Friday, August 17, 2012

What I've been up to - 8/17/12 edition

I realized last night how long it has been since I’ve let you guys know what’s going on, let alone posting on my blog whatsoever. This tends to happen when I’m in writing mode, especially when I’m trying to finish a project by a certain date and said date is quickly approaching.

So, what am I doing? Well, I’m working on Spirit, the fifth and final installment of The Elemental Series. This has pretty much been my world for the last two months. My wedding anniversary is in late September so I’ve told myself that is the deadline for the first draft. Right now I’m at about 65k words. The other books have all been somewhere between 92k-98k. So you can see just how close I am and yet… just how far.

The most difficult part of a book, for me at least (and a number of other writers I know), is getting through the middle. The middle is hell, it’s like standing at The Black Gates of Mordor, seeing all of Orks, Black Uruks and other armies and the Eye searching for you as you see Mount Doom in the distance and you know you gotta get over there. But you stand there and think, “Why the hell am I doing this? I mean this book is such crap, is it really worth fighting through all of that just to get to the end?”

Yeah. Every book, once I reach the middle I think the book is crap and I hate it and the very idea of sitting at my desk and writing even the most paltry number of words is a chore to kill all other chores before it. And as I sit there, staring at the screen, rereading that last scene, shaking my head and hating my story, I think, “This is a god-awful book and no one, not one person, is going to enjoy this crap!”

But you get through that bit, you write through that wall, you force your way through it as you tell yourself it’s okay to write crap right now because no one else will ever know just how crappity it was. You can and will rewrite it later. A lot of people never finish writing their stories because they can’t keep themselves from editing and editing and editing until

they’re happy, but how can they ever finish editing if they don’t know how the book ends? So, I don’t do this. Sometimes I’ll realize I made a mistake and have to go back and do a quick fix so the book makes sense again, but that’s it and it’s never a major rewrite. Otherwise I just make a quick note and move on.

And right now, as I said before, I’m at about 65k words so I have made it through the middle. Yes, it is still bugging me and niggling at the back of my head, but it’s okay, that’s what the editing stage is for. I think I know how the book is going to end, but it’s still a little foggy and every day the fog shifts and clears a bit and I know a little more. I had considered writing the end and then writing up to it, but every day I think of something else and I know that probably would’ve been a bad idea. But let me tell you, I thought writing that first book was hard, but writing the last book is like nothing I’ve ever imagined. It is so incredibly difficult to write something that will be a satisfying ending to a five book series. I just hope I can do it justice.

So what else? What else have I been up to? Well, as you may know Fire is pretty much done so I am in talks with my amazing cover artist, Stephanie Mooney, about the cover. This one is a little harder for me than any of the others have been but Stephanie is so amazing I know she’ll hit it right on the head, again. I plan to do another cover reveal tour for it so when I have all of that information I’ll post it.

Personally, I’ve been busier in these last few weeks than I have been in a long time. It’s kind of exhausting really!

About six weeks ago I got new tattoos, the first in just over ten years (TEN YEARS?!?). I got a Harry Potter tattoo, specifically the Deathly Hallows symbol. I have a lot of reasons for
getting this one. I know a lot of people will probably shake their heads and roll their eyes,
and that’s fine, the tattoo isn’t for them, it’s for me. The Harry Potter series had a major, major impact on my life and I’ve always wanted a literary tattoo and there’s a good chance this won’t be the only literary tattoo I get.

I also got a Celtic knot tattoo. I am mostly Irish with a mix of other Celtic peoples and I have always, always wanted a Celtic knot work tattoo but had a hard time deciding on what and where. Then, when my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Paris, we came across this design on a church and we both knew it was the perfect knot. In knot lore the circle represents eternity and faith and a square is representative of a shield, something that protects you.

And this is, what I think, as the perfect marriage of the two. It is simple and yet intricate, exactly what I wanted.

Let me tell you, getting my two wrists tattooed on the same day and then leaving the parlor with my wrists wrapped got me quite a few side-long glances.

