Grown Up Stuff

Hi, all.

This has been a very busy week.  House-sitting, regular job, one friend is in the hospital (on the mend, thank goodness), and another friend, I just found out, is going through a divorce… crazy, I tell you!  Life is weird.

With all of this going on, I haven’t had a lot of time to concentrate on either promoting Cemetery Tours, editing the sequel, or writing the new manuscript.  That’s the only problem with being an independent author.  Along with regular life, you have to figure out how to get all of that done too.  What I wouldn’t give for the luxury of being able to just work on my books and focus on writing!  The good news is that it is almost the weekend.  I plan on devoting the next few days to getting the sequel marked up, edited, and printed off again next week so I can start going over it myself and formatting it so I can finally move forward with ISBN and PNC.

That’s not to say I’ve gotten nothing accomplished this week.  I did FINALLY manage to get my two Pinterest accounts Verified!

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Unfortunately, it was simply impossible to verify through my company website, http://www.windtrailpublishing.com , so I added two new blogs to my WordPress account.  I haven’t had time to really spruce them up yet, but once I get them up and running I will let you know.

I am also thrilled to announce that A) Cemetery Tours reached the top 200,000s in Amazon’s Bestselling Paperbacks.

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Cemetery Tours has also reached over 500 likes on Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/CemeteryTours

In preparation for the sequel’s release in June, I’ve also set a new goal.  I want Cemetery Tours to have 50 reviews on Amazon by the time the second book is out.  It has 37 reviews right now, so I only need 13 more.  I’m really hoping we can make that happen.  I’ve even started up a Review Party Event that people can RSVP to on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/events/793721513991057/

Anyway, I realize that this post has mostly been me, me, me, but I am super excited about the sequel and future projects.  What are y’all working on right now?

Hello Friends

I feel like it’s been a while.  Life is busy.  A little stressful.  But good overall.

On Saturday, I fulfilled one of my admittedly odd lifelong ambitions.  I went to the movie theater by myself.  Again, I know it’s weird, but for some reason, I’ve always wanted to experience seeing a movie just with myself.  I decided to go see Divergent.  It was really good.  For the most part, it stayed true to the book, though it was definitely watered down.  For once, I was strangely okay with that.  Maybe because I’ve only read through the series once and I’m not quite as emotionally invested in it as I am in Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  It could also be because Veronica Roth’s books are long and very intricately detailed.  I’ll probably have to read through the trilogy again before the next movie comes out because I don’t really remember all that happened, especially in the second one.

One recently announced book-to-movie adaptation that I probably will not be seeing, however, is The Giver. I might change my mind as the release date draws nearer, but from what I’ve seen in the trailer… I’m just not interested.  Nothing I saw in that trailer even remotely resembles the utter magic that the book held for me the first time I read it in middle school and every time I reread it after.  That book is a masterpiece and one that really impacted me as a reader and, consequentially, as a writer.  I’ll be curious to find out what other fans of the book think of it.

I also saw the new Hobbit movie again.  I still think there are too many orcs, too may elves, and not enough Bilbo and the Dwarves. But what do I know?

On the book front, I finished reading The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee.

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I’m not a sci-fi reader, but I really enjoyed it!  I posted reviews on both Amazon and GoodReads, but I thought I’d share it here too.

Here’s the deal. I do not read a whole lot of science fiction. In fact, I could probably count on one hand the number of Sci-Fi books I’ve actually read and enjoyed. Add The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee to that list.

Set in a futuristic society, protagonist Lydia receives an amulet from her grandfather, who has gone into hiding our of fear that he may be robbed or kidnapped. This amulet, it turns out, possesses the ability to communicate with whom it chooses and influence the world around it.

Something I loved and that makes The Amazing Crystal very unique is that it plays out like an action show, with episodes instead of chapters. This makes for a fun and fast-paced read with no slow spots in the narrative. The descriptions are vivid and yet, Mr. Lizee tells the story in such a way that even those of us who’ve spent more of our time in the worlds of romance and fantasy will understand and enjoy.

