Changing the Game

Okay… I might have stumbled upon a new path tonight. 

I had a meeting with a colleague of mine today (technically, he’s my high school English teacher/mentor, but since I’m a published author now, I like to go ahead and say we’re colleagues), and he came up with a really neat idea for a short book.  Well, I began writing it tonight and if I keep making the progress that I’ve made, then it could very well be ready for the first round of editing within a week or so.  

I want and NEED to get the sequel to Cemetery Tours finished, but I feel like I need to work on this while the drive is there.  Besides, if I can get this new short book done and in the editing room, then I can take that time to finish the sequel and when the sequel is being edited, I can be publishing this new book!  

I think this could work, guys.  It might mean pushing the sequel back by a month or so, but I don’t really have a fixed date anyway.  That’s the beauty of being your own boss.  I make my own deadlines.  Unfortunately, I’m a very flexible and easy-going boss, which could potentially mean I never get anything done, but I want this to work too much to not do anything ever.  

So yeah… that’s what’s going on in my fuzzy little brain right now. 

Also… Got ANOTHER review!  I think this one might be my favorite one yet!

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I scare the hell out of people, guys!!  Yay! 

A Day to Catch Up

For the first time in about two weeks, I am finally having a day to myself to read, write, and FINALLY start making some progress on getting Cemetery Tours on other eReaders, like Nook!  And watch some classic Christmas music like White Christmas and The Grinch.  

So… updates.

I successfully uploaded Cemetery Tours to NookPress.  It should be available within the next 72 hours.  I hope it looks okay.  I’m not very tech-savvy as I know I’ve mentioned before, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!  I don’t have a Nook, so I’m not even sure what it’s supposed to look like, but I’m hoping that it will suffice.  I plan on uploading it to iBook also, but apparently, the iTunes store won’t be open to any new material until December 28.  

I’m still waiting for the book from my new author friend in the UK.  She sent it two weeks ago, but it is the busiest time of the year for the postal service, so I’m not too surprised that it’s not here yet.  I really hope I get it soon, though!      

I checked BarnesAndNoble.com this afternoon and saw that Cemetery Tours is no longer available through the site.  I have a few theories as to why this is.  The first and foremost being that I recently updated the book itself, so it might take a while for it to make it back to B&N.  Another, less likely scenario, is that it sold out and Barnes and Noble is waiting to stock back up.  I think it might be the first one, though.  Hopefully B&N didn’t just decide to drop the title.  I don’t think they did.  I think I just kind of screwed it up by updating the book itself.  If it’s not back up soon, I will contact them and find out what’s going on.  In the meantime, you can still find Cemetery Tours at Amazo.com and Books-A-Million.com, and I think eBay also.  

Watching White Christmas and I still hate miscommunications as plot devices.  TALK, Rosemary Clooney!  Just TALK to Bing!  He’s a good guy, I promise!  

Anyway, I’m going to go work a little bit more on the sequel!  Hoping I’ll still have the manuscript at least close to finished by the end of the year, but with everything going on with the holidays, friends, and family, that might be a bit of a lofty goal.  It will be done SOON though!  

Merry Christmas!    

Writing Lessons Learned

Last night, I went to my first local writer’s group meeting.  I had a lot of fun and met some really nice people.  I talked with one girl, who was from Barcelona, for hours about Harry Potter.  She asked me if it was true that American girls like British guys.  I told her that all a lonely British guy has to do is come to America, say “Hello,” and he’ll never be lonely again.

She also asked me how I learned how to write, and to be honest, I really didn’t have a great answer for her.  I’ve been thinking about it, and although I did take short story, poetry, and even screen-writing classes in college and grad school, I’m not sure it’s really something that can be learned.  Writing is just one of those things that has always come naturally to me.  Like my sister and singing.  I had to work and train and listen really hard just to learn how to carry a tune.  My sister has a natural ear and quite near perfect pitch.  She’s taken lessons, but she’s never really had to work at it like I did.  As far as writing goes, however, I just decided that I wanted to write a book one day and that was it.

That’s not to say I haven’t taken advice from other authors.  I read Stephen King’s entire book On Writing and it had some great pointers (Duh, he’s Stephen King).  One of them was to use adverbs sparingly.  I like adverbs.  I use them all the time.  But any writer will tell you that it’s better to show than to tell.  It’s something that my high school English teacher called “pics.”  Paint me a picture with words.  Don’t tell me.  Show me.  That was honestly some of the best advice I ever received on writing.

