November 12, 2012

The Tour Goes On!

Have you been keeping up with the Infraction blog tour? Just hop over to the Appearances page to see which blogs have featured Infraction so far. You can read guest posts, excerpts, reviews, and enter to win an ebook of The Burn if you haven't started the series yet. The tour has been fun so far so come along for the ride!

November 04, 2012

The Infraction Blog Tour

The blog tour for Infraction kicks off today, starting with a meet 'n' greet at the Reading Addiction blog. Hop on over to enter a giveaway of The Burn (so you can get caught up on the series!) and check out the other blogs on the tour. You can also check out my Appearances page for the list of tour stops.

November 01, 2012

Infraction: It's Here!

I'm excited to share the next chapter in Terra's adventure on the Burn with you. The ebook is available on Amazon (for Kindle and Kindle apps) and Smashwords (all ebook formats). It is available as a paperback through Amazon and CreateSpace. It will be available as an ebook at other ebook retailers in a few weeks, and I'll post those links when it happens.

Buy the ebook at Amazon or Smashwords.
Buy the paperback at Amazon or CreateSpace.

Get reading, and enjoy!

p.s. The Infraction blog tour starts on November 4th. I'll have the schedule posted on my Appearances page if you'd like to follow along!

October 31, 2012

The Burn and Infraction Giveaway: Winner Announced

To celebrate the release of Infraction, I'm giving away an ebook of both The Burn (so you can catch up if you haven't read it yet!) and the sequel, Infraction, as part of the Dystopian Giveaway Hop.

Just fill out the rafflecopter form, and be sure to check out the other great blog and prizes being offered in the giveaway hop! (Just click Read More below the rafflecopter form.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 29, 2012

Infraction: Chapter One

Only 3 more days until Infraction is released! I can't believe it's almost here. (Though if you're like some of my readers, this day has taken way too long to get here!) Good things come to those who wait, so to reward your patience, here is the first chapter. Enjoy :)

Read the first chapter of Infraction.

October 12, 2012

Infraction: What It's All About

Only two and a half weeks until Infraction is released. I promised more content as release date came closer, only I've had a cute little interruption to the schedule: our littlest girlie was born on October 1st, and life with a newborn is beautiful but chaotic. But now things are getting more under control, so here is the latest snippet: The synopsis. Enjoy, and get excited!

Violent nomads. The coming winter. Jack's unspoken feelings. Leaving the relative peace of the settlement is more difficult than Terra ever imagined. But what she should fear most is the government that professes to protect its citizens. Imprisoned in a labor camp, Terra learns just how much the corrupt regime wants absolute control. Never has she felt more powerless to act. But there's always the call of the ocean, and her captors just might underestimate how powerful that call can be.

September 25, 2012

The Cover Reveal!

Infraction is a little over a month from release time, and you know what that means. There will be sneak-peek content popping up around here. Look for the first chapter, excerpts, giveaways, and the schedule for the Infraction Blog Tour in the following weeks.

But the first glimpse? The cover!

Get excited. We're almost there!

(Thanks to Renee Barratt for once again making a cover that captures my book.)

September 05, 2012

Reading Clean Giveaway: Winners Announced

Welcome to my blog for this part of the Reading Clean Giveaway Hop. I was so glad to sign up for a giveaway hop devoted to clean reads. I don't think there's nearly enough options out there.

Since all of my reads are clean reads, you can enter to win one of three prize packs, which includes an ebook of each of my novels. Just fill out the rafflecopter form below the book descriptions. Also be sure to click Read More below the form for all the other great blogs giving away clean reads!

The Burn is full of nuclear fallout, roving gangs, anarchy, unreliable plumbing. That's what Terra's father tells her. She has lived her whole life in comfort in a colony at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. She hates it. And she would pay any price to leave. But when Terra finally escapes the colony, she finds out her father is right. She finds a group of survivors that quickly become friends, and every day with them is a race for survival. When she witnesses and commits unspeakable acts, she has to decide where her loyalty lies: with the colony she despises or the Burn, where every day is filled with nightmares.

After her mother dies, Elowyn Challis would do anything to bury the pain, but being shipped off to boarding school isn't what she had in mind. Things could be worse. Wyn finds a place for herself in the academy and living in the capital is just sparkling. But under it all, her mother's death still haunts her. Then Wyn discovers a secret that changes everything she believes: the bedtime stories her mother told her as a child are real, the faerie realm exists, and she is the Binderthe one mortal on earth with the power to seal the gate to Fae. It's a power Wyn's not sure she wants or can even wield. But she must confront her nightmares and her grief, or two worlds will be torn apart.

