Monday, March 29, 2010

You want me to build a WHAT?!?!

A platform. HUH?! *rolls eyes, releases frustrated sigh* A platform! An Author Platform, to be more exact.

What is a platform, you ask? Well, okay, maybe you didn’t ask. I mean, chances are you probably already know. I, however, only recently learned a few weeks ago what it was, so I’m going to pretend that you don’t know to soothe my own ego. Cuz that’s what I do. ;) *clears throat* Okay, so here we go. Pretend you’re learning something.

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn describes it as, “…how you are currently reaching an audience of book-buying people, or how you plan to do so. It is your influence, your ability to sell to your market. It is your multi-faceted book marketing machine!”

“Oh!” you say. “So an Author Platform is all the stuff your publisher does, right?” Wrong. This is all the stuff that WE need to do if we want to get our writing out into the world. Whether you have a publisher or not, whether you have an agent or not, there is nobody in this world that will do for your writing what YOU can do for it. And thanks to the wonderful world of modern technology, most of the tools we can use to accomplish this platform, are practically free. All it costs us is a little (okay, probably a lot) of our time and some good ol’ fashioned metaphorical elbow grease.

Now, I could stand up here on my soapbox and preach to you, using all of my well-versed knowledge about author platforms and how to go about creating them, but I have two problems with that, which are as follows:

1. I’ve tried standing on soapboxes before and really, I don’t get it. I mean, have you ever tried it? Soapboxes are tiny. And they only raise you up, like, an inch total. What's the point of that? All of you in the back won't even be able to see me. If I was going to preach for any reason, I’d rather stand on something like a platform. Not an author platform, though. Cuz that’s just silly. And...

2. I’m obviously not an expert on the subject, as I pointed out in my Top Ten Reasons I Suck at Blogging post. Although I’ve been making a huge effort to change this fact, I’ve still got a long way to go with the whole platform concept. Right now I’d say that, with my blog, I’ve started mixing the concrete that’s going to hold the posts of my platform firmly in the ground. But I have yet to go to Home Depot and purchase my lumber, so I'm far from experienced in the matter.

So, in light of those extremely revealing problems, I’m going to give you the articles that I’ve read on the topic and let THEM teach you about author platforms. But once you read their posts, discover their staggering levels of sheer genius and become avid followers, please don’t forget to visit my humble blog once in a while. You know, for nostalgic reasons and crap like that. Or if you just feel like slumming it some days.

Okay, here they are:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blog Award Love!!

And the winner is...ME!  *stands up, hands over mouth, looks around in complete shock, heads to the stage, accepts award with a shaky, but firm grip.*

Oh my gosh! I didn't even prepare a speech. This is such a surprise...I just never expected...

Um, okay, well first, I'd like to thank the Academy of Cruising Altitude and DL Hammons for giving me this award. Without you and your unwavering support, I may never have had the courage to continue blogging, much less embraced the idea of doing so prolificly (is that a word?).

Next, I'd like to thank all of my followers who have commented on my crazy posts, making me giggle in delight that they took the time out of their busy schedules to listen to my errant ramblings and say something back. I can't tell you how much it brightens my day and pushes me to do better with each new post.

And last, but not least, I'd like to let my silent followers, whom I haven't yet had the pleasure of commenting back and forth, know that I appreciate the fact they thought enough of my blog to click on that little "Follow" button and show the blogosphere they have no shame in linking their profile pictures to my site. I hope that one day I post something that inspires you to comment, giving me the opportunity to finally meet you.

And now what you've all been waiting for...the passing of the Award Torch. I'm giving this award to five blogs that I both love, and have a hard time keeping up with due to their incredible dedication for daily posts, of which I hope I will accomplish at some point in my life. I encourage you to visit and follow.

  1. Shannon Whitney Messenger of Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe: Okay, I admit I'm a newbie follower of Shannon's, but once I found her, I eagerly gobbled up as many past posts as I could. She's witty and uses lots of great pictures that add to the hilarity of her posts. I'm really glad I found her blog.

  2. Megan Rebekah of Megan Rebekah Blogs and Writes: First, she gets points just for having the coolest spelling of her second (middle?) name. I love it. Second, holy cow, folks, look out! Megan is one of those crazy every-dayers in the blogging world and I'm super grateful she is. Her posts make me laugh out loud, which can be unfortunate since I'm usually reading it at work. It makes me looks like a lunatic who finally went over the edge.

