Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Some Exciting News!

I am so happy to announce that my YA novella, RUN FOR THE ROSES, was picked up by Swoon Romance! We're planning a November release.

Abigail Conrad has one goal: Win the roses at the Arabian Youth Nationals. It is the thing she has spent all her time and energy on, and since she’s going off to college in the fall, this is her last chance to be a Youth National Champion. Nothing can distract her from her goal.
Except maybe Chase. The far-too-handsome older brother of Abigail's biggest rival. He’s charming, funny, and Abigail's biggest problem. How can she focus on her ride when her mind keeps wandering over to Chase’s green eyes and confident smile?
Abigail had better learn to balance her ambitions and her attractions
or she’ll lose the roses and the guy.
This book is extra special to me because, as you probably already know, I do show horses. I competed at the Youth Nationals six years in a row. I have so many amazing memories from those shows. They were always so exciting and filled with so many wonderful people. It was a lot of fun to write about a subject so dear to me. And I can't wait to share it with the world!
Also, the mare in the book is based on a mare I owned many years ago named Paris to London. She was a very special mare, she passed away years ago and I still miss her very much.
Paris To London w/ Rachel Conway Schieffelbein
Paris to London
at Canadian Nationals

Friday, July 26, 2013

Horse Shows and New Books

Hello bogging buddies. How is your summer going so far? Mine has been busy, but fun. In a couple weeks my daughter and I are heading to Canada for the national horse show there. I'm showing a couple of horses and my daughter is coming along to watch.    
This is Maybelline CA, one of the horses I get to show. Isn't she cute?

My daughter's never been before and while I think she'll enjoy it, there are also definitely boring parts. So I bought her a couple new books she'll get for the trip. Including Bunnicula,
which I'm excited for her to read. :)
Bunnicula (Bunnicula, #1)
Did you read Bunnicula as a kid?

I've also been writing a lot. June was slow but July has been pretty darn productive. I think the writing retreat really got my butt in gear. Now hopefully August will be spent on revisions and by the fall I'll have a couple things to send out. Wish me luck!
What have you been up to this summer? Being productive? Having fun? Read any good books?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview with Michelle Izmaylov

Today I have an interview with Michelle Izmaylov. Her new book, Ricochet, just came out. (We had a bit of a mix up and my questions were lost, but whoever asked these ones did a good job, too.) ;)

What’s the hardest part of writing and publishing a book?
The most challenging aspect is two-fold. First, procrastination and getting easily distracted while writing is a major issue (especially with how readily available the Internet is these days). Second, and more seriously, is the issue of revision. It’s one thing to write a first draft. It’s an entirely different story to have the perseverance in editing your own work, going over and over until you iron out problems that may have cropped up along the way. It’s even harder to get halfway through a novel and realize you didn’t actually write what you wanted to write. At that point it’s important to step back and understand when it’s better to start over, not to mention having the willpower to do so.

To what do you attribute your success?
There’s a general rule of thumb that says it takes 10,000 hours of practice to get good at any given thing. I’m still nowhere near as good as I hope to be another five or ten years down the road, but I’ve spend a good amount of time working on various writing projects over the years that have helped refine my abilities. I also feel like it’s important to be more than just “an author.” Writing is for me a hobby, not a job. It’s something I turn to when I have inspiration rather than something I force out of myself.

What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve received?
One of the things that’s always stuck with me is put your nose to the grindstone and work hard. Fairy tales can come true, but not from wishing. You have to work hard every single day to make them reality, which is what I’ve tried to do these past years of my life.

RicochetKonstantin opens his door to the frantic calls for help by a young man carrying his bleeding and badly beaten granddaughter, Sophia. The old man's long-suppressed hatred of Germans boils to the surface. Soldiers of the Third Reich murdered Sophia's father during World War II, leaving an unresolved wound in his heart. Seeing Sophia, his only reason for living, crumpled in the arms of a German man triggers a seething demand for vengeance long denied. Sophia's grandfather draws on his wealth of military knowledge to target the boy whose only crime is his blood heritage. Seen uniquely though the eyes of the irrational man, we experience the violence of a vigilante blinded by hatred. Can he find peace? Will revenge destroy the innocent, including the granddaughter he so loves?

You can find Ricochet on Goodreads and Amazon.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cassie Mae and Some Hot Cover Love

Hello everyone! Cassie Mae is here today talking hot book covers,
and I'm over doing an interview on Cherie Colyer's blog.
Without further ado, here's Cassie!

