Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Manhattan Book Review

Hello Everyone,

Sorry it's been so long since I blogged.  Life has a tendency to get in the way.  With two children sick with a fever of one hundred and four degrees and a sick husband, I just haven't had much time.  Honestly, I've been too worried about them to write.  However, recently I had some good news that I wanted to share.

Manhattan Book Review gave my novel Blood Rain five stars!  I still can't believe it.  The reviewer isn't a fan of science fiction or fantasy, but she loved the book anyway.  I feel that's probably the best compliment I've had on my work.  If someone who doesn't enjoy the genre still likes the book, it means that I've accomplished my goal.  I wanted the characters to win over a wider audience.  I'm starting to think this series has that potential. One of the things she said was she loved my flawed, dynamic characters.  I love them too, despite the fact I torture them so much.

Here's a link to the actual review.

Manhattan Book Review Blood Rain

I really don't know how to react to that kind of praise, but it does give me encouragement to keep writing and I'm very humbled.  I never even imagined that two professional literary journals would enjoy my stories so much.  Now, I just hope that more people start to read it.

I also wanted to give you an important update.  With so many illnesses and issues coming up over the holidays, I'm afraid the release of Blood Moon and my edits on Blood Rain will have to be postponed until probably the end of January or the middle of February.  Also, this means the print to order copy of Blood Rain will have to be postponed as well.  I'm sorry.  I'm usually better about achieving my deadlines, but one of my editors is sick.  On the bright side, I've almost caught up with all the edits that I have currently.  Also, it gives me more time to work on the third and final book, Blood God.

In other news, I have the second and third book of the Clockwork Angel series to read in my spare time (whenever that will be).  When I'm finished catching up on edits, I still plan to write a review of Clockwork Angel on this blog.  It might not be fresh in my mind anymore, but I remember the key things I loved about it and the things I didn't like.  I think it deserves some attention, because I loved the concept of urban fantasy in a steampunk setting and it might be something I try my hand at after the Blood Rain series is over.

Anyway, keep reading and writing!  I'll try to do better about writing in this blog more often.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Portland Book Review for Blood Rain

Hey Everyone,

Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged.  I've been very sick again.  Even though I've been resting up during most of my spare time, I've decided to try harder to be productive and to keep you posted.  For once, I have some good news on the writing front.

Recently, I sent my manuscript, Blood Rain, to Portland Book Review to see if it was well received.  And it seems that they really liked it.  They gave the book four stars and were honest about its shortcomings along with the things that they liked about the story.  I've very pleased with the review.  They talk a great deal about the themes of the story and seemed impressed with the world that I created even though the young adult market tends to be saturated with fantasy.

Anyway, the review is coming out later this week, and I'd really appreciate it if you would have a look at it.  I'll send a link on facebook, this blog, and on my website when it's published.  If you like what you hear and haven't read Blood Rain, please go to amazon and pick up a copy of the e-book.

Hopefully I'll be selling print-on-demand copies soon.  My goal is to have my edits complete by the end of December, and I'll be selling the print copies then.  As I mentioned on my previous blog, there are some travelling discrepancies with my world and some overlooked grammatical mistakes, but nothing that will take me too long to adjust.

For those with e-book copies, you should be able to update to the newer version for free.  From what I understand these small mistakes don't detract from the story too terribly much, but I want to give my readers the best experience that I can.  So, read the story now, enjoy it, and update your e-book when I have finished with my edits for a  more polished version.

In other news, I mentioned in my last blog that I intended to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this time around.  While I am involved with NaNo this month, to be honest, I'm not actively pursing it very much.  One reason is that real life got in the way.  This has been a rough month for me personally from unemployment to illness.  Things could be better.  It makes it difficult to focus when there is a lot on my mind.

Also, when I got started, my goal was to finish Blood God by the end of the month.  I think I owe it to my readers to try to write the best novel I can, especially since Blood God is the finale novel of this series.  So, even though NaNoWriMo has spurred me on to working on it again, I'm not going to rush it.   I don't think I'll be "winning" NaNo this year, but I will still be writing throughout the month of November and probably part of December until I'm finished.

