Born Of Fire, my channeler short is FREE on Amazon and B&N! Dragon Seer, my Dragon Empire short is FREE on B&N and here is the Kindle version.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Worth Their Weight In Gold

During the editing process for my historical romance, I've realized a great agent is worth their weight in gold~and then some. I've been agented before with other books and I've had good feedback that improved the novels they represented. But this time around, with these outstanding agents, it's different. Their suggestions are transforming this novel into something that brings tears to my eyes in the most wonderful way as it transforms beneath my fingers. Their suggestions come from a deep, content level that makes it clear they are truly invested in the characters and the story. And they don't stop at just one round.

Looking back at the first version of this novel and seeing how far it has already come with their help floors me. Even more exciting, is looking forward knowing how much farther it will still go, and how much more polished and honed to perfection it will become. This is something I could have never done on my own because I'm too close to the story to look at it the way they can. I love my critique partners and my freelance editors and they are invaluable, but my agents are improving my work in ways even those cherished people couldn't. The ways I mean are those that will help my book survive the market. Does that make any of the links in my chain to getting published any less important? No. But it does make me realize how important the link of an exceedingly good agent (or two) is.

I'm truly blessed to have found the right agents who believe in my career and my work enough to help me be all that I can be. And to think, I was ready to throw in the towel in the traditional publishing ring and stop looking. Writers, you should never stop looking for that perfect match because what the right agent can do for you, is beyond your greatest imaginings.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Big News...Third Time's A Charm

Like many writers, my road to publishing has been more of a climb along a lava flow than a stroll down a country road (if you've ever walked down a lava flow you know what I mean, if not, careful when you try it, you may break an ankle. Seriously). I've written several novels and have had two different agents on two different occasions, for two different novels. My first agent, whom I had my very first book with, ended up retiring from the business after only sending it out to a few people. We parted on good terms but that manuscript has since been put in a drawer.

The second fork in my road was longer. It was the fourth manuscript I'd written and I landed an agent who helped me polish it up a bit and sent it out to editors. The timing was all wrong though as they had filled their paranormal lists and passed on it, though many enjoyed it. Then the literary market crash occurred and my second agent cut back on his clients who hadn't sold. Again I was to part ways with my agent. I cannot express how heartbreaking and discouraging it is to have that happen a second time. For a long time I feared I would have to give up on my dream. But I didn't stop writing or working to improve.

Nine manuscripts after that very first one, I finally felt as though I had a novel that was right for the commercial market again. I took it to the RT Book Lover's Convention in New Orleans this past spring. It did beyond my wildest dreams. Every agent and editor I pitched it to requested at least a partial, and it placed second in the RT Author Idol Contest, earning me a mentorship with the fabulous Louise Fury of the Bent Agency and Nicole Risciniti of the Seymour Agency. Even more amazing, Louise and Nicole offered dual representation! I still feel like I've stepped into some lucky person's life. This stuff does not happen to me. Seriously, I've been at this for YEARS and I've never been that lucky writer that shines at such events.

The key (for those writers out there wondering) is that I never stopped learning, improving, and dreaming. I worked hard at it and I never gave up. But the work isn't over. Now it's time to edit this baby into something amazing and get ready to present it to editors. And as for the learning, well, that is never over.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Researching Leads to Inspiration

I love doing research because it leads to inspiration for me. Sometimes it's a new chapter that I hadn't planned on, or an entire new book idea that springs up. History in particular is a subject that I love, but not just any history. I like to find the stories that haven't been told, things that were covered up by the conquerors.

While researching recently I was struck with an idea for a novel but it was set in a time period that is so overdone that I myself cringe at the thought of reading anything set in that era. But, there remains a story that is untold and that drew me in like a moth to a flame. Still, I wanted the idea itself to be unique, not just the story. Editing another book as I am, I put thoughts of the story aside to work on later.

