Alligators Overhead Trailer

Friday, July 25, 2014

Celebrating Small Things: My Book Launch and Broken Branch Falls by Tara Tyler



LG KELTNER @writing off the edge
KATIE @TheCyborg Mom
CAFFEEMAGGIEATO @mscoffeehouse



I'm celebrating something that's small in the scheme of things, but exciting for me. 

My Young Adult novel, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, officially goes on sale today.

Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is shackled by near illiteracy and trapped in a dysfunctional family. When he tries to escape, he chooses the wrong way and lands in juvenile hall.  He might have a another chance if he listens to the priest and the teacher.

You can enter to win a free copy or some Amazon money for a shopping spree.

I waved my magic wand, and am now in four places at once today. Come visit me at MEDEIA SHARIF'S today. We're talking. Then DARBY KARCHUT  and TBM are featuring me at their special spots in the universe. And YVONNE VENTRESCA is letting me go a bit about writing stuff. How lucky can an author be? I launch and I'm hosted by four really super people. 

On Sunday, July 27 the magical two, JESS and STEPHANIE are hosting me at their Author Tracker blog.


So much for celebrating the Small Things, now let's celebrate the Big Things, like books for kids!

Available Now  Amazon 
Let me just get this over with and tell everybody how jealous I am of Tara's cover. There. I feel so much better.

So today I’m having a very different kind of guest. Everybody seated? Ready? Good. Now let me pass the GGs around. 

"Huh?" Crowd response.

Oh, What are GGs? Lee nudges her guest who is somewhat green (get over it) and small (get over that, too).

Gabe, you tell them what GGs are and that will get our conversation off to an, ahem, interesting start.

Gabe: I thought everybody knew GGs were Goblin Goodies. 

Lee: Well, not everybody. But now that you point it out. . . In fact, now that you’ve answered my first question, I’m thinking you’re not really as nurdie as you say you are. I think we need a Nerd Test. Are you up for that? 

Gabe: ​Uh, sure. I hope I will prove I'm not a nerd.​

Lee: I’ll just fire off a few questions and you answer them as best you can. At the end, I’ll tally all your “correct” answers--answers only a true nerd would know--and we’ll see what the results are.

What day is National Nerd Pride Day? A real Nerd would know this one.

Gabe: ​I didn't know there was such a thing. How about May 4th. (It's Star Wars Day - get it? May the 4th be with you... 

Lee: Oye! I'm afraid you're more nerdy than not. So here's question two. If a Nerd wears glasses, would he 

a) let them slide down his nose and leave them there
b) tape them if they broke
c) buy the latest fashion
Gabe: I'd have to say "b" - I had to help my friend Darvis tape his after an unfortunate flugelhorn incident.​

Lee: Oh yes. The *cough, cough* flugelhorn incident. Onward.

What did the nuclear physicist have for lunch? 

a)cesium salad
b)fission chips
c)atomic barbecue
Gabe: Those all sound...interesting.​ I'm going to have to go with "b" again - I don't like salad and atomic barbecue sounds like Troll fodder - no one wants that nuclear reaction!

Lee: I agree with that observation. Now for the last nerd determining question.

Rainbow suspenders are 

a) neato
b) uninteresting
c) expensive 
Gabe: ​Rainbows are cool, so I bet rainbow suspenders are "a" - neat!​

Lee: It seems you are truly a Nerd. Congratulations. But how is a Goblin Nerd different from say your average teenaged human one?  Or are there any differences? 

Gabe:​ Well, I've never met a human, only read about them. The books say human teens ​are lazy and like to put each other down to make themselves feel better. Here is the definition of a nerd - a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc. ; a person who is very interested in technical subjects. That about sums me up, so if a human teenage nerd is that way, then, we're pretty similar...

Lee: ​Hmm. Very interesting. Would you like to leave us with some special Broken Branch Falls wisdom a la Gabe the Nerd?

Gabe: I would like to point out that we shouldn't be judged by appearances, but by how we behave and treat each other. What's on the inside is what matters. Just because I'm smart, thin, and awkward doesn't ​mean I should be pushed around! Nerds unite!

And there you have it. But not yet. Be sure to buy Gabe's book. Hope you do. BTW are you a nerd? How many questions did you get right? Be sure to join my giveaway. 

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

One last thing. Here's my kind of quirky Eli Wallach, quote for the day: "Having the critics praise you is like having the hangman say you've got a pretty neck." Hmmm. I have to think about that one.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Double Negative Has a Cover.


I'm in the middle of Advice From the Pros Series, but I have to interrupt that for a moment because my new young adult novel, 
Double Negativemakes it's first appearance as a book, and I'm in a bit of a fritz

I've recycled my SADOTY Award for this occasion. The cat spoke to me, Gary.

