Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolutions Revisited and Renewed

Photo Credit: McCorkle Creations
I like making resolutions, especially on my blog where I can hold myself accountable. It's hard, knowing the evidence will be right there, so I work all the harder to bring them to fruition. With that in mind, here is a look back at last year's resolutions, along with honest answers as to how I did.

2014: #1 Focus on fitness.
Results: I bombed this one. *Sigh* The weight I gained was not muscle.
New Resolution: Work out harder, more often. Planned weekly regiment with activity on the weekend as well!

2014: #2 Write every day.
Results: I ROCKED this one. Three novels written last year. Whoo!
New Resolution: Write three more this year. Get them to my agents, sell them, hopefully this year as well.

2014: #3 Pursue traditional publishing.
Results: So far, so good. See # 5.
New Resolution: Get my manuscripts that are written highly polished along with the help of my agents, and sell them to great houses!

2014: #4 Chat with my friends more often.
Results: Good. I balanced social media with writing time better than I ever have before.
New Resolution: Keep it up. Meet and interact with more amazing new people.

2014: #5 Attend a great conference.
Results: Boy did I! RT in New Orleans was career changing for me. My novel won second place in their Author Idol contest and landed me two fabulous agents, something I never dreamed of having!
New Resolution: No cons for me this year. This year is all about writing, editing, and getting those polished manuscripts back to my agents so they can sell them.

New Non-Writing Resolution: Design more covers for indie authors this year though my design business, McCorkle Creations. Last year was a great year for me. I had the opportunity to design covers for some authors that I truly admire such as Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, Angela Brown, Alessandra Macaluso, Fida Islaih, and many more. I love designing and helping authors bring their dreams to life!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Another Manuscript Down!

Photo Credit: Turner Home Entertainment

Survive Holidays: CHECK
Finish Editing New Manuscript: CHECK
Send New MS to Agents: CHECK

It has been a productive year for me so far! This last week I finished the 'final' (nothing is ever final until it is in print, of course) edit of my latest manuscript, and I just sent it off to my agents. That means it's time to do a little happy dance, relax the brain, and try not to start writing another book until next year. This latest one is a historical romance about a nurse serving the all-Irish 69th infantry during the civil war. To see the images that inspired me while writing it you can check out my Pinterest board on it.

How about you? How was your holiday, and what last minute things are you squeezing in before the end of the year?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays

Wishing you a safe, and very merry holiday! May you be surrounded by those you hold dear, and who hold you dear, and of course may there be plenty of books under your tree, or waiting in your eReader's for you on Christmas morning!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Recommendations For Gifts

As a book lover, little is more special to me than a book received as a gift. It shows the giver truly knows what I love, and is supporting the industry I work in. In support of my fellow authors, and to help you with your holiday shopping, here is a list of books I would highly reccommed:

YA thriller (edgy, think the movie Scream) : Charming by Krystal Wade
Adult paranormal (sexy, think the earlier Anita Blake novels) Ever After by Kate Serine
Adult paranormal (sexy, think Mercy Thompson books) Weird Girls by Cecy Robson
Contemp Romance (sexy firefighters): Flirting With Fire by Kate Meader
NA Romance: Pieces of Olivia by Melissa West
NA Contemporary (for fans of dance): The Hit List by Nikki Urang
Contemp Romance: The Valentine Challenge by Marisa Cleveland
Contemp Romance (sexy): Dance With a Millionaire by Casey Crow
Paranormal Romance: Ruined by Jus Accardo
MG contemp: Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel
YA Paranormal: Katana by Cole Gibson
Holiday romance: Kentucky Christmas by Sarah Title
Parnormal (sexy): Snow White and the Vampire by Marina Myles
Horror: Hell Hole by Hunter Shea
MG Fantasy: Balance Keepers by Lindsay Cummings
M/M Romance: Trowchester Blues by Alex Beecroft
Contemp romance (sexy): Seducing the Princess by Jen MacLaughlin
Historical romance: No Greater Glory by Cindy Nord
Paranormal graphic novel: Satan's Prep by Gabe Guarente
Historical romance: Hero of My Heart by Megan Frampton
Craft books for writers: Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
Thriller: Flight For Control by Karlene Petitt
Erotic romance: The Star Princess by Jessica E. Subject
Paranormal: They All Fall Down by Angela Brown
Paranormal: A Touch of Darkness by Yelena Casale & Tina Moss
Poetry: Her Olives by Fida Islaih

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

YA Paranormal Not to Miss: Anomaly

Today I'm excited to be part of my agency sister's exciting YA paranormal release, Anomaly. This author and her book are a double whammy because they are both AMAZING! You know when you red a book and you think "OMG, I hope they make that into a movie!", this is that kind of book. And the icing on the cake is that Tonya is one of the sweetest people, so heat up those clicking fingers my friends because you don't want to miss this!

