December 22, 2014

Wrapping Up the Year

The very final Mending Heartstrings giveaway winners have been chosen — congratulations to Sherry and Ryenne! And all of the prizes have been shipped, leaving me strangely bereft of all those Mending Heartstrings goodies. 

The whirlwind of my first release has officially died down. I do plan on sorting through all my experiences and posting impressions and tips, but that will have to wait until the new year. I also have a special guest planned for the beginning of the year!

Meanwhile, I'm going to take a short break from posting, though I hope you will consider reading Mending Heartstrings and letting me know what you think. 

Here's wishing you all a happy and healthy end to Hannukah or a Merry Christmas, along with a superb New Year!


December 15, 2014

The Genres We Hate

This initially went up as part of the Mending Heartstrings blog tour, but that post had some formatting issues, so I'm sharing it here as well. As an added perk, there's still time to enter the blog tour's giveaway, included at the end!

People can be surprisingly insular when it comes to the music they listen to. While many of us would be entirely willing to try a new food (reasonably speaking — not bugs on a skewer!), we would be equally unwilling to approach music outside of our habitual genres with an open mind. Interestingly, or sadly, the same can be said about literary genres. Whether due to a lack of exposure when forming our tastes, a pervasive stereotype, or a single bad experience, we form resolute opinions on genres we must emphatically avoid.

To that end, many rule out entire musical or literary traditions, such as the wealth of classical music or all poetry, becoming adamant in escaping exposure. I can just imagine certain friends (and likely some readers) shuddering at the idea of voluntarily attending an opera, or ballet, or even something with a more “contemporary” reputation, like a Broadway musical. Similarly, all too many of my friends, despite knowing me and what I write, consider romance to be “porn on paper,” “insubstantial,” or something equally dismissive and judgmental.

Those who may be persuaded to branch out would approach the experience with an expectation of boredom and time lost at best, indeterminate suffering at worst. But occasionally, those same people who would avow a deep and longstanding hatred of a genre will be unable to escape exposure and will thereby discover how utterly wrong their preconceptions were, seeing the beauty in a new world.

December 12, 2014

Flash! Friday: Year Three

So, there is a chance my entry officially posted too late for this week's Flash! Friday contest, and I'll easily admit it was written very last-minute, but I figured there's no harm in sharing here.

This week's prompt returned to its roots with no dragon bidding, just 150-word stories (+/- 10) on this photo: 

December 10, 2014

Holiday Song Lyric Parody Contest!

As the holiday season is rapidly approaching, the Authoress a.k.a. Miss Snark's First Victim is hosting a parody contest of Christmas & Hannukah song lyrics! Check out the rules (and prizes!) here. Up to two entries per person are allowed. 

I may or may not end up entering these when the contest officially opens, but just for fun, my attempts are posted below. Share your own in the comments, then head on over & enter the contest yourself!

December 8, 2014

Scripting Change Book Blast

So, I'm posting this a bit late, since Beyond the Words released the same day as Mending Heartstrings, but nevertheless I wanted to make sure to spread the word!

The community writing project, Scripting Change, is incredibly excited to announce the release of their second anthology: Beyond the Words!

Absolutely every piece of this e-book, from the coordination, to the contents, to the beautiful cover art, was volunteered, and 100% of proceeds will be donated to nonprofit organizations championing literacy in their communities.  Read on to find out why!


About the Project:

Scripting Change is a writing initiative that aims to bring together the vast community of writers and readers in support of responsible nonprofit organizations. 

The project accepts submissions from writers, relating to a theme that reflects an important cause.  The selected pieces are combined in an anthology which is published as an e-book, in this case: Beyond the Words.  Proceeds from this and every Scripting Change e-books' sales are donated to the matched organization that champions each e-book's cause.

By focusing on the compelling words of writers, Scripting Change is able to raise not only funds but also awareness for the causes of the organizations they support.  The time and talents of everyone involved are offered freely, so the project has absolutely no overhead costs, which means every dollar raised is donated to positively impact our society!


About the Nonprofits:

It is impossible to overstate the importance of literacy, yet so many struggle with this crucial skill. So, Scripting Change has decided to donate proceeds from Beyond the Words to not one, but three nonprofits throughout the United States, all of which foster literacy in their communities.
    Read for Literacy, in Northwestern Ohio, provides learning opportunities for readers of all ages and backgrounds, with three tailored programs: Creating Young Readers, for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade; Adult Basic Education; and English Language Learners, for non-native English speakers.
    Literacy Action, in Atlanta, Georgia, offers an incredibly wide array of literacy programs for adults — from literal reading assistance, to workplace literacy, family literacy & education, and much more, this organization provides its community with crucial support, enhancing so many lives!
    Page Ahead, in Seattle, Washington, focuses its literacy efforts on children, allowing elementary-school children to browse book fairs at the end of the school year & choose their own books for the summer — which are then provided to them by Page Ahead! They bolster this program by also working with parents, helping them engage their young readers.

Now it's your turn!

Scripting Change depends entirely upon the support of the community as a whole.  The writers, and our cover designer, have done their part; the coordinators have brought it all together; the bloggers have graciously helped us spread the word – now it's up to the readers.  We hope you will enjoy the anthology!

Beyond the Words is available through: 


Smashwords ~*~ Amazon: USUK ~*~ Barnes & Noble

Learn more about this project at: ScriptingChange.blogspot.com
Find them on Facebook or on Twitter: @ScriptingChange

December 6, 2014

2nd Flash! Friday Fiction Anniversary!

