Get My Books at Amazon

Friday, December 31, 2010

some things...

I can't be everything to everyone.

When I blog, I have to think about who I am writing for. Is it for readers? Is it for other writers? Is it for myself? Because how answer that question affects what kind of blog I write.

I used to just say whatever I wanted to say, because nobody was reading it. I had free reign to be inappropriate and silly and sometimes to vent and complain. About anything I want. Because who cares? It's not like anybody read anything I said.

Now just writing a blog, I have so much to think about. There are still so many things I want to say. I want to talk about my path as a writer. I want to talk about how grateful I am for my readers and some of the really neat, inspiring fan mail I get. I want to talk about my books and the exciting things I have coming up. And sometimes, I just want to talk about Christian Bale and Batman.

But I haven't defined what kind of blog I want this to be. I think mostly because I have defined myself as one thing I want to be.

I write books, and I am so, so very grateful for all the things that have come along with that. The ability I have to connect with other people on a really personal way. I've read far more books than I've written, and I know how deeply you begin to care for characters and stories that don't exist. And I am so humbled and thankful that so many people have begun to characters and stories that I created.

But that is not at all I am. I'm also a daughter, and a grand daughter, and a friend, and a pet owner, and a lousy roommate. I have a gramma who I have been very close to who is now struggling with Alzheimer's, and I know I don't spend as much time with her as I should, but seeing the effects that it's had on her is very, very hard for me.

I have schnauzer and three cats. One of those cats was only supposed to be here temporarily, and she freaks out and meows at my door because she can't stand to be away from me.

I have friends who call me and try to spend time with me, but I am impossible to get a hold or do things with because I am almost always working. I live on the computer. And I'm always writing and editing and trying to answer emails (although lately I am getting more than I can keep up with).

I am so, so grateful for all of this. But I am truly overwhelmed. I have not yet figured out how to manage my time or when to say when. I am working constantly.

Last week, I was approached by a publishing company. We talked on the phone on Monday before Christmas. They wanted to publish the Trylle Trilogy, but they wanted me to wait to release Ascend with them. It would probably be late 2011. I didn't like it, but I had to at least consider the offer.

I know how disappointing and upsetting it was to some readers. Most were very supportive and understanding. But doing everything that I do - marketing, editing, writing, making covers, etc - is exhausting. I am exhausted. And it takes away from my time and ability to write books. So when somebody offered to share the load with me, I had to at least listen.

And to be perfectly honest, I was and still am hurt by some of the responses I got. For me to not even consider something that could benefit myself, my books, and the readers because of a date I had set up seems not only unfair but bad business.

I don't do things on a whim. I don't randomly think, "Hey, let's mess with my readers." I am completely aware that my readers are the reason I have food on the table. I put an immense amount of pressure and stress on myself because I know that. I know that it's because of people with families and bills and problems spending their hard earned on money on something I created that I get to do this. I really do understand that, and I couldn't be more grateful for it.

Eventually, I decided the offer was not in the best interest of myself, my books, or the readers. I won't go into it, because it's a private thing. But the fact that I would have to hold off on releasing Ascend did factor into my decision.

But I can't do everything everybody wants me to do all the time. I can't have Alice end up with both Peter and Jack. I can't be everything to anybody. I can only be me, and I will always try to do the best I can and do right by everybody I come across and treat people with respect.

But that doesn't mean I can always give you everything you want. I have a finite amount of time in this life, and it frustrates as much as it does you.

Most of you are really great and understand and amazing and beyond anything I could ever ask for. I am truly honored and humbled to have had the response that I've had and the readers that I've had and the overall support and encouragement. I cannot say enough about that. Really and truly.

But sometimes, if some of you get upset about something I've said or done or a decision I've made regarding my personal life or my books, can you please take a moment to consider that I am a person. I am an author, yes, and somewhat of a public figure because of that. But I am not a commodity. I do things that I hope people will enjoy and give them some happiness, but I do not live to serve.

As much as it pains me, I cannot be and do everything. And that's the sad truth of life.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pics or It Didn't Happen

I keep trying to think of something inspiring to say to go with this blog. Something about how indie authors can make it and you shouldn't give up on your dreams. About changing tides and control being in the hands of the writers and the readers for the first time. But in my mind, I'm really just thinking, "Holy hell. I can't believe this happened." 

I don't have much  else to say about my December sales, except thank you. Thank you!




B&N sales are tricky because Yesterday & Today's sales aren't included in the monthly total, so I tried to put the three spread sheet things together as best I could.
Smashwords has reported some sales from November, which I subtracted off of the total. But they've only reported sales from Barnes & Noble through 12/25, and I know I've sold books through them in the last 5 days. So this number is actually a bit low.



