Category Archives: Blogs

Sweet Treats for your brain

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Usually this day is not all that busy for me. I mean, I eat candy, I go out to dinner, the hubs and kids are extra sweet to me…but work-wise, not so much.

I’m making up for that this year!

I’ve got a story in two anthologies this V-day – both of which I volunteered to format. (So, if the formatting on your copy/copies sucks, let me know!!)

IN HIS EYES is an anthology from the Indelibles.

My short story in IHE is called Surprise, Surprise and it’s about Melody and Raleigh from the Zellie books and what happens when they go on their first real date. It’s cute and super romantic and I had a great time getting into the Zellie world again. All of the stories in IHE are written from a male character’s point of view, so you all get to know a bit more about what’s going on in Raleigh’s head.

I really dig writing these spin-off stories and you can expect more of them. The next full-length novel set in the Zellie world takes place more than a decade after where Glow left off – so I’ve got a lot of years to cover and a lot of short stories to tell.

You can get IN HIS EYES free at Smashwords and for 99 cents at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. (We were hoping it would go free everywhere by V-day, but alas, it hasn’t happened. Still, 16 stories for 99 cents ain’t so bad!)

The other anthology is Death By Chocolate.

The short story I have in DBC is called Back in Time and it’s actually pretty long – the length of a Day of Sacrifice story. Here’s the blurb:

Nothing in Aurelia Lemon’s life is turning out how she’d planned. She’s unemployed, unattached, and her family bakery is on the verge of closing. To make matters worse, the guy she dumped in high school is doing well and getting rich off of one of her departed mother’s recipes. It would take a miracle to right everything she’s done wrong. Or maybe just a phone call and the chance to go Back in Time.

It was such a fun story to write – so much so that it’s the first in a new short story series. I love time travel stories and characters getting to right past wrongs – the genre lends itself to many shenanigans. (If they’re written by me – not so many shenanigans in Time Traveller’s Wife.)

Death By Chocolate is available for $2.99 at Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

(Smashwords is being a PITA and not loading – I’ll add the links when it’s working again.)

Lastly, I wanted to tell y’all about a book NOT written by me!  My fellow PacNWYAer, Laura Elliott has a new book coming out soon!  She’s doing a little cover reveal and giveaway today to celebrate the holiday.

TWO WORLDS. TWO TEENS. ONE WISH.

TRANSFER STUDENT is a science fiction Freaky-Friday romance/adventure about two normal teenagers struggling to survive high school and deal with their parents… typical rites of passage. The twist? One teen is an alien from the planet Retha. In a galactic teleporting experiment gone wrong, Ashley, a Beverly Hills High surfing fashionista, and Rhoe, the biggest geek on planet Retha, swap lives. Only by surviving life as their biggest nightmare do Ashley & Rhoe discover their dreams. How far would you go for someone you love?

WIN TRANSFER STUDENT BOOKMARKS SIGNED BY AUTHOR LAURA A. H. ELLIOTT!

To enter to win all you need to do is tweet this & follow my blog Laurasmagicday: Nothing says #ValentinesDay like an alien #romance! TRANSFER STUDENT Cover Reveal! #TransferStudent #teenreads #kindle http://laurasmagicday.wordpress.com/

The first 100 tweets/followers win!

TRANSFER STUDENT BLOG TOUR: LEAP DAY, 2012 – MARCH 20th

Giveaways include free ebooks of TRANSFER STUDENT, Amazon gift cards & weekly surprise gifts that are out of this world! TRANSFER STUDENT RELEASE DAY: MARCH 20th

Got all that? 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and at the very least eat too much chocolate and read some great books.

LUV,

Stacey

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Death By Chocolate Anthology is live!

The young adult paranormal romance anthology, Death by Chocolate, is available now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords!

Six authors –  Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Cheryl Carvajal, Nikki Jefford, Lucy Swing, Kira Saito and Suz Korb, bring you supernatural adventure stories, each with a cocoa twist.

The stories are: Back in Time by Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Sweet Witchery by Cheryl Carvajal, Spellbound by Nikki Jefford, Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing, Sweet Torture by Kira Saito and The Girl with Three Heads by Suz Korb.

Time travel, witchcraft, horror, agony, and light hearted comedy too. Combined with more than just a hint of enchantment, these stories are the ingredients for the Death by Chocolate recipe of romance.

