Monday, August 29, 2011

Changing It Up

I don't like change.

Sure, I'd like to say I'm all laid back and go with the flow. I used to be...when I was a teenager; even in my early twenties. New things would fly in my face and I'd embrace them with a smile and a hug. Now they do and I swat them away like they're pesky bugs ready to strike.

Coming to this conclusion of who I am hasn't been easy because, well, that is change too.

So you will understand when I realized that I had to change things up in order to finish my first draft, it was done with some major dragging of feet on my part.

Here is the funny thing about my loathing change. Once I have my tantrum about it, I embrace it like it's my new best friend. Weird huh? So really the only thing different about me since my youth is that I have to fight change before accepting it.

Well, after my kicking and screaming episode ended about my writing, I decided to trim down blogging to two days a week and switch those days to Tuesday and Friday.

Now I'm sure this makes no difference to you. Bloggers blog when they blog. If you like them you read. If you don't, you don't. Still it was HARD to come to this decision because I I REALLY love to blog!

Facing the facts stinks, but hopefully I can get my first draft and some editing done and still connect with my writer buddies. Just in a slightly different way.

What about you? Do you like change? Do you fight it only to love it in the end?

I'll see you on Friday with a Firsts Fridays interview with Liz Schulte, author of Dark Corners. Then next week my Tuesday/Friday gig will begin. I hope to see you there.

Until next time...
Keep writing. Keep learning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Librarian and Author Jeanette Larson

UPDATE!!! We have us a winner for Jeanette's book.

KERRI!!!! Congrats and enjoy that book!

It is my privilege this Firsts Friday to have someone that not only enjoys writing but she lives it. Jeanette Larson spends her time in books, writing books and around books. Let’s get to know the inspiration that is Jeanette and see how she can use her reminiscing about her firsts can help those of us experiencing them now.

For more than twenty-five years Jeanette Larson worked in libraries and with the publishing industry. After writing several books and innumerable articles for librarians, Jeanette moved to the other side of the shelf with her first book for young people, Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas. Born at Ft. Dix, NJ, Jeanette and her military family moved around a lot, frequently returning to New Jersey. As a librarian, Jeanette has met many writers and illustrators and worked with the Texas Book Festival. She also helped former first lady Laura Bush by organizing authors for events like the White House Easter Egg Roll. She lives in Pflugerville, TX, a small community just north of Austin with her husband, Jim, two schipperke dogs, and two cats, including a "reformed feral." Her home is near a 100-acre park that is home to herons, ducks, and other wildlife while her garden includes an assortment of flowers, plants, and bushes that attract hummingbirds.

Sounds to me like a winner! And guess what? Jeanette wants to give away a signed copy of her book Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas. Just comment after the post about Jeanette and or her books and you will have yourself a great book.  I will pick a winner from one week from today!

DB: You are an old hand at this writing stuff. Can you tell us newbies something that you have found to be very helpful to you over the years with writing and the industry?

JL: I started writing small. By that I mean I volunteered to do book and audiobook reviews for my professional journals. Then I started writing articles. I guess I don't see myself as an "old hand" though because much of my writing until now was for my peers. I would suggest that newbies do as I did and start small. Write for your neighborhood association newsletter, write for the church bulletin. It gets you started. Oh, also I would really suggest that newbies (and others) get involved with SCBWI and their local library association. In Texas and many other states anyone can join the library association and the conferences can be very enlightening. Even if you only visit the exhibits you pick up a lot of information about the publishing industry.

DB: I couldn’t agree more with SCBWI. I love it! But what a great idea about the library association.

What has your writing journey been like from the moment you realized you wanted to be a writer until the moment you had a published book?

JL: Interestingly, I never really thought I wanted to be a writer. My mother was an English teacher and always aspired to be a writer but never really got anything published so I guess the roots were there. She also often edited very critically my work. While she had good intentions it also made writing not much fun. I started writing for the library profession and enjoyed it so wrote more.  As a children's librarian people seemed to expect that I wanted to write for children. I wanted to wait until I truly had something I wanted to share in a book. Unfortunately the librarian part of me loves the research so I have to kick the writer part of me in the butt to move on to the writing and stop researching!

DB: A researcher first then? I like itJ

You hold books very dear in a way others do not. You are a librarian! Not to mention I read you won librarian of the year at one time. Congrats on that amazing accomplishment!  Having the insight you do on the youth and what you see them picking up in libraries, would you say our youth have a passion for reading? What can you tell us YA/MG/PB writers about our youth that we may not already know?

