Monday, August 27, 2012

When One Door Closes, Another Opens


This is so not what I’d planned on posting about today, but something unexpected happened the other night. First, a little background:

Many of you know I’m an interior designer by trade. I’ve run my own business in the field of model home merchandising since 1997. But in 2007, the economy, and home-building in particular, took a major nose-dive. Since then, I haven’t been working much in my field. The first 2 years off, I cooked and baked a lot. Then in 2010, I started writing. Since then, I’ve spent every moment possible honing my craft and becoming as skilled a writer as possible.

Some I've learned from books and blogs, but mostly from reading and critiquing other manuscripts. I believe critiquing to be the single best way to improve one's craft.

I take it very seriously. I’m brutally honest, kind, fair, constructive, and very thorough. Unless asked otherwise, I’ll edit down to the very last period—for grammar, content, characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, you name it. If it doesn’t work for me, I’ll explain why and give examples on how to fix it.

Critiquing has brought me great friendship, too.  Lisa Regan, Carrie ButlerJeff O'Handley, all good friends and skilled critique partners.  Working with them and my many other partners ensured my manuscript was clean, layered, and rich.  It also had a significant impact on my writing style. 

Well, out of the blue last month, my publisher asked me to critique a 75,000 word manuscript.  I found this request quite complimentary; they expressed considerable faith in my ability.  I completed the critique with nearly 1,100 comments.  Afterwards, I was told I had a “natural eye for editing.”  They suggested I consider freelance editing, and, after going back and forth a bit, my publisher offered me a contract.  Can you believe it?
  
I am now a freelance editor!



How cool is that?

I’ve often heard, when one door closes, another opens. Well, I believe it. A new opportunity has arisen, just when I needed it most. Can you imagine, getting paid to read? Okay, so it’s a lot more than that. A LOT MORE! But still, it’s reading. And to be honest, I can’t simply read for pleasure anymore anyway. No matter whose book or how well written, I cannot turn off that inner editor.

I'm grateful; my publisher is willing to work around my writing schedule so that I may finish my second novel, a sequel to The Mistaken. After all, that’s what’s most important to me. But making a little something on the side doing what I love most is a pretty cool gig.

Don’t you think?


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Forged by Greed" Cover Reveal!

Cover art by

Their choice had been taken away long before they were born.

__________

Two Seattle 16-year-old Shape Shifters, Jatred and Jasmira, are torn between following their hearts and protecting the order of the world.

The ancient Shape Shifter Races—the Winter wolves and the Summer leopards—exist on Earth, living among humans and perfectly fitting into modern life. Their secret societies are organized, each united by their own laws and traditions.

Two Goddesses, Crystal and Amber, command their respective Races. One is on a quest to tilt the scale of power to her side. The other will never let it happen, even if it means sacrificing Jatred and Jasmira’s love.

The Amulet commissioned to bring stability into the world remains hidden and concealed with the help of advanced technology. Jatred is the guardian of the Amulet and key to the Goddesses’ conflict.

The forces of nature are disrupted. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions rake the world. The Goddesses go to war and summon all their Shifters to join in the conflict. Jatred and Jasmira fight not only for their star-crossed love but to protect the future of both races and humankind.
__________

Excerpt

The wolf stood under the trees, several yards from the fence. His eyes were fixed on the stone statues. He growled and took a few slow steps back. Then he sprang forward and ran full speed toward the gate. His upper lip drew back, showing sharp, long canines. He jumped over the spikes of the fence, his belly inches away from the pointed iron finials. The wolf landed on the other side and left large paw prints on the freshly mowed grass. He lost his balance but regained it momentarily.

He heard her footsteps even before he heard her voice.

“Jatred!” From the house Jasmira ran toward him. Her long curly hair billowed behind her. “J, you made it. You made it.”

The wolf whimpered and trotted forward to meet her. Without slowing down, she threw herself onto him. Her hands grabbed his thick fur. His body was massive, and Jasmira looked like a child hugging an uncommonly large dog. The air around them pulsed and shivered. Jatred shifted into his human form and fell onto his back. Jasmira sprawled on top of him. Holding his face in her hands, she kissed him. His face broke into a broad smile.

__________

Forged by Greed will be released on September 20, 2012. The second book in the series (untitled) is scheduled for publication in summer 2013.


Angela Orlowski-Peart was born and raised in Poland. She describes herself as European born, American by choice. She was just seven-years-old when she decided to learn English to translate her favorite Polish fairytales. 

