Book Things

Hello, friends.  Well, today I’ve barely made it out of bed.  It’s just one of those icky sick days that kind of knocks you off your feet and punches you in the face.  Needless to say, I have not been very productive at all.  That’s why this post will be pretty short.  In fact, it’s basically just going to be me sharing a few new reviews and book covers.

The Cemetery Tours reviews go something like this:

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Friendly reminder that the Cemetery Tours eBook is only $2.99 on Kindle!

After Death has a few new reviews too, but this one is my favorite:

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Finally, a few book cover updates!  First of all, I designed the back cover for Backstage, the highly anticipated sequel to Boy Band:

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I also designed a cover to my new NaNoWriMo project.  I’m still not 100% set on the title or on the font, but it’s something!

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How are you this fine October afternoon?

A Very Haunted Weekend

Well friends, the Witching Hour is officially upon us!  All Hallows Eve is only days away!

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As I think most of you know, I’ve basically been celebrating Halloween for two straight months now.  This weekend, however, I got to kick things up a notch or two with my closest and dearest friends. It began with a Girls’ Night on Friday.

We drank some wine,

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Watched the single greatest Halloween movie of all time,

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And carved pumpkins!

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I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty proud of my Phoenix.

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Before the night ended, my friends told me that they had an idea.  I have to admit, they are pretty spectacular.  I think I’ll keep them around.

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The next night, I went with another of my best friends to Fort Worth for a Ghost Bus Tour.  Talk about a Halloween dream come true!

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There was also wine.  It was basically perfect.

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But absolutely nothing beats a visit to an old cabin village… Or possibly capturing a few unexplained light anomalies on camera.

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To top it all off, I may have stumbled across a website that allows you to Halloween-ify yourself.

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So yeah, that was my weekend.  How was yours?

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#NaNoWriMo 2015

Well friends, it is that time of year again.  Preparations for National Novel Writing Month are officially underway!

Last year was my first year as a NaNo participant, and that was because a writer friend of mine talked me into signing up.  I’m so glad she did.  I used to be of the mindset that if you needed a special month to get you to write a book, then maybe you shouldn’t be writing.  But that’s not what NaNoWriMo is about at all.  It’s an opportunity to try something that you might not have tried otherwise.  For example, I never would have written Boy Band had it not been for NaNoWriMo.  It just wasn’t something on my radar.  Then I signed up, watched a music video, and there it was.  The rest is history.

Since the sequel to Boy Band will be on December 8, that isn’t the book I’ll be working on this year.  I don’t actually have a title yet, so it’s temporarily titled Nostalgia.  It sounds really deep and dramatic, doesn’t it?  The funny thing is it’s really not.  If anything, it’s only slightly less girlish and fluffy than Boy Band.  It will not be a YA book, however.  It’s more aimed toward the New Adult audience.  That’s not to say that YA fans can’t read it.  But just as I wrote Boy Band specifically for the girls who love boy bands, I’m writing Nostalgia specifically for my generation.  For the girls who grew up in the 1990s.  And that’s all I’m going to say.

If you plan to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I’d love it if you added me as a buddy.  See you on the other side!

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Octobering

The past few days have been filled with a lot of joy and a lot of preparation for one of my very favorite days of the year, Halloween!  The days to come will hold just as much if not more of the same.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The fun began Friday with another outdoor excursion into the woods.  The weather was so lovely, it almost felt like a real autumn as opposed to a Texas autumn.

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The next day, I joined my friend and fellow author Paula for Royse City’s annual Fun Fest, where we sold books and ate corn dogs and just had an old fashioned good time.  I even ended up running into some old friends!

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I also got to explore the city a bit.

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Yesterday was more low-key.  I lit a fall candle, curled up with a blanket, and read my very first RL Stine book.  I know, I know.  I’m a disgrace to my childhood and to my genre.  I love spooky things.  I don’t know how I went my entire kid life without reading one of his books.  But better late than never.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Books like his remind me of why I began writing in the first place.  Books are just pure exhilaration.  They’re limitless.  And I love them.

