Friday, June 29, 2012

A Cover Reveal and Paying It Forward

The Cover Reveal:

Go on over to Writers By The Shore today for an the cover reveal of Fae by Emily White.


Paying It Forward:



I have been thinking for a while about doing other occasional posts, especially when there's a blog hop or a special event. I think this is a great one to get me started - INDIEpendence Day hosted by The Indelibles. Go to their website for details and to add your blog to the list!

The idea is to spotlight a self-published book or and independently published book. I've been mulling it over for days since I first read about this event. Picking just one book is not something I am good at. So, I finally decided to spotlight two books, a self-published book AND an independently published book.

Come back Monday to see which ones I have chosen! And, join in the fun if you have a favorite Indie/self-pubbed book/author.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

July Releases

For the second month in a row I don't have as many books on my list. I think I need to look into this oddity. Although, it does allow me to attempt to catch up on my reading.  
   


 
Framed and Dangerous (Sleuth or Dare #3) by Kim Harrington (7/1/12)

Why -> Getting this last book in this series means I can finally start reading the three of them back to back. I'm also excited to read more Kim Harrington books. :-) 
 
Endlessly (Paranormalcy #3) by Kiersten White (7/24/12)

Why -> I've never even read Paranormalcy! I just never got around to it and then around Christmas time I downloaded Paranormalcy and Supernaturally with the plans to wait until the final book was released and read them back to back. I've been doing a lot of that lately! :-) 




Your Turn -> What are you looking forward to being released this month?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lauren Kate - Signing

So, I have a bunch of books signed by the authors. Thing is my parents are the ones who have gone and stood in the lines and gotten the books signed for me. I don't exactly have a lot of options living on the Jersey Shore. Most signings take place in Philadelphia or New York City. It's an hour and a half drive from my house to Philly. Chances that I'll make a signing, with kids, is slim. I don't do New York City, the place makes me nervous that I'll get lost, and end up in a very bad area. Seriously, I have issues with going there alone.

Austin, however, is a hot spot for author signings. A couple days after being in town I decided to take a quick look at the Book People website to see who was going to be there while I was in town. To my astonishment Lauren Kate was going to be there in a few days. As soon as my parents had returned I was asking them to watch my toddler while my 13 year old and I went to her signing.

The day before the signing I made a quick trip to Book People to purchase Rapture (for me) and Fallen (for my daughter). I'm in love with the indie-book store! It's full of awesomness. If you live in Austin, or are ever there, you MUST stop by there. Check their schedule. They have TONS of authors signing there all the time.

Here's my recap of the awesome event!

My daughter with Fallen before the crowd arrived.
We arrived just over an hour early and didn't go into the book store until six. There were already two girls waiting and I'm sure we looked silly sitting there waiting, but we didn't care. People trickled in, but didn't start really showing up until about six-thirty. 

When Lauren Kate arrived there all the seats were filled and there were several people standing around the periphery. I never was good at public speaking, but I guess if I ever plan on becoming a published author and doing book signings I better get over it.

Lauren Kate dove right into a reading from Rapture when she took the podium. She read so beautifully and I found myself amazed at her reading voice. Then again, she knows the characters better than anyone else. After the reading she talked a little about the series and what it was like to write the final book in the series. This is something I've been pondering for a while now myself with regards to the series I've been working on for some time now.

I felt put at east when she said that she found bits and pieces of how to close out the series already in her first three novels. I've worried that because I didn't plan out my own series right from the beginning I will not be able to do justice to the final book. It doesn't feel so daunting anymore.

Then she opened the floor to questions. Unfortunately I am such an awkward fool I couldn't think of anything that would sound partially good or really help me. I have yet to read Rapture, so I couldn't ask any questions pertaining to the book itself. It's as if my brain froze and I couldn't think of a single good question. Anyways, I've added a few pictures at the bottom of the post from the signing.

My daughter and Lauren Kate.
Another awesome signed book to add to my collection. :-) 

Me with Lauren Kate.

