Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Publishing Experience

When I wrote A Bridge of Her Own I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I’ve talked about this before on a Goodreads blog (at some point in time I might just copy paste over here so everything is in one place) but once my novel was completed I did not know how to inflict it on the masses.

I had a friend from high school who had published a couple of nonfiction books who told me about Smashwords. Another friend who just likes to Google stuff told me about LuLu. So, want to hear my very high tech way of deciding which way to go? I was reading a series that I had fallen in love with and now that I had written a book I actually played attention to the copyright page and saw that it was also published with Smashwords. That was the decider for me because my theory was, that if I, as a random reader could stumble across this series published via Smashwords that maybe someone could stumble upon my novel as well.

I know, genius level thinking right there. It just gave me a sense of confidence that I wouldn’t be releasing my novel into this unknown void of who knows what. I spent one afternoon going step by step through the formatting guide. I’m not going to lie, that was painful. I am by no means a tech person, I only really know just enough to plod along in this virtual world. My formatting skills were so unsuccessful that I ended up paying someone to format it for me.

That very first file changed over time, I took it down to utilize the services of an editor and cover designer. Re-releasing it the second was a breeze and the same goes for my second novel. It was at this point I started formatting both for paperback copies. I ended up using Createspace, and have been extremely pleased with the results. Formatting was a serious pain. There are so many things to worry about that I didn’t fully grasp when I uploaded my first file and only figured out once I had the first proof in hand.

I am going to list the things I overlooked, please know I’m not proud of them but, well just know that…

Page 1 starting on Chapter 1….duh

Last numbered page ending on the actual last page of the story…duh

Having headers….duh

Font and Text size….my first proof could really only be read with a magnifying glass (j/k)

I will treasure my first proof always as a reminder to slow down in the future. I was just so excited about the idea of holding a book I had written in my hands. Patience is becoming my biggest take away for my whole publishing process. I’m learning as I go how to develop interest in my work prior to releasing it. This is not always easy for me. My first novel I published I just told my friends and coworkers…then I joined twitter and set up a Facebook author page. With my second novel I contacted some Facebook Novel Review pages and offered them (unedited) Arcs of Uninvolved. I have partnered up with other indie authors to put blurbs of their novels at the back of my novels and they are doing the same for me.

This time…deep breath, I plan to also attempt some sort of blog tour (If anyone is interested in hosting me that is). I will send Arcs again, only this time pretty edited ones with the cover included. Prior to release date, which I’m hoping will be sometime in April I plan on discounting ebook prices of both prior novels to maybe generate interest. I also plan to try and have paperback copies of Stages of Grace ready to go around the same time. That’s my publishing story, and future plans. I’d love to hear what things any of you are doing that you feel have been successful.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Eeeeeeep! The Love Game by Emma Hart

I'm beta reading this right now. It's good, so so good!

The Love Game Cover Reveal Info


His challenge? Make her fall in love with him.
Her challenge? Play the player.
Until life changes the rules of the game.

Maddie Stevens hated Braden Carter on sight. Arrogant, egotistical, and the playboy of the University of California, Berkeley, he's everything her brother Pearce has taught her to despise. So why, when the girls challenge her to play the player, doesn't she say no? She doesn't know either.
Braden wanted fiery little Maddie the second he laid eyes on her - and he'd do anything to have her, hence why he's agreed to make her fall in love with him. After all, it's the only way he'll get what he wants. Sex.

But, as Braden discovers, there's more to the girl from Brooklyn than he ever imagined - and he can't help but care about the broken girl behind those pretty green eyes.

Maddie finds Braden isn't just a walking erection - he actually has feelings. He can be sweet, funny and his good looks don't exactly hurt. That means trouble - but when her brother Pearce turns up in Berkeley begging for her help, she realises Braden and Pearce aren't so alike anymore.
And maybe, just maybe, they're exactly what each other needs.

He slides one of his arms around me and pulls me to him so my back is flush against his chest, both of our arms wrapping my stomach. “See? I've got you. It's fine, Angel.”
“This is crazy. Never again is Megan organizing a date.”
“Yeah, she got a good one with this.” He laughs again and I shake my head.
“No, no, she didn't. This is terrible.”
“Really? I would have thought that being up against me would be a good thing.”
“Maybe it would be if I could actually focus on the fact I'm pressed against your body.”
“Well, then.” He spins so he's in front of me, skating backwards.
“Braden, you can't see where we're going!”
“That's your job.”
“Oh my god.” I try looking over his shoulder but I can't. He's too tall, dammit. “You're too tall!”
“Then you just have to trust me.” His lips take mine in a searing kiss and I gasp inwardly, grabbing hold of him tightly. His hands find my waist and pull my hips against him, our speed slowing slightly. He goes to deepen the kiss, his tongue tracing between my lips, and I nip his bottom lip before I open to him. My fingers tangle in his hair as our tongues meet, starting an intricate dance of want.
For a second, I forget the game. I forget the fake relationship. I forget the fact I'm on roller-skates and Braden isn't-
“Oomph!” Braden grunts, hitting the floor. I laugh, rolling off him.
“I told you we didn't know where we were going!” I say through my laughter, blades of grass tickling my ears.
“Hey.” He rolls towards me, propping himself up on his elbow. His hair flops down towards my face, casting little shadows over us. “I totally knew where we were going until you distracted me.”
distracted you? Oh no, mister. You kissed me, not the other way around.”
“And I didn't hear any complaints about that.”
“Maybe that's because there weren't any.”
“Oh, yeah?”
“Then let's try again.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Interview with Melodie Ramone