Neram has been raised alone by her mother, an outcast and unwanted. While Neram struggles with day-to-day life in her own village, the land of Vallorn crumbles around her as all the magic drains from the world. Then Neram finds the last dragon, and she knows her life will never be the same. But when she learns she is half-sister to the dragon, she must choose—save her village or save Vallorn; embrace the dragon inside her or lose what matters most forever.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 26, 2012

What's in a Name?

Well, quite a bit actually. Some of the feedback from my beta readers made me ponder the title of The Reaping. One wasn't quite sure how well it matched the story, and so I started thinking about other names and thought about how attached I was to the title I picked (which honestly started as a working title, but stuck). After thinking and brain-storming and discussing, I am pleased to bring you the new title for the sequel to The Burn:


It's an intense, loaded word, and with what goes on in this story, there are so many infractions against so many people on so many levels. So there you go. I hope that's a tantalizing teaser for you, and I just think it's a great snippet of good things to come.

August 23, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

I've gotten the feedback from my beta readers, so I've been working on my next draft of The Reaping. Can I say I love my beta readers? It's so nice to know I'm not writing in a vacuum. Sometimes it feels that way, and getting outside opinions is an enormous help.

One of the best advice for this book from one of my beta readers is to eliminate most of my adverbs. As I've been reading and rereading my draft, I realized that oh boy do I ever love my adverbs! So I've been cutting and cutting and hacking away. I've left some, but most of them have now seen the bloody end of my vicious red pen.

One of the more choice examples that I've eliminated?

"quietly whispers"

Seriously? Oh, yes, it was in there. Not only is it redundant, but a perfect example of a useless adverb. Does a reader really have to be told that a whisper is quiet? No I trust you, my lovely readers, to know that a whisper isn't a shout. What was I thinking?

But that's why beta readers are essential and wonderful. Getting someone else's eyes looking at my work helps me take a step back and see it more objectively. So here's to more adverb slashing!

August 11, 2012

An Olympic-sized Addiction

So we've watched the Olympics almost all day today. I had a doctor's appointment this morning, I made some peach jam and granola, hubby played with the girls (they love Saturdays when Dad is home all day long), but in it all, the Olympics was playing.

My oldest girlie saw rhythmic gymnastics for the first time and was enthralled. The last event was with the ribbon-wand-thingie (I'm definitely not an expert when it comes to rhythmic gymnastics. Incidentally, neither is hubby, who called the clubs "spoons."), and my girl had to have her own ribbon wand. So my adorable husband got her princess wand and attached some crepe paper to the end. She twirled and danced and thought she was the most beautiful thing in the world, which she pretty much was.

Then I started thinking about the closing ceremonies tomorrow. Sure, I haven't gotten nearly enough sleep the past two weeks, or nearly enough writing done, or nearly enough housework done. But I'm going to miss it. It's probably a good thing the Olympics (summer and winter) only come around every two years, because I'm such a slacker when they're on. But I'm sure going to miss them.

Especially now that my girls are big enough to really enjoy them with us. It just makes my day when my two-year-old comes running and asks for "Lympics?"

August 07, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop: Winners Announced

 Thanks for stopping by this leg of the Young Adult Giveaway Hop, hosted by Reading Teen and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win one of three ebooks of Bound by Annie Oldham.

After her mother dies, Elowyn Challis would do anything to bury the pain, but being shipped off to boarding school isn't what she had in mind. Things could be worse. Wyn finds a place for herself in the academy and living in the capital is just sparkling. But under it all, her mother's death still haunts her. Then Wyn discovers a secret that changes everything she believes: the bedtime stories her mother told her as a child are real, the faerie realm exists, and she is the Binderthe one mortal on earth with the power to seal the gate to Fae. It's a power Wyn's not sure she wants or can even wield. But she must confront her nightmares and her grief, or two worlds will be torn apart.

Also be sure to check out the linky below the form for more great prizes and blogs.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 03, 2012

3 Main Character Types That Drive Me Nuts

As I've been working on several projects these days, I've been contemplating the female protagonist, because--let's face it--the main character in every one of my books thus far has been a girl. Probably because males are a mystery to me. I'm married to one, I have a father, I have a brother, I interact with guys, but they're just not what I know. And a rule of writing? Write what you know. I definitely know about being a girl :)

So many books I read these days (and I'm applying this general stereotype to YA fiction since I don't read a lot else) have flawed female protagonists. I'm fine with flawed. After all, I've never met a person who's perfect. But there are some female protagonists that just drive me nuts. Absolutely and completely. For example:

The Robot Warrior. See Amanda Hocking's Hollowland (if you're not too squeamish about the zombie violence, because it's pretty gory). Remy is so tough and so driven that I had a hard time relating to her. Especially when she decides to abandon a friend who had been attacked by zombies and barely gave it a second thought, but then two seconds later decides to adopt a lion she finds along the way. Because, you know, lions are basically great big kittens and she couldn't bear to leave it behind. Wait, what? Sure, the lion makes a great sidekick, so I could look past it. But Remy hardly gets a tender moment.

