December Tidings

Hello, friends!

Oh my goodness, it feels like it’s been a while since I last posted.  Probably because it has been.  This has been quite a week though, let me tell you!

First of all, I hope all my American friends had a splendid Thanksgiving full of good food and good times spent with family and friends.  My Thanksgiving was pretty excellent, although as soon as I got home from our friends’ house, my throat began to hurt and I spent the next three days on the couch with The Crud that’s going around.  Thanks, Dad.  Fortunately, I didn’t get it nearly as bad as he did.

In much more exciting news, IT IS FINALLY DECEMBER!  It’s time for snowflakes and hot chocolate and Christmas lights and movie nights by the fire and all those wonderful winter things!  Now of course, once Christmas is over, I won’t be nearly as excited about the cold, but for the next 25 days, bring on the winter chill!

Even though it’s only the first day of December, it’s already turning out to be an incredibly busy month.  I’m giving a talk tonight at a local library about NaNoWriMo and what to do after you’ve finished your manuscript.  If I can figure out how to post the Power Point presentation here, I will.

I’m also giving another talk at another library NEXT week, but I need to check in and make sure everything is still on schedule for that!

Also… BACKSTAGE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN EXACTLY ONE WEEK!  I’m so excited for y’all to read it.  I would post the first chapter here, but it contains MAJOR spoilers for the first book, so I’m afraid y’all are just going to have to wait a week!  You can, however, enter to win a signed copy of BOTH BOOKS on GoodReads.

Once Backstage is released, I’m going to take some time just to enjoy the holidays, spend time with family and friends.  But I’m also going to be investigating a few new publishing platforms as well as a few new projects.  Oh, and I’m also going to be catching up on a LOT of reading.  My goodness, I am so behind.

Happy December, everyone!  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

(Except for, you know, when it’s warm and sunny).

 

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NaNoWriMo 2015

We’re five days into National Novel Writing Month and I’ve got a confession to make:  I haven’t been keeping up with it very well.  I’ve written a little bit and brainstormed a lot, but I’m nowhere near where I should be in the grand scheme of NaNoWriMo.  There are a few reasons (or excuses) for that.

First of all, I spent a long weekend in Houston and didn’t return until Monday afternoon.  At that point, I was exhausted and had a lot of unpacking and pictures to go through.

Second, with only a little more than a month before Backstage is released, I’m devoting most of my time and energy into making sure it’s ready to go by December 8.  Those of you who’ve published your own books know that that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for much else.

Finally, I’ve been having a difficult time figuring out how I wanted to begin my NaNo book.  I think I may have figured it out last night, but I’m still not 100% sure.  Sometimes, you can’t force it.  You just have to let the words come naturally.

I am, however, SO excited to see so many of my friends and colleagues and total strangers participating in NaNoWriMo this year!  It’s a fantastic way to get people writing and to get some fantastic new books out there.  It’s also proof to me that the written word is thriving.  There are so many rumors and reports and literacy and society’s love of reading being on the decline, but even if they’re true, there is so much love for NaNoWriMo and so much enthusiasm and excitement for reading and writing new books that I can’t help but feel optimistic about my trade and profession.  I love books so much.  I always have.  And it’s so encouraging to see so many others sharing that love.

NaNoWriMo will always hold a special place in my heart, particularly because it gave me the opportunity to write something new, something that I guarantee I would not have written otherwise.  Boy Band is the book that was not supposed to exist.  And now, here it is, a year later and I’m getting ready to release its sequel.  How cool is that?

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For those wondering, that little guy in the picture is Simon the NaNo Dragon.  He’s my November writing buddy.

Fellow writers and aspiring authors, enjoy your NaNoWriMo experience.  Write well.  Write what you love.  You never know what may come of it.  And if you get behind (or if you haven’t started on time – oops!), don’t get discouraged.  After all, it took me TWO months to finish Boy Band.  All you need to know is that you can do anything.  And you will.  Just keep writing.

Crazy-Busy, Super-Fun Weekend

Hi, friends!  I am literally just arriving home from Houston and the Texas Renaissance Festival, but I wanted to at least post a quick update before I get in to editing pictures.

First of all, thank you to all who came out to the Festival and especially thank you to all who BOUGHT BOOKS!  I hope you enjoy them and I had such a blast meeting each and every one of you! I will be posting more about the festival and sharing pictures in the coming days, but I still wanted to just say what an amazing and magical time I had!  I loved every moment!

Secondly, I’m almost TWO DAYS behind on NaNoWriMo but I’ve been out of town and in a car most of today!  But I’m going to get on that!  It’s going to happen!

