Monday, November 18, 2013

My Plea to Brand New Authors

So, I've been slacking lately. Sorry about that. No wait, actually, I've been writing like a fiend, so I haven't been slacking-slacking. But I've been neglecting my blog and I haven't posted for a week. *hangs head in shame*

But this post has been on my mind a lot, and it's super important to me. It's aimed specifically at brand new authors, but it's really for every published author. This is my debut year. In this year, I've published five books. Feudlings came out in March, and from the second it went live on Amazon, I was checking its rankings.


Like, for the first few months, I was on Amazon at least four times a day. Maybe more. And as the rankings rose and fell, so did my moods. It was a roller coaster. And as each book came out, I did the same thing until Amazon was completely controlling my life--my time, my moods, my ability to write...

And then Warrior Beautiful released. It's doing fantastic now, but the first week or so, it wasn't. And the bottom dropped out of my world. I loved this book so much and I couldn't figure out how no one else shared this love. It's my best writing ever! I decided it wasn't worth it. I wasn't writing any more. I deleted all my works-in-progress. *Click* and they were gone. I cried. I moped. I didn't do anything because I was lost without my writing (I'm a tad dramatic).

Totally me


Then we went to Goblin Valley State Park. I didn't have the internet. I didn't even have a computer because we didn't have electricity and my phone had no service. We were completely cut off. And I had an epiphany.
I'm not writing for the rank on Amazon. I'm not writing for anyone but me. I'm thrilled when someone loves my stories, but that isn't why I write. I write because I don't want to be a murderer (if this confuses you, go here). I can't control the rank on Amazon. I can't control whether people buy my book, and in the old days before Amazon, no one had even heard of a rank, and THEY still wrote!

So I banned myself from Amazon. I don't go on Amazon (well, I do, but not to check my rank. Girl gotta shop, yo!), I don't want to know my sales numbers, I don't look at reviews unless someone points a fabulous one out to me and then I'm all squeeing and bouncing.

The change has been phenomenal. I can write again. Before, I felt stifled. Everything I wrote, I wondered if someone else would like it. Now, I write for me. I write what makes me happy and the creativity is really opening up again. I control my moods, not Amazon. And I remember why I write in the first place.

So my plea is this--PLEASE don't let Amazon ruin your life. Don't obsess over rankings that don't make sense and don't matter anyway. In the end, if your book does well or doesn't, is it going to matter in your writing? Write because you love to write. Write because you have stories to tell. Write because you don't want to be a murderer. But don't write because you have to tell another story just to keep your rank up. Or down. Or whatever it is when it's good. It doesn't matter. It really doesn't. The book is going to do what it will do whether you're checking it every hour or not. So why do it?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

 What do Witches, Elves, and Greek Gods (Oh My) have in common? They are part of the romantic Christmas anthology, A Fantasy Christmas, written by Cindy C Bennett, Stephanie Fowers, and Sherry Gammon

Banished from the South Pole, Kara tries to carve out a new life among the elves of the North. It’s not easy with a secret to protect—a secret she's cursed with by the unusual circumstances of her heritage: half-elf, half-fairy. In the North, she’s assigned to work with Seb on a special project. He's the most gorgeous elf she’s ever seen - and the orneriest. 
As if being banished wasn’t punishment enough. 
Seb introduces her to Trystin, a fairy from the nearby fairy forest. Trystin discerns her secret right away and promises to teach her how to use the powers given to her by the very thing she’s fighting to keep hidden.

Check out Cindy C Bennett's web page for more information on her.

Nothing is simple for Aphrodite’s daughter, especially love. 
Scorned by society in regency England, Affry longs for romance. Upon encountering a dashing nobleman at her aunty's Christmas' ball, Affry gets caught in a lovely intrigue with disastrous results. Worse, she wins the interest of the gods. 

Now the furies of the underworld and Hades himself are after her. When all is fair in war,  Affry must use love as her weapon—but only for the one who’s stolen her heart. 

