For the Love of Art

For some reason, WordPress is being a bit of a stinker and not allowing me to reblog at this time, but I’d like to start off by welcoming the newest member of the Wind Trail Publishing family, April L. Wood!  April is known by many as one of the finest book bloggers around, and I am thrilled to announce that Wind Trail will be publishing her first book, Winter’s Curse, in October 2016!

There seems to be a lot of discussion in the literary world this week about publishing, both traditional and independent.  On the one hand, there’s been an article circulating that lists all the reasons why the author would never consider self-publishing.  I’m not going to go into what she said, because quite frankly, it was insulting and altogether untrue.  It was also very disheartening.  The independent author community is so open and loving and supportive.  Other writers are our friends, our colleagues, not our competition.

On the flip side, however, there is another author, Rachel Abbott, who is giving hope to indies everywhere.  She’s just sold her 2 MILLIONTH book.  How cool is that?  I love her positivity and her modesty and her sheer love of her craft.  That’s the thing about writers, artists in general, that I think a lot of people misunderstand.  The ones who genuinely love what they do and love their work are not in this for the money.  I’m in it because I think I would go crazy if I couldn’t write.  I can’t not write.  It’s just part of who I am.  I love to tell stories.  I love to make up characters.  I love using my imagination.

Time and time again, I’ve found myself obsessed with one thing or another.  The ocean.  Mountains.  Fairy tales.  Aliens.  Ghosts.  Camping.  Scotland.  Mermaids.  Mythology.  Romance.  Magic.  Texas.  Boy Bands.

I could never figure out, however, which one I was supposed to be focused on.  How to tie all those fascinations together.  One day, I think I’m supposed to be a Scottish Princess.  The next, I’m planning to live my entire life on a remote tropical island.  Writing is the only thing now that makes sense to me.  It allows me to explore all my passions and ideas and interests.  I don’t have to settle for just one.  And I love that.  I’d do it for free.  Heck, I wish I could just do it for free.  I hate that money has to factor into anything to do with love or passion.  But it does.  And I’m adapting.

Happy Wednesday, friends!  Keep reading.  And most importantly, keep writing.

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Updates and Plans

Hi, friends!  I realize it’s been over a week since I last posted.  Sorry about that.  Life got kind of busy all of a sudden.  Not to mention I wanted to spend some time with my friends and family for Easter.

Now that the holidays are over, however, it’s time to get back to work.  And there is a LOT going on, my friends.  There’s so much, I’m not even sure I’ll cover all of it in one blog post.  But I am going to try!

First of all, April marks the beginning of book event season!  For me, anyway.  Most of my events take place between the months of April and October.  I might have a few here and there in November and December, but for the most part, this is my busy time of the year.  I have four events scheduled for the next two months, and I am so excited about all of them!

I’ve ordered the first round of books to be signed and sold, but hopefully I’ll have to order more!  Wink, wink.

Even though I have all my books, I’m not fully prepared for these events.  I want to design some new swag to give away; bookmarks, post cards, magnets, etc…  I might even see if I can scrounge up something really cool like keychains.  Who knows?

As far as new books go, I’m still hard at work on Worldwide and Lost Souls, but I’ve also had the idea for a new book (isn’t there always an idea for a new book?) which I’ve begun working on as well.  This is probably a terrible idea to be working on three books at once, but oh well.  Worldwide and Lost Souls are my first priority since they are already part of established series and readers genuinely seem to enjoy them, but as a writer, I really enjoy writing new things.  It gives my brain a nice break and allows me to stretch my creative muscles, so to speak.

Oh!  I’ve also entered Boy Band in the Kindle Book Awards.  I have no idea if it will actually win anything or even place, but I thought, why not?  It’s worth a shot.

In other new book news, my cousin’s book, Poems, Dreams, and Memories will be released on April 1!

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I’m also really excited to announce that Wind Trail Publishing will be publishing a new Urban Fantasy novel in October!  This will be my first publication that isn’t one of MY books, so I’m really stoked about it.  I’ve already read the book and loved it.  The author is a wonderful friend and colleague and I’m so thrilled that I get to help her publish her first book.  I’ll be able to formally announce once I get the contract thing figured out.  The contract is more for formality’s sake, but I want to do this right.  It’s always been my hope to expand Wind Trail Publishing beyond my own work, and that dream is quickly becoming a reality!  I can’t wait!

