Monday, October 14, 2013

Published and motivated

A few months back, I submitted an article about childhood bullying to Chicken Soup for the Soul, and my story was accepted for publication in their latest book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive for Kids. My article is called "Don't Fight it, Just Write it." I got my copies in the mail last week, and seeing them in tangible form was a thrill like none other. One of a writer's favorite words is "published!" I was in a slump prior to that, but this new sparkle has gotten me hyped and enthused to land a few more.

Not to mention, I'm still on furlough because of the government shutdown, and I see some financial doom and gloom in my near future when bills are rolling in and money isn't! Freelance can be a savior, but first I must land the jobs, which is the tough part.

Latest Moves
  • I sent emails to about 10 book reviewers yesterday, and 2 responded, one declined stating my book sounded YA (which it is SO not - hence, the 18 & up warning in the front matter!), and the other said it is just the kind of weird book she likes to read, ha! One out of ten is pretty good. 
  • A guy placed my book cover in the game Second Life as an ad, and it will run there for a month. 
  • Radio Rock 92.6 The Blitz is running a 1-minute spot with my book synopsis on weekdays for a month. They exist to support indie artists! You should check them out if you are a starving artist! Click their name to visit the facebook page. 
  • I joined the site M.A.R.S. Social, which is another group that supports artists of all kinds. They are very welcoming.
  • I've joined! Fiverr is a site where you can buy all kinds of services from people for $5. I'm a seller, meaning I listed 3 gigs: I'll edit the first 5 pages of your book for $5; I'll proofread your About Me page for $5; and I'll proofread up to 2,500 words for $5. 

So, if you're an author, you can go check out my gig and get the first 5 pages of your book professionally edited by yours truly for 5 bucks! 

That's it for now!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

No shutdown will shut me down

This week has been troublesome because of the government shutdown. I got the boot Tuesday around 10 a.m. and had to vacate the building along with my co-workers, not knowing when we would return. Well, furlough or no furlough, I've been using the extra time to write, send query letters, and pitch stories. I'm sad about being home with no pay, but it's beyond my control. So, I'll just sit back and make the most of it.

Furlough day 1 gave me a headache, and I spent the remainder of that day at the craft store looking for stuff to make. (This is how I ease my stress; I make pretty things.) That's how this little graphic got made. It was born in MS Paint as I sat seething at my desk over a project that was gnawing at my sanity earlier this year. Then, I felt better.

Furlough day 2 -- I attended an ARD meeting at my son's school, and it was the first positive one I've attended in a while. (These are meetings held annually or as needed to discuss the progress of a student with special needs. In this case, autism.) His reading has improved by a grade level, and he loves math. Magical words for a concerned mom. Afterward, I lunched with a friend and laughed at just about everything. Also, my landlord stopped by to give me a nearly brand-new lawnmower as a furlough gift. Not that I'll ever use it since I'm scared of the grass, but my husband can go nuts with it. 

This brings us to today, furlough day 3. My mom leaves the country tomorrow for 3 weeks. This will be a shock to us, considering this has never happened. I'm happy that she's going on an adventure, and I'll anticipate all the stories she'll have to tell when she returns. I plan to use day 3 to write, nothing different from any other free time I find, but this is time I wasn't anticipating. I'll be damned if I let it go to waste! More specifically, I will pitch to at least 2 magazines, phone a potential client about writing a business plan, and resume writing my autism journey memoir. No moping for this girl. Wasting time is not my style, and I don't plan on starting now. Cheers to productivity!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autism inspires next book

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I am an autism mom. My youngest son was diagnosed in 2002 when he was almost 4, pretty late in the game, but there's a reason for that. Autism resources were quite scarce all those years ago compared to now. I have had a thrilling journey with the autism life in the past decade, and I've learned a whole lot. What started off as an article about my journey in the autism world morphed into a book. Not surprising, considering I'm a writer working on a topic I'm most passionate about.