Speaking of which, if you’re a book blogger/reviewer and interested in receiving Review Copies of any of my books, please check out my new Review Copy Requests and Policies.

Later, Gators.

Why Buy Books?

Like many of you out there, I have a certain predisposition to read.  A lot.  On the one hand, I probably spend way too much time reading.  On the other hand, I probably don’t read enough.  Life’s just kind of weird that way.  Now, whenever I find a book that I really want to read, I take a trip up to my local bookstore and grab it.  My bookshelves currently look something like this…

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That doesn’t even include the large stack of books I have sitting next to my bed, waiting to be read.  A friend of mine asked me today, however, “Why do you keep buying books?  Why don’t you just go to the library?  That way you don’t spend money and you don’t have a book that you’ve already read lying around the house.”

I suppose that does make sense.  And I do have a library card and I, of course, love to support libraries.  They’re amazing, wonderful, and very important establishments and resources.  I often go to the library to check out nonfiction books, especially when I’m doing research for a new book.  But when it comes to guilty pleasure reading, I’m personally better off buying books.  And I can tell you why.

  1. I like to reread books.  As I told my friend, there isn’t one book on my shelf that I love that I haven’t read at least three or four times.  It’s like having a favorite movie.  You like to watch it over and over again.  I like to read books over and over again.  Can you imagine not owning the Harry Potter series?
  2. For some reason, when I check books out from the library, I feel like I have a time limit, which I kind of do.  Owning books, I can read them whenever I want, and take as long as I want, without having to worry about returning them.  They’re mine.  All mine, Precious…
  3. You can take books with you wherever you go!  Granted, you can take library books around too as long as you don’t have to return them, but you’ll probably feel a lot worse if you lose them.
  4. They’re just so pretty.  I mean, come on.  Books!
  5. If you happen to meet your favorite author, you can have them sign your book!  Can’t do that with a library book!  I have Rainbow Rowell’s and Anne Rice’s autographs in two incredible books and I certainly don’t plan on getting rid of them!
  6. Speaking of being an author… That’s how I make my living!  For authors, especially those of us who are independent, book sales are vital.  I do donate books to every library I visit and I am happy to do so.  But if people don’t buy our books, that’s kind of it for us. I have a growing collection of books by independent authors.  I love them!  I love supporting those authors who work so hard and so passionately for a dream that has no guarantees.  And there are some amazing independent books out there.
  7. Books are a work of art in every sense of the word.  We decorate our homes with paintings and sculptures, true works of love and genius.  Books are no different.

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So you see, it makes perfect sense to buy books.  It also makes perfect sense to support your local library.  Either way, keep reading!  And don’t forget your independent author friends.

On that note… Cemetery Tours is only $2.99 on Kindle for the rest of October!  Download your copy now!

CT

My Back-Up Plan

When I first decided that I wanted to become an author, I had countless people ask me what my back-up plan was.  My answer was simply, “I don’t know,” because I knew they wouldn’t like the real answer, which was, “I don’t believe in back-up plans.”

It sounds pretentious, but hear me out.  At the time, I believed that having a back-up plan meant, on some level, that I believed that I would need one.  That somehow, I was conceding that failure was an option.  When you dive into something not knowing what the heck you’re doing, you’ve already got enough fear and insecurity and self-doubt to last you a lifetime.  The last thing you should be thinking is, “This might not work out.”  It’s true, it might not work out, but that isn’t what you need to be focused on.  Instead, you need to focus all of your energy on achieving your goal, whatever that may be.

My goal for the past few years as been to become a NYT Bestselling Author by the time I’m 30.  As I round the corner to 28, that self-imposed deadline is fast approaching.  There is a very real possibility that that won’t happen.  But I also believe (perhaps foolishly) that there is a possibility that it will.  If it doesn’t, I’m not going to give up writing.  I don’t think I can give up writing.  It’s too much a part of who I am.  I did, however, comprise a list of potential occupations in which I can see myself should the writing thing just not work out.

