Sunday, January 22, 2012


So, I read Kait Nolan's blog when I can (that woman is seriously prolific and I have no idea how she does it, so I often find myself woefully behind) nodding in agreement with much of what she says, mulling and pondering as well.  Then, the other day she introduced this concept that is just so brilliant, people.  (I know, you're all wondering what WOTY is, and will I just get to the point already!?)
Word of the Year.  Hers is "steady" which is a great one, I admit.  For me, personally, my WOTY is
It's an important word for me, with a book that is woefully behind schedule, plus an extra bebe to care for, a garden that needs starting, chickens that need feeding, bread that needs baking... you get the idea.  My life is busy, and if I let it, I could easily admit defeat, walk away from the world that fills my dreams and imagination, and call it quits.  It would certainly be the easier path then waking up early or staying  up late or giving every extra moment to research and writing.  I could take up crocheting or be super crafty like my super crafty sister (check my pinterest for a link to her blog).  
But no.  I am a writer and so I must write.  So then, the question becomes one of fortitude (which is another great word).  Will I give up?  Will I slack off?  Will I sleep in, when it's easier, thanks to my teething baby?  I am DETERMINED to finish this book.  I am DETERMINED not to let defeat overtake me.  I am DETERMINED to put out the best product I can, even if that means taking longer, making major rewrites, and finishing 6 or 7 mths later than I expected to.

ROW: I expect to finish up my short story Siren Song by today or tomorrow, along with formatting the others to send to some beta readers and then straight to proofing.  Hoping to hear back from my sister about permission for the images she wants to use for the covers and then get these done in the next week.  After that, I want to finish up Luka's story line by the middle of February.

What is YOUR Word of the Year?

Here are a few links that I've gathered for your reading pleasure:

Happy Reading!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

ROW and Link Happy Day!

So, I'm home again and somewhat better, but as is the case with EVERYONE who leaves home and is gone about a month(yes, a month), I have so many many things to get done.  I've written NOTHING in Aeris.  But that's okay, because I HAVE been writing!  I have.

I wrote a short story that I have no audience for, as far I can tell and I'm currently writing another short story that has something of an audience.  I'm not sure what to do with these stories... I'm thinking about putting together a collection and trying out that Kindle Select Prime thingy.

BUT LET ME BE CLEAR... NONE of my books(Compis, Aeris, Six Keys or any of my Angelic Agents books —both of which you can get for free on Smashwords if you like Fantasy Western Romances) will ever be exclusively anywhere.  I feel pretty strongly about everyone having access to them.  I love Smashwords and what it represents and the fact that it's super flexible.

Probably half of the letters that I've gotten from readers telling me how much they enjoyed Compis are from people who didn't buy them on Amazon (although my sales at other venues continue to be minimal in comparison).  What does that tell me?  Well, people who buy on Kindle care less about letting me know if they liked my book or not.  Not sure why.  I guess it's a different kind of reader.  Anyway, I have no desire to piss off my readers.  I love them.  However, I must try it, because Konrath demands we try new things as authors.  I've made a commitment to try several new things this year and this will be one of them.  The others will be announced soon.

So to summarize: Weird little stories about girls with keyhole universes and psychotic androids, YES.  Books that people actually read and comment on, NO.

I have read some of the MOST INTERESTING articles ever in the past week.  BTW, I just want to say again how much I LOVE the passive voice.  It is hands down (besides Konrath) one of the best resources for writers out there.  Here are a few of the stories I found most fascinating this week.

Amazon wants to kill publishers??

Readers Taste in Books vs. Publishers Taste in Books

This one is particularly good: Investing in Your Future (as a writer)

Writers Will Work for Cheap

Writer vs. Author

Enjoy all these, good luck in your goals, and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Doing that Indie Thing You do...

Hey there!  Remember that THING, we talked about a few weeks back?  This one, right HERE...
Well, it turns out, that's still a good idea!  What a concept!  For those of you too lazy to follow the link back (admit it, you are) let me just summarize.

As an author, you will get some wonderful reviews (at least, that is my hope for you!). You will get lovely emails, four and five star ratings on various book sites, you may even have your favorite reviewer send you an email telling you that she loved your book.

ON THE OTHER HAND... you will also get plenty of the other variety as well.   People who will call your book bad, say it's only okay, or pretty much ream your writing until you feel like it was a useless endeavor to write in the first place.  If you can't accept that as a FACT, RIGHT NOW, then you have no business in this business.

