Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Here's hoping all my followers, new and old, and my friends who stop by, have a very healthy and happy 2010. Tonight is not only a full moon, but it's a blue moon. That makes 2010 a very special year. It's not often we have a full moon on new year's eve, let alone a full blue moon! Anything is possible in 2010 folks, you just have to believe and have the fortitude to see it through.

Since the titles of my young adult series are all about different moon phases, I'm taking that to mean this is going to be the year my series gets picked up. Okay, that and the fact that I have an excellent agent hard at work on it! Whether tonight's special moon has anything to do with it or not, I feel like 2010 is going to be an outstanding year. I hope it is for all of you as well! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Writer's Resolutions~Why You Should Have Them

Resolutions, just like goals, are something every writer should have. Until we're published we pretty much work for ourselves, which means we have to be our own boss and our own motivator. Without something like a resolution to hold us accountable, our fingers can go idle, and we know what happens then! 2009 is drawing to a close and we're about to enter not only a new year, but a new decade. Because of that I think it warrants some pretty big resolutions.

I would love to say my biggest resolution is to get my book published this year, but that has been handed over to my agent and is now in his hands. However, there is something I can work on to help the success of that book. My platform! You knew that was coming didn't you? Meeting people and getting your name out there will pave the way to success for your book. Not to mention it's fun. Writing doesn't have to be lonely.

So here's the plan: I will post my resolutions here and at the end of 2010 I'll check back and  hold myself accountable. I invite you to do the same. Leave me your resolutions in the comments and we can help hold each other to them!
  1. Continue to build my author platform. I'll do so by continuing to meet great writers and people who love books, like those I've met on Twitter! I'll also attend whatever conferences & retreats I can.
  2. Write three books this year. This could be thrown for a loop if/when my novel gets picked up and I have to work on edits, but until then I'll focus on these three new books.
  3. Rewrite the first fantasy trilogy I ever wrote and submit it to my agent. This could be thrown off course by the event mentioned in #2 as well. In which case, I won't complain!
  4. Keep hitting the treadmill every week. I know it's cliche but as a writer I spend a lot of time on my bum. Unfortunately my 'day' job is the same. Gotta stay healthy!
  5. Continue to improve my writing. Really, this should be #1, it's that important. But, it's also something I plan to do while doing the other resolutions, so that's why it fell at #5.  
Five is all I can handle. How about you?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twitter Tuesday ~Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn wears many shoes (I so prefer shoes to hats, don't you?!) and of course, author is among them. Anywhere there are writers I seem to come across Joanna-or TheCreativePenn as she is known in most places. She always has the best tweets and advice for writers. But you don't have to take my word for it, just check out how often she is quoted among the best tweets for writers for the week on Writer's Digest.

More than just a fun person to follow on Twitter though, Joanna has an excellent website that holds many wonders for the aspiring writer. Need help with your book or advice on the painful process of submitting and publishing? She does it all. Besides all that, she's one of the sweetest people you could hope to meet. Be sure to check her out!

Here she is on Twitter:
Here's her blog:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday's Muse~Avatar

A movie that makes me want to stand up and cheer is very rare. In fact, one hasn't come along for me since Braveheart. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good movies out there, but I'm talking about that special catagory. You know the one, when a movie goes beyond just good and actual moves you. Avatar is that kind of movie.

It may not be for you. If you think humanity is infallable and the Earth will last forever no matter what we do to it, then you probably won't like this movie. But don't worry, you don't have to be a tree hugger to love it. More than just the story line, the cg was beyond amazing, we're talking a whole new level of technology. The world will pull you right in and the action will leave you breathless.

This movie made me fall in love with the sci-fi/fantasy genre all over again. I was beginning to worry about my waning interest in the genre that I've loved since I was a child. Now it's fully restored and I'm chomping at the bit as I outline my first YA fantasy novel!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Giveaway

For the new year I'll be giving away my favorite YA book of 2009, Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver to one of my lucky blog followers! This is the most original werewolf story I've ever read. Maggie's take on the legend is completely original and her writing style is very refreshing and magnetic. You will be sucked into this book!

Here's how it will work: I must reach thirty blog followers before the drawing will commence. The winner has to be a follower of my blog. If you would like to be entered into the contest leave me a comment on this post. If you also follow me on Twitter, your name will be entered twice! As long as I reach thirty blog followers the drawing will occur on January 2nd. Otherwise, I'll have to hold out until we reach thirty. Can't wait, you're going to love this book!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

To all my followers, friends, family, and those who just stop by, I hope you have a very safe and happy holiday. May you be surounded by family and/or friends and may there be many books under your tree! I'll be back Monday with a special giveaway announcement.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Twitter Tuesday~Debut Author Sarah Winters

I know. It's Sunday. Don't worry, for the faithful tied to a routine, I will repost this on Tuesday! But Sarah's book is hitting stores and the internet and I had to get the news about it out before the holiday! For you last minute shoppers looking for a great book for someone, look no further.

