Modern Author Problems: Solving For ne-X-t

Hey gang! First, I'll applaud all of you writer-types who overcame your math phobias to click on this link. Confession: I kind of threw up in my mouth a little just typing it. I'm better now...

If you're one of those sick people who gets a kick out of math jokes--we're watching you. Closely.

Anyway, this post isn't about math at all. So feel free to relax and put the calculators away.

Solving For ne-X-t

"STORY PROBLEMS RULE!" Mathletes in the wild.
Photo curtesy of Lisa L. Wiedmeier, WANA Commons

Be you an Indie, traditional, big press, small press, or no press author, there's a modern dilemma you should be wrestling with: 

What am I going to try to publish next?

Not that the authors of yesteryear weren't concerned with their next projects. I think most of us struggle to keep the idea bunnies out of our mental gardens long enough to harvest the current crop/story before the little varmints can devour it. But I'm not talking about the artistic desire to start something new. This a practical matter created by changes in the publishing industry, but we'll get to that in a second.

First, some semantics before we begin. You'll notice I said 'should'. That's because I believe forward thinking is an essential part of the author formula nowadays. (Okay, I said this wasn't about math, but you have to allow me a few math terms--it's what makes the title of the post clever!) 

You might also notice I said 'publish', not write. I make that distinction, because if you're in the business of writing as a business (see what I did there), I believe publication is the ultimate goal.

If you're writing just to write, and maybe get published--maybe not--this post might not be strictly relevant to you. However, I think most published authors will tell you that once that ball starts-a-rollin, she doesn't slow down easily. 

Plus, when even a few readers (who aren't your mother or aunt) suggest they want to read more of your work, trust me when I say it's like freaking writer-nip. You'll go to high places--maybe even spaz out and claw up the furniture--and do pretty much anything to get that feeling back. It's that cool and special.

Times are changing...

So let's assume you're going to be published, and that once you are, you're going to be a junky who'd  shank your Gran-Gran for another fix. (Sorry, I've been watching a lot of Breaking Bad lately ... apologies to Gran-Gran.)

Now, this isn't one of those, "YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK A WEEK AND BECOME THE PUBLISHING EQUIVALENT OF A PUPPY MILL!" kinds of posts. No, you won't find me suggesting anything but putting your best, most thoughtful work out as consistently as you can.

But here's the somewhat scary reality of what I'm seeing out there in the trenches (i.e., Goodreads and book blogs): Readers are becoming very impatient. They don't necessarily care about the things authors have to care about--like the staggering amount of time it takes to write a good story, the expense of editing and promotion, the publishing house's release schedule, yada-yada-yada. 

They want content, and they aren't really compelled to wait for it. 

Digital distribution has fundamentally changed the game for all of the consumable arts--music, movies, visual art, and books. Bands are going back to the EP and singles model, because it allows them to provide a steady stream of content without big breaks in between albums. Visual artist aren't waiting to collect a number of pieces to display in an exhibition, but are instead showing their offerings as quickly as they are created on sites like Deviant Art, Pinterest, and the like.

There's also the financial accessibility provided by digital distribution to the creators of the content. You don't need expensive, downtown storefronts to display your art. You don't need the support of a large publisher to find readers. You don't need a million dollars worth of equipment to produce a record or shoot a webisode. 

The proverbial doors have been opened, and thousands of talented people are running through them every day.

Couple the steady stream of content being provided with the sheer volume of what's being created now, and you get a perfect storm of production and consumption. And make no mistake, if you're a creator, it's a storm that will churn you under and leave you drowning in its wake if you aren't a strong swimmer.

In this instance, treading water--staying visible--is going to keep your career alive. 

That's true for every kind of author. Traditionally published folks aren't immune to it--unless you're the Stephen King, James Patterson, and J.K.R. type of traditionally published folk. In fact, it might be more important to traditional authors, because the time between finished story and publication is typically longer for them. The gaps are larger, and not typically within their control.

I don't think this is a revelation to most authors. We all feel the pressure of needing to move onto the next thing. In fact, most of us are already well into the next thing when the current thing is just crowning its head into the world. 

Unfortunately, just like when you're solving for X in Algebra, figuring out what to publish next depends on a number of variables. 

