Friday, November 30, 2012


I have some rather disturbing news.  News that will set back my deadlines for at least a week and put a halt to my writings, ramblings, and bloggings.  My beloved laptop is on the fritz.

No, Little C.  I am most assuredly not kidding.

And so, I shall make the trek down to the store known as UPS, to drop off said laptop and will be AFK for at least a week, maybe two.  I will be back before Christmas, never fear.  I'm also hopeful that I'll be able to snag husband's laptop to use, but he's very clingy with it, so we'll see.

Meanwhile, I wish you happy end to November, happy beginning to December, and most of all...
Happy Reading!

PS- I don't know how the feed handles my personal picture posts, but if you are reading this on my Amazon author page or on goodreads and you can't see the picture of my ADORABLE child, I highly recommend you follow the link back to my blog.  Because he is worth seeing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Cure for it All

As mentioned in my previous post, I may have a bit of the crankypants going on, because of hateful, detestable November slump!  But I have found the cure my friends! Now, I know what you're thinking... but it's not Ryan Gosling.

I was disappointed, too.

Turns out, all it took was belting out my favorite Christmas Carols to give that slump a kick in the pants.  More editing has begun, which doesn't do much for the word count, but I'm hoping to finish up the majority of that this week.  It's not a lot, anyway, just a matter of clarifying some things and broadening some of the descriptions.  Then it will be in the hands of my proof reader and I'll be free to concentrate on the pickle that is Zyander's story.

Why oh why is Zyander so difficult for me?  Maybe it's because he's the most grown up of my characters, being an actual adult.  Luka has so much immaturity and I find myself always knowing what he'd say and do when I write for his story line.  Zyander is such an enigma, though.
Even though I know in the general sense what I want to happen for his character this time around, somehow he always seems to wiggle free of the most basic questions I have for him.  Whenever I think I know how he's going to react to a situation, he turns around and says the exact opposite!  Sometimes I feel like saying, "That's it, you are on a timeout!  Go sit in the timeout chair and think about how you're acting toward your creator!"
So, I guess in a way, this week will be his timeout week.  When I pick him up again, perhaps he'll behave himself.  If not, I'm moving on to Nikka. :)
That's all for this week.  Found some interesting stuff on the web, so check it out if you have time.  Otherwise, Happy Reading!
Sean Beaudoin has a laugh out loud funny post featuring The twelve sexy MALE apostles of YA writing 
(And let me just say, it's nice to see the guys of YA represented, for a change!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Crankypants Syndrome

My husband is in charge of the deviled eggs for Thanksgiving this year (his assignment from Grandma) and when I reminded him of this on his way out the door, he said, "Oh, do I need to get anything?  Like that deviled egg powder?"  To which I said...

I mean, I didn't know there was such a thing as deviled egg powder.  Turns out, he meant paprika!  hahaha

I'm feeling so cranky today.  It might be PMS or maybe it's editing (sometimes I hate editing, especially when it gets in the way of writing.) or maybe it's good old November Slump.

What is November Slump?  Well, it's a lot of things.  It's the 2 weeks before my birthday.  I'm turning 34 this year and for some reason that seems worse than 30, 31, 32, 33, AND 35.
It's the time right before the holidays start: crazy shopping, busy streets, people EVERYWHERE... which makes the introvert in me sooo  twitchy.  There is a REASON I'm a writer, people!
It's the worst season of bookselling for me.  I know, seems weird, right?  I mean, there are a LOT of authors who spare no testimony when describing their success of November and December.  But for whatever reason, my books are more like Summer Vacation and Back-To-School books.  I've been doing this for 2 years and thus far, my best months are April through September.  The worst are October, November and December.
It's the last few days of Nano, which always makes me mad for some reason.  Pressure to perform?  Even though I swore to myself I wasn't going to get that this year, I seem to have been bitten by the performance bug anyway.

Whatever it is, I hope it leaves soon.  In the meantime, I'm going to skip the editing today and do some writing, because that's where my heart is.

Happy writing, ROW80ers  and Happy Reading, everyone else!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Best of the Peps

I love the Nano Pep Talks.  As I mentioned before, they are really why I love Nano.  Nano is HARD.  I've participated 5 times and finished 3.  1667 words a day, people.  Some years are easier than others.  This is one of the others.
But there is something about a pep talk written by an author.  No, it's not the blatant appeal to authority.  Or the cache of having one of your favorite authors (Kristin Cashore, anyone?) speak their best words of wisdom and enthusiasm for your eyes only.  For me, it's the camaraderie I feel, realizing there are other people out there, like me.
There are other authors who get lost in the plot, who get stuck in a rut, who over think their writing, and who can't seem to write an outline to save their lives.  These authors share their darkest fears and their greatest moments of clarity with us.  And I deeply appreciate the vulnerability that entails.  It's also one of the reasons why I love ROW80.
It's so great to not only read about others who are struggling like me, but so fulfilling to see their triumphs and successes.
So in the spirit of Nano—which is halfway over already—here are my favorite bits of advice:
1) Don't cheat! Don't let yourself get caught up in the seductive attraction of a new story!  Finish your book and then move on to another idea, otherwise you will end up with a box full of starts and no finishes.  (Courtesy of Meg Cabot.  Side note, this one pep talk gave me the courage to finish Six Keys so long ago.)
2) Figure out what's next.  When you get to the end of your writing day, take a few minutes to think about what happens next, so you don't find yourself staring at a blank page when you start again the next day.  I tend to do this at night before bed.  When I'm not dying of exhaustion, that is.  (Courtesy of Holly Black.)
3) Write for your reader self, not your writer self.  This is probably one of the best pieces of advice out there, and it goes hand-in-hand with "write what you read".  If you LOVE YA fantasy, and you read a ton of it, then you know exactly what people like you want to read.  Write for the you that reads YA fantasy, and the others like you will follow. (Also courtesy of Holly Black.)
4) The only way out is through.  When you get to the point where you despair of your story, where it seems like nothing but a BIG GIANT TASK, remember not to quit.  The only way to finish that story is to sit down and write it, warts and all.  (Courtesy of John Green.)
5) Writers are dreamers.  Being a head-in-the-clouds dreamer is a fine thing.  Dreamers see possibilities where others see a blank word doc or an empty notebook.  Dreamers give people beauty, hope and a few minutes of wondrous entertainment.  They make people happy (overall, that is.  I know you've all had some one star moments.  I certainly have.) (Courtesy of Piers Anthony.)
6) No one else can write the book for you.  I mean, they could... but it wouldn't be as good.  Imagine JK Rowling had a ghostwriter for the last Harry Potter book.  Would it have had her great sense of humor?  Would the story have ended the same?  (Courtesy of Neil Gaiman.)