The Damsel in Distress. See Twilight. Sure I got sucked into these books and couldn't put them down for days. They're entertaining and Stephenie Meyer tells a great story. But when it was all said and done, I thought, "Good thing Edward/Jacob are there. Bella would be toast a thousand times over." She was a moper and pretty much helpless.

The Indecisive Girl. See The Hunger Games. Sure, Katniss could fire an arrow and outwit/outlast/outplay an arena full of blood-thirsty kids, but could she pick a boy to save her life? I know it was all in the name of the "love triangle." Peeta and Gale were both such great characters. They should have run as far as they could when they saw her coming. It was like a train wreck and they just couldn't look away.

The funny thing about these books? I really enjoyed them. They were entertaining to read. So it's a tribute to the authors that they could make highly readable books.

What kinds of characters drive you crazy?

July 18, 2012

Vacation Reads Giveaway Hop: Winners Announced

At this leg of the giveaway hop, you can enter to win one of three ebooks of Bound! Here's a few details about the book:

After her mother dies, Elowyn Challis would do anything to bury the pain, but being shipped off to boarding school isn't what she had in mind. Things could be worse. Wyn finds a place for herself in the academy and living in the capital is just sparkling. But under it all, her mother's death still haunts her. Then Wyn discovers a secret that changes everything she believes: the bedtime stories her mother told her as a child are real, the faerie realm exists, and she is the Binderthe one mortal on earth with the power to seal the gate to Fae. It's a power Wyn's not sure she wants or can even wield. But she must confront her nightmares and her grief, or two worlds will be torn apart.

Just enter using the rafflecopter form below. Also be sure to check out the linky list after the form for some other great book blogs and prizes. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

July 13, 2012


When hubby and I first moved to Phoenix, I started hearing crazy talk about monsoon. And I immediately thought, "What? There's a monsoon season in Phoenix? Doesn't that only happen in, like, the Sahara?"

To which I was told: "Monsoon implies season. It's just monsoon. Though you can call them monsoon storms. And yes, we have a rainy season. It starts in July."

So after I stopped the redundancy, I started really looking foward to it, because it was only a month or two away. Lower temperatures? Yes, please. Lots of rain, you betcha. Thunder and lightning, bring it on. I was born and raised in Ohio, and we had some pretty spectacular thunderstorms. After going to school in a desert (Utah), then moving to more desert (Phoenix), I was quite ready for some rain. And cooler weather.

Now monsoon has rolled around again, and it's only (gasp!) 88 degrees right now, cloudy, and rainy. Yup, it's humid and my hair is so frizzy I don't know how I ever lived in a humid climate before. Funny...I don't remember my hair ever frizzing growing up. Maybe my hair is just too used to the dry now. But frizzy hair aside...

I love monsoon, and I love the clouds. The rainy season needs to come around more often.

July 07, 2012

Enforced Phobia

So hubby and I took the girlies to the Ronald McDonald magic show at the library a few days ago. (As a side note, I love the Chandler Public Library. This summer they've had great free activities for the kids.) Ronald was there, did a few tricks, did a few gags, talked about loving to read, got my girls smiling and laughing, so it was a winner in my book.

The thing that I really liked watching? Seeing which kids were going to grow up to have a fear of clowns. There's a -phobia word for that, though I can't remember at the moment what it is. The thing that was the most interesting to watch? Which parents made their kids suffer through it and which parents took their kids out. I mean, if my child were hysterical and covering her ears and crying and begging to be taken out, I would find the nearest exit. For her sanity as well as mine.

Do some parents want their kids to be afraid of clowns? Maybe they're the parents who are in fact afraid of clowns themselves and need to pass that fear on to the next generation. Who does that to a child?

Which brings to mind the old saying that the only way to overcome your fear is to face it. Which in most cases is a load of hooey. But some people just don't believe that.

July 04, 2012

Let Freedom Ring

I went to a flag raising ceremony and pancake breakfast this morning at my church. I love the 4th of July. Looking around me at my friends that were also there, I love the sense of belonging we all have to this great country. More importantly, I love the principles that this nation was founded under, the principles that great men gave their lives for.

We are one nation, under God.

Happy Fourth of July!

