Monday, November 1, 2010

Free E-book!

In case you aren't aware, Daylight Savings Time is November 7th. I'm only mentioning this because I am going to give you more than an extra hour of daylight! The E-book of Broken Light will be free to download off my storefront on November 7th. If you'd like a copy and want reminders or updates on other giveaways follow my Facebook site.

What can you lose by getting a free E-book? Except an hour of darkness. (Plus, this way you'll understand some of the background mentioned in the upcoming book, Bright Pulse. Due for release in early 2011.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Each Side of the Tracks

Yesterday (10/17/10), was Cancon2 (If you don't know what that is see the post before this one) and I met some great people there, most of which wanted to "pick my brain". I had mentioned to Chris Watkins (Click his name. Do it!) that I wrote a blog about the pros and cons of how I felt about each side of the tracks, Traditional publishing vs Self-publishing. I found that had I archived it on my website and then said (perhaps out loud) "Damn, no one is gonna find this!" So, I re-posted here for you all to see (again)! (Sorry it's sooo long.)

(Posted on July 1, 2009 at 9:10 PM)

In my last blog regarding the 10 (or so) accomplishments before I die, I listed two important points: 1. I want to self-publish a novel and 2. I want to have a novel traditionally published. This has led me to further investigate the true differences between both aspects of publishing and which is the best way to go. I cannot answer the latter, but the former is what is causing me to write this blog.

First, traditional publishing is already dubbed as the "best way" of getting an author's book into the hands of the masses. I don't disagree with this. I find that it makes everything much easier on the author to have someone else deal with all the headaches. The number one reason (for me) to traditionally publish a book is because of the marketing aspect. Traditional publishers, such as Random House, Penguin, and Harper Collins have always stocked the shelves in a bookstore. There is no reason why one should not try this route. Hence, the reason for including Getting a Traditional Published Novel on my accomplishments blog.

Second, (and I do believe this is always worth maintaining after signing a contract) you create a better reputation for the millions of possible readers out there. Of course, this reputation is already supplied because of the marketing and editorials that have been given by top name reviewers and such. It's also implied that you're not as good of an author if you have to resort to self-publishing over traditional. Apparently, the outlooks is that no agent or publisher would accept your work. Yes, it's heartbreaking to be rejected in anything that you set your heart on, but it happens to us all -- even if you're not a writer.

As for self-publishers, publishing is a harrowing and back-breaking ordeal. You, the author, have to do all the work -- except for physically printing and binding, of course. Out of pocket costs may be lower if you find the right printer and you will retain 100% of your rights, which enables you to decide where it goes from there (ie: traditional publishing, or movie deal.) This is by far a nice concept, because the royalties are much higher for a self-publisher than they are for authors who follow the traditional path and depending on what type of printer you use, their printing costs can vary.

Self-publishers have to be constantly marketing their books. I have posted endless links to this site on Facebook, sent emails to everyone I know, used my family's connections (I'm not Italian or Russian so this in no way implies mob connections) to spread the word, joined numerous webs rings, and even made business cards to "hand out" or "shove" in peoples faces (wink, wink).

Word of mouth is always the best way to spread the news. Even books that aren't on the NYT bestsellers list is "pushed" through the grape-vine to boost sales. I'll be lucky as a self-publisher to get more than 20 books sold by word of mouth in a year, but contests and door prizes are always helpful to get that word out and searching Google for these contests helps if they are in line with my genre. Thanks to the great site that is, anyone can list a book for a giveaway. I plan on doing so myself, so you might want to join if you want the chance for a free copy of a signed book. (See that? That was word of mouth marketing for theGoodreads site as well as for myself! Two birds, one stone.)

There are some interesting instances that I've found about self-publishers which helps to motivate those that choose this route. (I'm almost complete with this accomplishment.) One of which is about Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice. She tried for a year to traditionally publish her book and after numerous rejections she chose iUniverse to self-publish it. It only took another year before she received a contract and a generous sum of money. This then shows that in some cases, self-publishing isn't detrimental to the authors reputation. Another expamle is of the author for A Time to Kill. John Grishman first self-published his book and sold 100,000 copies out of his truck and then after being spotted by a publisher/agent he sold another 100,000 to become a number one bestseller and well-known author.

