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="https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/b/R29vZ2xl/AVvXsEgyJpMbd1KBk0lHX51OARDOeW_glPpvdi7J2RiLM5FcpS_fh3JCksMqm0mnGzCpRfct_ssPOoCu47K4ILyIQXC2ioK0IrueVHx2gXPOXsGOTk45LLUab-E67ZLqhExTG_yishGQZ9UrSlI/s1600/Mending+Heartstrings+Promo.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.