Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Promotion.....what do you think about it???

Promotion, promotion, promotion!!!!

Writing a fabulous book and finding an agent and publisher is no longer all a writer has to do to succeed. Once the editing is done and the cover designed....we as writers need to take marketing and promotion into our own hands. Well, should probably start way before a "platform".

I started building my platform before I received my book contract. I got myself on Myspace as a writer-something separate from my personal account, as well as a Fan Page on Facebook. I tried the Twitter thing but at first it didn't really appeal to me. I gave it a second chance and I'm enjoying much more now. I started this blog back in March of 09 as another way to get myself out there and network. It did however, turn into much more...something I wasn't quite expecting. I started to make friends and found great support and camaraderie.

So for some further promotion...for me and also a great place for other writers and romance readers to go.....gotta check this out!! Coffee Time Romance is a great site: book reviews, chats, interviews, contests, free short stories. You can even make an ecard with a romance novel cover to send to your girlfriends!!!! How cool is that????

Coffee Time Romance also has a Youtube page with tons and tons of great book trailers (yours truly is featured under Chick Lit and Contemporary!) Please check it out and share it with your romance-loving friends!!!

And don't forget about my Karma Story Contest!! It's open till Friday!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Did you happen to see it this past Sunday, the 24th??? I DVR'd it and finally got to watch it last night and all I can say is Wow!

This is my hometown.....and EM showed off what Buffalonians do best and that's help one another. We aren't called the City of Good Neighbors for nothing. Ty Pennington made mention of this being the most volunteers they've ever had for the show and obviously the producers felt it necessary to extend it's normal hour show to two hours for a reason. There was just so much footage of people helping people that they had to double their allotted time.

I have always loved this area. I was born here, grew up here and I'm raising my family here. For my entire 32 years of existence, I only lived elsewhere for about 8 months time (not including the two years I spent in college). There is an unbelievable amount of culture and history in Buffalo and so often it is hidden behind poverty and unfavorable economic times. Yes, we have our share of run-down neighborhoods (one of which was shown on Extreme Makeover) and no, the job market is not great around here...been that way for years, not just recent times.

But what we do have is amazing. Our people LOVE this area with everything in them and it's quite infectious. And we have many many poeple who have moved to this area for one reason or another and fell insanely in love with Buffalo.

Isn't this a gorgeous picture?? This is Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo:

This is where we often take our kids for walks. It's the Erie Basin Marina:

And this is Delaware Park and the Albright Knox Art Gallery:

My hope for the future of Buffalo is for the world to know how wonderful it is here and hopefully Extreme Makeover helped with that!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Extending the Contest!!! Sign up now!!

Well, the response to my contest has not be as great as I would have liked :(

So, I've decided to extend it an extra week!!

All you need to do is visit the Contest Post and leave a comment with one of your karmic moments...good or bad!!! It's easy!!! Has there ever been a time where you've done something good and then something good happened to you??? I'm sure we've all had those moments where soemthing not so good happens and you say to yourself- "Yep, that's what I get!". What about the good things you do hoping for good karma later on??? That counts too! So far I've received some great stories!!!

You need to be a follower to qualify for the contest. And the winners will be chosen randomly. Pass the contest on too...the more new followers and the more contest entrants I get, the more prizes I give away!!

Thanks in advance!

Friday, January 22, 2010

What do you think about book trailers???

Book trailers are all the rage, putting a writer's story in front of a reader's eyes in hopes of grasping their attention, just like the parade of movie trailers we watch before the feature film. Book trailers do pretty much the exact same thing, telling the watcher a little about the characters and the plot of the story.

Now there are some fantastic book trailers out there- very high quality stuff. Videos that were obviously done by someone professionally and probably cost big bucks. I've also seen some simple ones too....basic slide shows set to music with wording added in. I made one for my book, A Bitch Named Karma, you can check it out here. It's far from fantastic, but I think it works and the music is perfect for my main character. I used Windows Movie Maker on my computer and it took me several days at a couple hours each day to do it and get it just the way I wanted. I was happy with it till I started reading other blogs about book trailers. Some blog posters and commenters think that if you can't do it up big, then don't do it at all. I don't agree with this.

