Thursday, October 3, 2013
Leti Del Mar - Land of the Unaltered is featured in the HBS Mystery Reader's Circle today.
Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers, Young Adult
Author's Blog: Words With Leti Del Mar
Blog: Google +
E-Mail: wordswithletidelmar(at)gmail(dot) com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook
Pinterest: Check Out Pinterest
Post with Profile + Interview: HBS Author's Spotlight
Leti Del Mar lives in sunny Southern California with her husband, daughter and abnormally large cat. When she isn’t writing, reading or blogging, she is teaching Biology and Algebra to teenagers. Leti is also a classic film buff, passionate about Art History and loves to travel.
Land of the Unaltered
A Dystopian Romance (Book One of The Confederation Chronicles)
Author: Leti Del Mar
Barnes and Noble
Rose comes from the capital of the Confederation of Cities where its citizens live in luxury and the greatest fashion statement of all is being Altered. People change everything about the way they look as often as they do their hairstyle but Rose is different. Her position of privilege has made her an outcast and led her to suspect that something sinister is happening to the citizens and flees the capital along with a past that imprisons her in search of a fresh start in the Land of the Unaltered.
Flynn lives in the Land of the Unaltered and hates the capitol and everything it stands for. So when a spoiled capital girl is assigned to work with him, he wants nothing to do with her and is prepared to make her life miserable. But Flynn was not prepared for someone like Rose. She doesn’t fit the mold he expected and finds himself strongly attracted to her. As she continues to surprise and outwit him, they begin to forge a bond that is tested when they discover a secret that could change everything they know about Land of the Unaltered.
Land of the Unaltered is a Dystopian Romance and is the first installment of the The Confederation Chronicles.
Best of Dystopia September 17, 2013 The plot is quite riveting. There are many overtones of Scott Westerfield's "Uglies" series, and other undertones similar to "The Hunger Games" and "Matched." I am obsessed with dystopias, so I was very excited to start this novel and even more surprised when I read it in one shot. High action, this story pulls you in and keeps you there. Flynn and Rose have a fantastic dynamic as their relationship evolves. The only thing I didn't love about the novel is the grammatical errors, but if you are able to put those aside this is a well-told story from an interesting dystopian perspective. The best parts of other dystopias put together, "Land of the Unaltered" is well constructed and a joy to read. As soon as I finished it I recommended it to a friend. Its base plot is much more interesting and better thought out than some of the traditionally published popular dystopias. As someone who is typically skeptical about self-published books I highly recommend you take the plunge and read this one. Honestly, I cannot wait to read the sequel.
I woke up confused, disoriented and under attack.
I could hear the sounds of bullets in the distance getting closer with every passing second. In the confusion following my abrupt awakening, it took me a few precious seconds to realize this wasn’t my room and that I was in a foreign bed. Then I remembered I was onboard a convoy, taking me far away from home.
I gazed out of the tiny window next to my borrowed bed to see the attackers; about two dozen people on horseback, ridding parallel to the moving convoy. A few held lit torches that blazed against night’s sky. The rest carried guns, all aimed at me. My heart reached a frantic pace when I saw their bodies move closer to my window. I had lived my whole life in fear of an assassination and now that the threat was real and present, time stood still as I observed the faces of my would-be killers.
Their faces shone with excitement and energy. Never in my entire life had I felt as alive as these people appeared to be, riding towards me with their guns blazing. The full moon illuminated them and the green valley they galloped across. Weaving in and out of the sparse trees, their horses flew across the grassy terrain and maintained pace with the convoy. With my breath frozen in my throat, I found myself confused with my discovery. These assailants seemed happy and not at all what I imagined assassins to be.
Their clothes were mismatched but not ragged. They had clean, Unaltered faces and their hair was neatly arranged. I saw a young girl with two long braids streaming down her back. For some reason, those twin golden braids held me transfixed as she rode even closer. This would-be killer looked so young. She had to be about my age, seventeen. As I scanned the rest of their faces, I noticed none of them seemed much older than thirty. Women made up almost half of their numbers.
I had always been taught to fear assassins and imagined them to be deranged renegades, but these people seemed vibrant and full of glee. Their smiling faces almost made me forget that they were after me. Preparing for the worst, I steeled myself and moved away from the small window. Getting down on my hands and knees, I searched my cabin for something to barricade the door with. Unfortunately, every stick of furniture was attached to the wall.
The sounds of gun fire got closer and my once comfortable room was now stifling. My stomach twisted into a knot of fear that I forced myself to ignore. After all, I had been trained for this since I was a little girl and I knew what to do. I needed to take stock of my surroundings.
The convoy did not have accommodations for extra passengers, so the Leader of the Convoy had surrendered his room to me. I had made myself comfortable in his small compartment while he shared with the crew. The surfaces of his room were made of a highly polished wood that gleamed in shiny perfection and I marveled at the cabin’s ingenuity in making use of every nook and cranny. A model of expert efficiency, its compartments slid into the walls and bins folded into the ceiling. I started to go through the compartments, looking for something of use, until I found what just might save me: a pistol.
Heavier than I expected it to be, I was pleased to find the pistol already loaded and ready to go. My fingers griped the cool metal as I pushed aside the growing fear and remembered every word of my safety training. I moved into a tight corner with good cover, aimed the pistol at the door and waited for my attackers.
The knock on that door made me jump half out of my skin. Assassins don’t knock, do they? I slowed my racing heartbeat and forced my brain to think clearly.
“Who is it?” I asked with as much braveness as I could muster.
“Convoy Leader Simpson. May I come in?”
The voice sounded right, even and free of fear. Having been taught to expect a trap, I tightened my grip and took a deep breath.
“Come in.” My level voice didn’t betray any of my fear.
The door opened and Convoy Leader Simpson himself took one step into the room. He appeared to be more afraid of me than of the assassins outside of my window.
“Don’t shoot.” He lifted both hands in the air as though to surrender. “I came to tell you that everything is fine.”
I lowered the gun but kept it firmly in my hands as I moved back to the small window by my bed. Outside, I could now only see the backs of my attackers as they rode away.
With their guns holstered, they rode quickly into a nearby thicket of trees where the branches and bushes would soon conceal them from the moonlight.
“They’re riding away,” I said in disbelief.
“It’s what they always do.”
I tore my eyes away from the small window and looked over at him. His impossibly smooth skin, as well as his strong and exaggerated chin told me he had been Altered.
“I don’t understand. This happens often?”
Simpson was young, not too much older than me. An expert at telling the age of citizens from our capital, Civitas, I knew the trick was to look past the face. Faces were often Altered beyond recognition. Instead, I focused on hands or even better, elbows.
Sometimes older people tried to keep the saggy and stretched skin around their elbows covered since it was a dead giveaway, but hands are always out for everyone to see. The surgery hadn’t yet been invented to Alter them without hindering their function.
“They weren’t after me?”
He took two steps further into my room and stopped.
“Please rest assured that you will be fine. They were not here for you.”
“How can you be sure?” I asked.
“They don’t even know you’re aboard.”
I let out a sigh of relief and glanced outside once more. They had disappeared under the trees with nothing left to remind me of the attack except for the heavy gun I held in my hands. It seemed silly to still be holding it, so I handed it over to Convoy Leader Simpson.
Careful not to touch my skin, he removed the pistol from my hand. The youthful skin of the Convoy Leader’s hands told me he was in his early twenties. Such an important post for someone so young meant he possessed good connections. Yet he wasn’t well connected enough to not fear me. Though his dark brown eyes were scared, they also held a hint of curiosity.
“Then what were they after?” I asked.
He shifted his weight between his feet a bit before answering.
“They routinely attack the convoy between cities.”
“Why?” I had never heard of anyone attacking a convoy.
“It’s true, ma’am. They fire their guns at us but it’s to no avail. The convoy is armored so their guns won’t do us any harm,” he replied without answering my question.
