A Writing Book Worth Adding To Your Library

 

So it's no secret that I'm kind of a glutton for writing tips, techniques, and insight. It's one of the reasons I maintained a blog for writers for over two years and still have the occasional post on writing here. There's always more to discover. I can never learn enough about this thing that I do for a living. (And maybe secretly I'm hoping to run across that tip that makes this whole crazy writing process easier. Ha! See, I'm delusional as well.) 

So even though I have a shelf full of books on craft already, I do occasionally let myself wander to the writing section at the local Barnes and Noble. This usually results in hours sitting on the floor in front of that section, skimming the books until I find the ones that I can't put down. This past weekend, I had a little time and went on a bit of a shopping spree, buying three new writing books. (I was supposed to be shopping for clothes. That didn't go so well.)

I've only made it through one of the three pictured above so far, but I wanted to share that one with you.

The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises

Blurb:

Successfully starting and finishing a publishable novel is often like fighting a series of battles. You not only have to work hard to shape memorable characters, develop gripping plots, and craft dazzling dialogue, but you also have to fight against self-doubts and fears. And then there's the challenge of learning to navigate the ever-changing publishing industry.

That's why best-selling novelist James Scott Bell, author of the Write Great Fiction staples Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing, came up with the ultimate novel-writing battle plan: The Art of War for Writers.

You'll find tactics and strategies for idea generation and development, character building, plotting, drafting, querying and submitting, dealing with rejection, coping with unrealistic expectations, and much more.

With timeless, innovative, and concise writing reflections and techniques, The Art of War for Writers is your roadmap to victory.

This was a quick read but it was full of wisdom for both new and experienced writers. Like I said in my review below, I pretty much love everything James Scott Bell has to say. If you're not following him on The Kill Zone, fix that now. : )

Here's my Goodreads review...

The Art of War for WritersThe Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm discovering that I just kind of love everything James Scott Bell has to say about writing. His advice is always to the point and eminently practical, and he gives great examples to boot. This is an easy, fast read but it's filled with great nuggets of wisdom. The last section is more focused on writers who are still aspiring to publication. But I found the first two parts, especially the section focused on craft to be chock full of tips I wanted to write on index cards and pin up around my office. A great addition to any writer's craft library.

View all my reviews

 

For other suggestions on some of my favorite craft books, check out this post:  Twelve Writer Woes and the Books to Cure Them 

 

What's your favorite book on writing? Or which craft book have you gotten invaluable information from?

The Writing Life: Knowing When to Say No and When to Say Yes

How can you resist saying yes? (photo via Dean Wissing - Flickr Creative Commons)First, a quick apology that I've been absent from the blog for the last few weeks. I hit one of those crazy stretches where I received copy edits on book 4, had to write teaser chapters for book 5, and got macro edits on the 8 parts of the e-serial all within a two week time period. And, of course, during that time, my kidlet got sick and had to stay home from school for three days. So needless to say, things got a little hairy over here. But I got it done (yay!) and it got me to thinking about what our personal limits are.

For all of us, no matter what we do for a living, there is a need to learn how to strike the right work and life balance. And one of the things that's most important to know in order to find this balance is when to say yes and when to say no. I'm notoriously bad for not knowing when to say no. Or knowing I should say no and saying yes anyway because I want to be nice/helpful/friendly. But if you keeping saying yes to things, it will crowd out the things you really need to be focusing on. And that helps no one.

But on the flip side, if you're too rigid and protective of your time, then you may miss out on opportunities that could've made a difference in your career or life in general. So how do you know when to say yes and when to say no?

Here are some things that help me decide.

How to Know When To Say No and When To Say Yes 

1. Is this request something that is purely for the benefit of someone else?

There are requests that you'll get that involve doing something for someone else and not getting any real benefit beyond feeling good that you helped out.

Examples: Can you critique my unpublished chapters? Can you donate a critique to this contest/charity/event? Can you hold a volunteer position in this writing group? Can you review my book? Can I do a guest post on your site even though I've never interacted with you before and you have no idea who I am?

How to answer: These are the requests that are lovely to say yes to IN MODERATION. It feels good to offer things in the spirit of giving and volunteering (and it can also build friendships and connections and community). However, say yes to too many of these and you'll be spending large chunks of your work time on someone else and losing valuable time you should be dedicating to your own writing and career. I've had to learn this the hard way. I said yes to too many things and ended up overwhelmed. Now I carefully evaluate each of these requests and the time it would take if I said yes.

 

2. Is this request something that could offer mutual benefit to both sides?

These are requests that may involve some of your time but could offer some opportunities or benefits (even if they aren't immediate ones.)

Examples: Can you teach a workshop at this conference? Can you do a guest post for this blog? Can you donate books to this contest? Can you offer a cover quote for my book? 

How to answer: These are ones that you can easily overwhelm yourself with because it's so tempting to say yes to it all. I *try* to say yes to as many of these as I can (and I used to say yes to all), but now I look at my schedule and time first. I almost always will say yes to doing a workshop at a conference because (a) I like giving workshops and teaching, (b) it exposes my books and blog to new people, and (c) I'm a whore for writers' conferences. But if I got too many requests, I'd have to reel myself in because these are big time suckers if you have to develop an entire workshop.

Being asked to provide cover quotes for books is super flattering. And it's often coming from writers who I already know online or have met, so I *really* want to say yes and help out. I know how hard it is to go out and ask other authors for quotes, and I've had some fantastic authors take time out of their schedules to be kind and read my books for quotes, so I want to pay it forward. But saying yes to too many of these can be an issue. You often have a due date to read the book by and inevitably, your own writing stuff will blow up right around the same time and then you're drowning. And it can get sticky if you end up not loving a book and not feeling comfortable quoting it. Hello, awkward. So I've learned to only say yes in a limited way and only for books that are solidly in my wheelhouse so that there's a high chance of me liking it.

As for guest posts, this is something that will come up quickly in your writing career. First, you're searching for people who will host you, then it flips and people are seeking you out. It's a good problem to have, but say yes to too many and that's all you'll be writing. Say yes as much as you can because exposure is great, but don't drown yourself in guest obligations.

 

3. Is this request going to directly impact your writing career?

These are usually the requests coming from your publisher or agent. 

Examples: Can you squeeze in a novella between this book and that one? Can you work under a shorter deadline? Can you try this experimental format? Can you change this element in your book? Would you be willing to write something in this genre?