July 03, 2012


Hubby is handy with just about everything. It's been something I've forever been grateful for ever since I married him. Car needs an oil change? He's happy to do it. Need ceiling fans installed in our house when we moved in? He's up in the attic feeding wires and cutting holes and voila! Ceiling fans. Need bunk beds because we have a baby on the way and my two girls will be sharing a room in a matter of months? No problem. He comes home from Harbor Freight and Home Depot with the tools and the wood to do it.

(Which, by the way, is a fabulous solution, because Craig's List was just not forthcoming with the bunk beds. Why do people think their junk is worth so much money? Ugly junk, too.)

And while I think that all this is fabulous and he has my eternal gratitude and love forever and ever, the cutest thing about it is seeing my four-year-old be his best helper and shadow because 1) she's been begging for bunk beds, 2) she always wants to help her daddy, and 3) hubby took the week off, and any day when dad is home is a holiday.

So this morning he and I were talking about how we wanted the bunk bed ladder to look. My cute girlie quietly gets a pen and paper and sits at the table. I'm thinking she's just drawing. She comes back a minute later and says, "This is how I want the ladder." She had drawn up her own plans. And we're going with them :)

June 30, 2012

I Try Not to Read Them

One of the best pieces of advice I've ever read (and I can't even tell you who said it--probably just about any writer who's ever written) was to not read reviews of your work. A good review can set you soaring, but a bad review can tear you to shreds.

I read that advice, and I said, "Whatever, I can take a bad review. Constructive criticism, right?"

Kind of.

The problem with bad reviews is that they fall into two categories: 1) people who actually put thought into them and do legitimately offer good advice on improving your writing and what could be improved in the story, and 2) people who just don't like your book but can't articulate why and instead rip you up one way and down the other.

So I started with every intention of reading bad reviews with the intent to find ways to improve my writing, but I quickly ran up against that second kind of bad review. You can guess how depressing the second kind of bad review can be. But it's like a car crash--no matter how gruesome the wreckage, you just can't look away. But finally I stopped and breathed a great big sigh of relief. Because no matter how hard I work and how much time I put into making my story the best story possible, there's always going to be someone who doesn't like it. And that's okay.

So the purpose of this post (I realize it got away from me!) was to thank book blogger Pam from Between the Bookcovers for the kind words she posted about The Burn. The book has been out for nine months now, and it still makes me giddy when someone new likes it. So thank you, Pam.

And for those of you wondering where The Reaping stands, I just finished another draft. One step closer :)

June 19, 2012

Why I Like Sports

Nope, I'm not an avid sports watcher. Sure, I'll watch the occasional game if I actually care about who wins. Does that happen very often? No, not really.

So why do I like sports, you ask? Because my husband loves to watch sports. And when my husband watches sports, I am soooo productive. Case in point? He's watching the NBA finals, and I'm getting writing done. And sitting nearby.

It's a good situation, I think.

June 12, 2012

A Little Scare

So the hubby and I love to watch movies together. We'll rent a movie almost every weekend and enjoy the time together once the girls are in bed. And my husband really likes that he married someone who isn't big into chick flicks. Yup. Most of the time, I can't stand them. Too cheesy, too predictable, and the characters often times drive me nuts. So our genres of choice are quite diverse, and he's glad he doesn't have to put up with chick flicks very often.

Last weekend we rented The Woman in Black. I admit I was curious to see if Daniel Radcliffe had actually graduated from Hogwarts and could hold his own in a "grown-up" movie. I'm glad to report that yes, yes he can. (Though he still looks waaaaay too young. Maybe he'll start aging eventually? Kind of a funny problem, considering all those kids were like 22 when they finished filming Harry Potter.)

Anyway, I don't normally go for scary movies. I have an over-active imagination (not a problem when it comes to writing, but certainly problematic when it comes to real life) and I usually freak myself out to an obscene degree. But from the reviews I read, The Woman in Black was more about the suspense and the jump-at-you moments than gore and creepiness, which I absolutely cannot handle. Remember The Ring? Yeah, I was creeped-out for weeks.

So we watched it, and it was a decent flick. Sad, really, and the ending was ambiguously poetic. But it just affirmed to me that I do not like watching scary shows. I was way too tense the whole time with that awful pit in my stomach to actually enjoy the film. But afterward, much to my surprise, no nightmares and I fell asleep quite quickly.

But the reason I'm writing this post...So last night my girlie comes in asking for a drink, and after I get her settled and myself back in bed, I start thinking about the movie. Augh! For the love! It was last Friday--I hadn't given it a second thought since then--and now I'm getting freaked out about it? So after snuggling as close to hubby as I could without waking him up and burying myself under the covers (and absolutely refusing to look at my bathroom door which was eerily similar to the dark hallway the woman in black liked to haunt), I finally fell asleep.