Rebekah has pulled out all the stops for the second anniversary of Flash! Friday Fiction (aka Flashversary).  The festivities will consist of multiple rounds of competition, starting this weekend, with a winner crowned December 16th. 

Round one is open to all, with a 150-word (exactly!) story on the photo below. Round 2 will be open to 25 semifinalists; with 10 finalists moving on to the final judging.  All of the stories will be judged blind (stripped of the identities of the authors).

December 3, 2014

Release-day Giveaway Winners!

It was quite a release day, let me tell you! Crazy, exhilarating, surprising (flowers & balloons!), delicious (champagne!), fun, busy…you name it!

But the release day of Mending Heartstrings is officially over, and I have a list of winners for various contests. (And info toward the bottom of this post on more giveaways still going on!)

These ladies already know they won during my Facebook release party, but I wanted to include them anyway because they did some pretty cool things in order to win! Some contests were random, some weren't, but here's the breakdown of winners:

December 1, 2014

All About Mending Heartstrings' Release Day!

25 months ago, I wrote the first words of what is now Mending Heartstrings. In just a few hours, it will be officially released!!
So much is happening tomorrow, so this post is your guide to the festivities and giveaways: 
Facebook Launch Party: 4pm PT - 7pm PT join me in celebrating with a virtual party hosted entirely on Facebook! (I believe that in order to participate, Facebook requires you to RSVP on the page.) The party will include unique giveaways, contests, and all-around good fun — but only if you're there!

Blog Tour: With guest posts from your truly and a mix of reviews, not to mention a pretty kickass giveaway (if I do say so myself), this tour will run from Dec. 2nd — Dec. 12th. I'll be sharing each post on Twitter and Facebook
    In addition to the blog tour, there will also be a book blitz happening on December 2nd, with its own unique giveaway for the prize pack below! (The first post is already up here!)


Twitter Exclusives!


For her release of Hemlock Veils last week, Jennie Davenport had some brilliant Twitter promos, which gave me some ideas! I'm lucky her release came before mine… ;-) So, here's how this will work:

Between 12am ET Dec 2nd (9pm PT Dec 1st) and 3am ET Dec 3rd (12am PT Dec 2nd) everyone who tweets the Amazon link (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OQG1ROW) to Mending Heartstrings will be entered into a random drawing! Remember to include me (@AriaGlazki) in the tweet so it can count. Prizes:
    A Mending Heartstrings keychain!
    A Mending Heartstrings notebook, with a super cool guitar-pick bookmark! (Pictured in the prize pack above.)

In that same timeframe, everyone who retweets any of my tweets related to Mending Heartstrings will be entered to win a Mending Heartstrings magnet! (2 total)

And to top it off, everyone who tweets or retweets a post about Mending Heartstrings, including sharing info about the reveal party and blog tour stops, will be entered to win a tote bag!

    Keep in mind: there is no limit to the number of times you can enter, so tweet as many times as you'd like. Each prize will also come with an autographed trading card!

Winners will be selected randomly using random.org, and I'll announce them Dec. 3rd both on Twitter and on this blog.

But there's more! If you don't want to risk missing out on a personalized, autographed Mending Heartstrings trading card, you can sign up to receive one here — all you have to do is pass out additional cards to your friends and fellow readers!

November 28, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-51

Well I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! 

It's the final week of year two for the weekly Flash! Friday Fiction contest, but only my second week back writing, so please be kind! Nevertheless, here's my entry, with the required element of "coming of age," 150 words (+/- 10) on this photo:


November 24, 2014

Help Support the Second Scripting Change Anthology!

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, to be all too (read: overly) soon overtaken by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These entirely consumer-driven days have recently begun to be followed by Giving Tuesday, an effort to shine the spotlight on the less self-centered goal of supporting our communities through contributing to nonprofits. 
I hope you will support any responsible nonprofit (please do your research!), on any day of the year of course, but if you haven't yet thought about your charitable contributions, Giving Tuesday donations are often matched by corporate sponsors.

For those who may not have the opportunity to contribute financially, Scripting Change will release their second anthology on December 2nd, which is Giving Tuesday this year (and yes, is the same day Mending Heartstrings releases), affording us all the opportunity to support a wonderful cause! This year's anthology is fighting for literacy, and as always, 100% of Scripting Change proceeds will be donated, since everyone involved in the project is a volunteer. You can do your part to help simply by spreading the word! Sign up for their book blast here.

You can also follow Scripting Change on Twitter or on Facebook to stay informed on their current and upcoming projects!

November 21, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-50

Difficult to believe, but after months of ineligibility allowing me to excuse not writing, I'm once again eligible for the Flash! Friday contest. So I've tried to shake off the dust and actually write something — please don't judge it too harshly!

As a reminder, this year's Flash! Friday provides a photo prompt as well as a required element, all to be encapsulated in a 150-word story (+/- 10 words). This week's required element was to include a puppy, in a story based on this photo:


Ready? Here goes:

November 14, 2014

Mending Heartstrings Updates!

Just over 17 days remain until the official release of Mending Heartstrings! I should maybe have saved this post for Monday, but I wanted to share & make sure everyone marked their calendars for my virtual release party! Open to anyone, of course, so please feel free to invite your friends. I really hope you'll join me in celebrating with contests, trivia, giveaways & more!



