Friday, December 27, 2013

Winners and other stuff!

HI EVERYONE!!

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday!! I sure did.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! You were all so awesome and supportive!! So many people listed Jack Sparrow as their favorite pirate! LOL. Someone had Barbosa, and another said their school's mascot because it was a pirate, and her son happened to be the mascot! I thought that was awesome!

The winner of my rafflecopter giveaway and a $25 gift card was....

Heidi Robbins!

The winner of my Facebook giveaway and $25 gift card was...

Cindy Posey!

This giveaway was so much fun! I cannot wait to have another! :)

Here are some awesome banners Regina at Mae I Design created for me (she's the one who designed my cover).




MY NAME IS EVERYWHERE!!



Thank you everyone!! I am hoping to reveal a trailer and have another giveaway soon!! I will announce all of that....

now, back to editing!!

<3

Monday, December 23, 2013

50 Shades of Pray: Oklahoma

Today the awesome Mark Koopmans is hosting the 50 Shades of Pray bloghop! 


Today we are to share in about 100 words, a prayer, a memory, a hope, and even a regret about the past and/or a wish for the future.

My Prayer: 
I pray that everyone is safe and finds comfort. It is a huge prayer, but this has always been a part of my prayers, even when I was young. 

A Memory:
This year has been filled with many, but perhaps the most moving was the times with my best friend and her mommy, Rosemary who passed away from her 5 year battle with ovarian cancer in November. 

A Hope:
I hope for more understanding in the world. 

A regret about the past:
I try not to see anything as a regret, and instead try to understand that everything happens for a reason. 

A wish for the future: 
My wish is that everyone will view others with more love ad kindness. 


Thanks for hosting a great bloghop, Mark! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

COVER REVEAL!!!

CANNOT DELAY ANY LONGER! HERE YA GO!



Showing it all cause LOOK AT THE BACK!! 

Blurb: 

Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.




Ya'll already know what I look like so you don't need a pic of me, but here's all my linky stuff that I sometimes use: 




Let me know what you think!! :) :D Also, enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift card!! ALSO, if you share or like my cover from my Facebook page, you will be entered to win another $25 Amazon gift card! 

I want to thank everyone who participate in revealing my cover, and Xpresso Book Tours for helping me (Giselle, you are amazing!). YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!! I will be around to thank everyone personally as soon as a I can. You can visit the participating blogs by heading to my Events & Appearances page on my website! I'm heading home for Christmas. After a crazy semester of graduate school, I am happy for a break. I did get straight A's though!! MUCH LOVE!






a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cover Reveal Tomorrow!!

Tomorrow is my cover reveal!! 
I'm so excited. 
HERE you can find a list of participating blogs. 
Also, there will be giveaways here and on my Facebook page!! :D 

See everyone tomorrow!! 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: 12.13.13



WOW! Do I have SO many wonderful things to celebrate! If you haven't joined this great bloghop, head over to VikLit's blog and add your name to the linky list!

1. I AM FINISHED WITH SCHOOL FOR A WHOLE MONTH!!
Yes, that's right. Today is actually the last day of finals week! I have ONE more semester of graduate school and I am finished. I am definitely ready, as my book will be published by then, and I'll be on a different path!

2. Speaking of books, I HAVE A COVER!!!! My book has a face and let me tell you, I just think it is GORGEOUS!!! Remember to head back here on Wednesday the 18th to see it!! :)

3. I have an amazing BFF - yes, you've heard of her before - EMILY! She is such an amazing person and she is so strong. After having just lost her mommy a few weeks ago, she can still encourage me like no other person can.


4. Did I tell you all I got author pics? My boyfriend's sister is going to school for photograph. She's pretty awesome!! Check out her Tumblr! Anyways, here are some pics:

The one I use the most

Ridiculous smile! lol

And a cute one
Anyways! I hope you all have a GREAT weekend!! I am preparing for my cover reveal! Come back and see my cover and enter the giveaway (a $25.00 Amazon gift card!!) :D

<3 <3

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My First Indie Life Post!


I signed up for Indie Life last month! I'm so excited to share some of my journey and hopefully motivate and inspire others while they are on their journeys. If you want to sign up for Indie Life, go here and add your name to the linky list!

I was sort of worried about this post. I wasn't sure what to write about, but after a talk with my BFF and some roadblocks on my journey (not ones I haven't been able to drive around), I decided to talk about following your heart.

Yeah, sounds cheesy, huh? But the most important thing you can do when you are self publishing is follow your instincts, or at least, that's been my experience.

So far, I've had lots and lots of opinions on what I should do--people have input about the book itself, the cover, how to edit, how to market. It is all so overwhelming. You can get lost in other peoples opinions and forget the way you actually feel about all of those aspects of your book and publishing process.

What I have to do--and what you must do as well--is figure out how YOU feel about all of those aspects of publishing because YOUR opinion is all that matters when it's your book.

You might think that sounds a little selfish. But I think that's okay. After all, you wrote the book. You want what you feel is best, not what other people say is best. When I get lost in other people's opinions, I turn to my BFF and she says, "It's your book, you wrote it. You need to ask yourself 'is this what I want?' She said the same thing about editing, about my cover, and marketing.

We can get so overwhelmed by what other say we SHOULD be doing, and neglect what we WANT. So, incase you're feeling overwhelmed (like I have been), stop and think: What do I feel is right? You will never be wrong!

