Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why you should not fall in love with an agent

I don't mean an FBI agent or a CIA agent (though I recommend treading with caution). I mean, obviously, a publishing agent.

What exactly is an agent, anyway? According to Dictionary.com, an agent is

a person or business authorized to act on another's behalf.

That about sums it up, right? No? Okay, to make it more clear, an agent is the go-between for you and your publisher/editor. You give them the right to make decisions for you, and they keep you out of the fire. They also attract the interest of publishers who couldn't care less who you are unless you have an agent. The reason being, I guess, is that if you can't even get an agent excited about your book, why would they want it?

All writers who are obsessively aggressively stalking courting querying agents know that you are supposed to research your agent before you submit your book to them. You want to make sure if you are submitting YA, they rep YA. If you're submitting a romance, make sure they don't prefer horror. If they're looking for boy books, don't submit chic lit. If they have a weakness for angels, don't give them your zombie book.

This is all great advice. Most of the time when doing this research, one agent is pretty much the same as another. It would be great to snag one, any one. But sometimes it happens during this research that you find THE ONE. The agent that you know is for you. They started writing when you did, majored in the same thing as you, enjoy the same books as you, feel about their family the way you do, have the same goals for their writers that you have for your career, and THEY REP WHAT YOU WRITE! Bells ring, angels sing, and you KNOW this agent is for you. Your heart pounds as you carefully amend your query letter, tailoring it for this special agent. You send it off with trembling fingers and wait. Anxiously wait for the response.

And it comes, two days later, with a rejection.

How can this be? How could the love not be mutual?

Here's why. Because the agent didn't research you they way you did him/her. They don't know that you would be best friends if you lived around the corner, and probably it's better that way. It might take the objectivity out of the game (there is objectivity, right?). They might like YOU so much that it's hard to take a good look at your book. And that wouldn't be good for you, in the long run.

So. Don't fall in love. Speed date all the agents you want, notice the ones that make sparks, but for heaven's sake, keep your heart out of it.

Happy querying!

Don't forget you can watch my interview on July 4 and 5 right here!

*Image from writersrelief.com

Monday, June 27, 2011

Video and Radio Interviews

We've all seen blogs that interview authors, agents, random people. This is so easy to do through the internet, since you can chat with someone through email, Skype, MSN, and post an interview as if you were with the interviewee in person.

Or you can take it a step farther and do a video interview, using the same devices of Skype or MSN.

The Authors Show interviewed me a few weeks ago, via webcam and Skype. I haven't seen the interview yet, though I'm quite curious about it and quite excited to see how it turned out.

If you haven't ever visited their website, you can check it out here. They show author interviews 24/7, and it's way cool. My interview will be airing all day July 4 and 5. Please come watch my interview, learn a little bit more about me and my book! Don't worry, I'll remind you. Every day. I think this company is awesome and am thrilled they were interested in interviewing me about my book Perilous. They also do radio interviews. I haven't done that one, though.

On a completely different note, we have a winner from the Watched blog party! The winner is Brenda Sills! Brenda, shoot me an email so we can work out the details of your free ebook! I'm so excited for you!

How easy has it been for you get publicity from news medias? What have you done to get their interest (whether it be radio, newspaper, or television)? I'm always looking for more ways to promote myself!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I am unavailable


You'll have to excuse me because I've spent the past few days doing this:

and this:

with this:

See you next week!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Come Celebrate The Release Of Watched With US!

