Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rock ROW80 Station is Live!

What is Rock ROW80 Station?
For starters, it's a blog experience featuring some of the best rock n' roll photography on the planet, great music, videos, contests, giveaways, guest posts, and a blog hop, culminating in a world-wide Twitter and Turntable party on October 5th! 
As for the rest of it, well... lets just say some of the best is yet to come. Stay tuned for updates, and, you know, the rock! Slip on down the slideshow to read the original email. (And, you know, for mo' rock.)
Oh, and by the way- it might get a little loud in here. Rock ROW80 Station is live 'til October 5th!

(This is all original photography by Tribble Studios, in conjunction with artist-in-crime Vicki Keire. In other words, I either took it, helped take it, helped pay for it to be taken, or laundered the photographer's sweat-soaked clothing. And ya'll KNOW how I feel about laundry. All musicians were paid in pancakes.)
Some details from our sponsors:

  • Theme: "Rock the Row"
    However you want to work that in is great. I leave it to your outrageously creative imagination!
  • Date: October 5th, 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM ET in the U.S.
    This also happens to be the first day of check-in so there should be a ton of ROW80 fun happening around the blogosphere.
  • Party will be held at the #ROW80 hashtag.
    Fire up your Tweet Deck or HootSuite and let's get jiggy with it. 
  • (Also- and this is not official, just a fun on-the-side thing- I plan to snag a Turntable room for us. If any of you have DJ status or experience with Turntable, please get with me to plot our coup d'etat. Playlists are appreciated, from anyone and everyone. Otherwise, just bring your virtual dancing shoes! If you're unfamiliar with Turntable, check it out here. I recommend Neil Gaiman's Room of Odd- because he's Neil and he's, well, odd. Like his books but in music form.)
  • Photo Competition:
    You can start now...we won't tell. Start digging for or taking photos that reflect the theme. We'll do our best to gather them and decide on the best to spotlight in a post at the ROW80 blog. Once the readers vote, the 1st place winner gets a copy of Kait Nolan's latest book, Red, in e-book format!!
  • Friendly Blog Competition
    We will also post a mash-up of favorite ROCK THE ROW posts at the Row80 blog. 

There's also going to be dancing! Jenny made a "Rock The Row" playlist! All these details can be found at her ROW80 post. Co-host Nicole Basaraba's post can be found here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 1K Followers Epic Giveaway!

Introducing my 1K Followers Epic Giveaway!
Featuring The Indie E-Library of Awesome, Designer Swag, and an Amazon Gift card!
Contest runs from Sept. 26 until Oct. 3

This has been a month of many blessings for me. New projects, new partnerships, works-in-progress nearing completion with exciting new ones on the way! I have a lot to be thankful for as we slip into fall. I also hit a social media landmark this month- over 1,000 followers on both Twitter and Facebook. I feel the need to celebrate all my awesome new Tweeps and FaceBeasties and Blogger followers! Plus any chance to party, right? So, with Rafflecopter's help, I've put together this little giveaway. Here's some more about the prizes: 

The Indie E-Library of Awesome!

Grand Prize: The Indie E-Library of Awesome: A selection of some fabulous e-books from some of the best Indie writers on the planet. (It is the Library of Awesome, after all!) Since this is a week-long contest, the library may grow in size. Make sure to check back as the contest continues to see what new entries have attained hallowed Awesome status! (And, you know, so you can put in more entries.) Check out what we have by following this link, or clicking on the tab above.

Runner(s) Up: Designer Swag: Thanks to my friends at the epicly awesome Standard Deluxe, House of Design and outdoor concert hall extraordinaire, I am pleased to offer TWO hand-designed and printed prize packs. It's no secret that I collect quirky t-shirts and journals. My very favorite come from Standard Deluxe. Winners will be responsible for getting me a mailing address and their size. Colors may vary according to size availability; photos up on the day of the contest.

Honorable Mention: $10 Amazon Gift Card: Pretty self-explanatory, I know. The winner will need to send me an email address as this will be delivered digitally.

So what are you waiting for? Hop on down to Rafflecopter's automated entry form and win some stuff! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Round 3 and the Art of the Curve Ball

It's that time again: the end of one round of ROW80, and that point when I get to look back and see just how close I came to meeting my goals. I've been convinced I had fallen far short of them. As in, a complete and utter fail. But I have a tendency to focus on the big, flashy prize of a goal and forget about the other ones. When I look back at the original list, I really didn't do so badly. This round has been all about curve balls and staying flexible, because there was just no way I could have known what was in store when I signed on. But that's the beauty of the challenge- making room for change. 