Talk to me about what you've felt overwhelmed about during your publishing process. What did you do to get through that time? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

FINALS WEEK!

I AM DONE.

DONE.
DONE.
DONE.

I should probably say finished, but you know what? Done just seems to have a final tone.

What am I finished with?

My third semester of graduate school!

You know what that means???? ONE MORE SEMESTER!!!! AHAHA!!!

Gosh, I am so excited. I do really enjoy school, but I am excited for a new chapter. Hopefully I can do some good blogging over this break!

The past few days we've had some ice and snow here in Oklahoma. The roads aren't too bad where I am, but in some places, you can almost skate on the sidewalk! (It sounds cooler than it really is).

This was outside my door when it began Thursday (I think):



And this was Friday:


I'm not sure if you can tell, but it was pretty deep, and now that snow has been walked on, and there is tons of ice on my sidewalk!!

Anyway, I love snow. ESPECIALLY around Christmas!!!

Do you guys get snow where you're at? Do you love it?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dream Destination Blog Hop!

Lexa and Julie are celebrating the release of their books by having an awesome bloghop! 



Lexa's book is Soul Cutter: 



Seventeen-year-old Élan spends her free time videoing psychic scams and outing them online. Skepticism makes life safe—all the ghosts Élan encounters are fakes. When her estranged mother disappears from a film shoot in Egypt, Élan puts her medium-busting activities on hold and joins the search.

In Egypt, the superstitious film crew sucks at finding her mom. When a hotel guest is killed, whispers start—the locals think their legendary Soul Cutter has come back from the dead. Élan's only ally is Ramsey, a film-crew intern, but he’s arrogant, stubborn—and hiding dangerous secrets.

When Élan discovers the Soul Cutter is no scam, she finds herself locked in a deadly battle against a supernatural killer with more than her mother’s life at stake.

Élan is fighting for her very soul.


Julie's book is The Ghost of Aquinnah: 



A brilliant flash of light transcends through time.

Another freezes a cloaked figure within a frame of salty mist as waves crash against a rocky shore. Her harrowing expression shadows the beacon to a pinprick.

By the next blaze, she is gone. Only the lighthouse remains.

Hannah’s eyes blink in step with each heartbeat. Images of her deceased parents and Martha’s Vineyard explode like firecrackers inside her mind.

She shakes her head.

For weeks this eerie woman dressed in nineteenth century garb has been haunting my webcam, but tonight she stared into my soul.

Why? ...

Who is she? ...

Casting aside months of research on historic lighthouses, Hannah drives to the coast and boards a ferry.

What is the strange connection she has to this mysterious woman suspended in time?

Hannah finds out.

But, it’s not at all what she expects ...

Hannah unravels a century old murder.



Now for my Dream Destination! 

I didn't have to think long and hard on this. My dream destination would have been England, but I am  going there in May, so I get to choose the place that's been on my mind for a while: GREECE!! 

Yep. My dream destination is Greece! 

Pics? Yes, please!! 

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/75/c1/9
c/75c19cac03b7e4050024a0bdd5fb9d77.jpg
http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a5/e4/6e/
a5e46ed0b2264dbb027fdeb52703a35a.jpg

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/c4/e0
/e4/c4e0e4e16d2bfc7dfd40e11736c9bbb3.jpg
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/9a/78/6a
/9a786ad6cede9c5c346885881263d17b.jpg
http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/d8/f0/fe/d8f0fe77752c18893a2afaad1ea79d76.jpg
Here's a link to some beautiful pics: http://wanderlust-diaries.com/destinations/greece/

Visiting Olympia would be amazing, probably equivalent of visiting the Roman Forum in Italy. I love to see places I've read about in history or in literature. I love to imagine what it was like all those years ago (it was pretty astounding while in the colosseum). 

Have you ever been to Greece? Italy? or England? Lol. 

Don't forget to enter Lexa and Julia's giveaway! Go by their page and enter the rafflecopter! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: Compare Ourselves to Other Writers



Let me say that writing about the negativity in the publishing/writer world helps me a lot. So, I'm going to share these revelations with you all in hopes they help you as much as they help me!

I wanted to talk about comparisons today:

Puppy Twins!

Human Twins!

Puppy twins are Pepper (left) and Piper (right). Human twins are my bubba and me! Yes, we are really twins, I'm not just saying that for the sake of this post. Lol. Born 2 minutes apart, me and my bubba have spent twenty-three years together. That's been twenty-three years of bonding, fighting, and yes--comparison.

My bubba was held back in his transition from kindergarden to first grade. He went into a class called T1. Because of this, though we were twins, he was always been a grade behind me. People NEVER understood how my brother could not be like me. Why he wasn't as "smart" as me. Why wasn't he just like me? You don't have to be twins to experience this. You can be a sibling, a cousin, or just anyone, really.

The reason my brother is not like me is because he is not me. It's so simple.

It's the same with writing. We constantly compare ourselves to other writers. I realize this is a way we can relate to one another--similar experiences and all that jazz, but comparison can hurt us--it has hurt my brother and it's hurt countless others I know. It's cool to have high aspirations and say, "I want to be just like J.K. Rowling." But really, that's not realistic. Not because you can't accomplish what J.K. Rowling accomplished, because you can--I believe that with all my heart.

