Thursday, February 27, 2014

MARCH MADNESS: SET YOUR GOALS! #WIPMadness

If you’ve been looking for a challenge to get your writing into gear, you’ve come to the right place! Through the month of March we will be cheering each other on to meet challenging goals with our writing.

Also, this year we've decided to open up the challenge to Readers, Bloggers, and Illustrators. Basically, anyone who wants to challenge themselves regarding books and win prizes for it!


Today is goal-setting day! 
(But if you don't make it here on the first day, not to worry.
Feel free to add your writing goals here any time during the month of March).

March Madness officially begins March 1st, and this is how it will work.
1. Set a goal here (anything writing, reading, blogging, or otherwise book related). It can be as small and simple of a goal as turning off your Internet while you write, or finishing reading a book you've been trying to get through during the month of March. Or it can be as large as writing or revising an entire book.

2. Check in daily through the month of March at our designated check-in points. Let us know how you're doing with your goal. Share your victories and struggles. Encourage others. The key is support and camaraderie.

3. We give you prizes just for stopping by and letting us know how you're doing, and for encouraging others!
Sounds easy and fun, right?! The following will be the check-in points for the month of March. Check in as often as you can, as we will be announcing prize winners throughout the month on all of the different blogs, but we're writing too, so we don't have time to chase around anyone who has won.

We plan to have check-in posts up and running by 9AM PST (noon EST) each day.

Mondays – Visit LS Taylor at  http://lstaylor.blogspot.com
Tuesdays
 – Visit Shari Green at http://www.sharigreen.com
Wednesdays – Visit Shana Silver at http://www.shana-silver.com
Thursdays 
–  Visit Denise Jaden at http://denisejaden.blogspot.com 
Fridays – Visit Tonette de la Luna at http://www.tonettedelaluna.com
Saturdays – Visit Carol Garvin at http://careann.wordpress.com
Sundays – Visit Angelina Hansen at  http://yascribe.blogspot.com 

The prizes! We have some truly awesome prizes up for grabs this year! I'll start by giving away a prize to one person who comments below with their goals within the next 24 hours!

Here are the prizes that are up for grabs (these are in no particular order and have been donated by my generous co-hosts for this event!) I've added in brackets where we are able to mail each prize:


First Five Pages Manuscript Critique! (Courtesy of Denise's agent, Michelle Humphrey - International)

3 2 1 BOX of popular and new fiction! (Courtesy of Shana Silver - US Only)

A book of choice (up to $15) anywhere Book Depository delivers! (Courtesy of Shari Green) 

1/2 pound of peanut butter flavored tiger butter! (Courtesy of L.S. Taylor - US/Canada Only)

An autographed paperback of Julius Caesar Brown and the Green Gas Mystery by Ace Hansen (Courtesy of Angelina Hansen - US Only)

A full manuscript critique! (Courtesy of Tonette dela Luna - International)

Audiobook copy of NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden! (Courtesy of Denise Jaden - International)

A Writers-On-The-Go Kit! (Includes various take-with-you stationary, and of course...chocolate!)  (Courtesy of Carol Garvin - U.S./Canada Only)

A previously read and loved copy of ROOMIES, signed by both Sara and Tara! (Courtesy of Shari Green - International)

A first chapter critique! (Courtesy of L.S. Taylor - International)

A $20 Gift Card for Barnes & Noble (Courtesy of Angelina Hansen - International)

Copy of your choice of paperback book by Denise Jaden! (Courtesy of Denise Jaden - US Only)

ARC's (Courtesy of Kim Baccellia - US Mailing Only):
Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Going Over by Beth Kephart
Wings by Elizabeth Richards
Embers & Ash by T.M. Goeglein



Isn't that quite the ARSENAL of prizes?! Wow, thank you all!!

Why do we do this, you may ask. Well, I can only answer for myself. First of all, people who set tangible goals and stay accountable with them are as much as 90% more likely to achieve those goals. And I REALLY want to achieve my goals this March. Secondly, I love the camaraderie. This business makes writers feel lonely enough, so any chance I have to feel like I'm not in all of this alone, I'll take it! I love NaNoWriMo each year, but this group is a little more personal. We get to know each other and care about how we're doing on our projects and in our lives. And if one check-in a day is not enough camaraderie for you, we also hang out on Twitter under the hashtag #WIPMadness, so please join in on the conversations there as well.