Big THANK YOU to Rachel for letting me steal her blog today.

Wanna see some of my favorite book cover guys?

Let’s start with this baby…

I can’t tell you if it’s the way he’s holding her face or his unkempt awesome hair, but serious drool.


Then there’s this dude.
Pull (The Seaside, #2)

And he looks like Edward Cullen. So yes, I’m a wee bit biased.

There are some guys that no matter what they would’ve looked like on the cover, I would’ve loved them because of their character, and Dean Holder from Colleen Hoover’s HOPELESS is one of those guys!
Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2)

He’s adorable! Sigh…


And sometimes, I don’t even need a face. Haha!
Damned (Damned, #1)

Gosh, that arm!


Okay, I realize I’m getting very shallow in this post. But this next guy I love simply because of his smile.
Forcing Gravity

A guy who laughs is the ultimate hottie, IMO.

Oh! And guys with scruff!
Limits (Lengths, #3)

The girl isn’t that bad in this one either ;)


And I’ll leave you with this one. Yes, I’m biased. Yes, I wrote it. Yes, I have to plug it in here somewhere.

But the guy on my cover is pretty cute too, even if you can’t see all his face ;)
Friday Night Alibi


So… what are some of your favorite guys (or girls) on books?


And don’t forget to, yanno, check out FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI, out July 29th, but you can preorder now! Whoot Whoot!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Writer's Retreat

Hello everyone! Did you have a good weekend? I did. :) I went on a writer's retreat and got to meet some of my favorite blogger buddies and critique partners.

It was a great time. We talked about writing and all kinds of other stuff, and actually managed to get a bunch of work done, too! Oh, and we introduced a couple of the girls to Culver's frozen custard. ;) Although I was feeling a bit sleep-deprived yesterday, today I am writing, trying to keep the motivation I gained over the weekend.

One of the people I got to meet was the lovely Cassie Mae and she will be on here tomorrow to talk about sexy book covers and her new book, Friday Night Alibi. So make sure to come check it out!

How about all of you? Did you have a good weekend? Are you feeling motivated and productive?

Oh, and ps. I shared a snippet of what I worked on this weekend on my Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Black Firefly Launch!

My good friend, Jade Hart, is launching a new business today. Along with some other wonderful, talented people, they are opening their doors to help authors with self-publishing.

And to celebrate the launch they are giving away two amazing packages.
Check it out at blackfirefly.com.

In their own words, this is what they can offer:

Shedding Light On The Darkness of Self-publishing

Black Firefly is here to help you self-publish, and be successful at it.

We assign you a team of qualified publicists, editors, and artists, taking the stress out of trying to find reputable help, which gives you more time to write. You can relax knowing your book is published to the highest of standards and at the same time, keep all your rights and royalties.

Black Firefly isn’t a publisher. We aren’t a vanity press. We’re a personal assistant to you–The Author.

We can help with Editing, Cover Art, Formatting, Proofreading, Marketing, Promotion,
even Beta Reading. We can do it all, or just pick and choose what services you need. 
You tell us what you want. We offer support, guidance, and peace of mind.


Friday, July 5, 2013

The Thing About Critiques

So most of you have probably heard me mention that I'm a speech coach. (I'm kind of proud of it, of my team.) Well, there is a lot of critiquing with speech. I critique my kids everyday in practice, plus at the meets I write a critique for every kid I judge. Each kid participates in three rounds, so they get three critique sheets back from every meet. More if there are final rounds. And I write six to eight critiques each round.

We all know critiques are subjective. We all know what one person doesn't like, or doesn't quite get, someone else will think is awesome. It's important to really consider every critique you get, but it's okay to disagree with them, too.

But that's not what I want to talk about today.

The thing with critiques is that we critique different people differently. (Usually without thinking too much about it.) When I have new kids on my team I focus on the basics. Slow down, look up more. SLOW DOWN! ;) Because if I was as hard on them as I am on the older kids I would scare them, or make them feel bad, and they'd probably quit.

The better these kids get the pickier I can be. I've made kids stop and say the same line back to me in practice over and over again before. But the kids are cool with that. They like it, actually, because they know that's what it takes to get better, and they like perfecting their piece.

This transition from not being picky to being crazy picky happens gradually. Usually.

Sometimes I get a kid who gets good too fast. :) Then I need to stop and let them know, "Hey, I'm not being so hard on you because you stink. It's because you are awesome and I think you can handle it."