Paranormal Investigator

You all had to know this was coming.  After all, I wrote a book called Cemetery Tours.  I would love to make visiting haunted locations part of my routine anyway.  Time, unfortunately, always seems to get away from me.

Travel Writer

This would be my ideal career, getting to see new places and writing about the experience.  Heck, I think that would be everyone’s ideal career.

Wildlife Photographer

I’m addicted to my camera.  I think everyone knows this.

Princess

This one sounds ridiculous, I know.  But if this one TLC show is to be taken seriously, all you have to do to become a sovereign is take out an ad in the London Gazette and have a royal ancestor.  I’m a granddaughter of Robert the Bruce.  Where’s my tiara?

Pet Foster Mom

I would love to take in unloved, abandoned, special needs animals.  However, I have a spoiled rotten three-legged black cat who would probably disown me if I were to bring any other pets into her domain.  This is something that I will eventually pursue no matter what.  Of course, it might be a bad idea since I’ll get so attached to them that I’ll just end up keeping every single one.

Cover Designer

I’ve been getting in a lot of experience designing book covers and it’s actually something I really enjoy.

Publisher

Wait a minute.  Now we’re getting into very familiar territory….

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I think, at the end of the day, I know I’m right where I need to be.  This is a perfect fit for me.  It always has been, ever since I was little.  I love writing books.  I love everything about it.  It’s my dream come true.  And I hope and pray every day that I’ll be able to pursue my passion for the rest of my life.

Love you all.

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Happy Bookday!

It’s here!  After more than a year, After Death is finally available in Paperback AND Kindle!

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I’m so excited for the ghostly misadventures of Michael, Luke, and Kate to continue.  I hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them!

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I want to take a little bit of time, however, to celebrate a few OTHER books being released today: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer, and of course, the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

The fact that my book came out on the same day as all of these ladies is, quite frankly, a huge fangirl honor for me.  JK Rowling is Queen, as everyone knows, and I don’t know a single person whose lives she hasn’t touched with her magical world.  Stephenie Meyer, yeah, okay, it’s kind of fun to make fun of Twilight.  But I’ve got to be honest.  I still love it.  I love the story.  It’s just pure fun and fantasy, you know?  Very escapist, and I do love to escape.

Then, finally, there’s Rainbow Rowell.  I fell in love with her writing after reading the story of my life, Fangirl.  I’m serious.  I’ve never read a book that so keenly described what it feels like to love a book and, frankly, to be apprehensive of the world outside.  Oh my Heavens, do I love Fangirl.

As if I didn’t already love Rainbow Rowell enough for  bringing that story to life, I then got to meet her last May.  She is incredible, basically everything I want to be as an author and as a person.  When I found out that her new book, Carry On, inspired by the book series in Fangirl, was being released the same day as mine, I was thrilled.  And yes, I’ve already run out and bought my own copy.

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Yes, I bought Life and Death too.  I wanted to buy the new Harry Potter, but let’s face it, as an Indie Author, I barely have two dimes to rub together.  I really shouldn’t have bought these two books, but I can’t help it.  I have to support the authors and stories that I love.  And, yeah, okay, I really need to feed my addiction to YA literature.  Most importantly, though, these books serve as a reminder of why I do what I do and why I put so much time and effort into my books.  I want this world of words to be my world, too.

Happy Bookday, everyone!  Go read your favorite book!  Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, go pick up something new!

May I recommend a ghost story?

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One Week!

Exactly one week from today, After Death, the third installment in the Cemetery Tours series will be available on Amazon.com and Kindle.  It will be available on Barnes and Noble.com and Nook shortly thereafter.  I am so excited to share this book with y’all.  It’s a book I began over a year ago, but after completing the first draft, I realized I hated it.  It didn’t have a plot.  It was just a bunch of people sitting around and talking.  I couldn’t give you all that, and I certainly want to do better by my characters.