Release Date: 11/25/14
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…
Find it on:
B&N / Amazon

About the Author
Tonya Kuper's debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.

Author Links:
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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks For You

I have so very much to be thankful for this year. It has been an amazing, and at times trying, year. As always I am thankful for my family and friends, and my readers whose interest and willingness to buy books keeps me able to pursue my passion. This year I am especially thankful for the RT Booklover's Convention that changed the course of my career and deepened my passion for writing all over again. Saving the best part of this year for last, I am thankful for my agents Nicole Resciniti and Louise Fury who have inspired me to become a better writer and to expand my horizons. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Amarok's Bite Strikes Out on Its Own

Today I'm celebrating the re-release of my good friend Yelena's paranormal story, Amarok's Bite. It was formerly a part of the Winter Wonders anthology but is now available on its own! Congrats Yelena!

Amarok's Bite

 Urban Fantasy Short Story (previously published in the Winter Wonders Anthology)

Title: Amarok's Bite
Author: Yelena Casale
Genre: Urban Fantasy - short story (4500 words)
Release Date: December 3rd, 2014 
Cover Design: Tina Moss

Amarok's Bite

Lilly and her sexy beast of a werewolf partner Shayne make a great team working for the Peace Control Department. But when she tries to take on a rogue amarok on her own, things go terribly wrong, and she is left with an agonizing choice between dying and becoming a despised amarok herself. When Shayne makes the choice for her, she has to come to terms with what she is, and her feelings for Shayne, before facing off against the creature that changed her life forever.

About the Author

Yelena Casale is an award-winning author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Being very curious and inquisitive, she has been a devoted reader and writer since childhood. As a 2nd degree black belt and instructor in Shotokan karate, an avid traveler and history and art enthusiast, she weaves universal themes with martial arts philosophies into her stories. She lives with her amazing, super supportive husband. In her spare time, she reads, paints, watches cool shows on TV and tries to get more sleep. Like the samurai of the old, as well as the ultimate Renaissance man and Yelena's favorite historical figure, Leonardo da Vinci, she believes that nothing is greater than mastery of oneself.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why I Am a Nook Girl Instead of a Kindle Girl

A lot of my friends~especially my indie author friends~wonder why I'm a Nook girl instead of a Kindle girl. And nope, this is not a slam post on either. Sorry to disappoint.

But Heather, Amazon is so much better to indie authors than B&N is, they say. They have Kindle Select that helps indie's promote, bestselling lists for free books, and they have publishing lines.

True, but they also have confusing algorithms that authors can't seem to break now days, and their Select locks authors into a contract that alienates readers with other brands of eReaders (which just seems really wrong in so many ways). I'm not saying Amazon is the devil, or that I'm against them, I'm not. I'm Switzerland on the subject since I believe they do good things for authors as well.

If so, then why did I choose a Nook over a Kindle? Easy, as a lifetime reader and an author, I love physical book stores. The smell of books will always sooth me, even though I read eBooks almost exclusively now. I still buy physical books to collect, and I buy them as gifts for others. So, a place that has a physical book store will always win out over one that doesn't.

The second reason, and it's a BIG one, I hate spam. Every time I order something from Amazon they spam the living crap out of me, that includes eBooks. Not only do I get Amazon spam, but I get spam from other retailers that sell items on Amazon's site, which means they give them my information. B&N doesn't spam me, ever, and I love that about them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Gears of Brass, A Steampunk Anthology

Gears of brass giveaway
  A world like ours, but filled with gears of brass, where the beating heart is fueled by steam and the simplest creation is a complex clockwork device. Within this tome, you’ll find steampunk fairy tale re-tellings, as well as original stories that will send your gears turning. Welcome to the steampunk realm, with eleven authors guiding your path.