Back in Time by Stacey Wallace Benefiel: Nothing in Aurelia Lemon’s life is turning out how she’d planned. She’s unemployed, unattached, and her family bakery is on the verge of closing. To make matters worse, the guy she dumped in high school is doing well and getting rich off one of her departed mother’s recipes. It would take a miracle to right everything she’s done wrong. Or maybe just a phone call and a chance to go Back in Time.

Sweet Witchery by Cheryl Carvajal: Catalena is only one of many dreamers in a small medieval town in Romania. When the witch Ramnusia opens her chocolate shoppe, suddenly dreams turn into reality. The chocolates are divine, but their power is greater than their sweetness. Miracles abound, dreams come true, and Ramnusia’s magic confections become the talk of the town. But if these chocolates can make dreams come true, will they win for Catalena the deepest dream of her heart?

Spellbound by Nikki Jefford: A resurrection spell gone wrong. Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her identical twin sister, Charlene’s body. As the daughter of a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her back to life? Only now Gray’s stuck sharing her sister’s body 50/50 in 24 hour shifts. The race is on for Gray to find a way back into her body before Charlene purges her from existence. Warlock Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell and worse – her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

Bloody Valentine by Lucy Swing: One by one the girls of Hollow High disappear and when Bailey receives a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates she might be next.

Sweet Torture by Kira Saito: Sixteen year old Claudia Bernstein is obsessed with two things: chocolate and Dante Torres. However, being an invisible minion to Upper East Side princess Beatrice Wildenbert isn’t helping her get anywhere with her dream guy. Everything changes over Christmas break when Dante actually starts noticing her. But are Dante’s intentions as pure as they seem? When Claudia finds herself in the middle of a cruel prank she decides to take revenge. But is revenge enough? Or will she finally realize that her own worst enemy is herself?

The Girl with Three Heads by Suz Korb: Kate wakes up on the morning of the Death by Chocolate fundraiser event to discover she has two extra heads. She eventually learns that the head on her right shoulder is Zeus while the head that’s magically implanted on her left shoulder belongs to Hera. Will Kate ever rid herself of these two extra heads? Will she ever get to experience her first kiss from a guy without extra-head-situation interruptions? Join Kate as she struggles to survive being flung into the Underworld and also landing upon Mount Olympus. Just because she’s got two extra craniums, doesn’t mean either noggin is an extra set of useful brains.

To find out more about the brilliantly talented authors who contributed to this anthology, join us for the Death by Chocolate Valentine Blog tour February 7th –  23rd. The Valentine’s week of the blog tour is hosted by Bewitching Tours. Visit the Death by Chocolate blog for daily updates and news!

Using the iBooks author app.

My friend Cheri Lasota – the author of Artemis Rising, who is also both a fellow PacNWYAer and Indelible – has a great post up on her blog today about her experience using the new iBooks author app.  I thought you all might be interested in checking it out. You can find the post here.

Dissent Cover Reveal

It’s Friday and I’ve had one heckuva busy week! I’ve got the plague and more work to do than one person should.  I’ve been writing on Dissent mostly and it’s coming along.  Well, except for the part where I cut 1K words from it yesterday. 🙂

For motivation and procrastination, I like to peruse cover art.  I saw this photo and knew it would be perfect for Dissent.  Here is the cover:

 

Bwahahahahaha!  Is that mysterious enough for you?  Don’t worry, it will all make sense once you start reading the story.

So, you’re probably wondering when you get to read the story? End of February. I’ve got a bunch of Valentines/ Anthology stuff coming up and then Dissent will be out.  Not much longer!  And, as always, thanks for your patience. I write as fast as I can, but I also have this whole other life where I’m a mom/wife/sister/daughter/friend. Yeah, the mom stuff takes up the most time, but all you parents out there know about that!

Today is also my day to blog over at the Indelibles. I wrote my post for them on Monday, so it’s a lot funnier and more coherent than this one. 🙂

Have a swell Friday.

 

Introducing the Indelibles!

http://indelibles.blogspot.com

Marketing guru Shelli Johannes Wells has teamed up with twenty-four other indie and small press authors to bring you the Indelibles.

“We are indie authors who write middle grade and young adult fiction. We are dedicated to leaving a permanent mark on the world with our stories and words. We are the Indelibles.”

Each week, we’ll explore fun, fabulous, and fierce topics for today’s teens, drawing on pop culture and themes from the books we write. We’ve got several great things coming up. There will be a “blogger” chat on January 17th and a writer/author chat on January 18th to answer questions about self and indie publishing. See our blog for details.