Finally, the BACKSTAGE GoodReads Giveaway is officially up and running!  Enter now for a chance to win signed copies of BOTH Boy Band and Backstage!

Giveaway!

Well, I need to be off to return the rent car.  Talk to y’all soon!

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/160390-backstage

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?

#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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Learning to Write

Tonight, I’ll be attending a NaNoWriMo kick starter event at a local library.  A friend of mine is presenting and the event is open to anyone who is thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo, as well as those who have participated in the past.  As y’all know, Boy Band started out as a NaNoWriMo project and has received such positive feedback that I’m planning on releasing the sequel in just a few short months.  It goes without saying that I am a big supporter of NaNoWriMo.

But you know, all this talk about writing seminars reminds has started taking me back to my own days in college, when I was just figuring out that I wanted to write.  Really write.  I remember Meg Cabot (one of my writing idols) advising young aspiring authors NOT to take any writing classes.  She claimed that studying something would instantly kill any and all love you once held for it.  To an extent, I found this to be true.

I took a few writing classes throughout my six years of higher education.  Some of which I enjoyed.  Some of which I hated so much I had to block them out.

I won’t waste too much time talking about the classes I didn’t enjoy.  One of them was screenplay writing. I think I would have really enjoyed it had it not been for my instructor.  He was a bitter, failed novelist and he made it no secret that he did not give two flying flips what we learned in that class, if anything.  The other was a short story class.  My final story was nothing exceptional, although I can’t help but remember it was about ghosts and demons and things that went bump in the night.  It seems I’ve always harbored that dark fascination.

The writing class that I really, truly enjoyed was a poetry class, which is funny, because I am a truly terrible poet.  That’s probably why I enjoyed the class, though.  Because I was learning something new.  I’ve written a grand total of three poems that I’m actually proud of.  Two of which are here.  The third is about killing a cockroach in New Braunfels.

Perhaps my favorite class of all, however, was children’s literature.  Even though it technically wasn’t a writing class, we all had to come up with our own final project to present at the end of the semester.  I decided to write and illustrate my own children’s book.  I’m actually quite tempted to upload it and share it with you here.  I’m pretty proud of it, even though the illustrations and the book itself leave much to be desired.  Still, I’ll never forget standing up in front of the class to show off the book.  My classmates were bewildered that I’d gone with writing a children’s book over writing a paper. One girl actually asked me, “Why would you do that?!” I guess to them, writing a paper was a lot less work, and it probably was.  But to me, writing a book was a lot more fun.  And it still is.

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Of Pumpkins and Formatting

Today is officially the first day of autumn!  I plan on celebrating with pumpkin spice candles and catching up on some long overdue reading.  Pumpkin bread and some good Halloween movies might also be on the horizon.  For now, however, I wanted to share some excited news!  Two things, actually!

  1. After Death is all pretty and formatted and review/proof copies are on the way.  I can’t wait to see it!  Especially with the other two books!  It’s going to look so pretty. 11855709_284882665020055_753171641304509198_n
  2. I’ve been asked to participate in a series of NaNoWriMo meet-ups for one of the local libraries!  I’ll be talking about my experience participating in NaNoWriMo and encouraging other writers on their journey.  I am so excited!  I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo.  I used to have this really rotten attitude about it.  I though, “Psh… I don’t need a bunch of people telling me to write a novel in a month.  I’ll write a novel whenever I damn well please!”  But the thing about NaNoWriMo is that it challenges you to try something new, to maybe write a book you hadn’t planned on writing.  And it’s SO much fun.  It’s such a great way to open up your mind and take a chance on something that you previously hadn’t given much thought.  If I hadn’t participated in NaNoWriMo, Boy Band wouldn’t exist.  And guess what?  It’s only been out a few months and it’s done better than my other two books put together. So yeah.  I love NaNoWriMo and I’m really looking forward to meeting with other writers, sharing my experience, and encouraging them to keep writing!

As for my personal work, like I said, I finished formatting After Death yesterday and the proof copy is on its way.  It still needs a final read-through and last minute edits, but for the most part, I’m feeling really good about this book.  I’ve also found that the more I write, the easier the editing and formatting process gets.  At first, it was so daunting and intimidating and to be honest, I was kind of terrified of the idea.  But now, I actually look forward to it.  It’s so much fun to see your manuscript become a real book.  It’s also such a left-brained project.  Sometimes it’s really nice to turn off the emotional, creative, la-de-da side of your brain and just rely on the driven, logic-based, task-oriented side.  It’s not a side I consult very often, so whenever I do, it’s very efficient and eager to prove itself.  And it rarely lets me down.  My right brain is very talented, but it’s so easily distracted and it has to have like ten things to focus on at once or it gets bored and it’s very emotional and sometimes hard to work with.  My right brain is basically Dory from Finding Nemo.