  3. Summer of ...and This Time, Concentrate: Summer is a great blogger and recently finished writing her novel Eternal Spring. To celebrate she's hosting an awesome contest. Aside from that she has awesome posts that show her fun personality. If you haven't already, check her out.

  4. Nicole Hadaway of All Things Smart and Scary: Nicole is a very talented, already published, author who blogs religiously on a wide variety of topics. She's incredibly knowledgeable about vampire lore and tons of other things. She runs with the big dogs and often features their work on her Writer Wednesday posts. She's no joke, people. Her blog writing style is fun and playful wrapped around information galore. I'm honored to call her "friend."

  5. Jamie Burch (formerly known as Chasing the Moon) of Dancing Down Serendipity Street: Jamie is one of the SWEETEST people I've come to know and gives just as much inspiration as she claims to get from everyone else. She's currently reworking her blogging image, but soon will be up and running, inspiring creativity in blog followers everywhere.
So there you have it. Thanks again, DL, for my award and I hope that the Fab Five I gave it to will gain many new followers, as that is what they deserve.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Romance vs. Reality

Alright, Ladies and Gents, I want to know what you think about a topic that was recently brought to my attention.

The other night I asked my husband if he would read the beginning of my book and give me an objective opinion.

*Before I go any further, let me point out that my darling hubby is extremely forthcoming with all of his opinions - whether it's something as miniscule as my fun-patterned knee socks that I love (and he hates) or something much bigger like his political views - and also has a dislike for anything unrealistic. He's very alpha male, but his romantic side is only coaxed to the surface with (a lot of) alcohol. Oh, in case you're a newbie to my blog, I should probably emphasize that I write...
Paranormal Romance!!!
Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking either. ;) j/k*

So he gets through about two pages and can't bring himself to keep reading, due to the unrealistic nature of the content. WHAT?!?! Unrealistic? I haven't even gotten to anything paranormal yet. It's at a college graduation party for cryin' out loud, I think to myself. What could possibly be unrealistic about it?

If you haven't read my First Chapter yet (how come?! It's only posted on here like a bazillion times in a bazillion different versions. What else do you have to do?) the premise is to establish the relationship between my hero, Dominic, and my heroine, Angelica. They've known each other since they were five and have been best friends, but Dominic has always had a secret crush on her. He hides it pretty well and Angelica is too naive to ever notice. In the opening scene, Dominic is inebriated and has a hard time controlling his more amorous and lusty thoughts about her. During one of the times that his mind goes off on a sexual tangent of all the things he wants to do to her, it mentions "the part of him that was now pressed against his zipper," which (for all of you Angelicas out there) is of course referring to the erection in his jeans.

So, my husband says that he has never known any man that has ever gotten hard just from thinking about a girl in such a public setting, much less when he's plastered, and even less when it's a girl he's known for almost two decades because he would've learned to control that years ago. AND he says that there's no way that Angelica wouldn't know he had the hots for her, therefore she would feel uncomfortable around him as opposed to the oblivious comfort she feels. Now, because I'm not a guy, I can't argue his points because I truly don't know what the norm is for men who are in the middle of a bender with lusty thoughts of their life-long best friend. So here's a snippet of our conversation that followed, and then I'll get to my point...

Me: Well, that's why we like the romance books because who doesn't want a man who'll get hard just at the thought of her?
Him: Seriously? In real life you'd like to have some guy, or one of your friends, get hard just from being around you?
Me: (my initial knee jerk reaction) Of course! That's hot.
*Husband giving me that look that causes me to pause and really try to picture what he's saying*
Me: Actually that might be more creepy and awkward than hot.
Him: Which is exactly my point. It's super fake.

Now, for those of us that are avid romance readers (holla!) we all know that this is completely normal and we would be extremely remiss if we didn't mention how the sight of the heroine affected our heros on such a physical level. It gives us the tingles, the shivers, the butterflies, what have you. In our alternative universes it's not only an acceptable reaction to a man's lady interest, but it's a necessary reaction. I mean, what fun would it be to read "Dominic's eyes traveled over her body and appreciated her beauty, but thanks to years of training himself against his baser reactions, it no longer affected him." Oh, HELL no! Closing the book and moving on to another one. Thank you and goodnight.