As for getting involved with your own marketing for self-publishing -- there is numerous ways to do this. And yes, money is involved. PRweb helps get you a press release and puts your name out there. If you're a site holder on webs then you know about the free promotions you can get with Adwords on Google and Yahoo!, but you'll always do better with more options. The other options include paying for Kirkus Reviews to review your book. This sounds great, but it's $300 dollars. I have also found another site will review your book for $15 per review, but these are regular people who just like to read. The kicker here is that they post their reviews to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or they can send it to you directly so you can print the review on your book before publication. I ask myself, "Who are they? And why would anyone who's picking up my book care what a nameless-wonder says?"

Any publicity is good publicity. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that everyone will give you a positive review (Kirkus included.) This worries me because if it's hated, it will break my heart. (Comes with the job, Jaime, suck it up!) I know that not everyone has to like it and I respect that. Not everyone loves Twilight. I read the books, and they belong in my library, but I am not obsessed. In fact, I hate it because of the movies, but I still say Stephenie Meyer is a fantastic writer. I'd recommend the books to anyone (over 13) and would still say that it's worth the cost. I do have to smile when I hear people say, "No, I don't want that." when it's offered to be bought by a parent or friend in a bookstore.

I'm getting a little off topic.

Another debate is about the presentation of the book -- the formatting and design of the cover and interior pages. Self-publishers usually get to do this themselves or give their insight into it. Traditional publishers do not give the author this choice. Most authors are unhappy with their first and sometimes second editions of their books when it is released. There is nothing they can do about it. Publishers see authors as writers and only writers -- not artistic in any sense of the word. For some this may be true, I on the other hand, am married to an Art Director at a marketing firm. He has some connections and the knowledge base to get me what I need. And I get it all for free! In turn, he gets his art out there for others to see and a way to market himself too. I'm lucky enough to love all aspects of the art world and I include writing in that world, which I am grateful for a visual mind and degree in Fine Arts, also. I knew what I wanted my book to look like before it became a novel, before it was an illustrated novel, and before it was a comic book, which it started as.

So, I'm not making a decision for anyone on which is best for them or what they plan to do with this information. I just wanted to let everyone know what the aspects are of each side of the continuum and how I view it. I hope you get a better perspective for what my small amount of research has taught me. I'm still looking forward to reaching both of my accomplishments and if you'd like to comment on this blog about what you've learned about traditional publishing vs self-publishing, I'd love to hear about it.


Writer's Digest Magazine

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What's new?

I haven't blogged about anything in awhile. Sorry about that if you like to follow these. As for what's new...

1. SL project put on hold. (I got distracted)
I was in the D and C (Democrat and Chronicle) on Sept. 12th for my book, Broken Light. I thought it would be good to have a follow up. Since it doesn't need a sequel, I wrote a companion. In other words, if you read BL, it's about Keller/Luke's brother, Devin, and how he met his true love. The expected release is early 2011. If you haven't read Broken Light, you don't need to in order to enjoy this one. But I recommend it! :)

2. CanCon 2 is coming up.
Canandaigua Comic Con 2 is fast approaching. Oct 17th, 11 to 5. Free to come, unless you want to make a donation to Mike. I hear he's accepting. I'll be signing books and unveiling the cover and title for the Broken Light companion novel. I pretty much just sit there with my husband. Here's the link if you want more info.

3. Life generally just gets in the way. Which means I'm heading back to revising.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So Here's My Process

It's been awhile since I've posted. While working on my SL Project, I've come to realize how in depth and detail oriented one has to be about everything. The main subject that has caused me to write this blog is the pressure and advice of constant revising, revising, revising.

Recently on a forum, I read how revising is so important and how self-editing is a must. I can understand how the two can be considered one in the same. For a long time I didn't realize the difference.

Let me explain how I see it, and maybe I'm wrong. First, editing is making sure all punctuation and grammar are correct, and that the time and flow of story are in the correct order so as to make sense. And of course, for me, the biggest hurdle is tense. It actually gives me a headache, so I'm not getting into that today.

Secondly, revisions are important because what makes sense to you as the writer may not be comprehensible to the reader. Choice of language and slang is an obstacle course. When a reader must re-read a sentence or paragraph due to breaks in flow, it can hurt your story, no matter how good your idea is. What one can say in a single sentence may be more influential than an entire descriptive paragraph. What I'm driving at here is revising and revising until you can finally sleep at night knowing you've done your best.