JL: I was so honored to be named librarian of the year especially since it was primarily for my work with revitalizing youth services at Austin Public Library. I think most young kids do have a passion for reading. Kids love to be read too and they love handling books. Unfortunately as they get older, kids don't always find books that interest them and, coupled with other demands on their time, may not find reading to be as pleasurable. For writers I always remind them that kids are smarter than we may think, they don't want to be talked down to, and they will get the message without being clobbered by it. Get to know kids. Even if you have your own children, watch what other kids are doing. Also ask them about their interests and listen in a non-judgmental, non-parental manner. As a children's librarian, especially working with teens in a large urban setting, I discovered that they are interested in all kinds of things. I don't always understand the attraction but I can learn to appreciate their interests. Most kids are good kids even if they sometimes act a little weird or wild. I've also been surprised at the number of kids who like and appreciate things that seem "old school" so I try not to have preconceptions about their interests. For adults who are encouraging kids to read I recommend surrounding them with books. Ask the librarian what is popular and bring those books home. Leave them around for your kids to pick up when they are bored. Worst case scenario you bring them back to the library and get some others. Involve kids in what you are reading and get involved in what they enjoy. Talk about books!

DB: Sounds like great advice!

Are you working on anything new at the moment or in the future?

JL: I have a couple of ideas and have started to work on one that would be a kind of sequel to Hummingbirds: Facts and Folklore from the Americas. I really liked that we were able to combine factual material with storytelling and want to write another book in that manner. So far all of my ideas are for non-fiction but the storyteller in me is also lurking in the background.

DB: I also read that you do workshops. What would a newbie gain from these workshops?

JL: Most of the workshops I do are for librarians but occasionally a non-librarian attends. Some of the workshops are on how to do preschool storytimes that enhance literacy skills, while others are on how to conduct summer reading programs. Newbie writers would benefit from learning about the educational part of reading programs and how librarians work with kids. The other workshops are on policy development and weeding library collections so probably would not be of much interest to writers. I have also done some workshops with SCBWI. One is on marketing to libraries (called Loving the Librarian) that explains how libraries obtain books and how authors and illustrators can work with libraries for the benefit of both parties.

DB: Sounds like you make your way around pretty wellJ

Last question and this is just for fun…

Can you tell us something about yourself that we just have to know?

JL: I'm probably the most unorganized librarian you will ever meet. My office is a mess and my books are not in any order. Although it can be frustrating (and I always swear I'm going to get organized) I enjoy the serendipitous nature of trying to find things I know I have. I always stumble on something I had forgotten about.

DB: Serendipitous! That is what I can call my chaosJ

Jeanette, you have been wonderful! Thanks so much for the interview!

If you happen to be in the Princeton, NJ area on Sept 10th then you can stop in to see Jeanette at the Princeton Children’s Book Festival. Sounds fun! And if you can’t make it to that you can always catch her on her website.

Until next time…
Keep writing. Keep learning.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Writer's Platform Building Campaign

I have been waiting for this moment for a long while. See, I heard about this pretty amazing blogfest but not a blogfest...a campaign...awhile back and it sounded like the perfect way to get in to the writing world and meet people. Well, wouldn't you know, I missed it. Grrr, I can't stand it when that happens.
Fast forward to present day and Rach Harrie over at Rach Writes (gal who is putting this amazing thing together) is doing it again! Her third Platform Building Campaign.

This is a little blurb from the lovely lady herself on what a Campaign actually is:
What is the Campaign?
Basically, the Campaign is a way to link those of us in the writing community together with the aim of helping to build our online platforms. The Campaigners are all bloggers in a similar position, who genuinely want to pay it forward, make connections and friends within the writing community, and help build each others' online platforms while at the same time building theirs.

I originally referred to my Writers' Platform-Building Campaigns as "Crusades", but I've recently changed that name for reasons including
this one. So we'll be referring to ourselves as Campaigners rather than Crusaders from now on (and I hope you can all get behind the new name as strongly as you did behind the original one).

In 2010 we had 55 people take part, many of whom have become great blogging friends. We saw our followers skyrocket and the comments on our posts increase, and had fun taking part in the Challenges as well (kartofflepuffer anyone???).

In February 2011, we had 217 people take part before I closed the List, and many more who wanted to join. I made so many wonderful friends, and heard of some awesome connections and friendships being made between other writers. The new Group concept worked very well, and we saw Group interviews, get-to-know-you sessions, a Choose Your Own Adventure bloghop, among other things. The Challenges were again heaps of fun - I think we'll all remember the goldfish bowl flash fiction for a long time! And the Show Not Tell Challenge in April (linked with Arlee Bird's A-Z Challenge) was a ball of fun too!

