Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oubliette's Book Tour Announcement

I'm getting sooooo close to Oubliette's release!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!

To celebrate the release some of my favorite bloggers are hosting a tour for me. They're the sweetest and you guys should totally visit their pages now and on the tour. During my tour you'll see reviews of Oubliette, interviews, and the reveal of the final book title & cover in the Cloud Prophet trilogy. Hopefully you'll see my tour graphic on their blogs (it's up to each of them, I'm not forcing anyone to post it) that will lead back to this page. Here's the list of awesome lady bloggers:

June 20th - Two Chicks on Books, Jaime
June 21st - Me, My Shelf & I, Amber
June 22nd - The Top Shelf, Misty
June 23rd - The Caffeinated Diva Reads..., Kim
June 27th - Sticking to the Story, M.E.
June 28th - Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, Mindy
June 29th - That Bookish Girl, Sarah
June 30th - Can't Find a Bookmark, Ky

Now I'm sure you're wondering if there's any prizes involved. I will be running a contest on my blog, but that announcement will come on June 13th. Between now & then I'll be on a much-needed vacation so I won't be blogging again before then.

If you want to keep tabs on me, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, where I'm sure to jabber about my road trip.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Anathema: The Motion Picture

No, no, no, I haven't sold movie rights. But when I asked Twitter for a blog topic, Parrisha Martelly asked me to talk about actors who could play my characters. I love fun topics so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Reychel - Molly C. Quinn

Ivy- Abigail Breslin

Mark - Alexander Ludwig

So those are my top choices for the three main characters in Anathema. I may have to re-write the book just to find a role for Nathan Fillion.... ;)

What do you guys think? Who should play my three main characters?????

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Day I Fell in Love with the Word Anathema

I was chatting last night with Bonnie from A Backwards Story and she told me she'd never been aware of the word anathema until my book came out. I told her the story of the day I learned it and she asked if I'd ever talked about it on my blog. Bonnie's such an awesome genius, isn't she?

It shouldn't surprise you that my major in college was medieval history. One semester I took a graduate-level Art History class focusing on medieval manuscripts. The University of Illinois has many, many libraries (one of which I worked in for two years) and one of the greatest collections of books in the world. If you ever have a chance to tour the stacks, please do it. If you're a book lover, you'll leave your heart there.

Anyway, one of the libraries at U of I is The Rare Book and Manuscript Library. During my art history class we took a trip one day to the rare book room. We were all given gloves to wear because we were allowed to touch medieval manuscripts (oils from our skin can damage old manuscripts). What an absolute joy. I'll never forget that day.

Our prof wanted to show us one particular manuscript. On one of the first pages was a curse, warning anyone who might steal or defile the manuscript that they would be forever doomed. It was quite spectacular. My prof explained that this was called an anathema.

In that moment I fell in love with the word anathema. I'm a bit of a word nerd. I buy the Forgotten English word-a-day calendar every year and I keep a pile of words I love.

I'm curious....do you have a favorite word or am I just a word-weirdo? LOL!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Blog Hop!

Summer is just around the corner and all of the authors at DarkSide Publishing want to make sure you have plenty of marvelous YA books to read poolside. As part of the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Page Turners, I'm giving away Five (5) ecopies of Anathema (gifted Kindle edition or a Smashwords coupon - your choice)!

Entering is easy. Simply fill out the form below.

Don't forget to check out the other blogs in the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop including DarkSide authors GP Ching, Karly Kirkpatrick and Angela Carlie.
Make sure you swing by Goodreads and add Anathema and Oubliette (arriving June 20, 2011) to your To Read list!

Love the Shoes, Hate the Fit

See those beauties? Red, patent leather, 3-inch wrapped heel, with an open toe.

Hawt, right?

The only problem is that my heels pops out the back, which makes them nearly impossible to walk in. I tried going down a size, but it was too tight in the toes and my heel still popped.

And yet, I bought them.

In real life I'm very down-to-earth. I don't buy designer clothes (though I do shop at White House Black Market...that's my upscale), I don't do anything interesting with my hair, and more often than not I'm in jeans and a tank top. Most of my friends are really surprised to hear how much I love Sex and the City because I'm not remotely like Carrie & friends, nor do I really want to live a life like theirs.

Why do I watch? For the shoes and because Carrie is a writer. But mainly for the shoes.

Does anyone out there have a tip for me to force these shoes to fit me? My feet aren't narrow, they're normal, and I already tried heel grabbers but they didn't work.

