Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Suck Less

So I was trolling Facebook the other day. It's pretty standard for me these days. I can fly through my lists and like and comment in a few minutes. I like it. Someone had said something about their family motto (for which I instantly felt inferior), and my husband reminded me that we too, have a family motto.

Suck Less.

I decided this is a good motto for a lot of things, writing included. So as I prepare to k-i-l-l my concept for NaNo with lots of words, I'm going to try to make them suck less.

Of course, how one goes about doing that is another matter entirely. I've been reading a lot lately (lucky you, because as usual, I'll be talking about the books I love), and I think instead of giving you a recommendation on why you'll like a book from a reader's standpoint, I think I'll talk about how amazing the books are based on their writing -- and what I learned from it.

This might only last for one or two books (let's be honest here), but I've read some really good ones lately that have struck something in me. Something that sounds a lot like This sucks less. Make yours suck less.

So that's my official goal for NaNo. Do you have a writing goal? In general or for NaNo?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Facing Fears

Okay, so this is always hard, isn't it? Facing down that rabid dog or whatever. But though I am terrified of most dogs, rabid or not, that's not really what I'm talking about. Not a physical fear, but an emotional one.

That's not quite right either. More of a creative one.

See, my agent and I parted ways last month. She is a lovely person and a great agent. I have no hard feelings toward her and our split was amicable.

And here I am. Facing a wide-open world of publishing for the first time in years. Well, that's not really true either, because I already have books out. The only way to truly have a wide-open publishing world is to choose a pen name and start over.

I don't think I'll do that, and now I'm exploring all the options. See, I have five full manuscripts that are finished. Like, finished. Like, I could send them to editors and agents and not be embarrassed.

I'm querying a couple of them, actually. Querying is just as painful and demoralizing as I remember from 2009. Rejections are hard--especially when the feedback is at odds from agent to agent.

I have submitted a couple of my manuscripts to small and midsize publishers that take unsolicited submissions.

I have purchased Indie-publishing guides, and I've emailed with friends, and I've discussed options with my husband.

I really do have a ton of choices. The real problem is facing the fear of choosing one over the other. It seems that every publishing model has it's pros and cons.

And of course, I want it all. *wink* But mostly, it's the fear of trying something I've never tried before that's got a grip on me right now. I almost think it would be easier if someone just told me what to do! Anyone? Ha!

Have you faced a fear? How did you overcome it?

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Okay, so I'm here today with C.J. Hill to celebrate the release of her second Slayers book: FRIENDS AND TRAITORS! I've met the real C.J. in real life, and she is awesome!

So let's learn a bit about the book first.

About FRIENDS AND TRAITORS: In C.J. Hill's action-packed sequel to Slayers, the group of teens known as Slayers have been betrayed—but they won’t give up without a fight.

Tori’s got a problem. She thought she’d have one more summer to train as a dragon Slayer, but time has run out. When Tori hears the horrifying sound of dragon eggs hatching, she knows the Slayers are in trouble. In less than a year, the dragons will be fully grown and completely lethal. The Slayers are well-prepared, but their group is still not complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker—the mysterious missing Slayer.

What Tori doesn’t bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers. She isn’t just a Slayer, she’s part Dragon Lord, too. How can Tori fight to save her friends when half of her is programmed to protect dragons? And with a possible traitor in their midst, the Slayers will be divided in more ways than they ever imagined.

Sounds amazing, right? It is! I've read it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes good writing, fun characters, and the supernatural in their books.

And now we get to have some insight into C.J. and how she started writing and of course, whether she prefers bacon or chocolate!!

The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less: Slayers are teens with superpowers to fight dragons. Which is a good thing, because dragons are back and they don't want to be our friends.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, although I also wanted to be a ballerina, an astronaut, and an ice-skater. Thank goodness I became a writer since my astro skating ballerina ambitions didn't pay off. (LOL! It's awesome to dream.)

What made you decide to go that “extra step” and seek publication?
I joined a writers group and a lot of the women were actively sending out their stuff. I realized that if I wanted to be published I couldn't just wait around for an editor to show up at my house and ask to see my stuff. I had to send it out into the cruel, harsh world. It's a hard step--but until publishers send out roving editors--a necessary one. (So true!)

Quick! You’ve been chosen to go on Survivor. What luxury item do you take?
A notebook and pen, of course. What else would I be doing in a remote spot besides writing my next novel? (Great question!)

Bacon or chocolate?
It's a hard choice as these are probably my two favorite foods, but I'm going with chocolate. It is my happy place. (Mine too, though it is hard to beat bacon...)