The other week I got to go down to Redondo Beach to The Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore to attend a book signing for R.A. Salvatore, my dad’s favorite author. Let me tell you, if you are anywhere near Redondo or San Diego, check these stores out. I wish so much that we had one of these bookstores near me. I would work there in a heartbeat. This is an amazing independent bookstore and they constantly have major, bestselling authors there. Just the other month I got to go to meet Vicki Pettersson there and got to swing dance for goodness sakes!

Speaking of books again, I had a couple of exciting developments in the last couple of weeks as well. Earth was featured on Pixel of Ink on July 27th and let me tell you, that is huge for self and indie published writers. And on Tuesday I got a fantastic four star review from Big Al’s Books and Pals, another huge deal for me! I really thought they had passed on the book because I submitted it for review over a year ago, but looks like I got lucky!

Exposure and word of mouth, that’s what every author needs to keep writing. Yes, we can write without it, but to be able to pursue it like a job and keep cranking out books at a rate that keeps our readers happy? We need to be successful at the selling part. It’s unfortunate but this is still a business. I have tried to keep a six month release schedule, knowing how much I hate to wait a year or more for the next book in a series I love. So if you want to help me, or any author you love, tell your friends how much you love those books, post reviews anywhere you want. Just help get the word out.

In that vein, I have to tell you about this book I read recently and how much I loved it. I have been reading A Song of Ice and Fire, which is a huge undertaking no matter how much I'm enjoying it. After finishing A Clash of Kings I needed a break. Usually I read Paranormal and
Urban Fantasies but I saw this cover and thought, "Let's see." So I bought Easy by Tammara Webber. It's a "new adult" romance and I was swooning through the whole damn thing. It's one of those that other writers wished they'd written.

There was no magic in it, no supernatural creatures, just people and what they go through
during a moment in time. There a lot of steamy wonderfulness, so make your own judgement about how much of that you like, but it has been a long time since I crushed on a male lead character and I totally did in this book. Oh, also, my amazing cover artist did this cover!

So that’s about it for me right now. You’ll have to forgive the radio silence while I’m fighting my way to Mount Doom. It’s so hard to focus on anything else while you’re trying to keep up with your characters, chasing them across the page to make sure you catch every word they say.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt!

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM--but there is also a red team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). Hint: the secret number is highlighted in RED.

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by August 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting Tera Lynn Childs on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Tera Lynn Childs is the award-winning author of the mythology-based Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp, the mermaid tales Forgive My Fins, Fins Are Forever and Just For Fins (July 3, 2012), and a new trilogy about monster-hunting descendants of Medusa, starting with Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows (September 4, 2012). She has also epublished two fun chick lit romances, Eye Candy and Straight Stalk. Tera lives nowhere in particular and spends her time writing wherever she can find a comfy chair and a steady stream of caffeinated beverages.

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here!


Isn't that just beautiful! And here's what the book is about:

When Lily Sanderson decided to remain Crown Princess Waterlily of the mermaid kingdom Thalassinia, she knew she couldn’t just coast along in the current. But since she’s spent the last couple of years on land—with gorgeous human Quince by her side—Lily’s not sure she has the fins to lead a kingdom. Even her maddeningly pretentious cousin Dosinia seems to know more about ruling than she does.

But Lily has to dive in deep to keep her promise to Tellin, her mer bond in name only, whose kingdom is suffering in the changing ocean climate. Lily knows this is a seven seas–sized problem: from sea animals dying to oil spills and threats to humans. They’ll need to create some serious waves to make the mer community aware and get it to join together to make things right. Even if that means facing one of the iciest queens in the mer kingdoms.

Just when Lily thinks her double life on land and sea can’t get any more complicated, an ancient mer law might separate Lily and Quince after all. It feels as if the pair is up against a solid tsunami wave!

In this third installment in the series that began with Forgive My Fins and Fins Are Forever, Lily will have to find a way to balance safety and justice for the mer people as well as for the humans she loves.

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Tera Lynn Childs, and more!

To enter, add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!