Thursday, June 30, 2011

WriT - Stop, Read, and THEN sign

I'm going to keep it short and simple today. I chose to self-publish, but I know a lot of writers who won't feel like an author until they've at least tried to get a publishing contract. I will probably join that group of writers once I'm done with my next project, which I'm really excited about. In the meantime, to help all of you out, I found a wonderful blog that talks about the what to pay attention to when signing a publishing contract.

The blog Two Ends of The Pen put up this wonderful post a few days ago and I think it gives some incredible insight into what to watch out for.

There are 14 tips listed, all very fascinating and things I probably wouldn't have realized on my own. The one that really stuck out to me was making sure the contract has a publication time limit, because if not they can sit on it for years without doing anything to it and you, as the author, can't do anything about it. Your beautiful project might never see the joy of being a published piece.

If you want to check out the other 13, please check out the post. I found it to be really interesting and should be extremely useful to anyone who's looking for a publishing contract.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WIP - It's all coming to an end!

Last week was incredibly productive for me! I met all the goals that I set, finishing my final draft of Transformation on Friday. I was up until 2 in the morning formatting, making it look perfect.
Formatting is hard work. Not just because of the tediousness of it, which it is, but because it's hard to know what the perfect font should be, whether you should write 'chapter one' or just the number 1, or what size will be perfect for your book. Not to mention the dedication, acknowledgements, author bio, and copyright pages. There really is a lot to think about.

Thankfully, I had written out my dedication and acknowledgments weeks ago, so I just had to plug them in, but the copyright was a little intense and the author bio was intimidating. How do you decide what the perfect thing to say about yourself should be? It's so much easier to write about a character that exists in your head rather than tell the world who you are as a person.

I decided to go the CreateSpace route with this book. I think my next book idea is a little more original and has a better chance of being picked up by an agent. For now, writing is all about having fun. I'm not sure I'm ready to take on a contract or obligations. I have two young children at home with hopefully a few more down the road, and my life is all about taking care of them. In a few years, I may pursue writing as a full time job, but for now I'm happy with the way things are.

I uploaded my book on CreateSpace and it was approved so I ordered my proof copy. It was printed and shipped out yesterday evening! I am SO excited to finally have a copy in my hands. What a surreal moment that will be.

Once I review my proof copy I can put it up for sale. It will be available for purchase at or on in paperback or kindle. I may even have it available at Barnes and Noble online, but I don't know for sure yet. Once I approve the proof I'll decide if that's a route I want to go or not.

This has been an amazing journey! I can't wait to start down the path of my next project!

Now on for more news, my friend Jenni is on a race with herself to get 100 Followers. She's at 94....SO close! She's having an amazing giveaway when she hits 100, so go check her out and follow if you like what you see! You won't be disappointed!

Friday, June 24, 2011

WriT Day-So you have it all mapped out, now what?

Last week I talked about developing your idea into a story. Check out the post here, there are some great tips for character development!

So, you've spent all this time planning out your story, creating your characters, deciding on the voice of your next project. Now what?

The whole process can be very daunting at first. One of the reasons I was able to start my first manuscript at all was because of NaNoWriMo. It gave me a set deadline by which I needed to be finished. I work really well under pressure, I always have. If you tell me I only have three days to get something done, I will probably get it done in two. But, on that same note, if you were to tell me I have a month I will probably put it off until the last three or four days then work like made to finish.

What if you don't work well on a deadline? What if you aren't starting your project during National Novel Writing Month? What if you just want to write right now?

I found a wonderful blog post with 7 tips on writing. They were lessons that the author had discovered while scuba diving. I loved the comparison and I'm hoping that when I share these tips with you it will give you the skills you need to dive into that project that keeps getting put on the back burner.

Now I've never been scuba diving, so the literalness of these tips is not something I'm familiar with, but I love the writing portions in them and I definitely think they are quite useful. If you don't have time to read them all, skip down to number 7, it's the best one!

1. Notice the Details. - If you've already done the steps form my previous post, you've already noticed a lot of details in the characters that you've created. Now, you can focus on the surroundings they will be immersed in. I find it helpful to actually sketch certain scenes that I'm working on to help me see it better. Create a space that you know every inch of, that you would be able to recreate as an eye witness if the need arose. Make your world real.