My total sales for the month of December as of 8:30 PM, 12/30/10 are an absurdly even 99,000.

Which brings my total books sold, since April 15, 2010: 148,887 books

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh, Internet, and Your Wicked Untruths

The subtitle of this blog could be titled "How Google Alerts Are Ruining My Life."

It's too easy for me to find misinformation about myself, and I can't help myself. I have to correct it. I'm compelled to set the record straight. So be prepared for a long-ish blog where I say things.

Okay, first of all, I'm not "averaging" 30,000 sales a month. To be honest, I'm not "averaging" anything. I've only been at this for going on 9 months, and every month has been different. I'm not going to post my monthly sales totals (mostly because I'm lazy but also because December isn't over yet).  But if you were to average out my current total of books sold over 9 months, I'd average about 15,000 books a month.

Second, my agent isn't why I'm successful. That's not saying anything bad about Steve. But he is my agent - not my publicist. He has done no marketing for me. He and his foreign agents have negotiated deals with foreign publishers and pitched my books to other foreign publishers. They've also pitched audio and film rights. That's what an agent does. They don't set up up marketing campaigns. They don't edit books or make covers. They pitch books to various people who buy rights and negotiate contracts.

On a side note, I think it's going to be more and more common for self-published authors to have agents. Why? Because I can't read foreign contracts. I don't know how to negotiate for a better deal. And most movie studios won't accept my calls. You dig?

Third, I use the word foxy. Okay? Me and my friends all use the word foxy. All the time. In fact, in reference to attractive young men, I refer to them almost exclusively as "foxy" or "dreamy." I think the word "cute" is for puppies, and "sexy" sounds dirty. I will not apologize for using the word foxy.

Fourth, I had nothing to do with this book: Kindle Maestro. I have not read it. I did not help write it. I do not endorse it. I have no idea what's inside of it. But I strongly believe that everything you need to know about publishing on Kindle is available for free on the internet, and most of it at Joe Konrath's blog.

Fifth, I am not magical. Having me endorse your book will not help it sell. Having me read your book will not help it sell. I do not have special powers. People credit for me for things I had no power over. If I could make other people's books sell, Jenny Pox would be #1 in the Kindle store. And it's not. So I'm clearly not magic.

Sixth, I have a Frequently Asked Questions tab at the top because I want to make life easier on you. So please check it out.

Seventh, my age seems to be of some dispute, which seems strange to me, since I have my birthday posted all over the place. I'm sixteen. Just kidding, I'm not. But I've considered telling people that because then my success would seem even more awesome. But I'm not sixteen. I'm twenty-six.

I feel like I read something else incorrect that had me enraged, but I don't remember what it was, so it must not have been very bad.

If I come across as snappy or snarky, I apologize. It's not my intent to be. And I don't feel crabby. But I do feel a bit... overwhelmed lately. I'm not complaining at all. But a lot has happened in a very short amount of time, and I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do everything.

The bottom line: I write books for teens about trolls and vampires and zombies that are meant to be fun and entertaining. That's it. Although lately, I've spent more time playing Robot Unicorn Attack than writing, but that happens to be the best game ever.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Some News

Look. Ascend is coming out, you guys. And it's coming out soon. How soon, do you ask? I'm going to be sending it out betas this week. I'd wanted to send out betas last week, but because of things I'll explain later on this week, that didn't happen.

Then once I hear back from betas, I'll start sending out ARCs, and I'll release it shortly after that. So that's what's happening.

And later this week I will explain why it was delayed. Again, I'm sorry for the delay. But it's really only going to be pushed back about a week or two. So... it's not so bad. Really.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How Everything Went the Opposite of What I'd Been Told

I write books, and I always knew that I would someday. Like most of people that aspired to be a writer, I knew that meant that I would need to get an agent in hopes of someday getting a book deal with a major publisher and then see my paperbacks in real brick and mortar stores. (At least that's the ideal). That's what it took to be a real Author and making a living at it.

Along the way, I heard horror stories of authors ripped off by scam "publishers" like Publish America, and how many published authors still worked day jobs to break even, and how many literary agents have more than one job, and how with the recession, they're publishing less and less books. Basically, I heard it was going to impossible to ever make a living at writing books.

But again, this was the only viable option. Because the only choices are writing and querying, or giving up. Or self-publishing, but everybody knows that self-publishing is the kiss of death. Only terrible books that could never sell are self-published. And only the author's family and friends buy self-published books And the books are written like third graders on crack. And they'll never sell more than fifty copies.

That's what we've all heard for years, and in a big way, a lot of that has been true. Historically, self-published books have not sold many copies or made much money.

So even though we all hated it, we all know the system had flaws, the only way to get published, to get your book to sell, was to query, query, query.

