Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kick-Butt Characters Giveaway Winners!!!

Thank you everyone who participated in my blog hop! I had a whole lot of fun and I hope you did, too. Now, it is the time you've all been waiting for - the time to announce the winners!

So please help me congratulate the winners of my Kick-Butt Characters Blog Hop:

Sarah Sparrow
Vickie Reljin
Mamabunny Shelor

Samantha Deen
Kaerah Lopez
Gigi Coan
Andrea Williams
Stephanie Atwood
Brandi O'Bannon
Julie Le

***and all of you should have received an email from me already, so if for some reason you didn't, then please let me know***

 I hope many of you will come back to visit me again for more giveaways, and for news and updates on my young adult novel, Provex City. It is available now on Amazon for the Kindle and soon to be on Amazon in paperback. Thanks again and I'll see you around the blogosphere!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kick-Butt Characters Giveaway Blog Hop!

March 23th to 28th
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Good Choice Reading

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my giveaway! I'm so excited for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop and offer three lucky winners one of the five kick-butt character driven books listed below. Also, ten runner-up winners will receive a Kindle gift of my YA fantasy novel: Provex City. As an aside, I realize nearly everyone in the world has read The Hunger Games, but I just had to put it on here because Katniss is the quintessential kick-butt character and the movie opens today!

On to the books...

Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time...
~Go to the entire Goodreads description of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug...  
~Go to the entire Goodreads description of Graceling by Kristin Cashore


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls...
 ~Go to the entire Goodreads description of The Maze Runner by James Dashner

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere...  
~Go to the entire Goodreads description of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta


In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV...  
~Go to the entire Goodreads description of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Here are the official rules/guidelines for the giveaway:
  1. You must be a follower of this blog. Just click the Join this Site box below "Followers" on the sidebar.
  2. You can gain extra entries by following me on Twitter and/or tweeting about this giveaway.
  3. This is open to international followers. (Only if The Book Depository ships to your country; please check this link to see if your country's included.)
  4. Even though you don't gain extra entries, feel free to friend me on Goodreads, "like" my Facebook fan page, or leave a comment below because I'd love to hear from you!
  5. This contest runs from March 23 - 28.
  6. The three winners will be selected on March 29th via Rafflecopter random selection and announced in this post. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will draw another winner.
  7. Ten runner-up winners will receive a Kindle gift of my YA novel, Provex City, through email.  
***As one of the three winners, if you are just dying to get another YA book, then you may substitute one of the books listed above for another of similar value from The Book Depository***

Thanks Again & Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Summon the Brilliance

Why am I the most productive when I have the least amount of time? I remember doing that in school, too. I procrastinated until the week or night before a project was due and put it all together in a flash of brilliance. Okay, not always (brilliant, that is). But I felt like I got my best ideas at the last minute.

Over the past few years as a Starbucks manager, I would typically get home three hours before my wife. I also usually took a weekday off, having it all to myself. I had so much free time! And I got some writing done, some editing done, some submissions in... But I also wasted a lot of time. I hadn't yet decided to self-publish Provex City and had no social media marketing in place.I was just indecisively chugging along.

Now, I work about 50 hours a week, and have a wife and two month old daughter waiting for me when I get home every day. I have no more quiet weekdays off. And I've gotten more done in these past two months than I had in the entire year before. I'm writing my second book on my breaks at work (also coming into the office a little early). I'm blogging and trying to find new ways to promote Provex City and meet new book-loving people in my one hour of quiet time per night (once we finally get the baby to sleep), and during naps and feedings on the weekend. I've never felt so strapped for time, so productive, motivated, excited, and exhausted all at the same time.

I wish I had utilized my time better when I had it in excess, but I believe there is a reason for everything (though many reasons go unrealized). I wasn't ready then. I'm ready now. I sometimes think I waited too long and missed the boat--it's too late now--but then I remind myself of one of my favorite movie lines (from Vanilla Sky): Evey passing moment is another chance to turn it all around. Yes, I said that in my Lucky 7 post, and now I'm just repeating myself. But it was worth repeating. It's not too late. It's happening now, which is obviously the perfect time because it's happening. All I can do is keep working. Maybe since every night now feels like the night before a deadline, the brilliance will continue to flow from the mountain tops in a seemingly endless supply. That would be nice.

