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Blog Hoppin and Friday Followin!

It’s time for the Blog Hop & Follow Friday again! I love this part of the week because  I’m meeting so many awesome bloggers, writers, readers *sigh*. So to all of you hopping with me I’m smiling widely like a doofus and waving frantically as always!!

Blog Hop is hosted over at Crazy-for-Books and Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee. These memes were created to help make the web smaller, and introduce us bloggers to one another. We can find sites and meet people and follow those we love! We increase our followers and we get some fun new sites to add to our dashboards too. Its a big win-win and I am thrilled to be taking part again this week.

So the question this week at Crazy for Books is: What are you reading now, and why are you reading it?

Well, I have a set of books going at the moment. I’m working a Janet Evanovich book. It’s a Stephanie Plum novel and I seem to have one of those going at all times for the past six months, LOL. I also am reading up on fiction writing, and have a stack of fabulous YA waiting. If you didn’t stop here on Monday then I’ll tell you :) I plan to read Delirium, Hex Hall, Firelight and Nightshade this week. I am a complete YA addict. I love these books for the escape. Of course I’m discussed my love for YA at length on this blog, so I’ll spare you today.

Parajunkee’s question was: What isthe book you are currently pushing? (Pushing means you are trying to get people to read).

This is tough. At the moment, I don’t think I’m doing that. I’ve been catching up on my reading and I feel like I’m a month behind everyone else, so I’m the one reading book blogs to know what I absolutely must read next. If I had to push something in general, I’d suggest the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. They’re a ton of fun. Also, Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers is great and if you haven’t read it, you’ll want to get that done before part two Original Sin comes out this summer :)

Thanks everyone for stopping by! Leave a comment and tell me if you follow! I always follow back!!!

Friendly Reminder from the Writing Reminder Fairy

Writing is a process.

Please repeat that without rolling your eyes. I’ve been beta’d to high heavens this week and done my share of beta’ing in return, plus the yooj crit group activities and also traded stories with some friends doing the same. This is what hit me in the forehead.

1. not enough people do this – trade pages, get regular feedback

2. I need to scream to the stars: Stephenie Meyers was a one in a katrillion story. You aren’t going to write up a manuscript, trade pages with a little group at your local library a few times, then edit yourself and nail a $750,ooo 3 book contract. Not. Gonna. Happen. No. Not. *shaking head slowly while this marinates in everyone’s cerebral fluids.* Not. Real. Once in a lifetime. Not gonna be your story.

For those of you who didn’t give me a hand signal and shut their laptop, I’m talking to you. Those of you who want the truth and are open to suggestion. Writing is a process. Writers MUST treat it like one or we will fail. Just like addiction groups and grief counselors have a set method of recovery, so you should have a granite hard set of steps in your process. One of those steps should be grieve, and for some of you, maybe drink.  Not that I condone it, of course. I’m just throwing it out there.

Here’s a rough look at the process:

1.Inspiration hits and you begin scribbling ideas on your arm, napkin, receipt, spouse’s forehead – whatever, but you’ve got to get it out. Fast.

2. You type it out, hopefully in a preset ready to go format: 12 pt Times New Roman font, 1″ margins all around, page numbers top right, Your last name and book title in header – but NOT on the cover page.

3. You stop to breathe, re-read and rework all you’ve written so far. Self edit. Cut adverbs, and fluff words like “that” and “so” and “just.” Eliminate redundancy. Cut the backstory, shower scene, dreams, where possible. Fix your flow. Make it pretty.

4. Read it again with your changes. Work it. Repeat steps 2 & 3 & 4 until it’s smoothe, and then ask someone else who is unrelated to you and preferable an avid reader or better yet at this point, a fellow writer to read it and give feedback.

5. Cry. It’s okay. It’s gonna happen. Swear to yourself you suck and you’re never writing again. Tell yourself all the crap we all tell ourselves during step 5, then get over it. You’re a writer. Suck it up, shake it off, whatever. Get up. Get busy. You have work to do.

6. Carefully read the hurtful and helpful comments. Cut, chop, rework, make changes add details, fill loopholes. Whatever it takes to get it right. Then, repeat steps 2 and 3 some more. Then step 4.

It’s important to repeat steps 2-4 over and over and over and over and…you get it? over. When you think it’s the bomb-diggety (and I’m here to say it’s probably not.) Be reasonable, this is only your second draft. Yep. All those revisions before your first reader = first draft because that was when you first thought it was the golden egg.

Like I said, it’s a process. A cycle. Remember, nothing worth while comes without effort. Keep going. Keep writing. Every draft makes it tighter, better, brings you closer to your goal. Try to vary your betas too, it gives you a cross section of opinion and eyes, experience, etc. It’s good for your manuscript.

I’ve delivered and received some heavy blows this week on the manuscript front. Hey, “thems the breaks” as they say. It’s no fun having your hopes dashed, or your heart broken, your dream snatched. It sucks, but that’s how it goes. You will never improve if you don’t know what’s wrong. I promise you will not miraculously awaken with an understanding of things you didn’t know when you fell asleep. Won’t happen. You have to ask in order to learn. Sometimes the answers are hard to hear, but if you use the information you’re given, you will persevere.

Hang in there. Chin up. Shoulders back. Claim your prize. You can obtain. Keep on writing.


Writer Wednesday Welcomes Debra Martin!!!

When Should You Get An Agent?

by: Debra L Martin

When should I get an agent?  Every author grapples with this question.  If you choose to go the traditional publishing route, then when your book is finished and fully edited to be the best it can be, you should start the query process.  Choose agents that handle your particular genre and follow their guidelines for submission.  This is a long process, but there is no greater thrill than to be offered representation.

