Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Write for a Cause: Fandom for Preemies

Fandom for Preemies

In the fall of 2010, a group of friends and I started an effort to fundraise for the March of Dimes, a nonprofit that works world-wide to end prematurity and birth defects. We all had a special preemie in our lives, and wanted to do our part to help fight for preemies by getting our friends, families, and fellow writers involved in the cause.

I've talked a little about my six-year-old nephew, Aloshua, here on the blog before, but what you may not know is that Aloshua wouldn't be alive today were it not for the work of the March of Dimes. He was born three and a half months early with multiple congenital birth defects (such as spina bifida). He spent the first three years of his life in the hospital, and we nearly lost him multiple times. He is tracheotomy dependent, requires the use of a ventilator 12 hours a day, has a feeding tube, has undergone 19 surgeries, and can only walk with the aide of a walker and leg braces. Thanks to advances in medical technology, and the work of the March of Dimes, however, Aloshua not only survived, but our family is now able to care for him in our home.

Many families never get that chance. I work with our local Ronald McDonald House, and a week rarely goes by when a family staying with us doesn't lose an infant. It's heartbreaking, and it happens all too often. 13 million babies are born prematurely every year, 500,000 of them in the United States alone. Worldwide, 1 million of these children do not surive the first year. As someone who has been there, and who watches families go through the same thing every day, the March of Dimes has become incredibly important to me.

I know it has to many of you as well.  

By the end of October 2010, over 100 authors had signed on to write an original short story or fanfiction themed one-shot for what came to be known as Fandom for Preemies. Many of them had a preemie, had lost a preemie, or had a loved one with a preemie and were eager to help.

Over the next month, we put together an ebook anthology, or compilation, of stories from participating authors. By the end of November, hundreds of individuals from around the world had raised over $5,300.00 for the March of Dimes via $5 donations to the organization.

Now it's time to do it again!

From March 1st to April 25th, Fandom for Preemies will be accepting original short stories and/or fanfiction from your favorite fandom (provided the original author has no objection to fanfiction) in an effort to raise money for the March of Dimes and the March for Babies! While original fiction authors are not paid for their contribution, this is a great way to give a little back, help out a great cause, and get your name out there to the many readers who donate.

The submission guidelines are simple:

*Authors who wish to participate can sign up any time from March 1st, 2012 to April 15th, 2012 here.

*Your submission must be emailed to us at fandomforpreemies@gmail.com no later than April 25th, 2012 for inclusion.

*When submitting, authors should include the title, author's name, their website or profile URL, any rating information (see below), and specify whether the submission is original fiction or fanfiction in the body of the email. Additionally, authors are welcome to include a note to readers should they choose to do so. 

*Authors may include a brief bio in lieu of an author's note if they so choose.

*Submissions should be sent as .doc, .docx, .rtf attachments, or sent as a Google Doc to fandomforpreemies@gmail.com.

*Submissions should be in Times New Roman 12-point font, and double spaced.

*Submissions can be any length, genre, or rating, original fiction or fanfiction. Bestiality, rape, and incest will not be accepted, and any submissions with mature or NC-17 themes must be clearly marked.

*Stories MUST be edited prior to submission and be publication ready. We reserve the right to reject any submission that is not publication ready (ie: proper spelling and grammar, formatting, etc).

*If the submission is fanfiction, it must be from an author who has not expressly forbidden fanfiction. ie: JR Ward and Anne Rice have both requested that fans not use their characters or plotlines in works of fanfiction. 

*Artwork such as a story or author banner may be included with your submission. If you would like a banner artist to help provide one for you, email us at fandomforpreemies@gmail.com with your story details no later than April 10th, 2012. 

It's our belief that every author who wishes to participate should be able to do so whether they write fanfiction in their spare time or are New York Times bestsellers. As such, and provided that the submission guidelines are met, all stories will be accepted. In exchange, authors will receive the compilation free of charge, and will be listed on the Fandom for Preemies blog as a contributing author. Original fiction authors retain all rights to their work, and merely grant us the one-time, non-exclusive right to publish their work in the Compilation.

Donating is simple. Between March 1st, 2012 and April 25th, 2012, anyone who donates $5 or more to the March of Dimes here or here and then forwards their receipt to us at fandomforpreemies@gmail.com will receive the ebook compilation in its entirety on May 1st, 2012.

So, why fanfiction?

It's our belief and experience that the world of fanfiction is full of talented authors with big hearts and the spirit of champions. The Twilight and Harry Potter fandoms, for instance, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations and causes around the world. The Supernatural Fandom is currently raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The list goes on.

Their work, while not typically acknowledged, is deserving of recognition, and it's our goal to help ensure these generous and talented authors and their contributions to nonprofits like the March of Dimes have a place, too. Anyone willing to spend hours perfecting a story for the good of an organization like the March of Dimes deserves a little thanks!

Have questions or need more information? You can visit the blog here, email us at fandomforpreemies@gmail.com or tweet us @Fandom4Preemies.

We hope to see your name on the list of participating authors!

xoxo,
A.K.M.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I just figured out... I'm Blue's Clues

I'm not sure how many of you remember Blue's Clues on Nick, Jr. (Blue was a girl... that still boggles the mind), but they had a "thinking chair" where the host (Steve Burns because we all know that Donovan or "Joe" wasn't an OG and doesn't count) went when he needed to figure out what all of Blue's clues meant. He always made these exagerrated thinking faces that drove me insane. I just wanted to yell at the television that it was okay to think normally. Kids would grasp the concept, and his eyebrows wouldn't get stuck in that weird thinking position.

