April 21, 2014

Make A Little Better: ROW80

A new week... a new promise.

I'm in the final, final edits of Chasing Shadows. Seriously! It's time to accept the last edits and move to publish. Why do I find this process so damned exhausting?

Just today, I went with my youngest on a field trip to an old schoolhouse. There, written on the chalkboard, was an explanation.


It's so hard to say I'm done editing, to know it's good enough. Perfection is a pipe dream, I get it. Still...

So today and tomorrow, I'm re-reading until my eyes blur. Then, I will do what needs to be done. Let. It. Go. 

I've now set an official publication date of 5/7/14. This gives me enough time to schedule marketing efforts and get the eARCs out to the amazing peeps who signed up. Want in on that? Check it out here.

Here we go. Ready or not.

What helps you let go of something?

*****

A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update

My goals are all publication-centered the next two weeks...

Last edits--by Wednesday, 4/23
eARCs out to early readers--by Wednesday, 4/30
Update website--asap
Set up GoodReads giveaway--by Wednesday, 4/30
Set up Release Day signups--by Monday, 4/28
Prepare Release Day posts--by Wednesday, 4/30

Wishing all my ROW80 friends productive days this week! 

April 14, 2014

Mothering Characters: ROW80 Update

My oldest daughter and I went away this weekend to bond. I realized things had changed in the last two years. I went from wondering when I'd ever have a moment where she didn't need me constantly to wondering where she was hiding in the house. I missed her, especially when I realized she would be heading off to college in four and a half years.

So I came up with an idea to go on a trip of interest to her. I've let her lead the weekend and given in to her interests and wants, even when I didn't particularly want to. Two examples: I got a henna tattoo--I was told the symbol means mother, and I'm hoping it really does--and fed a squid to a creepy-looking moray eel.

 

As a mom, I have become more careful and more carefree. I make more practical decisions and consider my kids in everything I do, but I also get to act young and embrace experiences with them. It's so much like creating characters. I have to make sure they are well-crafted with the right plot opportunities, but I also have to give myself over to them for the sake of story.

Just another reason I love being a writer (and a mother)... getting to see life through another set of eyes. What a gift.

*****

Time for another A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update.

Waiting to get the final edits back for Chasing Shadows and still struggling with Acknowledgements. I am simply so blessed with influential people.

I took off a couple of days with my daughter, so I'll be back to marketing efforts and writing tomorrow.

Hope everyone is finding time to both be structured and to let go.

April 10, 2014

Rainbow Bridge: ROW80 Update

We are only three days into round two of A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), and I'm already late with my check-in (usually Wednesdays).

Last Friday, after about ten days of watching our beloved dog go downhill quickly and counseling with our vet, we said goodbye to her. Jazzy was an amazing addition to our family, and we were blessed to have her for ten years. 

That's the kind of dog she was -- she let the
girls  turn her into Captain America
When we left the vet's office, our entire family in tears, there was a beautiful rainbow. For those who know the Rainbow Bridge poem, you understand the significance. For those who don't know it...

Rainbow Bridge
(Author Unkown)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 


The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....


This emotionally raw time came just as I was finishing the last round of edits for Chasing Shadows. My editor had challenged me in several spots to amp up the senses and add emotional impact. It was needed, but I felt like I was an open wound after finishing. I had to take a couple of days to decompress, especially with losing Jazzy as well. Thus, my tardiness on this post.

This week I will be finishing up some publication elements like the Acknowledgements page and release day planning. 

But the edits are done, and I think I was able to access more emotions because of what I was going through. I hope it adds to the story. For now, my family is healing.

April 7, 2014

Nose to the Grindstone: ROW80 Round 2 Goals

It's time to get real. Lots to do this round. My focus is to keep my nose to the grindstone.

*** Word nerd alert ***

Before I continue, I had to look up the meaning behind the grindstone saying. The best explanation I found:

Knife sharpeners were known to have to stay at the work stations. The work stations were at grindstones for sharpening the knives. The phrase, "keep your nose to the grindstone," implies having to do work. Knife sharpeners were known to have to do hard labor and were sometimes punished.

