Not Bad for a Tuesday

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

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

Monday = Monday #1

Tuesday = Monday #2

Wednesday = Monday #3

Thursday = Monday #4

Friday = FRIDAY!

Saturday = SATURDAY!

Sunday = Pre-Monday

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

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

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

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

Happy Haunting!  

Weekend of Productivity!

Unlike the majority of my weekends, which are usually spent on Pinterest, in pajamas, and full of chocolate, this past weekend, I actually did stuff!

1.  I created the Cemetery Tours FREE Halloween Giveaway!  I’ve posted about it before, but I really, really want word to spread and for as many people as possible to take advantage of it, so I’ll be posting it a lot.

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

RSVP and SHARE!  Especially if you have a KINDLE!

2.  I finished another one of the books I bought last week at Indievengeance Day.  It’s a book of short stories; Sandcastle and Other Stories by Justin Bog.  It was excellent.  Holy cow.  I cannot say enough good things about this book.

Here’s my review on Goodreads:   https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/739995778

Basically, I say all the same stuff there as I do here.  It’s fantastic.  Read it.

3.  Cemetery Tours received two brand spanking new reviews!  That’s not actually anything I did, but I was super excited about them and they definitely inspired me to work more, not only on the Cemetery Tours sequel, but also on the two other works I have going at the moment.

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I was particularly proud of this one.  I was so thrilled that Ms. Britten mentioned that Michael (my protagonist) is NOT broody.  I’ve got to be honest.  I hate broody male protagonist.  Seriously, I want to smack them upside the head.  Man up and get over it!

Anyway, yeah, that review was AWESOME.  Thank you, Ms. Britten, wherever you are!  🙂

4.  Meg Cabot, aka my writing IDOL, accepted my friend request on GoodReads!  I kind of feel like Sheldon Cooper in that episode where he begins playing Words with Friends with Stephen Hawking!

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5.  Got another picture, this time from North Carolina!

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6.  I finally bought my tickets to the CATCHING FIRE MIDNIGHT PREMIERE!

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I’ve decided that from now until the premiere, I’m going to run up to random people, show them my phone, and whisper, “It starts at midnight!”

7.  I’ve already mentioned that I made progress on my writing, but I also began reading another one of the books that I bought last weekend.  Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballintyne.  Review to follow shortly.  🙂

Anyway, that was my weekend.  I’m actually pretty proud of myself.  The only thing I didn’t get done was straightening up around the house, but seriously, with all this other stuff, I’d much rather devote 110% to reading and writing and my book than to tidying up around the house, especially when I’m the only one who sees the mess.  Do I care?  No.  Will I ever care?  Not until I find a creature living under the piles of clothes lying around.

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!

Poetic Reviews

To kick off my great indie reading and reviewing adventure, I decided to begin with three poetry books.  Now I have taken several English literature and literary analysis classes, but I have only ever taken one poetry class.  I haven’t read all that much poetry outside of the works of Shakespeare (love!), and I’m certainly not a gifted poet myself.  Unless you count that poem I wrote about Sir Cuddly B. Cockroach, because that was awesome.  

These are the reviews that I wrote for GoodReads.  

Night Poems by Ben Ditmars:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13421449-night-poems  

When it comes to reading as well as writing, I’ve always been more of a prose girl. I’m not a poet, nor have I studied poetry, so I’m always looking for a connection or a story to go along with the poems, and in Night Poems by Ben Ditmars, I found one. As I read, I imagined a young man, sitting all night in an arm chair by a fire, watching the night evolve, the moon rise, and thinking about everything; life, love, the girl he might be in love with who might be in love with him back, or perhaps who may have slipped away, and the complexity of what it means to be human. Mr. Ditmars effectively transforms his nocturnal musings into vivid images and beautiful words. Highly recommended for poetry novices as well as enthusiasts!

Dirt Road Dreams by Susie Clevenger: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13421449-night-poems

I loved so many things about this collection of poetry, but I think what I loved the most was how personal and relatable Ms. Clevenger is with her writing style. She bares her soul in this collection of well-written, heartfelt poetry that explores love, loss, joy, sadness, and most of all, dreams. All who’ve experienced these kind of “dirt road dreams,” the dreams that others say are impossible or silly, will find a kindred spirit in Ms. Clevenger. My favorite line in all her poetry came from Be Warned: “What fool would believe night has neutrality?”

From a Season of Sleep by Sreya Bremtin: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18366887-from-a-season-of-sleep 

The two words that come to mind as I read this collection of poetry were “artistic” and “romantic.” Sreya Bremtin is a romantic and passionate poet with a flare for description. She uses words and imagery to create scenes of love, lust, and longing in the appropriately named From a Season of Sleep. She writes from the perspective of one who has been awaked by passion, and it leaves readers yearning for more.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll begin with Sandcastle by Justin Bog and Confronting the Demon by Ciara Ballintyne.  That is, if I’m not at a Bon Jovi concert!  *Fingers Crossed*  

Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, Darlin’ you give lo-o-ove a bad name!  

