Friday, August 26, 2011


I had a minor melt down this weekend, not liking Second Nature all of a sudden. After talking with my amazing critique partner I narrowed it down to a single plotline I wasn't liking. I'm now reworking that. I'm not sure how this will effect the publication date, or if it will.

Motivation has been running low for me but I am trying to soldier on. I'm gave myself a break this week and took a couple days to unwind, see a couple of movies, hang out with friends. And it's great. And I don't know if it will be back to work today or not because I'm going to go get my hair done. Which means I need to get going. But I am determined to update three times a week and if that means I ramble a little, eh, at least you know I'm still alive. ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rambling, really...

I have no idea what day it is or when the last time I blogged is, but I wonder how many people really notice or care. ;-D Time seems to be accelerating on me, as it tends to do when I have a deadline looming.

School started this week and I'm only taking two classes, but it is definitely distracting. Both of my teachers are willing to work around the travel, so that's good. I'm looking forward to the Photoshop class and somewhat dreading the XTML Web Design class. But when it's all said and done I will be more of an asset to 4 Corners Press.

I've talked quite a bit about how to build a platform for my books, but I wonder if there is a way to do the same with my cover art. It helps that my designs are slowly being released, but I don't know if anyone's noticing. If I had to choose between writing or art, I honestly don't know which one I'd choose. I've been doing some random art for covers (like the one on this post) and maybe I'll create a tab for cover mocks. If you look under the Sharp Covers tab, those are real covers for books coming in the next year, if they're not yet released. Once I finish this PS class, I will take the advanced class, then I might start taking some traditional art classes. Anything to do something I love better. I really want to make a living doing what I love.

I need to get a page up showing the cover design pricing. I am in the process of creating packages, using my own book/swag to show the packages, so it's clear and easy to figure out the prices. But I can't decide if I should have a seperate blog for my covers or keep them attached to this one. Thoughts, opinions?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Anendesora, the typo queen.

First off, I want to explain the title. As a huge Wheel of Time fan I joined a website dedicated to the series. I was stoked to discover that Avendesor, the Tree of Life which features heavily in the books, wasn't taken. Once registration was complete and it was too late to change it, I realized I had typoed and had, in fact, registered as Anendesora. Rather than crying over spilled milk I ran with it, adding the title "The Typo Queen" to my name. Other board members ran with it, and I was showered with avatars, funny quotes and bad typo confessions.

In the spirit of this tradition, I decided to share some of the typos I have made that made me laugh. You ready?

  • Knocking her off of my feet (Hey if someone was on my feet, I'd knock them off too!)
  • Stealing my spine (Ow! All I can think of is a video game, possibly from a cartoon, of a ninja killing someone by ripping out their spine. Ow, indeed.)
  • Put my arm around my shoulders (flexible, ain't she)
  • You spinal down into depression (Well, what do you expect when people are running around stealing spines)
  • Sitting in a stool (Cause all the cool people sit in furniture, not on it)
  • Thanks for being my fat checker ( I don't want to know... One letter makes it a whole new job description)
  • Wenching it up onto the bed (Sooo not what I was going for. That's a whole different story!)
  • Leaning hats on his arms (I have no idea how this one happened but it made me laugh
I saved the best for last. Second best typo ever first place isn't mine). You ready?

  • A bullet in the boob rain works (said by a succubus, this is funny on so many different levels)
I'm sure these are not all the typos, just the ones I remembered to type out with doing this post in mind. I had fun writing it and hope you did too. You may see another of these come across in the future.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On platforms and stuff...

So today I was looking at my blog stats and I'm detecting a distinct trend. I have a good month with lots of posts and lots of views, then a not so good month. Then a good, so on and so forth. I don't know why this is a trend, just that it is. I also have learned that I over complicated the book hop, I think, which may have led to it's demise. And my book release was the second highest page views for a single post, topped only by one of the early Follow Fridays. What does this mean? I don't know this one either. Maybe I'm just rambling, I don't know.

So Today I'm thinking about my platform and how I want to go about building it. My number one way is to continue putting out quality books that people love to read. My number two way is going to be by letting the world see the human side of me. Day by day the wall that separates Elizabeth and Donna is coming down-- a crap, now I sound like I have multiple personalities! Anyway, I'm trying to get the hang of the whole social networking thing, trying to figure out what ones work and what ones don't. I have Facebook, Twitter and this blog down. Haven't formed an opinion on Google+ yet. And still struggling to find my niche on Goodreads.

