Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I'm going to be taking a little blogging break until 2013! I hope you have an enjoyable holiday season! Here's to many great things in the new year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Taking the Time

Okay, so I've been doing this writing thing for 5 years now. I've been playing the social media game for nearly as long. All of it is starting to wear me to the bone. Perhaps you feel the same. Maybe you don't.

I do know I used to worry about how much time I spent writing. It never seemed to be enough, and at the same time, it was too many hours away from my family. I still constantly see people's word counts and notice them writing for many hours each day, neither of which I can replicate.

I used to work myself into a frenzy about this, thinking that "everyone" must write for hours every day, and if I couldn't, then I would not succeed.

You'll notice I've been saying "I used to."

I don't worry about those things anymore, and if you're worrying about them (or anything remotely close to this), now is a good time to stop. It's almost the new year, and many people set resolutions in their personal lives. I do too, but for the past few years, I've been setting some writing goals as well.

Maybe you'll try it this year, and maybe one of your goals will be this: Take one day off every week. One WHOLE day off. From writing. From social media. From marketing, cover designing, planning, blogging, emailing, all of it.

That's what I've been doing for this past year. Sometimes it's hard to maintain (I admit to checking and sending emails on my day off). Sometimes a deadline comes up and I have to work 7 days a week to meet it.

But more often than not, I don't. It's a choice I was making, and it was wearing me out.

So now I take every Sunday completely off. I lay around in pajamas, and go to church, and watch movies, and play games, and whatever. I do not write. Or edit. Or market. Or tweet. Or get on Facebook.

It is the best day ever.

What do you do to relieve some of the writing stress? Do you have any writing goals for 2013? Could you take an entire day off every week? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DESTINED by Ali Cross

Today is a super-special feature for one of my long-time critique partners and friends, Ali Cross. She's released the third and final book in her DESOLATION series -- DESTINED!

I've read it, and it's a fabulous ending to an ever more amazing series. If you haven't checked them out yet, be sure to do that!

Ali is doing some pretty amazing things to celebrate the release of DESTINED. Until December 15, she's offering special prices on all her books (BECOME for only 99 cents, DESOLATE for $1.99, and DESTINED for only $2.99), and having an online signing party

Not only that, but today is release day for DESTINED, and Ali is having a party all month long! She's offering books, Desi-themed swag, and a digital prize package. Be sure to check it out. 

But really, it's not the prizes that are awesome. It's the books. So if you're going to spend any time doing something today, be sure it's ordering and reading Ali's amazing trilogy. 

DESTINED: Amazon/Barnes & Noble

Check out these dedicated websites for fan favorites, news, to order the books, and more!

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's My Birthday!

Well, technically it's tomorrow, but I don't blog on Tuesdays, and I have something awesome planned for Wednesday, and who says I can't celebrate every day this week?

So I'm going to! Starting today! Hope you have a fabulous Monday, and that you're getting all geared up for the holiday season!

You know you want a piece of this Maple Bacon Birthday Cake...

Or this tribute to Elvis, which is a banana cake with peanut butter frosting and candied bacon. Um, yes please!!

Or I'll just take a few dozen of these Bacon Maple Bites.

Now I'm hungry -- AND old! Have a great day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Writing What You Love

Okay, so as I prepare to finally look beyond my Possession series, I'm faced with every author's greatest nightmare -- which is also our greatest joy -- the blank page.

The possibilities are endless with a blank page. I can create a male main character or a female. Someone people will like, or someone who needs a lot of fixing before we see the goodness within. I can imagine a new world, or use one I'm familiar with.

Today, I just wanted to remind myself -- and all of you out there laboring against the blank page -- that we should be writing what we love. Trends come and go. But good writing and good storytelling always win out.

We should not be searching for "the next big thing." I believe artists of any kind, writers included, should be doing these things:
1. Always seeking to advance their knowledge of their craft
2. Creating what they love to create
3. Helping others along their path

So those are the things I'm preparing to do at the close of this year. I will attend conferences and workshops, continue to be critiqued and edited, and read my brains out to improve my craft.

I will continue to support the authorly community, both online and by buying books.

And I will write what I love to read. I don't really know what it will be yet (fantasy? Contemporary?), but I know that it will be the kind of writing I can be proud of.