Sixteen-year-old Hutchinson McQueen is a big time loser. Trapped in a dysfunctional family, his one thought is escape, but everything he does to get away lands him in trouble. Shackled by poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When he shoplifts and lands in juvenile detention, the court sentences him to a county youth program. There he meets the priest and Maggie, a retired teacher. They’re determined to set Hutch on a path leading away from trouble. Hutch is determined not to cooperate, and he blunders his way from one mess into another. It isn’t until he’s facing serious charges that he confronts the truth--his own bad choices are trapping him. The priest and Maggie have offered him the freedom he craves. All he has to do is take it.

Hope you'll enter my giveaway to win either a copy of my book or some shopping money. Then please stop by  some of the bloggers who've jumped in to help me out. 

My quote for you today is from Helen Mirren: "The word 'freedom' is batted around rather too freely. I like self-discipline."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Two Cover Reveals and Celebrating Some Small Things, Too.


LG KELTNER @writing off the edge
KATIE @TheCyborg Mom
CAFFEEMAGGIEATO @mscoffeehouse
Thanks for being good helpers!

July is treating me well. I'm writing. I'm reading. I'm hiking. I'm even sleeping these nights. Small things like this add up to some pretty spectacular life events. Hope you'll stop by others who are celebrating with me this Friday.

And here's a great cause that Evernight Teen is supporting. I'm buying some books and supporting a cause I believe in.



And now for the COVER REVEAL moment. Ready? Take it away Crystal.

Have you met the Soulless and Passionate? In the world of 1770 where supernatural beings mix with humanity, Alexia is playing a deadly game.

SOULLESS, Book 2 in the Maiden of Time trilogy

Alexia manipulated time to save the man of her dreams, and lost her best friend to red-eyed wraiths. Still grieving, she struggles to reconcile her loss with what was gained: her impending marriage. But when her wedding is destroyed by the Soulless—who then steal the only protection her people have—she's forced to unleash her true power.

And risk losing everything.

What people are saying about this series: 

"With a completely unique plot that keeps you guessing and interested, it brings you close to the characters, sympathizing with them and understanding their trials and tribulations." --SC, Amazon reviewer

"It's clean, classy and supernaturally packed with suspense, longing, intrigue and magic." --Jill Jennings, TX

"SWOON." --Sherlyn, Mermaid with a Book Reviewer

Crystal Collier is a young adult author who pens dark fantasy, historical, and romance hybrids. She can be found practicing her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, three littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her blog and Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.

COMING October 13, 2014

PREORDER your print copy
Sign up for Crystal Collier's newsletter to receive release news and freebies.


And there's more! Here's Elizabeth Seckman's novel, BELLA's POINT. And does her heroine look and sound enticing?

Cover art by Sprinkles on Top Studios.

Isabella Troy Stanley is a divorced, slave freeing pariah surviving in the shattered post Civil War south the only way a fallen debutante knows how. She heads to a Yankee prison and buys herself a husband. 

Jack Byron is the former Troy plantation stable boy and object of young Bella's affection. He rejected her then, and he's still not sold on the idea of marrying her now.  

 It’s complicated.

 Though to Bella, it’s simple: make Jack love her, marry her, and live happily ever after. The plan seems to least until her secret is revealed.

Be sure to enter Elizabeth's CHALLENGE  to win some great prizes!

About the author: Elizabeth is a wife, a mom, and a writer. She has four wonderful boys, one dusty house, and three published books to her credit. Feel free to check them out and buy them HERE! Erm, the books, not the kids or the house...though all things in life are negotiable ;)

You can find her here - Blog // Facebook // Twitter

Monday, July 14, 2014

Part 2: The Pros Give Us Some Advice and What About Talking to Editors Anyway?

Last week I started a series that featured some writer friends who have some excellent books out this year. I asked them to send me their latest book, their tagline and a short piece of advice they wanted to pass on to writers, especially those still seeking publication. Last week CHERYL RAINFIELD visited. Today I have one of my critique partners, YVONNE VENTRESCA. Waving at YV! Take it away.

Now available at AMAZON and B and N

Tagline: In Pandemic, a teenage girl struggles to survive not only a deadly influenza outbreak and its real-life consequences, but also her own personal demons.

Advice from YV: Author Richard Bach said, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” Persistence is definitely key in this business. Good writing is certainly important, but there’s something to be said for not giving up.

Thanks Great Critique Partner. 


And now about talking to editors.

The first time I had a chance to talk to an editor in person was at a conference, and my tongue kept sticking to the roof of my mouth. No wonder she didn't have any encouragement for me. How could she ever work with an author who couldn't get her ideas across.

My next encounter with an editor was much smoother. I could talk. I could tell her what my idea was and why I was presenting it to her. Hurray! I was learning. Here are some tips that I used in that second face-to-face with someone I wanted to interest in my book.