Seriously, good customer service is the name of the game, folks.  We indies (and not so indie) are running businesses that require absolute professionalism from us at all times.  This means ignoring the stinging one star reviews when they come (AND YES THEY WILL COME) or at the MOST thanking the reviewer for their generous time and effort in reading our work.

We charge people money.  Let's not forget that.  Any product or commodity on the market has fans and haters.  FACT OF LIFE.  That is why there are Mac people, PC people and Linux people.  That is why there are Team Jacob people and Team Edward people (and I HATE TWILIGHT people).

You know what's not great, at least for me?  What's MUCH MUCH WORSE than getting a one star review (which I have gotten, lest we think I'm an arrogant writer person)?  What's much worse than getting a one star review is feeling horrified by another indie author who just can't take the heat.  What is much worse is feeling embarrassed to BE AN INDIE —something that I've always been proud of before.

I'm going to link here because I feel like we all need to take a page from the lesson here, which is NEVER EVER DO THIS.

Posting FORTY reviews (real or not) on a reviewer's blog that YOU SUBMITTED YOUR BOOK TO, will not counteract her critical review of your work.

 WHY did you think it would be a good idea to respond to a one-star review (at least twice now) with a blog post deriding said reviewer and review... how in the world did you think that would help you become an "up and coming author" as you describe yourself??  

To the audience of people who reads this blog... PLEASE remember that the internet is a small world.  Use good judgement and good manners.  And realize one tiny little thing... IF SOMEONE DOESN'T LIKE YOUR BOOK, IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD.  Pass it on.

Happy Reading!

PS- ROW update: I have actually been writing, despite a new round of sickness and sleepless nights.  Luka's storyline is closer to being finished and I am really excited about the round of celebration that awaits when I finish that first draft! :)

PPS- For a full update of the reviewer/author drama, of which I highlighted on the indie part, go HERE.

Monday, January 2, 2012


As I mentioned in my entry The Twelve Plagues of Christmas  which somehow the lovely Blogger refused to publish, oy, I got a little off track during Christmas, for obvious reasons.  But also, I got some great planning done.

And now, my big announcement... I AM GOING TO FINISH AERIS BY APRIL 30.  That is writing, editing, proofing, formatting, and posting.  Every dang thing that needs to be done will be done.

That's about all I have to say about that, except, good luck to all of you and welcome to all our new joiners.  This is a fabulous group, I can attest to that!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Everyone is talking about their favorite books of the year and I've definitely got a few of my own.  Some people have separate lists for indie and traditionally published, but since I don't really care either way, you're getting this list Kate style and in the order that I read them.

So, let's start off with my favorite series of the year.  I couldn't pick one, so there are two, and mind you, these are FINISHED series.

The first is an indie that has now been reissued by St. Martin's press.  Gone are the days where you can pick it up for $.99-$2.99, I'm afraid.  It's the Trylle Trilogy, by Amanda Hocking.  I admit, the first book didn't get more than a "like" from me.  It was rough and I didn't really like the main character.  But by the end of the series, I was completely won over to the characters, the story and Amanda herself.

My other favorite series of the year, The Fable Haven Series.  I loved the first book, though the characters came off as immature.  By the fifth and final books, the characters had grown up, along with the story.  I cannot say enough about how high a quality these books are in the world of juvenile fiction.  I plan on buying the entire series for my boys to read, because I know they'll love it and for once, I approve of the entire content!

Let's move on to books:  There are a scant few of these, but I found several new favorite authors as the year progressed.  Thanks to goodreads, and all of my favorite book reviewers, I read a treasure trove of good books.

1)  I don't ask for much from a book, but it's got to keep me reading!  This book delivered in spades, and I was up all night, riveted by this story of a normal American family caught up in a devastating race for survival. The ending was abrupt, but satisfying and I was pretty impressed with my first taste of Blake Crouch.
2)  This book was recommended by my cousin, and I was once again reminded how FANTASTIC juvenile fiction can be at its best.  Poetic, tragic, and ultimately morally satisfying, I recommend this to parents of kids who enjoy a thrill and some mild horror.

3)  This book is a shining example of steam punk as it should be.  The characters are amazing, the world is built to the nth degree and I could NOT STOP READING it.  I wasn't a fan of the Uglies series, but Westerfeld really won me over with the quality of this book.

4) This book is going at the top of my all time fantasy loves.  It's a book to BUY and KEEP and LOVE for me.  The writing style is not for everyone, but I was transported.

