October 20, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Bethany Lopez

I’ve known Bethany Lopez online for quite a while and couldn’t wait to meet her at UtopYA. As a bonus, I was also able to meet her lovely daughter. Both have amazing smiles and such excitement for the writing community.

So, please join me in welcoming Bethany to the blog. Without further ado…

I recently noticed on your bio that you began self-publishing in 2011. If my math is correct, you have twelve titles out. So awesome! What’s your secret to such productivity?

Bethany: In the beginning my books were much shorter! J They are still quick reads, but my Melissa series and Friends & Lovers Trilogy are all novella length books, so that probably helps.

Can you share some information about your latest, 42 Hours? It’s the third book in your Time for Love series. Will there be more?  

Bethany: Yes, book 4, 15 Minutes, is releasing on November 4, and book 5, 10 Years, is scheduled for Feb 3, 2015. It is a series, but each book focuses on a different couples romance, so they can be read as stand alones.

Some additional information:

About 42 Hours

Eight years ago, Scott and Gaby shared one very special night. Not wanting to ruin their friendship, they didn't take things further...but neither of them has forgotten.

When Scott’s friends stage an intervention to make him realize that his fiancé, Victoria, is all wrong for him, he takes time to evaluate his life. He’s earned a big promotion and just bought his dream car, but those things are just superficial. The one time he was truly happy, was with Gaby.

Gaby is in a good place in her life. She loves her job, has the best friends and family a girl could ask for, and is dating a sweet and sexy guy, but she’s never stopped thinking about that night with Scott.

Eager to find happiness again, Scott makes a plan to win Gaby’s heart during a weekend getaway, but she doesn’t want to be his rebound girl. Will 42 hours be enough to convince Gaby that it's finally their time for love?

Series Reading Order
8 Weeks
21 Days
42 Hours
15 Minutes ~ Coming Nov 4, 2014

So looking forward to diving into this series. I noticed in your bio that you love to travel. So far, what have been your top three favorite places to visit, and have you ever written a location in one of your novels?

Bethany: I would have to say Italy, Scotland, and Costa Rica are three of my favorites so far. I haven’t written any of the locations in yet. I’ve stuck to either unknown locations, or cities that I’ve lived in.

Actually, my husband and I went to Costa Rica for our 15th wedding anniversary, and it's my favorite so far. So, I'm in total agreement on that one. I also loved Italy. Guess I'll have to try Scotland now. But, back to the interview... Your daughter was so excited to be at UtopYA and was so wonderful to hang out with my daughter. Do you two share similar reading tastes? Does she get to early read your novels?

Bethany: She gets to early read my YA books, but not my romance titles. We do have some similar tastes, but she is heavy into Paranormal, while I tend to read a lot of Contemporary.

My daughter is a huge fan of Paranormal as well. UtopYA2014 was so amazing, and I can't wait for UtopYA2015. What do you think makes UtopYA so special?

Bethany Lopez: The people. Hands down. From Janet, to all of the volunteers, to the amazing authors, UtopYA is an event for people who love to read. It’s like spending a long weekend with family.

Bethany with two members of Bethany's Bombshells,
her street team: Megan & Michelle
Quick Questions…

Favorite Punctuation Mark: A tie between ! and ,
Ocean or Mountains? Ohhh, this one is really hard for me. I love them both! I’d have to say… Mountains.
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage: I like my wine red, my beer dark, and my vodka with cranberry juice!
Favorite Dessert: Crème Brule
Shower or bath? Shower
Sweet or Sour? Sweet

I hope I’ll see you at next year’s UtopYA! From your bio, I discovered you love In N Out Burgers. Guess I need to bring you one from Cali next June.

Bethany: Yes! Animal style. I miss them so much!

More about Bethany

Award-Winning Author Bethany Lopez began self-publishing in June 2011. She's a lover of all things romance: books, movies, music, and life, and she incorporates that into the books she writes. When she isn't reading or writing, she loves spending time with her husband and children, traveling whenever possible. Some of her favorite things are: Kristen Ashley Books, coffee in the morning, and In N Out burgers.

Connect with her on Social Media
IAN 
Blog 

Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out the announcement post to see the schedule.

October 17, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Allyson Gottlieb


Another day and another lovely from UtopYA 2014!

I first met Allyson online, and she invited me to come and speak on a panel at her high school with several other authors. Yes, I said high school. Allyson is the girl I wanted to be when I was a teenager—she’s already published with several manuscripts in the pipeline, and she just started her freshman year of college at Emerson in August.