Do you write what you love? What is that, exactly?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bookanista Feature: THE IMMORTALITY EXPERIMENT by Miriam Conde

Man, I haven't done a Bookanista feature for like, ever. But today, I'm featuring Miriam Conde's THE IMMORTALITY EXPERIMENT, and Miriam was kind enough to answer some questions for me!


The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less:
Alex doesn't know about the experiment’s victims. He wants to be a good friend, but helping Dr. Carr ensnares Alex in a perilous situation.

Why e-publishing? Why now?
E-publishing is basically free and I wanted to get my material out there as fast as possible. I would like to publish my books traditionally when I find the right agent.

What’s the one thing you learned about publishing this way that you didn’t anticipate?
I did not realize that marketing would be like a complex puzzle. Each day I try new techniques to reach more people. I am constantly learning which methods work best for me. Solving the puzzle of success is an exciting task.

What else are you working on? Secrets? Inside scoops? Give us the juicy stuff!
I’m working on two different projects. A sequel to The Immortality Experiment will take the characters from the first novel to a new level. I’m writing another sci-fi series starting with “Adessa’s Sphere.” I’ve been posting the story a chapter at a time on my blog, What my readers don’t know yet is that Adessa will lead her people, not just to other planets, but to explore glorious parallel universes. (They know now!) Among the group is an unexpected danger to be revealed at the end of “Adessa’s Sphere.”



Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. I wanted to be about a million different things before I finally decided that writing suited me best. I always liked writing in school. I even wrote a book nine years ago that collected dust for a long time. That book eventually evolved into “Adessa’s Sphere.”

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
I had told myself I would never self-publish. Then I read about Amanda Hocking, author of the Trylle Trilogy. Apparently she had posted excerpts from her stories on her blog, kind of the way I’m posting my stories. Reading about her success inspired me to put myself out there in the e-book world.

Quick! You’ve been chosen to be a contestant on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
A blank notebook with a pen/pencil attached.

Tell us something about yourself we don’t know.
I want to be an astronaut! (Wow, this freaks me the heck out. You know there's NO AIR in space, right??)

And the most important of all: bacon or chocolate?
CHOCOLATE! :-D (Boo! But we still like you.)


I hope you'll check out THE IMMORTALITY EXPERIMENT. I read it, and it was a great blend of thriller and science fiction that even the science-phobic (me) can understand. Miriam did a great job with it!

Oh, and be sure to check out what books the other Bookanistas are talking about this week:

What's on your holiday reading list?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Inspirational Message: Be Coachable

Wow, we had a great beginning to December with the YA Scavenger Hunt! Thanks to everyone who participated. I will email all the winners of the Possession paperback today.

Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about being coachable. I recently spoke to a class of 6th graders, which I think is a pivotal time in a young person's life.

I first talked about Michael Phelps. He didn't just show up at the pool one day and win 8 Olympic gold medals. He's been swimming and training for years. And years. And years.

And I ask: Do you think he achieved such greatness by himself?

I don't. Behind every great thing we see, there's a support system. I've watched enough 30 in 30's to know. (Don't watch this? It's an ESPN feature that I find highly inspirational. I love sports documentaries! My favorite one is about Tom Brady.)

Michael Phelps has a coach. Someone who tells him what he's doing wrong, what he needs to do to get better. Because in swimming, you can lose by 1/100 of a second. And a good coach can tell you how to turn at the wall faster, or dive into the pool faster. And that 1/100 of a second can mean gold or no medal at all.

I think writers can learn a lot from athletes. They are coached to the extreme. They're told ALL THE THINGS they're doing wrong and they're asked to get better, and better, and better.

Writers need to be coachable.

I teach elementary school children, so no one over the age of 12. They are coachable. I can train them to do exactly what I want them to do, and with a few exceptions, they actually feel bad if they make a mistake. Children are coachable, because they don't know everything, whether they know it or not.

Teens are, for the most part, uncoachable, because they think they know everything.

I hope we can be more like the little child, and not like the teenager. It's hard. We don't want anyone telling us what to do, because it makes us feel like a failure. But it doesn't have to be that way.

We need to surround ourselves with people we trust to coach us in our writing. If you can do that, you're destined to have a golden experience.

Do you have writing coaches? How's that working out for you?

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