Monday, October 29, 2012

Gotta Have Faith

I'm not here!

I'm over at the lovely and talented Laurel Garver's blog (link) today talking about why I kept a touch of religion (spirituality?) in my debut YA rom-com The Truth About Faking (link).

It was perhaps a risky move, having a preacher-dad in a rom-com, but I think it works. Drop over and see what you think! (link)

Laurel will be here in the near future doing the same, talking about her new book Never Gone (link).

And Come back Friday! I'm breaking my schedule yet again, but I promise it'll be something really, rilly exciting!

Can't wait to see you then! In the meantime, my friends on the East Coast, be safe! Hunker down, as we used to say along the Gulf. You're in my thoughts and prayers. ((hugs))

More soon, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kindness & a New Book

What? I'm interrupting my schedule again-?! I know!

But I'm here to send you to The Kindness Project (link) blog. I'm over there talking about Facebook quotes--one from bestselling Easy author Tammara Webber.

You might remember the posts a group of us did over the summer on the first Wednesday of the month. Well, they turned into a whole blog dedicated to spreading kindness--and supporting charities!

Please click over and become a TKP follower (link). I'm not the only contributor, so it's safe!

And before you go, my amazing cover designer, friend, and critique partner Jolene Perry has a shiny new book out! She is tres prolific.

Falling is a new adult book, and it sounds awesome.

It's about a girl who's stuck waitressing at a hunting lodge in Alaska. She's a witness to a murder, and at first she has a thing for the sexy cop who's supposed to protect her. (He also sent her to the lodge.)

Get it!
Then she meets the lodge owner. At first they don't like each other, then they start to like each other, so it's the ole switcheroo!

I haven't read Falling yet, but if I know Jo, it's going to be so fun watching these two go from enemies to friends to luvahs...!

Get it: Amazon or Barnes & Noble

And continue having a great week, reader- and writer-friends! <3

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Skulls & What Next?

So last Monday, I was talking about shifting gears and how my first book, The Truth About Faking (link) is a classic YA--sweet, relatively clean romance--while my next book ROUGE is more edgy, new adult...

I've decided to embrace the difference, vive la difference, oui? (ROUGE is set in New Orleans.)

But that leaves me with the question: What to focus on next?

I've had fans of TTAF ask if there's a sequel coming to that book. More Harley + Jason!

I don't have a sequel to that book

But! I've got a good 15K-word start on a companion book I'm calling Shadow Creek. The main character is Ashley Lockett, who we meet in the bathroom with Stephanie at the end of TTAF... (An excerpt was up on The Writing Show website two years ago, if anyone remembers that.)

Shadow Creek would not be as warm-fuzzy as TTAF, but it would be another classic, contemporary YA.

On the other hand, I'm equally as far into the sequel to ROUGE, and I'm pretty sure readers of that book will be wanting that sequel--Stat!

Alas, I'm only one struggling writer-girl. How in the world to write two books at once? And even once the book's written, it has to be edited, revised, etc.

This is the indie conundrum, yes? I'm everything--writing, editing, revising, formatting, marketing...

I'll stop complaining right... NOW! Because I have been so blessed. I've had a great experience so far, and I love being independent! I'm just wondering once the dust settles, where's the best place to focus my efforts? I guess I'll see how everyone responds to ROUGE (out 11/11, fyi).

In other news, while we're on the topic of my love for independence, I was honored to be tapped to join The Skulls... *cough* er--I mean the Indelibles (link)! How cool is that?

Check it out!
I confess, I did the Pee Wee Herman Tequila dance when Dr. Susan Quinn (link) sent me the email invite.

The one thing about being a writer that I hate is how isolating it is.

I'm a pretty social person, but this business takes some serious concentration and focus. It's tough. And being independent further removes us from our networks... 

It's awesome to be part of a group of independent writers who know what we're up against and can provide support. More on that I'm sure soon.

So that's all my news. What's new with you guys?

As always, have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! <3

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Special Birthday Post

We interrupt my usual Monday schedule for a very important announcement...

