July 31, 2013

Before the Lights Go Out... ROW80 Update

That's how it feels... leaving the country and being without Internet. Like I'm entering a dark room. It's kind of sad how dependent I've become on my Internet. 

Not only do I love connecting with writers and readers, I use social media as a lifeline. Every 2-3 years, I am new to a location and have to start over. But my online friends come with me wherever I go. Make a move from Maryland to California... no problem. My friends are just a password away.

Now, I'm heading out of the country. It comes at a perfect time for me to focus for a week on my family. But it's also going to give me some uninterrupted writing time... late at night and early in the morning in a dark hotel room, but I'm hoping my Muse won't mind (after all, I am taking her to a beautiful location).

My only A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) goals over the next week...

Write. Write. Write. 
Rejuvenate by Focusing on Family.

That's it. Pure and simple.

For fun, I'll share a picture of my writing space the other day. Lots more of this scenery to come.

And don't forget to check out my sponsor post this coming Monday, 8/5. I'll reply to comments when I get back in town. Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

July 29, 2013

Changes Afoot: ROW80 Update

I'm about to lose Internet service for a minimum of two days. Then, I leave this Thursday to go to the Dominican Republic. I'm not so sure if I'll have Internet there, either.

I must admit... I'm equal parts terrified and excited.

Terrified because I'll be out of touch and need to pre-write a few more posts to cover the time I'm gone. But, I'm excited to take some time to recover from the last six weeks of travel and preparing for the August and September promotions for Chasing Memories.

So for the next two weeks, I have updated goals for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80).

Write. Write. Write.

One of the benefits to not having Internet time is having more writing time. My laptop will be with me on vacation, and I hope to make some writing progress. I have been keeping up with my five sentences a day. But, sadly, just barely.

Market Chasing Memories

The #SizzlingSummerEvent was fun and productive, and I finished all eleven blog posts for my August/early September Tribute Books blog tour. Oh, and I had to film a video of me dancing with my book for September Indie-Credible event. Scary, I know. By the way, they are still taking authors until 7/31/13.


I am going to pre-write posts (and run a couple of old favorites) to cover the next two weeks, including my #IWSG (Insecure Writers' Support Group) post. I'll have to catch up on blog reading as I can. Speaking of that, would any of my ROW80 friends be willing to take over my sponsor responsibilities for Sunday, 8/4 and Wednesday, 8/7? It's simple... just visit my assigned posts on the Linky list for each day. Comment below if you can help out, and I'll send details. August 4th is my birthday, so consider it a birthday present. *smiles*

And my sponsor post goes live on ROW80 on August 5. I'll have to catch up on your comments when I get back.

Tomorrow, if all goes as planned, we will be moving into our new home in California. Wish us luck!

July 26, 2013

Girl Power -- Why Female Characters Appeal to Me

In my first book, Depression Cookies, the main character is a sassy thirteen-year-old who struggles to find her groove in a constantly changing environment (multiple moves). She's also faced with supporting a friend, Alyssa, who is wasting away to nothing as she fights anorexia.

In Chasing Memories, seventeen-year-old Reagan's world is turned upside down when she survives a horrible accident and her brother doesn't. Beyond the pain and suffering of loss, she is caught in the middle of her mother and grandmother and their different ways to help her heal. To further complicate her life, her dreams are hinting at more than a simple accident.

What both books have in common... strong female main characters.

As both a writer and a reader, I'm most intrigued with young adult female characters. Men are great, too, but I have a more intimate knowledge of women's choices, hopes, dreams, and power.

First, I am a woman. But more than that, I am the oldest of three sisters and the mother to three daughters. I live and breathe female strength. I have an amazing mother and was fortunate to know both her mother and her grandmother--both women way ahead of their time with strength coursing through their veins.

They say you should write what you know. Women are complicated creatures, beautifully so, so I can't say I "know" everything about them. But, I have had a lot of experience and I'm constantly challenged to want to know more. After all, I'm responsible for growing three strong women.

Today, I just wanted to share some of these women.

My Mom, Dad and 2 sisters

My husband and three daughters

My parents with their 8 granddaughters
What inspires your characters? What characters speak to you as a reader?