And I'm not watching another scary movie for a very long time.

June 06, 2012

Hot, Hot Summer

So summer has come in with a bang. After reaching 112 degrees last week, I said, "Yup, it's here." I think I was in denial. Major denial. But that's Phoenix for you. Enough to melt you into a puddle. So we've had swim lessons and hours in the pool and popsicles and playing in the sprinklers in the backyard. Usually this time of year rolls around and I just want to sit on the couch where I'm in reach of the ceiling fan's breeze and do nothing.

But after a week of having little to no motivation to work on The Reaping and procrastinating until it wasn't even funny any more, I've hit a groove. Phew. I was starting to get worried. Because, confession: there's a big reason I haven't had the energy to work on it. Okay, it's technically a little reason, weighing no more than about a pound at the moment, but here it is: another little cute girl will be joining our family in October. And needless to say, my energy has been at about a zero. So big hooray for hitting a groove.

It was about time.

And I'm sure glad it's hit because Terra's story is looking pretty exciting right now, and I'm thrilled to be working on it.

May 21, 2012

The Reaping: The First Draft

I finished the first draft today. 68,000 words. This was a monumental task for me. I've never found a draft to be so hard to get out. Which means working on the second draft won't be a piece of cake, either, but I'm excited to get into it and see how I can make Terra's story better.

Going into the sequel, I thought, "Oh, how hard can a sequel be?" New flash...very hard! I was under the misunderstanding that having characters in place and knowing how I wanted the story to develop would make this a cinch. Nope. Anything but. I've never worked so hard for a story in my life.

The first half was really hard to write. The second started flowing a lot easier and went pretty fast. So I'm betting the first half will need quite a bit of work. So as I read through this first draft, I'll be interested to see how many times I'll tell myself, "What were you thinking?!"

So hopefully the second draft won't be quite as arduous as the first, but I'm planning on quite a bit of work for it.

After the second draft, then I'll send it to my beta readers and see how many times they also say "What were you thinking?!" That's the beauty of beta readers. They tell it to you straight (if you have good beta readers) and make the story infinitely better than you could on your own.

May 10, 2012

LDS Authors Giveaway Hop: Winners Announced

Thanks to The Book Bug and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting. Check out the linky below the rafflecopter form for the list of other blogs participating. There are some great blogs and great prizes. But the greatest prize of all?

Enter to win a signed paperback (US only) or an ebook (Int) of Bound.

May 03, 2012

Good News

Bound has shipped to all the other ebook retailers Smashwords distributes to (Apple iBookstore, B&N, Diesel, Kobo, etc.) so if you've been waiting for it to reach those shelves, be on the lookout. It usually takes these retailers a week or two to get the data up, so it should be any day now!

In the meantime, The Reaping update: I've written over 50,000 words. If that doesn't have a lot of context for you (like my husband said, "I don't know what that means"), The Burn was about 61,000 words. The Reaping is definitely going to be longer. As I'm growing as a writer, I'm developing a better sense of what needs to be developed more and what needs to be cut. The Reaping definitely has a fuller story, and I'm not even done with the first draft yet! There are exciting things still to come for Terra.

April 26, 2012

Jumping in Puddles

I got home from picking my girlie up from preschool, and when she saw the puddles in our cul-de-sac left from the rain this morning, she begged me to let her and her sis jump in them. I hemmed and hawed--you know, typical mom stuff when you don't really want to deal with the mess. But I looked at her sweet face, and I said, "Yes."

I mean really, how hard is it to take off wet clothes, clean off wet shoes, and wipe up the floor where a few drips may land in the chaos?

My littlest hadn't ever experienced the joy that comes from jumping in puddles--let's face it, in Phoenix, puddles are few and far between. And the delight on her face made the extra work coming in from outside totally worth it.

A lesson to me: let them be kids just a little bit more. It won't last very long.

April 19, 2012

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop: Winners Announced

Welcome to the first giveaway hop I'm participating in! I love giveaway hops, and I hope you'll enjoy the ride. Thanks to One a Day YA and I Am a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting.

Enter to win a signed paperback of Bound (US only) or one of 3 ebooks of Bound (open internationally).

The first rafflecopter form is for the paperback. Scroll down for the ebook giveaway.

April 16, 2012

A Lack of Blogging

I'm in the middle of The Reaping, and it's consuming my creative energy. I thought writing a sequel would be breezy--the characters are already there, I have the basic story in my head, I know where this book ends--but it's not. It's been anything but easy.