I've found that sometimes a whole chapter needs to be tossed or even move to the end of the story. And sometimes dialogue takes a turn toward "the basement" where it STINKS OF MILDEW! That brings me to the point of revising, revising, and editing.

So here's my process:

1. Write a vague outline.
2. Write the scenes that won't let me sleep.
3. Piece together scenes with the outline, adding filler and detail.
4. Rewrite the story, beginning to end in a 5 subject notebook.
5. Read the notebook from beginning to end, making notes on what needs work.
6. Revise the notebook, adding in notes or taking out discrepancies.
7. Rewrite manuscript (MS) on computer.
8. Revise/Edit on computer.
9. Print MS and revise and edit.
10. Correct computer MS.
11. Print MS and revise and edit.
12. Correct computer MS.
13. Print MS for a friend to read for clarity and understanding flow.
14. Revise based on friend suggestions. (optional)
15. If using a proofreader/editor, Print MS.
16. Revise
17. Proofreader/editor should want to double check MS
18. Revise
19. Format MS for publisher/printer
20. Bind and ship
21. Edit
22. Bind and ship
23. Edit
24. Repeat Bind and ship, Edit steps until satisfied.
25. Market like crazy.

At first, when I heard "revise, revise, revise" I thought, Goodlord, how do I know when to stop? As a Fine Art graduate I've learned that perfection is arbitrary.

Some people say, "Put six months into revising and editing before querying." Others say that they'll do it three times. I don't believe there is a set number or time frame. VG was done 6 times over a span of 8 months and BL 4 times in 4 months. That's too fast for both books by publisher standards, but I did what makes ME happy and satisfied.

So to end this, and to give you all an update; I am solely working on my SL Project. I have started others and they are all at various stages of the 25 step process I laid out for you. I have a partially written, vague outline of a story about a culture mixed with the past and future to create a world that doesn't exist. The Lyon's Key has been through all 25 steps and has currently circled around and back in step 13. My childern's book doesn't even fit into the process because it's in limbo somewhere fighting for the attention of the illustrator among video games and a career. And the sequel to VG is . . . complicated. Because of VG, I'll never write without an outline EVER again.

With all that said, I've worn myself out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Two Cool Things


I held a drawing today for Broken Light. The winner is Lacey Laskowski. It was a blind drawing and all you had to do was become a fan of my facebook page at So now, the next order of business will be my plans for another giveaway which may be an upcoming book or The Vernore Gene. I'm still working out details.


I was overly excited about the movie The Last Airbender that came out around July 3rd or so. I was disappointed, but this makes me much happier!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visual Tease

Two birds in a tree. I made it myself. A teaser for Book 2, and maybe an insight into cover design. We'll see.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Facebook Tease

On Facebook, I promised a teaser for my new trilogy that I'm calling my SL Project. As soon as I've written more and things are a little more concrete, I will give more specifics. Now, when I promised a teaser, I want to clarify that it's not a synopsis teaser, because that would be an oxymoron, in my opinion. It's a personality teaser into my three main characters. First let me tell you that the trilogy is about a love triangle. In book 1, the girl falls in love with Elliott (whom I've mentioned in past posts). I have found a song that interprets his personality and how he views love. (Please note that love is never said -- it's implied).

Book 2 revolves around my main girl (yes, I'm withholding valuable information here) and how lonely and neglected she feels by Elliott. Enter Sabastian (he's introduced in book 1). I have a song outlining how he feels about The Girl also.

And that brings us to "The Love Triangle". I have to say that I'm glad I've never personally had this problem. As the author, I'm having the hardest time choosing between the two guys. I'm not sure that I could choose if this were my real life... although, I'm basing one character heavily after my husband, but not entirely, so I may be a little biased. :/

I'm having a little trouble summarizing The Girl in a song. I don't write songs and I can't sing so I have millions of musicians to sift through. By the time I summarize her personality and outlook on love, I may be done with the trilogy. And once that happens... perhaps I'll give some written teasers from the books.

Please note: None of the pictures in these videos have swayed the way the book is written. If you read it and see a coincidence, it is just that -- coincidence.