In the meantime, between writing, reading, and real life, I'm also editing Blood Moon.  I am pleased to announce that I should be finished with those edits around the time that the Portland Book Review is complete.  So, if you're interested in this series, Blood Moon is the second book and will be available very soon.  It picks up almost exactly where you left off at the end of Blood Rain.  I hope you like it.

Well, that's all the news for now.  I have some edits to do and more writing on Blood God.  In a few days, I'll be leaving a book review myself on the story Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.  I read this book about two weeks ago, but the story was so good it's still fresh in my mind.  I hope my review does it credit.  Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Decorating, Working, and Reading

Hey Everybody,

Well, just wanted to let you know what's new and what is going on.  First of all, I'm finally almost finished decorating my house for the Halloween Party.  I'm very excited about Halloween this year.  We have our costumes ahead of time and are better organized than we were last year, so I think the party will be a success.  I've also vowed not to overdue the last minute preparations so that I enjoy myself more this year and won't make myself sick.  (Since I'm constantly getting sick anyway, there's no guarantee that I'll be well for the party and for Halloween night, but I'm not going to make myself worse by pushing myself too hard.)

In other news, I've started reading Clockwork Angel again.  I'm 127 pages into it, and so far it's pretty good.  Unfortunately, this is a story that switches perspective from one character to another, and that annoys me, but so far the story is good enough to hold my interest anyway.  I'll write a full review once I finish.  I've been using the exercise bike and reading at the same time and then reading while I catch my breath, which lets me enjoy at least a few chapters a day.  The problem is, I read obsessively and basically read up to this point in about two days.  While I love reading, I need to balance it with my other work as well.

In terms of writing, I'm in the process of editing "Blood Rain" again.  I realize that the original copy that I published needs a grammatical makeover.  I'm changing the mistakes that I know are there and sending it to someone more qualified to catch my errors.  Once that is done I'm going to make the changes to the travelling times that I mentioned previously and, hopefully, those will be the last edits I will have to make before I open it up to be a "print to order" novel.  Wish me luck.  I'm working hard, but I'm thinking it will take at least another few weeks before it will be done.  If you have already purchased the book, just re-upload it when I update the e-book version.  And if you want to buy a hard copy, that would be nice too.

Anyway, I'm off to do a little reading.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

I'm on it!

Hey Everyone,

Sorry it's been a little while since I've blogged.  I've had a busy couple of weeks.  First of all, I was sick with an upper respiratory infection for about two weeks and am finally over it.  Then, when reading through Blood Rain and Blood Moon, I found some discrepancies with distances to various parts of the world that I really didn't like.  I also found out that there are certain grammatical mistakes in both novels that I really need to fix.

So, long story short, I'm sorry for the delay in releasing Blood Moon, but it isn't ready yet.  Rest assured, though, when the book is ready it will be worth the wait.  I will also be releasing an updated version of Blood Rain soon with travelling time corrections and better editing.  I apologize for these issues in the earlier version.  I might also be including a map of Lacern for those that are interested, but it might have to be in another update when the map is more "polished" than it is currently.  (I created a basic map for my own reference, but it could use a little work...)  Also, when the edits are complete, there will also be a "print on demand" option for those of you who prefer a print copy of the novel.

In between editing, creating maps, and formulating correct distances, I've also started working on Blood God again.  I've decided, though, that Blood God will be my project for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year.  Every November, many of my friends try to write a novel for this event.  Writers living in the same general areas get together and bounce ideas off of one another, do writing exercises, and basically attempt to finish a novel by the end of the month.  Even though I already have characters and ideas, I might just use this as an opportunity to spur myself into seriously concentrating on this novel and trying to reach my goal of having it finished by Christmas.  Wish me luck.  I'm exited about the idea of approaching this story again and this time finishing it.  The outline is ready, and so am I.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I'm on it!  I haven't stopped working, but I did have to slow down for a little while during my recovery.  This was a very nasty virus that turned into something just one step shy of bronchitis.  I haven't been this sick in a long time.  I knew that having two kids meant that there would be illnesses when school started again.  It comes with the territory.  Anyway, I'll keep you posted about the novel and about my progress when I have more to report.  In the meantime, please check out Blood Rain, and when the update comes out, please reload it.  Thanks.