How about you? What forms of social media do YOU use to build your following? Do you see something I'm NOT doing that I SHOULD be? Let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Release party winners

First off, I want to say that  just because I'm announcing winners doesn't mean anyone is going away empty handed. Everyone who entered will be getting some great swag, so make sure you keep an eye out for emails and private messages. Now on to the winners. Congratulations!

Autographed book: Michelle Orengo
Notebook and eBook: Lauren Wood
Tote bag and eBook: Cait Lavender

I have already contacted the winners and will be contacting the rest of you this week. Thank you so much everyone, for making this release so great! And stick around, you never know when I might do this again.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Natural Selection Release Party

Welcome to the release party for my first book, Natural Selection. First off, I'd like to start by giving the links on where you can buy it.
 Paperback      Kindle      Nook     All other ebook formats 

Alright, now that you know how to buy it, let's talk about how you can win, and not just books. There are three major prizes and three simple things you have to do to win them. And whether or not you win the drawings, everyone who enters will get some swag.

#1 Autographed copy of the paperback version of Natural Selection
How do you win this? This is the easiest one of all to be entered into. All you have to do is comment on this blog with an email address. You must be 13 or older, but that's all I ask. International is fine. Everyone who comments will get a seed packet. I will email you to get your physical address, don't post it here.

#2 Natural Selection Notebook and an ebook
This one has a few options, but they all involve Facebook. There's three separate ways to enter. You can go to my page and comment on my wall. You can go to my author's page and like it (if you haven't already) and comment there. Or you can post about the book as your status, making sure to tag me (When you start typing a name an d the drop box appears, highlight my name to tag me.) in the post so I see it. You have to be my friend for this to work, but I accept all friend requests that don't seem to be spam or bots. Anyone who does one of these will get a bookmark and a chance to win the notebook and ebook. You do not have to do all three, and doing more than one does not get you extra entries. If you want to do more than one, go for it, but it isn't necessary.

#3 Natural Selection tote bag and an ebook
For the third and final drawing, tweet all about it. To be entered in this one, you need to tweet a link to buy the book or a link to this blog. So I can track the tweets, use the hashtag #forcesofnature. Everyone who gives a shoutout using that hashtag will receive a postcard and be entered to win the tote and the ebook.

*All items shown (except the book) are mine, I ordered two, so yours is still safely wrapped.*

There are a couple other ways to win. Check out my interview with Liz Schulte over at Bat Country. You can read an excerpt from Chapter Two at Michelle Ferguson BooksMusings of MD Christie is also hosting a giveaway  Comment on one of these three blogs with your email address for a chance to win an ebook. Also check out Far from Reality on Saturday for a review of Natural Selection.

Edit: Giveaway is now closed. Winners have been selected and will be notified. All entries will be contacted for addresses for swag. Thank you so much everyone who participated and made my release weekend so much fun!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Two more days!!

I think everyone might be getting sick of hearing about my book being published Friday, but honestly it IS all I think about, so it's all I talk about too. :D And this blog post isn't going to be any different.

So the book comes out Friday and I have some great giveaways planned. I have swag as well as ebooks and a signed dead tree book. I will explain all the prizes and ways to win them in Friday's post. I will say there is only one thing to do to win each prize and nothing is complicated.

So make sure you come back Friday to see what's happening. And for those who haven't been around the whole time I will leave you with my cover and my blurb.

What do you do when you find out your family isn't your family, death is knocking at your door, and that guy you can't stop thinking about knows more about who you are than you do? Amelia Hoffman was just a normal 15 year old until she found out the truth. Now ancient myths, supernatural beings, and murder have changed everything. Tests and school dances are no longer the biggest worry in her life-- she has to figure out how to save everyone she loves and accept the future in front of her before its too late.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Death Rang the Doorbell

