Monday, November 10, 2014

Cover Reveal

I'm beyond excited to share with you the cover for my young adult fantasy, Pleasantwick, coming December 2014.

I'd always said that if I could choose my cover artist, it would be, without a doubt, Nathalia Suellen. She's incredibly artistic and amazing, with an eye for fantasy. So when I decided to self-publish I contacted her immediately, to get a slot in her schedule.

I'm happy to say, she didn't disappoint.

Pleasantwick has been years in the making and to see an actual book cover for it just blows me away.

So, are you ready to see it?

Drumroll, please.


If you haven't already seen the back cover blurb, go to the My Books tab at the top of the page.

So what do you think of the cover? I hope you love it as much as I do!

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Big News!

Over the past couple of months, you may have noticed that I've been hinting around about a having a big announcement. Well, here it is...

I'm self-publishing my young adult fantasy PLEASANTWICK.

PLEASANTWICK will release December 2014. It will be available as a soft cover book and as an eBook at Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (Nook) and Smashwords (Sony, and other formats.)

This wasn't an easy decision as I've always pictured myself having an agent and going the traditional publishing route. Honestly, until recently, I hadn't even considered self-publishing, because of the stigma associated with it. Understandably so, when you've got new writers out there who don't take the time to learn the craft and familiarize themselves with the publishing business. 

But here's the thing...

The professional writers, the ones who've edited and revised the crap out of their work, who've hired editors and cover artists ... they are taking over the self-publishing industry.

So, after spending the last several years in the query trenches, trying to find someone to help me fulfill my dream of being a published author, I finally decided to take my career into my own hands and turn my dream into my reality.

One of the best parts of self-publishing is that I have complete control over the product I put out. I hired an editor. (Yes, my book is being professionally edited.) And I've hired my dream cover artist Nathalia Suellen. Her work is amazing! (She's responsible for the SPLINTERED series covers.)

I love this book, and I believe in this book. I'm excited to share that I'm planning a cover reveal soon, hopefully a blog tour, and definitely some giveaways. I'm so excited about the giveaways!

What's my book about? Here's the blurb from the back cover.

When her father begins restoring an enormous, ancient rundown house in the middle of the California woods, Melinda Richards is instantly captivated. Steeped in mystery, the grand old structure, dubbed Sotheby House, boasts a history—and power—that Melinda would never guess. She’s lured back time and again, especially after meeting a handsome stranger in the nearby woods. Strong, soothing, charming…Luke makes her feel calm and excited all at once, and it’s not long before Melinda is spending every spare moment with the enigmatic young man.

Luke Sotheby is in trouble—in more ways than one. Not only is his magical world, Pleasantwick, under attack by dark witches, but his ancestral home, the very portal to that world, has been bought by a commoner! And worse—he’s falling for the commoner’s daughter. Melinda is smart, sweet, brave…she makes him feel things he’s never experienced (and for an empath, that’s really saying something). At a time when all his energy should be focused on the preservation of his home and the safety of his people, Luke is drawn to Melinda on a soul-deep level that’s impossible to ignore.

As the magical battle spills over into the common world, the young couple begins to face dangers the likes of which neither has ever known. Lives will be lost, secrets revealed, and if Pleasantwick falls, Melinda and Luke could be separated—forever.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Writing tips "by zombies"

If you're a writer you probably have several --if not dozens-- of notebooks lying around. I do. Some have specific purposes and others are filled with all kinds of notes, writing exercises, and doodles. One of them has the date of my next dentist appointment scribbled in the top corner of a page, unfortunately I can't remember which one. 

But I have one notebook that I keep separate from the others. It has a hard cover with a butterfly on it. This is where I keep writing related tips. It has definitions and examples of common terms, punctuation, grammatical rules, sentence structure, and often misused words.

I've decided to share some of my notes with you. Maybe you'll find something helpful.

  • Expository: adj. intended to explain or describe something.

Using exposition instead of observable dramatic action is "telling versus showing."


Melinda and Kelly had been best friends since the first grade. They were closer than sisters and shared everything.
Observable dramatic action
Kelly plucked a handful of french fries off Melinda's lunch tray. "My brown boots would look great with your new skinny jeans. You should wear them to the dance Friday."

