Monday, September 24, 2012

Negative Reviews That HELP Book Sales?

SOME of my latest purchases

As I have recently been on a somewhat obscene book buying spree, it occurs to me that some negative reviews might actually help book sales. When I'm browsing through them, I find I'm much more likely to buy a book if it has several negative reviews from people I don't feel a 'book identification' with. Here is what I mean:

1. They can't construct an even somewhat reasonable sentence.
2. They have slammed several books (although sometimes even just one other) that I LOVE.
3. They say, "I didn't read past chapter one."
4. They say, "Based on the blurb..."
5. They are complaining that "This book" is very different from the writer's other works for which they are a loyal and dying fan (and I wasn't a fan of that other body of work.)
6. (This is a big, big red flag for me!) They give one or two stars to classics that I hold in reverence and make comments such as, "boring, slow, unreadable, etc, etc..."  

Do negative reviews ever prompt instead of discourage your purchase?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I Thought: Personal Effects by E.M. Kokie

I'll will spare you another blurb and get right to the point. I read this book in a day, hardly put it down, and was completely spent and satisfied when I came out the other side. The last YA I've read that had a similar effect on me was Green's Fault in Our Stars. E.M. Kokie has crafted a pace perfect emotional roller coaster with complex characters. I loved this book and hope she is working on something else. I recommend this Personal Effects to anyone who enjoys contemporary YAs.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pictures! Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference 2012

Well I had a wonderful time and met so many fantastic people. Here are some pics of the awesomeness.
Anjetta McQueen, Rebecca Taylor, Catherine (Chris Lafata lurking in the back :-)

J.A. Kazimer--Author of A F**ked Up Fairytale

Veronica Roland

(If someone from the conference sees this, please remind me, what is the name of the lovely women on the far left in the back. I'm at a loss and didn't grab a business card.) Patricia Beal, Anjetta, Me, Heidi, and Veronica

Bonnie Ramthun, Chris Lafata

With Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary--and an amazing instructor I should add.)

Me and Anjetta--we hung out a lot and even planned out my next book in her room. "We Invited Them!!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fact or Fiction Reveal

Well I've already read a few reveals, I'm apparently not very good at guessing other people's fact or fiction! But here are mine:

Story #1
I think I had a few of you going for awhile...until I posted my 2nd story anyway. This one was totally false! We did go to Hawaii last year, I even blogged about it here. So the trip happened, but the flight was practically perfect in every way. No cancelled flight, no separated family (and by the way, I NEVER would have let that happen in a million years. We would have been sitting at that gate not going anywhere until the airline figured out how to at least have one adult with each kid.) And my kids have been flying since they were babies and are complete angels when we do.

Story #2
This is completely true. I almost drowned when I was 10 at Raging Waters. I remember feeling a hand beneath me pushing me to the surface but there wasn't anyone near me. I think once I posted this story almost everyone guessed right!

Oh well...next time right.

Today I'll be heading over to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference. Pictures to follow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gearing Up for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference 2012

What am I doing today you may ask? Well, I'm getting ready for the start of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference (or RMFW for short.) Here are a couple pics of what "getting ready" entails. Basically lots of pre-release marketing.
Goodie bags to pass out
Close up of that white label. Inside is a red pen and chocolate. Cause it really is ALL you need...although I could have added a tissue for when you are completely overwhelmed and need to dry up all those tears.
Back of the postcard stapled to the other side
Front of the postcard
 My goals for this years conference?

1. To pass out every single one of these bags
2. To talk to and network with as many friendly people as possible
3. To meet fellow CMP author Marne Ann Kirk, in the real!
4. To visit the famous "hospitality suite"

I will take as many pics as I remember to and share them all next week. Also, tomorrow I will be blogging the reveal for this weeks FACT or FICTION blog hop...stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I Did Last Summer Fact or Fiction Blog Hop! Part Deux

I am participating in the WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER FACT OR FICTION BLOG HOP! Hosted by Emily King and Melodie Wright.  So what is this? Basically I've written a short little story below and you need to determine if it is Fact or Fiction and leave your vote in the comments. On Wednesday September 5th I wrote another story that is either a fact or fiction story (the vice versa of my either fact or fiction posted below.) And commenters should make their best guess about which one is true and which is a dirty writer lie. On September 7th, I'll tell you which was which.

