Wednesday, June 8, 2016

B&N's Teen Book Festival

Picture Source
Short and sweet today, Everyone!

June 10-12 is Barnes and Noble's first ever Teen Book Festival, and I'll be participating locally.

I'll be set up at the Layton, Utah Barnes and Noble on Saturday, June 11 from 1-3 pm. If you're local, stop by and say hi. I'd love to chat with you.

Plus there will be lots of other authors, giveaways, and freebies!

Here's a description of the festival:

B-Fest Teen Book Festival

Special Event, Teen Event 
Friday June 10, 2016 9:00 AM 
Event Description 
Join us June 10-12 at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide for B-Fest, our first-ever teen book festival, featuring author events, writing workshops, panel discussions, trivia & games, exclusives, giveaways and much more! For more information, ask a bookseller or visit BN.COM/B-Fest. 

For more info, click HEREHope to see some of you there! 

Are you attending the Teen Book Festival in your area?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Imminent Release of New Books!

Good Monday Morning, All!

Yup, I've been neglecting my blog again. Actually, I've been working on three projects concurrently, and that's on top of normal, everyday life stuff. So I haven't had much time. (I seriously need 36 hour days and the stamina to stay awake through them. ;D)

But I gotta get back into it because I'll probably be releasing 3-4 books (*fingers crossed*) in the second half of the year. 

First, there's Desolate Mantle, Book #2 of Street Games. Come along with Kyra while she continues to search for her brother in the underbelly of Abstreuse City, while Gabe receives more disturbing information in his brother's kidnapping case. I'll be SO glad to get this one out! It's one that keeps getting back-burnered and so has taken almost two years for me to finish. (Yuck!) But it's gonna be awesome! I'm self-publishing this one and just waiting to hear from an editor so I can fix the exact release date, but it'll be soon. Sometime in the next six weeks. (Yea!)

Next is Bastions of Blood, Book #2 of Kremlins. More adventures in Russia with Taras and Inga. What awful thing will Ivan do next. (Hint: Yeah it's about to get a LOT darker. :/) This is being released courtesy of Jolly Fish Press. It's slated for release August 25, 2016. You'll see a lot of promotional efforts on my part between now and then.

In the fall, I hope to release Dark Matter, Book #3 of Interchron. This is the third project I've been working on lately. It's not finished yet but it's chugging along. This one will be the trickiest as I'm currently in the process of leaving my publisher for book 1, and will probably be commissioning new covers for all three books.

In the meantime, I'm also writing book 3 of Kremlins (it won't be out until at least next year, but the publisher needs it early of course ;D) and I REALLY want to get back to my Dragon Magic manuscript as well. Haven't touched it in almost a year, but I have lots of fun ideas for the story, so I'll be turning my attention to that next. I'd love to have book 1 out this year--and I'll definitely aim for that--but I'm not promising it. :D

So as you can see, I have my work cut out for me for the next few months. I'm also over-hauling my website and email list, but I'll post more about those once they're finished. 

Wish me luck! And Happy Monday!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Author Information Swap: Where to Find Industry News

So I've been trying to do more posts that have to do with publishing industry news. In the crazy world we live in, our business is always changing. As authors, we need to keep up with the ebb and flow of the tide. Otherwise, we'll be left behind. It's more than possible to make money publishing in 2016. (Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.) But you have to keep up with things or you'll soon find your revenue streams drying up, and you at a loss as to why.

Reasons to Keep Up on Industry Topics:

1. Constant Change - the publishing industry is in deep flux right now, and if you don't keep up with those changes, at least to some extent, you'll soon find yourself left behind.

2. Be an Expert in the Field - one thing that will give you a great deal of credibility as an author is to be in the know about the industry. If you're still preaching that the only way to publish is to find an agent and get in with the Big 5, people are quickly going to realize that your methods are outdated, and then you might lose writing credibility as well.

3. Smart Business Practices - Robert J. Kiasaki is a self-made millionaire, and one thing he preaches a lot is having a plan for both when the market is up, and when it's down. Most people only know how to make money in an up market, but if you know what you're doing, you can make money in a down market as well. So no matter what happens to the economy,  you don't lose. Stocks and bonds aside, the same is true of every industry. If print books aren't making you any money, focus on ebooks. If Amazon KDP isn't doing you any favors, try Amazon unlimited. Only by trial and error and keeping up on the newest techniques will you be able to constantly turn a profit and know what works for your novels.

4. Shortcuts to Marketing - Those who are up to date on the latest practices and technology are the ones who have an inside track to marketing. The author who sits at home going, "What's Amazon" is light years away from making a living as an author.

So keep up on the industry. It's one of the smartest things you can do for your career.

"But," I hear you say, "where can I get industry information?"