I realized today that I was right about being forced to watch Blue's Clues with the cousins and it was actually harmful to my mental health probably should have looked in the mirror a bit sooner. I've turned into Steve.

I submit into evidence:
Magical Doors. They take us to mysterious places deep in the recesses of my mind where the angels that help the good guys in the apocalypse are donkeys with wings named Ee and Oo (said like a donkey braying, of course), tennis has its very own land called Tennis Ball Land where everything is tennis ball colored and bouncy, elves make all the cool stuff like those awesome microwave brownies, and fairies use dragonflies as taxis. Don't judge me. I have a vivid imagination that likes to haunt my dreams.

The Writing Spot. Every pillow in the house gets piled up in the middle of the living room floor with pens, the Handy Dandy Notebook (!!), and the laptop spread out around it. I can't "work through" writing related problems on the laptop. If a chapter feels off to me, I have to see it in ink and the Handy Dandy Notebook (!!) to figure out why. 

The Writing Face. Narrowed eyes, pursed lips, and an intense look of concentration, punctuated with wordless movements of the mouth and the tapping of my finger. In my defense, my handwriting is atrocious most of the time, so I have to concentrate really hard to figure out what the heck I just wrote. Don't ask me about the mouth movements though, I have no clue where those came from. My mouth just moves automagically when I read or write. It's a little bizarre, and is evidence that my brain and mouth are, in fact, intimately connected. That's my theory anyway.

Inanimate Object Assistance. Steve talked to salt and pepper shakers. I talk to pretty much any inanimate object in the general vicinity. The Husbinator used to laugh at me constantly for this, and it made me paranoid that I really was super freakishly abnormal (compared to freakishly abnormal which is okay), so I polled all of the girlfriends via text one day, and, thank the PTB, I'm not the only one that does this. He stopped making fun of me after my informal poll, but I still see his lips twitch every once in a while after I've thanked the car keys for being where I hoped they were, or politely said excuse me to the freezer for running into it. He's evil. That's all there is to that.

Finally:

The Success Song and Dance. We just figured out Blue's Clues, we just figured out Blue's Clues... You all know the song and dance I'm referring to. I have my own version, complete with spastic dancing and overly proud of myself because I'm awesome and just solved the problem lyrics. I even break out disco moves and the Cabbage Patch (if you don't know what that is, we can't talk until you go to YouTube, look it up, and then practice until you've perfected it.).

I can only logically conclude that either Nick Jr. needs to hook me up with a hosting job (I could totally get down with talking to animated dogs, and I even dance for free!), or that karma is rolling around laughing its arse off right about now. Either way... if I wander out in a striped shirt any time soon, someone better call the Fashion Police.

Thoroughly disturbed and a wee bit frightened,
A.K.M. 

P.S. The Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest Winners will be announced next week! :) 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday

It's time for another round of Six Sentence Sunday! Since the Team Losh Charity Compilation drive just ended, I decided to pick my six for the week from my submission, Ravenous. Ravenous is set in Iceland during the Mist Hardships of 1783-1784. I talked about it on the blog briefly once before, but here's the story for those who don't know.

In 1783, the Laki volcanic fissure in Iceland experienced a series of eruptions that lasted for nearly a year. Iceland and Europe were both devastated. A visible mist hung over much of Iceland and Europe, and carried with it gasses from the eruption that killed thousands, devastated farmland, and decimated the livestock population. It was pretty brutal, and was the perfect backdrop for Ravenous.

Those of you who know your mythology will probably find some of this familiar. ;) 

Enjoy!

There was a lot Jon did not understand about the myths surrounding his life and Katrín’s, but he’d learned enough in these last months to understand one thing clearly: the end would come for them eventually.
Already, death lay like a shroud on the edge of vision. Freki was weak, failing, leaving Katrín barely able to shift into wolf form. And the mind that he and Geri had once shared was fracturing. Soon, in this life, in the next, it would splinter apart as Freki and Katrín’s had done lifetimes ago and the connection that had always bound them together would be gone for good.  
Death would come for them then, and for the world.

And that's it for this week. We'll pick up with this one next week. :) In the meantime, check out some of the other SSS submissions (not all are suitable for young readers!) here.

Happy Sunday! 
A.K.M.




Thursday, February 23, 2012

Resources for Writers

Research has been an every day part of my life for the last forever, and I've come to have a love/hate relationship with it. On good days, I'm able to find a plethora of accurate information that I can easily use in the course of writing. And then there are those research days where I just want to tear my hair out or set the internet or library on fire. (Disclaimer: Arson is bad.)

You know the days I'm talking about. You know exactly what you need to find, but no matter how hard you look, you can't find it. You spend hours searching every possible combination of keywords you can think of, and the only thing you can find is a Wikipedia** article of questionable accuracy, or fifteen websites that are no longer in service.

Those days make me crazy. There is absolutely nothing worse than knowing exactly what you need, spending half of a writing day looking for it, only to come up empty handed, frustrated, and without having written a single word for the day. That's typically the point where everyone else says 'eff it, and finds a way around the problem. Not me.

I'm stubborn, and I refuse to be beaten by the internet, or the library, or the sixteen people telling me to give it up already and find something else. I will keep looking until I find exactly what I needed or my head feels like it's going to explode. As a result, I tend to hoarde links like they're the last roll of toilet paper at the apocalypse.

