Saturday, April 30, 2011

On stuff OTHER than writing, newsworthy bits, and stuff I learned this week

It has occurred to me that folks visiting this blog might not want to talk or read about stuff related solely to writing. I don't blame you. It's totally boring to talk about sales numbers, marketing strategies, and grammar issues all the time. Even I get weary of it, especially as the week winds down and my brain is absolutely stretched beyond capacity with all the calisthenics involved with the sales & marketing crap.

As such, I won't talk about that stuff today. My brain is tired and I have blog posts to write/finish for other folks, taxes to do (yeah, I'm gonna miss the Canadian tax deadline...whatevs...), and Yaunna needs to go to the mall to find shoes for Oliver. Before I go off on the latest tangent, though, I will encourage you to visit these blogs where reviews, interviews, and active giveaways are goin' on:

1. Books, Personally -- On Sleight, Judy Blume, and Heroines in YA
2. The Cait Files -- review for Sleight (watch this blog for an upcoming post and giveaway!)
3. Into the Morning Reads -- active giveaway + review (giveaway ends 5/9)
4. Confessions of a Bookaholic -- active giveaway + review (giveaway ends 5/13)

Now let's get on with it: 

Things that happened this week that you might or might not give a shit about:

1. Terrible tornadoes ripped through seven states in the southern United States, including Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Hundreds of thousands are still without power and water; the death toll as of this morning sits at 340. I have been talking to a blogger in Tennessee who said that although they survived it physically unscathed after hiding in the bathtub under a mattress, now that the clean-up has started, mail from Arkansas has been found in Knoxville. Though she didn't say where the mail was from, one city that was hit (Palarm, Arkansas, north of Little Rock) is 600 miles from Knoxville -- crazy-long way for mail to fly through the atmosphere on nothing but wind currents. Father Time must've cut off Mother Nature's credit cards again as she was in a piss-poor mood this week. We're thinking good thoughts for the folks over there and hope that everyone just hangs in there. ((Hugs)) from western Canada.

2. The Royal Wedding happened. Yeah, I don't need to say anything more about it other than I sort of woke up around 2 am PST and watched the super-boring singing/praying parts (those little choir boys were so cute, though!!), went to bed at 3, and laid awake until after 4 (insomniac) thinking about everything and nothing. I missed the Big Kiss but I did love that dress. How do her guts fit into that little tiny body? The Middleton girls are barely more than twigs. Sheesh, their intestines must be all svelte and clean. I can't imagine having a waistline so teeny, not even when I was, like, 9. And whatever folks have to say about the monarchy and its dastardly reputation of squashing the little folks -- my family has Irish and Scottish blood; I'm sure we've had lots of peasantry trampled and pillaged by said royals -- it's not William and Kate's fault, nor Harry's (although much could be blamed on the hats of Eugenie and Beatrice. Those girls looked like the ugly stepsisters at Cinderella's ball). Bottom line, I want the best for these youngsters. They look so happy and in love. And what's wrong with that? Folks need to not hate out of jealousy. William and Harry are following in their mother's footsteps with the charity work, which is a helluva lot more than I can say for me, or most of the people I know. Go build a school or hospital in Africa and then tell me that they're rotten people.

3. My 9-year-old was selected for the Development 1 select soccer team after undergoing four-point-five hours of tryouts across three days. We are very proud of him -- he is a kick-ass player! Go, Brennie, go! And the 6-year-old was given a lovely little award at school for "taking his role as a learner seriously and always putting forth a determined effort." I gave him a prize for his prize: the Wimpy Kid DIY journal. As he was home sick Friday, it gave me ten minutes of peace while he doodled away a comic about the Fart Police.

Arabian Nights, by Ashleigh Norman
4. My little sister, artist Ashleigh Norman, debuted a new painting for the New West Symphony in Thousand Oaks, California, via an event called "Music to See, A Multi-Media Experience." Check it out. She's quite good with paint.

5.The Festival of Books is happening in Los Angeles this weekend, at the USC campus. I wish I could go, but if you're in the area, go in my stead. It looks like fun.

6. The Vancouver Canucks barely barely defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in game seven of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. I almost had a heart attack and it took hours for my pulse to regulate itself. They went on to beat Nashville in game one on the second round (on Thursday); game two is today. The family will be watching.

