Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Lightning and Lemonade

TWO PRINCESSES is here!
I'm so excited to finally release my second Unconventional Princesses novella, TWO PRINCESSES.

Deja was a happy, trouble-making troll, until she was exiled from her home under the mountains for her perilous pranks. Now she must serve a frilly human, Princess Calleah who's locked in a tall tower to keep suitors away. The Two Princesses from opposite sides of the Valley become unlikely friends in their seclusion, but when the time comes for Calleah to fulfill her duty, their bond is put to the test by propriety, princes, and parents. Deja doesn't take any gruff and will give it right back to protect Calleah, no matter the cost.


JOLISSA - An Anti-Princess Story is UnPrincess #1


I'll send a free e-copy of either novella to anyone who asks. And I'm hard at work getting ready to release UnPrincess #3, PRINCESS B. With UnPrincess #4, GERTRUDE in the works.

DISPOSAL has a
Release Date!
November 2017

DISPOSAL - Pop Travel #3
Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived. When Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship, he hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.


I'm looking for some Pre-Release Reviews. Please email me if you're interested.
Reviews are the best gift you can give an author.

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~~ RECENT EVENTS ~~

Happy Summer and Independence Day!

I can't believe summer is already half way over. I love this long break because it gives me mucho time to write, and I've been very productive, as you can see.

But before school ended, I was able to give my author presentation to a rambunctious group of 8th graders. Here's the play they helped me with at the end. It's a little rough, but it was fun and I think they enjoyed it. Plus, I now know how I can improve!


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Bookishness
Where I answer commonly asked questions and pass on writerly advice...

Q - Who does your covers? Well, covers do catch the eye, don't they? I'm very fortunate that my publisher has wonderful talent and they provide the covers. But I also know a few artists who help me with my self-publishing ventures. One is a college student, and the other is a blog friend. They're awesome and highly trained with loads of experience.

ADVICE - Covers are numero uno! Though I dabble with clip art and sketches and maps to help me with my writing, I can't emphasize enough how much a professional artist is worth the cost. I just write the stories and leave the covers to those with talent. I highly recommend not going amateur on the covers, it shows. But that doesn't mean you can't have a say - make sure the cover meets your expectations. You can compromise, but don't let their vision distort yours. Covers make the first impression to grab their attention, your words seal the deal.

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July ~ August ~ September

July - Hot & Muggy
I've been going stir-crazy without a summer event. I'm hoping to hear from my July Con soon. But it's okay if I don't because I've dedicated this summer to watching him play baseball since he's going to college in the Fall. But of course, he got injured and is out for the rest of the season... I'll also be sending out letters to schools to try and do some presentations, fingers crossed.

August - Teary-eyed
As I said, I'll be seeing my oldest off at the end of August. I'll be crying melancholy tears, but happy ones too for him to take this huge step. To take my mind off it, I keep writing and I'm hoping to schedule a local event.

September - It's off to work I go.
Windy Hollow should be ready for CPs and Beta Readers by this time. And I'll be going back to work with students. But it's almost Fall, so I'm looking forward to my next son's Senior Football games and several book events!

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What I'm Reading...
  • The TOTEM series by Christine Rains - Wrapping up the series with the two final novellas - woot! I'm so honored to be a reader for her!
  • SATURN RUN by John Sandford - my dad said I had to read it. So I picked it up just in time for our vacation. I hope the movie will do it justice... I'll be the judge of that!
What I'm Writing...
  • WINDY HOLLOW - Beast World, Book Three. Almost done typing it up and then on to the read aloud and printout phases. Editing goes better when I have phases to look forward to - Gabe just can't keep his nose or his big ears out of trouble!
  • MAGIC STORM - I've decided to go with a graphic novel for this story. (New Magi Kita & Kan race against opposing wielder Brevan to bring magic back to earth!) And I have just the artist in mind for it - can't wait to share it!
  • Another POP TRAVEL novel - CONDUCTION. Underground super juicer Jared plays a big part in this one... Outline has begun.
  • PAULA JEAN - I've been wanting to write this YA Christian Urban Fantasy for quite a while. Now, I'm thinking I might go straight to a screenplay with it... Decisions!