While it is not certain that they literally had their noses put to the grindstone, the phrase may have originated from that type of punishment. (source

*** back to post ***

Goals for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Round 2

Just in case you haven't seen it. *Squeal*
My last Chasing Shadows edit will go to Jo--Editor Extraordinaire--by Wednesday. Then, we will gear up for a late April release. To that end, I need to:

- Write my Acknowledgements section ** See question below
- Get the eARC copies to the amazing people who offered to read and review
- Plan a GoodReads Giveaway
- Put Chasing Memories on free promotion to celebrate the release of book two
- Organize Release Day posts
- Organize (all by myself *eep!*) a Book Review tour

Plus, I am going to finish Chasing Forgiveness (novella) this month.

My original goal was to have Chasing Destiny (book three) out by UtopYA, but I'm just not sure. I've never been one to rush my writing, and I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. Then again, pressure can be a good thing (I wrote books one and two during NaNo). 

There's a lot to do to prepare for UtopYA, too. I need to decide on my swag and get it ordered plus order books to take. 

** I find this a hard task. There are so many people to thank, but I always hate it to get too long. I hate even more to forget someone. Any advice?

Wishing everyone a great Round 2!

April 3, 2014

Uncloaking Concerns: IWSG


The Insecure Writer's Support Group (or IWSG) is a wonderful group put together by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh (which now has an equally cool Facebook group). 

The first Wednesday of each month is the perfect opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch, get encouragement and support about such insecurities, and to read how other writers are faring. 
In June, I am attending UtopYA in Nashville, Tennessee. While I am uber-excited about meeting so many of the amazing writers I have come to know through the Internet, I am also terrified to push back the cloak of invisibility I wear so well.
I have only attended two writer's conferences. For one, I knew absolutely nobody and truly went to learn from panels, classes, and agents. For another, I knew friends and family. For both, I only had one book out and it was women's fiction.
YA is for fun, hip, and interesting people--or at least they all seem that way to me. According to my three daughters, I am most surely not hip and may only qualify as fun and interesting on rare occasions.
I just hope I can get past the nervousness and let people see the real me--someone who loves everything about creating characters and breathing life into them.
Any tips on how to relax and just have fun? How not to be overly self-conscious?

April 1, 2014

Chasing Shadows Cover Reveal

I'm so excited to share the cover of Chasing Shadows today! 


About Chasing Shadows (Tala Prophecy, Book 2)

Reagan thought one night changed her life forever, but her fate was written long ago.

Merging creature and white blood,
One of flame, one of night,
At eighteen years it will commence,
Spiritual warrior and power,
Will bring an end to the lawless ones.

A war looms: One that pits brother against brother for werewolf supremacy. Angels and demons will each have a say before a victor is chosen.

With her eighteenth birthday only six months away, time is running out. Reagan must find a way to harness the two powerful, ancient bloodlines coursing through her: Werewolf and Wiccan. Then, she has to figure out her role in the century-old prophecy foretold by her great-grandmother.

However, if Reagan can’t save her family from her most vicious rival, Rafe, the forces of Hell will be unleashed and the war will be over before it starts.

Add Chasing Shadows to GoodReads

Cover design by Jo Michaels


March 31, 2014

Almost April. Really? -- ROW80

Usually the holidays fly by, and I stare down the face of winter and know the days will drag until spring break. Not this year. Although, living in California takes away the winter effect. 

I truly have no clue what happened to the first quarter of 2014 and round one of A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80)

Yes, I'm neck deep in preparations for my newest YA book, Chasing Shadows, to debut. And I have been quite busy with proofreading and editing jobs. 

Wait, I guess I do know where the time went. 

I'm actually pretty happy with my ROW80 Round One achievements. 

Speaking of which, tomorrow (gasp--tomorrow!) I will be revealing the cover of Chasing Shadows. I am so fortunate that some amazing authors and bloggers are helping me out and showing it off starting tomorrow through 4/5. SO excited!

Normally, in April, I participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. As much as I hate to miss, I am focusing on writing my novella this month. It's 25,000 words or bust!

Wishing everyone an amazing Monday. Please check back tomorrow for the cover reveal. 

Oh, and I saw Divergent last night. I thought it was great, and I rarely feel that way when I've loved a book. But this has a lot to do with why...


Yum!