July 25th marks one year since I published Craved – Book 1 in the Gwen Sparks Series. It’s been an amazing rollercoaster and has forever changed my life. I’ve met some fantastic people, learned a lot and most importantly, found something I want to do with the rest of my life—write.
The support of my readers, friends and family has been amazing to say the least. To show my appreciation, I’ve put together one heck of a giveaway. Because of you guys, Craved reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list and #5 on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller’s list. Thank you guys for making my first year of being publish something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Check out what you could win below!
8 Signed Paperbacks
$100 Amazon Gift Card
$20 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Plus swag (postcards, boomarks, magnets, mousepads from multiple authors!)
I need to apologize to all of my lovely, brilliant, and wonderful blog followers. (No, I don't think that I am laying it on thick...) Why, you might ask? Well, I have been a pretty bad blogger! I need to blog much more often to keep you updated on the progress of Mortal Obligation and things in general. So, right now I am going to take a few minutes to tell you about the editing, or 'fluffiing', that I have been working on for the last week.
Well, a couple of days after I finished the first draft, I was still unsatisfied with part of the story. It was something that the characters were telling me, but I couldn't understand the 'why' of it. I had come up with a reasonable way of explaining it, but it left me unhappy. Then on the way home from the allergist lightning struck my brain. Okay, not really, but I did have a major epiphany. I felt like the clouds had split and a giant beam of glorious sunshine was basking my car in all of its brilliant warmth. No really, that is how I felt! I even did a little dance in my seat making the people in cars next to me glare and speed away nervously. This idea made everything click into place, and my characters all smiled and nodded at me in relief. I had finally gotten what they had been trying to tell me. (If you are worried about the fact that my 'characters' were nodding at me while I was driving on the highway... well, I can't argue with you. I am a little bit crazy. But my muse sings the clearest while driving. What's a writer to do?) So, I have been going back and fleshing out that story line, adding little pieces of information, and loving it! Oh, the drama! The angst! Makes me giggle. It makes everything perfect and I am so happy to share it with everyone. Maybe in a few weeks I will put up another sample.
Now, about Stonehenge. I happened to catch a special about Stonehenge on PBS tonight. They were trying different possible ways of how those long dead people moved those monstrous stones. I have always been fascinated by Stonehenge, and hope to go to that powerful place one day. The theories they had about the tools and skills they needed were very interesting. They still aren't convinced that they used the system they tried on the show, but I am thinking that it is possible. I think that they were trying to get it done faster than the people would have been able to, or inclined to do and that would have made it more possible. You have to factor in determination in the equation. When I look at that place, I see so much human spirit and persistence. They wouldn't have given up if it took them forever to dig out trenches, or if rain washed out those trenches. It was something they felt had to be done and the work it required wasn't going to stop them.
Now, ready for me to tie these two topics together? That's right. I have a point! Writing a book is a little bit like creating your own Stonehenge. It requires a LOT of work, persistence and pain. But it is worth it all, because you are making something that holds a part of your spirit. And I am pretty sure that those monolithic stones hold a great deal of its builders spirit. Writing is something that you have to believe in, something that you really want to do.
I won't be writing for the rest of the week, I have some important stuff to attend to this weekend that will keep me busy and away from the computer. I will be back next week, and will try to post more often. Happy writing and reading everyone! I hope you have a great weekend :)
One of the number one questions that I am asked on a regular (and I do mean regular) basis is where I get my inspiration from or what inspires me.
Honestly, there is no single answer. Lots of things inspire me. Music is a big one. I can listen to a song and mentally direct a music video for it while driving. There are lots of songs that inspire scenes in my books. Art often inspires me. I paint. In fact, I used to paint murals. You know the feeling of looking at a piece of art and getting lost in the details? The shading, the colors, the emotion you are able to read in that piece? Yeah, that inspires me. Sounds sort of poetic, huh? But I'm also inspired by random people walking down the street, or a box wrapped with hot-pink Duct tape. And the girl chasing the flying leash of a tiny dog that got away. Or the person at the store holding a package of hotdogs and Tums. Are you seeing where I'm going with this? There is potential in every thing you run across.
This weekend, the movie Ladyhawke was playing on BBCA, and it got me thinking. This movie may very well have been my introduction to werewolves. If you've never seen the movie, you really should add it to your to-be watched list. It came out in 1985, so the effects aren't that great compared to what we're used to, but the story... oh, the story is delicious. (Not to mention, Matthew Broderick is in it and absolutely steals the show.) It's a love story with magic, adventure, and a hot guy with a big sword. (Did I just say that? You bet I did!) Anyways, back to my point, I realized that there are a lot of movies, books, TV shows, and Music that helped shape my imagination. What do I mean by that, you ask? Well, there are certain things that I am attracted to in a story. (See aforementioned list about Ladyhawke.) There are certain things that I love when watching a movie. There are things that are guaranteed to make me smile/fist pump/cry when reading a book. I think that the things that caught my attention as a child or young adult are still the things that I love nowadays. The same way that we are products of our childhood, so is our imagination. Well, my imagination anyways.
Here are some of the things that helped shape my love for fantasy and paranormal things. Oh, and my quirky sense of humor. ** Not all of these are sci/fi fantasy, but they had an effect on me as a person.
Legend (No, not I am Legend. *shiver* But the one with a really young Tom Cruise.) (If you haven't seen it, then you have homework this week. Go now and buy, steal, rent a copy A.S.A.P.)
Willow (Go forth and WATCH!)
Star Wars (Oh, I am a Star Wars fanatic. I could probably tell you most of the aliens species names. I'm a dork and proud of it.)
