Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In Which I Embrace Technology

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about technology and how it effects our lives. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm kind of a techno-freak. In my house we have three computers, four laptops, four tablets, a kindle, a PS3, Wii, a GameCube, Nintendo 64, PSP, & two Nintendo DS...there are four of us.

Part of this is because I'm married to a computer networker who has a tendency to bring his work/toys home with him, but part of it is because we love technology. None of these items are new, we've acquired them over several years, but when we spend money on things, they tend to be technology oriented. This is what we value. The other thing we value is spending time as a family. We play we have gaming systems and a closet full of board games.

Here is the funny thing. In spite of all this, I've been a bit of a holdout on the e-book front. I love book covers. I love the smell of paper. There is something awesome about getting a new book and pushing against the binding to open it fully for the first time. But...they're heavy, carrying more than one can be cumbersome, and hardback prices add up quickly.

So, I have a Kindle. It's fantastic. I love having so many books in one light-weight format that I can take with me. The prices for e-books are very budget friendly and if you keep your eyes open, there are frequently specials on e-book prices that are practically giving them away. It's also really handy for beta-reading my friends' wonderful books. Does this make up for all the things I miss about having printed books? No. Do I still buy many of my books in an e-book format? Yes.

The answer is, I do both. I love books and bookstores. I support my fellow authors at local signings. I enjoy having their books to hold in my hands. AND I buy e-books--a lot of them. The truth is, I buy more books (in both formats) than I did before. I love this side-effect.

All of this has brought me to a couple of conclusions:

E-books aren't going anywhere, get used to it.
Print books aren't going anywhere, get used to it.
I still love technology.

After all, would you want to write all your books with a quill by candlelight? Nope, not me. What do you think about e-books/technology/etc?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Being Thankful

It's Thanksgiving! I'll be busy running around like a...well I'll spare our fowl friends from referring to any of them losing their heads, at least until later this week. So, I'll be taking a break until next week. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday and get to spend so much time with those you love that you decide to hibernate until Christmas.

In the meantime, I wanted to start a little chain. I love the tradition of people talking about what they're grateful for this time of year. If you feel so inclined, consider yourself tagged. Do a post this week listing 10 things your grateful for. If you let me know that you did it in the comments, I'll link to your post. I'm focusing on things I sometimes take for granted.

10 Things I'm Grateful For:

1 ~ My family (I'm downplaying this, but it's at the top of my list for a reason)
2 ~ The most amazing beta readers in the world
3 ~ New friends I've made in recent years, both in and out of the publishing community
4 ~ Ahem...the publishing community
5 ~ In this economy, a steady and reliable source of income
6 ~ My agent, a better advocate for my work than I could've ever imagined.
7 ~ My health
8 ~ My creativity
9 ~ Both hope and despair, because I've learned first hand: you can't appreciate having one without experiencing the other
10 ~ You. Thank you for coming to my blog regularly and reading my sometimes useless drivel. I appreciate you more than you know.

There. Now I have a list to refer back to when publishing throws me a curve ball and I feel like hiding under my covers for a week. Something to remind me that no matter what happens in this roller-coaster industry, I am one lucky girl.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

My Thankful Peeps Who Did Their Own Lists:

Chantele Sedgwick
Ruth Josse

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

10 Things I've Learned About Perseverance--Revisited

Lately, I've needed a reminder of something I posted a year ago. I thought maybe some of you might need a refresher course on this one as well. So, here we go:

As writers & authors, there are so many things beyond our control. I dedicate this post to everyone who keeps trying anyway.

10 Things I've Learned About Perseverance

1. Nothing about this job is easy.

2. The rejections always come before the requests.

3. Each book will be better than the last.

4. Dreams are worth reaching for, even if you pull a few muscles along the way.

5. Sometimes the perfect agent/editor is the 7th query/pitch, the 20th query/pitch, or the 80th query/pitch... but it is almost never the 1st.

6. It's always too early to quit.

7. Taking a break is not the same as quitting.

8. Everyone has a different timeline for their success. Judging your timeline against that of others helps no one.

9. Ability to learn is worth more than natural talent every day of the week.

10. It only takes one yes.

Have a wonderful weekend, and keep trying.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shiny New Projects

Don't you just love shiny new ideas? They're so pretty from a distance, kind of like a star. You think, "Wow, I'd love to play with that bright shiny thing." But also like a star, sometimes you get too close too fast, and then you start on fire or die from all the poisonous gases.

...No? Just me? Alrighty then.

Anyway, I'm just thinking about the adjustment phase that goes into switching from one character/book to another and how to really get myself into the new character's head. It usually takes me several chapters and most of the times I end up trashing the first part of any new book. This works, but isn't the most time-effective way to do it. So, I'm open to trying some new methods.

How about you? Any recommendations? Do you have any tricks you use?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

I was lucky enough to be part of an ARC tour of Everneath by the very awesome Brodi Ashton. It's not coming out until January 24th, 2012, so you guys will have to wait until then to check it out. But right now I'm going to tell you all the reasons you should. 

First, let's start with the cover...because DUDE, it's gorgeous! From the dark, twistyness of the smoke to the way the beautiful red dress flows out from her in smoky's just perfect. The cover is genius. 

And trust me, what you find inside the cover? Just as brilliant.

Here's the blurb:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...


