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Official blog of Kelly Hashway, young adult and middle grade author.
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26. Writer Wednesday: How Do You NaNo?


We are officially two days into NaNoWriMo, so I thought I'd share how it's going and why I decided to finally participate. I wanted to try NaNo as a way to convince myself that I don't have to fast draft like a crazy person in between client edits and do nothing but edit when I have editing jobs on my schedule. I guess I take things to extremes, doing one or the other like a mad woman. I need to stop this. I know it, and I keep saying I'm going to, but it hasn't happened yet. So NaNo is about forcing myself to split my days between editing in the morning and writing in the afternoons. So far, I'm doing it.

The odd thing is that most people do NaNo to get a book drafted quicker than they normally would. For me, it's the opposite. When I draft, I usually hit anywhere between 10,000 and 18,000 words a day. (Yes, you read that correctly!) But splitting my days and committing to NaNo while I have edits on my plate, means I have to aim much lower, like 3,000 to 5,000 words a day. So I feel like NaNo is very different for me than most people. It's forcing me to slow down. Will I like this? It's too soon to tell.

How about you? Are you NaNoing? How do you approach it? (And feel free to buddy me. I'm khashway.)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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27. Monday Mishmash 10/31/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Happy Halloween!  I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween. 
  2. NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow!  If you're taking part in NaNo, buddy me. My name is khashway on the site. And good luck! 
  3. Editing  Even though I'm drafting a new book, I have client edits to tackle this month. Eek! NaNo is pretty much my way of showing myself I can find balance between doing work for others and doing work for myself.
  4. Field Trip  I'm chaperoning my daughter's field trip on Friday. Um, when am I supposed to write for NaNo? I'm not panicking. Nope. Not at all. Okay, maybe a little. I guess I'll be writing in the evening on Friday. Send coffee please.
  5. Fading Into the Shadows  Fading Into the Shadows is fully edited, proofed, and ready to go over two months early! I'm so excited for this book. E-ARCs are in, so if you have time to read the book before January 16, 2017 and would like an ARC in exchange for an honest review, sign up here. The cover reveal will take place November 16th-18th. If you're interested in sharing the cover on any social media site, you can sign up for that here.  
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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28. Friday Feature: Into the Fire Halloween Sale



To help celebrate Halloween, Into the Fire is only $.99 today through October 31st!

Grab your copy today!


In one month’s time, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die and be reborn from her own ashes…

Her life of secrecy has never been easy. She’s watched her younger brother, Jeremy, burn and rise again in a coming-of-age process called rebirth. And just like her brother, when her time comes, she won’t remember anything from her first life other than she’s a Phoenix—a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical Phoenix bird.

The last thing she needs to worry about is falling for the new guy in town—Logan Schmidt.

Cara is drawn to Logan in a way she can’t explain, but she’s not exactly complaining. Everything is perfect…except it’s not. Once she’s reborn, she’ll forget Logan. And to make things worse, a Phoenix Hunter is on the loose, and Cara’s involvement with Logan is bringing out her Phoenix qualities—the very qualities that will draw the Hunter right to her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Afraid of hurting Logan, Cara breaks it off for good. But her attraction to him runs deeper than a typical high school crush. She wants him—needs him. And if he proves willing to stay by her side, their love might destroy them both.

Can Cara hide from the Phoenix Hunters long enough to survive her rebirth? And if so, will it mean a new beginning with Logan—or the beginning of the end?



*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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29. Writer Wednesday: Writing For Adults


Today's topic comes from Mirka, who said, "...tell us some more about your adult suspense book, and how writing for grown-ups is different than MG or YA, beyond the MC's age."

Great topic, Mirka! Thanks!

Okay, well my adult books are very different from my YA or MG novels. It almost seems like there are different rules for writing for adult. Let me start with what I've noticed from reading adult books. First, things are described in much more detail. Second, backstory is common and often told upfront. Third, there are more dialogue tags. 