Congratulations and 5 stars to Gerald Lizee. I look forward to reading his future works!

The next book that I’m reading and reviewing is The Calling by Louise G. White.  It’s a fantasy and it looks right up my alley!  I’m really looking forward to reading it!

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Finally, I’m about two chapters in to my newest manuscript!  While the sequel to Cemetery Tours is in the editors’ hands, I’m enjoying having something new to engage me.  It’s really excited about the story, and even though it hasn’t been in my head very long, just since January, it’s already better developed than ideas that have been brewing for years.  It’s kind of funny how the brain works like that.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for today!  Talk to you all tomorrow!

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New Reviews, New Goals, New Stories

Happy Monday, all.  I hope you all had splendid weekends.  My sister is home for spring break, so I might not be updating quite as regularly as I normally would because I want to spend as much time with her as possible.  I do want to share with you some fun updates.

First of all, the sequel to Cemetery Tours is officially in the hand of all my editors (though I may have updated that last week, I can’t quite remember) AND my graphic designer is officially on the job for the cover!  So exciting!

Speaking of Ben, he says, “Thank you for all the nice birthday wishes.”   

Second, Cemetery Tours has 34 reviews now!  Some of the new ones include…

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I also have a new goal in mind.  Right now, I’m aiming for the sequel to be out early to mid June.  By that time, I want Cemetery Tours to have at least 50 reviews on Amazon.  I don’t think that’s too unrealistic. I only need 16 more.  Anyway, if you’d like to RSVP to the awesome possum Review Party on Facebook, here’s a link to the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/793721513991057/

I’m excited to be able to say I’m currently in the midst of reading and reviewing a new indie book, The Amazing Crystal by Gerald Lizee.   

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He, in turn, is reading and reviewing Cemetery Tours.  I love doing book exchanges with other authors.  It’s a great way to connect with your peers and you get a cool new book!  

I’ve also almost finished the Percy Jackson series.  I just have one book to go, then I guess it’s on to the Heroes of Olympus series.  I am seriously loving these books.  I know I’ve said it over and over again, but Greek Mythology is just so cool.  I have several friends who have been revisiting their artistic days, and that plus reading all of these books is making me want to draw and paint again.  I just need to find the time!  

The little spare time I do have, I’ve been dedicating to the next book.  This will not be a Cemetery Tours book, though I am by no means finished with that series.  I figure I have at least two more books to go.  

It’s a little strange working on a new book.  I love it, especially since I get to work with new characters, a new setting, and a whole new set of circumstances.  No ghosts in this one.  It’s going to be a lot more chick lit than Cemetery Tours.  But I think it will be good and I’m excited about it.  It’s weird not to be writing Michael, Kate, and Luke though.  They’ve been with me for almost two years now.  They’ve become like friends to me.  They’re probably enjoying having a break.  Plus, I don’t want to be known just for Cemetery Tours. I have so many other ideas.  I want to have a lot of different books, several series, several stand alone novels, etc…  

Hopefully, I’m well on my way.  

Good and Bad Day

Today has been busy and productive.  I like those kind of days.  I feel like I’m getting a lot accomplished, things seem to be heading in the right direction, and I’m pretty excited about a few new opportunities coming my way.  I got the new manuscript to my editor and I’ve gotten several new lovely reviews on Amazon.  I also bought some sunflower seeds.  I haven’t planted anything since I was about eight, so I want to give it another try.  And I just love sunflowers.  

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I’ve also started researching my next book.  I’m pretty excited about it.  I’m tempted to start working on two new ones, but I know that eventually I’ll have to pick one over the other.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!  It feels strange not to be writing every day, so I want to get back to it as soon as possible!  

The reason it’s been a bad day, however, is pretty lousy.  My very oldest friend (seriously, we’ve been friends since we were three) lives in Lubbock and is married to an absolutely wonderful man who, unfortunately, has had his fair share of health problems.  He is back in the hospital, and while I don’t know details, I know that they’re both having a really rough time and it kills me that I can’t be there for her.  It’s weighing pretty heavy on my mind right now, so again, this will be a short post.  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!  

