Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cover Reveal for The Only Exception by Magan Vernon

I am so excited to be part of Xpresso Book Tours cover reveal book blast for International Best Selling Author Magan Vernon's soon-to-be-released The Only Exception. Here is a little more about the book:

The Only Exception by Magan Vernon -- April 9th, 2013
Fiercely liberal Monica Remy prefers to blend in. Despite her tattoos, piercings, and outspoken personality, she transferred to Central to escape—before she finds out that her next door neighbor is the uber conservative governor son, Trey Chapman.
No matter how hard she tries to avoid Trey, he still finds a way to get under her skin. Monica can’t stand his crisp white shirts or his staunch views on women. But she can’t help counting every freckle on his face and wondering what it would feel like to have him stop talking politics and kiss her.
A class debate project forces the unlikely pair to work together, and the political lines are blurred in late-night make out sessions. But despite their fiery chemistry, Trey’s politics threatens to smother their relationship for good.
Add the book on to your Goodreads TBR list today: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17206230-the-only-exception



I just love this cover so much! What do you guys think?

Here's a little more about Magan Vernon:

Magan Vernon is a Young Adult and New Adult writer who lives with her family in the insurance capital of the world. She is in a very serious, fake relationship with Adam Lambert and constantly asks her husband to wear guyliner. He still refuses. She also believes her husband is secretly an alien, disguised as a southern gentleman.

Author Links:

Visit Magan around the Interwebz and wish her all the best with her latest!!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Musings - Admitting Your Feelings

***Um yes, this IS a bit rambly***

Hi World!

It feels good to rejoin the living. I managed to catch a very mild version of the crud that was going around and spent about 40 hours in bed. And this was a mild case it.
Anyway, I spent a lot of the time contemplating life, my feelings, my career, etc.

Have you ever noticed most people have one response when we are asked how we are, or how we feel? We tend to say "ok", regardless of what we are really feeling. Sometimes, I think we do this because we know the general public may not really want to know what we are feeling. And sometimes I think we do it because we are not clear on how we feel.

After 40 hours, I can truthfully say I am more clear than I have been in a long while.

I am....sacred. And fried. And nervous. And excited. And....and....and.

Like most artists, I have a million emotions flowing through me at any given time, warring with one another. Everything from the thrill of new words on a page, to the agony and fear that a lack of confidence can occasionally bring.

We are taught not to talk about the fear and the lack of confidence. Taught that these are things to be ignore or feel ashamed about. But you know what? I think that is all wrong. I think we should embrace whatever it is we are feeling at the moment.

No matter what the feeling.

Now, I am not saying we should wallow in our whatevers. But I do think it is important to acknowledge the truth of our feelings and operate from that place.

For me, this means admitting that querying again is scary. It means dealing with the myriad of feelings I have about my work, my career, and the changes that are coming.

And it means admitting the excitement I am also feeling.

Being creative, an artist, means living my life from a place of deep emotion. It also means being unapologetic about that. So, this is me...
Being authentic.

Who's with me???

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Thoughts on To Trust A Thief (and a giveaway)

As I mentioned on Monday, my dear friend Michelle released her first novel, To Trust A Thief, on Monday. I've had the pleasure of reading a few earlier versions of the book. I also bought the book and reread it. I love seeing the changes throughout the process. What a great read. But before I get to my thoughts, Here is a little about the book:

Minuette Sinclair's parents are in trouble and her fake fiancé is too. A legendary lost necklace might be their salvation, and Min is determined to find it and use it to buy her family and fiancé out of their misfortunes.

Master thief Bryant Westley is also looking for the fabled necklace. He knows Min’s got information he can use so he poses as her dance instructor and tries to seduce it from her. What he doesn’t count on are his feelings for her. He offers to partner up in the search – even though she is a distraction he can’t afford.

Things become more complicated when Min realizes that her convenient engagement means more to her fake fiancé than her and that she’s fallen in love with Bryant. Bryant realizes that he can’t double cross the young lady he’s come to love. Can they find the necklace together and admit their love before it’s too late?

