Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, August 31, 2012

Remembering KarenG's Labor Day Barbecue

The Labor Day Barbecue was a super fun event I did for two years in a row, where people left a comment of what goody they'd bring and then everyone visited each others' blogs. It completely slipped my mind this year because a) it came really early this year and b) I've been preparing for the launch of my new novel.

So no Labor Day Blog Barbecue this year, sorry! I will miss it.

However, to celebrate the holiday and share with my blog followers, WiDo is offering Lighting Candles in the Snow on the Kindle for $1.99! The ebook will be regularly priced at $4.99 upon official release Sept. 18. Three bucks is a nice discount that I'm thrilled to offer to my blogging buddies.

You don't need to be a follower or a fan to get this deal. It's right here on the Amazon site for Candles. Happy reading and for those of you in the U.S., enjoy your four-day weekend! But just in case I were having the Barbecue this weekend, what would you bring?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Look at the Real Thing

First look at my favorite! Yes, I admit it. Lighting Candles in the Snow is my favorite.

There was too much anxiety with Farm Girl and Uncut Diamonds, since they were my first, to really enjoy the process. And House of Diamonds, although I really like that novel, I was disappointed in the typesetting. The print book came out too short, too small.

I like a nice, solid novel that feels good in my hands. A thick book.

Like this....



And besides, I am totally in love with this cover!


Goodreads page for Candles is right here if you want to add it, I'd be ever so grateful. Even more grateful for reviews! There will be free ARCs and Kindle promos coming up, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Painted Horses

Okay, all you Rats, Toads and Moles out there, thanks for commenting on my last (399th) post and identifying yourselves. It was fun reading your comments! And just as expected, I couldn't wait long to post again. Especially since my husband and I had an adventure, and I have pictures.

And only an hour away from home, too-- the city of Ogden, the best kept secret in Utah. No crowds, no traffic, not a destination spot. But for us, it's our new favorite place.

Because among other attractions, how can you not love a city that has statues of painted horses lining the downtown streets?




I was going nuts seeing these horses, naming them, taking pictures, petting their darling noses. Like this pale one -- so cute I just wanted to take him home with me. Look at that sweet face! I named him Cute Horse, not very original but he was just too cute to be named anything else:



What do you think of Money Horse? Not my favorite because it seemed embarrassing for poor Money Horse to have dollar bills painted all over him, but still, it's a clever idea.


There are so many more, I didn't get pictures of them all. But you must see Dinosaur Horse!


 And then I love this one that looks so noble and grand and majestic--


It has our nation's founders-- Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Quincy Adams and two more I can't remember. It's very cool and probably my favorite.

Most tourists to Utah will see Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Zion's National Park, the Bingham Copper Mine, Park City, Moab and the Arches, the Great Salt Lake-- there is more to see in this great state than one could imagine-- but don't forget an out of the way place called Downtown Ogden, where the painted horses are waiting.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And Then What?

This is #399 for me. Which surprises me because I've been at it for a few years and it does seem like I've written way more posts than that. More like 3,999.

I just know I'll post again quickly to see that nice round 400 number. 400 posts. And then what? Which is the big question really, about all kinds of things that one might look forward to with great anticipation.

And then what?

There are the people who look ahead with excitement for the next big adventure, like Toad in The Wind in the Willows: "Toad talked big about all he was going to do in the days to come, while stars grew fuller and larger all around them, and a yellow moon, appearing suddenly and silently from nowhere in particular, came to keep them company and listen to their talk." (A very talented writer's way of saying Toad talked at length)



And there are those who are perfectly content with their routine, like Rat: "And I AM going to stick to my old river, AND live in a hole AND boat, as I've always done." (Talented Writer's way of telling us Rat adores his routine while also saying what that routine is, in just one sentence.)



Which kind of person are you? Mr Toad or Mr Rat? Do you say And then what? Or are you at peace (maybe in love with) with your established routine?

Perhaps you are a nice blend, like Mole, who enjoys a routine sprinkled with the occasional adventure, or even just an outing for the day.


"This day was only the first of many similar ones for the emancipated Mole, each of them longer and full of interest as the ripening summer moved onward. He learnt to swim and to row, and entered into the joy of running water; and with his ear to the reed-stems he caught, at intervals, something of what the wind went whispering so constantly among them." (from The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame)


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Getting Help with Marketing and Promotion

Has it really been an entire week since I posted?? Well, I really like that last post! I liked seeing Amy Saia's lovely book cover on my blog, was very excited about her new release and I felt like there was a lot of interest in the topic of the post-- how to write a manuscript to get an editor's attention.

I hope there will also be interest in the topic of this post: How to get some valuable and free help with marketing!

From the CeleryTree website:

Writers, we know how busy you are – blogging, posting on social networking sites, publicizing your books, attending book signings and yes, trying to sit down and work on your current novel.  Your time is valuable but certainly limited.

CeleryTree is coming to your rescue.  We want to help you spread the word about your titles and gain a wider reading audience.  You know that as a member of CeleryTree, we ask that you buy six books a year from other members. But did you know that our $36 yearly membership fee is still being waived AND we have additional services to offer our members: 

·         A professional press release about you, your book and any newsworthy information to get the attention of your local media.
·         A personal and careful analysis of your online presence to help you maximize your social media time and connections.
·         Analysis and assistance in defining your individual "author brand," and how best to share it online.
·         Help in refining your book summary and author bio for maximum appeal.

We can confidently say that this is a deal you will not find anywhere.  We’re giving all this away because we believe that CeleryTree is a resource that can be an enormous benefit to authors, and we want it to grow.  This package is being offered to current and new members until November.  To find out more, please email publicity@celerytree and find out how we can improve your book sales. 
  