What have you done so far/what's your brand? Is it going to tick off your publisher/agent if you want to self-publish short stories? Is it going to tick off your fans if you delay the next book in your series to write something new? Do you have the momentum of an expensive (in time, money, or both) blog tour that needs to be sustained? Can you financially afford to self-publish (it can get expensive, fast)? If not, can you, or are you willing to, write for a market enough to make traditional publication an option?

All things that can factor into the decision. 

I'm actually at one of those 'NEXT' crossroads myself. I write an ongoing series, that I plan on continuing, but I've come to a natural transition period. I made a goal last year to see the first three Moonsongs books published. I'm on the cusp of doing that. Now I need to make new goals. 

More Moonsongs books are definitely part of those goals. But I've got other projects I want to see get off the ground, too. I'd like to finish this dark-YA-lovestory-thing I've been working on forever. I've got an idea for another New Adult novella series (techno thriller FTW!) I'm so excited about it keeps me up at night. And more...

Anyway, I decided to throw this dilemma of solving for ne-X-t out there, because I think many of you will relate. Maybe you can help me figure it out, or talk me through your process. And as I said above, I do think it's worth some deliberation. 


Join The Uprising! And Various Updates...

Hey gang! I have yet another fabulous book release to share with you today, but first:
Moonsongs Tour Update

I've been all over the place since my last update. I had an exclusive Witch's Nocturne excerpt over at the Bookhounds blog. I received a couple of awesome reviews for the stories over at Buried In Books. And today, the Paperback Princess blog made me blush a little with the kind things they said about them. All are fine blogs for the readers out there, so be sure to check them if you have time.

I'm entering the home stretch of the tour as things will come to a close next Monday. It has been a lot of fun, a little tiring, and very worth it. I haven't been able to get around to comment on as many of my blog friend's blogs (at least regularly) this month as I would like, but know I've been lurking/reading. Things will soon be back to normal, so you can expect me to hassle you with comments again in the near future. :-)
Moonsongs Books Update

I just sent the third story off to the editor Friday! Yes, I was my usual neurotic mess when I hit 'send', but I'm better now. Writers understand this inevitable, downward spiral of highest-high, crippling doubt, and defeated acceptance. But for the uninitiated, it goes something like this: 

STEP 1 - Highest-high: I FINISHED IT JUST IN TIME FOR THE DEADLINE! Who has two arthritic thumbs, temporary computer blindness, and writer slouch? This hard-writing mf, that's who!

STEP 2 - Crippling Doubt: Oh hell, I shouldn't have sent her that piece of flaccid excrement ... I should've asked for more time ... it wasn't ready. Maybe she didn't get it... 

*incoming email bing sound* 

Son of a motherless goat, she got it! I'll just tell her I wrote the last half of it while recovering from meningitis. She'll feel obligated to give it back to me!

*scans email* 

For-the-love-of-Hebrew, she's already reading the damn thing! She's only had it like six seconds. Who starts reading something in the first minute?! Terminator robots, that's who. My editor is a vicious Terminator robot who has been sent back in time to kill my writing before I can destroy the world with its crappy-crapness.

*Google searches "how to change your identity and hide from Terminator robots"*

STEP 3 - Defeated Acceptance: You've written worse, EJ, and you know it. She'll probably ask you to re-wrtie the entire thing, and maybe request that you take an ESL class or two, but you can do it. You've got some time to think about the depth of your suck and to figure out how to un-suck. You've got time... 

*throws head back and dances the Snoopy dance*


This all happens in about 10 minutes realtime...

Neumarian Uprising 

We need your help! Thanks to our spy, Ciara Knight, we are able to communicate with you today via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

The Neumarian uprising has begun. We are fighting for freedom and equality for all, but we need your help. Ciara informed us that you might want to know more about the uprising and why we ask you to risk your lives for our cause. To answer these questions I’ve agreed to let Ciara tell my sister’s, Raeth’s, story about her captivity. It will be free for you on a site called Amazon until March 1, 2013.

Our spies have told us this will help spread the word and find more recruits for our rebellion against the tyrannical queen. You can help by simply downloading a free copy of Weighted, a prequel to the Neumarian Chronicles. If you are intrigued and wish to follow our uprising, Escapement, book I of The Neumarian Chronicles, will be available for only $2.99 until March 1, 2013.

Escapement is told by Princess Semara. Don’t hold the fact Semara is a princess against her like I did, there is more to her than you can possibly imagine.