So, I know I've been radio silent over here, but I've had good reason.  I've written 15,500ish words so far this month.  For me, that is practically a miracle.  Of course, there were some setbacks and some successes. I have rewritten Zyander's first part about 3 times.  I know what I want to say, but I just can't seem to say in a way that I like.  hahaha  I also finished my super secret project that I started... oh... 6 mths ago, I think.  This may shock you, but I don't write everything under my own name.  I follow Dean Wesley Smith's advice and put different genres under different names.  Nothing I'm ashamed of, but I've found that fans of one or the other genres don't tend to like crossovers.

Anyway, I'm making good progress and feeling happy with where I'm at.  I'll let you know when I finish Zyander's first part.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Success -A Little, Anyway.

Sorry I've been MIA for the past week.  My older son was at Grandma's so it was just Little C. and me for 8 days.  I decided to use the time with only one child to push for some words.  My goal was 20,000, but Little C. got sick. Sooooo... that didn't happen!
But guess, what, guys, I hit 16,000 words!  Whoohooo!!!  That is more than I wrote last month.  And the other thing was, it was FUN.  I think with all no sleep and the stressing about writing, I lost sight of why I love this so much.  I started to feel pressured to finish instead of feeling happy to let the story continue.

Discouragement is pretty easy to get lost in, as a writer.  Sometimes it's a review.  Sometimes it's lack of progress.  Sometimes it's lack of confidence.  I've certainly experienced all three.  My word of the year, as you will recall is Determination.  However, Determination without enjoyment equals STRESS.

Why do I do this?  Why do I plow away, day after day, trying my hardest to finish this series?  Because I love the characters.  Because I love the story.  Because I love the world I invented.  This is the reason I started writing about The Five Tribes in the first place.

Using my WOTY, I've Determined, not to let myself lose sight of why I do this.  I've Determined not to lose my love for writing.  I've Determined to keep this fun, no matter what.

Otherwise, what's the point?

Here are some super interesting articles I ran across last week:
The first is a guest blog by Erin Kern talking about how Indies are the new query letter.  If you'd asked me a year ago if this was true, I probably would have laughed.  Since then I've been approached by both a publisher and an agent, so I'd say I was dead wrong.  Take a look, it's a pretty interesting story.
The second is an article by one of my faves, Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  It's on PERFECTION, which is a big deal for me.  I loved pretty much everything this article had to say.

That's all from me this week.  Hope you all had a successful writing week!
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm Just Here for the Pep Talks!

I got my NaNoWriMo email.  *cue ominous music*  How I long to join nano this year.  Such a great motivator and a fabulous way to rack up a bunch of words (50,000 to be exact)!
Alas, I know that if I join up, I won't make it to the goal.  Not enough sleep.
Still, I'm considering signing up anyway, simply because some of the best pep talks I've ever read have been from the authors who participate in nano.  One by Meg Cabot, I swear to you, changed my writing career FOREVER.
I'm going to think on it some more.  I have 22 days, according to the letter, before it starts, so I have time to make up my mind.

I actually got some writing done in the past week.  Yay!  Not much on Terris, but some is better than none.  Terris: 23,968.  Tues./Thurs. side project: 5,583.  I think I've gotten about 5,000 words total in for the week, I think.  For a person who has written in the hundreds of words in the past couple of weeks, it is a major victory.  Next week I'm off to my parents' house while my oldest son goes off to visit his grandma.  The last time this happened I was able to finish off Aeris.  My goal this time around will be 20,000 words.  In two weeks, that should be quite a goal, but I need to make up some ground given my utter failure to write in the past month and a half.

Right now, I'm hopeful and determined.  I'm wishing progress on all my fellow ROW participants!  Fighting!(It's a Kdrama thing, hahahaha)

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Hint of Desperation...

I've been skipping naptime.  I'll be honest.  It kind of sucks, but otherwise, no writing is done.  Little C. has stopped teething, but caught the flu then a cold.  I can see winter around the corner, folks!

But all is not lost.  Thanks to my nap skipping I have 3,000 more words written in the Angel story, which I been sadly neglecting.  I also have a rough draft of a new bio written.

I chaptered out the Angel book in Scrivener, which I have to say, I'm kind of disappointed with.  Scrivener is more of a writing program than an organizational program.  I don't really need a writing program.  I have my chapter outlines that I put in my Wonder Woman notebook, but I don't think I would ever take the time and effort to type those into a program.  I also prefer to write in Open Office.  I don't know why, but I just like writing everything out in one place.

So I think I'm going to go back to Notebook (I think that's what it's called.)  MUCH better for organizing your thoughts and world.  The labeling is amazing!

Beta Reading Claudia Lefeve's new book, Paradox.  So interesting to see where the twists and turns are leading us.  Etta is a grownup in this book, so that is also way cool!

Yes, I know, it's not an out of the ballpark blog entry today, but it's there!

Goals for the last ROW80 of the year?  Write something everyday.  Try to keep to my schedule of Tues/Thurs Angel, every other day of the week.  One blog entry a week, to keep accountable on my writing.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Korean Summer

Well, my summer obsession with Kdramas is over.  American television has come back and I'm finally watching TV (admittedly on the internet) in English again.  Even though my love affair with Kdramas is far from over (can we say ADDICTION?), I think I'm off them for a while.  And so, as a temporary farewell to my favorite angst ridden drug of choice, here are a few things I'm going to miss about Kdramas.

1) Piggyback Rides:  Every Kdrama I've ever seen has a piggyback ride at least once. It gives uptight Kdramaland culture an excuse for having two main characters close together before they actually KNOW they like each other.
courtesy of kdramareasons
2) Wide-eyed Kisses:  Apparently, every girl in Kdramaland has never had a kiss in her LIFE until that show.  So when the main man swoops in, she is just SHOCKED.  And hardly moves. LOL  (A variation on this kiss is the "squinty-eyed, OMG, I can't believe I'm about to be kissed, kiss".)
3) Shin Kicks:  Beware, Kdrama males!  If you piss off our spunky heroine, you will get a nasty kick.  And the more she does it, the more you will like her.

4) The Angry Granny:  Is it just me or is every grandma in Kdramaland a cranky oldster?  Seriously, put on your best behavior for these ladies.  That means the DEEP BOW!
5) Bathroom Issues:  Kdramas and their potty humor!  In Kdramaland, heroes and heroines feel it in their BOWELS.  When they are upset or depressed, either they can't go or they go too much!  Hilarity ensues.
6) Sorrow Drowning via Soju:  I read on a Kdrama blog that Koreans are like the Irish with Whiskey, except they prefer Soju.  I have no way of knowing if this is true in real life, but it sure seems to be true for Kdrama land.  This pulls in some of the other elements previously discussed: bathroom issues, piggyback rides, and one that I haven't mentioned—copious vomiting.
7) Manly wrist/arm grab:  We read about them (and let's face it, make fun of them) in our favorite romance novels.  The point where the girl is about to walk away in a huff, when the hero grabs her arm, whips her around, and gives her the liplock we've been praying for!  Kdrama romances are no exception to this.  Most often though, it is followed up by him dragging her off to some private location where he can spew his anger.  One thing you have to admire about Kdrama heroes, they are VERY in touch with their feelings.
8) Heroes that cry buckets:  I love a man who isn't afraid to express his feelings.  If you feel the same way, Kdramas are for you!  Men laugh, rage, confess their love... oh and cry rivers of tears.  I don't know how they do it without becoming severely dehydrated, but it is often very touching to watch.  *sigh*
9) Engrish:  Man, I just can't get enough of Kdrama characters speaking English.  It makes me wonder what our shows sound like when people speak other languages.  I always think they sound cool, but if they are anything like the Engrish in Kdramas, we should all be embarrassed.  (BTW- I searched high and low for a good video example of English speaking, but this is the best I could find.  Sorry about the quality!)

