Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interview with John Rakestraw on THE BOOK PLATFORM


Interview on THE BOOK PLATFORM with John Rakestraw

HERE IT IS!!

This is the link to the interview I did on Sunday with John Rakestraw! He's a wonderful host and I had a blast. John is a true friend of writers and this experience was incredible. Please leave him a comment about the show after you listen. John and Toni are doing great work helping writers out with building their platforms and they would love your feedback. Thanks so much to everyone who passed the information about the interview on for me, hung posters and told others about the interview. I really appreciate all your help!
ENJOY!
Katie

Monday, December 19, 2011

*Update*

Monday, 4:30 p.m.
The interview with Mr. Rakestraw is complete and am excited to hear the finished product. We struggled with lost connections, static interference and such for a bit so fingers crossed for how it turns out. I haven't received any information about when the link will be posted yet but I'll put it on the blog as soon as it comes in :)
Till then,
Katie

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's on the Nightstand?

Hello and welcome to our most recent visitors from Bangladesh! For 2011 the totals stand at 3619 and 46 different countries. Woohoo!  This marks the final installment of “What’s on the Nightstand” for 2011 just in time for those last minute gifts you might be struggling with. I’ve discovered some wonderful writers this year. Some of my past finds I’ll be keeping my eye on for future installments and others I’m sad to see come to their enviable end. Most of all, I hope I’ve given you lots of books to be curious about over the last twelve months.
I’ve come across some amazing reads this year so you have lots to choose from. All total for 2011 I’m at 138 books read. To see all of them, click on the different months listed on the right side of the page and look for the posts titled WHAT’S ON THE NIGHTSTAND. Those posts are exclusively  about books I’ve read and enjoyed.
As the year winds down, I want all of you to know how much I appreciate each and every visit you made to the blog. Thank you so much! Your interest and notes left behind about things that strike your fancy or tickle your funny bone have meant so much.  
Come January 1st a new post will be up so be on the lookout for it. As of yesterday, I’m officially on a rest cycle until after the holidays. My poor eyes are screaming for a break even though I don’t really want to give them one. Big things are planned for the coming year and I want to be prepared. So until 2012 be safe, have fun and don’t forget to read a good book before the year is over. Now I’ll shut it and get to the books. J * throws Christmas tinsel at you*
Till Then,
Katie
 First I’m gonna tell you about the new finds then about books I’ll (or most likely already have) add to my personal library.
(122.) Insatiable and (123.) Overbite  both by Meg Cabot – Meg’s spin on the vampire crazy is different but refreshing. She takes these characters to places you don’t expect and back again.


(124.) Darkest Mercies by Melissa Marr – Melissa did not disappoint with this final installment of the Darkest Mercies books. It gave me everything I’d hoped for with these characters and then some. If you love fairy stories these are excellent.
(125.) Bitten by Kelley Armstrong – Kelley does an excellent job with this book. It sucked me into loving these characters quickly and held me there. If you love paranormal reads Kelley’s Otherworld series is a great one to dive into.

(126.)  Spells (127.) Illusions both by Aprilynn Pike – This is another series that surprised me at how much I became invested in the characters. I had no introduction to the story, just snatched the first book (WINGS) off the library shelf one day. Gone, hook, line and sinker after that. It’s having to wait on great series like this that makes me irritated at myself for reading so fast.  

(128.) Mercy  and  (129.) The Devil Don’t Knock by Susan Sims Moody – Susan and I have swapped a few notes on twitter and I’m happy to call her writer bud. She’s a awesome home town gal, a great writer and her Jennifer Martin mysteries are excellent reads and I enjoyed them very much. FLATLANDS is first then MERCY and THE DEVIL DON’T KNOCK. If you’re looking for a new mystery set in the south to fall into, look no further than these three.

(130.) If I Stay and (131.) Where She Went both by Gayle Foreman  An really great story about loss and the process of not being able to let go then having to face the consequences. A awesome read.

(132.) Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – I LOVE these books! There’s just no other way to describe them without letting a spoiler out. If you haven’t read this series YOU NEED TO. Beautiful Chaos was an excellent read and kept me guessing right up until the very end.  

(133.) Shift by Jeri Smith Ready – This is the second book in Jeri’s #SHADEboys books. Jeri now holds the title of being the other author besides Colleen Houck who has emotionally wrung me out with smiles and sobs while reading her books. Well played J, well played indeed. I anxiously await my copy of SHINE with tissues in hand. J

(134.) Everlasting by Alyson Noell  - This series has a total of six books with Everlasting being the final installment. A lovely series to check out if you haven’t already.  

(135.) Hush Hush by Becka Fitzpatrick – I told myself a few weeks ago I wouldn’t get hooked into any new series until I finished all the ones I’ve started. Well…this one blew all that out of the water. I await the next book anxiously from the Hernando Library. An excellent read and very colorful characters.
(136.) Raised by Wolves and (137.) Trial by Fire both by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – An excellent series. Jennifer has a  real knack for humanizing the animals all the while staying true to their nature. It’s the best balance of the two things in a werewolf book I’ve read this year. Wonderful series and I’m VERY anxious for the next book.
(137.) Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley – This book was my favorite odd find of 2011. The unusual cover art is what first struck my interest while I browsed the YA section with writer bud Michelle Ladner in Books a Million a couple of weeks ago. The story though, the STORY is wonderful. After I started reading, I couldn’t not find out what happened to these characters. I read the whole book in one afternoon because I literally couldn’t put it down.

