breathing in short puffs and screes of sound. Oddly, she didn’t take offence, even when I leaned in sniffed close to her face, although her eyebrows did go up. She wasn’t a skinwalker, like me. But she was something. “I’m Jane Yellowrock.”

The woman nodded once, and when she spoke I could feel her magic questing out at me. “And I hope that sniffing routine wasn’t commentary. My car doesn’t have air conditioning.” She hesitated before adding, “Joanne Walker. Shaman for hire. Only, you know, not for hire, because it doesn’t work that way. Whatever. Anyway.” She pulled a hand over her face, then looked at me. Waiting.

The way she said it, I knew she didn’t introduce herself that way often. We had just met and she had given me something personal. Which meant I had to give back a gift of equal measure. The words nearly choked me. “I’m a Skinwalker.”

She didn’t even blink, as if she heard people claiming weird crap, like being a mythical supernat, all the time. “Skinwalker, not shapechanger? You’re Native, like me.” Not a question. Not not-a-question, either, though.

“Cherokee. But not a  U’tlun’ta.” It was pronounced hut luna, and was The People’s word for one of my species who had gone insane and started eating humans. And Joanne Walker seemed to know what I meant because she nodded, believing me, as if maybe she could see my energies and tell I was telling the truth. Most shamans could truth-tell, and Joanne clearly had that gift to some extent. I said, “Something hinky is happening. Did you do it?”

“No. But I felt something when I crossed the city lines. My magic’s pushy,” she said almost like that was a normal thing to say. “It pulled me here. Wanted me here. Wanted me to see you. And the whole city feels…not like home.”

I looked around at the world. “Well, you get to be Dorothy. I’m the lion—after he got his courage back. And I have a feeling that that,” I pointed to a yellow-orange light blasting up between the buildings several streets over “is why we’re here. There’s supposed to be nothing there but partygoers.”

“That.” Joanne glanced that way, then bared her teeth. “Crap. I saw it earlier, but not with the Sight. I thought it was spotlights, not magic. Lots of magic….”

I shook myself as Beast’s pelt quivered and lifted. “It looks nasty.” I sniffed. “And I smell something hot and dry.”

“Brimstone.”

“Like in hell-fire?” She nodded. I sighed out the words, “Well, crap.” Louder, I said, “You need a weapon? Bare hands aren’t going to be much help against something from hell.”

Joanne smiled, never taking her eyes from the orange yellow glow. “I have what I need.”

I looked her over again, wondering what hidden weaponry I’d missed. As far as I could see, I hadn’t. “Yeah. Okay. Whatever. I have a bike, but it’s useless in this crowd. We’ll have to walk.” She nodded, and we turned, me taking point, Joanne at my side, as if we had practiced the movement all our lives.

********

Don’t forget there’s a contest running all week! Comment either here on FaithHunter.Net or over on CEMurphy.Net to be eligible to win one of the following prizes:

– a complete set of the Walker Papers (Urban Shaman, Winter Moon, Thunderbird Falls, Coyote Dreams, Walking Dead, Demon Hunts, and Spirit Dances).

– a complete set of the Jane Yellowrock books (Skinwalker, BloodCross, and Mercy Blade {Raven Cursed will be out in January 2012, but it’s not part of the prize package!}).

– an electronic edition of the (tentatively entitled) EASY PICKINGS, a Jane Yellowrock/Joanne Walker crossover story, out sometime this summer.

********

As you see, Catie and I are making PR easy. We’ve had no hard and fast deadlines, no pressure, but have had a lot of fun. So as you are on way into the publishing business, make friends, especially friends who work in the same genre as you do. And make plans to work together when you are published. It makes the load easier.

Faith

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25 comments to Magical Ways to Make Friends and PR

  • mudepoz

    Friends are always good things! Great way to get rid of stuff. 😛 Well, amongst other things, obviously.
    (Off to find someone who writes YA and likes peanut butter and zombies)

  • Deb S

    Love the snippets! The crossover idea is a great way to hook new fans. Thanks for sharing.

  • Fireheart1974

    Okay…now I’m sucked in and need to go find books. (Kindle, yes?) I like the idea of using crossovers to hook new fans by using fans of one series and getting them interested in the other. That’s a neat idea!

  • Love this. Fun stuff, Faith. Thanks for posting it here.

  • PR in action. Glad to see this story is finally coming together; keep us posted as things progress.

