Friday, April 19, 2013

Record Store Day 2013

Record Store Day April 20, 2013

Years ago I started writing a romance about a man who met someone while managing a large Vancouver record store. I never finished because by the time I’d written the majority of the story it was already outdated.

Big, brick and mortar record store chains couldn’t compete with online music stores such as ITunes and were selling more DVDs than CDs. Smaller, independent stores were already going out of business and the bigger chain stores followed.

If you’re a reader, this probably sounds familiar.

But some funny things have happened since then.

Independent artists are enjoying an increase in popularity and sales, in part because it’s easy for fans to discover new artists, listen to (legal) free downloads on sites such as Auragasm and 3Hive and purchase music online.

For the first time in years, independent record stores are seeing an increase in sales. There are differing theories as to why, but I think there’s a least a couple of reasons.    

Young hipsters have discovered vinyl. They’re buying turntables and starting record collections. And in response, record labels are issuing high quality vinyl pressings of artists with enticements to purchase, such as colored vinyl and eye-pleasing artwork.  

And then there’s Record Store Day.

If you’re a young hipster or an older dyed-in-the-wool audiophile, you already know all about Record Store Day, which is held annually on the third Saturday in April. This year it’s April 20th.

The idea for Record Store Day came about back in 2007 when a group of independent record store owners and employees thought up a way to celebrate brick and mortar, independently owned record stores.

The idea took off and all over the world participating stores have contests, special (often colored vinyl) releases, artist performances, even meet and greets.

Serious record collectors know colored vinyl is rare and therefore a big deal. And so do the artists. 

As part of the 2013 celebration the White Stripes are releasing a 10th anniversary vinyl edition of Elephant in black, red and white. (Jack White of the White Stripes is this year’s Record Store Day ambassador.) This year Pink Floyd is releasing a 7” pressing of See Emily Play on pink vinyl.

As a music fan I’m excited about the reemergence of the local record store as well as the incredible range of music now available.

As a writer I’m hopeful something similar will happen in the publishing industry, however unlikely that may be.

Maybe it’s time to dust off my old manuscript. Instead of working for a big corporation my protagonist could have his own record store. Running his own business and all the trials and tribulations that can involve would add an extra dimension to the story. Huh, now I’m excited for a whole new reason.   

If you’re a music fan living in the US you can go to Record Store Day 2013, and search to find out which stores are participating in your area, see a list of in-store events and special Record Store Day releases. 

The links for Canada and the UK’s site are listed below, but the US site has links for several other countries too.

So have fun and support your local independent record store. I know I will.   

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Special Guest, Kay Berrisford

Fellow Loose Id author, Kay Berrisford's dropped by today to talk about writing styles and a new, free, download. Welcome to my blog, Kay.

Plotting by my pants? How my best laid writing plans go awry.

Like many writers, I’m often asked the question – are you a plotter or a panster? In other words, do you plan your stories carefully before you write, or do you just sit down, type “by the seat of your pants,” and see what happens.

Though there’s no right or wrong way to do things, as a rule, I’m a plotter. I normally have a strong idea where my story is going to go when I start it, and I love brainstorming an idea before I begin.  In fact, that’s one of my favourite stages of the process, and that’s where the surprises usually happen. Indeed, my imagination often veers off in totally opposite directions to where I expected. A good example of this is my short story, Prisoner of the Mountain Watch, which is released for free on All Romance and Amazon this week.  The original idea was inspired by a tiny eighteenth toll house near a country house in Dorset. I fancied writing an m/m romance about the toll keeper, and a regular user of the road—maybe a duke, or a sexy highwayman. I hadn’t yet decided. Yet when I came to plan my story, I wasn’t really in a historical fiction mind-set, more of a swords and sorcery and fantasy mind-set.  So my tollhouse magically transformed into a watch house on a road through some mountains, and the watch house keeper isn’t romancing a highwayman, but an enemy elf. By the time I put pen to paper, I was not where I expected to be at all.

However, even my best laid plans don’t always come off.  My first Greenwood novel, Bound for the Forest, is almost totally set in a fantasy forest and has a fairly sizzling heat level.  However, it started life as a response to a call for a sweet romance with low heat rating. The opening scene, involving soldier Melmoth Brien returning to his ancestral home to discover the mysterious Scarlet trying to burn it down, was originally set in a city. Scarlet wasn’t particularly mysterious either. He was the mayor’s disaffected son, and he was called Mark.  But the old beginning didn’t really work, and I realized I wanted to set the story in a magic forest, so I started again.  After that, Bound for the Forest ended up being the most pantser plot I’ve ever written, and the heat level was so scorching I ended up picking a new publisher to send it to.

So, what am I really? Plotter or pantser?  Well, a bit of both, obviously—but that’s the joy of writing.  You never quite know where the journey is going to take you, but it’s usually a hell of a fun ride.

My short m/m fantasy story, Prisoner of the Mountain Watch, is available to download now.

Blurb: Once a great warrior, Ivenhal now leads a lonely existence, banished by his people because he’s lain with other men. When he captures an enemy elf, his life takes an unexpected turn.

Get it for free now: 

Lord of the Forest (m/m) Novel, 60k. Historical fantasy with some BDSM and fetish themes.

Blurb: England, 1217.  Dark forces are rising. In the Greenwood, foul spirits grow powerful, and greedy barons plunder the lands. Only one man dares fight back—Robin Hood.

Robin’s band of brothers is broken. Now a lone warrior, he denies his famous name and laments the friends and lovers he’s lost. When the fair folk capture Cal, a beautiful young forester descended from the Greenwood’s ancient protectors, Robin rescues him and forges a new alliance.

Despite a sizzling attraction, Robin senses Cal isn’t like his old comrades, and he’s right. Cal’s been raised as a royal spy. He plans to seduce and betray Robin, but can’t harm the man he’s falling hard for. Mistrust and arguments spill into passionate lovemaking, as Cal learns the meaning of loyalty, fighting beside Robin, the only friend he’s ever known. Even the enchanted forest seeks to bind Robin and the returned protector ever tighter.

Their connection will be tested by nature’s wildest forces, Robin’s past, Cal’s lies, and in a baron’s darkest dungeon. To survive, Robin and Cal must admit their love and embrace their true destinies. Only then can they save England and each other—and win their happiness ever after.

Available from :  

Thanks to Pender for letting me blog here today!

You're welcome, Kay. I'm always happy to hear about new books.