Find C.J. around the Internet:


About C.J. Hill: CJ Hill is a pen name for a YA author who is best known for writing romantic comedies. (Slayers will be her 18th published book.) Her writing has shifted away from the romantic comedy genre, so her editor thought a pen name would be a good idea. (New books will include: dangerous dragons, time travel to dystopian worlds, and flesh-eating beetles.) Since the publisher refused to let her have the pseudonym : The Artist Formerly Referred to as Princess, she chose a name to honor her mother. CJ Hill was her mother's pen name, or at least it would have been if her mother had published. Her mother wrote a few children's books and a middle grade novel but was taken by cancer before she had fully learned the craft.

Most writers' first novels aren't publishable. CJ Junior's first novel wasn't, but somehow was published anyway. Now, even though it is out of print, it remains forever available on Amazon, where it taunts her with its badness. This was another good reason to use a pen name.

CJ Hill has five children, three of whom like her on any given day depending on who is in trouble. She has lived in Arizona for the last half of her life, but is still in desert denial and hopes that one day her garden will grow silver bells and cockle shells or maybe just tomatoes.

I hope you pick up SLAYERS if you haven't read it yet. And you can check out all the blog tour stops for FRIENDS AND TRAITORS over at Fire and Ice.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

VISION by Lisa Amowitz Cover Reveal!

Okay, so I've known Lisa for years. She read Possession way back when it was a baby, and I'm thrilled for her success. Her next book is titled VISION, and today she's releasing the cover!

A bit about VISION: The light is darker than you think…

When seventeen-year-old Bobby Pendell begins to have blinding migraines followed by frightening hallucinations, he fears there’s something wrong with him. Then murder rocks his sleepy town and the visions that put him on trail of a killer—also make him the prime suspect.

A little bit about Lisa: Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot. She is a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly seventeen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.

Find her on:

And now onto the cover!

Creeptastic, right? I think it fits the description really well, and I can't wait to read it! VISION is coming from Spencer Hill Press on May 13, 2014.

What do you think of the cover?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

SKY JUMPERS Giveaway!!

Okay, so I am lucky enough to live only a few minutes away from the Famous Peggy Eddleman, author of the amazing middle grade adventure, SKY JUMPERS. I got to go to her release party a week or so ago, and I bought two copies of the book.

One for my eight-year-old daughter--who was so excited!

And one for one of you!! It's a signed hardcover, and it's the perfect read for anyone who can, well, read!

Enter in the Rafflecopter below. Contest runs all week.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cover Reveal for THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE by Annette Haws!

Okay, so I'm bringing you a fun new cover today! I think this looks really fun and really cute. I've been enjoying my foray into the adult contemporary romance genre, but I do like it to be cleaner than not clean. So yeah. It sounds like THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE will fit my tastes!

Are you ready to see the cover? Well, maybe we should talk about the book first.

About THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE: Nina Rushforth was born with a silver spoon caught in her throat. She and her father have mapped out a future that includes a brilliant legal career, a marriage to an equally stellar attorney or Wall Street whiz kid, and eventually the production of three perfect children. A semester at St. Andrew's University in Scotland, was part of the plan, but falling in love with a handsome missionary was not.

Six months later, after Elliot returns from his mission and after a tumultuous courtship, Nina finds herself teaching at a junior high school, learning to keep house in a minuscule apartment, and living with a man who doesn't know any more about being married than she does. Intimacy, cooking, laundry, lesson plans, and a tug-of-war with a possessive mother-in-law prove to be more overwhelming than Nina can successfully manage. The newlyweds awaken to realize the head on the adjacent pillow belongs to a stranger.

This novel captures the heartbreak of young love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 70's, at a time when brave women struggled to find dignity and equality in the workplace, as well as peace at home.

THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE is coming out on December 10. You can pre-order it here or here. You can add it to your Goodreads shelf here (which is one of the ways to enter the contest below!).

Okay, now are you ready to see the cover? Here it is!

See how fun? I love the car, the bright blue, the tagline. Everything!

Here's a little bit about Annette -- be sure to like her on Facebook and tweet about the giveaway too!

Annette Haws’s literary strengths are based upon her experiences in the classroom. She began her teaching career as a junior high teacher in Richmond, Utah and ended it teaching Sophomore English at Murray High School in Salt Lake City. However, her favorite assignment was a five year period at Logan High School teaching English, coaching debate and mock trial, and watching the antics of her own three children who were also students in the same school.

Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State in 2009, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the Diamond Quill Award for Best Published Fiction in 2009 from the League of Utah Writers. In July of 2008, the Midwest Book Review selected it as a Top Pick for Community Library Fiction Collections.

Find Annette online:

And there's a TWO DAY giveaway! This contest for $25 cash ends tomorrow night! So tweet and like and spread the word about the cover of THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE!

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