Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made Of Awesome Contest 250 Words

Shelley Watters Made Of Awesome Contest starts today. Below you will find my 250 words. Please read & feel free to comment/critique. Good luck to all who are participating!

Title: Sanctuary
Genre: Paranormal Romance

The sun felt like a warm embrace as it hit Laina’s skin. It had been so long since she was free to move around in the sunlight. The wind felt like icy fingers brushing against her face as she took a few more steps into the bodied realm. After being locked away from this world for so long, she had almost forgotten what it even was. When its refreshing memory came back to her finally, Laina sank into it with a grateful smile.

“One day Laina.” Rain was glaring at her from where he was standing, leaning against Sanctuary‘s wall.

Laina just smiled. She wasn’t always afraid of Rain. Lately though, her feelings towards him had changed along with his actions.

“I mean it Laina. Lotus only gave you one day to do whatever you want. If you’re not back by-”

“This time tomorrow. I know. I know. Now may I go, Rain?” She started braiding her long chocolate tresses as she waited for him to give her the freedom she was craving. Once she had thought being sixteen forever was the greatest thing ever. After a few centuries though, that feeling had worn off.

Rain ducked his five o’clock shadowed head and mumbled something that Laina couldn’t understand. Before she had a chance to ask him; Rain looked up. “Fine. Just remember.”

As soon as his raspy voice reached her ears, Laina nodded and started running as fast as her legs would carry her. Every step she took brought her one step closer to where she longed to be.

NOTE: I double spaced the paragraphs so that they would be easier to read. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shelley Watters' Made Of Awesome Contest

The amazing Shelley Watters is hosting another contest! You will remember that I was one of the lucky winners of the query critique from her last contest! That just makes me even more excited for this Saturday!

So, the Made Of Awesome Contest is being judged by Judith Engracia of the Liza Dawson Agency. On Saturday, May, 28, 2011 I & the rest of the contestants will be posting the first 250 words of our manuscripts on our blogs to be critiqued along with the title, genre, and word count. 

Next we will hop around and read each other's submissions and comment/critique them in hopes of making them the best that they can be. This will go on through May 30th. On the 31st we will then take our polished 250 & post them on Shelley's blog to be judged by the pro's!

So, I ask for you my followers to help me make my contest submission the best that it can possibly be! Together we can do it! *Water Boy dude's voice inserted here* LOL

Check out Shelley on twitter and her blog.

Happy writing!! & come back on the 28th to help critique my submission please?!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Self Published Writers Road: A Guest Post By Author Tiffany King of Meant To Be

A few posts ago I had my wonderful friend & fellow author Kara Stefanowich's guest post and mentioned that there would be another guest post coming soon from another author with a different view on things. This is that post!

You, my loyal readers, are still taking my journey along with me, have seen the road of an unpublished author, and now you will see the road of the self published author. All are the same; but have forked off from the main path at one time or another.

Now, here is Tiffany King to explain why she chose the self publishing route with Meant To Be and if she regrets doing it!

To self-publish or not; is one of the most pressing questions for a writer, it is no secret that self-publishing holds a certain stigma. The idea that if an agent or publishing house did not put their stamp of approval on it means it must be bad is just crazy to me. That's like saying if you didn't go to culinary school you can't be a good cook, or if a band isn't signed to a record label, they must suck. The biggest misconception about self-publishing is that it is amateurish crap, that it was written and published within days.

What some don't understand is that self-publishers put their books through as many rewrites as books that are published, if not more. Meant to Be went through many hours of countless rewrites. Are there mistakes in my book of course but that being said, I have read many mainstream novels that also have their share of mistakes. 
Another aspect of self-publishing that many don't consider, is that the sole responsibility of marketing the book now falls on the author. They must find the avenues and social media networks to get their work out in front of the readers. This perhaps is the toughest part of all, sure you finally made it and have your book out there but now what do you do with it?