I didn't hit my word count goals, but did I ever knock the editing out of the park. I had the chance to edit JL Bryan's first book of his new series, Songs of Magic, and proof the third Jenny Pox book. (So any typos or stuff like that are entirely my fault!!!) This was an amazing experience for me- being part of a project with one of my favorite writers, getting to bring an academic skill set into fiction- it was great. There was no way I could have known this was going to happen at the start of the round. So what did I do? Adjusted. As soon as it became apparent just how much this was going to affect my WIP, I wrote a post setting out new, delayed goals.

Definitely met the blogging and business end goals- if anything, I overshot those. As usual. I've got to find some way to reign in platforming time. I got promotional materials for my series out, including badges, a new website, and new covers for all my books. I love my covers! So, check to all that.

The big flashy WIP goal was to have the final book of my trilogy in the final edits stage, so that's a fail. (The goal adjustment came rather late in the round for it to be anything but a fail.)  I'm having to settle for Blood Redemption being in draft form instead. But I'm on track for a Halloween release. Some projects got tabled, mostly in the short fiction department (fail), but others took their place. I published in a new genre for the first time, in a horror anthology with some writers I admire (unforeseen success!). 

And now to the heart of the matter: New series, delays, the future. 
About a week and a half ago, after a five hour conversation with a very nice, incredibly patient man, I heard the words "publish" and "your work" in the same sentence. Like, more than once. Um, yeah. Crazy. So much so that it took five hours to compute (poor guy), and I'm still not sure I've wrapped my head around it. 
Small press. Cool people. Innovative. Willing to have five hour conversations with slack-jawed authors.
I don't have anything else to say at this point other than that, at least for now, I'm in a holding pattern with some planned releases. NOT Blood Redemption, Ok? That one will be released as planned, when planned, (although acts-of-god delays are possible!), so PLEASE don't send me angry emails! Although I don't know where things are going on this front, it's still a neat thing to happen, and it's definitely got me taking a good hard look at some things. 

Soooo- that's my ROW80 Round 3 tale. Mostly I think it's been about adjusting goals as needed, and about staying open to possibilities. I don't even want to think about Round 4- it's already stacking up on me, well into November! So I think I'm going to do something I've never done before. I'm going to take this little space between rounds and use to actually NOT measure and rate myself. In other words, come as close to resting as a working writing ever does. Thanks for hanging in there with me, and hope to see all of you back for Round 4!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On My Bookshelf: Fairy Tales and Music and Werewolves (oh my)

As this round of ROW80 winds down and I prepare to write a pretty epic final accountability post with tomorrow, I wanted to take a quick minute and share a few items on my bookshelf- past, present and future reads.

For the first time, I am pleased to put a project/reading hybrid thingee On My Bookshelf, with bonus playlist! I had the chance to edit JL Bryan's new book, Fairy Metal Thunder, which features at least two of my favorite things: fairies and music. Also, I think the cover would make a really great tattoo, if one is into such things. This book was a lot of fun to edit and to read; Bryan clearly knows his fairy mythology, and I even learned about one kind of Darkfae almost never used in fiction. I have no idea why- it's a very creepy, very cool creature called a dullahan, and it's totally real in the tales handed down to us from fairy mythology.

At any rate, here's a sampling of some of the music that went through my head as I was editing. This is an unofficial playlist, completely from my own scattered brain, not endorsed by JL Bryan in any way. It's just an example of what it's like when I have fairies and music on the brain at the same time.

Also, I either know these bands directly or have some connection to them, and have secured their permission to play their music, have them kidnapped by fairies in my own fiction, or have my characters be their shameless fanslaves. (So what if "permission" sometimes consisted of a grunt and nod while eating a burrito? Or a skeptical eyebrow raise at the words 'writes about fallen angels'? It counts. Also, if they're smart, and they are, they'll wait 'til I'm famousier to sue.)

"Gone Down Swingin'" by The Only Sons: (website here)

Two by Kelly Kneiser of Glossary: (website here)  If I could cast Erin's voice, it would sound like Kelly singing "Don't Give Up on Me" and "This Life of Ours":

And the always quirky Horse to Water with "Florida": (twitter here)

Also On My Bookshelf:
I cannot say enough good things about this book. A survivalist YA love story with fairy tale roots. It's epic. I do not usually like werewolf stories. Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver was the single exception for a long time, but no more! Shiver has a friend- Red! And that's some of the highest praise I can offer- Nolan takes a sub-genre that's not my favorite and makes me not only love the book, but kind of turns me on to the subject of werewolves in general. All that's missing is the warning: Werewolf haters beware, because this book will convert you. Also loved the unique spin on the Red Riding Hood legend. There's just enough of it, and it's so uniquely done, that it adds a wonderful spice to the whole novel.I really liked the way the book was told with alternating 1st person POVs. I found Elodie to be exactly the kind of strong supernatural heroine I love, but she wasn't so tough as to be unapproachable or hardened. One of my favorite scenes with her is of her cooking over a campfire- and breaking out a package of spices to make a really excellent meal. To me, that's kind of the essence of her character: prepared, ready to deal with anything, but insists on having the things that are important to her. In this scene, it's spices, but in the bigger picture, it's things like honor, morals, and independence. Nolan manages to craft a unique male heroine with Sawyer. He's protective and possessive, but reigns in his werewolf instincts enough to respect Elodie's independence. Unless she's in danger- which happens a time or two. But being rescued by Sawyer isn't something Elodie (or anyone else) would complain about.