          One thing I thought would be really cool to do on this blog is introduce y'all to some of my favorite authors by doing author interviews with them. I hope you will love them as much as I do. My very first interview is with the lovely Melodie Ramone. I met Melodie on Twitter, she seemed nice so I bought her book After Forever Ends. This book consumed me, it is to this day one of my all time favorite books. I have posted my review of After Forever Ends at the bottom of this page. So, anyway...after finishing this book that I would marry if that was an option I proceeded to stalk (nicely) Melodie until I made her my friend. Somehow (she doesn't scare easy) she adored me as much as I her (swoon!) and I am honored to call her a friend. She even put an author spotlight of me on her website! She truly is a beautiful soul and I hope she sells so many books she can hire a swarm of muscled men to carry her around in a litter...she falls down a lot.  Without further ado, here is Melodie Ramone-

What is the one thing you wish you had known before setting out to be an indie author?

I underestimated how much time it takes to promote a novel...and how much money I'd need to go as big as I originally wanted. I still haven't gone as big as I wanted...yet.

What inspired you to have twins in your novel?

Honestly, I just knew Oliver and Alexander were twins. There was never any question in my mind. Can you imagine them NOT being twins? lol What I didn't know when I "discovered" them was that they looked so very much alike. Because they are so different personality wise, I thought there would be bigger differences, but they're very nearly physically indistinguishable. That took me awhile to figure out, actually, and when I did, I realized how much it bothered them both that some people couldn't acknowledge that they are two very different people. Hence, their hatred for the term "identical twins" and their preference for "mono-zygotic twins". In the end, their being twins added a lot to the story, I think. But I didn't plan it that way. It's just the way it was.

How do you find time to write?

I find time to write when I ignore all my responsibilities, children, husband, cats, ferrets, shut off my phone, disconnect the internet and sit in a corner with my headphones on. I try to look really, really angry while I'm at it, to deter any interruption. hee. Just joking. I'm told I look really, really angry when I'm writing. It's true, when I'm concentrating or thinking, I scowl.

Do you have a favorite place where you write?

Right now, I sit in the corner of the living room beside the space heater. I like to write where it's warm. I don't know why, but sitting cross legged in a recliner (anywhere) with a blanket and a laptop balanced between my knees puts me into some kind of meditational state where I can channel inter-dimensional beings. I just relax, sit, listen to the disembodied voices, and type as fast as I can.

 Do you use Beta readers? If so, what type of feedback do you feel is the most helpful?

I think any kind of feedback is good, as long as it isn't dumb. But I'm stubborn and I don't change much because of what people tell me. I mean, sometimes, like if they want more of a particular character or more of a particular part of the story. But I won't change the "truth" of what happens in a book because somebody thought that a female character should have been with a different male character or something like that. I'm there to tell the character's story more than please somebody's idea of what the character should have done. (I hope that makes sense.)

One of my favorite scenes from After Forever Ends was the muffin scene. With out giving too much away for anyone who has not read AFE yet what inspired that scene?

Ah! The infamous "Muffin" scene! The inspiration for that was pretty simple. Family dynamics are interesting and they're fun to watch from a distance, especially when things get heated. Not when you're caught in the middle, mind, but Silvia was telling that story looking back from far into the future, so she was able to laugh about it. Families can spin out of control at any given second and that scene was one of those times that got out of hand. I knew what had happened, so I just wound them up and let them go. haha! It was Oliver that set that situation up for chaos, though, the way he nonchalantly dropped such a huge bombshell over tea. Poor Ed and Ana! All they ever wanted was the best for their children and they were stuck with, as Ed put it, "Those two toxic demons", Oliver and Alexander. Nobody ever knew what they were going to do next, but that particular decision...that one was huge. (I can't say what Oliver did. Spoilers, you know?) Basically, Ed was so angry with and confused by what his son, Oliver, had done, that he jumped to the nearest conclusion to make his choice make sense. But since his mind was so scrambled, instead of saying "She has a bun in the oven!", he said, "She's baking a muffin!" And to make it even funnier, he was wrong, Oliver had no idea what he was talking about, and Silvia completely lost any composure she might have had before he said it.