  • That’s just mean of you guys. Now I have to go out and buy some Jane Yellowrock and Joanne Walker books. *grin*

  • As I said over on your site and on Catie’s…LOVE IT!! So much fun…and in the second snippet, I love how you’ve simultaneously explained that the world is different, introduced your conflict, and brought the heroines together. I can’t wait to read more…

    Out of curiosity, did you just email Catie, and say “hey, what’s up” when you first introduced yourself, or how did you approach her? Were you a fan to start with?

  • Just home from a day at the lab. Sorry to be so late!

    Mud — Friends make it all worthwhile. Well, friends and peanutbutter. Zombies, not so much.
    🙂

    Deb, it’s all about brainstorming and coiming up with new ideas. There is no *perfect* time to build relationships for the future, to find pals who might want to PR with you, so why not start now, here at MW, at the Beta site, at the spring Cons? Start brainstorming now, and finding those pals who *spark* with you!

    Must walk the dogs and will answer more in a few. My dogs are barking. (lol)

  • Omigosh, this was so much *fun* to read! Crossover fiction. What a great idea!

    Actually, now that I think about it, this happens a lot in the Webcomic Multiverse. Characters will show up in various comics, and the artists will do crossovers where it alternates daily or one visits another. With one comic that ended, it wound up that the other webcomic adopted (with permission) the main character as a secondary character. And let me tell you, crossovers have helped me to discover *so many* new webcomics this way, by getting a chance to meet the characters and get interested and want to know more.

    Can’t wait to read the next installment!

  • Megan, I saw where you commented. Good luck on the contest! Way back when, Catie started this short all on her own, sent it to me and asked permission to post it on her site.
    I told her, “Sure. Can I post it to mine?”
    And then, she said, “Ummm. Wanna do a crossover?”
    And I pretty much went, “Squeeeee! Fan girl Squeeee!”

  • Soooo. The PR worked? (grins) Thanks Mark. Be sure to register for the contest!

  • Thanks, Edmund. This has been so much more fun than solo promo — which is boring in the extreme!

  • David, it was a blast doing it!

  • Fire, I’ve had nearly 50 (so far) new fans join my site just because of this interview and the short-partial. And yes to Kindle!

  • Deb, that was the idea. Frankly it’s been more successful than I anticipated.

  • Laura, that was the plan. *nods head sagely* New fans!

  • Fun stuff, Catie and Faith! Can’t wait to read the rest of it!

  • Tom G

    Great start to your story. Good PR, too. I’ve never read any of the Joanne Walker books, but they look interesting. Or at least the MC looks interesting. Why am I so easily manipulated? LOL

  • Deb S

    Is Harry Dresden anywhere in the crowd? He’d be a good compliment to the Jane and Joanne combo.

  • Lyn, this has been the most fun writing a project I’ve had in ages! And the fact that it’s for PR makes is even better. I *hate* PR. HATE it! But for once it has been fun!

    Tom — it’s called being a reader. We love words and characters and stories.

  • Deb, I adore Harry! I fell totally in LOVE with him the first book I read. And yes, Jane would think he was HAWT! So would Beast. But I’ve never met Jim Butcher, and even if I did I’d be too tongue-tied to do more than say hi, and fanfic is verboten! 🙂

  • Megan, I just now realized that I didn’t answer your question fully. (Blame it on the exhaustion of being at the lab all day. Fried brains…) Your question was, how did I first approach Catie — CE Murphy, (C.E. Murphy?).

    I emailed her, soon after we started the site, introduced myself, told her I was HUGE fangurl, told her David and Misty and I were starting a website, and asked if she would like to participate, in any capacity — guest poster, once a month, once a week with a regular spot. I kept it short and sweet. She said yes to the regular spot. It was so easy. And it was wonderful. I still like her after all this time! And I stil have never met her in person!

  • Thanks Faith! I guess sometimes, when done right, cold-calling (or cold-emailing) can actually work!

  • Okay, Faith – I have to ask (after having read the above a couple times now) … Have the two of you outlined the cross-over story? Or is it being done as a tag-team – I write a segment, you write one and we’ll see where it goes?

  • It did this time, Megan.

    Lyn, it has been so much fun. Catie came up with the idea and the first segment all alone. Sent it to me. I loved the concept and idea. We chatted back and forth, casually, for a … year? Maybe? Nearly. then we suddenly got serious when her new book, Spirit Dances was close to coming out.

    We chatted with a bit more fervor and tossed around basic ideas. Then she put the ideas together in a *very* loose outline. I added and took away and refined, and then she did the same, and then I did the same (tag-teaming). Meanwhile, we wrote the following 3 segments. We are both happy with the outcome, though it’s going to be a long-short rather than a short-short. We are both a bit wordy… 🙂 I can’t wait to see the final thing!