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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Secret of Spruce Knoll Cover Reveal

Though I have a fun creature feature ready for today, I thought you might not mind if I postponed it to next week since I have great news. The cover for The Secret of Spruce Knoll has been finalized and approved! I'm so excited that I just couldn't wait to share it with you peeps. When I received it yesterday there were tears, but very good tears. The wonderful designers at Abbott did an outstanding job of capturing the essence of my character, the nature of the novel, and making it look breathtaking. I'll quit rambling and show you (that is if you didn't already scroll down, which I wouldn't blame you for because I would have ;)!


Now you know why I cried tears of joy! There is so much more though, the wrap around and back cover are amazing as well and I wish I could share those with you but I can't just yet. Trust me though, the complete cover is to die for! You won't have to take my word for it for long because in another week you'll be able to hold this baby in your hands! *faints*

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blog Tour Plans~Sign Up!


The tour for my debut novel is coming! The outpouring of support, even months before the release of my novel, has absolutely floored me. There are no words to tell you all how much I appreciate you and all that each of you have done. Without a doubt, the reading and writing community is the most amazing, supportive group of people that I have ever come across. I'm honored and humbled to be counted among you.

Releasing a novel is full of anxiety, excitement, and an ocean of fear. But you all have kept me afloat and given me the courage to keep going. The time draws near, for next month brings the release of my debut novel, The Secret Of Spruce Knoll. I have a lot of fun stuff planned for the release and I'll be telling you all about it around the beginning of next month. Right now though I am in the planning stages for my blog tour, which is where you lovely people come in. Each stop along the way I'll be divulging one secret, either about myself, my characters, their world, or writing. I will be doing a contest of course, and anyone who follows all the blogs on my tour will get extra points/entries for each blog/stop that they follow. 

I'm booked solid for the tour but I'd be happy to stop by your blog later and do an author interview or something similar, it just won't be included in the giveaway. I look forward to a fun blog tour/party with all of you! Thank you so much for your fabulous response and amazing show of support. I'm humbling and honored to call you lovely people my friends. :)

Twitter Tuesday~Contest, Agent Advice, An Announcement, And More

This week I bring you a lot of great advice from agents and editors to digest, plus a few contests. Since so many of you have been asking, this first one is the first of my big announcements (mark your calendars):
@HeatherMcCorkle Heather McCorkle The first of my big announcements (and the last one happening!):tinyurl.com/4x2rzhy A live chat on YA Bound August 30th! #WritersRoad

This one is an indispensible list of great tweets for writers from Jane Friedman:@WritersDigest Writer's Digest Best Tweets for Writers (week ending 7/15/11) - I watch Twitter, so you don't have to. Visit each Sunday for the wee... http://ow.ly/1dQNGP

If you love writing contests then you've got to check out Writer's Digest's new contest:
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest Win $1000 in our new YA writing competition: http://bit.ly/qehF57
Enter your science fiction/fantasy story in our new competition:http://bit.ly/r0mbe0
Got winning romance? Enter it in our new Romance competition:http://bit.ly/qcu0VV

Jane Friedman points us toward a post on building our platforms:
@JaneFriedman Jane Friedman Relationship building should be part of your platform. This post has some excellent ideas for doing just that! http://ow.ly/5GhlJ

TeeTate brings us this tweet from agent Laura Bradford reminds us not to forget about agent who have our work when we've been made an offer by another:
@bradfordlit Laura Bradford Its really a lovely thing if you follow up w/ agents who have yr work/have requested your work to let them know if you are signing elsewhere

TeeTate brings us this sad news from Galley Cat:
@GalleyCat GalleyCat Borders liquidation to close 399 stores & cut 10,700 workers. Will there be publishing layoffs? http://mbist.ro/nIN8va

Editor Diana Gill reminds us of an important storytelling fundamental:
@dianagill Diana Gill No matter what your vision of the story may be, remember that the readers only see what you actually put on the page. #pubtip

If you're on the agent hunt check this out:
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest New Agent Alert: Halli Melnitsky of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth http://ow.ly/5I56F

If you win this contest you'll get an appearance in Writer's Digest!

@WritersDigest Writer's Digest Chance to appear in Writer's Digest! Can you write an opening sentence for this photo prompt? http://ow.ly/5JbMS

Writer Julie Chillard brings us an important reminder from agent Laura Bradford:
@bradfordlit Laura Bradford Include your email address w/ your address & phone # when you send a sub or a query or a full or anything. For the love of Pete #pubtip

Writer Julie Chillard brings us this tweet from the Greyhaus Agency about what not to do:
@greyhausagency greyhausagency #pubtips Be careful starting your story with too much on an information dump. If I wasn't in a good mood right now, I might have stopped

Writer Julie Chillard brings us another great tweet from Greyhaus Agency:
@greyhausagency greyhausagency #Pubtip Remember that a rejection "with comments" is not something bad, but a way to make improvements in your craft.

Elizabeth Law, editor with Egmont USA, brings us her great #AskYAed segment:

@EgmontGal Elizabeth Law My tip for queries: PLS don't overhype your work. Don't want to hear it's the next {insert mega seller here] or how groundbreaking #askyaed

Agent Jennifer Laughran reminds us about the snails pace of publishing (traditional publishing that is ;):
@literaticat jennifer laughran Guys, I'm selling books today that might not be out till 2014. Writing "trendy" is pointless. #askYAed

Don't miss this giveaway, it's a book of your choice!
@HeatherMcCorkle Heather McCorkle Need a great book to read? Check out @TrishWolfe 's great giveaway: tinyurl.com/3fusy84

Enjoy clicking! 