2. The experience is important, not just the end result. - It's easy to focus on the end product, the drive that makes us push forward so we can hold that finished book in our hands. It's important to enjoy the whole writing process as well. If you're having fun, it will come across in what you write. If you are rushing through it, the readers are going to be able to tell and they won't be able to engross themselves in your story as well. So slow down, and enjoy the ride.

3. Discovery, learning, and surprises are important. - As you write, don't chain yourself to the outline that you created earlier. Be willing to follow the story where it takes you, don't drag the story along for the ride. It may surprise you that your book ends differently than what you had planned, but that is okay. That means it grew into what it wanted.

4. You are alone, even though you have company. - There is a whole community of fellow writers out there, but ultimately you're doing it yourself. When you finish a project, you were the one who wrote every word. Use the resources you have, let friends help you work out a plot issue, but remember that in the end it's your project. You have control.

5. You need the right equipment. - How do you prefer to write? Are you a sit at the computer desk for hours at a time kind of writer? Or maybe you like to take the lap top to the couch and write there. (That's my preferred method.) You may even be very traditional and enjoy writing with a pen and paper. Whatever it is, find out and make sure you have everything you need. There is nothing more frustrating then breaking up the flow of writing so you can go find something you didn't realize you needed. Be prepared so you can stay engrossed in the story.

6. Self confidence is important. - Don't second guess yourself. It's easy to do, especially in that first round of writing. You will go back and read what is there and you'll probably think it's garbage. Don't dwell on those imperfections. It's a rough draft, that means it's gonna be ROUGH. Focus on the potential of the story and the ways you can make it better. Know that you can do it, little by little. Writing a book is like chiseling from stone. It takes chipping away tiny piece by tiny piece to unveil a beautiful work of art. Don't give up on, and start chiseling!

7. Stop talking about it, and just do it. - The most important tip in my opinion. Until you sit down and do it, the ideas in your head will just stay that way. Don't be afraid to let them out. Bite the bullet, force yourself to sit, and I promise you will be glad you did. There is nothing more amazing then staring at your finished product knowing that you just wrote that. I want everyone to experience it, so go start writing!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WIP Update - Little by Little

I had an amazing week. It was great to take a few steps away and force myself NOT to think about Transformation. It was really difficult, but definitely worth it.

I have started in on my final editing round rejuvenated, ready to immerse myself in my own world again.

My husband, bless his heart, finished his read through in one week. He actually managed it in 6 days, one day shorter than what he promised. His help has been greatly appreciated. I spent Sunday evening plugging in all the corrections that he found and now I get the fun task of reading it one more time.

I'm really looking forward to this actually. It will be the first time in months that I will read it from beginning to end without taking major breaks to re-work an awkward section.

I am giving myself until Friday to do my read through. It's not much time, I know, but I'm hoping to leave myself a few days to get all of my formatting done so the final product will be ready to submit to CreateSpace by the 28th of June. It's a difficult goal, but I think I can do it.

If there is one thing I have learned during this whole process, it is that you can do whatever you set your mind to. You just have to focus, and really want it. I really want this, so I will do it.

On another note, I just signed up to participate in the Summer Blog Hop co-hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, and Mary from Bookhounds & Forever Young (adult). I am so excited to do my first hop! It will be running August 1st through the 7th. I haven't settled on what I'm giving away yet, but be sure to check back on the 1st! Whatever it ends up being, it will be a great prize!

Friday, June 17, 2011

WriT Day - Developing an idea into a story

This week I'm focusing on the beginning of the writing process rather than the end since I'm starting new projects in the next few weeks and months. Specifically, developing a story.

I have two big ideas for NaNoWriMo next year and now I have the difficult task of deciding which one I want to focus on in the months building up to November. With Transformation, I didn't have time to fully develop the story before I started writing. I went in with a general idea, but the story really wrote itself over the course of 30 days.

This year, I want to be more prepared. I really want to have a tight grasp on who these characters are before I capture them in writing. But, I have no idea how to proceed.

The idea of developing an entire story before I write is overwhelming. There is so much to think about and consider. So, naturally I turned to my good friend Google.

My search for help proved frustrating though. There was a lot of information and tips available, but they were HUGE articles and I found it frustrating to sit and read through them. I definitely prefer information to be kept nice and simple.

On that note, I did find two sites that were exactly what I needed. The first was nice and short, which I loved, and full of helpful tips. My favorite was one of the last. They suggest that you picture your pick finished, in a store. What would the back of the book say? Write the back first, then develop the story around that.

This is a great idea, though also slightly frustrating. Writing the back of my finished novel was difficult, and I already knew exactly how the story went. But I'm thinking that it will be easier to write what you hope the story will be rather than what it actually is.

The second focused on character development. The suggestion was made to actually have character interviews. I love this idea. It forces you to embrace the character and think the way they think. Write down what they look like, their physical traits, then write an interview. Use actual dialogue and include the reactions to the questions. Think about those little physical quirks. Does your character raise his/her eyebrow when they think? Does he bite his lip? Does she twirl her hair? These are all things that will help you see your character better.

It is overwhelming, but it's exciting as well. I'm so excited to dive in and create these new characters. Especially now that I will be conducting interviews with all of them. I'm thinking I will be having lots of conversations in my head, and I'm loving it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Author Interview: Keary Taylor

I am excited to have my first ever author interview, and it's with the awesome Keary Taylor, author of Fall of Angels Series: Branded and Forsaken, which are both fabulous reads, and her new release Eden. My shiny new copy is in the mail and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Keary is an indie author who lives on a little island in Washington State with her husband and two young children. Along with being a full time wife and mother, she owns and runs the small golf course on the island with her husband. It's amazing that she finds the time to write, but she is currently working on the final installment of the Fall of Angels Series: Vindicated, expected 2012. I'm SO excited for that.

So, without further adieu, the interview:

You mention on your blog that you started writing when you moved to the island to help brighten your days a little. Has writing been something you have always wanted to aspire to?

I always loved to write since the 5th grade. My best friend and I wrote an epic Harry Potter fan-fic of about 250 pages when we were 14. Being published sounded amazing but it wasn’t something I ever thought I would actually do.

What helped you to consider yourself a full fledged writer? Was it the completion of your first novel Ever Burning, or maybe your first sale from Branded?

I don’t think I really thought of myself as an “author” until the Branded blog tour back in November. It just kind of hit me that all these wonderful people were going to be introducing me as an actual author! It was such a weird but awesome feeling.

I can only imagine how awesome that would feel. As an Indie author, how confident are you about your final manuscripts before having them published? Do you ever get the perfectionist jitters?

That is one of the downfalls to self-publishing is that you don’t have an editor. I’m always worried that there are things I’ve missed but eventually you get to a point where you are just DONE.

Focusing on your newest book Eden, who was your favorite character to write?

Oh man, I don’t know if I could pick a favorite. I absolutely love Eve of course. And each character was amazing to get to know. Even though he doesn’t come in until the last half of the book and he’s not a major character, Royce was a lot of fun and we had a lot of witty bantered conversations in my head ;)

Is there a message in Eden that you hope readers will walk away with?

Even though it might not seem like it at first, Eden is completely a book about love. It’s about learning to love yourself and to accept yourself as you are. It’s about letting yourself love and be loved. And right now I have the song “All you need is love” from Moulin Rouge running through my head, lol.

Of the four books you have completed, which has been your favorite to write?

Eden. It was just so different and I had so much freedom with it! The future is such an amazing timeframe to write in!

What does your family think of your writing?

They are always supportive. They might think I’m a bit crazy sometimes but they are always supportive!

How do you find time to write with two small children at home?

5:45 AM, naptime, post-bedtime. Magical times.

Many athletes are superstitious about what they do, or don't do, before a big game. Do you have any set ritual before you start writing?

I don’t know if it’s a ritual or just a habit but I always turn on the playlist for the book I’m working on and I read through what I wrote last to get back into the groove of the previous scene.

Have you ever experienced Writer's Block? What tips would you give to someone who is currently experience it?

When I was working on Forsaken last year I suddenly got to a point where I felt like I literally couldn’t work on it anymore, and I was only 2 rounds of editing away from being done with it. Something just wasn’t working and it made me really depressed. So I pulled myself out of the Fall of Angels world for about 2 months and started working on Eden. It got my head out of the funk and when I finally dove back in, I realized the problem was that I needed to rewrite the first 2/3 of Forsaken, lol!

You run your own designing company, Indie Designs. Which would you say is your bigger passion, writing or graphic design?

Writing, no question. I need to write. I can’t NOT write. Thankfully the two kind of go hand-in-hand and I get to do both!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors out there?