Sounds fun, doesn't it? I've been on a steampunk kick lately and I loved this read! Here is a bit more about it:

gob Gears of Brass is a steampunk anthology published through Curiosity Quills. Within the pages, you’ll come across clockwork inventions and steampunk-ified fairy tale retellings. Eleven authors will guide you through worlds filled with airships, top hats, and corsets.

TEASERS from different stories in the anthology:
    Stealing a few steps backward, I reached for him and brushed my fingertips along his cheek. Static energy crept across my palm. It glowed blue and pulled like taffy, sticking to my fingertips, then snapping back to his skin. My hand jerked back so hard I hit myself in the chest. My eyes traipsed down his neck, his shoulders, finally stopping at his midsection. It was almost as though I could see inside him.

The guards struggled forward, but failed to move even an inch. Everyone was frozen in place, except the uninvited guest. The man floated toward Lord and Lady Miller. “You see, my lord, your wife made a deal with me that cannot be broken. Your daughter is mine.”

I swiped my hand across my nose, wishing I could smell the green of the trees. Eyes burning, I swallowed hard, feeling the incision in my throat where they’d cut out my sinus enhancer. I would never be able to smell my exotic perfumes again.  

Anthie watched the lissom liquid slip inside the carrying tube. I could see her inhaling the smell of the lubricating oil. So could Dr. Holmgren. From time to time he looked across at us through his reinforced goggles. They gave him the appearance of a baby owl, which was at odds with his general nastiness. I knew he was taking everything in. And I knew he had a special eye on Anthie.

In a hidden room deep inside the base of the great clock there was a click, a whir of gears, a valve opened, and the key chamber was flooded with air. Several minutes later, Bella awoke. The girl coughed, choked then screamed as blood began to once again flow through her veins: the first time in a millennium.

Something growled near to her right. The hairs along Redyn’s arms stood up and she held her breath. The sound came again, deep, guttural. Redyn turned her head, her lips parted, her gaze scanning the forest. They’d told her not to wander far from the cottage, but they couldn’t have expected her to play with that hideous excuse for a doll near everyone else. A wolf crept out of the shadows, his gray fur standing on end like hers.

"Three years ago, your father ruined my life. He terminated my family’s reputation.”
“Um…” Amethyst wished she could back up further. Wind pushed at her top hat, so she shoved it up higher to straighten it. “I don’t understand.”
"Now, I’ll ruin his life.”  

Find it on:
Learn more about the authors behind Gears of Brass over at Curiosity Quills Press   Don’t forget to enter the mega giveaway below! a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

No matter how you celebrate (so long as it is something that won't land you in jail~or worse), have a safe and fantastic Halloween! Remember to watch out for little goblins and bring your animals inside where they can stay safe too. OH, and here's a word from the King of horror:

Pic credit: Horror Selfies

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Anomaly by Tonya Kuper is Out!

Today I'm excited to be taking part in my agent-sister's book release party! Tonya Kuper's paranormal YA novel, Anomaly is now out and it is one you don't want to miss if you love YA or paranormal! Here is a bit about it before we get to the giveaway:

Anomaly (Schrodinger's Consortium #1)
by Tonya Kuper
Release Date: 11/25/14
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:

Reality is only an illusion.
Except for those who can control it…

Worst. Birthday. Ever.
My first boyfriend dumped me – happy birthday, Josie!- my dad is who knows where, I have some weird virus that makes me want to hurl, and now my ex is licking another girl’s tonsils. Oh, and I’m officially the same age as my brother was when he died. Yeah, today is about as fun-filled as the swamps of Dagobah. But then weird things start happening…

Like I make something materialize just by thinking about it.
When hot badass Reid Wentworth shows up on a motorcycle, everything changes. Like, everything. Who I am. My family. What really happened to my brother. Existence. I am Oculi, and I have the ability to change reality with my thoughts. Now Reid, in all his hotness, is charged with guiding and protecting me as I begin learning how to bend reality. And he’s the only thing standing between me and the secret organization that wants me dead…

Buy Links:

About the Author
Tonya Kuper's debut, ANOMALY, the first in the Schrodinger's Consortium young adult scifi trilogy, releases November 2014 by Entangled Teen. She lives in Omaha, NE with her two rad boys and husband, is a music junkie, and a chocolate addict. Star Wars & Sherlock fan.