I could go on, but these three blew my mind. For years, I listened to everyone say, "No info dumping!" and "Try not to use dialogue tags!" Yet every adult book I've read does both. Now I don't mean pages of backstory. Not at all. But a brief paragraph of who the MC is and how they go where they are is totally common. I've even see the dreaded "My name is..." format. Again, this blew my mind. And no, I'm not doing that. I've been conditioned not to.

So writing for adults is tough for me. I have to remind myself to step back, observe the scene, and give more details than I would to a teenager whose attention span isn't very long. I also need to make sure my characters are all introduced in ways that the reader will remember them from one book to the next, which means reintroducing them in books two, three, four, etc. Again, this is so different for me. But my adult beta readers are telling me this is normal, and from the books I've been reading, they are correct.

The easy things for me are writing characters who are closer to my age. Mine tend to be in the mid/late twenties to early thirties. I know how people this age speak, act, think, etc. Teens can be challenging because they change so much! Adults, not so much. I also think it's fun to write about adults in different professions. I'm exploring some that I've considered but never followed through on for various reasons, and that's kind of amazing. 

In many ways, writing for adults is freeing. I feel like a rebel, breaking rules I've always been told to follow. ;) Who doesn't like to break a few rules, right? And the dialogue and actions come more naturally for me. So yeah, I'm enjoying it, and I think I'll keep writing for adults.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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30. Monday Mishmash 10/24/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. NaNoWriMo  I have decided to officially participate in NaNoWriMo next month. I've unofficially participated in the past, writing a novel in the month of November, but since I have an adult mystery that needs to be written, I'm committing to doing this. Who else will be participating?
  2. Editing  I'm finishing up another client edit this week.
  3. Plotting  I have the research done for my adult mystery, but I need to flesh out my plot before NaNo begins.
  4. Fading Into the Shadows e-ARCs  e-ARCS for my YA paranormal (releasing January 16, 2017) Fading Into the Shadows are being formatted tomorrow! I'm so excited for this book. If you'd like to sign up for an e-ARC, you can do so here.
  5. Cover Reveal Signups  If you're interested in signing up to help me reveal the cover of Fading Into the Shadows on November 16th-18th, you can find the form here. This is a social media cover reveal, so you don't need a blog to participate.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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31. Friday Feature: Don't Fall



In this modern day retelling of Rapunzel, Anya has her books, her photography, and her daydreams. She doesn’t think she needs anything else.

She lives in a house on the edge of town with her adopted mother, who goes to extreme measures to keep her daughter safe. Anya doesn’t even go to school, but instead has a private tutor. Anya tries not to acknowledge her loneliness; she puts her efforts into pleasing her mom, and gives her heart to her stories, secretly wishing for a story of her own.

Then one day at the library, the only place she's allowed to go, she takes a picture of a beautiful boy.

Before long she's lying to her mom, and sneaking out late at night to meet Zander. But Zander wants more than a secret romance. If Anya wants to be with the boy of her dreams, she will have to risk her relationship with the only other person she's ever cared about.

Grab the book on Amazon.

Here's what people are saying:

"It's sweet, it's got a great heart, it's got cute boys, and great books, and was generally just one of those reads that left me sighing happily as I read. Plus, cupcakes--who doesn't like cupcakes?" -Meradeth Houston


"The story is just so sweet and delicious. It's the perfect YA read and a great one for adults to enjoy too. I accepted it as a fairy tale and just enjoyed it. I'm sure anyone who loves YA would enjoy this one too." -Valerie at Stuck in Books

"Rachel Schieffelbein is so good at creating loveable characters and putting them in situations that make me really care what happens to them. It was fun to see how she'd taken the base story of Rapunzel, a girl kept apart from the world and falling in love for the first time, and made it all her own." -Susan Crispell
Rachel grew up in a tiny town in Minnesota. She still lives there with her husband, their four kids, three cats, and a perfectly overweight black lab. She coaches high school speech and theater, rides Arabian horses, reads as much as she can, and writes stories.