While looking through some of my old notes today, I came across just such a list that I thought I'd share. Some of these are pretty great writing resources, and they cover everything from queries to the Regency period to historical maps and beyond .

I will update this page with other valuable resources as I come across them. You can find it linked on the Explore tab of the website, under the Resources for Writers link. If you have something you think would make a  great addition to the list, please do let me know! :)

Writing Resources
  • Query Tracker - allows you to track query and submissions, as well as offers a database of publishing houses, and literary agents.   
  • All About Romance - everything from reviews to articles by authors to history and travel information.
  • Social Networks for Writers - a list of social networking sites designed specifically for writers. Many have group features, etc that can be a huge help in networking with others.
  • Every Writer's Resource - a website with everything from articles and interviews to lists, links, addresses for submissions, etc. 
  • Charlotte Dillon's Resources for Writers - a huge collection of writing related resources including sample query and submission letters, articles, links, and more.This is geared for romance writers, but many of these resources are great for any current or aspiring writer.   
  • YALitChat - an online community dedicated to everything YA. You can find groups, resources, and more here. 
History Resources
  • Peerage from the Regency Period - everything you might ever want to know about titles, behaviors, etc on the peerage in Britain during the regency period. 
  • The Regency Collection - everything you might need to know about the Regency period from modes of transportation to coaching inns, etc. 
  • The Napoleon Series - everything you might ever need to know about Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars, including a plethora of valuable information on the War of 1812. 
  • English History - this site covers 1760 to 1850 and has quite a few scholarly and topic papers (ie: economic affairs and popular movements of the time) on the George III and Peel Era.
Legal Resources

  • Internet Legal Resources - Washington University's list of legal resources includes everything from the best sites for research to United States law, etc. 
  • LexOne Community - free database of case law from Lexis Nexis, includes case law, and SCOTUS opinions  from 1791 onward.
  • FDsys - the US Government's database. This contains information on all three branches of government, as well as Congressional Bills, Hearings, and Reports, and the United State Code from any given year.
  • The Crime Library - articles, etc on crimes, crime figures, etc. Includes a lot of information of serial killers, mobsters, high profile crimes, etc. 
Mythology, Paranormal, and Creature Resources

  • Demons, Monsters, Etc - everything you might ever need to know on demons and monsters, including names, myths, etc.  
  • Paranormal Library - the largest online library of paranormal information, including ghosts, phenomena, etc.
  • FolkTexts - folklore, fairy tales, mythology, and more. 
  • MagicTails - a large library of creation myths and related mythology from around the world. 
Royalty Free Images and Music

  • DreamsTime - Royalty free images, including a large database of RF images you can use free of charge.  
  • Danosongs - Royalty free music from DanoSongs. You can use the music here for free.
  • Incompotech - Royalty free music from Kevin MacLeod. You can use his music for free.
  • Audio Archive - a large library of royalty free audio, video, music, images, etc.
  • Shutterstock - millions of stock photos, etc. Can be obtained and used for a fee. Pay per image, etc.

Various Resources

  • Moon Phases - find the phase of the moon for any date from 1800-2199. 

**Because Wikipedia (and similar resources) are editable by virtually anyone, it's not typically allowed as a resource in an academic setting. Likewise, databases such as Findlaw are not typically allowed in an academic setting either because the veracity of the information is questionable. The rules are a little different for fiction writing, obviously, but I'm still leery of using it because there is a lot of incomplete, incorrect, or overly simplified information used here. For that reason, I, personally, advise either finding another resource, or double checking everything for accuracy, even for fiction writing. Readers do pay attention to the little details, and you will hear about it if they're wrong. :) 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Confessions

The last week has been crazy busy around here so Sunday Confessions are going to work a little differently this week. It's more a big ole update on the week, followed by my confessions. Two birds, one stone. ;)

We had a big benefit dinner and concert for Aloshua at the local school last night, and we were dashing around like mad this week trying to finalize the last of the details, cook food, and make sure our master checklist was checked off all neat like. 

We had a few minor bumps along the way... our sound equipment donation guy was MIA when we got there to pick up the equipment so we had to find someone else last minute to rent from, the flower shop who promised to be there at 2:30 so we could pick up balloons was closed so we had no balloons, and some of our volunteers didn't show, but we made it work regardless. It went fabulously!

We were able to donate a ton of food to the local homeless shelter, we dropped off a carload of donations at the Ronald McDonald House, Keeper of the Cheerios was able to talk to the community about children like Aloshua and the unique challenges they face when it comes to obtaining the medication and equipment they need, and we were able to raise a good sum for Aloshua's needs.

A local band, Broken Chains, and a local boy (Hunter West) who recently signed a record deal in Nashville both played last night and Aloshua had so much fun, y'all. The band gave him drumsticks and Hunter gave him the harmonica he played with last night. It was so cute. Aloshua watched him perform previously and thought the harmonica playing was the coolest thing since sliced bread, so after Hunter played last night, he gave it to Losh, and the kid probably still hasn't put it down. He's just in heaven.  

So it was a crazy busy, absolutely worth it week for everyone around here.

Now on to the confessions!

The entire time we were talking to one of the raffle donors, he had a giant bugger issue. I was so grossed out, just thinking about it is making me gag.  
I had to rush to the Keeper's house after I put on my Team Losh shirt last night. My not-white-shirt-friendly-bra was loud, proud, and very obviously noticeable.   
I've discovered that bossing people around politely is hard work. If I don't have to do it again anytime soon, I'd be okay with that.  
I was right to give The Husbinator less than six months to wreck the truck. He's already backed it into a pole. It didn't do any damage, but I'm still gloating internally though!  
I had a dream last night that one of the families I work with told me they were going home on Monday. I woke up happy, not because I'm happy for them (though I was), but because they're exhausting to deal with. I was bummed when I realized it was just a dream. This makes me feel like a bad human.

