Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The LOVE NOTES Tour Continues! Plus, Life Imitating Book

The LOVE NOTES tour is still going strong -- and will be until the end of the month! Today REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD is featured on the blogs Teen Hoot Books and Book Groupies. You can read all about LOVE NOTES on these sites and can pre-order it at Amazon! Thanks again to the bloggers for hosting and to fellow authors Kira Adams (PIECES OF ME), Breigh Forstner (STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART) and Shane Morgan (THE RIGHT SONG). Make sure you check into the tour and get the chance to win some cool freebies!

In other news, I'm still putting the finishing touches on my second novel. I'd really like to get it out there by March. I just want this one to be great, even better than the first.

What's funny is that I feel as if I've stepped into the life of my latest novel's narrator, Sadie. Overweight, out-of-shape Sadie makes a life-changing decision when she decides to walk a marathon -- and spends the rest of her freshman year of college training for this event.

Well, for the past year, I've been walking, too. In 2014, I completed my goal of walking 1000 miles (1058 altogether). This October, I'll be participating in Avon's 39.3 mile Walk To End Breast Cancer.

Walking may not seem like a hard-core activity, but let me tell you, training to walk long distances takes work. Over the last year I went from barely being able to walk a mile without stopping to walking 7, 8, 9. 10 miles. This past weekend, my husband and I actually did 12 miles and are working our way up to longer and longer workouts in preparation for the event. I'm hoping to actually run a marathon in the future, but for now, I'll take walking.

The other day a friend commented that I'm following in my character's footsteps and you know what? Sadie has inspired me. There have been days when I haven't felt like getting out and doing those 5 miles I'm scheduled to do, but I thought of Sadie's training schedule and went for it. Maybe it's silly to draw inspiration from a character I wrote, but hey, it works for me, LOL!

I hope to have Sadie's full story out this spring so stay tuned. Meantime, enjoy LOVE NOTES, the perfect read for Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

LOVE NOTES Blog Tour In Progress!

Our Book Blitz Blog Tour for LOVE NOTES kicked off this week! What's really great is that a few dozen book blogs have agreed to host us and promote our novels REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD, THE RIGHT SONG (Shane Morgan), PIECES OF ME (Kira Adams) and STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART (Breigh Forstner). Make sure you check out the blogs so you can learn more about our novels and sign up for some fantastic prizes! The full list of blogs can be found at Itching For Books.

Because there are so many blogs involved, we're splitting the tour between the four books and are featuring a different work each day. Today is BAND GEEK's day and you can read more about it (and the rest of LOVE NOTES) on four blogs:

Desert Rose Reviews

Life, Books And More

Feed Me In Books

Cosying Up With Books

For my last blog tour, I wrote a few guest posts about writing YA fiction. This time, I went with a few fun "list" posts: there's a playlist to go along with the novel, detailed descriptions of the major characters and a list of "Easter eggs" within the book. Take a look because this will only add to your reading experience.

Thank you to all the blogs who are participating in our tour! Your help is much appreciated. And be sure to check out our boxed set, LOVE NOTES!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I know I've been quiet for a while, but I have some GREAT news! REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD is now going to be part of an anthology called LOVE NOTES, which features music-themed romance novels.

To be honest, I'd taken a little break from writing. I wasn't sure whether to continue with the independent route or to continue pursuing a literary agent. Also, while the revisions on F-BOMB are almost complete, my jewelry business picked up and has kept me very busy. An author named Kira Adams then invited me to join her project, which is this anthology. The set includes BAND GEEK, as well as Adams' novel, PIECES OF ME; Shane Morgan's book, THE RIGHT SONG; and Breigh Forstner's novel, STRAIGHT FOR THE HEART. The anthology will be out on February 2, but is available for pre-order on Amazon.