All that being said I choose self-publish for basically one reason; I didn't want to get lost in endless "slush" piles. I wanted people to be able to read Meant to Be now, not years from now. Meant to Be has already spent two years with us and I was ready to see what others thought of it. I recently read a post someone wrote that if you self-publish you took the easy route. I had to chuckle after I read it. When I wrote Meant to Be, I was working full-time, going to school full-time and juggling my family. I poured every spare moment I had into Meant to Be sacrificing many other things to get it ready to be seen. I'm unsure how the hours and sweat I poured into Meant to Be can be considered taking the easy road. 

I don't pretend to be the know-all of self-publishing and have only the knowledge I have gleaned from my experience with Meant to Be. Would I have chosen self-publishing if I had known all the work it involved? Absolutely! I have been very blessed through this journey and have met many fabulous people along the way. Countless individuals have worked hard alongside me to help spread the word and I will forever be grateful to them all :o)

As I have said before in my Review of Meant To Be, Tiffany is one of my dearest friends and having her to agree to do this post means more than she knows.

You can find Tiffany on twitter and her blog

You can buy Meant To Be at amazon and smashwords

I hope that you have enjoyed seeing the different paths that fork off of this long road that I am on and where they lead. Once again my friends, happy writing! :)

Meant To Be By Tiffany King: A Review

Meant To Be by Tiffany King is one of those novels that will captivated you and leave you wanting more. I found myself laughing at one moment and crying at the next. When Krista and Mark felt anger, so did I. The way that the story flows makes it impossible for you not to become attached to what the characters are doing and feeling.

I must say that Tiffany is one of my dearest friends and that I read her book without thinking of it as "my friends novel." I wanted to read it as any reader would and experience it in that same way. What I found was that I fell instantly in love with Meant To Be in a way that I hadn't expected.

The mystery that was established from the very beginning kept me guessing up until the answer was revealed. The bonds between Krista, Mark, Sam, and Shawn made me think of my husband my own friends. Everything about Meant To Be was more than I had hoped that it would be. I even find myself a little sad that our time together is now over. (That's a not so subtle hint for you to write book 2 Tiff ASAP! LOL)

Here is Meant To Be in Tiffany's own words:
Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams. Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force. Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets. As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets from their past about their shared connection threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.

What it all comes down to is that Meant To Be is a must read for any of you sappy romance lovers who also likes a tinge of mystery and adventure! I give it a solid A!

To buy Meant To Be you can go to Amazon and Smashwords

You can also find Tiffany King on twitter and her blog

Happy reading & writing my followers & friends!! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

You Love Me?! You Really, Really Love Me?!: Stylish Blogger Award

I won the above award from Jamie McHenry & I thank him very much! Thank you for seeing the hard work that I have put into this blog to make it what it is!

To accept this award, I am required to do a few things.

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact the winners and congratulate them.

Random Facts About Me:

1. The number 10 is very special to me. I was born on the 10th. So was the hubby. & we were married on the 10th. Different months; but all on the 10th.

2. I love old movies and the books they were based on. My personal fave is Gone With The Wind. I own it on VHS & soon will own the dvd's & blueray!

3. Have seen ghosts and spoken with them. It happened a lot when I was younger & sometimes I still see them. No talking though. Weird but true.

4. If I call you my friend then you are my friend. It takes a lot for me to turn my back on somebody. So, you're stuck with me until the end! *cue evil laugh*

5. I went to school to earn a History degree and then go into pre-law. Never worked out & I'm happier writing anyway.

6. I was robbed at gunpoint when I was working the late night shift at a gas station. Still have nightmares about it to this day.

7. No matter what, I will forever be a die hared Taco Tico fan. Love the place & wish that they would open a franchise in Texas ASAP! Ironically, it's not even my favorite food. That honor goes to chicken fried chicken!

Now for the lucky winners of the Stylish Blogger Award!!

Shelley Watters 
Morgan Lee  
Tiffany King 
Megg Jensen 
Barbara Kloss 

All of the winners have different styles; but they are all informative or special in their own ways.

Honorable Mention

I decided to hand out this award to a fellow writer whose blog is a star all of its own.

Kara Stefanowich

Congratulations to all of the winners. If you haven't checked out their blogs yet then you should ASAP!!