I took the Random Tote of Mysteriousness out of the car twice this week...and put it right back in. I did, however, discover what was in it: blankets from when I was a baby, and a dish-draining mat (which I took out of the tote before putting it back in my trunk).

A guy my mom works with posted a hateful message cursing her out on her Facebook wall that, to be blunt, pissed me off.  I asked The Husbinator to tell him if he ever disrespected her and spoke to her that way again, they'd be having a conversation in person. I'm still livid!

I feel completely unprepared for the release of Fade. I still feel like I have so much to do! 

And now that Fade is front and center in my mind again, I'm calling my confessions done and getting to work, y'all. Don't forget to post your confessions in the comments, and enter the Book Loving Chocolate Holiday contest. It ends on Sunday, and participation is simple. Like my page on FB, follow me on Twitter, or leave a comment on any post here on the blog, and you're entered! :)

Happy Sunday! 
A.K.M.

Six Sentence Sunday

Who wouldn't be terrified of coming across this?!
Its time for another installment of Six Sentence Sunday. The six I've chosen for you this week are also from Fade, though a little earlier in the story than last week's six.

I really loved writing this scene. It's a little touch of humor with a whole lot of "holy crap" tossed in there. It reminds me of almost being attacked by my grandfather's demonic bull when I was a kid. My cousin, sister and I were just minding our own business, walking through the pasture, and he took offense for some reason. He had that "die, hussy, die" look in his eye. I swear, y'all, I felt like Timon being chased by the hyenas when that bull charged at us. There was all kinds of "He's going to eat me!" screaming going on. When I wrote this, that's what I remembered, and now every time I read it, that's what I think about. What can I say? Growing up on a farm never gets old.

Anyway, enjoy!

My heart lurched in my chest as my eyes landed on a solid gray wolf, half obscured by a massive tree on the other side of the trail. He was staring in our direction, snarling softly. It wasn’t a "go away" snarl either. It was one of those "I’m going to eat you" snarls. I suddenly understood what Little Red Riding Hood must have felt when she figured out her grandma wasn’t her grandma.
I was shaking in my boots.   

Don't forget to check out the other Six Sentence Sunday posts! And remember, not all are suitable for young readers.

Also, don't forget to enter the Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest! I'm giving away books, and we all love books, right? Right. You can check it out here.

Until next time, 
A.K.M.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Now?

I've spent the last couple of days in a state of exhausted excitement. I still don't feel great. I feel better, just not great. But despite the whole misbehaving kidneys thing, I'm also really happy.

I'm done with grad school. Six years ago, I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the first week of college. Losh was in NICU, I was working full time and volunteering full time, the Keeper of the Cheerois had a 9 month old at home.... I remember telling The Husbinator that I had this huge fear that I was going to fail. He, of course, told me that I was crazy. That I'm too stubborn to give up, too anal-retentive to fail, and that if anyone could juggle it all, it was me.

He was right, and I juggled it all for six years. Full time work, full time school, full time volunteering, full time aunty duties to a sick kiddo. Some days it was impossible, and I have no clue how I managed not to leave a kid at the store or forget a due date or burn the house down. But I didn't.

And now I'm here. Done. Finished. No more classrooms, or textbooks, or piles of research stacked precariously around me, or twenty page papers to write. This time next month, I'll have my graduate degree in hand. That's a great feeling.

When I started, I told everyone that I wanted to graduate summa cum laude, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. Because I knew I could. As of next month, I'll have done it twice. I kind of want to revel in how that feels for a while.

Everyone keeps asking me what's next, though. What do I want to do now? What kind of career do I want to pursue? Am I done with school for good? They're all legitimate questions, but the reality is... the only thing I want to do right now is, well, what I want to do.

I want to hunker down over my laptop and write until my fingers cramp, my eyes burn, and I have a permament crick in my neck. And I want to do this because, for the first time in six years, writing isn't required. There is no due date hanging over my head, or a grade waiting.

I want to walk into a library, and walk back out with a stack of books that aren't required reading. And then I want to curl up on the balcony and read them until my eyes burn, my butt is sore, and the neighbors think I've grown roots.

I want to make it through my Netflix queue, all 200 movies, and yell at the television like a crazy person through every Blackhawks game. I want to go hiking again, and spend a day lazing around the pool, or dragging the sister's kids all around the Zoo even though they only want to see the bunny rabbits.

I want to keep working where I am for a while, volunteering like I've always done, and I want to enjoy the realization that, when I get home, I don't have to write another paper or start another round of research. I can kick my shoes off, sit down at the computer, shove the textbooks out of the way, and start working on all those stories piling up in the corner. Maybe some will follow Fade into the land of publication. Maybe some won't.

I want to write them anyway.

So far as I'm concerned, that's a great plan. It's a legitimate plan. It's my plan.

Just because I have my degree doesn't mean I have to trudge into the midst of a broken criminal justice system and pick up the proverbial sword right this minute. The sword isn't going anywhere, nor is the system. It'll still be waiting after those manuscripts are polished. But those manuscripts have already waited long enough. They've waited for six years, to be exact.

So if anyone asks, what I'm doing next is exactly what I want to do. I'm going to write until my hands cramp and my head aches. Because I want to, and because I can.