In February of 2010, I got my last rejection letter. It was for my novel Switched. I queried at least 50 agents with it over the course of six months, making changes, adjusting the story based on feedback I was getting. But they all said the same thing. They just weren't passionate enough about it, in this climate it's hard to take on new projects, it's all subjective, best of luck.

In March, I read about Joe Konrath and Karen McQuestion. In April, I published my first book to Amazon.

Skip ahead. In August, I got approached by my first foreign publisher. (I think I've been approached by 5 or 6 foreign publishers since then). I got these offers solely because of my self-published sales, and in August, I also landed a good agent, again largely based on my sales.

Skip ahead. October I got approached by a small publisher interested in one of my titles. I declined because I was making more money self-publishing.

Skip ahead. I published my eighth title last week - Letters to Elise. And as of 9:15 PM tonight, I have sold over 106,500 books since April 15, 2010.

Switched - the book that was last rejected in February because there wasn't a market for it - has sold 13,555 copies at Amazon, 9929 copies at Barnes & Noble, and 314 paperbacks in December alone. The sequel Torn is doing quite well also, but I'm too lazy to add up the numbers right now.

Yes, my books are priced at $.99 and $2.99. But I'm actually making more than a lot of traditional publishers are on books that are priced more than my books because of the percentage I'm getting.

You could argue that I would be selling less books if I'd been picked up major publisher because my books would probably be priced at $9.99 for the Kindle. And you'd probably be right. But, if anything, that only makes my point.

Prior to April, I'd never been published anywhere. Not even a short story in a magazine. I have no literary awards. No special connections. I've done little marketing. And yet I've sold over 100,000 books in eight months. And without going in to specifics, I will say this - I am making much, much more writing full time than I did working full time at a day job.

I have a talked a bit before how this happened (in this blog titled "an epic tale of how it all happened") and I even told you what the secret is (in a blog titled "there is no magic hand"), and I explained my thoughts on indie publishing (in this blog).  And I'm directing you to all those things so I don't have to write it all down again.

Is self-publishing the wave of the future? I honestly don't know. But what I do know is the landscape has been change dramatically for years in every way that we receive and share information, and it's finally starting to change publishing.

The best part is that it's a really awesome time to be both a writer and a reader. Never before have authors had the opportunities to reach so many readers, and never before have readers had so many choices.

And don't take something at face value. Just because something has never been done before, or it's only been done by a very few people, doesn't mean it can't be done now, or that it can't be done by you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Letters to Elise - On Sale Now

I've got a couple things I want to cover. Stuff about Letters to Elise at the top, and some news at the bottom.


Letters to Elise went on sale yesterday, and it's already garnered five 5-star reviews. It's only $.99 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



Here's what some people are saying about Letter to Elise:

    "I didn't realize how little was told about Peter in the series, he was very vague. This novella was beautifully written, and you got to see the side of Peter you normally don't. In the 'My Blood Approves' series, he just seems so quiet, and to himself. But it's also told in Alice's point of view. In his novella you got to learn so much about him, his past, and his love for Elise."  - Jenn (Amazon review)
     
    "I was not sure how I would enjoy this book knowing it was mostly going to be told in the form of letters, but I am so glad I read it. It was written not only in the form of letters but also in recollections and dialogue between Peter and Ezra. Amanda also gave us some insight into Peter and Jack's relationship, or rather, how it used to be. I really felt like I got to know Peter better and see into his mind somewhat. Be prepared as I needed the kleenex box nearby!!"  - T. Anderson (Amazon review) 
     
    "Peter's love letters to Elise lets you see inside his head -- and his heart. I found myself remarkably sad when I finished it."- Hope Welsh (Amazon review)

Listen to the Letters to Elise soundtrack: here (which is my favorite soundtrack ever, and has the songs from both the trailers on it)

Now onto the news:

I'm going to be "off" from today at 3:00 pm until Monday at 8:00 am. I don't know what that means exactly, except that I won't be writing and I'm trying to spend some time away from the computer. So if you email me or message me or what have you, I probably won't get back to you until Monday.

And I think I'll be able to give you some info about Ascend next week. Not a release date yet, but at least some idea of what's happening with it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

a blog on my day off

I'm on vacation right now. I'm counting this as a "pleasure" blog and not a "work" blog. And also I'm bragging. Why am I bragging you ask? Because I got to read Dark Tomorrows by J. L. Bryan before it's released.

You may ask yourself, "What is the significance of this? Who is this J. L. Bryan you speak of?" And the answer is: my new favorite author.

I read his book Jenny Pox, and whiled I loved it, I wasn't sure if that work alone could qualify as a "favorite" author. I think it takes two books for me to be sure (except for Alan Moore but The Watchmen is the most brilliant thing ever.)