Then, I got to see her again at UtopYA. Yay, me! Now, please join me in welcoming Allyson Gottlieb to my blog.

So, how’s college life so far?

Allyson: It’s going great! I’m so in love with Boston, though it hasn’t started snowing yet, so I may be singing a different tune when it does, hehe. My dorm is surprisingly big and beautiful, my suitemates are super nice, classes aren’t overwhelming, and the best part of all, I’m surrounded by all kinds of amazing creative people. Such a welcome change from high school.

Yes, let's definitely chat again after the first snow; nothing beats California winters. We must get together next time you’re back here! I’m sure you get asked this all the time, but when did you know you wanted to be an author?

Allyson: Well, I was seven years old when I wrote my first story. It was a dream that I didn’t want to forget, so I asked my dad to set me up a word document so I could write it down. From there, I just kept going. So I can’t pinpoint a specific moment in time when I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life, but it’s kind of always been there, and as I got old enough to think about career choices and stuff I just gradually realized there wasn’t anything else I could see myself doing. (That’s not to say I’m planning on trying to support myself with my writing straight out of college—it’s a nice fantasy, but I know the odds of that are slim, haha.)

You never know. Never give up on the dream. You are off to an amazing start. Speaking of your writing, tell us about your Mortal Sin series. But, first, I have to share the covers... 



Allyson: The Mortal Sin saga is a serial, with approximately 20k words to an installment and designed to be released one a month. (We’ll see if I can continue churning them out at that rate, LOL!) The basic plotline is that seven young adults (ages 16-20) have been infected with demon energy representing the seven deadly sins. It deals with a lot of complex moral issues—one of the big questions the characters face is “what does it mean that this demon chose me? Am I a bad person?” And all of them approach that in very different ways. I do touch on the religion angle a bit, because you can’t really do the seven deadly sins without it, but it’s definitely not a “religious book.” And of course, there are some fun romantic subplots and complications that go along with that. 

Sounds intriguing. What’s up after the Mortal Sin saga?

Allyson: It’s interesting that you ask, because I have a couple of different things I’m working on right now and I’m still not sure what’s coming out first. There’s the first book of my NA dystopian series, which I’ve been tinkering with for several months now and had planned to release in the spring of 2015. But I recently bought a cover from a flash sale—because I just couldn’t resist—for an NA paranormal romance that’s been kicking around in my head for a bit, so you may see that from me before anything else. (NOTE: I write “clean NA”, aka no explicit sexy-times. My characters do occasionally steam up some windows, but they get to have a bit of privacy if and when they do the deed.) No matter what, I plan to have a couple different things out in paperback before UtopYA 2015. The Mortal Sin saga also has a spin-off full-length novel (I can’t say anything more until the serial is complete, because spoilers), so that will be written at some point, though the way things are going, it likely won’t be ready for a while.

Finally, what was your favorite part of UtopYA2014?

Kassandra Kush, Jesse Daniels
& Allyson
Allyson: God, this is such an impossible question! I loved everything—meeting the incredible people I’d talked to online for so long (including my author BFF Kassandra Kush, who I’d never met in person until that weekend), forging new and amazing connections, collecting awesome swag, learning so much from the panels, drooling over cover models, getting a pep talk from the fantabulous Janet Wallace...

For a girl who spent most of high school feeling like an outsider, UtopYA was everything I could’ve possibly hoped for and more. It was finding that community I’d always wanted, that group of people who believed in me. It was exactly what I needed to remind me that my dreams are worthwhile.

Quick Questions…

Favorite Punctuation Mark: Semicolon
Ocean or Mountains? Ocean
Favorite Dessert: Cheesecake
Shower or bath?  Long, hot shower
Sweet or Sour? Sweet

I hope I’ll see you at next year’s UtopYA and the next time you are in Cali.

Allyson: Absolutely! I’ll be home for a month around Christmas, we should definitely get coffee or something. I miss all my UtopYA Lovelies.
J

More about Allyson

Growing up, Allyson was always the girl with a big imagination and even bigger dreams. A California girl by birth, she currently lives in Boston while attending Emerson College. She has a slight addiction to Starbucks, eyeliner, and chocolate—and, of course, books.

Website: http://www.allysongottlieb.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllysonGottliebAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GottliebAllyson
Tumblr: http://allysongottlieb.tumblr.com

Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out the announcement post to see the schedule.

October 15, 2014

When Not to Force the Muse: ROW80

Thanks to some GI issues lately, I will have a colonoscopy tomorrow. Fun stuff for a blog post, right?