I really enjoyed this book. It's filled with romance (hot, steamy and not too risque), mystery, intrigue and characters that were both fully developed and authentic. It is an excellent read. Michelle clearly has a wonderful future and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us.
You can pick up To Trust a Thief for $2.99 at Amazon (click here), Barnes and Noble (click here) and other fine retailers. 

Or, you can enter my giveaway for FIVE EBOOKS of TO TRUST A THIEF!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!

Just enter the rafflecopter giveaway form below!
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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Changes are a-coming...

Happy Wednesday All! Time for another Blog Chain round. Amparo started today's round with this topic:

It's a new year, and some writers have taken it upon themselves to switch things up. *points at self* It might be the genres you write in or your revision process. It might be your main character's voice. What's one thing you've chosen to change in your writing this new year? Why do you wish to change it? If there's nothing you're going to change, why do you think it should remain as is?

Wow! This is a timely topic for me. I actually have made a rather LARGE decision related to writing - one I wasn't really going to utter out loud to any but my closest friends. Silly, I know...but I have been vacillating between stark terror and shame about this decision...both of which are silly. And untrue feelings.

In truth, I am thrilled about this decision. It is inline with my goals, matches what I want, and it the right move for me right now.

So, what is it you may ask?

Well... I've decided to dip my toe back into the query pond with my next project.

Some may wonder why? I mean, I'm published. I've ventured into the world of Indie/small presses with some success, yes. And it has been a fabulous experience.

But, for a while now I have felt a void - like there was something I was missing that I really wanted. A partner for the journey; someone to champion my work, push me, and bring connections I don't currently have...

And all of that is what finding the right agent will bring.

So, at some point later this year, once my current projects are ready, I will be dipping my toe back into the query pond. I will admit I am nervous - and excited!

Okay - that is my big news...what's yours? Changing anything up for 2013? For more on this topic, check out Sandra's from yesterday, and Katrina's post tomorrow.

Oh! And I am over at Jessica Bell's blog today, talking about saying goodbye to the Requiem Series. Stop bye and say hi!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

HAPPY LAUNCH DAY to Michelle McLean and To Trust a Thief...PLUS A GIVEAWAY!

WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am crazy excited for today. Michelle Mclean, my long-time BFF, writing partner, nonfiction buddy, and CP is releasing her FIRST novel today, TO TRUST A THIEF. She has been working on this book for a long time and it is so great to see it finally released. She is an inspiration to any of you who have wanted to give-up; Michelle KNEW this story was destined to sell eventually and she has proven to be correct. A true lesson in perseverance.

Now, TO TRUST A THIEF is not the typical book I talk about on this blog. It is NOT YA...it is a fabulous ADULT Romance that is part of Entangled's new Scandalous line. And yes, it is Scandalous...but in the best possible way! Clean enough for those who prefer their romance less on the risque side, but HOT enough to fill the craving for romance that brought you to the book. 

Here is a little more about it:

Minuette Sinclair's parents are in trouble and her fake fiancé is too. A legendary lost necklace might be their salvation, and Min is determined to find it and use it to buy her family and fiancé out of their misfortunes.

Master thief Bryant Westley is also looking for the fabled necklace. He knows Min’s got information he can use so he poses as her dance instructor and tries to seduce it from her. What he doesn’t count on are his feelings for her. He offers to partner up in the search – even though she is a distraction he can’t afford.

Things become more complicated when Min realizes that her convenient engagement means more to her fake fiancé than her and that she’s fallen in love with Bryant. Bryant realizes that he can’t double cross the young lady he’s come to love. Can they find the necklace together and admit their love before it’s too late?

This is a serious MUST READ for those wanting to add a little romance in their lives. I'll be posting my review on Friday if you need more convincing! Or just pick it up for yourself - at $2.99 for the ebook, there is NOTHING to lose! You can get your kindle version here, or your nook version here.

To celebrate the launch, I am dedicating this week to MICHELLE MCLEAN! And yea, I made it a surprise too!!! So pop over to her site and wish her a happy launch week.

Oh! And to celebrate, I decided to give away FIVE EBOOKS of TO TRUST A THIEF!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!