July 24, 2013

Chasing Hugh Jackman: ROW80 Update

This week is the #SizzlingSummerEvent Giveaway. Please check out my post from Monday for details... two Kindle Fires, one loaded with YA titles and the other with NA titles, are up for grabs. Check it out.

As part of the giveaway, I wrote a guest post about my dream cast for a Chasing Memories movie.

Want to know who Hugh Jackman would play? (Just so you know, he's my actor crush, and he'll always be a part of any dream cast!) To find out, please visit my guest post at My Life is a Notebook.

And today is Wednesday... time for A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update.

Write. Write. Write.

My new goal, thanks to Eden Mabee's inspirational post, is to write a minimum of 5 sentences per day. 5 sentences. So much of Book 2 is in my head, but I've used every excuse in the book (some quite legitimate, but excuses nonetheless) to do everything but focus on it. Starting small.

Market Chasing Memories

Kicking butt on this one, and I'm quite happy with the results. First, I had my Colorado book club event. A lovely group, 15 ladies, came out to talk about the book. It was amazing. I was having so much fun that I forgot to take pictures. *face palm*

And I'm in the midst of the #SizzlingSummerEvent. Next up is my August book tour with Tribute Books.


Keeping up. Adjusting to the new time zone and best times to post.

Oh, and one more photo to prove my point about Hugh Jackman.

Hope everyone is having a great week.
Don't forget to enter the Sizzling Summer Giveaway.

July 22, 2013

Summer is Sizzling: Giveaway Details & ROW80 Update

It's finally here... the Sizzling Summer Giveaway. Amazing prizes. And, yes, Chasing Memories is included! Check it out...

YA Bound Book Tours is organizing the Sizzling Summer Giveaway event featuring 50 authors!  This giveaway event will take place July 22nd to July 27th.  The giveaway is 2 Kindle Fire HD's with e-book prize packs! (shown below)

July 21, 2013

On The Road Again

Oops. What happened to Friday? Heck, Saturday is almost gone, too.

Driving cross-country, and summer, are making me completely unaware of what day it is.

For fun, I thought I'd update my crazy Maryland to California trip in pictures.

We're now in Salt Lake City, Utah. Only 785 more miles to go until California. Wish me luck!


I must admit... I'm so inspired to write when I finally get settled. So many amazing places. As of tonight, our stats since 6/14/13: 13 states and 3 time zones.

Hope everyone is having an amazing summer!

July 17, 2013

Hydra Publications Summer Bash & ROW80

First up today, I want to share a fun summer giveaway. Please welcome Erin Danzer. Thanks, Erin, for sharing this with us.

It's summertime! And what better way to spend time cooped up in an air conditioned house, time at the beach, or out on the water than with a great book? Hydra Publications is offering 30 e-book titles for FREE July 16 and 17! This promotion includes awesome fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, horror and mystery reads such as Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner, Chronicle of Destiny (newly released!) by Etta Jean, Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lyndi Alexander and my very own, Into the Spiral! Check out the full list of titles below. Click on the names to check them out more and to pick up your copy today!
Andraste by Marissa Mills
Anon by Peter Giglio
Blood of the Highland Moon by Morinda Montgomery
Bounty Hunter by Kate Lynd
Bridgeworld by Travis McBee
Chronicle of Destiny by Etta Jean
Dearly Departed by Rachel Rawlings
Deception Peak by Dianne Lynn Gardner
Empyreal Fate by Rachel Hunter
Eternal Patrol by Michael Wallace
Gnosis by Tom Wallace
Into the Spiral by Erin Danzer (that’s me!)
Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lyndi Alexander
Lure of the Vampire by Bertena Varney
Morning Star by Desiree Finkbeiner
Primal by Raven and Lain Bower
Raising Riley by Brick Marlin
Reality Check by Eric Garrison
Tale Spinner by David Donaghe
The Exile’s Violin by R.S. Hunter
The Fall of Onagros by Marian Allen
The Hand of God by Tony Acree
The Heart Denied by Linda Anne Wulf
The Know-It-All Girl by Joanna Foreman
The Universal Mirror by Gwen Perkins
The Wall Outside by James Percy
Ukishima by Nigel Sellars
Virginia Creeper by Blaine Pardoe
A little bit about my book:

School hallwayFifteen-year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Lambert wants to get out from under her older brother’s shadow. When Ronnie gets a tattoo and then is struck by lightning, she suddenly finds herself able to see and hear things in shadows that don’t appear to others. Then Ronnie meets Gavin Clearwater, the hot new guy in all of her classes and finds out he can see and hear the same things she can.