Currently reading:

I'm part of the way through this multi-perspective (ahem, Kait!) werewolf love story. (See? I'm totally into them now, and it's your fault.) Elizabeth's Waldie's book is lyrically written so far. There's a lot happening, told from different first person POVs, so there's a sense of action woven through with the love story that's pretty interesting so far.

There are a lot of upcoming and just-out releases that call for some Kindle space, including:

Some of them even have werewolves! Ok, so... that's a lot to read. As usual. But that's a better problem to have than the lots of dishes I have to wash. But not as pressing as the writing I have to go do now. Happy reading everyone!

Friday, September 16, 2011

New Puppy!

Thought I'd share some of the baby animal cuteness that's been running around my house for the last two days.

She's a pure bred black and tan coon hound found abandoned with her littermates. Her discovery and rescue is a neat story all on its own; for now I just wanted to share the adorable.

She's sooo sweet and chilled out. For some reason, she has chosen me as her person. She sticks to me like velcro, and her sad hound eyes hide secret dog knowledge, as if she longs to tell me: "Hey, lady, I hate to break it to you, but you're a coon hound too. A really oversized, strange coon hound. But don't worry. I am here to instruct you in our secret houndish ways."
So! Cute!

Monday, September 12, 2011

ROW80: Crystal Ball Not Included

If someone had given me a crystal ball (that actually worked) back when I first started this Indie gig and pressed the fast forward button, I would not have recognized my life.
It's really, really busy. And fun. Messy, maddening- but mostly busy.

1. Word count? Hells yeah- 8,254 over the course of two days. And more to go- I have the document open and waiting as I write this post.
2. Editing? OMG. I scaled Mount Editing, and am halfway through the descent. In addition to my own work, I'm involved in super secret, the-world-is-holding-its-breath-for-it editing stuff. Soon I'll be able to tell you and not have to kill you. So there's that- as intense as it is rewarding.
3. Reading? I finally read Kait Nolan's Red. Yes, you're right, I don't have time to read. But I've been wanting to read it for weeks, and why the hell else am I doing this if not for the love of story? Why are any of us? So I read the fantastic Red, which you should all run out and do immediately. Now I must make time to write a worthy review.
4. I have a current project sort of in limbo while I discuss it with Persons Of Interest. Um. Yeah. Weird, huh? But it won't stay in limbo forever, whether Persons Of Interest remain Of Interest, or Interested, or not.
5. I'm going to be involved with the Indie Book Collective's October Masquerade blog tour. Twelve of us do this massive tour/contest thing from Oct. 17-22. And we get to give out prizes! Maybe a fabulous wooden treasure chest full of exotic, amazing, rare... Uh, did I mention I have this thing for contests? And cake walks. (It's like gambling, but for cake.)
6. The third and final book in my trilogy, Blood Redemption, is scheduled for release next month, right after the tour. So things are heating up on that front.
7. Dark Tomorrows, the dark SF/horror anthology I did with JL Bryan, Stacey Wallace Benefiel, Amanda Hocking, and many other fine writers shot into the Kindle Top 100 less than 24 hours after going free. Very cool, plus it was fun to do.
8. I hit a social media landmark- over 1,000 followers on both Twitter and Facebook. If that's not a sign I'm not in Kansas anymore I don't know what is. (yes, yes, a double negative. followed by a double positive. so it works out, 'k?) This is some crazy stuff, this social media milestone, and I feel the need to commemorate all my awesome Tweeps and FaceBeasties and yes, you, dear Bloggerlings. Plus any chance to party, right?

