Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What's Up Wednesday - Book Release Addition


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

I recently read three books about indie publishing and marketing that are all conveniently bundled together. All three books have a slightly different take on the indie market, so reading them all together back to back was a good way to get a broader sense of the industry.

Yesterday, my second novel came out. Reading three books on marketing, has been a great way to remind myself of all the things I should be doing.

If you are an indie publisher, thinking about indie publishing, or even a traditionally published author who wants to improve your marketing, I recommend all three of these books.

I will warn you though, the three books in one giant kindle file makes for a very long read. This is the first bundle I've every bought, but I've heard of as many as a dozen books being bundled. That would really be a long ebook.

What I'm Writing

The Evolution of Emily is now on sale! You can buy it here, or here, or here.

Oh, wait, you wanted to know what I wrote this week? Not a whole lot. I did join a new writing critique group though. So hopefully, that will help motivate me to get going on my next book soon.

I did just release a novel yesterday though, so I'm not going to feel guilty about not writing this week.


What Works for Me

Since finding time to actually write, isn't something that I seem capable of doing these days, I've decided to say what marketing strategies work for me in this section. Here is a fabulous tip I have for all authors, weather you are indie or traditionally published.

Include search words in links to amazon. Let me explain, because this is a really great tip. Amazon chooses what books to recommend under a given key word search based upon what books were purchased while searching for that word. So you want easy sales, to friends and family, to include those search words. The easiest way to do that is to search for the book yourself, and then send the link that includes those search words.

For example, my first novel Counting to D, has a dyslexic main character. When people are searching for a book about dyslexia, I want them to find my book. So I just searched for the word dyslexia on amazon, found Counting to D (currently ranked 42nd under that key word) and sent you the link that has the key word of dyslexia included. If any of you decided to click on that link and then buy C2D, amazon see people buying C2D after searching for dyslexia and increase my presence under that word search.

What Else I've Been Up To

My kids have been missing A LOT of school lately. Last week, they had an insearvce day on Monday, and Veteran's Day on Tuesday. Then there was freezing rain on Thursday, so school was closed. Next week, there are conferences on Monday and Tuesday, and then Thanksgiving, so they have the entire week off.

See, there is a reason why I'm not getting any work done on my next book. I'm very busy being a mom right now. I do love Thanksgiving. But I'll never be a fan of freezing rain.

So what's up with you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

As the mother of two young children, I read A LOT of kids books. There are some books that my kids love that I tolerate. There are some books that I remember loving as a kid and have a nostalgic attachment too. There are some books I love simply because I see my children in the characters in the stories. Then there is Morris Lessmore. This is a children's book that I love far more than my children.

We checked it out from the library last week, and just returned it yesterday. I was so sad to see this book go, I'm seriously planning on buying it. I actually looked for it at my local indie bookstore and since it wasn't there, I think I may need to order it on line. It's that good of a book.

Seriously, if you are a writer, and if you're reading this post chances are VERY HIGH that you are a writer, you need to read this book. It's an absolutely gorgeous picture book about a man, named Morris Lessmore, who spends his life tending to a flock of magic books. Each night he writes all his hopes and dreams in a book of his own. At the end of the story, after Morris Lessmore dies, a little girl comes to the library and Morris's book flies over to her and lands on her shoulder. The last two pages read, "So our story ends the way it began... With the opening of a book."

Yeah! If you are an author, or even just a book lover, you need to read The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore!

What I'm Writing

The Evolution of Emily comes out next weeks. I think that means it's officially time for me to start working on book #3. I do have a title for my third book, Fragments of Life. Um yeah, that's about all I have.

I really do need to figure out how to fit writing into my regular routine again. But hey, The Evolution of Emily comes out next week.It doesn't matter if I wrote it months ago. I wrote it, and it's a fabulous story, so you should definitely read it.