Author Links:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This Week's Inspiration: Charlie Siem

I'm elbow deep in the Civil War right now, somewhere I never thought I'd be. A few months ago two characters came to me and simply would not leave. So, after a lot of research, my new work in progress was born. Now I am nearing the halfway point and am completely swept away by a story I never thought I'd love so much, let alone write myself. 
Pic Credit: Charlie Siem, Violinist

Almost right away I came across this picture and instantly it felt like my main character. My main character is a violinist and this is a photo of Charlie Siem, an actual violinist. It is a bit haunting how much he reminds me of my MC. Don't you just love it when that happens? By the way, Charlie's music is fantastic if you ever want to check it out, and yes, I have now added it to my playlist for stuff to listen to while writing this novel. Though, I must admit, my MC's music has a much darker quality to it. 

To see more of what inspires me, I invite you to visit me on Pinterest where I post all things inspirational under folders associated with the book I'm working on at the time. Please, if you re-post this picture, be sure to include the crediting link. Happy reading and/or writing!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Book Review & Tour: Charming

When one of my agent sisters posted about her upcoming review tour I eagerly jumped on board. Not only did I want to help a sister out, her book sounded amazing. OMG (yes I went there, had to) it blew amazing right out of the water. I haven't read a YA book in a long time. I'm SO glad this one was the one that broke my hiatus. Then again maybe I'm not because this is going to be an incredibly hard act to follow. Superb writing draws you along through this heartrending novel, writing so good that even as an author I never once stopped to think about the nuts and bolts of the writing within~it's just that good. This is like Scream combined with The Fault in Our Stars. That may not sound amazing to everyone, but it was spot on for me. If you like suspenseful, mysterious, edgy fiction with a heart, this book needs to be your first priority when it releases and it is an absolute MUST READ for October. Keep your eye on this one peeps, she has the makings of being the next 'Big Thing'.

Now that I'm done gushing, here is a bit about it, and a Kindle giveaway at the bottom!

Krystal Wade
Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: October 6th 2014
Find it on:
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die.
Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.
Author links: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 26, 2014

Getting Inspired by a Writer's Retreat

Writing used to be a lonely thing, but with social media now writers are connected through many different avenues. Yet, seeing one another in person is still something many of us don't get to do. But with social media, is it even necessary you might wonder? I definitely think it is.

A friend of mine and I got together recently for a writer's retreat weekend and had a fantastic time. We read chapters to each other, brainstormed, and of course spent time writing. It helped me make a leap forward in editing the book I was working on and also inspired a few brand new ideas for the next books I want to write.

If you're a writer I highly recommend finding a great group of critique partners or at least one beta to connect with and get together with in person. Even if you aren't in the same state, so long as you can travel to see one another for a long weekend once a year or so, it could make a huge difference in your writing life.

Need help finding them? On my right sidebar there are a few links to help you connect with other writers, and there is always the live #WritersRoad chat that I host on Twitter every other Monday night. Choose carefully and read each others work and give feedback before deciding to become each other's crit groups or betas to make sure your expectations and styles of critiquing are compatible.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Advance Realities

When I went traditional the questions from my friends started pouring in. Aspiring authors everywhere want to know all about advances, how much they typically are, how they are paid out, all the fun details. The answer isn't a simple one, but I'll try to break it down.

The amount of your advance depends all on the commercial appeal of the novel (movie, cable deal, etc.). Payout is generally (but not always) half upon the deal and half upon turning in the completed work. For a smaller deal ($10 and under) consider this:

$5,000 on signing, but that's not net, that's gross. 
$750 to your agent (based on typical 15% domestic sales).
$1572 to put away for taxes (37% to be on the safe side).
Leaves you:

And, if you are getting an advance of $10k or less, it isn't likely you'll receive much marketing so you need to be prepared to do some serious marketing on your own. So, you may need a bit of that money for it. You definitely won't be getting enough initially to quit your day job.

Now, if you're one of the lucky few who get a six digit advance, lets say a major deal of 500K for a trilogy (remember this is very rare and most often happens to those who are already NYT bestsellers), here's what it could look like. At 1/2 of each on signing for (remember it could just be a 3rd depending on the contract):

$249,999 gross on signing.
$37,499 to your agent.
$78,625 to put away for taxes.
Leaves you:

The remainder of your advance will be paid out over the course of likely three years as each of your titles is accepted by your publisher. So, at the acceptance of book one you'll receive another $83,333. The following year at the acceptance of book 2, you'll get another $83,333. And the third year at the acceptance of book 3 you'll get the remaining $83,333. But don't forget the agent percentage and taxes will come out of each one of those.

