Thursday, July 3, 2014

Looking for a handful of beta readers...

UPDATE: Hey! I'm closing the beta reading signups. First of all, WOW! I got way more responses to this than I expected. Thank you all so much for the interest/support/desire to help!!! You guys make me love writing even when sometimes I hate it. (Like when I try to work on a stubborn book and want to cry/scream/rip my hair out. *cough* Remember Jamie Baker *cough*) Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel like I can't ever say thank you enough to my fans.

I haven't looked at all the signups yet. That's my task this week, and then I should be contacting a few of you to read Scion (Supernaturals #3) for me. (Yes, I FINALLY finished the pesky ending of that book. WooHoo!)  So, I'll be in contact soon. THanks again, and remember I really did get a TON more responses than I can actually use, so I apologize in advance if I don't pick you. It doesn't mean that I don't love you, I promise!


******

Hey everyone! So as the subject of this blog post suggests, I am in need of a handful of awesome, helpful, and reliable beta readers.

What is a beta reader (besides awesome and one of a writers greatest tools)? 

  1. Beta readers(According to Wikipedia)
  2. An alpha reader or beta reader (also spelled alphareader / betareader, or shortened to alpha / beta), also pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption.Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context. Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; in fiction and non-fiction, the beta might also assist the author with fact-checking.


Simply put, a beta is someone who reads early drafts of a manuscript for an author and gives feedback. Beta readers are an essential part of a writer's toolkit. Especially for us indie authors who don't have agents, editors, readers, and publishers all giving us pages and pages of edits. I've recently developed a need for some new beta readers, and I am currently looking for a handful of people who would be willing to do this for me. I'm not too worried about spelling and grammar as I have a wonderful editor who does that for me once my manuscripts are finished and polished. What I am hoping to find is someone who can give me feedback for all the other good stuff. Over all thoughts, questions you have, plot holes, character issues, things you liked, things you didn't, etc... Sometimes I'll have specific questions in mind I may ask for your opinion on. Things like that.

What am I looking for in a beta reader? 

  • someone with a basic knowledge of giving feedback or is used to dissecting stories (book bloggers tend to make exceptional betas because they break down books in all of their reviews.)
  • someone with at least a basic knowledge of writing/story structure/character development
  • someone who reads a lot/enjoys my genre (YA either contemporary or fantasy or both)
  • someone not afraid to tear a manuscript apart. In a helpful, non-hurtful way, please. ;)
  • someone who can read a manuscript in a word doc format since they will be reading first drafts that haven't been formatted in ebook formats yet.
  • someone enthusiastic about beta reading simply for the love of reading and sake of making stories better and helping out an author they like since this is not a paid job but strictly volunteer
  • and above all, I need people who are trustworthy and will under no circumstances pass these manuscripts along to anyone no matter who they are because I would be heartbroken if any of my early (usually crapy) first drafts of my books leaked out to the public.

What do you get out of this if you beta read for me?

  • My eternal servitude. Kidding. But you would definitely have my undying gratitude. :)
  • Not money. Unfortunately. As I said this is not a paid position. Just something that if you love to read and would like to help me, I would love your feedback.
  • I can't give feedback on your own manuscripts either. Unfortunately, I am not looking for critique partners right now. I know that sounds terrible, but as much as I wish I could help everyone who asks me to read and give feedback for their manuscripts, I simply don't have the time. I have one or two critique partners already and if I take on any more, I won't have any time to actually write. I am only looking for readers at the moment.
  • BUT...
  • Obviously as a beta you would be one of the select few who gets to read my books months before they release, and you would have the opportunity to voice your dislikes/concerns while there is still time for me to do something about them.
  •  complementary ebooks of the final product
  • a mention in my special thanks of the book (along with a link to your blog if you're a blogger)
  • possible future characters named after you if you so desire such a thing...
  • autographed swag (posters and bookmarks) of the books you beta for me
  • experience. If you're an aspiring writer, beta reading is a great resource for your own writing. You learn so much from having to pick apart stories looking for the weaknesses. It also helps to see the changes that go into rewrites. I used to beta read a lot and found the experience invaluable . Unfortunately I don't have the time for it anymore. 
  • and my undying gratitude. (I know I said this one already, but it's wroth repeating since I would love you that much!)