But Dark Tomorrows is brilliant. It's sorta like a literary Twilight Zone. I've only had a chance to read the first three stories, but they were really fantastic. I only meant to skim them to get an idea of what he was writing, but once I started to reading, I just kept reading. I'll give a more detailed review later, because I really should be doing things around the house and wrapping Christmas presents.

Full disclosure: Bryan sent me Dark Tomorrows because he's asked me to contribute a short story. I had a very hard time doing that, because he's a much better writer than me, and I didn't want to slog down his anthology with my crap.

In conclusion - if you have not read Jenny Pox, go do it now. Dark Tomorrows should be out soon. I'm not sure when, but I think I was holding up the release date. So soon.

Also, my friend Daniel Arenson has a new book out. It just went on sale today. It's called The Gods of Dream. The description that I stole from his website sounds very David Bowie. (Yes, I'm using David Bowie as an adjective).

Some think dreams are figments of our mind, but they are wisps of a distant, magical world… a world that can be visited.

Twins Cade and Tasha discover Dream, the land dreams come from. It is a realm of misty forests, of verdant mountains, of mysterious gods who send dreams into our sleep. Cade and Tasha seek solace here; they are refugees, scarred and haunted with memories of war. In Dream, they can forget their past, escape the world, and find joy.

Phobetor, the god of Nightmare, was outcast from Dream. Now he seeks to destroy it. He sends his monsters into Dream, and Cade and Tasha find their sanctuary threatened, dying. To save it, the twins must overcome their past, journey into the heart of Nightmare, and face Phobetor himself.

Discover a world of light and darkness, of hope and fear, of dreams and nightmares. Discover
The Gods of Dream.



Look at how gorgeous the cover is. Now go buy the book. It's only $2.99 and perfect for that Kindle you/your loved one/your worst enemy is getting for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Bit More Clarification..

So yesterday I posted a blog about the release date from Ascend going from "soon" to "I don't know when." Thank you to everybody for you comments and support. It really means a lot to me. I felt really bad and nervous about postponing the release, and I'm really appreciate your response. I also understand your frustration over the situation, and I am sorry for that.

There seemed to be some questions, though, and I thought I would clarify a few points.

#1. Ascend will be released. You will be able to read it at some point. I guarantee that. I just don't the day yet, and I can't even speculate right now.


#2. Letters to Elise will still be out. I actually uploaded it yesterday morning, so it should be for sale within the next 24-48 hours from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


#3. This does not effect the release of Honalee. I'm currently thinking a late January release, but I will let you know more the closer we get.


Good news to follow on this heals of this: I think I'm going to start outlining a sequel to Hollowland, but I probably won't be able to start writing it until March.

In January, I'm going to work on cowriting a paranormal romance with David Dalglish, and it sounds like it's going to be really good. I've never cowritten anything before, so I'm not entirely sure how it will work, but I think it will be really fun.


I have three more books I wrote over the past three or four years that I'm going to edit and try to get out over the next six months. One of them is fantasy, but the other two are just young adult.


I'm also working on a fun idea for the sirens novel I've been wanting to write for a over a year now. Hopefully, I'll be able to start that this spring. I haven't gotten everything figured it out with it. But it will be good.


So I have a lot of other projects and stuff coming up. Lots of stuff to keep you busy until Ascend comes out.

Edit: Letters to Elise is now available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble for only $.99.

Monday, December 20, 2010

So....

Hi.

So... the thing about Asend is... I'm going to hold off on publishing it. Indefinitely. It's not because of issues with the book or because I don't love you guys. Because I do. And this feels really, really mean of me to do right now after telling you it would be out soon. And I really wanted it to be out soon. I did. I still do.

But stuff's going on right now. Not bad stuff. Stuff that's good for me and the Trylle Trilogy in general. Possibly really good stuff. But it means that I need to hold off for now.

I'll explain more if/when things are concrete. But right now, I just have to apologize. I am sorry. I really am.

Ascend will be out at some point. I can promise you that. But I don't know when. And I love you guys.

So... I am sorry. But that's all I can really say for now.

EDIT: Ascend will be out by January 15th.

The day I posted this originally, I was offered a publishing contract for the trilogy. They wanted me to hold off on publishing the third book, but they did offer editing and marketing for the books. I debated on what would be the best course of action. I was aware that I'd made a commitment, but I thought that given the abrupt change of circumstances, I needed to put the book on hold to think about things.

I set the date before the contract was offered. I did not know I would be offered a contract.

I declined the contract, in part because I would have to hold off on publishing Ascend. So Ascend will be out.

But because of the reaction to this situation, I will no longer be announcing the release dates of projects until a few days before they are released. When I hit the button for publish, that's when I'll tell you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ascend

I'm just finishing up some Letters to Elise stuff, and hopefully, that should be out sometime next week.