This book has such a great concept. I love that Brodi has taken Greek mythology and really mixed it up. I love dark and twisty, and it has some great surprises hidden in the storyline that are masterful. She has taken a cast of realistically flawed characters and pulled them together into a beautifully tortured story that stuck with me long after I finished reading. If you like paranormal elements and are longing for some darker twists, you have to read Everneath. I can't wait for the sequel! Great job, Brodi!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Yay! My Publishing Contracts!

Last week, I got not one, but TWO publishing contracts from Italy (Newton Compton) & Germany (Heyne - Fliegt). Not only are these very awesome countries, and very awesome contracts, but they are my first ever publishing contracts!

This is surreal folks, SUR-REAL.

I was informed by another cool writerly buddy *cough* Renee Collins *cough* that I was supposed to take pictures of me signing. And so, here begins the picture taking journey.

This is me being surprised when I realized I was getting 6 copies in each of these two beautiful languages. I don't know what I will do with these copies. Maybe get a pedestal with bullet-proof glass and an alarm that triggers if anyone breathes around it too heavily?

Yeah...I'm still throwing around ideas.

This is me displaying my contract proudly. Isn't it so pretty?! I tried really hard not to drool on it. And look! Most of my facial paralysis (the infamous Bell's Palsy) is gone. I still look slightly more relaxed on the right side, but more like that side of my face is on vacation than on strike. I'm pleased to be able to smile with teeth on both sides again.


Like I said. November = great. October was sucky beyond all measurable means of suckitude. But November and I get along just fine.

My thumb, complete with celebratory glitter-pink fingernail polish, approves of the contract signage as well as the month of November. There was much happiness throughout the land.

And now to be serious for a moment. This is incredible. I've imagined holding a publishing contract in my hands a million times and it never even came close to the real thing. This road has not been easy, but dude--does this make it all worth it? Yes. Yes, it does. It makes it feel real and I can't even explain how grateful I am. I'm lucky. Beyond lucky.

Share my happiness today? Anything totally fabulous going on with you? Are you and November getting along? Let's start this week off with even more good news.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marketing 101

I've had a couple of recent requests for some marketing tips and so today I'm revisiting a post from a couple years back.

My B.S. is in Public Relations with a minor in Psych (watch out or I may analyze you). After graduation I worked as a P.R. Analyst and later a Marketing Coordinator.

With this kind of background, I've developed some pet peeves when it comes to the publishing world. There are so many aspiring authors and debut authors that seem to think the world ends with a happily ever after upon publication. Understandably, they have a hard time looking past that momentous event to the reality of what happens after. This leaves them in a world of hurt.

I've heard it said that it's hard to get published and even harder to stay published. I'm absolutely certain that is the truth. In light of that, I thought I'd do a post with nine quick basic marketing tips.

Many of you may already know most of these. Let's face it, I'm preaching to the choir here. Nonetheless, I hope you might find something new or interesting that can benefit you or another author-friend of yours.

1 - Be accessible - Establish a web presence, have a website, let people find you.

2 - Network, network, network - This one takes hard work, time, and maintenance. Get out to writers conferences, develop a blog following, connect with people who might in turn connect with you.

3 - Have Giveaways/Contests - Universal truth = people love to win things, and it doesn't matter what. Contests and giveaways always raise the excitement level. Help spread the buzz about you and your work, get people involved in new creative ways and they will want to help you succeed.

4 - Start at Home - Get involved on a local level. Become familiar with writers groups, schools, libraries and bookstores in your area, and allow them to be familiar with you.

5 - Contact Bookstores/Libraries/Schools when traveling - Let's be honest, few debut authors get sent on massive, nation wide book tours. Whether or not you have a book tour, if you happen to be traveling, you should take advantage of it. Contacting bookstores/libraries/schools on your travels will help spread the word to other regions.

6 - Learn how to write a good press release & get a list of contacts - This is huge. Monumentally huge. Even if you spent 24 hours a day out there, spreading the word, you won't reach as many people as if you learn to properly utilize the media. And I mean every form of media. Arrange a blog tour, know the contacts of local newspaper, radio, tv, podcasts, vlogs... everything you can think of. Just do it.

7 - Know what is newsworthy - It doesn't take a lot to turn a note in the newspaper calendar into a local interest story, and many more people read those than check out the calendar listings. Service to your community is never a bad thing. Use your meetings and signings to coordinate support to give back to the community.

8 - Gather support - Recognize that your supporters want you to succeed and let them get involved. Form street teams, give them bookmarks to pass out, whatever. Just be creative and help them spread the word on your behalf.

9 - Be yourself - The most interesting and dynamic authors out there are the ones who aren't afraid to have a little fun with it. Enjoy yourself. You are living your dream. Have fun with your marketing and those who are around you will have fun too.

Anyway, there are some basics. If you have any questions, go ahead and leave them in the comments. And have a GREAT WEEKEND! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And NaNo

So, I've decided to support all that is NaNo... but not by writing. I'll be doing NaNoReMo and focusing on my reading this month. I currently have  eight books to beta for my crit partners and then I get to move on to some wonderful published books that I need to catch up on. While I'll still be writing, my focus this month will be on reading.

AND I'm so excited about it!!

How many of you are doing NaNoWriMo/NaNoReMo? How is it treating you so far? Any progress? Do tell!