Hopefully, I'll have a book review for you soon as well.  I've started reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare.  I'm working it in for at least fifteen minutes a day while I exercise, but if it can captivate my attention like I think it can, I might chew through it much faster.  We'll see.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Blood Moon and Cover Art

Hey Everyone,

Just a few announcements.  First of all, Blood Rain is still on the Amazon store for those of you who would like to purchase it.   I'm telling you this because, I'm pleased to announce, very soon the second book of the series, Blood Moon, will be available.  Also, if you purchased Blood Rain and enjoyed it, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Yes, to my few fans who are interested, I am currently working on the third and final book of the series, Blood God.  I'm hoping to be finished at the latest by Christmas, but we'll have to see how inspired I feel and how much time I have to write.  There's a possibility I might be done before then, but I'm hoping to make Christmas my deadline. (If I take longer, rest assured it'll be to make the book better.)

I have to include a huge thank you on this post for my artist and friend J. M. Lee for doing such a wonderful job on the cover art of the first and second book.  I've included the cover art here to make your search for the novels easier and because I think, whether you are buying the book or not, you need to see this artwork.  He has done a wonderful job and I highly suggest you check out his website to see the other types of work he does through his company Wolf &Fox Design Studio.

Also, if you'd like to learn a little about me, my writing, or to contact me, my personal website is now fully updated.  (I know, finally, right?)  Another huge thank you to my husband, Joel, for helping me with my marketing and getting the word out about these novels.

I guess that's it for now.  I'll keep you posted on the progress of Blood God.  Thanks for reading.  Here's the cover art for Blood Moon.  Isn't it beautiful?  I love it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Weird Al is a National Treasure!

Well, in spite of all of the bad things that have been going on lately, I can say that this has been a good week, thanks mostly to Weird Al Yankovic (and to my sister and brother-in-law for getting tickets for us).  I saw his "Mandatory Fun Tour" on Wednesday here is SC and I haven't laughed that much in months.  I can definitely say I had more than mandatory fun.  As things turned out, I really needed a good laugh.  Getting out and having a good time has put me in much better spirits.  It's amazing what a little laughter can do.

I saw him the first time at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach.  He likes to make uncomfortable eye contact with people in the front rows, and then sing song lyrics directly to them.  He did this to me and my sister.  It was awesome.

As for this tour, his voice is still great, he moves like he doesn't get tired, and he is still making hilarious music.  I was surprised to find out that he's fifty-six years old.  I can't believe the amount of energy he brings to the stage.  You can really tell that he loves what he does.  I respect that in any musician and I've been listening to Weird Al since I was a child.  Don't get me wrong, I do like the songs that he parodies, but I think some of the Weird Al's lyrics will be remembered longer than those of the original song.  

I was surprised to find that we also had friends of ours that we haven't seen in a little while sitting next to us, so we got to catch up a with them little before the show.  That was nice too.  I expected we would see some of our friends there, but I didn't expect to be sitting next to anyone we knew.  It was a great night, and while people are allowed to disagree with me, Weird Al Yankovic is a national treasure in my book.  Speaking of my book, I've included a link to his song "Word Crimes" for your viewing pleasure.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Blood Moon

Hey Everybody,

Just wanted to give you a writing status update.  I'm almost done proofing "Blood Moon" and am planning to put it on sale on Amazon soon.  My artist Joseph Lee has agreed to do another awesome cover.  Most of the preparations should be done sometime in October at the latest, if all goes well.  I'm very excited about it.  I hope that you enjoyed "Blood Rain."  This sequel picks up where the other book left off and follows Mercy through her journey to reach the Northern mountains to form an alliance against the forces behind the blood rain.  

I'm also finished with a rough outline for the last novel of the series, "Blood God."  The first forty pages are also done but need proofing.  "Blood God" should hopefully be available by Christmas, but only if all goes well.  Wish me luck and, if you'd like to show your support, please pick up a copy of "Blood Rain" and put a review on Goodreads or the Amazon store.

