Tag Archives: idears

Books for your sweetheart

GUYS AND GALS — here’s a Valentine’s Day trivia question for you.  What’s more romantic than a sizzling love story?

NOTHING!!
That’s right.  If you’re in search of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, look no further, because I’m about to point you in the direction of some dreamy books.  Whether you gift her a collection of e-books or wrap one special paperback up in pretty paper with a single red rose on top, you’re bound to score BIG POINTS on Valentine’s Day with these novels.

ARTEMIS RISING by Cheri Lasota
BOUND by C. K. Bryant
CLOCKWISE by Elle Strauss
CROSS MY HEART by Katie Klein
DESTINED by Jessie Harrell
EXILED by RaShelle Workman
GLIMPSE by Stacey Wallace Benefiel
HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN by Magan Vernon
THE SECRET OF SPRUCE KNOLL by Heather McCorkle
TANGLED TIDES by Karen Amanda Hooper UNTRACEABLE by S.R. Johannes
THE VEIL by Cory Putman Oakes
WATCHED by Cindy Hogan
and…
IN HIS EYES, an anthology from The Indelibles, featuring love stories from the swoon-worthy guys from our novels arriving on V-Day!

Trilogy winner and a review that’s not a review

Yes, that blog post title sucks, but I just couldn’t bring myself to title it Winning! like I really wanted to.

Anyhoo…

I’m happy to announce the winner of the e-book of the Zellie Wells trilogy is Brenda Demko!  Yay, Brenda!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by during the blog hop and left a comment.  I love hearing from y’all. Also, big thanks to those of you that followed me on Twitter and Facebook and signed up for my newsletter and blog.

So, I went to see Young Adult yesterday. (Pardon the segway, I was up very late last night with my wheezing daughter…and I had a hard time putting down the book I’m reading .  Bad combo!) I wanted to see this movie the second I discovered it existed because it’s written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman- the Juno team. I totally loved Juno and could care less if it’s not cool to like Juno anymore.

Besides that, I had a few other reasons for wanting to see it.  I really dig Patton Oswalt – he’s so funny and truthful – I just think he needs to be in all movies. He did not disappoint in Young Adult. I also, obviously, wanted to see it because it’s about a YA author.  Lastly, I’ll admit there was a bit of a nostalgia thing going for me – the characters are my age and I wanted to see if they knew what they were doing yet. Like going to a high school reunion at someone else’s school.

In a nutshell, Young Adult is about Mavis Gary, an author who ghost writes a Sweet Valley High-type series. Mavis’ life is in the crapper and she goes  home to Mercury, Minnesota after being gone for a long time to win back her high school sweetheart, Buddy – who happens to be married and has a new daughter.

We’re supposed to hate Mavis, she’s in Charlize Theron’s body after all. She’s also an alcoholic and her emotions are in arrested development. She’s that popular girl who said hi to you once in the girls bathroom and asked for a stick of gum.  You’ll always remember it and she forgot it while it was happening.  Mavis disses her hometown, disses her parents and generally doesn’t care how her actions affect anyone around her.

Like I said, we’re supposed to hate her.  We’re supposed to think, “Ha ha popular chick, welcome to the real world.”

But I didn’t. I actually had a lot of empathy for her. I got that juxtaposition between having high school be your glory days and having those glory days take place in a town you couldn’t wait to get out of. I understood why she would dwell on the past. For me, as a young adult writer, your head is in that space more than most people.  You can’t help but have a hard time adjusting to adulthood because you spend a lot of time “pretending” you’re still seventeen.

You’re also used to rewriting your history a little bit in your books, so I found it believable that Mavis thought she could go back home and rewrite the ending to her teenage love affair.

Anyway, I don’t have much more to say about it.  It’s a good movie and I recommend you all see it, but it’s not sunshine and rainbows.  It depressed me in a weird, self-reflective way that I’m sure is not a normal reaction. 🙂

The strangest thing, after I went to see Young Adult, I picked my kids up at my parents house and they’d gotten into a box of my stuff in their garage.  My son handed me a scrap of cloth, which turned out to be the front of this guy’s skateboarding t-shirt I’d had up on my bulletin board since the 8th grade.