How to answer: Yes, if at all possible (and in the case of changes, as long as it doesn't interfere with your vision for the book or your career.) I know this seems like a "duh" answer. Especially if you're not published yet, you're probably thinking, "Of course I'd say yes!". But when you get buried under deadlines and doing promo and trying to take care of your family and all of that, one more thing or project can make you feel like running. You may think, "I can only write a book every six months. If I take on this project, I'll be late on both and it will all be a mess." Well, maybe. BUT, have you really evaluated what your capabilities are? If I can give any advice, it would be this: Know your limits, then realize those are not static. 

When I first started writing, a book in six months was a feat. If my editor would have asked me when I sold my first book, hey can you write 3-4 books a year for us? I would've curled in a ball. How could I ever do that? But guess what? When I ended up with a tight deadline on books 3 and 4, I did it. And when my editor said, "Hey we have this new e-serial format we're trying. We'd like you to write one for us, but it means squeezing it into your already tight deadline schedule and there will be no wiggle room to be late." I said yes first and figured out how to do it later. And was it crazy and stressful? Yes. Did I have to say no to some other things from the first two categories to get it done? Yes. Did I do it? Yes.  Which means I was capable of more than I thought. But I had to say yes to force myself to find that out. And I'm so glad I did because now I have another great opportunity to get another story out there. If I had said no, the opportunity would have been passed to someone else. And if I had said yes to everything in category one and two, I wouldn't have had time to do this. 

So you need to protect your time like a big, burly bouncer standing at the door, but you also need to be flexible to take on those things that "move the needle" (as my hubs would say). Yes, doing things for nothing in return is wonderful and you should continue to do them, but no one should feel obligated to say yes all the time. Because oftentimes saying yes to others is saying no to yourself and your own goals (and family time for that matter.) Find the balance that works for you, and on the flip side, don't sell yourself short on what you're capable of.

Do you have trouble saying no? Have you found it hard to balance your own goals and career needs with the pull of others' needs? What have you said yes to that you're so happy you did? What have you said no or yes to that you regret?

MELT INTO YOU is a RITA Finalist!!!!

So today I got some of the best news I've ever heard in my writing life.

One of my books, MELT INTO YOU, is a RITA® Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance Single Title!!!

See all the nominees and categories here.

For those of you who don't know, the RITAs are held by the Romance Writers of America and are like the Academy Awards of romance writing. So this is a huge honor. And even more special is that it's THIS book. Historically, erotic romance has had a nearly impossible time breaking through in the RITAs because there is no specific category for erotic romance. Therefore, you have erotic romances up against sweet ones up against comedic ones, etc.

So the fact that any of my books finaled is huge, but MELT INTO YOU is definitely my most non-traditional romance because it's M/M/F menage romance with m/m scenes included. So I was downright STUNNED that this was the book. Stunned and FREAKING EXCITED! And it really makes it extra special to know that this contest is judged by other published authors. There's something so rewarding about being recognized by your fellow writers (who are often the toughest readers and critics.)

And boy am I up against some great authors and books. I can't even believe I'm listed among them. And I get to go to the black-tie ceremony in July in Atlanta and wear a fancy dress and all that jazz. So yay!!!! 

Team Jace and Andre for the win! ;)

*happy dances*

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Links of the Month

 

Fave pic of the week: A swan trying to intimidate me out of the last piece of bread. (Btw, this was taken at the park near Love Field airport, which is where I based the scene in Crash Into You with Reid and Brynn in the back of his truck.)

I haven't done one of these in a while. Mainly, I got away from them because when I was so busy under deadline, I didn't have time to surf and read articles, but also because I'm unsure if this feature was still proving helpful to anyone since so many people do round up posts these days. So let me know if you think these should stick around or of you'd prefer another type of post in its place.

Here's the great stuff I've come across in the last few weeks...

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

All right, so those are the best I've come across in the last few weeks. Hope you find a few gems. : ) Have a great weekend! (And let me know if you want me to continue doing round up posts or if you'd prefer something else.)

Should You Write That Potentially Controversial Scene?

Photo by CarbonNYC (Flickr cc)Writing any story is a risk. You're putting your heart there on the page, and people may hate it. And, of course, we want everyone to love our stories, right? But here's the thing: it's an impossible task. There is no book that is going to resonate with everyone. Even the greatest works of fiction have their critics.

So when you sit down and are writing your story and you hit that scene where you think--should I go there? Will this offend/freak out/piss off this A/B/C group of people?--do not cower. If it's right for the story and those characters, then write it. 

Inevitably, in each of my books there is THAT scene--one scene that divides my readers between two camps. Some of my more traditional readers think the scene went a little too far, and then my more seasoned romance and erotic readers declare the scene their favorite. It never fails. What one side hates, the other adores. Though, I do get a lot of converts over from the traditional side with each book, lol. *evil grin* But regardless, there's always that scene. In STILL INTO YOU, it's the scene with my married couple and Ian. In MELT INTO YOU, it's the scene between Andre and Jace. And now with FALL INTO YOU, it's a scene involving a "make me" role play between the hero and heroine.

Do I know these scenes may push some buttons when I'm writing them? Yes. Do I still put them in? Yes. Because that's part of what makes the story interesting. It's not controversy for the sake of controversy, but it's those scenes that make the reader wonder in your next book and keeps them guessing. If I always wrote the safe way, then you'd know exactly what to expect in each book. Who wants that? That's why I love Tiffany Reisz's books so much because I know she's willing to go wherever the hell she wants, lol. So as a reader, it keeps me on my toes. And recently, I read Reflected In You by Sylvia Day. I'm not going to give away the ending, but what she did there at the end made me go all 0.0  I was like--oh, she WENT there. And I loved that. It made the book so much better because she didn't shy away from a truly risky move.

So when you come across that controversial scene in your own book, don't worry about what will so and so think. Put on your big girl (or boy) underoos and write what fits the characters and the story. That's your job. 

Have you ever worried about a scene being too controversial in any of your stories? How do you feel when you run across those scenes in the books of others and it pushes you out of your comfort zone?

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Links of the Week

Photo of the week: This ornament keeps trying to knock down the tree

The title of this one is a bit of a misnomer. I haven't done a Fill Me In Friday in a while, so this is more like the best of the last three weeks. :) But there are definitely some great ones in here. Enjoy!

On Writing/Publishing:

 

On Social Media/Marketing:

 

Bright, Shiny Randomness:

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

That's all I have for you. I'm not sure I'll be posting again until after Christmas so I hope you all have a lovely holiday! 