Give the Girl a Hand. 

When I was ten, my best friend on the planet was having her birthday at Raging Waters in Southern California. I had never been to a water park before so as my mom drove up the fifty seven freeway towards San Dimas, I sat in the passenger seat beside her with a mixture of thrill and fear that made my skin sweat beneath my new purple one-piece suit.

When my mother pulled our aging Datsun into the Raging Waters parking lot, I could see Alyson and her family gathered together with a group of girls--her older sister had invited some of her friends.

Inside, Alyson's sister and her bikini clad friends headed for the wave pool. I had no idea what a wave pool was but I, along with the other ten year olds, followed the older girls like baby ducks. Once there, I saw an enormous swimming pool and hundreds of people floating calmly on rubber tubes. All the older girls started leaping from the side wall that was five feet above the water's surface. Alyson jumped, Alicia jumped, Renee jumped, so I jumped too. We swam, we floated on our backs, we splashed each other, and then a loud buzzer sounded. I stopped and listened as a collective voice of excitement rose from the hundreds of other people securely ensconced in their doughnut floats. What was happening?

Slowly, the water began to move. Up, down, up, down. A little higher, the older girls began swimming for the ladder against the wall. Up, higher, down, deeper, Alyson was climbing up the ladder. I tried to swim towards the ladder, Up, up, up I rode but then down, down, pushed, sucked, deep, oh my God, I'm under the water. This happens again and again. Swim, struggle, gasp breath, I see Alyson and all the other girls standing on the wall watching, their bodies blur before my eyes as I'm sucked under again and again and again.

I'm tired.

The next time I come up, I see the life guard now standing there too. She also watches me get sucked back down. On the next up wave, I don't come up. The waves, powerful and fierce, are happening over my head. I'm very deep now.

I'm very alone now.

And then, I feel it. I am at the bottom, fifteen feet of water pressing me down, and I feel a single hand on my purple clad butt. Pushing me, up, up, up, halfway now, I'm coming up, my lungs are bursting, I kick and kick and kick. The hand disappears. Kick, kick, pull, drag. Finally, I break the surface and gulp air. The ladder is right in front of me.

Shaking, crying, I clutch at the rungs. The life guard, dry and holding a long red float she never used, is rushing to me. Everyone clusters by while she pulls me to the deck and makes me lie down.

To this day, I have no idea who, or what, saved my life that day.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

What I Did Last Summer Fact or Fiction Blog Hop!

I am participating in the WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER FACT OR FICTION BLOG HOP! Hosted by Emily King and Melodie Wright.  So what is this? Basically I've written a short little story below and you need to determine if it is Fact or Fiction and leave your vote in the comments. On Wednesday September 5th I will be posting another story that will be another fact or fiction story (the vice versa of my either fact or fiction posted below.) And commenters should make their best guess about which one is true and which is a dirty writer lie. On September 7th, I'll tell you which was which.

Last summer my family and I traveled to Oahu. It was the first time we were taking our children who were six and eight. We were all looking forward to having a wonderful time relaxing on the beaches, playing in the hotel pools and seeing the sights of Hawaii.

Unfortunately for the plane ride over our flight was cancelled and customer service agents had to scramble to place over three hundred passengers onto other flights. As a result, we all ended up with middle seats spread across three rows. When we boarded the plane one passenger was kind enough to give up his aisle seat so that we could at least have two seats together. Since we only had one portable DVD player for the kids to share, we decided to let them sit together and I would sit in the row right behind them.