It's not realistic because you are not her

See, there are all sorts of quotes that tell you not to compare yourselves to others in some way. Some are: 

"Comparison is the death of joy." - Mark Twain

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde 

"It is not for you to judge the journey of another's Soul. It is for you to decide who You are, not who another has been or has failed to be." - Neale Donal Walsch.


Mark Twain's quote is very important here--how many of you actually feel better after you compared yourself to another author? Now, before you say "Well, this author was terrible, so I felt great" - how is that helping you at all, really? No, you probably didn't feel better about yourself. What this does is open a whole mine of negative thoughts. You start thinking about why you're not good enough. You start thinking about all the impossibilities, and then you're sad again. Those are all icky keywords we don't want in our vocabulary!

It's so important to remember, as Wilde stated, that we are all different. It's one thing to read another author's work and aspire to have certain qualities. Those are goals. Everyone should set goals for themselves. It's when you turn the qualities of other authors into a rant of self-hatred against yourself that you've crossed a line. There's a healthy balance while reading other's works--a give and take, I think. Find merit in your own work, praise your differences, and know when they are what make you the writer you are. 

The last quote is very much about comparing journeys. It's a fancy way of saying no two paths are alike. I know we all know this, but do we really understand it? No one's road to getting an agent, publishing, fame is the same. Everyone has their own story. Sometimes it's simplistic, sometimes it's complicated. Sometimes you're angry at the simplicity, sometimes you're angry at the complications--but those experiences, easy or hard, make us who we are. 

You need to remember that experiences shape you. Experiences are creating things you're going to write about. Experience are making you that unique writer, and for some reason, you're going on your unique path. Believe there's a purpose to that. So don't let comparison make you feel less worthy--it's so silly! You're not the person you're comparing yourself to, so how in the world is there even a comparison? 

I think it's a scary thing to present your raw self to the world, but you're a beautiful self and you've got a unique gift. We all have something that makes us who we are and also different from others. 

My challenge to you is to look in the mirror and tell yourself you're an awesome writer. No matter how much you have to work on, no matter how many words you wrote today, look in the mirror, look yourself straight in the eyes, and tell yourself how wonderfully unique you are.

You are awesome, there's no one else like you.

There's something so beautiful about that. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

50 Shades of Pray!

Hey everyone! This week is dead week at my school and next week is finals, so it's a busy week! What's great about this week is there are awesome things going on in the blogosphere! Today is the day you can sign up for Mark Koopman's 50 Shades of Pray! If you wanna sign up, head on over! There are still some states not represented! 



All that’s required is to take a moment and about 100 words. Then, on Dec. 24, 2013, please share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope and even a regret about the past and/or a wish for the future. - Mark 

Just to let you all know, you can still sign up for a cover reveal! I have yet to send out any information on it (cause...I still don't have the cover in my possession!), but we'll have lots of fun on December 18th!

CUTLASS COVER REVEAL SIGNUP! DECEMBER 18th! 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blog Tour: Crystal Collier's MOONLESS!




Alexia must choose safety and an arranged marriage, or true love and being hunted by the Soulless every moonless night. 

In the English society of 1768 where women are bred to marry, unattractive Alexia, just sixteen, believes she will end up alone. But on the county doorstep of a neighbor’s estate, she meets a man straight out of her nightmares, one whose blue eyes threaten to consume her whole world—especially later when she discovers him standing over her murdered host in the middle of the night. 
Among the many things to change for her that evening are: her physical appearance—from ghastly to breathtaking, an epidemic of night terrors predicting the future, and the blue-eyed man’s unexpected infusion into her life. Not only do his appearances precede tragedies, but they’re echoed by the arrival of ravenous, black-robed wraiths on moonless nights. 

Unable to decide whether he is one of these monsters or protecting her from them, she uncovers what her father has been concealing: truths about her own identity, about the blue-eyed man, and about love. After an attack close to home, Alexia realizes she cannot keep one foot in her old life and one in this new world. To protect her family she must either be sold into a loveless marriage, or escape with the man of her dreams and risk becoming one of the Soulless. 




Unravel the mystery of the Moonless night! Hidden in each of the 8 blog tour excerpts is a single word. Gather all 8 and figure out the sentence to win a free copy of Moonless. Send your mystery sentence to crystal (AT) crystal-collier.com with the subject MYSTERY SENTENCE before December 10, 2013, and you will be entered to win one of 10 copies of MOONLESS—just in time for Christmas. Happy hunting!


Kiren extended a hand to help her up, and she took it. Her feet were instantly below her—so quickly that she stumbled and landed against his solid form. An arm rounded her back tenderly, her legs threatening to give at the elation of his touch.
He turned in the direction of the house, pulling her forward with him, moving out of the garden and up to solid brick walls. They halted at a window,the study window. Father sat within, gazing at the portrait of Dana, fingers tracing the details.
“He gave her up.” Her attention snapped back to her breathtaking captor, inhaling his oaken tang. “He could have kept her for his own, and he gave her up.”
His eyes met hers. The azure depths broke in a myriad of lighter flecks, like stars reflected in an ocean tide. They consumed her, igniting a fire within her breast—an irrational hunger for the tremor in his arm against her back, the heat of his side against hers, the feel of his hand vacillating ever so slightly . . .
He released her and took a few steps back. “You need to go now.”



Crystal, author of MOONLESS, is a former composer/writer for Black Diamond Productions. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter. 