And you could win lots of awesome prizes
                          and learn about             
        the hottest new teen novel,
       while making new friends.
Each of the following blogs is offering a different awesome prize!
(That's 14 prizes!)
And the grand prize is a $25 dollar gift card to Amazon.
                  Quick, Fast Entry
Pick a blog, any blog to get started
(just click on the underlined name)
Better hurry! There's only 4 days to enter -Tues., June 21st-Friday, June 24th
 **(Need more details? More complete entry details at the bottom of the page)
1.   Follow Rachelle Writes and leave a comment.   Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Rachelle's blog. (If you do both you get 1 entry into Rachelle's contest and one into the Grand Prize contest-You Must do both to enter either)
2.   Follow A Writer's Reality and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Melissa's blog.
3.   Follow Day Dreamer and leave a comment.
Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Christine's blog.
4.  Follow The Queen of the Clan and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Danyelle's blog.
5.   Follow Jordan McCollum and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Jordan's blog.
6.  Follow The Crazy Daze of Motherhood and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Jane's blog.
7.  Follow I am a Pistachio and leave a comment.
Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Rebecca's blog.
8.   Follow Chasing Dreams and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Tamara's blog.
9.   Follow Ramblings of a Random Writer and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Betsy's blog.
10. Follow Matthew Tandy-The Working Writera nd leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Matthew's blog.
11 Follow Weaving a Tale or Two and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Donna's blog.
12. Follow Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M. Hogan and leave a comment about Tristi's blog.
13. Follow My Yellow Sandbox and leave a comment. Then follow  Cindy M Hogan and leave a comment about Abby's blog.
14. Follow Watched and leave a comment. Then follow Cindy M Hogan and leave a comment about that blog.
13. Enter all 14 contests and you get an extra 5 entries into the Grand Prize Giveaway. (19 entries)
14. That's not all! Get 6 extra entries by buying Watched here (print book) or here (e-book) and sending her a copy of your confirmation cindymhogan at yahoo dot com. Easy peasy.   Wow! That's 25 entries!
Have fun and good luck!
**More Details on how to enter
  • Click on the blog name
  • Follow that blog
  • Leave a comment that you were there 
  • Jump over to Cindy's blog
  • Leave a comment about what you liked about the other blog. 
Congrats! You've entered that blog's contest and earned one entry into the Grand Prize Drawing!
Enter one. Enter two or how ever many you like, but...
If you enter all the blogs' contests you get a bonus 5 entries into the Grand Prize Drawing.
That gives you a total of 19 entries to win the
Grand Prize- A $25 gift card to Amazon.
And don't forget to get your copy of Watched for a bonus 6 entries.
(25 total)
Remember- you only have 4 days to enter.
(Tues, June 21st-Friday, June 24th at midnight)  
and you must comment on both blogs for entry into each contest.
Individual blogs will award prizes on June 25th
The Grand Prize will be awarded on June 28th on Cindy's blog.
Check back to see if you won! You have 2 days to claim your prize.
A big thanks to my awesome friends for joining in on the fun.

Are you wondering what I'm giving away? An electronic copy of Perilous. Already have one? If you win, I'll find something else for you! Good luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

At the Beep, Leave a Comment if You're Alive

I'm having a "Why am I Doing this?" week.

Seriously. The blog. I'm just kind of talking to myself lately. Is anyone out there? :::mic squeals::: testing, testing. Hello? Can anyone hear me?

I've seen a lot of blogger friends go down to blogging once a week. I enjoy talking too much, I think.

I know I need to get out there and let other people know I'm alive. I just don't know where the time goes... hopefully everyone is off enjoying the summer as much as I am.

Maybe I should take the summer off.

There must be a point to this thing we call a blog. I've made a lot of internet friends, but perhaps I've made too many. I could make a full-time job out of reading everyone's blogs every day (if only it paid money). It's kind of a frustration, and I have no idea how the rest of you find time to write books, blogs, read blogs, read books, do reviews, critiques, jobs, housecleaning (okay, not so much), and be a parent/spouse/whatever.

Let me in on your secret.

Friday, June 17, 2011

My Favorite Ants

I don't like ants.

Especially the tiny ones that invade my kitchen, taking over the dirty dishes and the trash if I don't get rid of it RIGHT AWAY.

But strangely enough, my all-time favorite book is about ants. It's called A Rustle in the Grass.

Here's the story behind how this book and I met. I was nine years old, in the fourth grade. We had just moved and my mom wanted to go the local flea market and see if they had anything valuable. I had a quarter, and thought for sure I'd be able to buy a chair, a mirror, a shirt, or something.

The only things I found for a quarter were in a dusty barrel. Books. I sifted through them, but none looked interesting. Most were :::cough::: um, adult literature. At the last minute, I grabbed this book. (See picture.) Bought it, took it home, tried to start reading it. It was slightly too advanced for me. I put it down.

But I picked it up again a few months later, shortly after my tenth birthday. Still in the fourth grade. This time, I managed to read it. It took me a long time. A month, I think, and the book's not that long.

