December 30, 2013

Wrapping it With a Bow: ROW80

2013 is almost past, and what a year it was. It's time to say goodbye and look forward to a new year, one overflowing with possibilities.

This year was full of ups and downs, but I have a new mantra for 2014... gratitude and positivity. For Christmas, I gave myself a gift: a journal with entries to fill out. Each day, I will answer the following: My goals for today, Today I feel, The funniest thing that happened today, The best part of my day, and Something I look forward to tomorrow. I'm excited to focus on all the wonderful blessings in my life and stay out of the trap (as much as possible) of being hard on myself and letting stress consume me.

So, to wrap up 2013, I wanted to share my Top 10 of 2013 (in no particular order)...

1. I traveled cross-country with my girls (plus, my mom joined me until I reached CO and my dad joined us from CO to CA). So many wonderful memories from this trip.

2. I published Chasing Memories. Through the process, my editor and I became very close. I am very grateful for Jo Michaels in my life. I will finally get to meet Jo, and many other writer friends, in person at UTopYa in Nashville in June 2014. So excited!

3. I won a short story competition.

4. I discovered that I love wine. I always thought I hated it until my husband and I (along with his brother and soon-to-be new wife--seeing them get married will be on the top of my 2014 list) visited Napa over the holidays. I like it sweet.

5. My husband and I were able to spend two weekends in San Francisco, four days in St. Thomas, and a night in Napa this year (sans kids). Not bad. We'll celebrate 19 years of marriage in March (and celebrated 23 years of being together this August). My love for him grows every year.

6. We had two wonderful family trips: one with my family to Disney World and one with my husband's family to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

7. I won NaNo 2013. My first NaNo was in 2012. I think I'm addicted. Planning to participate every year now.

8. I edited/proofread some amazing books this year: Borrowed Things by Doris Schneider as well as Mystic ~ CoralieMystic ~ Melody, and I, Zombie by Jo Michaels. All wonderful books! I look forward to more in 2014 thanks to Indie Books Gone Wild.

9. I read some great books this year and a large percentage of them were indie. With each year, the quality and cleverness of indie books gets better. So excited to read many more this year. For a list of my 4.5-star and higher rated books in 2013, please visit my review blog, Mom in Love with Fiction. The post will go live 1/1/14.

10. My family and I moved to California. In my heart, I'm a California girl.

This list also serves as my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) wrap-up for 2013 and Round 4. I've met many goals this year, but I'm excited to define my 2014 goals to begin Round 1 of 2014 on January 6.

And, in case you missed it and you've still got the holiday spirit in you... stop by and listen to YAPodcasts A Christmas Carol here. Several NA and YA authors read an abridged version of the classic. Plus, there's a giveaway of some awesome books that ends later today (12/30/13). Enter here.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2014 overflowing with special moments and many blessings!

December 24, 2013

Joyful Holiday Wishes

This year is ending more with a whimper than a bang. Such a marathon year for me and my family, and in the final stretch, I feel like I passed what was my finish line and am limping over to get my much-deserved banana.

My mind is overflowing with goals for 2014. But most of all, I want to settle into a good routine and have a lot less drama. Here's to hoping!

For the next few days, I plan to focus on the joys of the season: eat way too much, play silly games with my children, connect with family and friends (including those far away), and so much more. Basically, I want to refill my energy from a draining year.

I wish a joyful season for everyone!

Wanted to also share the picture from our Christmas cards this year.

December 18, 2013

In & Out of the Rabbit Hole: ROW80

Wait, what, has it really been a week since I last posted?

This time of year gets me in such a tizzy. So much to do. I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, constantly lamenting being late.

Crazy busy here, but in good ways.

First, I'm working on polishing Chasing Shadows (Tala Prophecy, Book 2) before it goes to my amazing editor, the lovely Jo Michaels (Indie Books Gone Wild). In addition, I'm writing a novella, Chasing Forgiveness (Tala Prophecy, Book 2.5). One of the characters from Chasing Shadows demanded a story of her own. Love her story.

Speaking of IBGW...

There's a great giveaway of two printed copies of A Pair of Docks by Jennifer Ellis, a YA Sci-Fi Time Travel novel. IBGW (Jo!) did the proofreading and formatting for the novel, so they run a giveaway and promote. Jo Michaels is awesome like that. (I also edit and proofread there). Enter the giveaway here. While you are there, check out the IBGW services.


Also this past week, I had to record my piece for an amazing upcoming event. Thanks to the fabulous Amy Jones, several YA authors got together and recorded an abridged version of A Christmas Carol. The finished product will be featured on YAPodcast this Christmas Eve, 12/24/13, at 7pm EST along with some great giveaways.

So gather your kids and family around on Christmas Eve and listen in! More information can be found here. There's also a FB event page here.

Now, I am going back in my rabbit hole and finish up some books. Hope everyone is surviving the hustle and bustle of the season!

December 11, 2013

What does Indie Mean? -- Indie Life & ROW80

It's hump day, and time for my monthly posting for Indie Life.

What is Indie Life?
How: Sign up on the Linky at the bottom of this page
When: Post on the second Wednesday of the month (starting 1/9/2013)
What: Write anything indie related: something that will inspire or help a fellow indie; something that celebrates a release or a milestone; something that talks about the ups and downs, joys and heartaches of Being Indie.
Grab: The banner to include in your posts!

What is Indie Life?

I wasn't sure what to talk about this month, so I do what I often do when I'm stumped. I go to the dictionary. I'm a nerd like that. Proudly. Then, I went to the thesaurus. Some words nailed it, but quite a few didn't. My thoughts...


None of these have been true in my experience. Before I published my first book in late 2010, I was very much all of these things... a closet writer. But ever since I came out, I have found an amazing community of indie writers (and small press and traditional writers).