Here is a brief explanation of her telling of our uprising:

Ten years after the great war of 2185 the queen’s reign is threatened by uprisings and fear. In celebration of my sixteenth birthday it is my duty as princess to sacrifice a slave to be initiated into the ruling council, solidifying my mother’s empire. When my own erratic powers surface I’m captured and tried for treason. Slaves hate me, my mother wants me executed, and my only chance of survival rests in the hands of a young man, Ryder Arteres, whose sister I sentenced to death.

What people are saying about Escapement:

“A heady mix of action adventure and steampunk -- leavened with a dash of romance -- ESCAPEMENT offers up its fair share of thrills, horrors and heart-pounding moments. A strong start to a captivating new series.”

-- Jana Oliver, author of The Demon Trapper's Daughter

“A riveting tale of justice, mercy, honor and love. Take a deep breath and hold on, because you'll be turning the pages of Escapement quickly. Three unlikely comrades, Princess Semara, Ryder, and his sister Raeth, embark on a journey that will alter their lives forever. The beautiful love story nestled into these action-packed scenes will make you sigh and remember why you love to love. After reading the prequel Weighted, I knew this story would be amazing, and it was. Ciara Knight truly has a gift for creating awesome worlds and characters you won't forget.”

--Lindi Peterson--Award winning author of Summer's Song.

“Betrayal, secrets, and a rebellion send readers on a grand adventure, caught in the plight to discover Semara’s gifts and purpose.”

--Alex J Cavanaugh, author of Amazon best sellers CassaStar and CassaFire

“The most unmissable series ever! I couldn't stop reading, the action and romance too breathtaking to break the spell!”

--ARC review by Sudah on Goodreads

"A courageous heart-stopping journey by young people to save their kind."

--Hildie McQueen, bestselling author of Where the Four Winds Collide

If you’d like to see a peak into our world, please view this short clip on You Tube

If you are now ready to join our fight, please add Escapement to your TBR shelf on Goodreads here.

Shout out on all your social media sites, and tell everyone you know to stand up and fight.

Be Bold.

Be Brave.

Be Free.

In the name of the rebellion,

Ryder Arteres

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CassaStorm Cover Reveal

Hey gang! Hope you've all had a fabulous week, and are ready to take the weekend by storm (see what I did there?). Or maybe just sleep a lot...

Today, a man who needs no introductions (who I'm going to introduce anyway, because that's just what we do around here), has a brilliant new cover to reveal.

I'm excited to share that our Ninja Captain, Alex Cavanaugh, is finally putting the bow on his epic, sci-fi trilogy with the release of the third Cassa book, CassaStorm. 

The good news: The cover rocks ALMOST as hard as the Ninja Rocker himself.

The bad news: We're going to have wait a bit to read it.

Nonetheless, let's all wish Alex a resounding 'HUZZAH', and let our eyes indulge in this tasty treat:

CassaStorm by Alex J. Cavanaugh

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, his only struggles are occasional rogue pirate raids and endless government bureaucracies. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, shaking Bassan to the core and threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.

Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could be on its way back. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

Release date: September 17, 2013

Science Fiction - Space Opera/Adventure

Print ISBN 9781939844002

E-book ISBN 9781939844019

Secondhand Shoes

Hey gang! Absolutely thrilled to share yet another awesome author with you today. My pal (and many of yours as well) Shelly Arkon has published her debut novel, Secondhand Shoes. *WOLF WHISTLES & CLAPS*

I'm going to tell you how you can get your hands on a free eCopy of Secondhand today and tomorrow. Plus, there's a fun giveaway to enter!

But first, here's a little about the author and book:

Meet the Runaway Bride

The shoes didn’t fit. It was an omen. Eighteen year old psychic-medium-germ-a-phobe Lila should have listened to her ghostly Gram’s advice the morning of her wedding, “Take off that dress and those shoes. And run.” 

En route to the honeymoon, she decides to listen after too many disagreements with her groom. It doesn’t pay to go along to make everyone happy.

Still in her wedding dress and shoes, she escapes out a diner’s bathroom window into the Florida woods despite her fear of snakes and germs with her dead Gram’s direction. So she begins a journey of finding her inner strength, putting her on a deadly run from her psychotic groom and his deranged friends.

Will she ever get past her fear of germs and snakes? Will she survive her honeymoon?

