A. Lopez Jr.'s Blog

March 6, 2016

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season went well and you parlayed that into a great start to the new year.

The end of 2015, the fun time of the year for me (October – December), brings the holiday season, football season, and cooler temps. And as usual, those months raced by and brought us here to the new year.

For me, the good news is that we still have a couple of more months of winter. Now, I know that’s not good news to everyone out there, but my reason is purely in the spirit of creativity. I find the Winter to be the best time of the year to write – and reading for that matter. If I’m not too distracted by the NFL season and playoffs, I usually get a lot accomplished.

Many projects are on the books, so to speak, and deadlines are on the calendar. But those things are for me in the solitary confines of the writing world.

As for all of you, no matter where you are, covered in snow or basking in warmer temperatures, I just want to wish you all a great start to the new year and I hope you accomplish any and all the goals you have set!

Happy writing, reading, and creating!

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Published on March 06, 2016 16:22 • 4 views • Tags: 2016, new-year

October 29, 2014

The 4th episode Tall Man in the Night Dreams series is now out in all eBook formats. Synopsis:
Critical decisions must be made as Joseph takes on a new patient, Claire Botkins, while knowing the danger in not truly understanding his gift. Claire has a recurring nightmare of being stalked in her own house—a nightmare that tempts Joseph to help her with his unpredictable talents. His motives and decisions could put her in mortal danger. Will his quest to seek revenge against the demon lead him down a one-way road and past the point-of-no-return? Will Father Lombardi attempt to intervene? Joseph starts to second guess himself in helping Claire as he reflects on the past, and his wife, Andrea.

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Published on October 29, 2014 18:06 • 50 views • Tags: halloween, horror, new-release, series

May 1, 2014

I am pleased to spread the word for fellow author, C. Desert Rose, in her cover reveal of If Death Should Love Me

I have read some short stories by Ms Rose and look forward to more of her works.

Here is the blurb:

A dull roar, that’s all I could hear. Souls, that’s all I could see… So many people. Some good. Some bad. Some breathing. Some barely breathing. All souls. It was funny what you could see when you stood in the middle of the Emergency Room. Who survived. Who didn’t. All of them, every one, a soul. A soul for the taking.
So begins your introduction to the floating, clustered world of souls that will have such influence on Sophia, the young Puerto Rican-American girl who has just lost her closest ally, her grandmother, “Abuela”. It is just after the funeral, at the cemetery, where Sophia meets the tall, almost angelic man who will play the most unexpected role in her life.
A love story. A fantasy. An adventure. If Death Should Love Me tells a tale of “fate” far beyond the normal meaning of that little four letter word. How else would you explain why Sophia wonders what would happen If Death Should Love Me?

To learn more about C. Desert Rose please visit her website: C. Desert Rose
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Published on May 01, 2014 16:02 • 56 views • Tags: blurb, book-cover, paranormal, romance

April 1, 2014

descriptionAnytime I can be a part of something that promotes a really good cause, I try to get involved. I follow fellow author, Armand Rosamilia on WordPress and Twitter, so it was not too hard to see what he was up to in organizing an event named: ‘Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014′. Upon reading the history of the idea, he ran into horror/zombie author, Joe McKinney, and the two talked, and soon Armand was getting this organized and off and running.

The #ASOT2014 involves authors sending their signed books into Armand, who will in turn have them shipped out to our service men and women in Afghanistan and Kuwait for starters. Fundraising to help with shipping costs can be found here – t-shirts similar to the ones on the image above.

The last total that I know of books collected from authors all over the country, was over 1900, but I’m sure that the total has climbed since then.

As our brave men and women deserve our thanks, prayers, and praise for doing what they do, passing along a book to read, one that may take them away from the dangers they face, if even for a short time, is well worth the effort, and the very least we can do.

Enjoy and come home safe!

Thanks again to Armand Rosamilia and everyone else involved with this great cause!

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Published on April 01, 2014 16:01 • 37 views • Tags: armed-forces, supporting, troops, usa

February 8, 2014

descriptionThat is a question that can have many answers, and I’m willing to bet that if you took a poll with authors, you would get varied opinions, ideas, and reasons why. And to me, that is the beauty of the question – each author, with their own creative minds and with their own creative ideas will have their own reasons why.

