Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My First Ever Book Show

I've been to an author festival and school book fairs, but never to a trade show. This past weekend, my publishing team and I made the trek to Daytona Beach for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) annual trade show. Holy cow! What fun!!!!

We had no idea what we were getting into. We realized before even going that we should have had a booth. See, the publishers have the booths and the indie store owners do the browsing. Probably should have been obvious, but we just didn't know. Besides, by the time we joined SIBA, it was too late anyway. So this was entirely a learning experience.

We romped the show floor, hung out in the lobby and bar and met lots of people and made some great contacts. And now we know what to do next time. Yes, there will definitely be a next time.

I handed out a few copies of Promise and lots of literature. Hopefully some of these indies will be selling Promise soon.

But almost as good (okay, a part of me says even better, but don't tell my publisher), this:
Saturday's haul by all three of us. We added nearly this much on Sunday.

And this:

My own personal loot...spread out...and not including tote bags and other fun items. Yes, those are Nightshade and Across the Universe ARCs!!! And many more I can't wait to delve into!
All stacked up...except for the book I brought home for The Man, which he's already reading in the other room.
Oh, yeah. I have lots of reading to do and reviews to write. Still can't decide where to start. For now, though, I'm finishing up edits on Purpose so it can go to the printer for ARCs. Yep, you read that right. Purpose ARCs coming soon. I see a contest in the near future...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Meet My Guest! Meredith S Wood

Today we welcome the always funtabulous Meredith S Wood, young adult author of Panthan's Crucible and the upcoming Panthan's Abyss, among other forthcoming books of awesomeness. If you aren't familiar with Panthan's Crucible, it takes you into a unique world of familiar and not-so-familiar creatures, including the panthans - "they're like angels...but bloodthirsty."

In a world where humans are no longer the hunters, but now the hunted, Laura Morgan discovers she’s a pawn between two of its deadliest creatures. She can run. She can hide. But what happens when she learns she’s not even human and could be the deadliest creature of them all?

Seventeen-year-old Grayson of Lorne wants to be an Eminent since they are the most powerful of panthan warriors. Grayson’s uncle promises he’ll be made one if he’ll help Laura. To him this female flies such a huge freak flag he's not sure it's possible.

What Grayson can't get through his thick head is he's annoying and pushy and stuck on himself. And yeah, maybe he's a tiny bit of hotness. What neither can understand is that some bonds form no matter how much you don't want them—especially ancient ones that only occur every seven thousand years.
About the book and writing...

Me: If you could have any band or musician create a soundtrack for Panthan’s Crucible, who would it be?

MW: Trevor Morris.  There's simply no comparison for me. 

Me: Um...I totally had to look that up. Readers - he did music for The Pillars of the Earth, The Tudors (Showtime) and video games. Cool stuff and I can see how it would be good for PC!

Anyway...back to the interview. In PC, Laura has this odd habit of counting and freaks herself out if the number isn't "right" or "good." How did you come up with this habit? Is there ever an explanation for why some numbers are good and others are bad?

MW: You’re so going to regret going here. ;-)

Laura's counting and number habits began with a couple questions.  I knew she would have to be damaged in some way.  No way around it.  But how would I take this girl from a world Panthans tore apart and make her capable of not just fighting for the things she believed in but doing it side by side with another Panthan?  Furthermore, how was she going to be able to adapt to becoming one of the creatures she feared the most?  My first answer: She would need a coping tool.  This led to looking for something not too destructive but also capable of making her feel like she had control.  Some teens turn to eating disorders to solve this dilemma and some turn to cutting.  I didn’t want Laura to have either of these problems because it would make it harder for her to adapt to her new life.  I also didn’t believe this was the book to tackle these subjects.

At this point, my mind was like a carousel that never stopped spinning.  The worst of it was I couldn’t decide which horse I wanted to ride on so I kept jumping from one to another.  While making a numbered list of possible coping tools I wrote “OCD” and immediately something clicked in my brain.  Not wanting to go all the way with the OCD, the number thing gave me the boost I needed.

I think I only wrote why the number twelve was a bad number for Laura.  The rest I left up to the reader’s assumption.  But, poor you,  you're about to find out why I did this. lol

Since she counted everything the events of her days equated to one of her good numbers or one of her bad numbers.

Multiples of three were safe unless part of an equation equaling twelve, her ultimate bad number.  Without safe numbers, she would never have an escape hatch that would allow her to adapt and move forward in her life.  I chose the number three because it represented individuality to me.  Any number I chose from an even set would always present a perfect conformity to its pattern whereas an odd number would always have some part of it that stood out from the rest.  The number three was a personal choice I made for Laura, sort of a sign from me to her saying I believed she had the ability to take the path that stood out from the rest.