Praise for MOONLESS: 

Bethany Kaczmarek, editor at A Little Red, Inc: "MOONLESS is powerful, compelling, and packed with soul. MOONLESS is wonderful. So many threads, such rich backstory. Such amazing world-building. It was familiar England, yet always hinting at a sense of Otherness. Made me wonder if those things had really been there all along and I missed them." 

Sharon Johnston, author of SLEEPER: "Collier transports us to a time of elegance and mixes in supernatural splendor that gives goosebumps." 

Tammy Mckee: "I fell head over heels for the characters. The story itself was magnificent and the way Crystal writes is beyond that. I truly enjoyed every minute." 

Rachel Hert, editor at Fantasy Editing: "Moonless does a fantastic job building a complex world filled with a cast of characters that are individuals and stay in your memory. I highly recommend reading!" 


Where to find Crystal: 


Blog | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Website


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rafflecopter

Monday, November 18, 2013

In Memory of Rosemary Persa



This last week has been filled with much anxiety as I woke up every morning and went to bed every evening expecting a call from my best friend informing me that her mother had finally lost her 5 year battle with cancer. 

I got that call Saturday morning around 9:45.

Rosemary is one of the bravest people I've ever met, and I didn't even know her for most of her fight against ovarian cancer. The stories Emily shared with me were inspirational. Rosemary was a fighter. She didn't let anything stand in her way. This woman was diagnosed five years ago with stage four terminal ovarian cancer. When the cancer spread to her brain, she continued to fight. She continued to work at the Oklahoma Blood Institute up until the day of her stroke, and lived nearly a year and a half after. She was beloved by so many.

She raised three girls who are a tribute to her.

Emily and Rosemary


Beautiful Rosemary 

The Heels for Hope Foundation was created in honor of Rosemary Persa. Every September, people don their heels and race for a cure for ovarian cancer. If you would like, head over and check out the Heels for Hope website, give them some love on their Facebook page, or even donate.

We love you Rosemary! You are a brilliant light, a beautiful soul. I didn't know you very long, but you changed my life and gave me one of the best friends I could have ever had. Your family is such a beautiful gift to me and I can't thank you enough for them.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Awesome Things Going on in the Blogsphere!

Gosh! There are so many awesome things going on in the Blogsphere, I thought I'd do a post to tell you all about them! 



First up is the Holiday Food Drive hosted by M.J. Joachim and Tina Downey


Here are the simple rules: 
  • Put up your post anytime between November 18 and 20th.
  • Write about a local food bank or organization that helps feed the poor in your area. Share as much detail as you can to help promote their cause.
  • Then give some of your time and/or treasure to help support their cause. Honor system applies. Feel free to share your activity in your blog post – not to brag, or say look what I've done, I'm such a great person, but to encourage others and give them ideas of what they could do to help others.
  • Show the blogfest badge (generously created and donated by our favorite digital artist, the amazing Jeremy of jmhdigital) and link back to this informational post at either of our sites. (If you need help doing this, just email me and I'll walk you through it.)
  • Please help us advertise this blogfest, even if you're not participating. Tweet, facebook, mention it at the end of a post, whatever works for you we could use the publicity for this great cause.
  • Follow your hosts’ blogs, if you are not already doing so.

Then there's Lexa and Julie's Dream Destination Bloghop! 


Simply post about where your dream destination is! 


Then there's the 50 States of Pray blogfest, hosted by Mark Koopmans! He's looking for one person to represent each state. I'm not sure which states are taken, but I'm sure he'd let you share one. ;)




The idea is simple: On Dec. 24, 2013, take a moment, (and in about 100 words), share a prayer, a thought, a memory, a hope, a regret about the past and/or a wish for the future.

Okay guys! Check out these awesome events coming up! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cover Reveal: The Rogue King by Aldrea Alien


Today is Aldrea's cover reveal for THE ROGUE KING! The genre is Science Fantasy, and the release date is February 22, 2014! 

*drumroll*

Ta-da!!


Blurb:

Outside is dangerous.

Such is the warning Koral has heard for twelve years. Born a product of genetic manipulation, he knows little else of the world beyond the steel walls of his home.

When fate gives him the choice between certain death and the unknown, there's no question in what he must choose. But he's about to find out the sands he must brave are full of more than mere monsters.

Providing the desert doesn't kill him first.

This is a world ruled by instinct, where innocence is drowned in blood. Here, men are offered up to the great Serpent God, Lorric, only to emerge as the most feared killers on the planet: The Rogues.

With the god's sights set on turning Koral into a legend, he must sacrifice himself to survive and be reborn as... The Rogue King.


Author Bio:

Born and raised in New Zealand, Aldrea Alien lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn't found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind.

Where to find Aldrea: 

Blog: http://thardrandia.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aldrea-Alien/262519090516776

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@AldreaAlien

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7328363.Aldrea_Alien




Awesome cover, huh? Congrats Aldrea!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: 11.8.13

WOW. My blog has had so much activity this week! 


I like to end the week with celebration, that's why I joined Viklit's weekly bloghop of awesomeness where we.....



(hehe...that worked out well!)


What I'm celebrating this week:

1. I got Cutlass on GoodReads! 
It's SO cool and weird to see your profile say "author of cutlass." I probably added it early as it doesn't have it's description yet, or it's cover...but it will soon. If you'd like to add it to your bookshelf, go HERE. And, if you want to become my friend, please add me! :) I love friends.