10) Karaoke singing (At the Noraebang!):  This is another element no Kdrama is without.  There is nothing an audience enjoys more than a chance to see their favorite stars (often drunk and off-key) singing their hearts out to their favorite kpop tunes!  Or so I must assume, since they happen in every drama.

And these are just a few of the reasons I love Kdramas.  I actually listed them the other day, and I came up with 45 different Kdrama staples.  I'll miss you Kdramas!

Happy Watching! :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mini Update

So, Little C (my new nickname for New Baby) has cut the last of his eight teeth, but then of COURSE, he got a cold, leading the charge in what I like to call "The Battle for Mama's Writing Time".  It's a battle where I admit to few victories, but they are there.  Terris is at 22,225, which is more than it had last week, so YAY!
I also got together with my cover designer to figure out the look for Terris.  Which is very exciting, but at the rate I'm going, it will be another year in the making, so I don't anticipate on needing it any time soon. hahaha  We also figured out a cool look for the angel book, which is going to be something different than anything I've done before now.  It will also have people on the cover.  Another thing I'm not usually interested in having on my covers.  I'm not knocking anyone that has a pretty girl cover, but if you know me, you know I like something a little more abstract.
So this week, my goal is to write at every small opportunity, even if it's only 15 min. and to do what Kait Nolan's awesome entry suggests, which is train my brain to keep in mind my WORD OF THE YEAR: DETERMINATION.

Hope all of you are doing well in your respective goals, and sorry to those of you I've sadly neglected.  These days I'm moving through a haze of exhaustion, with not a lot of time left over my my ROW friends.
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Attraction vs. Instalove

I met my husband 10 years ago (TEN, wow!  That went be quickly!) in a study session for my college chemistry class.  (I know, chemistry. hahahahahaha  Heard that joke a million times, moving on.)  I met him and it was like, BAM!  It was like those cartoons where the character gets hit over the head with a mallet and sees the stars twirling around their head in circles over and over again.  That is how strong my attraction for him was.
After that, even though we were in two different majors and only shared one core class the entire rest of our college careers, I saw him everywhere.  At the library, at the Student Union, walking to and fro from our different classes—I'd never seen the guy before IN MY LIFE and suddenly, I couldn't go a day without spotting him.  Sometimes, not even an hour.  It was WEIRD.
I don't believe in soulmates.  Never have, never will.  I don't believe in love at first sight.  But do I think there's a possibility that you can meet someone and feel over-the-top, can't-think-about-anything-else attracted to them?  Heck yes, I do.  It happened to me.
My husband and I saw each other every day that summer, we said,"I love you," at six months and FOUR YEARS LATER, we got married.  Everyone's journey to love is different, but my love story is what I based Nikka and Zyander's love story on.
If you've read the series, you'll notice that neither of them have(thus far) said, "I love you."  In the first book, they are together for all of a week before they spend the rest of the book separated.  (Sorry if that's a spoiler!)  It would be odd for them to say they loved each other in a book where they only spend a week together.
In Aeris, they have more of an opportunity to get to know one another, but I still don't see them as being intimate enough for a love confession.  They are getting there, but these things take time.
My point, and I do have one, I've thought carefully about how I want the relationship between my two characters to proceed, and in the end, I decided to write what I know.  What I know, is that it takes time to fall in love and to say the words.  Attraction happens in an instant, but true love takes development.
It's sad that we live in a world where characters come together for A DAY, and tell each other, "I love you." I just can't picture that, myself.  It's sad that we live in a culture that judges every other story based on another one they've read.  Either love happens too fast to be believable, or not fast enough.  I'm sorry to admit that I've been pretty judgmental about that myself.
Think carefully, when you write, about how quickly your characters become intimate.  Fast or slow, make sure that you have a good reason for it, in your mind.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Beauty School Dropout...

This song (one of my faves from that great musical Grease) has been running through my head as I contemplate the various things I've dropped out of, lately.  Camp Nanowrimo, for one.  I've considered even dropping ROW80, since I'm woefully behind on any goals I set for myself, but then I remember my Word of the Year: DETERMINATION
Firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end...
My desired end is to finish Terris and the Angel book.  I need to just focus on writing whenever I can.  Even if it's only a couple of hundred words a day, if I can write that much, so be it.  I hate feeling like I am back where I was last year: tired, exhausted, stumbling over myself to get any little bit of writing done.  
New Baby isn't a baby anymore, he just turned 1 and he's got 7 of the 8 teeth he was working on, so I'm hoping there is an end in sight—a lull in the storm of GETTING ALL THE TEETH.  The 5 am wake up time that worked so well before he was born is obviously not working when I'm getting an average of 4 hours of sleep a night.  I've been using up my valuable naptime writing space to sleep, so really, it's here and there that I can eke out a few words.
It's not all bad, however.  I finished part one of Luka's story and I've started in on Nikka's.  The buildup for this go around is going to be a little bit like Compis, so the pacing is slower for her story.  Some of the readers liked that and some didn't, but I can't help it.  The story must be told as it should be.  Luka's story is action-packed enough to make up for her slower first part. Luckily, her second part will pack some punch. Zyander is kind of a mix of both.  He's got a LOT going on in Terris, so I hope I do his storyline justice.
Aeris is still selling like hotcakes, which is fun to watch.  Amazon sales prices confuse me.  First Compis was full price, then $.99, then full price, then $1.03 (of all things) and now it's back to $.99 again.  Who knows where it will be tomorrow.  Odd.  I would just like to say, I have nothing to do with that.
Here's hoping I get more written next week and will actually FEEL like posting my word counts. :)
Happy Reading!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Choice to Keep Writing

It's hard enough to write these days when I'm exhausted all the time.  New Baby and his teeth have crippled my Terris comeback, but my word of the year is DETERMINATION, so never fear readers!  I will triumph and make my way past this hiccup.

When I hear about stories like this, however: Authors Buying Book Reviews, I'm both stunned and disheartened.  It's not the first time I've heard of such things.  No, indeed, the kindleboards bandy about such rumors of these sites with derision.  Today, however, I learned that author John Locke, arguably one of the best selling indie authors in the business, was one who purchased 300 reviews for his books.

Laughably, his bestselling book "How I sold 1 million ebooks" is supposedly a testament to his insane business prowess.  Indies everywhere touted his skill, his marketing, and his knowledge.  Low and behold, I could have had the same knowledge myself, for the price of $6,000.  Who knows?  Maybe MY novels would have been in the top 100.