In other news (which I have briefly mentioned), signups are available for a release-day book blitz, being organized by Xpresso Book Tours. Posts will be promo only, so if you'd be up for sharing the word, please sign up and thanks in advance!


November 10, 2014

7 Pre-Release-Day Tips for Authors

Just over 21 days remain before the official release of Mending Heartstrings (cue the freaking out!).    Signups are now available for the release-day blitz hosted by Xpresso Book Tours, and there are still spots open for the blog tour. The e-book is also available for preorder through Amazon.

Gearing up for the release has been quite the experience, so I've decided to share some of my newfound wisdom (partially as a reminder to take my own advice)! Here we go:
  1. Set up your Amazon author page & author central account.
    • Author central allows you to keep track of your books, your rankings, both as an author and for each individual book (see point 2!), and the details of your author page.
    • Setting up your author page means that when people click on your name, right under your book title, they can see a page dedicated to and controlled by you — you can include a photo and your bio, of course, but also your Twitter feed and even a blog feed if you'd like. This also consolidates all your Amazon books in one place for readers. And it adds  your photo & bio to the "more about the author" section of your book page, which will help engage readers.

November 3, 2014

Election Day!

I genuinely intended to write a post for today, but Monday decided it didn't like that plan. So instead of my planned post, I just thought I'd remind all those of you who are US citizens that tomorrow is Election Day, and you should get out and vote!

Of course, as a friendly reminder, I encourage you to research the candidates and the issues — even last-minute research is better than uneducated voting. Your voice counts, so make sure you're lending it to the side you actually want to support!


Have a fantastic week!

October 31, 2014

The Final Friday

In the spirit of Halloween…


The Treat: Signups are available for the Mending Heartstrings blog tour! Available posts include review spots, guest posts, interviews, and basic book promo posts. Sign up here, and thanks for helping me spread the word!


The Trick: In addition to being the final Friday in October, today is my last turn judging over at the Flash! Friday Fiction contest. I'm personally thrilled that Rebekah chose not to have today's prompt be about Halloween, as I am easily creeped out by horror, but I'm sure that won't stop many of the writers — nor should it stop you! (Submit your entry here.)

For me, today's contest is both scary and a relief. Judging these contests is extremely difficult, partially because entries have doubled this judging quarter, and partially because of the quality of submissions. It's nice to know the burden of choosing the "best" story is falling on my shoulders for the last time. On the other hand, as my last time judging, I feel even more pressure to make the "correct" choices when it comes to selecting the podium.

That being said, the most terrifying part is that all too soon (in about 3 weeks), I will be eligible to return to the trenches, submitting my own Flash! Friday pieces. Not only have I lost the habit of writing a flash piece every Friday, but I am also quite intimidated by the competition. The Flash! Friday community is strong, in their individual talent, but also in their willingness and ability to learn from each other's skills and grow as writers. The idea of jumping back in feels as though I've missed many laps of this race and will now be scrambling to catch up. Plus, as a former judge, it seems in my mind that there is more pressure to produce outstanding stories, to back up my time of relative "power."

Still, if I don't chicken out, I will try to resume posting flash pieces every Friday, starting November 21st. (Is that a trick or a treat?)

And finally...

Happy Halloween!

October 27, 2014

Mending Heartstrings Release Updates!

Hard to believe, but there are just over 5 weeks left until the release of Mending Heartstrings!! And I have quite a bit of exciting news to share:
  • I will be having a Release-Day Launch Party on Facebook. It is still in the planning stages (and I welcome any suggestions!), but look out for more info and your invitations coming soon. Meanwhile, save the date: Dec. 2nd, 2014!
  • I loved this idea from fellow Swoon Romance author, Shelley Watters, so I'm following in her footsteps: Help me spread the word about Mending Heartstrings by passing out autographed trading cards to your friends, family, writing group members, and anyone else you know who reads! In addition to my undying gratitude, you will receive a personalized autographed trading card of your own. Just fill out this form!
  • Perhaps most exciting of all, I'm happy to announce that Mending Heartstrings is available for preorder on Amazon! You can use the "set and forget" method — order now, and you'll automatically receive your digital copy on December 2nd!

Please feel free to share all of the above with your friends, and thank you as always for your support!

October 20, 2014

The Short Version

I wrote a very long post last night about the currently heated topic of reviewers and authors crossing the line. I am choosing not to post it today, out of a fear of backlash from those who may misinterpret my words, or simply disagree with my opinion.

What I do want to say, however, is that the fact that I, like many, am afraid to express an opinion or take part in a conversation precisely because of the possibility of retaliation speaks volumes about our culture nowadays.  I know many authors who don't post reviews below 4 stars out of this same fear of retaliation, choosing not to review a book rather than be honest about their opinion.

Since I don't want to be entirely silent, let me sum up the point of that unshared post:
  • Negatively reviewing a book (or other item) is not the same as a personal attack or virtual bullying.
  • Personal attacks, bullying, and stalking are never acceptable.
  • Regardless of who the victim is — author, reviewer, reader, etc. — we need to stand up against personal attacks and bullying. Ignoring those behaviors is not the answer.

October 13, 2014

Release Day Planning

Though the text itself isn't technically done (proofreading now!), believe it or not, I am already trying to plan (read: stressing about) all the various things that go into a release. 

