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.

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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.

Writing Writing Writing

Hi, friends!  Just a quick note here because as it turns out, #NaNoWriMo really keeps you busy!  I’m not only working on my NaNo project, I’m also keeping up with the new Cemetery Tours.  Needless to say, my fingers are quite tired from all the typing.  But it’s so much fun!  I had no idea how much I was going to enjoy National Novel Writing Month!  It really gets you to open your mind and explore new ideas.  I’ve even been asked, at the end of the month, to come speak to a writing group about it!  How fun!

That’s all I’ve really got to share for now.  Just a lot of writing!  I need to start reading more, also.  I have so many books that I’ve received from friends and indie authors that I want to read and review.  I wish there were more hours in the day!  I wish I didn’t need sleep!  And I really like sleep!

I also wish this dark rainy weather would go away.  I know we need the rain, and it finally feels like fall, but it makes me feel so sleepy and unproductive.  Blah!

Anyway, keep on and carry on, my fellow #NaNoWriMo authors!  5 days down!

Hello, November

Happy Monday, everyone!  I hope you all had a spooktacular Halloween filled with fright, laughter, and small children requesting candy on your doorstep.

A few girlfriends and I celebrated by dressing up, eating a lot of junk food (and one surprisingly delicious organic and gluten-free pasta dish) and watching Hocus Pocus, only the greatest Halloween classic of all time.

Here’s what I looked like:

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At first, I’d intended to go as a zombie, but then, I found this old veil that my sister had used for something, so I decided to go as Grace, the ghost bride from Cemetery Tours.  How cool is it to be able to dress up as a character from your own book?

After a super successful Halloween, I dove right into #NaNoWriMo.  Well, first I drove out to Fort Worth to hang out with my BFF, but then I dove right into #NaNoWriMo.  I’m happy to announce that I have since earned my 5000-Word Badge.

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Remember, the book I’m working on is NOT another Cemetery Tours installment.  I am working on that as well (Chapter 12 is actually about to make me cry… It’s really sad…), but this #NaNoWriMo project is something that I’m working on strictly for fun and my own entertainment.  If I like it, then yes, I will probably publish it, but I haven’t decided whether or not it will be under my own name or my super secret pen name.

Finally, Halloween may have come and gone for another year, but ghost stories are fun to read all year round!

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Happy November, everyone! How are your #NaNoWriMo projects coming?

#NaNoWriMo

Alright, people.  The last few days of October are upon us.  That means binge-watching Halloween movies, making those last minute costume adjustments, and counting down the minutes until all the candy goes on sale.

For writers, however, it also means that we are a mere 36 hours away from National Novel Writing Month.

I’ll be honest with you.  I never really understood the idea of scampering to write a novel in 30 days.  I thought, if it’s meant to happen, it will.  Like relationships, you can’t push your craft.  For a lot of us, National Novel Writing Month is every month.  However, not every month has it’s own movement, own website, own army, really, of writers willing to take the plunge and risk it all.

Before, I really didn’t like the idea of being timed.  I didn’t like the idea of following a trend (I’m kind of a rebel like that).  I don’t like anything to be forced.  I really like doing my own thing, dancing to my own beat, and not being pressured or influenced.  But the more I thought about it this year and the more people I talked to, the more I thought, hey, this actually sounds like a lot of fun.  I’d also recently had an idea for a YA novel that I would probably be putting off forever had I not been talked into NaNoWriMo.

I’ve got to tell you, I am super stoked to be participating this year.  It gives me something to talk about with friends and it gives me a brand new community to be a part of!  All of us are offering each other encouragement and I just love that.  I will say, however, that I am not telling a soul my super secret pen name.  I have a number of reasons for this.

First, I’m afraid of failure.  I think everyone is on some level, but I’m so afraid of it that I usually don’t even tell people I’m attempting something until I know it’s not going to fail.  For example, I didn’t tell anyone that I actually know (apart from family and very close friends) that I’d written Cemetery Tours until a few weeks before it was released!  No one knew that I’d been working on a book for over a year.  Everyone was shocked, because usually I’m a huge blabbermouth.  I like to share and tell people things.  Of course I do!  I’m a writer!  But this is another one of those unsure projects, and if I fail, I don’t want anyone to know.

Secondly, the book I’m writing is Young Adult and let me tell you, it is not a ghost story.  It’s not even a little scary.  It’s pure fluff.  I’m pretty sure if a lot of my readers (heck, a lot of my friends) knew what I was writing, they’d roll their eyes and go, “Seriously!?  Are you kidding me?!”  My school would probably demand my Master’s degree back.  It is that silly.  But I’m kind of loving it. It’s pure guilty pleasure.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this November?  Sound off in the comments section!

In other news, Cemetery Tours 3 is still moving right along.  I still don’t know when I’ll have a release date for it, but I’m really enjoying writing it.  I really hope readers enjoy it as much as the first two.  Again, it’s different, but I think it’s a good different.

Speaking of Cemetery Tours, I’m going to be participating in a friend’s book release anniversary celebration.  There will be giveaways and Q&As and lots of other cool stuff!  You should check it out here on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1481550198784895/?sid_reminder=8758610241320386560

Finally, and I can’t believe I forgot to share this with y’all earlier, but I wanted to let you know that MY SISTER is going to be performing in Lubbock’s Moonlight Musical’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS!  She’s one of 8 Tech students asked to participate in the production.  It’s a HUGE honor for her.  She got to sign a contract and everything.

The production features mostly professional and equity actors including Ken Page (the ORIGINAL Old Deuteronomy on Broadway and the DVD and the voice of the antagonist in The Nightmare Before Christmas whose name I don’t know) and a little YouTube star named Todrick Hall.  I am so jealous that she gets to work with these amazing and awesome actors, but I’m hoping that since I’m family, maybe I can get a picture with them!  Anyway, I am so, so, so, SO proud of her and I can’t wait to see the show!  Here’s an article about it: http://lubbockonline.com/entertainment/2014-10-15/moonlight-musicals-production-cats-using-more-professionals#.VFB_QUJRHzI