 

A Year Of Book Buying in Review: Did Social Media Influence My Choices?

What does a year say? Today I was reading Janice Hardy's blog about having too many Twitter followers (and I agree, go read it. It's a great article.) But she linked to an older post by The Intern on author social media presence and if it makes a difference. Does all that tweeting/blogging/spinning plates in the air really effect book sales? 

I've talked about the topic before from my own perspective as an author. However, I thought it would be interesting to look at my own book buying habits as a READER over the past year to see if all that social media book buzz made me buy books. 

*Now, the caveat here is that since I am in this industry, I am dialed in to social media and the world of authors, book bloggers, editors, and such. Readers like me are probably a very small segment of the book buying population. But I still thought it'd be interesting to look at my personal stats.

So here's a look at my 2012:

Format...

 

Number of ebooks (not including free) bought this year: 80

Number of print (not including free) bought this year: 23

Thoughts: Wow, I've definitely become an ebook junkie. But this is probably less about a preference for ebook than it is the sale factor. All those ebook sales get me. Plus, I get LOTS of free print books from conferences so I only have so much room.

 

How'd I find out about the books I acquired?

 

On Sale (not including free): 35

Discovered Online through someone other than the author (book blogger, twitter rec, etc.): 22

Free ebooks: 17

Favorite Authors/Auto-buys: 16

Heard About Online Directly From Author: 14

Random purchases: 5

Free print books: A lot, probably at least 50.

Thoughts:

-On sale is clearly an effective strategy for me BUT there were a lot more sales I passed up. Often those sales were paired with an online mention/rec by a book blogger or someone I know. So the sale alone is often not enough.

-Yes, I discover most of the books I buy from online soures, BUT it's rarely directly from the author. It's more word of mouth via other authors, readers, and book bloggers.

-The authors who I bought based on directly hearing about their book from them are almost 100% people I've already built relationships with online. So they are friends. These were not purchases from random authors who I've never chatted with who just happened to put out a "buy my book!" tweet. That absolutely is white noise to me. I don't pay attention at all unless I already know the person.

 

Now, those are the books I've bought, what about the books I've actually READ?

 

Books discovered via online recommendation by someone other than the author: 17

Books by Favorite/Trusted Authors: 13

Books bought on Sale: 10

Books I heard about directly from the author: 4

Random: 2

Free ebooks: 0

Free print books: 2

Thoughts:

-So even though books on sale got the most buys, they didn't get the most reads. Why is this important? Because a sale gets an author their first buy, but a read gets an author their NEXT buy. And the only FREE books I've read this year are two print books that I got at a conference. I've read 0 of the free ebooks I've downloaded.

-Online recs from book bloggers and online friends I trust clearly are effective for both what I purchase and what I read.

-Favorite authors get moved to the top of the pile for reading. I bought 16 of these and read 13. And the three that are unread are only unread because I just got them. So this is stil the strongest bought to read conversion.

 

Overall: So it looks like YES, my book buying is highly influenced by my online connections. It's the thing that most gets me to buy books because even the sales are discovered via social media. BUT I discover new books and authors through other people not through the author herself. The only books I've bought directly from my connection with the author are people I'd already developed a friendly relationship with.

So what does this mean for authors on social media? 

In my opinion, it means that you should focus on building genuine friendships with people. Trying to sell your books directly to your followers is probably not going to be very effective. But if you build real relationships with people, entertain and help with your blog/tweets/etc., then maybe those people who have gotten to know you will be the people to spread the word on your behalf. And THAT buzz is what actually gets me, as a reader, to buy...and probably many other people as well. But also realize that many, many readers are never going to dial into the online book community, so it's still a small lake in a big ocean. So don't kill yourself trying to be the social media master. Do what you can and write more books.

 

What are your thoughts? Where do you find out about the books you buy? What's your biggest book buying influence?


From Debut to Multi-Published: What I've Learned In My 1st Year as a Published Author

Signing books at the B&NIn a few weeks, my third print book, FALL INTO YOU, will hit shelves (also CRASH INTO YOU and MELT INTO YOU will debut in print in the UK.) This will all be happening almost a year to the day from when CRASH INTO YOU first released. Last year at this time, I was frantically preparing for my debut, unsure but totally excited by what the year would bring. What exactly would it feel like for a dream to come true?

Well, I can tell you, it's been fantastic. A weird journey of super exciting jump-up-and-down kinds of days, days where I questioned it all (like, yanno, my ability to put words together and make any kind of sense), and every kind of emotion in between. It's a cliche, but the whole roller-coaster analogy really is apropos here.

So I thought I'd look back over the year and share what I've learned along the way. (And btw, this is coming from a traditional publishing perspective since that is my experience, so not all of it may apply if you're on a different publishing path.)

What I've Learned Year One:

1. Working under a deadline is intense and a completely different writing experience.

Doesn't matter if you've used self-imposed deadlines in the past like NaNo. That's good practice, but having people counting on you and a legal contract make things totally different stress wise. And sometimes every month is Nano. I wrote 95k in two months this year and have to write another 50k in the next 6 weeks. I've learned to write faster and have "trained up" because of it. But I won't lie, earlier this year, the first deadline book locked up my creativity because I was panicking. I had to learn to work through it. No putting things to the side until inspiration strikes. You have to go hunting for the muse with a stick.

2. Some reviews will tear you open and spit on your self-esteem if you let them.

Learned this the hard way. When CRASH came out, I got probably 97% positive reviews. But it was that one or two that were particularly biting and/or personal that crushed me. Yes, I'd been shredded by crit partners before. Yes, I'd gone through tough revisions with my agent and editor. I thought I had tough skin. Nope. Reviews can eff with you if you let them. I don't know if there's a way to prepare for this. It may be one of those things you just have to go through (because who is going to resist reading reviews on their very first book.) But it took me a while to figure out how to deal with these. My skin *is* tougher now. Doesn't mean a bad review won't sting, but they no longer make me question my ability to write or make me so angry that it ruins my whole day. If you have a book coming out, I talked about The 5 Emotional Stages of a Book Launch and I think those stages hold true for most of us.

3. The BIG BAD publisher is not your enemy. Surprise, they really want you to do well, too. Duh.

I get so tired of seeing people bash the big publishers as if they're enemies to writers. This hasn't been my experience. My editor has been lovely, supportive, open-minded, and accessible. She wants my books to do well. She's excited about my series. Yes, publishers--all publishers--are a business, and I know that if my sales don't hold up, they won't keep buying my books. But that's just business.