But before we get to that, the first question we have to ask ourselves is why do we write in the first place? If you ask me that question my answer will always be, because I love to write. Our love for writing propels us to use our creativeness, refine it, and release it to the world. We spend hours, days, months, and sometimes even years getting that story out of our head and ready for readers to enjoy. To do that, you have to get published – either electronically or in print. This leads back to the title of this post.

The answer lies within the prospects of you getting published by a one of the ‘Big 6′ publishing houses. (It may be the Big 5 by now, based on mergers and buy-outs.) If you are one of the few to get that big deal, then most of the things that involve the process of self-publishing will not concern you. The publisher will take care of all the behind-the-scene details. If you are not one of those few then the answer is . . . YES! But this post isn’t about traditional vs self-publishing.

Now that we got all of that out of the way, let’s focus on what most of us will face – then ins-and-outs of self-publishing.

Now that we are done with our novel, novella, or short-story, we need to refine it, edit it, and make it ready for the masses. The process of editing and having a second, third, and even a fourth draft is something for another post, but the editing process must be addressed seriously before moving on to the next step. Now once we have that done and we have our cover art done, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are other things that are involved in the self-publishing process, and again, that is something for another article.

I want to go back to something I wrote earlier – We write because we love to do it. For me, that is the biggest truth in all of this. Believe me, I will take all the profits that my work produces, icing on the cake, if you will. But the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction of setting a goal and completing it is the number one reason. Writing something that is yours gives you total control, and that control is one of the great advantages of going indie.

The times have changed and the best part of self-publishing is having control of everything about your work from start to finish. Most of the authors I know, and have corresponded with, prefer having a grasp on their projects and their future. While having control comes with its own financial costs, in the end, a self-published author will always receive more of a profit because of substantially lower commission rates. And yes, while we do write because we love to do it, once we put our product out into the public and it is up for sale, then there has to be some business-minded thinking involved.

Having complete control that comes with self-publishing, is the biggest difference in being traditionally-published. You get to decide which way you want your story to go. You get to decide what cover art works best for you. Only the author of the story they tell, or book they write, can know what concept they want their book cover to reveal. In my own case, I have done cover art prior to writing and I have done them after the story was finished. Both have their advantages and both can guide you in your writing based on what your cover reveals. Another part of that control Is for you to decide on doing your cover art yourself or hiring a cover designer to get it just the way you want it. Sometimes it’s good to get someone else perspective and ideas. But again, you have the control!

Since there are so many distributors to make your book available, deciding on where, when, and setting the pricing points, is entirely up to you. Publishing ebooks does not cost a thing, if you take the time and learn how to do it yourself. If not, with all the resources available, you can get your work formatted at a relatively low cost.

If you decide to sale your book in print, once the file is in the proper format, usually PDF, you can have your book up for sale at no cost. This is possible because of POD, or print-on-demand. Basically, your book is a file sitting on a company’s server and when someone places an order to buy your book, it prints it, cover and all, and it is sent out to the reader. The companies involved in this, (Createspace, Lulu, Lightning Source) take their cost for printing, paper, etc, then you get the residual. The best part of publishing your books these two ways is CONTROL. You choose the sale price, thus determining your profit percentage. Being able to have your book in paperback and it not cost a thing is almost too hard to believe, but it is very real and being done daily.

Doing it yourself, from start to finish, gives you an overwhelming sense of accomplishment – more so than being traditionally-published, in my opinion. I say that because it is a long road from the time you type or write your first word of your masterpiece to the fine-polished and finished product. At that point, only YOU truly know how much hard work you have put into it. The blood, sweat, and tears are only experienced by you. And no matter the sales or the reviews, good or bad, you will have done something many people have said they would do . . . finish writing a book! The sense of accomplishment in that can never be taken away from you. You gave birth to your idea and saw it to the end.