Gavin tells her about the Spiral Defenders, a group of warriors that travels through space and time to defend the planets of the Spiral. After meeting the Commander of the Spiral Defenders and realizing his intentions might not be pure, Ronnie struggles between following her destiny to become a Spiral Defender and trying to regain the life she had before being struck by lightning.
I hope you'll check out all of the books available. I truly believe there is something on this list for everyone!


Now for my Wednesday A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update...

I know I said I would share more of my Chasing Memories cover tour, but I moved it to Friday so I could share the giveaway today. Please stop back by Friday!

I'm putting my goals on hold (except my MWF blog posts and sponsorship duties) this week while I enjoy visiting friends and family in Colorado. Wishing everyone a great week. Definitely check out the giveaway and pick up some free books.

July 15, 2013

Cover Reveal of Carrie Butler's Courage & ROW80 Update

Monday... not usually my favorite day during the school year. But during the summer, any day is a good day.

I'm taking a 4-day break from the cross-country road trip to hang out with friends in Superior, Colorado--my second home and the setting for my young adult book, Chasing Memories.

But I have several things to share today.

First, the cover reveal of Carrie Butler's Courage. In addition to being an indie writer, she's a great friend to indie writers. So excited for her newest release...

About Courage, Mark of Nexus (Book 2)

Category: New Adult (NA)
Genre: Paranormal Romance (PNR)
Release: October 15, 2013
Formats: E-Book & Paperback

Rena Collins never thought she’d long for the past—back when affection from Wallace, her freakishly strong boyfriend, was the most dangerous aspect of her life. But now that the human-altering organization known as ERA has gone on the offensive, nothing is safe. Her bloodline is exposed, her relationships torn apart, and just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, ERA ups the ante. To save mankind from forced evolution, Rena will have to mend her broken ties and form a resistance... hand-in-hand with the one she hurt most.

Where to find Carrie:

Where to find Courage (Mark of Nexus #2):

And the book trailer...

Can't wait to read this one! For a more detailed cover reveal, please visit my Mom in Love with Fiction review blog tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/16/13).

I'll update everyone on my Chasing Memories cover tour on Wednesday, but here's a picture from the Kansas City zoo (yes, that's me with my wolf ears).

Now for my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update*
* I do Sunday updates on Mondays

Write. Write. Write.

Decided on a major twist in Book 2 of the Tala Prophecy. Did research in CO this weekend. I'm so excited about the possibilities. My new goal is to have Book 2 in the hands of my amazing editor by December.

Would love help on a question I've been thinking about for a while... is there a better time of year to publish?

Market Chasing Memories

I've joined so many blog tours and events over the next three months that I can barely keep up with all of it. This leaves me with several posts still to write. I'm so excited to get some reviews and ramp up promotion.


Staying the course with MWF. For any of my fellow word nerds, check out Friday's post for the origin of the phrase Petered Out.

Happy Monday everyone!

July 12, 2013

Petered Out

I am fascinated with words and phrases and how they came to be.

Since July 5, I have been on a cross-country road trip. On our stop to see Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, I found out how the term "petered out" came to be.

Petered Out = To End Weakly / To Become Exhausted / To Give Out

Back in the day, Native Americans used the caves to mine saltpeter. This was turned into gunpowder. Unfortunately, Americans quickly figured out that they could ship it in cheaper than they could make their own, so the saltpeter mines just slowly ceased to exist... or they petered out.

Here is a picture from Mammoth Cave of an old saltpeter mine.

Is there a word or phrase you'd love to know the origin of?

July 10, 2013

Mammoth Moments: ROW80 Update

Still on my cross-country trip and book cover tour. The girls and I, along with Mom, are chasing memories.

Since I moved around a lot as a kid, I wanted the girls to see some of the areas I have lived and visit some of my favorite places. Yesterday, we toured Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

If you've never been, it's amazing. Mammoth Cave is part of the longest cave system known in the world. It's hard to walk through those caves and not think of a story. Remains of humans have been found as far back as 5000 years ago and up to 2500 years ago. They don't know why there was nothing more recent than that (until 1797 when the cave was discovered).