Just enter the rafflecopter giveaway form below!
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Tears, Angst and a Confession

Happy Friday!!! I have to tell you, I am more than a little happy it's Friday. I am just so darn fried this week. And not just because of a very busy week with the day job. But creatively too.

It happens sometimes - you get stuck with your writing. Or overwhelmed with deadlines. Or scared about...something.
And then the angst sets in. And maybe the tears.

Okay, always the tears.

Well, that is the place I am in at the moment.

So, what am I doing about it?


Yep, that's right - I am writing in spite of the tears, the fear and the angst. For me, taking action is the only way through it all.

What about you? How do you work through the angst that comes with being creative.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BETH REVIS Continued...And a GIVEAWAY!!!

Welcome to day 2 of my special BETH REVIS and SHADES OF EARTH launch celebration. Let's jump right into the rest of the interview, yes?

CF: What future endeavors do you have?
BR: I can't say! But I can confirm that I have something.
{EEP! I am excited to find out what....WHAT WHAT WHAT!}

CF: Now that you have been writing for a while, what advice would you have for authors today?
BR: The ideas are old, but true: 
(a) A life lived is the best background for writing.
(b) Social media is a part of the modern writing life, but the writing is still more important. Twitter followers don't sell a book.
(c) There are no real rules, and anyone who tries to tell you different is lying. Absolutes don't exist in writing.
{As a matter of fact, yes...Beth is THAT smart!}

CF: What are your opinions about the changing industry - what are you most excited about? Most concerned about?
BR: I'm excited about the possibility of the changing world of literature. For example, I'm currently playing a game on my Nintendo DS called 9 HOURS, 9 PERSONS, 9 DAYS. It's amazing--part video game, part book, part choose-your-own adventure. I can definitely see something like this gaining ground in the future. Combining the technology of today with stories is fascinating!

As for concerns? Honestly, none. I know some people are probably afraid of the thing I just listed as my excitement, and there are always people crying about the end of publishing, but there's one thing I know for sure: stories won't die. Maybe the way we read will, and the shape and forms of books will, but there will always be stories. 

CF: And now - a little fun: What new title are you most excited to read?
BR: I'm dying to get my greedy fingers on Rae Carson's next work!

CF: Which newer author are you excited about?
BR: I'm really excited to read Alexandra Duncan's new book. And I just blurbed the SF debut of Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, and it was BRILLIANT.

CF: Anything else you'd like to share?
BR: My favorite part of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE was the chapter that only had one sentence. My favorite part of A MILLION SUNS was the page that had only one word. My favorite part of SHADES OF EARTH is the page that is entirely blank. 

What a great interview, Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by....
And now, don't forget to enter the giveaway for Shades of Earth. The giveaway is open through Saturday and I will announce the winner on Monday. GOOD LUCK!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beth Revis is in the House! I'm celebrating with a GIVEAWAY!

I am so excited to have a long-time friend, Beth Revis, on the blog on the day of her launch of the final book in the Across the Universe series, SHADES OF EARTH! Before I get to the interview, I want to give you the blurb and cover of the book....and be sure to read the post through the end for a great little giveaway I thought I'd hose of the occasion!


The final book in the New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Gallactica and Prometheus!
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.
But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.
Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.
This is a serious MUST READ series. Don't believe me? Check out some of the praise:

"Entirely original, deeply compelling, and totally unputdownable--I've found a new favorite!" --Carrie Ryan, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

"A murder mystery, a budding romance, and a dystopian world gracefully integrated into a sci-fi novel that blows away all expectation." --Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author ofWicked Lovely

"A fast-paced, action-packed follow-up . . . that explores not only the nature of authority and loyalty but fear of the unknown and fulfilling one's personal destiny." --LA Times

Awesome, right!

To celebrate the launch, I am dedicating today and tomorrow to BETH REVIS day! Yea, I didn't even tell HER this yet. LOL! 

Today, I want to show some love with the beginning of our little interview and a giveaway. Tomorrow I will finish up the interview. The giveaway will continue all week.

