Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Body Institute

Today I am super excited to help my long-time writer friend Carol Riggs reveal the cover of her YA sci-fi The Body Institute!! Here's a bit about it:

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…


For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…


Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…


Sounds fun, yes? It's coming out on September 1st from Entangled Teen, but you can add it to your Goodreads list now (click!) or pre-order (click!). And NOW for the cover reveal!


Scroll....








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Drumroll!!!!!!







Doesn't it look cool? I'm so stoked for Carol :) Can't wait 'til release day!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Focus

So, my last blog post was about balancing my passions in life, and how over the last year I've reconnected with my passion for horses and have been training my horse Max. Last year my life went through a big transition period, and I haven't written as much as in previous years. Part of that was the big upheaval of my personal life (divorce and move) and part of it was finding balance with other aspects of my life (more time with my horse and doing yoga and other healthy things). And a big part of it that I didn't talk about was that I've had a hard time finding a focus because I wasn't sure what direction my writing was headed. I joined my first critique group and started querying my latest book, and didn't know whether to start a new project, or work on the second book of the series I'm querying, or edit one of my older books.


The optimist in me thought, if I get an agent and pub deal, I'll need to focus on the various rounds of edits that they'll want, and not be distracted by another project. So I waited, and I couldn't decide. And that was fine - I needed the time to mull things over and find my direction. Pretty much the day after I wrote that last post, I made a decision: I will self-publish my second book, Martinis with the Devil, by the end of the year. Even if I get an agent for my latest book, I think this will be a good move. Martinis is urban fantasy, and most publishers aren't touching that genre right now because it's fairly saturated. But people still love reading it (including myself!), and it's such a fun book. When people say to write the book you want to read, Martinis is pretty much the epitome of that for me. It's just fun, sassy urban fantasy with a kickass cast of characters. Nothing dark and serious like a lot of the urban fantasy out there. So, unless I get an agent and they don't want me to self-pub, that's the plan.


With that decision made, I've had a blast the last week or so outlining the sequel to Martinis. The second book is set in Dublin, so I'm tentatively thinking of a title like Whiskey and Angelfire. Whatcha think? And have you made any big decisions lately?


TTFN!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Leather and Oil and Learning When to Let Go

Hey now, Fifty Shades, this isn't that kind of blog post... go take a cold shower and come back. As some of you may know, in addition to writing, I am also an equestrian. I have a horse that I'm training, and as we speak I've just finished cleaning his saddle and bridle. My bedroom is filled with the lovely scent of leather and saddle oil (which by the way is AWESOME for the hands), and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself.

I've had these two passions since I was a kid. Like, five years old. I loved horses and I loved books, and I would write stories about horses. And then later stories that mimicked the high fantasy I grew up on (Tolkien, Dragon Lance, Tad Williams, Tamora Pierce, etc.). I've gone through stages with both where I took a break for a while, but they've always been woven into the fabric of my being and always will be. I consider myself very lucky to have such unshakable direction in my life.

For the last five years, writing took the main stage, and while I had horses, I was terribly remiss in doing anything with them other than keep them as fancy lawn ornaments. My current horse, Max, was born at my house and so for many years was too young to ride. And then he got old enough and I procrastinated. But last year I got a divorce and moved into an apartment with no room for an equine, so I had to start boarding him at a farm about 20 minutes away. Over the last year, I've made more progress with him than I have in the last five. Funny how things work out that way. I think what I missed was a support system of other horse friends, and I needed to regain my mojo. I had a totally untrained horse on my hands who has a pretty dominant personality, and I'd lost a lot of my own boss-mare attitude. So, I've been finding it again and Max and I are doing awesome. 

On the other hand, my writing in the last year has been fairly slim. I've played around with a bunch of different projects, and nothing has quite grabbed me. I'm very Type A about certain things, and am used to slamming out full novels in 6-12 weeks, so this was very disconcerting to me. But then I had an epiphany the other day: it's okay to let go sometimes. I know I can make deadlines. I've written four complete novels. Last year was a year of transition and finding a new balance. And it's okay to slow my pace a bit.

Do you balance more than one passion in life? What are your thoughts on the ebb and flow of your focus and inspiration? 



Friday, February 13, 2015

Celebrating!

The last few weeks have held some fun adventures, and I've celebrated a variety of things. But first, let me celebrate someone else. My crit partner and long-time writer friend DL Hammons has signed with an agent!! I've known Don for several years through blogging, and his epic Write Club contests, and since summer I joined a crit group he started, so I'm very familiar with his awesome book Moving Fear. I am SO SUPER STOKED to announce this awesome news!!

EDIT! THIS JUST IN! One of my other long-time writer friends released her debut novel today! Congrats to Beth Sanderson for Dying Embers! A juicy revenge story :) Check it out here.

Moving on to me, I'll express the last few weeks in some pictures:


 
  

Some yummy things I made.




Celebrating 31 days in a row of yoga!! I completed my challenge. Also, it was a pre-celebration of awesome stuff happening soon. I don't know exactly what yet, but it's happening :)



 
 

A fun trip to Atlanta, including the Georgia Aquarium.