Remember when you were a kid and you did something that would get you in trouble? Back then most of us would not take responsibility for our bad actions, and it was only until our parents ‘persuaded’ us into telling the truth. But taking responsibility for something as exciting as writing a book is easy because it should fill you with a sense of pride . The difference here is that the words you have ‘penned’ are solely yours – your ideas, thoughts, and hard work. You are responsible for the finished product, and if you did it the self-published route, then it’s all your baby to claim and be proud of.

Speaking for myself and my travels down this self-publishing road, I am very happy with what I have accomplished. Make no mistake, writing is hard work, and if you add in the rest of what goes along with self-publishing, the work is even harder, but in the end, knowing you did it right and did it yourself will propel you to your next big project. The self-confidence that self-publishing brings is priceless. We can’t forget we have to do all of the little things to put out a good product and make it just as professional as a ‘Big 6′ production.

So get out there and gather as much information as possible and use that to make your dream come true . . . and Self-Publish!
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Published on February 08, 2014 06:26 • 68 views • Tags: dyi, indie, self-publishing, writing

November 1, 2013

To be released soon!
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Published on November 01, 2013 10:22 • 92 views • Tags: cover, ebook, haunted, horror, nightmares

July 15, 2013

The Building Blocks

Creativity, be it for a writer, musician, artist, or anyone who takes something from scratch and completes a work that will be seen or heard by the masses, is something special for the one giving birth to their idea. This creates two separate points of view - the producer's and then the reader's, listener's and viewer's. King, Beethoven and Van Gogh all started from scratch, somewhere.
This being an author’s blog, it’s only appropriate that we talk about how we create our stories. I get a lot of inspiration visually, from things I see out in the world – most by chance or from stumbling across something unusual. I have found that looking at pictures, or still images, as a photographer would call them, can find its own place in my imagination.
Many of the places in my stories are real places that I have visited or grew up around and each has their own story waiting to be written. Of course, our minds are the most creative thing we have, so if we don’t use visuals or places to build our stories, we always can start from scratch and still make our masterpiece.

Filling in the Blanks

Now that we have our ideas ready to go, it’s time to put them down on paper (an old saying that’s hard to break) and complete that story. We have the building-blocks and foundation, but now we must fill in the in-betweens. This is where our creativity and imagination must run wild in that first draft. We must be relentless in our process of storytelling and pound away at that keyboard. We mustn't stymie our mind’s creative process with editing while in the heat of the battle - just let it flow and fill in the blanks. I don’t mean this in a reckless fashion, but we all know that great feeling when all the neurons are firing and the writing comes almost effortlessly. The blanks are filled and original inspiration starts to become a complete story.

The Rest of the Story

And yes, of course, the editing will come, and many of the words we have pounded out will be rearranged, reworded, or even disappear altogether. But this short entry is about how we create our stories and start to build them into the next Bestseller! This is only the start of the complete process that takes hard work, determination, and sometimes sheer will, but every story must start somewhere with some idea, no matter where it was conceived and born.

You have to absolutely love it to write it, and then finish the entire process. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, but I promise you that once you get there, you will have half of the battle won.

Where do you find your inspiration for creating your masterpiece?

Happy creative writing,
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Published on July 15, 2013 12:06 • 51 views • Tags: creating, thinking, writing

May 10, 2013

I will be doing a dual-genre/dual-book release and GIVEAWAY with fellow author Y. Correa. Entries taken until June4th. For details click here. My Novella, Floor Four (Horror) and Y.’s MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis (Interracial Paranormal Romance) will be released Tuesday, May 21st!

Two totally different genres and two totally different stories all in one day!

Both titles will be available in eBook format and in print.

Floor Four by A. Lopez, Jr.

‘A loud bang was heard from above, scaring the boys. They shined their lights up the stairwell. The sounds of chains rattling on the floor stirred the dust above. Something or someone was up there. Doug, hiding his fear, took a couple of more steps up. Brandon and Kyle looked at him, their feet locked in place. They had no intention of going any further.’
The old, abandoned Saint Vincent Hospital is said to be haunted by the ghost of David Henry Coleman, the notorious serial killer, known as The Mangler. Coleman died on the fourth floor after being shot by police. For the three Jr. High boys, their curiosity gets the best of them as they explore the old hospital, despite ‘Old Man’ Jake’s warning. No one knew of Jake’s dark connection to the killer and the hospital. And now, on the anniversary of The Mangler’s death, a group of high school kids are planning a private party on the haunted fourth floor. Jake must keep everyone out and protect them from the true evil that lurks on Floor Four.