Long Weekend

This past weekend has been a long one, and not necessarily in the good sense.  It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the best either.  For one thing, I’ve been feeling a little under the weather (even though the weather outside now is GLORIOUS!  Finally it’s feeling like spring!).  For another (and this is the big stressor), my sweet almost 21-year-old kitty has not been feeling her best, so I’ve pretty much been on round-the-clock nurse duty.  She’s doing okay.  I honestly thought she might not make it through the weekend, but she’s still happy, still purring, and most importantly, still eating and drinking.  So yeah, she’s been my number one priority these last few days. 

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She’s my girl and she’s been my friend for a long time!    

On the book front, however, I am pleased to report that I have made quite a bit of progress.  I went through and did sort of a quick edit/format/spell-check and it’s ready for my editor and beta readers.  In doing all that, I got to reread and refresh and I am so happy to say that I love this book.  I love it just as much as I love the first one, maybe even more because there’s some new scenery and new characters and the old characters are already established so it was more fun to write!  If you enjoyed Cemetery Tours, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this one.  I’m in the process of assigning its ISBN, but I still need to know a few things, like publication date, how many words the final copy has, etc…  Right now, it’s at 73,000 but that is always subject to change.  I do need to get back in touch with my cover designer, but he’s currently in Kentucky filming at the site of the sinkhole that swallowed up all those Corvettes (my uncles were in mourning for days…).  

Finally, A Platform of Sorts was nominated once again for the Liebster Award!  I’m so honored, and I will try to get around to nominating and doing all the facts, but Jazzy and the new book are, again, my first and second priorities.  Thank you to my friend Diana at http://brilliantlynovel.wordpress.com for nominating me!  I’m honored!  🙂  

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I also took a trip to the library for research for my next book.  If all goes according to plan (I’ve learned that nothing is set in stone when it comes to writing), my next book will be either a stand-alone novel or the first in a trilogy.  I’m thinking it will be the former though.  I guess we’ll all find out!  And hey, I’d rather have too many ideas to choose from than no clue at all!  

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  

Also, if you’ve read Cemetery Tours, it only needs ONE MORE REVIEW to break 30 on Amazon!  It’s been stuck at 29 for a few weeks now, so if you’d like to stop by and write like, two or three sentences on why it’s a good book (or an awful book, but honestly, I’d prefer the former), I’d be eternally in your debt.  Thank you all!  

Peace out.  

Looking For John Green

So, I’m going through a phase.  It’s an “I need to purchase and read as many John Green books as possible” phase.

This is problematic for a number of reasons.

1) Money.  I know I could go and check them out from the library, but for some reason, I rarely ever read pleasure books from the library.  I read research books, no problem.  But fiction books?  I don’t know, I just really like to own them.  That way, I don’t feel any pressure to get them read by a certain date.  I like to read for fun.  Time limits are no fun.  Neither, by the way, is not having any money to buy every book John Green ever wrote.

2) I am currently in the middle of the Percy Jackson series.  Not a bad thing.  I’m really loving Percy Jackson and I have a feeling that once I’ve finished with that series, I’ll go on to read Riordin’s other mythology series.  Greek mythology is just so cool!

3) I’m still about a chapter and a half away from being done with Cemetery Tours 2.  Again, not a bad thing.  But I’ve come to realize that I have this habit of, once I get close to finishing a project, I get self-congratulatory and decide that I need to go out and buy myself presents because of how great I am.  The problem is… I haven’t actually finished.  That means that even if I were to go out and buy these books (and okay… I just came home from the bookstore with An Abundance of Katherines), I’m still not allowed to read them until I’m done with the sequel!  So what I actually do is go out and buy myself a reward that I’m not allowed to use until I’ve completed the task at hand.  That’s how I got through my last semester of grad school.