Photo Credit: Dwayne Johnson
But my muse had other plans. He woke me in the middle of the night (Did I mention this is how I picture my muse? He's very demanding. You don't say no to a man like that.) and inspired me with a beautiful, original idea. So I was up half the night jotting down notes. Then of course my dreams were all centered on the story, bringing the people within it to life and even more ideas to the table. This leaves me with no choice but to start outlining or the idea will drive me crazy. How about you, does inspiration ever keep you up at night? And do you find inspiration from research?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Editing Outside One's Comfort Zone

I have longed for someone to push me to help my manuscript be the best it can be. Finally, I have that. As many of you know, I have the wonderful good fortune to now be mentored by agents Nicole Resciniti and Louise Fury thanks to the RT contest that I placed in. They are taking me in directions I would have never thought to go, to new horizons that I didn't think I could achieve. It isn't easy, but that's all right. I didn't expect it to be.

One of the biggest lessons I'm learning is to revise outside of my comfort zone to help transform my manuscript into the very best it can be. I'm also learning to look at the industry, what readers desire, and what genre dictates to help guide me. Don't get me wrong, I am not fitting my manuscript into a mold. But I am looking at each part of the big picture and approaching my writing from a business perspective, not just an emotional one. This is possible one of the hardest things for us writers to do, but it's also one of the most important.

By adopting this new perspective I'm thrilled to say that it has freed me when I didn't even realize I was holding back. I'm diving into this revision with my eyes wide open and my comfort zones tossed aside. It has given me a sort of fearlessness, a confidence that yes, I can do this.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Series from Karen Amanda Hooper!



Karen Amanda Hooper, author of two of my favorite series, The Kindrily series and The Sea Monster Memoirs, is releasing a new series, Virtual Arcana.
Today, we’re helping her reveal the cover...

Karen says: “I love the cover because it represents the story so perfectly—a blend of old-fashioned and techy, romance and magic, reality and illusion, The Notebook meets The Matrix (with a sprinkling of The Giver). Some friends saw an early sneak peek and asked if the girl was real or a CGI (computer-generated image).  That put a huge smile on my face because that is the perfect question for this series.” *insert mischievous smile here*

Karen gives huge thanks to friend and talented cover designer, Steve Graham of  the INFINITY CREATIVE (www.TheInfinityCreative.com) for making her virtual reality-esque vision a beautiful reality.

Virtual Arcana will release this fall serial style, meaning short episodes (averaging 15-20k) will be published frequently (official schedule TBA), instead of waiting 6-12 months between each long book in a trilogy.
Each episode will be named after one of the major arcana cards of a tarot deck.

Season 1- Episode List

0- The Fool
1-The Magician
2-The High Priestess
3-The Empress
4-The Emperor
5-The Hierophant
6- The Lovers

Karen says: “It’s an experiment for me as an author and for my readers. If Virtual Arcana develops a good following I’ll continue with season 2 and 3. That would mean 22 total episodes, one for each of the 22 major arcana tarot cards.”

Summary of Virtual Arcana:

In a faraway future, Kelsey Zellar is starting her senior year at yet another school thanks to her twin sister’s troublesome obsession with outlawed virtual reality games.

Every school they’ve ever attended is pretty much the same: lunchroom drama, rich kids binging on enhancement candies, and classmates rallying for or against the government’s strict control over everything from entertainment privileges to caffeine consumption.

Unlike her sister, Kelsey follows the rules and keeps her nose out of trouble and politics while sniffing out her next flavored latte and favorite novel. But when Kelsey meets a charming book connoisseur, and accepts his offering of a tarot card, she takes the first step toward two new addictions: the guy of her dreams, and his illegal dealing of virtual escapes into her beloved storybooks.

Kelsey straddles the worlds of fiction and reality, but is she a fool for believing in her own happy ending?
Karen says: “I realize some of my readers don’t/won’t care for episodic storytelling, so of course there will be the option to wait until the first season is complete and read all the episodes straight through as one full-length novel. But I wanted to offer my new series as a serial for those readers who dislike waiting so long to read more.”