 (138.) Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare – This book is one I’ve been waiting anxiously for. I’m not the first to say it but I’m still pleased anyway to congratulate Cassie on her spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List this week. Both her series have been some of my most favorite books for the past two years after stumbling across City of Bones in my local Books a Million. I highly recommend all Cassie’s books as one of my favorite series of 2011.
OVERALL FAVORITE SERIES 2011
 Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay all by Suzanne Collins
The Mortal Instruments series (City of Bones, Co Ashes, Co Glass, Co Fallen Angels) The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince) all by Cassandra Clare
SEXIEST ADULT PARANORMAL SERIES
Dragon Bound, Storms Heart and Serpents Kiss by Thea Harrison
BOOK THAT KEPT ME GUESSING AND LAUGHING UNTIL THE LAST PAGE
Going Bovine by LIbba Bray
BOOKS THAT MADE ME CRY LIKE A BABY AND LIKE IT
Tigers Curse, Tigers Quest and Tigers Voyage by Colleen Houck
Shade and Shift by Jeri Smith Ready.
FAVORITE VAMPIRE BOOK 2011
Blood Secrets by Jeannie Holmes
FAVORITE ZOMBIE BOOK 2011
Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
FAVORITE MYSTERY
Penhumbra by Carolyn Haines
Katie's MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2012
EVERNEATH by Brodi Ashton

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scattered, Smothered, Covered...

Welcome to the blog! For our new friends in Qatar and Ukraine, I hope you see something that makes you giggle and want to visit again. The blog now hosts 45 different countries, can you BELIEVE that! I know I can't :)

    Did you think for a second after reading the name of this post that it was about hash browns from Waffle house? LOL! Gotcha! Hash browns would be nice right about now though...

Anyway.

    I picked that title because that's about how I'm feeling today. Scatter brained, smothered in laundry and covered up with piles of receipts and filing to do.
    I've devoted every free moment since August to finishing UNWILLING and boy can you tell it by looking around this joint. Last week I got held up by a nice case of Strep throat and my original deadline of Dec. 1st came and went. Disappointing, but it couldn't be helped. I did continue to work while sick but the pace was snail-ish at best. Heavens be praised though, I finished the polish last night and it goes in the mail Tuesday morning. I'm nervous but really anxious all at the same time to hear what readers think about the story. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
    Now it's time to take a day or so to just breathe and maybe dig out from under the gigantic pile of neglected paperwork taking up space in my office chair. Best of all, I'm free to reacquaint myself with the rough draft for the second book and plan out it's next move. FUN! Since finishing last spring, it's been patiently waiting in a binder. Now we can get down to business :)
    It's nearly two in the morning as I write this so I'll leave you with one more thing. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who sent notes and messages of encouragement. They meant the world to me on those lonely nights when I thought the task might defeat me. Thank you all so much!  
    Have a great week everybody and don't forget to join me on The Book Platform with John Rakestraw on December 18th.
Till then,
Katie

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ze Deadline ... She approaches

    Hey guys! Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
    What's that? You want to know where the heck I've been?  I know, I know ... I've neglected the blogging over the last two weeks. Sorry :( It's been for a good cause I swear!
view details    I'm prepping Unwilling for beta reads starting December first so I've been wicked busy. Good news is I'm anticipating being done exactly on time. (if not before, which my OCD prefers.)  *cheers, pompoms, and Valium all around! woohoo!
    Seriously, I didn't forget about you guys I swear. Here's a quick run down of what's coming up in December:
December 1st - Those doing beta reads, check your mail boxes the first week of December. Unwilling is coming to you with brand new bells and whistles. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, yet nauseous for being please. Huh, I guess I can't be pleased. Confused yet? Good because I know I am.

December 18th - Interview with John Rakestraw on http://thebookplatform.com/show-schedule/  @ 10:30 a.m. Now for all those who will be in Sunday services, no worries. Of course it would be ideal to have everyone connect to the show at the same time but it being Sunday I understand completely. If you won't be available at 10:30 a.m. you can always listen to the interview on John's website later in the day. I'll be posting the links multiple times so it shouldn't be hard to find. My goal is to be John's most viewed new writer! I'll appreciate all the help I can get with that goal too :) 
   
    The publishing industry is changing faster and faster everyday. One of the ways it's changing is that writers are largely responsible for promotion and advertising now. That's where folks who love writers like John Rakestraw come in. His cares about writers and is doing a great job helping them get the word out about their work. So please drop by his program on the 18th and give me a listen. Going for the goal!! MOST VIEWED GUEST!!!!

   My upcoming blog will be "what's on the nightstand". Unwilling has caused my TBR pile to collect a bit of dust but I plan on rectifying that asap. I'd love to hear about what you're reading too so leave a comment. Now it's back to the rock pile so mark your calendars blog buddies! Katie wants to be the MOST VIEWED GUEST! MOST VIEWED GUEST! Shout it out now! MOST VIEWED GUEST!!!
Till then,
Katie

P.s. There's also John's interview with my writer bud's Jeannie Holmes and Carolyn Haines from back during the summer if you missed them. Check out his past guest list on the website :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Idea Fairy