Sunday, July 24, 2011


This lovely (okay, I admit, my opinion of lovely may be a bit skewed), colorful painting is a depiction of a famous tale that inspired me last week. As you may have noticed from the striking button on my left sidebar, I'm working on a piece for Fantastic Fables on Dark Faerie Tales. I don't want to give much away as it is going to be a surprise, but I can say this painting inspired me. I can also say that it is a tale involving one of my main characters of my soon to be released novel, a special short story on them the readers of Dark Faerie Tales will get to glimpse first. And I'm soooo excited about it!

I’m now reading GONE by Michael Grant. OMG (yes I did just use that acronym, but really, it's that exciting) why has no one told me how excellent this book is yet? Admittedly, I'm not that far into it, but I'm really loving it so far! Everyone over the age of 14 disappears in a sleepy little town and the kids left have to figure out why, and cope with strange powers that start manifesting. What is not to love in that? It was described as "if Stephen King had wrote Lord Of The Flies". I could NOT resist that tagline, and I'm glad I didn't!

This Wednesday I'll be announcing some good news that I can hardly wait to share with you peeps so be sure to drop by. Until then, tell me, what inspired you last week? Read any great books lately? 

The Dragon Empire

All material on these links is copyrighted. You may not copy, or otherwise reproduce any of the material without permission from the publisher. 

The first few pages of The Dragon Empire:

1
What he was seeing could be the death of him, he knew, yet Grendar couldn’t look away. The undergrowth that had been hampering his progress through the jungle no longer seemed thick enough to conceal him. His hearts pounded and his throat constricted. What if they saw him? The human guise he was wearing wouldn’t exactly protect him, not considering what they were doing.  
Through the ferns and palm fronds he could see them: four dragons the color of a starless night sky. At over twenty feet from hindquarters to nose, they were twice Grendar’s size. They gleamed in the tropical sun, their obsidian-colored scales contrasting with the bright blood on their long snouts and claws. On the beach before them was the source of all that blood. The partially eaten bodies of several people lay scattered about the sand like tortured and discarded dolls. The biggest dragon—one Grendar knew well—held a body beneath one of his massive forelegs. He reached down and tore a chunk of flesh from it, scarcely chewing before he swallowed. Both the sight and sound made Grendar flinch, the motion feeling foreign in a human body.
A breeze blew off the ocean, its salty essence tainted with the reek of carrion and death. Bile stung the back of Grendar’s tongue and nausea rolled through his stomach. People were protected, and for good reason. To kill one, let alone eat one, went against the creed of the Dragon Empire. Such a thing would get a dragon banished.
This morning it had seemed like an excellent idea to fly to the distant Breekay Islands and practice his human transformation spell. What with finals coming up at the end of the year and all. Now it seemed like the worst idea he’d had in a long time. He shivered in his borrowed skin and prayed that they wouldn’t smell him.
Not far beyond the black dragons, a ship lay crumbled against the jagged rocks that littered the bay. So the dragons hadn’t killed the people, they had found them. That didn’t make it much better. Their barbaric behavior was still unforgivable.
He started to shake, his nerves making it even harder than normal to concentrate and hold himself in a human body. Losing the form now, here, would make too much noise. Panic seized him and he jumped, hitting his head on a palm tree. Leaves rustled overhead, drawing the attention of the black dragons. Grendar ducked as low to the ground as he could get. He could turn invisible, but if he spoke the words to the spell aloud, they would know exactly where he was. Not to mention, he couldn’t do two spells at once. The transformation spell was hard enough to maintain.
“Quiet! I heard something,” the biggest of the four said.
Grendar’s shaking grew worse at the sound of that voice. He heard it in his nightmares, it had tormented him his entire childhood. Even now, when he was entering into adulthood, it still elicited a bone-chilling fear in him.
One of the other dragons flipped his long neck up and gulped a chunk of flesh down his throat. He wiped blood from his long jaw with a scaled finger before shaking his head at the bigger dragon. “You worry too much, Sidean. It’s probably just a bird.”
That too was a voice that visited Grendar’s nightmares but not nearly as often as Sidean’s.
The four of them turned to look in his direction. Sidean’s golden eyes focused right in on Grendar as if he had used a locate spell. Their gazes met and a phantom chill raced down the spikes that lined Grendar’s spine. It couldn’t really travel down his spikes since they weren’t there at the moment, but it felt as if it did. A horrible hunger filled Sidean’s eyes.
“Fresh meat,” he said in a voice that was thick with the blood of his current meal.
Grendar dropped his control on his human guise and rose up onto his hind legs as a dragon. He shuffled backwards fast as he could, stopping only when his flailing green wings hit a tree. He turned, ducked around it, and took off running on all fours. Behind him, he heard the other dragons struggling to get through the underbrush.
Being smaller and more agile, Grendar wove easily through the jungle and left his pursuers behind. A myriad of greens speckled through with bright spots of flowers blurred before him. As an emerald dragon, it was easy for him to blend into the jungle. Still, Sidean persisted, crashing through bushes and small trees.  
 If he could just make it a few more yards he had a shot at getting away. His heart pounded so loudly in his ear canals he could no longer hear anything else. The jungle gave way and the ground disappeared. Such a powerful relief flooded through him that it nearly brought tears to his eyes. Unfurling his wings, he took to the air. The main island wasn’t far away. If he could make it there and into the company of other dragons, he’d live. He stretched out his neck and tail and flew for all he was worth. The wind carried threats and curses to him. Massive wings soon slapped thunderously at the air in his wake. He pushed himself harder.
The ocean glimmered a brilliant blue below him. Bright sunlight bounced off the low peaks of the waves, tempting him. He may be able to out-swim them better than he could out-fly them. Out here in the deep, though, it wasn’t a good option. There were predators within these waters that made his pursuers look harmless. Counting on his skill to out-maneuver the other dragons, he flew on.
In no time at all they left the tiny, uninhabited island behind. The turquoise and blue ocean passed beneath him at a dizzying speed. Fear slowed time despite the appearance of the world zipping by, making it feel like forever before the big island came into sight. Just when he thought he might die from anticipation, his shadow fell over land. The muscles of his wings ached from his frantic flight and his throat burned.
Golden fields of wheat swayed in the wind roused by his wings as he dove low. The bigger dragons wouldn’t be able to maneuver so easily in the unpredictable air currents this close to the ground. The huge shadow that covered him from above was not encouraging, though. Ahead of him the field stretched on for what seemed like miles. In the distance he could barely make out the plateau where the city Ait Culmhaut perched. He wasn’t going to make it.
With his adrenalin pumping and his mind racing, he couldn’t focus enough to recall the words of the spell he needed. That he even needed words frustrated him. Most dragons were adept at spellcraft and didn’t need to use words. But he was not most dragons. Thankfully, Sidean and his mob needed to know the words to spells as well, for like him, their skills lie in other areas. Areas like pummeling and chasing.
Focus, focus! He chided himself.