A little about Stacey Wallace Benefiel: I’m the author of the YA paranormal romance Zellie Wells trilogy, the paranormal romance/urban fantasy serial Day of Sacrifice and The Toilet Business, a collection of essays about all the crappy jobs I’ve had.

I live in Beaverton, OR – which is a suburb of Portland. Before graduating from Portland State University in 2005 with a B.S. in Creative Writing and Theatre, I did a five-year stint at the University of Oregon in Eugene, attended bartending and floral design school, and graduated from the Art Institute of Los Angeles with a degree in Culinary Arts.

I like school.

I grew up in Columbia, MO, but haven’t been back since my ten-year high school reunion because my entire family moved out to Oregon.  I’m very close with my parents and my younger sister, printmaker Valerie Wallace.

I’ve been married to Robert Benefiel since 2002 and we have a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. We live in an orange house with our dog, Chief, and our two cats, Simon and Willis.

Zellie Wells trilogy

e-book

Requisite blurbage:

Glimpse: Zellie Wells has a devastating crush on Avery Adams, the son of her mom’s high school sweetheart. At her sixteenth birthday party, held in the basement of her dad’s church, she finally finds the courage to talk to him. Turns out, the devastating crush is mutual.
As Avery takes her hand and leads her out onto the makeshift dance floor, Zellie is overwhelmed by her first vision of his death; shocking because not only are they both covered in his blood, but they’re old, like thirty-five, and she is pregnant.
Afraid to tell anyone about the vision, (she’d just be labeled a freaky black magic witch, right?) Zellie keeps the knowledge of Avery’s future to herself and tries to act like any other teenager in love. When they get caught on their way to a secret rendezvous by her mom and his dad, they are forbidden to see each other.
Convinced that their parents are freaking out unnecessarily, Avery and Zellie vow to be together no matter what. They continue their relationship in secret until Zellie learns that their parents are just trying to prevent her and Avery from suffering like they did. The visions are hereditary, they’re dangerous, and if they stay together the visions will come true.
Now Zellie must choose between severing all ties with Avery, like her mom did to prevent his father’s death, and finding a way to change Avery’s future.

Glimmer: Zellie Wells’ life is changing. Her relationship with Avery is growing stronger every day, but their parents are still giving them ultimatums and trying to keep them apart. Her newly discovered powers have all but disappeared. Benjamin, another young Retroact, is back and has brought with him a painful shared vision and a troubled past. While working together to figure out what the vision means, Zellie discovers that Benjamin is a worthy friend and mentor. If only he could keep his hands off of her – if only she wanted him to…

Glow: Zellie Wells has mastered her powers and gotten the guy. She’s lived through her parents’ divorce and being separated from Avery. She’s come back from the dead. What else is there?

Oh, yeah. REVENGE.

Discover how it all ends when Zellie and the gang finally track down Mildred and fight to right the wrongs of The Society’s past, present and future.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

ROW80 update

Quick update today: 1094 on Back in Time on Monday and 372 today.

Tuesday I finished up my Christmas shopping and today I had four kids 5 and under in my house, so not a lot of time or peace and quiet to write!  I’m still enjoying working on BiT and have set things up so that it can be a series.

Because, if I need anything, it’s another series to write. 🙂

I’ve also got a new idea in the works – I’m going to be writing a novel in real-time on a blog.  I’ll let you all know more about that when I actually set the blog up.

That’s all I’ve got to report for today! Stay tuned for my 12 Days of Christmas Reading post that will magically appear at midnight on the 10th.  Or noon.  I sometimes do that.

Tangent:  Have you all seen Friends With Benefits?  You should, it’s funny.  Anyway, Justin Timberlake’s character, Will, has a real problem with math.  I could not stop laughing because it’s the first time I’ve seen someone else, who is otherwise intelligent, be just as perplexed by math as I am.  Military time confuses the hell out of me. Also, measurements.  I never would’ve made it through culinary school if I couldn’t have based everything on the size of a pint of beer. I could get that two pints of beer could fit into a quart, but trying to understand how many cups are in a quart made my head hurt. (I totally just Googled “how many pints in a quart?” just to make sure.)

Stop laughing!  I’ve got a learning disability, y’all! 🙂

Where is my mind? and #ROW80

I capped off a busy week with a super fun breakfast/reunion this morning.  I got together with two friends who went on an exchange program to England with me in 1990 and the guy whose family hosted two of us.  I had a wonderful time catching up with everyone – we talked about work and following your passion and kids and we reminisced and laughed and ate good food. It was one of those “picking up where you left off” experiences, really. And, I scored a roll of Rowntrees Fruit Gums. 🙂

Then I took the kids to a fun Star Wars birthday party (did you know that there are blow-up lightsabers?) and now we’re all worn out and I finally have time to do my ROW80 update.