I’m so pleased with the final draft of After Death, and I’ve received very positive feedback from my editors and beta-readers.  I’m hoping y’all like it just as much.  I want to give my characters a good story, and most importantly, I want to give all of you a good story.  You deserve it.

I’m a bit under the weather today, so this is going to be a rather short blog post.  I do, however, want to share the first two chapters of After Death with you here! Enjoy!

After Death Chapters 1 & 2

After Death on Pinterest

After Death Soundtrack

After Death on GoodReads

AD

Jazzed About The Library

This last Saturday, I participated in my second Meet the Authors event at the Colony Library.  As always, it was a fun event.  The people at the library are all just so lovely, as are the authors who participate.  I came home with several new books I am itching to read.  Since After Death will be coming out in just a WEEK, I might actually have a little extra time to read soon!  Hooray!

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I also participated in a new event this year called Jazzed About the Library, a dinner and fundraiser for the library.  It was quite the glamorous event with two live jazz bands, a photo booth, a wandering magician, and eight local authors (myself included).

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My favorite moment of the night, however, was near the very end when my new friend, Chase (author of the self-help book Have a Chase Day: IChase IDream), and I were packing up to leave.  We’d been talking to this one little girl and her brother all day.  She was a third grader, he was in Kindergarten.  This little girl is one of the brightest girls I’ve ever met.  She was happy talking to us for hours about animals, everything she learned in school, and our favorite Disney characters.  At the end of the night, Chase and I both told her that if she ever had any questions or if she’d ever thought about writing, to contact us.  It was then that her dad took her by the shoulders and said, “You see them?  You see how hard they’ve worked and what they’re doing with their lives?  That is what I want for you.”

That, my friends, is the best compliment I’ve ever received in my entire life.  I was so touched, I didn’t know what to say.  I know this little girl will go on to do whatever she sets her mind to.  She just has that spark.

As for me, my new goals for the year include reading and reviewing a stack of books (mostly published by fellow Indie Authors) that I’ve had sitting by my bed for forever.

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I think that is a fairly attainable goal.

Happy Monday, y’all!

Five Stars

Last night, I added Backstage, the sequel to Boy Band, to GoodReads.  And, since I like to add my books to lists and you can technically only do that if you’ve “read” them, I went ahead and gave my book a five-star rating.  Of course I’ve read it!  I’m the author!  Even though it technically may not be all the way written yet.  Regardless, of course I’m going to give it five stars.

Then I logged on to Twitter and remembered that I have this nifty little GoodReads feature that shares whenever I rate a book.  Usually, I like sharing my ratings.  Last night, however, I was thinking, “Oh great.  Now everyone is going to know I rate my own books.  And that I give all my books five stars!”

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That’s a lot of stars.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized, “You know what?  It’s okay to be proud of my books.  It’s okay to think my books are worth five stars.  In fact, if I thought my books were worth anything less than five stars, I probably shouldn’t be publishing them.”

As an author, you deserve to feel proud of yourself and your work.  Do you have any idea how many people want to write a book and how few actually succeed?  It takes a lot of time and effort and dedication to get all those words out onto the page.  But it’s all worth it.  A million times over, it’s worth it.

As an author, you should think the very best of your work.  That’s not to say that everyone will.  There will more than likely be some negative ratings in there.  And that’s okay!  Even JK Rowling gets one-star ratings every now and then.  Just remember that no one else can offer what you can offer.  No one else can write your story the way that you can.  You are giving the literary world something brand new, and that’s what I love about books and writing.  It’s always changing, always evolving, always new.  And we all have something to contribute.  We’re not like other artists.  We don’t compete for the same roles or fight for the number one spot on the charts.  We get to work together.  And that’s incredible.

Love your work.  Love what you do.  And most importantly, love yourself.

And remember… It’s okay to rate your own book.  Because you know it’s worth five stars.

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