Monday, September 24, 2012

Catching My Breath

Shew! A lot changes post book release.

For one, my visits to Goodreads have spiked like crazypants. How many people are reading it; how many people want to read it; is there a new review or rating... I've got to know! (Haha!)

And those reviews. So far they've all been pretty positive, which is super encouraging, but yanno. I'm bracing for the "not everyone's going to like your book" portion of the show. Talk about scary!

Up until now, I've been in the safe zone here with you all--where we always support each other and cheer each other on. Lift each other up when we're feeling down. 

Post book release, though, I've had to leave the nest. I mean, if I'm serious about turning the writing hobby into a career.

As Dr. Q says, "You have to fish outside your backyard." (Awesome post on marketing, link.)

So for the last few weeks, I've been emailing, introducing myself to total strangers, and asking them if they'd like to read my book for review. It's pretty nerve-wracking.

But so far everyone's been really cool. Book bloggers really are the nicest folks.

And along the way, I've had these little pop-up shout-outs from you guys (Hart, Carolyn, Janet, Kari, Katie, Clarissa, Lydia, Angela, Mary, etc.) Those are the best surprises. It makes me feel like no matter what, we're still getting there. Figuring it out. Keeping each other going. ((hugs))

Get it
While I'm sharing the love, oh, man. Have I got an awesome love story to share with you guys. I actually read this book about two weeks ago--literally in two sittings. It was just that amazing.

My Heart For Yours, by Steph Campbell and Jolene Perry. (link)

First, I love the dual point of view--each chapter is either Tobin or Delia talking or remembering. (I love those names.) And I love the whole setup of the funeral bringing these two kids back together after a pretty harsh split.

Their resistance to seeing each other, to letting any feelings try and creep back in... They totally lose that battle, of course. And how they do is so great to read. You'll just be... *sigh*

Mr. Original #1 Hottie
It's New Adult, so yanno. Age 17+. And--best part--it's all set in south Louisiana. (Yeah, it is!) So I got my home fix.

I highly recommend this one. It's so good.

Y'all know I'm a classic movie buff. It reminded me of an old Paul Newman movie, Sweet Bird of Youth.

Oh, man. I watched that movie with my BFF Dara in HS, and my Paul Newman love affair began. (The movie's awesome, too.) So read MHFY and then go watch SBOY, and have a hottie fest.

Thank you guys so much for always being a safe place. Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! <3

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: The Mormon Diaries

First, HUGE Thanks to everyone who has (and is) helped(ing) me spread the word about my new book! (see sidebar)

Last week was bananas, but in the middle of it all, I read the most amazing new memoir.

Mormon Diaries is a collection of essays by a good writer-friend that chronicles her life-altering decision to leave that faith.

The essays first appeared during the A-Z Challenge last spring when I had to take a break to write/edit, and apparently they caused such an uproar, she had to disable her comments.

I missed it then, but this book should not be missed now. It's powerful.

First, the writing is gorgeous. In perfectly chosen language and passages, Stone describes her early feelings of doubt. Then as she matures, we experience her fear at questioning her faith, her struggles to be more devoted to her family and deny herself, and ultimately her break.

I'm telling you, the tale of Stone's journey is so evocative, despite my not knowing much about Mormonism, I had tears in my eyes reading.

For the uninitiated, she explains what certain practices mean and why they're significant. Religion can be so entwined in every aspect of our lives that change can be a huge risk. In Stone's case, her decision might ultimately cost her everything--mother, father, siblings... husband, children...

I won't give away the ending, but I will say you're left rooting for her. More importantly, you're rooting for all of us to find a place where it's safe to question entrenched belief systems. Where it's acceptable to have an experience with God that's different from your parents' or even your spouse's.

I highly recommend this book. Despite the title, it's more than a Mormon story. It's a story of how true devotion and true seeking can ultimately lead to real and lasting faith. It's a story of encouragement for anyone looking for answers.

Here's where you can get it: 

And if you have questions, Stone has set up an account on Twitter. Follow and ask Sophia Stone @ask_a_mormon.

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! I'll be around~  <3

Monday, September 10, 2012

News & A Celebration!

You've probably heard what happened mid-last week. But if you didn't...

I released my debut YA romantic comedy THE TRUTH ABOUT FAKING!

Y'all this has all come together so fast, my hair's still upside my head. Today, I'm being hilariously interviewed on hacky-sack buddy Janet's blog (link). Stop by and win a free copy of my book!

Also I have shout-outs from my lovely CP and Thursday twin Hart (link) my lovely non-twin Kari (link), the scientifically lovely Mary (link), talented (also lovely) Jolene (link), AND my sneaky (and lovely) CP Carolyn (link)! Please visit.

And Thank you! To Laura, Katie, Elle, and all who've posted reviews and shout-outs already.