I can't wait to see what fun comes out of this Third Campaign!

As the Campaign kicks off, you'll have the names and blog addresses of the Campaigners on my List of Campaigners page (above), so you can keep in touch with the other Campaigners. That way you’ll have a list of bloggers in the same position as you, who genuinely want to help you succeed. And you'll be able to meet those who have the most in common with you. You can visit their blogs and other places they haunt, follow along, leave comments galore, and share your highs and lows as you journey through the blogosphere and build your online platform. And they'll be doing the same for you.

If this sounds like something that you'd like to dip your writerly fingers into then get on over there because sign-ups end 8/31/11. Just click on the badge at the top and it will beam you directly to the place you need to be. See you there!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Write it and go to a conference!

With the recent WriteOnCon just having ended and my first writers conference weeks away, I thought what better way to start this Monday off than to go over some musts you need to take to a writer's conference. Since I am as green as they come when it comes to these things, I have left you some links that I found waaaay helpful. Maybe you will too.

Do you know what to take to a conference?
Writer's Conference Tool Kit

Along with the tool kit we have to remember the dos and don'ts once we get there.
Tips Attending Writers Conference

Natalie Fischer is a pretty awesome Asst. lit agent with Bradford Lit Agency and she has some killer advice on conferences HERE, the pitch session HERE and networking at a conference HERE.

And lastly, here is smorgasbord of about all you need to know when going to a writers conference from Absolute Write.
Writers' Conference- Are the all they should be?

What about you? Have you been to a conference? If so what did you take away from them? If not, do you think they are important for a writer?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Robin Weeks

Robin Weeks is this weeks Firsts Fridays gal. She is sharing with us her first trip down queryville lane and don't you want to know where she sees it ending in five years?

Who is this Robin Weeks you ask? Well, if you don't know her these are some fun tidbits she has to say about herself...

My hobbies include reading, reading, reading some more, and writing. YA Urban Fantasy is my drug of choice, but a cereal box will do in a pinch.


I'm a host of Author's Advisory. As part of David Farland's Writer's Groups, I help host regular conference calls with really cool authors. :)

DB: Right off the bat I want to thank you for being here Robin! I can’t wait to find out more about you, so let’s do it shall we?

RW: I’m honored!
DB: Why are you a writer? Can you tell us a little about this journey for you?

RW: I wrote stories all through school and loved it. I minored in English with an emphasis on creative writing—but still never saw myself as a novelist, because I’d never written anything close to that long! Then, in law school, I wrote three major papers (the requirement was one) and published the longest one. Whadaya know? I could write long things! Still, it wasn’t until I’d been practicing for a few years before I really started to itch for a creative outlet. I read some books that inspired me, some others that made me think I could do better, and Voila! I decided to write a whole book. I started a couple projects that didn’t go anywhere and then decided to try YA. Turns out, YA is the coolest! :)
DB: Couldn’t agree more with that!

 You are just about to start querying, how long has it taken and what steps have you taken to get to this point?
RW: I started my book GEAS (which is a fancy word for a compulsion spell) in March of 2008. I wasn’t the most dedicated writer for a very long time (the thing just refused to write itself!), so by late 2009, I still didn’t have a completed draft. I was (re)learning about writing and the industry during this time and daydreaming about the world and the magic system, but not much made it to paper.

Then my wonderful college roommate Susan Jensen (who is now an awesome book blogger and writer) suggested that we attend a writer’s conference: LDStorymakers, which was held in Provo, Utah in April, 2010. Turns out, deadlines are highly motivational! I had the first half written before the conference, and finished the first (really, really, really bad) draft by November of that year.
I actually don’t even count that first draft among my (six) numbered drafts, because I wrote it in sections, with a different word doc per section. My “first” draft was when I compiled them, deleting something like (does some quick math) 13,500 words. By the end of February 2011, GEAS 1.0 was born and, in March, I submitted it to my wonderful, awesome, stupendous writer’s group. (Which I found in November 2010 through David Farland’s Writer’s Groups.) *Waves to Deana!* They quite rightly and wonderfully tore it to pieces (though they still professed to love it), and I finally knew what directions my edits needed to go in.

Five drafts and a score of awesome beta readers later… I started querying this week. :)
DB: Oh Robin your story gives me cold chills! What a seriously exciting journeyJ

For those wondering about querying agents too, how do you go about it? Is there a certain site you go to find your dream agent?
RW: The brilliant and amazing Brodi Ashton very helpfully sent me the Publisher’s Weekly list of the Top 50 YA agents (based on their reported deals), so I started my formal agent search by going through that list. You can also find lists and information on great agents at Query Tracker, Literary Rambles, and a host of others. Agents are on Twitter, have blogs, are mentioned by their clients, give interviews on blogs—if you’re online at all, you should be stumbling over them all the time. Definitely find out as much as you can about them before you query, so you know they have a good chance of liking your project.