And when I'm done, I have a whole stack of LSAT books on standby.


Happily vacationing in the land of fiction writing,

A.K.M.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

That's YAmore Blogfest

Thanks to exit exams consuming my life, I didn't get signed up for the That's YAmore Blogfest in time, but I wanted to go ahead and post my blurb from the sidelines anyway. Since I'm unpardonably late, I only feel slightly guilty that this is a bit longer than 250 words.

I like to think I'm fairly well versed on young love. The Husbinator and I started "dating" when I was twelve. We dated on and off all through high school, moved in together when I was eighteen, and married when I was twenty. We've been married eight years next month. I cannot imagine my life without him, nor would I want to. He's my heart, and I'm his. But if there's anything you learn in a relationship, it's reality. And the reality is that love and romance aren't always sunshine and daises and skipping through the meadow, holding hands and trilling La-La-La. Sometimes love, well, sucks. So my contribution to the lovefest is a little bit of realism.

This is from Fall, Arionna and Dace's second book, and it's been slow in coming. Fall is darker in a lot of ways than Fade. Ari and Dace know who they are now, and the bond between them has become a lot stronger. Unfortunately, after everything they endured in Fade and everything still coming at them, we see them struggle a lot in this book with their feelings and the reality of their situation. It's not ever easy to be young and in love, and so it's a lot harder for Ari and Dace because not only are they new to this whole thing, but they're in this impossible, scary situation, and they have a whole lot of personal baggage coming along for the ride.

This blurb gives us a little of that struggle, but at the same time, it still has a very romantic feel to me. It's bittersweet, I think. And let's face it, y'all, a lot of the best moments in any relationship are a little bittersweet. That's just how l'amore rolls. 


"You were crying," he said suddenly, reaching out to snag me as I shuffled through the brightly lit, wood paneled kitchen.

I lost my balance and fell back against him. I steadied myself against his chest and shivered again. His shirt was freezing!

He turned me around slowly, his eyes scrutinizing my face. "Why were you crying?" It was that silky voice again, and his cold fingers stroking along my face.

A slow burn started in my lower stomach, spreading outward and warming me all over. He wasn't being fair either, apparently. He knew I couldn't think when he had his hands on me.

"I..." My body trembled as he brushed his thumbs gently along each side of my neck. I reached out to steady myself against his chest again. Naturally, my fingers fisted into his shirt. I swayed closer to him.

"Why?" he asked again, his thumbs still moving feather light across my skin.

"You were sad," I whispered, feeling his heart hammering beneath my fist. "I made you sad." The words trembled as much as my body had.

 He groaned and rested his forehead against mine. His brilliant eyes instantly filled with remorse. "You never make me sad, love."

"Don't I?" I questioned, staring into his eyes. I was fairly sure I could get lost there. They were so vibrant, so beautiful. Emerald was definitely my favorite color.

"Never." His forehead bumped against mine. "I just..." he sighed. "I can't leave you here alone, Arionna. I can't." The words were so fervent that my heart fractured again.

"You can't be with me every single minute either, Dace," I said gently. "It's just not possible."

"I know." He sighed again, his eyes falling closed. "That doesn't mean I have to like it."

I hope you enjoyed it. You will be seeing a lot more of Fall as I finish edits on Fade and start whipping this one into shape. 

Happy Valentines Day, lovelies! And don't forget... I'm still giving away books to celebrate the lovefest! You have until February 25th to enter.

L'amore è cieco,
A.K.M.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

I passed exams!

It's officially official,  y'all. I aced grad school exit exams! I got the scores back today and they were a lot better than I thought they would be.

*insert dance of joy here*

I am so glad that is over with, and so glad I did so well! No more textbooks or essays or waiting anxiously for grades or, or, or...

Yeah, it's a great feeling! :)

Happy, happy,
A.K.M.

P.S.: Don't forget the Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest!

Sunday Confessions

Confession Cat
My sister, the Keeper of the Cheerios, used to do Sunday Confessions over at her blog, so I've decided to take a page from her book and start that tradition over here, too. They're random bits of things I've done, thought, or said during the course of the week, tossed in there with random, little known facts about me. I can't promise I'll do it every Sunday (on account of I suck and will forget), but expect to see these pop up on Sundays every once in a while!

Confession time....

I assign a ringtone to anyone whose call I will take. Everyone else goes to voicemail. I also send everyone who calls the land-line straight to voicemail, which I rarely ever check.

I haven't hung up laundry in so long, I've actually forgotten when it happened last. I fold it and put it all in a pile instead.

I've judged people a lot this week for terrible fashion choices.
Every day this week, my food was cold before I stopped working long enough to eat it. 

I can't talk, walk and breath at the same time. I don't know why, but I can't.

I walked into a door twice this week.

I'm taking bets on how long it'll take The Husbinator to wreck his new truck.

My mind is so cluttered, I must have organization around me or I feel crazy. 

I've been getting mail for someone that lived here before me for 3 years now. I've gotten so tired of sending it back that I just throw it away now. I always feel bad for it, but I tell myself that the Post Office isn't still forwarding her mail 3 years later, and hope that it's true.

...

Your turn! What do you have to confess today?

And don't forget to enter the Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest!

smooshes and cookies,
A.K.M.

Six Sentence Sunday

When my publisher emailed me to get the ball rolling, she decided to include another new author in the communication as well. It was the best decision ever, if you ask me. As a result, I met Krystal Wade, a fellow newbie Noble Young Adult author. She's pretty darn awesome, and has introduced me to Six Sentence Sunday, in which authors post six sentences of their work on their blog each Sunday morning by 9am.