I tell you, this has been the most exciting, nerve-wracking publishing stunt I've pulled yet, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, if you're looking for my book, it's everywhere. Print will soon be available as well. I'm on Goodreads (link), and links for purchase are here:

Now for the Celebration! (*throws confetti*)

One of my sweetest, longtime bloggy friends Sheri Larsen (link) just signed with Literary Agent Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary! 

And because our literary community is so freaking fabulous and generous, she's having a Bigger-Than-A-Shopping-Mall GIVEAWAY!! 

The giveaway is open until September 27th. WINNERS will be announced on September 28th. (Entrants may win more than one prize!)

Click HERE to enter, and Thank you so much for celebrating with us!
Congratulations, Sheri!!! So excited for you, and I can't wait to see your books on the shelf!

There's so much awesomeness going on right now. Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! <3

Monday, September 3, 2012

Announcement, FLASH Reviews, & A Happy Place Gets Ugly

Happy Labor Day!

I don't know about you, but this time of year always feels really busy to me. Since school started Aug. 6, I've edited four books, read two, and I've started the process on what will be my Big Announcement... 

I'm going to self-publish a book. (I know!)

In 2010, I wrote a book that got me my first offer of representation. I went with a different agent, who ultimately couldn't sell the book, but she liked it so much, she actually encouraged me to self-publish it.

So with much nail-chewing and hand-wringing, I'm doing it! And I can't say thank you enough to my writer-friends Susan Quinn (link) and Jolene Perry (link) for encouraging me, answering too many emails from me, and basically pulling/pushing me through my nerves.

These two ladies are not just excellent writers and amazing critique partners, they're the best kind of friends. AND they have excellent resources for indie authors on their blogs! I strongly encourage you to get to know them.

I'll show you covers, give blurbs, etc., as it evolves. My goal is to have it out in the next month or so, and of course, I'll give you all the play by play as the process unfolds. And as I have serious karmic payback to do, ask me questions! I'll try to answer them.

Now for the Flash Reviews!

In the middle of all that, I could not stop reading two books, so you know they're awesome.

STAY by Deb Caletti (link)

I discovered Deb (it's like we're friends) back in 2010 when I was working on my soon-to-be-indie book, and fell in love with her writing. Honey, Baby, Sweetheart had me laughing and crying by like Chapter 3. (The church sign? The dad and the carseat?)

But I also had issues with her stories. I didn't care for The Secret Life of Prince Charming very much, so I was slow to read Stay. Mistake! This book was almost impossible to put down.

From the start, it's magnetic with Clara seeing Christian in the gym. But it's told "after the fact." Something bad has happened, and she's hiding out with her dad at the beach, shell-shocked and paranoid.

I love all the characters in Stay, and though (again) I had an issue with how a certain situation was handled, I highly recommend reading this one!

KNEE DEEP by Jolene Perry (link)

This is the first book I've read by my good friend Jolene up there, and I picked it up because we were talking about Stay, and she mentioned she'd written a book about an abusive relationship.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read it just yet because, well, bad boyfriend overload! But I got it, thinking I'd just dip into the beginning and if it got too intense, I'd put it aside and recover with a Sweet Valley High book or something.

I started reading and could not put it down.

Ronnie's first boyfriend is her neighbor Shawn. He's her first "peanut butter kiss" (love that), he's runaway trips to the beach... but his family moves away. The two keep in touch through letters and occasional family trips, until he moves back.

But a different guy seems to have returned from the one who left. Shawn's family is troubled, and he's picked up some bad (and painful) habits. Ronnie can't seem to let go of the boy she remembers, but she has to before it's too late.

Knee Deep had me smiling, crying, angry, but I had to find out what happened. Awesome characters, fantastic chemistry, great writing--you will love this book.

Finally, what's this about a happy place turned ugly? Well, it falls under the heading, "Say It Isn't So."

In my self-publishing research, I've uncovered an issue that has shocked, angered, and kind of scared me. In the past year, I've heard some of my indie-writer-friends talk about reviewers on Goodreads. And I've seen warnings along the lines of "never engage with reviewers."

Good or bad?
At first I was like, "Yeah, that's true. If you get a negative review, you just have to take your lumps with grace. It stings, but not everybody's going to like your book."

Lately, I've heard something more sinister is happening. I've been told there's this cabal on GR targeting authors and basically killing books (and careers) with low ratings and nasty, sometimes ad hominem reviews.

And I've been told it can be over things like giving a low rating to one of their friends' books.

Is this true, writer-friends? Have any of you bumped into this?

Being a book lover, book reviewer, former journalist, and founder of a book club, I can't believe this is happening--or being allowed to happen. One of my favorite things is talking books, freely and openly. And I still want to believe that if a book's really good, no amount of meanness can kill it.

But I'm new. And I have no reason not to believe the source of this information.

It makes me wonder if I even want to be on GR, and that's just sad. GR can be such a useful tool. And it's really impossible for an author to avoid--anyone can make a GR page for your book.

If this really is happening, can anything be done? Are any of my writer-friends taking steps to guard against it? What? and Why or Why not?

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! Time to hit it. <3