DB: Those are some great links, thanks!
Are you giving yourself a time limit to get some nibbles? Do you have a plan of action while you wait?

RB: My plan was to use this week to rewrite my synopsis, “outline” a possible book 2, and then get to work on a separate project. That plan has been derailed slightly by WriteOn Con, some early nibbles, and the necessity of premature celebration. Maybe next week?
DB: Everyone loves early nibblesJ

What is your writing style?
RW: I can’t outline OR discovery-write. So I compromise by deciding how I want it to end, and major events along the way. Then I discovery write to connect the dots.

DB: I have noticed through your blog that Aprilynne Pike has given you tons of useful advice. Is there something she, or possibly another, has given you about writing that you would like to share?
RW: Aprilynne is soo cool. She was my LDStorymakers 2010 boot camp instructor, did a conference call for David Farland’s Authors’ Advisory about outlining, and soon afterward toured my area. She let me tag along as she visited the local high school and did a presentation at the library, so I learned tons from her. She was also nice enough to give me some amazing advice on my query letter. Her library presentation was about her publication journey and it was very eye-opening. I learned to never give up, that even your dream agent might not be able to sell your book if it’s not right for the market, and that, if you keep writing, success can happen “quickly.”

Since I’m a host for Authors’ Advisory, I’ve also learned tons from lots of great authors. There are literally thousands of authors willing to give back to the writing community by speaking at conferences, doing online chats and conference calls, and otherwise instructing wanna-be’s like me. It’s such a great community to belong to.
DB: This is true. For those of you who haven’t been To DAVID FARLAND'S site, you need to, such a slew of great info from amazing talent.

Last question and this is just for fun…
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

RW: Realistically or delusionally?
DB: You pickJ

RW: Aw, delusions are more fun so I’ll do that one. In five years, I want to be a successful author, live on the cattle ranch I’ll have purchased for my husband (except when I leave for book tours and conferences), and help raise my sons… and maybe a daughter or two. :)
DB: Livin’ the lifeJ

Robin, you are the best! Thanks so much for hanging out a bit and letting us get to know you!
RW: Thanks for having me!!


Join me next week for an awesome Firsts Fridays visit from Jeantte Larson, an accomplished children's author. She will be taking us down memory lane sharing and helping out with some of her firsts she went through.

Until next time...
Keep writing. Keep learning

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who Do You Write Like?

I write like
Chuck Palahniuk
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

My totally cool writing pal Marcie Bridges shared this link with me and I love it so much I thought today I would share it with you.

You may have already heard of the I Write Like site where you paste a portion of your writing and it gives you a famous author you write like. Well, I'm sure I am no way close to being as awesome as Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club or Issac Asimov, author of I Robot (he is the author I got when I entered a portion of my first MS into the dealy. How cool is that?). But still, a girl can dream!

I thought you all might find it cool. Check it out, it only takes a second to do. I'd love it if you'd tell me...
Who do you write like?

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Middle of the Middle

I'm there. 44,523 words. I wanted to be farther by now, finishing my first draft by the end of August. Maybe I can bust out 2500 words a day but that's another post for another day.
What I am dealing with now is trudging through the middle without boring the reader.
I have a couple of guess you can call them helps, and today I wanted to share them with you!

I also want to ask what do you do about the middle of the middle to keep it interesting? If you have helpful places you go please do share!

Here are mine...

- The Plot Whisperer -  I've told you about her before HERE. This woman is terrific! I can't say enough good things about her as she has helped me immensely through her You Tube Plotting Series (this link will take you to the episode on plotting the middle). You have to check her out. And just a teaser for later down the line...she will be visiting my blog in the future! YAY:)

- Novel Writing Help - Harvey Chapman is pretty darn cool with his web site for novel writing. It is simple and to the point as he breaks the plotting up into three acts and act two is the middle. Check it out.

Until Next time...
Keep writing. Keep learning

Friday, August 12, 2011

Firsts Fridays: Jen Daiker

This is no kidding, my guest today for Firsts Fridays is AMAZING. She truly inspires me by her blogging and writing. Read on and I think you will agree.