*** I've been listening to the new The Used single, Hands and Faces, over and over throughout the writing of this entire post. Editing included. :) ***

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Last Day to Get Provex City FREE on Amazon!

Happy day after St. Patrick's Day! It's nice getting up on a day after a notorious drinking day not hung over. Who knew? It's all because of my two month old daughter. I feel too irresponsible being overly inebriated. And I'll be able to get work done today!

So today is the last day of my free Provex City weekend. This is your last chance to download it free on Amazon. Please take advantage of this awesome offer! I've been talking to a lot of people on Facebook and have already gotten over 350 downloads. For this weekend's Free Kindle book rankings, my best numbers were #29 on the list of Free Children's Fantasy/Sci-fi/Magic Kindle books and #83 on the list of Free Children's Kindle books. So I'm pretty stoked about that. Hopefully, most of the new people reading Provex City over the next week or two will enjoy it. But, that's a definite fear with having more people read what I've written. Criticism. I know it's the nature of the business. But before the thick skin really develops, it's hard.

I'm looking forward to the Kick-Butt Characters Giveaway Hop this coming weekend. I've already chosen the books I'm going to offer...but I can't announce them ahead of time. Where's the fun in that? :) I'm sure everyone associated with the YA blogoshere is looking forward to the opening of The Hunger Games on Friday. I'm so excited to see it, but will have to wait until we find a babysitter so my wife and I can get to the movies. I've never actually listened to Taylor Swift before, except for flipping through radio stations, but I do admit to liking her new song with The Civil Wars for The Hunger Games. The video's good, too.

If you get a chance today, please check out Provex City (there's a link on the left column). I want as many people as possible to take advantage of it being free. Tomorrow it goes back up to the whopping full price of $0.99. Why spend your hard earned money when you don't have to? I'm just looking out for you. It's time for me to get out from behind my laptop and enjoy some father daughter bonding time. Happy Sunday, everyone!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Provex City is FREE This Weekend!

As I said in my announcement post for Provex City on Monday, the ebook would be free this weekend on Amazon. Well, the weekend is upon us and Provex City is free starting today, a phenomenal promotion that goes through Sunday! Now is the best time to check it out!

Also, remember that if you do not own a Kindle, then you are still in luck. No Kindle = No problem. Amazon provides an assortment of Kindle apps that work for most electronic devices that it's possible to read a book on: computers, tablets, and smartphones (hey, I don't want to read a book on my phone, but I know people who do). Download the app, download the book, and you're ready to begin the adventure.

So, now is the time to invest (and with no money down! - my used car-salesman pitch) in Provex City! I appreciate your interest and time, and I'd love to read your Amazon review if you'd be so kind to post one. I wholeheartedly thank the people who've reviewed it thus far. You're rock stars! Happy Friday, to all, and to all a good read! It's time for me to get ready for work.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lucky Me & the Secret to Bubbles

Thank you to Candy Lynn Fite over at On the Trail to Publication. She tagged me with the Lucky 7 Meme & answering her 10 questions and gave me the secret to her Bubbles nickname (continue reading to find out). Here are the rules for Lucky 7 Meme:
  1. Go to page 77 of your current MS.
  2. Go to line 7.
  3. Copy the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating!
  4. Tag 7 authors.
  5. Let them know.

“That’s the trippiest thing I’ve ever seen!” Greg said.

The florescent lights hanging from the ceiling began to crackle and flicker.

“I’m not feeling good about being here,” Logan whispered.

“This is obviously some elaborate prank. Good one!” Greg yelled out to the room.

“No, I don’t think so,” Logan said, stepping away from the other two.