If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, please take a moment to fill out the following sign up form. And please keep in mind that I won't be able to use everyone. As much as I wish I could choose everyone who signs up, I only need a few readers for both my contemporary works and my paranormal/fantasy/sci-fi stuff, so please, please, please don't hate me if you sign up and I don't contact you. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Purging" (The Avery Shaw Diaries #2)


In case you missed them I'm posting all the entries of the Avery Diaries here so that they can be easily found on my extras page. :)   And a special thanks to ColorimetryReading TeenI Am A Reader, Not A WriterBook Passion For LifeConfessions of a Bookaholic and A Life Bound By Books for originally hosting these stories! You guys are the best!





"Purging"
(Grayson)

Avery is crazy. Girls are slightly insane in general, but Avery is especially nuts.  She called me up tonight and asked me to help her purge Aiden from her life. I have been asked by a lot of girls to do a lot of things, but never to help them purge. Whatever she meant, I was sure it wasn’t going to be all fun dates and playing like she’d promised me when I agreed to this whacked-out experiment.

Apparently purging was smart-girl talk for throwing out your ex’s junk. I know this is like some kind of sacred ritual among chicks—they have scenes about it in movies and everything—but I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s just stupid crap. Pictures, CD’s, lame stuffed animals, and in Avery’s case, old science projects, reports and even a Civil War diorama that she and Aidan had done in the 3rd grade. The thing was practically biodegrading and yet Aves nearly had a panic attack when I shoved the old shoebox into a garbage bag.

Avery was a freaking train wreck through the whole thing. I had to do all of the actual throwing out because she wasn’t really capable of anything more than pointing at stuff and bursting into tears. She couldn’t even explain why half of that crap reminded her of Aiden. (I’m still at a loss with the Diana Ross CD.)

I thought her attachment to all of it was stupid, but I have to admit the concept had merit. She needed to get over my idiot brother already. The dude was not worth the emotional pain Avery was putting herself through. If I could, I’d wipe Aiden clean from the Earth, but since murder is a felony and I’m too hot to go to prison, purging him from Avery’s life was the next best thing. Aves may have found the evening emotionally scarring, but I thought it was mildly satisfying. Punching Aiden in the face would have been more satisfying, but there was some consolation in burning his pictures.

The more stuff we got rid of, the better I felt. When I carried the garbage bag out of the house—I had to pry it from Avery’s fingers—I thought Aves would feel better too. I thought for sure there would be some kind of relief for her.

Not so much.

I came back inside and found Avery staring at her bedroom wall like some kind of mental patient.  When I walked in the room she turned to me and my heart almost broke for her. Her tears were pouring down her face again and the look in her eyes was so devastated that I felt her pain with her.

In a single stride I pulled her against me and wrapped her tightly in my arms hoping that feeling her there would stop the throbbing in my chest.

Crying girls have always been my biggest weakness. I pretty much hate this about myself, because it makes me vulnerable to them. But I seriously cannot stand it when girls cry. It’s like there is something in me, some kind of physical part of me that reacts when I see a girl cry. It makes me crazy and the feeling doesn’t go away until I’ve made them stop. I have to make them stop. I have to do whatever it takes to put a smile on a sad girl’s face no matter what it does to my dignity.

I’m such a sucker.

Tonight was no exception. Actually, it was one of my least dignified moments ever. Curse my stupid hero gene.

Aves was falling apart and I had to make it better. While she buried her face in my chest, my brain spun frantically searching for some sort of solution. I wasn’t even sure what had set her off this time, but then I looked up at the wall and everything fell into place.

Avery had had this lame poster on her wall of an old dude with crazy hair. I think it was Albert Einstein or someone. I’d taken it down, but it had been in that same spot for so long that you could see the outline of it where the sun had bleached the paint around it over the years.

The big empty rectangle spot was worse than the poster. It was practically jumping off the wall, mocking me in the worst way. I may as well have painted the words AIDEN LEFT YOU in the poster’s place when I took it down, because now it was obvious that it was gone. Just like Aiden was.

I had to fix it. I had to get rid of that spot. But I couldn’t put the poster back. I had to put something else there. Something that wouldn’t remind her of Aiden. More than that—it had to be something that would cheer her up and put a smile on her face when she saw it. It was the “smile” thought that gave me the idea.

Now, this is the part where my dignity comes into play. I was so desperate to cheer Aves up that I’d have given her the shirt off my back if I thought it could help. Unfortunately, in this case, my shirt wouldn’t do any good. But my underwear…

That’s right, I gave Avery Shaw my underpants. The stupid, dorky ones Aiden got me for Christmas a couple of years ago because he’s a tool like that, that I kept in my gym bag. They were white with rainbow smiley faces all over them. Ridiculous. But they would make Avery laugh.