As for this year's goals, I have two of them. I'd like to revise the book I wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. I already have a strong vision for what to do with this one, so I'm eager to get going. I also plan to first-draft a very short novel (around 20k) that I hope to submit to a specific imprint of a specific publisher. It's a lot, but I believe with all the support here, I will be able to do it.

How about you? What are your goals for this March? Have you done this challenge with us before, and if so, how has it worked out for you? I'd love to hear!

Don't forget to leave your goal(s) in the comments below, and head on over to Carol Garvin's blog this Saturday for your first check-in! Remember, the more you check-in and encourage others, the better chance you have of winning some awesome prizes! And if you set your goal within the next twenty-four hours below, you have a good chance at winning one right away!

ONWARD, Fearless Writers!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

GCC Presents UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody!

UNFORGOTTEN, the second book in the Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody, is now in stores! Some memories are better left forgotten... After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long. Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.
Unforgotten_CVR

Get a Special FREE Purchase Gift!

Download the first 5 Chapters FREE!

See Jessica on Tour!

Play the Unforgettable Fan Challenge (with guaranteed prizes for all Unforgettable Fans!)

  Unremembered-FINAL-682x1024Undiscovered_Final Haven't read Unremembered, the first book in the trilogy? Click here to learn all about it and read the first 5 chapters free! Also be sure to check out, UNDISCOVERED, the eBook novella told from Zen's point of view!

     

Friday, February 21, 2014

FAST FICTION Friday, Featuring Elana Johnson and ELEVATED!

As part of Fast Fiction Fridays, I'd like to start featuring some author friends and their new books. Rather than just hearing my point of view all the time, this will give you a chance to hear how other authors outline, or don't, and bring together their ideas for a final draft. I hope these interviews are as interesting for you as they are for me!

To kick it off, I'm welcoming Elana Johnson and featuring her new release, ELEVATED!

About ELEVATED: 

The last person seventeen-year-old Eleanor Livingston wants to see on the elevator—let alone get stuck with—is her ex-boyfriend Travis, the guy she's been avoiding for five months.

Plagued with the belief that when she speaks the truth, bad things happen, Elly hasn’t told Trav anything. Not why she broke up with him and cut off all contact. Not what happened the day her father returned from his deployment to Afghanistan. And certainly not that she misses him and still thinks about him everyday.

But with nowhere to hide and Travis so close it hurts, Elly’s worried she won’t be able to contain her secrets for long. She’s terrified of finally revealing the truth, because she can’t bear to watch a tragedy befall the boy she still loves.

Links:

Praise for ELEVATED:
"ELEVATED will take you on an emotionally gripping journey through the highs and lows of first love."
~Carolee Dean, author of Take Me There and Forget Me Not

"Poignant, raw, and intense, ELEVATED is a novel that will grip your heart and linger in your mind long after you turn the last page."
~Stasia Ward Kehoe, author of Audition and The Sound of Letting Go


About Elana Johnson: Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for free download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist. School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.


Social Media Links:
League of Extraordinary Writers: http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/

Interview with Elana:
1. How fast is the fastest you’ve ever written a first draft of a novel? Was this unusual or do you always draft in about the same time frame?
I wrote POSSESSION (my first published novel) in only 17 days. This is very fast, and I've never been able to replicate it. The reason is that now I don't have as much time devoted to just drafting. I've found that I usually start a book, get about half of it done, and get bored or stumped about what to do next. So I leave it -- sometimes for months. When I come back to it, I can usually finish it pretty quickly. So that's why it takes me "months" to write a book now.
2. Do you outline your work ahead of time or fly by the seat of your pants? Any tips or tricks about what makes this method word for you?
I am a pantser when I draft. I like to have the story feel organic and take the turns it wants to take. I am slow to start stories -- I usually stew on ideas and characters for several months (or even years!) before writing them. For example, with ELEVATED, I got the idea to write about people stuck in an elevator about 5 years ago. I didn't write the book until about 2 years ago. I just don't have a fast mind for developing, I guess.

After I finish drafting the novel, I outline it using Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" method for screenwriting. He has 15 beats that every successful movie (story) should have. I follow his guidelines and try to get my beats in the right place at the right time. This helps me find plot issues, character problems, and an idea of what needs to be revised.

3. When you first get a germ of an idea for a new story, do you usually start by developing the characters or the plot first?
Character. Always character. To me, stories are about people, not plots. So I need a compelling character that has Things They Need to Learn before I can write.

4. Are you an over-writer or an under-writer (meaning, after you write a first draft, do you usually spend time cutting lots of unnecessary sections of words, or filling in sections that are bare?)
I am an over-writer. I can't seem to write a first draft that's less than 80,000 words. And that count usually goes UP during revisions before it goes down!