I haven't worked with other writers since I left the magazine and I'm enjoying the process. The three women are smart and creative, and are way more savvy than I am when it comes to social networking. I met some fascinating people at my former job and in my writing classes, but the Internet has definitely expanded that reach. I love the fact that there are other people who appreciate music and writing as much as I do! Being my first novel, BAND GEEK has a special place in my heart and I'm thrilled that it's getting some new life.

On Release Day, February 2, we will be hosting a Facebook party to launch the set. You're all invited! Check out our page from 12-4, where you'll have an opportunity to meet and chat with the authors -- and will also have a chance to win some fantastic prizes!

Meantime, please spread the word about LOVE NOTES via Thunderclap -- and check out our FB pages:

Kira Adams: PIECES OF ME


Shane Morgan: THE RIGHT SONG


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Writing A Novel: Time For Revisions!

When I tell people I'm a writer, I usually get asked these two questions: How many pages is your book? or How long did it take to write it? The answers for both are: It depends and ... it REALLY depends.

Most books go through about a million revisions. My children's writing teacher recently mapped out just how many revisions he had to deal with when putting together his book... and this was a picture book with much fewer words. But by the time an author does several drafts herself, then goes through changes with an agent and then editor, you can end up with a much different -- and presumably much better -- book than the one you'd originally written.

That teacher suggested that if we have someone read our stuff, we ideally find a person who cares about you... but knows what good writing is. Your grandma may care about you, but can she really give you an objective opinion?

My goal is to make my novel as good as possible BEFORE I query agents so I had several writer friends read my first draft and then had another author do a thorough edit on my second draft. She came back to me with 15 pages of notes!

She was very encouraging and I LOVE her suggestions... but I have a lot of work ahead of me. It's work I enjoy, but I still need a day to process her ideas and figure out how I'll tweak my story. And this is why I'm procrastinating by posting in this blog, LOL.

I'm grateful to have writers in my life who will cheer me on but also be honest about my manuscripts. I believe in Novel No. 2 and know that with this friend's help, it's going to be an even better story than it was before.

We're going on vacation in about a month and my goal is to finish these revisions by that time. Then it will be time to chase agents... again.

Meantime, please read and review REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Writing For Children: A Kid's Point Of View

This past weekend, I spent time with my 6 1/2-year-old niece. She's extremely intelligent -- and I'm not just saying that because I'm a biased aunt; she already reads at a fifth or sixth grade level. She's way past picture books and has already devoured the Little House series. Right now, she's obsessed with books that follow girls from various periods in the past.

My niece also loves to make up and write her own stories. She has a wild imagination and reminds me a bit of myself at her age. She especially likes to create stories about magical creatures, such as fairies and unicorns.

Anyway, my children's writing teacher noted that one of the best ways to get ideas for kids' books is to simply spend time with kids. I took advantage of this and picked my niece's brain for the types of books she'd love to read. Here are some of her ideas: they're pretty interesting!

1. Have a story where the princess DOESN'T marry the prince. My niece is already very cautious about making stereotypes (and yes, she knows the word and what it means) and already has strong opinions about how women should be independent. Her parents are raising her well! She likes princess stories, but would like to see something that doesn't follow the typical formula. Frozen came close, but there was still a romance...

2. Lost jewels and imaginary animals. She loves the idea of a magical land filled with treasures and never-seen-before creatures. This idea has been done many times, but hey, a classic is a classic.

3. Poor and needy shepherds. She'd like to read a story about lower class characters who AREN'T secret royals or don't have special powers. She wants to read about people succeeding through hard work... or a story, like Robin Hood, where the poor are helped.

I don't know if my niece is going to end up becoming a writer herself. She's still quite young and insists she's going to become a vet or a paleontologist... or the President. I envy her for having so much hope for her future! I do hope she continues to write, though, and continues to be a cool, quirky, creative little girl.

Check out and review my YA novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Writing A Novel: Putting The "I" In Writer

My children's writing class is still going well. We have a very small group this time -- in the last class, only two of us showed up -- so we're able to get a lot of attention from our instructor and have many more opportunities to get our work critiqued. It's been interesting, to say the least.

