California Photos

If a picture is worth 1000 words, then can I say I wrote 17,000 words this week? Okay, that might be cheating a bit. But I did get some great photos from my friend Heather, who grew up in the same town I did, which happens to be the town where my book Drawn In is set. Let me tell you a little bit about it…

San Luis Obispo, California is about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and about 2o miles from the coast. It’s nestled in golden foothills, agriculturally based, home to a great university, and has small town local charm up the wazoo. Some of the country’s best vineyards are just over the hill in Paso Robles, there’s great shopping in a thriving downtown, it’s 20 minutes from the beach, has a great local arts scene, and is about as close to a perfect coastal town as you can get. That may be hindsight talking, but it truly is spectacular. And it’s worthy of being the setting for my debut novel.

So I have posted all of my favourite photos on my website, which you can find here. And here is one of the pics as a preview…

Avila

That’s Avila Beach, where the first scene of my book takes place (a bonfire on the beach – I couldn’t resist!).

And there we have it … check out the photos and please enjoy my hometown!

And the winner is…

Thanks so much to all who voted for the cover image to appear on my book! The winner is…

stock-photo-19335004-autumn-fall-forest-landscape-magic-book-pages

I have to agree, this is a very cool photo, and it actually fits my story really well. I’m still working it all out, going through the motions of querying and being rejected (such an interesting process), but while that’s happening I’m doing all of my homework and getting ready to self-publish. I think the biggest stumbling block for me is that right now, the way the game is laid out, if I take the step to self-publish my book, then I am essentially saying “Yes, I agree to the fact that I will NEVER have an agent represent my work, and I will NEVER be a Legitimate Author in the Traditional Publishing World.” And you know, that’s a big statement. And it might be part of what I have to accept if I move forward. But honestly, I’m coming to terms with even that.  I think that it’s all in my perspective. Instead of looking to Veronica Roth as the example (although I still adore her, and will have tea with her any time she asks), I need to look instead to Sarah J Maas and Kate Avery Ellison … Indie authors who have made it, and are surviving and thriving in that environment. Sarah, who went the self-pub route and is now represented and published mainstream due to her amazing series. And Kate whose series was successful and has since been offered representation but refused it in order to maintain her own autonomy over her vision. Both are so inspiring to me in their own ways (plus I’m a big fan, find Sarah here and Kate here).

So yeah, that’s where we are. The homework continues, the querying goes on (for now), and I keep getting to be a writer. Life is good.

It’s Here! It’s Here! (& Vote to help me choose my cover!)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Lulu.com where I order my works in progress in book form. And since I just recently finished the latest round of revisions, it was time to order another copy to pass out to beta readers. And here it is…

book - version 2

Isn’t it pretty??? Yes, it’s still just a work in progress but MAN it feels good to see it like this! If you’re getting copies to beta readers for your own work, you’ve seriously got to do this. SO rewarding!!

And that started me thinking of what I want for my real cover. I actually emailed a self-published author whose cover art I adore, and she replied! (I kind of felt like I was talking to a celebrity!) Anyway, she had some great advice for me on cover art and I’ve started selecting possible images from istock and it’s all very exciting. Wanna help me choose? Here are the ones I’m leaning towards…

Choice A:                                                                                         Choice B:

stock-photo-15034407-opened-magic-book                stock-photo-19335004-autumn-fall-forest-landscape-magic-book-pages

 

Choice C:                                                                                           Choice D:

stock-photo-34925984-young-woman-lying-on-book-pages                stock-photo-21225388-young-woman-s-hand-sketching

(For more on the actual plot, see the My Book page.) Got it? Great! Now you can vote here: 

Thanks! I’ll post results next week. Stay tuned!

A Love List for my book

book heart

Today’s post is all about inspiration. One of the blogs I follow (by Leandra, it’s about books, writing, and life in general – found here – it’s fantastic!) had a post that was so well timed in my writing journey. It was so inspiring to me, I have to follow her lead. She calls it a “love list,” and it’s basically a reminder that when I’m in the depths of editing and the throes of revisions, and I just want to delete the whole bloody thing and burn all of my notes … there are still things that I love about my story. What an amazing gift that can be in those dark moments! And for everyone who hasn’t been a beta reader, it’s a little tease of the things to come. So with no further ado, here is my love list for Drawn In…

Bonfire at the beach

Best friends

Sushi

My hometown

A cave full of secrets

First date

Not falling out of a tree

Shakespeare

Forbidden paper

Olive

Sketches & dreams

“Tell me a story”

Kisses in the park

Nerd shirts

A gift of fireflies

Just creating this list made me smile, and want to dive back into my story. Truly, if you are a writer, you owe yourself a love list. In a blog, in a journal, in the margins of your manuscript, on the back of a napkin … somewhere, just create this. You won’t regret it.

A Revelation at Target, or A Potential Solution to the Eternal Debate

jk - yes

I’ve often said that if Target doesn’t have it, I don’t need it. But the other day, I stumbled upon something completely unexpected: clarity. You see, I’ve been struggling for a long time with the Eternal Debate that faces all of us new, eager, undiscovered authors: Traditional or Self-Publication. I know, the debate is long and tired, and all sides have valid points depending on what you’re actually seeking to accomplish with your book(s) and career. Believe me, I’ve had all the internal and external debates possible on this one.

And then came Target. I was browsing the YA books (shocking, I know), and there it was: the Up & Coming Authors section. I took a cursory glance at them, saw a few pretty covers and nothing really caught my eye, so I turned to move on. And then it hit me. That tiny little section that is lucky even to get the cursory glance from a stranger is exactly where I’m trying to be! Every one of those books on the shelf has a mommy or a daddy who spent YEARS praying for their eventual existence, going through an eerily similar process to what I’m going through right now… and will probably live and die on that tiny Target shelf, never seeing the light of day. How very sad. Part of me wanted to snatch up one of each and take them home, just so someone would love them. (This, by the way, is the same part of me that is no longer allowed to go Christmas tree shopping because I end up crying over all the Charlie Brown trees that will die in a wood chipper. But I digress.)

Thus, the revelation. Why am I killing myself to find an agent, who will then have to turn around and find a publisher, who will then maybe MAYBE decide that my book is worthy of a small release to similar sad shelves? With all of the changes in the industry in the last few years, why am I fighting self-publication? I’ll have to market myself, yes, but won’t I have to do that anyway? At least with self-publication, I can choose my own cover, my own fonts (I LOVE FONTS!), my own release date, plus I keep my profits.

So yeah, I’ll probably do ONE more round of query letters, just to say I tried everything I possibly could in the traditional route. But really, I’m already thinking of covers.

All this, plus I got milk and a new lip gloss. Target really is a magical place.