Sarah Winters and I came across each other on a Twitter chat for writers. We started following each other and have been chatting away ever since. Sarah is nice as can be. She generously retweets and directs people to my posts, and is a great writer on top of it all! Her novel, The Strongest Fire, has just hit the stores and internet. If you love vampires but are tired of all the old cliques, you're in for a treat. Sarah's book promises to be very unique. The first chapter has already sucked me in and left me hungry for more. I hope its in my stocking!

You can find Sarah on Twitter here:
You can check out her blog here:
And you can buy her book at Barnes & Noble here:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday's Muse~Final One For This Book

A vast waterfall that seems to go on forever, what could be more dramatic than that? And the perfect opener to my news: Hunter's Moon is finished! Ah, the end. The most bittersweet words an author can write. It's especially true for me in this case because the end of this book wraps up the entire trilogy for me. I've grown so attached to these characters that it's not going to be easy to leave them. But I am very happy with how the books turned out. No doubt I'll see plenty more of those characters in editing. I'm ready, bring it on!

I think I'll keep this amazing picture on my computer for a while. Not only is it beautiful and filled with possibilities, it makes me think of the culmination of my trilogy. Ah, the end.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Author Sells E-Book Rights To Amazon

If you haven't heard this yet folks, it's huge, for both authors and publishers. New York Times bestselling author Stephen Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Principle Centered Leadership) sold the rights to two of his books straight to an Amazon E-Book publisher. So what does that mean? It means he bypassed the traditional publisher and in doing so dealt straight with Amazon.

Here's the really big part. Mr. Covey will receive more than half of the net profit off these books. More than half. The standard digital royalty is 25%. Don't get all excited and try to sell your book to Amazon yet. The executive was quoted as saying 'superstars are entitled to more'. Yeah, that didn't really endear him to me.

So the big news here isn't so much that Mr. Covey got 50% (because if you're not a 'superstar' it doesn't sound like you'll get that deal), but rather that he bypassed the mainstream publishers. This puts a lot of power in Amazon's hands. The same Amazon who is taking money out of the pocket of every day authors by slashing their book prices painfully low (upon RELEASE!). So low in fact that the author makes pennies and the publisher barely makes back what it cost to make the book. 

Is selling your E-Book rights straight to Amazon a good thing? Stephen Covey thinks so. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Borders Books Is Closing

It's true. A friend of mine on Twitter said the one down the street from her has closure signs up. News all over the internet says Borders will be closing 200 mall stores and 45 stores in Britain. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It is a very sad day for book lovers of all kinds. Borders has been around for as long as I can remember. Things will definitely not be the same without them.

I don't believe the literary market is collapsing though. Like all things, it is evolving to keep up with the times. Unfortunately, this might mean less actual stores. I certainly don't think it's the end of the bookstore altogether though. Despite Borders being such a prominent part of where I grew up, I think I only went to it once or twice. I love bookstores, don't get me wrong, but I always favored Barnes & Noble and Powell's. I'm not sure why really, just did. The financial crunch has hit everyone, booksellers included. Some will fall but others will rise. It wouldn't hurt to give books for the holidays though!

My shopping is done and here's a glimpse of some of the titles I've sent off to lucky friends & family (in case you need ideas): It Sucks To Be Me ~ Kimberly Pauley, Shadowed Summer ~ Saundra Mitchell, Phantom Island: Wind ~ Krissi Dallas, Beautiful Creatures ~ Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, Primary Justice ~ William Bernhardt, The Divine Talisman ~ Eldon Thompson (all from Barnes & Noble), The Strongest Fire ~ Sarah Winters (from Amazon).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twitter Tuesday ~ William Bernhardt

Aside from being a New York Times Bestselling author of mind blowing thrillers that push the envelope of squeamishness and suspense, there are other reasons you should follow William Bernhardt. As  if you needed more of a reason than that, I know, but there is more!