For the most part, how she determined whether her latest equation would equal a “safe” number or a “bad” one depended on whether she made the subconscious decision to cope with her current problem.  If she decided to cope with the problem, she’d find a way for her latest equation to equal a multiple of three and she’d move forward.  If her current problem hurt her in any way, her equation would equal a bad number.  This process guaranteed a place to lock down her pain and she would avoid that number from then on.  If she were unable to form the equation she wanted, she would choose a new good number or a new bad number.

This part of her character was a challenge for me in so many ways.  To begin with, I suck at math.  Totally.  Keeping up with the good and bad numbers was a recipe for some major stress headaches.

However, it did give Laura the ability to appear damaged, as would be expected, while at the same time making her functional for her role in Panthan's Crucible.

Me: Yeah, my head's spinning. Have you ever made yourself cry while writing a scene? Laugh out loud?

MW: No, I haven't.  I've cried while planning scenes but when it comes to writing them I detach myself.  It's a strange process.  I become so engrossed in feeling the pain from my character's pov that my own emotions are shoved to the side.  If that makes any sense.

But I battled my own blood phobia while writing Panthan's Crucible.  The scene where V draws the blood from Laura was the hardest scene I’ve ever written.  While doing the research I would read for a few minutes, feel lightheaded and have to lie down, then go back and read some more.  Writing the scene went the same way.

Laughing out loud is another story though.  Some of V's scenes make me giggle every time I read them.  I guess that makes it hard for the readers who want to see him get his just desserts.  He makes me laugh, which makes me adore him.  Then again, so many things he does don't make it into my books. Matter of fact, I like him so much he's going to get a story all to himself explaining how he got where he is today and what made him the Panthan that he is.

Me: Oooh! Can't wait! I am so involved in my writing, too, but I do cry...because that's what Alexis is doing! LOL OK, what is the craziest or weirdest thing you’ve ever had to research for your writing? Anything that would lift a collective eyebrow by the FBI or Homeland Security?

MW: The craziest thing I've ever researched wasn't really that crazy. The crazy was in what I found.  I needed to know how certain animals mated. What I learned was that honey bees mate for life.  Well, on the male's side at least. Once the male ejaculates he explodes. Yeah. Really. Talk about an explosive sexual experience, huh?  Of course, the female doesn't have to worry about catching any STDs from her partner since it's obvious she'll be his first.

Me: ROFL! We learn the strangest things.

About the author...

Me: When you were a kid, what did you really want to be when you grew up? How did that turn out?

MW: As a wee kid I wanted to be a rock star or a gold medal winning gymnast. By around eleven, I settled on two things. I never doubted that I could do them both at the same time: A marine biologist and a writer.  I'm not exactly sure when the dream to become a marine biologist faded because I can remember still wanting to pursue it when I was fourteen.  My memories of being sixteen don't have that wish in them anymore so I'm guessing boys screwed the dream up.  They're probably what pushed my writing dream forward though. lol I married young and for several years learning how to be a wife and mom took up most of my energy. At some point I realized I was no longer an individual, but rather an extension of my family.  That's when I started working on fiction writing, which was a road that changed my life and taught me how to fight for what I want at all costs.

Me: There's such a story in the rock star-gymnast-writer-mom! Speaking of stories and books... If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the one book you must have with you?

MW: A Sookie Stackhouse book.  Charlaine writes with the same love for the South that I have. When I read those books I feel like I'm home--dark, deadly creatures of the night included. ;-)

Me: If I came to your house for dinner, what would you make me?

MW: Probably Manicotti. Yumz!

Me: If you came to my house for dinner, what should I make for you?

MW: Hm... Lasagna.  Um, yeah, I'm partial to Italian dishes. ;-)


Popcorn or cookies? Popcorn.

Coffee or soda/pop? (And what do you call it?) I usually limit myself to one cup of coffee per day. The rest of the day I choose soda, tea, or water.

Wine or beer or something harder? Chilled Tanqueray or an Amaretto Sour.

Movie theater or DVDs at home? DVDs at home.

City or country or suburbs? Country.

Water-skiing or snow-skiing? Water skiing all the way.

Rome, Tokyo or the Australian Outback? Rome. While Australia's pretty, it's too hot for me.

Steak, enchiladas or sesame chicken? Steak.

Oh, yeah! So, after we devour our steak and pasta dinner, Meredith and I will be hanging out, watching DVDs with popcorn and brownies (gotta have chocolate!). But later you can stalk her all over:


And to buy Panthan's Crucible click here. Do you dare to walk among the panthans?