7. I sent a tweet to a friend about another friend who used to trick-or-treat at Judy Blume's house, allegedly in Portland. Judy Blume RESPONDED and corrected us, that it couldn't have been her house because she lived in New Jersey. SO, it must've been Beverly Cleary's house (she lived in the same Portland neighborhood where this friend and I grew up). The POINT: Judy Blume responded to my tweet!!! 

Things that I learned or revelations that occurred to me this week:

1. "Friends" on Facebook and friends on Facebook are two totally different entities.

2. Removing a sink faucet without a basin wrench is an exercise in futility.

3. Waiting for the mail to come with the (fingers-crossed) final proof of your novel is like waiting for that boy who didn't know you existed to call and ask you to prom. Especially in Canada. We don't get mail on Saturdays, and last weekend was a long one, with Good Friday and Easter Monday mail-free, statutory holidays for the postman.

4. Donald Trump should be exiled to a waterless, sunless, oxygen-free planet. Maybe his hair will stop growing and we will all be put out of our misery.

5. When someone you love has someone they love who's dying, everything else suddenly falls into place. But only for a few moments of clarity. Then everything goes back to its worrisome, frenetic state, especially when you realize that there is nothing you can do to help your friend feel better, except listen. Sometimes that's just not enough.

6. Rankings on Amazon, unless they're in the bestsellers' category, are irrelevant. Fun, but irrelevant. But it makes your kids and your husband and your mom and your best friend really happy to see your book on a list with Twilight, especially when your book is ranked above Twilight for approximately eight whole hours.

7. No matter how hard you cross your fingers, things will happen as they are supposed to. It can be maddening.

8. Cat hair, dog hair, and dust reproduce like no other amalgamation of molecules on the planet, especially on/around my desk.

9. Stefan Salvatore is adorable. I realize this makes me look ridiculous to admit, but I can't help it. Last night's insomnia led me to watch the Vampire Diaries episode from Thursday, and I just love Stefan. Damon = delicious, too.

10. Sometimes, retarded is the perfect word to describe one's feelings or the way a situation presents itself. Lady Gaga got into all sorts of shit this week for using said word in an interview (she was compared to Madonna or accused of ripping her off or something, and called such comparison "retarded"). There was a major backlash, and now the media has dubbed it "The R Word." The definition of retard: "delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment." In colloquial use, it has come to mean ridiculous, unreasonable, or stupid. That does NOT mean we are bashing on people who have impaired cognitive abilities. They call those folks Texans* developmentally disabled nowadays. I grew up with a physically disabled sister who was not developmentally disabled, but when she was being a cow to me and our other sister, she was totally retarded. Ask the kids we went to school with how retarded Michelle could be when she ran into them in her 200-lb. power-drive wheelchair, just to get back at me for something I'd done at home the night before. For the record: Michelle (rest in peace, 'Bug) would never be offended by being called retarded -- she'd just holler and protest that you were the retard, not her. Time for the Sensitivity Police to take a coffee break. No one is insulting your autistic nephew or your developmentally disabled daughter.

(*Sorry, Texans. It just popped into my head, and I had to go with it. Couldn't help myself. Yes, I'm still laughing at how clever I am. And those of you who are from Texas, I know you feel the same way about us granola-munching, tent-dwelling, tree-hugging, socks-and-sandal-wearing Oregonians. It's all good. Just good, clean, retarded fun.)

11. Armadillos can give you leprosy, according to Discover magazine. Another thing for me to tease Texans about.

That's all she--er, I--wrote for the week, folks. I know I'm forgetting stuff, but that's because I'm distracted and worried about how I'm going to save the world before I turn forty (four months, twenty days to go).

Xs and Os from me to you (unless you have an active herpes outbreak on your lip, and then we're limiting it to Os and no Xs. Xs are kisses, right? Or are Os the kisses? Whatever. No kissing unless Purell is involved).

Friday, April 22, 2011 know you want to know. Don't you? (Please, lie to me.)

Jovie is ready for her close-up. Again.
I have to tell you: I have an inferiority complex. Actually, it's double-edged -- one side is the self-loathing part, the opposite is the arrogant-don't-tell-me-where-that-comma-goes part. We all have this duplicity within us. Whether you choose to admit it is between you and your shrink/bottle/pills/eating disorder.

