Updates

Status: Releasing Entranced on February 17!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Indie-debut 2011


A few months ago I joined an awesome blog for debut authors. The neat thing about this blog, located at http://indiedebut2010.blogspot.com/, is that all of the authors are published by independent presses. The blog offers lots of support and promotional materials for authors who more than likely are financing their own marketing efforts.

Plus, all of the authors are extremely talented. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this group! I just love it.

Indie-debut is getting ready to launch their 2011 blogsite. But there's one thing missing: the authors!!! This is a great opportunity for any authors debuting in 2011. If you're interested, check out this post and email abigailwrites (at) gmail (dot) com.

Go for it. You'll love this group. Good luck!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Compelling Characters

Jumping on the bandwagon! (Thanks, Elana!)

How well do we know our characters?

People aren't static. Everything we do changes us. Everything we witness, everything that happens to us.

Yet often times in books, it seems that the characters are static. Flat. They don't change. As readers we anticipate a change. We watch the cause on one screen and turn to the next screen to see the effect. If there is none, we feel a huge let-down.

The relationship between your characters is changing, evolving. Have you noticed? How well do you really know your characters?

My characters have a huge back story. Most of it is never revealed in the book. At one point it was revealed, but most of those scenes have been deleted. And it doesn't matter. My characters still react to things in context of their histories. The little reveals add depth to the novel, they add mystery and intrigue. Just like our relationships with our friends in real life. When we meet someone, they don't hand us a pamphlet with their back story (though heaven knows, sometimes it would be nice). We get to know them little by little. We discover their eccentricities and what makes them tick, and sometimes we never quite find out what it is about brown socks and rabbits that sends them into a tizzy every time, but we know it does.

With our characters, we get to be parents. Gods. Procreaters. Again and again and again. When I created Jayne for my book Inevitable, I had so much fun making her features, designing her personality, and thinking up her favorite things to do. But just like with parenting, an interesting thing happened: as I wrote about Jayne, some things really fit--and others didn't. How?? I made her! But Jayne took on her own life. She is who she is, not who I want her to be.

It's okay to mess with your characters. Do something crazy, just for fun. Write a scene where one of your characters breaks a personal moral standard. What does that do to your character? How does it affect the relationships with the other characters? Write a scene where the character witnesses a crime. Loses a sibling. Gets a scholarship.

Get to know your characters again. It's amazing how dynamic they are.

And, oh, another note! While the ebook of Perilous is coming out on October 5 (yikes! just days away!), the paper copy won't be released until November 16. Minor change! But I need your OPINIONS. I planned my blog tour around a release date of Nov. 1, with four weeks before and four weeks after. Should I shuffled everyone back two weeks? Or just leave it the way it is? (Those of you participating, feel free to give your thoughts!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dread and Excitement Equals Insomnia

It's 5 o'clock in the morning (though it won't be when this posts to the blogosphere) and I'm cursing myself. I want so badly to be asleep. But Little Girl woke me up at 3:30am for her feeding, and I haven't been able to get back to sleep since then. So many thoughts rolling around in my head.

No point in wasting any more time. Since I'll probably be crashing in the afternoon, may as well get things done now.

I'm plagued by worries and things to do. I need to order things for book signings, I need to set up book signings. I need to update my website. I need to post about my upcoming contests. I need to email my blog tour people. I need, I need, I need...

And then I've been fighting this horrible anxiety. You know the one: What if nobody likes my book? What if I get so many negative reviews that it is BAD for my future? What if no one can FIND my book? What if people hate my cover and don't buy my book? What if, what if, what if...

Is there an official name for this feeling? It's called 'cold feet' before a wedding. Maybe we should give it a name. Paper sick? Hardly bound? Inkless? Suggestions?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Countdown: 2: I've Been Covered!


Here it is, folks, the moment you've been waiting for: My cover.


Perilous is a YA thriller, a high-stakes novel. It's got everything you want from a novel: adventure, drama, suspense, emotion, even romance!

So far we're still on schedule for the release day!

What do you think? Tell me your honest opinions! I want to know!

Friday, September 17, 2010

#$!$# book trailer!!!


I've about had it with my book trailer!


This thing is more trouble than it's worth. Seriously. If I had the money, I would so pay someone $2000 to make this 1 minute blip of awesome, suspenseful intrigue into my novel rather than do this myself. And I'm not even making it! All I'm doing is collecting the images and putting together a 'script' so someone else can make my trailer!

And it is FRUSTRATING. ME. LIKE. CRAZY. I'm ready to call it quits. No book trailer! Not needed!

The problem is that I'm spending way too much time trying to find the perfect image. And I'm not even finding it. And what I'm finding costs $100 to use, and that's just 1 picture! So I'm trying to make due with the free sites, or at least the cheaper ones. Their images are definitely less than perfect.