Meanwhile, I've got some Ascend stuff up now. Hopefully, that should be ready for betas sometime next week.

But for the fun Ascend stuff, the first chapter is now up. You can read it: here. I also have the soundtrack up for it. You can listen: here.

This song didn't make it on the soundtrack, because I couldn't find it, but it so would've if I could. It's a song that would fit perfectly with a scene that I won't tell you about now. But I will. In the future. I love Oceanship a ton, by the way, and you should all listen to them. 


That's all I have for now. I have much work to get back to. Peace out, yo!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Magic Hand

Okay. I have two awesome and important videos to show you. Well, one is important.

People have been asking me a lot lately, hey, why are you selling so many books? What is your secret? And I keep thinking, there is no secret.

And here is the important part of the story I forgot to mention in previous blog posts: There is no magic hand.

Smashcut to me December 2008. I'm making no money. My life feels like a dead end. I'm writing books. Nobody cares. And I say, why isn't this working? What am I doing wrong?

If you're me, and I am, you spend a lot of time thinking about how neat Mark Hoppus is and listening to a lot of blink 182 and Fall Out Boy. That led me to this youtube video, which contains the single greatest peice of advice I've ever gotten from anybody about writing, and it wasn't even about writing. So I watched this video late 2008, and it was a wake up call for me to quit whining and get off my ass.

You can watch the whole interview if you want, but the question/answer starts at about :55 seconds in and goes until about 2:10, so it's short and sweet. Mark's talking about music, but it applies to writing just as well. Also, Pete Wentz is there.


While looking for this video, I found another great video. Do you remember my blog the tuna fish story in which I discussed how much of a douche John Mayer was on A Different Spin with Mark Hoppus and lamented over being unable to find a video? Well, I found that video.

Watch the whole thing if you like watching douchey things, but the Jay Z story I flipped about in the tuna fish story starts at 5:18. And it so worth it.


You're welcome.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What I'm Doing Monday

What I'm Doing Monday is a Meme that I just made up because I wanted to take a break, and I was bored. It's a list of things that I'm currently enjoying at the moment that you might also enjoy.


What I'm listening to: Band of Horses, the Black Keys, Bon Iver, and Ryan Adams.

What I'm reading: Third World America by Ariana Huffington and Palo Alto by James Franco. And also Rachael Ray's cookbook, but that's for supper tonight.

What I'm watching: I have the Indiana Jones trilogy on my DVR, and I hope to start watching it tonight.

What I'm playing: Donkey Kong Returns on the Wii.

What I'm working on: I'm reworking the ending of Honalee, and I'm getting Letters to Elise and Ascend ready for release.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Important Release Date Information

So far, feedback on Letters to Elise has been mostly positive. I think I'm going rework a bit of the opening, Maybe cut some. Or something. But that's on track for a Christmas release.

But onto good news/bad news. I'm pushing back the release of Honalee. I'm having issues with the last quarter of the book, and I need to rework and figure it out. So it might be a little while.

But the good news is - I'm moving up the release of Ascend! It will be out by the end of 2010. That's all I can say for now, but they'll be more info about it as it gets closer.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Attention: Peter & Jack Fans

Letters to Elise is getting ready to come out. You know what that means? That's right. Beta time.

In case you don't know, a beta reader is  (according Wikipedia) a person who reads a written work, generally fiction, with what has been described as "a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the general public."

But with Letters to Elise, I'm going to bit a more specific about what I'm looking for because it's different than my other books. As I've explained before, it's less of a narrative. There's not a plot in the true sense. It's letters Peter wrote to Elise and a few journal entries.

And also - I'm not sure how this will play to My Blood Approves enthusiasts. I'd like to get a few readers on both sides of the spectrum - those that are 100% Team Peter and those that are 100% Team Jack - to see how it plays to both sides. And some people that are 50/50 both guys would be good too.

I'm also looking to see if more content should be added, or if some should be cut. And really if it's interesting at all. If it's not, I might scrap the idea or rework it. But we'll see.

As always - I'd also enjoy people with proofreading skills since my books are apparently never, ever proofread enough. So I'm always looking for another set of eyes.

So, if you're interested in doing a beta read of Letters to Elise, comment or email me. When you do, please let me know how you'd categorize yourself: a Peter fan, a Jack fan, or a Both fan, so I'm not getting all my feedback from Jack fans or Peter fans or what have you. If that makes any sense.

Also, I slaved all night making a soundtrack for Letters to Elise, which you can listen to: here or under the My Blood Approves tab at the top of the blog. I tried to pick music I thought Peter would like, and I guess I think Peter is kind of a folk/hipster. Apparently. And I also have the song "This Night" by Black Lab from the book trailer on it.

