Steel Goddesses: Revenge is live on Amazon!

It’s been a whirlwind month and a half, making final revisions to REVENGE, Book 2 in the Steel Goddesses trilogy. Last week, without much fanfare, the book was published on Amazon (the paperback via CreateSpace and the ebook via Kindle Direct Publishing).

The experience of writing Revenge was different than when I wrote the first Steel Goddesses novel. I started writing Book 1 in 2004 while recovering from a car accident. After many trials and errors, I published it in 2009 through CreateSpace. I rewrote it, adding more of a backstory for one of the characters, and re-published through CreateSpace in 2016. I did this on the advice of a production company who optioned the book and is in the process of turning it into a film. Being able to rewrite, reformat and redesign the cover was a relief.

new-front-cover

I began writing Revenge in 2010, then put it aside for several years because I couldn’t seem to get my mojo going. One of the most significant challenges to my creativity is the fact that I have ADD. My brain flits from thought to thought as quickly as a butterfly flits from flower to flower. I have a thousand, make that a million great ideas throughout the course of a day. If I don’t stop to write those thoughts down or record them, they vanish, and I can never quite remember them later.

I picked up the thread and started writing again in 2016, only to walk away from the novel a couple of months in. I sat down again in 2017 and cobbled out a first draft, then spent the next year fleshing it out. This time, I had help from a wonderful group of friends who volunteered to read various incarnations and offer feedback. Five revisions later, I proclaimed Revenge ready for publication. In truth, I probably could have written several more revisions. I have a feeling other authors feel the same about their work.

Formatting Revenge for paperback and ebook was a bitch because I’m still new to this self-publishing thing. I shed many tears and uttered many curse words in several languages during this process. As I had commandeered the kitchen table for this project, my husband and son tiptoed around me during this time.

Magically, the book was finally finished and ready to present to the world. Its official publishing date is listed as June 27, 2018, the date it went live on Amazon.

sg2 front cover final

My next step is to market Revenge and Book 1 while launching into researching and writing Book 3, which takes place in LA in 1987. Marketing has always been a challenge. I am rubbish at promoting myself and am considering trying to find the funds to hire someone to help with PR. We shall see.

To whet your appetite for Steel Goddesses: Revenge, here’s the back cover blurb. If you haven’t read Steel Goddesses (Book 1), check out the blurb for that book below this one.

STEEL GODDESSES: REVENGE (Book 2 in the Steel Goddesses Trilogy)

sg2 front cover final

New York City. 1986
Rusty is the most powerful woman on New York City’s heavy metal scene. She runs The Company, an exclusive service offering the City’s most beautiful and exotic women to cater to the needs of rock bands and high-profile businessmen. Rusty should be happy, but she’s too focused on revenge against Toni, The Company’s former star, who crushed Rusty’s naive dreams of life as a rock star’s girlfriend.

Natascha is The Company’s newest girl, a fiery redhead with a fake Russian accent and a mission to uncover a potentially deadly secret.

Rusty finds an ally in her second-in-command. Rafe is a hunky drummer on his own mission: to melt the ice around Rusty’s heart and reignite her passion for life.

An unthinkable crime sends Rusty, Rafe, Natascha, and Natascha’s metal journalist friend Andy on a collision course with one of The Company’s most heartbreaking and deadly secrets.

STEEL GODDESSES (Book 1 in the Steel Goddesses Trilogy):

new-front-cover

New York City. 1985

Toni has her pick of any rocker who plays at L’Amour. But the man she wants, hunky guitarist Don Lyden, remains out of reach. In order to get one night with him, Toni must help recruit groupies for an aging rocker/party planner.

She finds naive Kris, a wanna-be rock journalist and Rusty, a desperate dreamer who longs to live the rock and roll life. As Toni schemes and abuses their trust, she ends up changing both women, one for the better, the other for worse.

Along the way, Toni makes a shocking discovery about her dream man, finds love in an unlikely place and finds redemption… through murder.

When Writers (and their fans) become BULLIES and TROLLS

I’m a self-published author. I published my first Steel Goddesses novel via CreateSpace. CreateSpace makes it easy to format manuscripts and design covers. I chose my cover photo from a website that offers stock photos at reasonable prices. The first edition of Steel Goddesses was published in 2009. The second, revised edition (with more content added) was published in 2016. For the revised edition, I selected another stock photo from the same website and used the cover creator template on CreateSpace. I uploaded the finished product, which went live on Amazon an hour later. Easy peasy. I didn’t give the process a second thought.

Until today.

As I was scrolling through posts on Facebook, I came upon one from an author friend which stopped me cold. She was sharing another post, from the cousin of Lee Ching, a young woman who makes her living designing book covers and logos for independent and self-published authors. The young woman had apparently been bullied so badly by a writer’s fans, she’d attempted suicide.