  Scandinavian troll  “How do you come up with these weird ideas?”  Since I started telling folks about my manuscripts, I get this question a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I totally don’t mind answering it. In fact, I LOVE talking about my own stories and other writers books. But at the same time, it’s a hard question to answer efficiently. The smart-aleck in me wants to say, “How do you NOT have constant ideas? My freaking brain never turns off! And who said my ideas are weird?” *paranoid much* That would be a rude answer and I’m southern so I most likely wouldn’t do that.  Plus, my answers never seem to satisfy the person whose asking the question. So we both end up becoming awkward and uncomfortable before switching the subject to something else. Anyway, I thought I’d take a moment and try to explain how ideas come to me.  
    At the moment, I’m attempting to write this dang post around my husband’s incessant babbling about how his gym session went and what’s on ID TV at the moment. Lord help…  So of course the story idea of a woman who beats her husband in the head with his gym notebook and buries his body under the trampoline is buzzing about my noodle. But I digress. Seeeeee, ideas can come from the simplest things.
    I’ve learned though that the problem with random ideas is most of the time they lack the proper elements for a complete story. More specifically, goal, motivation and conflict which help form a well rounded plot line.  Simply said, the poor haggard wife needs more meat to her story before it can be completely plotted. As writers, our elf needs ogres to fight in search of his prize, our vampire needs more than a beautiful neck to slurp on and our zombies need to eat brains because … well … that’s what zombies do. The folks running from the zombies though, they’re the ones who need to have GMC.  The plight of our homicidal wife, though interesting and poignant, just doesn’t contain the proper elements to fill a plot line. Therefore, her story tromps dejectedly back to the drawing board to await more inspiration. And there you go … a story idea in waiting.
     So the next time you wonder how your favorite authors come up with such out-of-this-world things to write about, just look around you. Ideas are everywhere! From the creepy checkout lady in the grocery story who I’m sure is a goblin in disguise to the monsters in our dreams. We draw inspiration from the world around us and from the inspiration boogie-boo’s lurking in our imaginations.  The difference between a great idea and a completed story is whether or not the writer can take it from shiny new idea to a sparkling yet solid reality.
Got to run, I just got another idea!  And in case you're wondering, that's exactly what my idea fairy looks like. :)  LOL!

Till then,
Katie

     

         

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What's on the Nightstand?

    Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope you’ve all recovered from the Halloween festivities. A big welcome to our newest visitors Nigeria and Malaysia, hope you enjoy the blog and please visit again soon! To date, the blog has had visits from 43 different countries. I’m very proud and humbled by this and want to say thank you all so much.
    I’m afraid my writing might come out a bit scattered today so bear with me. You’re wondering why I bet. Well, it’s because there’s entirely too much candy in my house. I’m contemplating how to throw all of it away without my boys freaking out. Every time I walk by the bag, the voice in my head yells, “Don’t you dare touch that!” and sounds like Jillian Michaels.
    Hopefully writing this blog will take my mind off the candy.  It’s been a while since I did a “What’s on the Nightstand” so it’s about time to catch up on that. Since finishing my last draft, I took a few days to smother myself in reading and rest my brain. From August to October 19th I focused so hard on finishing my manuscript I didn’t read much but boy have I made up for that now.
    I’ve discovered come wonderful new authors and stories in these books. Each one has been a needed break from my own work too. Hopefully, you’ll see something among this list that you want to check out. So get to reading folks! And think of me often, now that I’m entering the editing phase, and send me some positive editing vibes. I’m slaving away so that my own work will shine up nice and pretty and I can join these writers sooner rather than later. There are quite a few great titles to talk about so I’ll shut up and get to the candy … I mean …  books.
Till Then,
Katie
BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. -  These books were wonderful reads. I love the fact that it’s told from the male point of view too. The setting being based in a southern town, I could identify with the characters and language on a personal level which made it easy to connect with the story. The next book, BEAUTIFUL CHAOS, just hit shelves and is on the top of my TBR pile. If you haven’t already, you can click the link and read how I met one of the author's, Kami Garcia, when her Smart Chicks Tour came to Memphis.
SERPENT’S KISS by Thea Harrison -  This is the third book of Thea’s in the ELDER RACES series. DRAGON BOUND and STORMS HEART are the previous titles. This is a wonderful series! I couldn’t put them down once I started reading. The world Thea has created is expertly crafted and kept me hooked in start to finish.
WINGS by Aprilynne Pike -  A friend and I discussed this book before I started reading. He guessed angels by the title but after finishing, I explained it as more fairies with a smidgen of troll thrown in for good measure. J Aprilynne has created a wonderful setting and some pretty colorful characters with this story. I enjoyed the read and look forward to the next title in this series.
THE NAME OF THE STAR by Maureen Johnson – My mother-in-law gifted me this book for my birthday and oh boy was I anxious to read it! I read it over two days and am happy to report it’s a great read. The story is part of Maureen’s new series and I’m twitchy waiting for the next book it’s so good.
GRAVEMINDER by Melissa Marr – Another member of the Smart Chicks Tour, Melissa writes a great scary story with GRAVEMINDER. This was my chosen Halloween read and it was perfect. Plenty of spooky mixed with mystery. Also by this author:
WICKED LOVELY, INK EXCHANGE and RADIANT SHADOWS - These are all part of the Wicked Lovely series along with the final title Darkest Mercies which is resting comfortably in my TBR pile. I really love this series. Melissa has created a beautiful yet sometimes heart-poundly complex world with these books. I’ve fallen in love with the characters and Melissa’s writing. If you’re looking for a new series to fall into this is a good place to start.
FLATLANDS by Susan Sims Moody – A Jennifer Martin Mystery (set in the area that I actually live in LOL). This was a really fun read, first for the story, and second for all the bits of familiar geography that snuck up and tickled my brain as I read. I have the next Jennifer Martin books requested at the Hernando Library so I’m anxious to see what else she gets into around the Delta.
Speaking of the Delta … DELTA BLUES (an anthology featuring LOTS of my favorite folks) is next. Writer bud Carolyn Haines and friends have put together something really special with this book. Contributors include: Alice Jackson, Carolyn Haines, Charlaine Harris, James Lee Burke, John Grisham, Ace Atkins, Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, Suzanne Hudson, Lynne Barrett, Bill Fitzhugh, David Sheffield, Dean James. Nathan Singer, Suzann Ellingsworth, Michael Lister, Toni L.P. Kelner, Daniel Martine, Mary Saums and Les Standiford.  The line up speaks for itself with this book. I loved it!
More from Carolyn Haines, PENUMBRA. – I love her Bones books of course. This stand alone title was one of my favorite ones from Carolyn. It has just enough heat and seedy mystery to hook you in and refuse to let go. Visit Tyrus Books for all of Carolyn’s re-released stand alone titles.
FORGIVE MY FINS and FINS ARE FOREVER by Tera Lynn Childs – These two books have some really great stuff! I laughed out loud at many of Tera’s fishy phrases. “Son of a swordfish” that one still makes me giggle every time I think about it. The characters are fun and the story is inspired. If you’re looking for a fun series to dive into this one is perfect.   