  • I planned for this meeting far in advance. I knew about the editor, what she was looking for, and I knew about her press--what they'd recently published. I was confident my book was a match for her and her company.

  • Just before the conference, I interacted with her via Twitter. She was posting about her walk on the beach (the conference was on the CA coast), so I Tweeted her that I lived nearby and knew the place she was describing. That's all. No pitch. No hustle. 

  • I made sure to attend the social gatherings, met her and talked about her walk on the beach. Again, that was all. I kept it social, but I wanted her to know I was the one who had Tweeted her earlier. 

  • I arrived exactly on time for our fifteen minute meeting. It was easy to greet her since we'd already had two informal encounters.

  • Earlier, I'd paid careful attention to her presentation on the editors' panel, and I used this line to start our conversation about my proposal. " I liked what you said about realistic fiction for teens. It made me think you might be interested in my idea."  

  • I had my tagline memorized, and I told her I would follow up with a query if she was interested in my idea. 
I admit that she didn't buy my manuscript, but she did ask for it, and she gave me some excellent advice when she turned me down. I know it was her advice that led to my sale of that book later because it changed the book from one that wouldn't sell, to one that might. I don't think she would have bothered if I hadn't laid some ground work to meet her and present my idea clearly. 

While my sale didn't happen as I'd hoped, it did happen, and I believe it was because I'd made a connection with this editor, and she was willing to take the time to help me.

Did you like YV's quote? Be sure to check out her book. It's good. Any other ideas on meeting with editors/agents? Oh, and Happy Bastille Day.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Celebrating Small Things Like Owls and Book Launches


LG KELTNER @writing off the edge

KATIE @TheCyborg Mom

CAFFEEMAGGIEATO @mscoffeehouse

One of my favorite spots to read or write is in my garden and during the summer, I like to go down early to sit by the pond, sip my coffee and get my head ready for whatever the day might bring. 

I'll never stop being grateful for my writing spot.

Yesterday I found a surprise. A small brown owl had caught his wing in the edging around the pond. Poor guy. He'd been trapped there for a while by the look of him, and I was afraid he'd broken a wing. I scooped him out of the water and set him on the edge of the pond. He blinked at me with huge yellow eyes, and for a minute I thought I'd have more rescuing steps--call the vet, find a cage, drive damaged owl to have wing fixed. I imagined that my day was going to be filled with owl care. 

But he rallied and in a few minute, stretched and flexed both wings, then flew into the trees. I didn't get a picture of him, but here's one of his brothers. 

I have something really small to celebrate this Friday. 


Double Negative Launch

For all of you who offered to help me with my launch, I haven't forgotten. :-) I've just been waiting for Evernight Teen to send my cover and my pub date. I've just gotten my pub date and my cover is on the way, so wanted you to know I will be getting that information to you next week! If I've missed someone, yell at me, please. And if anyone still wants to jump in and lend a hand, obviously, there's still time. 

Again thanks for your support.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Pros Give Us Some Advice and How to Use Coincidence in Fiction

Last month I asked a few writer friends who have some excellent books out if they'd be interested in appearing on my blog. Eight responded and sent me their latest book, their tagline and a short piece of advice they wanted to pass on. So I'll be featuring one of these amazing writers each week.

Buy it now on AMAZON or B&N

To kick off the series is CHERYL RAINFIELD. Her newest book is STAINED, and does it sound like a must read. I really loved her cover and these words: "Sometimes YOU have to be your own hero."

Tagline: Sarah is abducted and must find a way to rescue herself.

Her Advice: Write what you love and what you want to read. Write about things you care deeply about; your work will have more passion and readers will feel it. And read as much as you can, especially in the genre you write in.

Thanks, Cheryl. 


About Coincidence. 

I found myself grappling with the issue of coincidence when I started writing middle grade fantasy. I'd never had to think about it before and that was because I avoided it. At least I tried. Then I found an old article by Nancy Kress and thought it might be helpful to others who also try to avoid this taboo in their plots.

Here's what she suggested. Coincidence can be effective in 3 specific situations:

  • When it sets up a plot complication, but doesn't resolve it.

So let's see what that means. Let's say your character "accidentally" bumps into her ex-whatever and finds him once again irresistible. From then on, the story can be about their reconciliation or their attempted reconciliation and failure--whatever direction you want your story to take. The chance meeting doesn't occur at the end when you're trying to wrap up the story and their meeting will give you a perfect ending. 

No Reality Here

  • When the story is comedy and you're not trying to set up reality. 

I had in mind You've Got Mail when I read this. How coincidental could that online meeting between a small bookstore owner and the large F O X conglomerate be? And then keeping the secret was a great tension builder throughout the story. 

