My Blogging Lapse, RT2014 People-Watching, and Stuff

Nancy Brant asked me to participate in a writing process blog hop and I saw it as an opportunity to post something. I haven’t blogged in a while. It sucks, but there’s a reason for it that’s relevant to my writing process. For me, writing takes one road, and reading/reviewing/blogging/promoting take another. I am working on strategy to manage both at the same time, but I’m not there yet.

There are a few, very exciting things happening with my writing career. A few years ago, I would have found one of them greatly disappointing. The benefit of time, and rapid progress in the industry, is that what might have been a setback only three years ago is now a blessing, and not even a disguised one. I apologize for being vague. I’d love to tell the story, because I think it’s an interesting one, but I neither can nor should. Truly, it doesn’t provide much value for other writers, not even for those in a similar situation.

RT2014

Marie Sexton, Me, and Alanna Coco

I attended RT 2014 in New Orleans this year. I met great people, spent a lot of time with my childhood friend, Marie Sexton, and sat in on some insightful panels. However, the most valuable thing I took away from the conference is something I observed while people watching among the indie authors. The ones that are successful–which I will define as having name recognition with strangers (think Lilliana Hart)—had two things in common that most of the authors in NOLA lacked. One, they referred to themselves as “indie publishers”, and two, they don’t sit still. Their books are the sellable component of their personal businesses, which is kept afloat with various entrepreneurial requirements. Whereas many self-published authors are fighting to connect with readers to sell a book, these few are reading trade publications, making connections, and building brands. Their books are marketing them, rather than the other way round.

Clearly, it’s not a model for success that can be implemented overnight by a working mom with a daily 50-mile round trip commute, but it’s nice to have an attainable goal.

Right now, the bulk of my focus is on Glitch, book one of a YA Sci-fi series. As of this morning, Glitch is a working title, because a book with that title was released in the same genre back in February. The idea for “The Winter Son” trilogy came about from a desire to dabble in the war between angels, but make angels the bad guys. It was originally called “The Choir Boys,” and it was intended to be a paranormal romance featuring an immortal paramilitary operative, but my main character argued that he wasn’t old enough to vote, so changes had to be made. I finish books, but they’re never the ones I start.

I’ve been asked how my work is different from others in its genre. I think that’s a question better left to readers. There’s a literary concept called “suspension of disbelief” and basically, readers cannot relate to something perfect. The more incredible something is–wealthy, beautiful, and/or powerful—the more flawed it has to be. Take any superhero you like and weigh his/her strengths against weaknesses. You’ll find they balance each other out.

It might be a cop out, but I try to make my characters on the average side, more representable of the young adult population. I avoid hot heroes and girls with red hair and green eyes. I have smart kids who make dumb, and sometimes selfish decisions. My world building is largely contemporary, but as the story progresses and the surface is scratched, evidence of richer, darker, even alien worlds can be found beneath.

I never set about writing this way. It evolved over time. I’m half-Japanese, and having been raised in Wyoming, I have come to self-identify as a white woman. For half of my life, I was a practicing Mormon, but in my 20s, I discovered an atheist within. I’m Pro-Gun, Pro-Choice, Pro-Fiscal Responsibility, Pro-Diversity, and a straight ally of the LGBT community. My writing, I believe, is a reflection of me, and written for my 16-year-old self…a girl whose life was shaped by reading books that were over her head.

My writing process is one that needs to change the more I think about it. I work out ideas in notebooks, write scenes in Scrivener, edit on hard copy, and I get done when I get done. It worked well when I was writing for myself, but my goals have changed. One day, I hope to quit my job and write full-time, and spending two years to complete one book isn’t going to get me there.

I was supposed to tag in three other writers to post next Monday, but like I said…I have two roads at the moment. Finding authors to participate turned out to be on the other one. Instead, please check out these great new releases.

Summoned, by Rainy Kaye

The Devil Made Me Do It  (Book 2, Speak of the Devil Series), by Shawna Romkey

Endured (Book 3, Shadowed Love Series), by Kinley Baker

Cover Reveal: The Devil Made Me Do It, by Shawna Romkey

The Devil made me do it preview 1

The Devil Made Me Do It (Speak of the Devil #2)
By Shawna Romkey

Coming from Crescent Moon Press, June 2014

About the Book:

Lily is working with the angels to stifle the last of the demon outbreaks and to figure out how to stop the Silence of God, so life can get back to boring normality. But all hell breaks loose when she’s stolen from school and brought face to face with the devil himself. Lily has to find her way back home to Luc, crack the prophecy that breaks the curse silencing God, and figure out how she and Luc can ever really be together; but Lucifer has other plans for her that don’t include her ever getting out of Hell in tact.

SR-37-150x150About the Author:

Shawna Romkey, teacher by day, writer by night (or day or whenever anyone leaves her alone long enough to get some work done). Bestselling YA / NA paranormal author of Speak of the Devil. The second in the series, The Devil Made Me Do It, will release July 1.