Let us get to know the too cool for school….JEN DAIKER! You may know her from her very popular blog UNEDITED.
Tell me she isn’t funny. Just read what she has to say about herself:

I love to lie. Wait a minute, I love to tell stories, yup that's my calling. I spend my days day dreaming of distant lands, fairies, witches and that one handsome prince who will whisk each and everyone of my characters off their feet and into a more beautiful place. Why write of reality and live in reality when there are so many possibilities through imagination. They call me crazy, but I call myself a writer. This is my life on paper.
DB: Jen, you are so awesome for letting me pick your brain. Thanks!

Let’s talk about platform…
You have a great platform through your blog—a slew of followers—and word on the street is this happened in a matter of months. Could you share with us your wisdom on how you did such an amazing feat and how you keep it up?

JD: *Blushes* I can’t get past the fact people talk about me on the streets, how cool is that? I am lucky enough to have been blogging for a year and have all wonderful people following me. I have to say I have so much fun with it I couldn’t imagine giving it up. I started it as inspiration to find myself. Now it’s a part of me. If you love to blog, then blog, if you don’t, then don’t. People know when you aren’t in to it. They’re like vampires, instead of feeding off blood; they’ll feed off the negativity.
DB: So it sounds to me like your love for blogging has people feeling the happy vibes. I really couldn’t agree more. I have visited blogs where you get this weird vibe. Strange, but true.

What is your take on a fiction writer having a platform? Do you think this will help you when you get your dream agent (which no doubt it right around the cornerJ)
JD: I think it’s a great way for the agent to get to know your personality and work ethic, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Many agents ask you not to force it. Like I said before, if you don’t feel it, don’t do it. Blogging is like a job, it’s a lot to keep up, if you’re not willing to put in the effort, it won’t make it. Focus on what you love, if that’s writing, the agent will love you no matter what. After all, they’re looking for a book to sell, not a blog. HOWEVER, it doesn’t hurt to have one J

DB: Very good advice!
How do you time manage your writing with your blog, Twitter and any other platform avenues you use?

JD: Saturdays I write all my posts. I’m a M-F blog poster, so everything is pre-scheduled. Sometimes I’ll even have a month of posts set up. Twitter happens while I’m sitting on the couch with my hubby. Writing happens every morning, thirty minutes before work, and every fifteen minute break I can get. When I’m inspired I can write 10K in one sitting at home (hubby cooks dinner those nights). I use facebook, but more to lurk, and it’s for family. It’s all about knowing your limits. I wish I could comment around the blogging world but if I want time to write I have to let go of it. It’s the hardest thing to let go of too. I still struggle daily.
DB: It sounds like you are winning the battle though. So dang organized!

Getting to know the writer in you…
What is your writing style? Do you write every day, are you a plotter or a pantster, etc?

I write when I feel it, and when I feel it, days of silence set in until it’s finished. I used to be a panster, but recently a plotter. Every book is different for me. No matter what, I write fast. My slowest book written was 14 days, my shortest was 5 days. Ranging from 60K – 120K (and no, the 14 days was not for novel sitting at 120K).

DB: Holy smokes girl 14 days?! That is IMPRESSIVE!
You are shopping agents for chick lit right now, how is the querying going?

JD: Right now I’m learning about the agents and who best suits me. I decided to go through another round of revisions before sending it off into the world. I believe everyone is different and my first experience with querying showed just how new I was. My idea was too unique for agents to take on, however, the newest novel is getting a lot of attention from readers about how relatable it is, and I already have an agent lined up who is interested. Sometimes the world of blogging and tweeting pays off!
DB: Oh YAY! I’m sure we will be hearing about you landing an agent on your blog soon no doubtJ

Just for fun…
Can you tell us something we just have to know about Jen Daiker?

JD: I’ll share three odd things about myself: I don’t eat condiments, nope, not even on French fries. I have a friend who designs shoes for me based on the characters and stories I write (all are ridiculously awesome and one day I think they’ll sell, she’s brilliant). Licking fingers grosses me out, if I eat pizza or Cheetos I’ll wash my hands directly after – take me to a wings place? Forget about it… not a chance!
DB: Wow, all these are interesting, but I think you’ve got every girls attention on the shoes! I want a friend like thatJ

Thanks so much for doing this interview Jen! You are one of kindJ
JD: You’ve been a fabulous host! Thank you so much for having me!!

If you are like me and want to stalk Jen...I kid, I kid:) But is her Blog one more time and her Twitter

Until next time...
Keep writing. Keep learning.

Oh, and guess what? I'll have internet again Monday!  YES!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

I know August isn't the official new year but for me I get all kinds of giddy for a few things. This year especially! So I thought with my limited internet connection and things still in boxes I would day dream for a bit about some things I am looking forward to.

1) SCBWI Midsouth Writers Conference - I am super pumped about this in Nashville this year!!!

