Indie Author Giveaway Hop

It’s time for ANOTHER giveaway hop! This one, hosted by I’m a Reader, Not a Writer and Krazy Book Lady, features books that are either self published or published by small presses. There are 230 other blogs participated in this hop, so make sure you click HERE to access the linky for all their giveaways! As for mine?

I don’t usually push the fact that I self published two books of my own here on this blog but, uh, I did. Believe it or not. And since this hop is occurring as I’m in the final stages of editing my third AND overlaps my birthday, well, I figured this would be the best time ever to giveaway the first two books in my Mind Evolution Chronicles! Check them out:

Mind Evolution (Mind Evolution Chronicles Book #1)

Clayton never thought his life would change.

At fifteen, he was stuck in the Middle Class for life. His biggest problem was getting his father to accept the fact that he didn’t want to take over the family farm, but wanted to be a teacher.

But then the Collectors came to town.

They’re looking for a Mind-Power – one of the strongest they’ve ever seen. It could be Clayton’s brother Trey, or it could be his sister Macy.

Or it could be Clayton himself.

Breaking Barriers (Mind Evolution Chronicles Book #2)

For Xander Rolandsson, the last five years have been a personal hell.

He was supposed to be the only Shielder prodigy in Elite City. He was supposed to be standing at the side of Tomas Eriksson, the Shielder on the Elite City Council. And he would be there, too, if it wasn’t for the events of five years ago.

He’s been stuck watching Clayton Stefansson, who the Council of Elite City deemed to be a traitor. It’s been his life. However, when Clayton’s retrial sets him free of prison, Xander thinks he’s finally going to get on with his life.

Yeah. Right.

Now, he’s forced to be Clayton’s tail at all times, waiting for the event that will give Tomas reason to put Clayton back in jail … for good. But just when Xander thinks he’s home free, ghosts from both he and Clayton’s past jump in and complicate matters. Tomas gives Xander the chance to have all he’s ever wanted, but will Xander take the opportunity now that he knows there a cost?

Or will trying to decide his own destiny cost him more than he ever could have thought?

This giveaway begins June 13 and ends at midnight on June 19th. Both books will be signed and personalized for the winner. This giveaway is US only. Oh blegh on the rules, click HERE to enter (and, uh, read the rest of them :P) Don’t forget, Shadowed Thoughts – Natalia’s Story is coming later this summer!

This giveaway is over! The winner is Elizabeth H.!

I Want to Hear from YOU!

So, first things first – the blog has a new look! I swear this wasn’t just because I was bored. I swear it wasn’t. Honestly, I was looking for a new look for the blog, and I found one. I don’t know how many of you are WordPress bloggers but… Man, a lot of their themes just look so … boring. Took me a while to find one with all the things I want that looked pretty sweet. Don’t worry, content isn’t changing or anything but … what do you think? Is this one better than the old one? Or do you want the old one back? Talk to me – I swear I don’t bite! ^.^

…okay, I just might be vaguely insane…

BUT, I am an insane girl that likes books. But I am out of books. And therefore liable to go MORE insane. We can’t inflict that on the world, can we? So … drop me a line, guys. Tell me what books have BLOWN YOUR MIND so I can read them too! Even better – drop me a line and give me a suggestion for a book to review! I will seperate the crappy from the amazing so that you don’t have to! Yes, I’m that desperate. C’mon, guys, give me a hand! Load me up! Comment away below! I wanna look like this guy:

The NaNoWriMo Aftermath – What Now?

And that’s that. It’s December 1st. November is at an end. NaNoWriMo is over. Writers everywhere have put down their laptops and pens–possibly thrown them out windows–and now have the daunting task of dealing with the tornado of words that NaNoWriMo has left them with. But…what is that?

If you didn’t reach your 50,000 words, don’t worry about it! That doesn’t mean you failed or anything. Whether it was a lack of time or a busted plot, don’t let it sour NaNo for you. There is always next year! Besides, some people just aren’t wired to write the NaNo way, and that is also fine. Everyone writes in the way that works for them, and no way is wrong.

Now, say that you did get to 50k. First off, CONGRATS! Whether it’s your first or fifteenth time, reaching 50k is always a thrill, especially if you had some trouble along the way. Which you would have, unless you are inhuman. Maybe your book finished in 50,000 words, maybe it didn’t. Either way, there are some options for what you can do now that apply to any word count–just make sure to finish up the book first! If you do have to finish up the book, I recommend you write at the same fervored pace of NaNo. You’d be surprised just how much your writing style changes when you aren’t writing to win, and whether you are at halfway or nearly done, that is not a good thing.

The first step after NaNo is always the hardest. First, you have to actually review what you’ve written with a critical eye. After writing, of course, you have to edit, and now that moment has come. Avoid the urge to burn the manuscript–I know it’s strong, but it’s not the right thing to do. Even if you are utterly convinced your novel is crap, there is always, ALWAYS some gems to be found within them, whether it’s a sentence, a description or some other little passage or character–anything! Sometimes it’s just fun to read through the parts that you wrote in delirium. For example, during one midnight writing sequence I started writing editing notes under my chapter headings to remind myself of a plot change that occured right after my sweet, innocent, blonde narrator up and killed someone. The notes get progressivly worse and culminate in my favorite about my main character (Shadowed Thoughts spoilers ahead!):

Do you see what you did at the end there? You’re a genius. Now make it look like you MEANT to have Natalia’s power overrunning her own head and warping her mind with other peoples’ thoughts. Thank you.

 Even if I hadn’t enjoyed myself during NaNo, pretty sure it all would have been worth it just for that.

So then you’ve reviewed. What next? Well, that’s your choice. It’s perfectly okay to stuff the book in a closet and leave it for another date. You aren’t required to do ANYTHING with your NaNo. Not even edit it, or even review it. NaNo is FUN, remember? If that’s your choice than that’s your choice. Don’t let what other people are doing influence your choice. Do what feels comfortable to you.

If you decide to move forward, your first step is to edit. Edit, edit, edit. Edit until you are blue in the face. My NaNo editing starts with me editing the book myself, and then I send it off to three friends for their edits. People say that a critique circle is one of the most important tools a writer can have, and they aren’t lying. Remember, if there is someone or someones you want to edit your novel, they should be people you trust to be perfectly frank. The “Oh, you’re amazing!” from your mom or whatever is nice to hear, but not helpful.

My editing and waiting for edits back from my friends usually takes until about June, when the CreateSpace offer is set to expire. If you’ve checked out My Books, then you know that I self-publish my NaNos through CreateSpace. This is one possible option for your NaNo, even if you don’t want to push the books to the general public. When I first wrote Mind Evolution, my first book that was self-published after NaNoWriMo 2009, I hadn’t planned on selling them. It was just for me and my sense of accomplishment. There is nothing quite like holding a print copy of something you wrote in your hands. I tend to recommend at least redeeming the free proof copy order, because it’s just that amazing.

Some people don’t believe in self-publishing, and that is fine. If you think your NaNo is good enough for the agent route, good luck! I’m sure you know plenty about agents and publishing houses and all that other stuff that could overload a blog if I tried to get it all into one post. Don’t think that just because your novel is a NaNo means that it isn’t a good piece of work, no matter how much I’ve called NaNos crap. Plenty of them have been published, and at least one–Water for Elephants–was made into a movie.

NaNoWriMo was a challenge to exceed your limits. Even if you didn’t win, it doesn’t matter. Even trying has allowed you to break barriers in your limitations. Now, the sky is your limit. Enjoy the ride, bask in your glory and…LET’S GET PSYCHED FOR NEXT YEAR!