That being said, I think I’m going to head out.  My dad is at the eye doctor again, this time for a consultation for cataract surgery.  Good times.  After that, however, I really want to try and make pumpkin spice muffins.  I also need to get started on a new short story for the next Lurking anthology.  Then I might just learn to crochet.  See?  That right brain is never fully satisfied.

Mid-September

I’m just going to come out and say it.  This week is going to be crazy busy.  It all begins Wednesday evening.  I’m going to help my friend and fellow Indie Author Amber Jerome-Norrgard put together giveaway baskets for IndieVengeance Day this weekend.

Thursday is North Texas Giving Day.  I’ll be traveling up to Denton to volunteer with the North Texas Book Festival to talk about the event and help support Libraries and Literacy across North Texas.

NTGD

The next two days are the Third Annual IndieVengeance Event.  I participated in the two-day-long event last year and had an absolute blast: IndieVengeance Day Scrapbook.

The weekend comes to a fun and relaxing end on Sunday.  My sister will be in town and there are a couple of movies that we are both itching to see.

In the midst of all of this, I’m still hard at work on the final revisions for After Death before its release next month.  I’m also having a lot of fun working on Backstage, the sequel to Boy Band as well as planning my next NaNoWriMo project.  It’s weird to think that I hadn’t been planning on writing a YA novel, especially one about a boy band.  But you know, life.  It’s funny like that.

In the meantime friends, keep reading, keep writing.

New Project

Hello, friends!  I hope you all had a delightful weekend.  Yesterday was my sister’s birthday, but she wasn’t home, so we’ll be celebrating tonight and tomorrow.  We were still pretty busy over the weekend, however, making preparations and doing some last minute birthday shopping.  I’m really excited for her to see what I got her.  I’m pretty much best big sister ever.

Along with shopping and birthday antics, I’ve also been thinking about my new Young Adult Project that I began for NaNoWriMo.  I’ve decided that I am, in fact, going to publish it under my name.  I’m saving my super secret pen name for the books I actually want to keep a secret.  I’ve also made it my goal to have the new book ready for publication Spring 2015.  I’ve even made a Pinterest teaser board for it.

https://www.pinterest.com/windtrailpub/untitled-young-adult-project/

So, yeah.  It’s coming along nicely.  I finished Chapter 14 last night.  I’m not kidding, I am having so much fun writing this book.  I think my favorite part is that I have absolutely nothing planned for it.  I’m just writing it.  In a weird way, I think it makes writing easier.  The story is evolving the way it’s supposed to and I can’t wait to share it!

In other news, I went out to visit a dear friend of mine at her farm and I want to share some of the pictures.  One of these days, I’m going to take my real camera out there and take some pictures, but for now, iPhone photos will have to do.

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There’s something about a Texas sky…

Thankful

Usually, I can always think of something blog about.  Books, writing, polymer clay dragons, but today I’ve kind of got nothing, except to say that I hope that our nation, heck, that our entire world, can find peace.  That’s probably a long shot, but it’s something I know a lot of people are praying for.

As it is the week of Thanksgiving, however, and I probably won’t be posting again until after the turkey comas have come and gone, I would like to dedicate at least a little bit of my blog to the people, places, and things for which I am thankful.  I know, I run the risk of sounding terribly hokey, and I apologize.  But it is the season.

I’m thankful, first and foremost, for my family, my parents and my sister.  They are, without a doubt, the most important part of my life, and I’m so grateful for their love and constant support.

I’m thankful for my sweet kitty, my Midnight.  She has been through a whole lot in her life, but I hope she knows just how loved she is and that she is safe and sound inside her forever home. I think she does.

I’m thankful for friends who make me laugh and listen to me when I’m crazy and who I know I can count on no matter what.

I’m thankful for books and for the gift of words.

I’m thankful for my home.

I’m thankful the opportunities I’ve had in the past year.  To be honest, getting to participate in book events, being asked to speak (I’m actually speaking at a writer’s group on Saturday!), I just never could have imagined that I’d get to do stuff like this.  I made the decision to become an author five short years ago.  It’s insane to look back and think about how far I’ve come.  And I’m hoping it’s just the beginning.

I’m thankful for this holiday season and all the joy it brings.

Finally, I’m thankful for you, all of you reading this.  To everyone who has supported not just me, but any author, traditional or indie, a huge THANK YOU.  I know several of you are authors yourselves, so I know you’ll agree with me when I say that we owe our readers everything!  Thank you so, so much.  You make our worlds go ’round!