In the City

Hello, friends!  Just a quick update!  I may not have any more deadlines for a while (Yay!) but life is still as busy as ever!

I’ve been enjoying a wonderful few days, celebrating the impending Christmas season with friends and family.

A few of my girlfriends and I had a Christmas crafts night.

Then my mom and my sister and I took a trip downtown to see the world premiere of the opera Becoming Santa Claus.

And life is only going to get busier!  Tonight, my friend and I are taking my sister out to celebrate her birthday.  Tomorrow night, a group of my friends from high school and I are going with our English teacher (our Mr. Feeny, if you will) to see MacBeth.  Thursday night, I’m going to a bachelorette party and Saturday is the wedding!  So much fun and merriment and all the while I keep thinking, “Oh my goodness!  I have to get the new book out!”  Then I remember it’s already out and I think to myself, “Oh, yay!  I love it when that happens!”

The new book is doing great.  And Boy Band is getting some new love because of it!

I’ve had two reviews in the past week that I particularly love.  One is from a new friend down in Mexico named Bryan.  You can check out his review here!

He also took this fabulous picture and I’ve got to be honest, it’s one of my favorite book portraits ever.

12310658_10206956103754721_7631245457367347573_n

The other is a review I believe I already shared, but I love it so much, I’m just going to share it again.

I love all my readers and reviewers and friends so, so much!  I don’t know if you realize it, but you make so many dreams come true just by doing what you love!  Thank you, thank you!

I hope you all are enjoying this most wonderful time of the year.

Advertisements

21

Today, my little sister turns 21.  I could very well make this a sentimental post about how she’s my best friend in the world and how she’s crossing a major milestone and how I’m so thankful to have her in my life, and all of that would be very, very true.  I don’t know where I’d be without her.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 3.50.16 PM

In honor of her birthday, I decided to release my new book, Backstage, the sequel to Boy Band, a day early on Kindle.  I did this, in part, because she loves the first book so much.  We’re both big boy band fans in real life, and she was the one who really pushed me to finish the first book and to publish it.  She enjoyed Cemetery Tours also, but not like Boy Band.

That being said, I hope you all enjoy the second book!  I did my best not to end it on as BIG a cliffhanger as the first one, but rest assured there is a third one in the works!  Sam and Mel’s story isn’t quite finished yet!

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 3.47.23 PM

Love you all!

Backstage on Kindle

 

A Very Twilight Review

By now, you’re all familiar with the way that I review movies.  It’s not really reviewing so much as sharing my unfiltered thoughts here on my blog.

Yesterday, the world of YA fiction got a bit of a surprise in the form of Life and Death, also known as Gender-Bent Twilight.

My initial reaction was, “What the hell?  Who came up with that?”

Then my sister explained to me that it was, in fact, STEPHENIE MEYER who came up with that.

And just like that, I knew that I was going to read it.  Not because I think Stephenie Meyer is all that great a writer (she’s really not) or because I’m a Twihard (I enjoy the books, but not obsessively like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games).  No.  I knew I was going to read the book out of pure, unadulterated, shameless curiosity.

And that’s what I did.

Twilight-Book-Life-Death-Reverse-Genders

After I finished the book (yes, I read it in one day… yes, I’m a freakishly fast reader), I debated whether or not I was going to review it on my blog.  As I fell asleep, I was sort of thinking, “Nah… Not really worth my time.  Besides, dozens of other bloggers will be doing the exact same thing.”  But then, scrolling through GoodReads this morning, I saw that most readers were simply wailing and bemoaning the book’s existence.  So I thought, “Oh, what the heck?” and here I am.

I need to preface this once again by saying, yes, I read the original Twilight saga and yes, I kind of love it.  I thought it was a fun story with magic and great escapism.  It’s the kind of book that, while the writing not be great, you leave the world feeling like you belonged there and the characters in that world feel like old friends.  It’s exactly how books you love are supposed to make you feel.

That being said, Life and Death was not nearly as magical an experience as Twilight.  Maybe because I’m ten years older now.  Maybe because I went in thinking a male version of Bella was going to be hilarious.  I don’t know.  But here are my thoughts.  Enjoy.