Before I could think better of it, I strolled into Avery’s room and tacked those dumb shorts right over that stupid poster spot. After they were securely fastened to her wall I turned around and grinned at her as big as I could. The trick was confidence. I had to act like I thought this was totally normal, and the most brilliant idea ever or Avery would know how stupid I suddenly felt and then she’d get embarrassed.

Avery looked slightly horrified and her eyes dropped to my waist. I burst into laughter and pulled up my shirt, exposing the band of the boxers I was wearing as proof that I was still dressed beneath my pants. Once she was assured that the shorts on her wall were at least clean she, of course, asked me why I’d just decorated her room with underwear.

I explained my theory of them making her laugh and think of me instead of the Einstein poster making her cry over Aiden. It worked. She looked up at my shorts and actually smiled. It was the first smile I’d seen on her face since I’d arrived. I felt five hundred pounds lighter all the sudden and my smile reached goofy status.

Then, because I’m a jerk and couldn’t help myself, I made a comment about her dreaming of me in nothing but those smiley faces. She totally freaked of course. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but I love watching her blush too much. She turned so red that I was sure she had a very clear mental image stuck in her head.

I waited until she started breathing again, then I kissed her bright red cheek and told her to have pleasant dreams tonight. It was classic. There is no one on the planet more adorable than Avery. 

"I See London, I See France" (The Avery Shaw Diaries #1)

In case you missed them, I'm posting all the entries of the Avery Diaries here so that they can be easily found on my extras page. :)  And a special thanks to ColorimetryReading TeenI Am A Reader, Not A WriterBook Passion For LifeConfessions of a Bookaholic and A Life Bound By Books for originally hosting these stories! You guys are the best!





"I See London, I See France"
(Avery)

Dear Diary,

Though I am clearly past the shock, denial and bargaining stages of grief, I have not attained guilt yet. If I had to describe myself as anything right now, I would say I’m simply empty. Sad, hurt and empty.

What happened between Aiden and myself was tragic, but, really, it was nobody’s fault. Aiden has as much right to his feelings as I do mine. He did what he did because it’s what he needed, not because of something I’d done. Even Grayson agrees that I did nothing wrong. He’s told me a hundred times already that I have nothing to feel guilty about.

Grayson’s right. I have nothing to feel guilty about. And I don’t. Feel guilty, that is. It’s been days and still the guilt won’t come. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to feel guilty about. I just know it’s the next stage in the grieving process.

As part of the Avery Shaw Experiment, I have decided to try and let the stages of grief occur naturally. However, that doesn’t mean that I will sit around waiting for acceptance and a cured heart to find me. No one has ever achieved results by being stagnant.

I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do is that which true mourners do—try to move on with my life. I need to stop dwelling on the past. I need to accept that my relationship with Aiden will never go back to the way it was, and that my life has changed in a very permanent way. I will never be the same.

I figured step one of “moving on” was to purge my life of all things Aiden Kennedy. Tonight I had Grayson come over to my house and help me remove everything that reminded me of Aiden. My Theory was that if I see nothing that sparks a memory, then I would be able to think of Aiden less and it would be easier for me to forget him.

This experience was much harder and more painful than I thought it would be. I never could have done it without Grayson’s support and encouragement. Crying in front of him was embarrassing, but he didn’t seem to think any less of me for it. I’m grateful to have such an understanding partner.

After it was all over—Grayson had to pry the garbage bag full of memories from my hands and drive away with it, or all of that stuff would have ended up right back in its place—I expected to feel better. I expected some sort of closure or sense of relief. Instead I looked around at all the bare walls and dust outlines on the dresser and cried even harder.

The empty spots where the pictures and souvenirs once were now stand as reminders themselves—big empty voids just like the one in my heart that used to be filled with my best friend. Part of me is missing. It’s as if I am an amputee missing an arm or a leg.

The spot on my wall where I used to hang a poster of Albert Einstein that Aiden had given me after I’d dressed as the brilliant physicist for Halloween in middle school was the most obvious gaping hole. I took one look at that spot and broke down.


When I lost it, Grayson wrapped his arms around me and told me he knew how to fix the problem and then disappeared slamming my bedroom door shut behind him. After a minute, he came back and I watched, bewildered, as he pinned a pair of smiley face boxer shorts to my wall where Einstein used to watch over me.

I couldn’t help the way my horrified gaze dropped to Grayson’s pants. He burst into laughter, knowing what I’d been thinking, and insisted that the shorts now on my wall were his emergency pair—clean and washed—that he kept in his gym bag, and that this was most definitely an emergency.