Let’s see, what else is going on?

Personally, I’ve been trying to stay healthy.  Ever since getting sick for three weeks, I’ve been eating better and trying to exercise regularly.  I’d love to lose about fifteen or twenty pounds by the time swimsuit season rolls around.

I also really need to tidy up around my home.  I’ve been a total slob since getting sick.  There’s just always something so much more important to do than clean, you know?  It’s like, do I clean my bedroom or write the next chapter?  Writing is always going to win, hands down.  But I’m getting to the point where I really need some organization.  I wish my obsessive compulsive disorder was the cleanliness kind.  Instead it’s the dwell on all the horrible stuff that could happen forever and ever until I actually die kind.  If I’m going to have an anxiety disorder, I might as well get something out of it.  But no.  I still live in a mess.

Maybe I’ll go and do something about that.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Book Review: Boy Band

Love this review! Thank you, Christine! ❤

The Book Maiden

image1 (2)Title: Boy Band

Author: Jacqueline E. Smith

Genre/s: Young Adult

Pages: 196pages

Buy it: Amazon

Maybe they all knew before we did.

SYNOPSIS:

Sam Morneau is Melissa Parker’s best friend. He’s also a member of The Kind of September, basically the hottest boy band on the planet.

After two and a half years, Mel is all too familiar with the day-to-day occurrences that come with being a member of the band’s inner circle, including hectic schedules, passionate fans, and gossip-mongering celebrity girlfriends.

Now, with the release of the group’s third album just weeks away, their lives have never been crazier and Mel is doing everything she can to keep up, all the while trying to cope with the ridiculous rumors that follow the band everywhere they go and pretending that she isn’t harboring a secret and hopeless crush on Sam.

It’s weird enough being in love with your…

View original post 360 more words

Spring Has Sprung

Hello, friends.  I’m sorry I haven’t been updating as much as I should.  Life, as usual, is quite busy.  My sister is home for spring break so I’ve been spending as much time with her as I can.  We went to see the stage production of The Little Mermaid on Sunday and once again, I cried my eyes out because Ariel is my childhood hero.  Then yesterday, we spent the morning at the Arboretum.

It was a beautiful day and the best way to welcome spring.

As for book updates, I’m having so much fun writing the third book in the Boy Band series.  I think it’s going to be my favorite.  I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

I’m also helping my cousin (whom I only recently connected with on Facebook) publish her book of poetry/memoir.

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The photo on the cover is hers as well.  It’s been a new experience.  This is the first time I will have published a book that is not my own.  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to publish it so that the royalties go directly to her.  I think I’ve finally got it all sorted, but it’s been a challenge.

Of course, I’m hoping to one day get to the point where I publish a LOT of books, not just my own and my family members, and I’ve had some requests.  The thing is, I can’t work for free.  With Margaret, it’s different since she’s family.  Even still, I don’t want to be a pay-to-publish company, or a vanity press, if you will.  I want my authors to get paid.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the sort of money that would allow me to make an offer or a payment up front.  I think the best way to do it would be to publish and keep 25% of the royalties while the other 75% go to the author.  But that’s not going to happen for a while.  I’m still trying to make a name for myself as an author.  That’s my ultimate dream.

On the other hand, I am very seriously considering offering my services as a cover designer.  I have thousands of images that would work for book covers (NOT stock images) and it’s something I really and truly enjoy.

What do y’all think?

Kindle Unlimited

As an author, I’ve never been all that sure how to feel about Kindle Unlimited.  I’ve heard mixed reviews.  Some authors love it and think that the pay-off is great.  Others think it is Internet robbery and claim that their sales and royalties have taken a major hit.  I didn’t have any books enrolled in KU, so I had no idea if or how it would affect me.  I chose to keep it that way.

Then I published the Cemetery Tours Series Box Set.  The set includes the first three books in the Cemetery Tours Series: Cemetery Tours, Between Worlds, and After Death.

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I knew I was only going to post it to Kindle.  I haven’t had a whole lot of luck formatting for Nook and sales haven’t been at all good enough to make the effort worth it.  So I uploaded the box set exclusively to Kindle.