To celebrate, Karen is giving away EIGHT ebooks of the first episode: The Fool.
Open internationally.
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.


Karen Hooper writes young adult paranormal and fantasy, and is the author of The Kindrily series and The Sea Monster Memoirs. She is currently sunning and splashing around Florida with her two beloved dogs. She’s addicted to coffee, chocolate, and complicated happily-ever-afters.

You can find her at www.KarenAmandaHooper.com .

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Christine Fonseca's Collide Release Celebration

I'm very excited to be celebrating the release of my friend Christine Fonseca's latest novel. This is one you won't want to miss. Read on for an excerpt and a contest!
What if psychic warfare is real???


Christine Fonseca's latest action-packed, heart-pounding thriller COLLIDE, explores the world of psychic warfare with a new twist!


The most dangerous secrets are the ones that kill.

When a surprising mental breakdown draws too much attention from a secret government group call the Order, 17-year-old Dakota discovers that her so-called boring life isn’t so boring after all. Between the lies, secrets and assassins out to kill her family, Dakota discovers there’s more to paranormal activity than ghosts and cheap mind tricks. Now she must uncover the truth before a new breed of terrorism takes everything away – including her life.

AMAZON  |  iTUNES  |  BARNES & NOBLE   | KOBO

Early Praise:
"Collide is a fast moving, suspenseful thriller full of twists and turns around every bend. An action packed read that will have your heart slamming in your chest and your mind racing until the end."
- Brooke DelVecchio, the Cover Contessa - blogger/reviewer

And here is a little teaser:




Get your copy of COLLIDE today! Only $2.99.


Quick and Easy Tweets:

New Release! COLLIDE by chrstinef The most dangerous secrets are the ones that kill!!! #Thriller #Suspense #Paranormal #YA http://ow.ly/yOsw4

There's more to paranormal activity than cheap mind tricks in COLLIDE. #Newrelease by @chrstinef #YA #paranormal http://ow.ly/yOsIC

Christine Fonseca, exploring humanity one story at a time.

Critically acclaimed and award-winning author of YA novels and nonfiction, Christine is dedicated to helping people of all ages find their own unique voice in our noisy world. She crafts psychological thrillers, sweeping romances and self-help books that explore the darker aspects of humanity with hope and authenticity. A love lover of books, lattes, and family, Christine is passionate about the world and believes that all things are possible when we work together. Find out more about Christine, her books, and her passion for life at http://christinefonseca.com.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE:

What's a party without a celebration, right? So, I have a little giveaway to celebrate. Check out the wonderful NEW releases from other Indie author buds of mine, as well as the SIGNED PAPERBACKS and a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card I'm giving away. I'll tell you, it is an extravaganza to be sure!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What Makes An Agent Fabulous?

When I was researching clients of the agents who asked for my work at RT, I came across a lot of authors who said they were 'repped by the fabulous' so and so. It made me wonder what made them fabulous. Was it excited newly repped authors, or something deeper? After pitching to the agents and receiving requests from several of them, it turned out it was much deeper. What makes an agent perfect for an author is different for every pair but there were enough consistencies that revealed what made them 'fabulous' to me.

Sitting at coffee with two such fabulous agents, and listening to them talk about their clients who were preparing for the big book fair happening two floors above, I heard some things that really made me smile. One of the agents was concerned that one of her clients didn't have a stylus for the eBook signing. She had looked everywhere, even went to the shop across the way to try and find one. The other agent said she could borrow hers if need be. Very fabulous-worthy.

Another key element I noticed was that agents whose authors said they were fabulous had a higher tendency to tweet regarding their authors and their books, list them on their personal websites, and basically rave about them on all their social media. In this industry exposure is everything and when an author's agent is willing to go that extra mile and shout out for them, it can make a difference. Pretty fabulous indeed.


The channeler series trailer: