Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

Happy New Year everybody!
I hope 2011 brings you all you hope for in writing and personal goals.
See you next year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am an E-Reader now!

I am finally an official e-reader! Yep, I got a Kindle for Christmas and  I absolutely love it. I've already downloaded two books (not including my own book, Do You?, in e-format) and I started reading last night. And here it is, here's a picture of my baby, my new kindle.

So will I continue to buy paper books? You bet! Some books I will need to have in my collection as actual books, my favorites. And as I've mentioned before, I love bookstore and I cannot spend time in a bookstore without buying something, and usually its more than just something. Remember that trip where I came out with two huge bags of books? Exactly! 

So what did I download so far to the Kindle? Well, this is the coolest part. I was able to download a copy of Midnight Sun from Stephenie Myer's website. You know, Twilight from Edward's perspective. Since someone had pirated the book before it was complete, Stephenie decided to make the draft available to fans. So that's what I'm reading now.

The Unsuspecting Mage: Book One of The Morcyth SagaThe other book I have waiting for me is The Unsuspecting Mage by Brian S. Pratt. This guy's personal story is amazing and I HAD to download his book to see what all the hubbub is about. Here's a blurb about Brian's success from Smashwords founder Mark Coker.
"...Pratt began publishing with Smashwords in early 2009. His first quarterly royalty payment was $7.82. While most authors would find that number discouraging, Pratt was encouraged. It was a start.
In the quarters since, Pratt’s earnings have grown, and in recent quarters he’s become a veritable breakout success. Last quarter, he earned over $18,000 from sales across the Smashwords retail distribution network. This quarter, with three weeks to go, he’s on track to break $25,000. He’s on track to earn over $100,000 in 2011 at Smashwords, and up to $200,000 total when he includes his projected Amazon sales."
Here's a link to the full article on Teleread if you're interested: Smashwords Author Brian S. Pratt to Earn over $100,000 in 2011

And there are so many more books I want to add to my Kindle. Squee - I am super excited!

Products mentioned:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review - Matched

I originally bought this book for one simple reason, the author, Ally Condie, got a seven figure deal for three books and  I was curious - what kind of books can garner such a deal? And now that I've read it, I know why. Not only is this first book intriguing, but it is also well-written. I couldn't put it down. The characters are well-defined, the society, which at first appears perfect, is gradually revealed as a dystopian tyranny that is starting to lose its grip on its citizens.

And yes, there's romance, but so well done. It's not like a lot of YA stories where its more about the extent of the passion that can fit between the pages, here the affection is subtle, because this is a forbidden romance by the ruling body.

Matched will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games with less of the overt violence and more elements of carefully crafted romance and  rebellion.

I highly recommend this book for all ages of YA and as an adult crossover.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What Are You Looking to Accomplish in 2011?

The countdown is on to the new year - what are you most hoping to accomplish in 2011?

For me, this is the year to sign with an agent and start the inital stages of publication. I'm just putting it out there into the universe, calling it into being. My revisions are nearly complete on my current manuscript and I feel really good about the novel as a whole. Once its ready, then I will polish the pitch and start submitting. I also anticipate finishing revisions on my next manuscript, the one I started during NaNoWriMo. So I plan on 2011 being a big year. So what about you, what's your focus for 2011?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Judging Books by Their Covers

CBS' Sunday Morning did a segment last weekend entitled, Judging Books by Their Covers. I thought I'd share the link: Judging Books by Their Covers

A book cover's image can be worth a thousand words - and more, if it entices you to buy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Book Are You Most Anticipating for 2011?

I have one book at the top of my list, but what book are you most anticipating for 2011?

Across the Universe

For me it's Across The Universe by Beth Revis. I mean how can it not be on the top of the list, have you read the first chapter?!

So what about you - do you have a book that you just can not wait to read in the new year?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cool Product - AquaNotes

How many of you have had major epiphanies in the shower? I mean the kind that pulls all of your story plotlines together. 

me! me! me!

But then by the time the shower is done, you have to scramble to jot down all the ideas before you lose them. So what if you could jot them down while you're in the shower? 

Well have you guys seen this? This is the coolest thing ever...a waterproof notepad that you can keep in the shower. Oh boy do I want one of these!

Write It!

"AquaNotes® is a waterproof notepad that allows you to record your great ideas while you're in the shower. It's so durable you can even write underwater. They're recyclable, environmentally friendly, and the notepad is printed with soy-based ink." - as quoted from the AquaNotes website

What a cool idea!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Revisions and My Cat

I'm working on revisions for page 127 of my manuscript, and my cat, Felix, is keeping me company. Isn't he just the cutest writing mascot every?!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Have You Ever Wondered?

Have you ever read a book that was a bestseller and wondered why?

Or better yet, have you ever read a book that wasn't a best seller and wondered why not?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book Review - No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon

No Mercy (Dark-Hunter)This was my first Sherrilyn Kenyon book so I didn't know what to expect as far as story and writing style, and immediately found myself immersed in a world of paranormal romance & urban fantasy. No Mercy is a New York Times & USA Today Bestseller.

