Status: I used to be a writer...

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

Right, right, I know, it's that time again. Believe me, I'm rolling my eyes too. So instead of boring you with a list of resolutions that look remarkably similar to the ones I made last year, I'll just share one with you.

Send out my newsletter once a month.

So the last time I sent one out was probably, oh, a year and a half ago. I've always just kind of thought I don't have a lot to say, but I realized, you know what? People probably are interested in hearing what I'm working on. Maybe they want to know about books on sale from my author friends, too.

Don't freak out when you get my newsletter in your inbox. It's coming. Now you can know what I'm doing way before I do it. You might even know what I'm doing before I do!

And if you haven't signed up for my newsletter, the sign up is on the right hand side of my blog. Keep you posted!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Write much?

So from time to time I run into people I hardly ever see. Invariably the question comes out, "So you been writing anything lately?"

Am I the only one who thinks this is the dumbest question to ever ask an author? For authors, writing is like breathing. It's like eating. Would you walk up to someone and say, "Been breathing lately?"

It's a given. It's a duh.

But here's the low-down, for those who a) wonder what I do all day and b) are anxiously awaiting something new from me.

1) I finished the first draft to the third book in the PERILOUS series! Book #2 was meant to be the end, but so many people have begged/complained/emailed/left negative reviews wanting a third book, that fine, I gave in and wrote one. I hope it meets expectations!

2) I'm working on the second draft to a sad love story I wrote earlier this year when I was sad. It's not done, I'm pleased with it, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. There are so many options.

3) I'm still working on the first draft to the next book in the INEVITABLE series. I know, I need to finish this before people forget what book I'm talking about.

4) I'm working on the first draft to a middle grade serial. Squeal! I'm oober-excited about this one. It's called THE EXTRAORDINARILY ORDINARY LIFE OF CASSANDRA JONES and is about a ten-year-old girl and her "boring" life. There are two things that I'm excited about with this book. First, it's going to be ebook only. For ages 8+. I don't think there's a huge ebook market at that age, so I'm also going to be pushing Kindles sales. :) (My son's getting one for Christmas.) Second, you might have noticed I said "serial." Not "series." This book is meant to mimic a television show, in book form. There will be ten "episodes" in the first year, each one about 50 pages long. Awesome, right?? I totally think so!

So. The next time you talk to an author friend, instead of asking "Been writing anything?," ask, "What have you written lately?" Just assume they're writing. They'll appreciate it. :)

Me. Writing. At 2am at a 24/7 diner w/ my bestie Hillary, also a writer. Who writes.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Best Little Conference You've Never Heard of

You just missed it for this year, so don't even bother pulling out your calendar or scrambling to fit it in. But this is absolutely the best conference this side of the Rocky Mountains. (I'm in Arkansas.)

Which conference is it? The Midwest LDStorymakers Conference.

It's new. You've never heard of it. This is only the third year and our attendance is less than 100 people. But let me tell ya, as far as quality goes, this is conference is amazing.

This year we had a huge focus on not only the pros and cons of traditional publishing, but also all the amazing tools there are available to self-publish and succeed. Our guest speaker was Adam Sidwell. The attending agent was Sarah Negovetich.  But the best part about it was the feeling of unity, inspiration, encouragement, and fulfillment that I got out of it.

The conference takes place in Kansas City, and five people from my writer's group made the journey. We had people in attendance from Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, and of course Kansas and Arkansas! This is one conference you don't want to miss, and it's a conference I want to see grow. So go ahead and get your calendar out now. Mark it for next fall. Plan to be there.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Tornado Warning: Raising Funds for Joplin

It's finally a reality! Tornado Warning is out!

I'm so excited for this. The book represents a culmination of a dream: my opportunity to use my talents to help Joplin.

The book is for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, for Nook and Kindle, and in many bookstores throughout Missouri and Arkansas. Your bookstore can get it in for you, too.

I was interviewed on the Great Day St. Louis morning show. It's a five minute clip, but the video explains so much. I would love it if you would share this with friends and family! I've donated my time and resources, but if people don't know the book is available, that's as far as it gets. Help me help Joplin!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Coming

The book about the Joplin tornado is almost here...

I am so excited for this. I get all nail-biting and nervous because the success of this book is more important to me than any other thus far. So many people have dedicated hours to making this book a reality, and none of us are getting paid for that.  But we don't care. We want this book to change lives, both those who read it and those who receive help from organizations like Rebuild Joplin. I also want to feel like all the time and money I've dedicated to this is going to pay off, you know? So I'm really super anxious.