“I had no idea the convoy was armored.”
These attacks must happen often, which didn’t make sense. Who would want to attack the convoy? It carried essential supplies between all the cities within the Confederation of Cities. Did they want the supplies or something else?
“Well, I wanted to make sure you weren’t frightened or disturbed.” He kept his eyes downcast as he hovered in the doorway.
“Thank you. I’m fine.” I reassured him.
“Yes ma’am. Goodnight ma’am.”
He closed the door without once meeting my eyes. If he had, he would have noticed the irritation on my face. I had gotten sick and tired of being referred to as ma’am. At seventeen, I found the title more than a little offensive, but this poor guy must have been petrified after spending the last three days traveling with me.
People in positions of authority always thought I had been sent to observe them and report on them to the Chancellor himself. The Chancellor of the Confederation has ruled with absolute power since the Great Pandemic. His position had been created for our protection. Now, most people feared him almost as much as they feared my father. Little did they know I hadn’t spoken to the Chancellor in years and I could care less about reporting on people to him.
Oh well. Another day had passed without my being assassinated. I sunk down into my, I mean Simpson’s, bed and tried my best to go back to sleep, which proved to be rather easy considering the gentle rocking of the convoy over the iron tracks that stretched all across the Land of the Unaltered.
How To Self-Publish: A Do-It-Yourself Approach
Author: Leti Del Mar
This book is for anyone who has ever considered publishing their own work but has either thought the process seemed too complicated or too expensive. My newest book will hold your hand as it guides your manuscript from your word processor to a formatted e-book and paperback. It will show you how to launch and market your book, get reviews, and use social media to establish an author platform. I promise to show you how this can all be accomplished for less than you would spend on a week's worth of lattes! My Do-It-Yourself Approach is full of useful advice and practical tips any author new to the world of self-publishing can easily implement. The best news? I am not alone in this endeavor. I have teamed up with 6 other authors who represent a wide variety of writers including; Craig Hurren, Victoria Sawyer, Carmen Stefanescu, Clancy Tucker, Melissa Wray and Lee Zamloch. They have each contributed their insight on topics like the importance of research, coping with bad reviews, creating a brand, utilizing feedback and much more!
Chapter 1: What is a DIY Approach?
If you are curious about the pros and cons of self-publishing your work, this book is not for you. If you are holding out on hearing back from one of the hundreds of agents you have queried, this book is not for you. If you want to read rants about the publishing industry and how they don’t understand e-books, today's readers and are detrimental to the Indie author, this is not the book for you. If you are wondering how one would go about writing a novel, this book is not for you.
However, if you want to take that manuscript you have poured your heart and soul into, publish it, and see it for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and itunes, and see your work printed and bound, sitting on a bookshelf in your living room then this is exactly the book for you.
You are about to join the ranks of hundreds, if not thousands, of Indie authors who have decided to take matters into their own hands and forgo the New York way. You are empowered and ready to make your publishing dreams come true without an agent or contract with a big publisher.
The good news is we are an awesome group of writers who will bend over backwards to help each other out. I am constantly surprised and overwhelmed by the support and good wishes of my fellow authors. This is an active community that is ready and willing to help you on your way to publishing and selling your book.
The bad news is that this endeavor is going to take a whole lot of work. This path is not an easy one. You will make mistakes, you will feel alone and sometimes you will want to give up. Don’t! I am here to tell you that you can do this and my goal is to pay forward some of the advice, help and know-how I have gained on my Indie Journey.
When I first started to contemplate self-publishing my work, I found lots of books and websites that went into detail about why I should self-publish. I read nearly everything with the words Indie or Self-Publish in their titles and found that the authors of those works would go on and on about why they choose to self-publish. They defended their choice to go Indie and what pushed them over that New York ledge at length. As I read all of that information, I kept asking myself the same three questions. What now? How do I get started? What do I do next?
