Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Deals at Musa Publishing

It's Cyber Monday, which means it's time to fire up those laptops and do some damage on that credit card. Luckily, Musa Publishing has some fantastic deals that will give you hours of reading pleasure without denting your wallet.

Starting today, Musa has a "Buy 3, Get One Free" deal for selected titles. Load up your e-reader now so you can relax with a good story when the holiday stress gets too overwhelming.

Musa also has a "12 Days of Christmas" celebration as a thank you to its customers: every day between November 28 and December 9, Musa will be offering a FREE holiday read. Free stuff? Yes, free stuff. We all like free stuff!

THANK YOU for supporting me and my fellow Musa authors. We love sharing our stories with you.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A note to my friends and readers about reviews

Over the past few days, there's been some discussion in author loops, blogs, and Twitter about what people, especially friends and family, owe an author in a book review. To clarify my own opinion on the whole matter, here's the spiel I give to people whenever the topic of my writing comes up:

You are not obligated to buy my book. If you do buy my book, you're not obligated to tell me. You're also not obligated to read it, like it, tell me whether you read it or liked it, write a review, or provide feedback.

Side note: when I voiced this opinion in a blog comment, I was essentially patted on the head and told that, as a "happy amateur," I didn't have to treat publishing as a business like "most of us." Um, what? I was also told that happy amateurs "can sometimes produce the purest forms of art." As a proud, unapologetic commercial writer, I thought this was incredibly funny (and condescending), especially after I'd spent a good part of the weekend researching the finer points of Harlequin/Mills & Boon's branding strategies in the US and the UK to plan my next WIPs.

Of course, I always hope readers will enjoy my stories, but if they don't, that's okay too. When I release a book, I truly release it. I can't control what happens to it after it's out. I don't know why some authors try to dictate how readers view their books. Readers aren't book characters: they won't do something just because you want them to (and even with characters, it's questionable).

I choose not to burden my personal relationships with book review stuff. At best, it creates an awkward situation and at worst, it strains the relationship. Maybe I'm a bit warped, but no book of mine is worth that. 

My true confession: I love writing confessions

Today, I confess my love for writing confessions at Musa Publishing's blog. What are some of your true confessions? Don't worry, I won't tell. Shhhh.....

Friday, November 25, 2011

AN IMPERFECT WIFE is out today!

Yay, happy release day to me! AN IMPERFECT WIFE is now available for purchase on the Musa Publishing website. The best part: you don't even need to brave the Black Friday crowds to buy it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Interview on Trashionista

Check out my interview on Trashionista, where I talk about NaNoWriMo, deadlines, the writing process, and the authors who inspire me.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The fun of #1k1hr and #500in30

Fellow writer Patrick Alan introduced me to the fun of #1k1hr this past spring. I have to say, it's a fun way to get the words down and meet other writers at the same time. Basically, all you have to do is tweet a message like "Starting #1k1hr at the :45" and ask if anyone wants to join. Then you write for an hour or 1000 words, whichever comes last and tweet your word count. It sounds so simple, but it's a wonderful way to make writing less isolating.

Patrick explains that #1k1hr was inspired by writer Scott William Carter's 30/500 game. After experimenting with both, I've found that #500in30 works much better for me. For some reason, half an hour seems less daunting. It slips past the resistance that always seems to crop up when I start to write. This, by the way, is true with other things I love too (drum practice, running, etc.). An hour is like "What?? A WHOLE hour? Eek!" while 30 minutes is like "Yeah, whatever, I can do that." Also, it's harder to put off a half-hour commitment without feeling silly. It makes it easier to start, and getting started is 90% of the battle.

Writers play #1k1hr and #500in30 all year, not just during NaNoWriMo. Come join the party!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My family baklava recipe

Musa Publishing's blog has a fun feature called Tasty Tuesdays where authors share food tips and recipes. This week, I've shared my family baklava recipe, just in time for the holiday baking season. I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stuff I like: the Alphasmart Neo

If you check out the Et Cetera page of my blog, you'll see what I'm working on, what projects are on the back burner, what I'm reading, and, as a random aside, stuff I like. I put the "stuff I like" in there because I couldn't think of anything else to add to the blog. To be honest, if I blogged only about writing and reading, I'd bore everyone to death, including myself (and it would be a very sparse blog). I do a lot of both, but I have surprisingly little to actually say about either topic.

So, to add some variety to the blog, and since thinking about stuff I like makes me happy, I've decided to include a "Stuff I Like" feature. I hope it will inspire you to check out a few new things. And please share the stuff you like in the comments as well -- I'm always looking for new things to make life more enjoyable!

I have NaNoWriMo on the brain, so for this first installment of "Stuff I Like" (and expanding on an item in the Et Cetera part of my blog), I'd like to sing the praises of the Best. Writing. Tool. Ever.

:drum roll: The Alphasmart Neo.

It's so low-tech it's laughable. It runs for 700 hours on three AA batteries and can't do anything except store the words I type. But oh, does it do it well! It weighs less than 2 pounds and turns on and off instantly with zero boot-up time, and when it turns on, the cursor is right where I left off. The full-size keyboard is a dream, responsive with just the right amount of stiffness. It's easy to upload my work into a Word document for later editing. The result? Lots and lots of words. I carry wee Neo with me everywhere. I can dash off a paragraph or two when inspiration hits, making it easy to cram writing into slivers of time.

For me, the best feature is the tiny screen. I can only see 4 to 6 lines at a time, and editing on the Neo is a massive pain. As a result, the Neo forces me to keep pushing forward on my first draft instead of futzing and, worse yet, deleting. I enjoy writing first drafts so much more now. The year after I bought my Neo, I completed more projects than I had in the previous five years combined, including my first novel. The Neo paid for itself within the first two months. A sound investment!

And yes, I'm writing this blog post on my Neo. I'm so predictable.

Are you an Alphasmart fan? Or have you found something else that works better for you?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Taking the NaNoWriMo plunge

Okay, okay, I'm doing NaNoWriMo. :chews nails: I can't think of a better way to move forward on my two contracted novellas. I finished my outline yesterday and did more character brainstorming today. I'm still super nervous, though. I always get this way before starting a new project. Can I pull this off? What if it stinks? What if I get stuck? Will I hit my deadline? Stretching myself always requires discomfort, so I have to repeat my distance running advice to myself: get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Best of luck to everyone joining the writing madness. Happy word counts, everyone!