Here is why this makes me bitter.  Locke (and many many others) are smart enough to realize how the Amazon system works.  It's a delicate balance of number of reviews, and novelrank.  The more reviews you have (good or bad) the more attention you get on amazon.  The more attention you get, the more books you sell, the higher your ranking is.  And of course, the higher your ranking, again, the more books you sell.

So essentially, what he did was gaming the system.  He bought a bunch of reviews, which got him noticed.  His books sold more and consequently got him more notice.  Could his writing be good?  Certainly.  But the way he chose to start his career sucks.

What sucks even more is that any attention he gets now will only benefit him.  People will read his book out of curiosity or downright anger and even if he gets THOUSANDS of one star reviews, it will only benefit his sales and make him more famous.  It just purely PISSES ME OFF that he and others like him will not only get away with this, but that they will benefit from it forever.

Sometimes, as an author, I want to go away to the world I create, where justice is stronger than any form of evil cunning that exists.  I want to be where someone gains success on the merits of their hard work, determination, and ethics.  I hate, purely HATE living in a world where I have to tell my children... "Yeah, you can work hard and enjoy some modest success.  But in the end, the people that pay or scheme or practice dishonesty to get ahead will do better than you."

As a reader, I want that list.  I want to know who has been paying for reviews so I can never give them money.  I want to tell my friends about them and warn them away.  I want to publish that list as a public shaming for every author in the world who would even think of paying for a review.

I want to cry because as an indie author I feel nothing but shame from this.  I feel so disheartened right now.  After this, no one is going to take us seriously any more.  Thanks to authors who can't keep their mouths shut over a bad review we are already a laughingstock.  After this, we may as well just hang up our hats and go legitimate.  Locke, in my opinion, has done traditional publishing a favor today.

In fact, I'm almost kicking myself for not taking the traditional publishing route when it was offered to me.  "No," I said.  "Thanks, but I really like doing this for myself.  Thank you for your offer."  I don't know how I feel anymore.

Be careful, readers, in what you read today.  That's all I can say.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Same Old, With a Bit of the New

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long since I wrote a blog post.  Oops.  :)  In my defense, my inlaws have been up visiting for the past TWO weeks, and with that, and a sick AND teething baby... it's been busy over here.

New baby... man this has been tough.  Because no offense to him, but he basically ruined my chances of finishing Camp Nano.  It is really, really tough to write at 5 AM when you've been up all night.  It is also really really tough to stay awake during nap time and write, when you know it is the only time you'll get to sleep.  So for like 5 days I wrote nothing.  And I'm still massively struggling in that dept.  Terris: 17,639.  Angel Book: 2903.

Still planning to keep on with Camp Nano because it is a good motivator, but I'm pretty certain at this point that I won't be able to catch up in time to finish.  And that's okay, because whatever words I get out of it are words that wouldn't be written otherwise.  I'll take that any day! :)

So many things to write about!  So, I don't know if you remember, readers, but this time around I decided to write one story line at a time in the hopes that I wouldn't hit as many plot/pacing roadblocks as I did with Aeris.  So far it's working out great.  I'm doing Luka's story line right now and I've written some stuff that I'm actually proud of.  I plan to stop his story at part 1 and then start in on another story line—probably Zyander—until they're all caught up to each other.  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to be writing Luka's story line this time around.  I was excited last book, but this book will get into the real meat of some of his character changes.  I'm doing some serious setup work for the next book, you see.

Aeris continues to surprise me in the sales dept.  Double the sales of Compis thus far.  Amazon, in a move that surprised me, put Compis up for sale at 99 cents.  Not sure why, but I will of course still get my $2.99 royalty, so I'm not complaining.

The best part of releasing the second in my series has been the reader feedback.  I've gotten more emails in the past week and a half than I have in the past 4 months. :)  It's so fun to talk to people who are enjoying where the story is going and who are downright curious about where it's going to end up.  I even got my first international fan email from a nice woman in France.  Hi Rut!  :)

This is the part of writing that I was always hoping for—finding an audience for the stories in my head.  Obviously not everyone loves my books and that's a-okay.  But the people that do are making writing so enjoyable for me.

One more thing:  I made my books free for any library that uses Smashwords to purchase ebooks, so there may be some point in the future when you can get my ebooks from a library loan.  How cool would that be?  I've always dreamed of having my books available for library users.  I'm a huge library advocate and still go there when I can't find an ebook for a good price.  (Also, for my son! :))

That's all for now. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Success! (or Something Like It)

So, happy to report that Aeris has finally been published.  Holy Hannah, that took FOREVER, didn't it?  Here's hoping the next one can be just a wee bit quicker.  I mean, isn't that the whole point of self-publishing, that you can get books out faster?  Apparently not, in my case. :)

I'm pretty pleased with the publishing experience this time around.  Practice makes perfect I guess, because I was able to get everything together in the file and formatted in a matter of hours.  No weird TOC problems this time.  And the book is already available on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  Kobo is dragging its heels.  It's been about 3 days for them, so if it doesn't get up tomorrow, I'm supposed to email them or something.  Not that my sales on Kobo are anything to celebrate in general.  I think I've sold about 3 books total there.  Smashwords and Amazon are my best venues.

It's interesting, publishing a sequel.  It's a really great indication of how much people liked your book the first time around.  (I learned this from the Angel & Her Gun.)  So far this month I've sold more copies of Aeris than I have of Compis, which is pretty cool considering it's only been available for 2.5 days.  We'll see how the month ends up, but that is a lot of people who read and enjoyed Compis.

On the other hand, I'm so nervous because first of all, I put hours and hours into this book and second of all, I hope all the fans (especially those who took the time and effort to email me) aren't disappointed.  I hope that the story is progressing in a pleasing way.  I hope they are as excited as I am for the next book.

Speaking of which, I'm still making some headway in that department, though today will probably be a wash, because I'll be gone all day.  Terris: 7,892  Angel Book: 2,789  The angel one not having a title is bothering me, so maybe on my drive today I will find time to think of one.  I'm really enjoying writing it once a week.  I think it will be good for me.  And writing in only one perspective at a time in Terris(currently writing Luka's story line) is definitely better for continuity and flow.  Not sure about the inspiration part though.  Usually when I get stuck on something it helps to be able to go on to a different viewpoint.  I may be doing a lot of switching when I write.  We'll see.

That's all for now.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nothing Doing

I've been full of fail this week.  Curse you, evil teeth, hurting my sweet baby.  Still, even though I'm behind on my word count, I'm still making progress.  For one thing, I've written every day this week.  The Fire Angel book: 1,575 words.  Terris: 5,776.  For another, I got Aeris back from the proofreader's!  Yay!!!!

So my goal for this week, is to address the corrections that have been marked up, add in all the elements I already worked on, format and upload.  Most of the work has already been done, except for the formatting part, so hopefully it won't take too long to get up.

Meanwhile, the internet is full is of interesting things.

