Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review of "Stronger" by Lani Woodland

I had the pleasure of beta reading this for Lani Woodland months ago and when I finished, I immediately called her and asked if she was sending this into an agent or publisher. It was engaging, action packed, unique and I could not put it down. Instead, she chose to put it on Amazon herself and let readers into the 268 page world of Lexie and Bryant much sooner than an agent could. If you aren't a big Sci Fi reader, it doesn't matter. I'm not either but this was a great read and I'm hoping that there will be more of Lexie's story!

You can download a copy here: STRONGER by Lani Woodland


I am not a person who usually reads Sci Fi, but from the first few pages, I was sucked into this world that Woodland created. The story line is unique and engaging, but has just enough of "Earth" left that you are able to connect with the characters and location without trying to figure out what world is where. From the first few pages, you get a glimpse into Lexie's life and are rooting for her to find a way out of her fragile existence. The story moves fast with many twists, turns, smiles and even tears; I found I had a hard time putting it down, and at the end I was left with wanting more of Lexie, Bryant and their friends.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Self-Publishing News

We all have seen how self-publishing has exploded like a shaken can of soda when opened. I never even heard of this growing up and was first made aware of it when I heard how John Grisham got his first novel out and into the hands of readers.

And now, they are in a league of their own. There are numerous groups/people/sites that offer to publish your book or print it for you. This is great if you are distributing it yourself or getting it online to Amazon or other sites.

But getting it into the stores is much harder. Looks like this may change. Here's a link to an article in "Digital Book World" that talks about how getting your self-published book into the store will be easier!

Digital Book World Article

For those of you who have written a full length novel before...have you queried agents/publishers or are you going straight to self-publishing? Another option: are you looking for a smaller publisher to help get your book out there?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wonderful Team Member Readership Award


Today while I had a chunk of free time, I was visiting some of my favorite bloggers sites and reading their recent posts. I was surprised and excited when I saw Lori MacLaughlin had nominated me for the "Wonderful Team Member Readership Award!" The Readership Award salutes bloggers who regularly visit and leave thoughtful comments on other blogs in support of the blogosphere community. I truly appreciate Lori thinking of me and encourage you to visit her blog "Writing, Reading and the Pursuit of Dreams" here.

This nomination came at a crossroads for me. I was feeling guilty I hadn't visited blogs in awhile so when the ISWG post happened last Wednesday, I made sure I read and commented on blogs that interested me. I truly believe that this network of readers and writers will be a web of support to anyone who wants to be published, is published or is trying to advocate for someone or something that pertains to the writing community. I am also working with someone on getting "Lane Changes" published and I know that once it happens, blogging will be very important to me and potential readers. So, thank you Lori for thinking of me!

One of the rules for accepting this award is to finish the sentence: A great reader is… To me, a great reader is someone who will share their love of books, whether through recommendations or conversing about what they've just read. Also, I think it's important to try reading something in every genre so you can make an informed choice on what you like and don't like. Being honest in your review or feedback is important, too. There is no need to attack the author, but to give a well thought out critique of the book you've just read. I have also learned the more you read, the better writer you become so to all the writers or fledgling writers out, read, read!


I would like to nominate for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award the following great readers who have made my blogging life so much fun:

Donna K. Weaver: I recently began following her posts and found her through ISWG (I have found so many through that blog)! Her posts are unique, true and entertaining; she has posted on things from plagiarism to embracing your inner hotness.  I enjoy how she posts random videos that represent whatever she may be thinking about that day, which keeps her page fresh. Please congratulate her on the publishing of "Torn Canvas" and visit her blog here.

Elizabeth Mueller: I met Elizabeth at an LDS Storymakers Conference years ago and have stayed connected with her since! She regularly posts on Facebook and her blog and even introduced me to a "Blog Hop" which was great fun!  She always has a positive word or message to keep you writing, even if you've hit a wall. You can find her blog "Elizabeth Mueller, Author" here.

Sabrina Wolfheart: I met Sabrina via the Blog Hop I mentioned above. And while she says she is a teenager, don't let that cloud your view on what teens really think. Her posts are mature, insightful and fun. In addition to being a dog lover, she is a book reviewer as well. You can read her blog, "Books and Bark" here.

Jody Hedlund: I don't know her personally but I found her blog and have been hooked. She has insightful information that seems to be exactly what I need at this point in my writing. Currently, she writes about "Pet Peeves" and I urge you to visit her website/blog and her published works here.

Books Make Me Happy Reviews: Jennifer founded this website and once she established herself as a knowledgeable book person, she has had a backlog of writers asking her and her staff to review their works. Most of the books she and her staff review are Fantasy/Magic related but you can tell Jennifer puts a lot of thought into her site, works closely with her reviewers and also manages to run the Coastal Magic Convention in Florida as well. Visit her website here and you may find a whole new list of books you would like to read! (Disclaimer: I review for this site, but through her I have found some new authors that I love and am giving my Kindle a workout!)