Meet Shelly

When she was nine, Shelly Arkon's mother advised her not to write a novel because no one would publish it...but she wrote it anyway.

Shelly Arkon has never stopped writing since she wrote that first novel as a child. In spite of more family drama than most of us could handle—as the mother of five daughters, drama is unavoidable--she's been writing most of her life. She says most of these stories, written in longhand in spiral notebooks, have been about vampires.

She now lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writer’s of Mass Distraction.

Currently, she’s working on a book series. It’s’about two grandmothers, one a New Age hippie, and the other, a Southern Baptist, their grandbaby, their grown children who are pill heads, their extended dysfunctional family, and a dangerous drug dealer.
Spread the News and Cheer on the Run-Away-Bride Give-Away

Shelly is giving away two $15.00 Amazon cards and two autographed paperback copies of Secondhand Shoes. All she asks is for you to leave the best advice you can give someone on their wedding day and promise to spread the news. On March 1st, I’ll announce the winners on my Secondhand Shoes blog,

His Allure, Her Passion

Hey gang! I'm honored to share the latest offering of blog pal Juliana Haygert, His Allure, Her Passion. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway. But first...

Moonsongs Tour Update

The tour is rocking along! I'm back over at the Bookhounds blog today (readers, seriously check this baby out--fabulous reviews, giveaways, and info on new reads DAILY). 

Plus: Today you can get a copy of Blood Fugue, Moonsongs Book 1 on me. She's free on the Amazon for a limited time, so if you haven't read it yet, I'd love for y'all to check it out. 

More Free Goodness

You can snag a copy of Givin' Up The Ghost by Gwen Gardner (one of my FAVORITE author-bloggers) free today as well. So be sure to get your copy of this fabulous tale of 'ghost whispering'.  

Gwen is also doing a giveaway for signed copies, which you can check out HERE.

In MORE Gwen news, she is joining forces with the rocking Melissa Bradley for a Writers4Writers event of epic proportions. What is W4WS? Basically, it's a way for writers to help other writers. Click HERE for the dirty.

So if you see either of these ladies blowing up the Internet in the next two days, give them a hand with the destruction, and help your fellow authors to boot. :-)

His Allure, Her Passion

by Juliana Haygert 

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Publication date: February 2013 by Decadent Publishing

In his father’s eyes, Dylan Deveraux is just a playboy spending the family fortune on prostitutes, alcohol, and fast cars. And it isn't even with the cars his father produces. Because of that, his father forbids his presence at the ball that will mark the launch of the US plant of his company, strategically scheduled on Valentine’s Day.

Hayley Allen is a failing model with the worse luck in the world. She always ends up in the hands of cruel designers and photographers. At least, that’s what she tells herself. Better than admit having a weak nervous system that always reacted during her gigs. Desperate, she would do anything to help her career.

Dylan shows up at her door, wasted as usual. Friends for a long time, Hayley is the only one able to put up with Dylan’s bullshit, and he appreciates that, but not the way her heart wants.

Even though he doesn't believe in Valentine's Day, Dylan has an idea for his father's ball. When he suggests a deal to Hayley, a deal that could finally put her in the spotlight of success and help him impress his father, she doesn't hesitate. Even if it means hurting her heart a little more.



Note that these are not the direct purchase links but author profile where the book will be listed as soon as it's released on February 14th.

While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting—but equally gratifying—life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.


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Interviews & Blood Fugue Is Free Today

Hey gang! Just a very quick note to give a couple of Moonsongs tour updates:

Today I'm over at Candace's Book Blog for an in-depth interview. I talk about Indie Vs Traditional publishing, dealing with reviews, the Moonsongs covers, and more. You can check it HERE.

Candace runs a massive book blog with reviews, giveaways, etc., so it's a great one-stop-shop for book lovers. Plus, she's my tour organizer, and I can tell you there's not a bigger supporter of authors and good books out there. Definitely check her out.

It's a double stop day, so I'm also over at Free eBooks Daily for another interview. This one is shorter, but was a lot of fun. I got to talk about my favorite aspect of the Moonsongs books. (Those of you who've read them, can you guess? :) You can read it HERE.

If you HAVEN'T read the books yet, here's your chance to try the first one, Blood Fugue, for free on Kindle. It'll stay free all day, and I'd be honored to have you give it a read. (It's a novella, and a fast read to boot, so it might be the perfect thing for a bit of quick weekend fun/distraction.)