Her cousin posted the message Lee wrote before overdosing on pills:

“I am sorry to those I have hurt
I am sorry to everyone affected
I am sorry to those who don’t and won’t ever believe me
I am sorry that I am shouting in a empty room and no one hears me
I am sorry.” 

I went to the Lee’s Facebook page and read other posts. Slowly, the full picture emerged. Someone had taken offense to the young woman using a stock photo for a book cover. Being a stock photo, it had appeared on at least one other cover and someone took umbrage. Before long, dozens more piled on, spewing insults and abuse via Facebook messages; some vilely calling on her to kill herself.

Over a stock photo.

I understand how competitive the self-publishing world can be. I mean, so many authors, cranking out novel after novel, hiring independent artists, editors, and others to help their books stand out in a field becoming more overcrowded by the minute. Many self-published authors have limited budgets. Most work full-time jobs or are supporting families. Stock photo sites come in handy, especially those that offer photos at very low prices. Anyone who uses stock photos runs the risk of seeing what they consider to be their photos appear on other book covers, magazine ads, etc.

To attack a book cover designer for using a stock photo is ridiculous. To castigate a designer and demand she kill herself for using a photo that happes to also appear on another cover is downright vile.

The last I heard, Lee survived her suicide attempt, but as her cousin states, she is in no way okay. I hope her spirit bounces back and she’s able to heal. From the supportive posts on her Facebook page, she’s surrounded by friends and supporters who are protective and loving.

Others have created groups aimed at stamping out bullying in the indie publishing world. Here are a couple of Facebook groups to check out:

Indies Against Bullying

Literary Bully and Troll Busters

If you’re looking to support Lee Ching, start by liking her two pages:

Under Cover Designs

I Read Him First

Social media can be fun but it can also be dangerous. People forget that words hurt. They can shit all over someone then go enjoy dinner, having no clue (or not caring) just how much damage their words have caused. Some people enjoy hurting others, safe behind a barrier, never having to apologize or be held accountable or their actions.

To those who think they’ve dodged the proverbial bullet, think again. It might take minutes or it might take years, but Karma finds us all in the end.

P.S. If you don’t want to see your cover photo on someone else’s book, pony up for a licensed photo.

cyberbully

 

 

Steel Goddesess Novel is LIVE

I’m thrilled to announce that the revised Steel Goddesses novel is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. The revised novel includes more details, as well as a back story for one of the main characters. You may understand her motivations a little more, and some of you may also identify with her. I know I did, although I chose to “act out” in a different way.

Here are links:

STEEL GODDESSES NOVEL – AMAZON PAPERBACK

STEEL GODDESSES NOVEL – KINDLE

STEEL GODDESSES – BARNES & NOBLE PAPERBACK

 

I’d love your reviews, on Amazon and here.

Thanks so much! xo

new-front-cover

Steel Goddesses, reborn

I’m sitting alone in my office, Iron Maiden blasting from my phone, courtesy of Spotify. My arms are aching, and with good reason. I’ve spent the past 20 hours engaged in a marathon of writing, editing, and formatting the revised edition of Steel Goddesses. There’s also a new cover (see below).

Several people have asked why I rewrote SG, instead of working on the long-awaited sequel. I have several answers:

1. I know much more about formatting a manuscript than I did in 2009.

2. Self-publishing sites have become more user-friendly, making it easier to publish a book that looks and feels professional.

3. The director of the a film project tied to Steel Goddesses told me the main character needed a back story. He also suggested the novel be republished with a 2016 copyright, to make it more timely. I took both of his suggestions to heart, and added a back story for the main character. Revising the original also gave me the opportunity to correct some mistakes, rewrite some scenes, and undertake a more thorough edit than last time.

I finished the final edits this afternoon and submitted the novel and cover art for review.

Now, I sit here, my head buzzing with anticipation and anxiety. I’m excited about Steel Goddesses’ re-release. I’m also terrified that people will hate it. I know this is a common feeling for the majority of creative people out there. We’re a very sensitive bunch.

When I published the first incarnation of SG in 2009, I was afraid to promote it. Afraid people would hate it. Truth be told, a part of me hated it. Okay, I didn’t really “hate” it, but I was embarrassed by what I had written and didn’t want to claim it as my own. I created the Ann Brandt alter ego and published under her name. I sold maybe a thousand copies (not too shabby), but didn’t promote it. Every time someone emailed or told me they had read it, I wanted to hide my face. I hated Steel Goddesses, and when a male co-worker told me he’d read it, I realized why I hated it. Although my co-worker didn’t make any sly remarks, I was afraid everyone who read the book would think I have a dirty mind. Or worse, I’d done all the things I describe. So, I ignored the novel, and it languished.