            

  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New Page Info

Facebook.svg  Hey guys :) Just a quick update. I have a new page on Facebook. I'd love for you to visit and give it a "like". Just click on the link below and it should take you straight to it. Have a wonderful weekend and check back often for more updates.
Till then,
Katie

https://www.facebook.com/writerKatieWoodRuffin#!/writerKatieWoodRuffin?v=wall

Monday, October 17, 2011

Interview with John Rakestraw on December 18th 2011

Big news to share! I have an interview with John Rakestraw on December 18th 2011 to chat about the UNWILLING series :) This is very exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Grab the widget on the right side of the page and tune into THE PLATFORM with John Rakestraw on December 18, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. We'll be talking books! http://thebookplatform.com/

Till Then,
Katie

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Congrats!

Man wearing glasses reading a bookThanks to everyone who left messages for Sherri. I really appreciate you visiting the blog and please come back again real soon. A huge shout out to CARRIE ANN RYAN. She won a copy of GODDESS COTTAGE. Enjoy Carrie! Thanks to author Sherri Dub for taking a moment to chat with me on the blog, hope we can do it again real soon.
Till Then,
Katie

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Visit From The Smart Chicks Tour

      Hey folks! Hope your week is chugging along peacefully. Little tid bit of news for y'all. The blog has officially topped 3000! *confetti, cheers, balloons and cake all around!* I would've never imagined a number like that last November when I wrote that first rambling post. LOL! And the cherry on top is the added bonus of new friends from Cyprus, Lithuania and Ireland. Thanks for visiting guys and please come back again real soon ;)
    In addition to all that excitement, it’s been a very interesting couple of weeks around here. I turned a year older, wrote a few more words, but best of all, I attended the first stop on the Smart Chicks Tour at Hutchison School in Memphis, TN on September 27th.
    What a fun evening! The ladies were hilarious and interacted constantly with the crowd, telling stories about their books and jokes galore. Thanks to my new friends at River City Romance Writers, Justine magazine and The Booksellers at Laurelwood, I got the email announcing these writers would be in Memphis. More importantly, the sun and moon aligned, the hubs happened to be off work and bada-bing-bada-boom, instant babysitter and I scored the chance to have an evening I’ll never forget.
    My friend Carolyn Haines http://southernauthors.blogspot.com/2011/09/carolyn-haines-many-hats-of-writer.html wrote a blog last month about how writers need to get out there, experience other writers, hang with folks who are doing the writing, but most of all, to learn everything you can about the industry. That as professionals it's our job to really study our industry inside and out as soon as that first decision to seek publication is solid in your mind. 
    For my part, I've done my very best to follow Carolyn's advice even though at times it makes me feel squidgy inside. Don't even get me started on how horrible I can screw up a solid moment with a honest-to-God agent because of a bad case of nerves. I pray the DGW2011 Incident stays locked away in the minds of those few who had to witness it for-e-ver Smalls. (sorry if that Sandlot reference went over your head) Don't ask me about my shame either cause I won't tell you. *shivers*For those of us who struggle with crowds, feeling shy and such, getting out there and "networking" isn't the easiest thing to do. But the reality is if you want to publish, getting to know your readers and writing community is a must. Notice I didn’t say “if you want to write”. Anyone can sit in their little spot and write to their hearts content. But the decision to seek publication, that’s a whole other animal indeed. With all that in mind, this was my first experience with a tour stop. Never mind how they were all writer’s I really had to work not to “Fan Girl” all over.  Overriding my urge to squeal, I took away several nuggets of info from those couple of hours.
The Smart Chicks present were:
 Kami Garcia, (on left) co-author with Margaret Stohl (on right) the Beautiful Creatures novels. Kami is a absolutely lovely lady who I think adores Black Sabbath according to most of her answers. I also have a suspicion Black Sabbath is her version of potato.http://beautifulcreaturesnovels.com/
Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry Novels)Simone Ekeles, author of the Perfect Chemistry novels. Simone is a really quick wit and her answers had everyone rolling despite the fact that she answered with "the Fuentes brothers" more than once. The horde of teen girls in attendance didn't mind one bit.http://www.simoneelkeles.net/  woohoo for super hot bad boys! LOL! 
Darkest Mercy  Melissa Marr, author of the Wicked Lovely books. Melissa held court and the microphone out in the audience fielding questions for the Hutchinson ladies and guests like me. She kept the funny rolling and was a treat to finally meet in person. http://www.melissa-marr.com/ 
The Summoning Kelley Armstrong, author of the Otherworld series and the young adult trilogy Darkest Powers and other titles. She served as moderator for the evening. It was a real pleasure to have the chance to meet her. http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/
Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes  Jennifer Lynn Barnes author of the Raised by Wolves novels. Jennifer took all the newbie ribbing the ladies dished out with nothing but good humor. Her monkey impressions were hilarious too. Don't ask me how old she is either because they used one of those Men in Black thingies to wipe that from our memories at the end of the night. *Wink* http://www.jenniferlynnbarnes.com/
and last but most certainly not least, Rachel Caine. author of more than thirty novels which also includes the Morganville Vampire books. This was my test, not freaking out when I met Rachel. I'm proud to say I held it together but only just barely. She even gave me my very own membership card to Morganville LOL.
http://www.rachelcaine.com/Rachel_Caine_-_Writer/Home.html    
Now you want to squeal with me don’t you? The ladies graciously signed everyone’s books, talked themselves nearly  hoarse and even posed for a photo with me at the end. Oh yeah, I’m stalkery that way. So take Carolyn's advice and get busy learning all you can. If you get the chance to attend an event like this as a fan or as a future professional writer DO IT! It was great fun and I learned so much from just watching how the ladies worked the crowd.
And march on Smart Chicks! I really hope you guys have loads of fun on tour :) To see if the ladies are coming to your city, check out the tour link here. http://www.smartchickskickit.com/index.html
Till then,
Katie