4. Everything is REALLY slow until it's breakneck fast.

Patience is the name of the game. Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. You won't hear anything for months, then you'll have a pile of copyedits to do in a week, back cover copy to rewrite, and a new book due. It's one of those things where you have to learn to go with the flow.

5. You don't know your sales numbers...no really, you don't. 

People are prone to asking how the books are selling. Frankly, I don't have a specific answer. I only get an impression. Bookscan numbers only capture 50-70% of print sales, so it's a guess at best. And ebooks aren't captured at all, so all you can do is watch your rankings on Amazon and B&N for that. Yes, you get royalty statements about 8, yes, 8, months after your book comes out. But they are not so easy to read since there are things like returns and such factored in. And I won't lie, it's hard not to know specific numbers for so long. It drives my obsessive brain a little crazy.

6. You are now Professional Author first, and you can't speak as freely as you're sometimes tempted to.

For those of us in the blogosphere before we're published, we're used to chatting pretty freely. But once you're published (and really even before) you have to be aware that you are now a public figure (even if only ten people have read your book so far, lol.) You are a brand. How do you want that to be perceived? 

Another aspect of this is that you are now Author first, Reader second. This has been a tough one for me because, of course, I was a reader before I was ever a writer. But being published changes this. You are seen as something different in reader/reviewer forums (i.e. you're not to be trusted because you're now kind of like the principal listening in on student conversations). And now when you review books publicly, you're kind of walking through a minefield. Review them positively, and people assume you're doing a favor for an author friend. Review them negatively and you might burn a bridge with another author. I've chosen to only publicly review books that I loved (and FTR, I would never give something a good review if I didn't like the book, even if I knew the author.) If I don't love a book, I keep my opinion to myself. And that is HARD because I like discussing books with others. But it's not worth the drama.

7. Be careful complaining publicly even when the job gets tough.

Complain about how hard deadlines are, you'll get a slew of aspiring writers with "I wish I had deadlines like that" comments. When you're published, you're seen as living the dream to those who have the same goal. And you are. That doesn't mean the dream isn't a JOB that has some really tough and stressful moments. But complaining about them makes you look ungrateful for what you have. Vent to your friends who are in the same boat as you and who understand.

8. Here there be green-eyed monsters.

Jealousy. It's ugly. It's inevitable. At some point in your journey, you'll find yourself looking to other authors who maybe are similar to you and see that they're getting (insert thing to be jealous of)--more attention, more sales, bigger advances, more buzz, more swag, whatever. Get over it. Every writer's journey is different, and sometimes all those things that look so bright and shiny aren't all they're cracked up to be. For instance, that writer who got the giant advance, now has a giant advance to earn out. If they don't, they won't get another contract. But maybe you had less sales and a lower advance, but you earned out. Now you have more book deals and time to grow a readership. Be thankful for what you have. Strive to get what you want.

9. Marketing is a mysterious, ever-changing challenge. 

I nearly killed myself with that first blog tour. Did all those guest posts, interviews, contests make a difference? No one really knows. My gut says--meh, not that much. And all that touring shut down my creativity and left me late on my next book deadline. Now I've trimmed down my launches. I do review-only tours where I send out the books for reviews but it doesn't require me to do a post. I do think reviews sell books--even if it's on a small scale. I also do one-off guest spots and interviews on reader-targeted sites. 

Does blogging/social media sell my books? Yes. On a big scale? Probably not. But I know anecdotally that many people who have tried my books have tried them because they got to know me online first. I've built relationships and friendships and I think that beats traditional marketing any day.

10. Nothing is guaranteed. Getting a 2nd book deal is sometimes harder than the first. 

I've been lucky. Since my first two-book deal, I've sold four more books, a novella, and an e-serial. I'm eternally grateful that readers are buying my books and are allowing me to continue my series. But I know more than a few author friends of mine who had fantastic books but didn't get that next deal for sales reasons. And those decisions are made early. Writers often don't get much time to prove their sales.

11. For most of us, money doesn't roll in anytime soon.

Money is sloooooooow. Payments are few and far between during that first year. Don't quit your day job when you get a publishing deal. Well, unless you get E.L. James kind of money or something.

12. I have more control over the details than I imagined.

I'd heard the horror stories of having no control once you sign a publishing contract. That has not been my experience. Any edits I don't agree with, I can discuss with my editor. If I don't like the back cover copy, I can rewrite it completely. If the copy editor does something that changes my voice, I change it back. The only thing I don't get much control over is the cover. I can give input for that, and some things have been changed, but usually it's just tweaks.

13. Having a few good writer friends who you can say anything to (privately) is priceless and sanity-saving. 

Make sure you have these, seriously. And it's good to get to know a few other published authors or reach out to people who are debuting with you so you can vent about specific publishing things. *waves to Julie Cross*

14. Write one book a year? Two books a year? Yeah, try 3-4.

Depending on your genre, the expectations for how much you write in a year are changing. Will your publisher MAKE you write more books than you want to? No. But the writers who can be more prolific are going to build an audience faster, get the opportunity at special things like anthologies or new formats first, and get more deals.

15. Realizing I can't do it all.

For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know I was a blogging machine. Five times a week for years, then three times a week. Responding to all the comments. Visiting others' blogs.  And I love to blog and continued my schedule throughout most of this year. BUT when I got to the deadline crunch in August of this year, balls started dropping. And I realized that blogging DID take up some of my creative energy, and I did write less on my WIP on those days. So I had to accept that I couldn't hold myself to that schedule if I wanted to take on all the writing projects coming up. So I've relaxed my schedule with blogging. I blog when I can. Sometimes that's still three times a week, sometimes it's just one.

And now the super fantastic stuff... 

16. Walking into a bookstore and seeing my book on the shelf makes me giddy every time.

I want to stop everyone in that aisle and be like--"Psst, hey, I wrote that. Yeah, the one with the half-naked cover." : )

17. Seeing how much readers love your books is THE BEST.

Hands down, totally as awesome as you imagined it would be. Never. Gets. Old. *group hug with everyone who's read one of my books*

18. Writing for a living IS a dream come true for me.

 I freaking love my job--even on the hard days. There are times when I'm out doing fun things and am dying to get back to work. How crazy is that? I never, ever take this for granted.