Yesterday, on a complete and total whim, I thought, “You know… I’m going to give Kindle Unlimited a shot.”  At this point in the game, I’m curious.  It will be a learning experience if nothing else.  It’s not permanent.  It’s only for six months.  If I decide I don’t like it or that it’s not worth it, then I simply won’t re-enroll.

However, for the time being, the Cemetery Tours Series box set IS available on Kindle Unlimited.  That means that if you have a subscription, you can read ALL THREE novels in the series for FREE.  It’s over 700 pages, but then again, it’s three books.  It should be a bit lengthy.

Read the Cemetery Tours Series for FREE!

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So if you have Kindle Unlimited, hop on over and download the Cemetery Tours Series.  I don’t think you’ll regret it.

In other exciting news, the new Lurking Anthology, Lurking in the Shadows, has an official release date!  It will be available on June 28, 2016!  We don’t have a cover just yet, but I’m super excited about this anthology.  My contribution, An Empty Building, is by far the darkest thing I’ve ever written.  I had to write it in short increments in order to keep my own sanity.

Have a happy Thursday, y’all!  Keep reading!  Keep writing!

Indie Books and POGs

Last night, I found my old POG collection.  If you grew up in the 90s, chances are you also collected the little round pieces of cardboard that were apparently meant to be a game but really ended up just being shiny little circles we accumulated and hoarded like Smaug’s treasure in The Hobbit.

As I was looking through my old POGs, I noticed one had a ghost on it.  I thought, “Oh, that’s cute.  I should take a picture of it with Cemetery Tours.”

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So I did.

But I didn’t stop there.

Slowly but surely, my little idea to take a picture with the ghost POG became a full fledged POG and indie book photo shoot.

This isn’t the first time I’ve taken pictures of several (not all) of the indie books I own.  I have a whole photo album that I’ve dedicated to the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement on my Facebook page.

#IndieBooksBeSeen

There is a rhyme and reason to my madness.  Despite the fact that we call ourselves “Independent” authors, the truth is we are very much a community.  No one works alone.  We have editors and graphic designers and reviewers and marketing experts.  And we have each other.  As independent authors, we support each other 100%.  That’s one of the first things I learned about the community and one of my very favorite parts of being an independent author.  I never expected the warm reception or astounding support system when I first published Cemetery Tours, but it’s there.  And it’s so, so, so amazing.

There are several ways that authors support each other.  I have friends who Tweet and Retweet.  I have friends who share dozens of Facebook posts.  I have friends who review every book they read.  Me?  I definitely try to review at least every indie book I read.  But I like to take pictures.  It’s my favorite method of communication.  Funny, for a writer, I know.  But there’s a certain love to a beautiful image that words really can’t express.

I take pictures because these books need more exposure.  I want each and every one of these authors to know the same kind of love and praise and success that their traditionally published counterparts experience.  I want them to be interviewed and reviewed by Entertainment Weekly and fly to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List.  I want independent books to become mainstream.  And I think they are well on their way.

 

 

World Book Day

I haven’t been very good about blogging recently, but I simply had to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy World Book Day!

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I don’t think I even need to tell y’all that I love books.  I love to read.  I love to spend hours at a time perusing my local bookstore for new titles, new adventures.  Becoming an author has only deepened my appreciation for the written word, and for all the hard work that goes into transforming a story into a book.

Just a few short years ago, writing and publishing a book was a pipe dream for many.  It was reserved only for the chosen few, the traditionally published elite.  Big companies and corporations decided whether or not your work was worthy of publication.  Those companies do good work.  Most of my favorite books are traditionally published.

But times are changing.  There is a real movement to take the independently published novel mainstream.  And of course, as an independent author, I’m all for this.  Indie books are real books.  Independent authors are real authors.  They’re more than authors.  They’re also publishers and designers and marketers and editors and formatters.  I’m almost inclined to say that you have to be at least a little crazy to be an independent author, because who would willingly do all of this work for a pay-off that isn’t guaranteed?

Well, we would.  And I do believe it’s worth it.

So today, when you celebrate World Book Day, I challenge you to read a book by a lesser known author.  Take a picture of an indie book.  Leave a review on Amazon or on Goodreads.  You may not believe it, but every little bit helps.  Every sale, every post, every review, is a step towards taking this very noble and worthwhile industry to the masses.  Readers make everything possible.  And we, the authors, will never be able to thank you enough.