Shawna is from Kansas City, Missouri, but resides in Nova Scotia in a house by the sea with her husband, two sons, and currently two dogs but that’s subject to change depending on the local homeless dog population.

For more info, check out her website at www.shawnaromkey.com.

Character Guest Post: Vance, from Juli Caldwell’s “Psyched” #bbf

Hello lovely readers. Please welcome Vance, from Juli Caldwell’s “Psyched.” He’s come to tell us a ghost story!

I grew up close to the Webster rural cemetery. I heard weird sounds when I was growing up, especially on moonless nights. My dad always said there was no such thing as ghosts. We’re church-going people, so he taught me to believe in guardian angels and stuff like that, but he always thought that a spirit had a mission to protect us. Keep us safe. He didn’t think it could get stuck here.

When I was younger, I walked home from school with my brothers—I’m the youngest of four boys. For some reason I had to walk alone one day when I was about 13. As you go around a bend and up a little hill before you get to my neighborhood, there’s an old stone cottage set back from the road a bit. Overgrown weeping willows kind of hide it so it’s not easy to see unless you know it’s there. That house always kind of creeped me out, but I’d never had to walk past it alone before. The house has this historic marker that I never stopped to read with my brothers around. They just wanted to throw stones and see if we could break some of the windows because the place has been abandoned for years, unless you count the occasional homeless squatter or pot party.

The sign said the house was one of the first built in Webster, back in early 1700’s, and it gave the names of the original owners. For some reason I said their names out loud. As soon as I did…wow. We’re not too far from a river where I live, and this little stone cottage is close to it. So this mist rolled in as I said their names, and at first I didn’t think much of it. I mean, it’s upstate New York. Storms roll off the lake all the time, and there’s often fog in the river bottom. I just wanted to hurry home so I didn’t get drenched when the storm hit. As I started to walk away, something in the upper windows caught my eye and I stopped to look. At first it looked like gray curtains blowing out a window, but as I looked closer I saw a face. The sad, crying face of a woman. The mist rolled in, blocking my view of the window as a ghastly shriek rang out, and the wind suddenly picked up. It’s a good thing I didn’t wet myself right there. I ran up the hill and once I got out of that little valley where the house was, the mist was gone.

I can’t even explain how much it scared me. Later, I looked up the name of the woman on the sign and researched her history. Turns out she died under suspicious circumstances. She was a newlywed and her husband had just finished building that house for her. Another woman in town wanted to marry her husband, and after the woman came to visit her in her new house, she got really sick. Rumor is she died of poisoning but no one could ever prove it.

It drives my dad nuts that I believe, but this stuff is real. That face I saw, she was so lost, so scared. If I can help just one lost soul find a way out, set them free, what I do as a ghost hunter will be worth it.

Click here to view Juli Caldwell’s Book Blogger Fair – Summer 2013 page.

The Super Awesome A Stiff Kiss 1st Anniversary Contest

ASK 1st Anniversary Contest Blog Badge

Hello, lovely readers! Today, I’m turning my blog over to Avery Olive, who’s got something pretty cool to tell you. Take it away, Avery!

Welcome… Welcome! Please stick around and read today’s post ‘cause it’s a Winner! Hehe. Okay, so I thought about trying something a little different for this next contest.

My goal is to try and get everyone involved more, while spreading the word about A Stiff Kiss. I know many of you might prefer the simple enter your email Rafflecopter, or leave a comment on a post… but I think, if people get involved, this will be a huge hit!

As an A Stiff Kiss Anniversary Participant, your goal is to get as many points as possible so that you can win the massive prize package I’ll be giving away.

But wait, I’m all about a pat on the back for participation, so I will be giving two smaller prize packages away to two random entrants, and… And… for everyone else, you’ll get a little something something too. So, if this works, everyone has the potential to receive some kind of goodie!!

Grand Prize includes:

1 signed and personalized paper copy of A Stiff Kiss (with a special note to the winner)

1 ASK Canvas Tote Bag

1 ASK T-Shirt

1 ASK Coffee Mug and set of coasters

1 ASK Mousepad

Signed Bookmark, postcard and mini poster

2 Participation Prizes include:

1 ASK Coffee Mug filled with Hersey’s Kisses

1 Set of ASK Coasters

1 ASK Mousepad

Signed Bookmark, postcard and mini poster

To see a picture of the prizes being offered, click HERE

Alright, let’s get to the fun stuff. I’ve created a list of activities, given each of them a point value and tried to come up with simple, easy to do and like I said, most importantly, fun things for you to accomplish. You will need to copy and paste this form, and fill it out in order to entered. All forms must be sent to averyolive1@gmail.com no later than February 28th!