And what am I giving away? I PRINT copy of SHADES OF EARTH, of course. WOO HOO!!!!! Love launches!

And now - a little from the interview with Beth Revis!

CF: Congrats on the release of Shade of Earth. Can you tell me a little about the book.
BR: SHADES OF EARTH picks up right where A MILLION SUNS stops--literally a few seconds after the final chapter! At the end of A MILLION SUNS, you find out that the planet my main characters, Amy and Elder, were heading to is within reach, so SHADES OF EARTH is all about landing on Centauri-Earth and what they discover.

CF: How does it feel, bringing this series to an end?
BR: SO GOOD. Writing a book is stressful--and writing a trilogy is three times the stress! SHADES OF EARTH was definitely the hardest book to write, and so now that it's done, I'm just so ready for it to be out and over! 
{Man can I relate to THAT feeling!!!}

CF: Was the writing of this book any different from the others in the series?
BR: The problem was, I'd always envisioned ACROSS THE UNIVERSE as a stand-alone novel until about a week before it sold, when I had some ideas for sequels. So the entire draft of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE was written with no thought of sequels--which meant I then had to pick up all the loose strings of that novel and tie them up by the end. It was sort of like trying to stuff an angry kraken into a mason jar. 
{Dude - it's like you're in my head!}

CF: Anything special planned for this release?

BR: If SHADES OF EARTH gets enough pre-orders, Razorbill, my publisher, will *literally* launch the book INTO SPACE. (More details here: http://shelf-life.ew.com/2012/12/20/beth-revis-space-launch-shades-of-earth-penguin/)

For more on the interview, stop by tomorrow. In the meantime, complete the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a print copy of SHADES OF EARTH for yourself - and yes, it is open internationally!

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Exciting Cover Reveal for The Dragon Empire by Heather McCorkle

I am so excited to be part of Xpresso Book Tours epic cover reveal of Heather McCorkle's upcoming release, The Dragon Empire. Here is a little about the book:

The Dragon Empire by Heather McCorkle -- February 2013 / Compass Press
On Yacrana, dragons stand at the top of the evolutionary ladder instead of humans. Such an advanced species is not without its issues though. 
There's trouble in the Dragon Empire, the kind that could start a war between dragons and the races of people. Hidden factions of dragons believe they should rule the lesser races, not simply stand aside and allow them to develop as they will. Having lived so long in peace, the Emperors turn a blind eye, many oblivious that such attitudes even exist. 
Despite being only an architect class, emerald dragon, Grendar is willing to risk banishment and death to stop that which his rulers refuse to see. The hope of peace lies not within the scaled breast of a dragon however, but within the hands of a group of people. But if the hidden factions have their way, these people won’t live to fulfill such a destiny. With a reluctant seer at his side, Grendar must leave his precious Empire for the outside world to save those that will one day save his kind. 

Add the book on to your Goodreads TBR list - http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17158656-the-dragon-empire



Beautiful, yes??? 

Here is a little about Heather:

Heather McCorkle
I am an author of fantasy, in all its many sub-genres. Living green, saving endangered species, helping other writers, and supporting fabulous authors are a few of my passions. I am also a volunteer for the IS Foundation which works to make the world a greener place. When I'm not volunteering, writing, or surfing my social networking sites, I can be found on the slopes, the hiking trails, or on horseback. As a native Oregonian, I enjoy the outdoors almost as much as the worlds I create on the pages. No need to travel to the Great Northwest though, you can find me here, on my blog, and Monday night's on Twitter where I co-moderate the #WritersRoad chat.

Author Links:

Be sure to hunt down Heather and wish her an amazing day as she shares the cover with the world. WOO HOO!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

LACRIMOSA Hardback editions giveaway!

Thank you all for making Lacrimosa's FREE amazon days so successful! I was able to get to #10 for a full day - right up there with some of my fav authors. So THANK YOU ALL!!!

As an extra treat, Lacrimosa is being featured over at Free Book Fridays! FIVE autographed HARDBACKS are being given away next Friday. Stop by and enter!

Be sure to come by next week for exciting interviews, cover reveals, giveaways and MORE....