In 2010 the author world saw a different model emerging – that of the indie author.  An indie author is one who chooses to publish directly to Amazon through the Digital Text Program or to Barnes & Noble through their PubIt program.  Both online retailers allow books to be uploaded directly to their sites and once the book goes live, usually within a day or two, your book is out there for the buying public.  Scary thought, huh?

Is this the quick and easy answer?  Well, yes and no.  First, you can’t publish just anything.  Your book still needs to be read by beta readers or critique groups.  You need an editor to review the book, an intriguing book blurb and finally you need to have a fantastic cover that will attract readers.  If you’re too quick to publish without any of the above-mentioned items, your book will sink to the far end of the sales ranking, that is, if you even get any sales.  Readers are smart.  They know a good book when they read it and if you’re lucky, they will leave a review.  The more reviews the better, of course, even if they are not all 5-star ones.  Actually, your book looks better to potential readers if you have a diverse set of reviews.  Not every reader is going to feel the same way about your book.

There are a number of indie authors who published in 2010 who have reached incredible heights of success.  Paranormal author Amanda Hocking has sold over 500,000 books since April.  She has since landed an agent to handle her foreign, audio and film rights.  H.P. Mallory first published as an indie author and has also recently landed an agent.  A number of other indie authors are doing quite well on their own – David Dalglish, Karen Cantwell and Victorine Lieske.  My own journey as an indie author certainly has not been anywhere near these success stories, but my co-author, David W Small, and I are happy that people are enjoying our books.  We have two novels published, “Quest for Nobility” and “The Crystal Façade” in our Rule of Otharia series.  I did try the traditional route to publishing and got a handful of personal agent rejections that complimented the writing, but in the end, we were never offered representation.  It was disappointing, but at least I knew the books weren’t horrible.

So, when is it a good time to get an agent?  I think that is a question that every author has to answer depending upon their own goals.  Both routes – traditional publishing and indie publishing – have their pros and cons, but that’s a subject for another post.

Author bio: Debra L Martin writes SF/fantasy with her co-author, David W Small.  They have been writing together since 2006 and have produced two novels and two novelettes to-date.  Debra lives on the East Coast with her husband and 3 cats.  David lives on the West Coast with his wife and daughter.  They are currently working on a fantasy they hope to finish in 2011.

I hope you enjoyed Debra’s post! She’s a fabulous writer and a whole lot of fun!! Take a minute to leave a comment or say “hi,” then stop by her blog: or Website: You’ll be oh so glad you did! You can friend her on Facebook: too, but of course my undeniable addiction says “Whatever you do! Follow her on Twitter: @dlmartin6 !!!” I heart Twitter. *sigh*

Be sure to check out Debra’s titles:

Amazon Author Page:

Gooooooo Julie! Spirit Fingers and High Kicks for Research!

I dreamed up my main WIP idea months ago. I worked on it diligently and then took a hiatus after getting TONS of “suggestions” on how to improve it from my crit group. I panicked. I thought I couldn’t write YA. I figured reading and loving YA was really really really different from thinking I could write it. The thing is, after several shorter projects, my mind always comes back to it. The YA must be written. The main character wants her story told. My hopes of beginning a series for her are huge and motivating. She needs to make it out of the WIP folder and into a completed work folder where I can polish her story. I like her – a lot.

Here’s the thing. She’s a sixteen year old cheerleader and that defines her quite a bit. It’s her thing, her passion, her hobby and her pride. It’s important to her and it effects all the decisions she makes from her social calendar to her behavior. Problem is, I haven’t been a cheerleader in a couple decades, and a lot’s changed since then. The good news is I discovered a fun new show called Hellcats. I love it. It’s about a group of graduate students (a few undergrad too, I’m sure) college students who cheer for their school. It’s based on a book called Cheer: Inside the Secret World of College Cheerleaders. Now, I look forward to the new episodes, the drama, the fashion, the soundtrack and now the moves.

This weekend I jumped on board the #fitness train with the incredibly fabulous romance author Keri Ford, and dragged my beloved cousin and blogging queen Nikki Brandyberry with me, (but I think she’s dragging me now). I decided to try cheerleading as a fun way to do cardio. Turns out it’s good research too.

I thought it would be fun to share my newest  antics with you.

At my toddler’s naptime, I hit the treadmill for 30 minutes, then I  turn on Hellcats in slowmo and follow up the cardio by trying to learn a Hellcats routine. There’s one particular episode that shows a good chunk of the dance before they cut back to the storyline, so I’m on it. I’m chubby, and a decade older than any of those girls. I’m sporting hubby’s sweats and bare feet, scaring my kids and gyrating to the music. It’s ridiculous. It’s super fun, and I love it. Whether this manuscript ever sees the light of day, I’m glad I started writing  it because it’s led me down a road where being silly is my goal and I feel great. Added bonuses include: I bounce higher than ever LOL and I think my hair’s getting fluffier too. Ahhhhh cheering in the name of research….

Tell me…what have you done in the name of research?

In My Mailbox (IMM) & Mailbox Monday 1/30

While last week was nearly a bookfail for me, this week I’m back in business. Thanks to my local library, I have several books stacked on my desk…keeping me from writing…but we won’t focus on that, will we? Here they are!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them.
Until now.
Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

From bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes the first book in a stunning new trilogy set in a dystopian world. Prepare to be captivated!

NightShade by Andrea Cremer

The Hunt Begins

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything – including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

In My Mailbox is a meme from the Story Siren designed to help book lovers unite, meet, greet and follow one another in our quests to find the next most awe inspiring, tear jerking, mesmerizing or just entertaining new tome.

Mailbox Monday is a meme hosted this month at Rose City Reader. This is one more incredible way to get to know one another, build your following and find great new sites to add to your dashboard.

What was in your mailbox this week?

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