   


Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcome Author Sherri A. Dub to the Blog

     We have a extra special guest on the blog today! Author Sherri A. Dub is dropping in to share some information about her experiences in e-publishing. She's the author of Goddess Cottage and The Witch Ball. Sherri and I "met" on twitter a few months ago and I've enjoyed following her progress since the launch of Goddess Cottage. She's kindly agreed to drop in for a chat so here goes.


Katie: Welcome Sherri, it’s an honor to have you visit the blog. Tell us a little bit about yourself and about your two books, Goddess Cottage and The Witch Ball.

Sherri: Thank you, Katie for inviting me.  First off, I’m an avid reader and writer of Paranormal Romance.  I have a BA in Anthropology from the University of Alaska Anchorage and I’m a happily married Grandmother. 
I wrote my first book, Goddess Cottage approximately 3 years ago.  Then, this year I finished my second book, The Witch Ball.  Both are Para/Rom’s and only available on Ebook formats.  I chose to self-publish because it left me in control of my work, and gave me the freedom to start my career, without wading through the slush piles.
However, I don’t believe self-publishing is for everyone.  I believe I have a lot of writing experience, a great track record with RWA and FF&P memberships and meetings, and my peer group has been very persuasive.  If you feel you are ready after you’ve submitted to agents, publishers and contests; and been told that your work is publishable, then I say go for it.
Katie: What inspired you to write these stories?
Sherri: My inspiration always comes from a mixture of my childhood memories and my passion for archaeology.  When I grew up, with four other siblings in California, we were entranced by the magic of Disneyland, camping and horror movies.  I read Nancy Drew books early on, but quickly grew complacent with her “goody-two shoes” outlook and became engrossed in Steven King, John Saul and Alfred Hitchcock.
I was the kid that wanted to dig up the backyard looking for treasures, or try to stay up past bedtime to catch ghosts in the house.  I think I was just born with a natural sense of adventure and curiosity for the promise of something supernatural to come into my life.
Katie: We’re seeing the e-publishing market exploding with new books. What influenced your decision to use e-publishing instead of traditional publishing to bring your stories to readers?
Sherri: Again, I chose to E-publish because the time was right for me.  After having been requested in full and encouraged by Kensington Publishing, having two years of good Golden Heart scores and 4 years on the college newspaper, my husband and I made the decision together. 
He jokes that he’s my publisher, but without him, I don’t think I’d have been as comfortable with my choice.  He has helped me set up my website, sell my books and choose my covers.  He’s the best support system a writer could ask for, and don’t even get me started on how wonderful he is as a husband.
Katie: How has your experience using this technology been?
Sherri: I read a lot about the industry and different venues for Ebooks before I chose to go with Bookbaby.  It’s easy to use, and they can do your cover art, which has been the case for me on both of my books.  The cost is reasonable, and they compensate you 100%, after the four main distributors: Amazon, B&N, Sony and Apple have paid them.   Each time your balance is $20 or more, you can have your money direct deposited into your account every Monday of the month.
What I didn’t know, that I wish I would have read in the fine print, is that any book that is priced at $1.99 or less only receives a minimal percentage of the retail price.  If you want to increase your earnings, you have to earmark your books at $2.99 or higher.  However, as a side note, I have found that the readers in the UK will not pay over $1.99 for a book unless it is on the NYT Best Seller list. 
My debut novel, Goddess Cottage is priced at $1.99 and it has outsold my second novel three times over, because I priced The Witch Ball at $2.99.  So, you have to feel out your readers, the economy and practicality issues before setting a price.
The largest piece of advice I would give to people about self-publishing, is to have your work edited.  And to be prepared to put in the face time on your PC with the various outlets, such as:  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.com and so on.   Also, you have to do many giveaways, radio shows and blog visits to conjure an audience when you’re starting out as an unknown.   It can be costly, so be prepared.
I have not begun to produce revenue in the black, as my costs for monthly websites, giveaways and such has been greater than the intake of profit.  But, I am meeting new people, getting my name and my work out there, and I am continuing to build up a published list of my works.
Katie:  Any new works in progress or upcoming releases you can tell us about?
Sherri: Currently, my 3rd book is set in Alaska and it is a very anthropological, paranormal romance.  I can only say that it is about shape-shifters and the Tlingit natives of SE Alaska.  It has been a true labor of love for me, as I’ve spent nearly 20 years in Alaska and have been adopted by this group, personally.  So, I am walking a fine line with my version of their mythology and my own imagination.