So what is the average advance? That all depends on the publisher and how they feel your novel is going to do in the market. It can be as few as four digits with a small press, or as many as seven with one of the Big 5. For more info, check out the following links:

Agent Mandy Hubbard (Advance Breakdown)
Author Brenda Hiatt (Typical Advances)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vampire Secrets by RaShelle Workman Releases!

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I love Rashelle's books and have been looking forward to this for some time now. Finally, it has relased! Here is a bit about it and about the series: 

Title: Vampire Secrets (Blood and Snow Season Two) 
Author: RaShelle Workman 
Genre: Urban Fantasy (Reinvented Fairytale) 
Release Date: September 14, 2014 
Publisher: Polished Pen Press Corporation 
Organized by Literati Author Services          

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 ~ Synopsis ~
  Blood and Snow Season Two Book 2 ~ Vampire Secrets A dream is a wish your heart makes... It's been a month since Jasmine agreed to the wish that would keep Laeddin safe. By all accounts she should be happy. She's attending high school, hanging out with friends, and spending time with Laeddin. but she isn't. Ever since the sorceress ripped away a part of her, she hasn't felt like herself. To make matters worse, the man with red eyes, the one that haunted her dreams, is appearing in real life. And demonic creatures keep showing up in Salem. The question on both counts is why? Jasmine must figure out who the man is and what the creatures want. Thankfully, she isn't alone. Laeddin, Peter, Zoe, and some friends from the mansion next door will help. And then there's the sorceress. she's using what she took from Jasmine to inflict havoc on the human realm as well as other realms.

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Buy the Book

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About the Author

Rashelle Workman photo 6-7-14me2_zps37bfac11.jpg RaShelle Workman is the author of the popular Blood and Snow series. She loves to reinvent fairy tales teens and adults can sink their teeth into. Her stories include kissing, vampires, werewolves, witches, aliens, and more kissing. Her books: Sleeping Roses, Exiled, Beguiled, and Dovetailed have foreign rights contracts with a Turkish publisher. RaShelle is also one of the co-founders of Indie Recon LIVE, a self publishing conference that will debut October 10-11, 2014 in Sandy, Utah.    
Her books include:
Short stories:

  Visit her website and sign up for RaShelle's EXCLUSIVE mailing list. You'll be automatically entered to win a Paperback copy of Blood and Snow volumes 1-4.  

Connect with the Author


Facebook | Twitter  | Blog | Website | Pinterest

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$25.00 Paypal Cash


5 Ebooks of Vampire Lies by RaShelle Workman


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Forever in Our Memory

For those who lost their lives on that fateful day, and all who have lost them since in the fight against terrorism, we appreciate you, we love you, and we will not forget. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Seymour Agency’s Literacy Fundraiser

Part of why I love my new agency so much...

The Seymour Agency is hosting a fundraiser to support the Literacy Council Gulf Coast through a national online auction taking place during the month of September 2014. Industry editors, agents, and authors have donated critiques, phone chats, books, and goody packages as prizes.

Literacy Council Gulf Coast works with underprivileged youth and adults to provide quality literary education needed to function in today’s society. Their mission is to assist adults and children to acquire the literacy skills necessary to improve their quality of life. The Literacy Council Gulf Coast provides free instruction for adults in reading and writing, and in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). They offer a Moms and Tots Family Literacy program for mothers and their young children and a program called Kids+ Lifelong Learning, which teaches parents through an innovative partnership with the Lee County School District. Additionally, they offer work-site literacy programs at 9 local golf/gated communities.

The online auction is now live and bidding will end on September 30, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. with the largest bid received winning. To bid: Visit the website and comment on the item you would like to bid on in the following manner: Please bid in $5 increments in the comments section of the item you would like to win. Please include your email address. Example for bidding: [$10]

There is something for book lovers of all kinds, whether you love to read books, or are an author who desires a critique by an industry professional. There are fabulous books up for grabs (some signed and limited editions), as well as critiques from not only authors but also editors from the Big 5 publishing houses. I hope you'll join me in supporting this fantastic cause. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Starting A New Story

The blank page is a daunting thing for many, especially if you sit staring at it. But I think that's because we writers know the first page has to be perfect and we often think it has to be perfect right from the start. But I learned a long time ago that the first page is going to change a lot over the course of the book's editing so there is no reason to stress over it and take days and days to write a mere 700 or so words that are just going to change later. And that attitude seems to be the key that has freed up my creative mind so that the first page often isn't as rewritten as it once was.