A couple of weeks ago, I handed in an excerpt from my latest work-in-progress, which is a sci fi YA novel. Most of the comments were positive, but our teacher really didn't like that I'm writing it in first person. His argument is that whenever he reads something written in first person, he wonders who the narrator is speaking to and it takes him out of the story. If a novel is going to be written in this manner, he prefers it if the narrator is writing in a journal or speaking to a therapist, or sharing the story with a friend, etc.

I respectfully disagree. I've always assumed that the narrator is speaking with us, the readers. Yes, if you think about it, you do have to question how the fourth wall is being broken exactly, but it's just one of those things when you suspend disbelief. Even when a novel is written in third person, you have to wonder how the narrator knows all of these intimate details about "real" characters. Yeah, yeah, it's the author and he or she knows EVERYTHING, but the whole idea of reading fiction is to suspend disbelief!

I personally enjoy reading first-person novels because I feel as if I can truly get into a character's head. I like writing them for the same reason. I like third person, too, but first person is very intimate. One isn't really better than the other. It's just my preference.

My teacher suggested that I frame the story and have the narrator speak to someone or record his thoughts, but I really don't want to do that. There are some books where this works; for instance, the narrator writes in her journal in Sloppy Firsts and throughout most of Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series. This is perfect for that character, though, and doesn't work for my narrator. There are only so many times when a character can keep or journal or talk to a shrink. I don't want to have to depend on that literary device.

My novel isn't even a full draft at this point; it's a few sample chapters and a vague outline of things to come. But for now, I'm sticking with my original plan and keeping it in first person. I'm not sure where my story is going, but I'm secure with this choice.

Meanwhile, check out my other first-person novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adventures In Children's Book Writing

My Children's Book Writing course has begun -- and I'm finding it to be way more interesting than I'd thought.

I signed up for the course because it's the closest thing to writing YA that Gotham Writers Workshop offers, at least this semester. I figured I'd just kind of ignore the lectures on crafting picture books and put my energy into writing stuff for older kids and teens. But after learning more about how picture books are constructed, I'm fascinated. It's a lot harder than I thought. It wasn't fair for me to assume this was an "easy" thing to do.

Writing the text for a picture book is almost like putting together a movie script with directionals. For example, the first line might be, "Jim and Joe are friends," and then you'd have a directional, (Jim and Joe hugging each other). These are there so the illustrator has an idea of what to draw ... only you're supposed to keep the drawing suggestions rather vague so the illustrator can have some freedom to interpret the concept. Writing is pretty collaborative, anyway, especially when you're dealing with agents and editors, but this takes it to a whole other level. Picture books are very visual, even for the writers. You might be thinking, "Well, duh!" but it's a challenge for me to think about where the text and picture might go on the page.

Because of this, layout is super important and when writing the text, you have to actually say which page the text should fall on and which pictures should be two-page spreads, etc. Yeah, there are fewer words, but the arrangement is a lot more complex.

And, of course, the story still has to be a good one! There may be fewer than 300 words in a kids' book, but it still has to be a gripping tale that makes sense. Trimming things down to that degree is tough. You have to say what you absolutely mean.

Our homework assignment was to write a character who performs an action that has unexpected consequences -- all said in fewer than 500 words. I came up with a silly idea about my cat that began as a joke ... but ended up with a cute idea for a story. My husband was in hysterics when I read it to him and my friend Amy, who has an 18-month-old son enjoyed it, too. Now I'm wondering if I should actually finish thing thing and submit it somewhere. I have no idea how to go about doing this, at least not yet, but it would be funny if after all this time, I end up selling a story for much younger children.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on my latest YA book, the action/adventure one, and am still doing edits on Novel No. 2. So I have a lot going on! It's all good, though. I like keeping my mind and creativity busy. And props for children's book writers... I have new-found respect for what you do!

Read and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD on Amazon.