With that said, the process of self-promotion is sort of new to me. I don't like standing on the street corner flashing my wares --"Hey, watches, cheap, looks like a Rolex!"-- it feels weird. (Hey, have you seen Hot Rod? I want the nutty Asian guy in that dancing montage, the guy who throws flyers for Rod's show all over the place and hip thrusts his way through the movie. STOLE THE SHOW, that guy...!). Anyway, since I can't get the cute dancing Asian guy from Hot Rod to shout from the street corners or hip thrust his way into your hearts, I am taking another approach.


All you never wanted to know about Jenn, and less.

Check 'em out. And Jessica at Bookaholic is having a giveaway (!!!) for Sleight (signed paperback for US entries, ebooks for international), so stop by and say YO! Thank you, SO MUCH, to book bloggers Britney (I Eat Words), Jessica (Confessions), and Missy (Two Readers) for being so amazing and so gracious.

NOTE: In the interview with Britney at I Eat Words, I want to give a weensy little *spoiler alert*. She asked about Book 2 (Stratagem), and I gave her a tiny taste. If you don't want to know ANYTHING about it, then skip this question. Cool beans. That's all.

Thanks to YOU, gorgeous, sweet-smelling reader, for your support. Hip thrust for me, just for the heck of it. (You get bonus points for doing it at an old lady at the bus stop. Wait, let me get my camera. This is gonna be funny...)

Xs and Os. The sun is shining and the kids are out of school, and to them, any Friday without school MUST be a Good Friday. :o)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Heather Hildenbrand's RACE TO 30 REVIEWS giveaway...join in the fun!

My Accendo Press partners have teamed up to bring you a very cool giveaway scheme, masterminded by the always-lovely Heather Hildenbrand. Please note that this giveaway is sponsored by Heather (I'm not smart enough to figure these things out), but my book (Sleight) is included in the prize packages. When I get more organized, I will run some giveaways. Promise. (I think.) If you don't want to wait that long for me to sprout a brain, then go buy it. You can do that, too. I won't mind. Neither will my kids or my shrink. In fact, you would make their day.

On with the News:

Reviews are VERY important to authors. They lend credibility where there might not yet be any, especially for newbies. It's not enough for our moms, besties, and husbands to say, "Good job, hon! Great book!" You wouldn't believe that. It's like a snake oil salesman, right? Never trust the mother of a writer/artist/musician/astrophysicist to tell you the truth about their baby's work. THAT means that reviews are up to you, Esteemed Reader, to get the word out there and SCREAM FROM THE ROOFTOPS about how much you love/hate our work. (Side note: Maybe if you hate it, can you whisper instead? Ouch.)

The review process is especially important for self-published authors as WE are the Marketing & Sales Department, on top of everything else. Sure, part of being indie is having total creative control. That's a positive. But the part that sucks (at least as far as I'm concerned, because I suck at it) is trying to convince other humans that the Work Is Good -- You Should Read It. As such, reviews are a lifeline to spread the word. But these reviews must be honest assessments of the work. If you're afraid of hurting someone's feelings but you weren't quite sure about book you read, well, I'll leave that up to you to wrestle with. You know yourself better than I do. But if you liked it, you really, really liked it (that's the sole impression I will do of Sally Field today, I promise...I just introduced a generation gap moment, didn't I...who the hell is Sally Field, Jenn?), then read forward and see what Crafty Heather has come up with for her recent release, Dirty Blood. Because I am easily confused with these giveaways, I will try to lay it out for you like I would want for me (I'm sort of the stupid 18-month-old puppy in the back of puppy kindergarten who got started WAY too late):

Heather Hildenbrand's RACE TO 30 REVIEWS! 

Let's see how fast we can hit 30 reviews for EACH title. The first contestant in the race is my new paranormal romance, Dirty Blood. And the second, my YA fantasy, is Across The Galaxy. IT'S A RACE!

How it works:

Every review posted gets you entered into the drawing. As soon as we hit thirty (30) reviews, I'll draw the winners. THIS IS A TWO-PART CONTEST, so there will be two sets of winners, one for each title. And yes, you can enter for both, and potentially win both! AND, if you've already read one or both, and left a review, it already counts toward the contest. AND if you've read one or both, but haven't left a review, go do it NOW! (Pretty please!)

So, here's exactly how you can be entered:
  1. Choose, Barnes and, or and leave a review for one of my books mentioned above.
  2. You will receive an entry for EVERY review you post, so if you post to all three sites, you get three entries.
  3. If you tag the book on Amazon, you will receive an extra entry. (Email me the tags you used so I know.)
As soon as we reach thirty (30) reviews for a title, I'll do the drawing for that title. Here's what you'll get:

Dirty Blood Grand Prize:
  • Signed paperback of Dirty Blood 
  • ebook of Across the Galaxy 
  • ebook of Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby
  • ARC (advanced reader's copy) of Cold Blood, the sequel to Dirty Blood, when it's ready. (ARC will be an ebook.) 
  • ARC of Angeline Kace's paranormal romance, Descended by Blood, coming summer 2011
Across The Galaxy Grand Prize:
  • Signed paperback of Across The Galaxy 
  • ebook of Dirty Blood 
  • ebook of Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby
  • ARC of Cold Blood, the sequel to Dirty Blood, when it's ready. (ARC will be an ebook.)
Two (2) runners-up (for each drawing) will receive:
  • Two (2) ebooks of their choice (any of my titles OR Sleight by Jennifer Sommersby) as well as ARC of Cold Blood when it's ready.
The race is on.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest post by author Heather Hildenbrand

Welcome, Heather, to Planet Jenn as the FIRST-EVER GUEST WRITER! Sweet thing even threw in a little something about grammar...girl after my own heart.
On with the show:
On my process, and why I hate conjunctions...
Authors frequently get asked about what music they write to, or what songs inspire a story. Or, more specifically, what music do you use in your writing process?
Here's the thing about me. My process involves a lot of silence. Hours of it, really. Let's back up a minute. You have to understand, both of my kids started school this year. Full day. I drop them off by 8 am and I don't have to leave to get them until 2 pm. And even now, over halfway through the school year, I'm nowhere near taking it for granted. Oh, stop judging. I love my kids more than anything, but I love them MORE when I get a chance to miss them. And when they're here, our house is not quiet. They love to wrestle with each other, even though it always ends in tears, and they love playing their DS while watching a movie in surround sound, while the phone is ringing, and they're bickering with each other. So when I sit down to write, I'm way too busy enjoying the blessed, inspiring silence of my house to want to put any noise (I mean, music) on. 
Don't get me wrong: I love music. My MP3 is currently sitting in its little docking station, on my fireplace mantle, right next to the corner of the couch that I sit on whenever I'm using my laptop; it's plugged in and ready to go. I just rarely even think of turning it on. For those of you who like to beat a dead horse, I'll go ahead and answer the question. "But, what is on your MP3?" It's a funny mix, really. I've got Kings of Leon, The Fray, and Blue October. Then I've got some old school Oasis, Matchbox Twenty (the album with “Push” on it) and possible even some Skee-lo ("I wish I was a little bit taller..."). Then there's some Alicia Keyes, and some Gavin Rossdale, and maybe even some TLC, yeah, the old stuff. Oh, and I can't forget the Newsies soundtrack ("That's my cigar, you'll steal another, hey bummers, we got work to do..."). Favorite movie, ever. I was Christian Bale's original number-one fan, and he's still my secret boyfriend. Satisfied? I told you it was a funny mix.
Okay, so back to the silence. Like I said, the main reason is just to appreciate it. The second reason is this: When I write a story, I get so caught up in it, become such a part of the world that I've created, that I usually end up tuning the music out, anyway. I forget all about the song, the fact that I'm sitting on my couch in my PJs, whether it's raining or sunny out, and I just write. I've actually had to train myself to glance up at the clock at regular intervals to make sure I'm not late picking up the kiddos. Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way.
There is one time throughout my process that I've found music to be immensely helpful, and that is plotting. Mostly because without music, I feel like a delusional lunatic, because when I plot, all I do is sit on the couch with a notebook in my lap and stare off into space whilst tapping a pen against my chin. So, if the hubby were to come home early, it might look kind of creepy, in a vacant-eye sort of way, without the excuse of, "Oh, I'm just listening to music." Also, those are the times that the lyrics actually reach my ears, and help me form ideas. My character, Wes, from Dirty Blood was inspired by "Hey Jude" by the Beatles.
Now that you know all of this about me, and I'm sure that you are a better person for knowing it, you will be able to read any future interviews I do and laugh when they ask me what music helps me write. It'll be our private joke.
Before I go, one last thing. It wouldn't be right to guest post on Jenn's blog without venting about poor grammar. However, where Jenn usually vents about a grammar mistake potentially made by others, I have no choice but to call myself out.
Commas. Specifically, commas before conjunctions. Grrr. Apparently, I suck at them. I've prided myself on being pretty good with the grammar stuff, too, so to find this out now seriously pissed me off about myself. English was my best subject. I loved it. I hated conjugating verbs and such, but I was good at it. I might've lost my touch. Here's the rule:
Commas before Conjunctions in Compound Sentences