*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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32. Writer Wednesday: Coauthor Projects


Today's topic comes from Sheena-Kay. Thanks, Sheena-Kay!

"What do you think of coauthor projects and have you ever or will you ever do one?"

I fully admit that I'm crazy when I draft a book. Honestly, I'd feel sorry for whoever was brave enough to coauthor a book with me. Part of me really thinks it would be fun. I see authors who team up repeatedly to write together, and they appear to be having a blast. But then that other part of me thinks it would drive me crazy to relinquish control of the story and also to have to wait for someone else to get chapters back to me before I could continue.

There are definite benefits though. You have two audiences you are essentially merging. That's double one author's readership. So the marketing possibilities and the reach are greater than an author writing on his/her own. That part has always appealed to me, and I'm sure it always will. You also have someone to travel with to events to promote the book. I like the idea of having another author with me at book signings and speaking events. Furthermore, writing can be lonely at times, but coauthoring certainly isn't. So yeah, there are definite benefits to coauthoring.

Will I ever coauthor a book? Who knows? For now, I'll say I admire those who do.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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33. Monday Mishmash 10/17/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Fading Into the Shadows  I've set some dates for my upcoming mythology-based YA, Fading Into the Shadows. The book will release on January 16, 2017 and the cover reveal will be November 16-18. More info soon. :)
  2. Editing  I have two edits on my plate this week. I'm finishing round three on one and starting another.
  3. Book Events  I really need a master list of every book convention and expo (Do they make one of those?) so I can plan which ones I want to attend in 2017. So far, I'm doing YA Fest in March and my local book expo, which is usually in April.
  4. Revisions  I'm hoping to have some time to work on revising my adult suspense this week.
  5. Proud Mom  Last week, my daughter got to read the morning announcements at school because she was chosen Student of the Month. I got to hear her do the announcements, and I was blown away by how much feeling she puts into reading aloud. She reads aloud at home all the time, and I feel like it's really help her learn tone and inflection. So proud of her. :)
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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34. Friday Feature: Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis



Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion--she's beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as the royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona--that of a vigilante--to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.

Unfortunately her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.

Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.

Grab the book on Amazon.

Jennifer graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. Afterwards, she finally married her best friend and high school sweetheart. Jennifer is currently a full-time writer and mother of three young children. Her days are spent living in imaginary worlds and fueling her own kids’ creativity.


*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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35. Writer Wednesday: Mixing Exercise with Creativity

When I posted that I've been walking while editing, I had no idea it would get such a reaction from people. To clarify, yes, I'm walking on the treadmill WHILE editing on my laptop. My laptop sits all nice and cozy in the magazine holder on my treadmill. I set my speed at 3.2, which is a nice pace for a walk. Not slow, but not power walking.

Now, I know some of you are wondering how I'm doing this since I fully admit to being accident-prone. To be honest, it's not difficult. Typing keeps me in the perfect position on the treadmill so I can't accidentally trip myself and fall, scraping up both knees so bad I have scars. Not that I've ever done that or that my knees are now covered in purple scars. ;)

But seriously, walking while working (either editing or writing) keeps me focused and feeling creative. You know how when writer's block hits and you feel compelled to step away and take a nice long walk to clear your head? Well, I'm essentially clearing my head while continuing to work! And you know how exercise gets your brain working, which makes you feel more creative? See where I'm going with this? It's amazing. I feel so refreshed and focused when I walk while editing or writing.