Today is prep day. Thanks to weeks of GI upset, I've been relegated to pretty much eating chicken broth, grits, rice, and other bland foods. It's making for quite a cranky girl.

Guess what I've discovered during this process? I don't function well on an empty or hurting stomach. I'm hoping whatever they find will set me on a better path.

For now, I'm writing and keeping up with my one-hour-a-day rule. Yesterday, I scrapped everything I'd written the day before (the food fog took over from the Muse and left me with unusable material). Today, I'm not even going to attempt to write. Maybe not even tomorrow, depending on how I feel after. I need a fresh brain and calm stomach.

Do you ever feel like you force the writing, ending up with words you simply delete? 

Sometimes, I think I should walk away from the computer and admit it's not a writing day rather than force it. But, then I wonder if it's better to write anything to keep up the habit. In Stephen King's On Writing, he said he writes every day, come Hell or high water. Hmmmm.

I've been kicking butt on editing and knocking out other action list items. So, it's been a productive week so far. My goal is to still finish Chasing Forgiveness by 10/31 and to participate in NaNoWriMo to get book three written. So that's my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update for mid-week.

*****

For fun, I have to share a picture of my oldest daughter from this weekend. It's from her freshman Homecoming dance. She's growing up too fast. *sniff, sniff*


October 13, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Jacinda Buchmann


In addition to meeting people I’ve known for a while online, I also met some new lovelies at UtopYA. That’s part of the beauty; knowing we all share a love of YA & NA. Jacinda Buchmann was in a booth directly across from mine at the event. 

During a quiet moment, we started chatting about our books and life. It was so much fun! 

Jacinda, thanks so much for hanging out with me today.

Jacinda:  Thank you for inviting me! This was my first year attending UtopYA and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was looking forward to chatting with fans about my books and meeting one of my good friends in person,  Author Natasha Hanova, because we had only chatted online. We lucked out and ended up having tables next to each other, so that made it even better. But then I ended up making so many other friends, including you, so now I'm even more excited to attend UtopYA next year. Not only will I have a new book to share, I also have so many new friends that I can't wait to see again :-)

It was my first as well! Next year is going to rock! 
When did you first know you wanted to write a novel?

J:  When I was in second grade! No kidding, LOL :-) I knew I wanted to be an author since I could write. My poor teachers in school...any time they'd assign a "short" story to write, I would write a "short novel", ha ha! Looking back, I sometimes wish that I made majored in English or something "author" related when I went to college, but at the time I was too practical and followed a career path where I knew I would have a guaranteed job and paycheck. It wasn't a huge paycheck - I became a teacher, lol - but it was a job I thought I would enjoy. And I did enjoy it for a time, but my desire to be an author was too strong, and I finally reached a point in my life where I could follow my dream and write full-time, and since I've been writing full-time I've never been happier!

What a gift to know; that's how I felt about writing. Your Indigo series features twin brothers as the main characters. I think it’s admirable to write from an opposite sex perspective. Were you worried? What research did you do—or what personal experience do you have—to make sure you captured the male teenage voice?

J:  I was an eighth grade English teacher for two years and later I became a middle school counselor, so I've spent a lot of time working with teenage boys and discovering how they "think", lol :-) Besides my personal experience though, when I get a character in my head, I tend to "hear" them, so regardless of whether I'm writing from the viewpoint of a sixteen-year-old boy, a seventeen-year-old girl, or a nine-year-old autistic boy (a character that can also be found in the trilogy), when I write I close my eyes, picture myself in their head, and then simply write what they think and say :-)

I can’t wait to read the first two books—they sound amazing! When can we expect Book 3? Can you share anything about it yet?

J:  I am currently working on Book 3: Indigo Infinity, the final installment in the trilogy. I haven't announced the official release date yet - though I will soon. I can say that it will be out in time for Christmas :-) During the first two books, Indigo Incite and Indigo Instinct, the characters are on the run from a secret government agency that wants to exploit them for their supernatural powers. Throughout the first two stories, there has been a lot of foreshadowing of events to come. In book three, the characters decide they've had enough once and for all as all of the clues begin to fall into place.  Throughout the trilogy, some relationships have slowly developed while some hearts have been broken, but in the final installment, we will see how they are ready to take control of their futures and decide on their own destinies.

I met so many wonderful people like you at UtopYA. What do you think makes this conference so special?