Take websites for example. It's no longer something neat to is an absolute, bare minimum must. Some people put tons and tons of money into website design...and they look fantastic. It's well worth the money. But what about the rest of us? I simply cannot afford it. I do what I can for now, dreaming of the day I can pay someone to do something fantastic. But my simple little site is much better than not having one at all.

Isn't it safe to say the same is true of a book trailer?? It's a promotional tool, just like a website, blog, Twitter page, Facebook Fanpage...etc.... It's something that gets your name and your story in front of a reader's entice them to want more. I can't afford to go pay someone to make a fancy trailer for me right now...but is it fair to say "Go big or go home" on this??

I'm interested to see what my blog friends think of this. I know most of you are in my same exact place....newbies starting out with low or zero cash flow for stuff like this.

***And another reminder!! Don't forget to sign up for my contest!!!***

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm registered for the conference and got the agent I wanted!!

YAY!! I am going to The Write Stuff Writer's Conference in March and mailed my registration right on the 15th, first day it could be postmarked. It was super important for me to do this for one reason and one reason only: the agent meeting.

An agent meeting is part of the conference and I am very excited to get this opportunity. But, unfortunately, this is a pretty small conference (good for a first timer, I think!) and there are only 5 agents going. And out of those, only 2 represent romance, and only one of them contemporary romance. The other only does suspense and paranormal romance, which is not what I write at all. So, basically that means there is only one agent that I can pitch to. And I had to make sure I got my registration in as early as possible to guarantee I got my 10 minutes with her!!

And I did! Got the confirmation email that listed Kim Lionetti from Bookends as the agent I have an appointment with! Yay!

The first night of the conference, Kim will be hosting a lecture on pitching dos and don'ts. I will be there and taking notes, hoping I don't make a complete fool out of myself when I actually sit with her!!

****And a reminder!!! PLEASE don't forget to sign up for my first ever Blog Contest!! Please pass it on too!!***

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My First Official Blog Contest!!! YAY!!!

I am super excited about this!!! I have seen others do contests in the past and I knew I wanted to do my own someday!!!

So for my first contest ever, I'm gonna keep it simple!!!! In honor of my debut novel A Bitch Named Karma, which will be released later this summer from Lyrical Press, all I want you to do is tell me your karma moment!!

Here's what you do: Post a comment telling me about a moment where you've experienced karma, good or bad! It can be anything!!!

All commenters who answer the question will be entered into a random drawing for a $10 gift card from!!! Only rule is that you must be one of my followers!! Please feel free to share this contest with your friends and blogger buddies!!! Cause if my follower list reaches 100, I will add an additional $5 prize!!! AND if I have at least 25 karma commenters for the contest, I will add a 3rd prize, another $5 gc!!

Please enter my contest!!!!! I am so excited!! And I hope to hold more contests in the future!!!

PS: Forgot to add, deadline to enter is Friday at midnight, EST. I will draw the winner sometime over the weekend and announce it Monday on the blog.

PPS: I figured I should add one of my karma moments.....Guinevere's comment made me think of this.... When I was a sixteen, I started seeing this guy...I was still kinda dating someone else. Okay...there was no kinda about it. But I was out camping at the seasonal campground my family camped at every weekend and my boyfriend was at home and I knew I'd be breaking up with him the minute I got home and had access to a phone (this was before cell phones). So I fooled around with the guy, went home, broke up with my boyfriend, then the next weekend....the other guy was back with his ex girlfriend.....yeah...karma was NOT my friend that day. But, I deserved it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What makes you happy??? Here is what makes me happy!

A HUGE thanks to Dawn Simon at Plotting and Scheming for honoring me with this award!!!!! Check her out!!!

So now, without further ado, my list of 10 things that make me truly, utterly, head over heels happy (in no particular order...just randomly as they pop into my head):

#1: My husband, who has been incredibly supportive in this literary journey I have embarked on...way more supportive than he was when I had my floral business...which to this day still puzzles me since the flower thing actually did bring in cash..... But anyway, he spoils me and gives me the freedom to create.