So yep. Thoughts please.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Hey, let's not talk about me for a minute.



I'm reading Land of Ash right now. It's an anthology of short stories by David Dalglish, David McAfee, Daniel Arenson, John Fitch V, Michael Crane, and Robert Duperre. The premise is simple: The Yellowstone Caldera erupts, covering the world in ash, and that's the unifying theme between the eleven different stories. It's all about survivors, and how they deal with total devastation in a land covered in ash.


I read Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King a few weeks back, and I like Land of Ash better. Not that I didn't like Full Dark, No Stars - because I really did. King is a master of the underrated medium of short stories and novellas. But I still enjoy Land of Ash more.

So far, my favorite is "Shelter" by David Dalglish. It's about a father and his small child holing themselves up in the house after the ash comes. There's something so simple and bittersweet about it that's perfect.

That's not to say there's any bad stories in it - "Beach Puppies" is somewhat lighter than most of the other stories, and "Last Words" brings it down to a more personal level and less apocalyptic, if that makes sense. To buy Land of Ash, click: here.

I also just read Lessons by Michael Crane. It's actually because I read this that I started reading Land of Ash. I'd bout LoA right when it came out, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet. Then I read a review about Lessons, and it piqued my interest.

Anyway - Lessons is another anthology, but this time with 100-word flash fiction. I know what you're thinking - stories in under a 100-words? That sounds ridiculous and unenjoyable. But you're wrong. Dead wrong.

They are morbid, but they're fun and quick and perfect. If they were longer, they wouldn't be as good. If you enjoy, Edward Gorey or Tim Burton, you need to check this book out. It's that kitzchey fun thing that becomes as cult classic, because it doesn't really have a genre or a niche.

It stands alone, and for $.99, its completely worth it. I could see this as a paperback with fun illustrations being sold at Hot Topic and making an excellent holiday stocking stuffer.

On the subject of that - hey, Mike, if you go to Createspace and make a paperback for Lessons, I'll buy a bunch. I know some of my friends would like them, and I could give them away here on my ol' blog. Because it's awesome. So check out Lessons: here.

Here's some other things I've read this year that are awesome:

Jenny Pox by J. L. Bryan - Probably my favorite book I've read all year. It is YA, but it has some adult situations. But it's just really good. If you like YA paranormal, check this out. And even if you don't, check it out. It's that good.

Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel - I've only read the first one so far, but Stacey's fun. And she writes fun. It's like hanging out with a friend from high school, when you were in high school, but without as much angst.

Grubs by David McAfee - Still the only book that gave me nightmares. Also, he did the short story for Zombiepalooza, called "One of Four." Which you should read: here, because I really enjoyed it. I think I've read it like ten times.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. This book is not for everyone. In fact, it's not for most people. I know that. But I love it sooo much.

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking. From the product description: "As we promise in our opening chapter, unlike the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life given in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer we provide in The Grand Design is not, simply, "42."" That's not entirely innaccurate. Space, time, the universe boggles my mind. I love reading about it.

Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Addams. This is my second time reading it, and I'm not all the way through, but it's a good damn book.

The Long Halloween and Hush by Jeph Loeb. Those are Batman graphic novels. I love, love, love Jeph Loeb, so much so I'm going to read Superman For All Seasons and I hate Superman. Don't get me wrong - Alan Moore and Frank Miller are brilliant. But there's something about Jeph Loeb that I adore. He tells great stories.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I read this book at least once a year for good reason. It's incredible. Probably one of the best books of all time.

Tulips and Chimneys by e e cummings. I don't read books of poetry that often (aside from Sylvia Plath and Dylan Thomas) but e e cummings is one of the most gifted writers I've ever read. Go. Read. Him.

And I do in fact use the word "awesome" too much. But trust me, when I say awesome, I mean it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Secret to My Success

Hi. I know many people visiting my blog today were directed from Joe Konrath's blog (thanks for the shout out, sir). A lot of people had very kind things about me and my books, and I thank them for that.

If you haven't read Joe's blog, you can check it out: here. And if you're interested at all in writing or publishing in the near future, I suggest you check his blog in general. He does a much better job of explaining things than I do. I like to pretend that it's all magic, and leave it at that.

But somebody asked for proof. Even though I know I don't have to give proof, I don't like insinuations that I'm a liar. I'm many things, but I'm not a liar. So I'm posting what proof I have.

I didn't take screen shots on the sixth or seventh, when I actually reached the 10,000 mark. But I did take them just now.