I've had the very distinct honor of being a student of Mr. Bernhardt's, not once but twice. You've probably read about my experiences in his class if you've caught my posts on the Hawaii Writer's Retreat. If not be sure to take a look at them, I've shared much of what I gleaned from his lessons. Mr. Bernhardt is a fantastic teacher, the kind you always wished you had. You know the ones, they push you and encourage you but aren't afraid to tell you you're writing is off when it's off. He's the kind of teacher that will make you a better writer, guaranteed. Mr. Bernhardt not only teaches at the Hawaii Writer's Retreat, but does more affordable writing seminars closer to his own stopping ground. You can check out both programs here:

Aside from being a stand out teacher, Mr. Bernhardt is one of those rare guys who manages a very successful writing career with a happy and healthy family. There is a lesson to be learned there as well, believe me. Find him on Twitter here:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday's Muse ~ Double Whammy

There's a reason art and arcitecture sound so much alike. This amazing picture inspired dimensions and elements I hadn't planned for my latest chapter. Elements that, once inserted, felt like they should have been there all along. This is part of why I like to travel so much, it opens up possibilities you might never have thought of if you hadn't experienced something, or seen a certain place or person.

It was a busy week for me. I pumped out two chapters and started on the next. The inspiration just couldn't be held back. Unfortunately I'm nearing completion of Hunter's Moon and whenever I'm close to the end of a book, I just can't stop writing. I've fallen in love with this series and it's characters and it won't be easy to finish it and move on. It started out as a simple little idea for a book that began growing when I was younger than its main character. I'm glad I waited to write the series because now its developed into something more amazing and indepth than I imagined it would be.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Myra McEntire Lands A Book Deal

Huge congratulations are in order to one of the sweetest ladies I know. Myra McEntire just got a two book deal with Egmont USA! Her debut novel, Hourglass, is set to come out in summer of 2011. Read about her journey and share the excitement here:

For you aspiring writers every bit of good news for a debut novelist like this just goes to show you, it can happen, it is happening, and yes, it could happen to you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Writing: The Wait

Second only to writing, waiting is what we writers do best. But at times we get discouraged, and yes, even scared. Waiting and hoping for someone to love what you do is a lot like torture. Do you watch any of the shows like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance? I'm addicted to the last one. Phenomenal talent there. But back on track. The reason I love watching those shows is because I get to see someone living their dream. Every time someone gets voted off SYTYCD I tear up. Can't help it. It touches me so deeply because I have a dream just as powerful as theirs and I'm waiting for that 'vote' so to speak, as are many writers.

This last week a tweep of mine (twitter people for you non-Twitterers) got really discouraged by the wait. She's at the same stage I am, the editor submission stage. It's almost scarier than the agent submission stage. Almost. At least once you land an agent you feel a bit vindicated because someone liked your writing well enough to believe in you. But the editor submitting is still hard. That's when it all comes down to whether or not people think they can sell your book. It's a very stressful time but that's when we need to put our faith in our agents. They believed in us and now it's our turn to believe in them.

A friend of a friend's recently got discouraged at the agent submission stage. I've been there, believe me. My first round of agent hunting was long and arduous. It makes you start to question yourself. How many no's do you take before you give up? You don't. Keep improving your writing and your manuscript, keep trying. Believe in yourself and want it bad enough, and you will get there. When you have your dark times, and you will, seek out great people like I've found on Twitter. They'll help get you through the wait and make the whole process that much more rewarding. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Wish List

Aside from world peace, an end to hatred, hunger and disease, there is a more reachable item on my wish list this year. I would love for the publishing industry to get a huge boost this holiday season due to everyone buying books. A bit of a self serving wish? Yes. It is on my wish list after all. A boost to the book market means a boost to writers, both aspiring and already published. The more books people buy, the more books publishers buy, and the better the economy does. My family and friends know to expect books from me. Thankfully, like me, most of them love books. I learned it somewhere after all!

If you need ideas take a look at the books on my Shelfari shelf, to the right side of my blog. I highly recommend every one of them. Even if the people on your list don't read much, chances are they have a hobby or interest that they would enjoy reading about. It's an easy gift idea when you're shopping for folks that you have to ship gifts to. Most booksellers will ship straight to your gift recipient. My favorite, Barnes and Noble, will ship to your recipient, gift wrap for a few dollars more, any order over $25 ships for free, and they arrive within three days! You've got to love that, especially if you're a last minute shopper!

Check them out here: Whichever bookseller you prefer, just be sure books are on your list of things to buy this year!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Twitter Tuesday~Myra McEntire

Every now and then you meet someone really special on an online community that makes you think, 'yeah, that's why I'm on here!' Someone who makes you laugh and cry and feel llike the whole writing experience doesn't have to be lonely at all. Myra McEntire is one of those kind of people. I think we first came across each other in the YA lit chat on Twitter (or #yalitchat for those of you who tweet!).