Your Turn -> Who was your first author signing?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cover Reveal: Triangles by Kimberly Ann Miller

As writers we are constantly told that publishing moves slow and to be patient. Well, not if you are debut author Kimberly Ann Miller with Spencer Hill Press. It seems like only yesterday that Kimberly announced she had just signed a deal with them for her YA novel Triangles. Since then the world of publishing has been moving extremely fast for her. While she's had a release date of June 18, 2013 since shortly after signing, the cover has been under lock and key.  

Here is the awesome blurb!

Triangles


A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong? 

In the Bermuda Triangle--a lot.


Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who's practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser's suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she's full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that one of these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question--how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

 
And the finally the Ah-Maze-Ing cover!   



Gorgeous isn't it? Kimberly said she truly enjoyed working with Sketcher Girl Studios on it and she LOVES it! I have to agree, it's awesome!

Okay, so now that you've read the blurb and seen the cover you need to scurry off and add Triangles to your to-read list and mark the release date on all your calendars. 

Kimberly posts updates about Triangles on her website and blogs at Writers By The Shore. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Goodreads.


Thank you, Kimmy and Spencer Hill Press, for letting me be a part of this exciting exclusive! :-)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Create-Spiration Blog Award!

Tuesday night while relaxing I thought I would take a few minutes to catch up on blogs. I have a tendency to let posts pile up and then have to wade through at least a hundred. Yes, I follow that many blogs. It can be insane, but they are all necessary, or so I tell myself.

Anyhoo, as I was reading I came across the newest post by T. Drecker over at Kidbits. She happened to have been awarded the Create-Spiration Blog Award. As I read her responses to what inspires her I was surprised to find that she'd listed me as one of those to receive the award, too. :-) YAY! *Happy Dance*




I'm now supposed to write an acceptance speech, list five things that inspire me, a song that inspires me, and spread the love to five other bloggers. So, here it goes.

I'd like to send a huge thank you to T. Drecker for finding me inspiring. I tend to think of my posts more of rambling about what I've learned along the crazy roller coaster road of writing. I'd also like to thank all of my followers for actually finding what I say interesting and sticking with me. lol :-)

Okay, so for my five inspiring things:
- My kids (especially my 13 year old and her friends! Great for MG writing.)
- Photography
- Driving (I tend to work out plot kinks at traffic lights, a lot.) 
- My awesome critique partners (Every. Single. One. Of. YOU!)
- And all the YA/MG writers out there filling up my twitter stream and Google Reader.

Listing one song that inspires me is a bit more difficult. I love music, all kinds, and pinning just one song down is extremely hard. Since I write MG and YA I tend to listen to a lot of Radio Disney and young artists. I'd have to say that anything by the younger generation is extremely inspirational in my writing, especially Taylor Swift.

First, let me say how difficult it was to choose only FIVE blogs to forward this award to. (Like I mentioned above, I follow A LOT of blogs.) And now for the drum roll please! In no particular order these are the bloggers I'm forwarding this award on to.

- Jade Hart at Dream, Write, Publish
- Elodie at Commutinggirl
- Katie Wood Ruffin
- Linda Cassidy Lewis at Out of My Mind
- Sarah Allen at From Sarah With Joy

Again, thank you T. Drecker. You're a sweetie! :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Five Exercises To Help A Stalled Plot

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This past month at my critique group meeting the discussion turned to plot and what to do when we're stuck. Of course it's been on my mind ever since.

I poked around on the internet for a while looking for help and really didn't find much. Through a blog post on websites to help plots I found Plinky, which is more like Formspring than an actual plotting help. Most of the sites that are supposed to be for writer's block and plot ideas won't actually help. At least I didn't find them too helpful, especially with MG and YA writing.

I did find a great post over on The Other Side of The Story blog. It looked interesting, but still it wasn't what I was looking for. I also checked out another blog I really enjoy, The Plot Whisperer, but decided I didn't want to get as detailed. So, I decided to brainstorm myself and I came up with four things to try in addition to the one mentioned at our meeting.  

1 - Put all of your main characters in an elevator together! (Kimberly Ann Miller gave us this one at the meeting.)

2 - Write from a different characters point of view. 

