“Cyber Monday” Contest

NaturalOrderStarting today and going through to the end of Sunday the 13th, I’m to have a contest for an ebook copy of Natural Order. To enter all you have to do is tool around the new website and comment here in this blog post with feedback. It can be something you liked, a mistake you found, or suggestions you have to make the site better (Just a heads up, I have yet to figure out how to get the search engine to work on the site, so no comments saying “the search engine doesn’t work”, because I know that, however if you happen to know how to get a search to work using Dreamweaver or just HTML code please let me know. Make sure you dumb the explanation down because I’m still learning this coding crap.).

This also includes if people want to explore the site and/or blog, and respond with feedback on both or either. On that Monday after (the 14th) I will put names in my hat, and will have my daughter bring in her new rat friends to choose 1-3 names from my hat to win an e-book (we have epub, mobi, and pdf formats). The number number of final winners I’ll be choosing from will depend on how many people proticipate over the week, so if you want more chances for people to win, then feel free to invite your friends to join in the fun. Good luck

Writer’s Process: Thoughts on Writing Sequels and Natural Order Peek

Lately I’ve been pretty focused on the subject of sequels. I remembered a few years ago before I started college I got e-mail from my publisher stating that my sequel for Ancestral Magic (currently named Shadow Magic), didn’t have enough back story. Now I admit, as a woman who enjoys a good fantasy or paranormal book series, nothing irritates me more than feeling like a previous book is being retold in the following one. Fortunately, for my sake and that of my readers would’ve been politely nudging me for the sequel, I finally got over the creative speedbump and now Shadow Magic due out early next spring.

Lately I have been working away on my newest project, National Rebirth, the sequel to my novel that is coming out in a few days, Natural Order. It’s crazy hard. It’s been so long since I wrote the first one, I had to really reacquaint myself with the story, and the little details. Timeline was a huge one. The characters, those seem to always remain with me, but setting, dates, even name sometimes, those can be tricky. I found the easiest thing was to become a scholar of the first book, before I even started working on the second. While I have enough back story this time with all slowing the pace? Who knows. But I now have a better respect for the authors I used to be irritated with as I waited for the sequels and continuing sagas of their work.

So for my readers who have enjoyed getting to know the wonderful folks in the community of Green Grove, and who are waiting patiently to revisit there, I invite you to come and get to know the Archiquette family and their newest daughter, Elizabeth.

Here’s a sample of that community from soon to be released novel, Natural Order.

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What a week!

I have to admit the last couple weeks have been very frustrating for me. With Natural Order coming out on October 1, and me not having done any marketing for any books for a couple years now, there was a lot of prep work to do. The advantage to that is now that I have the groundwork set up future marketing for other novels is going to be easier. The disadvantage is I was spending so much time feeding the marketing beast that I had little to no time left to actually write.

A few days ago, just as I was about to do the read over on Natural Rebirth so I could start finishing the last few chapters, edits came in for Shadow Magic (the sequel to Ancestral Magic). As of today I’ve got the first run edits done on  Shadow Magic, and I am about through chapter 6 on my read through of Natural Rebirth. I admit when I first wrote the rough draft a while back and when I did the reorg of the chapters a month or so ago, I wasn’t really sure if I was happy with the way the novel was going. Now that I’ve had a little time away and I’m able to read through what I have so far, I’m happier with the story. I’ve got about eight more chapters to read through and clean up, and I think probably about five more chapters to write, but my goal of finishing the novel (the first draft at least) by October 1 doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.

Part of me wishes I’d been able to blog more this past week or so, but I imagine once the first book is released and I’m stressing less about the whole thing, finding things to say here will be easier. It’s possible that trying to theme certain days is making me feel limited rather than my original intent of giving me a plan, so I might keep things here a little bit more free form for a while. I did recently replace my academic datebook, so I finally have a way of keeping track of what I’m supposed to do on each day, so that might help, too.

I’m hoping soon, however I decide to do it, to start seeing people comment on the posts here. It’s a lot more exciting and engaging to talk when you know you are have an audience listening and interacting with you. Here’s hoping as this blog grows and my books become available to a wider audience of people, that I will see more people come here to have conversations with.

Thinky Thoughts – More about Marketing and Reviews.

On a couple of the Facebook author and reader groups I’m part of the readers have been sharing their frustration with the marketing habits of some of the authors. I thought giving voice to those frustrations was important. Especially for small press authors, and heck even with the big presses nowadays, there’s a lot of pressure on an author to take on the task of promoting their work themselves. The trouble is, some authors are posting the same promo(s) several times a day on the same groups, which honestly is having the opposite effect that I’m sure they want. Instead of creating “the seven times so the consumer remembers” exposure that all the marketing advice places say that we need to have, these authors are literally turning readers off of their work because of overexposure. This got me to thinking…

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Feeding the Beast – Marketing (review sites)

I’m not going to lie to y’all, I would much rather be writing then doing marketing. Writing is a lot more fun. There is a level of self-consciousness around marketing my work. I’m proud of my stories. I love sharing them, and excited when I get feedback from folks that read my stories. But it’s difficult for me to draw attention to myself in that way. A lot of times I force myself to do it, and in most cases feel like I’m trying too hard. Trouble is, without having a large publisher to do my marketing for me (nowadays that’s not always happening through the big publishers most of time) if I want people to read stories I write I to talk about them, and I have to hope that people like my stories enough to talk about them as well.

I started working on rebuilding the site that went away after my last publisher closed their doors. In the meantime, since working on the website requires me to learn a lot more about Dreamweaver than I know currently, I figured a good place to start would be searching for review sites. To be honest, I would have rather done this at least three months out, rather than two months like I am, but this was the first time I can really get around to doing the research to find the sites to begin with. So far I’ve gotten a fair few places I’ve sent out the digital form of the novel today, and several more I sent out emails hoping to hear back return requests for copies of the book.

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Guardian Circle Recipes – Homemade Ginger Soda and Anti-Nausea Lollipops

I thought what might be kind of interesting is gathering up the foods mentioned the stories I write and sharing recipes so people can try to make them at home. I noticed not long after I started writing that I have a tendency to to mention food a lot in my stories. I figure what I’ll do on days I don’t really have anything else planned, is share a recipe or two along with a section from the story it was mentioned in. This first one comes from Natural Order, out of the very first chapter when Orion is driving Beth to the farm for the first time.

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New Beginnings

I admit it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog, and I think it’s high time to change that. The past several years have brought a lot of changes for me. Right after the release of my 3rd novel my publisher, PD Publishing, made the decision to close their doors which left me in a period of creative mourning, dreading the idea of shopping my stories around in hopes of finding a decent publisher willing to reprint them so I could continue both series as well as publish the other novels I was working on. At the same time I was going to school to get a degree, a nontraditional student in a sea of freshfaced students right out of high school. Many days this left me emotionally drained, or simply mentally depleted, not knowing what to even talk about.

In the past year, however, I have found a new home for all three novels; Natural Order, Ancestral Magic, and Worlds Collide, as well as the sequel to Ancestral Magic, titled Shadow Magic. I have also graduated with honors and received the degree I worked so hard for. Now while I get some breaths and recharge my batteries prior to the great job hunt, I find myself in a better place to open up ad to talk to people about myself, my art, and the world I created through these characters.

I welcome all who venture here and hope you find things that stir your own creativity, or perhaps make you think about how you view the world around you. I will do my best to keep topics here perhaps less political and intense than what you might find on my Facebook. I’m a person of very strong opinions, and even when I share those opinions here that doesn’t mean anyone who visits here has to  agree with me. I do ask all visitors remain respectful of each other, and come here with an open mind and open heart.