19. It is all worth it.

Promise.

 

Damn, all those things and I couldn't get to a nice round number like 20? I'll try not to throw in a fluff one just to make it twenty.

So if you're published, what have you learned? If you're not at that point yet, does any of this surprise you? And if you have any questions I didn't cover, feel free to ask them in the comments.

 

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Links of the Week

 Hope everyone has had a good week and is fully recovered from Thanksgiving. I've been home with a sick kidlet for most of the week, so it's been hazmat clean up, temperature taking, and setting alarms in the middle of the night to give fever meds. Fun times for all. Saying a prayer the weekeend is better.

Fave Photo of the week: Our Thanksgiving trip to Austin

But enough of my whining, it's time for the best links of the week (or the last few weeks as the case may be.)

Here we go...

On Writing/Publishing:

 

On Social Media/Promotion:

 

Bright, Shiny Randomnes 

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

That's all I've got this week. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! 

Slow Writer Reformed: It Can Be Done!

Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr (cc)Fridays are usually reserved for the links round-up post. But since I only have a short list of links this week, I'm going to save them for next week. Instead, I thought I'd feature one of the links more in depth since it spoke to something I've recently experienced.

As many of you who have been following me for a while know, I call myself a slow writer. I'm one of those people who has trouble turning the inner editor off when drafting, which results in drafting being a painstaking process for me. (I much prefer revising.) However, with my last few books, I've had to deal with the new issue of writing under a deadline. 

Last November I tackled this slow writer issue head on because I had the deadline for FALL INTO YOU (the book coming out this January) coming up quickly. So I wrote a post called Slow Writer Reform School with my plan. I did finish that book, though I think I was a week or two over deadline.

But then this summer, I had some major issues with the concept of my fourth book. The original concept ended up not being a go (mutual decision between me and my editor) so I had to restart it not once but basically two and half times until I nailed the plot and the hero (*snort*). One of those times, I was 20k in. So that led to having TWO months to get from page one to done on a 90k novel. And that wasn't flexible because the e-serial was waiting behind it, so needed to get to work on that immediately afterward.

I was near panic. My last deadline crunch that I was worried about was a four month one, now that was cut in half. *envision me breathing into a paper bag* The thought of not meeting a deadline freaks me out. I'm that obsessive straight-A student at my core, so I just decided that I was going to have to figure out a way to do this. And I did. But how?

Well, I think this article, Changing Your Process by author Ann Aguirre on Writer Unboxed, pinpointed what I'd done without realizing it. I'd trained up. Her advice:

Whatever pace you’re currently writing at, make sure it’s comfortable. Then, over a long period of time, months, not weeks, train up. 

When I set up my "Slow Writer Reform School" for myself a year ago, here were a few of my goals (click link to see the rest of them):

  • I'm holding myself to a 1k a day minimum goal
  • I'm writing in pockets of time I usually wasted doing something unimportant
  • I'm am not tying my ability to write to a certain time of the day
  • And when I want to make a major change in the story, I just make a note and don't rewrite the whole thing right then.

So these points when I looked back at them today kind of made me laugh because I'm thinking--really, my stretch goal was 1k a day? o.0 (That's not to say 1k isn't an excellent goal for a writer, but it gives me perspective of how much can change in a year.)

With this last book, I wrote and revised 97,000 words in 60 working days (which was actually 9 weeks because I don't work on weekends.) So that breaks down to roughly 1600 words a day--but of course revisions were worked into that time frame so it was more like 2k a day for drafting days. That wasn't the stretch goal that was the--DO THIS OR YOU'RE GOING TO BE EFFING LATE goal. Funny how motivating panic can be. :)

And as for not writing only at a certain time of day, that changed too. Besides weekends, which I reserved for family time, I wrote whenever I could. When I couldn't write anymore or was running out of steam, I'd read for a while to refill my brain with words. 

And to my own shock, I did it. I remember looking back at the calendar where I marked page one/word one in amazement. I'd written a freaking novel in two months. I'd done NaNo word count two months back to back. For a fast writer, maybe that wouldn't be so amazing, but for me, it was a really big deal. (Now, a caveat, I have not gotten the book back from my editor yet so it may be a heaping pile of crap that needs major rewrites, but let's hope not.)

The thing I want to make clear about this experience, however, is that it wasn't some magical, transcendent thing. I've heard fast writers and Nano-ers say that once you start this kind of marathon, the words just spill out and the process takes on a life of its own. That was NOT how it was for me. My internal editor was still banging around in my brain. There were days the words flowed more easily than others, and on those days I'd exceed my word count--even having a few 4k days. But most days it was a matter of Scrivener* saying "Your daily goal is xxxx" and me typing no less than that amount. Period. 

It's a commitment to not let the day end without meeting that goal. I didn't have room to get behind. And you know what? I think it formed a new habit. I trained up.

Ann Aguirre mentions in her post that research shows a habit is actually formed at more like 66 days instead of the 21 we've heard. And I'm starting to believe that's true. That's the amount of time I did this marathon. And now that I'm done, it feels "normal" to sit down each down and pound out words. I feel...changed. I told my hubs after I turned in my manuscript that I didn't know what to do with myself for the few days I didn't write afterward. It was like--I remember there were other things I used to do but what were those again? Oh yeah, look, TV shows. Lol.

So now that I'm embarking on this e-serial, which has another tight deadline (though a little better than the last one), I don't feel nearly as panicked. I know I can do this now. I've trained up and created a new normal. Now the key will be keeping myself in check and now letting myself slide back into old habits.

NOTE: If you want to get tips on training up, I totally recommend Candace Havens' Fast Draft Class that Ann mentions in the post. I've taken it twice. And though I have no intention of writing a book in two weeks. The tips themselves are really great for picking up your speed regardless of your goal.

So how about you? Do you feel like you have this daily word count barrier you find impossible to break through? Are you a fast writer or a slow one? Any NaNo-ers discovering new things about their process?

*By the way, that word count feature in Scrivener is the BEST THING EVER. You can put in your ultimate word count goal, the day of your deadline, and what days of the week you write. Then it will give you a daily word count every morning. And it adjusts each day if you write more or less than your goal the day before. I credit that simple feature with much of my success with reaching my goal. I liked seeing exactly how much I needed each day.

Ebook or Print: When Do You Buy One Over the Other?