With nearly a thousand pounds of black scales and claws breathing down his neck, that was easier said than done. With mating season closing in, this group was more aggressive than they’d ever been. This time he was afraid they were going to hurt him badly. Shoving his doubts aside, Grendar dug deep, calmed himself, and found the words he needed. All he had to do was out-think the other dragons. Considering how out of breath he was, he had to do it fast. 

Rise of a Rector

All material on these links is copyrighted. You may not copy, or otherwise reproduce any of the material without permission from the publisher. 

Here are the first few pages of Rise of a Rector:

It was raining, again. The rain made it hard to track her prey and it always seemed to be raining in England. She’d take the snow of her homeland over this wet mess any day. Sure it was still hard to pick up an energy trail in the snow, but not nearly as hard. Grinding her teeth in frustration, she stepped inside the pub as she attempted to ring some of the water from her long braid of black hair. Little irritated her more than having to resort to asking the locals if they’d seen her prey. Yet, here she was, forced to do just that.
All heads in the crowded room turned to her. Eyes narrowed. She ignored both their looks and the hostile energy rolling off them. Small towns were always like this and she was growing weary of it.
Doing her best to look charming and friendly while soaking wet, she made her way through the crowded room up to the bar. On the way she subtly scanned the room, taking note of how many people were in it and where they were located. Broken up by the liquor bottles and glasses, the wall to wall mirror behind the bar gave her a great view of everyone who was packed into the tiny room. ‘He’ wasn’t among them. But she knew that without looking. At this range she’d feel him long before she saw him. He had an unmistakable energy signature, and he was her twin brother after all. That was what made this so hard. Not that it was her first official Hunt, but that it was her brother she’d been sent after.
Smiling sweetly at the bartender, she slipped onto a stool and asked for water. The middle-aged man lifted his bushy eyebrows and crinkled up his large nose.
“Not enough falling from the sky for you, lovely?” he asked.
She tried to blow a lock of hair from her face and laughed as it clung. While she didn’t feel the slightest bit light-hearted or humorous, she was good at faking it when she needed something. The bartender smiled and relaxed under the weight of her charm. When he passed her the water she touched his hand. Her fingers lingered on his a moment too long. He blushed and she knew she had him where she wanted him.
After drinking half the water she reached inside her trench coat and pulled out a picture. She set it before him and waited for his eyes to shift from her chest to the picture. It took a while.
“I wonder if you could help me. My brother and I are backpacking and got separated. Have you seen him?” she asked.
“Ah yes. You missed him by little more than an hour. I recommended Mandy’s B&B to him. It’s just across the street,” the bartender said.
It was just as she suspected. This was the only pub in town so of course he’d been here. Since their parents had died he’d taken up drinking. There was no way he’d pass up the only pub in town. Such a flaw made him almost too easy to track. Catching him was an entirely different matter though.
“Thank you,” she said as she stood.
Tucking the photo back into her coat, she placed a few Euros on the bar and turned to leave. Pulling her hood on, she stepped out into the wet darkness and melded into it. She crossed the cobblestone street and slinked onto the opposite sidewalk. It was raining so hard had she not possessed the ability to see the energy of living things, she may not have been able to read the sign for Mandy’s B&B which was edged in moss.
This time she couldn’t just walk in the front door. He would hear or feel her long before she could discover what room he was in. From this distance she was safe from detection, but once she came within a hundred feet or so of him, all bets were off. While she had extensive training as a Hunter of her own kind, unfortunately so did he. This was the problem she faced any time she got close to him.
Taking note of all the doors and windows on the front of the two-story building, she ducked down the alleyway. Around the back were several balconies overlooking a river and a grove of trees. In the daylight it was probably a lovely view but on a stormy night like tonight it just looked sinister. Peering into the rain, she tried to catch sight of his energy trail. She picked up a trace of it on one of the balconies on the second story. A faint light emanated from the room, probably a lamp. Could she really be lucky enough to have finally caught up to him? She didn’t dare hope, not yet.
Pouring a touch of her power down into her legs, she used it to help her leap up to the balcony some twelve feet above her. She landed with practiced ease just inside the railing. The French doors were ajar, their sheer curtains billowing in the breeze. In only a second her eyes scanned the cramped room and she determined it was empty. Traces of his swirling red energy clung to things in patterns that criss-crossed the room. Slinking inside via the shadows, she headed for the bathroom door. Only darkness spilled from the tiny crack beside it. Going completely still, she reached out with her power, searching for the weight of his. But he wasn’t here anymore.
As always, somehow he had known she was coming. Their skills as Hunters were almost equally matched but he possessed a cunning desperation that kept him one step ahead of her. It wasn’t surprising considering how much he had to lose. Her heart sank, anchored down by the despair of failure.
A bright trail of his red energy caught her eye. The trail led to a piece of paper on a desk up against the head of the bed. It fluttered in the breeze as if trying to escape the paperweight that anchored it down. His energy swirled about the paper in a bloody-looking maelstrom. Stepping into the cone of light the lamp cast, she reached for the piece of paper. It was a note. Frustration raged through her and her body shook as she fought the impulse to channel the energy rising inside her.
He had time to write a note! How can he be so much better at this than I am?
Forcing herself to calm down, she read the note.