  1. Tweet about A Stiff Kiss. I’ve created a few tweets that you can copy and paste, or create your own.

Tweet 1: Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything? #AStiffKiss out now! http://www.amazon.com/Stiff-Kiss-Avery-Olive/dp/193725433X/

Tweet 2: Have you checked out @AveryOlive #AstiffKiss ?Happy one year book anniversary! http://www.amazon.com/Stiff-Kiss-Avery-Olive/dp/193725433X/

Remember to use @averyolive or the hashtag #AStiffKiss so that I can track your tweets! International readers may tweet in their own language, so don’t worry J

1 Point per Tweet and no more than 2 Tweets per day! Enter how many tweets you did here…

Number of Tweets:

2.     Post to your blog or other social media (Website, Tumblr and Facebook)

You’re goal is to share something about A Stiff Kiss. It can be posting a review, doing a simple cover and blurb spotlight, it can be asking me to do an interview (send an email to averyolive1@gmail.com if you’d like my help) You can re-use an old review, post or interview, however it must be imbedded into a NEW POST. You’re imagination should be put at use here, being extra creative is awesome!) Can be posted in your language of choice.

5 Points per Post. You can post a maximum of 3 times, at least one week apart but each post must be different. One post review, one post cover and blurb, one post something random like sharing with me your personal favourite cemetery…

Please include links to your post!

1.

2.

3.

3.      Spread the love by sharing your A Stiff Kiss Review. Most people forget that there are dozens of places to share reviews. Posting one in a new place can help spread the word. Find a new place (like Goodreads, Barnes & Nobel, Librarything.com, YaCentral) and post your review!

5 Points for each new location you post your review! Please include links to your reviews J

Enter Links Here:

4.     Candid Camera! Take a photo of you (and others if possible) holding a copy of A Stiff Kiss, your e-reader with the cover (or opening page). If you see A Stiff Kiss in your bookstore, library, or own a copy, get as many people as you can into a picture!

Don’t have a copy or ebook of A Stiff Kiss? That’s Okay! If you’ve been lucky enough to receive ASK Swag in the past, take a photo with that or print out this handy 8 ½ X 11 POSTER (colour or black and white) and use that for your picture! 

10 Points for each photo, plus 5 points for each additional person within the photo! Follow me on Instagram—tag me in your photo—post it on Facebook, post it to my wall, share it on twitter with @AveryOlive or #AStiffKiss or send me links.

5.    Poster, poster, read all about! Print out this handy dandy 8 ½ X 11 POSTER (colour or black and white) and post it all around your town. Tape it up anywhere you are allowed to—libraries, school bulletin boards, telephone poles, get creative!

10 Points for each poster you put up (with photo proof, see activity 5 guidelines on how to make sure your photo is seen if you are not sending me links)

6.      Get your Library to get in on the fun! Many library websites have a “request a book form” so, fill it out and request to have them purchase a copy of A Stiff Kiss for their shelves or go directly into the library and fill out a form or talk to your librarian!

10 Points for each request (take a screen shot of your screen when making the request (screen shot how to info HERE)

7.      Stage a spooky photo! Since A Stiff Kiss’ main character is all about cemeteries, I want you to go out and stage a photo next to a tombstone. I know, it’s a little morbid, but Xylia will love it. Use your book, ereader, poster or swag and capture it along with a tombstone, creepy statue—anything you can find at your local cemetery!

15 Points for each spooky photo (with photo proof)

8.      Buy a Copy today! Don’t own A Stiff Kiss? Buy a copy (print or ebook) today for yourself, your friends, to donate to your library or giveaway as a gift. I recommend  BookDepository.com. Take a screen shot of your order confirmation or a picture of your receipt.

25 Points for each book (or ebook) purchased—don’t forget that photo proof.

 

9.      Write an article! This is a big one, it might be nearly impossible to accomplish, but I have faith in you! Write an article about A Stiff Kiss (or me, Avery Olive) and have it printed in your school or local newspaper. The article can be a review, an interview, whatever you can come up with!

30 Points for each article printed. Send me links or get photo proof!

10.    The Wild Card! This is for you wild ones out there. Show me what you’ve got! This is activity is strictly for you to think outside the box! If you can come up with a fun, creative way to spread the word about A Stiff Kiss, show it to me!

50 Points I’ll need photo proof, links—anything you can throw me!

Just a little extra.

Can I personally use your pictures and post them on the internet?  Yes or No

Can I include your name when announcing prizes or thank you’s? Yes or No

 

Don’t forget to include your full name and mailing address because in my eyes, everyone is a winner!

Name:

Address: 

Send completed form to averyolive1@gmail.com 

That’s it, that’s all. I know, some are easier than others, but I think with a little planning and a little motivation, anyone out there can rack up the points!

Remember, for the ones that require proof, I need links provided or to be tagged on Facebook or Instagram, it posted on my wall or use @averyolive or #AStiffKiss so that I can see all your hard work!

For full contest details, rules and regulations, please visit HERE otherwise, get to work and spread the love of A Stiff Kiss!

Avery Olive’s Blog : Facebook : A Stiff Kiss Facebook Fan Page : Twitter : Instagram :  Goodreads : Amazon : Barnes & Noble : The Book Depository :