Here's a screen shot for Amazon: (I think you can click on it to enlarge it - or I hope you can)


Here's a screen shot for Createspace:


And here's a screen shot for Barnes & Noble:



The Barnes & Noble is tricky because it's a cumulative of all the books I'd sold through them since the beginning. So, I have to subtract the amount of books I sold through them prior to Dec 1st, which was 10,605. So, at the time of the screen shot, I'd sold 5,387 books through them in the month of December.

If you add up those three totals, you get a grand total of 12,598. Since today is the eighth, I think you can agree it's a safe to say I'd sold 10,000 books as of two days ago.

But something else that I haven't mentioned - I'm selling 4 of my books directly on Barnes & Noble. Three of them - My Blood Approves, Fate, and Wisdom - are being sold through Smashwords. And Smashwords is horrible at reporting how many books I've sold through them.

I can roughly estimate, and you can see how many books I'm selling of Flutter (the third book in the series) through Barnes & Noble, so I imagine that Fate and Wisdom are selling comparably well, and My Blood Approves, being the first book and the cheapest, is probably selling a bit better. I'm not going to speculate on sales, but I'm fairly certain that my actual sales for December (thus far) are higher than 12,598.

For those of you asking how I did it, it's all fairly simple - I wrote a lot of books.

As of today, I've written sixteen novels, four novellas, at least fifty short stories, a screenplay, hundreds of poems, a one-act play, and I have two works in progress, plus the outlines for an additional six or seven novels. And that says nothing for the incomplete works I've started and for the trunk of notebooks filled with half-finished ideas in my bedroom.

Of all that stuff I've written, most of it will never be fit for publication because it's just not very good. I stand by most of it being good when I wrote it - meaning I wrote a really great short story for a twelve-year-old or a pretty good novel for a seventeen-year-old. But that doesn't mean they're good enough to be published and read. Just because you write something, doesn't mean other people should read it.

If you want more in depth information, I covered most of it in a previous blog I wrote, which you can check out: here.

And as I've said before, a lot of this has seemed easy to me and it appears that it's come easy for me and happened suddenly. But I have been writing continuously pretty much entire life. That's not even an exaggeration. I wrote my first short story by the time I was five. And I've written hundreds of thousands of words since then.

And I haven't just been writing. After I turned eighteen, and I got really serious about being published, I spent a lot of time researching the publishing world and learning and getting critiqued and critiquing others.

What I'm saying is that I've been working my whole life for this. I've spent twenty-six years writing, and eight years studying what it takes to make writing my career. I write commercial fiction, with nice covers and good prices. And I happened to publish during an ebook revolution. So if you want to know the secret to my success - it's all that right there.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pink Headphones

I still have signed paperbacks for sale (no boxsets yet). My Blood Approves has sold out for now, but I'll be getting more in soon. Check out the paperbacks: here.

My dog is almost three years old. When he was a puppy, I bought a pair of pink gel headphones. They were $9, and I spent almost a half debating whether or not I should buy them. I had hardly any money - as in I lived on ramen because I could afford it. But I wanted my headphones so I could listen to the radio on my phone.

I liked to listen to Back Track USA on Saturday mornings when they play 80's and 90's music, but the only way I could that was on my phone, and my phone requires headphones to listen to the radio.

So I finally caved and bought these headphones, because I really, really like music from the 80's and 90's. I came home,  used them once. Then I left my dog (then a puppy) alone in my room with my headphones while I went to the bathroom. When I returned, the headphones were destroyed.

I was so upset because I couldn't afford another pair. I literally did not have another $9 to spend.

Two weeks ago, I was at the store, looking at headphones. I have gone without headphones for the past two and half years, but since getting my laptop, I wanted to be able to listen to music on not crappy laptop speakers. So I was looking at headphones, thinking about how I didn't really need them, and blah blah... when I realized that I could afford headphones. I could just buy a pair. And I'd still have money to eat. In fact, I'd already paid all my bills for the month.

So I bought the $14 headphones. Yep. I'm living large now.

It's so weird to just be able to buy stuff. I mean, I can't buy anything I want - like a big screen TV or a Delorean. But I can buy new headphones. Or Inception on Bluray/DVD combo pack.

I actually had to save up to buy The Dark Knight when it came out. I'm not even kidding. And to this day, I don't own Star Trek the new movie because when it came out on DVD, I had no money, and now for some reason, I keep forgetting that I don't own it.

When people make an argument for raising books prices, saying we should sell ebooks for $6.99 or even sometimes $9.99, this is what I think of. It's not that I don't work hard on my books. It's not that I don't think my books are equal to traditional published books.

It's that I had to wait three months until after Claudia Gray's Hourglass came out because I had to save up for the ten or twelve bucks at Walmart. It's that when I ordered a used copy of J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey from Amazon for $2 I felt guilty because I didn't know how I was going to pay my car payment that month.