So my questions are these:

  1. Girls: Would you feel totally comfortable - even flattered - if you knew someone (friend, co-worker, acquaintance, random stranger at the grocery store) got an erection just at the mere sight of you?

  2. Guys: Do you think it's more common than my husband seems to think for a guy to have that kind of reaction to a girl?

  3. Girls: Why, if in real life we wouldn't like that type of attention, do we crave it in our books? Is is simply because we can suspend our disbelief enough to allow ourselves to be immersed in a world where alpha male attentions run rampant and fierce and the men are so damn desirable that who the fark doesn't want that kind of flattery? (btw, fark is my new favorite made-up swear word. it's fun to say. try it. i'm going for a global trend here, people.)
Okay, let's hear it kids! What are your thoughts on this whole schlameel?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Suck at Blogging

I can't help but wonder...Did I do something wrong? Say the wrong thing? Bore you to death?

Something had to have happened. I feel like I've lost you. You don't visit me anymore. You don't write. And when we talk, your eyes glaze over like a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Heck, you're probably thinking about Krispy Kreme doughnuts while I'm talking. (You're certainly thinking about them now, aren't you? Mmmmm. Warm, sticky, ooey-gooey goodness.)

I realize, however, that it takes two to tango. It's true. I tried it by myself once, but I nearly cracked my skull when I failed to hold myself during the dip. So I take full responsibility for my role in this crumbling relationship. I neglected you for quite some time. I know this. And I'm sorry. A regular blogger, I am not.

But, since I've never once accepted fault for anything without some darn good defensive statements that contradict my self-accountability (just ask my husband), here are...

The Top Ten Reasons I Suck at Blogging

10. I've been doing a lot of research about writing - both regarding the skills needed and business aspects of the craft.

9. My dog ate my internet modem.

8. I forgot which of my usernames and passwords I used for my blog, then forgot which of my three email accounts the hint would've been sent to, then realized I'd set all three accounts to automatically delete anything sent to my junk mail because spam makes me crazy.

7. I couldn't come up with anything clever or interesting to say.

6. My blogsite was tagged by the FBI as having possible criminal coded activity and an investigation was launched, during which time I was not allowed to post anything new.

5. I purchased a couple of books from Half Priced Books and subsequently ignored the world around me until I finished them.

4. Instead of chilling and writing a blog when I come home from my part time job at night (which is around midnight, but I can't just fall into bed - I need chill time first), I watch Spartacus: Blood and Sand and drool over Andy Whitfield in all his half-naked gladiator glory. For reals. Google him. He's yummy.

3. My cat didn't understand the difference and ate my computer mouse.

2. I've been having an affair with Mr. Chuck Wendig. Okay, not really him per se, but rather his blog Terribleminds. As with everything else, when I find something I likey, I get a little obsessed...ey. Whatever. Go check him out. I dig him. Er, his writing. (Warning: only those who favor loads of Truck Driver Vernacular and enjoy witty, yet twisted, metaphors on topics such as writing and mystical beards need apply)

And the Number One Reason I Suck at Blogging is........

1. Look, I have a full time job, part time job, a husband, 2 kids and 2 cats, all of which demand most of my time. The meager amount that remains in the day is divided (though not equally, by far) between the rewrites of my novel and this blog. Cut me some slack....Please.

So there you have it, folks. All the reasons (okay, only a handful of those are actually true. i'll let you decide which is which) I suck at blogging. That being said, I fully intend to get better at this shindig. I'm going to try for at least one good post a week, hopefully more. But I'm warning you, if your eyes don't start clearing up and you keep looking through me without a word...I might just give up on this wonderful thing we have.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Creative Process...Revealed

**I'd like to apologize in advance for the sub-par quality of this post. It's really late and I think my brain is broken.**

So as you all know (or you may not if you haven't read my earlier posts, in which case, shame on you) this blog was started as a journal of sorts to share my experiences while writing my first novel. Since I've never attempted anything like this before, I naively thought that once I finished the manuscript, I would only have minor edits to do and I'd be done. Voila! Publisher ready. Give me the contract and show me where to sign!