THE WITCH BALL
A paranormal romance, with a twist~
When antique shop owner, Charlie Chase is given the lead on a fine pick at a Victorian mansion in Placerville, CA, she can't resist heading up there in the middle of a February snow storm.
Finding a place to stay until the weather dies down is one thing. Renting the only cabin, complete with a hunky landlord, is another.
Buying a cursed trunk and its mysterious contents won't be the end of her strange adventures, either.
Together, she and the hot landlord are forced to solve the mystery of THE WITCH BALL, or she'll become its next victim.
ISBN# 9781617929700


GODDESS COTTAGE
A paranormal romance novel set in Alaska, where witches and werewolves depend on one another to survive. Keeping their world veiled from outsiders is one thing, but falling love with each other is another.

ISBN# 9781617924675

Hope you guys enjoyed hearing about the e-publishing experience from someone who is making wonderful waves in this ever expanding market. Sherri, I wish you loads of continued success and I’d like to say a HUGE thank you for taking a moment to visit with us here on the blog. For more information on all her work you can visit Sherri's website: http://www.sheropatra.com , follow her on twitter and Goodreads.com @Sheropatra and for sure drop in and “like” her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/sheropatra/114153548669270.

If you like a chance to win either of Sherri's novels in Kindle format, just leave your name and email information in the blog comments box. A winner will be chosen on October 15th, 2011. The ebook of your choice will be sent to the winner of the random drawing.
Till then,
Katie

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"100 Books a Year" ... DONE! :)


    Happy Wednesday evening everyone, I hope you all are having a great week. Let's give a giant blog welcome to our newest country Latvia. WELCOME! and please visit the blog again soon :)
    Now for the big news of the day, I’ve done it folks! The 100 Books a Year goal has been met! *cheers* And what an amazing pile of reading it was. J It’s been a really long time since I listed these so I’ll shut up and get to it:

#76 - #86 The Lunatic CafĂ©, The Killing Dance, Burnt Offerings, Obsidian Butterfly, Cerulean Sins, Narcissus in Chains, Incubus Dreams, Micah, Danse Macabre, The Harlequin, Flirt  by Laurell K. Hamilton

*I re-read LK’s books as my treat on vacation. An even bigger treat, I had the chance to help her fact check a few weeks ago because I’d just read the book she need a tidbit from. *squee!*

#87 - #90 Succubus on Top, Succubus Heat, Succubus Shadows, Vampire Academy  by Richelle Mead

*Richelle is a new find for me and I enjoyed these books quite a bit. I’m still working my way through all the series.

#91 & #92 Linger, Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie wrapped this series with Forever. It ended well and I enjoyed the read very much.

#93 Glass House by Rachel Caine

Rachel and her Morganville Vampires are high on my hot list right now. I’m itchy for the next in the series to come into the library.

#94 Fever Moon by Carolyn Haines

Carolyn is one of my personal favs and this book is no exception. Great characters, mystery and all the right kind of heat made for a wonderful read.

#95 & #96 Dragon Bound, Storms Heart by Thea Harrison

I’ve fallen in love with Thea’s characters. If you haven’t read The Elder Races books you’re really missing out. Her third book Serpent’s Kiss is due out October 2011

#97 Beauty Queens Libba Bray

Libba Bray = no words … love her. Awesome read and I expected no less .

#98 The Dead Girls Dance by Rachel Caine

#99 Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

This is a brand new branch to Richelle’s Vampire Academy books. Great read and looking forward to the next one.

#100 & #101  Tiger’s Quest & Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck

Colleen Houck’s Tiger’s melted my heart. November, and the next book in this series can’t get here fast enough for me.

#102 - #104 Midnight Alley, Feast of Fools, Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

#105 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Recommended by my bud Michelle and she has excellent book taste as always. A very good read, heartbreaking, funny and full of all the right things.



So there you have it. One hundred books devoured by yours truly. Am I stopping? Heck no J My reading is going to be at a much slower pace until the end of the year though. My goal to be finished with this re-write on Unwilling is coming up fast (October 31st). So send me some creative energy in the coming weeks because I assure you I’ll need it.

Till then,

Katie





   

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2011 The September Note


In honor of those who were lost, those who love them, those who help and those who care.    In my second desk drawer, there’s a folded piece of notebook paper. It’s wrinkled, creased from one too many times where I missed the old fold line and there’s even a stain on the lower left corner where I smeared blood from a hang nail once. Anybody want to guess what number two on my “No-Good-Very-Bad-Things” list is?