J:  UtopYA stands out from other conferences I've been to because the authors and readers are given opportunities to mingle throughout the weekend. Instead of just sitting behind my "author table" for hours on end and then packing it all up at the end of the day, I was able to mix with authors, bloggers, and readers. At the end of the weekend, I walked away with so many unexpected new friendships :-)

Quick Questions…

Favorite Punctuation Mark: Ha!! I don't know about favorite punctuation marks, but I love using italics. Some of the characters in the Indigo Trilogy speak to each other telepathically, and these conversations are conveyed through italics - so much fun!

Ocean or Mountains? That's a tough one. I lived in Seattle til I was 13 so I grew up near the ocean, but then I moved to Montana! I love both, but I think the mountains speak to me a little more :-)

Favorite Alcoholic Beverage:  Moscato - I love a sweet wine.

Favorite Dessert:  I LOVE dessert!! Either a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream or strawberry rhubarb crisp topped with vanilla ice cream :-)

Shower or bath? Bath?? You mean TIME to relax away from kids?? I think I remember what those were like ;-) These days it's a shower - as fast as possible. Someday though...someday many years from now, a bath would be fantastic :-)

Sweet or Sour? Sweet for sure! I don't like sour...at all. 

I love Moscato and adore all things sweet! I hope I’ll see you at UtopYA2015, so we can hang out more! 

J: Yes! I will definitely be at UtopYA 2015. I have my table reserved, and I'm counting down the days...well, eventually I will be. First, I get to go to Phoenix ARC in October, Tucson ComicCon in November, The Novel Experience in Las Vegas in April, Signatures in Salt Lake in May, and then....YES! UtopYA in June! I can't wait! See you there :-) 

More about Jacinda...
Jacinda Buchmann lives in Arizona with her husband and three children. She graduated from Carroll College, in Helena, Montana, with a B.A. in elementary education and later received a Master’s degree from Northern Arizona University, in school counseling. After spending several years as a teacher and later a school counselor, she now spends her time writing, any free chance she can get, that is, when she’s not spending time with her family or creating a new concoction in the kitchen.


Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out the announcement post to see the schedule.

October 12, 2014

Editing Out Loud: ROW80

Last Thursday and Friday, I spoke to five high school classes--two freshmen Honors English classes and three senior English classes--about Self-Editing and the importance of writing.

Source
First, I told them no matter what career path they are considering... writing and effective communication skills are an absolute must. I discussed my own split-personality. As a finance major who took every elective in English and wrote for my college newspaper, I was hired at financial companies based on my technical background and writing skills. 

Then, I showcased self-editing tricks, most of which I covered here.

The best exercise was when I had them read the following out loud...

I sat down and rapped the guilt around me. 

“If you think that small quilt will make you warm you will loose your mind,” his mother sad. She went over to adjust thermometer. 

Read it in your head first. It's amazing what the brain fixes.  

Now, read it out loud. The kids were amazed how much better they picked up on the mistakes. Then, I drove the point home... spell checker wouldn't have found any of them. 

How many mistakes do you see? Hint: There are 5 incorrectly used words, one missing punctuation mark, and one word omission.

Sundays are for my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) updates. 

I made quite a list for myself this round, which only began on a few days ago. My main goal was to spend an hour a day writing. I can proudly say I've done this since posting my goal post. Granted, it was spent on writing some blog posts and finishing up my speech, but it definitely re-engaged my writing brain.

Plus, I'm working on a big, last edit. Overall, I feel like it's a good start to the last round of 2014.

October 10, 2014

Meet Some #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial): Paris Rieske


Please welcome Paris Rieske, book cover model and editor. She's yet another lovely I met at UtopYA2014.

Hi, Paris! Thanks so much for being a guest on my blog. It was such a thrill to meet you at UtopYA in June, especially since I adore your mother, author Devyn Dawson.

You appear on the cover of your mother’s book, Killing Me Softly. First of all, how did this come about? Also, what inspired you to want to do cover model work? 

Paris: My mom and I work very closely with all of her books. I'm her number one fan and I try to support her through every step of her stories. I started off as one of her editors and through editing, we got even closer. 

When she started Killing Me Softly, I was worried because I was busier than usual and wouldn't be as big of a process. I'm not sure why she asked me if I'd model for her cover, but I was really happy she did and of course I said, "Yes!" I know she loves to keep things local and involve everyone she can in her process, so maybe it was her way of making sure I was just as big of a part of this book as all the others.
 
I love that you are your mom's number one fan. My girls are definitely mine! So, I have to ask. Do you love to read? Other than your mom’s books (wink, wink), name a couple of your favorite authors.