  • When you're trying to make the point that life is more "mysterious and unpredictable" than people can imagine.

Ms. Kress says this is the most sophisticated use of coincidence and she uses her own short story to show how it could be done. Her character has nothing but a series of coincidences. He chokes on food, but while he's choking his car's struck and the force dislodges the particle in his throat. These "miracles" continue throughout the story, baffling the character and pushing the reader's ability to suspend disbelief.  Her suggestion is to be sure the character remains REAL even while the unreal events occur. 

Hope you'll stop by Cheryl Rainfield's blog and say hi. Check out her book. She has lots to say in every one of them. And how about coincidence? What's your take on using it?

I'll leave you with this today: "Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded." 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy July 4th Celebration


LG KELTNER @writing off the edge
KATIE @TheCyborg Mom
CAFFEEMAGGIEATO @mscoffeehouse

This is a simple message of celebration today.




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Insecure Writers Support Group First Wednesday and Colin Frake's Enhanced iBook

Thanks ALEX

Last month I posted about considering Insecurity in a Positive Light--beautiful even. I took this idea from Therese J. Borchard, the author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression; Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes, and The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.

Since her techniques for managing this thing call Insecurity are so amazing, I thought I'd continue with more of her suggestions each month until I came to end. 

Here's #2

"Know it’s invisible.
You figure everyone can see that you’re insecure. And that actually makes you feel more insecure. But here’s the wonderful truth. No one can see your insecurity. They are too worried about their own insecurity to notice your insecurity. Even when I think the world can see me shake – when I get really nervous or uncertain – few people can. Either that or they are lying to me when I call them on it. Do your friends look insecure when they are in a group of coworkers or with dysfunctional families? Nope? No one can see your insides but you."

So can I cope with my Insecurities? 

Bet you can, too.

What do you think of Borchard's ideas about Insecurity? Had you ever considered them 
 1) Beautiful? 
 2) Invisible?


Samantha Geary Readstreak is hosting Two Steps From Hell's first book launch for Colin Frake - On Fire Mountain, an enhanced iBook with original orchestral soundtrack and 40 hand drawn illustrations!  

Stop by Sam's place and see what's going on.

Monday, June 30, 2014

What Writers Can Learn from Successful Corporate Types

The results are in on my inexact, informal survey. 
Here's the hypothetical situation I proposed. The book is in the submission phase, so the writer is in that wonderful hell called WAITING-TO-HEAR-BACK.  What do you think is the most important thing this writer should do, believing that s/he will be published and will soon have to tell the world about this new book?
16 said keep writing 
  • something new and different
  • something to "play with" and enjoy

11 said work on marketing (many went on to be very specific)
  • set up blog tour
  • set up cover reveal 
  • book promo posts
  • blog about that tour
  • prepare “stock questions” for interviews
  • organize mailing list
  • plan website updates
  • set up social media accounts

1 make list of reviewers
1 read 
1 critique other’s work 
1 research agents
1 work on tag lines and synopses 
1 take a break before starting something new
1 make list of alternative titles
1 do anything that needs doing, even clean the bathroom

We could have predicted these responses, couldn't we? Well, all but the bathroom suggestion. Writers are a-nose-to-the-grindstone lot. Keep writing. Start the next project. Develop a marketing plan. Whatever you do, don't forget you're a writer, even in the down times. 
I was sure we weren't the only compulsive workaholics, so I took a look at a successful person in another profession and came up with some interesting things.  

While developing the Huffington post, Arianna Huffington pushed herself to the brink of exhaustion, finally fainting, falling and breaking her cheekbone on the edge of her desk.
I loved what she said about realizing she had to slow down. " The toughest part was disconnecting from all my devices. . ." (she was running an online media company :-))

Here's some of the other things she said that I thought we writers might take something from.
  • learn to live with incompletion
  • say no to things, even when you want to do them
  • remember success has to include health and happiness or it isn't success.

Let's hear it for Arianna!


Juvie in Orange

So now I'm back to my Logline/Tagline creation. I got some great feedback and did some more work.

Previous Week: Shackled by near illiteracy, a teenage boy decides escape from his alcoholic mother and absentee father will give him a better life, but his bad choices trap him in even a worse place.

This Week: Sixteen-year-old Hutch McQueen is shackled by near illiteracy and trapped in a dysfunctional family. When he tries to escape, he chooses the wrong way and lands in juvenile hall. He might have a second chance if he listens to the priest and the teacher. 


Previous Week: Going to juvie wasn’t part of his escape plan. 

This Week: He's trapped by near illiteracy, surrounded by tempting escape plans, short on good choices. 

What do you think of Arianna's advice? Any other suggestions for my log line/tagline?  Have a great Monday.