A few years back, I was introduced to Lenny Lee (link), an eleven year-old boy who liked playing outside, raccoons, and writing, and whose icon was (and is) a happy sunshine. Lenny was dealing with health problems, and his family wasn't sure he'd survive them.

Fast-forward two years, and here we are celebrating--Lenny Lee is officially a teenager! Holy acne, he's thirteen today. And we're all just celebrating and doing the happy dance!


*throws confetti*

And many happy, angsty teen years to come. (Ha ha--just teasing!)

Have a great week-end, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

Monday, October 15, 2012

Napoleon Dynamite & One Direction

So I'm getting ready to release my second book ROUGE in a little more than a month, and I've been thinking about author branding and readers knowing what to expect from me.

The Truth About Faking is selling well, and a HUGE Thank You! To everyone who's bought a copy and taken the time to leave a review. I love hearing from readers, so if you liked it, shoot me a note (link)!

Anyway, ROUGE is not like TTAF.

TTAF is very classic young adult. It's sweet, relatively clean. There's romance, some humor, a little message tucked inside. You finish the book smiling and with a warm feeling inside. I love that book.

ROUGE is what you might call "edgy" or "mature" YA. It's not sweet. The main character's struggling to escape some pretty terrible things, she falls in love with someone who's impossible for her to be with, and then it just gets worse. It features more than one adult situation, and I'm not sure how readers will walk away.

And I love that book, too.

But it makes me worry about how shifting gears is going to impact my readership.

There's still a message tucked inside ROUGE. And I wrote it, so you'll still hear my voice. It's just my voice isn't telling you such a happy story this time.

It's a good story. At times, I wonder if it might be the best story I've written. (How can anyone ever know that?)

Will it hurt me that I've set readers up with TTAF to expect one thing, and then I'm going to give them something very different in ROUGE?

I was thinking about John Heder (a.k.a., Napoleon Dynamite). He did that movie, and then he did the movie Blades of Glory, and then he sort of disappeared. Maybe sometimes doing the same thing, only going in one direction, can hurt you.

But what hurts more?

I guess I'm going to find out.

Have any of my other writer-friends gone through this? What has your experience been like?

In the meantime, I'm formatting, preparing, working. Thinking about how blessed I am to have such great reader- and writer-friends. 

Have a great week, guys~ <3

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Interesting Times

The cool thing about having a new book out and obsessively checking my Amazon numbers (LOL!) is I've discovered so many interesting, new indie books!

Seriously, go to Amazon and peruse the Top 100 lists for "Coming of Age" (link) or "Love and Romance" (link), and you'll find a virtual explosion of exciting, new indie authors creating a variety of books on the list.

It's truly a revolutionary time to be a writer.

I was telling a good friend of mine it feels like for the first time writers have the same opportunity as musicians or film makers. Now we can come out with new books in a fraction of the time it used to take, and it's up to the readers to decide if our product is entertaining or thought provoking enough to share.

The example I used was The Blair Witch Project. Remember that? (Just in time for Halloween!)

A group of kids made it with a camcorder then used the Internet to spread the word pre-release in all sorts of creative ways, and Bam! Indie blockbuster.

I don't remember if it was a blessing or a curse when someone used to say, "May you live in interesting times," but for writers, I'd argue it's a blessing.

Nowadays, if you follow the formula (great story + investment in quality), you really can find success. The only thing stopping you is you.

Will you invest the time to write a compelling story--your story? To hire an editor and copyeditor? To make the revisions needed? To create an eye-catching cover? To do the legwork it takes to get the word out?

If you will, it's completely possible these days for writing to be a true, sustainable career for any writer--not just the very lucky few.

How amazing. How blessed we are!

This week, I'm absolutely bursting with news... which has to wait (LOL!). But I can say, I'm working on Rouge again--cleaning out added content I didn't like, restoring it to my original vision (mature YA), sifting through cover images--and by November, I can't wait to share it with you!