So I encourage you to try it if you have a treadmill handy. But please do be careful.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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36. Monday Mishmash 10/10/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Thank You!  I want to thank everyone who grabbed a copy of After Loving You during its release week last week. It was such a great release day, and I love you all for it. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, but would like to, you can grab the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Kobo.
  2. After Loving You Blog Tour  This week is the blog tour for After Loving You, hosted by Inkslinger PR. Love them.
  3. Editing  October is a packed month with edits, but I'm loving every second of it. My eyes...not so much.
  4. Walking And Editing  I'm so in love with editing while walking on my treadmill. Why didn't I discover this sooner? I walk three times a day (for a half hour at a time), which keeps me focused and energized to work.
  5. Motley Education Release Day!  Happy release day to S.A. Larsen! Motley Education releases today! Seriously, guys, go grab this book. It's a fantastic middle grade read. I fell in love with it on page one. It's that good, and you can't support an author sweeter than Sheri. Grab your copy here
    Forget having a lively after school social life, Ebony Charmed is fighting to keep the entire afterlife alive.

    Ebony’s less-than-average spirit tracking abilities are ruining more than sixth grade at Motley Junior High: School for the Psychically and Celestially Gifted. Her parents argue so much her dad's moved out. And, even though he’s scared of his own shadow and insists on bringing his slimy, legless lizard everywhere they go, Ebony wouldn’t survive without her best friend, Fleishman.

    When Ebony’s Deadly Creatures & Relics’ project goes missing she learns her missing project is one of the keys to saving the spirit world.

    Now Ebony and Fleishman must battle beasts from Norse mythology to retrieve her project before spirits are lost, the Well of Urd dries up, and Ebony loses all hope of reuniting her family. But someone lies in wait, and he has other plans…including creating a new world of spirits without them in it.

That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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37. Friday Feature: Louder Than Words by Iris St. Clair


I thought I’d hit rock bottom when my dad died.

I was wrong.

I never dreamed my mom would choose drugs and alcohol over me.

I was wrong about that too.

I thought teachers were there to instruct, to guide, to counsel.

Wrong doesn’t begin to describe what nearly happened that last day of my Junior year. Lesson learned; trust is for suckers and actions speak louder than words.

New plan. Keep up my grades, earn a scholarship, tuck into as tight a ball as possible and roll on out of this town and this life. 

But this boy, this Casanova transplant with a funny accent, who’s way too charming to be healthy for a girl... Why won’t he let me be?

I wish I hadn’t let him in on my secrets...well, most of them.

I wish I hadn’t grown to look forward to our daily walks to work.

But mostly, I wish I hadn’t freaked out when he tried to steal a kiss.

Maybe I wouldn’t be parked in the friend zone. Maybe he wouldn’t be dating a girl I loathe. Maybe I wouldn’t be in this hell of wanting what I can’t have but having what I thought I wanted—to be left alone.

Grab the book on Amazon.

A note from the author:
If this story seems like it was ripped from the headlines, there is some truth to that impression.

The year my son began high school, I learned at a parents' booster meeting that an esteemed teacher had been arrested for having a sexual relationship with a student. The teacher's spouse also worked at the high school. Both teachers taught classes in my son's magnet program. The teacher went to jail. A family was torn apart. 

My thoughts, however, were with the student and student body. What led to the affair? Who made the first move and was coercion involved? How did the victim react to the publicity, the criminal charges and trial? What did the other students think and believe? 

Although Louder Than Words is a fictional account, my goal in writing Ellen's story was to use a far too common event as a vehicle to convey strength and courage to readers, especially those whose voices have been hushed by fear, lack of self-confidence or damaged self-esteem.

Thank you for reading!
Iris
Iris St. Clair is the pen name for a long-suffering cubicle worker by day, a Walter Mitty-like dreamer by night.

No matter what genre she writes, she prefers witty, insecure heroines and kind, persistent heroes able to break through to the gooey heart inside.

In high school she was voted most likely to win at Monopoly and Clue, but least likely to throw a ball anywhere near a target. Thank goodness writing requires less hand-eye coordination, punctuation errors notwithstanding.

Iris believes in the two-year "fish or cut bait" dating rule and has a 20+ year marriage and two teenaged sons as proof of concept. She lives, writes, dreams and dances in the rainy Portland, OR area.



*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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38. Writer Wednesday: How to Write Faster

When I announced my release schedule for 2017, it prompted the question "How do you write so fast?" (Thanks for asking Kristin Smith.) I seem to get this question a lot, and I realized that I usually answer it by saying I fast draft. But since the question keeps being posed, I realized my answer up until now hasn't been good enough.