Beth and I became friends when we were nine. She moved to my school in December when the Illinois winter is doing it’s best to bury us alive. She was alone on the playground, watching the other children with her lips turned up in the sweetest smile I’d ever seen. A fur-trimmed purple hood surrounded a kind face, cheeks ruddy from the cold. Sparkling green eyes watched the merriment without envy or resentment over being left out. I was mesmerized. Something about her seemed to stand out, to make her different. Even then I knew it.
We became inseparable friends before we really knew it. We spent summers climbing the cherry tree in Old Man Wither’s yard. He would chase all the other kids, but only smiled as we sailed pirate ships or commanded our troops from the safety of those branches. There were two branches that grew very close together, forming a natural bench were we would sit for hours among the cherry blossoms. It was like sitting on a bus bench, one wide flat branch beneath us leaning back into another behind us.   I still remember that tree fondly.
Not all our memories were tied to the tree, but it definitely held some of the best. We also swam in the various creeks and streams around town, played tag and hopscotch as much as any other kids. My dad often accused me of thinking he owned the phone company over the years. We had our fair share of snowball fights and played more games of Dead Man Rise in the fallen leaves than I care to count. We went through our phases, fought like cats and dogs and swore we’d never speak again more than once. One time, in the sixth grade, we went an entire month without saying a word, before simply striking up a conversation one day as if nothing had happened.
But the tree was the enduring symbol of our friendship. It is where we did all those things we didn’t want our parents to know about. She smuggled a copy of Playgirl and we both giggled as we laid eyes on our first penis. And our second, and our third…I snitched two of my dad’s Budweisers and we drank them, pulling faces and gagging at the taste, yet finishing a can each. The first time we lit up a cigarette was under that tree. I thought one of us would certainly cough up a lung, but for some reason we had another, and another, until it became a habit, one that I still struggle with to this day. We talked about boys and compared notes about sex until we were pretty sure we had it figured out. More than anything, I think it’s where I learned the true meaning of friendship.
Not everything I learned beneath those branches are recalled with a smile. It was sitting on our bench one day when we were thirteen that Beth told me about her gift.
“Sometimes I get this funny feeling deep down inside, like my belly is filled with lead. No matter how warm I was before, all of a sudden I get so chilled my teeth chatter. My arms get all goosebumpy. I feel like I have to cross them to hold myself together, and if anyone touches me I’ll shatter into a million pieces.” She sighed and looked sadder than I had ever seen her before. “Every time I get the feeling, someone nearby is going to die, and soon. And there’s nothing I can do about it. And it’s never wrong, not one single stumble or false alarm.”
I saw her gift in action sooner than I would have liked. It was the annual Snider family  reunion, and since there were no kids my age, my parents had let me bring Beth along. My mom had wrestled me into a dress so I was confined to “ladylike” activities.  We were playing Frisbee a short distance from the others when Grammy came over and sat on the glider nearby watching us with an amused smile. Suddenly Beth dropped the Frisbee and crossed her arms. I was confused by the tears in her eyes.
“I’m not feeling so hot, Ellen. I think I need to go home,” she said.
I chased after her, knowing something was up. It wasn’t until I caught up to her and noticed the goose bumps on her arms and the twisted expression on her face. I glanced back towards my family, struggling to force my mouth to ask the question I didn’t want to. “Who?”
“I don’t know, Ellen. It doesn’t work that way. The only people I was close to were you and…” she trailed off, her eyes flicking back to the swing where my Grammy sat. Only she wasn’t sitting there, she was lying on the ground in a circle of people. Beth gave a shattered sob and tore into the twilight as I watched my family try and save a woman I knew was beyond help. After the paramedics had taken her away, my dad sat me down and explained that Grammy had a bad heart and it had finally just given up.
I didn’t see Beth again for about a week and I was just starting to wonder if she was avoiding me when she showed up at my door. I shouted that I was leaving and we headed to our tree. Silence fell between us, that comfortable quiet where you simply don’t need words, just being together is enough. Finally she slid her fingers through mine and sighed.
“I’m sorry about Grammy.”
“You knew, didn’t you.”
Beth Just nodded. She stared off into the distance and I figured the conversation was over when she started speaking again in a quiet voice. “It started when I was five and my dad was real sick. Cancer. Everyone kept telling me he was going to be fine, that he was getting better. But every time I was around him I felt so cold and my stomach felt so heavy. I knew he was going to die. And he did.”
I put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her close. Her head rested on my shoulder in the way that only girls seem to do with their friends. I felt hot tears soaking through my tee shirt, but after a minute she started talking again.
“The next couple years were a nightmare. I kept hoping to wake up, but in time I came to accept it as my reality. I knew when people were going to die. If I said anything, the grownups would just give me a sad look and whisper behind their hands that I was crazy. I knew the night my mom was going to die, even before the house caught fire. There was nothing I could do to change it. If I tried to warn her she’d just shake and me and demand to know why I insisted on telling stories. So I kept it to myself and a week later I was living with my Aunt Cathy.”
Holy ray of sunshine, that girl could carry a load. I still don’t understand how she stayed so chipper most the time, carrying such a heavy burden. I tried my best to never let it show, but sometimes being around her creeped me. We didn’t talk about it, and she tried to keep quiet about when it happened, though I soon learned to recognize the signs. We were still close friends, and we did everything together.
It was a hot summer day shortly after my sixteenth birthday. We were walking down the alley that shortened the walk from my house to hers. We used to spend an hour or more walking each other home before my mom put her foot down and told me I could only walk her halfway. So we stood at the invisible line along the route, talking as we both lit a cigarette. We smoked a movement in companionable silence. We smiled and waved and promised to meet up the following morning and head to the town pool. Taking one long drag, Beth blew out the smoke and said goodbye. I stood watching as she jogged across the street to the second half of the alley. Soon the darkness had swallowed all but the glow of her cigarette. I was about to turn around she walked under a streetlight and I noticed her arms were crossed and she was shaking like she’d caught a sudden chill.
I never made a sound as the car lurched into motion, backing out of the driveway without looking. Silence was interrupted by the heavy thud as her body was struck, flying through the air to land in a pile of garbage about fifty feet away. Not a sound escaped me as I watched the driver get out of his car, tearing at his hair before grabbing his cell phone and dialing 911. My lips were sealed as I numbly walked to the scene, kneeling beside her and silently stroking her blond hair. The paramedics came and since I refused to leave her, I rode beside the stretcher to the hospital. I couldn’t seem to make my mouth work, and was only able to cling to my mother and shed silent tears as my best friend in the whole world was pronounced dead.
I didn’t speak again for over a week. One night I was sitting in my window with my knees drawn up to my chest, blankly staring into the stormy night. As soon as I saw the lightning bolt, I knew where it had struck.
“No!” I shrieked as I bolted out of the house into the pouring rain. I ran the entire way to Old Man Wither’s, repeating that one word over and over as I ran three blocks. I’m surprised I didn’t wake the entire neighborhood. I fell to my knees in the mud that had once been a lawn when I saw the damage. A smoking hole in the ground or licking flames I could have handled. But not this. But the only casualty was our branch, lying on the ground next to the tree.
I felt as if someone was kicking me while I was down. I wept as rain plastered my dark hair to my head, staring at the broken limbs as if they were a corpse. I wasn’t sure I would ever have the strength to get back up again, but somehow I did. I managed to put one foot in front of the other and slowly plodded home, and on with my life.
No one ever climbed that tree again. I bought a rag doll and dressed her in a purple coat, draping blond braids over her shoulders. Her arms were sewn across her chest in a gesture I’d grown to dread. Lying her in a shoebox, I gave her a funeral beneath our tree, placing a pressed cherry blossom branch I had broken off  our branch. I figured all corpses needed a proper burial, even a memory. I buried with her all the anger and resentment that had been building inside me since her arms had crossed that night.
I never figured out how or why Beth always knew death was coming. It almost seemed like she was a doorbell Death rang to announce his arrival, even when it was her time to go. My life has changed for having known her, for having been allowed to share in her gift for a time. But every night I pray I never hear that doorbell again.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Natural Selection Interviews - Amelia