As we walked through, I imagined the early explorers of the cave. At one point, the guide turned off all the lights. You couldn't see anything (my 8yo daughter was clinging to me). Quite eerie.

I love when an adventure sparks imagination.

It's Wednesday and time for my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update...

Write. Write. Write.

Busy. Even wrote in a moving vehicle for thirty minutes today. I realized I needed to write out some details from Book 1 to make sure Book 2 addresses any loose ends.

Market Chasing Memories

Still working on the interview questions and guest posts for my Chasing Memories book tour in August through Tribute Books. Insecurity rears its ugly head with this sometimes... do I sound interesting? I so hate talking about myself. Guess I know my #IWSG post for August!

But here's my banner...


Cool, huh? Getting excited.


Sticking to my adjusted MWF only schedule. It's a great summer schedule, so I plan to keep it up through the end of August. So glad I decided to be a sponsor this round--it's a great way to stay connected with everyone.

Hope everyone is rocking Round 3!

*** For those of you wondering about the Chasing Memories cover in my photos, read my Chasing Memories A-La Flat Stanley post.

July 8, 2013

Adjust Already: ROW80

Yes, it has only been a week, but I am already adjusting my goals.

It's what makes A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) such a beautiful thing. You can adjust anytime for any darn reason Life hands you.

But first...

My family and I just started our driving trek across country, thanks to our move from Maryland to California. I decided to share pictures of my Chasing Memories cover along the way, as detailed in my post, Chasing Memories A-La Flat Stanley.

Our first stop, Pigeon Forge, TN and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. My lovely 13-year-old daughter is proudly displaying the CM postcard/cover.

Someday a book tour. For now, a book cover tour.

Back to my bit about adjusting... it's summer. Not only are my kids home, but we are in the middle of this move. It's easier for me to post ROW80 updates on Mondays instead of Sundays.

Now, for my ROW80 Update...

Write. Write. Write.

Does talking with my daughter about my ideas for Book 2 count? Not quite, but I've been doing most of the driving so far (my mom is along for the trip), so no words yet. Hopefully soon!

Market Chasing Memories

Working on my blog posts for the August Chasing Memories book blog tour. I'll talk more about that this week and reveal the beautiful banner. Coming up July 22-27 is the Sizzling Summer Giveaway hosted by YA Bound. Please visit my post here for more information. There's a Kindle Fire loaded with some great books up for grabs.


Only MWF. But I am doing better about visiting blogs, and more than just my sponsor ones. Next up on my CM cover tour is Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Should be a fun one.

If you could drive cross-country, where would you stop?

July 5, 2013

Chasing Memories A-La Flat Stanley

Recently, we had friends visit us in the Outer Banks. My friend's youngest son had a Flat Stanley and took pictures of him wherever we went. 

For those who don't know, Flat Stanley is based on a book by Jeff Brown. In the book, Flat Stanley travels the world in envelopes. Many schools started Flat Stanley projects where students took a Flat Stanley, one they cut out and colored themselves, out and about and took pictures. Then the kids wrote to an assigned friend elsewhere, think old-fashioned pen pals. It's a huge literary movement. So cool.

So, since my daughters and I (and my very wonderful mother) are heading out today for our cross-country car trip to San Francisco, I thought it would be fun to take pictures of my Chasing Memories promotional postcard (since it's flat) at various destinations across the US. After all, my girls and I are chasing memories.

My dog was my guinea pig for a starting photo. She was thrilled, can't you tell?

I figure it will be great material for some posts. In addition, I will post the pictures on my Facebook author page. So, please like my page if you haven't already.

Hope everyone is having a fun-filled summer. Maybe I'll fun into you on my trek!

July 3, 2013

Search for the Pulse: #IWSG & #ROW80 Updates

It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for my Insecure Writer's Support Group post. A huge thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for putting together this group. I appreciate the opportunity to share my insecurities on the #IWSG therapy couch and to read how others are doing. 

If I were a nurse, I'd constantly be searching for a patient's pulse. Why do I say that?

In high school, I was never the cool kid. I was what you might call a borderline, a kid who could talk to anyone but never really got invited to parties. When I first set out to create an author platform, I felt much the same way. A wanna-be writer lurking among really cool writers.