So glad you asked! I happened across a page this past week that has a list of sites that post industry news. I've visited most of them, but there were a few that even I'd never heard of before. And it's great to have such a list all in one place. So I bookmarked the page and decided to share it. These blogs/sites are active and I'd highly recommend you follow them. 

Visit for the list. 

(P.S. I actually got three posts up this week! Are you proud of me? ;D)

Are there any specific sites you prefer to visit to keep up on industry news?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Movie Review: Why Every Writer Should See "In the Heart of the Sea"

This is gonna be short and sweet! ;D

So I haven't been doing reviews much lately. I honestly just don't have the time, much as I wish I did. Most weeks I barely get a single blog post up. But I watched this film, In the Heart of the Sea a few weeks ago, and I loved it so much, I knew I'd have to review it.

And it really wasn't JUST about a great film. It was about how it relates to writing in general. This is a writer's movie. It tells the true story that an American literary classic, Moby Dick, was based on. But more than that, it ties in writing, authorship, inspiration, and chasing one's destiny (which just so happens to be writing) all in one film. There's some talk of Hawthorne in the show (A young Melville believes Nathaniel Hawthorne is a great writer and that he, Melville, will never equal him.) The film ends with a Hawthorne quote that just clinches everything, and totally made me melt. 

So we get a great adventure story that Moby Dick mirrors in many ways, but there's more gritty reality and historical detail to it. We also get a very understated discussion about why you should always write what inspires you, and chase your dreams, writing or otherwise. What haunts you, what you feel inspired to learn and/or write about, will become your destiny. Created, of course, by you. Because only you can write the way you do.

I'm not gonna do a super detailed review, except to say that had I had no complaints at all. Great story. Great historical aspects. Great acting.

This is a film every writer should see, because every writer will appreciate and be inspired by it. Highly recommended.

Have YOU seen In the Heart of the Sea? What did you think of it?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Good Monday morning! I hope everyone had a safe and fun weekend. Mine was stupendous! (;D)

So I'm kinda cheating today because I'm just putting up a picture, but I honestly think these twelve rules are very valuable and should be taken into consideration by every author. I definitely learned something reading them!

So read and consider. Then apply to your writing! And have a fabulous week!

Which of these rules is your favorite? Is there one you plan to start using?

Monday, February 15, 2016

4 Tips for Writing Unforgettable Argument Scenes

Pride and Prejudice epic argument (Pic Source)
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the best part of a story--be it film, movie, TV, or otherwise--is when the characters have a passionate fight? And I don't mean action. I mean an argument. The kind where they scream at one another for five minutes?

You wouldn't think we as readers would enjoy that, as most of don't enjoy engaging in those kinds of fights in real life. But story telling is different. These scenes, when done well, are the height of conflict. They're the height of the characters' passionate emotions and beliefs about something. They get our adrenaline pumping and make us excited to turn pages. 

In terms of masterful story telling, it can hash out conflict in a visceral way, give us the characters' points of view and beliefs in their own words (with the added bonus of intense emotion) and push them toward the next phase in their development, or the next turn in the story.

**Bonus tip: If you get stuck and don't know how the characters or the plot from A to B, consider a visceral, verbal, knock-down, drag-out scream fight. Even if you don't end up using it in the story, it'll do wonders for your creative juices.**

But how do we write these kinds of arguments? How do we make them really jump off the page and grip our readers by the guts?

Rocky III epic argument (Pic Source)
Here are some tips:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling

Gif Source
Good Morning, All!

This is going up a bit late today, but what can I say? Super Bowl Sunday means that, naturally, I'm gonna get less done than usual. :D (How did everyone like the game, btw?)

So I cam across these rules a while ago, courtesy of Pinterest, and I thought they had a lot of depth and value to them, so I thought I'd share them. And actually I'd say they're less rules and more like 22 pieces of writing advice from a very successful story-telling company. Keep in mind these are applied to mostly children's cartoons, but each and every one can be adapted for writing novels or any other kind of story you may be working on. My commentary is in the blue font. (Obviously, as they're from Pixar, I didn't make them up myself. Just for the record.)

1. Admire characters for attempting more than what their successes have been. Push them. Give them challenges.

2. Keep in mind what's interesting to you as an audience, not what's fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.

3. Trying for theme is important, however you won't see what the story is about until you're at the end of the story. Got it? Now rewrite. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with trying for a particular theme, but don't force it. If you let the story and characters take you where they want to go, the theme will emerge naturally. And it may not be the theme you were originally trying for, which is often kinda cool.

4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day___. One day__.Because of that___. Because of that___. Until finally___.

5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You'll feel like you're losing valuable stuff, but it sets you free. In other words, tighten, tighten, tighten.