Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Crossing The Finish Line

I’m about 10,000 words shy of completing the first novel in a series that’s been a work in progress for about two years. 10,000 words. That’s it. On a good writing day, I can push out 2,500 words. I’m not great at math, but even I can figure this out – four good days and this book could be finished. Done.Finito.

But the truth is, I’ve been sitting at “10,000 words from completion” for about two weeks.

It’s not that I’m blocked. In the past few weeks, I’ve revisited an old project, started a new one (gulp), outlined the second book in this series AND another series, finished the first draft of a screenplay, and binge watched several TV series under the guise of inspiration. I’ve been productive.

And it’s not like I don’t have incentive to finish this book. My agent, my publisher, my critique partners, and my friends are all waiting for those last 10,000 words. Frankly, there’s a lot riding on it.

The feedback on the first half of the book has been positive – overwhelmingly positive. I have no good reason for writerly doubt to rear its nasty head.

But like a Cyclops there it is, staring me down with a smug one-eyed glare, and despite all of my monster-slayer training, this demon is a ridiculously feisty little creature.

It’s almost as though I’m afraid to type “The End” because of course, that’s when stuff gets real. The gig’s up. I’m no longer writing “my best work” – it’s written, and yeah, I know not going to measure up. How could it? In my mind, this draft is brilliant. Award-winning worthy. The great North American novel…

Ah, the stuff we tell ourselves to push through all of that…other stuff.

When I write, I slip into Genius Mode, this magical, mystical place where every word I write is perfect. The characters are three-dimensional, life like, sympathetic and a mesmerizing balance of good and flawed. I’ve chosen the most powerful verbs, ramped up the conflict, ended each chapter with a page-turning cliffhanger. There are no plot holes – every loose end is tied up with a neat little bow. The extra words are omitted. It really is a brilliant piece of work.

Genius Mode is a wonderful place to be, right?

But the gig’s almost up, and true to form, Idiot Mode has kicked in early. Instead of powering through those last 10,000 words, I’m hanging on to the “genius” –nervous about the flaws in the story, the character quirks that need fixing, the clich├ęs that need to be axed. I’ve hit Idiot Mode too early – and that, my friends, is one nasty beast to slay.

So, I’ve taken the last two days to gather my arsenal. I’ve joined the gym because hey, if I’m going to beat myself up over writing, I definitely need to get my physical health in order. I finished Season 3 of Breaking Bad (talk about genius), and made my husband hide Season 4 as a REWARD for finishing those last 10,000 words. I’ve cleared my Mac of anything not related to this book and put it on a USB drive that is locked away in my desk drawer – and only my husband has the key. I’ve stocked up on Diet Coke and gummy bears, updated my playlist, and – gulp – deprogrammed half of the shows scheduled to tape on my PVR.

Drastic, right? Perhaps – but I know me, and THIS is the only way I’m going to cross the finish line on this book.

So – am I alone in my psychosis? Be honest, it’s okay. If not, what drastic measures have you had to employ to finish a project? And what tools of the trade am I missing in my monster-slaying arsenal?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Life After Release

The time right before a book’s release for an indie author is what some may call hectic. Others, particularly those of us going through it, may say it’s more like “head-spinning-eye-bugging-hair-pulling-never-going-to-get-this-done-in-time-who-needs-sleep” insanity.

There are the usual promotions of the upcoming release, getting ready to launch a blog tour, tweeting and Facebooking about how we are so excited that the book is about to come out, while behind the scenes, we’re scrambling in the final weeks and days with cover fixes, edits, blurb tweaks, last-second proof fixes, formatting, uploading files, fixing files because of a technical glitch, etc. It’s a mad dash for the finish line!

I don’t know about others, but I dream of lazy days after crossing that finish line. Sitting around reading and catching up on TV shows and movies, chatting online and in real-life with people you haven’t talked to in months. Sure, there are still blog posts to write and interview questions to answer, but the demands are nothing compared to the marathon-length sprint before release day. Easy-peasy.

When I released Power exactly a month ago, that finish line was even dreamier because within two weeks of the release, I also sent two kids off to college and closed a big deal with my other business that resulted in adding new team members who needed to be trained. My summer had disappeared in the chaos and I couldn’t wait for the 6 weeks of “after-life” with a workload that would be so light, I’d practically feel like I was on vacation.

Yeah, right. Four of those weeks have already passed, and although I haven’t been working nearly as hard as before, I’m already feeling overwhelmed. There’s always something to do in an indie author’s life. The print version of Power is still being tweaked and proofed and hopefully will be ready soon. The audiobook of Promise is being reviewed and getting ready to go on sale. New swag with the new offerings needs to be made. And then there’s the blog tour with guest posts and interviews.

We won’t even mention the messy state of my office or the rest of the house, the doctors and dentist appointments that need to be made or the remodeling project. This “after-life” is supposed to be made for dealing with these things, as well as for refilling the creative well. So far, I’ve accomplished less than half of what I wanted to, and already the itch to start writing again is growing. Which is good, because I need to start on the next book soon.

Such is the life of an indie author. It’s a never-ending ride. But would any of us trade it for another? I don’t think so.

~Kristie Cook

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blood Type Has Released!

Since getting attacked by a vampire, I didn’t believe in beginnings. Only endings. Every person born to this world comes with an expiration date, but I had never considered mine. At least not until I met John.

Now the end was all I ever thought about. I woke up every morning wondering if that day would be my last. Venom pulsed in my veins and seeped into my bones, infecting all my vital organs and changing me from the inside out. Slowly killing me.

But I’d welcome death in the end, if only because the alternative was even more frightening.

Popular girl Blake Ehlert has it all: a prime spot on the cheerleading squad, a jock boyfriend who’s strong and sensitive, and the winning vote for Homecoming Queen two years in a row. But when she strikes up a conversation with loner John Kelly, her entire world starts to crumble.

