Thursday, January 31, 2013

Next Big Thing Blog Tour Part 2

The multi-talented Mikey Brooks tagged me to do the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. You might remember he guest blogged here a few weeks ago, talking about storyboarding and introducing us to his fantastic new picture books.
Since I've done it once for Feudlings (wanna see? Do you? check it out here) this time I'm doing it for my editing-in-progress work, Shattered Assassin. So here we go!

What is the working title of your next book?
Shattered Assassins. 

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It was a nightmare I had. A very vivid one, actually. *shakes in terror*

What genre does your book fall under?
Umm, I'm still figuring that out. My MC is sixteen, so maybe YA, but also romantic suspense. Is there even a YA romantic suspense genre?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I actually have most of the characters pinned on Pinterest. You should check it out because they aren't actually actors, but Luke is HOT.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
A princess finds herself being stalked by the assassin that killed her entire family, and the only one she can trust is the childhood friend her spurned her, but not everyone is who they seem.
Or ya know, something like that. It needs some work.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Hopefully represented by an agency. We shall see!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Two weeks. I did it for NaNoWriMo. My brain doesnt' work like that though, and the first draft SUCKS. A ton. It needs a lot of work. 

What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
Well, since, as far as I know, I made this genre up, I'm not sure. Graceling, maybe? Yes, Graceling, because I love that book. And because they seem similar. Of course. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The wolf in the story - Nakomi. She was in my head and wouldn't go away. Stubborn thing, she is :)

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Nakomi is a giant, horse-size wolf. The princess has lupus and is a tiny little thing but she kicks some tail, and the sparks between she and Luke are pretty dang hot, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Speed Interview with Jessie Andersen

Jessie Bailey Andersen is the author of At What Cost, a novel about teen pregnancy and abortion. This book was a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards in the Youth Issues category! It has had an amazing impact since its release last year, and since Jessie and I are both authors at Astraea Press, I asked her to stop by to do a speed interview. 

So. Ahem. Please choose one of each of the following:

1. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate

2. Night owl or early bird? Night owl

3. Outline or fly by the seat of your pants? Outline

4. Traditional or self publish? Traditional

5. Hand write or type? Both

6. Milky way or Snickers? Milky Way!!!

7. Chinese food or Mexican? Chinese

8. Wine or coffee? Eek. Both. Wine in the evening; coffee in the morning.

9. Dogs or cats? Dogs

10. Amazon or In-store purchases? In store

11. Cook in or out to dinner? Out

12. Starbucks or Tim Hortons? STARBUCKS!

13. Twilight or Hunger Games? Hunger Games

14. Introvert or Extrovert? Extrovert

15. Indoors or outdoors? Indoors

16. Music or silence? Silence

17. Sedan or Minivan? Crossover

18. Endless edits and revisions or One time through...perfection? Endless edits

19. Camping or Hotel? Hotel

20. Organized or disorganized? Organized

Want to know more about Jessie? 
 About the Author
Jessie Andersen lives in a small town in Western New York with her husband and three kids. A former English teacher, she now spends her time writing while the kids are at school and the baby is sleeping. She volunteers at the local library and sings in the church band. 

Here are her links:

Want to find out more about At What Cost

During her junior year, sixteen-year-old Maggie Reynolds expected to shop for prom dresses not maternity clothes. Now, instead of studying for the SATs, she’s reading, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Maggie’s ‘Mother Dearest’ lives in fear that Maggie will somehow taint the family name, so Maggie can’t turn to her for help. Meanwhile, her father is oblivious to anything but his 9-9 job. And her boyfriend, Justin? She’s pretty sure he’ll stay by her side.
While Maggie wrestles with her options, Justin offers a solution: abortion. It would solve all her problems quickly, easily, and effectively. And her parents would never know, which means they won’t throw her out and cut her off like they’d always threatened if she got herself knocked up. But an easy decision becomes difficult when Maggie’s aunt discovers her secret and sets out on a mission to stop the abortion, putting a kink in Maggie’s plan. Now Maggie must decide which choice she can live with: abortion or teenage motherhood. Either way, it’ll be a tough road to travel.