Elisabeth,
You can’t change my mind and you can’t stop me. I release you from any sibling obligations. Stop hunting me. It isn’t I who need to be saved, it’s our kind. Together with Eren I will be a part of something great, something that is going to change the world as we know it and elevate channelers to their rightful place in it. Be happy for me.
–Luke

It took a lot of effort, but she made her shaking hands fold the note and place it in her pocket. Everything was always about Eren. How had his mind become so twisted up around that girl? Eren would be the death of him if Elisabeth couldn’t stop him. How could he be such an idiot?
Soon she wouldn’t be the only Hunter on his trail and the others wouldn’t be satisfied with stopping him. While he had done terrible things and probably planned on doing worse, he was still her brother. If she could just catch him before it was too late she was sure the elders of the Romanian channeler Society would go easy on him.
But if I don’t get to him in time. If he kills someone, or worse. . .
She refused to let her mind go down that path. She would catch him in time. Even if he wouldn’t fight to save himself, she would fight for him.

She ran out of the room and leapt from the balcony into the darkness. He couldn’t be more than an hour ahead of her. If she hurried, tried just a little harder, maybe she could catch him in time. 

Channeler's Choice

Here are the first few pages of Channeler's Choice, the second full length novel in the Channeler series:

“Only the strong and wise shall lead us.
One without the other is not acceptable.”
~from Life In A Society.

Chapter 1

The cool winter air filled Eren’s lungs as she jogged next to Aiden, doing her best to keep her steps silent. Over a foot of snow covered the forest floor and weighed down the boughs of the spruce trees. Using their channeler’s power to spread out the impact of their steps, they barely sank an inch into the snow. It took a bit of concentration, but after several months of snowy weather, Eren was used to it. Aside from ease of travel, they used their power to soften their steps because a certain amount of stealth was needed for what they were doing; spying.
The trees thinned as they reached the bottom of a steep hill. Eren indicated a tree near the top of the hill with a flick of her head. They slowed to a walk and crept toward it, crouching low. As she settled onto her belly atop the snow, Eren raised her power enough to keep herself warm. Aiden lay down beside her and they both turned their attention to the valley below.
The spruce trees circling the valley looked blue next to the mound of snow in their center. Perched atop that mound was a monolithic pyramid of stone that looked as though it had been plucked from a Mayan city from thousands of years ago. But this pyramid wasn’t an old ruin that time had forgotten. It was new, compared to ancient ruins that was. It had been built in the 1700’s when the first settlers of Spruce Knoll had come here.
Eren remembered the history lesson well.
Shapes of people moved around the pyramid, drawing her attention back to the present. They were over a hundred feet away, but it was still a bit close for her comfort. There was little choice, though. She and Aiden had to get this close if they wanted to hear anything.
Thirty or so people began to gather on the plateau atop the huge pyramid. Eren watched them closely, noting their mannerisms and interactions. It was why she and Aiden were here, to watch how a Society worked together. Problem was, since they weren’t a part of this one, they were forbidden to be here.
Ever since finding out they were both Rectors, she and Aiden had been taking the idea of running a Society very seriously. Aiden wanted to find out everything he could about how a good Society functioned and what the Rector’s roles were. Eren’s Uncle Alin and her grandfather had been quick to take Aiden under their wings and instruct him. Sure, Alin’s motives could be partially from the guilt he felt over all his brother had done to Aiden, but it seemed like more than that to Eren. Alin genuinely liked Aiden and though he never came out and said it, it was obvious he knew how much Aiden meant to Eren.
As hard as she tried, Eren didn’t share Aiden’s enthusiasm to lead. Before her life as a channeler, she had been Captain of the track team and class President, but that was different. Being part of the Rector couple that ran a Society meant she’d be partially responsible for people’s safety and well being. After what happened this fall, she wasn’t sure she was cut out for all that. How could she make a good leader when people kept dying around her and others ended up having to save her?
Actually, it was more like after all that happened last year, not just last fall. First, her parents were murdered, she was attacked twice, and then her family was attacked because of her. When she watched her Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Alin fight for all their lives, it scared her almost more than when she’d been attacked. Aunt Sylvia was fearless and well trained. Since Eren had just started learning how to fight, she didn’t see how she could ever be so brave and talented.
All that considered, it had been a horrible year. However, there definitely had been good parts. She couldn’t help but look at Aiden as she thought that. Somehow she would have to get over her fears and find her own desire to lead. Her grandfather said one didn’t get to choose to be a Rector; they were simply born that way. Eren feared she was going to have to dig very deep to discover the Rector within herself.
A gentle poke in the ribs from Aiden made her follow his gaze back to the valley below.
It wasn’t hard to tell who the Rectors were. They stood at the highest point atop the pyramid’s plateau, next to the altar. The rest of the Society gravitated around them. People bowed their heads in respect, and listened raptly when they talked.
It was only a routine meeting discussing the coming New Year and Eren started to grow bored listening to them, then she noticed something. There was a second couple that people paid almost as much respect to as the first. By the way they talked, moved, and touched made it obvious they were close to the Rector couple. Perhaps leading a Society wasn’t as much of a monarchy as she originally thought. The idea of having friends at her side made the whole leadership thing a lot less scary.
Just when the cold started to seep through her coat and chill her stomach, Aiden stood and turned away from the valley. Rising quickly, she followed him. She sank to her knees in snow, a quick reminder that she had to focus her energy to spread out the weight of her footfalls.
Something tickled the back of Eren’s head, a feeling more than an actual sensation. It grew stronger until soon she realized what it meant. They were being watched. The eyes were unfriendly, carrying a heavy resentment behind them. Every hair along the back of her neck stood on end. Her eyes darted left and right, but she couldn’t see anyone. Whoever they were, they didn’t want to be seen, and they were good at hiding. Her first instinct was to tell Aiden about it, but she couldn’t do that. What if he thought she was being paranoid?
Ever since last October she had been jumping at every shadow. Luke was gone, she knew that. But for some reason she couldn’t shake her fear. Forcing herself to relax, she ignored the weird sensation until it went away.
As they ran back through the forest it started to snow again. The sparkling white flakes soon became so thick it was hard to see through their mesmerizing pattern. By then, they had reached the streets of Spruce Knoll and had the sidewalk to guide them. The snow fell so hard that if anyone was looking out their windows, they probably couldn’t even seen Eren and Aiden. Traveling under such cover eased her anxiety a little.
Regardless of the decreasing visibility, they made it to Eren’s grandfather’s bookstore and residence. Since her Uncle Alin and cousin Fane had decided to move here from Romania, there wasn’t enough room in Aunt Sylvia’s little cabin. It had taken a lot of discussion for Eren to convince Sylvia to allow her to move in with her grandfather. Of course, she would miss Aunt Sylvia desperately—except for her cooking, that is—but she only lived a few miles away and Eren visited often.