Authors, have you uploaded your books to Kobo yet?  If so, did you know that you can connect your goodreads reviews to your Kobo?  Forget waiting around for people to rate it, you can have all the reviews you've already earned for yourself!  Awesome!  Find out how to do that HERE.

Do you like cheap books?  I know I do!!  HERE is a great website that finds all the cheap ebooks on the web and puts them right at your mouseclick.

A timely warning on the use of copyrighted material on the web.  This one scared the bejesus out of me.  Read about this author's account, HERE.

I've pretty much always been on the indie side of things with my writing, so I guess I'm biased.  This is an interesting article, but Mark Coker is biased too.  Still, worth considering.  Read it HERE.

This one had me riveted—one author's experience with Apple iBookstore bias and content policing.  Chilling.  Read it HERE.  And the followup, HERE.

And above all, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The New Me!

I've been thinking that it's a new year and I have a new baby, and I should revamp my bio. Pretty soon I'll have a new book to add (Iam willing, hahaha), and a new book I'm working on, so I should get my act together and update that sucker.
But I'm having a little problem...

No, it's not a freak windstorm!  (Sorry, had to reference my new favorite k-pop video)

I have no idea what to write, besides the obvious.  Hi, my name is Kate and I write books.  Will you read my books?  I wrote these books.  Oh, and also, I like to garden.  And read.  And I have two kids.  And a husband, too.   The End.

There, what do you think?  Yeah, that's about how I felt too.  So I'm clearly still dwelling on that.

But I did get some things accomplished.  Dedication and Acknowledgments, CHECK.  Intro to Kait Nolan's excerpt, CHECK.  Almost 3,000 words written in Terris, too, thankyouverymuch.   All in all, I'm feeling pretty good right now.  Although, I wish New Baby would sleep. Gosh that would be nice.  It would.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Drop of Bitter

Hello, all you who dwell in the land of the internets. I come bearing gifts today. My outline for Terris is finished and so is my outline for the next Angelic Agents short story/novella/book. Not sure what that one's going to be yet. Terris will of course feature each of the main characters in The Five Tribes series: Nikka, Zyander, and Luka. And each of those characters has a full chapter outline now. I had some trouble with Zyander at the last and I'm still undecided about his final chapter, because there are a couple of different ways it can go at this point. But his storyline will intertwine with the others in some interesting ways. It seems obvious, now that I've plotted it out, but sometimes I just can't see the forest for the trees.
Everyone is always talking about plotters and pantsers in the world of writing. Can I just say how much I DETEST the word pantsing? As in "I'm pantsing the next book." You're WHAT? Pulling its pants down to make a fool of it in front of the other books? What did that poor sad book ever do to you, you meany?!
I personally like to think of myself as a person who carefully plans out each chapter of the next book, but in reality, my heart is a rebel. Look at what happened with Luka's story in Aeris. I will tell you a secret, readers. He was meant to transform by the end of that second book. IT DID NOT HAPPEN THAT WAY AT ALL!
I don't know what happens to me when I start writing a story. I had all three characters completely planned before I started writing, but they just do what they want with no regard for my plans. Characters died, ran away, got captured, fell in love... and I had no say in it. Whose book is this, anyway?
So I guess I can't call myself a plotter, even though my heart is in the right place. Or, my mind, anyway. There is that rebellious, indie writer part of me that simply can't be tied down.
Goals for August: Well, now that I've finished the outline for Terris, I've joined up with Camp Nanowrimo and I'll be trying to write the first 50,000 words by the end of the month. Of course, I still have the Angel book (untitled at this point) and I'll work on that one day a week, either Tuesday or Thursday. It'll probably be Thursday this week, because Camp starts on Tuesday.
As for Aeris, I've had some bad news. My proof reader got sick (of all the luck!) last week, so we've had to push the deadline back by a few days. In anticipation of this, however, I'll be doing some of the formatting work ahead of time: the pronunciation guide will get updated, I'll add in Kait's excerpt of Red with an intro. I'll write my acknowledgments. I'll start putting up the skeletons for the book on Kobo, B&N, Smashwords, and Amazon. I'm also going to send out a small e-gift to the fans that have been emailing me since Compis came out, simply because Aeris wouldn't exist without their cheerleading. It's been a LONG year.

And that is all I've got today. A drop of bitter in the pot, but a hope of sweetness to come.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Hate to be Debbie Downer...

All the dramz on the internetz are making me tired, people.  I'm in a fortunate place where I can say that.  I'm not having my safety threatened by crazypants authors who want to freak me out so badly that I can't even sleep in my own house at night.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, you are one of the few remaining that don't.  I will only provide one link, and that is to reviewer Lucy's post on STALKING.
Long story short.  Some authors, traditional and indie alike, don't like it when people give them bad reviews or snark about them.  Some of these authors have taken it upon themselves to make a hate site for all the authors they don't like.  Sure, this is a free country, and if haters want to hate, we can't stop you.  But when you post personal info that makes it easier for an angry mob to go after these reviewers, we have a problem. When reviewers are afraid to sleep in their own houses at night, we have a problem.  When someone starts to fear for their life OVER A FREAKING BOOK REVIEW, we have a problem.
I wish... I wish I could go back to the old days of goodreads.  Back in 2008, when I first joined it, I had such a fun time posting what I was reading and connecting with other readers.  Sure, there would be the occasional troll or snarkfest, but overall, it was a community based on a love for reading.
When I see authors who can't get a clue, who over and over again INSIST that they have a right to tell other people how to feel about their books, I feel sick inside.  Trust me, I sympathize when people call your book "gay-bashing" or "hate filled" especially when that wasn't your intent.  But that's life.  And you need to trust GOOD word of mouth to spread on behalf of your book.  You need to trust that the readers out there who GET your work will find you and tell others how great it is.  You need to trust that everything WILL be okay if someone hates your book. It does suck when someone spends 5 pages telling everyone how much everything about your book—characters, world, plot, etc—aren't worth the paper they're printed on.  When someone says that it's hours of their life they will never get back.  I've been there.  But who gives a crap, anyway?  Your book will still sell.  Mine does.  People will still email you to tell you how much they enjoyed your books.  People do for me.  The world will keep turning, I promise.  Instead of focusing on the negative, how 'bout you keep writing instead.  Do your best work, always.  Keep your chin up.  And stop lashing out at the people whose opinions ARE ONLY OPINIONS.

On to other things.  No word from the proofreader.  :(  She has the deadline of July 27th, which she has assured me she can meet.  I've finished Luka and Nikka's chapter outlines for Terris, but I'm majorly struggling with Zyander.  I feel like I really need to pin him down, too, because his story is going to intersect Nikka's in the beginning and Luka's in the end.  My goal is to finish both the Terris outline and the Angel outline by August 1st, so I can go to NanoWrimo Camp.  Hopefully I'll finish. :)  In August, my goal will be the 50,000 words for the end of the month.  We'll see how that pans out, but that would help me get a chunk of Terris done in a major way.

