Friday, January 31, 2014

Cover Reveal for NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE by Amy K. Nichols!

Okay, so I just organized a cover reveal for Amy K. Nichols and her forthcoming novel, NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE, and I thought I'd share because this book sounds like something I'd adore. I mean, it's alternate dimensions! I love that kind of stuff, and I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

About NOW THAT YOU'RE HERE: Danny and Eevee are meant to be together . . . Just not in this universe.

Eevee Solomon has high school down to a science. Get the grades. Get the recommendations. Get into an Ivy League college, and eventually land a killer job at NASA.

Then Danny Ogden enters the equation.

Danny is a street-smart graffiti artist. He’s always managed to stay out of serious trouble, but this time he’s out of luck. One minute he’s running from the cops, and the next, he jolts awake in an unfamiliar body–his own, but different. Somehow, he’s crossed into a parallel universe. Now his friends are his enemies, his parents are long dead, and coolheaded Eevee is not the brazen girl he once kissed back home. Then again, this Eevee may be his only hope of getting home.

Eevee tells herself she’s only helping him in the name of quantum physics, but there’s something undeniably fascinating about this boy from another dimension . . . a boy who makes her question who she is, and who she might be in another place and time.

Sounds amazing, right? The book doesn't come out until December, but you can add it to your Goodreads shelf right now!

So let's get to the most exciting part -- the cover!

I think it's absolutely brilliant! I mean, "When worlds collide, hearts break." is AWESOME.

About Amy:
Amy has been crafting stories for as long as she can remember. She earned a Master's in literature and worked for years as a web designer, though, before realizing what she really wanted to be was an author. Her first novel, YA sci-fi thriller Now That You're Here, will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on December 9, 2014. The follow-up, While You Were Gone, will be published in 2015. She is mentored by award-winning crime novelist James Sallis.

Amy is represented by Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary. She's an active member of SCBWI and SFWA, as well as a member of the Class of 2k14 debut authors.

Find her on twitter, Facebook, and her blog.

And Amy is giving away a $25 cash prize for one lucky person who helps to spread the word about her new cover! Enter in the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What do you think of the cover??

Monday, January 27, 2014

Stretching Yourself

Okay, so I've been writing for a while now. Years, even. That certainly doesn't mean I know everything; pursuing something creative is a never-ending quest to find what is beautiful.

One of the best ways for me to come back to what I love most about writing is to stretch myself. Then I enjoy the creative wrestling with figuring out the exact right word to use, finding the perfect voice for each character, and/or discovering the style each story should have.

I've gone through a couple of these "stretching periods," where I analyze the way I've been writing and desire to renew myself and my craft by trying something new.

I think employing this idea of stretching yourself is one of the best ways to combat the feelings of inferiority and jealousy that can be prevalent in this industry. I think we have to be consistently (not constantly) thinking about how we can improve ourselves.

Many of us do this in our personal lives. We try to be kinder to others; we set physical health goals; we endeavor to try new recipes or a new hobby.

We can apply this to our writing as well. It's how ELEVATED came to be. I had written about 100 pages of the book, and I was stuck. I couldn't figure out how to end it, or even where to go next.

I'm not sure what prompted me to try writing in verse, but I did. And it stretched me as a writer in ways I didn't anticipate.

I sort of feel like I'm on the cusp of another stretching period. I've written a fair few books now, and I want to try something new. A new genre. A new POV. A new style. Something. Not sure what yet, but I'll figure it out.

What do you think? Have you experienced any stretching periods? What have you done to stretch yourself creatively?

Friday, January 24, 2014

ELEVATED cover reveal!

Okay, so most of you know I'm publishing my YA contemporary novel on February 18. And if you didn't know, now you do! It's called ELEVATED, and here's what it's about.

About ELEVATED: The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

I had a couple of fellow verse novelists read ELEVATED, and here's what they had to say.

"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go

And now here's the cover!!

Photo and design by Erin Summerill Photography

I'm also doing a $15 PayPal cash giveaway, so help spread the word about ELEVATED's cover and enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And tell me what you think of the cover!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Choosing the Best Three Things

Okay, so I've come to the conclusion that a person can only do three things really well. If we try to stuff our schedule or workload with more than three things, they all suffer.

Or maybe I can only juggle three things very well.

So for me, I'm constantly moving the third thing. See, #1 is family, and #2 is work. Those two don't move -- they can't be replaced with anything else.