  • Don't use passive voice!

Passive voice is when you place the object being acted upon before the initiator of the action, or make the initiator unclear.
For example "The car was hit" rather than "Jason hit the car."

Here's a helpful trick: If you can insert the phrase "by zombies" after the verb and the sentence still makes sense, then you've used passive voice.

The tree was struck by zombies.
Lightning struck the tree.

The second sentence is active.

  • Dependent clause

A dependent clause cannot stand alone as a sentence [dependent clause comma independent clause].

For example: While she was asleep, the dog ate her homework.

A dependent clause with "ing" verb implies simultaneous action. You should limit the number of these on one page.

For example: Pressing his lips together, he hesitated.

  •  Split infinitive

A split infinitive is when you put an adverb between "to" and a verb.
For example "to generously sprinkle" or "to boldly go."

Instead of

You have to really watch him.
You have to watch him closely.

  • Avoid waffling words

Words that don't add meaning and can usually be eliminated: actually, basically, quite, definitely, really, truly, ultimately, very

  • Avoid filter words

Filter words distance the reader for the point of view of the character. Words like: saw, heard, felt, knew, watched, decided, noticed, realized, wondered, thought, looked.

Instead of

Melinda knew she had to get out of there.
Melinda had to get out of there. (Or) She had to get out of there.
  • Don't use 20 words when 5 will do
I don't think I need to explain the last one. 

That's it for today. I hope my notes made sense and maybe helped you out a little bit. Next time maybe we'll tackle adverbs.

Disclaimer: Even though I may be familiar with the above rules, I'm sure I haven broken most of them at one time or another -- probably even in this post.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Are you truly ready to query?

I recently went looking through my files for a writing timeline of my manuscript, now called Under the Violet Sky, and what I found surprised me. I was so naive when I began writing this story.

Although being naive has it downsides, I don't think it's entirely a bad thing.

I started writing about these characters in October 2008. I wasn't sure where I was going with it, or how long I'd even stick with it. But the more I wrote the more excited I got to keep going, to prove I could write a whole novel. It went through a lot of changes, including POV and from first person to third.

In my writing diary I had a note from December 2009 stating that I thought I'd be done soon and able to query after the new year.

May 2010, I noted that I'd "officially" completed my first novel.

I sent my first query in July of 2010.

So back to what I was saying about being naive, looking back I realize that I was NO WHERE near ready to query this manuscript. But I thought I was. I was ambitious and enthusiastic. And I queried away. I'm embarrassed for my past self.

But here's the thing ...
If I knew how much work I'd have ahead of me, how many years of writing and learning and querying and rejection were ahead, and how insanely slow and hard the publishing business is ... I might not have stuck with it.

But I did stick with it. Or maybe I should say, it stuck with me. Because there came a point when I wasn't saying I have to keep going to prove I can do this; Instead I was saying I NEED to do this. Period. You couldn't pull me away if you tried.

Let's skip ahead to February 2014. That's right, almost four years later, after working with critique partners and betas, and revising the heck out of this manuscript. I was finally truly ready to query.

So my point is, don't rush. Don't make the mistake I did and query too soon. Get help. Get a second, third, fourth set of eyes on your work. Once my bad writing habits were pointed out I was able to start catching them myself. My writing got tighter and better. 

I've found that writers in general are very supportive of one another. There's all kinds of help out there, you just need to know how to find it. I'd still be lost and flailing on my own if it weren't for the wonderful people I've met through tweeting and blogging.

Here are a couple helpful links and hashtags:

Agent Janet Reid is a great source for answering questions about querying.

On Twitter
And following @brendadrake is a must. She hosts #pitchwars and #pitmad. She's really awesome.

Do you have a question? Just ask. I'll do whatever I can to help.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Alive and Kicking

Hello friends!

It's been a busy summer and I can't believe it's almost over already.

I'm happy to say my summer started with a family reunion, and the healing of old wounds. Don't live with anger and regret, because that's no way to live and it's not healthy. Don't say you should call that person someday. Do it TODAY. Chances are, that person will be glad you did.