In honor of my release, I'm having a giveaway. Sign up to win a free copy of The Evolution of Emily, or even better yet copies of both The Evolution of Emily and Counting to D!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Works for Me

Since adopting my kids last August, I haven't written diddly swat, so I never feel like I know how to answer this question. But even if I'm not doing a very good job at tackling book three, I do have a novel coming out next week, so I am working. And I expect some of you may want to know what works for me in the marketing/promotion side of things.

I did a lot of PR stuff before Counting to D came out last winter. In the month leading up to it's release, I think I did something like 27 guest blog posts and interviews. Um yeah, thanks to the whole new mom thing, I've done exactly zero guest blog posts for this release and have only managed to update my own blog three times in the past month. I sent C2D to more than 100 reviewers. I send EoE to like four. I feel a little bit nervous about this, because EoE is a great book that I actually like even better than C2D, so I really hope people read it, I'm just not doing very much to tell people about it.

One thing that I did do though was sign up for IndieReader In-Store (IRIS). Traditional publishers list all of their publications in either net-galley or edelweiss. This allows bookstores, libraries, and book reviewers to securely review ecopies of a book for free so they can determine if it's something they should carry. The fee for these services is steep though, making it virtually impossible for indie and small press publishers to use. Hence the creation of IRIS. IndieReader enables indie authors to band together and list all their books in the edelweiss network under a single account. The cost to sign a book up through IRIS is $525 per title. Not free, but still possible.

There are a lot of services available for indie authors and it's hard to know what to pay for and what to skip. Like I said, I haven't done most of the PR/marketing stuff for my second novel that I did for my first. A lot of this is a time management thing. I mentioned I adopted two kids three months ago, right? But also, it's a cost benefit issue. Many of the marketing services I paid for when publishing C2D had horrible rates of return. I believe, IRIS was a good investment, and thus opted to do it again. Here is why. LIBRARIES!

I love libraries, and more importantly, kids love libraries. I take my kids to the library every single week. And I know a lot of teens who visit the library just as often as my kindergartner son. Not every YA reader has a kindle, or a huge book buying budget, but most of them have a library card. And thanks to my presence in the edelweiss network via IRIS, I have sold more paper copies of C2D in the last three months than I've sold e-books. And more than half of those print sales have been purchased by libraries.

I do hope that my ebook sales start to increase, and I have some ideas of new cross-promotions to run once I have two titles available. But knowing my book is not only available online, but also in a library near you is so incredibly exciting to me.

What Else I've Been Up To

It's Veteran's Day today, because I always post my WUW post on Tuesday night instead of Wednesday morning. Thanks to the national holiday, there was no school today. The kids had yesterday off too, so the teachers could fill out their quarterly grades. Um, not sure what kindergartner's are graded on, but okay. When I was a kid, I loved long weekends, but the random four day weekend not around a real holiday is horrible on my schedule. I may only get 2.5 hours to myself a day, but I really like that 2.5 hours.

We did spend Veteran's Day at the zoo though.

So what's up with you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

I met Melissa Eskue Ousley at a Book Fair last weekend. Our tables were right next to each other, so we spent most of the day chatting. I really enjoyed talking to her in person, and was thus excited to read her book, Sign of the Throne.

I'm not very far into it yet, but the premise is very interesting and I expect to enjoy it more and more as I continue reading. If you are curious about the premise, here is the goodreads description.

Abby is an ordinary girl haunted by dreams of an ivory castle, blood-thirsty monsters, and a striking stranger. Working as a babysitter for a family of mythology lovers in wealthy Newcastle Beach, California, she struggles to define herself among the elite class while trying to make sense of her strange visions. Upon meeting David, the doppelgänger of the mysterious young man in her dreams, Abby’s life is changed forever.

Encountering the queen of Cai Terenmare, a magical kingdom in a parallel world, Abby learns of an evil lord hell-bent on usurping the throne, the murder of Cai Terenmare’s king, the Solas Beir, and the kidnapping of the Solas Beir’s infant son.

As the kingdom struggles to endure, the queen shows Abby the full extent of her destiny. She must convince her mysterious crush, David, that he is the lost heir. While braving attacks from the dark lord’s sadistic minions, David must realize his true identity and return to Cai Terenmare to claim his throne before time runs out, lest the evil that was temporarily locked away be unleashed, threatening to destroy both the kingdom and all of humanity.