4) I have so many other books that I own that I still need to read!  Do I really need to be going out and buying more?  Well, yes.  Some women go out and buy shoes that they don’t need.  I buy books that I don’t need.  I was able to restrain myself today, though.  I discovered the old books and nostalgia section and it was all I could do to not buy every cool old book I found.  I have a thing for old books.  I almost fainted when I found one from 1899, but then I noticed how nasty the cover was.  It looked like someone had used it as a coaster!  Really?!  I might use a crap book like 50 Shades as a coaster, you know, if I hadn’t burned it to the ground.  But a cool old book that’s over 110 years old?!  NO!

So, yeah, that’s the big thing on my mind right now.  And finishing the new book.  That’s important also.  I’m almost done.  I’m so close to being done, I can almost taste it.  Metaphorically of course.  No one eats books.  At least, I hope not.

In the meantime, the old book has been getting more great reviews!

Okay, does anyone else have this thing where your post randomly goes blue while you’re writing it?  Because that’s happening right now and I’m afraid I’m going to click the wrong thing and erase the entire post.

Anyway, here are the new reviews!

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That makes 29 reviews in total!  I can’t thank you all enough for your amazing and wonderful support and I hope I can support each and every one of you the same way!

Ways to Help Your Indie Friends

You know exactly who I’m talking about, don’t you?  That one, the really weird one, who isn’t married, might not even be dating seriously, may have been in school forever, works odd jobs, and is absolutely hell bent on writing books or making music or taking pictures.  Yeah, I’m talking about that friend.  If you are not “that friend,” chances are, you have one or one of your friends does.  

Indies come in many forms.  Some of us are authors.  Some are musicians.  Some are artists, graphic designers, photographers, screenwriters, or filmmakers.  But see, we all have one thing in common.  We have found something that we love so much that we are striving to make a career out of it, even if that means going it alone.  Crazy?  Yes, perhaps we are.  But I think anyone who’s ever made an impact has been at least a little off their rocker, or else they wouldn’t stand out.  

If you have one of these charming and yet mildly insane people as a friend and you’ve been wondering just how you can help them make their dreams come true, well, here’s your lucky day!  Presenting…

Ways to Help Your Indie Friends!

1. Offer Encouragement!

As a friend embarks on his or her journey to indiedom, they are going to encounter a lot of helpful and positive attitudes, but they will also encounter a lot of negativity.  If I had a dollar for every time I heard,

“You’re getting a Masters in Humanities?  What are you going to do with that?”

“I get that you want to write, but what do you want to do for a job?”  

“You know you’re never going to make any money, right?”  

Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t have to do the indie thing because I’d be so rich, I wouldn’t need a job!  There are people out there who will have no problem telling the aspiring author or photographer or musician that their ambitions are a waste of time.  As their friend, one of the best things you can do for your indie friends is to support them, encourage them, and most importantly, accept them for who they are.  

2. Like and Follow Things!

On social media, that is.  Facebook pages, Amazon pages, GoodReads author pages, websites, fan pages, Twitters, Tumblrs, Pinterests, I don’t even know how many things there are to like and to follow, but there are a lot!  Numbers MATTER. 

3.  Buy the Book/CD/Craft

Okay, so this part costs a little money, but more often than not, it is a truly worthy investment.  Sometimes, since you’re a friend, you might even get a complimentary copy.  I’m proud to say that I have bought several indie books, my graphic designer is an indie, I’m getting ready to do a photoshoot with an indie photographer, and I even helped produce my friend’s second indie CD!  Okay, it was like, $20, but still!  Technically, I can say that I’m a producer.  The point is I have never once regretted supporting a fellow indie.  If they have the guts and the drive and the passion to put themselves out there and get the job done themselves, then you can bet I’m going to support them.  

4.  Review, Review, REVIEW!

I can not stress this enough.  REVIEWS ARE SO IMPORTANT, especially for an indie.  The more reviews an item has, the more likely potential readers or listeners or customers are to take it seriously and consider investing their time and money.  My book, Cemetery Tours, currently has 27 Reviews on Amazon.  I’m thrilled, but at the same time, I’m working every day to make that an even 30!  A review does not have to be a long, drawn out analysis or give a full plot description.  It can be as short and sweet as two or three sentences.  