You can snag your free copy HERE, and as always, if you know of people who enjoy paranormal, horror, New Adult literature, and/or action packed reads, I'd love for you to share this with them.

Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day and have a better weekend,


Indie Life - Control Vs Freedom

Hey gang! Time for another Indie Life post...

What is Indie Life?

How: Sign up on the Linky at the bottom of this page

When: Post on the second Wednesday of the month

What: Write anything indie related: something that will inspire or help a fellow indie; something that celebrates a release or a milestone; something that talks about the ups and downs, joys and heartaches of Being Indie.

Grab: The banner below to include in your posts!

Control Vs Freedom

Ask any child who has been allowed to sit at the BIG KIDS table for the first time, any teen who has driven solo for the first time, or any eighteen year old who has just spent her first month at college away from home: Being independent kicks all ass.

Understanding the degree varies by culture, it's safe to say most humans crave autonomy. We yearn to define our own boundaries. We pine to show our worth. We hustle to mark our unique spots in the world like an overactive male puppy in a fire-hydrant factory. 

I'll submit to you today that I think creative artist are the worst ME seekers of the lot. And justifiably so. After all, self-expression is our business, and doing-things-our-own-way is the only real product we have offer.

"Why buy my painting of trees when there are thousands of other tree paintings out there? Because my painting was done by me, and only I can see the trees this way. Now you can, too--every morning above your sofa for the small sum of $500 US ... cash."

But, I believe this is also why artists struggle so much with security issues, finances, and the like. We're conflicted, and here's why:

Writing is not a business, so you can (and probably should) throw all of the restraints out the window and do it all your way. Writing allows--encourages, in fact--us to think independently.

Writing feeds our habit. It feels good, even when it might be a little unhealthy.

Being an author, however, is a business. A business with boundaries, a business with rules. Yes, you can break rules and still be successful, but you usually have to be damn good at following them first. 

Being an author can be like going to rehab for our habit. It hurts like hell, but sometimes it's the best thing for us.

So what happens when you stick a group of highly independently-minded folks in a constrained environment with the provision of, "you can do anything you want, but you can't leave this area"

Imagine sticking a couple-dozen two year olds in an empty room and giving them the same orders. You'd return a few hours later to find: Poop. Blood. Tears. Little people trying to gnaw through walls to escape ... we're talking straight up Lord of the Flies level chaos.

"Where's Timmy?"

"We sent him through the air ducts to find freedom and haven't seen him since."

"Why Timmy?"

"Because I'm holding the LEGO, and the LEGO holder must be obeyed."

If that all sounds a bit too much like your writing routine/journey (poop, tears, blood, teeth gnashing, etc.), or your online writing group (Lord of the Flies), for comfort, trust me, you're not alone.

In the end, if you want to be a SUCCESSFUL published author, you might have to cash in some of that independence. You'll be asked to write in a way that is pleasing to a broad range of readers, agents, and editors. You'll probably need to understand terms like 'markets', 'genre', and 'metadata'. Heck, you might even have to change the names of your characters.

(I know, you LOVE Zartan and Estes, but readers think they're stupid names...) 

And here's the trick for Indies: All of the 'business' stuff applies more to you than it does other authors.

Ain't that a kick in the Dungarees?! You became an Indie to have fewer constraints and boundaries, not more, and now EJ is telling you that isn't going to happen. *harumph harumph harumph*

Being an Indie DOES mean more control, but sometimes that comes with less freedom than you might think. 

You get to choose your own editor! But you have to pick one who isn't illiterate that you can also afford. You get to decide which book cover you want! But you have to be willing to follow the rules of good design and marketing--yes, even if you liked the one with the cats more.

Why not just do what you want? After all, there's no one wagging a finger at you saying, "Fix this or it won't be published." 

You follow the business rules, because if the product sucks you're going to get ALL of the blame. That's why.

Your cover stinks: that's your bad, not the publishers. There are typos: that's your bad, not the editors. (Even they miss things, and your the last one to push the 'publish' button = your bad.) No one knows your book exists: that's your bad, not the marketing department at Random House. 

I guess all of this is to say: Don't become an Indie because of any pre-conceived ideas of total freedom. Total control, perhaps, but not freedom. Not if you want to be good at it.