Now that you feel you must buy it immediately, here are the links :) You're welcome: 


Barnes and Noble

Astraea Press

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Liebster Award

First I gotta thank Michaele Stoughton for presenting me with my Liebster Award!

What is this award I speak of? It means I've been tagged in a blog hop. The Liebster award can only go to other blogs that have less than 200 followers. Now I have to answer Michaele's 11 questions, tag some friends, and ask them 11 questions of my own. Simple, right? Haha, maybe. We shall see.

So! Michaele's questions :)

1. What inspired you to start writing?
 I've been writing stories since I could write. I've always lived sorta in a fantasy world. Sometimes this world demands to be written down. 

2. What are your all-time favorite books?
   Harry Potter :) Also The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.
3. What would be the best thing about being published?
  Getting to share my stories -- my alternate realities, with others and have them be like, "OH! I love this alternate reality!"
4. What is your greatest achievement in life so far, and why?
  Raising my kids. I didn't want kids growing up. I didn't like them. But now I have three and they are absolutely the best thing I could ever have created, and ever will create. They literally give my life meaning. Ohoh, and the fact that I have yet to burn the house down. That is also a great achievement.
5. Tell me about an embarrassing moment.
  Hmmm. There are so many to choose from. The latest was when I went spray-tanning. I have lupus, so I can't go out in the sun. I got tired of being pasty and went to get a spray-tan. I didn't realize it was hand-done (The only time I'd seen it done was on Friends, and it was a machine!) So she tells me to drop my robe and I had to stand there NAKED while this woman sprayed me. I thought I would die. I had nightmares for MONTHS. I'll take my pasty self, thank you.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  Anywhere in the world. Hmm. I think I would live everywhere. The root of my name means wanderer, and it can't be more fitting. I get extremely restless staying in one place. I want to explore the world - not just on vacation, but to actually live different cultures and conquer fears and all that. 

7. What is the most exciting thing you’ve ever done?
  Signed a contract with Astraea Press to publish my first novel. Before that, it was skydiving!
8. Who would you be most excited to meet in person?
  Toby Keith. I have been his biggest fan since I was, like, 12. I think if I ever did meet him, I would die on the spot. But what a way to go.

9. Fur, feathers, or scales. Pick one and tell me why.
  Fur. I'm terrified of chickens and pretty much all birds make me uncomfortable. I'm okay with scales, but fur is friendlier.
10. What are your biggest pet peeves?
  #1 Pet Peeve is people who don't mind their own children. I absolutely go nuts when I'm at a playground or a family gathering and a kid is terrorizing mine and his or her parents are no where to be found, or worse, watching their little hellion with pride. Grrrrr.

11. What are your hopes for 2013?
 I hope Feudlings does well. I hope I'll get to hold my book in my hands. I also have three others that are just about ready to start submitting, so my fingers and toes are crossed for them, too!

And...tag - you're it!

Lauren Ritz

Mikey Brooks

Rebecca Lamoreaux

Michelle Garcia

Amber Gilchrist

Amy Cavenaugh 

NOW. My questions for the lovelies I've tagged. Bwahahhahah
1. Writing. Why do you do it?

2. What's your biggest fear? (Mine is spiders. In case you were wondering.)

3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

4. What is your biggest obstacle standing in the way of your dreams?

5. If you could write anything - without worrying about the market saturation or whether it was your genre, what would you write?

6. Favorite hobby, besides writing. Go.

7. What is the craziest thing you've ever done?

8. Nature vs. Nurture - what's your opinion?

9. Do you believe people can change?

10. Where would you like to visit more than anywhere else? Why?

11. Name one thing you are determined to accomplish this year. And do it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why I am Insane (or at least, more crazy than usual)

*NOTE: Please disregard the short, choppy sentences. And rambling. And not making sense. My brain isn't working and I don't see it returning to it's semi-efficient self any time soon

My publisher had an call for submissions. It is due in March. But I was busy for the first few months getting Feudlings ready to be published, and then we had NaNo, which I thought, at the time, was hard. And then we had Christmas.