This is my inaugural Six Sentence Sunday post, y'all, and I know just what six sentences to give you guys today. They're from one of my favorite moments in Fade. I cried like a baby writing this chapter because so much of it is emotional and bittersweet and just plain sad. This moment made it worth it, though.

For the first time, Dace willingly let's Arionna see a little of of who he really is underneath the facade, and how much he really does care, not just about her, but about everything that's happening around them. It's a bittersweet moment, and I hope you guys enjoy it.

I remained silent instead, my head bowed over this lovely wolf that I didn’t know and that hadn’t deserved to die like he had.

"Goodbye, Chiran," I finally whispered sadly, my hand falling to my side.

Dace leaned forward then, one hand still holding mine tightly. "We’ll meet again, brother," he murmured. He laid his hand upon Chiran's neck and stroked gently, his head bowed in grief and his goodbye echoing around us just as the pack’s had.

That simple farewell was just as heartbreaking as the pack's dirge had been, too.

To see what other participants have posted for you, check out the Six Sentence site (linked above), and remember, not all posts are appropriate for minors.

And don't forget to enter the Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest here on the blog!
Happy Sunday, 
A.K.M.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

No cookies for you!

For most of my life, I've heard that you have to eat right, exercise, and drink enough fluids. This is a good thing for everyone, but I think as a writer, it's particularly important. It can be hard to focus when you're starving to death!

Herein lies the problem though... I have the worst diet habits, and I do mean the worst, when I'm writing. I'm pretty good on the exercise front. I love hiking, dancing, and swimming, and do them as often as I can. I'm also constantly running at work. Keeping up with a 28-family house is hard work! But when it comes to eating right and getting enough fluids, I fail miserably.

When I'm writing or otherwise busy, I forget to eat. The Husbinator frequently has to remind me to stop long enough to get something to eat. And I tend to go for the easy, not particularly healthy stuff a lot. Don't get me wrong, I freaking love fruit and veggies, and I will munch on those all day long, but just as often, I'll grab a brownie, a couple of cookies, cheesesticks from Sonic or something equally delicious terrible.

I'm even worse when it comes to getting fluid. I've been in constant trouble with my doctors' since I was a teenager for not drinking nearly enough. On an average non-working day (I drink more when I'm at work), I get about 25-32 ounces of fluid. I should be getting a minum of 64 ounces a day. As a result of my horrible habits, I dehydrate a lot and have to get IV fluids. It's not fun, and I should have learned by now that I've got to do better.

I keep a drink with me at all times, but when I'm writing, I just don't think to pick it up and take a drink. I've tried setting timers to remind me, and more often than not, I'd just turn the timer off, take a sip, and then forget to turn it back on. I know this is a bad habit, especially for someone who already has medical issues, and I could make excuses or come up with reasons why I suck and it's not my fault, but at the end of the day it boils down to the same thing: I suck and it is my fault.

Yesterday was a reminder of just how much I suck. Four years ago, I had a kidney stone and it was miserable. I thought I was going to die, and I was so bummed because I didn't get to finish NanoWriMo as a result.

The doctor chewed me out when I told him my drinking habits, and told me it probably could have been avoided if I drank more. Drinking, as he explained it, keeps the bad bacteria and such in your kidneys from building up into mushy calcium deposits and such which turn into kidney stones which can cause pain and a host of more serious issues. Now that's probably a pretty simplistic explanation, but it amounts to the same thing: Healthy Kidneys = Watered Kidneys. Not Healthy Kidneys = Not Watered Kidneys.

My kidneys are not healthy. Yesterday, the same pain hit again. Eleven hours in the ER, a whole lot of morphine, a fortune in expenses, and IV fluids later, I got to go home after having passed another kidney stone.

I was bummed again. Not just because I had a kidney stone again, but because it was completely my fault. Again. I know what my bad habits are, and I just don't work hard enough at overcoming them. I tell myself that I'll stop in a minute and grab a bite to eat, or that I don't have time to stop and grab a bite, or that I'll go refill my glass after this paragraph or this chapter. Inevitably, I tell myself that repeatedly, and by the time all is said and done, it's been four or five hours and I've yet to follow through.

That's not a good thing! So I'm making a point of cutting that behavior out. Not only is it not healthy, but like I said above, it's a whole lot easier to concentrate when you're well fed and well watered. For a writer (or a student!), concentration is important. It's hard to get any real work done when you're distracted every five minutes by any shiny thing that crosses your path.

And I definitely deal with that! I'll write a little bit and then think, "Oh, Twitter!" or "What's the Keeper of the Cheerios doing?" or "I wonder if they found Baby Ayla yet." Quite often, I'll think of ten things I must check or do immediately. In short, I'm like a squirrel on coffee.

I was talking to the wonderful Krystal Wade about writing the other night and she asked how long it usually takes me to write. The sad fact is, it takes longer than it should too often, so I've been selling myself a boatload of lies for a while.

Not stopping to eat or drink isn't getting the work done any faster. It's just guaranteeing that not only is it going to take longer, but that I'll be unhealthy in the end. So I'm setting myself goals, and come hell, high waters, or doom, gloom, and heartbreak, I intend to stick by them!

I hope the rest of you, be you readers or writers, are taking the time to take care of you, too. Believe me, it's a whole lot easier to do it now than to spend eleven hours being poked and prodded later!