For some reason already having characters doesn't help. I mean, there are new characters with new stories to create. Terra meets new allies and makes new enemies. And the story is just intense. I wrote Bound as a way to get out of the scary, intense world of The Burn, and it was welcome therapy. Now getting back into dystopian New America, I find I'm exhausted. Not in a bad way, but I don't have a lot of creative energy for other things.

So I apologize for the lack of blog posts lately. Good news, though. The Showers of Books giveaway hop starts Friday, so check back here Thursday evening (my giveaway post will be up early) for a chance to win a signed paperback or an ebook of Bound! How's that for making it up to you? :)

March 29, 2012

It Raises My Hackles

So a recent article--"article" is a little generous here; it's more like an editorial rant--has been flying around Twitter, the blogosphere, etc. It's right here, if you'd like to take a read. And boy oh boy is it a doozy. And being a YA author, you can imagine how I feel about it. Oh, and Mr. Stein freely admits he hasn't read any of the books he mentions in his article. How's that for being uninformed?

Have you read a YA book that makes you think, that challenges the way you feel about life, that brings deeper meaning, that has characters and a story you can really connect to? Yes? So have I. Quite a few, in fact.

The biggest distinction between YA lit and adult lit is the age of the main character(s). YA books typically deal with character 14-17 years old. Adult lit is from there up. And to say that adults reading YA lit is embarrassing, is like saying that you're ashamed and embarrassed of your own adolescence, which maybe Joel Stein is. But those few years of my life helped determine who I am today. They don't shame me; they define me.

If I can't reach back and embrace that, then how will I find value from books written for the adult life I'm living now?

March 25, 2012

Bound...A Week Early!

So Bound is now out there! If you've been waiting, you can now get it. But a week early? So the story goes like this...

Hubby: You've had it ready for two weeks now. What are you waiting for?

Me: The release date.

Hubby: Really? Some random date even though it's ready?

Me: Yes...

Hubby: Why?

Me: Umm...

Hubby: Just release it!

Me: Okay. (His logic was overwhelming.)

So I guess, um, early April Fool's? :)

It's available as an ebook through both Smashwords and Amazon. It's available as a paperback through Amazon and CreateSpace. It will be available through other ebook retailers in a few weeks. Check the Books tab for availability. Enjoy and spread the word!

Get Your eBook Signed and Personalized

Some of you have asked how to get your ebooks signed, and I told you I'd look into it. Look into it I did. If you click on over to Kindlegraph, you can search for either The Burn or Dragon Sister (Bound will be there when it's released) and request a signature. Unfortunately, the signature doesn't get imbedded in your ebook, it's sent as a cover image with the signature. But still very cool :)

Just a little FYI: you can use your Kindle email address if you'd like the signature sent there. If you don't have a Kindle, just specify whatever email address you'd like, and the signature will be sent as a PDF. Enjoy!

March 24, 2012

Bound: The First Chapter

Bound will be released in just a few days, and if you just can't wait any longer, you can read the first chapter. I've loved creating this book. After writing The Burn, I just needed something fun to work on. Yes, I liked writing The Burn, but it's definitely not what I would call a jolly story. Bound just made me happy every time I worked on it.

Enjoy, and come back on release day!

Read the first chapter of Bound.

March 21, 2012

It's the Little Things

My sister-in-law sent me a text message last night. Apparently she had to tell one of her students to put my book away because he wasn't paying attention in class. It's small things like this that completely send me over the edge smiling. I love that people respond to my books that way. I sent her back a text saying about as much. I love my sister-in-law. She sends me these texts every once in a while, and they're the world's best therapy. Then she sent me a text back. The gist:

The boy had already read the book. And still he couldn't put it down.

Does it get any better than that?

I'll apologize to her, though, for distracting her kids from class. But secretly, I really don't feel too bad :)

March 19, 2012

Only 13 More Days until Bound!

I'm counting down the days, and it's almost here. The official release for Bound will be April 1st!

Yes, that is all. I'm just excited about it :)

March 09, 2012

Is There Really a Villain Here?

I don't know how many of you, dear readers, have read anything about the wild 'n' crazy self-publishing movement going on. Self publishing has been going on for years, but it hasn't been until a few authors earned fame and fortune (Amanda Hocking, anyone?) through self publishing that your neighbor and their cat and their goldfish decided to jump on this bandwagon and try their hand at writing a book. And it helps that there are so many easy ways to do it.

With the ease of self-publishing, people (too many people, in my opinion) are questioning the value of publishing houses. This coming from the perspective of a self-published author, and I can't bring myself to play the publishing-house-hating game. It's just not fair.

