Tuesday, October 16, 2018

First In Person Interview

Hey guys, long time no blog!
Life has been crazy between moving, unpacking, being a full time mom, and of course trying to squeeze in writing time!
Not going to be a long post today, BUT I had my first in person interview go live on YouTube today! It was so much fun to film, and I think that shows in the video. Who knows, maybe I'll try to do more of these in the future?!?



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Lakefly Writers Conference 2018 Pt 2

Welcome to part two of my Lakefly Writers Series!
Last blog I covered day one of the conference, this post is going to be all about day two, Saturday.


The day started out a little strange, and not as planned. But thankfully because I am a person that likes to be prepared, it was easily overcome. Once again I arrived early, which allowed me to have almost the pick of the tables! There were a few other writers there to set up at the same time, but I was able to select a prime spot to set up. Right by the doors, with a clear view of the stage across the room,


I realized that after I publish a few more books I'll need a better rack for displaying them! It was an amazing feeling to see all seven of my book babies sitting out on the table. Instead of having one or two novels on the table, it was full! I felt like amidst the other authors I actually belonged. Imposter syndrome is real, and sometimes we just need an outside trigger to make us realize we are, in fact, "real" authors.



My best writing friend,  Rebekah Bryan, and I ended up sharing a table. Like we pretty much always have, it just seems easier to get through events with a buddy. And look! We even had time to sneak in some writing sessions. Good little worker bees typing away on our keyboards.



Though, let me tell you, it was highly motivating to be selling and talking about Wolf's Blood while working on Wolf's Bite! There was something urgent about realizing my readers were right in front of me that made it easier to clack away at the keys.

I'm not sure if it was the environment, people, or the fact that this is my third year self publishing, but it was so much easier to talk about my books and "sell" them. It was *gasp* fun! This was a first for me, and made me want to do events more often as I had my best sales ever. I am looking forward to connecting with these new readers and writers. 

In fact the entire weekend was inspiring and motivating. My husband and I are already planning on logistics for next year! 


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Lakefly Writers Conference 2018 Pt1

Since Liam was born I had to be honest with myself, and my budget, and realize that going to the large Writers Institute conference in Madison would no longer be feasible for me. I went for three years, and every year learned more and more, and LOVED every minute of it. So, in all honesty I was more than a little saddened by the realization that my new offspring was going to prevent me from doing something I loved. BUT I got over it and realized once baby is old enough Mama will have plenty of opportunities to go to writing events.

A year passes, and I saw that a friend of mine on Facebook clicked "interested" in a writing event in Oshkosh.
Enter Lakefly Writers Conference to the rescue!


Some quick searching of their page, a scan at their prices, and a talk with my husband, and I was signing up before I knew it!
I was so excited for the conference, and boy, they did not disappoint.

On Friday I got there ridiculously early, like I do, but it was nice since I had no idea where I was going both to get there, and once in the building. Thankfully Ruth, who organizes the entire event was there and made me feel welcome. In fact, every single one of the volunteers who ran it made me feel not only welcome to the event, but that I mattered.

At other conferences they were so large it almost made me feel like a fly on the wall. Just a number. A faceless writer who paid their dues. But not so here.
Here I was not only an attendee, but I was a person who was important. They were geniunely pleased to see me there, and Ruth even greeted me by name (Before I put the tag on)! She had seen my Tweets about attending this year and made a point to be there to take my picture and Tweet about me. ME! The small town writer mom, who tweets sparingly, and doesn't have thousands upon thousands of readers.

It definitely made my day! 

The first session I attended was by Dionne Kelm, author of the childrens' book series Grandma Hearts. Once again, she and her husband continued the theme of sincere kindness and friendliness. There was a lot in her time slot, but the main take away I had was to own your brand. To use that brand in everything, and anything you can think of! Including placing graphics on your car/camper, making everything cohesive design wise, and even in your email signature. I should have thought about the email signature angle after working in the "professional" world and having a few signatures of my own. She was a true delight.

The second session was led by Barry Busby the Winnebago County Coroner. What a fascinating topic! I attended this one because I eventually have plans to write a 13 book urban fantasy detective series and thought it would be good to learn when I have the opportunities. This was way more than I bargained for! Everyone in that room was enraptured in what he had to say, and we wish he could have gone on longer.

The last session I decided to visit was one about Blogging. Yes, Blogging. That thing that all authors are "Supposed" to do and I have done with consistency in the past. I know I needed to reinvigorate this blog, and this was just what the doctor ordered! Rex Owens had some fantastic advice, and was very informative and inspiring. Thankfully it seems that I have been on the right path for blogging, I just need to be more consistent and open up with more possible topics. I had some ideas for topics both in the session, and once I got back to my hotel room for the night, so I am looking forward to sharing them soon.

Part Two will cover how Saturday went!
Until then, keep writing!