So far, I've learned that I am horrible at anything resembling graphic design, and that I'm possibly even more indecisive than I previously thought. One event I will definitely be having is a Facebook launch party, so watch out for details soon! This includes not only designing and ordering various gifts for giveaways and prizes, but also coming up with engaging ideas for discussions and contests.
I cannot overstate how much I would appreciate any suggestions! And, so as not to limit those and retain some mystery for the event itself, I will not be sharing my ideas at this time… ;-)

What I definitely want to share, though, is one of my designs. What do you think? Be honest!


If you like it and happen to want to share it on your site or anywhere with html capabilities, please feel free! Here's the code: 
<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21896429-mending-heartstrings" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-f1d8AOzBTwI/VDxTzpg02LI/AAAAAAAAAX4/FhCAvDUz2AY/s1600/Mending%2BHeartstrings%2BPromo.jpg" height="319" width="320" /></a>


Thanks in advance for your suggestions and feedback!

October 6, 2014

Stop with the Adverb Hate!

Can we please stop the mindless antipathy toward adverbs? 

Stephen King is widely (adverb!) quoted as saying, "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." Now, Stephen King is an effective and skilled author, but that does not make him an absolute authority on the best way to write everything ever. In fact, open one of his books (I just did), and you will certainly find adverbs (as I just did). Of course he also wrote: "Spend adverbs sparingly." (Did you catch that adverb?)

I don't believe that the current indiscriminate hatred of adverbs is by any means Stephen King's fault, though of course blanket statements such as the above don't help.  However regardless of its source, this intolerance is, frankly, ridiculous. 

Geoffrey Pollum wrote quite succinctly on this topic over a year ago, but after some recent critiques from "experts" in this literary field, I feel compelled to touch on it as well.  Pollum concluded: 
"Do as the advice-giver does, not as he says. When he needs an adverb, he uses one. You should too. Decisively, proudly, and fearlessly."
Huzzah. I couldn't agree more. Blindly eliminating adverbs (or past perfect, but that is another post entirely) is absurd and will not magically improve your writing. Though such an improvement is indeed the intention behind this "rule," it is necessary to understand the root of such advice for it to be of any use.

September 29, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

I cannot believe that we're at the end of September. 63 days remain before Mending Heartstrings is scheduled to release. Just over 30 days remain before the start of November, and with it, NaNoWriMo. After this past weekend, I have only one last turn remaining as a Flash! Friday judge.

Perspective, right? The inexorable passage of time is really getting to me at this point. As exciting as moments like deciding which kinds of swag to order for giveaways [Ideas? Share them in the comments!], I am also a bit overwhelmed, as there is so much to do. 

In the next few months, Mending Heartstrings will go through its final proofread, swag will be designed and ordered, a blog tour will likely be planned, and then this book, after about 25 months from when I first started writing it, will finally reach readers. 

Meanwhile, my two completed manuscripts continue their trajectory, hopefully toward publication. High holidays have started and will continue through mid-October. November will see me flying to Kalamazoo (real place, I promise!) for family reasons, and it is of course the start of the more active holiday season.  As I already mentioned, it is also NaNoWriMo. 

Sadly, reason makes me question whether I should take part in this annual writing extravaganza. Between traveling and preparing for the release on December 2nd, it seems impractical to simultaneously attempt to write 50,000 fresh new words. At the same time, I'm concerned about postponing writing something new for much longer. Yes, I have plenty to take care of with the works I've already written, but is a writer who doesn't write still a writer?

Random musings and stress aside, I do hope to return to a more regular posting schedule. 

Meanwhile, tell me how you are! What are your plans for this fall?

September 19, 2014

Mending Heartstrings Cover Reveal!

Here it is — the cover for my very own novel, Mending Heartstrings. I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts and reactions in the comments!  Please of course feel free to share this. Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for organizing this reveal!

Mending Heartstrings
by Aria Glazki

Release Date: December 2, 2014

September 4, 2014

Bloggers Wanted: Mending Heartstrings Cover Reveal!

It's amazing how little moments along a journey catch you with the realization that this massive undertaking is actually happening. The original publisher's marketplace announcement seemed like such a moment, even with the foreknowledge that the path from a contract to publication would still be time-consuming and complicated. In a way, though, it still didn't feel real. 

I'm not sure that anything short of seeing my book published will actually make me internalize that all of this is actually happening, but the scheduling of the cover reveal is certainly having an impact. We're getting close!

September 19th, the cover for my novel Mending Heartstrings will officially be revealed.

Pinch me now, or better yet, sign up for the reveal organized by Xpresso Book Tours! And thanks as always for your support!

August 25, 2014

Scripting Change Submission Call!

I genuinely intended to post this earlier, but the day got away from me as they so often do lately. But I wanted to make sure to share that Scripting Change — the wonderful community writing project — is currently accepting submissions for their second project!


The rundown: 
  • The project accepts poetry (up to 3 pages) and short fiction (up to ~1500 words)
    • You can submit up to 3 pieces, and they'll select up to 2
  • 100% of the project's proceeds are donated!
    • Proceeds = cost of book — % taken by the distributor
  • This year's project is focusing on supporting literacy advocacy, with the theme Opening Worlds with Words
  • Writers receive: 
    • Exposure! Your work will be published in a collection alongside established and aspiring authors plus your information, with link, will be posted on the Scripting Change website.
    • The book! You receive a copy of the final e-book.
    • Karm points! This is all for charity!
  • Check out all the details here!