2) Rach Harrie's Third Writers' Platform Building Campaign - This should be a blogfest of ultimate proportions. I have heard only good things about it.

3) The 2nd Annual WriteOnCon - For those not able to attend conferences, this one is online, uber-big and FREE!

4) School is starting back for the kiddos which means a writing schedule for me. I can hardly wait for that...though I will miss the kids during the day.

5) Personal deadline to finish my first draft of Ripple Effect (end of August)

So these are a few of my favorite things for August. What about you? Do you have anything coming up you are excited for?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Author S.B. Niccum's Veiled Tour

UPDATE: We have a winner for the copy of Veiled. Thanks to all those who commented but...
ANGIE take the prize!

Today is an exciting day for me! I get to be the first stop in SB Niccum's book tour. She is the author of Veiled and if you haven't read this book yet, you should!

If you haven't, you are going to have an opportunity to win your very own copy today. After the interview, if you comment below you will be entered to win Veiled!

So let's get started shall we!

Silvina, thanks so much for letting me pick your brain today!
DB: Tell us a little about yourself and your book Veiled.              

SBN: Thanks for having me! Well, the first thing that comes to mind when I start talking about myself is the fact that I’m South American. I was born and raised in Argentina, my parents and grandparents as well.  So in spite of the fact that I don’t look it, I am Hispanic.  My family moved to the U.S. when I was fourteen years old and I spoke no English at that time.  It took me two years to learn it, so as you can imagine, high school was different for me.  I had to look up every word in the dictionary in order to do my homework. 
I ended up going to the University of Utah and studying Spanish Lit. mostly because I felt like a traitor to “La Raza” if I studied English Lit. 

Writing has been part of me since I was a little girl, and not having many friends in High School gave ample time to read a lot. 
I’ve always written things in English and Spanish.  But two years ago the idea for Veiled exploded in my head.  It was the first idea that came complete.  In the end I ended up using some of my earlier characters and ideas into Veiled. 

Veiled is the story of a soul (Tess) who is an un-embodied spirit who waits and trains for her mortality.  She has many apprehensions about mortality; she has watched other mortals and knows that life comes with many uncertainties—the main one being the Veil.  Once she crosses the veil into mortality she will lose all her memories of her pre-mortal life and naturally she wonders who she will be and how she will find her soul mate, Alex.  She is also very gifted; she has the gift of discernment that allows her to read auras and interpret thoughts or intentions.  She is chosen for an important mission in life, one that she must train carefully for.  A Seraph named Dayspring is assigned as her personal trainer and the action begins!
DB: I can’t imagine adding anything more challenging to high school (like a language barrier) than it already was. That must have been difficult, but the knowledge you’ve gained from it, I’m sure it was worth itJ

I know you have a second book in the works. Is there anything you can tell us about it and will there be more after it?
SBN: Living Soul is the sequel to Veiled and I’m currently finishing it up.  While Veiled is more of a fantasy, Living Soul is more of a Supernatural/ Paranormal story. 

Tess is now alive and trying to make sense of all the paranormal phenomena that surrounds her. She is also growing up in foster care and has no memory of her early childhood.  At school she meets a boy that she can swear she’s met before, but he also happens to be the most popular guy in school and half the student body likes him too!
While the theme for Veiled centered on preparation for having a good life; Living Soul focuses on the quest that mortals have for finding themselves (that person that we used to be, the person we wanted to be and we know we were).  I love the quote, “Life is not about finding yourself.  It’s about creating yourself.”  This is the message of Living Soul, intertwined with a lot of fun Supernatural and Paranormal YA stuff!

Endless will complete this series and it covers life after death.  Redemption, and dealing with the aftermath or our choices while alive. 
As a whole, with this series I hope to bring awareness to the blessing of life and the importance of how we spend it.

DB: This book sounds fantastic! I can’t wait!
Since the majority of my readers are writers themselves, I’d love to pick your brain about your writing as well as your mode of getting your book published.

Are you a plotter or a pantster when it comes to writing your stories?
SBN: I have to say that with Veiled, the story just bloomed in my head one day.  I had to fill in the gaps a lot, and I did that mostly by writing and re-writing.  I did find a way of working though, that I like.  I wake up early and write while the house is dark and quiet.  Then I plot the next scene while I clean the house or fold laundry.  But I am an outline freak, so I make a tentative chapter by chapter outline.  However if the story deviates, I’m okay with it.  I just correct my outline.  Having one makes me feel less paniky.

DB: I am an early morning writer too. I love getting up and having it done right at the start of the day.
About how long did it take you to write Veiled?