I don’t know what to do with it.  I can’t throw it away.

 

For a real review of Young Adult go here.

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! 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving and #ROW80

This year my family decided to do something different for Thanksgiving and get out of town. I’m headed to Mt. Hood in a couple of hours to enjoy a few days of eating and sledding and snowball fights.

Here’s where we’re staying:

Yes, that’s the Timberline Lodge – the hotel from The Shining. I fully expect my sister to wake me at least once by wiggling her finger in my face and saying “redrumredrumredrum.”

Our plan for Thanksgiving is to eat ourselves silly and then take the kids out to play in the snow.  We don’t get much  in the valley, and when we do it’s usually covered in a sheet of ice, so my kids have never been sledding before!

Wish me luck, I’m going to be the one driving and I haven’t ever put chains on my tires.  Actually, I haven’t driven in much snow at all since I was a teenager…why did I volunteer for this job again? 🙂

Enjoy the holiday, American types, and do yourself a favor and sleep in on Friday.  The 500 pack of socks for 10 cents will still be there later in the day.

Row80 update: I barfed up a whopping 3,279 words on a new pen name short story on Monday. I’m using barf in the best sense of the word – I’d been thinking about the story for a while now and wasn’t in the mood to work on my DBC story, so I thought I’d just get the beginning written.  It took off from there!  I probably would’ve stayed up late and written more, but my husband wanted me to watch How I Met Your Mother with him and my eyes were burning something fierce. I added another 400 words yesterday and have left off in an awesome spot so that I’ll be rarin’ to go on it  when I get back from the mountain.

I also completely reorganized all of my files and finally got the epub version of most of my stories up on All Romance.  A fairly productive beginning to the week that I will now completely ruin by being a sloth for three days.  Yippee!!

Have a good one, y’all.

#ROW80 update

I had what is considered a good writing week for me, although I didn’t write every day.  I managed to get in 3,125 words on my Death by Chocolate story, which I’ve decided is called Back in Time.

I’m having a blast writing BIT and it’s about halfway done, thank God.  When I first started it I thought I might never make it past 1K.  The only weird thing about it thus far is that it’s supposed to be for a YA paranormal romance anthology and as yet, the characters are all adults and there hasn’t been any romance.

I think this is because I’m describing the hell out of everything. I started out writing BIT afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to make the 14K word count, so, for once, the reader’s will know what the characters, scenery and buildings look like. 🙂  I’m doing my usual after-plump while I’m writing it.  It’s a new experience.

Other than working on that story, I’ve done some beta reading and signed myself up for some blog tour action in December.  One of the stories I beta read was written by my cousin.  I really like it – it’s very scientific and thriller-ish and unlike anything that I’d ever write. I’m sure our many greats uncle, Lew Wallace, would be happy to know there continues to be writer’s in his family, although he’d probably think we’re both heathens. 🙂

That be it for the week. I’m going to try to get some more words in on BIT and make a trip to the grocery to pick up something for the potluck at my son’s school tomorrow that won’t send any of the children into anaphylactic shock.

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.

Busy Bee and #ROW80

Such a busy week!  We had three RBR tour stops, our last at A Children’s Place Bookstore yesterday, I saw Footloose, took my kids to the pumpkin patch and ended the week last night at Billy’s bar with pizza and vodka tonics and my Cards kicking some World Series butt.

The YA author tour went so well that we’re planning another one in the spring – with even more local authors!  Cheri Lasota, Cidney Swanson, Craig Hansen and McKenzie McCann will hopefully be joining us next time around. (That’s a lot of C’s, people!! Just noticed that.)

