Writing

It’s going to be a bit messy for a bit

during-web.jpgTrying to build a new site when it’s live is CRAZEEEE!

You might try coming back in a few hours days weeks when I get this under control!

But it’s going to be lots of fun. I love all the new options out there for creating web sites. Getting creative on things like this is one of the best parts of my job!

Emerging from the writing cave for this important announcement! :)

I’m super duper busy finishing out my Magic Mayhem series. This last book for this trilogy is the hardest, because it’s about a ten-year-old with epilepsy, same as my daughter Elizabeth. We’ve worked together on this book. But it’s difficult to have your child describe to you what it’s like to have these dark spaces she can’t remember, black periods before and after her seizures.

But while I’m doing all this (plus preparing to dive into Forever Sheltered in about a month), a book I sort of abandoned got picked up in a 10-book boxed set of paranormal romances!

love-charms-smaller-graphicAuthors put together these sets to increase visibility and share fans. Unlike my super-emotional and sad books, my novel in the bundle is light and funny. It’s a voice I set aside when my Forever series took off. My readers want to cry, not laugh!

But I let this book go into the bundle. There’s so many great authors in it. And at 99 cents, you can’t beat it for having some choices for your next sleepless night or long trip or need for escape.

I hope some of you will try it out. My novel in it is called The Passion Cure, about an enchantress who discovers not only does her family’s pet ferret talk, but it delights to inform her that she’s an outcast in her world, a Nix with no powers of her own.

It’s a romp, and an experiment. I had a good time writing it. I have outlined more books in that story world, but I’m not sure I will actually write them since everyone wants the Forever books!

So if you want to read my book The Passion Cure, pick up this bundle as that may be the only way you’ll ever get it!

Love Charms: 10 scorching paranormal romances for ONLY 99 cents! LIMITED TIME ONLY! (REGULAR PRICE: $9.99)
Escape into the world of paranormal romance, a magical journey featuring delicious demons, wanton witches, zealous zombies and more! Featuring spell-binding novels from popular New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble bestselling authors, including Ava Catori, Selena Kitt, Cerys du Lys, Deanna Roy and more, these enchanting books will be sure to charm, beguile and bewitch you!

 

 

A little NaNoWriMo organizational help: The Nine Box Method of structuring your novel

Oh, it’s that panic time! National Novel Writing Month, the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, is only four days away!

I know lots of writers are pantsters, and just write as they go. I find if I try it, I fail.

So I’m sharing my favorite quick-and-dirty way of getting some structure in place before I start writing a novel.

It’s called the Nine Box Method. It was first referenced on Verla Kay’s Blue Boards (which are now owned by SCBWI) and has been posted about by Query Tracker and other writer-centric blogs.

I have PDFs for you!

The first one is the nine box with the explanation of what to put in each box. The idea is that you make boxes that touch connect their content in order to write a cohesive story that has tension, pacing, and flow in place.

Download the explanation box PDF

The second one contains three sample Nine Box Grids for three popular movies: The Help, Despicable Me, and Monsters, Inc. They might help you see how the nine box plays out in real stories. (I made these myself, so any bad conclusions are my own.)

Download the sample box PDF

The third one is blank so you can fill it in for YOUR project.

Download the blank box PDF

When I do my novels now, I used the Nine Box, Blake Snyder’s Beat Sheet, and Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey to work out my story in multiple ways. By the time I’ve filled out all these structures, I have a solid sense of where my story begins, where it’s going, and where it’s going to end, which helps me avoid giving up, slowing down, or writing myself into a hole.

Happy Nano-ing!

Time for serious hard-core thanks

It has been the craziest two weeks ever. I am humbled, grateful, and blessed by the response to my new book Forever Innocent.

A couple screen shots say everything:

Reached #46 on Amazon’s hot new release list, right next to my hero writer Nora Roberts.

46hotnewrelease

 

Apparently hit #4 in iTunes Australia while I was sleeping last night. I’m still #10 this morning.

Top-10-Australia-iTunes

 

Hit #112 on Amazon, top 10/11 in categories.

ranked112

Best of all, we’ve made it halfway to our goal for this book in just 10 days. Whether that mean adopting a baby (which is SO expensive) or expanding the house to adopt older children siblings in need of home, we’re getting there.