In the meantime, I hope you guys are doing fantastic. What's new with you? How do you see this revolution and our changing times?

I'm telling you, writer-friends, there is absolutely zero reason now to give up. Whatever you do, keep swimming.

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

Monday, October 1, 2012

Big Thing Backwards

Last week I was tagged by Hart (link) and Stina (link) for the "Next Big Thing" blogfest. I'm to tell you what I'm working on and end by promoting something.

So I'm doing it backwards because I've got to tell you about a book I just finished: Never Gone by good bloggy friend Laurel Garver (link).

It is so good. The writing is gorgeous, the story is haunting (literally!) and it ends just perfectly. (*BIG sigh*) It's the perfect fall-into-winter book.

Get it!
Main character Danielle "Dani" has just lost her father in a horrible car accident. His body's been cremated, and she and his remains are being shipped off to England to stay with her paternal grandparents while her mother stays in the U.S. for work.

The problem is Dani keeps seeing her dad. 

Her memories and her desperate longing to catch him, which leads to some risky behavior choices, will have you in tears. But also, her strained relationship with her mother, and all the things Dani discovers about her family just peel away like layers of the most delicious cake. (Yep, I wrote that--LOL!)

And the ending with Theo, and what he writes on her cast... (*swoon*)

OK, I'm stopping, but it's an impressive debut. Only a few times I was a little confused or concerned with how situations were handled, but it didn't hinder my enjoyment.

There's a good dose of theology in the book courtesy Dani's grandfather, who's a clergyman. But also Theo, Dani's love interest is struggling with his own spirituality. I don't mind such things, and Laurel and I are planning a cross-post on how both of us incorporated religious themes in our books on Oct. 29. It should be interesting!

The English setting is the perfect backdrop for all the good stuff inside. Run get it on Amazon today (link)!

Now for the NBT blogfest questions! (I'll answer these lightening-round style.)

What is the working title of your book?

Violet. I know that's cheesy, but it's the sequel to Rouge, and for now, I'm trying to get the story right. I'll worry about titles later. (I have to do this; I'm hopeless when it comes to titles.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It's the sequel to Rouge, and Rouge is Oliver! meets Moulin Rouge meets My Fair Lady. (I know!)

What genre does your book fall under?

It's light historical/theater romance. Rouge was written as YA, but S&S asked if I'd make it adult. I said yes, but the characters are still 19 & 20 years old. So it's light-historical New Adult romance. Set in a theater. (*squee*!)

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

When I started writing in fall 2010, I had this whole cast of characters in mind, including Henry Cavill. But that was two years ago, and they've all aged and changed.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Rouge: Hale's trying to secure a proposal from Freddie so she can get Teeny (and herself) out of their cabaret-home that's growing more dangerous by the day; then she meets Beau.

(I can't talk about Violet without spoiling Rouge.)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

This book is part of a three-book deal w/Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I'm hoping it won't take me as long as Rouge, which took me three months. (*freaks out*)

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Not sure yet.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I got super-selfish with this series. This is just the kind of lush escapism I love love love; so I wrote it for me. And I hope you all LOVE it, too--LOL!

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I thought it was really cool that the television show Smash started after I finished Rouge, because that show (like my book) is all about what happens when the actors are off stage. The drama of real life, and how it bleeds into their performances.

What are you currently PROMOTING?

(see above)

Everybody's been so fantastic in helping me get my debut YA The Truth About Faking off the ground, I'm trying to pay it forward as much as possible. Love you guys!

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends! I'm going to be everywhere with guest posts and reviews. I'm trying to tweet and Facebook updates as I get them. Please don't get sick of me! <3

OMG, I almost forgot! The whip-smart and super awesome Dr. Susan Kaye Quinn (link) has sold 10,000 copies of her book Open Minds (wow!) And to celebrate, she's giving away a Kindle Paperwhite and Free Books (WOW!), including The Truth About Faking!

Be sure and stop by her blog (link) tomorrow through Thurs. to enter, and good luck! <3