Check out Stephanie Fowers' web page for more information on her.

Loving Marigold by Sherry Gammon

Author of Unlovable, Unbelievable, Not So Easy and more)

Young Marigold Yarrow has a secret. She’s also in love with Jack Mahoney. In the middle of her ninth grade year, Jack's family up and moves to Port Fare, New York, leaving the small town of Sugar Maple, West Virginia - and Marigold - far behind.

Nine years later Jack and Marigold meet again. They join forces to weed out the shady Abbott boys. The unscrupulous brothers are illegally selling moonshine near her home on Sugar Maple Ridge. And they'll do anything to get Marigold to leave the ridge. Anything. This time it may be magic that tears Jack and Marigold apart.

Purchase A Fantasy Christmas-Click on links:

Barnes and Noble

A Fantasy Christmas blog

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Book Spotlight--Frogs and Toads by Stacy Lynn Carroll

Doesn't this look super cute? Check it out!

One kiss can change the future...for better or for worse.
Belle and her cousins have conquered their fears. Now as they navigate their way through the dating world, they start to see a "happily ever after" on the horizon. But when an unexpected school assignment forces them to examine their past, the Princess sisters realize they have a lot of questions about the fathers they've never met. Secrets are revealed, long lost family members are discovered, and now the girls must decide who belongs in their future and who should be kept in the past.

Sounds awesome, right? Here's an excerpt!

Chapter Eight
Cinderella sat back in her chair, completely stunned.  She licked her lips, which were growing drier by the second.  She started to raise her hand, in preparation to ask a question, but she didn’t know what to ask.  She didn’t know where to even begin.
The few brief moments in her life when she tried bringing up her father resulted in Dana usually being angry and bitter.  Then she typically followed it with guilt.  “Why would you even bring him up?  Haven’t I been a good enough parent to you?”  Blah blah blah.  Cinderella had even tried to Google him once, but without the knowledge of his last name, she knew she wouldn’t get anywhere.  All she knew about him was that his name was Steven...or Stephen.  Since she wasn’t sure how it was spelled, she tried both.  “Stephen” brought up 94, 600, 000 results.  “Steven” brought up 528, 000, 000.  The only thing the search had taught Cinderella was Steven with a V was clearly a more popular spelling.
She wanted to ask a question about the assignment, but didn’t know where to start.  She quickly gave up and dropped her head into her hands.  Cinderella was not looking forward to talking to her mom tonight.
Aurora and Ariel exchanged worried looks.  Their father was in jail, that’s all they knew.  After hearing from their aunts how abusive he was to their mother, they didn’t really care to know any more.  What kind of man could hurt such a tender, sweet woman like Rachel?  They made a pact when they were young not to bring him up, or even think about him.  They had each other, their mom, their cousins and aunts.  They didn’t need to know about a man who still gave their mother nightmares.  The few times he was brought up when they were little resulted in Rachel freezing in terror, shaking violently, or having a full-on panic attack.  She couldn’t talk about him, she couldn’t even look at wedding pictures without losing it completely.  The girls had a vague idea of what he looked like, from glancing at the pictures a few times.  But the pictures were destroyed one night after Rachel had gone to bed, when Dana and Mary came into their house and burned them all.  When the twins had questioned them, their aunts simply said it was for Rachel’s own good and then left quietly as soon as the deed was done.
Several years ago Rachel received word that he had been transferred from the California state prison to the one in Draper, Utah.  He had gotten in a fight with another prisoner or something.  The girls didn’t really know the details surrounding his transfer, nor did they care.  But they had never seen Rachel so scared in all their lives.  Even though Draper was a good 40 minutes south of Layton, Rachel was seriously contemplating whether she should pack up the twins and move.  Thankfully her sisters had been able to talk her down.
“Do we have to explore both our mom and our dad’s sides of the family?” Ariel asked without raising her hand.
“In order to complete the family tree, yes,” their teacher replied.  “You can choose which side to explore further, but you need to at least know the basics of both of your family lines.”
Ariel blew out a huge breath, shooting her blonde bangs into the air.  She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding it in.  Now she wished she could take that breath back.  Maybe if I forgot to breathe and passed out, I could play the sick card and get out of this assignment.  She heard a similar exhalation from her sister and looked over at her.  Call it twin intuition or whatever you want, but from the look Aurora gave her, she knew they were thinking the exact same thing.
Snow White sat in her desk, wringing her hands silently on her lap.  She felt completely dumbfounded.  She didn’t even know her dad’s name!  The few times he was brought up, her aunts simply referred to him as “the sperm donor”.  When she questioned her mom, Elizabeth would just treat her like a little kid and say the stork had dropped her off.  No matter how much pushing or questioning she had done, Snow White always came up empty.  Maybe she didn’t really have a father at all.  Maybe her aunts weren’t kidding when they said he was a sperm donor.  It’s not like her mom ever dated, or even appeared to like men for that matter.  Snow White looked around at her cousins and knew this was going to be the most difficult assignment they would have.
Belle sat frozen to her chair.  She was already trying, no, trying wasn’t the right word, more like being forced into the idea of her father existing outside her imagination.  Now she had to somehow get in touch with him and have a father/daughter chat over cocoa about his parents and where he came from?  Absolutely not!  She would simply refuse and take an F on the assignment.  She didn’t even care anymore.
“And if some of you are thinking of skipping out on the assignment, perhaps it seems like too much work, well...” Mrs. Payne paused for effect.  “It will be twenty percent of your grade, so I don’t recommend it.”
The witch can read minds! The fire that began boiling down inside of Belle suddenly built up so intensely, it shot her hand straight into the air.  She didn’t wait to be called on before diving in.  “What if our fathers aren’t a part of our lives?” she asked, eyes narrowed.  Belle did not want her classmates knowing this information about her, but she had to let Mrs. Payne know how unreasonable she was being.
“Well, even if you have step-fathers, or no real contact with your dad at all, there’s always someone you can talk to.  Your mom, a grandma or aunt maybe, you just need the basic information for the tree itself.”
Without even thinking, Belle found herself running away for the second time in less than twenty-four hours.