This is a miracle, and absolutely thanks to you all, my friends and readers.

I am excited to move forward with the next book Forever Loved and to share it with you. Sign up to read excerpts as it goes along.

 

Forever Innocent is launched! And rocketing!

I am shocked and pleased and pinching myself hourly.

web-Forever-Innocent-3DSo, a funny thing happened on my way to releasing my book on October 1. The ebook versions had to go live a few days early so that all the amazing blogs posting reviews this week would have buy links.

But a couple very influential people (I’m looking at you, Mimi Strong!) noticed it was up and the Tweeting began! Before I knew it, my phone battery was dead from notifications and the book was selling like crazy.

So, yes, the book has been a top 500 book on Amazon for three days now. It’s hit the bestseller lists in Romance, New Adult, and Coming of Age. Who could ask for a better launch day! I get a message from a reader about every ten to twenty minutes, which is making work hard, but I’m loving every minute of it.

If you missed the book trailer, it’s in the sidebar on the left. What an amazing thing to get to put the names of almost 200 babies on hand-cut paper butterflies and shoot such an emotional scene from the book! I feel very very lucky to do what I love and to continue the journey that I began in 1998 when my first sweet baby Casey was lost to us.

Thank you!

amazon-buy itunes-buy nook-buy kobo-buy

 

Hundreds of paper butterflies for Forever Innocent!

Project Butterfly image

 

So many projects have sprung up based on my new book, that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Right now, I’m working on a joint effort of the book trailer and Project Butterfly, a social media movement to place butterflies on the pages of families who have lost babies to show you haven’t forgotten their little ones.

Hundreds of families have given their babies’ names to put on the butterflies that will be featured in the book trailer. We’ll be shooting this weekend, sweb-butterfly-pileo it’s your last chance to get a name in!

I had a half-dozen friends help me hand-cut the paper butterflies. Then I sprayed them, added the names, and we have begun the process of stringing them to prepare for the scene where Corabelle, the main character, walks through them as she did in the novel.

We’ll be shooting in three locations for the trailer. I’m super excited web-henry-cutto see how it all turns out!

The book won’t be out until Oct. 1, but here is a hint of the scene we will be portraying in the video. Corabelle has told Gavin, who left her four years ago during their baby’s funeral, that she can’t see him again. This is one of the ways he tries to get her back.

_________________________

web-ivy-cut

The blinds to my living room window were closed, so I carefully pushed a couple of the slats aside.

Unbelievable. I stepped back a minute to blink, then looked again.

In the trees outside my door, hundreds of colored paper butterflies hung from the branches. Their wings glittered in the sunlight, winking, the wires so thin as to almost be invisible, as though an entire flock of them had chosen this moment to breeze by my window.

I ran to the front door and wrenched it open so I could see it better. That’s when I noticed the neighbors walking through the butterflies and touching their sparkling bodies.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” An older woman I’d seen a few times cupped a bright blue one in her palm.

A younger girl in a red beret saw me and smiled. “They lead to your door.” She pointed behind her. “See, there’s just a few up there, and then they get thicker as we get closer to you.”

She held one close to her face. “These are all hand cut.” She glanced over at me. “Whoever did this for you spent a lot of time on it.”

I moved up the path again. White butterflies with iridescent sparkle gave way to pale blues, then pinks and gentle yellows, moving to minty greens and lavenders that shifted to plum and fuchsia and deep red and sapphire. I caught a movement at the corner of the building and we all turned to it. Gavin stepped out, as beautiful as I’d ever seen him, fresh and combed and wearing a crisp button-down shirt loose over khaki shorts.

My breath caught and the women murmured their appreciation as he came toward me, holding out his hands with another butterfly, a lovely, opulent eggshell blue. “One more,” he said and handed it to me by the slender wire. “For Finn.”

He held my hand as we both lifted it to the branch closest to the door and tied it around the slender limb. The other women moved away as I brought my palms to my hot cheeks. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Say you’ll spend the day with me.” He backed away, giving me space.