Where I'll be...
July
  • July 15 & 16 - Glass City Con in Toledo, OH. I've done sci fi cons, but this is my first anime con. The theme is definitely Japanese animation, should be interesting.
August
  • I'm planning 2 release parties for TWO PRINCESSES, appropriately! A live one at a consignment shop for kids called Sprouts Boutique and a virtual one on Facebook. Still ironing out details. Both should be fun with lots of prizes - and you're all invited!
September
  • I might have an Arts & Craft Fair, but some don't consider books in those categories - worth a shot! But I left most of September open for my son's senior year of football. I'm also hoping to have some speaking engagements lined up. Wish me luck!

Going to the beach? Don't forget a book and sunscreen!


 


The prize winner for my Spring Quarter 2017 Newsletter is...

Miranda Vasquez!

who won a $10 Amazon GC!

The prize for Summer 2017 will be 2 movie tickets!




~~ Available for SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS, BOOK CLUBS, or BOOK TALKS ~~

Monday, April 3, 2017

Colors Blooming - #amwriting

DISPOSAL - Pop Travel Book 3
(sample cover)
Release Date: Winter 2017

DISPOSAL - Pop Travel #3
Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived. When Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy moves in with them for a summer internship, he hits the town hard and thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he pursues her and ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.

Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan offers him to field-test. Sure, why not? Cooper will do anything to get his family back.

~~ RECENT EVENTS ~~

These past three months have flown by! I recently started a new long term substitute job that will take me through the end of the year. And I'm tutoring six days a week - so not much free time for writing!

But I was able to go to a small book event at the preschool where my boys attended and I taught for a brief time. I made some new connections and sold a few books!

I also found some time to finish and resubmit my POP TRAVEL screenplay to the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. The great thing about this contest is that I should get some feedback in April. That's quick!

Lastly, I've put the final touches on TWO PRINCESSES and should have it published soon. Then, Princess B is next, plus a couple more Unconventional Princesses whose stories need to be told.

Here are some sketches for TWO PRINCESSES, Unconventional Princess Series #2
Illustrations by Laura Kramer



TWO PRINCESSES
Forget Once Upon a Time... Deja is a tough, trouble-making troll princess who despises humans, as trolls are taught to do from birth. But when Deja's mischief causes destruction in her home tunnels, her father the King sends her to serve the humans as punishment. The human Queen has her own problems with too many suitors for the beautiful, secretly-spoken-for princess Calleah, so she locks her up in a tower to protect her kingdom. When Deja arrives, she decides to make the humans' lives so unbearable they'll send her right back home, until she realizes Calleah is a surprising gem among the stone-hearted humans. The real trouble starts when two princes arrive to vie for Calleah's hand, but they'll have to prove their worth to Deja first, who will protect her friend to the end.

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Bookishness
Since I get lots of questions about the writing process, I decided to add this section, Bookishness, dedicated to answering commonly asked questions plus passing on writerly advice...

Q - Where do you get your ideas? Life. Though I write a lot of sci fi and fantasy, these stories have universal truths. I wrote Pop Travel because I don't like to fly and I wanted an easier way to get around. And Broken Branch Falls was inspired by watching my boys' football practices. There are so many great characters and stories all around us!

ADVICE - Don't give up. It took me a long time and many rejected query letters before I received my first book publishing offer. And even though I'm published, I'm still trying to get an agent (and having a hard time since I'm in the middle of two series.) This business ain't easy, so stay strong and don't give up - if writing makes you happy, the torture of the process is worth it!

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April ~ May ~ June

April - New Events
I'm currently looking into which events I'd like to do this Fall. With my son graduating and going off to college this summer, I'm keeping my schedule open, possibly doing something local. And writing, writing, writing!

May - WIPs
I'm waiting on revisions to the TWO PRINCESSES cover and hoping to have it out by May. If I find some time, I will attempt to add a song to accompany it - per a reader's request! I'd also like to get more chapters of Jolissa on YouTube.

June - Windy Hollow
Windy Hollow, Beast World Book 3, is coming along nicely. I should have the first draft done and be well into edits by summer. My goal is to submit it in October for publication in 2018. I'll also be working on my new book outline!