Star Trek (Confession time. I've been to Star Trek conventions. And I liked it. *hums Katy Perry*)
Harry and the Henderson (My daughter is in LOVE with this movie. I found a Harry doll on eBay for her B-day. Shhh.) seaQuest (Kind of like Star Trek, but under the sea.)
Never Ending Story
Hocus Pocus (Disney)
The Three Musketeers (Disney)
The Little Mermaid (Disney)
The Parent Trap (Original and remake)
So Weird (Disney- still miss this show!) Danger Bay (Disney. You have no idea how excited I am that I finally remembered the name of this show!) Ocean Girl (Disney. Yeah, I'm seeing a theme here.) Anne McCaffrey- Dragon Riders of Pern
Tamara Pierce -Lioness Rampant books (My first YA book love.)
Piers Anthony- Xanth series
There are tons more, but these are some that I actually remember shaping my imagination. Teaching me to weave stories-- inspiring imagined games.
to issue (printed or otherwise reproduced textual or graphic material, computer software, etc.) for sale or distribution to thepublic.
to issue publicly the work of: Random House publishes Faulkner.
to announceformally or officially; proclaim; promulgate.
to make publiclyorgenerally known.
Law . to communicate (a defamatorystatement) to some person or persons other than thepersondefamed.
to issuenewspapers, books, computer software, etc.; engage inpublishing: The new house will start to publish next month.
to haveone'swork published: She has decided to publish with another house.
I pose a question for you. How do you know that you are published? Is it measured by the number of books you have sold? Or by how you are published?
Let's look at how many books you would have to sell to be considered published. 100? 1000? 10,000? 1? Does it only take the purchase of one book? One article to be considered published?
What about how you are published? Does having a traditional publishing house standing behind you mean that you are published? Or is it the moment you put something out for public consumption?
I've recently been informed that I am not welcome to speak on a Local Prose stage for Georgia authors. Why? I do live in Georgia, after all. I was told to speak to the people in charge of the self-published stage. That the Local Prose stage was for "published" authors only. I will admit, that was a slap in the face. Am I not published just because I do not have a publishing house? Did I not "publish" myself? According to the definition of publish I have certainly met the qualifications. Do I need to disclose the amount of books I've sold in the last eleven months? If that isn't enough, how many would I have to hit?
There are self-published authors on the USA Times Best-seller lists, the NYT Best-sellers list, in the top 100 books on Amazon.com (Heck! In the top 20!). They made all of those lists without selling in Walmart, Target, or bookstores. If one of my lovely friends were to show interest in speaking at a local prose stage, would they be turned away because they are self-published? Surely they have proven that self-published authors should not be treated differently. That self-PUBLISHED authors are indeed PUBLISHED. After all, you have to be published to sell books.
treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individualmerit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
Archaic . something that serves to differentiate.
This mindset has haunted humans from the very beginning. We've dealt with it in many different ways. Fought over its many different shapes. Have we not learned at this point that discrimination in all of its forms are unjust and hurtful? That it does nothing but hinder society from reaching its full potential? Have the history books that we study lied to us all of the years?
The lines drawn in the sand are slowly eroding away. There is room for all of us. No reader only reads one book and nothing else. We are not competing for finite resource. As a reader, I do not care if an author is traditionally published or self-published. All I’m looking for is a good story. As an author, I do not care if an author is traditionally published or self-published. All I’m looking for is fellowship among people in the same profession.
While I debated whether or not to write this post, my husband was watching ESPN. I heard something that caught my attention and I made him rewind so that I could listen to it again.
John Irving was comparing wrestling with writing. It takes dedication and self confidence to succeed at either. "You must believe that you are a writer or no one else will."
I can only say this: I believe I am an author. I live, breathe, love being an author. I am a PUBLISHED author and I have more stories to tell. That I will tell. On my terms.
I leave you with the questions I posed in the beginning. What is your definition of published?
I've got ants in my pants. Okay, I don't really have ants in my pants. But my leg is twitching and my brain is in over drive. Lots of stuff going on this summer.
I'm finishing up Immortal Grave... this book has been a tough book to write. There are a lot of reasons for that. One, a lot happens in this book, and I want it to work right. I've have had this trilogy planned out for a long time, and I want the story to hit everyone the way it does me. In the head. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I just want it to be perfect. I know that's driving some of you guys crazy. I *do* understand that. Two, I have Flukes to work on, and boy does that story want it's time on the computer screen. Meena and Blake are loud characters with lots to say and do. Three, cover reveals! Yeah, I've got covers that I am hoarding away in the deep, dark recesses of my computer. Immortal Graves new cover and Flukes new cover! They are coming out soon! (If you are going to the UTOP YA convention in Nashville this weekend, you can get a sneak peak at the Immortal Grave cover. Just visit Tiffany King and ask her for a SIGNED Dark Betrayal Trilogy.) Four, I have plans for Labor day. What does that have to do with anything? Well, I'm going to be at the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Ga. I will be selling and signing books at at booth with Liz Reinhardt and Sarah Ross. I'm incredibly excited about the book festival. It's going to be a blast! So, if you are in the area (near Atlanta) or want to make a trip out of it, then you should look for me and my writing buds! (Other awesome peeps going: Colleen Hoover, Rebecca Donovan, Tiffany King, Carol and Adam Kunz, Michelle Leighton, Fisher Amelie and many more!!!) I'll have some fun goodies to giveaway and I just love talking to readers. Take a look at their site and scroll through the author section.
I hope you all have a great 4th of July and/or Wednesday! ;)