Um. No. That is SO not how it works. Turns out, my first draft sucked! Thankfully, I learned that it's pretty much supposed to suck. Yup, it's normal, in fact. But I was so proud of my rough drafts, that I posted them immediately on the blog. "Yea me! Look what I did!"

Well, Hindsight is not only 20/20, it's also a bee-yahtch. Because I'm a perfectionist, I probably wouldn't have posted anything until I knew it was an actual final draft, or darn close to it, had I been more knowledgeable about this whole processs. However, since the entire premise of this blog is to take you along on this journey, it's only fair that I share the bad, along with the good. So I suppose my ignorance allowed me to stay true to my original mission.

Since the first posting of my Chapter 1, I've thought I had made my "final revisions" several times. And yet, I'm still making changes. I'm not sure if the changes are better or just different. Heck, they might even be worse. I have no idea. I'm too close to the project to be objective with myself anymore.

So, at the risk of being redundant and self-indulgent, I'm going to post my lastest version. For those of you who are truly interested in the creative process, you can compare the different versions and see how I changed things, made sentences stronger, added things, cut things, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Here are the links:
Chapter 1 - December 1
Chapter 1 - January 13
Chapter 1 - January 28

And now here is March 16...(click the link below)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tanking and Taglines and Titles - OH MY!

** Author Note: Hey there, everyone. I'm sorry I've been MIA lately. I'll try to make up for it in the coming weeks here. Don't give up on me yet!  Oh, and you’ll want to make sure you read this one all the way to end. Trust me. **


Well, first thing’s first. In regard to the ABNC (see previous post), I totally tanked the first round. But don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m not surprised and I’m certainly not upset. The truth of the matter is, it was a last-minute decision, mainly just for (pardon my French) shits-n-giggles. As I mentioned before, I had very little time to whip up my entry, and even less knowledge on how to write the (evil, sucky, brain-draining) pitch, which is what the first round was based solely upon. Next year (unless of course I’m published and on a very prestigious book tour - lol) I’ll be all the wiser and give myself ample time to properly enter a finished piece. I wish all the best (and plenty of sedatives to calm their nerves over the coming weeks) to the entrants that made it through to the second round. Congratulations. You are better pitch writers than I.


Taglines, also called signature lines, I believe, are things most of you are probably familiar with. They’re the witty one-liners of the web savvy and the promotional punch lines of every author. In just a few words it says, “This is what I’m about. Get interested.”

So, for me, this has to be something creative that says, “I write paranormal romance novels and you want to read them.” Only, it should probably be a little more eloquent than that. I told one of my non-writing friends about this and she gave me the following suggestions:

Gina Leigh Maxwell…barely in touch with reality.
Gina Leigh Maxwell...she's out there, but in a good way.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight

Hey everyone, here's a quick post to tell you about a great book you should check out, called Butterfly Tattoo by Deidre Knight. Ms. Knight is not only an extremely successful author, but she's also the founder of The Knight Agency and the literary agent to none other than my long-time girl-crush favorite Para-Rom author, Gena Showalter. Here's the back cover blurb:

Just when the darkness seems permanent, fate flips a switch.

Michael Warner has been drifting in a numb haze since his lover was killed by a drunk driver. As the anniversary of the wreck approaches, Michael’s grief grows more suffocating. Yet he must find a way through the maze of pain and secrets to live for their troubled young daughter who struggles with guilt that she survived the crash.
Out of the darkness comes a voice, a lifeline he never expected to find—Rebecca O’Neill, a development executive in the studio where Michael works as an electrician.

Rebecca, a former sitcom celebrity left scarred from a crazed fan’s attack, has retreated from the limelight and from life in general, certain no man can ever get past her disfigurement. The instant sparks between her and Michael, who arrives to help her during a power outage, come as a complete surprise—and so does her uncanny bond with his daughter.

For the first time, all three feel compelled to examine their inner and outer scars in the light of love. But trust is hard to come by, especially when you’re not sure what to believe when you look in the mirror. The scars? Or the truth?

So what are you waiting for?!?! Click on the link in the beginning of this post, or click on the widget in the sidebar, and BUY IT!!!