Man, I LOVE 2013, don't you???

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you all know that ...

LACRIMOSA, Book #1 in the Requiem Series is FREE for Kindle - (1/10 and 1/11 only. )

This will be the last time it's offered free for a while, I think. So be sure to download YOUR copy. 

Not convinced yet? Just check out some of these recent reviews:

I love the characters Nesy and Aydan. ArtistaDonna  |  9 reviewers made a similar statement
You're gonna want to read this in one sitting--because you won't be able to put it down. ;) L. B. Diamond  |  8 reviewers made a similar statement

Pick up your free copy for Kindle and decide for yourself!

CLICK HERE to download your copy. Let's see if we can get the book to #1!

And, while your on Amazon, why not pick up the Requiem Short, MEA CULPA - also free on Amazon. Here is a little bit about it:

Everything has a price, especially duty. And love. 
Azza's attacks are always deadly...ALWAYS. But that was before Nesy. And before Mikayel and Zane. Now, death has a new enemy. But, what's the cost for saving a life?
MEA CULPA follows one angel's quest to save his best friend in this novella that bridges the gap between Lacrimosa and the next full-length book in the series, Libera Me.

Here's what readers are saying about this short:

I really liked getting to know Zane better... And that ending! Leigh T. Moore  |  2 reviewers made a similar statement
These are some of the questions that Zane must work out. Darlene  |  2 reviewers made a similar statement

CLICK HERE to download a copy of Mea Culpa!. Let's see if we can get it into the top ten too!!! WOO HOO!!!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I am so excited to announce and be part of the book trailer reveal for Bestselling Author, Susan Kaye Quinn's Mindjack. Take it away Susan:

The Live-Action Mindjack Book Trailer Reveal
(from the bestselling Mindjack series by Susan Kaye Quinn)

With the help of over 20 cast and crew members, award-winning director Beth Spitalny has brought the concept of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy to life on the screen. 

  When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Please share!
Ways you can share the trailer:

  • Post it to Facebook (copy & paste below)
Check out the live-action Mindjack Book Trailer (from the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy by Susan Kaye Quinn): When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. http://bit.ly/MindjackBookTrailer 

  • Post it to Twitter (copy & paste below)
When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep. Watch the live-action Mindjack Book Trailer http://bit.ly/MindjackBookTrailer 
  • Share to Google+, Tumbler, Pinterest, and more - 
Go to the trailer on YouTube and click the "share" button. Click the arrow to expand and see all the options. Easy peasy. (While you're there, click "like" on YouTube, or leave a comment!) 5) Post the trailer on your blog Grab the embed code from YouTube or email me for a copy of the HTML for a complete post announcing the trailer and ways to share!

Thanks so much for sharing!

To celebrate the release of the trailer, Susan is Open Minds on sale!
$2.99 now $0.99
for one week only
$9.99 now $7.99
for one week only

THANK YOU to everyone who is sharing the trailer today!
An EXTRA SPECIAL THANKS to everyone involved in making the trailer a reality, including Director Beth Spitalny, Producer Angel Acevedo, Director of Photography Lance Kaplan, lead actor Nikki Flemming (Kira) and the many fine actors, crew members, and post-production staff who donated their time and talent to the project. 

For the making-of the trailer, see the Mindjack Trilogy website.

Susan Kaye Quinn is the author of the bestselling Mindjack Series, which includes three novels, three novellas, and a trailer. She's currently writing a steampunk fantasy romance, just for kicks. When that's out of her system, she has ambitious plans to embark on a series about the Singularity (the time when computers become more intelligent than humans) that should appeal to fans of the Mindjack novels. Or possibly play on Facebook all day. Could go either way.

Upcoming Writing Projects...

Happy Wednesday All! Time for another Blog Chain round. Kate started today's round with this topic:

Write about your next writing project. What is the genre? Is is one you've written before or is it a new venture? Do you have it all figured out or is it just a germ of an idea? What did you learn from your latest writing project that will make this one even better?