Another bit of good advice that I’ve tried to keep with me, I learned from an author I met at the Renaissance Faire of all places.  She was there, signing books, and I told her that I was working on my first novel (this was at least a few years ago), but that I couldn’t seem to get past the first couple of chapters because I kept going back, rereading, and changing them.  She told me to stop doing that immediately, or else I would never move forward.  This may have been the best piece of advice I could have received.  I’m by no means a perfectionist, but I do want my work to be the best it can be.  However, it won’t matter how good it is if I never finish it.

For me, the creative process has always seemed like a leak in a dam.  I believe everyone has creativity and stories and paintings and music all stored up in their brain, but sometimes, it gets trapped.  For those of us who write and paint and compose in our day-to-day lives, that little bit of creativity that leaks out is like a trickle in a dam, and if we keep working at it, eventually a trickle becomes a wave until the entire dam bursts.

One of the guys was asking how another author and I keep going through writer’s block.  The only answer either of us had was “keep writing.”  Make something up.  Do something you had no idea you were going to do.  It always amazes me how, when I sit down to write, I’m never 100% sure what’s going to happen.  The other night, I was working on one of the stories, and one of my characters just kept spouting out stuff that I’d never even considered before.  It’s amazing how the words and thoughts and emotions that you never knew you had inside of you flow so freely and so honestly through your fingertips, and often times, spoken through the mouths of others.  That’s one of my favorite parts of writing.  I can have an idea of where I want the story to go, but deep down, I’m not totally in control.  In writing, you have to be determined, but you also have to keep an open mind and be willing to make changes, because you never know where the story will take you.

Finally, the last piece of great advice I received was from Josh Groban.  Sadly, he was not talking to me one on one.  My sister and I were at his concert a few years back (Fantastic, by the way.  He sounds better live than he does recorded!) and he started talking about his training and everything he learned.  He said, “The only advice I can give, and it’s the best piece of advice I ever got, was to never stop learning.  Always be a student.  Be humble.  Be thankful.”  In other words, don’t get too big for your britches.  Unless you’re JK Rowling, in which case, the size of your britches don’t matter one bit because you created Harry Potter.  But for most of us, it rings true, no matter what line of work you’re in.

As for me, I need to just sit my butt down and write.  This is the busiest time of the year, and I’m thankful that I have stuff to do!  But I really want to finish my first draft of the Cemetery Tours sequel by the end of the year.  I think I’ll make it.  I just have to sit down, concentrate, and write.  It’s not that hard, but at the same time, it is so incredibly easy for the creative mind to get distracted.  To be honest, I blame my  mother.  She brags all the time about how she gorged herself on Twinkies and Ding-Dongs when she was pregnant with me.  I’m like, “Well, that’s great for you, but did you ever think about the effect all that sugar had on my brain while it was still developing?”  Clearly, it was not a positive one.

And with that, I’m off.  Please enjoy my feeble attempt at holiday humor/shameless self-promotion.

Cemetery Turkeys

My cover designer is going to kill me.

Lazy Day

So far, today has ben one of those pajamas-all-day-do-absolutely-nothing-productive days, and I’ve got to be honest… I’m loving it.  

Part of me feels like I should be straightening up around the house (especially my bedroom, which is just a total disaster zone), but then I think to myself, Would you rather spend all that time cleaning a room that’s only going to go right back to the state it’s in now after about two days… or would you rather write?  

Of course, writing wins, hands down.  Come on, why should I waste my time on cleaning when I could be finishing the next chapter of the Cemetery Tours sequel?  Or any of my other three books?  Or reading another book by one of my cool new author friends?   Seriously, there are so many more important things I could be doing than cleaning.  

Sorry, future husband.  Your wife’s a bum.  A really messy one at that.  

Something that has really motivated me to keep writing instead of doing absolutely anything else is this great review I got last night on Amazon!  This one almost brought tears to my eyes.  

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Well, that’s all for now.  I think now, I’m going to go write and see if the new Dracula episode is on Hulu.  Later! 

Oh, and remember… tonight is Daylight Savings Time!  One extra hour of sleep!  Yes!!!

 

 

Free for Halloween!

It’s official!  Cemetery Tours is FREE to all Kindle readers today and tomorrow!  Get your copy now!

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http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tours-ebook/dp/B00F7CHQ08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383161969&sr=8-1&keywords=cemetery+tours

So far, over 100 readers have downloaded Cemetery Tours!  Do not pass up this opportunity!  