There was also a time in my career when I wasn't sure where to start a new manuscript, another problem that can keep a writer staring at a blank screen. Over the years I realized it was because I was thinking of the story, not the characters. Once I learned to let the characters tell their story rather than let a story propel them along through it, then I always knew where to start. Classes on starting close to the inciting incident, the thing that propels the character onto the course of the book, didn't hurt either.

As you might have guessed from this post, I wrote the first words of a new book yesterday, one I'm very excited to be writing. It's going to be a tough one as it is taking a lot of research, but I'm loving every moment of it. You can see my inspiration for it on my new Pinterest board dedicated to it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Worth Their Weight In Gold

During the editing process for my historical romance, I've realized a great agent is worth their weight in gold~and then some. I've been agented before with other books and I've had good feedback that improved the novels they represented. But this time around, with these outstanding agents, it's different. Their suggestions are transforming this novel into something that brings tears to my eyes in the most wonderful way as it transforms beneath my fingers. Their suggestions come from a deep, content level that makes it clear they are truly invested in the characters and the story. And they don't stop at just one round.

Looking back at the first version of this novel and seeing how far it has already come with their help floors me. Even more exciting, is looking forward knowing how much farther it will still go, and how much more polished and honed to perfection it will become. This is something I could have never done on my own because I'm too close to the story to look at it the way they can. I love my critique partners and my freelance editors and they are invaluable, but my agents are improving my work in ways even those cherished people couldn't. The ways I mean are those that will help my book survive the market. Does that make any of the links in my chain to getting published any less important? No. But it does make me realize how important the link of an exceedingly good agent (or two) is.

I'm truly blessed to have found the right agents who believe in my career and my work enough to help me be all that I can be. And to think, I was ready to throw in the towel in the traditional publishing ring and stop looking. Writers, you should never stop looking for that perfect match because what the right agent can do for you, is beyond your greatest imaginings.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Big News...Third Time's A Charm

Like many writers, my road to publishing has been more of a climb along a lava flow than a stroll down a country road (if you've ever walked down a lava flow you know what I mean, if not, careful when you try it, you may break an ankle. Seriously). I've written several novels and have had two different agents on two different occasions, for two different novels. My first agent, whom I had my very first book with, ended up retiring from the business after only sending it out to a few people. We parted on good terms but that manuscript has since been put in a drawer.

The second fork in my road was longer. It was the fourth manuscript I'd written and I landed an agent who helped me polish it up a bit and sent it out to editors. The timing was all wrong though as they had filled their paranormal lists and passed on it, though many enjoyed it. Then the literary market crash occurred and my second agent cut back on his clients who hadn't sold. Again I was to part ways with my agent. I cannot express how heartbreaking and discouraging it is to have that happen a second time. For a long time I feared I would have to give up on my dream. But I didn't stop writing or working to improve.

Nine manuscripts after that very first one, I finally felt as though I had a novel that was right for the commercial market again. I took it to the RT Book Lover's Convention in New Orleans this past spring. It did beyond my wildest dreams. Every agent and editor I pitched it to requested at least a partial, and it placed second in the RT Author Idol Contest, earning me a mentorship with the fabulous Louise Fury of the Bent Agency and Nicole Risciniti of the Seymour Agency. Even more amazing, Louise and Nicole offered dual representation! I still feel like I've stepped into some lucky person's life. This stuff does not happen to me. Seriously, I've been at this for YEARS and I've never been that lucky writer that shines at such events.

The key (for those writers out there wondering) is that I never stopped learning, improving, and dreaming. I worked hard at it and I never gave up. But the work isn't over. Now it's time to edit this baby into something amazing and get ready to present it to editors. And as for the learning, well, that is never over.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Researching Leads to Inspiration

I love doing research because it leads to inspiration for me. Sometimes it's a new chapter that I hadn't planned on, or an entire new book idea that springs up. History in particular is a subject that I love, but not just any history. I like to find the stories that haven't been told, things that were covered up by the conquerors.

While researching recently I was struck with an idea for a novel but it was set in a time period that is so overdone that I myself cringe at the thought of reading anything set in that era. But, there remains a story that is untold and that drew me in like a moth to a flame. Still, I wanted the idea itself to be unique, not just the story. Editing another book as I am, I put thoughts of the story aside to work on later.