*Warning: SPOILERS*

Thoughts on Life And Death

  • Obvious that Smeyer is making the effort to make this inner monologue a bit more typical of a teenage boy, but he still sounds awfully wishy-washy.
  • Beau’s description makes him sound like an Emo-Kid and even though he doesn’t say this at ALL, for some reason I’m imagining him with greasy hair and bad acne.  That’s just the vibe his personality gives off.  No way is he going to attract the hottest vampire girl in school.
  • Why aren’t Renee and Charlie gender-bent?  Why couldn’t Police Chief Charlotte Swan welcome her son home after her flaky husband Raymond left her and married Pro-Softball player Felicia? It could have worked, people. Come on.
  • All these gender-bent guys are acting WAY too much like girls.  Forgive me, I’m not meaning to perpetuate heteronormative stereotypes or anything, but really.  It wasn’t that long ago that I was in high school.  Guys don’t talk like that.
  • Somehow, the gender-bent girls work.  I can see a bunch of new girls flocking to the new boy in school. Although, once they figure out how much of a bummer Beau is, they’ll probably flock right back.
  • Okay WHERE did Smeyer come up with the new names for the Cullens?  These names are ridiculous.  Royal?  Archie?  I’m having a really hard time remembering who is supposed to be who (although since this is supposedly an entirely separate work, I guess I’m not supposed to).
  • Also, I’m very disappointed that neither Jasper nor James nor Jacob was renamed Jackie.
  • Speaking of Jacob/Julie, there’s definitely not going to be a Renesmee or Ronaldo or whatever weird, gender-bent name might have been bestowed on the human/vampire spawn.  So I’m guessing she ends up alone.
  • I don’t know why, but I actually really like Edythe.  I think she seems kind of kickass.  That being said, I can’t imagine her falling for Beau who has the personality of a wet wash cloth.  Seriously, I’m usually pretty big on the, “Why do these fictional heroines always go for the brooding bad boy?  Why can’t they go for the sweet, nice, normal boy next door?”  But Beau, again, is just… Blegh.
  • Wow, this book is exactly like Twlilight but with gender-bent characters.
  • I’m not buying the whole every girl in town is into cars.  One?  Sure.  But come on, Smeyer, if you’re going to gender-bend them, make them kind of believable.  Not one of my girl friends is into cars.  My guy friends?  Yeah.  Like, all of them.
  • Also Don’t make Royal drive around in Rosalee’s super girly car and then give Eleanor Emmett’s off-roader.  Seriously.  I know you’re trying to make a point that Bella isn’t a damsel in distress or whatever, but you didn’t even try to actually gender-bend them.  You just changed the names and the pronouns.
  • Okay, I finally realized why, as a female reader, Beau is unappealing to me.  Other than the fact that he’s Bella Swan in boxer shorts.  It’s because he has such low self-esteem.  His whole inner-monologue (like Bella’s) is, “Oh, how could this gorgeous girl ever love me?  Oh, she’s a goddess and I’m just a mere mortal.  Oh, I’m so dull and normal.”  As a woman, I have to come out and say it:  That is NOT an attractive quality.  Humility is great.  We all love a guy who’s modest.  But for the love of God, please have some sense of pride.  Don’t base your entire self-worth on the woman you’re dating.  For one thing, that puts way too much pressure on us.  For another thing, if you don’t think you’re all that great, then why should we?  I like a guy who sees me as a person, who’s comfortable around me.  I’ve dated guys who put me on a pedestal before.  It’s awful.  It’s completely dehumanizing and unrealistic.  I just… Grrrrr, Beau.  Grrrrrrrr.
  • Sorry.  Rant over.
  • Beau pisses me off.
  • But still, I really like Edythe.  Somehow, Female Edward works.
  • Okay… Instead of “dazzling” Beau says she’s “disarming with dimples” or something?  Okay.  Maybe it’s actually a good thing that Smeyer didn’t change all that much because that’s just excruciatingly awkward.
  • “A part of her saw me as food.”  Stop.  Please, Beau.  Just stop.
  • I seriously just can’t with this piggy-back riding scene.  This is so awkward.  OMG.
  • I’m trying really hard to picture Beau as someone more appealing, like Matthew Gray Gubler (who is actually my Michael Sinclair), but it’s just not working.  I’m still seeing him as this gangly kid who wears stupid t-shirts and has oily hair and zits.  I really think it’s the personality.
  • I wonder what gender-bent Cemetery Tours would be like?  Not that I actually have time to write it.  I have way too many other stories that I want to work on first!
  • I actually really like Carine and Earnest.  They’re super sweet and somehow, they work.  The rest of the Cullens?  Not so much.  Except maybe Royal.  I can totally see this snobbish, scary, super full of himself blond vampire.  Kind of picturing him as Malfoy’s older brother.
  • I had no idea Joss was a girl’s name.  I’m over here reading this and thinking Joss Whedon.
  • Should have been Jackie.  I’d love to read about evil vampire Jackie trying to take Beau out.
  • Just like Twilight.
  • Wait a minute.  Wait a minute.  Woah.  Wait.  This isn’t like just like Twilight.
  • What?  What?
  • Okay, this alternate ending is somehow making the hours I just spent reading Beau drivel worth it.
  • Well, sort of.  Smeyer just somehow managed to cram all three of the rest of the series into about four chapters.
  • Beau and Edythe are talking about marriage?  Ew.  I’m sorry.  They’re so young.  I can’t see them married.  Just no.
  • Although, I guess Edythe is 109.  She definitely makes me feel like less of a cougar for liking a guy who’s three years younger than me.
  • Still, if I was Beau, I’d be totally miffed at how all this turned out.  Sorry.
  • Interesting.  Okay.  Well.  I read it.