The kids started off well but soon became fidgety and bored with the inflight movie, RANGO, that failed to capture their attentions. It wasn't long before they began messing with the seat recliner buttons, talking loudly, wanting things from the packed bags over our heads, and generally annoying everyone, including myself, who sat within two rows of us. When I checked my watch, I was completely distraught to see that we still had three and a half hours of flight time left! In an attempt to find something to occupy them, I grabbed my backpack from under the seat in front of me and took out the snacks I had packed, two sandwich sized baggies of goldfish.

This worked for about two minutes.

Next thing I knew they were tossing the goldfish at each other and trying to catch them in their mouths. I thought the man sitting in the window next to them was going to implode! I stood up for what seemed like the hundredth time and told them to, "knock it off," in the scariest mom voice I could muster. That was when my daughter threw one more goldfish into her brother's mouth.

Furious, I got out of my row and crouched down in the aisle next to her so I could give her a good telling off. That's when I noticed violent convulsions coming from my son's seat next to her. He was trying to stand up with his seat belt still on and his face was turning a terrifying shade of blue. Before I had even fully registered what was happening, the man sitting next to my son unbuckled both their seat belts, walked over both children, pushed me out of the way, grabbed my son and began performing the Heimlich maneuver on him in the narrow aisle. Agonizing moments passed while I watched my son's body racked by the man's attempts to save his life. I started screaming for help but before anyone could even respond, my son was throwing up all over the floor and the seats of the passengers who had moved out of the way.

After we determined that my son was stable and that Oahu would have the nearest medical facility for him to be properly checked at, the man who saved us from disaster gladly gave up his window seat for the remainder of the flight so that I could sit with both kids who behaved like perfect angels the rest of the way.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Getting What You Want Can Be Scary

T-Shirt I'm wearing today. All that's left (besides all the books I bought with my employee discount) from my days as a book seller at the long closed down Stone Lion Bookstore in Ft. Collins Colorado.
When your dreams start coming true, you might get a little bit scared. This thought occurred to me this morning while lying in bed and thinking about all the THINGS that needed doing and the logistics of HOW and WHERE the writing part of the day would happen. Truth: I felt overwhelmed. Yes, there were many items on the To Dos list, but there are always many items on that list...I'm used to them. The overwhelmed feeling was stemming from someplace else, someplace I hadn't expected. The reason I was feeling a bit over the edge was because:

1. My book is actually going to be published and real people will one day very soon be reading that book. These people might love it, hate it, or feel completely indifferent about it, but that book that I clawed up and out of my brain is going to be the fodder for their opinion about it. And I'll be honest, I fear the one star review.

 2. I now have a contractual obligation to finish the next book in the series. Where as before, I just wrote and wrote and no one really cared if and or when I finished or how many words I'd written or if the thing was actually readable...I now have people expecting and waiting on not just a stream of words but words compiled in such a way that they make sense, are entertaining, and move the original story forward (but, you know, no pressure or anything.)

3. I also have my lovely agent waiting on me to finish another completely-unrelated-to-this-series book. She likes what she's seen so far and is encouraging me to finish it. And I want to finish it. Yes, I want to do this and everything else.

 I never thought that when all the things I had been wanting to happen actually did start happening I would feel anything besides pure joy. Now, don't get me wrong, compared to the days of desperately waiting on agent responses, and then feedback from editors I was on submission to, there is some measure of joy with what I have accomplished. And I realize that these are good stresses to have. These are the stresses of progress, the signs that I am closer to my goals for my writing. But back when I was just trying to learn how to even finish a novel, I never gave much thought to what the day to day life would look like once I had the agent and the book deal.

To be honest, it looks very much the same. I still have to stop and sit down for the words everyday. I still need to juggle life and the words. And I still hope someone will like what I have to share only now I'm mostly hoping that someone is the reader instead of just agents and editors.

As you move closer to what you want to be doing with you're goals, is it what you expected? Did you even know what to expect?