I was a blogging fool this week. I participated in the YA Scavenger Hunt – which was a blast!  Many thanks to Colleen Houck for including me. I also wrote a lengthy post that will go up on the 10th for the 12 Days of Christmas Reading.  So, if YA books aren’t you thing and you didn’t get in on the scavenger hunt, you’ll want to make the rounds on 12 Days – lots of giveaways of all types of books.

Writing-wise, this week was a bit of a bust, but I don’t feel too badly about it because I was doing so many other author-centric things.  600 words on Back in Time and 87 on a pen name story on Friday.  I want to finish both stories this week.  We’ll see what happens –  when I think my week is going to be chill it suddenly becomes busy.

Here’s to us all getting off one stop before Crazytown Central.

Reviews and the self-published author

I’m in a strange mood today – we’ve just come back from a trip to the mountains and as we got lower in elevation and the more the snow melted away, the weirder I felt. Like our vacation didn’t happen. Also, I’ve been eating nothing but sweets for three days. 🙂
I felt like writing something about reviews and when I logged on to Twitter this morning, I saw this tweet from The Story Siren:
“sending me an email lecturing me for not reading/accepting self pubbed books, makes me want to read them even less.”
Let’s talk about etiquette.
Most of the book bloggers that write thoughtful reviews and don’t trash or over enthusiastically praise (in other words, the ones you want to read your book) have a review policy. Take the time to read it, folks. If they say they don’t read self-pubbed books and you are the author of a self-pubbed book, don’t query them for a review. If they say they don’t read e-books, don’t send them a PDF and complain that you’re too poor to send them a hard copy. Follow the rules.
Your book will not be the one to change their mind. People have to come to things in their own time and the best way to slow down that process is tell them that they’re wrong about something and need to change to suit you. Move on to the next book blogger, there are literally hundreds of them. The indie book collective has lists by genre of book bloggers that read self-pubbed and accept e-copies. That’s a great place to start.
I can’t state this next bit enough – if you receive a bad review, don’t engage the reviewer. This applies to both book bloggers and customer reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, etc. If the review is inflammatory or doesn’t say anything critical about the actual book (I’ve just received a one-star review on Glimpse that only said, “how many pages are in this book?”) then you can ask Amazon or Barnes and Noble to remove it. Otherwise, just let it be.
Readers are smart enough to make their own decisions about whether or not they want to read a book. They will read the good and bad reviews and come to their own conclusions. Rest assured, some people will love your book and some people will think it’s awful.
The work you have to do on yourself as a writer is to get to the point where you don’t care about either. Not all good reviews are going to be, uh, good. Sometimes they’re three word, exclamation point-ridden silliness. Sometimes they say: OMG!! Luv it!! Not all bad reviews are going to be bad. Reviewers that give you low end stars, but write a thoughtful review outlining what they didn’t like about the book – these reviews are not a detriment. Also, I find that most of the time these reviewers will include a line or two about how your book was “not their cup of tea.” Fair enough.
I’m not going to pretend that I had a thick skin about reviews when I first started out, I definitely did not. I do now, because I’ve realized that while reviews are important for getting your name out there and attracting people to take a look at your book, they’re not that important otherwise. No need to stay up at night worrying about them. The people that like your book and review it positively will stick around to read your others, the people that don’t like your book and review it negatively will move on to someone else.
Our job is to entertain the people that want to read our books and to not waste time trying to win over the rest.
This blog is cross-posted on the Death by Chocolate blog and the Pacific Northwest YA Authors blog.

In the Mood

Some days, I don’t want to write.

I know I should try to, that’s part of the reason I join anthologies like Death by Chocolate or writing challenges like ROW80, to have people hold me accountable, to get my butt in the chair day after day and put some words down.
But, some days, I’m just not in the mood.  On those occasions, here’s what I do to get myself motivated or to, at the very least, keep my head in the game.