Today I am sharing the last interview, this time for the most important role, the lead character. I sat down with Amelia Hoffman and asked her the same ten questions I asked all the others.

Hello Amelia. How are you today?
Um, it's Lia, and good, thank you.
Ok, have a seat and we'll get started.
*smiles nervously and perches on the edge of the chair*
So, what do you think is the most rewarding part of this role?
I think it is the growth of the character. I'm so quiet and shy and I like the idea of slowly opening up.
I like that answer. What do you think is your biggest accomplishment in life?
Staying out of the spotlight. I hate being the center of attention. It's my goal in life to become invisible.
You know that's not going to happen when you take the lead role, right?
I told you I needed to grow. *smiles*
When you meet adversity, how do you overcome it?
I deal with it how it needs to be dealt with. I think of the most logical conclusion, then do that. Unless I'm emotional. Then I just run away.
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
My ability to fade into the background?
That's not really a strength. Isn't there anything about yourself you're proud of?
My family, but that's not really a strength... I guess it's that I'm very grounded and realistic. And my sense of humor isn't bad either.
If you could redo one thing in the past, what would it be?
I wouldn't waste time seeing Titanic. Can you say over rated?
What challenge do you most look forward to in this role?
Learning to overcome my shyness and maybe kick some ass.
What appeals to you most about this role?
The sense of family. I am all about family.
What are your goals for the next five years?
Survive high school. I hear the cheerleaders eat freshman for breakfast. *smiles*
Anything you would like to say to make me consider you for the role?
I am quiet and shy, but with prompting, I think I can grow into a strong heroine the reader can truly love.
Thank you Miss Hoffman, I think you'll be a fine addition.