Elliott Book 1.
Song: Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Sabastian Book 2.
Song: Hello by Lionel Richie

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Best and The Worst

Two posts ago I was feeling like a washed-up, wanna-be that was never going to make it anywhere in the crazy mixed up world that I wanted to live in. So I felt useless for two days or so, focused on my other vocation, and started feeling better. I had been told that my latest book, Broken Light, blew people's minds and that I have such an amazing thought process that I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

Today I read one of my favorite author's blog posts. She hit the nail on the head and made me feel 100% better. This is why I am an Indie Author and why I am my own boss.

"But it's something that I see in a lot of writers -- they keep looking to the outside world for verification. If they land a prestigious critique partner, it makes them more worthy. If they have an agent, they can be more confident. If they get a book deal, it's another notch. A bigger book deal, better notch. But guess what the problem with that is? Let's say your book sales tank and you are off the shelf in three months. You are absolutely destroyed, because all your worth and confidence was tied up in that."

To read Maggie Stiefvater's full post and get the complete background about how she feels as a NYT bestseller click here.

She also points out that there is a quote, and she's unsure of it's origin, but it makes me feel so good inside that I wish I could afford to write full time. I believe this is her summary of the quote: "You never learn to write books, you only learn to write the book you're currently writing."

And her personal quote which I will paint on my ceiling to see every day of my life: "I unfortunately seem to swing between THIS IS MY WORST BOOK YET and THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER! Back and forth. I'm a highly balanced person."

And currently, I am working on a trilogy. I have 95% of the first book's first draft completed, 20% (rough estimate) of the first draft of the second, and 5% of the first draft of the 3rd book stated. I don't want to make the mistake of not planning the whole trilogy out before leaping into publishing because then it ends up like The Vernore Gene - unsure of how to resolve all the open-ended issues.

My problem with the third book is the love triangle I've started within the first two books. I, myself, love both guys and I can't decide between them, therefore neither can my protagonist. I've made pros and cons lists, personality trait lists, and considered making polls for outsiders to choose which traits are more highly praised in a significant other. I'm leaning towards one guy in the story now, but what if I end up breaking my own heart over him?

It'll be the BEST trilogy and the WORST trilogy ever.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You Could Be A WINNER!

Okay, so as of late. I've been pumping out my creative/artistic side that goes hand in hand with my BA in Fine Art and Design. I promised my sister in Ohio that I would make her invitations for her wedding in September. I've procrastinated a little, I won't lie. Though today, I got a lot done. Soon I can say, "Here, sugar-pie, is one thing you do not have to worry about." I made my own for my wedding two years ago and goodness, I wished I had cut the guest list. The photo of the invitation is not an invite to everyone. You have to actually receive one in the mail.

As for my writing, I'm not going to be so hard on myself (If I can help it). I also have promised my own personal giveaway (aside from the soon-to-be-determined Goodreads giveaway) on facebook. I'd like to boost my Fan-age and I'm offering two copies of Broken Light to my first 100 Fans. In other words, from the first group of 50, one lucky, random, non-relative will win a copy. From the second 50 (Totaling 100) another random person will win a copy.

Now for a giveaway for The Vernore Gene. I have one copy to giveaway for a fan from this blog. So if you'd like to win, follow this blog. If you'd like to have a chance at both... I think you get the idea here. It's not necessary to follow my individual book blogs. I just made those so I could make clear the hardships and fun that surround the given book.

So tell one and all about the giveaways and how I'm increasing my Fan-age. I'm picking and choosing so be honest and I'll be nice. :) The Facebook contest/drawing ends when a number is met so for blogspot and Goodreads the combined total of 50 will be the marker for the end.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Too Hard On Myself

I've decided to be a little more serious about my life as a writer. I don't know where I'm heading and I'm so afraid of rejection right now that I use the copout of being my own boss and not having to answer to publishers as my reason for self-publishing. The reality is that I just don't know what I'm doing. I write to write and I like my train of thought and how the people I've created live out their lives. Of course, this kinda makes me like God because I decide who lives and dies, where they go and what they say. (That's enough narcissism.)