5. What’s your favorite book on the craft of writing? What do you like best about this book?

I'll admit that I don't read very many of these... I did read all of Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" series, because it made sense to the structure part of storytelling. And I read a few sections in "Stein on Writing" by Sol Stein. His stuff on pacing really helped me. 

Thanks so much for visiting, Elana, and congratulations on ELEVATED! I can't wait to read it!

If you're an author who would like to be featured on Fast Fiction Friday, answer the above interview questions, and send them along with some information about your book to d(at)denisejaden(dot)com.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2nd Release Day for FAST FICTION! (kind of)

When I was first given a release day for FAST FICTION, it was February 18th. That date has stuck in my mind through many months of revising and editing. My publisher had suggested I wait until books would definitely be available everywhere before promoting the book and launching my blog tour. So that is set for the week of March 3rd. Then I noticed Amazon had it scheduled to release on February 11th! So I've never had so much ambiguity with a release date...but actually, I kind of like it. It's like the party just keeps going and going!

I wanted to share a few things happening, if you're interested in celebrating with me.

Today, I'm over at the Writer's Digest Blog, talking about How to Write a Fast-Draft Novel.  There's also a copy of FAST FICTION up for grabs there.


I also have several upcoming in-person events, starting with tonight:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Golden Ears Writing Group
Presentation on Fast Fiction 
at 7 PM
ACT in Maple Ridge, B.C.
(Open to the public.)

Saturday, March 1, 2014
Signing at the New World Library booth - 1 PM
Workshop/Panel: Crafting Heartbreak 3 PM
AWP Conference, 
Seattle, WA
(Open to the public, but you must register.)

Saturday, March 8, 2014
Workshop on Fast Fiction, 
1 PM
Blaine Library, Blaine, WA
(Open to the public.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Talk on my background and processat 
Third Place Books 
- 7 PM
Lake Forest Park, WA
(Open to the public.)

If you're local, I hope you'll drop by to one of these! If you're not, I hope you'll join me for my blog tour, starting right here on March 3rd. Lots of prizes to be won, including writing books, courtesy of New World Library, full boxes of great fiction, audiobooks, and an agent critique!

I'm also gearing up for MARCH MADNESS WRITING CHALLENGE! If you've never joined in on this event, I hope you'll drop by and give it a try this year. There's a huge growing group of us who cheer each other on to meet self-imposed goals through the month of March. This starts February 27th right here!

I hope to see you back here soon, and in the meantime, happy reading and writing!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fast Fiction Friday!

Happy Valentine's Day! If you haven't entered the Heartbreaker's Blog Tour contest yet for a Kindle loaded with awesome ebooks, there's still time!

This Fast Fiction Friday I'm celebrating! My new book FAST FICTION, is officially out in stores this week (and available on Kindle and ebook, wherever online books are sold!) I've already been hearing some wonderful reviews, and I'm so thankful people are getting something out of the book.

A few things I wanted to let you know about:

There is a GoodReads Giveaway going on right now for three copies of FAST FICTION, courtesy of New World Library.

The official blog tour for FAST FICTION will begin right here on March 3rd. I hope you'll stop back, as there will be TONS of prizes, including a critique from my agent, boxes of books I'm giving away, and a whole slew of writing books, including FAST FICTION, thanks to New World Library!

If you have an active blog and would like to be part of this tour, please let me know!

In lieu of this milestone, today's Fast Fiction Friday tip is very simple: Take time to celebrate your successes! I'll be celebrating this weekend with a bottle of wine I've been saving and some Lindt chocolate. What do you celebrate with, and when is the last time you've celebrated a writing accomplishment?


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway!

Kindle Fire Valentines

Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7" (or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash).

All New Kindle Fire HDX 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
      Giveaway Sponsors
  Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway: http://www.iamareader.com/category/kindle-giveaway-sign-ups   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 3/16/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writing Prompt Wednesday: The Creaky Staircase

Think about adding a little bit of physically-based fear to your character's life today. It doesn't have to be a creaky staircase, but that's one sound that always invokes fear in me, especially if I'm home alone.

Start with yourself. If you were home alone, what would strike some fear into you? Would a sound be enough? What about a creepy phone call, or a shadow outside your windows?

What makes your character afraid? Is there some sound or sight or smell that would invoke fear in him or her? Bring that on today and see what your character does with it. Do they avoid the fear, face the fear, bury their head under blankets? And how does your character's reaction differ from your own?