So let me try to explain. My editing schedule tends to fill up very quickly, which means I don't have a lot of time to draft books. I'll get a week or two here and there. Writing "quickly" becomes a necessity. I don't have any other choice. Sometimes I have a log of ideas I haven't yet written and I'll pull one of those out to work on. From there I type as much as possible whenever I can find a few minutes. When I have an editing break, I get the entire school day to write, and I write for the ENTIRE school day. I eat (when I remember) at my laptop, which means I need to eat food that only requires one hand so I can keep typing. I kid you not when I say I'm crazy when drafting. With a capital C. 

Basically, what I've learned is we can train ourselves to adapt. If your schedule requires you to write at ten o'clock at night each night, then do it. You will train your brain to be creative at that time every day. Or if your schedule means a few minutes here and there throughout the day, do it! You will train yourself to be creative on a whim. It does take training though, so when you are struggling, push through. You have to get your brain to that point where it gives in and says, "Fine, let's do this!" So often I tell myself I have to type faster because I have an edit coming in two days and I need to finish the draft first. I'm tough on myself, but that's because I need to be.

So no matter what your schedule is, if you train your brain to be creative when you need it to be, you will be able to write faster.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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39. Monday Mishmash 10/3/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. After Loving You Release Day!  It's finally here! After Loving You is officially out in the world today. You can grab a copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or wherever you prefer to buy your books. 
  2. YA Fest  I'm happy to announce I'll be at YA Fest on March 18, 2017! I'm so excited to be part of this event again. 
  3. Editing  I have a lot of edits on my plate this month. Luckily I really enjoy my clients' work.
  4. October  My favorite month is here. I love the smell of October. Sorry to all you pumpkin lovers, though. I'm not a fan of pumpkin anything, unless it's a pumpkin to put out on display. But hey, that means more for you guys. ;)
  5. Allergies  While I love fall, it doesn't love me. The allergy headaches have begun.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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40. Friday Feature: Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures


Today I'm happy to share a book I've had the pleasure of reading. The story is fun and has a great message. Check out Lizzie & McKenzie's Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid by Dina Tate!


Imagine if all the little girls of the world looked alike. If the Same Glam Goddess gets her way, it can surely happen. McKenzie Rivers, the pint-sized daredevil, and Lizzie Sanders, who loves all things frilly, aren’t afraid of being different. And that’s exactly why Princess Lovina of Exquisite City calls upon them to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. With the aid of their magical lovely lockets and fierce diva weaponry, Lizzie and McKenzie will travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Their first stop is the magical city of Madrid. Lizzie and McKenzie will need help to obtain the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess gets her hands on them. If the crystals are not found, little girls all over the world will remain under the spell of the Same Glam Goddess and will lose their identities forever! Will Lizzie and McKenzie be able to find the crystals, break the spell, and stop the Same Glam Goddess?

Amazon
http://amzn.to/2cLG1VR - Soft/Hardcover

Barnes & Noble
http://bit.ly/2d3atWs Soft/ Hardcover

You can also check out Dina's website at lizzieandmckenzie.com to read the 1st chapter!

Dina Cherice Tate spent her childhood reading, writing short stories, climbing stuff with her six older brothers and becoming a cartoon fanatic, which became the perfect groundwork for writing a chapter book series. Today she is an amateur photographer, traveler and has taken her love of Japanese animation and comics to another level. Dina is an Adjunct Instructor at New York University School of Professional Studies. While fine-tuning her writing skills, she won the Andrea Davis Pinkney Chapter Book Writing Scholarship; The Chapter Book Alchemist - Children’s Book Academy.


*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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41. Writer Wednesday: A New Release Every Two Months?


Now that I'm officially going indie, I can do exciting things like set my own production schedule. Why is this so exciting? Because over the years, I've had to either months between releases or releases stacked so close together it was tough to market my books. No more.