Here's a list of some gripes against publishing houses:

  • They offer small royalties
  • They pay itty-bitty advances
  • They retain rights to your work for a long while (relatively) so you can't do anything with it
  • It can take upward of a year and a half or more to see your book in print once it's been accepted
  • The competition is brutal to get anything published

These are all true. But here's the part that most people don't talk about:

Publishing is a business.

To read the rest of my article about the publishing business, jump on over to What's Your Story (and you can also enter to win a signed paperback of The Burn!)

March 05, 2012

What It's All About

For those of you curious about Bound, here's the synopsis. Only a few more weeks!

After her mother dies, Elowyn Challis would do anything to bury the pain, but being shipped off to boarding school isn't what she had in mind. Things could be worse. Wyn finds a place for herself in the academy and living in the capital is just sparkling. But under it all, her mother's death still haunts her. Then Wyn discovers a secret that changes everything she believes: the bedtime stories her mother told her as a child are real, the faerie realm exists, and she is the Binderthe one mortal on earth with the power to seal the gate to Fae. It's a power Wyn's not sure she wants or can even wield. But she must confront her nightmares and her grief, or two worlds will be torn apart.

March 01, 2012

Are You Ready to Be Bound?

Why hello, gorgeous. So many thoughts come to mind. Just a few:

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
"I'm just spellbound."

Ha ha. Okay, stupid joke, but seriously, thanks to Jen Foxley for an absolutely stunning cover. Every time I look at it, I just think how perfect it is. And once you read the book, you'll understand how perfect it is, too.

February 11, 2012

You Might Think I'm Weird, But I Love Copy Editing

I'm deep in the midst of copy editing Bound. I've done the drafting, the revising, the stewing, the plotting, the pondering, the rewriting, the pulling-my-hair-trying-to-figure-out-how-to-make-it-better stuff. Now I'm just editing. Can I say that I love it?

I got an BA in English, with an emphasis in writing and editing. I worked for five years as a writer and editor at an educational software company, and you know what? One of my favorite parts of each of those was the proofreading/copy editing/nitpicking aspect. Though when I was still in school, I admit I had no clue what I was doing when it came to actually editing. Sure I could spout rules, but I'm convinced editing isn't something you can be taught. It comes with lots and lots of practice.

I'm a little over halfway done copy editing Bound, and then I'll get to go back in and make all those changes to the soft copy. (I cannot proofread on the computer to save my life. I have to print it out and let my red pen bleed on the paper.) And I get an immense sense of satisfaction seeing all those little red marks dancing all over the pages.

February 03, 2012

This Is Indie YA

Coming in March I'll be participating in the awesome extravaganza "This Is Indie YA" event over at What's Your Story Book Reviews.

Every day in March, Ashley will feature a different Indie author. There will be giveaways, quizzes, author interviews, character interviews, guest posts, and more. I'm getting excited just thinking about it!

I'll be giving away a signed paperback and an ebook of The Burn. Don't miss out on the chance to find some great new authors and books and the chance to win some awesome prizes.

So, please mark your calenders and join the fun in March with us!

January 30, 2012

For the Love of Reading and Writing

I was recently contacted by Cassandra Day, a young fan and aspiring writer, for an interview. You can check out said interview here.

I think it's awesome that tweens and teenagers get so into reading and so into writing. They're developing amazing talents and creating a lifelong friend in reading. My love of reading has been such a gift to me ever since I was little. I loved reading Berenstein Bears and Dr. Seuss and Amelia Bedelia. I could read them for hours. I remember when I was "too old" for those books and raiding my younger siblings' shelves for my old books, just for the nostalgia and pleasure of reading them again.

I devoured Walter Farley and Lloyd Alexander and choose-your-own-adventure stories when I got a little older.

I devoured just about anything I could get my hands on when I got a little older than that.

Today I devour whatever I can when I get a few minutes.

So when a young fan emails me and asks if they can interview me? Of course. If I can do anything to encourage their love of reading and writing, you better believe I'm going to say yes. Because I was one of those kids.

January 26, 2012

"Never Give Up, Never Surrender"

If any of you have seen the hilarious Galaxy Quest (one of my all-time favorite movies, by the way), you'll recognize the quote. And here's what we're dealing with today:

I recently did a Q&A with Danica Page. In that interview, she asked me what I would tell a writer who just wanted to give it all up. It's a poignant question, and one that made me think about my own journey as a writer.

I started writing stories when I was young, but I started this get-published journey about eleven years ago with the dream of finding an agent, being picked up by a publishing house, going on a book tour, you know, fame and riches and all that stuff.