This is true when I give critiques on writing, too. The better the writing, the more nit-picky I am. But it occurs to me that sometimes when we critique others writing, we don't know where they are in their journey.

So this is me telling you, the next time you get a critique where you feel they have torn you apart, it's probably not because you stink. It's because you are good. It's because they see the potential for just how awesome your ms can be. It's because they think you can handle it. Because you rock. :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Insecure Writers' Support Group: Time

Today is the Insecure Writers' Support Group. A wonderful group where writers encourage and support each other. If you are a writer and not yet part of this group, I highly recommend it. Seriously. It will pick you up when you are feeling down about your writing. (And if you are really new and haven't felt like your writing stinks, all writing stinks, everything stinks, believe me, you will. But don't worry, it won't last.) Click on the link above to find out more about the group, including the list of participants.

Big, big thanks to our wonderful hosts Alex Cavanaugh, Nancy Thompson, Mark Koopmans, and Heather Gardner. All of whom are totally awesome people.

I've had some good news recently, so at the moment I'm not feeling too insecure. :) Instead I'm going to talk about something most writers know all too well about: Time.

We've all heard authors tell stories about how many years it took them to get published. About the giant pile of rejections they got before finally hearing a yes. It's the sort of story brand new writers hate. Years! I don't want to wait years!

But writers who have already been writing for a few years like hearing it. (Or at least, I did) It gave me hope that I wasn't just wasting my time. I wasn't just totally sucky at this. It's just that it takes time.

And yes, some times people break in quickly. But that's the exception, not the rule. For most of us it takes years. Because in that time your writing is improving, and your knowledge of the industry is improving. You learn not to send out your manuscript immediately after typing The End. Your find critique partners whom you trust and adore.

And you keep writing. More and more words, more characters, more stories. And even if they don't all make it into the light of the day each new word, new story, makes you a better writer. You're learning what works, what doesn't. You're discovering your voice.

So, if you are at that point where it's been a few years and still nothing has happened for you, Don't Give Up! Those who make it are the ones who keep going, keep learning, keep writing. Good luck!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Body Issues (And Why I Won't Be Getting my Boobs Done)

I've been thinking a lot about body issues lately, and why women and girls have such a hard time with body image. (Just so you know, if you're looking for a writing tie-in with this post, there isn't one. Sorry.)

I've read a few things about ways to help girls develop a healthy body image. One woman talked about how she doesn't tell little girls how pretty or cute they are, she tries to focus on other things. How smart, kind, they are, etc. Her point being that by telling them they're cute right away, it makes their looks overly important. I get what she meant, but the truth is, boys get that, too. When my son was little he got a lot of "oh, look how cute you are!" And now he gets "oh, what a handsome little man you are!"

And we've all heard a lot about how it's because of the images girls see of thin, flawless women on magazines and book covers, in movies, ect. But again, boys see that, too, don't they? Tan, buff, shirtless guys with rippling muscles? So why do these things affect us more than them? (Not to say they don't bother boys, too, but I swear basically any woman can tell you all the things she hates about her body and guys just don't seem to think about it as much.)

Having had four kids, I definitely miss the body I had at twenty. (Not that I appreciated it at twenty, of course.) And I see other moms who are thin and gorgeous and I totally get jealous. (Even though I know those moms aren't happy with their looks, either. My sister-in-law looks like Angelina Jolie, for real, and she still gets jealous of other moms. It's nuts.)

I also know a few moms who have had their breasts done. They all say it was the best purchase they've ever made. So clearly, it was the right decision for them. I just want to say why it's not the right decision for me.

All of these women say that they got them done, not for anyone else, but for themselves, for their own confidence. While I know that a nice new rack would probably improve my confidence, too, I don't like that about myself. I don't want that to be where I find my confidence.

And I don't want to send the message to my girls that the way you look is important enough to spend tons of money on or to face the risks that go with any surgery.

I don't want their confidence to be determined by their cup size.

All this got me wondering, do they get it from us? Their mothers? I'm sure my oldest daughter has heard me whine to my husband about how fat I look in a particular outfit. But I can assure you my son has never heard his father make such complaints about his looks. I can't even imagine my husband leaning back, looking in the mirror whining, "Do I look pregnant in this?"

So, I have made a decision from here on out my daughters will not hear me complain about my weight. They will not hear me talk about it. Period. This doesn't mean my weight will never bother me again, just that I will keep that to myself.

If I want them to find confidence in who they are, I need to show them I'm confident in who I am. No matter how wobbly my belly, or flat my chest.