I have 2017 and 2018 mapped out and my release schedule looks like this:
January 
April 
July 
October

That's two months between releases. Will it be tough? Yes! But I think the schedule is going to keep readers happy, and I work better on a schedule so I think I'll be happy too.

Right now, my January 2017 release is so close to being completely finished (and it's only September!). My April release is with my editor, and I'll be polishing up my July release to get that ready for my editor as well. Things are looking good so far. :)

Do you like when authors release books a few months apart?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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42. Monday Mishmash: 9/26/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Only One Week Until After Loving You Releases!  I can't believe October 3rd is almost here! 
  2. Editing  I'm finishing up a client edit this week in time for a new one on October 1st.
  3. Two Work Days With Extended Hours  This week my daughter has student council and chorus after school, so thus begins my longer work hours on Tuesdays AND Wednesdays. 
  4. 2017 Publication Schedule  I'm going to be releasing books every two months in 2017. Stay tuned for more information on that this Wednesday.
  5. Fall!  My favorite season is here! I love the smell of fall, specifically the smell of October. October has been my favorite month all my life. There's something special about it.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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43. Friday Feature: Sundials and White Cats


Thanks so much for hosting me, Kelly.  I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and the folks that follow your blog.  Some of whom I know, some who I look forward to getting to know.

Today, I’d like to mention a few brief facts about white cats.



White cats are unique in the fact that they’re prone to deafness, especially if they’re blue-eyed.  They’re also prone to skin cancer.  In some cultures white cats are considered good luck.

But what do white cats have to do with sundials?   In general nothing, in this particular story it’s the pet that leads the protagonist, Sarah Miles, to discover the sundial.   




He came through time to find her.

As Sarah Miles drives down Eighteenth Street a stranger materializes in front of her car. She throws on her brakes, braces for impact and...drives straight through him. For a brief moment, his voice echoes in her head, "Saura." Then he's gone. Later that day, she discovers the SUNDIAL and her incredible journey through time begins.

Excerpt:
“Meghan, don’t try to come through this, you’ll get scratched. I’m getting the pesky cat and coming out.”

When in trouble, Monet was the pesky cat, the damn cat, or the bad cat.

She walkedover and bent down to pick him up. A flash of color blinded her. She blinked then squinted. For the first time, she saw that Monet had plopped down beside an old sundial.

“Meghan, come here. You’ve got to see this,” she called out.

Meghan gave an exaggerated sigh. “You said not to come in.”

“I’ve found an old sundial. Or rather Monet has.”

“A real one? The rustling began again as Meghan started pushing her way through.

Appears so.” She squatted down to study it. “Looks to be a hundred years old. I bet it’s valuable. You should see the intricate detail. This will make a great piece to paint!”

Words embossed the face of the dial. “There’s writing on it. She read aloud, “Fate cannot be...drat, moss has grown over the rest of the words.”

A wave of superstitious terror washed over Meghan. Suddenly, the pieces all fell into place. And as the old woman prophesied, she believed.

“Sarah, don’t. Get out of there now. Please, Sarah, please,” she cried, her teeth chattering.

What’s wrong with you?

“There’s actuallyheat radiating from it. Surprising, it’s not that warm out.”

“Sarah, please, don’t you remember what the old lady said?” She fought her way throughthe overgrowth, barely feeling the scratches a thorny branch left on her face or the warm blood trickling down her cheek. The thicket conspired to keep her out.

Tears streamed down her face as she pushed at the bracken separating herself and her aunt.

She broke through just as Sarah reached down to brush the moss from the sundial.

“No, Sarah, no,” she screamed.

Later her mind would play the scene over again in slow motion: Sarah’s hand as it reachedout; Monet jumping playfully at her fingers,bringing them both in touch with the sundial; the boom; the jagged streak of white; and then nothing. They were gone, leaving Meghan alone in the clearing with the sundial.