Let's be honest, a short story or poem won't take that long to write, but it could make a difference in the lives of children and adults who struggle with literacy. I know our community (writers, that is) is a strong and generous one, and literacy should certainly be a cause near and dear to our hearts. I hope you will join me in supporting this project! 

Follow Scripting Change:



August 19, 2014

Cover Reveal: Hemlock Veils

So excited to share with everyone the cover of fellow Swoon Romance author Jennie Davenport's debut, Hemlock Veils! Check it out below, don't forget to add it to your goodreads bookshelf, and of course, let us know what you think in the comments!

Hemlock Veils
by Jennie Davenport

Release Date: 11/25/14
Swoon Romance

August 11, 2014

Rumer Haven's Inspiration for Seven for a Secret

I've always wanted to write an old-fashioned, single-setting mystery in the vein of Hitchcock's Rear Window or Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. Okay, so Seven for a Secret ended up not being that story (my WIP is, though! Sorta.), but what did stick was having a building essentially be another character, a place where all the main characters could be centralized and observe strange phenomena around them—and not be able to escape each other.

In Seven for a Secret, that building is Camden Court. And in real life, I lived in a very similar apartment building called Hampden Court in Chicago's Lincoln Park (where I also developed an obsession with the Francis Dewes house down the block on Wrightwood Avenue. I used to gawk at that urban mansion just like Kate does at the Hughes house). Fascinated with Chicago history in general and this neighborhood in particular, I'd been told Hampden Court was once a hotel, built back around 1920, and that just gripped me—the idea that so many lives had come and gone through that same space for so many decades. I look at any building that way, which inspires a lot of my writing, but for this story, Hampden Court was my muse.

August 5, 2014

Missing Monday

So, as you may have noticed, I missed my customary Monday post yesterday. Surprisingly, this wasn't for lack of ideas! However, I injured my right hand, which makes typing a time-consuming and somewhat painful ordeal. As I am in the middle of edits for Mending Heartstrings, I am focusing on that. 

As a result, it may be a while before I get to post fresh content, but there are plenty of informative posts in the archives that I hope you will explore.  Check out labels such as Publishing Contracts, Being a Writer, and Flash Friday Fiction to get you started!

July 28, 2014

Goodbye To You Book Blast & Giveaway

Click the tour banner to check out more stops!

Bars, Beaches, & Boys Who Stay: My Playlist for Goodbye To You


Give me music or give me death.

That’s how the old saying goes, right? No? Oh, well, for my writing time, this variation works for me. Some people need silence or white noise. I needs mah tunes. If I have an idea, I have a playlist started.

My playlists are comprised of a mix of old and new songs, popular ones and deep cuts from albums long forgotten by the general population. They may be songs that my characters listen to, or songs that remind me of the characters or set a mood for a scene. The full playlist for GOODBYE TO YOU clocks in at three hours and thirty minutes. It’s fifty-six songs of fun and flirting and heartbreak and triumph. While I’d love to list each song, and explain why I chose it, that would make for one unwieldy post. So let’s take a look at fifteen representative tracks, and then you can listen for yourself.

July 21, 2014

10 Blog Post Ideas

I came across a post on the Positive Writer about the "best" blog post ideas, and I've decided to start with the first: "steal 'em." Of course, what we really mean is "use them while giving credit where credit is due," so the infographic below includes a link to the original post.

I also love the idea of the final suggestion: answering readers' questions. I've written posts answering questions in the past, and I find them to be some of my best. So now I'm asking, what would you like to read about? What questions do you have about the publishing process, the world of an author, or really anything that relates to writing? Ask in the comments!

Courtesy of Bryan Hutchinson of the Positive Writer

July 18, 2014

A Flashy Friday

Difficult as it is to believe, the day has arrived when the fate of entries Flash! Friday rests in my hands.  This week marks my first time judging, which is rather intimidating, but we'll see what happens! I hope to read some amazing stories (so submit yours here!), though I make no guarantees as to my judging abilities..

In other news, my brand new short story (not flash in this case) will be part of Wyrd Romance's I <3 Geeks anthology, scheduled to release next March! The anthology will bring together contemporary romance stories, up to 20,000 words, focusing on love blossoming between nerds / geeks of any kinds. There are almost two months left to submit, which is plenty of time. Just remember, if I can do it, you definitely can. 

And as if that wasn't enough, July 13th a story idea caught me so adamantly that I wrote the first words that very night. Though this story is entirely out of my element, in setting, style, and even perspective — it demands to be written in 1st person present, which I never thought I would do — it has become my current WIP. So, last-minute or really late as this is, I decided to attempt this month's Camp NaNoWriMo, though of course with a modified word count goal. 


How's your summer shaping up?

July 14, 2014

Gag Orders in Publishing: What We're Not Allowed to Say

Believe it or not, despite the wealth of articles, blog posts, inside scoops, and the like, there are many things those of us in publishing aren't allowed to discuss in detail or disclose at all.  Contract details and internal documents or strategies, for instance, are kept under wraps, especially in traditional publishing, but that is true for any business, and pretty much any job.

Regardless of the route an author takes, however, we as a group are repeatedly, vehemently warned against discussing any topic* that can be seen as polarizing or political.
*Unless a book is specifically about a polarizing topic, and then that one topic is considered acceptable for that one author. 
It is as though our convictions are expected to disappear unless they further our publicity attempts. For those who may not be aware, this is because we are desperately afraid of alienating readers.

