Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Q&A with me! (Another #Awkward #Vlog, Guest-starring Pug!)

You guys praised my "keepin' it real" style on the last vlog, so I raised the bar! In addition to hosting the Q&A in my own living room, I was sure to include:

Awkward use of notecards? Check!
Poor eye contact? Check!
Random, unplanned, and questionably clean outfit courtesy of my bedroom floor? Check!
Crazy hair befitting any eccentric shut-in? Confused and bewildered pug? Check and check!

Enjoy. And be sure to post those questions below ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#CoverReveal & #Confession

If there’s the cover, where is the confession? Ok, ok. Here we go:

Soon I will release “Blind”, another short following Edison, a boy with mechanical eyes. Some people may argue that it is dark YA. Others with say it is definitely science fiction, coming of age, and heavily meditates on what it means to be an artist or choosing one’s own path in the face of adversity. I’m sure people will talk about my lack of genre conformity, just as they have for the last two works that I published.

At least, this is the dialogue I’m hoping for.

Because I confess I’m very nervous that there will be a different dialogue completely. That people will talk about how this is different than Dying for a Living and “Dive”, but not in a good way. They may even call it the worst thing I’ve ever written—which I assure you is not true, as NONE of you have (or ever will) read my high school poetry notebooks.

But I think releasing new work is always nerve-wracking and always pulling on those ol’ heart strings of doubt. So I wanted to confess upfront that I am worried about how my readers will receive my new work, just like everyone else out there who is facing the odds and publishing.

But I’m also determined to publish what I write for better or worse. Even if I know some of you won’t like “Blind” as much as “Dive” or Dying for a Living. Or because some of you will like it more.

I’m beginning to realize as a writer, my only job is to transcribe the weird *&^% from my head onto the page and then to put it out there regardless of the consequences. But for anyone who has written anything, it is harder to do than it sounds. And I have to accept this doubt may never go away. I keep waiting for it to get easier--after one more positive review, one more gushing fan, one more good writing day--but it isn't getting easier. So I have to accept this possible truth:

Publishing will never be easy.

After all, I’ve listened to/watched/read enough writer interviews from Gaiman, King and the like, who regardless of the years of practice they have under their belt, continually voice the same hesitations.

But they succeeded—despite the acclaim or criticism—because they published anyway, whatever the emotional, physical, or financial obstacles. They published anyway.

And that is my new personal goal—to publish anyway.

way I can.

Friday, April 25, 2014

#Divergent Influences & Other #Writerprobs

I saw Divergent last night. And we will all just have to agree to put aside any thoughts like “What is a 30-year-old woman doing watching *&^% like that” and focus on the real problem:

I have a massive hangover.

The first mistake is that I watched the movie way to close to bedtime. And I don’t know how it is for most people but anything portraying lots of action and violence, etc gets my sympathetic nervous system all worked up and I turn back into that nine-year-old kid who has just watched 3 Ninjas and is leaping off all the furniture and tearing the stuffing out of all living room pillows.

So in addition the fact that I slept horribly amidst a plague of divergentesque dreams, I am finding it really hard to focus today. I’m googling things like “Maggie Q tattoo” and “Did Macklemore really play Eric?” when I should be working.

Which brings me to the purpose of today’s blog—is it bad to expose oneself to outside influences?

I can blame my massive movie hangover not on the movie itself or even the crappy sleep. I know it has to do with the fact that I have an “overactive” imagination. I know it has to do with the fact that I can make any movie “good” in my head, and often do, because I often do a great deal of character development, theme exploration, and add those “greater meanings” in my own head—even when the story’s original creator failed to actually do so--which can be a problem, because I lose a lot of time getting way to involved in someone else's creation.

So because I know I’m like this—should I limit what I expose myself to? Should I worry that it will influence or “corrupt” my own style?

Do other writers worry about this? 

This is an invitation to tell me so. Is there anything you don’t watch or read because you think it will make your own writer mind mush?  Do you have a way of curing your own book/movie hangovers or getting yourself out of someone else's sandbox?

Is there any hope for my living room pillows?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy #Zombie Jesse Day!

As most of you know this is Easter weekend, AKA Zombie Jesus Day. Because my protagonist is named Jesse and also a zombie--eh--Necronite, I thought we could celebrate with free books all weekend in honor of Happy Zombie Jesse day! So the kindle version of Jesse's book will be free until 11:59PM, Sunday, April 20.

For those of you who are interested, here is the synopsis:

On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally. As a Necronite, she is one of the population’s rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don’t have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory. 

But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself—or die trying.

And for those of you who've already bought the book, I am pretty sure you can gift copies to all your friends and family, which I totally encourage you to do! I'm all about sharing the love! :)

You can get your free book here. And as always thank you for your support! 

Have a grave weekend! 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

#Free #Books For #Everyone

Happy Wednesday!

Today I sent off the bookmarks from last week's game/ vlog test and did the drawing for the paperback. (Doramos, where for art thou Doramos? If Doramos, doesn't contact me by May 1, I'll redo the drawing.)

This week I want to tell you about three awesome things that are happening.