I asked why he tacked his underwear up on my bedroom wall and he told me because now every time I looked at that spot I would think of him and laugh instead of thinking of Aiden and crying. He was right. I can’t help smiling at the ridiculous smiley faces. 

He also told me that they would help me have good dreams. When I asked why he said because I would dream about him being mostly naked instead of having nightmares of Aiden leaving me. I’d freaked out so badly that he’d had to prompt me to breathe again. I don’t know that I’ll have any dreams at night, but the daydreams are already ridiculous. I can’t stop picturing him in those shorts! I’m going to have to get something to replace them. Soon!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Join me for a SuperSale and Facebook party!



Looking for an action packed super powered read but don't have a lot to spend? Join me and over a dozen other SuperAuthors for the Super Strength, Speed Reading one-day sale and Facebook party! 

For one day only, Saturday, June 28th, you will be able to buy over a dozen great YA superhero and action & adventure novels for just 99 cents each.

While you're checking out the selection, the authors will be here on Facebook throughout the event ready to answer questions, talk about your favorite genres or just to chat. Buy some awesome books and make lasting connections with a group of wonderful authors! 



Hope to see you all there!

Participating Authors:

   
    
    
   

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Super, fun, big, exciting, extremely European news!

Hey everyone! I have some really fun news to share with you all today. The Avery Shaw Experiment is headed overseas to make its Hungarian debut! (SQUEE!) 

The wonderful folks at Móra Publishing House will be publishing the Hungarian translation of the Avery Shaw Experiment. Or as they say in Hungary...

 

That's the title translated. Wild, right?


The book will hit the shops June 10th! Only five more days! And it will also be at Budapest's Annual Book Week June 12-16th. That's right, Avery and Grayson are going to Budapest! Sadly, they are going without me as I am stuck at home with my millions of children (okay four) and don't have the time to spend the week in Europe. But someday... *wistful sigh* Still, HOW FUN IS THAT??? 

So, if you happen to live in Budapest, (and somehow miraculously already know who I am and are reading this blog post) stop by the Móra Publishing booth at the Annual Book Week next week, and pick up a copy of Avery in all its Hungarian glory! 

And, to end the blog post, how about I leave you with the Hungarian cover?







And here it is with the back cover...




So cute, right? I love it! What do you guys think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!









Saturday, May 31, 2014

ATTN: BOOK BLOGGERS -- Summer Book Crush 2014 sign-ups now open!


Calling all my book blogging lovelies--I have a promo post and blogger giveaway opportunity for you!
It's time to sign up for this year's Summer Book Crush! I participated in this last year and it was awesome. Tons of us indie authors in all genres are joining together to give people the biggest ebook sale of the summer, and this year, Kyle Hamilton is on Hottie Row! Yeah!! 


This year's motto: Your next summer fling is just a book away. We are an indie book promo that highlights our books according to the what kind of book boyfriend our leading men would make. Who doesn't like to obsess about a new book boyfriend, right? *grin* During the promo, our books will be priced at 99¢.  That's dozens upon dozens of books all just 99¢ each! 

If you're a book blogger and want to help us Crushers spread the word by posting about the Crush, the sign ups are now open. Just go to this link and fill out the form. Takes two seconds, and then you'll receive a ready-to-post html promo post along with some short instructions. All participating bloggers will be entered to win one of three amazon gift cards. 1 $100 and 2 $50 prizes! Woot woot! 


Friday, May 9, 2014

A is for Abstinence Summary...

So, we have a cover, and now we finally have a summary to go with it! I thought I'd share it here for you all.



Six-time Grammy Award-winning musician Kyle Hamilton has it all—money, fame, talent, good looks, and a job he loves. His only regret in life: walking away from a certain notorious virgin because he was too prideful, stubborn, and even afraid to give her the only thing she asked of him—his abstinence.

Four years and a broken heart later, Kyle realizes that sex isn’t everything, and he suddenly can’t stop thinking about the girl that got away. Virgin Val Jensen got under his skin like no one else ever has. He wasn’t ready for her then, but things are different now. He’s grown up, he’s learned a few things, and he’s finally figured out exactly what he wants, or, rather, who he wants.

Kyle Hamilton wants a do-over, and this time he’s willing to do—or not do—whatever it takes.





It's almost here guys! Just two more weeks! Should be available in ebook on or around the 20th. The paperback will take me just a bit longer, but there will be one. :)