Right now, I'm concentrating on finishing the "Blood Rain" trilogy, but I still have other novels in the works.  I haven't heard from all of the agents I contacted about my young reader horror series, "Junior Investigator's Club."  I should've heard one way or another from all of them by the New Year.  If the first story doesn't have an agent by then, I'll probably submit the second story and continue to look.  I would like for my young reader books to be hard copies since most of the target audience probably won't be reading e-books, but we'll see.  I'm keeping an open mind.

I also just wanted to say thank you to those that have purchased a copy of "Blood Rain" and that it feels wonderful to finally see some results.  Books are meant to be read, and I have a lot of written books and ideas still in my head that need to find a home.  I'm glad to see this series is finally getting to reach a larger audience.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

I am a real writer...I am a real writer...I am a real writer

Hey Everyone,

Sorry, I need to write a little bit about my frustrations just to relieve a little stress.  In other words, I need to rant.  I'm going to touch on some messy topics like women in fiction, the constant search for agents, and my personal ineptitude when it comes to reaching out.  While some might not agree with my views, voicing a few things might make me feel a little better.

First of all, I mentioned before that my young reader horror series is currently being viewed by agents, but I found my agent search so far to be fruitless.  Most of my rejections have included the phrase "I can't get enthusiastic about this series."  I'm really not sure what to do to fix that or even exactly what that means.  Several of the rejection letters have said something to the effect of the story is good or the writing is good, but it just isn't "for" them.  It's very bittersweet.  Compliments do tend to give me hope and keep me going, but I want something concrete to go with them.  

I know for a fact, young reader horror is going to become big again very soon.  A "Scary Stories to tell in the Dark" movie is coming out soon, a "Goosebumps" movie came out recently, and Netflix has created a show called "Stranger Things" which is a throwback to the many horror TV shows from the eighties.  However, I think the problem is that horror hasn't become big yet, so even though the signs are there, no one is willing to take a risk.  I know my books are well written, and the timing is almost perfect.  My contact with Penguin really liked them and so has most of my test audience.  Horror is the genre which I've had the most success in writing, but if no one is willing to give me a chance, all my stories are doing is taking up space in my hard drive.  It's frustrating to say the least, especially when financially we aren't doing very well right now.

I would love to send to more agents, but I've run into a snag with that.  Namely, it seems that everyone wants me to write from the point of view of a female protagonist in any novel I submit.  Granted, the story I sent out does have a female protagonist, but I find this new trend very limiting and it annoys me.  I think there is a reason for it.  Statistically speaking, I hear that more women read than men, especially in young reader and young adult fiction.  However, I believe that some of my novels are better from a male perspective.  For some reason, I tend to be more comfortable writing from a male perspective as well.  That might seem odd because I am a woman, but I've always had more male friends than female, and I've been told frequently I'm not a "typical woman."  (I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not, but it is what it is.)

Anyway, to sum it up, here's what I'm wondering...why do I have to write from a female perspective to get any recognition?  Isn't it enough that I'm a female author?  Is this to be more "fair" so that women have more female leads to associate with?  Can women only associate with a female perspective?  I don't think so.  I think we're smarter and more imaginative than that.

One of the reasons why I chose to write from a male perspective in my Dark Crystal submission was because Gelfling society is matriarchal.  I did it to look at the perspective of someone who is an underdog trying to basically get a job that is traditionally done by a woman.  Sometimes, it's fun to write from the perspective of a man as well in young adult romance because sometimes even a female audience likes to read something from the perspective of a man.  It makes them (or at least makes me) feel closer to the male character to see what he is thinking, which is kind of important in romance in general.  Romance is definitely geared more towards a female audience, but doesn't have to be from a female perspective to be enjoyable.  