Myra writes young adult urban fantasy and is represented by agent Holly Root of Waxman Literary Agency. Now that's a dream team! In her free time (LOL!) she reviews books for Young Adult Books Central Blog (YABC). She reviews some outstanding books and has never steered me wrong!

Keep an eye on the bestseller lists for Myra. Its coming girl. . .

You can find Myra on Twitter here:
Here's her blog:
And here she is on YABC:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday's Muse

My muse practically jumped up and down when I saw this picture. You can almost taste the humidity and smell the plant life. Is this picture amazing or what? It reminds me of Jamaica a bit, though I don't think it was taken there.

Something about the jungle always gets my muse working over time. Maybe its all the Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe I read as a child. Whatever the reason, the jungle calls to me on a visceral level and has to be the place where I'm most inspired.

For music I've been listening to a lot of Shelly Fairchild (great bluesy singer) and even some Jewel. When I get the rare opportunity to sit in front of the TV Eastwick and FlashForward have been keeping me inspired. How about you, any great inspiration to share?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reasons For Writers To Twitter

Whether you want to meet agents, editors, other writers, or even connect with your target audience, Twitter can do it all. I'm amazed at how many writers I know who still don't Twitter. I don't know of any other site out there where agents and editors will follow an unpublished writer. If you're looking for the new place to be discovered, I've found it. Just look at my followers. My book isn't published yet and I already have agents, editors, published authors, and producers following me. I'm close mind you, but not there yet.

While I didn't meet my agent on Twitter I did use Twitter to help me decide who I should submit to. And yes, he was on there. Reading his tweets was a huge help in deciding if he was right for me. I saw how hard he worked and how much he advertised his clients. Those are priceless tidbits of information when you're figuring out who to submit to.

Before you jump in be sure to read Jane Friedman's (from Writer's Digest) article on Twitter Tips for writers:

So how do you get started meeting the right people? Reach out. There are several great chats on Twitter for writers, sometimes more than one in a day. Rather than rehash all of them (and there are a LOT) I'll give you this link to who wrote a fantastic entry on the subject: You never know who you'll meet or who will end up following you because they found you on a chat. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What Makes An Agent Keep Reading

That's easy right? A great book! Well, yes and no. Of course your book must be great, but most importantly, the first five pages must be amazing. If it doesn't pull an agent in right away, they'll probably pass. Worse yet, most likely its an intern reading your manuscript, looking for something specific the agent has told them to look for. If your manuscript doesn't match what the agent told them to look for you still have a shot at blowing them away and making them read it regardless.

So how do you snag them by the collar and yank them into the pages? First, don't pull your punches. Don't save your best stuff for later in the book. What good is it a hundred pages in if the agent or intern never gets past page four? When you're as popular as Stephen King you can save the good stuff for later (actually I wouldn't recommend it even then) but for now pour everything you've got into it from the begining. This doesn't mean throw in the kitchen sink. It means write smart.

At all costs avoid clique beginings. You know the ones, a telephone rings, it's a dark stormy night, or worse, an alarm clock goes off. Be original! Let them know right away that this is going to be something special. Try to introduce your protagonist right away, they are who the story is all about after all. Above all, there must be conflict and something to gain or lose. Conflict makes a reader want to keep reading. It can be small or it can be huge, it just has to be interesting!

For more great info on the subject check out editor Chuck Sambuchino's blog entry on a panel of agents who were asked what made them stop reading:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Twitter Tuesday~Kami Garcia

One of the main reasons I love Twitter is because I can connect with other writers who are at the same stage in their careers as I am. Sharing this journey is priceless. But I also love finding debut authors who are one step ahead of me. Hey, I like to live vicariously while I'm waiting for that big sale!

Kami Garcia found me and I remember looking at her page and loving what I read. I followed her back immediately. I'm so glad I did because otherwise I might have missed out on an amazing book. Though I'm pretty sure some of the great gals I follow would have steered me toward it eventually.

As you may know from my previous ravings about her, Kami is one of the co-authors of Beautiful Creatures. What you may not know is Kami is a great lady who supports others. You can find her on Twitter at:

Though it was released early, today is the official release of Beautiful Creatures. Happy birthday Beautiful Creatures! I haven't actually got to read much of it yet because it's on my Christmas list, which means my other half won't let me buy it! But, I keep sneaking peeks at it every time we go to the bookstore. I'm up to chapter four! Shh, don't tell.

More great news, Warner Brothers bought the movie rights to Beautiful Creatures! Huge congratulations to Kami and Margaret Stohl! I hope Hollywood moves fast on that production!