The setting was like a fairy tale, Gavin, looking so much like he had in high school, the trees and morning sun striking the glittering butterflies. A breeze wafted through, shifting the strings and making the bits of color dance among the falling leaves. I nodded; what else could I do? Each of these moments were new wonders, memories I could hold on to. Even if it all fell apart later, we would have this.

web-butterfliesphoto

Enter the Forever Innocent give away — $50 gift card to ANY store

web-Forever-Innocent-3DI’m super excited about the launch of my new novel Forever Innocent, a blend of baby loss story and contemporary new adult romance! As we get the countdown to Oct. 1 started, I’m giving away a very fun prize pack:

A $50 gift card to any store of your choosing
A crystal butterfly USB flash drive necklace preloaded with the ebook to Forever Innocent

If you get a chance to read the book, you’ll discover the importance of butterflies in the story — it’s a symbol many families associate with their angel babies.

So enter and win — you can come back and Tweet the giveaway as many times as you want!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Hugh Howey comes to town

Hugh signs Kurt’s Nook

In late 2011 I joined the Kboards, an online forum that had become a hotbed of information for indie authors trying to make inroads in selling digital books. At the time, Amanda Hocking’s books were just about to hit brick-and-mortar stores, and everyone was abuzz with what was possible. Getting a traditional deal from indie sales was considered the pinnacle of success.

Fifteen months later, the world has turned upside down again. Many of the Kboarders I am friends with have turned DOWN traditional deals, raking in tens of thousands of dollars a month they know they couldn’t get from old-school publishers. Stories about rights grabs and bad contracts have made everyone skittish, and only a handful of literary agents have the indie seal of approval for truly caring about independent rights.

Into the mix comes Hugh Howey, the newest indie hero, about to start his US hardcover and paperback book tour after securing a landmark deal — after turning down dozens of publishers who wanted his digital rights, he signed a paper-only deal with Simon and Schuster.

Hugh is waking up in Austin today, and last night he met with my Austin Java writing group for a little down time before his US book tour gets grueling. He’s speaking at SXSW on Sunday and will launch his hardcover edition of Wool on Monday at BookPeople at 7 p.m.

It’s always a treat to meet in person someone you’ve only known online. Hugh got on my radar right away, as his little short story had just taken off and he was writing serial sequels as fast as he could in December 2011. As one of the personalities on the forum that other writers could appreciate and laugh with, his hilarious videos for milestones reminded us not to take the journey too seriously, including dancing in clown fish slippers when he hit 100 reviews in February 2012.

The 100-review landmark seems funny now that he has over 5000, but many of us watching Hugh’s rapid ascent were thrilled. If anyone could join the ranks of John Locke and Amanda Hocking and still come back to tell us about the highs and lows of the journey, Hugh could.

As he completed Wool and created an omnibus edition, he ordered paper copies of his new work I, Zombie. Live streaming video showed him opening boxes and signing the copies (sometimes in blood!) Hugh knew how to work a crowd, and his fan base went from appreciative to increasingly intense and ready to buy anything he offered up.

His journey hits an apex today as he is featured in the Wall Street Journal. When we talked last night over decaf, he said he kept thinking everything would slow down, but the sales and invitations and new heights just keep coming. He’d just gotten back to the States from Europe, and after a few weeks on the US tour, heads to Australia (where super fan and fellow KBoarder David Adams is anxious to meet him too!) No doubt if the film rights snapped up by Ridley Scott become an actual movie, Hugh will find himself on another wild ride.

Hugh Howey, Deanna Roy, Kurt Korfmacher at Austin Java

If I’ve learned anything from my friendships on the KBoards, it’s how easily energy created in the digital world can translate to real life. Meeting someone like Hugh, whose journey I had followed for so long, and with whom I’d had numerous posting and commenting conversations with, was just an extension of the fun and sharing that happen in online communities.

And for those of us publishing digital books, Hugh is paving the way for our next journey — navigating from ebooks and pure independent control to one where we rely, at least in part, on publishers for the packaging and distribution of paper copies of our work. Hugh has paved the way, and it’s up to the rest of us to stand our ground for better rights and royalties. Because when it’s done right, when it’s done the way Hugh has managed to do it, we really are in control of our own destinies.

Other rock star authors from the Kboards: Bella Andre, Bob Mayer, Sara Fawkes,  David Dalglish, HM Ward, Elle Casey, Cassia Leo, Liliana Hart

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