Finally, now my biggest frustration is that it seems that it isn't what you know or how well you write, it's who you know and the connections you make.  This has always been a problem with me specifically.  I'm not good at reaching out and making connections other than making a few friends here and there that are also writers.  In terms of getting noticed by more than my general friend base, I just don't have common business sense.  I have to have people to tell me things like, "join goodreads" and "go to writing workshops," or "enter contests" before I even think to do something like that on my own, especially since I don't really enjoy writing on forums.  I've gotten a little better, but am still very limited by my lack of direction.  Maybe that's something you can help me with, whoever is reading.  If you can think of something specific that might get my books noticed, please tell me.  Throw me a bone, need the info...

Anyway, I found myself recently banging my head against the keyboard chanting the mantra, "I am a real writer...I am a real writer...I am a real writer..."  And, I am a real writer, but I'm hoping and praying that sometime in the near future, I'll see some results that will help me believe it.  In the meantime, the work horse from "Animal Farm" in my head is chanting "I will work harder."  We all know how well that worked out for him, let's hope I don't end up in the glue factory in the end.  Only time will tell and I've spent enough time ranting.  Time to get back to work.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shadows of the Dark Crystal Review

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to post a review of "Shadows of the Dark Crystal" by J.M. Lee.  I've just finished reading it, and I must say that I'm very impressed.  I figured that I would like it, but it was everything I hoped it would be and then some.  I'm going to attempt to write this review without spoilers because I highly recommend that you read this book yourself.  You will enjoy it, especially if you enjoyed the movie.

The characters are very likable and have excellent motivations for what they do.  Their arguments and bantering flows very naturally.  At the end of the book there are even some surprises about the motivations of certain characters that I didn't expect.  It was great to see the differences between the various clans of Gelfling.  I'm hoping that in future books we'll be introduced to the remaining clans as well.  The differences between the cultures fueled many interesting conversations with the characters, and it was wonderful the way they banded together to face something greater than their differences.

I was pleasantly surprised with the dark tone of the book.  One of the things that most of us remember about the Dark Crystal was that the movie terrified us as children.  I'm pleased that these books can frighten a new generation in the same way.  The Skeksis are far scarier than the ones in the movie.  This might be because they're younger and stronger, but there is another element that makes them particularly terrifying in that they are the ones capturing the Gelfling themselves.  They actually kill some of the main characters by the end of the book.  (No, I'm not telling you which ones...)  Also, the character of "The Hunter" essentially the bogeyman of all Gelfling, and was written in such a way he lived up to the part.

The descriptions of the various settings are very good, as with the descriptions of the characters.  Even without the beautiful pictures (and the pictures are gorgeous), you get a very good idea of what everything looks like and there are very few confusing descriptions, especially for a book based in a fantasy universe.  While there is a glossary in the back, it's hardly necessary since most of the analogies the characters make are clear enough to get a good idea of what they're referring too, and the "real world" references are at a minimum which shows Lee's experience as a fantasy writer.

I highly recommend this book.  It took me only two days to read it because I couldn't put it down.  From those of you who read this blog, you know I have two children, so finding time to read this within two days means it had to be exceptionally good.  ;-)  Well done, Joey.  I'm looking very forward to the next one.  I knew they picked the right person to write it.

Go buy this book right now!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blood Rain

Hey Everybody,

Well, it's been awhile since I've blogged and awhile since I've had anything new to report.  I'm glad to say, that I finally decided to put "Blood Rain" on sale on amazon as an e-book.  As those following this blog know, I started this book series a long time ago and it's been though a great deal of editing and reworking over the years.  I decided a few days ago, it's finally ready for the public eye.  If this goes well, I'll also be selling "Blood Moon" and "Blood God," thus putting the entire trilogy up on amazon.  I hope it works out.

It's been very exiting to finally be publishing something.  Even if it's something I'm getting off the ground myself, I'm very happy that people will finally have the opportunity to read my books.  Even though I wrote "Blood Rain" long ago, I feel like it actually withstood the test of time and got better due to all of my editing instead of getting worse.  I don't intend to let anyone see many of my earliest books, but I enjoyed writing "Blood Rain," so I'm glad it was different.  I just hope it's good enough for those kind enough to read it.