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Book Review

This month's book review is a book that I read as an Arc, which means it wasn't even released when I read it! How amazing it is to read a book that hasn't been released to the public yet.
But fear not! Horrid by L.C. Ireland releases on April 10th, just a few days away from when this post goes live.

Despite this being a book I was gifted, as always, all opinions, thoughts and comments are true and were not persuaded in any way by the author.


According to L.C. Ireland's website this book is part of a larger series with the following description: 

Seven Sisters of Silverleaf
Young Adult Fantasy (ages 10+)
The seven Delaroe sisters encounter magical creatures, dastardly villains, and handsome heroes in this fantasy series inspired by classic fairytales. 

While reading I couldn't exactly pin point down which fairy tale this one had in it, but throughout the book you definitely get that feeling. But when you have a witch that curses your family, something has been stolen, and that witch bargains for your soul...well those elements are in most fairy tales I know! 

I honestly didn't know alot about this story, or even L.C. Ireland before reading this, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it! Much like my review last month, I read this book in a day. More precisely in the time between putting Liam down to bed and about 11 pm. So it took me roughly 4.5 hours to finish it. Not too shabby. *rolls shoulders* This ol' girl's still got it! 

Ahh I remember the time I used to read thick books in a day...but I digress. 

Clearly, if I was able to read this in essentially one sitting the writing is well done, any typos were not distractions, and the flow of the story pulled me through. 

I quite enjoyed how Delta was literally they most unexpected heroine. She is the middle of 7 sisters who, along with two brothers, make up what is left of the Delaroe family. Their parents died under seemingly mysterious circumstances on a voyage, leaving the eldest brother Alistair in charge of their lands and with keeping the peace with neighboring nobles. 

The story really kicks off from the beginning with the description of the Witch of Horr, AKA the Horrid Witch. Deltas states that "I was sixteen and scared. I was desperate. And that's when she gets you: when you have everything to lose and nothing to bargain with but your soul." 

Hello! Talk about plunging the reader into the world from the get go. The book is a great roller coaster ride of plot twists, one of which I didn't even guess! The reader really feels for Delta as she is thrust into situations far exceeding her experience and depth. But that is what makes this such a great ride! 

Personally, I can not wait until the next book in the series releases! 

L.C. Ireland's links are below! Be sure to check this book out, I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Day in the Life

It seems that every one wants to know what exactly a "full-time" author does every day...So here is my answer!
Now, as many of you know, I am also a full time stay at home mom to an almost 11 moth old, so what my day looks like will vastly differ from that of a parent whose children are in school, if they work, or if they do not have tiny spawn running around.

So here goes nothing!

We'll just pretend, for the sake of a streamlined blog post, that Liam sleeps when he's supposed to and that it's Monday since it's the start of the week.

5:50 AM- first alarm goes off, I wonder "Why me". Hit the turn off button and roll back over. Continue for the next three alarms adding in thoughts such as "Did I just hear Liam?" "I can totally sleep another twenty min."

6:30 AM- This is a pretty typical wake up time now since I am an exclusive pumper. (That's all I'll say about that, from now on abbreviated to EP for future reference)

7 AM- Get Liam's bottles ready, and get the baby up if he's awake and ready. He tends to talk to himself for the first half hour he's awake and as he gets louder it means he's ready to get up. Give Liam his first bottle, then have him play in his playpen while I clean up the kitchen and eat quickly.

8 AM- Liam gets his breakfast.

8:45 AM- start the process of putting Liam down for his nap. Ideally he will be asleep by 9, or at least I will be out of the room.

9- 10:30/11 AM- This is what I consider my first "break" of the day. Typically in this time I will check social media, my blog, etc. If there's a twitter hashtag or I have a blog post go live this is the time I will share the links and posts. If it's not, I will work on outlining, or some editing.
This is also the time I shower. Yes, I make it a point to shower every day, during the day! I have found as a SAHM it makes a difference in my attitude and I'm much more productive.

10:30/11AM -12:45PM- Liam wakes up between 10:30 and 11, and then it's play time until lunch, and then until afternoon nap.

1- 3 PM- By this point, I've eaten and tidied up the house. I do have to spend about 45 min to an hour doing my EP tasks. But the afternoon nap is the main time I am able to get work done. This includes editing, social media, maybe writing a blog post, outlining a post, or even reading.

3PM-6:30 PM- Family time! My hubby gets home, we eat dinner, Liam gets a bath, and then bed time. Typically he is out by 6:30/7.

7PM- Huzzah! It's the glorious time of day that I can plug in earphones, blast music, and write. I typically do not write in my WIP's during the day as I feel my attention is constantly divided between whatever I am doing ad listening to the baby monitor. But from 7-8:30PM I am able to zone out and get those words down!

To be perfectly honest, there are some days that during Liam's naps, and even in the evening, my brain is so fried that all I want to do is sit and crochet instead. Which happens, more often than I care to admit. Taking care of a tiny hoomin is exhausting, both mentally and physically. I do anticipate that this schedule will change as Liam gets older and the weather gets nicer.
Then we'll be able to actually get out of the house!