And there you have it folks.  For me, the original will always be better.    Fans of Twilight, though, I am eager to find out what y’all thought of the *new* Bella and Edward.

Happy Bookday!

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

Paperback

Kindle

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!

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 1.30.06 PM

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.

CQpuwZ-UsAAdN2b

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?

12039368_10206580766171516_4567530608005814286_n

After Formatting, After Editing, After Death

Tomorrow is the day.  The next book in the Cemetery Tours series, After Death, will be available!  To share a little secret with you, the Kindle eBook was available last night, but then I was told that there’d been a technical error with the file and I had to take it down.

Cue every author’s nightmare.

Any other day, if you asked me if there was anything I didn’t love about what I do, the answer would be no.  But there are moments, like last night and half of today, when the self-doubt and unforeseen glitches start getting the better of me.  This is a fun business and I love it so much and I love my books and characters, but the act of publishing itself can be very stressful.  There’s already pressure on authors to write books that people want to read, but formatting and making them look professional and seeing to it that there are no (or as few as possible) typos or uneven lines etc, etc…  It can be overwhelming.

I want to be an author.  I want to write stories for the rest of my life and I want readers to enjoy those stories.  I think that no matter what we pursue, there will always be a bit of stress, a bit of fear, especially if we really want everything to work out.  And hopefully, it’s worth the risk.  Risks have to be taken in life.  Otherwise, we’d never evolve.  I hope that I’m taking the right ones.  I like to think that I am.

That being said, I really hope that you all like After Death and that all of the issues have been taken care of.  I know no matter what that I’m going to keep writing.  I have to keep writing.  I truly believe than any author who puts their work out there, especially those of us who are independent, really don’t have a choice but to keep writing.  Let’s face it, I could be making a heck of a lot more money doing a heck of a lot less work.  But I love my books and I love my characters and most of all, I love my readers.  I hope this new book is everything you deserve and more.

On a totally unrelated note, here are some really pretty autumn pictures from my trip to the Arboretum last Friday.