Here are the original rules if you wish to accept this award. You can follow them as they are, or follow them in your own way. :)
  1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her post/page and/or sidebar.
  2. The Nominee shall nominate up to 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days (1 week) – this can be done at any rate during the week. It can be ALL on one day or a few on one day and a few on another day, etc.
  3. The Nominee shall name his or her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during the 7 day (1 week) period.
  4. The Nominee shall make these rules, or amended rules keeping to the spirit of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, known to each reader s/he nominates.
  5. The Nominee must finish this sentence and post: “A great reader is…

Writing in Airports

I traveled to Nashville and Huntsville, AL this weekend. On my way to my destinations I had a layover in Kansas City. Since I flew Southwest, I had my laptop and Kindle with me knowing that the two hour plus flight would give me time to read or write. 

However, as I pulled out my laptop on the plane and began to type, I realized that the guy next to me may be able to see what I was writing. The guy behind me could probably see, too, as I was in an exit row and there was quite a bit of space for him to look over my shoulder. I began to feel self-conscious so I closed down my laptop and read for the remainder of the trip.

Once I was in TN and AL (with Cindy who is co-writing "Sticks & Stones" with me) I was fine. She was reading/editing the story and making her suggestions the four days I was there. She lives in Huntsville, so we made sure we left early enough to get me back to Nashville for my 7pm flight. I arrived at 4pm, was lucky enough to have TSA Preflight Check-in and found a nice private corner near my gate, with an outlet.

So, I wrote and worked on my sequel to "Lane Changes".

I was by myself for about 45 minutes until someone came to charge their phone in the outlet…that was below a payphone (irony…or something?). Okay, I could still write as he was on the floor, on the other side of the payphone, and I was in a chair.

Then another person came and sat at the end of the row of chairs (only four chairs) and even though he was talking on his Bluetooth, I felt self-conscious enough not to be able to finish. So, I saved the document and figured this would be a good story post, kind of hinging on the ISWG post from last week.

So, the moral of this post? Maybe airports should have those old-fashion study carrels that the libraries have; their own power supply, softer chairs, and privacy. Maybe some of us writers would get a lot more written, in an airport, if there was some semblance of privacy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How Much Do You Talk About Your Writing? #IWSG

Another post for #IWSG Wednesday! Please check out Alex's website about it here: IWSG Blog.

A few years ago, a group like-minded friends and I were talking about our writing. One of my friends, I'll call her Jane, had a bite from an agent on her story. When we asked her what her new story was about she only said, "I'm superstitious about giving too much away. I'll tell you when/if it gets published." Years later, I saw that a story of hers is going to be published, but because she remains mum about what it is about I don't know if it is the one from years ago or a new one. I respect her wishes and we find that there are still things to talk about: our writing process, editing, blogging/advertising your work, our characters antics and so on.

On the flip side, I have a friend who will tell you what she is writing and is very good about leading you into her social media, getting you hooked, then once her story is self published/on an e-reading site you are invested. It could be months of her talking about it. She may call me up and asked me to beta-read, or ask what I think of a cover she designed. I am in awe at how comfortable (she seems) in putting her work out there before it's really out there. She has always had the ability to put herself out there and is not shy about asking someone for help.

I fall somewhere in the middle. Writing is personal to me and I have a core group of writing/blogging friends I am comfortable talking about my work in progress (WIP) with other writers. I will tell others the summary of what I am writing, the title, how long I've been working on it, but only if they ask. Sometimes, I'll even ask my kids for a synonym or good fantasy name for something. However, neither them nor my husband has read anything that is currently a WIP. I only have one short story out there and while I have the book on my shelf, I don't know if they have read it. I don't need their approval but am afraid of what I'd feel like if they say "it's okay" or "I didn't really get it." (Hm, so maybe I do need their approval?)  So, I operate under the radar, they know I'm writing, they may know the genre but that is about it. I have a Facebook page where I will write posts within the subject area of writing, and obviously this blog page, but this is as public as I get with a work in progress.  I am working on it. I know in order for people to become invested in your work and WANT to read it, once it's available, you need to hook them. And you can't do it too early; you can't say, "I have a wonderful story about ____ coming, but not until next May!"

I'd like to know how much you talk about your writing/current WIP? While you are creating your story, do you share with a select few, like my friend "Jane"? Would you love to gather everyone around and discuss your characters endlessly? Are you comfortable advertising your work and characters AS you are writing the story, like my other friend?

Friday, August 1, 2014

Deadlines, Schmedlines!

Posts ago I bragged how I was going to get a rough draft of my current WIP "Sticks & Stones" finished by my trip next week. I was going to give it to the co-writer, Cindy, so she could add and edit. Alas, I'm only half way done. Life and vacation got in the way.

However, half done is not so bad! I just sent her what I had and hopefully when I arrive in Alabama next week she will have her thoughts and edits. Luckily, we are staying in a hotel, giving us time to  hash out the edits and maybe even write the next upcoming chapters--in between me playing tourist and visiting her family. I'm very pleased the way it's progressing and have reached that stage where I think of the characters half of the day. I put them in different situations, in my head, and if it doesn't feel natural I push it away. I even wrote a scene that is chapters ahead and saved it in a different folder. This usually means I am on a roll...fingers crossed it stays that way!

On a different note, I am every excited to see the "Outlander" series on STARZ. This is one of my favorite books and seeing real life actors portraying Jamie and Claire are a bit unnerving. They are nothing like what I had in my head. Claire was taller, bigger and had dark blond curly hair. Jamie was taller, bigger, broader and had longer straighter hair. However, the trailer and interviews I have seen lead me to believe that this could be a smash hit. Fingers crossed on this one, too!