I'm really excited to start up on the next book in a major way.  Terris is going to have so many interesting elements in it that continue from Aeris.  I don't want to spoil the story, though, so I will keep quiet about them for now.

Off to switch the laundry.  Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vacation... All I ever Wanted!

Hello from the other side, my friends!

I have been traveling like a maniac across the country: Nevada, Utah, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevadas of California.  I have spent more hours in the car than I have in the past year and my children are now seasoned travelers.

In my three weeks, I've seen: mountains majesty, 3 dead cows on the side of the road on Hwy 6, trees you can stand inside, little boys fishing in pond, lake, and stream, Oded Fehr (heck yes, and it was thrilling for a Resident Evil fan like me), and a thrashed trailer thanks to a mama bear and her three (YES THREE) cubs that adopted my parents' property.

I have missed my internet and my goodreads addiction reached an all time HIGH, but there is good news (besides happy boys and husband who have FOR ONCE received my entire attention):  I'm 9 books ahead in my books of the year goal and I've officially begun to start on the next book in the Five Tribes series.

So what is the scoop, my ROWs' compadres?  Sorry to join in late!  Aeris is halfway finished with its proofing, or so I have assurance from my proof reader.  I've also been told I have a serious problem with ending sentences with prepositions.  Yay, something else to work on in my writing!  Hopefully, very soon it will be making its way to me for final additions (copyrights, acknowledgments, etc.) and formatting.

And on the Terris front: I'm 2/3rds finished with Nikka's chapter outline, and 2/3rds finished with Luka's.  Zyander's storyline will be a bit more complicated this time around, simply because he's got so much going on.  So far, I have about 4 chapters of his story outlined.

This time around, in Terris, I will be writing each story line on its own.  Hopefully, that will keep my writing at a faster pace.  I'm also going to try being a bit more detailed with my chapter outline.  Last time around I did summaries for each story, but that didn't have enough detail to carry me through the rough spots.  There were a lot of pleasant surprises that resulted, but I don't think I would have had the same issues with Zyander's story line, if I'd had a better outline.

It's hard for me, because I'm a creative person and I want wiggle room.  But I need to constantly remind myself to be more organized.  To that effect, I've started a Scrivener file on the Five Tribes Series.

My other goal, besides finally getting some of my concept art posted, is to dedicate one day a week to writing the next Angelic Agents story.  It may turn out to be a Novella.  Not sure yet.  But I'm having fun planning it.

That's all for now.   The book is still at a reduced price.  For now.  Will decide what to do after I've emailed Smashwords.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Quick Update While I Have Internet and a SALE!

Hi.  For like 3 hours I will have some internet, so I wanted to come on and tell you how much I am enjoying vacation and how much I'm enjoying the thought of getting back to WORK!  :)
For now, though, I'm reading, reading, reading.  You can keep track of my stuff on goodreads, as always.

My biggest announcement is that I've been having an issue with Amazon KDP (MORE ON THAT LATER!!!  A LONG ENTRY TO COME!) and have set my Compis' price -for a very limited time- to $.99!  Tell your friends, tell your relatives, tell strangers on the street!  This is a blip in the radar and will probably NEVER happen again and it will only be on sale for like 5 or 6 days.

I just did it this morning after receiving numerous emails from KDP, so it may take a day or so to go live.  Enjoy it while it lasts and have a great next week!  I'll see you soon for the next ROW!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

I love Oprah.  Well, everything except her bookclub.  Man, Oprah, do you want me to slit my wrists and leave behind two innocent babies, because YOUR BOOKS ARE SO DEPRESSING!!!  Like,"I have no will to live" depressing.

My favorite episodes of Oprah before her show ended were those ones where she had a "favorite things" episode.  She'd stand up on the stage and start throwing stuff at the audience.
"Have a new playstation!"
"It's a year's supply of $5,000 face lotion!"
"A new Jetpack!"

Okay, maybe not that last one, but you'd think so, from the way the people in the audience act.

See what I mean?  Who likes bees that much?

To kick off my lovely vacay, I now give to you, Kate's favorite things on the internet!  Be forewarned, many of these are nerdy in the extreme.

The first is poupee dolls.  It's this little game/social networking thingamagig.  Basically, you join up, and you get a little paper doll.

This is just an example; my doll doesn't look like this.  So you earn "ribbons"—the poupee girl cash—and you buy super cute clothes and accessories and you dress her every day.  This is my 3rd year.  And I love it.  I'm not a super girly girl in real life (yes, I wear dresses, but man, what a hassle) and I don't have the budget to buy myself endless amounts of cute clothing.  So poupee is how I feel my need for shoes and bags.  It's Japanese, which leads to some rather confusing site announcements, but more and more Americans join every day.

Next up is my beloved Korean dramas.  Imagine that you are awake all hours of the night and you can't make a lot of noise.  Imagine also that you've run through everything in your Netflix queue and all your Friends DVDs.  Let the dramz begin.  Kdramas are these amazing, short series that are pure entertainment and romance.  Why do I love them?  Well, first, they're subtitled. So I can turn down the sound and not worry about keeping the household awake when I'm up with New Baby.  Second, they are so CLEAN.  I mean, I'm not against a healthy amount of sexiness in my shows, but I've got kids.  I don't want to watch anything that will be bad for their eyes.  Most of what's in them is hugging and hand holding.  It's like Pride &
Prejudice with Korean Smartphones.

And Coffee Prince is like the BEST THING EVER!!!  *sigh*  (The above link is to my favorite Korean Drama site, Drama beans.  It's a page with the BEST of the Kdramas. And also, there are a TON of Kdramas on Hulu.)

Then there is  If you want to know the top 5 reasons for anything—the awful websites of people who should know better (*cough* George R.R. Martin *cough*), gay guys who got more women than straight men, things flight safety presentations should mention—read these articles and be wildly entertained.  Kind of like the onion, except it doesn't take itself as seriously.  

And finally, thanks to my son, I have become doubly addicted.  First of all, I am addicted to My Little Pony. The first time I saw it, I was like... "Uh, that's cute, son, but what happened to Mighty Machines?"  Cut to two days later and I was like, "MUST. WATCH. ANOTHER. EPISODE!"  Seriously, I love the show.  Applejack is my favorite character and I'm not sure if that's because she's so sassy or because I just love that cereal. :)  

And from there blossoms my other newest addiction: My Little Pony gifs. :)  My favorite tmblr is HERE.