I loved it. Loved loved loved it. There's no way to explain to you the life lessons these ants teach. It's so obviously not scientific, since all the ants are male and we all know worker ants are female. And I doubt they go around telling stories and talking to each other. Duh. (That's a rant, because someone on Amazon gave it a low review because it wasn't very realistic. For real???)

I read it again in fifth grade. Again in sixth grade. Towards the end of the sixth grade school year, Ms. Jones (my teacher) must've been running out of things to read to us during reading time after lunch. She asked us if we had any books we'd like the class to read. Of course I brought this book, but either I was at the end of the queue, or she didn't think it looked good. It got bumped back and back while stupider stories got read (in my opinion, of course). Finally, after my begging, she started reading it to us on the last week of school. Needless to say, I don't think we finished a chapter.

But my teacher liked it enough to ask to borrow it over the summer. I said yes, and she was good enough to get it back to me. I passed it on to my little sister.

Two years later, my little sister was in Ms. Jones' sixth grade class. She walked into the room, and low and behold, on the classroom bookshelf was a classroom set of A Rustle in the Grass. Twenty-six lovely copies for the class to read. Boy, did I feel good when she told me that!

When my sister and I first saw the preview for A Bug's Life, however many years ago, our first thought was, "They're making a movie of it! How cool!" Of course, it wasn't our favorite book, which was way disappointing.

I read the book every year until I went to college. Then I read it once every three years. Too many other reading assignments. I can't seem to retain a copy, I keep giving them away. The last time I had a copy was four years ago, when I read the book to my husband. I believe he mailed it to his brother to read. Mark loved the book.

It's astoundingly good. Get it. You'll love it. I can't really say what it's about--you'll think it's not worth reading. I mean, who cares about ants, anyway? You can see my review on Amazon (funny story--a friend of mine, named Sasha Fletcher, asked me to help her set up an account on Amazon. I did something wrong. Not sure what, but all of my reviews were renamed as Sasha Fletcher after I did that. I tried and tried to fix it, and eventually gave up and created a new account.). Anyway, it says it's by Sasha Fletcher, but it's by me.

I don't know much about the author. As far as I know, he's only written two books, and the other wasn't that great (I didn't finish it). He's an actor, a movie director. But this book is good. My favorite to this day.

And yours? What's your favorite? Is it a bestseller, or something obscure that no one's heard of?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cutting the Deal

Another scene from my villain (The Hand)'s Point of View. Cut because we cut his POV from the book to help keep the suspense up. What I love about his scenes is we really get to analyze his motives in the kidnapping.
Truman watched the tall oak trees fly past outside his lowered window. He felt as free as the birds soaring through the sky. Who could have guessed this turn of events?
            His men would watch the girls, get them all cleaned up. They weren’t a burden anymore. They were money.
            Except Sara. Sara. He blinked, taken back by how much emotion the name carried with it. There was a girl he’d known in junior high. He’d had an awful crush on her. Jane, with her sparkling blue eyes and golden hair. So much like Sara.
            Jane died in a car accident right before her junior year. Drunk driver hit her car. Seeing Sara was like seeing Jane, back to life. She was worth more than money. He’d make her forget the past, and she’d be happy.