I'm about 30,000 words in and full speed ahead. I have experts contributing valuable knowledge to the book, plus I want to include stories of other autism families. In the beginning of my journey, I felt alone and lost. I'm sure I handled lots of things the wrong way and paid the price later on. We've tried all kinds of tactics and therapy, been through countless phases and sleepless scream-filled nights. I never had any support outside of immediate family until the last couple years when I started joining forums and making greater use of social media. I started networking with other families who had amazing stories, and I finally felt a camaraderie and  no longer felt alone. I can't tell you enough how much this has helped me.

In light of that, I decided to dedicate a chapter of my book to the stories of other autism families. I am looking for 400-word blurbs about their autism experience thus far, what's been the biggest challenge, and what has helped their child(ren) and them cope. The point of this chapter is to let other autism families who might be feeling what I felt at one time know that we're all in this together, and there is help out there, not to mention support from others in the same shoes.

If you or anyone you know would be willing to contribute a blurb and share a little about their story, please contact me. I'm accepting submissions this whole month! My email is, so send me a note anytime.

Thanks in advance for helping me spread awareness about autism.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Published - One of my favorite words

I had a nice back-to-work-after-a-holiday-weekend day, thank goodness! It went smoothly, especially after I thought I had a deadline to chase today, but the client moved it to the end of the month---Nice! As an editor, I always try to be brutal because that's what it takes to make a piece of writing the best it can be. Well, today, I had a client actually tell me, "We prefer to leave that grammatically wrong." This was in regards to "because of" vs. "due to." They are not interchangeable, but that doesn't seem to be widely known OR accepted. I always tell people to look it up if I sound crazy, and the proof is rampant in the Google search results.

On a positive note, I got the final-final email note today from Chicken Soup for the Soul, confirming my story will indeed be part of their October book about inspiration for kids. Should be in stores Oct. 29, yippee!

I've been writing aimlessly for nearly a year, so that was a well-needed splash of enthusiasm, plus last weekend, I finally finished the revamp of my first novel. It's on Amazon/Kindle, and I have some tweaking to do with Createspace, but I'm good to go for the most part! My husband, Anthony, my graphic artist, is going to make some promo material for me. I'm trying to come up with some bright and fresh ideas for promos, something that hasn't been overdone. When the planning comes to fruition, I will gladly share what I learned on this blog.

I'm currently working on a fantasy short story, a small project before I resume working on my autism journey non-fiction book that I plan to release this November.  But at this very moment, I'm going to close off this wonderful day reading my latest guilty pleasure. Yes, book 4 of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.

'Til next time. Happy writing!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Revamped and republished: Sept.1 milestone

I decided to make the most of this holiday weekend. I self-pubbed my first book in Feb. 2012. It was a novella titled I of the Storm. I was so proud of it because it took me 6 years to complete. It was well received after release, and I decided to write a book-2 this year. To refresh my memory of all the details I'd added to the story, I reread my book. Looking at it solely with reader's eyes and not as the author, I saw that it had lots of potential to become a full-length novel. I noticed lots of places that could use elaboration and spicing up. The story line seemed to move too fast in some parts. So I dedicated one whole weekend to fattening up my novella. She gained a lot of weight---from 37,000 words to a chunky 51,000! I added 5 more chapters and lots of new scenes, creating more depth. I also made it more spooky and added a subhead so people would have a clue what the story was about. Now the title is I of the Storm: Death is Watching. 

A fellow author told me my title was confusing when saying it out loud and not seeing it. This means, some people probably thought it was a book about weather! As the cover, I used a photo of Earth I took from a plane as I was flying home from a vacation in Trinidad. The photo looked outer space-like, and I used it for its cool factor. I hadn't thought of it beyond that the first time around, so I was grateful for the feedback about how it was confusing.

My husband of 2 years is a graphic designer. And after a photographer gave me permission to use his lightning photo, I knew my book needed a facelift. Considering the whole story is driven by the main character being struck by lightning, it was the perfect image for my cover! The hubby went to work on the new cover design, and in a couple days, my book had a new look. I'm quite pleased with the refinished product, and I'm so glad I decided to go forth with the upgrade. That's one of the perks of self-publishing.

So, with a new face and body, my book is a pending upload as we speak on Amazon/Kindle! Check out the cover below. If you're an author looking for a designer, my husband, Anthony, is for hire. (Ha! That sounded funny.)