It's also been a summer of puppies and kitties and bunnies, and if you know me then you know that makes me a happy camper.

We also spent some time traveling to county fairs for my 17-year-old daughter, Lindsey, to compete in karaoke contests. She won first place at two of them!
Lindsey is in the center.
Click here for Lindsey's winning performance of Hurt by Christina Aguilera

So anyway, I'm still here and I'm still writing, just not so much on the blog. I've been busy with my second novel Give Me A Sign, which I'm about a quarter of the way toward my target word count.
And as for my first novel Under the Violet Sky, well, I may have something exciting in the works. But for now, you'll have to wait.

So there you have it, short and sweet, just like me. lol

I'll leave you with this ...

... because I'm hoping it's true. ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#ROW80 Check-in 4/13/14

This is my first official check-in since I just started on Wednesday. I'm off to an okay start. Hopefully this week will go better.

My goals were listed as this:

  1. Write at least 300 words a day, at least 5 times a week.
  2. Read everyday, at least 1 chapter.
  3. Work on my time management.
  4. Check-in twice a week with a blog post.
My progress went like this:
  1. I wrote three out of the five days, totaling about 802 words. Meh.
  2. I read everyday. I started reading CHASING BROOKLYN by Lisa Schroeder. It's a 412 page novel in verse and I've almost finished it. That's pretty good for me. I'm a slow reader. Yay!
  3. I'm trying to work on my time management, but I haven't been able to fit it into my schedule. Oops.
  4. I remembered to check-in. Yay!
For this week, how about I try this:
  1. Write at least 1,500 words
  2. Keep reading everyday. At least one chapter.
  3. Work on time management. Though I'll have extra obstacles this week. Two teens home on spring break.
  4. Check-in twice a week with a blog post. And try to make it a little more interesting.
See ya Wednesday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Goals for ROW80

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It's a group of writers who make realistic, measurable goals and support each other. They have check-ins twice a week on Wednesdays and Sundays.

This round started on April 7th, but I just learned about it. So I'm jumping in late. You can too! You can find more information here.

Since I'm not very good at routines or setting attainable goals, I'm going to start out #ROW80 with a few simple goals. I'll see how the first week goes and try to bump it up a little for next week.

  1. Write at least 300 words a day, at least 5 times a week.
  2. Read everyday, at least 1 chapter.
  3. Work on my time management.
  4. Check-in twice a week with a blog post.

Good luck everyone! I look forward to meeting new people and following their successes.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Interview with debut author Michael Sova

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to debut author Michael Sova. I knew Michael back in high school, and was excited to reconnect with him recently after hearing he’s a fellow writer.

Michael’s first book A SHOT AT REDEMPTION is currently available on Kindle.

When Cash Douglas faces a personal tragedy and an ever-growing stack of medical bills, he relies on his unique talent as a race car driver to try to make ends meet. He swallows his pride, follows the big pay days and doesn't worry about whose toes he might be stepping on in the process. Cash's reputation takes a serious hit but he's got far more important things on his mind. Things begin to look up when he receives a surprise offer to sign on with RaceTech. Frank McKinnel, the owner of RaceTech, has plans to franchise his race parts business. He wants publicity and knows hiring a black sheep like Cash Douglas is a sure way to get people talking. His decision angers at least one person as well. Slashed tires and mysterious warning messages soon lead to sabotage, assault, and attempted murder. Someone is out to get Cash, RaceTech or both. The big question is why? Frank McKinnel appears to be the only one with a clear motive. He has a true knack for turning publicity into profit, but would he trash his own cars and risk the life of his driver just to sell a few more franchises? Cash has to find out before it's too late.

This is a fast paced story of intrigue, suspense, and high octane action.

It sounds intriguing, Michael! I can't wait to read it.

Q:  So tell me about yourself. What have you been up to?