The florescent lights on the far end of the locker room went out, followed by the next row, and the next—until the only lights illuminated were directly above the row where the three boys stood.

“I’m getting out of here,” Logan said and ventured into the shadows, headed toward the door. He dragged his left hand along the cement wall and stepped slowly and carefully as the room in front of him darkened. Upon finding the door, he pushed as hard as he could, but it still wouldn’t open.


Now, on to The Lucky 7 questions (but there are 10 of them...I know):

1.   What is your dream vacation? There are many places I’ve never been to that I really want to visit and explore. But one place I had the opportunity to visit for an afternoon and swim with dolphins was the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. When we were there, I told my wife that we absolutely must come back and actually stay here—in a suite.
2. Are you spontaneous or do you like to plan? I like to plan for spontaneity.

3. Tell us one thing you want to do, but don't dare do. I’d love to be the lead singer of a band, but I don’t sing very well and I’m petrified of being up in front of a crowd, so I probably won’t be doing that any time soon.

4. What's your biggest phobia? Public speaking—it’s a fear worse than death. Kind of irrational, but true.

5. If you were stranded on a desert island--what 3 things would you want with you (not including laptop or family)? One notebook, one pen, and one boat to get off the island when I'm done writing the next great American novel. 

6. Name 3 blessings in your life. Family, friends, and work (it's still a tough economy!)

7. What was your nickname in high school? "Mikey Likes It," from the old Life cereal commercials. 

8. If you could meet the President of the US, what would you say to him? I'd like to ask him about his family, his most memorable moment in office, and see if he’d be willing to promote Provex City on national television. Haha.

9. If you could be any literary character for a day, who would you be? Roland of Gilead, from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series. He’s just bad-ass in every sense of the word. Though I’d want to be him before he lost two vital fingers on his shooting hand.

10. What is your favorite quote? “Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around.” – Sofia Serrano from Vanilla Sky

Now, it’s time to extend the Lucky 7 to a few fellow writers of my choice (oh, the power!). Since I’m new to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I’m choosing 7 members of Alex J. Cavanaugh's IWSG. I'm interested and anxious to meet more members. If you’ve been chosen, then I hope you have fun with this. If you’ve been chosen before, then I’m sorry, but do it again. Just kidding, that would be mean. :) Lastly, I'm also sorry, but I lied. I don't have the answer to Candy's Bubbles nickname. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

Now, without delay, please join me on a journey through the blogs of these seven “lucky” writers:

Monday, March 12, 2012

Provex City Available NOW for Kindle!!!

Click HERE to reach the Amazon page!
It's been a long time coming and I can't believe the day is finally here. Provex City (The Lorne Family Vault Series, Book 1) is now available on for the Kindle. It is only $0.99, which is less than a penny a page! I think it's well worth the investment. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle reader for free to any PC, iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

In addition, Amazon Prime members can currently rent Provex City for free from the Kindle Lending Library! In order for me to put it into the Lending Library, I had to make Provex City exclusive to Amazon for at least 3 months. At some point I will take it off the Lending Library so I can upload Provex City to the Barnes & Noble website and the iBookstore. So take advantage of renting Provex City for free while you can!

For those of you holding out for a physical book, the paperback is currently in design and should be ready in 4 to 6 weeks. It will also be available on Amazon, linked to the same page.

Starting Friday, March 16th, through Sunday, March 18th, Provex City will be available to download for FREE! $0.99 isn't a lot of money, but free is definitely better. I urge you to take advantage of it. I'll post a reminder later in the week.

Lastly, I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way to get Provex City ready for the masses. Writing can often times be a lonely job, but getting a book out to the world is a very collaborative effort. Thank you so much! Please check out Provex City--it's the start of a grand adventure, the beginning to a much bigger story--and I do hope you enjoy it. I appreciate your time in reading it and any Amazon or Goodreads reviews you're willing to post. Wink, wink.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hello, Insecure Writer's Support Group!