Join me next week as we take a look at some of the mythology and research that went into Natural Selection. And join me next Friday for the release. There will be games, and the obligatory giveaways. You don't wanna miss this!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Natural Selection Interviews - Evelyn

The interviews continue. I am asking them the same ten questions, and sharing their responses.Today we will be interviewing Evelyn Matthews for the role of best friend.

Hello Evelyn. Come on in. Glad you can make it I know you're very busy.
Well, my mom says idle hands are the devil's play thing.
OK. So let's get right to it. What's the most rewarding part about being the best friend?
Well, I like the unique relationship i would share with the lead. She's so insecure she depends on me. That's kind of an ego boost, you know?
What do you feel is you biggest accomplishment in life so far?
Oooo, that's a toughy. I don't know that I really have one big accomplishment. I seem to bounce around between activities. I just haven't found the right fit yet.
When you meet adversity, how do you overcome it?
I like the head-on approach. If I can't go over, I'll go under, or around, or through. There's always a way if you're just willing to go for it.
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
People like me. I'm kind of  a people pleaser. And it definitely gets me places. *smiles*
If you could redo one thing in your past, what would it be?
I don't know that I would change anything. I'm happy with the way my life turned out and things might not have been the same without the choices I've made.
What challenge do you most look forward to in this role?
The emotional depth of my relationships, nothing with me is as it seems on the surface.
What appeals to you most about this role?
The contrast of my conection with- Oh, crap, that's a spoiler...
Yeah, perhaps we'll save that gem for another day.
Yeah, probably a good idea.
What are your goals for the next five years?
I'd like to graduate early to get a head start on college. I can't decide if I want to be a lawyer or a business major. I'm really good with numbers so business has always appealed to me.
Anything you'd like to add to make me consider you for the role?
People like me. I'm the perfect contrast to your mousey, shy lead. *smiles and leaves*

Ok, thanks for joining us for yet another interview. Join us Friday for the final precasting interview, Amelia Hoffman for the lead role.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Natural Selection Interviews - Nate

 The cast interviews are still going on. I am asking them the same ten questions, and sharing their responses.Today we will be interviewing Nathanial Peplow for the role of hunky heartthrob.

Hello Nathanial. Come on in and have a seat.
Um, you can call me Nate.
Ok Nate, you ready to start?
What's the most rewarding part about being the hunky heartthrob?
Is that really a valid question? What isn't rewarding, the name itself is a compliment, after all. It's kind of a lot to live up to, honestly.
What is your biggest accomplishment in life so far?
I guess surviving this long. I'm not a big accomplishment kind of guy. I prefer to stay out of the spotlight. I am on the honor roll if that counts.
When you meet adversity, how do you overcome it?
I tend to go with the bury your head in the sand until it goes away method. If that doesn't work, I opt for the path of least resistance. 
Do you think that might give readers an issue with you, since you're supposed to be the hunky heartthrob?
I guess, but it means there's room for me to grow. 
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
My charming smile? 
If you could redo one thing in your past, what would it be?
I wouldn't have let my parents leave the night they died.
You were pretty young. How could you have stopped them?
*mumbled* I coulda done something
What challenge do you most look forward to in this role?
Trying to make people love me despite how few lines I get. *wink*
You get plenty of lines, drama queen.
What appeals to you most about this role?
Didn't we already discuss the whole hunky heartthrob thing?
What are your goals for the next five years?
Heck, I haven't figured out what I'm going to do in the next five minutes. I'm not what you might call a planner.
What would you like to say to make me consider you for the role.
*Puppy dog eyes* Please?
Thank you, Mr. Peplow, you can go now.

Join us on Wednesday for our interview of Evelyn Matthews for the role of best friend.

Edit: I don't know why, but this is the second time a scheduled blog didn't actually post. At least I caught it earlier this time....