If you’re a YA author and live in the Pacific Northwest, drop me a line at: Pacific Northwest YA Authors and we’ll talk. Going on tour as a group makes the experience a little less daunting.  Plus, we have all kinds of fun – where else are you going to meet people IRL that geek out on e-book formatting and platform building? 🙂

Now that the tour is over and all I have to worry about are birthdays and holidays and cleaning my hole of a house, I’m going to try to write every day.  I’ve got three long short stories to write by the end of the year – one I hope to publish by the end of this month.  So, if you don’t see me around on the interwebs quite as often, you’ll know what I’m doing!

Word Count: I wrote 788 words on Thursday on my story for the Death By Chocolate anthology.  Right now, the story is called Do Over.  I totally hate that title and am sure it will eventually be called something awesome. 🙂

I’m off to write!  Have a splendiferous ( or glorgious as Kait Nolan would say) week!

Let’s hear it for #Row80

Yes, I’m going to see the new Footloose tonight.  My greatest hope is that it’s like Original Footloose and Step-up had a baby.

The only thing I’m conflicted about is that I find both Kevin Bacon and Kenny Wormald attractive.  Do I have enough room in my pop culture heart for two Ren’s?  I’m sure it will depend on how much wine I have with dinner. Pastini’s Summer Sangria certainly improved my overall enjoyment of Daniel Craig in Cowboys and Aliens, so Wormald’s got a chance. (He totally wants my approval.)

ROW80 – Monday – came up with my short story idea for the Death by Chocolate anthology and had a RBR event in the evening. Tuesday – worked on my pen name story for a couple of hours. I cut two paragraphs and wrote another scene, but I haven’t been keeping track of word count because I don’t work on it that often. Wednesday – 345 words on Dissent. Yes, DoS #5 has a title! I’ve yet to come up with a good subtitle. Ass-kicking Lesbian Angels just doesn’t seem like the right fit. 🙂 I might get a few more words in on it today, but the kids are being clingy monkey children at the moment and not letting me concentrate.

I’m hoping to get some work done on the Glimpse pilot tomorrow before doing the second to last RBR stop at the Beaverton Library.

On the marketing front, lowering Glimpse to 99 cents on Amazon and BN seems to have done what I wanted it to – get more people reading the Zellie books!  Glimpse got a nice new review, the first its had in three months, so that’s happy.

Later days…

#ROW80 Sunday check-in

I didn’t check-in on Wednesday (except on Facebook) because, well, I haven’t written a single word on any of my goals this week.

What I have been doing is marketing/networking for the Pacific Northwest YA Authors site. After Wordstock last weekend, I had SO MUCH to do on Monday that I believe I was at my computer for 12  hours straight with a short break to take my son to and from school.

If you’ve read Glow, then you’ll know why I made Ben a character that once he latches onto an idea, he can’t let go. Nope, didn’t model that characteristic after myself at all. 🙂

Things had settled down a little by Tuesday and I spent the rest of the week contacting people who had signed up to have us speak at their school/library or had traded cards with me and weren’t already connected to me/PacNWYA on all the social media sites.

You guys know how much I love to market and network.

Blargh.

But, now I feel like my part of that is done for a while and the other women in PacNWYA are taking over most of the duties from me.

Back to writing.

We’ve got three tour dates this week, so I’m sticking to my Tuesday/Thursday writing schedule.  I have gone ahead (’cause you knew I would) and added more work for myself by signing on to write a short story for a YA paranormal romance anthology. That story is due in two months and needs to be around 13K, so I’ve got to get on it!

I’m still excited about all the projects I’m working on and now that I don’t have to be all manic marketer until the New Year…Yay!

Other stuff: Like I posted the other day, Jenny Pox by JL Bryan is free right now on Amazon and other outlets.  There is a Glimpse excerpt in the back of it.  I thought it would be a wise move to lower Glimpse to .99 again so that the people who got Jenny for free would be more willing to pick up Glimpse.

I also made Glimpse and Day of Sacrifice FREE on Smashwords.  Just to see what would happen.  I’ve never made anything free before, but my sales have been kind of sluggish, so I thought I’d see if this draws some interest. Plus, Day of Sacrifice is a year old! Woot!