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What I'm Reading...

What I'm Writing...
  • WINDY HOLLOW - Beast World, Book Three. Typing away on the first draft! The beasts are discovering new foreign lands and getting into mountains of trouble!
  • MAGIC STORM - This story is about Chinese twin teens, brother and sister, living in London, who discover a chunk of metal from an ancient talisman that ignites magic powers in them and inspires them to search for the rest of the pieces. But of course there are others who would like to find the pieces and take the magic, too. I'm still playing with how I want this series to be produced - a series of short stories like a weekly/monthly installment of episodes? a comic/illustrated series? or write it as a script to submit for a TV series? There are so many possible outlets!
  • PAULA JEAN - For my 7th book, I'm putting my two series on hold to write a YA Christian Urban Fantasy - a biblical journey in modern times, taken by a damaged young woman... could be controversial, but getting folks to talk about it can only help it!

Where I'll be...
April
  • April 8, 10:30am-5:00pm - OHIOANA Book Festival in Columbus, OH. This will be my 4th year. This event is near and dear to my heart as my first event and first time being on author panels. It's wonderful! And it's FREE!
May
  • I'm looking into school visits for next Fall and library presentations possibly this summer... But May is graduation month, so I'll be pretty busy!
June
  • No events in June either - baseball will be in full swing and company is coming... But I'm already lining up events in July and the Fall! Then hopefully another book signing for DISPOSAL!

Take your allergy meds! Spring is in the air!



~~ Available for SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS, BOOK CLUBS, or BOOK TALKS ~~


 


NOTE: I would also like to thank my newsletter recipients for following me, so I'll be drawing a name or two each quarter for prizes... 

The prize for the Spring 2017 Quarter will be a $10 Amazon GC!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Fresh Start!

Two Princesses - Coming Soon!
concept clipart
Release Date: February 2017

Two Princesses
Deja is a tough, trouble-making troll princess who hates humans, as she should. But when her mischief interferes with her father the King, he sends her to the humans as punishment. The human Queen has her own problems with too many suitors for the beautiful, spoken-for princess Calleah who she locks up in a tower for her own protection. Deja is determined to make the humans' lives unbearable enough to send her packing, until she is sent to serve Calleah and realizes not all humans are evil, just most of them. The real trouble starts when two princes arrive to vie for Calleah's hand, but they'll have to prove their worth to Deja first, who will protect her friend to the end.

My talented illustrator, Laura Kramer, is working on a cover and I'm sending the Two Princesses story to my readers for critiquing. Then, I'm planning to self-publish Two Princesses as the second novella in my Unconventional Princess series, with the third, Princess B not far behind!


~~ RECENT EVENTS ~~

Last fall, I had a very busy October. Three Events! The first was Sci Fi Central at a children's museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It wasn't the best for sales, but my little buddy came with me and kept me company. I also did a panel discussion and was super excited that I got to meet my long time blog-friend Christine Rains!



Next, I had a blast and very good sales at the Mad Anthony Bookfest at the Operation Pumpkin Festival near where I live. Plus, I got to share a table with my author buddy, Julie Flanders!

The third October event was way over at the West Virginia Bookfest - but totally worth it to hang out with my Really Real Housewives and original trio of book event buds, Elizabeth Seckman and Ashley Chappell. Not to mention, the most books I've sold at an event to date! (not including release parties)

Then in December, I hosted my CRADLE ROCK release party - and as luck would have it, I was able to participate in my local middle school's fundraiser at Barnes & Noble!
my number one fan & supporter - such a sweetie!


After fixing a few snafus, each event turned into sweet success! I have high hopes that I'm starting to turn a corner... which way I'm headed is still to be determined.

And here is the fabulous video review of Cradle Rock by the Hungry Bookworm Tonja Drecker!



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Bookishness
As you can see, I love to create new words. I could write a book on writing books. And I get lots of questions about the process when I do events or presentations. So I'm dedicating this Bookishness section of my Newsletter to answering commonly asked questions and passing on writerly advice...