I keep telling myself that I should join a critique group and submit my manuscripts to publishers or find an agent. I wish I had someone to do all that on my behalf. I feel quite insignificant when I look at the success of other writers. I know what my problem is. I was born in the wrong time period. This is the age of instant gratification and I want answers now. I want hard work done and over with so I can be awesome now and not later. I don't write for money and I hate the prices that are associated with POD's but at least I can say that only I have rights to my work.

Now that I've made myself all depressed over my lack of research and hard work, I'll go write because that makes me feel better.

P.S. I wanted to discuss Fans on facebook and giving away free copies of Broken Light. Guess I'll do it later...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wishing My Life Away

Here's the skinny.

Broken Light
's second edition will be released when I'm ready. Jeez, how much more obscure can I be? The reason, though, for the second edition is due to distribution. I can't list the book on sites without an ISBN. The cut size on it currently doesn't allow for an ISBN. Don't ask me why this is. I have no idea. And I agree, it's stupid. It won't take me long to get Broken Light reformatted it's making room in my head to do so that's holding me up.

Which brings me to what I'm currently working on. I know a lot of you want to know what's going to happen next in The Vernore Gene and I'm trying to fix all the confusion I've started in my head. I'm sorry for this. I didn't plan it well and now I'm kicking myself for it. The other reason for not working on it as much as I should be is because I have another story in my head. This one could end up being a trilogy too. Mostly because it's so long. I've got it completely outlined and have almost what I call Book 1 complete as my mind creates scenes and complications for my main characters later on in what could be Books 2 and 3. More to come on that later.

I also have my collaboration on ghostwriting a memoir. I have ideas planned out for it, a lot of research to do, and feedback to get from the woman who asked me to do this. The hardest part is figuring out the point of view (POV) and making sure I don't offend anyone in the family for the way I think they should be portrayed. The woman lived an amazing life and I don't want to ruin it with too much fiction for the parts I don't know about. Maybe those parts aren't as important as I want them to be.

On another note, I do more than just write 24 hours a day. Although, I'd like to do just that. Only problem is the hand cramps. Anyway, I also have my sister's wedding invitations to finish up within the next month in a half. In case you didn't read the About Me profile in the sidebar, I majored in Fine Art and therefore like hands-on arts and crafts. I sculpt a lot too and try to cut back on the video games. Writing fills up most of my time at home and I should thank my husband more often for taking care of our two dogs and making dinner so often. Thank you, elephant!

So instead of giving into the demand of the sequel to The Vernore Gene I am doing tens of thousands of other things in my head. (And I just came up with a possible story this morning by mistake. I had intended to give my mind a rest. Shh!)

I also haven't forgotten about The Lyon's Key and the work that still requires. No rush though. I also like to make Playlist's for my books. I'm working on one that's helping me to write the current new trilogy and one for Broken Light. All this thinking is making me want my vacation in July to come faster than it is. I know, I know. Don't wish my life away.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Was I Talking About!?

I believe in my last post I listed numerous things I had to do. One of which was to rework a story from last year. Well... I started. Then I got distracted (Big surprise there) and my brain got slammed with a new book idea. This is how this happens to me:

First, I have questions that can't be answered (ie: I see yellow and blue in that green tree. What colors do you see? or I know how I feel about it, but what about you?) and I think about these questions all the time. So much so that I create my own answers to the What If questions. These answers then turn into the life style of certain characters.

Normally, I have a character and a name (first, middle, and last) all picked out. I know what they want and what they plan to do. The one problem is that just like life, my writing can vary from the original idea because "life" just gets in the way and people (characters included) have to adapt. Therefore, as I write, the characters grow into people whom I feel I've known forever. Problem I was enduring for longer than necessary was that I had the idea and no names for my protagonists. Help!

Secondly, as I answer these questions with a story, which is how only I can answer them, they turn into either a series or a single book. After completeing book 1 of Shadow Reign Chronicles and still needing to follow up on aspects has me feeling overwhelmed and needing to re-read my own book to keep on track. My goal with Broken Light was to NOT do that. I wanted a concise beginning, middle, and end. I suppose you could make a sequel out of it, but it doesn't need it.