Along with promoting the heck out of this deal, I will be continuing to read all the books I bought from my indie author friends (I’m loving it!  Indie authors rule!), carving a pumpkin, straightening my hair, and watching every Halloween movie I own in preparation for tomorrow!

Happy Haunting!

Not Bad for a Tuesday

So, my mom and I jokingly refer to Tuesday as “Monday #2.”  Sadly, we did not actually make this up.  I actually saw it on Pinterest and thought it was funny.  

For the record, here are the days of the week according to that post.

Monday = Monday #1

Tuesday = Monday #2

Wednesday = Monday #3

Thursday = Monday #4

Friday = FRIDAY!

Saturday = SATURDAY!

Sunday = Pre-Monday

All in all, I thought it was hilarious.  Anyway, this Monday #2 wasn’t all that bad.  

For one thing, I got another great review, this time on GoodReads!

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For another thing, I had coffee with one of the writers I met at the Indievengeance Day book-signing.  I had a lot of fun talking to her.  She hosts a writers meeting once a month and the next one is Monday.  I’m really excited about going and meeting other writers.  

Finally, it’s almost October 30, which means Cemetery Tours is almost FREE on Kindle!  It’s also almost Halloween, which is the best holiday except for Christmas.  

Happy Haunting!  

HubPages Update

Okay, so apparently I don’t know how HubPages works and my actual posting did not get published.  The problem now is that I have no idea how to make it work.  See, this is why writers shouldn’t be required to do anything on a computer other than WRITE.

Anyway, if you’d like to read what I wrote, here it is.

“Once upon a time, the path to becoming a published author was a one-way street. Your manuscript was either picked up by one of the big companies in the industry, or your chances of being published were slim at best. Today, options for writers and aspiring authors of all ages, from all walks of life, are endless. Resources are available to anyone and everyone who has ever dreamed of writing and publishing a book.

I’m going to stop right there, because I know what a lot of people are thinking. So thanks to the self-publishing industry, anyone can publish a book, no matter the quality. It’s true. Independent authors and publishers still have a difficult time getting the big time sellers and critics to take them seriously. Several professionals and readers will automatically presume that if a book is independently published, then it’s poorly-written, not good enough for the big publishing houses, ergo, not worth reading or even considering. For several writers, self-publishing is a last resort – something they’ll consider only if absolutely no one else will take their manuscript.

After I decided that I wanted to pursue publishing back in 2012, I realized that I knew almost next to nothing about the process. I went to the library, invested in the 2013 Writer’s Market, and consulted everyone I knew who either had or knew someone who had published a book. I was advised by several friends and family members to try to find an agent. I knew the process was going to be a long one. Agents receive thousands of query letters a week, and very few of those queries result in requests for full or even partial manuscripts.

After a few months of trying (and failing) to find an agent, I decided I had two options. I could pursue a contract with a traditional publishing house without an agent, which would have meant more months of waiting and almost inevitable rejection, or I could take matters into my own hands and get to work immediately. I ultimately decided to pursue independent publishing after consulting with a fellow author.

My decision was not solely based on my desire to see my book published quickly, although that was definitely a plus. I liked the idea of retaining all the rights to my work. I also liked the idea that I had complete control over my book and what happened to it. I put so much time and effort and love into my book, who better to publish and promote it? Unlike a big company who only cares about how much money a book can bring in, independent authors and publishers care about the integrity and well-being of their work.

Furthermore, the independent community is a wonderful place to connect with authors who are willing to share not only their passion, but their support and guidance. For every newly published independent, there are several professionals who know the steps, who’ve been through the entire process, and who can become not only tremendous allies, but also wonderful friends.

I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done as an independent author. My journey as a publisher is one I never really expected to take, but I am so thankful for the experience. It’s given me the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to really appreciate the work not only that I’ve done, but the work of storytellers and authors and poets all over the world.”

Cemetery Tours FREE Halloween Giveaway!

Kindle owners, mark your calendars for All Hallows Eve!!! 

Beginning on October 30 and all the way through Halloween, Cemetery Tours will be available as a FREE Kindle download!  Absolutely no cost at all!  Just download and enjoy! 

I am including the link to the Facebook event page.  Please RSVP and invite all your friends!  Spread the word!  I want to see how many people I can reach! 

https://www.facebook.com/events/655080944513741/

Since it’s a ghost story, I’ve been wanting to do something special for Halloween for a while.  I’m hoping that everyone will take advantage of this offer!  Thank you all so much! 