#2: My kids, who never cease to put a smile on my face. Well, no, that's a lie. I do not smile when my daughter gets in her little almost 7 attitude or when my son acts like the little devil he can be.

#3: My forthcoming novel, A Bitch Named Karma. I am doing a full read through after this second round of copy edits before I send it back to my editor...and let me tell you...I am still soooooooooooo in love with this story!!!

#4: Walt Disney World. I cannot help it. I LOVE that place. We feel so free and relaxed when we're there. We can have fun with the kids and leave all worries at home. I truly feel like I've been whisked away to some magical land! We love it so much, hubby and I are even sneaking away just us for a few days in April!

#5: Scrapbooking. Been so busy the past year that I have hardly had time for it, but I so love it! I have always been a crafty kind of gal, but I found craft perfection when I found scrapbooking. I am very much into pictures and photo albums and combining that with crafting is nirvana for me!!

#6: Dancing. I love to dance. This is my 11th year taking an adult jazz class...we even perform in the yearly recital! I've done ballet and competition classes too...can't do that anymore :( And I'd love to take ballroom lessons if I had the cash...even compete too. That would be so so fun!

#7: Shopping...I can't help it. If I'm sad, buying soemthing totally cheers me up. I love getting new things, especially when I get a bargain!!!!

#8: Food scented body wash and lotion. YUM!!!

#9: Having parents who don't criticize or tell me how I should live my life. (Though dad does get something in every once in a while.) They are such a breath of fresh air when I see how other people's parents are. They're not perfect, but I am very lucky!!

#10: Going out to eat! Though I love to cook...I love going out to different restaurants and trying new things! It's nice to sit back and relax and have someone else have to clean up!

Okay...Now to pick some bloggers to give this award to! You must pass it on to others and post 10 things that make you happy!!

Roni at Fiction Groupie: Love reading your posts and you don't have this award yet!!
Anne at Piedmont Writer: We are so so alike!!
Stephanie Damore: Always love your posts!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Irritated and hurt and just plain angry...

Just participated in an online debate on Facebook about digital publishing with three fellow writers (who I know in real life) who claim to be my friends but completely shun eReaders and all forms of digital publishing. Well, gee, thanks guys....I guess that means I can count on you for ZERO support when my book is released as a digital book later this year.

If someone wants no part in digital media, fine, do what you want. I like paper books just as much as the next person, but I have accepted the fact that publishing is changing.

Technology is can't sit back and refuse to take part in it...if you refuse today's advances, you may as well reject yesterdays advances, like computers, the internet, telephones, microwaves, tv, refrigerators, even cars! It's hypocritical to say the advances of the 21st century are crap, but things we have come to know as life, advances of our grandfathers in the 19th and 20th century, those are okay.

Let's face it, digital media is here to stay. Look at you think kids are going to one day shun the ipods they've known for years and years?? No, of course not. And it's all just getting bigger and better. I think that's exactly what will happen with eReaders.

I know I can't change people's minds...they'll think what they want to think, but why such negativity? Like I said....our world is built on all of it great, no, but why are digital books considered evil??

I kissed the feet of technology the day my ePublishing contract arrived...and in an email, no less. So a question to all these anti-ebook people....should I have never submitted to a digital publisher? Should I have turned down a contract for my book....a contract for the electronic publishing of my novel, my baby, the project I dedicated so much if my time to? Should I have rejected the chance to start my career???? Just curious as to what the eBook scoffers would say to those questions.

All I'm asking for is a little bit of open-mindedness. This "nope, nadda, NEVER gonna do it" attitude does not work for regard to eReaders or anything else in life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gearing up for a writers conference!!

Tonight the registration form goes live for The Write Stuff Writers Conference the end of March. I will be printing it, filling it out and mailing it first thing tomorrow...hoping to guarantee that I get my 10 minutes with the agent I want, Kim Lionetti at Bookends.

So, I need everyone's best conference advice!!! Please please please share!!!!

I'll be taking my laptop, of course. But what else should I bring??? Do people bring tape recorders to record workshops/lectures?

Is it standard to go up to agents during social functions at the conference?? There is a Welcome reception the first night. I so do not want to aggravate anyone or perform a conference faux pas. I already know not to follow people into bathrooms or do other annoying things! LOL!