            He opened his netbook and made a few marks in his spreadsheet, then closed it as they pulled up to Sid’s large manor. The sun shone on the red brick driveway, and he pulled out his sunglasses. One of the servants came and opened the car door for him, and he stepped out. Large palm trees waved in the wind. Tall lamps blended into the foliage above them, giving them the additional heat and light they needed to live in this climate.
            Truman pressed his lips together. Sid had money to burn. He made a mental note to raise the price.
            Sid strode to the car, looking comfortable in Bermuda shorts and flip-flops.
            Wrong season, Truman thought.
            Sid greeted him with a large smile. Truman didn’t return it. Sid wasn’t a friend. But he wouldn’t sell Truman out, and that was all that mattered. “Sid.”
            “Never thought I’d be doing business with you,” the other man laughed. The gel in his wavy brown hair glistened in the sunlight.
      “It was an accident. But I’m sure it will be beneficial for us both.”
      They walked past the immaculate lawn into the front sunroom. The warmth coming through the glass and the tiled walls made Truman feel like he was in South America. 
            “You’ve got three little ladies, you say?” Sid asked.
            Sid raised an eyebrow.
            “I’m keeping one,” he said, feeling uncomfortable. He didn’t like having to explain himself to Sid.
            “Ah.” Sid leered. “She play well?”
            Truman clenched his jaw and didn’t answer.
            Sid shrugged, then motioned him into one of his wicker chairs while he sank back into a large black leather couch.
            Truman sat, removing his outer jacket and placing it on the end table.
            “Cigar?” Sid offered as a servant came by with a cigar platter.
            “Thank you.” Truman’s cell phone began to jingle, and he pulled it out. Frowning a little as he saw the caller, he looked at the other man. “May I?”
            “Of course.”
            He flipped the phone open. “Yes?”
            “Truman.” The excited voice shouted in his ear, and he winced. “The girls escaped! They’re not in the house!”
            He stiffened. “What? They’re gone?” He wished he hadn’t spoken out loud. Better yet, shouldn’t have answered the phone. Bad business manners, anyway. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Sid lean back in his seat, touching his fingertips together.
            Truman hissed into the phone. “I don’t care how they got out. Just find them. Now!” However they’d manage to get out, it was a big problem. He couldn’t even begin to count the ways this could bring about the demise of the unstable empire he was building.
            “Well?” Sid asked in an irritatingly mellow voice.
            Ignoring Sid, Truman stood up, gathering his jacket. “I’m afraid we’ll have to continue these arrangements later. Thanks for your time.”
            Sid chuckled as Truman hurried to the door. “Anytime, my man. Anytime.”

            Truman didn’t respond. The blood rushed through his veins, his temples pulsing. All he could think of was getting those girls.

Monday, June 13, 2011

9 Reasons to find your State Library

Does your state have a library?

It might be worth finding out.

I recently received an email from the Arkansas State Library. They are making a poster to take to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. in September, and they are putting my book on it. They asked for my permission to do so.

The reason they even know I exist is because I mailed them a copy of my book when it came out so they would have one for the state library. I never heard anything back and never knew how my book was received. Well, I guess.

After I got the email, I Google "Arkansas State Library." They have an awesome website with contact information to book clubs, festivals, librarians, etc. So here are some reasons to check out your state library:

9) Center for the Book. This campaign was started by the Library of Congress. My state library runs its own  version on a smaller, local scale. They provide book club suggestions and support to libraries across Arkansas.

8) Free promotion. The state library sponsors a book club called "If all Arkansas read the same book." It chooses 10-12 Arkansas writers and encourages every book club in Arkansas to read that book. How totally awesome if mine gets chosen!

7) Letters from kids. The library holds a competition every year where it encourages grade-school students to write a letter to an Arkansas author whose work inspired them.

6) Information on local conferences. Want to overload your year with conference events? The state library probably has links to them. All of them. So have fun!

5) List of state libraries. Instead of looking up every city in your state and Googling their library, you can just go down the list on your state library website and find every library you want.

4) Book awards. The library sponsors awards for children and young adult literature and allows (begs!) people to recommend books for the reading list. Nominees' books will be read by teens and librarians across the state.

3) Newsletter. Many state libraries send out a monthly newsletters with information about the library, books, contests, awards, and conferences.

2) Local author promotion. They might have a "native author" campaign. Arkansas does. It's called Arkansas Gems, and they feature about ten new books on a poster and bookmarks.

1) Recognition and publicity--for FREE. Posters and bookmarks are distributed across the state. They are given to schools and libraries as "ideas" so they will know what to order to support native writers.

Do you have any experience with your state library? What programs do they offer?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ex-Army Wife

I am no longer an army wife.

Isn't it exciting???

Before you start to wonder what's happened, the short, simple, and sweet is that my husband came home last night FOR GOOD. He's not on leave. He's not visiting. He's not ACTIVE. My husband is a civilian again.

While we've seen him several times since his deployment a year ago, there was a different feeling all day yesterday knowing that he was really coming home this time. For the first time ever, he's moving into this house and he's going to live here with us (we moved into the house the same day he got activated last May). Yet I know we were one of the lucky ones, because we got to have him home on leave many times since his deployment.

Thank you, Uncle Sam, for letting his service be over!

Now I need to scrape the bumper stickers off the back of my car. Or maybe just put on a new one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Overusing Sara

Some names get used way too often.

The other day I was reading a book that involved a baby princess who would fulfill a prophecy. The characters reached a point where it was necessary to name the baby. And they named her...Sara.

