Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SPC Literary Festival

Last week I had the pleasure of being a part of the Southwest Prairie Conference Literary Festival. (Yep, it’s a mouthful J.) The committee and the sponsors of this event did a wonderful job putting together an exciting day for the students. What I love about this festival is that the schools encourage teens to write and to never stop writing. Go SPC for inspiring interestd students to keep writing!

The conference started at nine with Welcome Introductions. Then I was up. The students seemed to enjoy my keynote speech. They listened, laughed, and had a good time with some fun questions I threw in to keep things entertaining.

Next up were the workshops. There were six to choose from. Mine was on plot and it went well, although I have some great ideas on how to make this workshop more interactive in the future. You know what they say about hindsight.

After workshops and some brainstorming, it was time for awards. Attendees had submitted entries in various categories. It was great to see the excitement on the faces of the winners and their classmates. Congrats to all who received an award!

Thanks Minooka H.S. for the photo!

I had planned on sharing fun pictures from the event, but my camera failed me so instead all I have is a great pic of  Mr. Torres and his lovely assistants getting ready to hand out the awards and a pic of the really cool bag I got (below).

The day flew by and before I knew it the students were boarding the buses back to their schools and the conference organizer was thanking us authors for all our hard work and sending us on our way.

I’d like to thank SPC for having me. I had a great time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sharing is Caring: The Liebster Award


A big THANK YOU to Tina Moss for this Liebster Award. 
I’m honored to be a recipient. 

Blogging has given me a way to connect with writers and readers across the blog-o-sphere and I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of wonderful people. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers and gives glimpses into our lives. We then get to pass on the honor to others. So today I’ll be sharing with you 11 fun facts about me, I’ll answer my nominator’s questions, and I’ll tag 11 new bloggers for the award.

First things first, eleven fun facts about me:

1. I need a good cup of coffee in the morning. It’s that serious.
2. My second novel will be out this summer. J
3. I support my writing habit with a tech job.
4. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m driving. (And I love that I can now tell my phone to take a memo. No more hastily written notes at stop lights.)
5. I’m positive my guardian angel worked overtime to keep me out of trouble when I was a teen.
6. I have a thing about closet doors being closed. I won’t go to sleep if the one in the bedroom is open. (I’ve seen Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. I know what comes out of closets!)
7. My weakness is gooey chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven.
8. I love to read the little inspirational notes on the inside of the Dove chocolate wrapper.
9. I feel as if I’m slacking if I don’t write every day.
10.  I enjoy long walks outdoors.
11. I have more fun facts about me in the tab labels “About Me” above.

My nominator’s questions and my answers:
1. Who is the author you admire most? This is a hard one because I have a long list of authors I admire, but I’m going to say Maggie Stiefvater. I enjoyed both her Lament series and the Linger series and she seems like she’d be very down to earth.
2. Why do you write (in five words or less)? I love spinning new tales.
3. What is your favorite genre to read? YA paranormal
4. Who is your biggest inspiration? My family
5. What advice would you give to new writers? Do it because you love to write.
6. What is your favorite hobby? Reading
7. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog
8. Where is your ideal vacation spot? Maui
9. What is a place you want to visit, but haven't yet? Europe
10.What is the meaning of life in one word (or number) *wink*?  Three ??
11. If you're on a desert island, what are three things you must have? Is there cell service? I don’t know if I could survive without either my phone or tablet. Of course, I’d have no way to charge them. Hmm…a book on how to survive off nature, a very large notebook, and a huge pack of pens.

Now for the new nominees whose blogs I enjoy:

Your new questions:
1. What do you like best about blogging?
2. Mountains or ocean?
3. Favorite author?
4. Are you an outliner or a panster?
5. Where do you find your inspiration?
6. What fictional world would you like to visit?
7. KFC or Popeye’s?
8. Are there any books you won’t read?
9. Name three people (living or dead) you’d like to meet?
10. Do you have any advice for fellow bloggers?
11. Is this your first Liebster award?

The Liebster Rules:
1. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by bloggers.
2. Each blogger should post 11 facts about himself / herself.
3. Each blogger should answer the 11 questions that are asked by the nominating blogger.
4. Choose 11 new bloggers to nominate for the Award and link to them in the post.
5. Create 11 new questions for your nominees.
6. Go back to their pages and tell them they've been nominated.
7. No tag backs.

If you'd like to participate, feel free to snag the questions and begin your own round of the Liebster Awards!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Appeal of All Things Paranormal

I've enjoyed stories with a paranormal theme for as long as I can remember. It’s no wonder it’s my favorite genre. From vampires and werewolves to witches and faeries to angels and demons, I know when a story has an otherworldly being in it that anything can and probably will happen. These stories help readers stretch their imagination and welcome the unknown, at least for the length of the novel or movie.

When I was young one of my favorite movies was Escape to Witch Mountain. Not the 2009 remake. I liked the original film that came out in 1975. It’s about two mysterious orphan children with extraordinary powers. I used to fantasize about having their ability to move things with their mind or unlock a door with the touch of my hand.

There’s so much lore on the supernatural that it’s a paranormal writer’s haven. I like to research what is believed about different myths and then bend and twist what I've learned into intriguing stories I hope readers will enjoy. My Embrace series does just that. In the second book, Hold Tight, Madison discovers there are greater threats in her world than people who possess the Powers. I had a lot of fun developing the new characters. We meet Dellis Zion Kashmeir—the character readers helped me name last year—plus a couple of other creatures. This time Madison risks losing more than just her friends and she'll have to figure out who she can trust and who she can't.

It’s not just witchcraft and the Fae that interest me. I enjoy stories that include vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, ghosts, humans with special abilities, seers, mutants, and more. I will admit I’m not a big fan of zombies. I suppose everyone has their limits and decaying bodies is mine.

How about you? Do you read paranormal or fantasy? What book or movie got you interested in the genre? Do you have a limit in what you enjoy?

P.S. I'm over at The Bookish Babe chatting about romance and great kisses. 
Plus you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Embrace! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tame your insecurities: IWSG

It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time to talk about insecurities. Before I do that, I'd like to thank Alex Cavanaugh for hosting this wonderful meme. If you'd like to learn more about it, just click on Alex's name above. 

The first Wednesday of the month seems to be rolling around quickly this year. I have to admit, I’m not feeling overly insecure this month. My motto for the year, you can’t live a positive life with a negative mind, seems to be working. J

That’s not to say I don’t spend time worrying about sales, if readers will like the second book in my Embrace series, or that someone will pick up the novel I have out on submission. But I’ve taken the energy I might use being insecure and have been focusing on things I can control. Like working on my marketing plans for the year, polishing my current WIP (it’s very close to done), and plotting my next novel (the heat level on this one has been turned up from my normal PG13 to HOT and HEAVY—I’ve been itching to write a love scene that doesn't fade to black).

On sequel news, I should have the first round of edits back from my editor this month. I’m looking forward to seeing her deep dive thoughts on the story, and I can’t wait to add revisions to my to-do list. Plus, my wonderful marketing associate is already in contact with the design team discussing cover ideas. I’m dying to see what they come up with!

I’ll be speaking at the SPC Literary Festival in Minooka, Illinois later this month. I’m very excited to be a part of this event and can’t wait to meet the aspiring authors in attendance. I finished reading the short story submissions and let me tell you they are a talented group of teens!

I think that’s about it for me.

How about you? Have you found a way to tame your insecurities? What are you working on these days?

Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to leave a comment so I know you were here!

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