Photo by welcometolearn via Flickr CCSo yesterday Agent Sara put the question out to Twitter about book buying habits, and I briefly butted in on her convo with Miranda Kenneally. Miranda had said she buys print because she loves to put books on her shelves but buys ebooks when impatient. And that got me to thinking what makes me buy one over the other for a particular book.

I'm a reading omnivore both in genre and method. I have a Kindle Fire and love it. I also have a wall of bookshelves in my office that are so packed with print books that I have books stacked on the floor and stuffed around other places in my house. So I don't necessarily favor one over the other.

But then why do I buy book A in print but book B in ebook? Here are some of my reasons. But I'm really curious to hear yours, so I'd love for y'all to let me know in the comments.

When I Buy Ebook:

  • If it's a new to me author, I'll usually try them first in ebook IF the ebook is cheaper than the print.

This is an untested author. I don't have room on my shelves for books I'm not going to want to keep. Plus, I'm going to risk less money on an author I haven't tried before.

 

  • If the book is probably something I'm only going to read once.

This is not saying anything bad about the book. There are just some that are a great ride but not ones I need to go back to necessarily.

 

  • I'm a sucker for Daily Deal ebook sales, so I buy the crap out of those.

I'm a girl. I'm an obsessive reader. The ability to resist a sale, especially on books, is against my genetic makeup. Of course, I do this selectively. I only purchase ones I truly think I'll read or that come recommended.

 

  • If a book is only available in hardback, and I don't want to wait for the paperback to come out.

I don't read hardbacks. It's not even about the price so much as the bulkiness. I don't have room and they're not as easy to tote around.

 

  • If the book is only available in ebook, obviously that's the version I'm buying.

This happens a lot, particularly in my genre. There are so many fantastic digital first publishers out there, plus there's lots of great stuff available in the indie market these days.

 

When I Buy Print:

  • If it's an auto-buy author, who I already love. I'm buying the print, often pre-ordering so that it arrives the day it release.

This is a good risk. They've proven that I like their writing. And for books I love, I want a print copy so I can go back to and read again or reference. This is especially true if it's in my own genre because I like to "study" what other authors do well and why that story worked.

 

  • If the cover is gorgeous.

So I can pet it and stare. Duh.

 

  • If it's a series I plan to stick with.

I've even been known to buy an ebook version, fall in love and then buy the print as well so that I can start buying the series to keep on my shelf.

 

  • If it's non-fiction.

Unless it's a memoir or something, I want to be able to use it as a reference, to be able to flip forward and back with ease, etc. All of my writing craft books are bought in print.

 

  • If the book is LOOOONG, I'm torn.

For some reason, I like seeing progress in a long book that isn't just a percentage on my e-reader. I remember reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander on my old Kindle and I loved the book, but I remember it feeling longer because of reading on the device. I felt like I was running and not getting anywhere. BUT I've heard the newest e-readers give you more info about time wise how much longer you have, that'd be nice. On the flipside, buying a giant book in print is a pain in the ass because you have to carry this brick around and if it's paperback, it's harder to hold open when it's so thick. 

As for the reading experience...

I love a paper book--the feel of it and such. However, more and more I find myself attracted the convenience of e-reading, especially now that I have an I-phone and can pick up where I left off in a book when I find myself stuck somewhere out and about with nothing to do. So honestly, in my ideal world, there'd be a set up to where you could buy the print and add on the ebook for a dollar or something so that I can read it in print at home but have access to it if I'm on the go or traveling somewhere. Maybe one day that will happen...

But in the meantime, those are some of my convoluted reasons for purchasing one or the other. But regardless of why or when, one thing is for sure. Since I've bought an e-reader, I buy more books overall. I basically haven't changed my print buying at all--I always purchased a lot, but I've added in the ebook buying. So it's probably twice as many books as I used to buy. :)

Now it's your turn: Tell me why you buy an ebook or a print book for a particular story. What makes you pick one over the other? Are there situations where you prefer one format but other times where you prefer the opposite? I want to know! :) 

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Links of the Week

I may or may not have done this dance when I turned in my book. :)

Hey there. Hope everyone has had a fantastic week. I turned in my latest book to my editor yesterday so I'm in celebration mode. : ) Now I get a few days to clear my head before I get to work on the E-serial, NOT UNTIL YOU, on Monday. 

Here are the best links I've come across in the last two weeks. Since I've been in serious writing/editing mode, my surfing time has been scarce so this is a little shorter than normal, but I still wanted to pass them along.

On Writing/Publishing:

On Social Media/Promotion:

Bright, Shiny Randomness:

What You May Have Missed Here:

All right, that's all I have for you this week. Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Losing Perspective on Your Writing: Does This Sing or Suck?

Photo via Marcus Vegas (flickr cc)First, before we get into today's topic, I want to let everyone know that I'm going to be on the Bring Back Desire After Dark radio show tonight online. So if you'd like to hear me talk about fun stuff like--how may parents feel about my writing, how I do my research, and what I think are secrets to a good marriage, I'd love for you to tune in. It will air at 10pm Central/11pm Eastern. If you can't be there tonight, the show will be archived and available in a day or two. : )

Okay, onto today's topic--losing perspective. This morning I discovered the good news that my next release in my series, FALL INTO YOU, has gotten a great review in RT Magazine--4 1/2 stars which is the highest you can get AND is the highest I've ever gotten on either of the previous books. Here are a few quotes from the review:

"Steamy, occasionally shocking, and relentlessly intense..."

"Loren's real triumph is the way the BDSM initiation and training reveal the nuances of each main character, from their darkest pleasures to their deepest fears."

"Heart-wrenching and blisteringly sexy..."

So why am I quoting this review (beyond the fact that I'm excited and want to share)? I'm sharing it because this proved to me that I have no valid perspective on my writing at this point. I think all writers swing back and forth between hating the book they're writing and thinking they're brilliant. It's a natural thing. We usually aren't right on either extreme. 

But I find the more books I write, the more insecurity creeps in. You'd think it'd be the opposite. But alas, it isn't. I was so nervous about seeing that review for FALL INTO YOU. It was the first book I ever had to write under a tight deadline, I struggled with the story, and I had to do a pretty major revision on my heroine (to the tune of 20k new words) in about a week. So I had all this anxiety that this book wasn't going to be received as well as the others. I couldn't even judge it anymore from my own perspective--is this great or does it suck? I just had to put trust in my editor that she wouldn't let me put out a bad book and would tell me if it sucked, lol.