Photo Credit: Dwayne Johnson
But my muse had other plans. He woke me in the middle of the night (Did I mention this is how I picture my muse? He's very demanding. You don't say no to a man like that.) and inspired me with a beautiful, original idea. So I was up half the night jotting down notes. Then of course my dreams were all centered on the story, bringing the people within it to life and even more ideas to the table. This leaves me with no choice but to start outlining or the idea will drive me crazy. How about you, does inspiration ever keep you up at night? And do you find inspiration from research?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Editing Outside One's Comfort Zone

I have longed for someone to push me to help my manuscript be the best it can be. Finally, I have that. As many of you know, I have the wonderful good fortune to now be mentored by agents Nicole Resciniti and Louise Fury thanks to the RT contest that I placed in. They are taking me in directions I would have never thought to go, to new horizons that I didn't think I could achieve. It isn't easy, but that's all right. I didn't expect it to be.

One of the biggest lessons I'm learning is to revise outside of my comfort zone to help transform my manuscript into the very best it can be. I'm also learning to look at the industry, what readers desire, and what genre dictates to help guide me. Don't get me wrong, I am not fitting my manuscript into a mold. But I am looking at each part of the big picture and approaching my writing from a business perspective, not just an emotional one. This is possible one of the hardest things for us writers to do, but it's also one of the most important.

By adopting this new perspective I'm thrilled to say that it has freed me when I didn't even realize I was holding back. I'm diving into this revision with my eyes wide open and my comfort zones tossed aside. It has given me a sort of fearlessness, a confidence that yes, I can do this.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Series from Karen Amanda Hooper!

Karen Amanda Hooper, author of two of my favorite series, The Kindrily series and The Sea Monster Memoirs, is releasing a new series, Virtual Arcana.
Today, we’re helping her reveal the cover...

Karen says: “I love the cover because it represents the story so perfectly—a blend of old-fashioned and techy, romance and magic, reality and illusion, The Notebook meets The Matrix (with a sprinkling of The Giver). Some friends saw an early sneak peek and asked if the girl was real or a CGI (computer-generated image).  That put a huge smile on my face because that is the perfect question for this series.” *insert mischievous smile here*

Karen gives huge thanks to friend and talented cover designer, Steve Graham of  the INFINITY CREATIVE ( for making her virtual reality-esque vision a beautiful reality.

Virtual Arcana will release this fall serial style, meaning short episodes (averaging 15-20k) will be published frequently (official schedule TBA), instead of waiting 6-12 months between each long book in a trilogy.
Each episode will be named after one of the major arcana cards of a tarot deck.

Season 1- Episode List

0- The Fool
1-The Magician
2-The High Priestess
3-The Empress
4-The Emperor
5-The Hierophant
6- The Lovers

Karen says: “It’s an experiment for me as an author and for my readers. If Virtual Arcana develops a good following I’ll continue with season 2 and 3. That would mean 22 total episodes, one for each of the 22 major arcana tarot cards.”

Summary of Virtual Arcana:

In a faraway future, Kelsey Zellar is starting her senior year at yet another school thanks to her twin sister’s troublesome obsession with outlawed virtual reality games.

Every school they’ve ever attended is pretty much the same: lunchroom drama, rich kids binging on enhancement candies, and classmates rallying for or against the government’s strict control over everything from entertainment privileges to caffeine consumption.

Unlike her sister, Kelsey follows the rules and keeps her nose out of trouble and politics while sniffing out her next flavored latte and favorite novel. But when Kelsey meets a charming book connoisseur, and accepts his offering of a tarot card, she takes the first step toward two new addictions: the guy of her dreams, and his illegal dealing of virtual escapes into her beloved storybooks.

Kelsey straddles the worlds of fiction and reality, but is she a fool for believing in her own happy ending?
Karen says: “I realize some of my readers don’t/won’t care for episodic storytelling, so of course there will be the option to wait until the first season is complete and read all the episodes straight through as one full-length novel. But I wanted to offer my new series as a serial for those readers who dislike waiting so long to read more.”

To celebrate, Karen is giving away EIGHT ebooks of the first episode: The Fool.
Open internationally.
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

Karen Hooper writes young adult paranormal and fantasy, and is the author of The Kindrily series and The Sea Monster Memoirs. She is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She’s addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters.

You can find her at .