Now happy writing my friends!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Unpublished Writers Road: A Guest Post By Kara Stefanowich

I mentioned earlier that I was going to have some guest post appear on my blog and today I just so happen to have one for you! I am bringing you along with me on my journey to becoming a published author; but I am in the early stages. My wonderful guest has been on her road a little longer and has more to tell you than I can at this moment. So now I will step away and let her tell her story.

May I present to you, my readers, Kara Stefanowich!

I began my first novel 'Hostage' about 3 years ago. I had been fantasizing about doing a vampire novel for a long time and finally got up the courage to do it. It took me about 2 years to complete (or so I thought) as I am a single working mother. Upon completion of the Paranormal Romance Novel, I did extensive research on how to submit my work to Publishers. What I found was staggering.

During the project I'd never given it's future a thought. But when I finally started looking into things I found that LOTS more work was required. I needed to write a Query letter, which is NOT for the faint of heart. I'm afraid if you don't get the query written just right, you can forget about an agent ever even bothering to request your manuscript. Also you'll find that you'll also need a cover letter, and a synopsis. These things are often requested by agents. Also an undertaking, might I add. I suggest you do your research on how to write these no matter how good you think you are! You'll be surprised how important it is to get it right!

This leads us to the Agents. There are still some Publishers out there that will accept your manuscript directly from you, but they are VERY hard to find and usually don't have the time or the money to invest in new authors. So you'll most likely need to impress an Agent. Also a very difficult task. Its kind of like a marriage. You have to find the one perfect Agent who's personality and taste in literature blends perfectly with yours! Good luck with that! But this is why this is such a difficult task. There are MANY Agents out there and you may have to send out a MASS QUERY. Which is what I did and am currently still doing. 

After a year of querying and dozens of manuscript requests, I still have yet to find an agent. Many were kind enough to explain their reasons for not accepting the project, others never responded at all. It helps, in my view, to do a mass query send out is beneficial in that respect. They will often be blunt and tell you NOT to write in the first person or that you simply need to get your work edited  before trying to query again. My advise is to TAKE their advise!

I've learned also that topic, genre and timing are of great importance in the world of Publishing, Its a gamble, a roll of the dice. You'll never know what they are looking for at that moment.

Though I still have yet to publish and am even considering self publishing, I have never stopped writing. If you find yourself getting discouraged, just put that angry energy into another project. I expect it will eventually pay off. Especially if you write with open genres...meaning write many genres, not just one. You're sure to strike a cord in someone with lots of options to choose from.

I hope this is helpful.


Kara is one of my dearest friends & I value her advice more than she knows! Soon there will be another guest post by another friend who is a self published author. So keep an eye out!

If you would like to follow Kara on twitter and her blog

Until next time, happy writing! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Road Chosen

I titled this post the road chosen to reflect on my choices along the path to where my life is at this moment. As I look at where they have taken me, I can see the different paths that I could have chosen along the way. Each new turn would have taken me to a different place and passion; but only one brought me to here.

The road that I chose to walk along met my feet when they were both very small. It wound around different hopes and dreams along the way; but never failed to keep going. It led me through the joys and pain of life and has stuck by me when I thought that it was hopeless. The road of a writer has had my name on it before even I knew it's purpose.

I decided to write this post and have a few guest posts when someone asked me how long that I had been writing. At first, I gave the only a few years answer. Then I started thinking about being a small child with a notebook in front of me. I could remember all of the small stories that I wrote down and how my parents would giggle at what they were saying. "You're a writer!" my Mom would say each and every time.

As I revise one of my many "completed" novels, I know that there is an even longer road ahead of me. There will be forks in the path that I must choose to take. One of an agented author and the other of a self publishing one. Either one is a great road; but very different at the same time.

Hard work has brought me down this road and will take me even farther as I move along with this dream of mine. I am so happy that I placed my then tiny feet along this road and never chose another path when it appeared in front of me.

No matter what it takes, stay along your chosen road. Sure, querying will not be easy and rejection is a hard pill to swallow; but it's worth it in the end! Keep your head up and persevere! I will keep you updated on my journey along this road. Every bump and every curve will be documented and I thank you for taking it along with me! Happy writing my friends!