Anyone else have a loose daily schedule they follow for writing?

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Creating a Playlist

For me, writing is best done to the sound of music.
I don't know why. Maybe it stems from most of school work being done around other noisy people. But I always do my best work, and am able to concentrate better, with music playing in the background. Whether that be writing, or studying. Heck, even cleaning the house is better with my own personal soundtrack playing!




When creating a playlist for a specific work in progress I focus on songs that immediately place me into the mindset I am looking for. Sometimes that means songs with lyrics, other times I write to completely instrumental playlists.

Often I find movie soundtracks fantastic places to start. Especially ones that have an epic feel to it such as Pacific Rim, The Shannara Chronicles (Season One), Assassins Creed: Black Flag, and Dragon Age Inquisition. These are usually ones that I write my fantasy books to, however they didn't always do the trick when it came to writing this Urban Fantasy book.

The playlist for the Athruithe books is a bit eclectic, but just listening to it puts me in the mood to write! (Which is kind of the whole idea behind creating a playlist ;) )

As you create them, and work on your projects, it gets easier to identify songs, or scores from movies/video games that work for you. I find myself paying even more attention to the scores as I'm watching movies, and have found some of the most motivational music that way.

So in honor of my latest release, Wolf's Blood, here is the playlist that I listened to when I wrote it. (Songs are in no particular order since I hit "shuffle" when working.)

Pain - Three Days Grace
Animal I Have Become - Three Days Grace
Riot - Three Days Grace
The Arena - Lindsey Stirling
Hold My Heart - Lindsey Stirling (Feat. ZZ Ward)
Keep the Streets Empty (Red Riding Hood Original Picture) - Fever Ray
Shatter Me - Lindsey Stirling (Feat. Lizzy Hale)
She Wolf (Falling to Pieces) - David Guetta (Feat. Sia)
Supermassive Black Hole - Muse
Leave Out All The Rest - Likin Park
I Caught Myself - Paramore
Decode - Paramore
Chasing the Sun - The Wanted
Leave Out All The Rest - Likin Park
What I've Done - Likin Park
New Divide - Likin Park
I Will Not Bow - Breaking Benjamin




Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Book Review

This month's book review has been a long time coming...A LONG TIME.
H.L. Burke is an author that honestly, I wish I was more like.
It seems that she is a writing MACHINE.
I swear every time I turn around she is releasing a new book. It feels like she does one every few months. Which is fantastic, and honestly, one of the Indie Authors I aspire to be like.

And yet, for all of my fangirling, I had never read one of her books. *gasp*

So for this month I decided to finally read one. Granted, I did win the copy of this book through a contest. I think it was a "caption this" Facebook contest. But it was random, and I went into reading this with quite low expectations as the last two Indie books (by different authors) I had to stop reading and put down.


So without further ado, I bring you Coiled!


Book Blurb from Amazon:

A healing touch. A hideous face. A looming curse.

As the ugly twin to a perfect sister, Princess Laidra lives her life in the shadows—until her parents offer her as bait for a giant serpent.

Her escape attempt leaves her shipwrecked on a secluded island with only one inhabitant: Prince Calen, who lives under a curse. If anyone looks upon him, he turns into a giant serpent. Speaking to him in the darkness, Laidra sees past the monster to Calen’s lonely soul, and she determines to free him from the magic’s hold.

But if Laidra can’t break the curse in time, Calen will become a mindless creature of scales and fangs forever.

A YA mythology/romance that retells the myth of Eros and Psyche with adventure, magic, and true love.
 

 
To be honest, I knew at one point that this was a type of retelling, but it didn't dawn on me until a little ways into the book. I am a huge mythology fan, pretty much any mythology but far east (no idea why) intrigues me. I have done plenty of self imposed research into the topics, and completely loved how Burke took the Greek pantheon and made it her own.

From the get go, I liked the characters of Laidra and Calen. Each were likeable, dare I say loveable, in their views and attitudes. Burke used excellent descriptions of them, you really felt with Laidra her curse. How it impacted—and didn't—her worldview. The same goes for Calen.

At one point in the book I thought, here it is "the end"! They've figured this out, they're going to solve the problem and live happily ever after. With these two, you definitely crave that ending! Then I looked down at the percentage left on my iPad...I had 30 percent left in the book! What was going to happen? Then it did, and while I knew roughly how it was going to work out, I was still pleasantly surprised how Burke wrapped everything up.

Because this is a retelling I felt there was a certain predictability to it, but despite that everything was fresh and new. Definitely a perfect example of the old adage that every tale has already been told, but not by you.

Bottom Line?
Highly Recommend! 5 stars!

Coiled on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Coiled-H-L-Burke-ebook/dp/B0713VTDB3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518313469&sr=8-1&keywords=coiled

H.L Burke Author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/H.-L.-Burke/e/B00EYQ1HLW/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

H.L Burke. Website: http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/