The basic rule: When two complete sentences are joined by a conjunction (most often and, but, or or), place a comma before that conjunction.
Here's how I found out I suck at it: when my friend, and fellow Accendo Press author Angeline Kace edited Dirty Blood for me. She sent it back with her suggestions and corrections, and the glaring error that persisted throughout the entire draft was my omission of those damn commas before the conjunctions! Gah!
Well, I've learned my lesson -- the hard way. So I feel compelled to share. Do not let those commas best you! They'll try...or maybe it's just me. 
Heather's new release, Dirty Blood, is available on as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords.

Monday, April 11, 2011

On "middle age," reviews & interviews, and an Upcoming Giveaway Event

I think middle age is happening.

Unlike me, Jovie the Duck likes to have her nails done.
How old are you, Jenn, you ask? A polite girl never tells. Therein lies the irony: polite + girl. I have not been known throughout time for my politeness, and I don't think I qualify as a "girl" anymore. Well, from a purely biological perspective, sure, I am a girl. I wear a bra. I have PMS. I can do girlie things (except paint my nails. PLEASE don't make me paint my nails. It makes my hands feel heavy and then I start gesticulating like a Southern belle drinking spiked lemonade, using my pointer finger like I'm rocking a 3-carat diamond on Mr. Wedding Finger -- "Oh, this laundry pile here {point, hand flourish, point again}, it is clean and ready for you to put awayyyyyy." See what I mean? No nail polish!). Yeah, when I was a kid, I used to do all that tomboy stuff: rode BMX bikes off jumps, whizzed down hills on skateboards, picked fights I couldn't win (total weenie + big mouth = fast runner), climbed trees and impaled worms on hooks without squealing. I used to try to jump out of trees and over hedges and land with my legs straight, just to see if I could do it. Now that I'm approaching middle age, my knees are remembering my bad deeds and creaking in protest. However, I think this last trick of mine has less to do with me behaving as a boy and a lot more with me being dumb.

Why am I whining about middle age again? Oh, right. Because I can't remember shit. Maybe there's just so much going on. And there are. I have a lot of irons in the fire, stuff that keeps me awake at night and puts me to sleep during the day. (Vicious cycle.) Kids with needs, other kids fighting wars, bills that need paying, bullets that need dodging. Between Facebook and Twitter and email and then talking to people in real life, it's a lot to keep track of. And I've taken to writing everything down because it's embarrassing. I want my 17-year-old brain back (minus the melodrama and bouts of "woe is me"), but with all the shit I've learned since then added in. While you're at it, can I have my 17-year-old body back, too? That would be EXcellent.  Maybe make the boobs an eesny bit bigger...

I was telling my Accendo Press mates Heather and Angeline to remind me of stuff that they've told me -- info about giveaways and how we run those bad boys (they've explained it at least three times now), how to write guest posts and why they are beneficial, what Angeline's favorite wine is, the names of Heather's children -- because I tend to forget things we've talked about. I keep asking people I've chatted up on Twitter, "Oh, what part of LA are you in? I used to live in Studio City," and then they have to remind me that we already talked about this. Angela Carlie and I were practically neighbors growing up, and yet when I first met her, I told her twice, within the span of a week, that I grew up in Portland and graduated from the high school situated in the Washington town where she works. She was gracious and smiled at me across the miles, and said, "Mmm-hmm, I remember you told me last week." GEEZE, Jenn!