It's still publishing, and publishing is still a business.


How To Publish & Promote Your Book

Hey gang! Happy Friday, and to all of my Northeastern US friends: Bundle up and stay safe.

Today I'd like to announce the launch of a book that I think many of us might benefit from reading. It's authored by our good blogging buddy, L. Diane Wolfe, and it's all about getting your writing out there and into the hands of the folks who want to read it. (And maybe a few who DIDN'T know they wanted to read it. ;)

If you don't know Diane, she's an accomplished public speaker and motivator, as well as an ace blogger. Definitely check her out!


By L. Diane Wolfe

Publishing and promoting made simple!

Have you always dreamed of publishing a book but didn’t know where to begin? This book walks you through the steps of identifying markets, budgeting, building an online presence, and generating publicity. Get the whole story on:

· Traditional publishing
· Self-publishing
· Print and e-book setup, formatting, and distribution
· Finding your target audience
· Generating reviews and media interest
· Networking and developing an online presence
· Promotional materials and appearances

Uncover your ideal publishing path and numerous marketing options before you begin. Writing is your dream. Give it the best chance for success!

Available February 5, 2012
Publishing/Marketing, 214 pages, Dancing Lemur Press LLC
$14.95 Trade paperback ISBN 978-0-9827139-5-2
$4.99 Ebook ISBN 978-0-9827139-9-0

Barnes and Noble
Amazon Kindle

“She gives an unbiased take on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional publishing and self-publishing and publishing paths that combine the two… It's the perfect book for those who want an overview to begin the decision-making process.”

- Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning series of how-to books for writers

“A must-read for writers planning on self-publishing or any writer who wants the ultimate how-to on promoting. Tons of links, advice, and how-to, whether you're going for print or e-publication.”

- Helen Ginger, author of Angel Sometimes

Bio: L. Diane Wolfe

Known as “Spunk On A Stick,” Wolfe is a member of the National Speakers Association and a motivational speaker. She’s conducted seminars on book publishing and promoting for five years and assisted writers through several author services. Her other titles include “Overcoming Obstacles With SPUNK!” which ties her goal-setting and leadership seminar’s information together, and a YA series, “The Circle of Friends.” Wolfe travels extensively for media interviews and speaking engagements, maintains a dozen websites & blogs, and contributes to several other sites and newsletters.

Connect with L. Diane

Blog - Spunk On A Stick’s Tips
Website - Spunk On A Stick
Twitter - @SpunkOnAStick
Facebook - L. Diane Wolfe

IWSG - What Kind Of Writer Are You?

Hey gang! Thanks so much for all of the kind words and messages of support left on my Overcoming Adversity contribution on Monday. I know Nick had to feel uplifted by all of the fabulous entries I read.

I'm actually going to talk about my blog hop piece, Just In Time, for my IWSG post today, but some housecleaning first...

Those Damned Share Buttons Are Gone

NA Lit Chat

As many of you know, I'm an instigator (host) of the #NALitChat conversation every Thursday night, 9 PM EST, on the Twitters (use #NALitChat in your tweets to join in). It's basically a discussion of all things in New Adult literature. If you're intrigued, check out the Chat Blog for details and a calendar of upcoming chat topics.

Speaking of which, this week kicks off our 'Reader Love Month' series of chats. Each chat in February, we'll talk about reading NA (like why you'd want to, and what to expect, and how to find it). We have some awesome guest hosts lined up as well, and will be giving away some NA reads during the chats.

If you've been curious about New Adult, this might be a good place to start.

Blog Tour Update

I've survived to day 3! Actually, it's been a lot of fun so far. I did a guest post on the Books & Things blog on Monday. I talk about the Texas setting in the Moonsongs books, as well as some of the Native American influences on the stories. 

There was more awesomeness that day, but I think I'll talk about that in another post for the sake of space/time...

Day 2 offered some amazing reviews of the Moonsongs books. Seriously, give me a half-bottle of wine and a couple of Prozac (don't do this, I haven't), and I STILL couldn't say nicer things about the stories myself--they're that good. You can check them out HERE (Books & Things) and HERE (Missy's Reads & Reviews), plus there are excerpts. 

Both are incredible blogs to follow for readers who want to discover new books.

If you care to follow along with the tour (there'll be chances to win copies of my books at some of the stops, and you can enter the big giveaway as well), just click the tour banner wherever you see it. (Like up there on the right.)