In quick ROW update news, I've been writing a sequel to Fire of God, which is one of my Angelic Agents short stories.  I'm not sure how long it's going to be yet, but I'm going to keep writing until it's finished.  I've also started plotting the next book in the Five Tribes series.  Terris is going to be AWESOME, but I'm afraid there are some plot changes ahead.  Aeris really got away from me. hahaha

Happy Father's Day and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tah-Dah! *poof*

So, Aeris is done.  Finished.  Over with my proof reader.  It is out in the ether.  I'd post a meme of triumph, but the truth is, I'm just numb.  This is the part, even larger than the editing, where I start to doubt myself and my abilities.  Not fishing for compliments here, it's just the plain truth.
When I've finished my edits and left it in the hands of a proof reader, I start thinking, "I should have changed this.  I'm still torn about that.  Was I too obvious?  Too vague?  Did I edit my natural prose too much?"  I think I have pretty healthy instincts on what to edit in my own writing.  But no one is perfect, and neither will my story be.
So, let's go over what happened.  Aeris went through two edits.
The first read through and edit was for continuity, naming, and storyline.  That is where the biggest changes happened in Aeris.  I rewrote Zyander's storyline.  I deleted two chapters from Luka's story, then added a whole new one at the end of the book.  I moved 3 or 4 chapters into different order.  I deleted parts of Nikka's story, and rewrote portions of it.  Then there were the MULTIPLE changes along the way, the little ones.
The second read through and edit were for paragraph, sentence, style and structure.  This is the most tedious, but ultimately necessary part of my editing.  This is where I examined each sentence for its meaning, and its form.  I try not to mess too much with my inherent writing style, because, well, I like my style.  It's not for everyone, but its what makes me unique.  Still, writing at 5 in the morning is telling sometimes.  Many sentences were unclear, or said too much or were repetitive.  Those have got to go.

Now, the book will be with the proofreader for about a month, I'm guessing.  When it gets back, I will look over any changes that are called for, then I'll format the book, and post it on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords.
What am I doing while I wait?  Taking a much deserved break.  I've been dwelling on this storyline so long my brain hurts, frankly.  I've got several chapters plotted out for when I start up with Terris, but for now, I'm going to be on vacation for three weeks.  YES, THREE.  I'll be in Utah, Yosemite and the Sierra Nevadas.  Some of the time I'll have access to the internet, so I may post an entry or two.
I will also—because I have a DISEASE—still be writing.

I've gotten some requests to write more of my angelic agents, so I will probably do a third in Gideon & Samora's tale, and start in on the story of Bethel and her transformation.  Fun stuff!

I will also have my kindle and like a BAZILLION books on it.  If you are interested in knowing what I'll be reading, I made a list on my pinterest.  LINK HERE

And finally, I just want to give a shout-out to Kait Nolan and her wonderful ROW80 writing challenge.  Without the cheers and encouragement of so many who have been on this year-long journey with me since the beginning, I don't know if I ever would have finished Aeris.  So thanks, everyone!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Look, a Shiny Distraction!

The world is full of people who will either drag you down or lift you up.  I have seen both, and today is my day of VINDICATION!  Let me just note that vindication is a petty emotion.  It usually involves feeling like not only has someone stood up for the awesomeness that is you, but that you can now feel free to rub it in ALL THE PEOPLES' FACES!!

My family is amazing and supportive.  May you be blessed with such a plethora of willing and excited readers, encouragers, and cheerleaders, my friends.  One of these days, I will write a book about THEM, and you will know the depths of my thankfulness and appreciation.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as supportive as they are.  Here in the blogosphere, I must treat those in the real world like patients under the HIPAA code.  I will not name names.  It wouldn't be productive anyway.  Let's just say that a couple of weeks ago, a certain someone from my real life had some not so nice things to say about both me as a person and as a writer.  Suckage.  I brushed off the writerly part, because I've gotten a thick skin about this sort of thing.  But the personal stuff hurt.  I admit it.  

Cut to today, when said person commented to a friend of mine (perhaps not knowing he was a friend?) about me (thinking to gain a partner in commiseration), and my friend rose to my defense in the nicest way!  It was hard not to feel spitefully vindicated.  I squashed it down with a vengeance, but I will admit, it does warm my heart that I have good friends who have my back.

And now, my readers and writers alike, I will point you to many shiny distractions, so you don't ask how the editing on Aeris is going (fine, just fine.  Ask me next Sunday and you will hear me say YAY!  IT'S DONE!!).

HERE is an interesting article about the publishing industry from an insider.
HERE is yet another place to post your scribbles, fellow authors.
HERE is some excellent advice from writer Wesley Dean Smith on thinking of yourself as a publisher.
And HERE is a link to the awesome My Little Pony Tumblr I borrowed the gifs from.  My son is in love with this show right now, so I have it on the brain. :)

Happy Reading!  And stay awesome!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Alive and Kicking

Despite rumors to the contrary, I am still alive and writing.  Thank you for asking—those of you who did.  I've pretty much cut myself off from the internet these past two weeks.  Don't expect more of me, either, until about June 9th.

Why?  Well, every waking moment has been taken with either gardening or editing.  Have I gotten more done? Why yes I have.  I'm halfway there, folks.  Of course, halfway just isn't good enough, Dangit!  Which is why I've concocted my master plan.  Do nothing.

Hahaha, Just Kidding!

Oldest son is going to stay at grandma's for a week, and while he's there, I will be house sitting for my parents at their place.  An empty place.  With no distractions.  Except New Baby, of course.  But he's just gotten over a cold so he should be good for another 2 weeks.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that.  I'm about 25 pages behind because my parents came up for a week, then New Baby got sick, and now my sister and her husband are visiting for Memorial Day.  Which is all good and fun (except for sick baby, who spent literally a full day in my arms), but doesn't get the work done.  So the first week in June is my big push.


I swear, if I get another email or message or comment telling me how much someone liked the book and how excited they are to read the next one, I will expire from guilt!  Seriously, I feel soooo bad.  I feel like I'm letting people down.  Not a good feeling.

So yeah.  I will try to update next weekend, but if I don't, you know it's because I'm WORKING.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


ROW80 confession time, folks.  It turns out that my editing eyes were bigger than my editing stomach.  In other words, I'm not as far along as I want to be.  In actuality I'm 47 out of 216 pages finished with editing Aeris.  

Yeah, I know.  Ultimate writer FAIL, right?  But it takes sooooo long!  I can't help it.  At this rate, much to my dismay, I think it's going to take about a month to finish these edits.  *sigh* Which pushes back my May release of Aeris to end of June.  That is the bad news.  The good news is, I CARE about how this book ends up.  The good news is, rather than do a slap-dash, half-assed effort and speed through my edits, I'm looking at the overall picture, the chapter-by-chapter picture, and the sentence-by-sentence picture.  My personal vow, and my commitment to my readers is that I'm going to put out the best possible product that I can, starting with my edits.  Thankfully, my proofreader is a very patient woman! So, Onward!  Remember, my Word Of The Year is DETERMINATION.

And now, to take my mind off of my troubles, I'm going to talk about what I've heard most authors discuss at one time or another: Inspiration.  More specifically, musical inspiration.  :)

I've read several different authors' blogs, and everyone has their own thing.  Heck, Vicki Keire posts her ongoing playlist for readers to sample.  (Much appreciated, Vicki!)

I am a Pandora girl by nature.  I have about... 20 different playlists going right now. hahaha  But here is my issue.  I can NOT write if the music has words.  I love music so much that if I hear a song I know, I start singing it and forget about writing. hahaha  So I had to find something else to inspire my writing.