Sure. There is no publishing house administrator or agent breathing down my neck for my manuscript. If I don't motivate myself, it's simply not going to get done. But I do have some amazing authors who push me and remind me that I can do it.


At the end of the day, all things land on the indie author's back. They have to find people they can trust to help them with the business of writing: editing, publishing, cover design, marketing, promotions, tax matters, and on and on. But I wouldn't want to send my baby away and then have her come back to me grown and influenced by others. I like the control I have over my novel.

For me, indie = a wonderful community. One that supports me while I navigate an ever-changing publishing world. Indie life is full of believing in myself but never being alone. It's the power to control my own destiny, as much as humanly possible.

What does Indie mean to you?


And a quick A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) update...

Editing is almost done, and then I can focus on polishing Chasing Shadows (Tala Prophecy, Book 2)Thanks for all your help with the title -- this was my hubby's suggestion, so he's feeling pretty good that it was the clear favorite.

Plus, I hope to get my website up and running by year-end or early January.

And I've been a social media slacker... lots of blog reading to catch up on!

December 9, 2013

In the Words of Nelson Mandela: ROW80

So many great thoughts were expressed by Nelson Mandela, may he rest in peace. The world shines a little less brightly with him gone.

Over the last few days, many have shared his words and beliefs. I would like to share some that have inspired me...

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.

These quotes speak to me on so many levels. As a writer, they remind me to triumph over insecurity, believe in myself, and never give up.

This time of year, it's easy to get caught up in the to do list and be overwhelmed. I've been feeling a bit "Bah, Humbug!" lately, and I'm determined to shake it. What better way than to focus on my December A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) goals.

My progress

- Editing a great new zombie book. Confession: This is my first zombie book. But my main criteria for any book = good writing. This one is amazing!

- Polishing Chasing Memories 2. Slow progress here. I needed to step back over a little plot hole. It's small. Editing is clearing my brain. Plus, the missing title is confounding me. Which leads me to...

I'm struggling with a title for my sequel. I want to stay with the running theme and two-word title.

Please share your thoughts on (or choose a favorite)...

Chasing Shadows
Chasing Fire
Chasing Gifts
Chasing Strength
Chasing Ancestry
Chasing Answers

In this sequel, Reagan is coming to terms with her new life and abilities. She's confused, but determined. I'm saving Chasing Destiny for Book 3.

Thanks in advance for your help, and may the words of Nelson Mandela inspire us all to be the best we can be.

December 4, 2013

Dreading One-Star Reviews: ROW80 & #IWSG

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. 

Last week, I ran my first free KDP promotion. It was amazing. My book, Chasing Memories, hit #36 in the Kindle Free store and #1 in two categories.

Two reviews have come in from new buyers since then--a five and a four star review. Although I'm excited to get my book into more readers' hands, I've read too many stories lately about authors who finally get more book visibility only to draw the attention of trolls--reviewers who begin a campaign of scathing one-star reviews.

As a long-time book club member, I quickly learned one truth--no one book will ever be loved or hated by all readers. I would come to book club all excited to discuss a book I loved, only to have half the members hate it with a passion.

My books will get some one-star reviews, and there will be readers who legitimately don't like them. It's not my favorite feeling to see a ★ sitting all by itself, but it's part of the writer's journey.

Still, I don't look forward to ever drawing the attention of some of these trolls. Most of their reviews don't list any pertinent information. In some cases, they are obviously wrong. An author friend of mine had reviews condemning the faeries in her book when there weren't any. I've even heard of authors getting a slew of one-star reviews on GoodReads before their book is even published.

It too often seems to happen to indie authors who finally break through the barrier and begin to see the light of success. How sad--nobody should fear success because it will draw haters.

But what's a writer to do... dread checking on her book and scrolling down to the review area and seeing that first glaring ★? No, I will choose to hold my head up high and focus on people who bring positive energy into my life. Just don't judge me if I eat an entire coconut custard pie when it happens. It's good for the soul.

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by
saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. Aristotle

I'd rather be, and then eat my pie when the time comes.

It's Wednesday, so it's also time for my A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) Update. On Monday, I declared my new goals for December. Really, the focus is on polishing Chasing Memories 2 to send to my editor and editing another writer's novel. I spent some time on each. But I have a double date with Starbucks and progress on Saturday morning.

December 2, 2013

Exhale, Deep Breath, Forge Ahead: ROW80 & Giveaway News

It's December. I've survived NaNo, so now it's time to set new goals for the remainder of 2013. After a whirlwind month, I finally exhaled. Now it's time to take a deep breath and forge ahead.

But first...

A huge thank you to everyone who helped me share about the free promotion for Chasing Memories. Since it was over the holidays, I couldn't watch it every second. However, I did catch it hit #36 overall in the Kindle Free Store and #1 in two categories.

It was quite a ride! Again, I couldn't have done it without some amazing writer friends and blogger support. Thank you all!

I also wanted to share a huge giveaway from a bunch of authors planning to attend UTopYa in June 2014. If you don't know anything about this rocking conference, check it out here.

Now through December 25, there will be a new prize pack given away each day featuring some great books. Then, as the finale... TWO fully loaded Kindle HDs will be given away loaded with all the books. Enter HERE.

And onto December A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) goals...

* Read through and polish Chasing Memories 2 (and come up with a title!). My goal is to have it to Jo Michaels, aka my wonderful editor, by 12/15.

* Finish my website and have it up and running before Christmas.

* Editing -- excited for my newest project, and another one is on the way.

* Be more active on social media now that NaNo is over.

* Take notes and start preparing for Chasing Memories 3 and my shiny new YA (possibly NA) idea.

Looking forward to catching up with everyone!