Writing is going to be one of the hardest things you will ever do. But the feeling of pride and satisfaction you feel after you’ve edited “The End” for the fifteenth time is so worth it. If you really love it you won’t be able to give up, even if you want to.

Thank you SO much Keary for taking time out of your busy life for me. I look forward to seeing your future creations! You are a true inspiration for aspiring authors out there, particularly those with young children, like me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

WIP Update - The end is in sight!

I actually did it. I had set a goal to finish the second to last round of editing by June 13th, and I made it! I even finished a day early, if you can believe it.

My wonderful husband, who can't stand finding errors in the books he reads, has graciously volunteered to do a final sweep for me. Once he is done with that, it will be time to make the necessary corrections he found and do my own final sweep.

This process has felt like it has gone on forever, yet it feels really fast as well. Transformation was started November 1st, 2010 and completed November 30, 2010. That means it was written in one month, and edited in less than seven. The whole thing blows my mind a little if I dwell on it too much.

If someone had told me a year ago I'd be counting down the days to a finished, ready to publish/query YA novel, I'd laugh in their face. Seriously. Even though I enjoyed writing, and I thought it would be amazing to write a book, I NEVER thought I'd actually do it. It's amazing what you can actually accomplish if you just set your mind to it.

I have two ideas brewing for next NaNoWriMo, which I'm really excited about. They're both very different from Transformation and I look forward to that challenge. Now I just have to decide which one to focus on. I think I know, but I may change my mind at the last minute.

In the meantime, I just started a new project to keep me busy. I hadn't intended to. I actually wanted to take a week off of writing, but that proved difficult. Less than 24 hours in and I was itching to write. I guess I truly am a writer after all.

This new project is also extremely different from anything I've done, with a very specific audience. That's why it won't be a NaNoWriMo project. I'm looking forward to having something to focus on this summer and early fall. We'll see if it goes anywhere.

Now on to an unrelated topic, I am having my first ever author interview on Thursday with Keary Taylor. Be sure to check it out!

Me, Myself, and I

I realized this evening that I have only posted one sample of my writing, and I thought I would rectify that. I plan on attempting to post sample work at least once a week, barring any unforeseen life distractions, aka kiddos.

This poem was written at least ten years ago. It was one of my first completed poems.

"Me, Myself, and I"

There's a constant struggle within my heart,
Between me, myself, and I.

For ME loneliness is not a choice,
Merely the path with a louder voice.
ME aches to feel a loved ones touch,
Without it life is just too much.

For MYSELF, it is to be alone.
No distractions in the home.
With no one to say what to do,
It's all for MYSELF, not for you.

I needs to be without any fears.
I'm sick of having all these tears.
I wants to be a better friend,
But I can't seem to find the end.

There's a constant struggle within my heart,
Between me, myself, and I.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Race to 100 Giveaway!

My amazing friend Jenni is in a race with herself, a race for 100 blog followers! She has a great giveaway lined up for the momentous occasion, she just needs the participants!

I know it seems like I can't be biased, because she's my friend, but her blog truly is amazing.

Her blogging schedule is Mash It Up Monday, WIP Wednesday, and Book Review Friday. Her book reviews are completely honest and specific. If she doesn't like a book, she tells you exactly why so you can know if you would have the same issues that she does. She also always finds something nice to say about it. I think this is a very admirable trait in a reviewer.

Her WIP is amazing, I know cause I've read it. There will be great things from her and you're definitely going to want to be in the know when that baby gets published. So, go check out her post for all the details and see what her blog is all about!

Friday, June 10, 2011

WriT Day -Wanna Be

I must admit, the fact that it was Friday slipped my mind. I was dwelling on my friend Jenni's book review that she posts every Friday and I realized, "It's Friday!"

I'm a genius.

I do have a good excuse. This week has been a whirl wind for me. I've spent every night on my WIP, which is a good thing. I'll post more about that on Tuesday.

Since it's so late in the day, I don't have any great writing tips out there for anyone. However, earlier this week as I was loading my girls into the car, I had a thought. I feel like a wanna be author. I don't like it.

I have always dreaded being a wanna be. High School was spent trying to make myself the opposite of cool so that I wouldn't come across as trying too hard. That's right, I purposefully didn't buy the cute clothes because I thought they would look at me and say, "There's Kimmie, she's trying way too hard." It was my biggest fear. I'm genuinely surprised my husband fell for me during those interesting years, because I was pretty...nerdy.