I attended writing conferences, made great connections, met wonderful agents and editors, researched who to send my novel to, and shipped it off. And my grandiose dreams were dashed, big time. Sure, I received some personalized rejection letters, but they were rejection letters, and let's face it: rejection is rejection no matter how lovely the packaging and how kind the wording. Sometimes I think a form rejection is better than a personalized one, just because I had the feeling of "I was this close."

After a year of being rejected, I decided to stop with the self-torture and put writing to the side. I came back to it now and again, but I wasn't in it full force the way I had been. And I was a mommy now and there just wasn't the time as I tried to get my mind wrapped around giving everything to this little infant. But there came a moment here and there when that calmed down, and I got the idea for The Burn, and bam! I had the writing itch again and I slammed into it full-force.

But then I looked at my life and what I wanted. Did I want to have firm deadlines from a publishing house? No. I was pregnant with my second and I was lucky if I could stay awake through the afternoon, more or less write so many thousand words to meet a deadline. Did I want to deal with appearances and book signings and getting out there and marketing? No. I had snot and drool and other assorted bodily fluids on my clothes and was just so exhausted by the end of the day that the idea made me shudder. And the big one:

Was having a best seller really that important to me? Do I need to have an army of publishing experts behind me to make me feel validated?

I'll admit it: I would love to have my name recognized, I would love for masses of people to know about my books, and having a publishing house helps immensely with that. But more importantly, I want people to read my books and have an emotional connection, be entertained. Do I have to write a best seller to be happy? No. I need my husband and my girls to be happy. That's what makes me happy.

So I researched self publishing and ran full tilt at it. Now my books are out there. I've done publicity for my books from my own computer where I don't have to worry if I'm the human Kleenex for the day, and people have bought my books and people have loved them. That was really my goal all along.

Do I feel like I backed away from my goal just because I was rejected? Not at all. I just found the venue that works best for where I am in my life right now.

January 16, 2012

Reading: Elevation vs. Entertainment

I came across this article today, and the further into it I got, the more I couldn't believe what I was reading. Read for yourself and see what you think about it. And please leave a comment. I'm interested to get other people's takes on this.

I had several issues with this article. But the issue I want to address in this post is this: reading is either for elevation or entertainment. It can't be both (which is false in and of itself). And what really bothered me about it was the context: teens who are reading.

Maybe I'm more sensitive to this because I write YA novels, and teens are my audience. But I would argue (forcefully) that teens need to read for entertainment. Not just should, but need. Teens are at that wonderfully beautiful, awkward stage where they aren't children and they aren't adults. They're figuring out what it means to live and they're starting to figure out just who they might want to become. But they're not ready to become it yet. They're still growing up, and having fun doing it.

And it's in these years that they need to develop a love of reading.

Do you think that forcing on teens the classics: Homer, Shakespeare, the other long-dead authors named in the article, is going to teach them a love of reading? I'd say no. There were some classics that I enjoyed in my teen years, but most of the ones forced upon me in school made me gag. I've come to love them now, but back then? I think part of why I hated them was because I had to read them for school.

I'm not saying classics don't have a place in schools. They must. Using the classics helps teenagers learn to dissect books, find the themes and deeper meanings they might not have seen themselves, learn to delve deeper into what they're reading so they're not just passive participants.

But should we go so far as to say they can only read for elevation and not entertainment? No. If they're trained to think that the only books worth reading are those that "elevate," then they will never develop a life-long love of reading. I think that life-long love is a thousand times more important than to say you read the Odyssey. I mean honestly, who cares? The life-long love is what will allow that teenager, when he grows up, to be able to read just about anything he comes across and understand it and learn from it.

Oh, and Shakespeare wasn't writing to elevate. He was writing to entertain the masses. Just saying.

January 10, 2012

A Sneak Peek

For me. I guess I should start off with that. Sorry if I got any hopes up :)

I just got the first concept for the Bound cover, and I will say it's gorgeous. My graphic designer, Jen Foxley, created something that made me smile. Not too much more I can ask for than that! We'll probably have a couple revisions back and forth for the next week, but as soon as the final is ready, then you'll be the first to see. Well, my husband and kiddos will be the first. Then you.

And in other Bound news, I'll be finishing up my rewrites today. And there was much rejoicing! But not too much, because then I'll send it off to my beta reader again and see what she has to say. And then there will be edits. Many edits. And then formatting. There's still a lot of work to do. But I love it.

January 04, 2012

Win a Signed Paperback of The Burn!

So to say Happy New Year to everyone, I'm doing a giveaway. That's right, the very first one on my blog. And what could you win, you might ask? A signed copy of The Burn! So if you're interested, here's what you do: 

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Giveaway closes January 31. Good luck!