Thursday, December 18, 2014

A World of Encouragement

We’re big The Voice fans in our house. Every season, we watch it from beginning to end, cheering on our favorite singers and being disappointed if they get sent home. Occasionally, we even vote for someone if we really believe in them and really want them to win. But most times, it’s so hard to choose, and I really want to see all of them succeed.

The thing I really enjoy about The Voice is how encouraging it is. The coaches are there to help, not tear down, and they build the singers up to make them better—all the singers, not just the ones on their team. I find that approach refreshing. This season with Pharrell Williams seemed especially sweet. He always had something nice and encouraging to say to everyone, including the other coaches.

I’m well aware of the fact that this is a competition and the contestants want to win. And so do the coaches, but they don’t undermine each other or sabotage one another to get there. Yeah, there’s trash talking, but that’s what I expect in a healthy competition, and it makes for great entertainment. By the end, it always amazes me how the singers have forged friendships with one another and want to see each other succeed.

I can imagine the stress and nerves they go through every week before getting on stage. The amount of preparation for each show must just consume their lives. But if that’s what they want to do for their career, then they have to put in the work. They have to be willing to do what it takes to stand out from the rest. And I don’t think any of them are afraid to do it. It seems like they are all willing to work hard to attain their dreams.

The world of singing is much like the world of publishing. It’s highly competitive and full of rejection. The contestants tell stories about how they tried to break into the music industry previously but were denied or they had record deals that didn’t sell enough so they were dropped by their labels. They know very well how cruel the music industry can be, so to have a coach that is famous, respected, and willing to impart their knowledge on them has to be an amazing experience. Even if they don’t win, they get so much out of their time on the show.

I often think how amazing something like this would be for writers. They could call it Words, and agents and editors would listen to an author read part of their work, then decide if they wanted them on their team. As the season progressed, the coaches would help the writer polish their manuscript and make it the best they could.

Each week could feature a different part of the manuscript. One week could be dialogue, the next suspense, or an action scene. The public could vote for their favorite authors, just like they vote for their favorite singers now. Then, at the end, the winner would get a publishing contract and advance.

Wouldn’t that be awesome? I think it would be cool. And it would be beneficial to everyone. Agents/editors would get to discover new authors, readers would get to discover new authors, and authors would be able to build their platform and fan base.

That’s the other thing that is really cool about The Voice: it builds followers for the singers. Again, even if they don’t win, they have fans. Like the publishing industry, the music industry is leery about taking on new talent because they don’t know if they will be successful. They want to bank on something that’s going to make them money (they are a for-profit business), so if an artist already has a following, they are more than likely to take the risk.

Artists can’t do it alone. They need support. They need mentors, friends, family, and fans. The actual creation of art may be a solitary endeavor, but it takes a community to enjoy it. I appreciate every one of you who reads and enjoys my books, and without you, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas is Right Around the Corner

Every year, I swear Christmas sneaks up on me.  I tell myself I'm going to start getting presents early, that I won't wait until the last minute, and then I don't.  Last minute rolls around and I'm scrambling to get stuff done.  Next year.  Riiiiiiight.

Well, if there's anyone else out there like me, and you're looking for some last minute gifts, why not consider some books by an indie author?  Little Devil Books, publisher of my middle grade books, is having an awesome sale, including The Ifs.

Also, keep an eye out for The Ifs Return, which will be available in 2015 from Little Devil Books.  Here's the book cover for it.  I think it's awesome!

If you're still looking for something unique for that special someone, why not consider getting autographed books.  You can get them from me directly, and I will happily sign and send them to whomever you want.  I can accept payments through Paypal or you can send money.  Just let me know!  Please use the contact form on the right hand side of this blog and I will get back to you ASAP.

Nine more days, folks, then Christmas is upon us!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Waterfall by Lacy Danes‏

Lacy Danes made a New Year's resolution to write a hot, historical romance.

A year and a half later, she achieved her goal. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where besides writing she enjoys playing cards, chasing her kids around, and savoring a great martini with the man of her dreams all while watching the world go by.

Visit Lacy at her web site.

It’s easy to fall in love. Destiny requires tooth and claw.

Curses are designed to be cruel, but the one afflicting Jordan and his brothers is almost beyond bearing. A dragon born by blood magic, he is an immortal trapped in human form, with only one hope of finding his eternal mate. He must bite her—and pray she lives.

One dark night, he senses the wounded heartbeat of a woman in the shadows, begging him to end her life. Ever the gentleman, he chivalrously obliges her wish. Only to discover three days later that she lives. And has married another.

Celeste always dreamed of marrying for love, but the nightmare of living in her father’s home drives her to wed the Duke of Hudson. Yet on her wedding eve, she is compelled to follow a mysterious man who professes to know her secret. A man with curious blue scales on his muscular arms—whose shadowed eyes reflect a dangerous mix of destiny and desire…

Warning: This novel contains explicit sex, sex in water, four super-hot dragon brothers, and a curse born from magical power that has left them wondering who they are all their lives.

Available at Samhain BN Amazon iTunes Google Books

Protect Her by Sophia Kimble‏

Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.

Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.

She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.

Connect with Sophia at the following sites:

Twitter: @SophiaKimble

Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.

Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.

Kris Pietka is done with women...he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.

A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.

But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.

Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?

Available at Amazon

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
The genesis of my novel, Protect Her, is a strange story.

When I was 18, I had an episode of sleep paralysis.

What happens during sleep paralysis is you wake while still being in REM sleep (the cycle of sleep when we dream). It’s thought that while in this part of sleep, our body is in a state of partial paralysis. Our body’s way of keeping us from acting out our dreams.

Whatever the reason, it’s terrifying. Your brain wakes up, while your body is still asleep. You can’t move or speak. Frequently, the episode is combined with hallucinations and shortness of breath.

Well, when this happened to me, I saw a demon hovering over me.

I’ve since learned that this is a common occurrence during sleep paralysis.

Back before the internet was readily available to look up what malady you’ve suffered from, I had no idea what sleep paralysis was, let alone how common it is.

For years, this demon has been in my head in Technicolor, so of course, when I decided to write my paranormal romance, Protect Her, I used this creature in my story.

Perhaps all the myths of demons that pin people down while sleeping are just an episode of Sleep Paralysis…perhaps not.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
My first novel, Protect Her, took a full year to write, edit, rewrite, enter contests (I was a finalist in two), get critiques, take classes, and rewrite again before it was ready. Then I received three contract offers, and here we are.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Letting my imagination run wild. Fiction is wonderful in the respect that absolutely anything you dream up can become a book.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
Editing the first draft.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
I would like to be a ghost hunter, don’t care whom, but want to see if everything is staged on those shows. I’d like to think at least some of it actually happens, but I’m sure it’s not all the claim.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A jar of pickles from the summer. My husband is OCD about cleaning the fridge so we never have too much in there for any length of time except condiments.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
Protect Her is the first novel in The Druid’s Curse series. I’m editing the second in the series, Avenge Her and hope to have it to my editor next month. I’m also currently writing the third in the series, Fear Her. I’ve also planned the fourth, Release Her.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dealing with a Bad Review

Earlier this week, my book manager (hi, Pam!) hesitated sending me a link to a review. Understandably, she didn’t want to ruin my day. The review isn’t exactly flattering. The reviewer didn’t love Undead Obsessed.

But, honestly, those things don’t bother me. I told her to send it along, and I happily read it. I actually chuckled a little afterward. The reviewer didn’t like the book, but I think it’s because he wanted it to be something it wasn’t. The way I read it, he wanted it to be more scholarly. And it’s not. At one point, I had attempted to make it much more academic, but it didn’t feel right. So, I changed it. And I was much happier with it after that.

Anyway, my point is that as an author, there will always be people who don’t like my books. I’m going to get bad reviews; it’s the nature of the beast. How I react to those reviews is up to me. Personally, I don’t let them bother me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Love it or hate it, at least they read the book (or at least part of it).

At this point, I’ve received some real doozies in my writing career. Some were incredibly confusing (and by that I mean I couldn’t figure out exactly what the reviewer's issue was with the book), and some just didn’t like my work. And the vast majority of the books I’ve written have gotten at least one—from my kids’ books to my YA to my adult. I won’t lie, a bad review can sting a little at first, but then I move on. There’s absolutely no sense dwelling on the negative.

So, what are some things I do when faced with a negative review? First and foremost, I read it. I try to tease out exactly what they are saying and what their rejections are to the work, and then, if said review is posted  on their blog, I thank them for reviewing my book. Even if they didn’t like it, they still took the time to look at it, and as someone who doesn’t have a lot of time, I know how difficult it can be, so I thank them for that.

I never engage them or argue with them or tell them that they missed the point completely. Again, they are entitled to their opinion. I may comment on what I think they meant (like I did at the beginning of the post), but the truth is, I don’t really know what’s going on in their head.

I don’t get upset. There’s absolutely no point. The only person that hurts is me, and life is way too short to dwell on the negative and be mad at someone for having an opinion. I become even more thankful for the good reviews and focus my energy on them.

I remind myself that I’m not alone. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Christopher Pike, Piers Anthony—every author that has been brave enough to put their work into the world has received a bad review. At least we are all in good company.

Here’s the thing: whether a review is good or bad, it’s not going to stop me from doing what I do. I’m going to continue to write. Yeah, good reviews are awesome because they reinforce that what I’m doing is right and make it worth it, but bad reviews won’t break me. They don’t decide if I continue to write. Only I get to decide to do that. I refuse to give anyone else that much power over me.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Falling from the Light by Regan Summers‏

Regan Summers is the author of the romantic urban fantasy Night Runner series. As a native Alaskan, she’s used to long, cold nights but thinks they’re better with a helping of sexy vampires. Don’t Bite the Messenger, the first in the series, was a finalist for the 2013 EPIC eBook Awards in the paranormal category.


Phoenix, AZ

All Sydney Kildare wants is a minute in the slow lane, some time to decide where she’s going with her vampire lover, Malcolm Kelly. But after sitting out the last battle, the powerful Master Bronson is giving orders again, and he isn’t above blackmailing his former courier to get what he wants.

With Mal sent to track a vicious killer, Syd is forced to infiltrate a pharmaceutical company responsible for a drug that turns vampires into real monsters. She’s unprepared and alone, but fiercely determined. If her investigation doesn’t satisfy the Master, Malcolm will pay the price. A wrong turn throws her into the middle of a vampire power play. Caught between twisting forces, with their freedom at stake, she’ll have to decide what’s more important: love, power or revenge. But choosing what feels right might turn out all wrong.

Available at Amazon BN Kobo Scribd

Q) What inspired you to write this story? 
It wasn’t so much a lightbulb over the head inspiration as a pretty basic need to entertain myself. Which is my motivation for most things I do in life, to be honest.

Q) How long did it take you to write? 
This was a tough one. I usually finish a first draft in about two and a half months. I wrote for about two months, grew frustrated, and moved on to writing a complete, separate novel before coming back to this one. By then, I’d figured out how to make this story bigger and more dangerous, and really committed to heightening the romance. Total writing and editing time? Probably seven months. Total time with this novel on deck? A little over a year.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing? 
I love capturing surprising scenes – revelations, humor, the awakening of strong emotions and the testing of character.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing? 
Doubt. Writing is a massive act of faith, and when doubts creep in about lines and plot twists or whether the story will ever sell, it’s like an anchor has been wrapped around your hands. The words become hard to make, and that leads to frustration and more doubt. Luckily I’ve got a bit of a goldfish brain when it comes to doubt. I’m usually able to reset myself fairly quickly.

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why? 
Oh, wow. Well, someone alive to start with. I don’t want to be a famous zombie. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, I think. Full of exuberance and wonder and deep, deep intelligence. That choice is made with the hope that I’d hold on to some comprehension of complex scientific principles when I reverted back to myself.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it? 
Nosy question! Lol. I think it’s a bag of wheat germ. And it’s on the top shelf, in the back, on the left.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future? 
Action, adventure, and romance – in that order. I have two novels drafted in separate worlds – science fiction rather than fantasy – which I hope to be announcing before too long.

Thank you so much for hosting me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway