Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Stop in the Sidelined Blog Tour: Kyra's Writing Process


I'm thrilled to welcome Kyra Lennon to my blog today for one of her many stops on the Sidelined blog tour. I'm always fascinated with the writing processes of other authors, so I've asked Kyra to share hers. Be sure to enter the giveaway below and pick up your copy of Sidelined! Thank you, Kyra, for stopping by, and now my blog is yours...
When Michael asked me about my writing process, my immediate thought was to panic! Because, while I think most other writers do have a real, defined writing process, I am more a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of writer.

I have a confession. I loathe writing the first draft of a new story. People often give me strange looks when I admit this – which is why I don’t usually do it, but now you all know! The first draft, for many people, is when the ideas are flowing and the words just pour out onto the page, waiting to be tidied up. For me, every single word fights me in the first draft. It’s like the ideas are so used to waiting inside my head to be written, they refuse to be dragged out of their cocoon. I like to think of it as being similar to giving birth to a really stubborn baby!

A first draft for me will usually take at least two months, if not more. I am envious of people who can fling out a first draft in a couple of weeks – I’d get a lot more done if I was one of those people.

What I love most about the writing process is the editing. I love to polish, and make the sloppy words all nice and shiny, and ready for people to read. For unknown reasons, this part happens a lot faster than the first draft. I suspect this is because I can’t help editing as I write – so there is less to do at the end. I do TRY to just write the first draft without stopping but the only time I’ve managed it is during NaNoWriMo. Maybe I need to do more of that!

What is YOUR writing process like? Are you a fast first-drafter? 

Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.


About the Author:

Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cover Reveal: How to be Manly by Maureen O'Leary Wanket


 
We're excited to be among the first to see, and to share, the brand new book How to Be Manly by Maureen O'Leary Wanket coming September 2014 from Giant Squid Books. How to Be Manly is a Young Adult Contemporary novel. The cover art is by Jillian Blazek at JillianBlazek.com. 
How to be Manly Cover

"When you start this program, your whole life will change."


When Fatty Matty Sullivan finds a self-help book by former football great Tad Manly at a yard sale, he secretly starts following the old pro’s advice to turn himself into the kind of guy super hot Cassie Bale will love.


But between taking care of his grandfather, trying to pass remedial Algebra, and getting caught up in his friend Jester’s half-bakedweed-dealing schemes, Matt’s summer isn’t quite the game-changer he’d planned. And when on top of it all his dad moves back in with his own plans to get rich quick, Matt suddenly has much bigger things to worry about. It turns out that there might be more to being manly than he thought.With the humor and insight of YA favorites Judy Blume and Louis Sachar Maureen O’Leary Wanket’s debut is a sharp, comic novel about trying to do the right thing...even when you’re not sure what that is.



About the Author:

Maureen O’Leary Wanket is a writer and teacher living in Sacramento, California with her husband and two daughters. How To Be Manly is inspired by the humor and courage of the students she’s met in her classrooms over the past twenty years.


Maureen's short stories have appeared in Esopus, Xenith,Fiction at Work, Blood and Thunder, Musings on the Art of Medicine and Prick of the Spindle. How To Be Manly is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter @maureenow.



Giveaway:
Giveaway of one paperback Advanced Reading Copy of How to Be Manly (US)
and 3 eARCs of How to Be Manly (INT)
Giveaway courtesy of Giant Squid Books.

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Doria Falls is Done!



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

It’s been a long time coming, but I finally have a completed manuscript of my third novel, Doria Falls, Book 3 in the Lorne Family Vault. I wrote the final words on Wednesday of last week, and over the weekend finished my first round of editing. My beta readers will dive into it over the next few weeks as I begin the next round of editing. Hopefully, I can hand it over to my editor by the end of the month.

Even though this book took me a few months longer than I had hoped, I’m proud with how it turned out. I don’t want to kick myself too much for my sporadic daily word counts and celebrate the steady progress of one more novel under my belt. Doria Falls is a big change from the two previous books, especially SUSY Asylum. Clocking in at a slim 75,000 words (slim by comparison), Doria Falls is a very streamlined novel. The story within Provex City took place over several months, SUSY Asylum over several weeks, and Doria Falls over several days. It picks up exactly where SUSY Asylum left off—to the minute. Now I need to write a blurb for it, which is not something I’m looking forward to.

Along with editing and formatting, I am beginning to plan for the fourth and final book in the series. This will be my first experiment with a thorough, scene-by-scene outline. Hopefully, this will help my productivity during the writing process and maximize the limited time I can devote to my novel each day. My plan is to begin writing by the beginning of September and have a finished first draft by the end of the year. This series will always mean a lot to me, but I’ve reached the point where I just want to get it done and begin something completely new. It’s time to finish up and move on, allowing a whole new chapter in my writing career to begin.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Energy to Start the Day!



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

Sometimes the best thing one can do to move forward is to take a step back. I've done precisely that over the past few months. Last month I spoke about being paralyzed with my writing in April and turning to editing in order to stay productive. I was looking forward to May as being the month I'd complete my third manuscript. And I have been writing, but haven't produced the word count I'd originally intended for the past month.

Now to discuss my step back to help propel me to where I want to be. I've been actively writing for six years, spending a lot of free time in front of the computer screen. Over the past three years, my life has changed dramatically due to family additions and a career change that has more than cut my free time in half. Giving up writing is not an option, but if I want to succeed in the long term, then I need to find ways to accomplish more in less time, to become more efficient as a writer and as an entrepreneur, and to refuel myself with energy, passion, and momentum.

Energy--or better yet, the lack there of--has been a major issue for quite a few years. I've equated my dwindling energy to just getting older and counteracted it with drinking more coffee. I hit a tipping point where the coffee wasn't giving me that needed boost anymore, just continual heartburn. So my first major shift was getting off caffeine entirely. That was a year and a half ago. I had hoped my energy would slowly return from conquering my addiction, but that wasn't the case. My energy continued to dwindle as competing priorities kept building. My emotions were suffering. My writing was suffering. And my vision for my future as a full time writer seemed to be fading away if I wasn't committed to making some even bigger changes.

And the first big change I had to make was making a commitment to myself to regain the energy that's been so steadily slipping away. I could work to improve all of my writing routines and obligations, force myself to get up earlier, go to bed later, push my word count, and maximize any free time I could find, but none of those changes would last if I didn't have the energy to even get out of bed in the morning. I had to take a step back.

Over the past two months I've committed to a new exercise routine and healthy nutritional plan. The first few weeks were hard, but as I began to feel better, see some results, and noticed my energy returning to a level I haven't felt in years, the commitment became drastically easier. I can't remember a time when I could get up at 5am and feel refreshed, but I feel that on most mornings now (especially on the ones when I exercise first thing). To do this, I've had to take time away from writing, but with the remaining time I do have to write is now more productive. I can appreciate it more. I can see my vision returning.

I'm still writing. And I have many improvements still to make to reach my goals. But this one has been an important first step. One step back and two steps forward.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cover Reveal for The Summer Sacrifice by Holly Hinton


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Today we are excited to share the cover process via images and the final cover for the middle grade fantasy The Summer Sacrifice by Holly Hinton.  The book is scheduled for release on June 21st, 2014.
The cover artist has provided us with the images to show the process of creating the cover.
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 These three concept images were the first pictures David created for The Summer Sacrifice. Thumbnail A evoked the atmosphere of a mysterious fantasy, B gave the impression of a teenage classic, and C was more poetic in tone. Holly settled on a mixture of A and B as the basis for David to start constructing the final cover.
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These drawings were 'speed-painted' by David. They are rough in nature as their purpose was to help decide the cover's general colour scheme.
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David drew a detailed sketch of the friendship group. He used this as a guide for the final painting of the group on the cover. He kept the 'camera' low, almost on the floor, to make the characters look more heroic and the serpent bonfire bigger. He worked to get a sense of wind into the image to give it an outdoor feeling and to add dynamism, and also to break up the composition's symmetry.
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David paid great attention to working out the many light sources in the painting, and particularly how they would interact with the faces and bodies of the five central characters. There is a strong backlight from the fire, a mix of bounced lights from the environment, and diffuse bluish light from the sky.
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This version of the cover is close to the final one. The serpent and the title still required small changes, and David also did some other general polishing, including painting the moon's glow onto the vines and leaves framing the picture, and adding the stars.
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This screenshot shows the front, back and spine of the cover from inside Krita, the open-source software David uses to create his work.
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The final cover for the paperback.
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The final cover for the ebook.

Book Description: Three hundred years ago, the Great Goddess sent a storm to destroy mankind. She nearly succeeded. One island survived. These days, the Goddess stops the spread of evil by sacrificing the Island’s rotten teenage souls. Or so the story goes... . When Jamie Tuff survives her Taking, she thinks her worst nightmares are behind her. But then her soul starts wandering into other people’s bodies, and she discovers that the Island harbours a deadly secret. Now, she must save her little world from a fate worse than—well, worse than what the Goddess has already done to it. Join Jamie Tuff and friends on their adventures through land, sea and sky, in a world where stars walk and Halfhawks fly.


