Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Exciting Announcement!

So, now that it's finally official, I can spill the beans!

I have signed a deal with WestBow Press (an imprint of Thomas Nelson Publishing) and my debut novel, THE CARNELIAN LEGACY will be coming out in hardcover, softcover, and e-book version in February of 2013! I am very excited about this even though I will be busier than ever!!

I will be knee-deep in revisions, designing my shiny new author web site, press releases, plus making cover design decisions and putting a book trailer together -- whew -- my head is spinning already! I am very excited about the possibilities and to finally be able to see my baby in print!

Thanks to you all who have supported me every step of the way and I look forward to the day when my dream has finally become a tangible reality! I will need your help in the coming months to get the word out and I would appreciate it if you could "Like" my author page on Facebook:

There will be several more exciting announcements in the coming months, so please stay tuned!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

ForeverAfter Pitch Contest and Reader Appreciation!

This has been a whirlwind month for me since I entered five writing contests in two weeks (yeah, my nerves are officially shot!) A couple of the contests have run their course and although I didn't win or advance to the next round in two of them, I did manage to make some writing buddy friends that have already made an impact on my writing, my query, and even my outlook on the whole publishing process.

Mere Joyce - Librarian by day, CatGirl by Night
I did actually win one contest this past week--The ForeverAfter Pitch Contest sponsored by the Pineapple Lightning bloggers Utsav and Brighton! I was honored to have been chosen as the top winning entry and you can check out my winning pitch at:

One award I totally did not see coming was the Reader Appreciation Award given to me by the wonderful Mere Joyce!

I met her through Query Tracker and although she joined the forum after I came in, she quickly surpassed me in status due to her super-awesome comments, encouragement and support to other writers. I never met a Canadian I didn't like, and Mere is no exception. She is super-awesome and a real encouragement to anyone lucky enough to know her. Thanks, Mere Joyce! She's a librarian by day and CatGirl by night. Nuff said!

So, in order to participate in this award, there are a few rules that must be followed. 

If you’re tagged, follow the rules! If you don't, I might just send some of the Bigfoot monsters from my next WIP after you! They are as follows:

- Identify and show appreciation to the blogger who nominated you
- You must add the reward logo to your blog.
- Tell your readers 7 things about yourself.
- You must nominate 5-10 of your favorite bloggers for this award.
- Inform your nominees that you nominated them.

2 things done, three more to go! Check out my random things below!

7 things about me:
  1. I am actually a car fanatic. My dad owned his own company in the Street Rodding business so my childhood summer vacations were spent traveling across the country to wherever the Street Rod Nationals were being held. Columbus, Ohio; St. Paul, Minnesota; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma -- I know all these cities well. I saw the U.S.A in a 1940 Ford with flames across the hood! My father used to blast 50's music from our booth and to this day, I still know all the words to every Elvis song recorded between 1957-1964! In case you were wondering, the car I aspire to own these days is an Audi R8!!
  2. I met my husband on a cruise ship. Yep. He was an officer on board and I was a passenger. The Love Boat took on a whole new meaning in my life when I turned 20!
  3. I can speak three languages: English (native); Dutch (bilingual/native); and French (intermediate). I have a goal to learn German and Italian within the next five years.
  4. I have an amazing day job. Nuff said.
  5. Somedays I am frustrated that there aren't enough hours in the day around my work and family schedule for writing. I know this is a common issue with writers, but you gotta pay the bills somehow!
  6. I have the uncanny knack of walking into a store and picking out the most expensive thing in there without even seeing the price tag. Furniture, jewelry, kitchenware, you name it. I don't know why that is, but with the expensive prices in Europe it's a cruel talent to possess.
  7. I didn't drink coffee or finish my first novel until after I hit forty. I think I started doing both at the same time. Although I loved to write, I always thought you had to be "annointed" to be able to call yourself a writer. I kept telling myself I could never tell stories as good as those books I'd read. I'm so glad now I didn't listen to myself!!
 And finally, for my nominees (in no particular order!):

Brenda Drake
I only "met" this incredible woman online a few months ago when I subscribed to her blog, but let me tell you, she has made an amazing impression in a short amount of time!  All that she has done to help newbie writers break into the world of publishing is truly staggering! Most recently she hosted the Pitch Madness Contest with so many great judges and others and gave several unagented writers a shot at getting an agent. Thanks, Brenda!!