I need help!!!! I will not ever give up these shoes!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Love Me, Love Me Not

Here's my take on following:

I would love it if you followed me on Facebook, Twitter, and here on my blog - but only if you want to.

I know that sounds stupid. No one is holding a gun to your head or anything, but if I run a contest and say you have to follow me somewhere just to enter then I do feel like I'm forcing you.

I've held contests in the past and require entrants to follow me because then they will magically be interested in everything I have to say! Right? Wrong. More often than not they followed me just to try to win a prize and then dumped me afterwards. I don't know if that made them feel icky, but it made me feel icky. I don't like that feeling. Do you?

I want you to follow me because you want to. That's it, really. A friend recently told me that's really bad marketing. Huh. Well, I think putting out a sucky book is bad marketing. Facebook, Twitter, and my blog are simply places to keep you up to date on what I'm doing if you already like me or my work....or my awesome collection of shoes!!! :)))))

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Not Blood, Music Courses Through My Veins (Anathema Spoilers Within)

Melanie Surani wanted to know how music played a part in my writing....so here ya go! :D

Everything in my life is dictated by music. Everything. 99% of my memories revolve around music. I can hear any song on the radio, on any station, and tell you a personal story related to the song's presence in my past.

When I drive, there's music. When I write, there's music. When I read, there's music. If the TV's on I'm thinking about what background music would work if my life was a movie.

If music is on I can't sit still. My foot taps, my head nods, I direct with my fingertips. There's a reason swing dancing is my favorite activity!!!!

I've always said that if I had the choice between being blind or deaf, I would choose blindness. Silence would probably kill my will to live.

Because of this, music is ultra-important when I write. The right music sets the tone of my novels. For example, when I wrote Anathema I listened to the Twilight soundtrack, but only the intense songs (sorry R Patz, your ditty did not make the cut on my playlist). Muse drove Reychel's escape from Kandek. Blue Foundation fed Ivy's jealousy over Mark's growing feelings for Reychel. Paramore gave Reychel the strength to follow her own path.

When I listen to music, any feeling I have amplifies ten-fold. I'm a pantser, so everything I write in a first draft is driven by my emotions and the music behind it. Wait until you read the book I'm writing using Within Temptation's The Heart of Everything album.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Case of the Empty Theater

When hubby & I eloped on Cape Cod (yeah, we're too weird to go to Vegas), we chose to take a day trip to Salem instead of heading out to Martha's Vinyard or Nantucket (see the weird theme here?). What a great town - but that's not what this post about it. So on the way back to the Cape we decided we'd stop and see The Mummy Returns at a theater we'd passed.

We were running a little late so hubby sped along the highways as if he was back on the Autobahn. With moments to spare we ran into the theater, bought some popcorn, and settled down for a great movie. I was particularly excited because, for me, this movie had a lot of eye candy - Brendan Fraser, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo, Oded Fehr, and of course The Rock. (So sue me, I love them all.)

After the movie was over and we still had the post-freaky-mummy tingles we ventured out into the lobby. All the lights were off. ALL of them. No one stood at the ticket counter. Even the concession stand was shut down and quiet. It was totally bizarre!!!! Hubby and I were a little freaked out - this sort of thing does not happen in Chicago. No one else there seemed concerned. In fact, they all left.

But hubby had to use the facilities and insisted he could not wait until we drove back to the Chatham Bars Inn (the most ah-may-zing hotel in the world, I might add). So he left me, alone in the dark with a life-size poster of the The Rock as the Scorpion King. While what seemed like twenty minutes went by, it was probably more like 30 seconds, I stared at The Rock and he stared at me.

And then - he blinked. I swear to God that picture of The Rock blinked at me!!!!

Needless to say, when the hubby came out of the bathroom I grabbed his hand and we raced out of there. Is that normal for theaters on the Cape to just close up after the last movie starts, leaving the patrons to let themselves out in total darkness?

Funny part? That isn't the creepiest thing that happened that day..... ;)

(This post is dedicated to Ky at Can't Find a Bookmark who mentioned on yesterday's post that she loves the Mummy movies!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Just Because: My Fav Movies

For kicks I thought I'd share my favorite movies with you. I loooooove to watch movies, so it's really hard for me to narrow it down.

First, Jurassic Park. OMG, I was in high school when this came out and I saw it in the theater three times. Can you say LOVE?! Before I saw it, I wanted to become an archaeologist. After I saw it, I knew I wanted to be an archaeologist. I'm not, but I did graduate with a minor in anthropology!!!!