What I'm Writing

The Evolution of Emily comes out in two weeks! I'm about to be a multi-published author. Getting things ready for the release is taking up all my author time right now. But I was just invited to join a new critique group. Almost all of the other writers in the group are published and I've beta read for about half of them in the past. I LOVE all their writing and feel super honored/excited that they invited me to join their group. They meet twice a month, so the requirement to submit pages every other week should help my writing productivity. Book two may be coming out on November 18th, but my third book isn't going to write itself.

On the topic of my eminent book release, I'm having a giveaway. Sign up to win a free copy of The Evolution of Emily, or even better yet copies of both The Evolution of Emily and Counting to D!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Works for Me

I'm still trying to figure that out. I know that is a weird thing to say two weeks before my second book comes out, but it's true. I had a different process when writing The Evolution of Emily than I did when writing Counting to D. And now, in addition to needing to write my third book, Fragments of Life, I also have two very active kids that are demanding a lot more of my time and attention. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually though, and when I do, I'll share something more concrete in this section.

What Else I've Been Up To

I attended the Mollala Book Fair last weekend. Mollala is a very small town about 40 miles from my house. Given the size of the town, there were actually more authors at the event then patrons. It was still enjoyable getting to know most of the other authors. As I mentioned in the "what I'm reading" section, I sat next to Mellissa Eskue Ousley. She is a great YA writer than I'm excited to know. And even if I didn't sell a ton of copies of my book, the few people who did buy it were all really excited about it.

There was one teenage girl who attended the book fair, literally there was one teenage girl. In addition to having copies of Counting to D out, I also had pictures of The Evolution of Emily and a sheet where people could pre-order. The girl saw the EoE cover all the way across the room and informed her mom in a loud voice, "I HAVE TO READ THAT BOOK!"

If you too have to read that book. You can pre-order your copy here.

So what's up with you?

Two Book Giveaway


The Evolution of Emily comes out in two week! In honor of it's release, I'm holding my biggest giveaway yet. You can win an autographed copy of both Counting to D and The Evolution of Emily.

Enter now!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

I can actually answer this one now. I started reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg last week. This is the first adult book I've read since becoming a mother (2 and a half months ago) and exactly what I need to be reading right now. I'm so glad it's the book my book club selected, and that I got my act together and actually started reading it.

Lean In is written by the CEO of Facebook, who also happens to be a woman, and is all about women in the work force. It talks a lot about setting priorities and finding a balance between home and work life that is more compatible to the type of balance dads have been achieving for decades.

It is possible to be a good person and have a job, but a lot of women pull back from their careers to focus on their families before they even have careers to pull back from, or families in need of their time/attention. Most men, on the other hand, make their careers a priority, thinking work is the way they can best provide for their families. It's a very interesting book that I'm looking forward to discussing with my friends at my next book club meeting.

It's also exactly what I need to read right now, because balance is something I haven't quite figured out in my new life yet. As I mentioned before, I've been a mom for 2.5 months now, but my kids are in kindergarten and second grade. I'm adopting.

I love my kids! I love being a mom. And I'm figuring it out. Both kids are doing well in school and adjusting to life with their new family. My husband and I are adjusting to them too. I feel like I've got things pretty well figured out now as far as how to be a mom. I'm far from a pro, but I'm getting things done, on the mom front.

My problem is that I'm not doing anything else. This is the first book I've read to myself in 3 months. And I'm an author. I'm an author who hasn't written anything in two months either. I've barely done any promo stuff for my next book that is coming out in a month. My entire life is in chaos and I have no idea what I'm doing--at all. But my kids are great, relatively speaking. I just need to figure out how to put myself, and my career, back into my life.

I know I'll figure it out. I'm starting by reading. And like I said, Lean In is a very good book for anyone to read and a great book for me to read right now.

