Friday, February 28, 2014

Celebrating The Small Things from A to Z


Apples are the best fruit. Highly portable, delicious and keep the doctor away. So I'm celebrating my apple trees. By April this one will be full of blossoms.  Then the deer will hang out and wait for the fruit. They'll clear the bottom limbs, but I'll get the apples higher up. . .if I hurry before the birds find how juicy those red things are.

Butterflies always deserve to be celebrated.

I'm almost done with my A to Z posts. Want to see what my THEME is this year? Check back MARCH 21.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Honest Indie Reviews & Awards and HOPS!

I would love it you'd stop by and say hi at INDIE UNIVERSE. Gary of HONEST INDIE REVIEWS  has hosted me at his blog today and I'm yappin' away about selling books. 

The Award!

Hello wonderful writer friends, the amazing Deanie Humphrys-Dunne nominated me for this award. I so appreciated the Dragon's Loyalty Award, Deanie.

Here are the rules:
  1. Display the Award on your Blog.
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
  3. Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award
  4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded. 
  5. Write seven interesting things about you.
And the nominees are: (in no particular order)

7 interesting things about me:

  • I used to change my name every time I moved to a new school. Usually I'd choose Kathleen or Maria. My teachers thought I was using a middle name that wasn't on my records. My mom finally caught me and put a stop to my renaming.
  • I hate smoked oysters, but love 'em raw.
  • I never liked dolls much. They kind of scared me.
  • I love to play tennis.
  • My favorite pastime is hiking.
  • To me cooking is like dancing, it's a lot of fun when I'm in the mood.
  • When I'm not writing I'm dreaming.
 Best wishes to all of you great bloggers/writers. If any of you are too busy to participate, it's understandable.

Sign up HERE
Sign up HERE
Sign up HERE

Friday, February 21, 2014

Celebrate The Small Things, Hint #5 On Sequels, The Boy Who Loved Fire

Californians are celebrating rain. 9 inches in some spots last week.


At the higher elevations we're celebrating some fresh powder. I've seen cars with skis heading out of town! Proof that we have some white stuff in Tahoe.



Tip #5 How to Write Sequels

Author ". . .the advice I would give a person writing a sequel is to publish the books back to back. Put them all out at the same time or at least the first two if writing a trilogy."

I can't take this hint. I didn't decide to write a sequel to Alligators Overhead until two years later.  How do you feel about waiting a long time between series books to read them? I'm sure it's harder work to re-interest readers and that's why Rowlings and others kept 'em coming.


I finished Julie Musil's book, THE BOY WHO LOVED FIRE, last week and really enjoyed her fast-paced, page-turner story. Her protagonist is Manny, a boy who is self-centered and selfish, but who is given a chance to change his destiny, much in the same way as Scrooge. Musil cleverly brings her visiting spirits up-to-date for readers in this century and increases the tension to the very end of the story. While the story centers on a teen boy, it has an Everyman aspect that teen girls will also be caught up in.

If you haven't signed up for the A to Z Blog Challenge, shame on you. Still time, though.

And if you like the idea of a beautiful BLITZ, sign up for that, too!

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Computer Sucks.

This morning my computer decided it was going on strike so I couldn't blog. By the time I could switch over to my laptop life got in the way with a few emergencies.

Of course, today was the day the wonderful M.J. Joachim hosted me on her blog, Writing Tips, and I really wanted people to stop by and say hello to her.

While I've tried to give you the link to the post, my laptop doesn't like it enough to comply with my orders, so here it is in plain view.

Hope you'll pay a visit while I find a sledge hammer to deal with this Apple product.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Small Things to Celebrate, UncommonYA Valentine's Day Giveaway &Hint #4 On Writing Sequels


I'm celebrating Valentine's Day. AND a GIVEAWAY. Here's some treats for you.

We all love a good book. Read on to see which ones the Uncommon YA authors love!