Angela is a Young Adult and Adult fiction writer. She completed her first YA paranormal romance novel, Forged by Greed, which is scheduled for publication on September 20, 2012. This is the first book in The Forged Series. Angela writes in multiple genres, including paranormal, fantasy, urban fiction, sci-fi, and short stories. She is a member of the Society of the Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Western Washington Chapter, and several authors’ and readers’ networking groups on Linkedin and Goodreads.

Angela loves reading good books almost as much as writing them. She can’t decide which is her favorite season—summer or fall. She speaks with Polish accent, but loves listening to the Southern drawl. 

She is passionate about watercolor painting, fashion—especially stilettos, rock climbing, environment, and organic food and gardening. She lives in the Seattle area with her husband, two children, and a very independent and chronically curious cat.

Angela can be found on her websiteFacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Goodreads

Visit Angela on her website and on her Goodreads author page to read more excerpts from Forged by Greed and to learn about upcoming giveaways and other events. Add Forged by Greed to your To-Be-Read list on Goodreads. Check back on September 20th for the buy links and the book blog tours information.



Monday, August 20, 2012

Y'all Come Back Tomorrow Now, Ya Hear!


I know this is my regular day to post, but I'm still away in Arizona, getting my son settled in at ASU.  

Please come back tomorrow for Angela Orlowski-Peart's
big cover reveal for her YA paranormal novel,
"Forged by Greed"

Until then...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Moving (check), Launch tour (check), Blogfest (check)...OYVEY!



This is not my normal Monday blog post, but there’s good reason for that.  This Friday, I will be flying my son down from Seattle to Arizona State University near Phoenix, and on Sunday, we’ll move him into his residence hall.  Yes, after 2 years of researching schools, college fairs and tours, applications, and essays, it’s all come down to this.  

May I say how stressed out I am, especially since I have to do it alone,
without my husband’s help?

 

Yeah. Super-├╝ber mondo-stressed.

Mind you, ASU is the largest public university in the entire US.  That’s nearly 70,000 students, most of whom attend the beautiful one-square-mile Tempe campus, where my son will be living.  So far, we’ve UPS’d one huge box down to his hall, at great cost, too.  The rest will be packed and fly with us. Thank God Southwest Airlines doesn’t charge for checked bags!  Needless to say, I’ve been a busy mama.  So while I don’t have the time to dwell over a thoughtful blog post, I do have time for a few announcements.  



First, my dear friend, Jennifer Hillier, has just released her second novel, Freak.  Though it stands alone on its own merits, it’s also a sequel to her debut novel, Creep, which came out last summer.  (I loved that book, by the way!)  I ordered a hard copy of Freak so Jenny can sign it when I see her at BoucherCon 2012 in October.  I was excited enough just to get my copy, but then I opened it up and saw that she had mentioned me in her acknowledgements.  Yes, more than a few tears sprang to my eyes.  Thank you, Jenny!

Second, after receiving another update from Goodreads, where I noticed one more add to another reader’s TBR list (thank you Lynda R. Young,) I saw that Lisa Regan had updated her review of my book, The Mistaken.  This update has a lot of depth and detail and is not simply a rehashed synopsis.  She shares what she loved most about my story and what she feels makes it special.  My humble thanks, Ms.Regan!  

Next, with my book’s release a short 2 months away, I’m frantically getting ready for my blog tour.  Besides the one arranged by Sapphire Star Publishing, (who, by the way, has a shiny new website) I have my own tour looming ahead.  That’s 15 guest posts and interviews I have to compose.  I’ve already written 10 of them, but I have 5 new additions that came up last week.  (Thanks to those of you who asked me to guest post.)  So yeah, I’m a bit swamped at the moment. 



I did, however, want to mention a couple of other events coming up, like Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Genre Favorites Blogfest on September 17, 2012.  One blogfest, four favorites!  Simply list your favorite genre of:  movie, music, books, and a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories!  Alex hosts the best parties, so if you want to participate and meet new people, click here for the latest info.  

Also, on Tuesday, August 21st, my friend, neighbor, and fellow writer, Angela Orlowski-Peart, will reveal the cover for her new YA paranormal novel, Forged By Greed, set for release in September.  Angela will be my guest that day while we celebrate this important event.

And lastly, I’d like to thank Karen Elizabeth Brown for nominating me for the Liebster Award.  Though I’ve done this award before, it could use some updating, so I’ll try to post about it sometime in the near future. 

Whew!  Can I take a breath now?
Oh yeah, right…I have to go finish packing.


*sigh*

So what have you all been up to this summer?


Monday, August 6, 2012

How Do You Measure Your Own Success?