Please tell me that it's not me getting old. As a teenager and young adult, it would drive me mental when my mom would say that she was somehow excused from what I saw as transgressions because she was "getting up there." Example: "Oh, I forgot to send the check in for your yearbook. Sorry. You can borrow my camera, though. Where did I put it? Oh, that's just me getting old." Or "Oh, I know I said you could go out with that boy Friday night to that really big concert event, but I made other plans and I need you to babysit your little sister. I can't remember everything with my aging brain!" Huh? And while I'll likely never think of my mom as old--she has more energy than she knows what to do with (SIT DOWN, Mom!), when I was sixteen, her being thirty-eight totally seemed old.

Now I'm older than thirty-eight (though, just barely...*wink wink*), and I wish I could go back and be thirty again. Not twenty. Twenty was stupid hard. Thirty's good. My brain was still spry and tight. Maybe I should try omega 3-6-9? My Iranian friend Masi told me that fresh-squeezed lemon in water every morning, a liter of it, is good for your brain and body. Peggy the Therapist told me I need to exercise, that physical activity stimulates brain activity. Mostly it just stimulates my sleep activity. Even thinking about exercise makes me want to take a nap. And then all that thinking about a nap makes me tired.

The point of this, and I do have one, despite my ex-husband's insistence that I always missed the point, is that if we're chatting and I ask you a question I already know the answer to somewhere deep in the recesses of my brain, don't be offended. You are important to me. I'm frantically trying to patch the holes in my memory with equal servings of Oreos and coffee (LOTS of icky-sticky preservatives in both products!). It's a work in progress.

Speaking of a work in progress, I'm writing again. Finally. On Book 2, at p. 210. I even got to kill someone last night -- totally wicked! 

Sleight is collecting all sorts of fantastic reviews -- check out the Amazon page as well as the REVIEWS page here on the site. I'm sorta stoked about 'em. I even had a mom stop me in the hall at the elementary school this morning, which totally caught me off guard, and she said, "I read your book! It was so good!" Wow! REALLY? Sweet! What a fantastic way to start a Monday!

I've got some amazing book bloggers ingesting the book as we speak, and I'm looking forward to having paperback copies available within the next two weeks or so. So, STAY TUNED. If you want. Unless Vampire Diaries* is on, or maybe a new episode of Castle. I love Nathan Fillion. If you see him, tell him Jenn says hi. Oooh, and Paranormal State is back on tonight! Hi, Ryan Buell! I think you should marry my little sister because she's cute and loves ghosts almost as much as you!

(*If you missed the Diaries last Thursday, Forever YA has a fantastic recap here. I am SO in love with their blog!)

In the MEANTIME, a couple of super awesome blogger peeps interviewed me (I know! Weird, huh?) last week. My cherry has been broken. I'd never been interviewed until Ashley Bray at Coffee Spoons took me by the hand and lead me into the Forest of Lovely Questions. It was magical. There were fireworks and butterflies. Then Kara at Great Imaginations came along, and she even offered to buy me dinner. (Okay, so she didn't. I put out for free. Just don't let it get around, okay? I have a rep to protect.) FYI: the post on Kara's blog is long. Sorry. I just got really excited and couldn't shut up. It's been known to happen.

In honor of her latest release, Dirty Blood, Heather Hildenbrand and I will be sponsoring our First Ever Giveaway event. Watch here and at Heather's blog (link above) for all the important deets. (She just has to explain them to me again.)

I still owe you that post on the subjunctive. But grammar is too boring for a Monday. Let' save it and eat chocolate instead.

X's and O's...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

REVIEWS for Sleight: Book One of the AVRA-K

Book bloggers and literary critics are the LIFE BLOOD of writers, indie and traditionally published. Here are links to a few amazing reviews that have come in so far for Sleight: Book One of the AVRA-K.

  • From book blogger and author Heather Hildenbrand, Monday, March 28: "Oh. Wow. This book, Jenn's way with words, the descriptions, the story-line, Gemma's snarky sarcasm, Henry's devotion, Lucian's deviousness... ALL of it is 5 stars!"  
  • Five stars from A Book Vacation, April 1: "Sommersby is a fabulous storyteller, roping in the reader in the very beginning through her pristine use of prose and characterization..." 
  •  7.5/10 from Rachel at Books I Done Read, April 6: "...[T]he last 50-odd pages are dizzyingly tense ... Sommersby's prose melts into the background, allowing the various romps to come to the forefront and ensorcel you."