5)  This book was so amazing that I didn't even notice it was the hated first person present tense until page 85, so you know I liked it!  There was a point with some flashback stuff that could have been corny, but actually ended up being delightful.  This is an author I will read again for sure.

6)  It is a big deal for me to like a werewolf book.  They are a WAY overdone character type, and yet, Red proves the rule that you can make ANYTHING seem new again, if you do it well.  I ate up this book in one gulp.  It is perfectly timed, impeccably written, and has very little in the way of YA annoyances.  Like Mary Poppins, it is practically perfect in every way.

7)  No, I didn't forget one of my other favorite indies of the year.  I was hoping to make the Angel's Edge series one of my favorites of the year, but alas, I didn't get to read the third (and final?) book, so I picked my favorite to highlight, Darkness in the Blood.  Both of these books were excellent, but I found myself enjoying the more polished writing style of Darkness better.  

8)  I had a hard time with this book at first, being an American, but after some help from my Aussie friends, I was completely bowled over by the writing style, the beautiful way the story came together and well, the fact that I cried my eyes out made this book a nice end of the year surprise.

9)  From the first page to the last, Laini Taylor was an unparalleled artist, weaving words and metaphors together in a unique prose I found delicious and irresistible.  I couldn't get over these short stories and wished for more in the end.  She will be a new favorite author for me, I can tell.

My final favorite of the year isn't really a book, it's more of a novella or short novel.  It's worth noting, however, so that's why I include it.  It was one of my more successful beta reads, for sure.  I can't wait to read the next.

I hope your reading endeavors were as successful as mine this year.

Happy Reading!

The Twelve Plagues of Christmas...

I had quite the interested Christmas holiday this year and in honor of the horror, I have composed a remake of a beloved Christmas Carol to illustrate it.


On the first day of Christmas, my sister gave to me...
A flu bug from Texas for me!

On the second day of Christmas, my sister gave to me...
Two sleepless nights (thanks to my sick infant)
and a flu bug from Texas for me!

On the third day of Christmas, my sister gave to me...
Three hacking coughs, Two sleepless nights,
and a flu bug from Texas for me!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my sister gave to me...
Four days of fever, Three hacking coughs, Two sleepless nights,
and a flu bug from Texas for me!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my sister gave to me...
Five hours of waiting (in the ER for lung Xrays of my infant), Four days of fever, Three hacking coughs, Two sleepless nights and a flu bug from Texas for me!

Let's just skip to the end now, shall we...

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my sister gave to me...
Twelve stranded days with the in-laws (they're actually very nice), Eleven books read on kindle, Ten cans of Lysol, Nine Kleenex boxes, Eight hours driving home, Seven days of meds, Six fleeing relatives, Five hours of waiting, Four days of fever, Three hacking coughs, Two sleepless nights and a flu bug from Texas for me!

So yeah, my sister gave us the plague and WHAT A PLAGUE it was.  I literally did nothing but hold New Baby for about five days straight, as he was MISERABLE and wanted nothing to do with anyone but Mama. Poor little guy.  My oldest son was sick for about 24 hours total, but has a lovely cough as a souvenir and so do I, for that matter.  Today is pretty much the first day that I have been able to get out of bed and do anything worth talking about.

So I got zero writing done.  The good news is, even in my feverish state, I managed to get work for Aeris done.  I recited my story outline of Luka's final chapters over and over until I had it memorized.  I came up with a rewrite plan for Zyander that is seriously KICK ASS -so excited to start that, which is a major breakthrough for me.  I didn't think I could be so excited about a book after Compis, I loved that book so much, but Aeris is shaping up to be killer and man am I proud of all the hard work I've put in this year!  It's taken much longer than I planned, but it will be a better book for it, and I'm hoping that my two or three edits, plus the final proofing and formatting won't take too long.

I've got the cover, had that since the summer and as soon as my first draft of Aeris is done, I will show it here, as a mini-celebration.  My sister surpassed herself, yet again.  And I have other, exciting news that I will reveal then, as well.  It's going to be a good year for me, and I hope it will be for all of you!

This will be my first year of ROW that I get to do the WHOLE year and I am just shocked at how many people have signed up this year.  It used to be a teeny tiny group and now it's in the hundreds!  This is thanks to Kait and all of the great authors who support each other and bring on the positive feedback.  I've met so many great authors this year and made a lot of great friends.  Look forward to meeting more of you!

-Happy Reading!