And last but certainly not least, another celebration - my boyfriend successfully completed the test for his black belt in Judo a few days ago, so we had some dessert and champagne. 


What are you celebrating (or pre-celebrating!) this month? Do tell!




Friday, January 16, 2015

Yoga, Hiking, and Beautiful Calamities

Hello! I hope everyone's had a lovely first couple weeks of 2015. As part of kicking off the new year I decided I want to get back to blogging on a more regular basis. I miss all the good stuff and connecting and awesomeness with my blog friends! I'm entering into my fifth year of blogging, though, so this isn't even close to my first rodeo. I learned a long time ago that posting multiple times a week just wasn't something I could handle, nor was visiting a bajillion blogs of other writers. I also felt like there weren't a whole lot of fresh writing-themed topics I could come up with. So, I'm doing a revamp. I'll probably post every couple weeks (I'm on Twitter more frequently if you want to chat more). I'm going to prioritize visiting the blogs of those people I've really connected with over the years (though I love making new friends and I will always pop over and say hi to any newbies). And I'm going to go back to old school blogging form, which is really that of an online journal. I may talk about writing. But I may also talk about yoga, horses, food, and other stuff happening in my life.

So! Since my last post, I've had some fun stuff going on. First, I started a 30-day yoga challenge via Yoga with Adriene, my fave YouTube yoga coach. I don't really make a lot of New Year's resolutions because I'm a pretty goal-oriented person throughout the year. So this wasn't really a resolution so much as something that seemed an awesome way to start the year. And honestly I didn't think I'd really do it every day. But I have! I've done yoga every day for over two weeks now! It's usually just 10-30 minutes, and my body feels so nice and relaxed.

I also had a nice hike at a local park that recently created the Sky Bridge, a tall wooden walkway suspended amongst live oaks with a lovely view of a huge lake.


My son looking waaayyyy down. 


And last but not least, I wrote a fun short story around 2k words or so about four ancient beings who get together at a Parisian cafe to plan global calamities... but they're not who you think they are :) They just like to savor some delicious chaos.

How about you? What have you been up to? Whatever it is, I hope it's awesome!

P.S. Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. Just thought you should know :)







Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome 2015!

In this final hour of the first day of 2015, I'm sitting down to write my usual annual recap and goals for 2015. Last year was a year of intense personal transition for me - a divorce, move, finding a new balance in life. While it may seem weird to say it, 2014 was great. I moved into my new place on March 1st and have been on a path of rediscovering my happiness. I've established a home that is more ME than I've ever had before. I've been training regularly with my horse and got on his back for the first time about a week ago (he's never been ridden). I've gotten much better about exercising regularly, and have a ladies walking night every Monday, plus I've improved greatly in my yoga and Pilates. I also have a wonderful new boyfriend that makes me very happy and is an awesome human being. It was a good year.


For 2015, I see more transition, but in the realm of career. This year I will publish one of my books (or have a scheduled pub date). I am querying now and have had significant agent interest, but if that doesn't pan out I will pursue small and medium presses until I find the right fit. I'm determined to get my foot in the door one way or the other. So far, I had a lovely first day of the year. I did yoga, went and trained with my horse, had a lovely time with my son, boyfriend and family, and finished up with some writing on a short story I'm having a ton of fun with. A nice, balanced day to kick off the year.
Hopefully in 2015 I will also get back on a regular blogging schedule - I only posted six times last year.


What does 2015 hold for you? What are your highlights from 2014? Whatever your dreams and desires, raise your glass to a Fearless '15!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crit Partners are the Best!

Hello, writer friends! I haven't posted in quite some time. I've been editing and being pretty low key on the social media front. I figured if I didn't have anything super exciting to blog about, I'd keep my mouth shut :)


But! I have been wanting to share about recently getting official crit partners (CPs) for the first time. It's pretty much common knowledge that you should work with other writers to edit your work. But it's really hard to find a good fit, and for years I avoided anything other than a small trade-off of pages with a trusted fellow writer here and there. However, when fellow writer and blogger Don Hammons posted about starting a group, I figured I'd give it a shot. I had known Don for a while through blogging, and his awesome annual Write Club contests, and it seemed like the right time. And I've loved it!


We have a small group of eight writers, and we each post 10 pages for critique in a DropBox account every couple of weeks. We also have meetings via Facebook chat every couple weeks. It's been really great, and it's invaluable to get those extra pairs of eyes! It really is amazing to see what others discover that you didn't see because you wrote it and it makes sense in your head - but not to everybody else! Or just the little things, like how one of my characters apparently shrugs all the damn time, LOL. Anyways, it's been awesome and I've polished up my latest WIP so I can start querying. I feel SO much more confident about that knowing that my CPs think it's ready, too. We all know there are no guarantees with agents and publishers, but I feel a whole lot better having vetted it through my group.


So, do you have CPs? What have been your experiences with them? And as always, I hope everyone is doing great!