 
1. Music – Dissent, the 5th Day of Sacrifice story, is stuck at about 1,200 words right now. I haven’t worked on it in weeks because I’ve been writing my anthology story and because I don’t know what I want to happen next.  This is a story I need to have out by the first of the year, so yesterday in order to get my brain thinking about it, I listened to my DoS playlist in the car while I was driving everyone to work and school.  It’s amazing how music can get you in the right frame of mind when you associate it with writing a similar story or a previous story in this case.  I had Halo and Bleeding Love on repeat all day. Just thinking about my characters in a video montage sort of way (does anyone else do that or am I a weirdo?) I jump started my enthusiasm for the series and came up with ideas for the end of the scene I’ve been stalled on.

 
2. Sexy New Ideas notebook – Again, I may be a weirdo, but I never have more new ideas for other stories than when I’m trying to complete the one I’m supposed to be focused on. I combat this by keeping an Idea Notebook.  If I can get the idea down on paper, my mind can let it go.  It’s like a promise to myself that I will come back to it later. Of course, there are always more ideas than there is time to write them, but I’ve also found that sometimes the ideas can be combined together – genre mixing at its finest!

 
3. More than one project – I’ve tried only working on one story at a time. It’s not my style.  I find that if I have multiple projects to work on – I usually have 3-4 going at once – and can add a new paragraph to one that is not my main focus, that it does two things: Like with the SNI’s I can get nagging conversations, scenes and descriptions out of my head and it gives me a confidence boost.  Nothing makes me feel better about myself than writing does, so it stands to reason that if I’m feeling crappy and distracted with my main WIP, getting some words down on something else I’m working on makes me feel like I’ve done something, made some progress in my own little world.

 
4. Read/watch TV – Sometimes when I’m supposed to be writing, doing either of these things can feel decadent and like I’m wasting time.  Really, though, they can help – if you stay on genre. I have a particularly hard time writing action/fight scenes – with the Zellie books, I often turned to reading the Vampire Academy books and to watching teen shows like Roswell, The Nine Lives of Chloe King and Kyle XY – books and TV shows that are aimed at the same audience as the Zellie books are and contain both a paranormal romance aspect and a lot of action.  With the DoS stories, I can’t tell you how much Supernatural and Nikita have helped me come up with ideas for both characters and new ways to write fights.  So, yes, I’m being entertained and slacking off a bit, but I’m also consciously  studying the ways other writers do what I’m trying to do.

 
What sort of things do you do to get in the mood to write?

This blog is cross-posted on the Death by Chocolate blog and the PacNWYA blog.

Spazmatron 5000 and #ROW80

Good morning! Okay, it’s 11, but I got to sleep in until 9, thus my morning is still new. I slept for ten hours last night and have maybe never needed it more. While I was jealous of all the Halloween parties my friends and family were attending, I woke up this morning refreshed and not hung over, so there is a plus to being a boring grown-up once in a while.

Have I mentioned that Glimpse is Free on Amazon?  (Like, EVERYWHERE.) Sorry for being so annoying, but I just can’t help it!  I’ve had over 5K downloads since Friday evening and it’s making me a spazmatron 5000. Right now it’s holding steady at #16 overall in Free and is #1 in both Contemporary Fantasy and Science Fiction, Fantasy, Magic.  Can you all frickity-frackin’ believe that?

Thank you SO much to everyone for tweeting about it and posting on Facebook and other places – www.woot.com – who knew?  I have no doubt that all of you made those 5K downloads happen.

If you’re over me and my spazziness, take heart, I’m sure someone will write a review on Goodreads soon calling me a no-talent fuck-up and then I’ll go back to being my normal, sedate self. 🙂

*snort* That is so not true.  Is this your first time reading this blog?

ROW80 Act-shun!:

Wrote the pants off of my pen name short story this week and got that puppy edited, beta read and published on Friday and Saturday. My alter ego is pleased that she’s already sold a handful of copies.

Added another 253 words to my Death by Chocolate story last night – mostly pumping up the description and adding more back story to the first scene.  Nothing on Dissent or the Glimpse pilot this week.

Worked on the pen name website, PacNWYA website and wrote a blog post for the DBC blog.

I’m taking the day off from writing today, because at this point I wouldn’t even let a hoarder into my house I’m so embarrassed by the state of it.  The kids laundry is done, but I haven’t done my own laundry since the beginning of October!

Thanks, Sarah, for the 8 new pairs of hand-me-down jeans. I couldn’t have survived or clothed my lower half without them.

I’ll talk at you all again on Wednesday, but will be missing next Sunday’s check-in as I’ll be at the beach with my ladies doing 8-counts, drinking cheap beer and eating Combos.

Happy Halloween and thank God October is almost over!