So January hit and I said to hubs, "If I'm gonna write this thing, I've gotta get started. And I'm gonna have to work my tail off."
He's so enthusiastic.
So we worked out a schedule. He would work until 5 pm and I would have dinner ready (a feat all by itself) and then I would work and he would watch the kids.
Somehow, it didn't work like that. I had dinner ready, cleaned the kitchen, and then it was time to put the kids to bed so I didn't actually get started writing until after 8. Which meant I was staying up til 3 or so in the morning, and getting up at 6.
But, I worked all weekend - Friday from about 9 til Sunday about 3, without really sleeping in between.
It took me almost a month, but I finished the dang thing. And I thought NaNo was bad!
But the deadline is looming, so I also had to edit it and send it to beta readers so I'd have time to fix it after I got their feedback.
Which meant another week of not sleeping and abandoning my family and forgetting to eat. Or shower. Hmmm. I should shower...

So what did I learn from all this? Now my brain is on a forced vacation (thanks for the term, Lauren!) I can't think. Can't write. Can't edit. But maybe it's good. I have some fun story ideas I'm excited to start, but I also haven't had a chance to read a book since June. And my kids miss me. So basically I learned that maybe some people can write and edit a book in a month, but I'm not one of them. And I also learned that when my brain has had enough, it's done. It's like a mule that way, instead of a horse. Which is good, I guess. At least I won't have to shoot it. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Lovely Blog Award

So the amazing Joselyn Vaughn tagged me in the One Lovely Blog Award. Yay! She's a fellow Astraea Press author, and she's fabulous.

For this blog hop, all you do is list seven random facts about yourself. I LOVE random facts about myself because I'm a very random person. So. Here goes :)

  1. I have a fear of talking on the phone. Even to my poor husband. We text, and I take it as a personal insult if you call me. Also, I'm afraid of grocery shopping. Boot shopping, I'm okay with.
  2. When I talk, I'm typing the words out in my head. So if I randomly hesitate, it's because I can't figure out how to spell a word. 
  3. I majored in English but I'm an atrocious speller and horrible at grammar.
  4. Storms make me very happy. The bigger, the better. I hate heat. 
  5. When I'm depressed, I watch Imagination Movers. Sometimes all by myself. I love that show way more than my kids.
  6. My husband is my hero. There's nothing in the world he can't do, and do amazingly well.
  7. I am positive I will die at the Grand Canyon. I also have a goal to see all the National Parks in the country. So, that one is last on my list. Of course. 
Now that you know me ever so well, go check out my friends, all fabulous writers and bloggers!

Shantal Hiatt Sessions ( )
Amy Cavenaugh ( )
Amber Gilchrist (

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pinterest and How it Helps Me Write

I held off on Pinterest as long as I could. Really, I did. I knew if I ever got started I'd be caught. But then one day I saw this thing on how to make Roman Shades out of...something...and I wanted to remember it and it had this cute little "pin it!" button. Well, the rest is history. 

What, exactly, does this have to do with writing? Well, several writer friends told me they use it as inspiration for their characters, their setting, all kinds of things, and I thought, "How fun!" But I never did anything with it, because I was too busy finding hairstyles and DIY projects for my husband to do (which he loves, by the way. Like how someone might love a tack in their foot). 

But, a friend is planning a Valentine month blog host where we create imaginary weddings for our characters. Finding things on Pinterest is the most fun I've had in weeks. So when I was done with that, I started looking for my Feudlings. 

If you've read it, or if you plan to read it, and want to check out what (sort of) my characters look like in my head, here's the link: The Characters.
The best part? Check out Dani - she's my real-life friend who ended up in my book without me even realizing it until after it was written, and yet, the character was her, the entire time.

For me, each of my characters has a distinctive characteristic - like Will had unruly hair, Shane has the piercing blue eyes, Ari was gorgeous...So when I was searching for them, I would put in that search term on Pinterest and spend the next five hours trying to find someone who looked closest to the image in my head. Of course, none of them are exactly right (except Hunter, who was based on Heath Miller from the very beginning so he was super easy to find) So I added notes at the bottom - you'll notice I say, Ari - but she needs red and black hair. Even though they aren't exact matches for who my characters are, the visualization is still very helpful. 
For example, Charity has white-blond hair and big eyes. So I typed in White-blond hair and searched until I found her. Wahla! My Charity

I think, although I haven't actually tried it yet, that if you search Pinterest before creating your characters, it could help you in the development of them, and you'd have a clear picture from the very beginning. I'm planning on trying this out before I start my battle unicorn story.