So seeing that first review come out is a relief. And my anxiety hasn't just been about that book. When it was time to turn the first version of NOT UNTIL YOU to my editor, I sent it Sara (my agent) first with a note of--please read this before I send it to my editor because I'm not sure if it's any good and I don't want to send her crap and blah blah blah. Sara reads it and sends back: "This is my most favorite thing you've ever written."

0_0

Yes, I have apparently lost perspective and have been overtaken by writer insecurity. Luckily, right now it's in a good way--I think it sucks but it actually doesn't. Thank God.

But as a writer, you also have to be aware of the flipside. And for those out there feverishly typing away for NaNo or penning your first novel, this is one to keep in mind. Our writing can also look a lot better to us than it actually is. I remember writing my YA when I first began writing seriously and I thought that book rocked. I had confidence and queried it like mad. And though I did get a few requests here and there, it ultimately was rejected across the board.

Why? Because it wasn't good enough. I wasn't ready. But I didn't realize that yet. It took getting out into the writing community, picking up beta readers, learning craft, etc. before I could look back and think--Holy shit that book was bad! Thank God I didn't have self-pubbing available to me at the time because I would've freaking embarrassed myself.

So try to remember you're probably never as good or as bad as you think. And don't live on an island. Before you put your work out there, send it to quality beta readers (not your family who loves you and can't be unbiased), work with an editor if you can, get a little distance from it. And on the flipside, when you think you're writing complete junk, don't get discouraged. We all feel like we're writing junk at some point (or at lots of points) in any draft. I'm learning it's part of the process. We're an insecure bunch, we writers. ;)

Have you ever lost perspective on your own work? Do you have trouble judging what's good and bad in your own writing? What outside sources to you use to get feedback?

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

The Loving on the Edge series brought to you by copious amounts of Iced Tea

So guess what? I finished my draft of CAUGHT UP IN YOU! Woot! 55 Days - 85,000 words and enough Iced Tea to hydrate a Paula Deen convention.  

I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A slow writer can learn new tricks apparently.

It was kind of like doing NaNoWriMo two months back to back. (I do not recommend it.) But after multiple false starts with this book and a complete change in concept (twice), which put me under the gun, I made my deadline! Now I have to do some revisions, then onto the next project which is due Feb. 1.  *gets back on hamster wheel*

But I hope to at least be sane enough to get back to some regular blogging now. And since it's Friday, I figured I'd get back to my normal round up post. This is two weeks worth of links.

 

 

On Writing/Publishing:

 

 

On Social Networking/Promotion:

 

 

Bright, Shiny Randomness: 

 

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! 

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

Photo via Ben Salter (Flickr cc)Is it Friday already? Wow, weeks fly when there's a deadline looming. : )  Today will be a pretty short list since my web surfing time has been limited lately, but I wanted to pass along a few links of awesomeness I came across this week.

But first, an announcement. :) My NEW covers with their new look for my series will be revealed on Tuesday on the USA Today Happily Ever After blog! Yay! Can't wait to share them with y'all. That also means I'm going to need to find some time to update my website and the header because I've got a brand new...uh brand. :)

Alright, on to the links...

On Writing/Publishing:

Screenwriting Tricks for Authors - FREE this week! <-- love this book, go get it

What's New in YA? Mashups via Publisher's Weekly

Author Image | Annie Neugebauer <--should your author photo match the vibe of your books? (I know mine doesn't. But I've got no shot of being dark and sexy in a photo. My non-smiling expression in photos always look like a frog is peeing on my foot.)

NA Alley: Entangled Publishing Announcement <--more news on the New Adult front

 

On Social Networking/Marketing:

The Bookshelf Muse: The Path To 10K In Sales: Strategy, Luck & Mistakes

Who Needs a Platform? | Rachelle Gardner

Author, Jody Hedlund: Is Blogging a Time-Suck for Writers? <--really interesting discussion and points from James Scott Bell on both Rachelle's and Jody's post.

 

For Gits and Shiggles:

This Risotto Gonna F**k You Up, Son via Chuck Wendig - so, so funny. He needs his own cooking show.

EXCLUSIVE Cover Reveal: Maya Banks’s Breathless Trilogy! <--so purty

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

Is Reading the Genre You're Currently Writing Dangerous?

 

That's what I've got for this week. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! I think I'm going to head out to the TX State Fair for all things deep-fried (cinnamon rolls, grilled cheese, jambalaya, the list goes on.)  :)

 

Is Reading the Genre You're Currently Writing Dangerous?

Photo sent to me by the lovely Stephanie Haefner

There's this thought out there amongst writers that reading something too close to what you're writing poses danger. Why? Because you may lift some idea or concept from a book and incorporate it into your own writing without realizing it--subconscious absorption or something.

So many writers, if they're writing say fantasy YA may stay away from reading any fantasy while they are actively writing and stick to things a little further from home. I get that. It would suck to have someone else's story influence yours too much.

However, here's the thing, if that's the case, then it would be dangerous to read ANY fiction or watch a movie or TV show for that matter. By nature, our stories incorporate ideas we get from things we're exposed to. For instance, if I'm writing my erotic romance, but go see some action film set in Hawaii, it could inspire me to whisk my couple away to the island for a vacation there. There's a difference between inspiration and stealing an idea (whether subconsciously or not). And I think that's where you have to be aware.

 

 

 

But, having said all that, I still read heavily in my genre even when I'm writing it. Why?

 

1. I'm ALWAYS writing.

If you end up doing this for a career, there is very minimal non-writing time, if any. I write every day. I'm under deadlines at least through 2014. If I didn't read romance while I was writing it, I would NEVER get to read my absolute favorite genre. Not acceptable.

 

2. It's important to know what is going on in your genre and what is successful.

This industry is constantly shifting, tastes are perpetually changing. You want to write what you write and stay true to your style, BUT you also don't want to be stagnant or unaware of what is selling. For instance, if you write my genre, you probably should read 50 Shades. Regardless of whether you love/hate/feel indifferent about it, it's important to try to discern what about that book made it such a phenomenon when erotic BDSM romance has been around forever. Keep a thumb on the pulse of your business.

 

3. You learn what is cliche and overdone so you can avoid it.

If you don't read widely in your genre, you may not realize that your SUPER BRILLIANT IDEA has been done a thousand times or that SUPER CREATIVE SCENE is a big fat cliche. 

 

4. You have recommendations to share with your readers.

This is a small thing, but it really does come into play. Many of my readers are new to the genre and they want to know after reading my books, what else is out there that's like this? So if I'm well read in my genre, I can give them some of my favorites, which in turn, helps promote the genre and its authors as a whole.