Paris: I do love to read! While I don't get as much time to do so between having a 14 month old and working on my mom's books (really they're my favorite, and I reread The Light Tamer over and over; it never gets old). When I'm not nose deep in a Devyn Dawson novel, I like Michael Crichton books. Growing up, my favorite was Laura Ingalls Wilder and I just recently fell in love with Rhiannon Paille.

Laura Ingalls Wilder books are classics for good reason. Recently, I saw some amazing pictures of your modeling work on your Facebook page. Would you mind sharing two of your favorite pictures so far?



I wrote a novel, Depression Cookies, with my mom. It was an amazing experience, but things would get tricky sometimes when we talked plot or vision. You edit your mom’s novels. What is your working relationship like? Do you have a funny story to share with us?

Paris: Writing with my mom is a lot of fun, probably because I don't do the writing part. LOL! I think she thinks of me as someone she can bounce ideas off of, and I'm pretty honest about my feelings towards those ideas. Sometimes we disagree on things, but she usually ends up being right (funny how moms do that, huh?) and I eat my words later. 

As far as a funny story, well I have worked on almost every single book my mom has written and that includes those not-so-innocent new adult books she's put out. Cry Me a River was a really fun book to work on because it took place not far from where I grew up in a town called Emerald Isle. There are a lot of sexy scenes and while they are super hot and steamy, it's interesting being the daughter in that situation. All the panty-dropping moments she writes about are great and it means so much to me that we're close enough that she's comfortable with me helping with those, but sometimes I just crack up at how unusual the dynamic is.

Mother-daughter bonds are pretty darn special. Speaking of which, your sweet daughter is too cute for words. What is your biggest wish for her?

Paris: Thank you! My daughter is the light of my life. My biggest wish for her is that she finds a place in this world where she feels whole, safe, like she fits, and experiences the happiness true security can bring.

I have the same wish for my three daughters. Now it's time for some quick questions...

Favorite Punctuation Mark: The exclamation point!!!
Ocean or Mountains? Mountains
Favorite Alcoholic Beverage? Southern Comfort with lime juice
Favorite Dessert? Fudgy brownies
Shower or bath? Bath
Sweet or Sour? Sweet

Thanks so much for being a guest on my blog. I wish you all the best with all the exciting things happening with you (and your mom). Congratulations on your August 10th wedding, too. I saw some pictures on your mom's Facebook page, and you looked so happy and in love!

Paris: Thanks, and thank you for the opportunity to be on your blog! Love and light to you.

Please come back for more #UtopYA2014 Lovelies (Unofficial), and check out the announcement post to see the schedule.

October 8, 2014

A List and A Plan: ROW80 Goals Post

2014 is slipping away. It's been a crazy year so far, but an awesome one!

This is the time of year where I want to crawl into bed, slip under the covers, and marathon-watch television shows and movies (with some book breaks and occasional food). Trying to mentally gear up for this last quarter is making me exhausted. Something about the holidays, as much as I love them, is draining.

So, it's a good time to join another round of A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) and state my goals. I'm really going to need some help crossing the finish line for this year as strongly as I started.
Source

I have been struggling lately with an overwhelming list of to-dos and some Life stuff. But, I'm determined to get some things done this round. No. More. Excuses.*

Master List 
  • Finish Chasing Forgiveness by October 31
  • Outline Chasing Destiny by October 31
  • Write Chasing Destiny during NaNoWriMo
  • Amp up marketing efforts on Chasing Shadows
  • Edit and market Fractured Glass
  • Exercise 5-6 times per week -- stress reliever and health
  • IBGW Edits & Proofreads
  • Keep this blog fresh and updated with blog posts every M, W, F
  • ROW80 updates on Mondays and Wednesdays
  • Check in with at least 5 ROW80 peeps each check-in date
  • Check in with at least 10 other blogs Monday through Friday
  • Be more active on Facebook & Twitter
  • Read more indie-published books and post reviews
Okay, I admit it; I hyperventilated for a moment after reading my list. So, instead of just making a list, I'm going to make a plan. So, from now until the end of 2014, I'm going to...
  • Write for one hour each day. Minimum. 
  • Hang out on social media 4 times a day for 20 minutes each (using a timer).
  • Pre-write posts on Saturday mornings.
  • Wake up an hour earlier each day to either write or exercise.
Wishing everyone a productive round/quarter. Let's do this thing!

* If you stop back by for my updates and see excuses, I beg you to refocus me. Or, kick my butt if you have to.