I'm leaving out the parts about committee meetings, graphic design work, website overhauls, and releases I'm participating in but really "belong" to the other writer because this list is already too long. My point is really this:
I would have looked in that crystal ball and given a nice, quiet life conjugating verbs on the blackboard another look. But I didn't, and here we are, and may your week be exactly as you ordered it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

ROW80, Edits, and Dark Tomorrows,

It's that time again! My mid-week check-in. So what's new?
Writing goals: pretty minimal progress with the actual writing this week. I got in slightly less than a thousand words. I have been doing a massive amount of editing, though, and that does technically count towards my writing goals. One of the mistakes I made in my early ROW80 goal setting was to skip the editing part of the writing process entirely, as if it would magically happen or that it wasn't that important. Now I've tried to correct for that by allowing a substitution- one day of writing for one day of editing. I'm doing a lot more editing than I thought I would this round, though. Even though I do seem to be reaching the weekly writing or editing goals, I'm having to face the fact that I probably won't reach my overarching WIP goals. I had very specific WIPs in mind when I started this challenge. There was no way I could forsee the projects I'd be have a chance to join. So in a way, I'm anticipating a fail, but with a lesson learned: the importance of staying flexible. I would have greatly regretted saying no to the Dark Tomorrows anthology to eke out a few thousand words on a fall release. And now there's another anthology I really want to be a part of. It's just going to mean extra word count to make up later. In other words, one lesson I'm trying to take away from this ROW80 is how to stay flexible and take advantage of unexpected opportunities without losing sight of my larger goals. And yes, I'm sure I have a long way to go with that.

Just released: I am thrilled with the Dark Tomorrows anthology. It was a lot of fun to do, and it really helped me grow as a writer. Here I am, used to writing paranormal YA romance, wondering how the hell I'm supposed to write something scary and futuristic enough to hang with these guys. What I came up with was a love story, of sorts- a very dark and twisted one. An unstable assassin falls in love for the first time, with disastrous consequences, on a dying Earth: "This Silent Country." When I was done I sat back and thought, "Wow, gruesome. I just wrote something I don't want my momma to read." It was a good exercise, and I got to meet some great writers in a totally different genre than what I'm used to. I'm a big fan of anthologies now- if any of you get the chance, you should absolutely go for it. Or get together with some like-minded writers and start one of your own. You can pick Dark Tomorrows up for free on Smashwords here or on Amazon here. Last time I checked it was still .99 cents on Amazon, but we're hoping it will drop to free any day now. Get to know some cool new horror writers, or check out fellow ROW80er Stacey Wallace Benefiel's "Day of Sacrifice" entry.

That's really all I have to say for this late ROW80 entry. It's hard to believe the end is nigh! I hope everyone is doing well meeting their goals. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What Does Ethan Really Look Like? Plus "Carnivalesque" Blurb & Info

I got a really sweet email just a couple of days ago from a young lady who enjoyed my books. It was really nice of her, and it's the kind of email us writers love. But then she asked me something that threw me:
What does Ethan look like?
Can you compare him to an actor to give me an idea?
That's when it struck me that 1. I've never posted a picture of Ethan anywhere and 2. there's not a single actor out there who reminds me of him.
I didn't want to leave the young lady hanging, so I dusted off my designer's bag o' tricks and came up with a character badge. Once I had one for Ethan, he very suavely suggested that I remember the ladies, so Caspia got one too. Asheroth was clamoring for one, but he's going to have to simmer down because I just don't have him quite right yet and heaven forbid his badge be less than perfect. Feel free to grab 'em if you want 'em.

Also, if you haven't picked it up yet, I'm doing the Indie Book Blowout this Labor Day Weekend with some other very fine IBC authors, including the amazing Lauralynn Elliot and Cheri Schmidt. There's a lot of us actually- too many to name- and every book is .99 cents. Check it out here: Indie Book Blowout

Lastly, here's the blurb for my serialized SF/F saga that's going up this weekend: Carnivalesque.

Jessa's home world Verres was beautiful once. Famous for its Carnivale, gardens, and millenia of peace, it was also the sole source of verressence, a volatile mineral. When the powerful Sindyne Corporation demanded exclusive mining rights, they were denied. That was ten years ago, before the Day of Fire when Sindyne razed Jessa's planet, drove what remained of her people underground, and killed every member of the ruling family.

Except for one: Jessa. Now the beggar princess struggles to hold things together while a mad outcast leads Sindyne in endless attacks. The United Republic has long ignored pleas for help. When a small special-ops unit with terrifying skills arrives on Verres, Jessa and her advisers are wary. But in a world burned to ash, the dark violence they bring could be an asset.

Traitor. Murderer. Mad scientist. Thief. Recruited by a shadowy branch of Earth's government, these lost souls must claim Verres' power for their superiors or answer for their crimes. But the secret behind verressence is enough to change the universe as they know it. Soon they will have to choose: fight to build a new world, or return to their old one. Either way, both worlds change forever.
Carnivalesque is a bi-monthly series of novellas. I'm unsure how many it will take to finish the whole story. The original manuscripts total around 250,000 words. I do know that each issue will have a unique cover and that, at this point, I'm planning on putting up the whole series for free. Look for it towards the end of Labor Day weekend; as Indie fans know, uploads vary by retailer.