A:  My hobbies include reading, writing and watching NFL football, preferably with a beer nearby. I am a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan which makes the beer even more necessary. I like rock and roll, heavy metal and electric blues, but I've found that classical music is usually the most inspirational when I'm writing. I spent several years working at a large country radio station in North Carolina. Notice I did not list country among my music preferences. During my time in broadcasting, my job titles included: boom box operator, overnight air talent, evening air talent, mid-day air talent, promotions director and music director. I don't miss the radio business. I do miss all the perks. I now live and work in New York. In addition to the novel I've written and the one I'm currently working on, I have two blogs. My Turn the Page blog is dedicated exclusively to book reviews. My Wishful Thinking blog is far more general. Recent topics range from the Beatles, to writer's block, to hernias. I sometimes post original short fiction, and from September through January, I talk a lot of football.

Q:  What authors do you enjoy reading?

A:  I'd be hard pressed to come up with a list of favorite authors. My tastes change all the time. Currently, I really like C. J. Box, Lee Child, Lawrence Block, Jodi Picoult, Nelson DeMille, James Scott Bell and a host of others. Really, though, I'll enjoy any story that's told well. It would be far easier for me to name the authors I don't like… but I'm not going to do that.       

Q:  How did you get started in writing?

A:  I started writing stories when I was probably eight or nine years old. The only one I really remember involved a man stranded alone on a desert island and armed with nothing more than a pen knife. It was written in the first person and my character died at the end of the story. You can see the flaw with that. I suppose that was my first lesson in the importance of proper POV. Other than school, the first "real" writing I did was for the "Oswego Eagle," the weekly program at the Oswego Speedway. At the time, I was only interested in a little pocket money and getting into the races for free. The experience ended up paying much higher dividends than I ever expected because, eventually, it became one of the primary inspirations for A Shot at Redemption.

Q:  How did A Shot at Redemption truly come about?

A:  It actually began as a serial novella. The original version of the story was published in weekly installments in the Oswego Speedway program. It was written for a very specific audience and definitely wouldn't be confused with classic literature. However, by the time the story was finished, I realized I had the foundation for a very strong novel.

Q:  What would you like people to know about your book?

A:  The main thing I'd like people to know about A Shot at Redemption is that it's not just a book about auto racing. Yes, the main character is a race car driver and much of the action takes place on the track. That said, it's a suspense novel, and the true story is in the mystery. I believe it would appeal to anyone who enjoys the genre. I've had great feedback from men and women, many of whom know or care nothing about racing.  

Q:  So let's talk publishing. What led you toward self-publishing?

A:  I decided to self-publish for a few reasons. First, my manuscript took far longer to complete than I ever imagined. There's a lot to be said for traditional publishing but it can be a painfully slow process. Even if I landed an agent with my first query letter and signed a publishing contract the very next day (I'd have a better chance of winning the Powerball jackpot), I'd still be looking at a minimum of 18 months before my book appeared on a bookstore shelf. I just didn't want to wait that long. Second, my main character drives supermodified race cars for a living. That's not exactly mainstream, even among race fans. Most of the first chapter takes place at a racetrack. A cursory inspection could make it appear that my book is all about short track racing in Upstate New York. It's not, but I knew that was going to be a hard sell. And finally, as much as I enjoy writing and would love to have success with my books, the business side of the whole thing really doesn't appeal to me in the slightest. 

Q:  Was the process hard?

A:  I did the whole thing through Kindle Direct Publishing and the entire process was incredibly simple and straight forward. Once I did the proper formatting and hit the Upload button, my book was available for sale within 24 hours.  

Q:  Will there be a print version?

A:  Of course, even in this new digital age, not everyone wants to read e-books. I've had several inquiries about a print edition and plan to make one available in the near future. There are several POD (print on demand) options available.  

Q:  Do you think you’d ever try traditional publishing?

A:  Self-publishing now doesn't mean I wouldn't go a more "traditional" route at some point down the road. I think this was the most logical first step for this particular project. My second book, as yet untitled, will be vastly different and, at least on the surface, more commercially acceptable. I'll finish the manuscript and then worry about where to go from there.    

In addition to the blogs listed, you can find Michael on Twitter and facebook. Also, don't forget to check out A Shot at Redemption on Goodreads and buy it on Amazon.

I'd like to thank Michael for taking the time to stop by my blog. Consider leaving a comment or asking a question. We'd love to hear from you.