MarcoAntonio & Amarllis by Y. Correa

The year 1585. The Anglo-Spanish War. England invaded Spain for crops, land and supplies. A war had started. Land against land. People against people. Hatred, despise and intolerance were a way of life. Why were they so apposed to one and other? No one knows for sure…
MarcoAntonio, was a Spanish gentleman and knight. Amaryllis, an English lady. Prohibited from being together. Taboo romance. Intermingling of bloodlines was sinful and forbidden. Interracial love affair in the Middle Ages…? Yes! That was exactly it! Though, their love was not allowed, they loved each other regardless.
What would it bring? What would the outcome be? How would they overcome?
Passion. Adventure. Paranormal. Interracial. The combination for a great and powerful love story! “MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis”… LOVE is the result of ALL things conquered!

Book Trailers Coming Soon!
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Published on May 10, 2013 13:08 • 104 views • Tags: book-release, horror, multi-genre, romance

April 28, 2013

I was interviewed at Author, Y. Correa’s website and blog, Fate Books. Plenty of questions and insight to what makes me tick. Thanks go out to Fate Books and Y. Correa for the interview and the time!

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Published on April 28, 2013 07:23 • 53 views • Tags: author-connect, interview, readers, writing

April 17, 2013

To be exclusive or not to be?

That’s a question that has been floating around the self-publishing world for some time now. Many blogs and articles have been written on this front. It seems that every few months, either because of technology – or just because of the powers-that-be move forward with a new idea – things change and a new way of thinking must be incorporated into the self-publisher’s mind. The question for authors who do not have a traditional publishing deal, is deciding which way to go – exclusive or non-exclusive.

I’ve been writing for three years and self-published my first book, Purgatory, in November of 2011. A year later, I put up my second piece of work, Night Dreams. From late 2011 until now, 18 months have passed, and I have calculated my sales over that time. Although it is a short period of time, it is enough of a sample-size for me to conquer the question mentioned above, as it pertains to my sales.

Amazon is king for just about every author’s sales, and for some, it grabs a much higher percentage than the other ebook stores, and sometimes more than the others combined. Amazon’s KDP Select is enticing to many because of the various perks that are included with it, along with five days where you can put your book up for free. KDP Select is the big arm that Amazon has extended to authors. It’s hard to blame any author for giving it a spin in their strategy to generate more recognition and or sales for their book. Author, Joe Konrath has blogged about this many times. To each his own, and more power to you if you make it work for you. After all, we are all in it because we love to write. Getting your work recognized is what comes next.

In calculating my sales, I looked at percentages. It better represents an overview of where my books are being bought, and gives a clear view of what my future strategy may be. The numbers break down like this…

Over the past 18 months, Amazon leads my sales at 36%. Following them at second and third in my sales are Barnes and Noble with 25% and Apple with 22%. That adds up to 83% of my total sales. The Big 3 are holding their own in my sales. The last two rounding out my total sales are Sony with 10% and Kobo with 7%. While those numbers are a little lower, my foreign sales have come mainly through Kobo. (Apple comes in right behind them) Kobo’s reach outside the US is significant and getting stronger. Plus, they have just released their new HD reader, Aura. Only time will tell if that picks up their business, and if it affects their percentage within my sales.

As a side-note, my last few sales have come from Kobo and Apple, and those particular sales have been outside of the US. At any rate, the numbers are the numbers and it bears out the fact that it’s a pretty even “selling field” for me.

What does it all mean? My sales, in the overall scheme of things, really don’t mean anything to anyone but me. But, it did answer my question – to be exclusive or not to be?

Answer: I’ll remain in a monogamous relationship with all of the ebook retailers . . . for now, anyway!

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Published on April 17, 2013 18:08 • 55 views • Tags: ebookstores, exclusivity, sales-report, self-publish