2. Rachel helped me with my blurb. What we have right now is this: 

Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy's fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

If that sounds totally awesome to you, let me know. LOL. Also, if something doesn't sound quite right, also let me know. :D

3. I'm very much celebrating my wonderful Aladdin.

For those of you who don't know, Aladdin is my boyfriend. I call him Aladdin because he looks like Aladdin (that's not his real name, lol). He's also taken advantage of this because he told me the other day, "I'm Aladdin, you have to trust me." LOLOLOL.

Anyways, this sweet boy has helped me with EVERYTHING. I mean, I decide to self-pub, and he's all about watching photoshop videos to help me create a map, and reading up on all the formatting info, and just anything and everything to help me make this as perfect as possible.


Oh, if you want to see my first blogpost about how my Aladdin looks like THE Aladdin, go HERE. LOL.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Resurrection Blogfest!


This is late because I had internet problems yesterday! Silly Internet. Anyways, the wonderful Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic is hosting the Resurrection Blogfest for her blog-o-versary! Happy Bloggiversary, Mina! The rules are simple: resurrect a post from between November 8, 2012 and November 6, 2013.

Because I posted yesterday for the IWSG about being positive, I decided to resurrect a post from June 28, 2013 titled "Healthy thoughts."


A HUGE part of getting healthy, is making sure your thoughts are positive. It sounds easy, right? I bet many people don't realize how negative they really are. How many people use the term "F my life" or "I just can't" or "I'm not doing enough" or "I'm terrible at this."
What about...
"I hate the way I look in this dress""I don't like my [insert body part here]""I shouldn't have eaten that brownie for lunch" 
Even saying "I want to be a writer" when someone asks you what you want to do with your English Degree isn't thinking positively. If I said "I'm a writer," now that would be positive.
Healthy, positive thoughts are so important to us as writers. We swim in a world of rejection a lot. I even had a dream about sending a query off and being rejected in like two seconds. It's hard and it will be harder if we let it bring us down. 
Now, I didn't just magically decide one day that I needed healthy thoughts, or that my thoughts were unhealthy. This has been a learning process and don't think for a second that all I have are perfect thoughts because...man, it's hard to change how you think. Once you begin though, you'll start becoming hyper-aware of where negativity comes from and it will make you feel icky. Then you'll realize where you picked those thoughts up from (maybe your mother or your father? Teachers or other influential characters in your life). You'll start to tell those negative thoughts "no!" and feel better for it. 
Changing our thoughts allows us to attract positive things in life because we're finally not focusing on the bad. It's a good exercise for anyone. 
Start by turning one negative thing you say about yourself into a positive one. What would you change? 

It's always a good reminder to stay positive! :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG: Challenging the Norm


Today is the first Wednesday of the month and the Insecure Writer's Support Group, hosted by Alex J. CavanaughCD Coffelt, Tina Downey, Isis Rushdan, and Michelle Wallace!

I started out writing about how bi-polar I had felt over the last couple of weeks toward my book. Then I decided. "Meh. I don't feel like complaining."

Has anyone attempted that 21-day experiment where you don't complain about anything? Here's the website: http://www.acomplaintfreeworld.org

Part of their mission is "We see a day when people focus on and speak about what they desire things to be rather than complaining about how things are."

I know some people will automatically respond, "Well, that sounds nice, but try actually living in this world and then tell me you have no complaints."

But that's already approaching the idea negatively, and think if you approach something as positive as not complaining for 21 days how you're approaching everything else in your life.

Sometimes, the writing world only has only negativity. We've all heard it--how hard it is to write, how all our first drafts are crap, how hard it is to land an agent, how difficult it is to find a publisher, people actually write blog posts that tell you, "It could happen...but probably not to you."

Come on. 

It's okay for people to have dreams, and you know what? A little naivety was never a bad thing. In fact, I don't understand everyone wanting to throw harsh reality in everyone's face.

Is it so you won't get hurt? Have too high expectations?

What's wrong with high expectations? Or dreams?

You might think I'm being silly--but why can't we look at that first draft as something that's not crap? Have you even thought about where you got that idea from? Did you read a lot of things about writers who talk about how all first drafts are crap, and then you started talking about yourself that way? I guarantee you that when I wrote my first book a lonnngggg time ago, I thought it was awesome...and there was a beauty to that thinking because now my self-esteem has taken blow after blow because of the "harsh realities of the publishing industry."

Let's start doing something different. 
Let's look at our drafts as awesome ideas.
EVEN if it is far from perfect.
Because what you've written--well, that's certainly a feat! Why shouldn't it be praised instead of stomped on and insulted? I think, if manuscripts had feelings, they would cry and not have very high self-esteems because of what WE say about our own creations.

Look, all I'm saying is without that glorious first draft, you wouldn't have that published book. BE PROUD OF IT. Give it the praise it needs. Look at it constructively and keep on making that first draft more awesome as draft after draft follows it.

Let's change the mind-set--that's the challenge to all of you!



Note...I hope this was uplifting, and makes some of you feel better today. :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

CUTLASS COVER REVEAL SIGN UP!

UGH. LAST WEEK WAS INSANE!! I had media products, papers, policies, and gosh knows what else to write for school...but all that came at once, and it is OVER.