3 - Change tense (past/present) -or- change point of view (1st/3rd). Your characters might tell you something different through this exercise.

4 - Put your characters in a tense situation. Make them really think their way out of a disaster and see how they really act and what they are made of.

5 - Reverse character roles. See how they react when the shoes on the other foot.

Your Turn -> What ways to you help move along a stalled plot?

Friday, June 15, 2012

GIVEAWAY - Writers By The Shore

We're having our first giveaway over at Writers By The Shore, so stop by and add your comment! 

Have a great weekend! :-) 
~Heather

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Free Photo Websites: Part II

As you may recall I did a post a while ago about using photos on your blog. I linked to the original blog that I read and redirected you to read it. If not, go there now. I also have joined a group blog with a few other members of my local critique group called, Writers By The Shore. One of the things we wanted to do was make sure that we all use photos that are relevant to our posts in each and every post. This got me thinking. And of course I turned to that wonderful post looking for the sites I could get free photos to use for my blog posts. Times are tough and money is tight around my house. In the process of looking at these sites I thought it would be a great idea to do a series on each of the sites to help you decide which is best for you.

Today that site is Free Digital Photos

I downloaded this photo from the site as a tester and promptly began downloading other photos for my posts over at Writers At The Shore.
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2280

Here's the run down of this site:

  • The site is easy to use and you don't need to register or create an account to use any of the photos for free. 
  • They didn't have a huge amount of photos like some other sites that you can pay for, so I'm not sure how far this site will go for one blog. A supplemental site to find photos may be necessary, but this one is extremely easy to use. 
  • You have the choice to purchase photos in different sizes and for different uses if that's what you need. The picture I used could have been purchased in four different sizes between $3 and $10. 
  • If you use a free picture an attribution is required. All you need to do is click the question mark in the download free box. 
    • Attribution required ?
  • Make sure when you download the picture you DO NOT click the large blue button that says DOWNLOAD with a downward arrow. I found out the hard way. It's nothing more than a photo album that will want to actually download to your computer. I stopped that quickly, but still not a good thing to have on a site like this. There is also a green clipart one as well. BE CAREFUL!
  • The correct way to download is to the right of the picture in the box titled "Free Image Download."
Your Turn -> Have you ever used this site? If so, what do you think about it?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free Photo Websites: Part I

As you may recall I did a post a while ago about using photos on your blog. I linked to the original blog that I read and redirected you to read it. If not, go there now. I also have joined a group blog with a few other members of my local critique group called, Writers By The Shore. One of the things we wanted to do was make sure that we all use photos that are relevant to our posts in each and every post. This got me thinking. And of course I turned to that wonderful post looking for the sites I could get free photos to use for my blog posts. Times are tough and money is tight around my house. In the process of looking at these sites I thought it would be a great idea to do a series on each of the sites to help you decide which is best for you.

Today that site is Flickr.

I've seen a lot of other bloggers use photos from Flickr and wondered about it. I know my dad, a photographer, uses the site to showcase some of his work. His work, however, is copyrighted. It can't be used without his expressed permission.
One of my dad's photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alreich/6067865719/in/photostream
 I also use Flickr to showcase some of my dabbling in photography and have mine copyrighted as well. 
One of my photos from Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7180054@N05/7091459669/in/set-72157629483838068
Of course, because of the type of copyright we have both chosen neither of these pictures can be used without our permission.

However, there are photos on Flickr you CAN use. Click explore in the tabs at the top of the page and then chose Creative Commons. It will take you here. This will explain what you can use and for what uses.

WARNING: not all creative commons licenses are good for blogs. Blogs can be considered as commercial and some of these creative commons licenses are not for use in commercial outlets.

The best to use for blogging are: (1) Attribution License, (2) Attribution-NoDerivs License, and (3) Attribbution-ShareAlike License. The others can get you into trouble. Think of it this way, if the license says "Non-Commerical" it's best NOT to use that photo.