But #3 is constantly up for grabs. When I'm on deadline or have revision notes, #3 is writing. For the past few months, #3 has been establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes #3 has to be organizing conferences, or whatever else. There are a million things to fill our time with, right?

Whenever I have to do two of those really well -- like keep going to the gym when I'm under deadline, all four things start to teeter and totter. Thankfully, these circumstances only happen every once in a while, for a limited time.

Anyway, my conclusion is we can only do three things -- well -- at one time. Otherwise we get mentally and physically taxed.

What do you think? Have you noticed this to be true in your life? Where does writing fit in?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why I Write

Okay, so over the weekend, my husband and I went to see the movie Saving Mr. Banks. I am not ashamed to admit that I teared up a few times (okay, maybe I'm a little ashamed).

I thought it was an absolutely fantastic movie, from the brilliant acting to the progression of the plot. I'm not interested in debating the truthfulness of it, or anything like that. I thoroughly enjoyed it from an entertainment perspective.

From an author perspective, I understand how and why Mary Poppins felt like family to P.L. Travers. I found her character complex -- and at one point I leaned over and asked my husband if we're supposed to like her.

Because she never allowed anyone into her life. And she was cold, and unyielding, and sometimes I didn't like her. But by the end, I loved her and I loved that she got to see her Mr. Banks saved.

I felt a connection to her as an author. I started writing to alleviate some of the negative emotions in my life, and often that is still why I continue to craft stories. So to see her past, witness her tragedy and pain, and see how she used writing to tame those in her life reminded me so much of myself.

I am in a much better place now than I was when I started writing over 5 years ago, but I often still call on those negative emotions to help me take my characters to the brink of disaster.

I really enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks, from both a personal and writerly position. Have you seen it?

Why do you write?

Friday, January 3, 2014

My 2014 Goals, Inspired by Ali Cross

Okay, so it's the beginning of a new year. A new calendar year. I've decided to write a few goals down (mostly because I read this post by my good friend Ali Cross, spent at least 30 minutes feeling like a loser, and then decided to make my own--much less impressive--list), and I also decided to share them with all of you. Lucky ducks!

(I actually do a lot of goal-setting in August, when the new school year begins. I live my life from August - July most of the time.)

But anyway, here are some of my publishing and life goals for 2014:
Life: Continue my physical wellness pursuits. I've lost 20 pounds, which is a direct result of my healthy eating and gym attendance. I'm going to continue doing that.

Publishing: Successfully finish edits on RIFT, a YA time travel I'm currently revising for my agent.

Life: Renew my teaching certificate. I kinda have to if I want to keep my job, so...

Publishing: Draft 2 new books. I have one started, but the second? I think I'm going to have to pull up my 30-ideas-in-30-days file and see what I've got in there...

Life: Master 10 recipes for my pressure cooker. I've made a few things now--pot roast and pulled pork--and I think I've got the pulled pork down. It was delicious. The pot roast... not so much. Needs some more work there.

Publishing: Edit/polish 4 already-written novels and prepare them for either submission or self-publishing. Don't be impressed. All 4 novels have been through quite a bit of revision already. Maybe one more round? Maybe two...

So those are the goals. I think they're pretty do-able. I also have a couple of marketing strategies. I've been sort of, I don't know, burned out (?) on marketing in the past several months. I'm honestly just not sure what works and what doesn't, and I'd rather spend my time writing. Thus--

Marketing Strategy #1: Write and publish more books. 

That's it. I'm not worried about posting on Facebook or twitter or tumblr a certain amount of time or every day. I'm looking to be more spontaneous and authentic.

So I'm going to spend my time writing, polishing, and publishing more books. Right now, I only have one scheduled (ELEVATED, February 18), but I may put out another one in the fall.

Marketing Strategy #2: Post entire works and excerpts on Wattpad.

Possession is already there, and I'm going to be uploading part of both SURRENDER and ELEVATED, as well as a new fantasy.

Marketing Strategy #3: Use my established newsletter.

I checked, and yeah. Not a good year in 2013. I think I sent 4 newsletters--the last one in June. So I'm going to try to be better about doing the newsletter thing, but I'm not going to go crazy. I'm thinking quarterly is a good start. I've already done the redesign, and the first newsletter went out yesterday.

And that's it. I hope to have a couple of books out this year, maybe some news of a deal (fingers crossed!), and most of all, a renewed enthusiasm to be an author in 2014!

Did you post goals for 2014? I'd love to go visit your blog and see them, so link me up in the comments!

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