I have three projects currently in the "hopper" - one is the third and final installment in the Requiem series - Dominus. The second is a nonfiction book for the parents of introverted children, tentatively called Parenting Introverts (I know, original, right?!? LOL). And the final project - well it is a new YA psychological thriller not yet under contract, and one I am actually going to pitch to agents and/or publishers.

The first two projects are both under contract - they are genres and projects that I have written in before. That is not to say they aren't challenging - they are. Each in their own way.

With Dominus, the challenge is in ending the series on a strong note. I have the book all figured out, and am close to finishing the first draft. All I can really say about it is that it has the romance of Lacrimosa, the emotional depth of Libera Me and more action than you could ever want! And yes, characters die. Just saying. It is a tough book to write, but one I hope will do the story and the series justice!

With Parenting Introverts, the challenge is in the research. I have been working on the research for a while, and have got it mapped out. But, like anything, it isn't until I really work on the words that I know where my flaws in my research are. Did I mention I am turning the book in soon. HA! Well I am - I am turning both in soon-ish actually.

For my third project, this one is a huge emotional challenge for me. The story is complex and unique, both in terms of the actual story line and the writing. I know it'll be difficult to pull off - very difficult. But I am determined to find a way. This project is also emotional for me as it represents the first completely new, non-contracted thing I have written in fiction in a few years. Lots of risk with this. But I am excited and invigorated by it all!

I wanted to tackle the last part of the topic independent from the others. -

What did you learn from your latest writing project that will make this one even better?

I learn from each and every writing project. I am improving in my use of setting because of feedback on my novellas, I am learning more and more on craft because of my ideas related to writing thrillers, and I learning to add ever more depth to my characters because of feedback on my books as well. So yes, I improve directly related to each and every project, and I am thankful for that!

But enough about me! What about you? What are you guys working on? If you are a reader, what would you LOVE to read - from me or any other author??

For more on this topic, check out Sandra's from yesterday, and Katrina's post tomorrow.

Before you leave, I am over at the Indie-Elite blog talking about how to write a short synopsis - come by and say "hi"

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jumping Back Into Life!

It's back to the grind time for me, and with that, back to the day job. I woke today with mixed feelings about that - on the one hand, I am excited to get back to the structure of the daily grind, the routine of it all. I have a set time to get-up, a set amount of things to accomplish, and specific time frame for it all. On the other hand, I will miss the freedom the time off brought - the ability to wake up and go see a movie just because. Or the ability to stay in my PJs all day.

These thoughts remind me of my writing process...the dance between the draft and the revision processes. Both have qualities I loathe...both have things I crave. 

With drafting, I love the freedom to just write, unedited...to create something - without rules, without worries. With revisions, I get the structure I also crave. The ability to mold and shape the mess I drafted into something more than what it was originally. 

In reflecting about this I realize, I actually need both aspects of the creative process. Crave them both. 

For a long time I resisted the drafting part. My CPs have heard me angst more than once. But as I think more about it, I realize there is so much to both aspects of creating - of writing - that I love. I just need to accept the processes for what they are and stop trying to make them something else. Drafting is not editing. And revising is not drafting. They both have their own purpose. And I need/want/crave them both.

What about you? How are you after the Holidays as you get back tot he routines of life?

I am working on a schedule for the blog and should have something in a few days. In the meantime, be on the look out for more exciting news SOON!!!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, Revisions, and an amazing conference

Hi All! Happy First Weekend of Jan! I am spending the weekend deep in my revision cave (except for the few hours I will spend seeing Lincoln) - my family surprised me with the gift of time. While they are off skiing this weekend, I get to hide and get some alone time. HEAVEN!!! And much needed before I jump back into the daily grind on Monday.

Before I lock myself away, I wanted to make sure you all knew about an amazing online conference happening this weekend. The gals over at Operation Awesome have been hosting some amazing authors, agents and editors all talking about the revision process. It's not to be missed.

Oh! And I posted there this am too - sharing a bit about my revision process. Check it out and let me know what you think. Plus, if you leave a comment you could win an Amazon gift card...and who doesn't want that, right?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reading, Reading and More Reading...