“Hey, I enjoyed this book because A, B, C.  Author did a great job.  Highly recommended.”  

That, along with a nice rating, is simply invaluable.  

5.  Spread the Word!

You don’t have to spam your friends or send out mass texts, but if you’re talking to someone about books or music, you could mention, “Oh hey, my friend wrote a book” or “My friend is a singer.  You should check them out.”  Give a shout out on Facebook every now and then.  Recommend the book or whatever to a friend you think might enjoy it.  Retweet stuff.  Little acts like that can go a long way in the indie world.  Word of mouth is the single most important marketing tool an indie can ask for. 

Now, in the spirit of crafts, books, and photography, here are a few of my shots from a project in Grad School.  

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   Enjoy the day, folks! 

Squirrels, Turtles, and Lawn Mowers

As I may have mentioned on this blog before, I am a writer.  That means that I like words and writing, and I like to think I’m pretty good at that kind of stuff, but I have absolutely no sense when it comes to things like business, strategy, actually getting things accomplished, etc…  Fortunately, my dad is extremely business savvy and he’s been a great source of information and support in helping me get Wind Trail Publishing up and going.  He also helps keep me on track when, for instance, I decide in the middle of writing one book that I need to stop and write a whole other book.  His advice for me?

“You need to stay focused.  No squirrels, no turtles.”

The squirrels and turtles thing is sort of embarrassing.  My mom is sort of like Dug the dog from Up when it comes to squirrels and she sort of passed that on to my sister and me.  Okay, mostly just me, but I feel like throwing my sister in there too will at least make me feel a little more normal.

The turtle part comes from the time I was talking to him on my cell phone and I was crossing the street and I saw a squished baby turtle and I got really sad about it and completely forgot what we were talking about.  So, yeah.  No squirrels, no turtles.

I had planned to spend today road-tripping out to a wildlife reserve about an hour and a half away.  I love wildlife conservation and one of my ultimate dreams is to work to raise money and awareness for conservation efforts all around the world.  I’d also like to volunteer, especially with sea turtles and marine mammals.

Last night, however, the Cemetery Tours sequel took a new turn and I realized… I’ve got to finish this book.  I do want to go out and see the reserve, and I will soon, but I am so close to finishing this book that I just need to stay focused.  I don’t need to be taking on any new projects when I am this close.  So instead of taking the day to drive out to the reserve, I’ve been working on the sequel and learning how to work a lawn mower.

Look!

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Look out world, we’ve got a badass over here.

The original Cemetery Tours got another great review on Amazon!  I only need 4 more to reach 30!  Small goals, small steps.

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Thank you, Raul!

Okay, I’m gonna get back to writing now.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks!

Oh Look, Another Monday

Hello friends, and welcome back to the real world.  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  I took a day off from blogging yesterday and drove out for Fort Worth to visit my best friend whom I haven’t seen in over a month (not okay!).    

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Fort Worth is actually a really cool city, especially with the stockyards!  I even did a photography project in grad school featuring the stockyards.

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 In actual book-related news, Cemetery Tours 2 is officially less than four chapters away from being finished!  I think I’m going to email my cover designer either today or tomorrow to get his opinion on graphics.  I’m also thinking of asking a friend of mine to take some new professional photographs for me.  I’ve never really done a professional shoot before, and I think it might be fun and beneficial.  

Finally, and this is exciting, Cemetery Tours has been selected for review by Book Viral!  http://www.bookviral.com 

I’m not sure when it will be up, but I will definitely let you all know when it is!  I’m so thrilled!  All you new authors out there, reviews are SO IMPORTANT.  I can’t even tell you.  

Anyway, this is going to be a short post because I’ve been under the weather today.  Fun, fun.  I think I’m just going to spend the rest of the day writing in my pajamas. 

Which, you know, is probably what I’d be doing even if I wasn’t feeling sick, but whatever.