Awesome thing #1:

My book Dying for a Living will go on sale this Friday, April 18 and will be FREE through Sunday, April 20. Free! So mark those calendars and tell your friends :) Like I explained in last week's vlog, I am trying to find more and more ways to say Thank You to my super supportive fans for giving me a great first 6 weeks. :)

How to take advantage of the free book run? Download the book of course! But also, I think you can gift this book to as many people as you like. So if you've already bought (and liked) the book, now is your chance to send  as many copies as possible to your friends and family who you also think might like the book.

What better Easter (or Zombie Jesus Day) gift than a book about a girl who keeps coming back from the dead? Nothing! Nothing, I say! :) And for those who don't have a kindle, I suggest the reading app for your phone or computer which I've heard is both free and easy to use.

So  awesome thing # 1= free ebook this weekend.

Awesome thing #2:

There are still 12 hours left to enter the fabulous Cabin Goddess's giveaway and win an autographed copy of my paperback and a couple bookmarks. Go, go, go! Click here to play.

Awesome thing #3:
There is another giveaway happening here that is less time sensitive. But still fun. :)

Hope you are feeling the love! :)


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guest Post: *Penning* Your Future Novel

With technology rapidly changing, it is amazing how the platforms of writing are also slowly shifting, growing, and transforming into mediums that we wouldn't expect. White the argument that paperback books are becoming less relevant and more obsolete rages on, computer mediated literature is gaining momentum. Through social media and blogging, authors find more success in non-traditional ways of promoting and sharing their works.  

Surprisingly, one of the newest phenomenon is the cell-phone novel. Originally, cell-phone novels became popular in Asia, but the trend is catching on here in the States as well. A few years ago in Japan, the top ten best-selling novels consisted of five created and shared through mobile devices. In fact, it became a well-respected new literary genre that brought in some great sales for the authors, creating a few overnight sensations. This platform of writing has taken off around the world, and perhaps it is only a matter of time before the United States' writing community catches on too.

There is also the hint of social media serials, as discussed here. Between social media serials and the cell phone novel, it is interesting to consider where the future of writing is headed and how it will continue to be affected by technology.

Authors started out producing stories at 70-100 words per chapter for a fast read, now with certain apps a person can publish their novel chapter by chapter in its entirety. This option allows for mobility and convenience, as well as the ability to produce literature and absorb other's work on-the-go.  It presents  the opportunity for writers, novelists, and bloggers to share their work in an interactive setting, with apps like Penned allowing writers and readers to contribute, like, and comment on those stories that inspire them. On Penned, a writer-community app, participants can even upload a photo with their entry, to the category of their choice, and add a link at the bottom to where readers can purchase full versions of their novel(s), or simply to find out more about the writers.

Could cell-phone and/or social media novels be the next big thing?

Brian graduated from Punahou School in Honolulu, HI with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA. Living in Venice, he has designed and consulted for many start-ups around LA before  before launching Penned with his passionate three-person team.

Sonia Chopra is a senior studying Communications Studies for PR and Journalism at UCLA. Currently, she is the PR/Marketing rep for Penned, but also works in celebrity PR as well as business, fashion, journalism and marketing. Her side hobbies include writing a mental health blog and modeling in Hollywood. She joined Brian Sanders (founder) in 2013 to help launch Penned, his start-up and side project. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

I'm in the Mood: 1st #Vlog & a Mega #Giveaway

If you want to enter the giveaway, all you have to do is answer this question in the comments section:

Would you rather be a human with super powers or a supernatural creature? Feel free to elaborate or be as cryptic as you like. The first 50 people automatically get autographed bookmarks. But everyone who comments will have a chance to win an autographed paperback copy of Dying for a Living.

My pug will pick the winner at random (probably by slobbering all over a piece of paper with a name/number on it.)

A picture of your judge? Sure:

Josephine has an abnormally large tongue
or a really small mouth.

Also, Josie would like me to add that she accepts (food) bribes.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

#New #Release and #freebook

One month after the release of my novel, I'm happy to announce my newest work. My short story "Dive" is now available. As with Dying for a Living, you can expect a cross-genre buffet of mystery, crime, thriller, revenge, and sci-fi. In 12 words: a young woman uses her supernatural abilities to find her parents' killer.

Excerpt below:

