Tag Archives: No duh.

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.

Winner of the Zellie trilogy!

I posted on Facebook and Twitter who won the copy or the Zellie Wells trilogy, but completely forgot to announce it here!  So sorry to all that have been waiting to hear the news.

The winner is Kim Waters, a book blogger from Australia!  Congratulations Kim!

I sent the book out to her today and one to the GRAND PRIZE winner, Sandra Lin.

If you didn’t win this go around, take heart, I do giveaways all the time -like the 12 Days of Christmas Reading promotion that starts on the 10th and another around Valentine’s Day.

Also, don’t forget that the e-book of Glimpse, the first book in the trilogy, is free at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and other retailers right now. AND, the e-book of the trilogy is only $6.15 on Amazon!

Thanks to all who signed up for the giveaway and please forgive me for not letting you all know sooner who the winner was.

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! 🙂

Oh, yes, it’s ladies weekend and #ROW80

I’m allowed to start looking forward to the weekend when it’s only Wednesday, right?  This week has sucked so far, as I’ve got a cold and my washer and dryer crapped out just when I really needed them.  Off to Best Buy we went and procured ourselves a new set.

They were delivered yesterday, but the outlet in my laundry room was designed for a range instead of a dryer. My poor house.  I love it.  It’s orange, has a tree growing in the center of it and has lots and lots of windows, but it was built in 1964 and has apparently had nothing but DIYers (including me) habitate under its skylights. Something always has to be updated or redone because it was slapped together with hillbilly carpentry.

Many thanks to Ben, an electrician, for coming out and putting a new outlet in on such short notice.  Also, thank you for being hot and having an accent. I can’t really remember anything you said to me, but the washer and dryer are all hooked up and I’ve got on clean underwear for the first time this week.

Yeah, so when that’s a highlight you can bet I’m ready for a weekend away with my girlfriends.

We go to my friend’s family cabin at the beach every November – In fact, I think this will be my 9th year. The only time I’ve missed it was when I was, like, two days away from giving birth to my son.  We all lounge about and read US and People magazine, drink Bud Light, eat junk food and just generally have a grown-up slumber party.  On Saturday we hit the outlet mall and get started on our Christmas shopping. We play card games and make up dance routines and try on each others’ clothes. There is some hair braiding, I won’t lie. We, without fail, burn our dinner on the first night and have something fried with ranch dressing on it at the bar the second night.

The best part is we get to be how we used to be for a weekend. Before husbands and kids and jobs and mortgages and all the have-to’s that come with getting older. I get called by my first name and no one asks me to get them anything besides maybe another beer. I can forget that I’m on my second set of washer and dryers in my adult life.

The next best part is on Sunday when we go home and get to see our husbands and kids and we offer to get them anything they want and it’s good to be called Honey and Mommy again.

No matter how successful I want to be as a mother and writer, how driven I am, how much I sacrifice “who I used to be,” it can’t all be about getting ahead.  Sometimes you have to relax, do some 8-counts, play Apples to Apples and not worry about word count or deadlines or if your kids have clean jammies.

My point: Acting like a jackass 18-year-old can be good for you. 🙂

ROW80: I wrote 376 words on Dissent on Tuesday and head plotted the rest of the scene last night while folding, you guessed it, laundry.

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.

Confessions of a, uh, confessioner

I was reading a funny thread on Kindleboards the other day where they were talking about the most overused words and phrases in titles.  Confessions of a…was one of them.

But wait, I really do have a confession.

Since the Day of Sacrifice stories are serialized, I always reread them before I start writing another one.  It helps me get back into the world and I make notes for continuity.  Every once in a while, though, something sneaks past me.

After I finished Dormant and was putting together the DoS Vol. 1-3, I realized that Edgar Grant wasn’t called Edgar in Day of Sacrifice.  I believe I called him George.

I’ve also had to go back and change the ages of some of the characters.  When you’re dealing with angels and vamps and they can be hundreds of year old, well, sometimes I get carried away and make them, like, 500 or something.  Realistically (? !) the oldest of them are in their 200’s.

So, when I sat down to make the list of characters and terms for DoS today I found that I’d written there were six Gods in Day of Sacrifice and then only written four God characters in Takeover. I immediately fixed this problem and uploaded Takeover everywhere again, but just so ya know, some of you ended up with the *special* 4 Gods edition.

What can I say?  I don’t get enough sleep and I’m constantly interrupted by apple juice swilling toddlers.  I decide to cater parties and publish books at the same time.

Not your problem.

If you’ve got a 4 Gods version and aren’t notified when the correct one uploads to whichever site you purchased it from, let me know and I’ll see what I can do to get you a new copy.