Then there's Better Off Dead. I can still quote 90% of the movie and I still listen to the soundtrack when I'm driving. There isn't anything I don't love about it. John Cusack - hawt & hilarious!

Shall We Dance - can I even describe how much I love this movie? Hubby & I met swing dancing and he proposed to me during our ballroom dance class. I'd seen the original multiple times and was prepared to hate the Richard Gere version (mainly because I hated Richard Gere). I cried and cried in the theater, embarrassing my husband and myself. I loved it and honestly think it's better than the original. Oh, and now I love Richard Gere too. ;)

What are some of your fav movies??????

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Shoe Fetish: Red Plaid Heels

A couple of weeks ago I asked my tweeps what they want me to blog about. Mindy wanted to know about my guilty pleasure or my most embarrassing moment. I'll be honest, I don't think I've had my most embarrassing moment yet, but as for guilty pleasures, well, haha, that one was easy.

I have a thing for shoes. It's bad. Really, really bad. Imedla Marcos bad. Wikipedia tells me she owned 2,700 pairs of shoes. I'm not there yet, but maybe by the time I'm 90 I will be! Luckily it's my only vice so the hubby doesn't complain too much. ;)

When I was a little girl, my grandma, who I called Mudder, was the fanciest woman I knew. She wore it all: dresses, gloves, jewelry, and the most amazing shoes. The best part was that Mudder let me play with all of it. She never said, "Don't touch those," even though her furs and jewels were very expensive. But it was her shoes that captivated me most of all. Her bedroom closet was the space under the stairs and her shoeboxes were stacked under the risers like some kind of religious monument. Oh, believe me, I worshiped there frequently.

Back in 2006 I felt we were in a good financial place and I could finally start indulging in my one wish - to own expensive shoes. Now for me, expensive means more than $50. I've never bought a pair more than $150 either, so really, I'm still frugal.

Behold.....my first pair of expensive shoes:

$80 designed by Sugar

Two-and-a-half inch heels, red plaid with the cutest (and a little naughty) black lace inside. Bonus? They are the most comfortable pair of heels I own. I wear them all fall and winter and get tons of compliments on them. If the heels ever break or the fabric wears out, I may die. Simply die.

So now you know about my guilty pleasure. It's shoes. I might show more of them on my blog in the future. We'll see.... ;)

Monday, May 16, 2011

How Do I Know I'm an Awesome Writer?

I don't.

That's the simple answer.

I do not know if I'm an awesome writer. No one does (except maybe Carrie Ryan, but I'd bet she has her off days too).

Writers are plagued by self-doubt. I don't know if it's just part of the artist personality, but we are. I don't know one writer who thinks she's (or he's) the shit twenty-four hours a day.

It's this fear that paralyzes many writers, whether they are seeking an agent, releasing their third New York Times Bestseller, or jumping into the indie pool for the first time.

What are the best ways to combat this fear?

Chain smoking at the nearest park? Drinking yourself into oblivion? Whining about how everyone else sucks because they can't see how fantastic you are?

Um, no.

You combat this fear by working your ass off. Go to workshops and conferences. Take classes. Attend critique groups. Write, write, write, and write. Be open to new ideas. Have your work critiqued by professionals and your peers. Don't publish your first novel the day after you finish writing it!!!!

Like any other successful career, writing takes hard work, determination, and indomitable spirit.

Keep this tidbit in mind too: Jane Yolen has written and published more than 300  books, won countless literary awards, and has six honorary doctorates in literature. Guess what I learned by being Facebook friends with her? This woman is probably the most legit writer in contemporary children's literature and she still gets rejected occasionally.

Rejection happens. Move on and become the very best writer you can be!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why I've Been Quiet as a Mouse....

My DSL is STILL out. It's been almost a week. I feel like I fell into a time warp to the 80s. I even pulled up Duran Duran on my iPhone this morning. Oy.

I have all of these great topics I want to blog about but without DSL I don't have the resources to make them pretty with pictures, etc.

So stay tuned. I still plan on blogging. I never realized how much I loved blogging until I couldn't do it on a regular basis.

I MISS YOU!!!!!!! *kiss, kiss, hug, hug*

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Day on Pixel of Ink

Yesterday was my day on Pixel of Ink - and it was amazing.

I've been on Kindle Boards for most of the year now and I'd heard a lot about Pixel of Ink. A LOT. So I went to the website and saw she was closed to submissions, but that she'd reopen in April. I checked every day for a solid reopening date and once it was posted I marked it on my calendar. Then I submitted, I paid the $119 fee, and was given my date: May 10, 2011.