(1) Attribution License
http://www.flickr.com/photos/neclis/7202947280/in/photostream
This is a picture I found with the attribution license. It is free to use on my blog without consequence as long as I credit the photographer, which I did in the caption. You can follow that link right to the original picture and look at other photos in this photographer's photo albums. Just click on the link under "License" to the right. The link that says "some rights reserved." That will tell you what you can do with it. I can share, remix, and use this picture for commercial use as long as I credit the photographer.

(2) Attribution-NoDerivs License
http://www.flickr.com/photos/75819094@N05/7027294175/in/photostream/
The only difference between this picture and the previous picture is that I cannot edit it. I can still use it for sharing and commercial use as long as I credit the photographer. Again, make sure you check the license.

(3) Attribution-ShareAlike License
http://www.flickr.com/photos/la-citta-vita/6959405608/in/photostream/
This photo is similar to the first creative commons license photo above. I can share it, edit it, and use it commercially on my site. As with the rest I have to credit the photographer. If I alter it, I have to share it under the same license. Which means that others will be able to alter my altered photo.

Wow, that was a lot of information. But, you are wiser for the information! Good luck and happy blogging. Next time I'll take a look at one of the free stock photo sites where you can download free or purchase photos to use on your blog.

Your Turn -> Do you use photos from Flickr? If so, did you know the difference between the different licenses?










Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Reading List

I have a ridiculous list of books I'd like to read this year, but I'm planning to switch gears this summer. As I mentioned a few posts ago I'm planning on rewriting one of my half finished YA projects as a MG project. With this in mind I've already armed myself with several MG books or will be purchasing them as soon as they are released.

First up is the Riley Bloom Series by Alyson Noel. I've already read the first book, but that was when it first came out 2 years ago, so I'm going to reread it.

Radiance 

 Shimmer
 Dreamland
 Whisper 
 
The second is a new series that just came out by Kim Harrington called Sleuth or Dare. The first book came out May 1st, the second June 1st, and the third will be released on July 1st.

Partners in Crime
 Sleepover Stakeout
 Framed and Dangerous 
 
The final book on my list is one that was recommended by one of my critique partners, Archana Bharathan from Writers By The Shore

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Your Turn -> Do you have any good middle grade novels that you absolutely love, especially mysteries?


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

May Progress Report

It's time to see what I've been up to this past month. This month was rather productive, but it doesn't look it by the number of chapters edited. I took my time editing them, though. I bought a ton of books this month. Harper Teen helped that by pricing several of their Kindle books at $2.99. I bought half of them. I also received a bunch in Amazon gift cards which I used to buy more Kindle books that I couldn't get at the library. 

Writing:
Midnight Raynne- I the hard copy editing process in the first couple days of May. And then began the editing process on the computer. This is taking significantly more time to do since there are certain things I needed to alter in the story. I didn't make those changes on the hard copy version, so yeah, it's taking a while now. In the end, though, I feel really good about these changes and the time I'm taking with it.

Cleaning House:
I spent a lot of time this month cleaning house and reorganizing. Since my toddler was born my organizational skills have slipped. I'm tired of this disorganization. This summer the kids and I are going to Texas to visit my family and I'd like to return and relax, not clean house. I have to say the house is coming along nicely.

Goals For June:
I'd like to get back to Midnight Raynne full time and not be cleaning. Like I mentioned above, I'll be in Texas this summer, so hopefully once we get there in mid-June things will calm down enough for me to sit down and edit daily again.

Read:
- Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
- The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
- City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
- Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Started) 

Books Purchased:
- Whisper by Alyson Noel
- Sleuth or Dare: Partners in Crime by Kim Harrington
- Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday
- 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
- Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
- Destined by Jessie Harrell
- Predestined (Existence #2) by Abbie Glines
- Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith
- Tangled Tides (The Sea Monster Memoirs) by Karen Amanda Hooper
- The Emotion Thesaurus by Becca Puglisi & Angela Ackerman
- Vanished: Books 1 & 2 of 1-800-Where-R-You by Meg Cabot
- Vanished: Books 3 & 4 of 1-800-Where-R-You by Meg Cabot
- Missing You: Book 5 of 1-800-Where-R-You by Meg Cabot
- Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins
- Fated by Alyson Noel

Your Turn -> Was your May productive?