How on Earth do I stay calm while pitching to the agent during my session??? I already get butterflies just thinking about it!! I don't want to say the wrong thing or sound completely moronic.

I am very excited about this! I have wanted to attend a conference for a while now...but the big ones were way out of my price range. This one is very reasonable. Luckily I have a writer friend to split accommodations with, so all in all- fees, gas money, food money, hotel, the total cost will be less than some of the entrance fees to the bigger conferences.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ever feel like this???

Really excited about something but you just keep it to yourself because you're sick and tired of hearing the thoughts that everyone else feels compelled to express about said topic.

This is happening to me right now.

We live within a budget. I do not work a regular job. We are not swimming in money. But come tax return time, we have some money and we like to splurge on ourselves. No one has issues with that fact....but everyone has a comment for what we actually do with our money.

We like to take trips and that time together is very precious to us. It's an escape from bills, work, school, responsibilities...everything. We treasure that time as a family and the rare chance that hubby and I can get away on our own.

So that's what we're doing. Hubby and I booked an extra long weekend away but we dread telling family and friends where we're going. I know we'll get the "AGAIN?" and "You were just there!" and "Don't you get sick of that place?"

At this point in our lives, no, we are not sick of it. It's what we like. I'm not siting here telling someone they can't eat steak more than once a week if that's what they like. Or what about people who buy season tickets to sporting events...I'm not asking them: "Aren't you sick of going to football games?" I would never do that. If people find joy and happiness from something...more power to them. Life is about being happy and finding it wherever you can.

Why can't people just be happy for others who are able to do the things they enjoy???

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just got the news!!!!!

My story made it into Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom Edition!!!! I am so excited!!!!!!

Little backstory...the piece that made it in is something I wrote a couple years ago. I don't write many essays or memoir type stuff. I haven't lived an exciting there aren't many topics to write a memoir about! But I guess my mom situation was a bit on the unusual side. I never really thought it was my was what I was used to. My mom basically took off when I was 3, my brother 1-1/2. We did see her in the summer though. But we were real lucky....our dad remarried pretty soon after the divorce and she has been beyond amazing. We have called her mom since the beginning (though she tells us she and our dad never prompted us to). She took care of us and never once in my entire life did I feel like a step child. Even after she and my dad had a half brother was treated no better (actually, he complains incessantly that I am the favored child!)

So anyway, the piece is about my step mom and how important she's been to me and how in my opinion, being a mother has nothing to do with biology.

I submitted this piece to CSFTS after finding the call for submissions listed somewhere on the internet. I sent it off and forgot about it. Till the email came. I've been back and forth with them over the past couple months...but until today....I was never told "Yes, You're in!"

I'm very excited about this!! I didn't tell my mom (step mom) about the piece. She has read it before but I never told her it was being considered for CSFTS. Publication date is set for the end of March and I think it would be a lovely Mother's Day gift!

I will get $200 and 10 copies of the book! Not bad!!! know how every story in CSFTS has a quote from someone famous on the page??? Yeah....when they sent me the final edited version of the story for my approval...the quote on my page: OPRAH!

Friday, January 8, 2010

I started a Cooking Blog!!!

I have been toying with the idea for a long long time!! I have been cooking healthy meals for my family for years....I find it very thrilling to make something utterly delicious that is guilt-free! This new blog will follow myself and my friend Denise through our adventures in healthy cooking. We'll share TONS of tried and true recipes and welcome recipes suggestions from readers! We'll try those too and then share them!

I have a few musts in a low fat/low cal recipe: it must taste fantastic, it must be relatively easy to make and it must be relatively inexpensive. And our blog will be full of these type of recipes!

I found too, that there are many people out there who want to eat better but just do not know where to start and the term "low fat" scares them to death. So many people have the preconception that low fat means low taste and that is so not true!! Hopefully this blog will give people a starting place!

Come stop by! Healthy Cooking Mamas

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Follow the Bouncing Word Count!