 

Indie-Vengeance Day

The other day, I took a trip to the Half Price Books near my house.  I wanted to talk to them about maybe selling a few copies of Cemetery Tours to their store (they agreed!).  Afterword, I got online to research more stores.  On the Half Price Books homepage, I noticed a link down at the bottom of the page. Image You can read more about it here:   http://tracyjamesjones.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/indie-vengeance-day-weekend-begins/ Needless to say, I decided right then and there that I had to attend.  I will confess, however, that I went to a party last night and was so tired, that for a short while I considered taking the day off today.  However, when I woke up this morning, bright, alert, and ready, I knew that I needed to go. I am so glad that I did. I had the most amazing time talking with these people who traveled from all over the world to greet readers and sign their books.  I expected to go, meet a few people, and maybe get some tips on marketing or any advice on making it as an independent author in general.  I thought, perhaps, I might buy a book or two. I ended up leaving with ten books, two ebooks, several business cards, and more respect for all of these wonderful authors than I ever could have imagined.  Of course, I already had a lot of respect for them, knowing all that they’ve accomplished just by writing and being published, but getting to talk to them about their books, their work, their interests, their backgrounds… they are all just amazing, fascinating, and wonderful people. Ever since I made the decision to self-publish, I’ve been wanting to make more connections in the Indie world.  That includes reading and reviewing their works.  I am thrilled to have so many new books to read.  Sadly, I couldn’t purchase all of them, but I did find most of them on GoodReads, so I thought I could at least share them here and then review them later. Image Scott Morgan is a professor at Collin County Community College and he has written several books on writing.  This one, I think, was written for his class that he teaches. http://www.write-hook.com Image Ben Ditmars was one of the first authors I met today.  I’m a downright lousy poet, so I’m really looking forward to reading his work! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5132689.Ben_Ditmars?from_search=true Image I didn’t get to talk to Amber Jerome-Norrgard for very long, but I very much look forward to reading her poetry! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5815310.Amber_Jerome_Norrgard Image Lynn Hallbrooks was a sweet woman and the story of how she and David McKoy collaborated to write their novels was fascinating. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4950577.Lynn_Hallbrooks?from_search=true Image Tracy James Jones was absolutely one of the sweetest people I’ve had the privilege to meet.  I didn’t get to talk to her very much about her work, because she had several fans surrounding him, but her romance novel definitely sounds like a good read! http://tracyjamesjones.wordpress.com Image M.E. Franco was the first paranormal author I talked to at Half Price.  She was very enthusiastic about everything vampire, ghost, magic, etc…  This was the first book I purchased at the signing. She also penned a cowboy romance novel which, as a true blue Texas girl, I really want to read. 17343857 http://mefranco.com 18455717 Another paranormal/vampire novelist I met was Melissa Zaroski.  I purchased her novel too.  I actually haven’t read any vampire stories since the Twilight series.  I’m interested to see how these new paranormal books will compare. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255267.Melissa_Zaroski?from_search=true 18520901 I talked to Sydney native Ciara Ballintyne for a while.  She was absolutely delightful as she told me about her novella, Confronting the Demon, a combination of deep fantasy and paranormal.  We also had a lot of fun discussing other books we’d read. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6591156.Ciara_Ballintyne?from_search=true 13626269 I love dragons, so I picked this book up almost immediately.  I am really looking forward not only to reading this, but also its sequel.  Dionne Lister was so lovely and I think I’m really going to enjoy her work! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5824220.Dionne_Lister 13108920 18482365 Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson are Australian authors too.  I didn’t spend quite as long talking with them as I did others, but they were both lovely women and very funny.  They had with them selections of their works, mostly erotica.  I have nothing against the genre, but it’s not my favorite. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5307783.Melissa_Craig?from_search=true https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4506281.Charity_Parkerson 17559388 James Peercy was just a fun guy to talk to, and I’m especially curious to read his book, The Wall Outside, a work of fantasy set in modern-day Washington.  I love fairy tales and fantasy, so I’m really interested to see how it will work in our world. http://www.jameswilliampeercy.com 18366887 Sreya Bremtin is a photographer as well as a poet.  She had a book of photographs as well, but as someone who really struggles in the poetry department, I was a lot more curious to read this. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7233499.Sreya_Bremtin 15745432 Meeting M. A. Rogers and talking to him about zombies was a lot of fun.  I’ve probably mentioned before that I am a new Walking Dead fan and that zombies absolutely scare me out of my wits.  For some reason, that means I love watching them on television and reading about them in books.  I’m often told that I am loud and awkward, but M. A. Rogers told me that my enthusiasm made his whole day. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15745432-chivalry-is-undead 13640184 Sandcastle is a collection of short stories by Justin Bog.  I haven’t read a book of short stories since about the eight grade, so I was more than eager to purchase his book.  A cool fact about this book is that his father painted the picture on the cover.  I thought that was so incredible! https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832178.Justin_Bog 17451049 17885027 Julie Frayn is a Canadian author and I ended up purchasing both of her books.  Well, technically I purchased one on Kindle and she gave me a free download for the other.  Not only to both stories sound totally awesome, I absolutely love her cover designs. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6967128.Julie_Frayn 17166676 The last author I met was a poet named Susie Clevenger.  She was so sweet.  I had run out of cash by that point, but she handed me a copy and told me to write her a good, honest review, and I intend to do just that! http://www.susieclevenger.com Everyone I met today was so amazing and wonderful and I hope I’m lucky enough to connect with all of them in the future.