At the back door to Zolin’s bookstore, they paused and shook the snow from their hair. Eren drew her energy back into herself, leaving her face and hands feeling cold and exposed. She was able to channel her energy now without damaging her clothes, for the most part, but she still wore loose clothing just in case. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Born To Be A Dragon Scavenger Hunt

This month a great friend of mine's middle grade fantasy novel, Born To Be A Dragon, is debuting! Congratulations to Eisley Jacobs on her first novel. Eisley is a talented story teller and an incredibly giving person, as is evident in the massive giveaway/scavenger hunt that she is putting on to celebrate her debut. Not only has she given away fun swag and books, but she's also giving away a Nook! Yep, you read that right. And you've come to the right place to get the last clue to win it. To enter to win, read the rest of this post to find the clue, then go here to answer the question!

Welcome to Heather's Odyssey Eisley! I'm honored to be the last stop on your scavenger hunt. Take it away!


Eisley: First of all, thank you, Heather, for inviting me to guest blog today. Some of you know that today ends the Scavenger Hunt in celebration of my book launch for my middle grade novel BORN TO BE A DRAGON! It’s been an awesome two weeks, and I’m so thrilled to spend my last day celebrating here on Heather’s blog. If you want to get in on the last day’s scavenger Hunt, visit my blog! You’ve still got time to enter!

Now here at the end of my two weeks, I’m grateful for my friends and family for seeing me through this whole process. I haven’t been the easiest to live with, nor the most sane. To say that independently publishing my book has been an emotional rollercoaster would be the understatement of the century. You know that anticipation you feel when you’re standing in line waiting for the latest and greatest coaster? That is the feeling I got when I decided to go the independent route. The excitement. Then the queasy stomach. More excitement when I saw others get off the ride. Then the fears crept in, as I wondered if I’d made the right choice. Then even more excitement. Then, oh dear, was I going to die…? Wait, maybe that’s only on a real coaster, but it’s not far from the anxiety I experienced during this wait in line.

Then the real freak show hit -- when I was sure I’d made the wrong choice because one reviewer had some negative things to say. I threatened to get out of line, but my friends held fast to my hand, encouraging me to get on the ride and enjoy it. So I stood firm. I came to the turnstile; it was time to get on the ride. The thought of barfing even before the ride began crossed my mind. Instead, I buckled up and closed my eyes, praying I’d make it to the end of the ride. When the ride truly began I dared to open my eyes and OH MY GOODNESS! The ride was amazing. Sure, it’s had its twists and turns and a few moments of upside down madness, but it’s truly been the ride of my life!

It’s hard to realize this is a normal process of independent publishing, maybe even traditional publishing as well. You see, authors are putting themselves out there for criticism. We all know, at least I hope we all know, people will find fault in our writing. This is a fact and the moment we embrace this, the road becomes easier. We also know people will like it, dare I even say, LOVE IT! This is the part that keeps our eyes open, ready to enjoy the ride and its twists and turns.

You would think that this feeling of utter euphoria would subside now that I’m a “published” author and I would come down off the high to get back to normal, but I don’t. I wonder if the ride ever really ends. And furthermore, do I want it to end? I don’t think I do. The excitement bubbling through me at any given moment of my recent days is awesome. Why would I want that to leave? I’m sure the honeymoon will end… but for right now, I’m loving this. Knowing that possibly there are children out there reading and squealing with delight at the last words on the page… It’s a phenomenal feeling and the reason I write, the reason I will continue to write and get back in line to experience the ride all over again.