Book Trailer Contest

Just a quickie to ask you to check this site out: Vote for your favorite video trailer (um...maybe Promise? :-)), now until Sunday, 9/26.

If you have a book trailer, enter it for their next contest. Entry instructions are on the site's right-hand column.

Thank you!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Five for Friday

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's Saturday. I was in meetings all day yesterday, though, and then had a ton of emails to catch up on. But I didn't want to miss this post completely.

As I posted on Tuesday, this past week was Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Besides Confessions of a Bookaholic, here are 5 more fantastic book blogging sites you should follow (in no particular order):

Okay, I can't leave it at five! More:

There are so many more, but every time I go check them out to get the link, I keep getting pulled into the sites to see what they have to say this week. At this rate, I'll never get this posted. So we'll leave it at 10 for this Saturday.

But, please, feel free to share your favorite book bloggers in the comments. I'd love to find more!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

BBAW - Interview with Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic

Yesterday I was meandering through the blogs I follow and stumbled upon a mention of Book Blogger Appreciation Week. My stomach sank. How did I not know about this before??? Where had my head been??? (Well, deeply buried in Purpose - that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

I love book bloggers. In fact, I really want to be one. They have the loveliest blogs, tons of fun reading all kinds of frawesome books and play a significant role in helping out new authors. I really wish I had time for a book blog. I'm so jealous of them. But, I've decided, I probably wouldn't be a good book reviewer. I can't bring myself to publicly give a book less than 3 or 4 stars, no matter how bad it is, because I know what that author went through to produce that book. And I would want to be an honest book blogger. Those two goals just don't work well together. So, I live vicariously through others.

One of my faves is the fantabulous Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic. Her reviews rock. She really puts time and thought into writing them. And I'm thrilled that she agreed to be on the other side of the, er, whatever, and allowed me to interview her (she's interviewed me before, so that's what I mean by the other side).

According to the official BBAW site, I was supposed to post this yesterday. But Jessica was working on a 15-page(!) research paper. Because, besides working on her beautiful blog and taking care of her beautiful daughter, she's also pursuing her Master's degree. Sweet and smart.

Without further spur-of-the-moment interview with Jessica:

Me: When did you start blogging?

J: I started blogging around early May (my birthday gift for myself actually) because I wanted to share my thoughts on books I had recently enjoyed.

Holy crap! May??? Did you see how many followers the girl already has?!? Told you she was good. ;-)
Me: Why did you decide to blog about books?

J: I enjoyed reading a lot as a kid. Coming from a small town there really wasn't much else to do. I would spend my summers reading a different book each day. I stopped while I was in college and then in 2008 I decided to pick up a book and it just happened to be Twilight. I didn't know much about the book then, but soon finished that series and moved on to many, many more.

Me: What’s the biggest surprise you’ve had since starting?

J: I've actually had a few surprises since I started blogging. 1. The book blogging community is so awesome! I never dreamed that book bloggers came together in the way they do to share and help each other. 2. Authors are amazing! Yes, Kristie, you are a great example of that amazing-ness. To me authors are my celebrities and when I email one, and they write back, I am flabbergasted! I'm blown away at the generosity and support they give the book blogging community.
Me: How has your book blog changed your life?

J: It has given me, finally, something just for me. I feel like something beyond the "mommy" and the "wife". I am doing something I enjoy with all of my heart and now I can't imagine a better gift to myself. 

Me: Any advice for baby bloggers?

J: Hmm, I'm kinda a baby blogger. :) But, here is what I would tell someone new. Don't be afraid! Don't be afraid to try things your own way. Don't be afraid to interact with more experienced bloggers. And when needed, don't be afraid to ask for advice or help. You might be surprised at how supportive people can be.

Me: What’s your favorite thing to eat while reading? Drink?

J: Mountain Dew! Yumm, I want some now! I love anything chocolate too as long as it doesn't get my pages all smudged.

Me: Where’s your favorite place to read?

J: Usually I read right before I go to sleep so I'm in bed, or on the couch. I really like if I have time to relax and read but lately I've had to read on the go!


Me: Coffee, tea or soda?

J: POP all the way :) Although, most of the time I drink water but I like Sprite and Mountain Dew a lot.

Me: Cupcakes or brownies?

J: Geez, that's a tough one. Gotta say I'm a big fan of brownies though (with nuts!).

Hehe...a girl after my own heart!

Me: Vampire Diaries or TrueBlood? (shows, not books)

J: You KNOW the answer to this one. Team Damon! *swoon*....ahhh...what? Oh sorry, got distracted.

Me: Sleep or read?

J: I have given up tons of sleep in order to read so, read!

Me: Books or food?

J: Can't I have at least books and chocolate? No?...Well, hmm...books!