Bullies ….
    On Friday I flipped over to one of the few news feeds I still read and caught this headline:
  “The Twitter account for NBC News was hacked Friday evening, and a series of alarmist tweets about a fake terrorist attack at Ground Zero were posted. The breach came just days before the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11th, at a time of heightened concern about the possibility of another attack.” (Huffingtonpost.com)

    The story goes on to list what these morons posted. Best of all, the hackers even added the convenience of a hash tag to these made up bits of fear mongering. #groundzeroattacked. I swear I’m not making this crap up. Click the link and read it for yourself if you need to be extra angry today. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/09/nbc-news-twitter-hacked-t_n_956308.html

    Thankfully someone got on the ball with this because the response to shut it down came in ten minutes later. Here’s what they did:
    “The response from NBC was quick. Less than ten minutes after the first fake tweet, Vivian Schiller, Chief Digital Officer for NBC News and MSNBC tweeted "Ignore tweets from @nbcnews till further notice. We've been hacked. Do not retweet." (Huffingtonpost.com)
    For those of you familiar with how twitter works, you understand that ten minutes to shut this down did some extreme damage in the raising folks fear levels department. For those not doing the twitter, let’s break it down.
NBCNEWS on twitter is listed as having 129,170 followers. Now let’s consider if all those folks decided to retweet that false message in the 9 minutes before they shut it down and what that might mean for the survivors of September 11th.
    The average time it takes for most people on twitter to retweet something is around 30 seconds. So, if every one of their followers retweeted these fake messages at 30 seconds, the message would’ve been delivered to 258,340 twitter accounts, at 1 minute 516,680. By a minute and 30 seconds, the retweet numbers would’ve hit 1,033,360.
    Guess what folks, even if NBC culled it at 9 minutes and 30 seconds of retweeting, that’s a heck of a lot of crazy blasting its way to every cell phone and laptop in America. I’m not even figuring in other countries here. Now I know what you might be thinking, Katie, you ain’t good with math so stick with the writing thing. You’d be right about the math part, but that’s not the point.
    Afterwards, the group "The Script Kiddies" took responsibility for the hack. Always the responsible news organization, NBC issued this statement:
    "The NBC News twitter account was hacked late this afternoon and as a result, false reports of a plane attack on ground zero were sent to @NBCNews followers. We are working with Twitter to correct the situation and sincerely apologize for the scare that could have been caused by such a reckless and irresponsible act."
p.s. that’s the real name of the group but I marked them out because on my list they’re a big smelly pile of number two. For this bit of childish, idiotic, hateful, need-a-smack-upside-the-head bit of stupidity; I genuinely hope these people get a front row seat to a smack down real soon. Want to know why, other than the obvious reasons? They’re BULLIES, trying to scare folks that have been living in fear for ten years now.
    And I already told you how I feel about a bully.
    Maybe I should explain why bullies are number two on my list. I have two boys, my oldest is twelve and he’s had to deal with bullies every school year since he turned six years old. He handled them pretty well year after year, or so I thought. Finally he reached fifth grade and something in the bullying structure changed.
    Just before Christmas vacation of fifth grade my son began to come home with red whelps on his arms. This is after he’d had every pencil I’d bought him stolen multiple times, items stolen out of his back pack, been called horrible names etc. etc. Real bully stuff you know.
    I held his arm. “Did you tell your teacher?”
    “Yes mom.”
   “What did she do?”
   He frowned, “nothing.”
    *volcano exploded inside Katie’s brain*
   We had this same discussion two more times that week. All the while, I’m calling the school, visiting principals etc. Yet, it keeps happening … in the classroom … and nothing is done about it.
    I lay in bed several nights in a row seething, stewing and at times so furious I couldn’t breathe. During that semester, my son’s grades had dropped. He’d become despondent and listless. Now, I knew why. I felt powerless, angry and full of fear for my child.
    Two days before Christmas vacation I picked him up from school and he held his arm out to me as soon as he shut the door. Angry red marks and purple hematomas had blossomed on his forearms.
    I slammed on brakes and nearly dismantled the entire exit line strategy that afternoon. The closest teacher knocked on my window and waved frantically for me to move forward as I stared at the marks. I’m not sure what saved her from me shooting the bird; I did give her a murderous glare though.
    “Did you tell your teacher?” I asked and pressed the gas pedal harder than I really should have.
    “No because she won’t do anything about it.”
    Something inside me finally broke. The camel with a straw on his back, whatever you want to call it, all my desire to follow the same old rules disintegrated. 
    My kid sat silent in his seat all the way home while I plotted and burned inside.
    “I think we need to try something different,” I told him.
    Bright blue eyes appraised me from across the car.  “What do you mean?”
    “Ignoring the situation isn’t working.” I opened the door and got out of the car at home. “Maybe it’s time we tried to fix this a different way.”
    He only stared, said nothing and wore a wrinkled frown between his eyes.
    I really looked at him and finally got it. My kid had given up on everyone, including ME, sticking up for him. The realization made me sick.
    We sat down at the kitchen table to start homework and I watched him. My heart hurt. At last, I decided what we’d do to fix the bully situation. 
    Squaring my shoulders, I stared him in the eyes. “We’re gonna do something about this bully. The pinching junk isn’t going to happen another day. Do you believe me?”
    He shook his head no. “I’ve tried. Nobody will make him stop.”
    “You’ll make him,” I said.
    “How?”