I'm not the last blog on the list any more! I was just excited to see that. This is my first post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. I'm glad I found it and thankful to have the opportunity to take part. I'm fairly new to blogging and I'll use this post to talk about my adventures, struggles, and triumphs in writing over the past few years.

I came up with an idea for a YA fantasy series a little over three years ago and began writing the first book, Provex City, finishing an early draft in about a year's time. It was my first attempt to write a novel and it needed a lot of reworking. I didn't want to take classes to learn how to write a novel first and then begin writing, so I just began writing and learned along the way. Once I was in the editing phase I signed up for a novel writing class at a community class and had my original prologue critiqued (which was about 12 pages). I got an interesting mixture of comments and took many of them into consideration for future drafts of my book. For the class, my novel had a different title, and since then I have also written a completely new prologue. But that class was encouraging because it showed me that people I didn't know seemed interested in my story.

Over the past two years, I've been editing Provex City and submitting queries to agents. That was a humbling experience. I wrote about this in my first blog post, but to make a long story short, I didn't get much in the way of responses. I've read a lot about not taking it personal, but it's hard and takes its toll over time. Do I start writing a completely different novel or book two in the series I already had planned? I have a few ideas for other books, but I really want to continue with my series. That's when I decided to stop submitting and seriously look into self-publishing. There are people becoming successful by publishing direct to Kindle. And that is something I can do now instead of waiting for someone else.

I realize that the people who are really succeeding through self-publishing are the minority, but I have to believe that it's possible for me to fall into that group. Why not? If someone else can do it, then why can't I? If I write a good book and model the strategies of authors succeeding doing what I want to do, then I should be able to achieve similar results. I like what Anthony Robbins says:
How long do you give your average baby to learn how to walk? How long do you give your average baby to learn how to walk before you shut her off and don't let her try anymore? Are you kidding? My baby will try until she learns how to walk. Try until. The magic formula for success. --this is not a direct quote
I keep telling myself that. My debut novel, Provex City, will be out on Amazon in the next few weeks, first in eBook and later in paperback. I am working on increasing my online presence and building a platform. I am writing daily on a first draft of my second book in the Lorne Family Vault Series. I tell myself that it's not a question of if, but when. Try until. I will continue to write, fight, and push toward my desired direction, knowing that the valley of successful writers lies just over the horizon. Thank you for reading. I'd love to read your comments. I hope I see you again before May!

Also, be sure to check out other writers in the group (the list is posted below).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Slow and Steady, Steady and Slow

The blog hop was a lot of fun and now it's back to my regular routine for awhile. I've already signed up for a few more, so like a vacation, I've got things to look forward to. I've also joined the Insecure Writer's Support Group and looking into joining the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. It's fun finding these things while surfing through other blogs. It feels like that old game/show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. One link leads me to another, and then another, and I keep picking up clues--tips, groups to join, and people to meet. It is quite the virtual adventure.

Yesterday I reached 50,000 words on my second book on the Lorne Family Vault Series. I don't have a lot of time to write with my long days at work and a six-week-old baby at home, but I'm feeling good about the routine I've gotten into over the past month. I'm excited about the progress I'm making, even though it's slow--slow and steady wins the race in the end. It's a lot better than spending my time stressing about how I have no time to write, time spent stressing instead of writing. I'm excited to get a draft finished so I can have someone read it. With Provex City, I let my wife read each chapter as I finished it. I started the second book that way, but stopped it a few chapters in. I really want her to read it, so it is another way of keeping me motivated to stay focused and write faster.

Provex City is coming along. The paperback design with Createspace is going well, but just takes time. Hopefully, it should be ready in 6 weeks or so. The ebook will hopefully be ready much sooner than that. I've just been having complications with the company I'm going through to format it. I paid them to format the ebook and it seems like I'm having to reformat everything myself to get it to look the way I want it to. I wanted to have it ready this weekend, which isn't happening, but I am actively working on it. As long as I'm making progress, then I have something to be thankful for. Slow and steady, right? Right. It's time for more coffee.
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