This makes a certain kind of sense, on the surface. We as authors are our own business. We are not just the manufacturing department (writing), or the quality assurance department (editing), or the marketing department. We are also the public face of our company, the president and CEO, and readers, like other consumers, may want to "vote" with their dollars.  When Nabisco came out in support of the gay community with their rainbow Oreo image, there was enormous backlash from those who disagreed. When Chick-Fil-A's COO came out against gay marriage, many vowed never to purchase their product again. Understandably, authors whose books have nothing to do with political or polarizing issues would want to avoid that kind of backlash. We have a difficult enough time selling books!

Should that mean, though, that we no longer stand for anything other than our books? 

July 8, 2014

Dog Days of Summer Contest

I'm not quite sure how my posting schedule got pushed to Tuesdays, but as Rebekah kept all of the information about this contest tightly under wraps until today, I simply couldn't post any earlier. Next week should see a return to Mondays.

But what you really want to know about is the Dog Days of Summer contest!  This is a special flash fiction contest, spanning multiple weeks, with genuine cash prizes! The details:

  • Deadline: July 22, 11:59PM Eastern Time
  • Word Count: 800-1000, exclusive of title and byline
  • How: Post your entry, based on the photo prompt below, in the comments at the link above. Make sure to follow the content guidelines.
  • Inspiration: Tom Sawyer, (childhood summer mischief: “real” or imagined)
  • Judging: Rebekah will choose the top 10, and then voting will commence on July 24th for the top 3
  • Prizes: Amazon giftcard or Paypal — $25 for 1st place, $15 for 2nd, $10 for 3rd
And of course, the prompt: 


Good luck, and I hope to see your stories among the submissions! 
(Or not, since then I'll have a better chance of making the top 10, hehe.)

July 4, 2014

Friday without the Flash

Well, it's official! The third-quarter of Flash! Friday has begun, placing me on the judges' panel and of course making any stories I may write ineligible. All hope is not lost, however, as I am sure to write some stories despite their lack of eligibility, and there is also the "Dog Day" contest coming up next Tuesday.

If you're really jonesing for a story, check out Day By Day, posted earlier this week on Flash Fiction Magazine!

I'm am also considering compiling some flash stories into a collection, and I'd love to get any thoughts on that idea. I would likely include previous Flash! Friday contest submissions, as well as some new stories.

And of course, not to be ignored, hope all of you in the USA are having an absolutely delicious and fun-filled day commemorating our country's independence!  


July 1, 2014

June 27, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-29

This Friday marks the last week of Flash! Friday's second quarter, which makes it the last week for several months that my entry would be considered eligible in this contest.  On the plus side, though, Rebekah just announced a mysterious "Dog Day" contest that will take place in July, with more details coming next week.

Meanwhile, here's this week's prompt, with the required element of patience:


June 23, 2014

Silent Rejections and the Successful Author

Those who choose to pursue creative writing professionally learn rather quickly to expect walls of rejections. “Your work isn’t good enough,” is undeniably a painful thing to hear, no matter how politely it’s actually phrased. Worse, however, are the silent rejections.

The most obvious instance of silent rejection is the lack of response certain agents and publishing houses believe to be a sufficient reaction to a writer’s query, but the fact is, all authors – traditional or independent – constantly face silent rejections. Often, those sting more than the bad reviews, criticisms, or passes. After all, bad reviews sell more books than a lack of reviews, and rejections with explanations allow us to move forward, rather than wanting to scream, “Why??” into the silent void.

June 20, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-28

In addition to this week's Flash! Friday story, I have some exciting news: I will be one of the judges for this year's 3rd quarter of Flash! Friday contests (starting July 4th)! Of course, this means my own stories for that quarter won't be eligible, so I may take a break from posting on a weekly basis, unless a specific prompt truly speaks to me.  I'm looking forward to seeing the contest from the other side, and I hope each of you will consider joining the weekly fun!

But, there are a couple more weeks left in the second quarter of the Flash! Friday year (yes, it goes on its own calendar), so here's this week's entry! 150 words (+/- 10) on the picture below, including the element of arrogance

"New crowns for old ones!" - Benjamin Disraeli presents Queen Victoria
the crown of India. Punch, 1876, by cartoonist John Tenniel.

June 16, 2014

One Whole Year!


I almost can't believe it, but it's been one whole year since the release of Life Under Examination, my award-winning collection of poetry!  I'm so grateful to everyone who has supported this collection, by reading and reviewing or by spreading the word — you guys rock!

To celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway (below) for some limited edition keychains and a professionally hand-bound, autographed copy + an Amazon gift card!

AND for this week only, Life Under Examination is available for just $0.99 on Smashwords! Click here and enter coupon code:
PJ63Q
(Good through Sunday, June 22nd)



And now, the Giveaway!

June 10, 2014

Best Bad Query Contest

So you may have noticed, I skipped my customary Monday post yesterday.  That's because, just for fun, I've decided to participate in Sharon Bayliss' "Bad Query" Contest! To be clear, the idea is to write a horrible query, not to share a real query that didn't work out. Participants will be posting their bad queries on their blogs, and voting for the "Best" Bad Query will take place on Sharon Bayliss' site.

Check out my entry below, then hop on over to others' posts, and remember to vote!

Please remember, this is intended to be bad. Please do not write your queries like this!


Dear Agent:

Have you been slogging through the slush in hopes of finding the next international bestseller? Well look no further! I guarantee you, agent, that in my fiction novel, you will see a future of skyrocketing sales and awards rivaling today's big names and sure to shoot your career to the next level. One of your current clients, who has asked to remain anonymous for now, agrees that you MUST read this book!