Right now, my writing is pretty much all fantasy, what most would call "high" or "epic" fantasy.  It requires lots of dramatic writing: romantic, lots of action, full of longing.  It takes a special composer to write music that fits my world vision.  But I found one!

Let me introduce you, dear readers, to Bear McCreary, the genius behind the best sci-fi series of all time: Battlestar Galactica (reimagined version). (Side note: never thought I'd say that about any series but Firefly, but BSG is fully awesome!)  This is seriously some of the best music I've ever listened to.  Violins, piano, DRUMS, DRUMS, DRUMS!  Just what the author ordered. I've posted two of my favorites here.  SOOO GOOOD!

My other recent discovery is a guy who is admittedly an amateur composer.  The coolest part of his story is that he reads books and composes inspirational songs to match.  He is passionate about The Hunger Games, and has 3 albums worth of music for each of the 3 books.  His name is Sam Cushion and he is FANTASTIC!  Seriously, I love his compositions.  Here are two of my favorites.

This is why writers write!  To inspire and uplift!  Can you imagine someone loving your books so much that they want to write music dedicated to them?  That is so cool!  Sam Cushion, I salute you and your passion for reading!  You are awesome.

What do you listen to for inspiration?  If nothing, then I suggest you try out my two favorites.  
BTW- Here is a link to Sam Cushion's Website.

PS- That is New Baby putting in a cameo.  Can you believe his expression?  We still have no idea why he made that face.  There was no flash involved in the picture. :)
PPS- Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers!
Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Must Have Been High

Seriously, have you read Aeris?  Have you?  I knew it would be rough.  I did.  But MAN ALIVE I HAD NO IDEA.

Honestly, I don't know if I was on crack when I wrote it or what, but IT NEEDS SO MUCH WORK!!!  Like 5 or 6 edits per kindle page(that's at LEAST, most of the time it's whole blocks of text that need work). 

Some people have problems with the words: writer's block or story structure.  They doubt themselves, their work languishes.  The words have never really been a problem for me.  No, the editing is where my big doubts hit.  I look over my work and shudder.  "This is awful!"  "What was I thinking?"  "This makes no sense!"  "How can I call myself a writer?!?!?!"  

It certainly doesn't help that I've read so many awesome and amazing books lately!  All I can do is read my words and fret over my characters not being kick butt enough, my stories not being action-packed enough, that my readers (the ones who've emailed to tell me how excited they are about the new book) will HATE where I've gone with the story line.  I don't want them to feel like I've let them down.

Anyway, to get my mind off of my troubles, let me tell you about my process for editing.  I've recently made a couple of changes, too, thanks to Elizabeth May and her FABULOUS ENTRY ON EDITING and also, if you're a glutton for punishment take a look at her really educational First Page Edits HERE and HERE.

I'm not that far yet.  I'm still in the early stages of my process.  The first thing I do with a book when I finish the rough draft is put it aside.  I sent it to beta readers.  I think about the overall arch of the story.  What are my character's motivations and does my plot reflect that?  Is there anything I put in that doesn't make sense for the story?  How will this book move me along toward Terris?  All of my musings are mental.

Then I start making notes in my Wonder Woman notebook (which is dedicated to all my Five Tribes scribblings.  Scrivener, anyone?).  I wait for the feedback.  With each passing comment, I get a sharper image of what I need to do to improve the book.  

I finally open the book again for myself.  It's been interesting this time around, because some of this stuff I haven't read in a YEAR, so it is totally foreign to me.  So I do a quick format job on my book (OMG, I HATE .mobi, did I mention that?  I have scads and scads of random paragraphs in italics, for no apparent reason!) and start reading.

Here is where I started to feel bad for my beta readers, because IT'S SO LONG!!!  It takes me an hour to get through 5 percent of the book, and I'm a fast reader.  I think it's gotta be close to 500 pages.  Holy crap?  Did that come out of my brain??  Using kindle notes and highlights, I mark the rough draft up for changes.  

What are my trouble spots to look out for?  Bad words: just, like, as, SO, basically, really, likely, and barely.  I keep my eyes out for adverbs (those bad TELLING -lys): softly, angrily, roughly, wistfully.  I don't have a huge problem with them, because I've become good at training myself out of using them when I write.  -ING on the other hand.  What a nightmare!  I'm like an addict.  So I mark those up.  I highlight anything that seems confusing or doesn't make sense.  I highlight stuff that is repetitive, or gives away any surprises I might have coming up.  I mark passages that are too passive or places where there is too much dialogue and not enough description.  Basically, my rough draft is a plethora of notes to myself.

And that is where I'm at right now.  The book took longer to read than I thought, so I will have to push back my editing deadline.  I'm thinking that it won't get done till the end of next week.  At which point it goes off to the proof reader and I get started on some of the other things on my list.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cover Love...

Quick ROW update:  I've gotten all my feedback and I've plunged into hardcore editing for Aeris.  I'm hoping to have the majority of my cuts and edits done by early in the first week of May (not this coming week, but the week after).  After which it will be shipped off to the proof reader's and then back to me for formatting.  Then it will be out, out, out!
When that is done, there is the super secret writing project to finish and then I will get started on Terris.  Not quite sure how long this next book will be.  I'm thinking it will be somewhere in between the first book and the second.  So, maybe about 300 pages or so?  I haven't finished my outlines yet, because I started editing, so that will be another task to get to when Aeris is completed.

This has been a week of upheaval for my favorite book bloggers.  If you google "The Story Siren" and plagiarism, you'll see why.  I don't have a lot to say about it, because I'm not a book blogger, but plagiarism sucks.  It happens all the time in the indie writing world.  Kindleboards are filled with people whose books have been ripped off and sold under a different name (or the same name) on Amazon.  All that to say, I sympathize, and I hope all my favorite bloggers are feeling better soon.

I also ran across some interesting articles full of commentary on covers, particularly for either YA fiction or Paranormal romance.  Basically, the criticism is: men are portrayed as powerful and pose in more realistic poses.  And no, it is not just women saying so.  In fact, two of the more hilarious posts are by writer Jim C. Hines.  His posts are on Women and Fantasy Covers & Posing Like a Man.   But if you are interested, there's a great post by Emily Asher-Perrin on the sexy, over the shoulder shot for women, HERE.   There another blogger trying more insane book cover poses, HERE.   Then there is my personal favorite, by my favorite blogger Kat Kennedy at and some of her insightful commentary on YA Covers.

There is a growing trend in YA fiction, to make covers like magazine covers- pretty white girls who most of the time have nothing to do with the content inside.  That sounds harsh, but it's like a parade of pretties.

Let me just say, there is NOTHING wrong with a pretty cover.  I do worry, a little, that YA books are really going to end up like magazine covers, all about the pretty.  Almost as though a pretty enough cover will forgive any literary flaws.
Thank goodness for Hunger Games! :)

Have a great week, all.  Hope to have some good news for Wednesday's check in.
Happy Reading!