I am in the middle of a major edit on my 3rd novel, Spellbound. It was originally written in 1st person and I decided to do a POV change on the entire thing. Huge, not at all. And I'm quite enjoying being able to add in my hero's thoughts! Very fun actually!!

But what I'm noticing as I do this edit, my word count keeps fluctuating. It goes up when I write in some of my male characters POV, then goes down when I edit out a blah paragraph. And now that I'm in the middle of copy edits with my editor for A Bitch Named Karma, I am learning soooooooooooooooooo much and it's amazing how I read my work now and can instantly pick out spots that are worded wrong. And dialog tags...I never thought I was horrible with them...but boy...I am cutting a bunch out!

Love that I am constantly learning new things and strengthening my writing!!

So overall the word count makes me happy. For the moment it's lower than it was when I originally finished the story...but I know there are spots I need to add in more of my hero's I expect it to end up back where it originally was.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quite pathetic....

All year I've been reading other bloggers who made a goal to read 100 books in one year. Seemed absolutely awesome yet crazy at the same time. That's 2 books a week! Where in the world do you guys find the time to read that much?????

I thought of trying something like that myself.....but I have kids. One is in the first hour and a half of our day is quite hectic with breakfast, getting dressed, making lunch, etc... Once she leaves I am doing laundry, playing with my little one, etc... 11:30 is lunch time...then nap time for him. Then it's my time...3-1/2 glorious hours of whatever I want to do. Usually the first hour is email, blogging, Facebook, etc... Then I spend the rest writing or editing. 4 comes and it's time to start making dinner...then eat dinner, then clean up from dinner. Then we have some family time. Kids get in bed, I get in the shower and then sometimes get back on the computer. Add in nights where I go to writers group meetings and also my weekly dance class and my daughter's dance class. Weekends...forget about it...always something going on. So not a ton of free time for reading. I get, at the most, an hour before bed.

I just went on to Goodreads to see how many books I actually did read this year..assuming I logged in every one. There were many I started and never finished too (I'm so much more critical now that I am a writer...and if something does not grab my full attention it gets put down), so those weren't added in. The count...a depressing 16.

I guess it's not awful...more than 1 a month. I think with my would be unrealistic to try to read more than say 30 in an entire year...that's a little more than 1 book every 2 weeks.

So I will try to read 30 books in 2010. That is my goal! Now that I have my Sony Reader, I am determined to fit in more reading time (and get full use out of such an expensive gadget!). I have 9 books loaded on it ready to go. But I started reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I'm on book 1 and if I love it...I will need to read the next 3 immediately. The library has them- they're kinda old, so no waiting. I can't see buying them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

I love when a story affects me like this!

This is what writing is all about...for me, anyway. It's the emotion.....the way a truly great story stays with us and changes the way we think or feel about life.

Some of my all-time favorite stories are The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. I am a sucker for a coming of age story and especially one like this that also shows the immensely strong connection between girlfriends.

I read book 1, got it from the library, and loved it. Not really sure where I heard about it or why I picked it up, but I was hooked. I read books 2 and 3, also from the library. The first movie came out (based solely on book 1), can't remember if it was before or after book 3, but I adored it. It didn't disappoint in any way (though it resolved an issue that wasn't resolved in the 1st was resolved in book 3). It took the characters I adored and brought them to life.

Book 4 was due to come out and I wanted to buy it. I knew I wanted to eventually collect them all. I had just seen the movie, so instead of spending the cash right away, I just bought 2 & 3, and read them to refresh my memory before 4 came out. 4 came out and I couldn't even wait for my collection is all paperback except for 4.

Movie number two came out and I was disappointed.....I loved some of it but found many faults it the way 3 books were squished into one 2 hour movie. So much was cut and that I'm sure disappointed far more fans than just myself.

So now we're at present day and while shopping for Christmas presents a few weeks ago for family and friends, I happened across a box set: both STP movies and Book #1...which I still did not have. I hinted to hubby that I would really like it for Christmas. And it was only $23! Needless to say, I got it and when I opened it up and looked into the eyes of the actresses on the cover...the four friends who had also become my friends, I got teary. My mind flooded with their story, the ups, the downs, the sadness, the joy.......

My dream is to make my readers feel this way about my stories.