As I have mentioned before, I am focused on self-nurturing in 2013. This includes the writing aspects of my life. In other words, I am focusing a lot of energy on improving my craft as an author. And one of my favorite ways to do this...


A lot of reading!

Last year I read 50 books. 

Christine's 2012-reads book montage

Clockwork Prince
City of Lost Souls
Shut Out
The Secret of Spruce Knoll
Resist: A Possession Short Story
Born of Fire
A Million Suns
A Temptation of Angels
Private:  #1 Suspect
In Honor
To Ride A Puca
The Immortal Rules

Some were re-reads, others new reads. And in no way did I read as many as I wanted to. So, this year I am aiming for a few more - 75 to be exact. In truth, I am hoping for more. But with the added meditation, the "work" for the Artist's Way and some other things, I want to also be realistic. So, a book a week seems a great place to start.

First up, a book I started in 2012 but abandoned - Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson. 

Oh, I know, it's an easy read. But hey...it's a books, right?!?

How many books are you hoping to read this year? Do you set reading goals?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

And So It Begins...Week One of the Artist's Way

Welcome to 2013 everyone! I hope the New Year is starting off well for all of you. I spend day 1 doing a lot of self-reflection, spending some quality time alone and watching a LOT of movies. Believe it or not - all of this has managed to fill the well of my creativity and enable a great start to the writing as well.

Let me explain...

On 12/30, as part of my 2013 goals, I started the Artist's Way. I've glanced through the book before, skimmed through the various chapters and gleaned some vision of the lessons. But, I've never actually worked through the book in its entirety.

When my mom passed in 2010, this book was in her library. Tucked in the pages were some of mom's work as she used the book. See, my mom was an artist in every sense of the word - from the music she sang in small blues clubs of San Francisco in her youth, to the sermons she wrote and delivered every Sunday in a small church in Pasadena, CA, to the painting she taught herself to do after she retired. Mom was an artist.

I grew up with that same heart, that same way of viewing the world. The heart and mind of a creative soul.

2012 challenged that aspect of me in surprisingly profound ways. As I confronted and faced one set of fears, larger ones emerged. And in those moments of fear, when I faced off with some of the darker aspects of myself, my creative soul turned inward and hid in the depths.

Oh sure, I coaxed her forward to write. I still garner ideas, engaged in my writing practice, moved forward. But something was missing. Even as the "craft" of writing improved, there was an aspect of me that became more and more lost.

The year continued, the demons grew, and my creative self retreated more and more. And through it all, I began to feel lost in a way that is hard to put into words. At first, I blamed my day job for sucking the creativity away. Then the busyness of life. And finally, the pressures of back-to-back releases, marketing and being an introvert in an ever-increasingly noisy world.

The truth was, I had lost my creative self. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I have long been in the habit of meditating. But, like many of us, I turned away from the thing I needed most during this difficult part of my life. Until a crisis hit, and I emotionally hit a low that is still too raw to fully talk about. Suffice it to say, I had two options - begin to self-nurture and do the things I need to or risk losing it all together.

I chose to take care of myself.

So, for the last several weeks of 2012, I started meditating again, refocused my thoughts and actions, reached out to a few very close friends to lean on and started the climb back out of the muck.

The Artist's Way is part of that journey. After reading Mom's writings and looking through the book again, I knew that this was something I needed to do. So, I am doing my "morning pages" without fail, took the artist in me on a date (to see Les Mis - by myself!), and am working through each and every task. I am no stranger to the therapeutic process - and this is a great method for working through  my creative blocks.

Week One is all about safety - so appropriate since the initial stumble earlier in 2012 that lead to the retreat of my creative self started with some safety issues that were triggered pretty substantially. The week focuses on reframing the negative self-talk that diminishes the creative self and makes it "unsafe" for our authenticity to come forward. For me, it has been a lesson in acceptance as much as anything else. And it has given a new found clarity that has already begun to unblock me in some ways.

So, there you go - my work for the early part of the new year. It is not the only goal I am focusing on, but it is a major one. Do you have anything special you are working on for the early part of the year? Anything you are hoping to accomplish?