SBN: It took me a year from start to finish, then another six months to edit and another six months until it was published.
DB: Do you have a critique group or betas and what is your take on them?

SBN: I do now!  Back when I was still writing Veiled, I felt like I had to pull teeth to get people to read it!  No one (but my mother) wanted to take time off their busy schedule to read a manuscript of 138,000 words! Yikes!  I had to cut it down quite a bit.  Then I became friends with another writer mom, and we exchanged WIP’s.  It was great to have her opinion.  After that I posted a part of my book that I took out on my blog and a homeschooling mom (like me) from one of my yahoo groups asked to beta read the book.  I gladly let her do it and she was also very helpful. 
Once I got a publisher, two more people agreed to beta read and since the book has been out I have people (anxious people) wanting to beta read!  I feel very humbled every time someone says they liked my book. 

DB: It really is a great bookJ
Can you tell us why you chose to go the route of the small publisher and in the future will you stick with that or go another direction?

SBN: I started out by querying agents, and one of them told me that Speculative Christian Fiction was not “traditionally” published for the most part.  He steered me in the direction of a small press and told me to learn more about those. 
The press that he told me to query was bogged down with queries (big surprise!) and they were not taking any more.  During that time, my brother (who self published a non-fiction specific for his industry) told me to read a book that explained all the different types of publishing options available. 

I read up on the trends of the book industry and what Amazon’s e-publishing and Smashwords were doing to it.  I also read about traditional publishers and the realities of working with them, and of course the small press publishing houses that were popping up everywhere. 
I already knew that my chances for a traditional publisher were slim because of my genre, but I also knew that the traditional publisher’s demands on my time were not realistic for me.  I have kids that I homeschool and thankfully I don’t need a job.  I wanted to write and publish, but I didn’t want to leave my family to do so.  I wanted my life as it was + a published book. 

That pretty much left the small publishers and self-publishing available.  The idea of self-publishing was daunting, so I started looking into small publishers.  Luckily a friend of a friend patched me through to Linda Boulanger from TreasureLine Books & Publishing and one month later I was signing a contract. 
DB: Sounds like you did your homework. Linda is AWESOME by the way, for those looking for small publishersJ

Can you tell us a bit about the workings of getting your book published from start to finish with a small publisher?
SBN: Working with a small publisher has been very painless and easy.  The contract is simple; you split the royalties as you negotiate it.  They edit, typeset, form a cover, give you an ISBN and list your book through online booksellers such as Amazon, B& and and promote you on their web site and blogs. 

You get to work closely with the cover designer and do your own marketing.  If you want to be in an actual B & N bookstore, they will fill out all the paperwork for you.  Some of my fellow authors from TreasureLine have done so.  But to be honest, I don’t care for that.  I only have so much time in a day and I try not to get sucked into this world too much, or it’s no longer fun!  
DB: How much did you have to do with things like your cover art (which is beautiful!), editing, advertisement, etc?

SBN: Cover:  I actually blogged about this so you can go see how it was done!
Editing:  After the last edit, I had two very meticulous friends comb through it one last time.  When I felt that  it was ready we got a proof ordered.

Advertising:  That’s pretty much my territory.  It’s been challenging and fun and sometimes frustrating.  But it is what it is!
DB: Last question and this one is just for fun…

Will you tell us something that we absolutely have to know about you?
I’m a foodie freak.  I went to culinary school and I’m obsessed with how things are processed.  For example:  who first tasted an olive and thought, “mm… I think I will soak this in a brine of lye and see what happens.”   Or, “I bet that if I squeeze this sour foul tasting thing between two rocks, awesome cooking oil will come out!”

So what you must know about me is: I will write about food in the future, and it will not be a cook book!  …not in the traditional way.
DB: Hmmm, now that is interesting. A book about food that is not a cook book. Can’t wait!

Silvina, thanks again for letting me be your first stop along this wild book journey of yours!
Readers, this book is such a fun, feel good read. You’ve got to pick one up you get a chance.

Also, if you have any questions for Silvina, ask away, she will be around today to answer any questions you may haveJ
And if you are interested in buying this book you can get it for $3.99 for your Kindle HERE and the actual book is $14.95 on Amazon HERE J

Friday, August 5, 2011

Firsts Fridays: NYT Best Selling Author, Julie Kagawa!

So today I am all about First’s Fridays and why shouldn’t I be. I only have one of my favorite authors here with me. You might remember, if you are a regular reader of mine, a time when I posted about being all wrapped up in a few books. Well, Julie Kagawa is the author of said books and not only is she cool straight down to the core because of the characters and worlds she creates, BUT she is a Kentucky girl like me! Let us take a trip down the meet Miss Julie road shall we?
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.