What about you? Are your eating habits better or worse when you write? Do you have any tricks on making sure you're eating right while busy?
A Not-So-Healthy Author,
A.K.M.

Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest

It's almost V-Day and if there is anything that I love more than chocolate, it's books to read while eating chocolate. In honor of this chocolate and book loving holiday (because, let's face it, any holiday with gifts involved is the perfect chocolate and book gifting holiday), I think it's time for my first Book Loving Chocolate Holiday Contest, y'all!

Between now (February 11th) and February 25th at midnight CT time, you have the chance to win three ebooks of your choice from Noble Young Adult or Noble Romance Publishing, and a copy of Forget Love, I'd Rather Fall in Chocolate, a delicious book about all things chocolate, illustrated by Linda Maron.

Sounds great, right?

Here's the scoop:

You will receive one entry for each of the following:

1. Pressing the "Like" button on my author page on Facebook.
2. Following me on Twitter: @AKMorgen.
3. Commenting on any blog post here on the blog between the 11th and 25th (with the exception of this post).
4. Sending a tweet about the contest and @'ing me. (You *must* @AKMorgen in the tweet or I can't verify it. Remember: if your account is locked and you do not follow me, I won't see it either and cannot verify the entry.)

If you do all four, I'll put your name into the automagic randomizer (at random.org) four times. If you do two, I'll put it in there twice. You get the drift. :) Sorry family, you are not eligible for the contest, only for my love and possibly the sharing of my chocolate. Spam bots and the Gingerbread Man need not apply either.

One winner will receive two ebooks (winner's choice!) from Noble Young Adult or Noble Romance Publishing at the end of the contest and a copy of Forget Love, I'd Rather Fall in Chocolate. One second place winner will also receive one ebook of choice from Noble Young Adult.

Once you've entered, post a comment on this entry with your name details so I can verify your entry. This can be as simple as saying, "I entered as Jane Kickbutt on FB and @Kickalottabutt on Twitter." Naturally, you'll want to replace my made-up names with your details.

Have questions? You can post them here, track me down on Twitter, or email me at akmorgen@akmorgen.com.

Happy Book Loving Chocolate Holiday, all!

xoxo,
A.K.M.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Book Behavior

Sempre Cover
I ordered Sempre on Amazon today! I'm so stinking excited. One of the exams I whined about was on human trafficking, which is a big part of what Sempre is about. Getting that exam turned in yesterday made me that much more eager to read this.

The Husbinator thought I was crazy for ordering both the Kindle edition and the paperback, but what does he know? It's just so much easier to carry the tablet in my purse than it is to lug around a 500+ page novel. Not, you know, that I don't do that, because I do.

And then I flail and whine like the world is ending when the pages get crinkled by all the other crap (read: ten things of lip gloss, a full sized bottle of perfume, a hairbrush, toothbrush and mouthwash, deodorant... don't judge me. I'm a girl.) I think I need to take with me any time I leave the house.

Seriously though, ebooks are just so much more portable. Between working two jobs, volunteering, and helping care for my nephew, I'm on the move a lot. I don't have time to keep up with eighty different things (and I suck at keeping track of anything), so the easier something is to keep track of, the better it is for me. Not to mention, I can do about fifty million other things on the tablet in addition to reading, thus requiring me to tote around a whole lot less.

After the obligatory round of meetings tomorrow, I plan to spend the rest of the day reading this novel, and probably crying like a baby. Again. I don't mind though.

I judge a book by the associated emotion. If it makes me cry or laugh or rage, or kicks up a flurry of butterflies in my stomach, it's a good one. If I don't feel at least one of those things while reading though, I probably won't pick the book up a second time. I'm not picky - I enjoy a lot of really diverse stuff and for a lot of different reasons - but if I can't relate to it or get emotionally invested in it, I just don't feel the love.

I also judge a book by its relationship. Stories where the author has the hero/heroine with one specific character throughout the novel or series, only to have h/h end up with someone completely different at the end make me rage. Sometimes, this is for the best, I admit that. But when it feels rushed, or forced, there's not enough development of that character, or I'm invested in the other character, I cannot tell you enough how much I hate it! It's just such a complete let-down!

Poor editing is my other huge reading turn-off. My grammar is far from perfect, I know this. But there's just something so frustrating about opening a book (or a newspaper, magazine, news website, etc) and spotting error after error. I can handle a few, but when it's one after another, it just feels sloppy and so unprofessional. That probably makes me a hypocrite, but it's true.

I've been a tutor and teaching assistant for a long time now, and this is something I see a lot with students. They will attempt to turn their papers in with the most blatantly obvious mistakes, and then get angry when I refuse to fix it for them.

I've even had a few instances where I've told a student specifically what needed to be corrected and how to go about doing so. They didn't fix the mistakes, and then got mad at me when they failed because I didn't do the work for them. I just want to shake them when that happens, because that's not what I get paid to do. If I point out to you what needs to be fixed, it's your responsibility as a student to fix it! If you don't fix it, don't expect me feel any sympathy for you when the professor grades the paper accordingly.

The same is true with novels, etc. If you want me to take the time to read your work, I expect you to take the time to make me want to read it. It just makes me sad when that effort isn't put into it. If I expect more than shoddy editing from my students; you bet I expect more from something I've paid to read!