Do you have a favorite writing snack? If so, please dish

I will eat just about anything! But I really love pretzels when I'm writing. You know, so the crumbs can fall on the keyboard and I can spend an extra 45 minutes mashing the bits down by pressing on the "M" key really hard and then blowing on the keys?

I know you are a big reader, what are your three all time favorite books?

That's hard to quantify. I have so many favorite books, but there have been a few that stand out the most in my mind as "important" books. The first "important" book to me was probably "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton. I read that in like 4th grade and it made an deep impression on me. "The DragonLance Chronicles" were HUGE in helping me learn how important character development is in a story. It was the first book where I literally fell in love with characters and felt like they were my friends. And a third book? That's tough, honestly. All the good ones take a place in my heart and just stay there.

Lastly, do you have a current work in progress? If so, what's it about? And when do you hope to release it?

I have been poking around at two or three things, but none of them are flowing as freely as I'd like. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks things will settle down and then I'll be able to really get down to writing something worth reading. :)

Here is my review of After Forever Ends:

Some books stay with you, long after you've finished them. For me, this is one of those books. I follow Melodie on Twitter and honestly bought the book because she is a doll. I also remember seeing a review on Amazon that had plucked out some quotes from the book. The quotes read like lyrics or poetry, they were absolutely beautiful. The story of Silvia Cotton pulled me right in, the contrast of her loneliness to the love and friendship she found in Oliver and Alexander. This beautiful book made me laugh till my husband told me if I woke up the kids I had to deal with them, and it made me sob like my heart was breaking. I read a lot, this is my new favorite book. I want my mom, sisters, and my girlfriends to read this book. I want my daughter, when she is older, to read this book. This book will stay with you, in the most wonderful way.

To Follow Melodie on Twitter 


And Her Blog

And to buy her book

Monday, February 18, 2013

Beta Reading...

When I wrote my first novel (A Bridge of Her Own) I had no idea what a beta reader was. I had friends read it before it was released but otherwise I didn't really know what I was doing (most days still don't). I was introduced to the concept of beta reading when I saw a random tweet on twitter. The author, Christie Palmer (love her!) was looking for a beta for her novel Shadow Play.

I don't just love to read, I, if my house was on fire I'd be like one more chapter, love to read...So, this unknown beta reading tweet captured my curiosity. I responded to the tweet and shared some DMs with Christie. I'll admit I was a total dork about it. I Googled beta reading so I would have an understanding of what was expected. The article I read suggested reading the book twice, once for story line and the second time to pick up any issues you may see. I personally don't do that.

As an author I know what it feels like to wait (impatiently, I wait impatiently and have been known to stalk my beta readers) for feedback. So, when I beta read I send my feedback one or two chapters at a time. So far the authors I have worked with seem to appreciate this.

What do I comment on when I beta read something? I let the author know if a character description changes over the course of the book, like if a character is listed as having a certain hair or eye color in one scene but a different hair or eye color is listed in another scene. I also let the author know if any sections confuse me as a reader. One of the main things I catch as a beta reader is random word corrections in a sentence. For example, sign versus sigh. As a writer (ask my editor) I seem to type signed many times when I actually mean to say sighed. When I saw the same word mix up on a recent beta read I felt a little better, sometimes it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Beta reading, particularly for indie authors is such an important part of the process. Being able to provide a clean document to your editor will allow them additional time to polish your manuscript. For me, I know my biggest weakness will always be punctuation. I speak in run on sentences and that translates into my writing. I have a very patient and kind editor who puts up with me and am happy to pass along her info to anyone interested. 

Moral of the story, if given the opportunity to beta read something understand that you are in the unique position to help mold the story into something better. If a section needs more detail tell the author, if a character doesn't feel real tell the author, if there is one random thing that would make the difference between liking or loving a book tell the author. Just remember to be diplomatic, I am still developing a thick skin when it comes to taking criticism, so when its constructive its much easier to take. That being said if you are ever interested in beta reading Twitter is a good place to find authors who may be looking.

Thanks for reading, feel free to share any other feedback you would love to see a beta provide...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


So, appears I have created a blog. Interesting, I have no clue what I'm doing, and by admitting that my hope is that you will find me endearing...

So, things I will freely admit...

I have no idea how to alter the background of this blog now that I have selected the picture theme! When I picked it I thought it meant I could upload my own picture. It might still mean that, I just don't see any place to do that...
In writing this post I have learned this system has spell check! Sweet! I'm not the best speller...
I also have no idea how often I'll post stuff, I can be oh, must write blog post but wait....shiny! Um, what was I doing before?...
And, lastly...I'm sure you've noticed...I go dot dot dot a lot...