Moving on to more AWESOME THINGS!

http://www.flickr.com/

Anyone wanna help with the Cutlass Cover Reveal? It will be December 18, 2013! Just sign up on the link list and I'll get information to you ASAP! We'll probably have a contest and whatever else I can think of. :D





**If you do not see the linky list below, please just post with your e-mail.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween Interview with Rachel Pudelek!



Ever since Rachel landed her agent, Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary, I have wanted to do an interview with her. I met Rachel over a year ago in the blog-o-sphere and she has helped me so much in the area of queries and pitching to agents, now her wise words are here for you!


*Waves to Rachel*
Thank you for letting me interview you! Tell us about your book!



Deadly Splendor is a young adult horror novel about a teen girl, Allura, who is chosen by her elders to lead her all-female secret society back to their roots of man-hunting. But when the enemies of her ancestors follow the blood trail she’s left behind, she’s forced to kill for more than just pleasure.


Where did you get the premise for you story and how did you go about the research?


I think there isn’t enough fierce-female stories in our culture, and I’m not just referring to the written form of story-telling. So I sought to write a novel about a whole sub-culture of women that not even Chuck Norris would want to meet in a dark alley.


I loved researching for Deadly Splendor! Most every country/culture has age-old tales of huntresses, women who lured men to their deaths. So I combined the attributes of these folkloric women to create the ones you see in my story. They call themselves Femina Mari. I also pulled in bits of history. One of my favorites is when Allura explains how her foremothers avenged the hundreds of women who were burned during the European witch hunts, by slaughtering the ruthless men in charge.


The book started out as a Young Adult Supernatural novel and turned into YA Horror. Where you surprised by the genre shift?

Actually, I was relieved by it. My agent told me that while I had supernatural elements in my story (The secret society is comprised of descendants of folkloric man-eaters.) my writing style and voice were horror/thriller. She encouraged me to embrace this, which made me happy because that meant Allura got to let loose and rack up a body count.


Is there any particular message you were hoping to get across in your novel? What are some themes you explored? 

When I wrote it, no. Except, of course, the whole girl power and equality aspect. (Allura befriends a guy, which complicates things.) Actually, through my research this story taught me important lessons rather than me trying to teach others through the story.


What has been the most exciting thing about having an agent and getting closer to a publication deal?


I wrote DEADLY SPLENDOR in 2011. And despite the challenges I faced with this type of story, I refused to give up on it. I’d trunked a manuscript before writing DEADLY SPLENDOR, so it wasn’t that I was too stubborn. My connection to Allura and the Femina Mari world runs deeper than that. So the most exciting thing about having an agent and therefore getting one step closer to the possibility of a publication deal is the idea that maybe one day others will see mist and evergreens and think of Allura, just like I do.


What has been the most surprising thing? 

I’ve been learning a ton lately about this business, but I think what surprised me the most at first was that your season of waiting doesn’t end once you’ve crawled out of the query trenches. In fact, those trenches were only the practice round.


What are some other projects you are working on that you’re excited about?

I finished a YA light sci-fi romance a few months back, involving hidden pasts and inter-dimensional forbidden love. I’m in the editing stage of an upper MG novel about an Egyptian mummy princess in New York City. And I’m plotting a dark YA contemporary romance involving cougars, cubs, and motorcycle gangs. ;)


Fun questions:


Favorite Horror Movie: It’s kind of an older one (made in 2001), but Frailty with Bill Paxton and Mathew McConaughey.


Favorite Book: I have a favorite book for each genre I read. But there’s one book I read when I was a teenager that I still think about often: STRANGER with MY FACE by Lois Duncan.


Favorite Book Cover: I don’t have one. I just adore all beautiful covers. But the dark, eerie cover of BETEEN the DEVIL and the DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke has my attention, for sure. I’m intrigued by the cliff, the mist, and the evergreens. Also, the romantic and colorful cover of ALIENTATED by Melissa Landers is absolutely gorgeous.


Favorite Word:
A particular German cussword I say at least twice a day.


Favorite Color: Purple


Favorite source for inspiration: Nature. Preferably the forest, filled with evergreens, moss, and ferns. If there’s a lake, or ocean inlet, or waterfall, I’m in heaven.


Thanks for the fun interview, Rachel! I CANNOT wait for DEADLY SPLENDOR!


You can find Rachel at her blog: A Rainy Day Writer in the Evergreen State
Twitter: @rachelpud

Friday, October 25, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things: October 25, 2013



If you want to join the weekly Celebrate the Small Things bloghop, head over to VikLit's Writing Blog and add your name to the link list!

Wow! These few weeks have been a *little* crazy, and I have much to be thankful for at the end of all things!

1. My awesome CP, Barbara Kloss!

2. I have a new workspace and it's awesome!

This is before I started working at it. 
This is after. The big monitor is awesome. 

3. Aladdin worked on the image for my imprint! So now I present to you, my imprint! 
4. Last but not least, I should put school on this list because it's been consuming a good part of my hours recently, and while I'm close to being burnt out, I'm still thankful I'll have a master's degree soon. 

Okay! hopefully I'll be back to making the blog rounds soon! <3 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Post!

Hey guys! Check out my guest post over at 


Part of N.A. Windsor's Wednesday Writing Workshop

:) 

See you all soon! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Journey to Publication: Pre-release Reviews!