    “I think I’ve been wrong about the way I’ve told you to handle problem kids for years.” Pausing, I waited for him to process that. “I should’ve never told you to not get in a fight at school. So here’s the plan. Tomorrow, if this kid lays one pinkie finger on you, pushes you, hits you, pokes you … basically, if his flesh touches yours for any other reason than an accidental bump in line or something, I want you to beat the living shit out of him.”   
And yes, I said it just that way.
    His eyes bugged out for a second … but then … he gave me that look. The one that said he still didn’t believe me. It broke my heart.
    “Are you serious?” He sounded just like his dad when he said it.
    “I’m as serious as a heart attack. If he touches you, I want you to grab him by the front of his shirt, throw him to the ground, sit on him and punch him right in his nose. Then I want you to punch him in both his eyes and in the mouth and bust his lip. Knock his teeth out. Then I want you to keep punching him until someone pulls you off. Till the day he dies, I want him to remember the last day he picked on you because you beat him so badly.” 
    “I’ll get expelled.”
    “I don’t care. I’ll home school you if that’s what it takes.”
    “So you want me to get in a fight at school?” He looked very confused.
    “Nope,” I answered. “I want you to fight back. Tomorrow morning, I’ll get dressed and sit by the phone. If you get in a fight, you have the principal call me. After that, I’m going to get my notebook with all the dates and information about this situation, get in the car and drive straight to the Hernando police station to find a cop to bring with me to the school.”
    His eyes got big as marbles.
    “The cop won’t be for you.”
    “Oh,” he said. Then, he smiled. Something changed then, I don’t have a name for it to this day. A flicker of something swam back up to the surface of his eyes as we sat there.
    “So I have your permission to beat up a kid at school. And, you won’t care if I get kicked out of school for fighting.”
    “Not if you’re sticking up for yourself to the kid who’s been terrorizing you for weeks. I’ll be up at that school as soon as you call to ream every teacher and principal who has something to say about it a new one for letting it go on.” Touching his arm, I held his gaze to be sure he heard me say the most important part. “I’m sorry, this is my fault. I took your power away by telling you the most important thing was to stay out of trouble. It’s not. The most important thing is that you go to school and aren’t afraid. You have the right to sit in your desk and concentrate on your work without fear of being physically hurt by a classmate. I told you not to fight because I felt like the system tied my hands with rules. I’m responsible for not fixing this sooner and I’m sorry.”
    And that was the God’s truth.
    He sat there doodling on his paper for a long time. Then he looked up at me, “Well okay.”
    Later that night, I told my husband about our new strategy. Like a true male redneck, he was all for the ass kicking part.
    Right about now, I bet you’re wondering what in the world this has to do with remembering what happened on this day ten years ago. I guess the main reason is I loathe bullies and any instance of unfair treatment with a burning passion, always have. But my personal situation, taught me another piece of why I won’t tolerate bullies. I’m big on not being under someone else’s control. All we Wood kids are resistant to that and we get it honest.
    This hack into the NBCNEWS account is a perfect example of how the survivors haven’t been allowed to regain their control. Fear still rules New York City, Washington and anyone who has to fly on 9/11 every September. TSA agents are swiping grandmother’s butt cracks for bombs and nekked x-raying people for the love of God. If that’s not propagating fear I don’t know what is.
    Bullies aren’t about anything but stealing power from others. And has there EVER been a bigger example of that than the attacks on September 11th?  An extremist group crashes planes and kills innocents for a cause so old and convoluted they can’t actually explain why they did it where anyone can understand it. That’s the actions of humans who’ve lost all control. Terrorist live in a waste land, under dictators … no control. They see American’s living free, both girls and boys going to school then to college when their own children can’t … they’ve no control. Fear is an ever-present monster at the door over there and they want Americans to feel the same way every September. Thanks to idiot groups like kiddies-who-need-to-have-the-sense-knocked-back-into-them, September 11th still has the power to bully survivors ten years later.  
    I dropped my kid off at school that following Monday morning then went home, sat on the couch and held my cell phone on my lap. Around 11:30 a.m. the phone rang. Big cleansing breath first, I answered.
    The assistant principal on the other end of the line was all in a flitter. He proceeded to tell me what a strange morning he’d had, like I frickin’ cared. Two minutes into the conversation, I wanted to beat him up.
     After leaving me at the car, my kid had marched himself into the main office and plopped himself into a leather chair. He then explained to the assistant principal that he’d been bullied by a kid in his class for weeks and demanded that the principal make it stop. That’s an exact quote to, my kid demanded.
    After the bully visited the office that morning, he never bothered my son again. To this day, we haven’t had another instance of bullies.
    My son did something that morning which surprised even me. He made the choice to take his control back in a non-violent way. His parents had given him permission to crack heads, but at 11 years old, he made a decision most adults can’t. He marched into that school and took back all the control he’d lost in six years of bullies with a grin. 
     As I reflect on the beautiful blue sky I remember from September 11th ten years ago, and how nothing in America has been the same since. I’ll hang my flag up. Watch the specials on television and cry and say a prayer for the families who lost someone they love to nothing more than a group of bullies. But, for this year most of all, my wish for the survivors is that they’ve found a way to take back control and let go of some of the lingering fear that it might happen again.    
 For my part, I'll never forget the people who were lost, never forget the untold number of hero’s from that day and what they did, but most of all, never forget the courage it takes for those left behind to face their fears every day wearing 9/11 scars on their hearts.

Till then,
Katie