 

So yes, be aware when you're reading that your mind may try to glom on to something from someone else's book, but don't deprive yourself of the books you love. You're writing this genre for a reason. If someone told me I'd have to give up reading romance if I wanted to write it, I would've found a different job. : )

What do you think? Do you steer clear of reading your own genre when you're writing a new book? Have you ever found yourself accidentally lifting some concept from another book?


Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

Bellagio Fountains

So it's that time of the week. I missed it last week because I was on my mini Vegas vacation (hence the photos), so this will include links from the last two weeks.

Also, you may have noticed (if you're particularly observant) that I've been a bit quieter on the blog and on Twitter lately. This has been by design because I'm under a tight deadline right now and have to put most of my time into that. BUT, it's working. I just tallied last month's word count and I wrote 40k in September. Woot! That's definitely a record for me. Now I have 35k to write by Nov. 1. *breathes into paper bag* So posting may be continue to be a little less regular for a little while longer. 

Alright, on to the links...

*First, I've posted an exclusive snippet of FALL INTO YOU on facebook if you'd like to check that out. (And if you want to follow me there, this is the place I focus on more reader-oriented vs. writer stuff.)

On Writing/Publishing:

What a Concept! Plotting Your Novel Conceptually via Janice Hardy

real actual hilary: Why writing with a book deal is a whole different game

delilah s. dawson: 10 Tips for Barfing a Book

Penguin, 3M E-Book Pilot 3M Goes Live <--Penguin working with a new library ebook service

How to write a bad review - Salon.com

Book Piracy – An Insiders Perspective - Stacey O'Neale's Site

Comparison Doesn’t Work - Books & Such Literary Agency : Books & Such Literary Agency

Co-Authoring: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly via Rachelle Gardner

Our hotel bed looked like it should be at The Ranch

Calls for Submissions:

Submissions opportunity: one week only…feedback & 6 week response time via Carina Press -- Great opportunity to get feedback

Now acquiring: Contemporary crack at Carina Press <--after reading Angela James' discussion of contemporary crack, I'm starting to think this is what I write, lol. The drama! The angst! The smex! :)

Now acquiring: New Adult at Carina Press <--I just talked about this genre in a post last week (linked below) and here you go, a publisher actively looking for it

 

On Social Media/Promotion/Marketing:

Is Your Author Website Helping You or Holding You Back? | BookBaby Blog

Why Content Marketing is the New Branding | Copyblogger

Does Social Media Sell Books? « Writerland

 

For Gits and Shiggles (and a little panting):

Channing Tatum opens his New Orleans bar “Saints and Sinners” this weekend - NYPOST.com <--why oh why didn't I plan a trip home to New Orleans this weekend??? I'm tempted to send my mother out to the opening with a camera. ;)

Ten Tips for Bringing BDSM Into Your Bedroom by Joey Hill | TheCelebrityCafe.com <--I get asked about this privately pretty often since my books make some readers curious about how BDSM can work in real life. These are some great, practical tips on getting started.

 

At the Marilyn Manson (and Buckcherry) concert

What You May Have Missed Here:

The New Adult Genre: Here To Stay This Time?

Natalie Bahm and Agent Sara Megibow On Self-Pubbing For a Good Cause

7 Things That Make the Chronic Finisher Put Down a Book

Book Deal Squee-ing: More Loving on the Edge On the Way! <--in case you haven't seen me squaking about it all over the interwebs. :)

 

 

That's all I have for you this week. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

Fill-Me-In Friday - Best Writing Links of the Week

 

Fave photo of the weekTaking kidlet on a miniature train ride in Fort Worth yesterday. Kidlet declared, "It's just like the Dinosaur train! But no dinosaurs." :)

Alright, we've made it to Friday, everyone. Congrats. :) And since I had to skip last Friday's round-up, we have an extra long one today. Hope you find something worth reading.

 

On Writing/Publishing: 

 

On Social Media/Marketing:

 

For Gits and Shiggles:

 

What You May Have Missed Here: 

 

So that's what I have for the week. How was your week? What are you reading?

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

Cave Silhouette

Photo via NeilsPhotography (Flickr CC)

*peeks out from writing cave* *blinks* Wow, there's light out there. And people.

Writing Update: How is it Friday already? I think I missed a couple of days this week. I've been trying to write with the Fast Draft mentality this week (not true fast draft of 5k a day, but writing without obsessing and going back constantly to fix stuff.) It's definitely not my natural state and I get walloped with the anxiety of it all at least once a day--what if I'm going in the wrong direction, what if I'm writing all these words that won't be used, etc. Ack. But so far, I haven't gone back, and in the last three days I've written about 7k words, which is a decent pace. Hopefully they're mostly the right words. We'll see.

Book Update: There will be official announcements coming soon, but I did get a couple of good news things this week. All I'll say for now is that it looks like you'll be getting stories from The Ranch for a while to come. : )

All right, now on to the best links I've come across this week...

 

On Writing/Publishing: 

 

 

On Social Media/Promotion:

 

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

 

For Gits and Shiggles:

  • 2012 BTCA finalists <--Want to know what crazy deep-fried concoctions have finaled for this year's Texas State Fair? I think the deep-fried cinnamon roll with bacon is going to be the one I get in line for.

 

 All right, that's what I've got for this week. How has your week been? Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week

Hurricane Isaac makes landfall.

Hurricane Isaac Makes Landfall 

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class R. Jason Brunson) 

Hope everyone has had a good week. It hasn't been the best week on my end. Hurricane Isaac made its way through Louisiana and my parents' house (the house I spent most of my life in) was flooded. Luckily, they evacuated before the storm, but their house which they literally just spent two years completely remodeling from top to bottom is going to be ruined. :( And because it was only a Cat 1 storm, they didn't even bother to take things like photos and such with them. They've lived there twenty years, through Andrew, through Katrina, and never even had water on their street. Then this one comes along and wham. : (  So send prayers to Louisiana and anyone who's been affected by this storm.

All right, now on to the links for the week...

Favorite Link of the Week: The Publishing Process in GIF Form | Nathan Bransford, Author <--so funny AND true

 

On Writing/Publishing: 

 

 

On Social Media/Marketing: 

 

 

For Gits and Shiggles: 

 

What You May Have Missed Here:

 

That's all I've got for you this week. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. : )