Now I must face those same fears again. I never planned on being an author, it was never my dream. However, I did always have a dream that I would do something that was worth while, that would get my name out there. Writing is definitely a way to achieve that dream, and that is what I am aiming for.

But a big part of me feels like a wanna be. There are so many authors out there who have spent their whole lives dreaming of the day that they would sign a book deal and be published. Their dreams have been around forever, and I feel like I'm impeding on that.

Does that make me a 'wanna be?'

I guess not. But I'll have to try and have my logical side convince my emotional side of that fact.

What about you? Do you ever feel like a wanna be writer? If you have any tips on how I can move past it, please share!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

WIP Update

That is what I have been feeling like these past few days. Last week I did so well! In six days I edited eighteen chapters! I was on a roll and eager for more.

But then, I hit that one chapter. The one that I knew needed the most work. The one that I thought I was looking forward to getting to. The one I was eager to rip it apart and put back together better than it was before.

It turned out I was actually dreading this chapter. Who knew?

In the past two days I have done everything I could think of that would keep me from editing. It doesn't help that I have books that I need to review so reading is always an option for me. Plus, there was laundry to fold, the kitchen to clean, shelves to dust, floors to vacuum, and even smoke alarms to replace. The list could go on, but I don't want to bore you.

In the back of my mind I kept thinking about my goal of finishing by June 30th. It looms, just 24 days away. The pressure to finish is definitely on, so last night I sat down and edited that overwhelming chapter.

And you know what? It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Granted, there are four completely new pages that weren't there before, and I did have to delete three existing pages, but still. It's done, it's better, and I'm happy that I finally did it.

As of right now, I have five more chapters to finish before my final editing round. And I am actually excited to dive back in this evening. Hurray for progress!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Writing Contest Update

As I'm sure you remember, I entered a writing contest a few weeks ago and the results are in! Alas, I did not win, BUT my good friend Jenni did! I hope you all take a moment to check out her winning entry, it's amazing.

On other news, I had some author pictures taken yesterday! They were taken by my good friend...Jenni! She is so talented, seriously. What can't she do? You should check out her photography website and see for yourself. Now, keep in mind with all of her incredible talents she is super busy, so her website may be in need of updates.

As a preview, here are a few shots that were taken.

Friday, June 3, 2011

WriT Day - Perspective

Today I want to talk about perspective.

I just finished the book I was reading today. It is titled The Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. My full review will be posted on Simply Stacie, but I do want to talk about one aspect of the book that frustrated me. It was written in the first person perspective and it drove me nuts. I had the hardest time enjoying the story, even though I was intrigued with the meat that was there, because the perspective it was written in was so distracting. I repeatedly found myself wishing that it was written in the third person.

Perspective plays such an important part of the story. It's practically a character in itself, so it's important to get it right.

For those of you who don't know, here are the different options available to writers in regards to perspective found at Wikipedia:
First-Person View
Second-Person View (rare)
Third-Person View
Alternating Person View

Within these views there are different narrative voices. If you're interested you can read about it by following the Wikipedia link above.

With so many options available to you, how do you decide what perspective is the right one for your story?

For me, it's all about trial and error. I'll pick a perspective, start writing, and if the message that I'm trying to portray isn't coming through, it's time to change perspectives. This makes for some major re-writes if I chose the wrong one, but I can't seem to come up with a better way.

Can you help a girl out? How do you pick the perfect perspective?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My First Book Review

I have the incredible privilege to be a part of simply stacie's book review team! It's been a recent development. I was recruited the middle of May and I've been having a blast. I love having a reason to read!

My very first review was posted today, which I'm very excited about. I hope you all will take the time to check it out and keep your eyes peeled for additional reviews from yours truly.

The rest of the site is amazing as well! Take some time and look around. It isn't limited to just book reviews. There are reviews of all sorts of amazing products with lots of giveaways!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hourglass giveaway

Summary courtesy of
For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn't there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents' death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She's tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson's willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he's around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?

Full of atmosphere, mystery, and romance, Hourglass merges the very best of the paranormal and science-fiction genres in a seductive, remarkable young adult debut.

For a chance to win, enter a the Pre-order Hourglass Epic Giveaway here.