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Click the pic to join IWSG!
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.

What Kind of Writer Are You?

I had a brief Twitter exchange with a blog buddy (most of you know LG) last week that got me to thinking: What kind of writer am I?

I'd been working on my Overcoming Adversity story, wanting to do a good job for Nick, and I saw a tweet from LG saying she was doing the same. I basically mentioned how I was a bit nervous about sharing it, because it's not my typical brand of fiction.

For me, Just In Time, is fairly literary--which is perfect for a 500 word restriction, by the way, because I've decided you aren't really obligated to resolve a damned thing in literary fiction--with nary a werwolf or witch to be found.

Yeah, don't ask me how to make a story interesting when you can't fling a tomahawk or have a monster trying to eat someone, but I tried nonetheless...

In the end, I really enjoyed writing it, which was something of a surprise. I got to explore some themes (aging, having a twin, and death) that really fascinate me. The piece also challenged me to find beauty in the struggle, something I think we all fail to do at times.

More than anything, it helped me face a small complex I suffer from. I like to call it the: You're Not Good Enough To Be That Kind Of Writer Syndrome (YNGETBTKOWS ... I have no idea either, but we could probably fit it on a coffee cup.).

I think we all believe, on some level, that we have a storytelling and writing style we're best suited for. And I believe it's mostly true. In fact, discovering what my writing comfort zone really was helped me take the next step in my writing career (being confident enough to publish my work). 

I had to know I was doing something well. Not that I was the best ever, but just that I was capable of writing in a style that was consistently decent.The story and the characters would be the stars, I reasoned. 

Besides, I wasn't the kind of writer capable of spinning golden words, or conjuring mystical imagery. That stuff was for the learned writers, not for folks like me who cut their storytelling teeth on cinema and comic books. YNGETBTKOWS

No, I was meant to be a roller coaster writer. My stories wouldn't be complex or artistic, just a hell of a lot of fun.

But something has occurred to me of late: Maybe I can be more than one type of writer. Maybe I can write stories that have vampires, explosions, and badass tomahawks AND move readers to a deeper emotional place than, "Pleasure! Afraid... Anger!" 

Heck, I might even be able to write a decent story WITHOUT vampires, explosions, and badass tomahawks.

Perhaps I've undercut myself with my YNGETBTKOWS.

So I ask: What kind of writer are you?


Just In Time - Overcoming Adversity Bloghop

Hey gang! Hope everyone survived their Super Bowl parties and weekend. :-) Busy day for me today, so let's get to it.

First: Today is the launch of my ginormous blog tour. The first stop is at the incredible Books & Things blog. (If you're a reader, you need to follow this blog!) I've written a short guest post about the Native American themes in the Moonsongs stories, and shared a short excerpt from Witch's Nocturne (Moonsongs book 2). Plus, there's a giveaway. You can check it HERE.

Second: Speaking of the Moonsongs stories, the first in the series, Blood Fugue is free today only on Amazon. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, I'd be honored if you'd add me to your TBR pile. Also, if you know fans of paranormal, action, and/or horror, I'd appreciate you sharing this with them. You can get it HERE.

Third: Today is the start of the Overcoming Adversity bloghop. Basically, our blog/writing buddy Nick Wilford is trying to raise money to send his stepson to a special school. You can read all about the effort HERE.

In short, Nick asked bloggers & writers to share a short poem, essay, or flash-fiction piece based on the theme "Overcoming Adversity." I chose flash fiction, because frankly, I suck at poetry. Nick is going to compile all of the entries into a book to use for fundraising.

Before I get to my contribution, I want to say: Nick, I hope this helps in some small way. We're all pulling for Andrew, and I'm honored to be a part of this.

Here's my story:

Photo courtesy of Cellar_Door_Films, WANA Commons

Just In Time by E.J. Wesley

“Excuse me. I’m in a bit of hurry, sorry.”

Benjamin smiled, but was afraid the gesture displayed as more of a grimace. His knees ached, even though he’d just barely gotten off the bus. He stepped aside, letting the woman pass.

What else is left for men my age to do but to step aside and let things pass?

He hadn’t seen her come up behind him, but now that he had a good look, he wasn’t surprised.