Here is a list of in-person book signings I will be having:

Friday May 16 3-7pm 
201 SW 14th St
Bentonville, AR 72712

Saturday May 17 10-noon 
Spiva Art Museum
222 West 3rd Street
Joplin, MO 64801
Postponed! New date TBA.

Saturday May 17 1-3pm 
Sleepy Girl's Books
516 N. Main St. 
Joplin, MO 64801

Thursday May 22 1-3pm 
The Book House, Inc.
7352 Manchester Rd.
Maplewood, MO 63143

It's so close, I can almost taste it. And it scares me to death!

Proceeds from the book will be donated to Misty's Missions, as long as she is actively raising money for disaster relief, and Click the links to find out more about these organizations!

In the meantime, I'm outta here. Heading to Utah for the ultimate Storymaker conference, with a guest appearance from Orson Scott Card. Cannot wait! If you'll be there, stop by and say hi!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Unexpected validation

So in November I went through an unexpected personal crisis that took me months to recover from. In the meantime, I've neglected my blog and my books and all things marketing. As a result, I kind of felt like I dropped off the book sphere. 

Thus it came as a delightful surprise to open my email today and discover that INEVITABLE has been nominated for a RONE award. Voting doesn't start until April and is public, and I know most people haven't read my book yet. This, then, is my victory. 

It's a nice little pick me up to help me get my game back on. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Guest Post: Writing in a Coffee shop

This guest post comes to you via Nick Baron!

Coffee Shop Writing: The Tools You’ll Need

Writing at a cafe is an opportunity to get some work done outside of the home. If you want to go beyond a standard cup of joe, you will need a few bucks. Add a pastry, and you will spend at least a fiver. Most cappuccino cravers consider this a small price to pay for a caffeinated boost and a sweet treat. For my job at Grammarly, I interact with a lot of writers. They have given me the inside scoop on how to write at cafes and what tools they need. Here are just a few of the steps I have learned from the pros.

1. Ask before you order.
You can’t assume that every cafe has wireless internet, or that internet access is free. If you are visiting a new location, take the time to ask. If they do not have it, you can always go somewhere else. Otherwise, you will have to suffer without the Internet or go to another location after you drink your beverage.

Note: The Internet password is usually printed on your receipt or posted on the wall.

2. Invest in portable tools.
  • Portable writing devices
Most coffee shop writers use laptop computers. Tablets, even with a keyboard, are a little cramped. Charge your laptop fully at home. Even if you bring your power cord, there may be fierce competition for an outlet.

  • Headphones
Some writers like the dull hum of background noise or piped music. If you prefer, bring a pair of headphones and listen to the music of your choice. Online radio stations, like Pandora, learn your preferences and play lots of songs that you like.

  • Proofreading, thesaurus, and dictionary
Rather than weighing down your bag with style guides and books, research using downloadable or online versions of these texts. Online proofreading programs make it easy to edit on the go. Google Docs provides access to your documents on multiple computers. An app called Pocket allows you to save pages that you want to read offline.

3. Be comfy.
  • Dress in layers. You can always shed a layer if it is gets hot. Consider keeping a sweater in your car. In summer, the chilly air conditioning combined with your icy mango strawberry smoothie may be too much to handle.

4. Take advantage of the perks.
  • Does your local cafe offer a frequent customer card? You may be able to earn a discount or a free item from time to time. Some locations provide a regular discount for seniors. Around Christmastime, you may see promotions that offer a free bonus gift card of $5-10 when you buy one of a larger denomination like $25. You are not a Scrooge if you use them both for yourself! View the extra card as a discount.

  • Leave your homies at home.
You may think that it’s cool to invite a friend to meet you. You assume that you will both work on your individual projects, with just the occasional smile over the top of the monitor. Unless you have the willpower of a Zen master, however, you and your buddy may spend more time talking than working. If you are under a deadline, it is probably best to focus on your writing without the distraction of a friendly face. Meet with your buddy as a celebration for completing your project.

Cafes provide a great environment for writing. You can people-watch during your breaks from writing and avoid distractions that might crop up at home. You can sip on your tea and relax. If you will write there often, keep a “cafe” bag packed with your sweater, extra charger, and discount cards. I would ask to come along, but I already know what you should say!



Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, travelling, and reading.
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