12074547_10206591739885852_4720364195758316078_n 12079597_10206591743085932_2927312866550823718_n 12096545_10206591729725598_8570440084306264933_n 12119020_10206591730805625_4485698515532728513_n 12063394_10206591749686097_4184417672790189236_n 12105780_10206591746126008_8360559691903627612_n 12107048_10206591748286062_2347639693463889224_n 12107898_10206591753686197_2634953670000616411_n 12063694_10206591742085907_1726123186040110513_n 12065725_10206591742325913_3857641156192736218_n 12074486_10206591759366339_1362730506872938910_n 12074640_10206591747686047_7564791995489258160_n 12079103_10206591757046281_1230239720239985989_n 12108877_10206591760046356_7158927329721980853_n 12112005_10206591755806250_551303863002347765_n 12141718_10206591759246336_2482101275985044852_n 12074503_10206592679349338_4138926079009342629_n 12088238_10206591758086307_2745797144619249429_n 12088287_10206592682709422_3303917194828206303_n 12112259_10206592672109157_5030662960927115235_n 12112324_10206592675029230_4252236322369501319_n 12143290_10206592678949328_6268869979612921511_n 11222366_10206592692749673_4330622696853463127_n 12039352_10206592690349613_831656966930105782_n 12072829_10206592689069581_3757110142681522158_n 12079234_10206592687829550_4134313812655551115_n 12105754_10206592696789774_9067468661725351236_n 12108199_10206592692589669_2902484718039005603_n 12122851_10206592692909677_8132374228292792570_n 12144863_10206592696909777_113667152352560541_n

I also took pictures of my books.

12065809_10206592678509317_6115964507841827072_n 12105874_10206592677629295_2742985939242132194_n 12119006_10206592673989204_9174218027143318073_n

Of Scary Stories and Reviews

This week isn’t even half over yet and already, it’s been kind of crazy.  Before it ends, it’s going to get a lot crazier.  I have like, a million things I need to remember to do and unfortunately, I’ve been sick for the last two days which means all I want to do is lie on the couch in my sweatpants and read.  Granted, that’s what I do a lot of the time anyway, but with less than a week before my next book comes and with more than a few book events and speaking engagements on the horizon, not to mention a meeting tonight at church and cat-sitting, I don’t have time to be sick and feel sorry for myself.

Then, of course, there are the new stories that I’m continuing to work on for the rest of the month.  One, of course, is the sequel to Backstage.  That one is just pure fun.  I seriously love writing YA.  I love writing ghost stories too, but they require a certain level of depth and emotion, and it can be draining to pour all that heavy onto the page.  Stories about boy bands however?  Pure fluff.

The second story is for the second book in the Lurking Anthology series called Lurking in the Shadows. I can’t give you too many details about the story itself, but I can tell you it is by far the darkest thing I’ve ever written.  It makes Cemetery Tours look like The Princess Diaries.  I’ve got to be honest, I’m really hoping I’m not inviting in any dark energy or anything by writing this.  I’ll make sure to keep my Bible on hand.

Speaking of Cemetery Tours, as I was writing this, a package arrived on my doorstep…

12039368_10206580766171516_4567530608005814286_n 12046760_10206580819892859_1233955762321000148_n Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 4.50.56 PM

After Death, the third book in the Cemetery Tours series, is here!  And it looks amazing!  I’m so, so, so excited!  I can’t wait to share it with all of you next Tuesday!  It’s kind of weird to think I’ve officially written a trilogy.  Of course, it won’t be a trilogy for long.  There are two more books coming!

Finally, I’ve been making a point to read and review the stack of books I’ve had sitting by my bedside for forever.  I’ve been making progress.  One book, Moon Tears by M. M. Frische, I really enjoyed. Well-written, historical fiction about the author’s cousin, I highly recommend it.

I’ve read a few other books, however, that I can’t say I enjoyed, or even finished.  I always feel so guilty when I don’t like a book.  It sounds weird, right?  I never feel guilty not liking a song or a movie, but when it’s a book, I almost feel like it’s personal.  Maybe it’s because I’m an author myself.  I don’t know.  I especially feel guilty when I’ve met the author in person.  Now, I’m not going to say which books I didn’t like.  I don’t want to do that to a fellow writer.  If I don’t like a book, I simply won’t write a review.  And maybe that’s wrong.  Maybe a lousy review is better than no review at all.  But I almost feel like I owe it to the author to give them a good review, just because I know how much time and effort and love they put into a story.  Even though, on the flip side, I know I owe it to fellow readers and reviewers to be totally honest in my recommendation.