My boyfriend and I are going to sit down to our first marketing meeting this evening. We're going to make it an official thing with coffee and all that jazz.

It sounds silly, but I'm excited!

And scared. 0___0

Marketing is something I've actually ALWAYS thought about. While all you lovely people are marking your books and coming up with awesome ideas, I'm sitting here taking it all in and I honestly must THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for the expertise you unwittingly share on a daily basis!

I think my biggest focus with my first book will be how many pre-release reviews I can get. The only bad part is that I'm self-published, therefore, the reviews can only go on GoodReads and not on the Amazon account.

Still, pre-rerelease reviews mean people are seeing my book, the cover--basically, the brand of CUTLASS. They're going to know that image...and they might like it enough to say, "Hey! I'm gonna buy that on April 23, 2014." *cough* cough* which would make my birthday AWESOME!! *cough* *cough*

In relation to my reviews in general, I've set a goal of having 100 by July 23, 2014 (three months after my publication date).

I read this article by Mike Lowndes which was helpful.
And he linked this article by Jeanette Vaughan which gave me a lot to consider, too. 

One thing she suggested, and that I had already planned on doing, was to create an imprint. Aladdin has been working on the logo! I will reveal that to you all when we get everything settled with that!

What was the scariest thing on your publication journey? 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Celebrate the Small Things!



I decided to join this awesome bloghop called Celebrate the Small Things. If you want to join in, head over to VikLit's blog and sign up!  I do love anything that makes me pause on life and remind myself how lucky I am and how positive I need to be.

I am celebrating is my admission into candidacy for my master's program! :D This means that I am prepped and ready to take the comp in March (four days, I will be out of commission, lol). THEN I can graduate in May!! I'm very much ready!

I am also celebrating a vast majority of amazing friends who continuously encourage me. I've been editing my book the past week and I'm not sure I would have had the motivation to keep going if not for them!

I am celebrating this beautiful Sunshine Award given to me by Cathrina Constantine! Thank you so much for thinking of me!


Here are the questions:

Fave color: Purple
Fave animal: Umm...I like dogs and elephants. LOL.
Fave number: 10
Fave non-alcoholic drink: green tea!
Fave alcoholic drink: I'm a fan of red wine.
Facebook or Twitter: ooohh...Facebook, I'll get better at Twitter.
Passions: Writing & health
Prefer giving or getting presents? Giving!!!
Fave city? Let's go with Rome.
Fave TV Shows: SHERLOCK!!! 


Now, I'm nominating some friends! 



Anyone else who would like to jump in and answer these questions for themselves, go right ahead! :) 

Happy weekend!! 
Boomer Sooner!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where do you get your books?

I was curious about where you get your books. I'm a LIS student, and our focus is always libraries (physical and digital).  Do you use the library? Do you utilize their e-book lending programs? Do you buy from Amazon mostly? Do you buy e-books or paperbacks? What about bookstores? Which bookstore do you go to most?


 For me, I use a combination of all of the above. Some of my favorite bookstores are Half-Price Books and Barnes & Noble (because it has an amazing YA collection!). Also, I discover that our public library here in Norman actually has an impressive YA collection, too! So let me know, where do you get your books? :)






And after you have answered my poll, you should head over to Mina Lobo's blog and sign up for her blogfest! She's celebrating her two-year blog anniversary! Those are always fun! :D





This year, Mina invites everyone to 'resurrect' a blog post between November 8, 2012 and November 6, 2013! She will also give away PRIZES!! :) Head on over and sign up!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Guest Post: Misha Gericke!


The Book

Since the death of her parents, Callan Blair has been shunted from one foster family to another, her dangerous secret forcing the move each time. Her latest foster family quickly ships her off to an exclusive boarding school in the Cumbrian countryside. While her foster-brother James makes it his mission to get Callan expelled, a nearby ancient castle holds the secret doorway to another land...

When Callan is forced through the doorway, she finds herself in the magical continent of Tardith, where she’s shocked to learn her schoolmates Gawain and Darrion are respected soldiers in service to the king of Nordaine, one of Tardith's realms. More than that, the two are potential heirs to the Black Knight—Nordaine's crown prince.

But when the Black Knight fails to return from a mysterious trip, the realm teeters on the brink of war. Darrion and Gawain set out to find him, while Callan discovers there is more to her family history than she thought. The elves are claiming she is their princess.

Now with Darrion growing ever more antagonistic and her friendship with Gawain blossoming, Callan must decide whether to stay in Nordaine—where her secret grows ever more threatening—or go to the elves and uncover the truth about her family before war sets the realms afire.

~*~

So. What’s my cover about?

When Ashley asked me to write something about my cover, I thought I’d do a post on what it all means.

Before I do, I just want to give the cover designer who did the image a huge applause. He/she nailed it!



The Imagery


The girl on the cover is Callan, who’s dealing with one serious issue that’s slowly been destroying her life for as long as she can remember. As the book goes on, the problem worsens. That’s the snake-shadow you see in the image. And the castle in the background is either the one in Cumbria which houses the doors to another world, or it’s the one in Nordaine, where she’s taken after a failed kidnapping attempt. Based on the stone’s color, I’m thinking it’s the Cumbrian. I think the darker stone framing the cover represents Nordaine.


When I look at the cover, I get a sense of mystery and foreboding, which hits the exact right note for the entire series. There’s a lot that Callan (and the other main characters) doesn’t know, and some of the stuff she needs to find out is dangerous.