Friday, April 1, 2011


SO much has been going on this week, I don't even know where to start. Head spinning. Heart pounding. Chocolate hand...empty?

I'll start with the COOLEST part -- an alliance has been born, a collaboration created, a partnership hatched:

Accendo (ac-CHEN-do), Latin, means to illuminate, ignite, kindle, or set fire. There are three of us in the Trifecta of Terrific: Heather Hildenbrand (whose next book, a paranormal tale called Dirty Blood, drops next week); Angeline Kace (first book due this summer); and me. And you know my book is out there as an ebook (GO BUY IT so I don't have to get a real job). Yes, I'm still working on print copies to make sure you Kindle-less folks (poor dears) are rewarded for your patience.

SO, what does Accendo Press do? As I mentioned above, we are a collaboration. This is the plan: for future projects, we will beta read (provide first read-throughs), critique, edit, copy edit/proofread, provide graphic design assistance, as well as general feedback and support to get us through the writing process. Under the umbrella of the press label, we're taking it a step further, supporting one another through marketing and sales efforts by creating a BRAND. There is no revenue sharing, no capital outlay, no nasty corporate meetings or trysts with secretaries to deal with (unless Mark Strong decides he wants to be my secretary. Husband knows this. He's on alert.).

We're in business to help one another and SUPPORT THE INDIE MOVEMENT. And Heather, Angeline, and I remain committed to helping our fellow indies. Our intention here was not to create an isolated group closed to outsiders (though, at this time, we're keeping the ranks at three until we work out all the kinks). But anyone who's written a book -- or read one, for that matter -- can appreciate how much work goes into every title. We want to be able to spend the time to produce quality fiction to promote the image of independent writers throughout the sphere. It's going to be an interesting experiment. You should check back often for updates and announcements.

In the meantime, here's the Web site: for more detailed info. And LIKE us on Facebook.

IN OTHER NEWS... Reviews have started to come in for the book, and they've been positive and helpful. Thanks to Rebekah Joy Plett who provided some incredible feedback via email that will definitely be implemented as Book 2 progresses. She pointed out stuff I thought I had addressed (but didn't -- I am bloody and bruised from beating myself senseless), and THEN she went on to tell me how awesome I am. Yeah, gotta love emails like that. And if you haven't seen Rebekah's incredible work, you have to check her out. She's a phenomenal talent, and I'm looking very forward to her first children's book as author AND illustrator. Thanks again, Miss Rebekah. With humble gratitude...

If you want to see what the other reviewers are saying, Kara Malinczak has a post, as does A Book Vacation and my comrade Heather Hildenbrand (written before the collaboration was born!). If you don't have time to check all these individual sites during your busy work schedule (be careful your boss doesn't catch you surfing or you could get busted and jobs are hard to come by these days!), all of these reviewers have been gracious enough to post the reviews on the Amazon page for the book, so you can check them out all in one spot. NICE! (I'm not sure if this is protocol, i.e., if it's ticky-tacky to post links to reviews. If it is, sorry. My ego likes it. And yes, I'm bracing for impact for that first negative review.)

Another terrific indie writer -- Jennifer Hudock -- has sponsored an ad for me on her site, and I want to send a SHOUT OUT to Miz Jenny Beans for being so damn supportive and cool and gracious and generous. Visit her site, buy her book, give some love. She's awesome.

Spring break still has its vise grip on my household. The rumor is that school is supposed to start again next week, but I'm not sure. We already have a glitch with Monday's schedule, which means I may have to forgo sleeping if I am ever to get anything done.

Last note for the day: last night, two readers were debating on TWITTER which of my guys is more fantastic, Ash or Henry. Now that is pretty damn cool...

I lied: One more note. Next week, I promise that post on the subjunctive -- I KNOW you're dying for it -- as well as a summary of the first week with the book out in the Big Bad World. I'll probably pimp for some of my writer peeps, too, including a little somethin' on Evelyn Lafont's new Vampire Relationship Guide: Volume 1 that just dropped yesterday. NOT a YA title, but omigod, you guys, this chick is so effing funny. Her Twitter handle is Keyboard Hussy -- based on that alone, you have to check it out. Prepare to laugh. (And it's HOT, so if you're like me, you will blush while laughing and check over your shoulder frequently to make sure the nuns aren't watching you read and enjoy this so much).

X's and O's, babes...