Have a great Sunday you all and I’ll talk at ya again on Wednesday.

Doughnut overload and #ROW80

It’s only been since Wednesday that I last blogged, but it feels like it’s been weeks!  Since Wednesday, I’ve made a Rain Boots Required stop at West Linn Public library and spent two long days at the Wordstock festival in Portland.

Dudes and dudettes, so much has happened!

The tour stop in West Linn was fabulous.  We had another great turn out and this time our audience was filled with actual young adults.  They asked great questions – about writing and publishing and technique.  Watch out, y’all, the next crop of writers are gonna be some savvy upstarts!!

Thanks so much to Elaine, the Teen librarian at WLPL. She made us feel so welcome and she is such a dedicated and awesome librarian.  The kids of West Linn are lucky to have her and her bosses on their side.  The teen section of their library is a place that I know I would’ve loved to spend time in as a YA because I’m now having fantasies about escaping to there as an adult.

My apologies to Lisa Nowak and Laura Elliott for my less than stellar AV skillz.  I think we can all agree I shouldn’t be in charge of taping the talks anymore!! 🙂

Saturday and Sunday were spent at Wordstock from 10-6.  We had VooDoo Doughnuts at our table and let me tell y’all, doughnuts are the great equalizer.  We talked (and talked and talked and talked) to so many people who might not have stopped by our booth if it wasn’t for those crazy doughnuts.

I shared a booth with authors Angela Carlie and Laura Elliott. Lisa Nowak was at another booth, but she popped over frequently to hang out.  We had such a blast!

Since I had to register the booth name before we had even named our author tour and I wasn’t sure who exactly was going to share it with me, I named it Pacific Northwest YA Authors.  Good name, right?

Plenty of folks thought so.  In fact, a lot of people thought we were an organization and wanted to join.  At first, we laughed about it and told them we just needed a name for our booth, then, well it occurred to us that maybe we were an organization of sorts.  More of a group, but we had authors wanting to join and librarians and teachers wanting us to come give talks at their schools.

Never one to turn down an opportunity…

I give you Pacific Northwest YA Authors.

The website and e-mail address were created on Saturday night when I couldn’t sleep but for thinkin’.  Today, we signed up four schools/libraries to give talks at and collected over 20 e-mail addresses from people who want to receive our newsletter.

There’s just a welcome post up there right now, but by the end of this week I should have all of our Abouts, videos, reference links, contact info., guidelines for joining, etc. up.

Another awesome thing that happened at Wordstock besides networking our asses off, was that Lisa Nowak noticed the Trends in Publishing panel was the most well attended one of the whole event.  And you know what?  The panelists talked about self-publishing, but didn’t have a ton of experience with it.  So, Lisa and I tracked down the incoming director of Wordstock and pitched her a self-publishing panel for next year.  She seemed into it and said we were the first people to pitch her a panel for the following year.  Who knows what will come of it, but I can’t stress enough that it never hurts to ask for what you want!

ROW80 update:  If you’ve stuck around, I have good thangs to share about this too! (Seriously, I had three doughnuts today and am soooo high on the sugar!!)  I talked about my decent word count for Tuesday on Wednesday.  Yay!  On Thursday, I fired up my new Final Draft software.

Guys, I’m in love.  Yes, I actually heart software.

Although my ultimate dream would’ve been to pick a TV format and then copy and paste what I’d already written directly into it, what I got was pretty close.  I selected the script format that they use on Grey’s Anatomy and copy and pasted line by line what I’d written so far.  Voila!  Formatted script.  So easy to use.  I spent the last hour of my writing time creating new stuff for the script.  It’s such a fun project because I get to rewrite my book without having to actually rewrite my book.  Writing new dialogue for the Rosedell gang made me absolutely ecstatic.  There’s a new conversation between Avery and his best friend Jason that had me laughing my butt off.  It’s fun to be back in Zellie’s world in a new way.

Okay, I’m off to work on the PacNWYA website before my sugar crash commences.  Peace out.