I realize this is one of those things that if I hadn’t said anything 99 percent of you wouldn’t have noticed, but it’s embarrassing for me and makes me feel lame when I make dumb mistakes.

End of confession. 🙂

Check out the new DoS Characters and Terms page.  I had a lot of fun making it.  I think I’m also going to add a Couples and a Who Killed Who list.  With a great big ol’ spoiler warning before it, of course.

Last #ROW80 post for Round Three

This round of Row80 has been crazy!  Because my life is crazy!  I’m writing this at 5 in the evening due to the fact that I spent a good chunk of the day making dips and sauces for a party I’m helping to cater on Saturday night.  Why, on the last week of ROW80, on the first week my son is back to school, on the 80th week (it seems) of going to the doctor twice a week, did I agree to cater a party?

Because I like to cook almost as much as I like to write.

I go on and on and complain a good portion of the time about how busy I am and how I’m never going to finish anything, but the truth is, I always manage to fit the important stuff in.  ROW80 has helped me realize that.

I thought this round had been a bit of a fail for me until I sat down and went over my original goals.  I wanted to finish Takeover and get started on the next DoS story.  I wanted to figure out how the DoS series ends.  Done, done and done. Almost. 🙂

Takeover goes to the beta readers tomorrow and will be published by the end of next week.  The next two stories are simmering in my head.  I actually know what’s going to happen for once!

A little further into this round, I added two more goals.  I wanted to write the TV pilot for Glimpse.  I’m halfway there! The last goal I had was to try to write a story all the way through without stopping to edit.  I did all right with this one.  There were some days where I just couldn’t resist going back and fixing things that were bugging me.  I think that’s okay.  It’s progress.  I had the idea that after the story was finished, I’d go through and identify three things in each scene that could be expanded on.  This trick worked out sooooo well.

If your writing is sparse, like mine, and you have a hard time getting to the word count you want a piece to be, you should totally try this.  I added roughly 3,500 words to Takeover in ONE day using this method.  I swear, the words just fell out of my head when I knew exactly what I needed to expand on.  I mean, stupid stuff like, “describe how this character looks and what they’re wearing.”  Dude, need to know kind of stuff that added paragraphs to the whole story.

Some of you might think that’s a huge duh, but I just never stop to describe what people look like half the time.  I mention it once in the span of one sentence and then never again. (I’m still/always learning, okay?)

I’ve got big plans for the little vacation between rounds. (What?  She’s making goals for between the rounds now?) My website is getting an overhaul.  I’m going to be adding glossaries for both DoS and the Zellie books.  I write stories with a bazillion characters and hate to recap.  This is my solution.  They’ll be available on my website and on Smashwords.  There will be the publishing of Takeover.  I want to write a couple more pages on the TV pilot.  I’ve got to prepare my talk for the Rain Boots Required YA Author tour I’m doing in October.  And, the opening scene for the first Ben book has been written in my head for over a week.  I am so stoked for it and need to get it down on computer.

Oy vey. Thanks for reading this ramble.  Ha!  I’ll be back with even more crazetacular goals for the next round.  Be prepared for more bitching and moaning and then for me to be like, “Dude.  I totally did it.”

Pour some sugar on #ROW80

The first draft of Takeover is complete!  I was having some trouble writing the final scene yesterday – I was at that point where two groups come back together after having separate adventures and I couldn’t figure out how they were going to share their intel with each other without having to recap the whole story.

Then it occurred to me that the last scene I was trying to force myself to write wasn’t necessary if I added a few key paragraphs at other points in the story.  And, that the last line of the second to last scene was an awesome final line and left a good cliffhanger for the next story. (Which I have figured out!!!  Go me!  Knowing what I’m going to write before I sit down to write it!!)

I’m going to spend a week editing and rewriting in preparation for sending it to beta readers at the end of next week.  I hope to publish it before September’s over, but I make no guarantees.   Then I’m onto DoS stories #5 and #6!

To celebrate finishing yet another story that I was sure I was never going to finish, I’m going to see Def Leppard and Heart tonight.  Very excited.  The concert is outside and the weather has turned chilly, so I get to wear ripped up jeans and flannel.  I feel like it’s always a good idea to dress like the band you’re going to see. Unless it’s Lady Gaga or Rhianna.  I can’t pull off the leather hot pants look anymore.

Okay, so maybe I never could.

Rock on and have a buttrockfantastic rest of the week!