Just Keep Writing

One of my main objectives in attending last weekend’s Indievengeance Day book-signing at Half-Price Books was that I wanted to see what I could learn from independent authors who had once been where I am now and who have made it.  Of course, I ended up spending more time talking with them about what all authors tend to end up talking about: books.  I did get some advice, however.

Just keep writing.

While marketing and advertising and getting the word out there is a HUGE part of being an independent author, every one of the authors I met told me the same thing.

“You have to keep writing.”

It’s a good thing to remember.  It’s so easy to get caught up in how many people are (or are not) buying and reviewing your book.  You want to tell the world your book.  You want to fall to your knees and beg everyone who’s read it to write a glowing review that will inspire other readers to buy it.  You want to market and advertise until your limbs fall off.

But here’s the thing.  Independent authors are so much more likely to be successful if they have more than one book out, especially if those books are in a series together.  The only way you’re going to get more books out is if you sit your butt down and write them.

I’m finally making some real progress on the Cemetery Tours sequel.  I’d love to have the first draft finished by the end of NaNoWriMo (November for those who’ve never heard of National Novel Writing Month).  I’ve always wanted to participate, and I hope it’s not cheating that I’m already nine chapters in (and will hopefully be at least halfway through by the time November actually gets here).  The funny thing is I’ve known what would happen in the sequel much longer than I knew how I would even begin Cemetery Tours, so theoretically, this book should be a lot easier to write.  Unfortunately, sometimes when you’ve built something up in your head for so long, when the time finally comes around to write it, you’re afraid that you won’t be able to do it justice.  I’m pretty happy with the first nine chapters though, and I’m looking forward to what happens next, so I think I’m doing okay.

Something else I’ve learned after having just published my own book exactly one month ago is that while writers will always want to write (it is what we do, after all), we also really like to take time to kick back, relax, celebrate a little, bask in our accomplishments, drink wine, and so on.  However, when it comes to being an independent author, you are doing all the work yourself.  You do ten times the amount of work as an author who signed on with a fancy publishing agency and guess what?  You’re barely making any money for it.  What I’m trying to say is it’s good to celebrate and feel good about yourself.  An accomplishment like a published book is something worth celebrating!  But amidst the fun, keep one foot on the ground.  Stay focused.

I usually do most of my writing at night.  I’ve always been a night owl, and even though I wake up early every morning for work, I’m always up until at least 1 or 2 working on my books (or my blog).  Most of the marketing and advertising I’ve done so far has been online.  That’s a little tricky, however, because of how many distractions there are online.  You can use Pinterest to plan out your next book or to plan out your wedding to that guy you haven’t actually met yet.  You can use Facebook to get people to “like” your book, or you can use it to creep on the all the drama-mongerers whom you haven’t talked to in years but whom you secretly like to keep tabs on for entertainment purposes.

You get the idea.

I guess I’m writing this post for myself more so than anyone.  I’ve been trying to figure out recently how to get (and keep) people interested in Cemetery Tours.  It’s easy to get discouraged, but the thing that every independent author needs to remember is that you have to keep going.  You’ve been swimming against the tide for this long.  You might as well keep going.  The journey doesn’t end with your first publication.  That first book is just a stepping stone.  A pretty awesome stepping stone, but a stepping stone nevertheless.  The only way to succeed in this business is simply to keep writing and keep trying.  Never give up.

I’m pretty sleepy now, because I just got back from a Bon Jovi concert.  For the record,  Jon Bon Jovi is an awesome guy.  Great performer, very charismatic, and fun to watch.  However, I would like to add just one more image so I can actually use the phrase “Superwholock” in the tag section below.

Goodnight, all!

Supporting Indie Authors

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I am an absolute Pinterest addict.  I’m more addicted to it than I ever was to Facebook.  It might actually be something of a problem.  

However, I am trying to use this affliction to better myself, my writing, and my newfound life as an independent author.  For example, several of my boards are actually accumulations of ideas for stories.  For example, I have a “haunting” board.  Guess which book that one’s for?  😉  

Anyway, after all the fun I had meeting other indie authors from all over, I decided to make a Support Indie Authors pin board!!!  

I realize this is not a very enlightening or important post, but I’m really excited about my new board.  

Enjoy!  

Also… HUGE shout outs to Jeanne Marie at http://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com and momshieb at http://momshieb.wordpress.com, both of whom have purchased Cemetery Tours!  Thank you both so, so much!