What I'm Writing

Nothing yet. I'm starting with reading, I'll get back to writing soon. I wrote about 20k words of a rough draft to what I thought was going to be my third book in the Kennedy High Series last spring, while I was waiting for comments from beta readers on The Evolution of Emily. I expect that I will eventually get back to it and finish that book. I like the idea, and the characters. I also like the Kennedy High world I'm creating and would love to make it into a longer series.

But I have an idea for another totally different project that I want to play with. Once I figure out my schedule enough to find a place for actual writing, I'm going to let myself write this SNI for a while. I don't know if I'll stick with it long enough to turn it into an actual book, but I'm hoping the draw of the SNI will be enough to pull my back into a writing routine. Because if I want to tell my kids there mom is an author, I need to start writing again.

What Works for Me

Clearly, nothing at the moment. I've decided one of my biggest problems is that I don't have a place to write anymore. I used to have a home office. But that room is now my son's bedroom. We moved our desk and desktop computer into the corner of the living room, so we could easily monitor what the kids are doing anytime they get on the computer.

Back when I had an office, I never actually wrote at the desk. I had a large armchair in the corner of the room and always wrote on my laptop sitting in the chair. I find comfy chairs much more conducive to musing. That chair is also now in my living room. I brought my laptop into the living room and sat in my chair to work a few times this summer, but quickly discovered it's impossible to get anything done in front of my kids. So I moved my laptop into my bedroom.

I am currently sitting on my bed writing this blog post. But writing is my job. I can't write an entire novel in bed. Not only is it impractical, it's also not even remotely ergonomic. Today, I talked to my husband about rearranging our bedroom furniture. I think if we move around the location of the dressers we can fit a new desk in here. Or maybe I'll just get a new comfy chair to keep in here and go back to writing that way. I need to figure something out though.

What Else I've Been Up To

Last weekend my sister-in-law got married. The wedding was in Tahoe and totally beautiful. It was also our first official family vacation. The kids did really well, both traveling and during the wedding. Traveling as a parent is a lot more stressful than traveling alone though, so I'm glad to be home.

One bright note about the trip. In addition to bringing a book, and actually reading half of it; while on the trip, I also listened to six audio-books. The drive from Portland to Tahoe takes about 12 hours, which we did in 1.5 days each way. I checked out 6 MG audio-books from the library before we went and my kids LOVED them.

My son got car sick on the way down so we didn't let him play with anything in the car. All he was allowed to do was look out the window and listen to the story. Amazingly, C.S. Lewis was all the little guy needed. Did I mention he's 5. Both kids begged to hear more stories every time got into the car. I may have to check out a few more audio-books from the library and play them when we are driving around town running errands.

I still need to figure out how to fit writing back into my schedule. But from the new mom side of things, my life is pretty darn fabulous right now.



So what's up with you?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

Lots and lots of picture books. I need to get back in the habit of reading adult books. I really really do! This week it's going to happen, I swear.

On the MG side of things, I'm still reading The Diary of the Wimpy Kid with my daughter. Six months ago, I would have loved this series. It's funny, cleaver, and relatible. I completely understand why kids love it. But man, that Greg Heffly is a jerk. The parent in me kind of hates it that my kid loves these books SO MUCH. I'm not going to ban books in my house, especially not totally appropriate MG books. But it would be so much easier if she fell in love with a series about a kid who loved to do his homework and was always kind and curtious to others. Okay, that's crazy, I know. And secretly, I think I might like this series even more than my kiddo. Jeff Kinney is a fabulous writer.

What I'm Writing

My sophomore novel, The Evolution of Emily, comes out in seven weeks. So I should be doing a lot of writing, or more specifically a lot of promoting. Um yeah, I have a bunch of ARC's that I really should send out, soon!

Do you want one? I have e-ARCs too. So seriously, if you want one let me know. Being a parent is so much more time consuming than working a full-time job. So I'm seriously slacking on my writing and authoring duties.