Three weeks seemed like forever, but it came faster than I thought. Unfortunately the universe conspired against me yesterday. My DSL went out - kaput. I desperately checked my sales as much as I could on my iPhone, but it was an inadequate substitute. Emails from friends poured in, congratulating me on my rankings. I felt like everyone was having a party and I was stuck in traffic. I even spent a decent amount of time on the phone with my dad teaching him how to take a screenshot of my rankings - this was the best comic relief of the day.

What had I expected with a POI ad? I didn't have specific goals. I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best - and my results were far beyond my hopes.

I sold 111 ebooks yesterday (108 Kindle, 3 Nook). That's more Kindle copies than I sold the entire month of April. My Facebook fan page increased by more than 30 fans. I was invited to participate in two HUGE blog giveaways (more info on that in coming days) and asked to present a session on self-publishing at a local SCBWI meeting.

Did I make back my $119 investment? No. Not yesterday, but if I can keep the momentum going, this ad could be my big break. Of course, that's yet to be determined, but I want to have positive thoughts.

One of the most satisfying results of this ad was my Kindle ranking. I hit three bestseller lists, nestling my book between the likes of Cassandra Clare and Ally Condie - two Big Six-publishing novels. Could a self-pubbed author ask for more? Well, yeah, I'd like to be #1, but I'm willing to be patient.

Anathema also ranked in the 700s of ALL Kindle books. That's crazy-awesome.

Now I just need to keep the momentum going. I wish there was a secret formula, but there isn't. I'll continue to work hard and hope that I hit it big.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Editing as an Indie Writer: Twitter Requested Topic

See that picture over there? Yeah, that's me. Well, my red hair is past my shoulders and I would never be caught dead wearing a green shirt, but the implied curse words, exasperated expression, and crumbled pieces of paper? Yeah, that's TOTALLY me when I'm editing.

I put out a call on Twitter for blog topics and ME Summer (@mesummerbooks) said: How to self-edit a story so well that it's as if it has been edited by a professional.

So how do I edit as an indie author? Here's my process:

I write my novel, usually in 30 days (I like the NaNoWriMo method), and then I let it simmer for a few weeks. Then I print it out and edit by hand, with a red pen naturally. I enter all of those changes back into my document and retitle it Second Draft.

YAY! I'm done and ready to go to print!!!! Right? WRONG!

Then I send that copy out to various beta readers. As can you imagine, I have about a zillion writer friends. At this point I usually know what my novel's kryptonite is. Could be story, flow, timing, grammar, whatever. I choose beta readers specifically for their skill set. Some readers will be a beta on one book and not another. It's not because I don't like them anymore, it's simply because I know their skills and use them to my advantage.

Oubliette, for instance, just came back from four betas. You'd be surprised at the breadth of their comments. Except for a few missing words here and there, their comments were completely different! I print a fresh copy of my manuscript and I use my red ink pen to mark all of the corrections on that one copy. Then I enter all of those in my manuscript and save it as Fourth Draft.

YAY! I'm done and ready to go to print!!!! Right? WRONG!

Then I ship my book off to at least two people who proofread. I enter those mistakes into my text, read it one more time, and then it's off to print (well, after extensive formatting, but that's not relevant in this blog post).

I don't take editing lightly. In fact, editing takes far longer than the writing does. Writing takes 30 days, editing can take months. This is why Oubliette, which was originally supposed to release this month, was pushed back until the end of June. When I did my first round of edits, I slashed 10,000 words - one-fifth of my novel. Then I rewrote it. I refuse to release a product I'm not proud of. I know some readers were disappointed they had to wait an extra month to read Oubliette, but trust me, it's totally worth it.

Editing can make, or break, a novel's success. Never rush through it. Never.

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Name is Megg and I am a Gambler

There are few things I enjoy more than a game of cards. Poker, euchre, hearts, rummy, Egyptian War (or maybe that's unique to where I grew up?), if it involves cards I'll sit down at the table.

I am a gambler and when I play, I play to win. I take risks, but every single one is calculated, which is what makes me a tough opponent. No one ever knows if I'm bluffing or if I have the full house - and I like it that way.

I've approached e-publishing the same way

It was a HUGE gamble for me to become an independent author.

Gamble One: Two agents were still reviewing a full (not Anathema) and I pulled it back. Yes, I essentially rejected two agents, one of whom spent the entire day emailing with me about my choices. Guess what? She was supportive.