Here's my take on some of the Pros and Cons as a first time reader of the Dark Hunter series.
Pros: I enjoyed the attraction between Dev & Sam and found myself wanting more of that element of the story. The sexual tension is well-done and its nice to see a strong female character in the lead role.
Cons: There were moments in the story that I felt were rushed and could have been explored in more detail. I also found it hard to keep track of so many characters with such varied and complex backgrounds, but since this story is an offshoot of so many other stories, followers of Ms. Kenyon's work would probably not have the same issue.

As a side note, I found the author's story inspiring. To see someone who has been able to rise above the challenges and prove the naysayers wrong gives the rest of us hope that its possible. And for that, eventhough this book has not made it onto my favorites list, I would pick up another of her stories in the future.

Note: This book is not for younger readers as there is strong sexual content.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Contest Alert - Writers Digest Poetry Awards

Only a couple days left before the deadline of the 2010 Writers Digest Poetry Awards. So if you've got some poetry sitting in a drawer and nowhere to send it, maybe consider this contest.

A trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City, $500 cash, publication in Writer’s Digest, and a copy of the 2011 Poet’s Market. Enter the only Writer’s Digest competition exclusively for poets. Whatever your style—rhyming, free verse, haiku or something else—as long as your poems are 32 lines or fewer, we want them all!
For more information, or to enter the contest, go to:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Anatomy of Discovering New Books & Authors - Advertising to Purchase

Anatomy of Discovering New Books & Authors - how do you find the books you add to your reading list?
Precious and Fragile Things 
This is going to be a recurring segment in my quest to better understand the ways that books make it to their readers. As a prolific reader myself, what better way to understand this then to analyze how I discover new authors and books that make it to my reading list.

So, I opened my email this morning and discovered an ad from Publishers Weekly, dedicated to a book called Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart.

Here's a copy of the ad:
I had never heard of the book or of its author. The first thing that caught my attention was the cover. It was beautiful and haunting and drew me in. The type & title suggested a story that might interest me. I wanted to know more. So I read the blurb in the ad. Interesting. I clicked the link to read an excerpt and was immediately brought to Megan Hart's website which led me to a longer blurb about the book. I liked the premise, sounded like an interesting storyline, I was curious to see how this story might play out. I clicked the link to read an excerpt.  I liked the writing style, and the excerpt help to illustrate the relationship between the two main characters. And that's where I was hooked. Once I read the excerpt I knew I wanted to get the book. From there I clicked the link to find out where the book could be purchased and found that it's not out until January but available for preorder. And the book is now on my "to read" list.  

So from advertisement to ordering, this book had just the right things in-between to give me, as a reader, what I needed to want to read this book. Without the proper blurb, or even without the excerpt, I think I might have said "interesting" but maybe not taken it to "must-read". This was an important lesson in understanding how every little portion of a book's online presence (and even the book cover and writing style) are so important in attracting readers.

In addition to adding the book to my reading list, I even posted a link on twitter and added the book to Goodreads. And I'm talking about the book here. So that's advertising dollars that are going even further. And that's the kind of perpetual marketing an author wants. That's the kind of marketing that even an advertisement can't track, but is so important in getting the word out to as many potential readers as possible.

To order from Amazon: Precious and Fragile Things

Monday, December 06, 2010

Books - Cornerstones Of Our Life

I was perusing my bookshelves the other day, and my eyes stopped at two books sitting side-by-side, the earliest books in my collection, ones I've had since I was little. My parents used to read Aesop's Fables to me; it's the only book I remember hearing as a child, and as you can see from the picture below, it's worn and falling apart. And now I've started reading it to my son. It's stories continue. The other book is called "The Lord Is My Shepherd". This book was a great comfort to me during some difficult challenges in my childhood. Religious or not, the book on its own has been important to me. And I now pass down its messages to my son as well.

Great stories and sentimental value, these books are cornerstones of my life. And isn't that another element of what books offer, they are like stops on a timeline of life. Each book can store memories that we instill into it because of what was happening to us at the time of its reading. And if we pass the stories on to our children, and lessons and memories along with it, then we connect the dots between the present and the past.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Book Review - Torment

Torment by Lauren Kate
Torment (Fallen)
This is the second book in the Fallen series. In this book we are still left with many unanswered questions about Luce and her true part in the struggle for good and evil. And it seems we'll have to wait for the third book (Passion, released Summer 2011) to finally get some of the important questions answered.

In Torment, Luce is moved to a new school for her own protection. We see less of Daniel here as he is off protecting Luce from those who are trying to kill her. In his absence, Luce develops a strong friendship with a new character, Miles as well as other new characters from the new school. Luce is curious about her past and in her quest to learn about her past lives, she makes some decisions that affect her safety and the safety of the friends that surround her. The Announcers play a larger role in this book as well.

Overall I enjoyed the book although the pacing slowed down a bit in the middle. The battle towards the end was done really well and the way it was resolved was very creative.

I'm looking forward to book three.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Publication - Dying, On The Snow

Woo-hoo! I'm so excited! My Poem "Dying, On The Snow" has been published in the literary journal, Dark Eye Glances. For those curious to read my write-up in the journal and read the poem, here's the link.

Dark Eye Glances logo

Dark Eye Glances is a quarterly literary magazine of dark poetry. To read the works of other poets in this issue, click here.