Find it here:
ThePrincess Sisters (first book)

About the Author!
Stacy Lynn Carroll has always loved telling stories.  She started out at Utah State University where she pursued a degree in English, learned how to western swing, and watched as many of her fellow students became ‘True Aggies’.  She then finished her BA at the University of Utah where she got an emphasis in creative writing.  After college she worked as an administrative assistant, where she continued to write stories for the amusement of her co-workers.  When her first daughter was born, and with the encouragement of a fortune cookie, she quit her job and became a full-time mommy and writer.  She and her husband have three children, two Corgis, and a fish named Don.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I'm Not a Murderer!

I've been reading a lot lately on how many books is best to release a year. This is my debut year and I released five. It was exhausting. I already have two contracted for 2014 (Feudlings in Smoke and the prequel, Spark of a Feudling). I have two I'm writing right now and another beating down my brain for space.
One of the biggest things I've noticed is that many people say that authors release so many books a year for the money, or to keep their fan base, or for a gazillion other reasons. And I was thinking, "hmmm. Self? Why do we (yes, I refer to myself as we. I also have a nickname for myself that isn't 'self', but it's a secret) release so many books a year?" At first, I thought it was because I was trying to keep my fan base.
But no, that wasn't it. I have a pretty small fan base but they are very loyal. So...why? WHY must I write until three am every night?
It's the stories. I write because I have so many stories in my head and I want to get them out. But NOT for the reason most people do. See, I'm very forgetful. VERY forgetful. I blame lupus. Or children. Or...something else.
Anyway, even when I write stories down, I'm afraid I'll forget them. If I forget them, I can't tell the character's story and I don't bring the characters to life. If I don't bring the characters to life, then I'm killing them. And I am NOT A MURDERER!
So, I write. Like the wind. Because there are a gazillion characters in my head that are begging to be spared.