Cemetery Tours Photo Album

In the last week since Cemetery Tours has been available, I’ve had several people send me pictures of their books, or of themselves with the book!  I thought I’d share a few, along with pictures from the websites, reviews, and so on!

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The very first copy!

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Spreading the word at Starbucks!

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The Amazon page! As shared by my high school’s Facbeook page. Proud to be an LHS alum!

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The first shipment. These are all gone now. 🙂

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Cemetery Tours sold alongside a Meg Cabot novel! I couldn’t be prouder!

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My friend sent me this photo! Check out her awesome nails!

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This is Cody. Legitimately one of the coolest guys I know. He’s an amazing actor and he’s also a writer! Check out his blog! http://ayearsabbatical.blogspot.com

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Cemetery Tours on KINDLE!

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First review!

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(Backwards) Cemetery Tours love from Texas Tech!

 

Divergent

This week, I finished reading the first two books in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.  Since I love telling people how I feel about things, I thought I might write a little review.

I’ll be the first one to say that I suck at writing reviews.  On the one hand, I love giving my opinion, whether people want to know what I think or not.  But on the other hand, I am really, really bad at analyzing things.  When my sister read the seventh Harry Potter book, she saw a whole bunch of World War II parallels.  I saw Harry and Voldemort.  I made it through college and grad school, not by my ability to analyze, but my ability to BS a good term paper.  So I guess instead of a term paper, I will now be BSing a good review.

I hadn’t heard of Divergent until a few weeks ago.  I was out to dinner with one of my best friends, Kat, and we got to talking about books.  She and I are both huge Hunger Games fans, though for some reason she thinks Katniss should have ended up with Gale.  Um… how are we friends again?  Anyway, she said that since I loved The Hunger Games so much, I needed to read Divergent.  It was not optional.  I had to read this book.  Now, I’ve had a million people tell me I should read this or that, but to be honest, I rarely check out any books or movies solely on someone’s recommendation.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just that I like making my own decisions and I will usually not do something that someone tells me I should do unless I really, really want to.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had someone tell me I should read Ender’s Game.  Unfortunately, my sister read the book and absolutely hated it.  She and I usually have pretty similar taste in books, so I trust her opinion.  That, and I saw the preview for the movie and, I’m sorry, it looks so boring.

But back to Divergent.  I promise not to post any spoilers.  I’m not an experienced enough reviewer for that.

Kat was a lot more vehement that I read it than most of my other friends have been when recommending a book to me, so I was seriously considering it.  Then, totally out of the blue, someone on my Facebook page posted about how she’d just read the first two Divergent books and couldn’t believe she had to wait until October to read the third.  That’s when I decided I needed to check it out.

I am glad that I did!

Divergent was a fantastic book.  Although it’s over 400 pages long, it was a very fast read.  It’s written in first person, which I like but for some reason, have a lot of trouble writing.  I’m a third person limited kind of girl.  Anyway, the main character is named Beatrice Prior and she lives in a city that is divided into factions.  You choose your faction based on what you value most; honesty, bravery, etc…  I can’t go into a lot of the plot without giving away spoilers that are more fun to read in the book than on someone’s blog, so I’ll just say, yes, it really did remind me of a cross between The Hunger Games and The Giver.  If you enjoyed either, you should definitely read Divergent.  It drew me in, entertained me, and best of all, it kept me interested.  I will admit that I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the characters as I was in The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, but I do like them.  I love the main guy, Four.  He’s complex, brave, and in my head, really handsome.  The guy playing him in the movie is pretty handsome too, but he’s not how I envisioned him.  Movie portrayals rarely are, however.

It took me a little longer to get into the second book, Insurgent.  I finished Divergent in two nights.  I could barely put it down.  The first half of Insurgent was easier to put down, but the last half was more than worth it and it left me eagerly anticipating the arrival of the third book this autumn.

Something else I loved about the first book was that author Veronica Roth included a question and answer session in the back.  I loved reading about how she came up with the idea for the series.  Heck, I love hearing about how all writers come up with their ideas.  The creative process is so fascinating and I love the way different things inspire different people.

The next book I have on my list to read is Beautiful Creatures.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to that in the next couple of days, but I am still hard at work putting the finishing touches on my own manuscript.  I have a few tentative cover designs that I’ve been playing around with and today, I’m going to try to work on my acknowledgements, author bio, etc…

I really believe that reading other books is excellent for the writing/publishing process.  It’s good not only to give your mind a break, but also to remind yourself that millions of other authors have been there, and they’ve made it happen.  It’s really encouraging.