“Please, please,” the child begged, her hand slipped from the edge of the tub and grabbed ahold of her mother’s slacks. “Don’t go.”
“Come on, Louie. Not again,” she said. “You’re old enough to take a bath alone.” The woman frowned at the wet spot on her leg, and yanked herself.
“No, no, no!” Hysterical, the girl clamored from the water.
“Jesus Christ,” her mother said and shoved her ten-year-old daughter back into the tub, pressing down hard on her shoulders. “What is it with you and water? It isn’t going to kill you. You won’t drown! And I have to finish dinner before your father gets home.”
Sobbing and cradling the elbow that connected too hard with the side of the tub, Louie continued to beg. “Please. Please don’t leave me.”
Her little body hunched into a C-curve and shook. Remembering what the last therapist said regarding phobias, the illogical nature of the fear didn’t negate the fact that the fear was very real—her mother sighed and knelt beside the tub.
“Okay,” her mother said in soft, practiced tones. “Okay, I’m here.”
Louie’s shaking intensified, her little teeth chattering against each other as her mother, with a tight smile, grabbed the shampoo bottle off the ledge.
“I’m sorry,” her mother said. “But it is just hard for me to understand this fear of yours.”
Louie didn’t answer. Clutching her knees, she shook as if freezing despite the steam of the hot bath coloring her cheeks.
“You have to lean back now,” her mother said. “So we can rinse your hair.”
Louie grabbed her mother’s arms.
“I know,” her mother said, indifferently. “But I’m right here. Now lay back.”
Her small chest started to heave as her dark head was tipped back toward the soapy gray water.
“Just breathe,” her mother said, as instructed by the therapist in how to handle her daughter’s anxiety. However, it was hard to muster sincerity after seven years of this.
“The sooner we do this the sooner you can get out.”
Louie’s green eyes widened, as the back of her hair dipped into the water. Her fingers raked down her mother’s arms as she clung tighter to the woman.
One arm completely submerged, she ran her fingers through her daughter’s hair.
“There,” her mother said, feeling her daughter relax in her arms. “Not so bad, is it? I love baths. I find them very relaxing.”
Louie managed a small smile just before the oven dinged.
“Dinner!” her mother said, slipping her arms out of Louie’s. “I’ll be right back.”
“No, no, no!” Louie began, frantically wiping water from her eyes and trying to pull herself into an upright position. “Please!”
“Just breathe,” her mother called out, already jogging toward her glazed ham and caramelized brussels sprouts. “The door is open. Keep talking so I can hear you.”
“Mom!” Louie screamed. “Mommy!”
“I’m right here, baby,” she said over the whimpering. “I’m just going to check the ham and I’ll be right back. Talk to me. I’m listening.”
The girl’s escalating hysteria was cut off mid-scream.
The sudden absence chilled her mother, sending a small shudder up the woman’s spine, rippling through the muscles there. She placed the pan on top of the stove and removed the oven mitts.
When only the silence echoed back, buzzing in her ears, she hurried to the bathroom. The tub was empty.
In a ridiculous impulse, she threw back the paper thin shower curtain as if the child could hide there. Then she looked behind the door and the small cabinet beneath the sink. But the bathroom was empty. “Louie?”
She ran to the girl’s bedroom, but already knew she wouldn’t find her there. The wood floor running the entire length of the house was bone dry and Louie’s soft Mickey Mouse towel, the one they bought on their trip to Disney World two years ago, still hung from the hook by the tub.
She searched the house and when she couldn’t find her, she called her husband home from work early to help her search again.
They called everyone. They spoke to every neighbor and the police numerous times, who interrogated the mother ruthlessly despite her husband’s local connections.
For three nights they did not sleep. Then they received a strange phone call.
56 miles east of their home in St. Louis, Marc Smith was interviewed many times by police, but his story never changed. The orthodontist claimed that he was cutting grass on a Friday after work, in preparation for a family barbecue the next day—when Louie just appeared. As the police desperately tried to pin the abduction on the man, the lack of evidence made it impossible. He had no priors and even a neighbor was able to confirm that Smith was in fact mowing his lawn the moment he said he was. And that the neighbor too, who’d been washing her GMC SUV in the driveway at the time, agreed that just a moment before, the girl had not been there.
Reluctantly, the police were forced to accept that Smith had simply cut a left around his rudebicka flower bed, red push mower vibrating in his sweaty grip, and there she was. One moment the pool was empty and the next, there was a girl emerging from the clear water. A tiny thing and soaking wet, her dark hair stuck to her pale back like an oil slick. Bewildered as to why a small naked child was in his family’s pool, he cut the lawn mower and rushed toward her. Thinking she was a neighborhood kid pulling a prank, he scolded her.
But as the girl turned toward the sound of his voice, he fell silent. Not only because she was naked and obviously distraught—her wide eyes glassy with shock—but because of the blood.
Her body was covered in hundreds of lacerations, the kind left by tree limbs or underbrush—though nothing like that existed for miles from their suburban neighborhood. A great many of them lay across her stomach and legs and a particularly nasty one across her cheek. But it wasn’t these small splits in her skin that scared him.
It was the bite, a ring of punctures encircling the girl’s right shoulder, a ragged halo from neck to bicep. Like some carnivorous thing larger than the girl had grabbed ahold of her with its teeth.
“Honey,” Frank said, the false anger entirely gone. He was already pulling off his T-shirt and yanking it down over the child’s head. “Are you all right?”
“Is it still on me?” she whispered, teeth chattering. She turned her face toward him but her eyes couldn’t focus on his. “Is it still on me?”

And that was the last thing she said before collapsing into his arms.

If you're hooked and can't wait, buy it here.

But if you want to play for a chance to win a free copy, here are the rules:

In the comments section, guess what bit Louie. There are no right or wrong answers, which means I'm just interested in what creative & hilarious answers you come up with. :)

I'll pick a winner at random to receive a free copy of Dive. Drawing closes at 11:59PM EST, Friday April 4.

Good luck!