Anyway, I suppose I better be off!  I’ll talk to y’all soon!  Keep reading, keep writing!

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.

Author Interview: Paula Walker Baker

Happy Monday, friends!  It’s the beginning of a new week and I have a special guest on my blog with me this morning!  My dear friend and fellow author, Paula Walker Baker, has a new book coming out next week so I invited her here to talk about it this afternoon!

Paula and I met last year at Camp All Saints, the same camp where I worked for three years and met several of my closest and dearest friends.  It’s a place that has changed my life over and over again and brought the most amazing, wonderful people into my life.  I will forever be grateful for all of my experiences there.  I’m sure there will be many more to come.  Paula is a dear, sweet, wonderful lady and I am so honored to call her my friend.  Please give her a warm welcome!

11745512_1642034222704736_3695164999569410604_n

Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in Dallas and raised in Richardson, Texas.I went to Arapaho Elementary, West Jr. High and Richardson High School. I lived there until I was 47, then my husband and I moved to Royse City, where we have a little farm. I have three kids- two boys and a girl and four grandsons and one granddaughter.

Your new book, The Conservative Congregant, will be available on August 30.  Can you tell me a little bit about the book?

The Conservative Congregant is about doing something for others. It’s about leaving our comfort zones in order to do something for someone we may not know, we may not love, we may not even like. I believe each time we do that, God blesses us and those around us. Eloise Dowager is a conservative member of the Episcopalian church who likes everything just so. She likes the liturgy the same, the services the same. She abhors change, and is mortified when she hears herself offer to make the Sunday lunch for the City of Hope- the church for the homeless in Downtown Dallas. Doing things for others is not her style, yet, she finds herself being led to do so,

How did you come up with the idea?  

My husband and I attend a church for the “housed” and “unhoused” at Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas. Thanksgiving Square is at Ervay and Pacific Streets. The service is called The Gathering and it meets at one o’clock in the afternoon. Once my husband and I began going, I began to feel change within me and in us as a couple. It seemed the more we loved the people there (who might be deemed “loveless” by some ), the more we were blessed.

How did your own work with the homeless community of Dallas inspire you to write The Conservative Congregant

I felt that the general population should know and understand that “unhoused” folks are not always the stereotypical “lazy,no account” people.They are God’s people . Some are veterans,who fought for our country, some are mentally ill, some have been in jail and are not able to get housing because of that. Jackie, there are a myriad of reasons people are homeless. God didn’t love only the lovely. Jesus loved the unloved as well. He loved the ones no one else would love and that is what we, as Christians are called to do. But, we have to leave our comfort zones most of the time to do this. In writing TCC, I wanted to show people it can be done. One might be stuck in their comfort zone because of something they’ve done in thier lives or they may be scared. I’m writing to say “Don’t be scared.”

What was it like going on this journey with Eloise Dowager?

Eloise is a combination of my mother and myself. Like my mother, she was a staunch believer, She had her particular ways and thoughts about worshipping and that’s the way she thought it should be. Like me, she has unresolved issues of the past that will resolve by attending the City of Hope.

You’ve mentioned that this novella will be the first in a series.  Can you tell us anything about your upcoming stories?

The next book will focus on the Dowager family and the third on Danielle and David Miller. We will learn how they met and the struggles they’ve encountered in their relationship.

Let’s talk about writing.  When did you begin writing?  How did you get into it?