In the name of self promotion, I guess I should remind you that I'm having a giveaway. Although, like I said, I've got plenty of ARC's to give away. If you want to feel like a winner, you can enter here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Works for Me

I don't know yet, but I need to figure it out. I have 2.5 hours of time to myself every day while my little guy is in kindergarten. That should be enough time to get some writing work done. It really should. But 2.5 hours goes so fast! And I haven't figured out how to do anything but parent when the kids are home. Both kids do well with structure, so I'm really trying to have a more set routine during the 21.5 hours of the day they are home. Now all I need to do is come up with a set structure for the 2.5 hours I have to myself. Then I have to stick to it. Yeah, like I said. I don't know what works for me yet. Hopefully, I'll figure it out soon. 'Cause if you missed it before. My next book is coming out in less than two months.

What Else I've Been Up To

This past weekend I felt like a full fledged soccer-mom, even though neither of my kids are playing soccer (yet).

On Friday afternoon, the kids came home from school and had a quick snack before I had to take my daughter to gymnastics. After gymnastics she quickly changed in the car and both kids headed to a friends birthday party. After the party, we drove down to a living history museum where my husbands volunteers to "camp" for the weekend. We spent all day Saturday playing with antique farm equipment and driving model trains. Then on Sunday morning, we woke up in our RV, got dressed in fancy clothes and drove straight to Sunday School without ever bothering to go home.

The truly amazing part of this super busy weekend is that there were no problems. Well except for the chocolate birthday cake being served at my kids normal bedtime so they were seriously WIRED Friday night. But all things considered, for only two months of parenting experience, I think I'm figuring out how to do this mommy thing.

Now all I need to figure out is how to be an author at the same time.

So what's up with you?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk.  Head over to Jaime's page for links to find out what's up with everyone else. Here's what's up with me.

What I'm Reading

I'm still reading nothing but kid books. I've been a mom for almost two months now, so I really do need to figure out how to introduce adult fiction back into my life. Or at least YA fiction. I do love Amelia Bebelia, but as an author, I feel like my library should contain more than just early readers. I've decided I'm going to try to get back into listening to audiobooks and see if that works. When my kiddos are home, they tend to be very demanding of my attention, but I think/hope I'll be able to multi-task, listening in with other activities during the few hours both kids are at school everyday. Hopefully.

What I'm Writing

The Evolution of Emily comes out on November 18th! At this point, getting it ready to enter the world is taking up all my writing time. I do have ARCs now, which is ubber exciting. A few WUW readers have mentioned they want to review it, YAY. If you haven't told me you are interested yet, but are, please let me know.

If you don't want to write a review, you just want to read it early, I'm holding a giveaway in honor of my cover reveal that happened last week. The giveaway is open for another week, so Enter Now.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

What Works for Me

This new section is still a little hard to answer, because I feel like I haven't done any writing in months. But in a way, that is my answer. Not writing consistently works for me. I know a lot of authors who make an effort to write every day, but I have never been one of those writers. I have always written in short bursts. When an idea hits me, I don't want to do anything but write-write-write. But then I can easily go for months at a time without doing any writing at all. Currently, I'm in one of my no-writing periods.

I'm very busy with real-life stuff at the moment. And I have a new book coming out pretty soon, so I'm still doing author things, even if I'm not actually writing. I know what my third book is going to be about. I even have a decent start at a supper rough draft. I just don't have the time/energy/compulsion to write it right now.

Eventually, I will. And I know the experiences I'm gaining by living my real life without guilt of avoiding my writing life will find their way into my future stories. So this is what works for me. I write is spurts, and at present, I'm busy living and musing but not actually writing.

What Else I've Been Up To

I've been a mom for almost two months now, and I'm starting to get acclimated to it. My kids still have WAY more energy than I do, but I'm not quite as exhausted as I was a month ago. I'm figuring out all the best playgrounds. Although fall seems to have finally hit and it's pouring outside, so I guess now I need to find the best indoor activities for kiddos.

Going straight from zero to soccer-mom is a huge adjustment, but it's also an amazing experience. Adoption is a wonderful thing and I feel blessed every day that these two amazing children found their way into my heart and my life. Even if they are amazingly busy children.

So what's up with you?