To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.

DB: Julie, thanks so much for doing this interview!  I know you must be super busy with Iron Knight coming out in October and allJ 
Speaking of Iron Knight (due out 10/25/11), I have to know…
Are there any goods you can spill the beans on in reference to Iron Knight?  Probably not, but you can’t blame a girl for asking?
JK: Lol, sadly no.  The news for Iron Knight has been very hush, hush and I can’t give out spoilers at this time.  BUT, in August, Teaser Tuesdays returns on my blog, so stay tuned for that. J
DB: Yay! It’s August folks. If you are interested in checking these teasers out Julie’s blog is
And for starters, here is the new front and back cover of Iron Knight….SQUEE!

DB: Have there been any talks of Iron Fey movies?
JK: No movie talk yet, though I’m still crossing fingers it could happen someday.  Sadly, authors have no say whether or not their books get made into movies, but it would be a dream come true if Meg, Puck, and Ash made it onto the big screen.
DB: I couldn’t agree more!
Tapping into the writer in you…
How do you write?  Are you a plotter or a pantster?
JK: A little of both.  I usually have several things I know have to happen, and I write towards those.  But the story always goes a completely different way then what I’d envisioned at first, so sometimes you just have to go with it. 
DB: I know this is your fourth book, but can you take us back in time to before you were first published.  Is there anything you know now that you would tell yourself then?
JK: What would I tell my just-published self, hmm.   Well, fasten your seat belt because it’s going to be a crazy, wild year.  You’re going to meet a ton of awesome people,  freak out over deadlines, do more interviews then you can ever count, get reviews that will make your heart soar and reviews that will crush your soul.  You’re going to win a RITA and hit the NYT bestsellers list and its going to be insane and overwhelming and completely amazing.  But the most important thing to remember is this: don’t forget the ones who saw you here, your fans and readers.  It’s because of them that you made it here at all, so always remember to be grateful.
DB: What a whirlwind experience! I love that you haven’t forgotten your fansJ
Can you tell us a little about the process, and how long it took for you to go from writing your first draft to being a New York Times Best Seller?
JK: Well, I decided I wanted to become an author in high school (after discovering that becoming a veterinarian required me to know lots of MATH, agh!).   It took many years to hone my writing skills well enough for an agent to want to represent me.   Lots of years spent writing, trying to get a book finished, and learning everything I could about the publishing process.   Even when I got an agent,  my first book never sold; after a year of no luck, she told me to write another book.  So I did.  I wrote The Iron King in a little under two months (using NaNo WriMo), and Harlequin Teen picked it up within a few weeks.
And the rest, as they say, is history. J
DB: OK, now that is cool! All you NaNo lovers out there did you hear that? Julie that is so inspiring to know it wasn’t easy for you either, but you never gave up. I’m all about perseverance.     
Last question and I’ll let you choose how to end it…
If you could give us aspiring authors any advice, what would it be?
JK: Persist.
DB: Mmm hmm, seeJ
JK: This is the best advice I can give you. There is no magic formula, no secret code for becoming a published author; it's all hard work and patience and yes, a little bit of talent and luck. Writing is a skill that takes practice and time to develop, same as painting or kung fu or playing the guitar. You're not automatically good at it, at least, I never was. While you're writing and honing your skills, learn everything you can about the business. Read books on writing. Start a critique group. Go to workshops if you can. Know that if you're serious about getting published, you're going to be rejected, probably multiple times. But it's all part of the journey. Remember this: all authors started exactly where you are right now. The difference between a published author and just a writer is that the published author never gave up.
DB: Now those should be every writer’s words to live by! You’re Awesome Julie, thanks so much for hanging with us today!
JK: Thanks so much for the interview! 
DB: Didn’t I tell you she is just great! I can’t wait to read Iron Knight! I’m telling you if you haven’t started the Iron Fey Series yet…YOU NEED TO! You will fall in loveJ
Just a little update on my situation. We are moved in. It is a crazy mess, but at least I am no longer crazyJ We, however, didn’t get to go on our long awaited vacation because of the hub’s work. Oh well, it happens, maybe it is better this wayJ We still plan to get away for the weekend though. I’m pumped about that. I hope you all have a fab weekend too!
Join me back here Monday because I am doing another interview, this time with author SB Niccum. She is kicking off her blog tour with me and I couldn’t be happier! Her book Veiled is out, she’s awesome, her book is awesome...yup that sums her up…AWESOME! Hope to see you MondayJ
Until then…
Keep writing. Keep learning.