Last week, in response to my post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, many commenters spoke of how a writer’s focus often changes once he or she is agented, signs a book deal, and/or gets published.  It only makes sense that this would happen.  Just as our dreams and careers are not static, neither should our blogs remain fixed. 

The purpose to my blog was to chronicle my journey toward publication.  In the beginning, though I had a book, I had no idea if it was saleable or if I could even consider myself an actual writer.  I met others along the way who were exactly where I was on the journey and many others who were farther along—agented and hoping beyond all hope for a publishing contract.  And still others who had their contract or were even already published. 

I enjoy reading each writer’s contribution, studying their progress, and partaking of their generous advice and experience.  I’ve never felt any jealousy but rather a sense of encouragement that it is all, in fact, possible somehow, if I just work hard enough.  But even having said that, there has to be some measurement of success along the way, some way that we, in our own right, encourage ourselves to continue, to not give up. 

For each of us, I imagine, it’s quite different.  I know when I started blogging, I was excited if one person read and commented on my posts.  Then it became all about the number of followers I had and how many I was adding each month.  After my numbers increased, I measured my success by the number of comments I had for each post.  I still do both of these to some extent, but I’ve become less obsessed with the overall numbers.

In the past few months, it’s been more about my book and who’s added it to their Goodreads TBR pile, but that seems rather shortsighted of me.  Now, all I can think about—the one true way in which I can gauge my own success—is by my writing.  That means I have to write another book. 

Over the last two-plus years, I’ve often wondered if this whole experience is not just some kind of fluke.  I’ve asked myself if I could ever duplicate it, if I could ever do it again.  So that’s how I’ll be calculating my success now.  Can I do it again?  Can I plot and write another novel worth publishing? 

I have my doubts.  Serious ones, too.  I’m working on another story, a sequel to The Mistaken.  In fact, I was flying along in the outline phase until my edits came in from my publisher for the first book.  Then I came to a screeching halt.  Afterwards, one of my dogs died and the other got very sick.  I know once my son goes off to college out-of-state in a little less than two weeks, I’ll have all the time in the world to focus on my new WIP and move it along again.  Still, there’s that part of me that thinks I’ll never be able to do it again.  But I’ve always been of the mind that if I did it once, I can do it again.  God, I sure hope so.


So what about you—how do you measure your own success?    
            

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

IWSG - Fear of Losing Friendships



It’s the first Wednesday of the month.

All things considered, I’ve been fortunate on my journey toward publication.  I know this, and I’m grateful.  Very grateful.  But just because I managed to snag a contract doesn’t mean everything is always roses and sunshine.  There’s still a lot to worry about. 

Will my launch go smoothly?  Will anyone participate or even care about my blog tour?  And the big one, of course, will anyone buy my book?  Oh yeah, an even bigger one…if they do buy it, will they like it?  My long fingernails are pretty much a thing of the past now, chewed down to the nub, bleeding and ragged.  But you know, I’ve done all I can.  I can only hope and pray for the best.

But still, there is one thing that concerns me.  When I finished the first draft of my manuscript, I built myself a platform and started this blog.  Most of you have been there and done that. You know how hard it is to start up, build a following, cull new friendships and relationships.  I certainly didn’t go into it expecting all that, yet that’s exactly what I got.  And I can’t tell you how thrilled I am by that.  All the new friendships have enriched my life in ways I can’t even begin to explain.  But I can say, it’s all good.  And I don’t want to lose it, any of it.  That’s one of my greatest fears now, my big insecurity.

You see, I’ve noticed a trend in the blogosphere.  Certainly not always, but often enough to be worrisome, once a blogging writer gets their contract and publishes, their readership begins to fall away, their comments diminish.  I imagine it’s because the author has less time to traipse about all the blogs and comment.  I hope that’s the reason, but I don’t intend to find out. 

I will always dedicate a day a two every week to ramble, read, and remark.  What good is my platform if no one is standing around to listen?  All that work, the time spent writing and roaming, down the drain, and just when I need it the most, too.  It’s counterintuitive. 

But as much sense as that makes—to keep up my end of the blogging bargain—I’ve heard from several author friends about how they’ve lost not just followers, but real, true friends—or who they thought were friends anyway—to envy and jealousy.  I can’t imagine any of my friends or followers succumbing to that.  My path has hardly been traditional, and we’re not competing against each other anyway. 

But still, it happens.  I’ve seen it.  And it scares me. 

Just as I’ve learned so much from those who’ve come before me, perhaps I can teach a small thing or two to those who come after.  It’s part of paying it forward.  I just hope there’s still a few around to pay it forward to.