Lastly, I've found that no matter how much I re-read my work, I always think it could be better. (This applies to The Lyon's Key, which I need a second pair of eyes for.) I believe that if I'm not impressed, moved, or in love with my characters than no one else will be. Now perhaps I fall in love too easily (I would hope my husband doesn't agree, but... *shrug* whatever) because I loved Bailey as I wrote The Vernore Gene and then I fell hard for Garrett** (and why wouldn't I? He's me!)Damien (The Lyon's Key) is dark and mysterious, but a complete sweetheart, and Luke (or Keller, depending on which you prefer) from Broken Light, has caused me to put aside books by other authors using the same name for their characters.

Right now, I'm in love with Elliott**. (Not that I'm replacing my husband or anything. I don't think he cares anyway.) So, now that I'm working all that out in my head and trying to finish the To Do List, I'm looking for moments of sleep, eating, and fitting in a full-time job, as well as filling the next year with three weddings. Woohoo love!!

Where was I going with all this anyway? Now you know how crazy my mind works and why I can't stay on one topic for too long...

**If you're confused by character names, it's because there isn't a book title ready to be released yet.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Day Has Come

If you've been following my Broken Light excitements and hardships you'll know I've promised a release last Tuesday. Well, it didn't happen because of some stupidity on my behalf. So here we are, April 6, 2010 and I have decided that I am done. Currently, you can purchase the book on my storefront from my printer for $15 and add coupon code SHOWERS (expires April 30 , 2010) and get 10% off. Woohoo!

So what am I doing now?

1. Still waiting for the finished sketches to be painted for Friendship Cheese.
2. Reworking a story from a year ago.
3. Planning on submitting The Lyon's Key to Flux for possible traditional publishing.
4. Ghostwriting a true-story/memoir about the holocaust.
5. Catching up on my reading.
6. Working on VG2.

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Monday, March 29, 2010

HOPELESSLY IN LOVE... to a fault.

Man, I tell ya! I've been plugging away at my own life's indulgences when I really should take other people's needs into account. I have things to work on for other people, but if I don't get these crazy thoughts out of my head and down on paper I won't be able to function well enough to do these things for others. But I digress...

I've completed Broken Light and I'm ready for the release tomorrow. Although I should wait for the copy to come that says what I've corrected is correct before people start buying a faulty book... Then again, if I keep it private I can just sell it myself for a certain amount of time. Ugh, then I'm stuck with the problem of the contest I want to enter by May 3rd. Jeez, does my mind ever stop?

I've been reworking a story I started the day I finished The Vernore Gene and I can see how much I've improved. There are aspects that I want to change and scenes that have entered my head to rework. I've been in love with the main character since the day I wrote the first sentence. And why shouldn't I be? He's me. I'm him. If I were a guy, I mean. Which also makes for a rather odd writing style, in a way.

Libba Bray wrote as a guy in Going Bovine and I loved that book. As a girl, I didn't feel it was boring or that I couldn't relate, which is what some publicists believe about writing outside your gender (so I've read.) If you've looked through my website then you'll know that I've talked about this book before. At the time I called it T.L.A.V. and now I've been calling it something else (title may give away too much to say it right now), which may change again to something along the lines of Saving Kyle Albie. Only problem is... I don't plan on saving him. Shhhh...

Anyway, I've had that drilling through my brain while editing Broken Light and trying to reason out book 2 to The Vernore Gene.

On a side note: I plan on writing book 2 and 3 continuously for Shadow Reign Chronicles and then moving forward with it, in case you've been wondering what's taking so long.

So, back to the story which pushes stories around. This T.L.A.V. or Saving Kyle Albie was pushed aside by The Lyon's Key when it took a turn I wasn't happy with. In order to fix it, I have to add one issue, change another, move a scene to the end, and write the second half. Good lord, I may be busy forever!

As for The Lyon's Key, I've had that edited through once. I was going to enter it in a contest but the deadline passed and I'm still not 100% amazed. Until I am, it's sitting on the sidelines. I may get a review from a friend who can give me an honest opinion about what's not selling me on it right now. Then I'll know what to fix.

Speaking of reviews. My husband who is an Art Director at a marketing firm has a co-worker that knows another author who is reading The Vernore Gene. Or she will read it. I'm not quite sure where it stands at this moment. When I know more I'll be raving about it here. Unless she doesn't like it. Then I'll vent here instead.