I write books, fun romance books with vampires and zombies and trolls and witches. I'm not curing cancer. I'm entertaining people. And when people are struggling to make ends meat, I can't in good conscience charge more than I already am.

And I am so grateful to you all, and to everything that's happened this year. Thank you!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Books For Sale!

Alright. So the boxsets aren't ready yet. But I do have some paperbacks laying around the house, so I'm selling signed paperbacks through PayPal. I have another shipment of books coming (hopefully this week), so I'll be able to add more, and then the boxsets should go up later this week.

But anyway - here's some books. There's a limited supply on all of them, but I'll be getting more up soon. They're all $9.99, and I priced that shipping at $4.95 because that's how much it costs me to mail stuff in a flat rate priority mail envelope. Which is how I roll.

Okay. Here's what I've got so far:

Signed copies of Switched



Signed copies of Hollowland




Signed copies of My Blood Approves


Sunday, December 5, 2010

2011

I have a confession to make: I'm a workaholic. I never thought of myself that way. In fact, I always assumed I was lazy. Most people could probably attest to this.

But when it comes to things I love, I am downright obsessive. I'm addicted. I have no idea how moderation works. I understand the concept, and that apparently everything is better that way, but I'm an all or nothing kind of gal.

And I love love my work. I love writing. People have asked me, "Are you afraid that you'll run out of ideas for books?" The answer is, "Heck no. I'm afraid I won't have time to work on all the ideas I already have."

Writing to me has always felt very... immediate. If I have something, I have to get it all out right now, before I lose it. And if I don't get it out right now, sometime I do lose it. And that's sad. For me, anyway.

But the moral of this story is that I have more things coming up than I know how to deal with. I have two books coming out this month (God willing), the final book in the Trylle Trilogy in January, plus I have stuff for two anthologies, and in January, I'm going to start writing a book with another author.

I'm theoretically taking time off from writing projects full time in January and February, and I plan to edit and get Virtue and Clandestine ready and maybe outline a few other ideas, get some other balls rolling.

I've been wanting to work on this sirens book for almost a year now, but there's always something else to work on. And I'm trying to clear my calendar so I can just work on it. So I think once I come back from vacation in January, I'm just going to dive into it.

Plus, I was thinking of working on Life Without Lila, which is something I started about two years ago, but really didn't see a market for it. (i.e. an agent would never able to sell it). So I let the idea die and worked on other things.

But now, I'd like to pick it up again. It's not YA and it's not paranormal or romance. So we'll see how it goes, or if I even pick it up again. Maybe it doesn't want to be picked up.

And I have this other novella that I wrote like nine years ago that I really wanted to work on. I reworked a few years back, and I actually sorta like it. Again, that's more literary fiction, and it's a novella. So I don't know if anybody really wants to read that either.

But I digress. Actually, I don't know if I'm digressing or not. I'm just thinking of all the things I want to get done, and how there isn't enough time to get them all done.

And I decided to ramble about it in a blog.

Also, I know I start a lot of my sentences with conjunctions. I do this in real life a lot to, especially to unrelated things. We'll be eating chicken and talking about the weather, and I'll say, "But I don't understand why Cosby wore those sweaters." It's my idiosyncrasy, and now you know.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

all my obsessions are healthy

Sometimes I need to watch a movie with Christian Bale. Usually, I go with American Psycho or The Dark Knight, but sometimes, I want something different. Back a few months ago, when I did not have means to purchase DVDs, I had to rent them when I wanted a change of pace.

I love Reign of Fire. It came out on July 12, 2002, which happened to be my 18th birthday, so it was the ultimate Birthday Movie, and it has Christian Bale and dragons in it. And, I believe, a Black Lab song on the soundtrack. So all in all, for me, it's pretty special.

Anyway, I went to the video store (of which we have one in town), and I got The Prestige (brilliant and underrated - watch it if you haven't seen it yet). But I couldn't find Reign of Fire. This led to frustration on my part.

So I searched all over the story looking for something else to satiate my Christian Bale fix. They had 3:10 to Yuma, but I'd just seen it, and they had Public Enemies (which also came out on my birthday but I didn't got see it because it looked disappointing). I didn't want to rent that. I looked all over Little Women or even Newsies. Nope, and nope. I would've watched The Machinist again. Even that godawful Terminator: Salvation, but every copy had been rented. 

So, here I am, stalking all over the store, determined to find something I wanted to watch with Christian Bale, and working myself into a total frenzy. It's at that point, when I realize I'm being totally crazy, whilst staring at a cover of Red Dawn, I said aloud, "All my obsessions are healthy." And then I realized someone was standing right next to me.

The moral being - I am in fact a crazy person, and I have made peace with that. And Christian Bale makes a lot of shite movies.