The movie project placed Steel Goddesses front and center in my life again. When the director said he wanted a back story for Toni, as well as a 2016 copyright, I knew I had to put my embarrassment behind me and dive back into the world I’d created nearly a decade ago.

So, I held my breath and dove in.

And fell in love again with Toni, Kris, Rusty and the gang. Felt my heart flutter over Marty again. Recoiled at the sleazy antics of Marius Man. Cried over some of the challenges my characters faced. As I made the final edits this morning, I realized I was happy. And proud. I’m anxious, too, but I that’s to be expected. I’m putting the fruits of my imagination out into the world, for better or worse.

This time, however, I won’t shy away from readers who want to discuss Steel Goddesses. I won’t care what they think about what I may or may not have done in my youth, or how much of the novel is based on actual events. Steel Goddesses is my creation, my baby, and I will love and nurture it, and show it proudly to the world. I know there are people who won’t like it, and that’s fine. Our differences make the world go round.

As I sit here in my office, listening to Iron Maiden blasting from my phone, I’m content. And excited to start writing Book 2 of the Steel Goddesses trilogy. Because the girls are clamoring to be heard, and I’m finally ready to listen again.

new-cover

August is NATIONAL READ A ROMANCE Month!

I never knew there was an actual “month” to focus on reading romance novels, but there is– and luckily, it’s this month!

There are thousands, probably millions of romance novels out there now. Were I not in the midst of a massive move, I’d probably curl up on a lawn chair and start devouring some of my favorite authors (Heather Graham, Lisa Jackson, Susan Mallery, Debbie Macomber… the list goes on). 

I’m pleased and honored that so many people (thousands!) have read and enjoyed STEEL GODDESSES. If you haven’t had the pleasure to unplug for a couple of hours and take a trip back in time to NYC in the 80’s, where metal ruled and groupies were royalty, August is the perfect month to check it out.  There are links at the top of this website, but I’ll make it even easier for you to find it.

CLICK HERE to buy the book in paperback (on sale for $11.70 for a brief time)

CLICK HERE to download it for your Kindle (just $2.99)

If you’re looking for an autographed copy, email me: steelgoddesses@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to send you one for $15.00 (this price includes shipping)

Happy NATIONAL READ A ROMANCE Month!

(80’s metal power couple: Tawny Kitaen & David Coverdale)

Image

Ann on “Northwest Convergence Zone” radio show at 5pm tonight!

I’m excited to join the band Mechanism on the radio show “Northwest Convergence Zone” tonight (Sunday, May 26) at 9pm to talk about “Steel Goddesses” and next Friday’s fundraising concert at Louie G’s to benefit relatives of Mechanism singer Ryan – who died in a tragic house fire in Idaho.

Mechanism will perform at the show, along with Riot in Rhythm, Jason Kertson & the Immortals, and The Fail Safe Project. More info about the event on Facebook and at Mental Itch Records’ website!

Tune in at 5pm tonight for a fun interview (I hope I can be entertaining enough!) and join us Friday for some awesome music, food and help raise money for a very worthy cause!

 

Awesome concert raises more than $40,000 for Superstorm Sandy victims!

CONGRATS to Jon & Marsha Z, Old Bridge Metal Militia, Rock ‘n Roll Heaven and everyone who took part in this epic concert and donated to a truly worthy cause. I hated missing it– and loved all of the photos people posted. What a walk down memory lane. xo

Here’s the official press release from Adrenaline PR about the concert and the money raised for Superstorm Sandy victims!!! \m/ \m/

For Immediate Release

May 14, 2013

 Sold Out ROCK N’ ROLL HEAVEN and OLD BRIDGE METAL MILITIA Reunion Concert and Fundraiser Raises Over $40,000 in Proceeds for Superstorm Sandy Relief

All-Star Jam Includes Surprise Appearances by JD Deservio (Black Label Society), Snake Sabo (Skid Row) and More!

Image   The very successful ROCK N’ ROLL HEAVEN and the OLD BRIDGE METAL MILITIA Reunion Concert and Fundraiser, spearheaded by co-creators Jon and Marsha Zazula, raised over $40,000 in proceeds for Superstorm Sandy relief on Saturday at the Encore Events Center in Freehold NJ. 1,800 people attended the show, which sold out in advance and kicked off with a once-in-a-lifetime meet & greet opportunity for longtime fans. Attendees witnessed remarkable performances by Twisted Sister, Anvil, Raven, The Rods, TT Quick and Lords of Mercy, and an all-star jam closed out the show, featuring surprise appearances by JD Deservio of Black Label Society and Snake Sabo of Skid Row.

That Metal Show’s Eddie Trunk MC’d the show, with appearances from comedians Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson will add their brand of Metal humor. Raffle prizes included signed items donated by Metallica, Slayer, Raven, and Anthrax.