I had a teacher in high school, Mrs. Howard, who sadly passed away a while ago, who made us write in a joural the first twenty minutes of class. We could write anything we wanted to and I talked about loads of different things.  She often commented in my journal and she really inspired me to keep writing. Over the years, I  kept ongoing journals. Sadly, during a manic phase of bipolar, I cleaned out the house and threw everything away. In my thirties, I freelanced for The Williamson County Sun down in Georgetown, Texas. I was not yet medicated for the Bipolar disorder, so my words flowed freely and the articles were pretty good. Once I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and medicated for it, I lost my words and my imaginaton. Since going to theThe Gathering, my words have returned and so has my imagination!

What is your writing routine like?

I have to admit, I don’t really have a routine set. I write for twenty minutes, then get up and do something else, then write for twentyy minutes , do something else. That way, I can get up and walk around, do some chores and think about how I want the story to go.I do not get blocked  that way. I know it sounds weird, but it works for me!

What else inspires you in your writing?

My husband and family are a great source of inspiration. They are like my own cheering squad. Also, I feel like I express myself better in writing than I do orally.

Tell me a little about your children’s book, Jack Learns to Grill

Jack Learns to Grill is a story about a little dingo who loves to learn new things. He is adopted and knows that he was chosen especially by his parents. He is a little bit feisty and tries to keep the peace. He feels if he is not learning and growing, then something is wrong. In this , the first series , Jack learns to grill a healthy dinner with his daddy. He has a great time and has learned quite a bit.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring authors is exactly what Jack would say- never stop learning, never stop growing. Write often, even if you feel like you don’t have anything to say. Practice really pays off.

The Conservative Congregant is available for preorder TODAY!  Order your Kindle copy now and have it delivered to your device on August 30th!  

61oAnY4AZbL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Preorder The Conservative Congregant!

Stay in touch with Paula!

Facebook

Amazon

WordPress

Twitter

GoodReads

The Revision Cycle

I think I’ve mentioned before that before any of my books go to my editors, they first go chapter by chapter to my sister.  Every writer needs someone whom they trust to be completely honest, especially when it comes to what needs to be revised.  For me, that’s my sister.  For one thing, she doesn’t have to worry about telling me the truth or hurting my feelings because I have to love her no matter what.  For another thing, she reads more than anyone I know.  She reads more than I do.  And I read a lot.  But the thing about KJ is that she knows a good book when she reads one.  She knows what it takes, what works and what doesn’t.  I also know she’d never let me publish anything she thought was lousy, not for my benefit, but because she doesn’t want people reading it and thinking, “Wow, KJ’s sister sucks.”

Today, I received not only my newest manuscript (and let me tell you, she poured her heart and soul into it.  She did a great job with the Cemetery Tours books, but I think she’s REALLY excited about this new one) but a box full of Valentines presents – nail polish, earrings, a mix CD, a key chain, lip balm, markers, and a copy of a magazine full of One Direction pictures.  All the makings for a perfect girls night.  I just wish she was here to share it with me.

B9ll_zwIAAAcGmj

Now that the manuscript is back in my hands, however, the real work is about to begin.  I love every part of the writing and publishing process, but revisions can be grueling.  I try to stay as organized as possible when I go through and make changes, but it can get confusing.  I can’t take too long with revisions, however, because I need to get this manuscript to my editors, especially since the book is due for release April 21!  I’ve told y’all before, but I am really excited about this book.  It’s so different from Cemetery Tours, but it’s so fun.

Of course, I’m still writing Cemetery Tours 3.  I started chapter 17 last night, and it’s taking some new and interesting turns that I didn’t expect.  I hope readers like it as much as the first two.  That’s something I worry about, you know?  That it won’t live up to the others.  That the first two were awesome but the third one is crap.  I know writers are supposed to exude confidence and self-assurance, but I think the truth is we all worry about how our work will be received.  We all want our book to be someone’s favorite book.  One of my dreams is to have someone write fanfiction about my characters one day!  When that day comes, I’ll know I’ve made it.

Have an awesome day, all!  I won’t be posting tomorrow because I have my very first JURY DUTY.  If you want to follow me on Twitter, however, I’ll try to do some live-tweeting.  Not about the case or anything confidential, of course,  but about how bored I am and maybe a picture of my shoes.

Twitter: JackieSmith114

Peace out.