It's super fun, and I can totally see how it could help in the writing of stories. If you have an actual visual reminder of your character or your setting or whatever else, it is that much more real to you, and easier to create the world. Or at least, that's the way it seems to me. I've started a board for my new work in progress, Shattered Assassin, as well. 

Yes, I'm addicted. We all knew it would happen eventually.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Twitter and Why Writers Need It

I got started on Facebook years ago, and although I was confused at first, I caught on quickly enough. Twitter, though, frightened me and I stayed away from it. Oh, I created an account. But once I had one, I had no idea what to do with it. 
So my poor Twitter account got ignored for a few years. 

And then I wrote this book. I might have mentioned it once or twice. Hee hee. 

I had no idea what I was doing at that point - where to turn or who to query. And when I did find someone to query, all the advice I'd read said, "Make it personal!" Right. How, exactly?
While attempting to learn more about a certain agent so I could, in fact, make it personal, I saw her Twitter handle. So I started following her and realized, "HEY. She's telling me all kinds of cool stuff!" So then I started following (read: stalking) more agents - any that I could find that repped my category and had a Twitter account. 

So that's how I got started, but it doesn't explain why I feel Twitter is so important for writers. For one thing - the networking. There are hashtags - such as #amwriting and #amediting. You check those out any time, day or night, and you will find tons of other writers doing the exact same thing as you (well, maybe not exact. I'm usually sitting on my feet in my office chair, slowly losing circulation to my legs). I have made the MOST amazing friends on Twitter.

The second reason is, as I stated above, you can find agents on Twitter. DO NOT PITCH YOUR BOOK ON TWITTER. Ahem. But, you can follow the agents, find out what they like, and see if they will be a good fit for you. Also, they often give great advice, like Sara Megibow who does ten queries in ten tweets - she says why she's interested (or not ) in a query. Julia A. Weber does lots of writing and querying tips, and she's hilarious. 

The third reason is that there are a lot of writers out there who are paying it forward - they've done well and want to help others out. They host contests to try to connect writers with critique partners or agents. Contests that can give you valuable feedback on your writing, even if you don't win. 

I'm still new to Twitter. I'm still figuring it out - like I don't know what a Twitter Chat is (vows to find out), but I do think it's a valuable resource to every writer in the querying process, or even thinking about the querying process.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I know everyone with a blog is blogging about their New Year Resolutions (New Years? Which is right?), so I wasn't going to. BUT I need to remember mine, so this post is probably more for my benefit than anyone else's. Here goes!

  • Write. Every. Day. This is why I love NaNo, because I'm forced to write everyday, but I also hate NaNo because my brain can't write a story with a deadline looming like that. But I LOVE writing every day, which is why it's my #1 goal.
  • Write 1500 words a day. I need this one because otherwise, I'd write two words and call my #1 Resolution good. I'm sneaky that way.
  • Finish my love story - self explanatory. It needs to be finished and edited and ready to submit by March 1. I'm only about 4k into it now.
  • Get Feudlings in Flames revised and ready to submit. It's done and through the first round of edits. Now it's to beta readers and critique groups.
  • Edit Shattered Assassin. It needs a TON of work. Hopefully it's saveable. 
  • Learn Grammar. Since I, ya know, MAJORED in English. I should be able to write correctly.
Also, I have some personal goals, if you're interested :D
  • Brush my hair and teeth. Every day. You'd be suprised how often I forget to do this when I never leave the house!
  • Keep my kitchen clean. Like normal stay-at-home moms do.
  • Not kill the neighbor kids that come over at 7 am and don't leave til 7 pm.  
Last year I hoped to learn to cook. This year, I realize that's a dangerous quest and I've given it up.

Happy New Year (New Years? GAH!) Everyone!