Sundial is on sale for .99 September 19-25 at Amazon.
Sandra writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. The last animal member of the family, a kitten, came hurtling out of the woods in southern Illinois to land at her feet. He made the trek back to North Carolina, with her and her husband, and wasted no time settling into the household.

Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or a latte and enjoying a good book. She's a vegetarian and a Muay Thai enthusiast.


*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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44. Writer Wednesday: Going Indie

I recently made a big decision for my writing career. I've decided to go indie. Why now after I've had many books traditionally published? To be honest, I've been burned too many times in this industry. I know as writers we aren't supposed to talk about this, but I'm going to anyway. I've been burned by both publishers. And it hurts. Really hurts. As writers we put our dreams in the hands of others and sometimes that works out great. I've had some really great experiences. Fantastic support and more than I've ever dreamed possible.

But that isn't always the case. Sometimes your dreams are shattered by the people you thought were going to help you succeed. I will not be naming names because that isn't the point of this post and I choose to focus on those who have helped me succeed and for whom I'm forever grateful. The point of the post is that I finally realized I have to do what's best for me, and right now, that's going indie. I want control over my career. Yes, it's a lot of work. A LOT! But I've worked in this industry long enough that I've been involved in each aspect of publishing, and I believe I'm ready to take on this challenge. And it will be a challenge. I have no doubt about that.

Does this mean I'll never seek a traditional deal again? Of course not. I've learned not to say "never" because it's like tempting the devil. ;) But for now, I'm going indie and I'm really excited about it.

What decision have you made lately that was tough but for the betterment of your career?


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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45. Friday Feature: Tangled Lines


Today I'm happy to share a Leap Books, Seek title I had the pleasure of editing. Take a look at Tangled Lines by Bonnie Doerr.



A string of islands, a knot of criminals, and two teens to untie it. 

High school changes everything for Kenzie Ryan and Angelo Sanchez—especially their relationship. After spending all summer cracking crimes against endangered wildlife in Big Pine Key, Florida, now they barely see each other. Angelo hangs out with a Porsche-driving quarterback and a stunning local “Conch princess” and Kenzie struggles with being a newbie among the Key West cliques. 

But high school drama gets overshadowed when horrific numbers of pelicans are found tortured near the islands where they live. Kenzie begs Angelo to help stop the slaughter, but he refuses until a stunning family secret is revealed. 

When a Sanchez Fish House employee falls under suspicion, the list of suspects explodes, and the discovery of illegal activity exposes Angelo and Kenzie to the same deadly risk faced by the pelicans they are trying to save... 

Bonnie J. Doerr, nature lover and gardener, grew up in western Maryland. Since leaving home, she has lived in eight of the United States. Degrees in reading education, combined with a brief post as a science teacher, led her to write ecological adventure/mysteries. Years of teaching and living in the Florida Keys provided irresistible material. Her books celebrate caring, involved, "green" teens who take action with attitude and a touch of romance. Her work has been honored by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) with a grant for its use in environmental education and has been included in Milkweed Editions literary field guides. She now lives in a log cabin in North Carolina. Island Sting, was released in January 2010 by Leap Books,LLC and was EPIC's 2011 eBook Award winner for outstanding children's book. Stakeout, second in her ecological adventure/mystery series, was a 2011 summer release and one of six finalists for the 2012 YA Green Earth award. Tangled Lines, third in the series, was released August of 2016.

Website: http://www.bonniedoerrbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorbonniejdoerr

*Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

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46. Monday Mishmash 9/12/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Into the Fire Boxset Preorder Only $.99!  My publisher has put the Into the Fire trilogy into a boxset. It's set to release September 20th, but if you preorder it, you can get all three books for only $.99! You have to grab it before September 20th though, so grab it now here
  2. Into the Fire FREE on September 13th!  The deals don't stop! If you aren't sure about spending $.99 for the boxset, you can try Into the Fire absolutely FREE on Tuesday, September 13. Grab it here.
  3. Scholastic Book Fair  I'll be working the Scholastic Book Fair at my daughter's school this week. You know what that means. Books!!!
  4. School Visit  I'm visiting my daughter's fourth grade class on Wednesday to talk about writing. Hopefully I don't embarrass her. ;)
  5. Editing  In addition to the book fair and school visit this week, I have a client edit to work on.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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47. Writer Wednesday: When You Have to Put A Draft On Hold