It takes firm resolve to get through the indie publishing door. It’s not for the queasy stomach but for the steadfast writer who believes in their characters and their story.

So now, here at the end of my launch week, I might be a little less sane and a little more scattered, but the adventure has only begun! I wish I could express just how thankful I truly am for every person who has accompanied me on this journey. From my husband, my children, my critique partners, my family and friends… every one of you have been an integral part of this voyage, and I will never forget this feeling and love poured out through the blogs, posts, tweets, and status updates. It has meant so much to me that you are part of this fabulous experience!
Heather, thank you again for sharing the journey with me! I can’t wait to be in line with you while you wait to get on your coaster. 


For those of you who haven’t heard, I’m giving away a NOOK tonight at 10:00pm. All you have to do is read this blog (which I assume you’ve already done—LOL) and then hop over to my blog and answer a question regarding the content here on Heather’s blog. Then you too will be entered into the drawing to receive the brand new NOOK and Kandle. Good luck and thank you so much for celebrating with me!


Thank you for joining us Eisley! You're so sweet. I'm honored to be a part of your debut celebration. Okay peeps, peruse that post thoroughly and go answer the question on Eisley's blog for a chance to win a Nook! Before you go though, you can stop by here to order your copy of Born To Be A Dragon, or you can order a signed copy straight from Eisley!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Twitter Tuesday~Workshop Special

Last week I didn't have the chance to get on Twitter so I have a special post for you. These quotes are from editor Noa Wheeler (Henry Holt Books) during her talk about writer's block at the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop.

"Write something, anything, and go from there." 
"Tease out the unusual imbedded in the common." 
"The reaction between the writer and the subject is what's new."
"Set a time limit for yourself and just go" Use twitter, she says. 
"Build it first, and then you can make it better." On editing.
"Switch your writing location. Get up and go somewhere else!"
"By taking little day trips, side roads, you're figuring out who your characters are." On writing exercises.
"The outcome can be drastically different based on the smallest thing." On details. 
"Every writer asks different questions and gives different answer, which is why there is room for so many stories in the world." 
"There is a sense of poetry, of rythm, to any good writing." Physical movement, exercise, can help you get back into that rythm she says. 
"Alwsays read your work out loud because sometimes you'll hear something different while your listening passively instead of writing actively." 
"You're so close to your story that sometimes you can't see something really, really obvious." On having critique partners or beta readers. 
"If you have to name the emotion, you're not feeling it."

Each of those are so inspiring to me that I might just have to print this out and hang it next to my writing space. Noa was a dynamic, funny speaker. If you ever get the chance to attend a workshop, retreat, or conference with her, do it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monday's Muse~OCCBWW

All last week my muse was fed by the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop. Though the weather was dreary (as is typical of the Oregon coast) it helped me focus and get the most out of the workshop. With greats like editor Martha Mihalick of Greenwillow books, editor Noa Wheeler of Henry Holt books, agent Michelle Andelman of Regal literary, and historical YA author Pamela Smith Hill, I'm glad I braved the Oregon coast weather to attend.

The workshop was filled with informative lectures and one-on-one consults with an instructor every day. My consults were with Michelle and Pamela. I came away with so much wonderful information that it will take a few weeks to share it all with you. This was not a pitching type of workshop, there was no pitching to be had anywhere. To be honest, the lack of that took an enormous weight off my shoulders. The atmosphere was casual and friendly and allowed me to improve my writing each day.

I found a new friend and mentor in author Pamela Smith Hill during our three consultations together. Her insight and experience has already helped me polish my YA historical fantasy to a shine I didn't know it needed, let alone could achieve. During my two separate consultations with agent Michelle Andelman I learned that though she wasn't the right agent for my work, she was amazingly kind and very giving. I came away with a treasure trove of knowledge from her about everything from the market to agent author relationships. Join me tonight on Twitter for the #WritersRoad chat when we discuss What To Ask An Agent Before Signing, much of which was garnered from my chats with Michelle!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Write Goal

I've discovered that if I have writing goals and give voice to them, knowing my friends will help hold me accountable, then I end up getting a lot more writing done. Twitter is wonderful for short bursts of writing inspiration and accountability. We have #1k1hr (one thousand words in one hour) where one of us will tweet that and see if anyone else is game. If others are able to join in then we all use the #1k1hr hashtag and check back in at the end of the hour to see how much we accomplished. There is also #wordwar which is like a sprint to see how much we can get done in whatever timeframe we all agree upon.

But there isn't always someone on Twitter that is up for a writing goal or challenge, and I know there are many of you who don't use twitter. So, I've decided to start a new reoccurring post called Wednesday #WriteGoal (sorry about the hashtag for my non-Twitter friends, but this way my Twitter friends can join in too). I won't do it every week because there are times I'll have other things to blog about, but I'm going to try and do it every other week, starting today. If I have to miss a week because of a special post then we'll do it the week after.

Here's how Wednesday #WriteGoal will work. I'll set a goal for the word count that I would like to get done by the next Wednesday #WriteGoal check in. Then each of you can leave a comment with your writing goal for the week. Not writing at the moment? No problem, leave a comment about your editing goal, or even your reading goal. Reading is just as important to a writer as writing! We can hold each other accountable with Wednesday #WriteGoal check-in and help encourage one another that way. My #WriteGoal is to reach page 230 on my editing of my sequel that I'm working on (I'm currently on 200). How about you peeps?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Twitter Tuesday~Contest, Pub Advice, And More


I hope you're ready for another great week of tweets! Here we go: Writer (and awesome friend) Monica, is hosting a fantastic agent judged contest. Don't miss it: 
@Monica_BW Monica B. W. On the blog: Details about the Agent Pitch Contest with Kristin Miller (D4EO Literary) monibw.blogspot.com/2011/07/detail…

Agent Sarah LaPolla gives us her opinion on vamp books (hint, don't query her with them):
@sarahlapolla Sarah LaPolla Unless you are an already established author, your vamp book likely won't sell. Don't throw it out; just put it aside & query another novel.