Oh, why can't I have a movie studio with actors at my disposal?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blogger Accountability

Okay, part of getting out of that funk is getting into a routine. Think of the things you want to accomplish. Now think of the time you have available to do it. Prioritize. Itemize. Detail each hour with what you want to do.

That's great and all, but who's going to make you stick to your routine? Well, no one, really, but it might help with the whole pride/shame psyche if you make your plans public. Then you won't want to admit failure to everyone. Right?

Great theory. Let's test it.

I'm going to take a two-hour block every day, from 2:30-4:30pm. This is the time I'm devoting to my writing/computer.

In these two hours, I want to:
1) marketing for Perilous
2) finish writing Inevitable
3) start editing Altercation
4) write a blog
5) read other blogs
6) read/respond to emails
7) make updates on Twitter

Things that I must do every day:
1) Read/respond to emails
2) marketing for Perilous
Really? That's it?

Time I need for each item per day:
1) emails: 15 min
2) marketing: 30 min
3) Inevitable: 30 min
4) Altercation: 30 min
5) blog: 30 min
6) read other blogs: 30 min
7) Twitter: 15 min

My schedule:
every day: emails and marketing and Twitter (1 hour)
Monday: blog (30 min) and Inevitable (30 min)
Tuesday: other blogs (30 min) and Inevitable (30 min)
Wednesday: blog (30 min) and Altercation (30 min)
Thursday: other blogs (30 min) and Altercation (30 min)
Friday: blog (30 min) and Inevitable (30 min)

As you can see from my schedule, my goal is to write 3 blog posts a week. Of course, things may not go as smoothly as I wish, but I'm going to give this a try. I think I will actually TURN OFF my internet when it comes to the 30 min. of writing time. Otherwise, I will keep on checking my email and twittering and all that stuff.

And of course there is no guaranteeing that my three little ones will stay sleeping when they should. Adjustments can always be made.

This schedule starts NOW! I'll report back (that's the accountability part). And you? Are you where you want to be?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Get out of that Funk

So my husband flew back to Afghanistan this week. It was not, of course, an unexpected departure, but it was most unwelcome, and I've found myself in a horrible state of mind since he left. I'm unmotivated, anti-social, cranky, sleepy, and unable to focus on the future. Actually, the thought of my future--running a household of three children while feeding myself and them and keeping us all clean and still participating in society--terrifies me.

But let's be honest. We all get in funks sometimes. (That's the word I'm using to describe how I feel right now.) And sometimes the thought of taking the effort to do something and get out of the funk is so exhausting, it's easier to just stayed funked.

DON'T GIVE IN TO IT.

This is the time when you need to get back to the basics. Make things a priority and focus on a) yourself and b) others.

A) Yourself.
Think of all those things you know you should be doing because they make you feel good. They're not necessarily EASY things to do. But now is the time to do it. Take the time.

Make some cookies.

Exercise.

Read your scriptures.

Write in your journal.

Pray.

Do a hobby: scrapbook, write, karaoke.

Vacuum.

Sometimes these things get pushed to the backburner and we think we don't have time, or it's not exciting, or other things are more important. But do it anyway. Throw your routine out the window and be spontaneous. For a day, then retrieve that routine because it's going to keep you sane.

b) others.
In other words, service. And I don't mean the kind you do for your kids and husband day in and day out. That's a given. I mean, when you think about someone else's needs and problems, you often forget your own. Or you realize yours aren't so bad. Don't put it off another day.

Write a letter.

Visit a friend.

Call someone you haven't talked to in awhile.

Make dinner for someone.

Invite someone over.

The best way to get out of that funk is to do something. So here it is, folks. I'm doing something. I should be out of this funk very soon. And in case that doesn't work, any other ideas??


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Getting Reviews from NYTimes and PW

Few things will garner as much publicity as a positive review from New York Times and Publisher's Weekly.
But how many people actually get reviews from them? How many people even try? Is it because they lack the courage, don't want one more rejection--or don't know how?

The first thing you need to know is, NYT and PW want your novel before it comes out--3 or 4 months before. They want a galley copy or an ARC, not a printed ms or PDF. They make exceptions, of course, but bottom line is, start planning on getting them a copy of your book several months before your publication date.

PW has separate guidelines for children's novels. PW wants two copies of galleys sent to them, followed by two copies of the published book. NYT only asks for one copy.
Neither wants anything electronic. They don't send back any material and there is no guarantee of a review.

But still, it's worth a shot, right?

And here are the links, so you don't have to go searching. All the information you need is here.


For those of you published, did you send your material to either/or? Did you get a review?

And finally, my random winner for commenting in August, coming in with lucky #97:

Shannon O'Donnell!!!

Shannon, you won a copy of Peeps by Scott Westerfield.


I just need your address! Email me. Or let me know in the comments if you can't find my email address.
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