John Kelly is a vampire—what’s known to his kind as a Compeller. It’s his job to recruit human Donors with a particular blood type.

And Blake is his next target.

Melissa Luznicky Garrett is an author of adult and young adult novels. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, three children, and numerous animals. Melissa is currently hard at work on her next project. Visit Melissa’s blog or connect with her on Facebook.

Blood Type is available in print through Create Space, or in print and digital through Amazon.

Stop by Melissa’s blog starting September 22nd and enter to win a signed print copy of Blood Type. All are welcome to participate. The winner will be chosen and announced October 1st. Also, claim your free Kindle copy of Melissa's most previous YA Paranormal, The Spirit Keeper, on Amazon September 22nd through September 26th. *As always, please make sure it's marked as free before you download.*

Thursday, September 20, 2012

New Fan Site For Aiden's Angels

If you haven't read the Between series by Cyndi Tefft, you are missing out on the hunky Scottish reaper, Aiden MacRae. Aiden has spent the last three hundred years transporting souls to heaven while he waits for the one whose love will redeem him. When he meets Lindsey, he knows the time has come, but heaven is calling her away. Will their love be strong enough to transcend all boundaries?

Fans of the series call themselves Aiden's Angels and thanks to the efforts of Vicki Trask, they now have their own fan site complete with reader-created trailers, fan fiction, and a link to Aiden's Angels merchandise! How cool is that? Aiden also has his own Twitter account and Facebook page. He's one busy reaper!

Hell Transporter, the sequel to Between, came out earlier this year. Cyndi Tefft is currently working on the third book in the series with plans to publish in the spring.

Congrats to Cyndi and Aiden's Angels on the new site!

Between and Hell Transporter are available from all major online retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and iTunes). Personalized paperback copies are available from Cyndi's website.

Cyndi is a social media addict, so you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, andGoodreads. Whew!

Monday, September 17, 2012

IE Reviews: The Selkie Spell

It’s time for another review of an indie author who, though they are not one of the Indie Elite, they are worthy of recognition. Today I bring you The Selkie Spell by Sophie Moss. Both the description and the lovely cover of this novel drew me in but it was the beautiful writing that kept me reading. The very first page immersed me into a watery world of tragedy that I didn't want to leave, and it deepened from there. My heart ached for Tara and the ghosts of her past. And the descriptions, ah the descriptions! The author made me feel as though I were in Ireland, breathing the salty air, feeling the sand between my toes. You won't want to put this one down until you've read the last words!

There was only one hang up that kept me from giving it five stars. The author switched points of view from one main character to the other, within the same page. It was a bit disconcerting and confusing at times. Normally such an issue would have made me stop reading and refuse to do a review. But the rest of the writing, and the story, were so compelling that I simply couldn’t stop reading. I hope you’ll give it a try despite this issue because if you don’t, you’ll be missing a fantastic story by an artist of a writer. For a debut novel it was excellent.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Crossroads Tour

From small to big-gun presses, debut novels to bestsellers, the Crossroads Blog Tour is offering unprecedented (and free!) access to amazing YA authors. This October, thirteen paranormal writers will embark on an exciting blog tour that will hook readers up with great reads and cool SWAG. Three authors in the group are also with Indie E: Judith Graves, Dawn Dalton, and Christine Fonseca.

Here’s the official roster:
Judith Graves – Leap Books – Under My Skin, Second Skin, Skin of My Teeth, Killer’s Instinct
Joy Preble – Sourcebooks – Dreaming Anastasia, Haunted, Anastasia Forever. Soho Press (forthcoming May 2013) – The Sweet Dead Life
Stacey Kade – Hyperion – The Ghost and the Goth, Queen of the Dead, Body & Soul
Amanda Ashby – Speak – You Had Me at HaloZombie Queen of Newbury High, Fairy Bad Day, Demonosity
Lucienne Diver – Flux – Vamped, Revamped, Fangtasic, Fangtabulous
Kiki Hamilton – Teen / Macmillian – The Faerie Ring, The Torn Wing
Jackie Morse Kessler – Harcourt Graphia – Hunger, Rage, Loss
Christine Fonseca – Compass Press – Transcend, Libera Me
Carrie Harris – Delacorte Books for Young Readers -Taste In Boys, Bad Hair Day
Dawn Dalton – Leap Books - SPIRITED Anthology, Killer’s Instinct
Leanna Renee Hieber- Sourcebooks – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul, #1), The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul, #2)
Ty Drago- Sourcebooks – The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses, The Undertakers: Queen of the Dead
Janet Fox – Speak – Faithful, Forgiven, Sirens
Each day of The Crossroads Blog Tour, a new research question will be revealed on The Crossroad Blog Tour main page:http://judithgraves.com/events/the-crossroads-tour/crossroads-2012/and each day the answer to that question will be found within one of the different blog posts by Crossroads Tour authors. Your job is to get the question, read the blog posts, and collect all answers by the end of the tour.
The GRAND PRIZE you’re vying for? A brand new KINDLE, preloaded with a title from each of the participating Crossroads Blog Tour Authors. That’s right folks, a free KINDLE and 13 free EBOOKS!
Follow the tour on Twitter And Facebook 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Cover Contessa Reviews Puca

Brooke of The Cover Contessa has reviewed Heather McCorkle's To Ride A Puca and gave it four stars! Here is a bit of her review:

"The book was engaging and, for me, a page turner. I really got immersed in the reading and didn't want to put it down. ... It's a dark and sexy historical novel that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end!"~Brooke of The Cover Contessa.

To read the rest of Brooke's in-depth review click here. You can find To Ride A Puca on Amazon, B&N, The Book Depository, and more.