Naima's Published Titles

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Night at the Demontorium - Book Review

Calling it "a psychological ride of amazing proportions", Project iRadio gave Night at the Demontorium: The Complete Anthology a great review. Here's an excerpt:
Pulling in the reader with a cyclical journey of amazing precision, Naima Haviland’s Night At The Demontorium: The Complete Anthology weaves together eight very distinct, yet very connected tales of incredible depth and beauty.
Wow, thanks! That is not a bad send up for my short-story demons, all of 'em working their evil little tricks on the imaginations of readers. You can buy the book at Amazon, Smashwords, and other online vendors. As Project iRadio said,
For those who are fans of Rod Serling, EC and Creepshow Comics, this anthology is one you will love.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Why Does the South Inspire Vampire Writers?

I'm at the World Horror Conference 2015. Tonight I was on a discussion panel, the topic Weird South: I Will Never Go Hungry Again: Why are So Many Contemporary Vampire Novels Set in the South?

Good Question!

My fellow panelists were:

  • Charlaine Harris, a native Southerner and author of the Sookie Stackhouse vampire series on which the TV hit True Blood was based. Her latest novel is Dayshift, the second in her new Midnight Texas series.
  • Dacre Stoker, co-author of Dracula, the Un-dead (a sequel to Dracula , written by his great-grand uncle, Bram Stoker) and co-author of an England/Romania travel guide. A Southerner by marriage, his wife is from Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Carl Alves, author of Blood Street, a vampire mobster blood feud novel set in Philadelphia.
  • Jess Peacock, author of Such a Dark Thing, a theology of the vampire narrative in popular culture.
  • Andrew Greenberg, one of White Wolf's original game developers on Vampire: The Masquerade -- and a Southerner.
  • And me! Author of Bloodroom and The Bad Death, vampire novels set in South Carolina -- and a damned yankee (a yankee who stayed, since I was 11 years old).

Ok, what is it about the South that inspires vampire writers? Charlaine Harris pointed out that the South is often economically depressed; really chronically depressed, and that people in peril develop rich, supernatural beliefs to explain the unpredictability of the human experience. (Charlaine doesn't really speak this way; this is me paraphrasing her. She's much more plain spoken, charming, and funny. When describing Southern traditions, such as "the nice lie", her turn of phrase made us and the audience laugh out loud.) Dacre Stoker compared Romania to the Southeast US, in that their cultures were infused and enriched by immigrants over the centuries -- Romania by Romans, Turks, Romany gypsies, and Europeans; and the South by Scots, Irish, Native Americans, Africans, French, and West Indians -- and suggested that the influx of so many different cultures brought a crazy quilt of legends. Andrew Greenberg stressed that the influx of cultures did not make the South a melting pot; rather these cultures, by not blending, created tension that results in legends built (as all good novels are) on conflict and tragedy (and sometimes, though rarely, triumph). Jess Peacock built on this idea, emphasizing the vampire as the Other; an invading entity that is foreign, mysterious, dangerous, and tempting; saying that Southerners' clannish nature identifies anyone whose great-grandparents weren't born in the South as a suspicious Other. (I can attest that this is true -- after living here for 25 years, they'd still say to me, "You're not from around here, are you?") Carl Alves suggested that the Southern personality itself -- reckless, passionate, and romantic -- embodies the traditional vampire mystique. He invited us to imagine Bram Stoker's Dracula coming of age and being turned into a vampire in urban London instead of isolated, exotic Romania (Transylvania). It would have been a completely different novel! I suggested that the vampire's obsession with his (or her) prey -- that hypnotic, relentless, possessive hunger -- mirrored the South's climate and nature, its vibe. There is something about the South that gets inside you, clings and holds you, just as the Kudzu vine grows until it completely covers the building in its clutches, pulling it to the ground in the span of a few years. I have found that the South, though maddening in many ways, has wound itself around my heart. I will probably never move away. Like a vampire, the South is beguiling, entrancing, and seductive. There are logical reasons to run from a vampire, but logic can't hold out against his allure.

Why do you think the South is so inspiring to vampire writers?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Resources for Self Publishing Your Book

I started self-publishing in 2011. At first I knew nothing about how to do anything! Now, it's pretty easy. I enjoy self-publishing for the creative control it gives me and the direct payoff in higher royalties vs. those I'd get from being published by someone else. Here are the resources that either helped get me on my way or help me turn my ideas into real print books, ebooks, and an audiobook.


In 2011 Steven Lewis had online tutorials on formatting for Kindle. I believe he focuses more on social marketing today. I found his books about the self-publishing industry helpful, too.
I use the free formatting software, Calibre, to format my ebooks in formats for all readers and devices (ePub for iPad and Nook, mobi for Kindle, etc). Its UI has options for building a Table of Contents, testing your format out in a device simulator, and so on. I test drive all my ebooks with Calibre before actually publishing. The Calibre ebooks are also the files I give to reviewers.


Social Media and Marketing

I built my author platform across social networks mostly through Shelley Hitz's webinars. For instance, I learned how to set up a Facebook Fanpage and Twitter presence, and use tools to streamline my social marketing efforts. She packs extras into all her service packages and recently expanded her service offering.
Guy Kawasaki is a social media guru. The best advice I got from him was on what and when to tweet.
On my blog, for publicity purposes I have events that include random drawings for prizes. Rafflecopter is the web service that powers that:
My New Releases Newsletter is facilitated with MailChimp:

Book Production

I cannot stress the importance of hiring an editor, getting professional cover design, and having a great back jacket book description. If you're going to spend money, spend it on this and don't flinch at the cost. I mean, don't you want your book to be the most professional product possible? Think how much brain sweat you put into writing your book. Don't you deserve to see your idea beautifully polished? Some reviewers of my books say that my book cover or my book description made them buy the book (and that's some motivator, considering that they'd never heard of me).
Derek Murphy designed for my vampire novels, Bloodroom and The Bad Death. He's stopped taking new clients (for now, anyway) but is branching into DIY design advice.
 Daniele Serra designed covers for my short stories and my anthology Night at the Demontorium. His work has won several awards.
Editing! OMG don't you dare publish your book without one! Pick up a book published by a big NYC publisher, read the acknowledgements, and you'll probably read the author thanking up to three editors. At least do yourself the favor of hiring one.
Glen Krisch edited my novel, The Bad Death, and my anthology, Night at the Demontorium. He cured me of some bad habits. He's also a writer.
Linda Wasserman edited my novel, Bloodroom. She's a grammar and sentence master. She's also a publisher.
ACX is the audiobook wing of Amazon's publishing services. In a way it's like for writers and narrators. You can call for auditions or you can browse for a narrator that offers the type of voice you're looking for and then listen to their audio samples. I'm not gonna lie; it was expensive, but I'm so happy with my audiobook!

Marketing and Publishing Industry Wonks

I follow the blogs of writers who keep their ear to the ground in terms of how the big publishers are doing business, how self-published authors can get noticed in the ocean that is Amazon, and issues related to these topics.
In addition to crusading against sharks and reporting on latest industry developments, David Gaughran writes weird, thoughtful short stories and wrote a South American adventure novel.
In addition to advising on writing and making money from writing, JA Konrath writes thrillers and is hugely successful.