Well, that's what I've been dealing with in the book world. This year is also going to kill me with books I want to read. Kieli Vol. 2 just came out on the 23rd. I bought Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler which I want to read right now. One of my favorites, Maria V. Snyder, just published Inside Out and tomorrow is the release of Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs. I've pre-ordered Mockingjay, book 3 of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, due out in August and Linger, book 2 in the Shiver series is out in July. Also pre-ordered.

I'm a hopeless romantic, but you'd never know it from talking to me!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What's Next?

I've completed three books. One is published, I'm days or weeks away from publishing another, and working on how I want to go about publishing the other.

I'm excited about Broken Light and getting it out there to circulate through the hands of many readers. I wish things were easier sometimes though. Self-publishing has it's bumps in the road but they're not big enough to cause me heartache... yet! I love the feeling of being in control over the process of my book, using my art degree to design it, "forcing" my husband to design the covers, and kinda-sorta choosing my own price. The downside to Broken Light is that in order to reduce the price and keep it that way after the retail markup is to use a publisher grade printing. Unfortunately that means no distribution and no overseas sales. I don't know however if that means I can't place it on for giveaways. I guess that means I'd be holding contests for it on my website which I did with The Vernore Gene and only had three people participate. Perhaps I'll try a Facebook giveaway this time.

As for The Lyon's Key, I'm still in the process of thinking/editing/rewriting it for traditional publication. At this moment, I like Broken Light better but again it's hard to compare a book of one style to another. This type of thing takes years so in the mean time my next "to do book" on my list is the sequel to The Vernore Gene. I feel like I've been putting it off but if you've read it you know I have a lot to work out in order to close the whole thing off in two more books. And I may have promised somewhere that their would be a supplement story of Dierno's life.

Oh no! I forgot about Friendship Cheese! That will be next. My children's book about finding an unlikely friendship is in the works. Pictures are drawn, words are written, but the kids need color in their book. Once that's complete I'll be able to get cracking on the distribution of that. Fun. Fun. Fun.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thumbs + Interactions + Impressions + Teenagers = New Book

A good rule of thumb for staving off writer's block and finding an interesting plot is to research current events in the newspaper and world news. The most popular topics in the world are more likely to grab a reader and hold their interest than say an idea that no one really cares about, such as returning a shirt that's too small. It's also helpful to outline a story and see where it's going before writing yourself into a dark corner that you can't find your way out of.

I don't do either of the latter. (shh!) I like to make my ideas complex enough for my reader to think and suspenseful enough to make them want to turn the page and find out what happens next. I like to make my reader think they are in the story and what the character goes through could also happen to them - if they're that unlucky.;) Then again what writer doesn't try to do all that! Most of my writing is a surprise, even to me. I work off of dialogue and add in details about a gesture or sound after I read it all back and make sure the reader sees what's in my head as I'm reading the characters conversations.

As a writer, I find that the most important aspect to writing is human interaction. Without it, stories and characters would never come alive or be believable. You'd never know how many different answers a person can have to a question until you've asked a million different people that same question. Solitary confinement only generates stories that the writer alone wants to read. If they're that self-absorbed.

Which brings me to my next point. First Impressions! A lot of people worry about these. Will s/he like me? Will they like my looks/car/house/dog? What if I do the wrong thing? What if they didn't like my movie choice? All those questions relate to the visual or in-person meeting, but nowadays technology has changed the first impression. People don't worry so much about how they're perceived on the phone, in an email, IM, text, or letter. There is security in these things. A wall of protection that people can hide behind and be rude, flirtatious, nonchalant, or just plain nice. Is that the real person on the phone? Who knows, but I bet they won't be short and angry with you in-person if you're just a messenger, like they would have been on the phone - not making that first impression.

This all begs the question of: Are teenagers anti-social? Some are shy, some are too bubbly for their own good, but the shy ones are the ones that interest me. They use their cell phones to communicate with others and play online games that interact with others all over the world. Does that make them anti-social? Not necessarily. They just relate in a different way.

As impersonal as the teenage lives sound, I'm taking a twist on this and coming up with a story based on the idea that two people develop a relationship based off of personality, honesty, and confidentiality. A story about a crisis hotline. What's so interesting about a crisis hotline? Well, nothing really, until you meet the operator and the caller. Two teens who basically live in each others "back yards" and never know the other one exists. Their paths are crossed and until the moment those paths intersect it's unknown how important they are to one another.