Deana Barnhart
Does this unbelievable woman even need an introduction? She is hosting this month's GUTGAA Contest (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) and has been working nonstop to ensure she is doing everything she can to help unagented writers get their shot at finding one. This woman is the epitome of grace, kindness, and encouragement and I've only "known" her for a few weeks! Deana - you are a real sweetheart and I'm so glad our paths crossed!

John Krissilas
Again, I only "met" John a few weeks ago when we both entered the same contests, but he gives amazing critique on queries and is superhelpful and engaging! His awesome stories involve SciFy and I totally dig that. John, you are awesome I look forward to picking up your thrilling novel when you get it published!

Sarah Ahiers
This is one of the blog greats over at the Query Tracker forums which is where I met her. Always offering encouragement, support, and advice to as many writers as she can, I appreciate her sound advice and in the short time I've "known" her, I have already learned so much for her. Thanks, Sarah, and I can't wait to read your success story!!!

Jodie Andrefski
I met Jodie through GUTGAA and knew I had a great critique partner right away! She is also a great encourager and I love her sense of humor. I have met some awesome writers over the past few weeks, and sometimes it just "clicks" instantly. Thanks for all your encouragement, Jodie, and I look forward to reading the rest of your awesome YA stories!

Thanks to all of you for the many ways you have helped me develop as a writer -- I appreciate each and every one of you. You are all my ROCK STARS in my book!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

GUTGAA Blogfest Meet 'n' Greet

About Me

As part of this week's GUTGAA BlogHop sponsored by Deana Barnhart, I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring and get to know my fellow writers. I'm fairly new to this bunch, but not new to writing. I wrote my first novel when I was eight (yeah, I think I got maybe 2,000 words written in total!)

You can read more about me on my blog, but I have been living in The Netherlands for more than twenty years now and love adding my American twist to things I experience in the Old Country. I have four children (all teenagers) plus a full-time job to boot (can't talk about it--it's classified) Anyhow, I keep busy with life in general and treasure the small moments I have to weave stories buried in the depths of my brain.

So - on to the questions!

Where do you write?

At my kitchen table located in the living room which is also doubles as our family's dining room, recreation room, man cave, and general crash chamber. Confused yet? Welcome to my world.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

A pile of (clean) laundry that has been sitting there for two days waiting to be folded, two kids watching SpongeBob Squarepants, hubby's sandals, an empty can of Diet Pepsi and a blood pressure monitor (can you guess who it's for?) And yes, I see all those things and much more in just one glance!

-Favorite time to write?

Evening/late night. After kids are in bed and I've had the chance to digest the latest episode of Pawn Stars!
-Drink of choice while writing?

Already covered this above, but it is Diet Pepsi (Diet Coke tastes HORRIBLE in Europe!) If that's not available, MARGARITAVILLE!
Fun Fact: Diet Pepsi is known as Pepsi Light and Diet Coke is Coca-Cola Light in Europe

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

I usually need complete silence or as close to it as I can get, but with four kids, two cats, one dog and a hubby who watches tv two decibels louder than he probably should, silence is golden (and rare!) My iPod and ear buds are my friends.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

My YA Sci-Fi thriller is based on a tourist trap attraction back home in Oregon. The Oregon Vortex (google it!) is an area where strange magnetic phenomenon occur and it's always been a running joke in our family. I thought it would be cool to take the urban legend and make it a gateway to another dimension. I was corn-fed on Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica so I can't really say I'm surprised!

-What's your most valuable writing tip?

Make yourself your MC - dive in and let 'er rip! What do you see, think, feel, hear, smell? Also - never stop believing in your writing and DON'T GIVE UP!