I used to think there was nothing worse than having to put an unfinished manuscript aside, but I've come to change my mind about this. With my editing schedule, I often have to write in sprints and then put a manuscript away until my next small break between edits. At first I hated this and I'd give up sleep to finish a draft before the next edit landed in my inbox. Not anymore.

I've found that I love returning to an unfinished story. I get fresh ideas about the plot and characters, and knowing I only have half or a quarter of the book left to write is exciting and totally doable on a time restraint. So I'm not stressing anymore. If I have to put a book aside,  I know I'll come back to it.

Do you ever have to put an unfinished draft aside? How do you feel about it?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post. 

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48. Friday Feature: Timeless Cover Reveal


TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal



Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016



TIME IS THE ENEMY

In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.

Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.



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49. Monday Mishmash 9/19/16


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Motley Education Cover Reveal  I'm so excited to share the cover of SA Larsen's upcoming middle grade title through Leap Books. I fell in love with this book and new I needed to acquire it for Leap Books, Seek. Here's Motley Education: 


  2. Editing  I finished one client edit this weekend and now I'm on to the next.
  3. Picture Day  I'm helping out with picture day at my daughter's school tomorrow.
  4. Longer Work Days  My daughter was elected student council class rep and she joined chorus, so my work days are longer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays now since she'll be staying after school for those clubs. I miss her already, but oh the possibilities for more work to be done!
  5. Two Weeks Until After Loving You 

    That's it for me. What's on your mind today?
      

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50. Writer Wednesday: Self-Publishing Costs


With the number of authors moving in the direction of self-publishing, I've decided to share some things you should know before you dive into self-publishing as an option.

First, understand that the costs are all on you. You are the publisher, so you are responsible for editing, cover design, formatting, and promotion. The good news is that you get to make all the decisions and hire the people you want to help you with your book. Let's break down the big costs involved.

Editing:  There are a lot of great editors out there and their rates differ. You have to do your research and find one that's affordable and offering the type of edits you're looking for. Don't skimp on editing though. I'm not just saying that because I'm an editor. I'm saying it because every author (I don't care if you're famous or not) needs an editor.

Cover Design:  Again, there are a ton of designers out there and they all have different prices. Premade covers are also an option, and they are less expensive. The difficult part is finding one that works for your book. Join some Facebook groups for cover design. Designers post covers, sales, and even ask for suggestions for future premades. They're also happy to work with you on custom made covers.

Formatting:  I know a lot of authors who do their own formatting. Print is a pain, but it's not that difficult. You can teach yourself to do it. There are tons of programs to download and convert your file to all the different ebook files, too. Or you can hire a formatter. I hire a formatter for my ebooks and I format my print books myself.

Promotion:  This is the one that makes all our eyes twitch. I have a social media manager, and she's worth way more than her weight in gold. You can hire a publicist or blog tour companies, or you can choose to do the promotional efforts on your own. Just keep in mind they take a lot of time, so plan accordingly. Advertising is available on Facebook, newsletter subscriptions, and book sites. Teaming up with other authors to offer a big giveaway is also great for exposure and it's inexpensive.

Now this is just touching the surface, but I hope it gives you and idea of what to expect when you go into self-publishing. Yes, you will have to put out money, but the good news is that whatever money comes in from sales is all yours. See which efforts work well for you and where you need to focus that money. It took me years, but I taught myself cover design. I'm lucky enough to have a graphic artist for a sister and she bails me out when I can't do something, but you can learn different aspects of this business and lessen costs that way. I've been on both sides of publishing, and I've made it a point to learn every step along the way. The experience has been so valuable.


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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