The story will beg these final questions and hopefully answer them: Can one save the other if they've never met? Are inner, unmentioned feelings returned and worth the fight to keep the other? What happens if they do meet? Can personality and honesty win over looks and material objects?

I guess we'll find out.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oh, the world of blogs...

Have you ever heard of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine? It's funny, if you like that sort of thing. Here's one that specifically has to do with this and any other blog you may read:

Pearls Before Swine free online comic strip library at

The reason for this strip is that blogs, yes can be an out of control trend, but also they make writing that more accessible. For those of us who prefer to do nothing else, this isn't an option. I like to peruse the blogspot database and see what others are writing about. One happened to remind me of what my ms' (manuscripts) go through. The blog outlined how the woman's husband, who is not a particularly artsy person, in fact she refers to him as "sciencey," reviews her ms and points out all the discrepancies. I do not submit my husband to this for the sole reason that "he doesn't care for the mushy stuff." I believe that means he doesn't like "romance."

As a writer, I already know everything that's taken place or that's ever going to take place in any story I write. I'm a little biased as to how things read and whether it makes sense. So, I rely on my mother. I live by my own belief that says, "If she can understand it, anyone can." Which is true, technically. Even though I get frustrated and only want to finish, I find it annoying that I have to explain what she's already read and how it pertains to what she's currently reading. It all works out for the better in the end.

The one flaw in all of this is that she has the same problem with movies. "Who's that guy?" "Oh my, is she gonna die!?" and "How'd he frame her? I don't remember him sticking that into her pocket!" You can see why I wonder what she's able to retain and how she connects clues together. It's a good thing I don't write mysteries!

By the end of about two weeks of working through the ms with my mother, I find I'm glad to be finished but still frustrated and annoyed. I still put myself through this every time and not so she can praise me and smother me with pride, but because when I take it to the editor and show her, I can feel that the clarity is there and everyone can understand what I want them to. Of course, I have to hold back for the sequels.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crazy! CRazy! CRAZY!

Things have been INSANE lately. And I owe it all to the holidays and work. I have had no time to myself or to devote to writing. I've spent snippets of time on analyzing how I prepare a story, the outline, and deciphering the point I'm trying to make. Lately, though, I've spent more time on making sure I get the synopsis right for The Lyon's Key. I know I only have one done and yet I still need to rework it. It tells a lot without giving too much away. I still think I need to "fix" it.

Many have "begged" me to go back and work on book 2 of The Vernore Gene but I haven't had time to do that or to work out the outline anymore than what I've started. I'm am pleased with the process (as slow as it is) of the marketing for it. I do have to restock the comic shop in Canandaigua and I need to find some free reviews for it.

I haven't had time to read much, with the exception of the long holiday weekends which allowed me to kill two books. I'm slowly reaching my goal of 1,000 read books on

You know what's also a pain? SNOW! That stuff has to be removed from the driveway ALL THE TIME! Why is that? If I could afford it, I'd buy like 40 heating blankets and lay them on the driveway and turn 'em on so the snow wouldn't stick around. Of course then I'd end up with an electrical fire that my neighbors wouldn't be happy about but so what... that's what insurance is for right? (Oh wait, that would be my insurance paying for their fire, not good.)

So, a good thing that happened today was when my husband must have had a down time at work and looked me up on Apparently, someone has me listed as an "Indie Author Worth Their Salt" or something to that effect anyway. It felt good to hear about that. I also have some good reviews on goodreads if you haven't scanned the sidebar and seen the grade.

Oh, oh, oh! My website is back to working better now. I mean it worked before, but I couldn't update it, which was why the last update was in Sept '09. So now I can make changes again and move some things around. I've wanted to rework it and make it more book oriented instead of random info. My forums are still there so if you'd like to start one or join in on an existing one I'd be glad to chat with you or answer any questions about my books or writing in general.

And last good news of 2010 (and it only just started!) I now have one day off work a week. Cool beans! (Maybe I'll get more writing done.) Okay, enough babbling and ranting for now. Long overdue, I know. Hopefully my next entry will be more oriented toward my writing and how I plan out a story.