Charitable efforts were headed by Tattoo Tony Rodriguez of the Under My Skin For Life Foundation. Hundreds of families in New Jersey and Staten Island will be visited by Jon and Marsha Zazula and personally handed gift cards to Home Depot to help in the restoration of their homes devastated by Superstorm Sandy.

“We’d like to thank all of the amazing fans and friends for coming out to the show and helping support the effort to raise money for victims of Superstorm Sandy,” add Jon and Marsha Zazula in a statement. “The event was a huge success and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the community. Thank you to the bands for putting on a killer show. We couldn’t be happier with how the event turned out and we can’t wait to give back to the community. Special thanks to John Albino, our production manager, for an incredible job, Adrenaline PR for powering the event with a multitude of press, and thank you to Chris and Patty Homeny for keeping the flag flying. And of course, Rockin Ray and Metal Joe for all their invaluable input.”

The Old Bridge Metal Militia rides again… for Sandy victims

Back in the 80’s, there was a group of hardcore metal fans in New Jersey who called themselves the OLD BRIDGE METAL MILITIA. This group of guys (and gals!) devoured metal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their favorites? An up-and-coming outfit out of Northern California called Metallica… along with Raven from England, Anthrax from NYC and other bands, like TT Quick, Manowar, Anvil and so on. Most of the bands were signed to a fledgling record label called MegaForce, helmed by “The Lone Rager,” Jonny Z and his awesome rockin’ wife Marsha.

Decades have passed– but the Old Bridge Metal Militia is STILL rockin’ – loud, proud and with HEART. OBMM members have teamed up with MegaForce, Rock ‘n Roll Heaven (THE metal record store – they lent me many a record for my metal radio show way back when), and Adrenaline PR (successfully run by Maria Ferrero, one of my favorite metal minds– and a good friend for many years) have teamed up to present one huge rockin’ show to benefit victims of Super Storm Sandy, who are STILL trying to get their homes and lives in order, nearly *seven* months after the storm caused so much devastation in NY, NJ and beyond.

THE ROCK ‘N ROLL HEAVEN and OLD BRIDGE METAL MILITIA REUNION SHOW takes place Saturday, May 11 at Encore Event Center in Freehold, New Jersey. Bands scheduled to perform include:
Anvil
Twisted Sister
Raven
The Rods
Lords of Mercy
…and more

For more information– or to BUY TICKETS – follow this link!
If you’re already going, share your pix – so we can live vicariously through you. If you can’t attend and would like to help out, click here for donation information (scroll to the bottom of the story)
METAL MILITIA

Early reviews for STEEL GODDESSES!

I am very blessed to have received some favorable reviews for my first novel.

Let me share some with you:

“What Rupert Holmes did for big bands with Swing, Ann Brandt does for the heavy metal set. A mystery with great characters in a vivid setting pulls me back to a misspent youth I wasn’t brave enough to have. This is a page turner, ideal for adding some spice to a relaxing day on vacation. A whole bunch of fun to read!” ~ D. Dyte/Brooklyn, NY

“I loved this book! The characters are three-dimensional, the plot is engaging, and the background details pulled me right back to my “misspent” youth in the 1980s. A fast, fun read with surprising twists that will leave you thinking. If you’re old enough to remember the 80s, you’ll love it. If you’re not, this book will show you what the heavy metal scene was like “back in the day”. Highly recommended!!” ~ Patricia P. McKay

“From Ms. Brandt’s description of each character to the juicy story line, this book sucks you in from the beginning and doesn’t let you go until the very end. For anyone who experienced the 80’s metal scene you will definitely enjoy this book and possibly get a chuckle from your OWN reminiscing during this glamorous rock era. For everyone else, this is a colorful and highly entertaining glimpse into one of rock ‘n rolls most sexiest times. You won’t be disappointed! I guarantee, once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down.” ~ Kimberly Ring

“What are the motivations behind the behaviors of groupies? Ann Brandt aptly bares the souls of her characters layer by layer, keeping her readers enthralled with her behind-the-scenes look at Steel Goddesses and what makes them tick. Be careful what you wish for…

The antics of the band members, though some might say are stereotypical, ring laugh-out-loud all-too-true to any woman who has ever spent enough time around Rock ‘n’ Roll musicians to have first-hand knowledge of their off-stage performances.

As Brandt reveals the Machiavellian machinations of the man behind the scenes in much the same way she does her Goddesses, by the time I had enough pieces of the puzzle to figure it out, it made my skin crawl… At one point, “There but for the grace of G-d go I,” was actually said aloud to an empty room.

Even for readers who have never been around the scene, Ann Brandt’s page turner, Steel Goddesses, provides a wild ride! Get in, sit down, shut up, and hang on!

Meanwhile, this reader is standing in line for the next book, ready to go for another ride and holler, “WHOOOP!!!” ~ Camille Radloff