A tight bun of auburn hair stood at attention atop her head. A dreary-hued knit suit hugged her body in a grip of fierce practicality. Her purse, a very reasonable shade of red, was wedged under her arm with military precision. Clock coils were wound less tightly.

Yet clocks never seemed to run out of time, did they?

Benjamin continued down the sidewalk, vaguely aware of his cane’s tapping announcement of each of his shuffling steps. His movement created its own sort of rhythmic clock ticking—the tick, tock replaced by click, scuff—as he went.

At last he came to an ironwork fence. Pausing, he sucked down a few gulps of the cool autumn air. He marveled at how the damp smell of decaying, fallen leaves could pull life back into him, even when—more and more with each passing day—his body repelled it.

He set out again. People in suits bustled past, offering their pardons as they went. None of them gave him a second glance.

Probably for the best.

Benjamin touched the brim of his well-worn leather fedora with each extended social grace, always carrying on. Soon, stone monuments began to appear at regular intervals beyond the fence.

The shiny, polished granite ones seemed almost alive, shimmering in the sunlight like torches. They offered a shivering soul some comfort, just as a flashing, neon OPEN sign might soothe the spirit of a road-weary traveler. Conversely, the marble ones jutted out of the earth like sun-bleached bones. They stole the warmth of the world with a sort of stoic greediness, taking great pride in being cold, and changeless in the light.

Mine will be granite.

Uplifted by the thought, his pace quickened. But each heavy marker he saw added a weight to his heart. Puddles at his feet reflected not only his face, but also the translucent face of the ghost he would soon visit.

Benjamin’s steps slowed, his thoughts turning murky and thick, until at last the burden threatened to overcome him. He stopped to mop his brow with his handkerchief—or maybe fall to his knees and declare himself used up—when he spotted a yawning break in the fence ahead.

Two snarling stone lions guarded the entrance. A jowly, middle-aged priest stood between them. The man glared at his watch, deep worry lines creasing his brow.

“Are you here for the service?” The priest forced an impatient smile as Benjamin ambled up.

“Yes,” Benjamin said.

He waited for the priest to look at him properly, and for the shock that would undoubtedly follow.

“You’re just in time then. I was about to­—”

The priest looked toward the graveyard, and back to Benjamin, his face gone paler than the clerical collar around his throat.

Benjamin smiled, and held out his hand. “I’m Benjamin. Charlie’s twin brother.”


Hope you enjoyed! I'll talk more about my inspiration for the piece, etc. later this week in my IWSG post, of course. :-) Until then, please hop to the other participants and and give them your encouragement (and wish Nick luck on his endeavor, too).

1.Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh2.E Louise Bates
3.David Powers King4.Hilary at Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
5.Getting Past The Fist6.Denise Covey, LAussie
7.Bards and Prophets8.Leigh Covington
9.Tyreans Writing Spot10.Livia Peterson
11.Christine Rains12.Meradeths Write Stuff
13.Donna Hole14.Michael Pierce
15.Nicole Singer-Write Me A World16.Elise Fallson
17.Carrie Butler @ SYAW18.Tobi Summers - Chock Full of Words
19.tara tyler20.DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
21.Empty Nest Insider22.PK HREZO
23.C.M. Brown24.Clare Dugmore Writes
25.Kathy- Imagine Today26.Tangent Shell
27.The Open Vein - E.J. Wesley28.Mina Burrows
29.Use Your Words...30.Ilima Todd
31.Carrie-Annes Magick Theatre32.Kelley Lynn
33.J. A. Bennett, A Writers Journey34.Melissa Maygrove
35.Trisha @ WORD STUFF36.Damyanti@Amlokiblogs
37.Candilynn Fite38.Michelle @ Writer~In~Transit
39.Kittie Howard40.Mary Pax
41.Misadventures in Candyland42.Krista McLaughlin
43.Writing Off the Edge44.Read is the New Black
45.Elsie Is Writing46.Stina Lindenblatt
47.The Eagles Aerial Perspective48.Breakthrough Blogs
49.Lara Schiffbauer50.I had a little nut-tree...
51.J.L. Campbell52.Samantha May: Writing Through College
53.One Magic Bean Buyer54.Brooke R. Busse
55.Writers Block56.Justine Dell
57.Father Dragon Writes58.The Kelworth Files
59.WRITING IN THE CROSSHAIRS60.Dreaming of publication
61.In Between - Adriana Dascalu