Me: Beach or mountains?

J: I live in the mountains so right now I'm super excited for the beach (we are leaving to go there Sunday! Woohoo!) I can't wait to lay on the sand with a good book and relax.

Thanks so much Kristie for interviewing me! :) 

Thank you, Jessica, for all that you do, for readers and authors alike.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Five for Friday (x2!)

I love the latest word mash-ups that are quickly becoming a part of our vocabularies. You know, the combination of two words that make something even more fun. Five of my faves:
  1. Craptastic
  2. Fantabulous
  3. Fabulicious
  4. Ridiculicious
  5. Frawesome (freakin' awesome - still catching on, so I thought it needed explaining)
When we write a puke-draft of a manuscript and then have to go back and revise it, one of the things we're supposed to look for is a string of adjectives or adverbs, select the strongest one and delete the rest. This can be excrucialorious (excruciating laborious). Sometimes we need more than one! The solution: word mash-ups! Great idea, right? I know. You can thank me later.

So, I've been trying to make up my own word mash-ups (wash-ups?). For an added Five-for-Friday bonus, here are five of my very own:
  1. Crapedible (incredibly crappy)
  2. Dampy (damn happy)
  3. Frumpy (freakin’ yummy guy)
  4. Sexfart (sexy, fun and smart)
  5. Dickalicious (these guys run rampant in high school, college fraternities and meat-market nightclubs - super hot assholes)
Okay, so I'm probably not the originator of all of these, but I doubt they'll ever catch on. Except maybe the last one, which makes me sure I'm not the first person to come up with it.

What do you think? Are my wash-ups catchy? Will you be using them this weekend? Do you have any to add to the list?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Things Making Me Go Hmm...

There's some interesting conversation going on for and about YA writers at Carol's Prints and Invincible Summer. If you write YA, I suggest you check them out because they bring up some very valid points about writing YA. I don't write YA, but one of the issues brought up has made me go "Hmm..."

It's the point about who we blog for. Do we blog for other writers? For readers? For agents or editors we hope might be checking us out? Personal friends and family? After all, as I've said in this Marketing Monday post and will come back to in future marketing-related posts, we need to know who our target audience is and write for them.

Which brings me to my own blog. I originally started this blog, called A Mused Writer, mostly to ramble and make sense of my writing, whine about the challenges of getting published and, I hoped, to mix and mingle with other writers. I planned to share what I've learned and my experiences in exchange for all the great knowledge writers share on their own blogs.

When I switched over my URL,, to the blog, though, it also became my communication tool to reach out to readers. I'd read somewhere about how our blogs' audiences change over time, depending where we are in the publishing spectrum - from newbie and unagented to agented but unpublished to published to bestseller. It made sense and I knew my messages would have to evolve with my audience.

After reading the two blogs above, though, and giving it some serious consideration, my publishing team and I agreed that should be for the author communicating with readers - about my books, my characters, the series, special events and appearances, etc., as well as a way for readers to get to know me on a more personal level. The book sites are all about the books, creating questions. The author site should be about answering questions and making a connection with the reader.

But what about my writer friends? I love you all. I've learned so much from you and I'd still like to share the little bit that I know, too. One of my goals in going indie is to be able to help other new writers achieve their goals. So I'm not about to give you up.

So, a bunch of words to basically say that I'll be doing some renovations here. I don't know the logistics yet, but I'm pretty sure that the end result will be either a new author's site or a new writer's blog. I don't want to lose archives relevant to either side, though, so I still have to figure it all out. Wish me luck!

What do you think? Have you thought about what you'll do with your blog as your career evolves? Anyone interested in doing a writing blog with me? :-) And any thoughts about those other two posts for YA writers?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Five for Friday - Promise Special!

It's a holiday weekend! Woot! Three days to do whatever we want. Yeah, right. More like two days to catch up on all the crap we didn't get done this week and, if we're lucky, an actual day off on the third. That's how my life is anyway. Has been since...oldest son was born nearly 18 years ago. LOL

I do have "work" to do, but it's mostly writing-related, so I'm not complaining (except for the clean the bathrooms and dust part - blech).

How about you? What do you have going on? Here are some suggestions:
  1. Drink a beer or share a bottle of wine with friends or neighbors.
  2. Eat a hot dog or bratwurst hot off the grill.
  3. Sleep in.
  4. Go to the beach or the pool one last time.
  5. Read Promise! Use this coupon code TP46E at to download Promise for only $2.99!!!!  Coupon expires Monday, so don't delay! Formats include Nook, Sony Reader, Apple iPad, Kobo, Diesel and HTML.
Bet you'll have it done by the end of the weekend. :) Enjoy the long weekend, whatever you do!