About the Cover Designer:
David Revoy (nickname Deevad), is a french artist living in the south of France.  He has more than 10 years of experience working remotely as a freelancer. His skills and expertise includes illustrationart-directionconcept-art and teaching. In short: he's a 2D artist (he uses drawing, painting, digital painting techniques) and paints custom artworks for books, posters, board-games, video-games and movies. His clients are located all around the world.
Since 2009 he has painted using only free and open-source software. He uses Krita, Mypaint, and Gimp on Linux. This technical choice doesn't affect compatibility with his clients: he still provides industry standards and can work or open any regular files.
He can be followed on Google+TwitterTumblr or deviantArt.

About the Author:

hollyHolly grew up in a small, sleepy village in Suffolk. The acting bug hit her at age nine, when she was asked to play Baboushka in the school nativity. That same year she played the lead role of a naughty black poodle in a pet parlour themed ballet, and she thought she had made it. Years passed, but the acting bug didn’t. She went to Goldsmiths, University of London to study Drama, after which she completed her actor training at Arts Ed.
Writing a book was never part of the plan. But life’s full of swerves and surprises and ideas dropping into people’s heads. Holly had an idea drop into hers, and that idea became The Summer Sacrifice, and The Summer Sacrifice became the first book of the Master Game Series.


For more information please visit:  http://www.hollyhinton.com/
Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr | Twitter | Pinterest


This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A is for Apocalypse Cover Reveal

 Welcome to the cover reveal for A is for Apocalypse, an anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish.

Often bleak, sometimes hopeful, always thoughtful, if A is for Apocalypse is as prescient as it is entertaining, we're in for quite a ride.” - Amanda C. Davis, author of The Lair of the Twelve Princesses
What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?
A is for Apocalypse
A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves.
This volume contains work by Ennis Drake, Beth Cato, Kenneth Schneyer, Damien Angelica Walters, K. L. Young, Marge Simon, Milo James Fowler, Simon Kewin, C.S. MacCath, Steve Bornstein and more!
A is for Apocalypse
Edited by Rhonda Parrish
Poise and Pen Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0993699016
ISBN-10: 0993699014
Cover Designed by Jonathan Parrish

To celebrate we have a Q&A for you with some of the contributors!
{INSERT ONE Q&A}
Blurbs:
“Editor Rhonda Parrish gives us apocalyptic fiction at its finest. There's not a whimper to be heard amongst these twenty-six End of the World stories. A wonderful collection.” -Deborah Walker, Nature Futures author.
Editor Bio:
Rhonda Parrish is a shapeshifter with talents to match her every incarnation- magpie tenacity for picking the shiniest submissions, nightingale notes for crafting tales, and bright, feline eyes for seeking out her photographic subjects. She balances on the knife-edge of darkness and light, a sorceress of both realms.” - Sara Cleto
Giveaway:
Three ARC copies of  A is for ApocalypseThese are physical copies but I am willing to ship them to anywhere in the world. The Rafflecopter draw will run from May 12th to May 19th. On May 20th I will choose three winners and email them in order to get their shipping address. Anyone who doesn’t respond by May 27th will forfeit their prize and I will choose a new winner to receive it.
Fill out the rafflecopter to enter.
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This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG Wednesday: Change Gears, Regroup, and Move Forward



Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!

I know many of you have spent the past month in the April A to Z challenge. For those who did, I remember how challenging, yet rewarding it was. I hope you enjoyed it. You deserve an blogging break.

I took my blogging break this past month, planning to spend it writing with the goal of finishing my WIP's first draft. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I let my insecurities get the best of me, and had a difficult time getting new words down on the page. I also saw where my initial planning failed me, by reaching a point where I had no idea how to get from point A to B, wasting a lot of time (including designated writing time) trying to figure it out.

For my next book, I plan to write a more detailed outline to try and improve my writing process. For my first two books, I wrote a very basic outline and then "went with the flow," creatively went where the story took me The process was romantic and worked relatively well for those books. With my increased work schedule and family demands, the need has never been greater for me to budget my time wisely, and with that, I'm seeing my creative flow approach is not the most efficient process. And I need to become more efficient as a writer and self publishing entrepreneur.

Instead of wasting my whole month in a paralyzed state, I shifted gears and edited what I had written instead. Editing can be often times tedious and frustrating, but I found it refreshing in this case. I had become so frustrated with my writing paralysis that editing provided a win.

With the first two-thirds of my manuscript now decently edited (just by me thus far), I'm ready to finish the adventure, getting Oliver one step closer to the end of his journey.   
 
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