Agent Jill Corcoran breaks down publishing for us:
@JillCorcoran Jill Corcoran THE HOWs AND WHYs OF GETTING PUBLISHEDtinyurl.com/6ajbbqu #fb

Writer's Digest brings us a great post about the writer's platform: 
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest The Hidden, Secret Ingredient of Platform: Relationships - Today I'm a guest over at Marketing Tips, a blog by Tony ... http://ow.ly/1dD7K3

Agent Vickie Motter gives us a peek at what she wants to see in her inbox:
@Vickie_Motter Vickie Motter I'm also looking for ADULT Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy (yes I read adult too, not just YA). With strong female protags

A great guest post on Chuck Sambuchino's blog. If you are submitting and need a laugh, you must read this:

@WritersDigest Writer's Digest Finding an Agent: A Little Un-Advice - Here’s my guess: No matter what kind of writing you do—novels or nonfiction, ...http://ow.ly/1dEe2B

Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest let's us in on the publishing secret:

@JaneFriedman Jane Friedman The Secret to Writing & Publishing That Should Be Taped to Your Wall: http://ow.ly/5lmLU

Writer Julie Musil brings us a great tweet about critiquing: 

@juliemusil Julie Musil Writers, this is a MUST READ!!* Roni Loren - Fiction Groupie *: Death by Critique - 6 Tips on How To Avoid It fictiongroupie.blogspot.com/2011/07/death-… #amwriting
Julie tweeted this fantastic link for a post from Nathan Bransford (ex-agent extraordinaire) on why you're getting rejected:
@juliemusil Julie Musil Why You Are Receiving Rejections blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/07/why-yo… via @NathanBransford#amwriting

Julie brings us another great tweet (she rocked it last week) about agents and self-publishing (from an agents perspective):

@juliemusil Julie Musil Agents & self-publishing http://bit.ly/kJCRxM #amwriting

Whew, now don't forget to stretch out those fingers so they don't cramp. If I missed any great tweets please leave me a link in the comments!

Monday's Muse~School Lockers


Normally lockers are the last thing that would inspire me. They make me twitchy because they remind me of high school. But since I had to write a chapter that took place in a high school hallway, this picture was the perfect inspiration for me. And the twitchy part didn't hurt either since this chapter is a tense one. This will be the third new chapter I'm adding to this novel, which may sort of seem like it's counterproductive to editing. But, I've found that if I let a manuscript sit then go back to it, it gives me a wider perspective and reveals the holes that need to be filled.

I finished reading Possession by Elana Johnson. If you're interested, you can check out my review on Goodreads. Now I'm reading Nightspell by Leah Cypess (one of my favorite authors of all time) and I'm loving it. It's a creepy ghost story of a very different sort. I'm super thrilled that each night this week I'll be sitting on a deck overlooking the ocean, reading Nightspell. Yay for vacation!

When you're editing, do you ever take a break from your manuscript to gain a bit of perspective? If so, have you found that it helps? What inspired you last week?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop

That is a mouthful of a title for a workshop and from looking at the course outline, it is a lot to chew and digest as well, but in a good way. Thankfully it uses the acronym, OCCBWW. So if you see me using that on Twitter that's what it's all about. It boasts an impressive lineup of instructors that include, picture book author David Greenburg, author Elizabeth Rusch, author Pamela Smith Hill, author Heather Vogel Frederick, author Deb Lund, Henry Holt editor Noa Wheeler, agent Michelle Andelman, Greenwillow editor Martha Mihalick. It takes place next week in a tiny town called Oceanside Oregon.

Filled with not only fantastic sessions, but also tons of writing and consultation time, it seems to focus on the actual craft nearly as much as learning. I love workshops of this nature where I get time to apply what I've learned and improve my manuscript on the spot. Since I just finished finalizing the edits for The Secret Of Spruce Knoll and turned them in, the timing couldn't be better for me. My manuscript is moving into the design stage, which has me totally freaked out because it means it's really happening, and I need a distraction!

The downside (upside maybe?) is that there is no cellphone service in Oceanside, so they say. That means most likely no internet, even on my phone. I may be disconnected for an entire week. I may go into shock. No worries though, I have my blog posts all lined up and they will be posting automatically. Chances are, I'll drive to a nearby city to catch up on blog reading and Twitter every few days when I get twitchy. I just can't do without you peeps for that long. ;) I'll come back with lots of pictures and great information for you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Twitter Tuesday~Book Giveaways, Agent Advice, New Agents, Agents on Self-Publishing

I hope you're ready for another full post of tweets! Here we go. You'll want to get our your planners and take down the dates on this tweet from Jane Friedman of Writer's Digest. She lists great contests for writers of YA, crime, romance, and more!
@JaneFriedman Jane Friedman 7 Free-to-Enter Writing Contests That Impact Your Career:http://ow.ly/5lm8E

In an #AskYAed session, publisher Egmont USA reminds us of a harsh reality in publishing: 
@EgmontUSA Egmont USA Okay - I need to get this out there. Despite the mega-deal advances reported, most advances are not very big. #AskYaed