Gamble Two: I risked alienating some of my traditionally published friends. I think a few were miffed or horrified (someone actually called me a traitor), but to my surprise a few came out of the woodwork and fully supported me.

Gamble Three: I started over from scratch with a pen name. I could have published under my real name and perhaps had a much larger audience from the start. However I wanted to keep my fiction totally separate from my nonfiction. So far it seems to be working. Everyone in my real life knows my pen name so it's not like I'm living in the shadows.

I have more gambles, some I'm working through now and others I've saved for future dates. If there's one thing I learned in my six years of freelancing for magazines it's that the publishing industry is one big, fat gamble.

I'm willing to play, are you?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chapter One of Oubliette is a Little Bitch

Yeah, sorry for the language in the title.

Moving on...writing the first chapter of a sequel is a pain in the ass.

First chapters should be exciting without info dump, right? But when you're writing a sequel readers need to be reminded who everyone from the first book is while being introduced to new characters while maintaining excitement while setting the scene while moving along quickly while sucking the reader in.

Huh, don't know what I'm complaining about....it sounds easy! ;)

Luckily I have fantastic readers/editors behind me and with their suggestions I'll be able to pull Chapter One together neatly. I need to finish soon - I promised a few book bloggers the chance to read an ARC of Oubliette. During launch week near the end of June they'll be reviewing the book (which is the scariest thing I've ever done because if they all hate it, I'll just die) while I run a contest in conjunction with the release. This time I'll be giving money to a charity very close to my heart - but more on that in the coming weeks.

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Worshipping at the Altar of the Agent

In 2010 when I was searching for an agent that was me:


That's how I looked at agents. Me, a respected freelance journalist who dealt with editors on a regular basis under a purely formal guise. Those magazine editors were my employers, not objects of desire.

Yet for some reason when I began to query, I got all foamy at the mouth, googly-eyed, and starstruck. I look back at myself and I get embarrassed, for me and for the agents.

How do agents feel when they realize they're being pursued, even worshiped, by hordes of zombie writers? I say zombie because we're all exhausted, falling apart, and have only one thing on our minds - not brains, agents. ;)

Since I told myself last December that I would no longer query and I would take my career into my own hands, I've mellowed, A LOT, when it comes to agents. Do I still want one? OF COURSE. What self-respecting writer wouldn't? Yes, it's awesome to be an indie writer, but there are things we just can't do. Who's going to show your book to the movie execs? Who's going to sell it to other countries? Who's going to help you move up the ladder? Even Joe Konrath has an agent. Authors may be turning away from traditional publishing, but they aren't, and shouldn't be, turning away from agents.

I, in fact, have one novel that I still might query. The great part about all this is that in the meantime I am selling books and gaining readership. I am doing what I've always wanted to do. From now on, when, and if, I deal with an agent I want it to look more like this:


Writing is a business and I want an agent to work with me. Of course there will be plenty of laughter and sarcasm, because who would I be without it? But I no longer worship at their feet....and I think any self-respecting agent would probably appreciate it.

What about you guys? Do you still want an agent? Are you dying to find one or is an agent another cog in your business plan? Fill me in!

Peace out,


Trailer Tuesday #5 YA Fantasy & Paranormal

The Legend of Witch Bane by Kevis Henderson

Shimmerspell by Kimberly Spencer

Vampire by Day Werewolf by Night by Vianka Van Bokkem

Monday, May 2, 2011

April Sales Figures

So, all the indies post their sales numbers each month. Why should I be any different?

For April I didn't have any expectations other than to beat March's total of 157. There's no magic formula to increase sales. How can I force someone to buy my book? I can't, so I just do my best and hope the word spreads.

In April I decided to reduce Anathema's price to 99 cents. Sure, there was a part of me that hoped I'd magically start selling thousands of copies a day. Who doesn't want to buy something for 99 cents? I even started this crazy little Twitter campaign where I made posts like this:

#99cents won't erase stretch marks, but it will buy Anathema, a #YA #fantasy! http://amzn.to/etHCN2 #kindle #nook #ebook

I honestly don't know if those posts did anything other than make my friends giggle. Those tweets were obnoxious at times, I admit, but that's part of my personality.

Okay, I'll get to my totals:

Feb: 82
March: 157
April: 162
Total: 401

Some people have suggested maybe I shouldn't share my sales since they aren't astronomical. You know what? Last year all I heard was, "No" from agents. Well, this year I've heard, "YES!" from over 400 people.

I think that's awesome and I'll take it! ;)

Peace out!