So what do you say, agent? Are you ready to leap into the future of publishing with this one-of-a-kind manuscript? I urge you not to miss out on the chance of a lifetime! But I do not fear, for I know YOU are the unique agent SMART enough not to pass up this golden opportunity.

You may be waiting for some more details before signing on, and I trust you, agent, so I will share some pieces of this absolutely unique work with you.

Told in seven perspectives, this revolutionary manuscript details the challenges and triumphs of vampires, werewolves, and angels, all battling each other in Los Angeles. (This story would also make a great movie!) With star-crossed lovers, brutal battles, and so much more, this fiction novel is one any audience will love! Though I have no formal background in writing, this manuscript has been expertly written and needs no modification before publication — it’s ready for the world NOW.

Worry not, I do also have several self-published books, just waiting to be discovered by the masses. And I feel in my heart (and those who have read it agree!) that this manuscript will propel all of my works to the top of every bestseller list, worldwide. So don’t miss out!

I know by now you are ready and excited as I am to negotiate your fee and sign a contract, after which I will gladly send you my 164,000-word manuscript.

Looking forward to your forthcoming call,

The Most Awesome Author You'll Ever Know




June 6, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-26

I'm cutting it close this week, but here it is — my Flash! Friday entry, based on the photo below and the  required element of fire.


June 2, 2014

Update!

It's been quite a while since I wrote about my current projects, so I figure it's about time for an update:
  • Mending Heartstrings: Still set for publication, but nothing too exciting to report, though I'm told things will actually become quite crazy when we get closer to publication. Which, by the way, is scheduled for December!
  • Muse: Is finished! It is currently out on submission.
  • G&H: Is also finished! As this book is related to Mending Heartstrings, its future will be decided much closer to, or perhaps even after, that book's publication. 
Upcoming projects: 

Honestly, I do not know yet what my next project will be. I have quite a few ideas, for projects related to the world of Mending Heartstrings and ones entirely independent of it.  While all of these ideas have been whirling around, and hopefully developing, in my mind, I came across an interesting call for submissions.

Wyrd Romance is putting together an anthology of short romance stories, focusing on nerdy/geeky characters.  All the submission details can be found here.  I'm considering writing a short piece to submit, and I'm currently in the research / inspiration stage. Perhaps some of you would like to join me? 

What are your plans for this summer? Share in the comments!

May 30, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-25

It's here again! I must admit, writing the week after winning is invariably intimidating.  (Did you miss my 60 seconds winner interview? Check it out here!) But, it is once again Friday, so here goes: 150 words (+/- 10) on the photo below, incorporating the element of "freedom."

Earth goddess. Imaginary Worlds exhibit, Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Photo by C. Joey Ivansco.

May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day, everyone! Hope you've all been enjoying the long weekend with family, friends, or maybe just your To Be Read pile.

I'm so excited to share the results of this past week's Flash! Friday contest. As Rebekah reminded me, it has been just about 8 months since this last time this happened, but for the first time this year, my story won! This means I will be featured Wednesday in my third 60-seconds interview, and I also get this new super-cool web badge:


Judge Alissa Leonard very generously said:
Brilliant. Perfect. Just… Wow. Your language was so evocative I needed a drink of water: “baked alive” “groan scratched its way out of my throat” “blistering sunlight” “grit scraped my eyes” “taunting me with the waste of water”. I felt sore and parched and I also felt that “blissful instant of relief” when the shadow fell over him. The captor is so very outlaw-esque, and I want to see more of her! I suppose that’s one way to get out of your debts… We start the story being “baked alive” and finish it with the possibility of two more weeks. It’s quite the ultimatum. And it floored me. It was seriously perfect and sucker punched me right in the gut. Beautifully written, wonderfully evocative, and very fun characters. Loved it.
While I couldn't ask for a more positive comment, I'd love to hear your honest thoughts as well, whatever those may be!

May 23, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-24

Can you believe it's Friday again? Either that, or the dragon has decided to lie to us all. In any case, here's my contribution for this week's Flash! Friday contest:

150 words (+/- 10) on this photo, with the added rule of including "an unpaid bill."


May 19, 2014

Turf Wars: Self vs. Traditional Publishing

We all like to believe that writers, on the whole, are a supportive, welcoming, and friendly community, and in many ways, that is true. Unfortunately, however, the transformation of the publishing industry has at once multiplied those able to claim the once elusive title of "author" and (quite illogically) divided our community into rather combative groups.  Subtle as we like to believe it is, this rift between indie and traditionally published authors is actually quite pronounced and rather destructive.

Perhaps because the decision to self-publish is still finding its footing, fighting for legitimacy, self-published authors quite vehemently denounce the traditional publishing model. Some claim that traditional publishing takes advantage of writers, who are paid a fairly small percentage from the sale of a given copy of a book, and then generally must share that small percentage with their agent.  Others claim that breaking into the traditional publishing model with its "arbitrary" judgment on the quality of a given book is nearly impossible — one recent post I came across implied the chances of that happening for a writer are about equal to winning the lottery.  

While there is some truth to the fact that we as writers frequently cannot see or understand why a given project, despite its many merits, may be passed over, and writers need significant persistence to make it within the traditional paradigm, it is far from impossible, as evidenced by the steady flow of writers signing with both agents and publishers.