Many thanks to Joey for the cover art.  It's beautiful.  He was very kind to work on it for me given that he doesn't have very much time right now, himself.  (Good luck at Comic Con, man.  I'm very happy for you. Wish I could be there to see you speak.)  Also, many thanks to those of you who have read it and critiqued it for me.  I took a lot of suggestions on this story and it's better for it.

In other writing news, I'm still working on the young reader horror series.  I've sent it to several agents now and am basically waiting to hear something.  I really have enjoyed working on the series and am up to book four.  Wish me luck.  If I don't have any luck finding an agent with this series, I'm definitely going to publish it somehow.  I just feel it would do better as a softcover than an e-book, but we'll see.  Also, I still feel strongly that horror, especially young reader, is making a comeback right now.  There is a definite lack of it in the stores, and I want to be able to help fill that gap.

Well, I'll keep you posted on any new developments or ideas I have.  Thank you to everyone who bought my book, and thank you for those who decide to critique it.  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  There might be a few more e-books in the future, if nothing more than short story compilations.  I want some of my homeless stories to at least be seen.  Knowing that these are finally out there warms my heart.

Thank you for reading.  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Full Circle

Hey Everyone,

Wow, it's been a long time since I wrote a blog.  I just wanted to let you know that I'm still alive and doing okay, all things considered.  There are a few personal things going on that are stressful, but I'm handling it pretty well.  (Mostly involving an unstable job situation which we're hoping will be resolved by the end of the month.)  The children are doing well, so I'm very grateful for that.  Pretty soon Faith will be walking and Eva has started potty training.  It feels like time is really flying by.

I've come to terms with my thirty fourth birthday.  I know that thirty four isn't that old, but for some reason my birthday really got to me this time.  I think it's because I realized my body is more achy than it used to be and, for a short time, I felt as though I was losing who I was to parenting.  Don't get me wrong, I love my children, but I don't want to lose sight of what makes me who I am.  Thankfully, I a have wonderful and supportive family and good friends that got me through it.  My sister, brother in law, and husband took me to Charleston to see Phantom of the Opera while my Mom watched the kids and it was just what I needed.  

In writing news, a few months ago my one contact in the publishing industry said that he really liked my mid grade horror series.  It seemed like I was finally going to get published, but the editor and chief couldn't get excited about the series.  It was the best rejection I ever had.  It's hard to explain, but having a "good" rejection is more painful than someone just disliking the story, but at the same time it feels so much better, like there's definitely hope for the future.  He said he liked the writing style and the story itself, basically telling me that it was very good and that I should get it published somewhere else.

So, long story short, once again I'm searching for agents.  Things are coming pretty much full circle, so I decided to own it.  I'm submitting "Scarecrow," the first book of the series, and I've already written two more and started the fourth.  In the meantime, while I'm waiting to hear something, I'm revisiting an old YA fantasy story I wrote years ago, "Everburn."

Everburn has a steampunk setting, but is definitely the fantasy genre.  It's mostly about a strange race of winged creatures that can summon elemental spirits.  There's a heavy romance element to the first book, so I decided to change the protagonist to female and am completely rewriting it.  (Don't get me wrong, I know some men enjoy reading books that are fantasy but have some romance as well, but I didn't really like my original main character and, admittedly, more women enjoy that than men, especially in YA.)

If/when I decide that I'm done with Everburn (assuming I have no representation for the mid grade horror series) I'm also going to revisit my "Blood Rain" series as well.  I need to finish the last book.  However, my husband brought up a good point that I might have to concede.  He told me I'm a better writer now than I was when I first started that series and thinks I should re-write the first and second book.  I have to admit, I'm more concise than I used to be and the books are probably overwritten, not to mention that there are some scenes I could probably cut and better scenes I could add.  Either way, before I revisit the series I need to think about it and decide what I want to do.  

I intend to continue writing mid grade horror, but I don't want to burn myself out on that series.  So far, I think it's some of my best writing and I want an agent to represent it.  If I can get one, that will be the best motivation for me to pick it back up.  I do my best work with just one word of encouragement.  Please, wish me luck and be praying for me.  I could use some good news right now.

Anyway, keep reading and writing.  I'll stay in touch.