In my endless search for information about the self-publishing industry, I discovered that the majority of the information out there is comprised of about 70% rants against traditional publishing and what doesn’t work and about 30% of useful and practical information. Now that 30% was invaluable. I gleaned many strategies, suggestions and tips that I have since implemented. Throughout this process, I have put together quite an arsenal of resources that I want to share with you. Why? Indie authors stick together. They help each other out and they share the wealth. That’s the Indie way.
The other thing I noticed in my extensive research was that many successful Indies out there spend up to $2000 to edit, format and put together a professional looking product before they sell it. Now if you are already making money off of your books or have lots of extra cash sitting around, this makes sense to you. However, when I first started out and was unsure of how this thing would play out, I just couldn’t bring myself to fork over all of that cash.
As I searched this rapidly changing industry, I discovered five types of authors. Let me walk you through them. First, there are the big name, blockbuster authors. These are the authors you instantly recognize like Dan Brown, Steven King, JK Rowling. These guys and gals are the elite minority who have big publishing houses backing them and doing all the marketing, formatting, editing and technical work for them. They met with a whole lot of rejection before finding that agent and publisher willing to take a chance, and then the perfect storm of hard work and opportunity hit. Now they are making the big bucks.
The second type is made up of the authors who pursue the New York dream and get an agent and a publisher who makes who handles the printing of their book. The publisher makes all the big decisions and holds all the rights, including e-book rights. However, unless that book captivates the imagination of millions, the publisher stops promoting and pushing it. Even when sales go down, that publisher holds all the rights to that work for years to come. So the author feels the success of acceptance and then the sad taste of abandonment.
The third type pursues other means. They seek out the small publishers, the artsy and independent ones. Whether they produce actual print copies of books or specialize in e-books and an online presence, they help edit, format and sell an author's book. But, these publishers still hold all the rights and pull all the strings. Also, like the big houses in New York, it can still take quite a bit a time to go from manuscript to book for sale and even then, their authors are expected to do most of the marketing on their own.
The fourth type I like to call Sub-Contractors. They are Indies who pay others to do the hard stuff or the things they don't feel comfortable with for them. They pay top dollar for the big three: a professional editor, cover designer, and formatter. Some hire publicists and purchase marketing packages. They pay other people to put together blog tours. Now these authors are Indies in every sense of the word. They have all the control and keep all the rights to their work. They are in charge of their publishing universe. They also have deeper pockets than I do. Not all Indies start out as Sub-Contractors, but as their book sales start coming in, they decide their time is the more valuable commodity and start to hire out.
Then there is the fifth and final type of author. Like the Sub-Contractors, this type of author is an Indie and holds all the rights and makes all the decisions. However this Indie does everything on his own. This is where I started. This is where most of us start. These authors don't have the hundreds or thousands ready to invest in their publishing and don't have the sales of other books coming in to fund future books. I'm here to tell you that it's okay. There is nothing wrong with starting on a shoestring budget and that it can be done. You can do it! Maybe after those sales start pouring in, you can start to pay others to help you with the tough stuff. I know I did. But for right now, I'm telling you, you can put together a professional e-book and paperback for what you might spend on a week's worth of lattes.
I am officially here for that fifth type of author.
I saw a need and I hope I'm meeting that need with this book. I want to hold your hand and take you and your manuscript step-by-step from dream to reality and I don’t expect you to spend a whole lot of money to accomplish this.
When I published my first book, I spent a total of $35. That included the cost of extended print distribution and a printed proof that now sits on my bookshelf. Later on, I spent an additional $25 for an Amazon gift card I used as a giveaway for a blog tour. That’s it folks. If I could do it, you can too.
Do you have a manuscript you want to see published? Are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work? Are you asking yourself what now? How do I get started? What do I do next? Then keep reading and find out how to join the ranks of Indie Authors and self-publish your work!
To view this author's complete Profile (HBS Author's Spotlight), CLICK HERE.
Leti Del Mar is in the HBS Mystery Book Reader's Circle.
Author Recommended by: Amy Metz
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the HBS Author's Spotlight
plus the industry blog: eBook Author's Corner.
Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.