May 16, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-23

Well, I'm a little rusty, but I'm stepping back into the Flash! Friday world. Brief reminder: 150-word story (+/- 10 words) on a photo prompt, with a special dragon's bidding. This week's bidding is "comeuppance," in a story based on this photo:


May 12, 2014

Her Secret Inheritance — Cover Reveal & Giveaway

I'm dipping my toe back into posting with this beautiful cover reveal. So without further ado:

What would you risk for a second chance?


Five years after the trip to Scotland that changed her life, Lou is back in the misty, magical country. But this time, she’s not on vacation.

When Brian, her old Highland fling, turns up at the scene of some depressing family business, tension mounts between the former lovers. But dealing with Brian is only part of the problem; something wicked is stirring in Scotland. Lou must use all her strength to handle the increasingly desperate situation, but will she be strong enough to battle both a vengeful ghost and her heart?

Lou may have thought that she was finished with the witch Isobel Key, but some secrets can't stay buried forever. Coming June 12, 2014, HER SECRET INHERITANCE is a story of risk, second chances, and magic.

Visit Bloomsbury Spark for more information.

April 11, 2014

Stepping Back

I've been considering this for a while, and I've decided to take a short break from updating this blog, so that I can focus on an overabundance of family events (all good!) and querying Muse.  I will still be around to respond to comments / questions, but may not post new content for a few weeks.

Normally, today's post would have been a Flash! Friday story, and interestingly it has been 52 weeks since my first entry into this weekly contest.  With these, too, I will be taking a pause, though perhaps an upcoming prompt will speak to me, and I'll change my mind. 

Meanwhile, there are many posts on a variety of writing topics which will remain available, and I hope they will provide perspective, or needed advice, or perhaps merely a distraction.  Some suggestions: 

And to leave you with a bit of writing, I have a new poem. This is just a draft, written quite recently, but I'd love any feedback!  Here goes: 

Lost Heart

There are things about me you never understood
But then there are those only you ever could
Which no one else noticed, or tried — or would 
So a piece of my heart, or my soul, stays with you
Despite how I tug, yank, or beg, it rests true
Ignoring my anguish, it pulls anew 
Though I try to let go, to forgive, to give in
That one little chunk that you tore from within
Decides this battle I never will win


Thanks everyone, and have a wonderful several weeks! 

April 7, 2014

On Finding the Right Agent

By Jennie Davenport


As a debut author and, once upon a time, a querying writer, I can tell you that knowing whether or not a certain agent is the right fit is…difficult. Oftentimes, our judgment can be a bit muddled because we are so desperate to find one—any one, really—that will give our stories a chance. So in our search, we come across an agent who represents our genre, and we immediately think, “Oooo! Maybe he/she is the one!”

I thought that so many times it would be impossible to count. So, if you’ve felt that heart-wrenching pain from your ONE rejecting you—and even your fifteenth ONE in a row—YOU’RE NOT ALONE!

Querying is difficult and trying. It takes patience and the ability to learn and grow. And timing is everything. But don’t let that repetitive rejection dim your passion! Learn from it, grow from it. Never stop tweaking your query. Never stop looking for an agent. Never stop trying to be better.

April 3, 2014

Book Blast: Honor Among Orcs

I'll be out of town this weekend, which unfortunately means no Flash! Friday entry, but for those of you who may want something a little longer than flash fiction, check out this new book by Amalia Dillin!

Beauty must save the BEAST…


 photo Dillin_HAOKindleFinal_zps7437f3f0.jpg

Honor Among Orcs

by Amalia Dillin


Publication Date: April 1, 2014

March 31, 2014

Querying Far & Wide

Advice for aspiring authors online abounds, and we soak it up.  Some advice is so pervasive that we don't question it — after all, so many industry professionals agree as do the stories of other writers' successes, so who are we, as new writers, to think otherwise? But you know what, I disagree with one of the fundamental tips for traditional publishing success

I read quite recently in an interview with an agent I'm considering querying her opinion that considering small presses is perfectly valid — if you've already queried and been rejected by about 400 agents. This idea that we as writers should query any and every agent who represents our genre is quite common, but frankly, absurd. It places us in the position of begging for acknowledgement, as though we need the stamp of approval from absolutely anyone with the title "agent" before we can be taken seriously, which devalues our work, our talents, and our voice in this process. 

March 28, 2014

Flash! Friday: Prompt #2-16

Flash! Friday time! Quick refresher of the rules: 150-word story (+/- 10) on the photo below, which must include the dragon's bidding. This week's bidding: Space Travel.  Ready?


March 24, 2014

Foundation of the Author Platform

Nowadays, aspiring authors know the importance of building a platform — of becoming as easily accessible for potential and current readers as possible.  To that end, we join Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and more, each with its own customs, quirks, and ultimately benefits. 

But the original version of the author platform, the one that predates even the internet, continues to exist, and its importance has not diminished.  I'm talking, of course, of the Author Bio.

March 21, 2014

Not Quite Flash! Friday

Okay, so, I'll admit — even with 4ish hours to go before the Flash! Friday deadline, I'm deciding not to participate this week. Frankly, I have lots to do after some feedback on my work in progress, my adorable nieces coming over in a couple hours, and two meetings this weekend, both of which require reading and commenting on others' works.  And to top it off, no matter how I try to mull it over, the prompt just isn't inspiring me.  

Miss Flash! Friday stories? Check it out for yourself! Plenty pieces to keep you entertained in the comments at the link!