What? Not again! This is on a made-up world in a made-up kingdom. And they also use the most common name in history?

Then I was reading a book set in the 1800s. The main character was, of course, named Sara. Granted, this is more understandable because in that day and time, 50% of girls were named Sara. But still...this is fiction. You can do what you want.

Or this sci-fi book I picked up with a tall, blue-skinned alien named...Sara.

Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Whether with an h or not, Sara has got to be the most overused name out there. And I'm sitting here rolling my eyes and thinking, "Why on earth would anyone name a main character Sara?"

And then it dawns on me. Hits me right out of the blue and I have to laugh.

One of the main characters in Perilous is named Sara.

So. :::shrug::: Maybe names are popular and used a lot for a reason.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My New Love


For Father's Day we made a miniature investment and bought a pair of kayaks. I planned to buy them last year, but when my husband got orders to deploy, I decided to wait. So this was a long planned expenditure. There was something exciting about loading the kayaks (one at a time, because we haven't invested in a rack yet) onto the top of the car and taking them home.

Saturday we took them out for the first time. We had all the kiddos in life jackets, but something about climbing into a little boat on the water made my heart skip. For a second.

And then we started paddling, and I was gliding across the water, sunshine on my arms, water dripping on my legs, a breeze in my face.

It was absolutely one of the most wonderful, serene experiences I've ever had. I could've kept going for hours. I wanted to paddle across the lake and back again.

I'm sure it will take me some time to get used to paddling and controlling the boat, but I thought for a first time, we did awesome. And I can't wait to do it again. I can tell this is going to be a summer activity that competes for my time. I love living in Bella Vista. I love having seven lakes to choose from! (next: buying a car rack...)

Ever been out on a kayak? If not, go do it. Many lakes have a rental service where you can try it for a day.

Friday, June 3, 2011

92 Degrees and Rising

It's summer time.

Ah yes. The days of suntan lotion, sprinklers, squeals, swimsuits, and sweat.

And mosquitoes. And humidity. And heat.

I love summer and everything that comes with it, but I do enjoy feeling cool in my own house. My solution: the basement. During the summer I spent 90% of my home time in the basement. I go upstairs to cook and sleep. But I'm about to nix the cooking option. I think I'm going to employ my crockpot and solar oven for the rest of the summer.

Of course, I need to buy my solar oven first. Isn't this totally awesome? For $180, I can have my own solar oven and take advantage of all the sunshine. Check out their webpage at solarovens.org. I can't wait to get mine.

We also bought out pool pass... summer, here we come.

What are you doing to stay cool this summer???

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fire Burning Fire Burning Fire Burning

Quick question: What does the title make you think of?

If you answered, "Sean Kingston's Fire Burning song," then you think like me. If you answered anything else, well, you're slightly more original. Now go listen to that song.

But anyway I want to share with you a fantastic book I read this week. This so far is my favorite book of the year. It's Firelight by Sophie Jordan. Now this book is a New York Times Bestseller (and with good reason), so you may have heard of it. If you haven't, now's your chance.

The book captured me right away with the original concept of a dragon in a girl's body. Not only that, but Jacinda is a fire-breathing dragon, the last of her kind. Not only THAT, but there are hunters searching for the dragons and trying to kill them.

And as if that weren't enough...guess who the love interest is. I mean, really. Can it get any more twisted? It's a doomed love story. And I love it. The best kind of love story, in my opinion, like that of a soldier falling in love with his prisoner. So much drama and emotion! Way exciting.

And it's got a sequel. Probably going to be a trilogy, if Sophie follows the normal YA trend. It ended exactly the way I like, with nothing wrapped up and so much anticipation and you simply HAVE TO GET THE NEXT ONE, which is good because it comes out in September!

This is the first book this year that I could hardly put down. Every five minutes, I was reading it. Name a YA bestseller, and I've probably read it. This one is my favorite.

My only hang up? It's written in present tense. So was Hunger Games and I could kind of see why. It's an action-packed in-the-now story. This one I think would have been better in past tense. It didn't feel right, and even the author slipped up (okay, only one time) and reverted back to the past tense. Of course it's just my opinion, but for general story telling, we use the past tense, and that would have made the book a more natural read for me.

But that didn't stop me from loving it!

If you like romance and dragons and high school, you'll love it to. Read it, if you haven't!
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