With my first book, I didn't expect to have my finger on the pulse. But I was hoping I had learned some things when I finally published my second. I was going to know how to rock promoting that one. Right?


I still feel like I'm finding out about some really cool stuff a little too late--like utopYA. How did I not know about this? This past weekend I saw all my faves posting pics on Facebook about this amazing conference, and ... flatline--I had no clue! 

But, at least I have started to find some areas to check for the pulse. I'm no longer frantically searching for it somewhere near the patient's belly.

Because when it comes to writing, I admit it... I kinda wanna be the cool kid.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse? 

Wednesdays are also A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update days. 

My Mid-Week Update

Well it's only been two days since I stated my Round 3 goals, but...

Write. Write. Write.

I spent one hour yesterday putting thoughts to paper for Chasing Memories, Book 2. It's a start.


I just signed up for a Back to School Book Sale August 12-18 and an Indie-Celebration month in September. More to come on both soon! Plus, I completed four out of ten of my guest post/interviews for my upcoming Chasing Memories book tour. High-fiving myself. Oh wait, that's not what cool kids do.


Well, I posted Monday and this is Wednesday, so MWF here I come. 

Now, I just need to get my ROW80 sponsor guest post done. It's coming, Kait. Promise.

July 1, 2013

Write. Market. Survive. -- ROW80 Round 3 Goals

Wow, July 1 already. How did that happen?

Today marks the beginning of Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days. This round I have returned to the sponsorship duties I so enjoyed last year. So, I look forward to catching up with everyone.

For those who don't know, A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) is "the writing challenge that knows you have a life" spearheaded by the amazing Kait Nolan. From the ROW80 website:

We are all different and we all have different demands on our time.  Why should we all have the same goal?  The simple answer is that we shouldn’t.  If you want to be a writer, then you have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to your changing circumstances.  If that means changing your goals when your life blows up, so be it.  ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life.

At the beginning of each round, we state our goals and then post updates on Sundays and Wednesdays. Then, the best part begins. Support and encouragement. It's an amazing group, and one that has meant a lot to my writing journey.

Without further ado...

Round 3 Goals

Write. Write. Write.

It sounds so simple. Sit down and write. I have Tala Prophecy, Book 2 in my head. But, I need it on paper. Slight kink in my plan... the girls and I leave Friday, 7/5 for a cross-country car trip from North Carolina to California.

Any suggestions on how to write and drive at the same time?

Seriously, it will be a challenge. Guess I'll be burning the midnight oil in hotel rooms.

Market Chasing Memories

Such excitement to hit publish. But, then the selling part begins. I believe in my book, but I'm uncomfortable at best with being a saleswoman. However, I have some upcoming events.

First up, the Sizzling Summer Giveaway hosted by YA Bound. Check it out here. The event is touring several books and authors and giving away two completed filled Kindles. One with YA titles, and one with NA titles.

Then, it's my Book Blog Tour with Tribute books. Check out my blog tour stop page. I have worked with Tribute books for over a year doing reviews and love them. Nicole Langan is amazing.

As part of the Tribute tour, I have ten posts (interviews & guest posts) to prepare. My goal is to be done before I crawl into the car Friday morning. Wish me luck!!

But, there's a lot more work to be done on the marketing side. A lot of that involves research. Just another way I'll be burning the midnight oil in hotel rooms (and hoping for cheap Internet connections -- or, GASP, Internet connections at all). My goal is to research marketing opportunities for twenty minutes a day... no more. Limiting Internet time is the only way I'll end up having time to write.

Ooh, Ooh, Ooh... I almost forgot--I'm so excited to attend my first Chasing Memories book club on Wednesday, 7/17 in Colorado. Thanks, Amy!!


After surviving a couple of blog challenges, I am returning to my MWF schedule with Sunday ROW80 posts as well. 

To make it fun, I will be doing a Flat Stanley inspired theme using my Chasing Memories marketing postcards. For each stop on my cross-country drive, I will post a picture with the CM postcard and a story.

I hope you are all more excited about this feature than my dog was today...

Wishing everyone the best with Round 3! 

Can't wait to reconnect and give back to this community after a bit of a hiatus with my own Life drama.