#ROW80 update

Row80 – I wrote 3,280 words on Takeover last week. I’m in a good place with it. The first draft will be finished by Wednesday I’m guessing. Then, I’m going to go through and identify three things in each scene that could be expanded upon – most of it will be description.

I had a really great writing day yesterday. I was super proud of myself for writing a long, kick ass scene.  As I wrote the last sentence, I realized I’d left out four characters that should’ve been in the scene.  Big DUH of the week award goes to me! 🙂 Anyway, after giving myself the evening to think it over, I know how to fix it and will do so tomorrow.

Today I have two meetings of the fun variety.  All of us Rain Boots Required authors are meeting in person for the first time. We’ve got all our gigs lined up and we’re meeting to discuss which excerpts we’ll read and plan the talk on the writing process that we’re giving at a couple of places. And about a million other things.  The deal with planning a book tour for four creative people is that we’ve all got ideas out the wazoo! We send each other about 40 emails a week. 🙂

My other fun meeting is with my friend Anne Marie.  I’m helping her cater her and her husband’s 40th birthday bash.  So, a good day of talking about writing and food!

Have a most excellent week everyone!

Brandin’ and reprimandin’

I have no idea why I titled this post that.  It rhymes.  I’ve also eaten a lot of Easter candy today and am kinda spazzy at the moment.  Lookout, there’s gonna be some rambling.  If you’re not in the mood to take a ride with Princess Crazytown, turn back now…

Still here?

Hi!  If you’ve visited my blog before, you’ll notice that a few things have changed.  Like…it’s now my website and if you type my full name into your browser, this is where you’ll end up. I know, I know.  It took me long enough.

Some authors have their shit together (Zoe Winters, Kait Nolan, Susan Bischoff to name a few) and some do not (Stacey Wallace Benefiel). When I started this whole self-publishing thing a year ago, there wasn’t nearly as much useful information on the internet as there is now and I made a lot of mistakes with  branding myself and building my platform. (Sounds like we all work at a ranch.)

There wasn’t an Indie Book Collective or Becoming an Indie Author at my disposal.  I didn’t go into this endeavor completely blind, I read everything I could find, but like I said, there wasn’t much.  No one was saying, “here are the steps to follow, do these things.”

Therefore, I ended up with a website and a blog that had essentially all the same content on them, an unprofessional Twitter handle and a Facebook fan page that was hard to find because of what I’d named it.

I have two parents, like everyone does.  My dad was a research veterinarian for 35 years. (Use Frontline? My parents thank you for their new house.) Because he spent his work life researching and testing, in his home life my dad is impulsive.  If, at 11pm at night he desires a banana split, he goes and gets a banana split.  He doesn’t consider the consequences of eating a heartburn bomb right before he goes to bed, he just does what he wants to do.  On the other hand, my mom is a worrier.  She overthinks and considers everyone’s opinion and wants to do what’s best for the group.  My parents are a good balance for each other.

But they made me.  I’m both hugely impulsive and hugely indecisive.  I’ve been known to take off and go to the casino for the day because it’s Tuesday. I’ve also been known to fret over whether or not I should put a chip clip on the leftovers of a bag of steam-in-the-bag corn because I don’t know what method of reheating would be best.  In the bag? In a ceramic bowl?  Will it burn or be overcooked if I don’t cover it?  Who cares?  I just won $200 on slots, I could just buy another bag. (Please don’t chastise me for microwaving veggies in plastic bags.  I’ve been ingesting Sweet-N-Low for thirty-some years; I think I’m immune to toxins by now. I am made of Diet Coke.)

Getting back on track: When it came to branding and building my platform, I researched to the best of my abilities.  I fretted over using my real name or a pen name.  I wanted to make sure I was doing things correctly.

 But then I just said eff it and started signing up for stuff.

Um, don’t do what I did.  A year later I’m still cleaning up my messes. The Facebook page is now named after me (Author Stacey Wallace Benefiel) and my twitter handle is pretty close to my name (Stacey_WB).  That left the website/blog melding.

My website is fine, although I never go there except to update it after a new release.  Neither does anyone else.  It’s kinda boring and blah and I could never really settle on a template.  With my blog, I like the template I have and more people cruise by here.  There’s some interaction.  It also has the preferrable domain.  As my sister pointed out, no one is going to type StaceyWB.com into their browser on a whim, they’re going to type my full name.

So, check it out and let me know if you think anything is missing.  Meanwhile, I have to go to all my book pages on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and change the web address.  Fun times.  I’m saving the task of changing it in all my books for when I go on one of my quarterly re-uploading sprees.

All right, Princess Crazytown is over and out.  I talk at you all again later this week when my sugar high has hopefully worn off.