One of my favorite books is Perfect Chemistry by Simon Elkeles. I love the way she hits real topics head on with characters that are strong and tenacious. As a bonus: this author can write a seriously hot hook up scene *fans face* ;) Julie Anne Lindsey

I love The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons and have my fingers crossed the movie producers accept the script she is working on to turn it into a movie. I also love Where is the green sheep by Mem Fox because my kids and I have read it a billion times together and we know it off by heart.
Melissa Wray

One of my favorite stories is Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Anne Porter. First published in
1939, the short novel portrays a young couple falling in love during the end of World War I and the onset of the Spanish Influenza. The main character falls ill with the deadly flu, and her new boyfriend, a recently enlisted soldier, finds her medical help right before he must leave for training. It's a beautifully written snapshot of life during those uncertain times.
Yvonne Ventresca
My favorite, most life-impacting book with respect to becoming an author is Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher. I was in the early days of recovery from childhood sexual abuse, and I was looking for something to read while working out on the treadmill. I went into my daughter's room and found Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes on her bookshelf. I had no idea what it was about or who Chris Crutcher was-- but as I walked on the treadmill, it was as if walls inside of me fell away and I realized that I had stories inside of me that might touch others as this book was impacting me. I was thrilled last year to get to meet Chris and talk with him. Beth Fehlbaum 

I book I really love right now is Jeff Vandermeer's Wonderbook. It's given me some really great insights on revision--and it's pretty to look at too :) Natalie Zaman

Here's a book I love: Bridge to Terebithia by Katherine Paterson for it's themes of friendship and dreaming big. It's a lovely, simple little book that says powerful things. Lisa Cresswell

Divergent by Veronica Roth: Beautiful writing made for a fast-paced read in a fascinating dystopian setting with a strong female lead. It’s one of those rare books for me where I loved the story as much as the writing and it stayed with me long after I read the last word.

 For a short time Uncommon YA is offering YOU the chance to choose your prize. Click on the titles below to learn more about each one.
You can add it to your Goodreads shelf while you're there!
WARNING. It will be a tough choice choosing just one to win!

Sliding on the Edge  A Closer Look  Twigs The Pitcher The NamesakeDestiny Road Hush Puppy Drummer Girl Dare Me  Escape from Eden Vigilante Nights The Princess of Las Pulgas

5 people will win their choice of selected titles. Book to be determined on win.


I've written five novels and just wrote my first sequel. The trick (I think) is to end the first novel on a cliffhanger so the reader knows another novel will follow.

What do you think about ending one book on a cliffhanger? And are you going to enter the UncommonYA Giveaway? Have a great Valentine's Day whatever you do.

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Avoid Common Writer Mistakes & Cassa Fire's Special

If only it were easy to WhiteOut our mistakes.

Since I've made every mistake a writer can, I thought I could speak to this issue with some authority.

I waited way too long to start thinking about publicity.

I thought my publisher would do it all. Please don't laugh. I was a mere child when I began.

I said, "If I can write a book, surely I can promote all by myself."

I thought my book was good enough I didn't need to worry about promoting it. (This isn't exactly what I thought, but close.)

I thought that the media would pick up my Tweets and my Blog Posts and my FB Post in no time flat.

I thought that if I did a few Tweets, a few Blog Posts, a few FB Posts, I could kick back and have a nap.

I thought once I had a publisher, I didn't have to think about finding another one.

Now that I'm a seasoned soldier in the book publishing business I can admit to all these mistakes and more. So what to do to avoid these?

7 to 12 months before launch

  • start lining  up your reviewers.
  • make a list of book fairs or events that are scheduled around your launch target. 
  • make a list of things you can count on your publisher to do for you and fill in the gaps yourself or hire a publicist. 
  • make sure your website is up to date.

6 months before launch

  • send announcements to newspapers, trade magazines, especially those with “up-coming publications” columns.
  • write press release, so you'll have it to send with your ARCs or galleys.
  • troll for blurbs
  • have a professional author photo taken
  • set up Google Alerts for both your author name and your book title

5 months before launch

  • update  your business cards
  • order bookmarks etc.
  • lay out a book tour for yourself. This can be in addition to what your publisher has done, or just what you want to do.

3-4 months before launch

  • have book trailer made.
  • write letters pitching your book to media.
  • check with local bookstores to see if they will carry your book.
  • create launch materials: interviews, giveaway ideas, activities for blogs.

2 months before launch

  • schedule your launch appearances: virtual or in person, using your launch materials.
  • memorize your tagline or pitch, so you can say it any time, anywhere.
  • recheck website and add your buylinks.

Just before the big DAY

  • confirm everything with everyone. 
  • schedule Tweets with buylinks for AM and PM daily. 

After the big DAY: do not stop promoting. 

This isn't a complete list of things to do, so I hope you'll add to it. I've gleaned these steps from other bloggers, my experience and reading what publicists have to say. 

Here's a writer who know all of this stuff. Be sure to take advantage of this last day of his offer.  CassaFire is 99 cents at AMAZON and his publisher’s site.