Monday, February 10, 2014

Heartbreakers Blog Tour!

In case you've missed me on Facebook and Twitter, I just thought I should mention this hear as well:

The Heartbreakers Blog Tour is on!

It all started at Judith Tewes Blog (you can find out more about it there) and it includes 14 YA/NA authors.

The prize? A new KINDLE LOADED WITH OUR EBOOKS!

If you haven't stopped by yet to enter, you still have all week. My first two stops were at:

Day 1 (Sunday) - A Life Bound By Books Where you can find out which fictional character(s) I'd like to spend Valentine's Day with!

Day 2 (Monday) - For What it's Worth Blog  Where you can find out my thoughts on soul-mates!


And here's where I'll be for the rest of the week:

Day 3 (Tuesday): http://Jennzah.net
Day 4 (Wednesday): http://judithteweswrites.blogspot.ca
Day 5 (Thursday): http://ashleynposton.com
Day 6 (Friday): http://littlelibrarymuse.blogspot.com
Day 7 (Saturday): www.simpleloveofreading.blogspot.com

I hope you'll drop by, find out a little more about me and some other YA/NA authors, and enter to win!






Friday, February 7, 2014

Fast Fiction Friday: Get Moving!

This week I caught a bout of pink eye from my son. Bleh. No fun. It's especially no fun because I couldn't really leave the house for a few days, since pink eye is highly contagious. This meant no going to the gym for me, which is usually a regular part of my day.

I didn't notice it for the first couple of days, but by day 3, I was feeling so sedentary and lazy and uninspired, I couldn't stand it. (It's also been way too cold here to get active outside). I decided to do a home workout, and within about an hour, I was feeling like a different person. Not only did I physically feel better, but my brain was buzzing with ideas even during my workout.

There's definitely a connection between movement and creativity. Have you been in a creative slump or stuck for new ideas? I highly recommend going for a walk, or going up and down your stairs a few times, or even just doing a few stretches on your office chair. The more ideas you have, the more GOOD ideas you will have, and new ideas will multiply with movement.

Now, get moving!


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Being Late!

Well, here it is, Wednesday evening, and I still haven't gotten my writing prompt post up. I have to tell you, ever since I've been a little kid, there have been very few things that have aggravated me more than being late. I CAN'T STAND IT. It makes my blood boil and my hands sweat. It makes me drive badly (very badly).

Enter my husband, who is consistently late for everything. At first I had that swoony in-love feeling, so I figured he probably wasn't that bad all the time, and it wouldn't aggravate me too much, since I was so in love and all. But guess what? It aggravated me more. But over the years, it also has worn down an anal-retentive part of me that really was a bit too much. I mean, when I was twelve, I was half an hour early for my babysitting job just down the street. Now, believe it or not, I'm often late for things (though not ridiculously late like my husband and certainly not for important things). I still find it disrespectful when my lateness affects others, but I also don't feel I have to stress over every little thing.

All these things make up part of my character, part of who I am. So, today, think about one of your characters and how he or she handles being late. Is it a regular habit? And if so, does it affect their self-esteem? If your character does not struggle with being late, is there someone in their life who does? This can add for great added tension! Explore your character's lateness today. Has it changed over time? Why is he or she late or early or aggravated by late people? Figure this out and you'll have figured out a new piece of your character.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Musings: March Madness and More!

Lots of fun stuff in the works and coming up:

1. I'm gearing up for March Madness! We will have seven hosts this year, so a place to check in (and win prizes) every day of the month! I'm still deciding on what project I will work on, but I wanted to give a heads up that there are some great prizes trickling in - like audiobooks, and high-demand books and even at least one agent critique. Start thinking about what writing/reading/blogging goals you will set for this March, and I'll be back soon with more details.

2. Next week I'll be part of a fun Heartbreakers Blog Tour, in which you can win a Kindle loaded with 14 authors books! More on that to come, and I'll let you know how you can enter to win!


3. I'm also putting together a blog tour for my release of FAST FICTION. If you have a blog and are interested in being a part of this, please let me know, either in the comments, or email me at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com

4. FAST FICTION has been getting some wonderful early reviews, including this one that I really love from Quinn Creative (It also includes a giveaway of FAST FICTION!)

That's all I can think of at the moment, but I'm likely forgetting something, so there's a good chance I'll be back with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday musings. If not, have a great week!

I heard a great quote this week on Facebook: Never let your successes go to your head. Never let your failures go to your heart.