Q - How long did it take you to write your first book? The first book took the most work because I had to research how to write. The first book I wrote was never published, as is the case with most writers - it stank to high heaven! The first book I published took about a year to write, then I had to shop it around for another year as I improved on it. As soon as I snagged an editor/publisher, I was able to start my second book. Now my goal is to crank out at least one book each year.

ADVICE - Go and do. I have the most success when I get out there and talk to readers. Social media is a good tool, but I find it can be annoying. I like the old fashioned ways of meet and greet, leading to word of mouth which is by far the best form of advertising. So if you like a book - review it or tell a friend!

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January ~ February ~ March

January - Submissions & New Projects!
In December, I submitted DISPOSAL to my publisher! Disposal is book three in the Pop Travel series. I really like this story as it involves some fresh, new characters. Here's the blurb...

Cooper and Geri are finally in a good place, but their bliss is short-lived. When Cooper's rebellious nephew Jimmy comes down to stay with them in Atlanta for a summer internship, he thinks he's found the girl of his dreams in an fiery, exotic beauty. Against all words of warning, he ends up getting kidnapped by her powerful Drug Lord father. Geri tracks him down, but gets herself kidnapped as well.


Now it's up to Cooper to use all his resources to save them, including the hot homicide detective Geri secretly despises, and the latest sketchy gadgets his genius friend Hasan needs field-tested. Sure, why not? Cooper will try anything to get his family back.

And now, I have time to read for others and work on short stories and WINDY HOLLOW (Book 3 of Beast World)! I changed the title a few times, but now that it's really coming along, I think this one will stick.

February - Unconventional Princesses series
As I mentioned above, I hope to have Two Princesses ready for self-publication in February. I've also been talking to my illustrator about continuing our youtube storybook project for Jolissa... she's busy too, but willing and excited to work!

March - Pop Travel Screenplay!
In December, I also received feedback on my screenplay for Pop Travel. It was terrific news - they said it was FRESH and gave me great advice on how to make it awesome! I'll be working on sprucing it up to resubmit it in March.

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What I'm Reading...
  • Unseen by Vikki Biram - She left me hanging with only half the book, but now I get to finish it and see how the mystery ends! An incredible YA thriller from the perspective of a blind heroine!
  • STATIC by SK Anthony - This is the second book in her Luminaries series. I adored the first one and this one is just as exciting! It's about young adults who were infused with an experimental serum in the womb and now have enhanced abilities - the problem is, some of the luminaries are using their powers for themselves and causing trouble, not the good of all as they were intended...

What I'm Writing...
  • TWO PRINCESSES - Unconventional Princess series, book 2. Beefing up and polishing - surprising twists and turns, even to me! Love the Midsummer Night's Dream feel!
  • WINDY HOLLOW - Beast World, Book Three. The rough draft is at the climax, which is always my hardest part to write... then I can start typing it up.
  • POP TRAVEL screenplay - wouldn't it be awesome! A real dream turned reality...
  • My 7th book will be outlined soon - a brand new concept that I've had on the back burner, patiently waiting to emerge. A YA Christian Urban Fantasy...

Where I'll be...
January
  • Writing in my cozy sun room.
  • Planning School Events for the spring!
February
  • Possibly at Books a Million or Half Price Books - I can't just sit still! 
  • Also waiting to see if Icefest is having its Bi-Annual Bookfest...
March
  • March 9, 8:30-11:30 am - The Learning Place preschool - I'll be attending their annual parent-teacher event. Can't believe my boys - the oldest is about to graduate - were ever small enough to go there!
  • In the planning phases - I have to take a couple of trips this spring and I'd like to work in a signing... possibly Georgia or Arkansas! Stay tuned to my blog for details in the sidebar.

Stay warm and cozy - cuddle up by the fire with cocoa, a good book, and a friend
-- a pet or child is a great choice for reading to!

And plan on having a great 2017, no matter what!

~~ Available for SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS, BOOK CLUBS, or BOOK TALKS ~~


 


NOTE: I would also like to thank my newsletter recipients for following me, so I'll be drawing a name or two each quarter for prizes... The prize for the Winter 2017 Quarter will be an ebook or book swag!