Writer Jolina Joy brings us this insightful tweet from Anne Allen about what agents are doing to prepare for the evolving publishing industry: 
 @Jolina_Joy Jolina Petersheim How are literary #agents preparing for the future? http://bit.ly/jvV4Fc

Agent Laurie McLean is taking notice of Anne Allen's post on the future of Literary agents too: 
@agentsavant Laurie McLean A very interesting post on the future of literary agents from author Anne R. Allen. annerallen.blogspot.com/2011/06/litera…

Agent Vickie Motter reminds us to read our genres and know them well: 
 @Vickie_Motter Vickie Motter #querytips It's important to be well read in your genre, cuz I can tell if your comps don't match that you aren't doing your homework

Chuck Sambuchino of Writer's Digest gives us an insider view of a great conference: 
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest My Adventures in ... Jackson Hole, WY (2011) - I just got back from a pair of writing events (and I'm sorry I haven'... http://ow.ly/1dxx23
Always a great feature on Chuck's blog:  
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Bethanie Murguia - This is a recurring column I'm calling "7 Things I've Learned So...http://ow.ly/1dxEWp

The editor of Egmont USA lets us know to save those cards when it comes to editors: 
@EgmontGal Elizabeth Law May I ask kindly, why do writers give an editor their card? I will read their submiss/get her email that way. What r cards 4?

A compilation from Chuck Sambuchino of great new agents: 
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest New Agents Who Want Your Work - http://bit.ly/lOrA5Z (for writers of nearly every genre)

Agent Ginger Clark urges other agents to read this article about how self-published authors could be the new 'midlisters': 
@Ginger_Clark Ginger Clark Fellow agents: if you haven't read this excellent article about authors who self publish from @pubperspectives why NOT? publishingperspectives.com/2011/06/self-p…

Harlequin has changed it's royalty rates, and not necessarily for the better: 
@agentsavant Laurie McLean Harlequin responds to questions about its new royalty rates for series and single title authors at Dear Author: tinyurl.com/3lkgy4x

Need a good book to read? Check this out: 
@DarkFaerieTales Angela Author Interview & Giveaway: BLACK HEART LOA by @AdrianPhoenix | http://bit.ly/jOrgHa

Agent Natalie Fischer brings us this tweet about why agents and editors can't be your best friend (though I think it's an extreme case and not the norm): 
@Natalie_Fischer Natalie M. Fischer Why agents and editors can't be your best friend (and what ALL betas should keep in mind): http://bit.ly/kbssE4 #askagent

An interesting take on agents representing self-published authors: 
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest A thoughtful discussion of what it could mean for writers when agents become publishers: http://bit.ly/jKc6uK via @jessicastrawser

If you're a writer on Twitter these are must follows: 
@jessicastrawser Jessica Strawser A handy list of publishers & their twitter feeds (from Publishers Weekly): http://bit.ly/mAGrDP

Chuck Sambuchino brings us another great interview with a new agent:
@WritersDigest Writer's Digest New Agent Alert: Lauren Ruth of BookEnds, LLC - Reminder: Newer agents are golden opportunities for new writers beca... http://ow.ly/1dAn3l

This is too much fun not to read, and you can win books:
@HeatherMcCorkle Heather McCorkle Don't miss Deadly Destinations on Dark Faerie Tales: tinyurl.com/4284z94 This stop, Portland Oregon with Suzanne Young! #WritersRoad

Whew, that was quite a week of tweets. I hadn't realized how many I'd netted until I listed them all out. There's something for nearly everyone in there!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Monday's Muse~Freedom Of Speech


Last week as I worked on editing the second novel in the Channeler series my inspiration came from the holiday that I would soon be celebrating. The fourth of July is important to all Americans because it is the celebration of our independence, but as an author it holds a special place in my heart. Our independence day is also a time that we celebrate the many freedoms that Americans enjoy and the freedom of speech is among my favorites. Without the freedom of speech many of us would be silenced.

I've been to a few countries, Canada, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Japan. While they were all wonderful and inspiring in their own ways, they also made me appreciate my home country even more. We have it good here and I’m not sure I'd want to live anywhere else. Of course I know America isn't without it's problems, but no country is. I love it flaws and all. 

My muse has been anticipating the open road, great friends, a good BBQ, and fireworks. To all of my American friends, have a safe and happy holiday. Maybe I'll come back with pictures for you. ;)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Celestial Seduction Book Birthday

Today's Friday Creature Feature has been postponed to celebrate the release of Jessica E. Subject's novella, Celestial Seduction. Jessica has been a good friend of mine who has shared my often tumultuous journey through the world of publishing and has helped keep me sane through it all. When she signed on with Decadent Publishing I knew good things would soon follow and the first of them is her sci-fi romance for adults, Celestial Seduction. Here is a portion of the blurb:

At the end of his obligated commitment to the Space Service, Frey Berger decides to stay on Earth to further experience human emotions rather than return to Ginnun where his intended has already mated with another. Looking for real love and someone to accept him for what he is, Frey enlists in Madame Evangeline’s popular dating service. Although he does not understand the concept of a one-night stand, he hopes to find his perfect mate. If he fails, he risks being alone on Earth for the rest of his life.

Aliens and a dating service sounds like far too much fun to pass up. My copy is already on its way! And isn't that just an amazing cover? While Celestial Seduction isn't something for anyone under eighteen, for those of you who are of age I hope you'll check it out because Jessica is an amazing author and a fantastic person. To learn more about Celestial Seduction and Jessica E. Subject check out Karlene's post on Critique Sisters Corner today. Happy book birthday to Jessica and Celestial Seduction!