And here is the pitch from me: If you are an author with a published book to sell, CeleryTree would love to see your book on the shelves of their online bookstore. Join now, while you can take advantage of these special offers during the first year of this fabulous new website's launch!
 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What Sets a Manuscript Apart

When Amy Saia entered her manuscript to submissions@widopublishing.com, her work was so compelling and beautifully written that it got attention and a request to resubmit.

Let me explain something about an editor's request to rewrite and resubmit. Parts of a manuscript might be very good and others problematic. Especially with a debut author, the editor needs to see that the writer has the skills, because you don't want to get deep into it with a contract on the line and a release date looming and find out that the writer can't fix what's wrong.

Anyway, all this leads up to the end result that Amy's revised manuscript was accepted by WiDo for publication and TODAY IS THE RELEASE DATE!!!!


To give you a sample of Amy Saia's lyrical writing style:

   My father was Colorado. He was white, snow-packed ridges and aspen-threaded valleys. He was pine and soft clouds across a pale blue sky. He was granite and crystal gushing rivers and columbine blooming over a hillside. He knew the way of the bear, and how not to get caught on the wrong path after they've come out of their caves in the spring, babies hobbling close. He was the epitome of organic, beautiful earth.
   My father was my best friend.
   My mother, however....
   It was a hot day in Colorado Springs, June 1979, when I stood watching her shove everything into the station wagon with her big Audrey Hepburn sunglasses pulled down over her eyes. We were going to leave--like it had never happened, like he had never existed.

Are you sucked in? This book is a fabulous read, you will love it! I did and I don't usually enjoy YA, especially not YA paranormal romance, but I relished Amy's voice that enhanced her story and elevated it above the usual. She does indeed have the skills.

And like everyone who reads this, I weighed the options between William and Jesse, and had to cast my vote. If you read it and write a review, be sure to share which boy you liked better, and which one you wanted Emma to end up with!

Vital information:

The Goodreads link to add to your to-read list.

The Soul Seekers book page on the publisher website, where for a limited time you can get the print copy at a pre-release special price.

To download on your Kindle.

To download on your Nook.

Happy reading! And congratulations to Amy Saia, who worked extremely hard to make this book awesome!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

No pre-release anxiety but I really hate my hair

My novel, Lighting Candles in the Snow, is set to be released next month, September 18. And I've been taking it very well. Hadn't noticed any undue anxiety or stress related to the final stages. My reviews will be mixed, some great, others not so much. Sales will be fine. Not fantastic but okay. The usual. Why worry? After all, it's my fourth book, and I know what to expect.

Yet I've noticed an excess of stress over all kinds of other things. I won't bore you by telling you the details of my anxiety-prone routine except to say that this morning it all became clear. I am transferring! My unconscious self is playing little tricks, making me feel uneasy over little meaningless things while the really BIG thing, a new novel coming out, remains untouched and pristine in its anticipation.

Because I am super-excited about this novel. I love the cover! It is perfect. The photographer and designer did an absolutely fantastic job, and it accurately reflects the tone and themes of the story. When I think of its release, I feel only joy. No anxiety. Weird and quite unlike me.

This one feels special to me. Maybe it's the angel on the cover. Maybe it's because the writing of it came so quickly and without confusion. Maybe how the characters took over the page and helped me tell their story.

Unlike my previous works, Candles is not autobiographical. (My husband wants me to make sure everyone who knows us understands this.) And when I began, I was concerned that I could cut out a 65K word novel from the whole cloth of my imagination.

I feel euphoric when I realize: I did it! I finished the novel-writing Olympics and whether it's a gold-medal winner or just the unlikely little guy crossing the finish line, what matters is that I showed up and finished and now here it is. Soon to be released!

Now to do something about my hair. Because it is really stressing me out.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Defining Your Author Brand

Despite my recurring online anxiety, I'm convinced that more fully articulating and utilizing my author brand will give me more clarity about my social media activities. What about you? Have you thought about author "branding"?

The following is part of a post written by the new CeleryTree administrator:

"The idea is that an author must make his or her mark within a specific niche, and expend promotional efforts on trying to make potential readers identify with this brand.  Just as Stephen King is known for his horror novels and Nicholas Sparks is known for tearjerker romance, this idea requires that a writer find his place and stay with it.  The writer must ensure that blog, website and column writing, along with any interviews, stays within the image that a reader should have of him. This has numerous advantages, particularly for genre authors.  Fans of the author know what to expect, and the for the author, promotional time and energy can be more focused and direct. Ultimately, an author's name becomes linked with their niche in the reader's mind."

Author branding can make the most of our precious social media time. Head over to the CeleryTree post for more information on this timely topic.

And if you are a CeleryTree member, you can get free assistance in defining your author brand!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Insecure about Social Media

I've been posting a lot about this topic lately, probably because I'm still insecure about parts of it.

Like Facebook-- should it be just for friends and family or shall I join writer groups and make it a social media outlet for me as an author?

And my blog-- should I ignore my website (which I've done) and keep posting only on my blog? Or should I wind down my blog and do everything on my website?

I'm insecure about how or when or how much to comment on my own posts.

Twitter I'm not insecure about. I think it's a fun and pointless diversion. But I do get tired of everyone tweeting endlessly about their books. I've never once bought a book because of a Twitter campaign.

(This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Wednesday Blogfest. And despite many of us posting every single first Wednesday of the month, we don't ever seem to run out of insecurities LOL.)