The Pseudonym


I’ve been getting comments that using a pseudonym was silly of me because it’s so close to my name. There’s a reason for this. I knew from the beginning that I was going to use one, but once the book deal was signed and Etopia asked what name I wanted to publish under, I had to think.

The problem with my real name is that most people misspell it in some way, which would probably count against me in the early searches. At the same time, I was so dang proud of the story that I didn’t want to make the name unrecognizable as being me. So I basically simplified my surname and used M. instead of Misha, since I didn’t want new readers to shoot me down for being a girl.


The Titles


My series is called War of Six Crowns, because it deals with evens happening before, during and after a war between six kings.

Each book will be named for a major event in the war’s timeline, so The Vanished Knight comes from Nordaine’s only remaining blood heir disappearing at the book’s beginning.

So yeah, that’s pretty much my cover in a nutshell. Feel free to ask me any questions related to the book or writing it! Thanks so much for hosting me, Ashley!


~*~ 

M. Gerrick (AKA Misha Gericke) has basically created stories since before she could write. Many of those stories grew up with her and can be seen in her current projects. She lives close to Cape Town, with a view over False Bay and Table Mountain. If you’d like to contact her, feel free to mail her at warofsixcrowns(AT)gmail(DOT)com, Circle her on Google Plus or follow her on Twitter. If you'd like to see her writer-side (beware, it's pretty insane), please feel free to check out her blog.


Links:

Goodreads

Amazon

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble



Thank you, Misha! I love your cover, and the book sounds AMAZING! I cannot wait to read!


Monday, September 30, 2013

ANNOUNCEMENT!


I have an announcement.... :D

After much thought and consideration, I have decided to self-publish my novel, Cutlass. I am ecstatic. I have been planning the stages of my impending book release and with each new idea, I become even more motivated. I absolutely cannot wait until my book is available to everyone.

I would like to say that my decision to self-publish rests on the fact that, first, I really do enjoy getting to have a say in EVERYTHING that goes into my book, and second, I am a little...impatient. I feel as though I have been very idle in my attempts to have my work seen. This decision puts and end to that. My query stats weren't actually that bad. I queried 20 agents had had 2 partial requests and 2 full requests. In the end, I've decided that I will move forward with my publishing date and whatever happens, happens.

I have so many of you awesome bloggers to thank for ALL my resources. You have no idea how all of YOUR insight and resources directed me into feeling so absolutely comfortable with this decision.

Here are some people I would just like to thank real fast:

Mina Lobo - Thank you for editor suggestion on your blog, Jena! She had my book back to me in THREE days with AMAZING feedback!
Micalea Smeltzer - Thank you for the wonderful cover artist!

Regina - Thanks for BEING an amazing cover artist!
Sam - Thank you for you amazing video skills! I know the book trailer you put together is going to be amazing and unique.
Barbara Kloss - Thank you for your excellent encouragement and help with all my self-pubbing questions. Also, thank you for your suggestions on editors and future formatting help!


I have a list of things I have to do which include: 

  • Finishing up edits and sending to betas 
  • Another proofread from the editor 
  • Revealing my cover
  • Revealing my book trailer
  • Deciding who to query for reviews before and after my book release
  • Deciding who to query for a blog tour
  • Buy my own ISBNs (I want to, essentially, create my own publishing company)
  • Figuring out formatting for createspace
  • After I figure out formatting and see the proof, attempt to create ARCs
  • Making shirts and other SWAG
  • Planning my release party!

I have had so much fun creating my marketing plan (luckily, I have a marketing class that's been super helpful!), and researching all of this info about publishing. I really want my book to be high-quality and look and read much like a traditionally published book. 

So, without and further rambling, I give you some very important dates:

December 18, 2013 - cover reveal
January 15, 2014 - book trailer reveal
April 23, 2014 - release day!!


Yes, April 23rd is my birthday! Lol. I figured why not give myself the greatest thing I have wanted for 10 years, which is sharing my characters and worlds with readers?

For my cover reveal I will post a linky list for anyone interested in helping me reveal my cover to the world! That will come around November. Then, in December, I will post another linky list for those of you interested in revealing the book trailer. For the actual release day, I will begin a blog tour from April 23-May 5. I will probably give away books, swag and whatever else I can come up with to thrust into your hands. I am so very excited about this, and I hope you guys are, too! If you wanna know more about my book, you can read the "CUTLASS" tab at the top of my page, or go to my website: HERE.

So, who's self-published and who's not? What are some of your favorite self-published books? Do you run away from a book when you hear the word self-published?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Follow Fest! :)





Melissa MayGrove is hosting a follow fest and I was lucky enough to find it on Elise Fallson's blog yesterday so I could jump in and meet some cool people!  

Name: 
-Ashley Nixon 

Fiction or nonfiction? 
-Fiction

What genres do you write? 
- Right now I write YA Fantasy, but I have an idea for a literary novel, too!

Are you published? 
- Not yet! :) 

Do you do anything in addition to writing?
-I read...and I'm in Grad School. I'm also a critique partner/beta reader for some peeps!

Where can people connect with you?
-Lotsa places! 


-@Ashleymnixon 







YouTube (starting soon! :D)


Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
-If you come back on Monday, September 30th, I'll have a big announcement! :)