I had to put aside Poughkeepsie for this reason. I will finish it because the story itself is great, but I just can't get past the sloppy editing at the moment. I'm hoping it gets better as the story progresses, but honestly, I have several other stories waiting to be read. I'm not going to waste my time with one that frustrates me when those others are sitting there, too. This isn't the only novel I've set aside for this reason. I do it more often than I should have to.

Obviously, this isn't solely the fault of the editors, and I don't want anyone walking away from this post thinking that's what I'm saying. It's not. An editor's primary job isn't fixing an author's grammatical mistakes; it's making the story stronger all the way through. Strengthening skills and correcting errors is part of the writing process. If an author or student isn't willing to do their part by learning where their weaknesses are, and then making every effort to correct them, why should their editors, publishers (or TA's and professors) be willing to do it for them?

Think of it this way: There are thousands of restaurants out there. Would you go to one with horrible service, crappy food, and a poor selection when you can pick another and get better service, better food, and a better selection for the same price? Probably not. So why should a publisher (or reader) pick your novel? They have other options that they could just as easily choose. Unless you're willing to give them a reason to chose yours, they probably aren't going to do so. And for a lot of us (see below), grammar is a very good reason for walking away from a novel.

I asked my Twitter followers about their biggest novel turn-offs, and a few of them also cited poor grammar as the biggest reason they walk away from a novel, so it's not just me saying this for no reason. It's a genuine concern for readers. Maybe not all of them, or even half of them. But it is definitely on the radar for many of them. As an author, that's reason enough for me to pay attention. As a reader, I feel it's definitely enough of a reason for an author to pay attention.

It boils down to that old adage, "You've got to give a little to get a little.". No one is entitled to a publishing contract, a stellar review, or an "A" grade. If you're not willing to do the work to earn it, don't expect someone to walk up and hand it out either. There are plenty of others to choose from. Make me want to read yours. If you aren't invested enough in your story to make it shine, I'm not going to invest the time to put it at the top of my reading list.

And who knows? Maybe with a little work, yours might have been the next Sempre for me or someone else like me. :)

What about you? What makes you put a story down without finishing it? 

Skipping joyously off to read Sempre,
A.K.M.

*Other reasons readers cited (in my not-very-scientific-at-all-Twitter-query) for walking away from a novel were: poor character or plot development, being overloaded with too much uninteresting information ("info dump"), and being forced to wait forever between novels in a series.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Holy Flaming Crapballs!

Okay, so that title probably isn't strictly politically correct, but it accurately conveys the panic I felt early this morning. Remember those exam essays I've been whining about for the last month? The ones with five essays that came with twenty-five freaking pages of guidelines?

Well, I had until 10:59 CT to submit any revisions to said essays prior to grading.

I emailed one of the five to myself so I could make serious revisions while at work last night. I spent hours rewriting virtually the entire paper with new research and saved, saved, saved away. The problem? I forgot to move the damn file out of the Temporary Internet Files. *insert ragey cursefest here*

At five this morning, I finished it, hit save for the last time and closed it and my email browser. Two seconds later, I thought, "Oh, hells! I never moved it out of the TIFs." Ever seen a little kid race to the playground at McDonald's after eating that last bite of food required to gain freedom? Yeah, it was kinda like that. I was all kinds of panicked trying to find that file again.

I called The Husbinator, resident network-analyst and A.K.M computer-screw-up-fixer, at eight this morning in a full-fledged panic. Naturally, it was too late. The damn thing automatically deleted the file when I closed the browser.

F.M.L.

So I came home and started rewriting the entire thing again, crashed for three hours, and then got up and finished. I'm sleep deprived and I'm pretty sure the U.S.C.A and A.C.A are going to haunt my sleep tonight, but by some miracle, I managed to get the paper rewritten, edited and submitted with 43 minutes to spare.

And that, my friends, is what I call freaking success!

By this time next week, I should officially have passed the exams...or else failed monumentally. But we're thinking positive today, 'mmkay?

Profusely thanking the PTB for speed typing, 
A.K.M.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An Outburst of the Soul

Let's talk music!

When I wake up in the mornings, I usually have some song stuck in my head, and it's rarely anything awesome. In fact, it tends to be something awful like The Wonder Pets Theme or The Neverending Song.

For the record, I don't know how you parents watch kid's shows all day long. After about two hours of having the songs repeat in my head, I'm plotting the painful demise of anything remotely associated. There are usually explosions and ninja outfits involved. 

Despite hating hearing a song loop endlessly in my head though, when I create a playlist, I put a few songs on it, and then listen to it repeatedly. Take my current playlist for example. I've got 14 songs on it, and I've listened to nothing else in two weeks.

I call it musical cravings. When I want to hear something, I only want to hear that until the craving passes. When said craving passes, it does so abruptly.

When I first started out on Twitter, I would "Blip" music to my timeline. I was forever getting comments on my musical ADD as they called it. I'd go from something sad and mellow like Tears of an Angel by RyanDan to something loud and upbeat like Groupie by Tech N9ne in 2.5 seconds flat. 

It's all very normal to me, but not so much to a lot of my friends and The Husbinator. They think I'm insane. I think they're just musically narrow minded. They like specific genres, and nothing else. My tastes are all over the place. Today it's Eric Clapton, Anouk and Sarah Mclachlan. Tomorrow it may be Bach, Mozart and Chopin. The day after that, it could be TQ, Eminem and Three Six Mafia.

Personally, I prefer it that way. I've got a never-ending supply of options. When it comes to writing, that means I usually know exactly what song works. I love introducing people to new artists or songs. And if I don't have one, I'm all for spending hours searching one out.

So, for me, writing and music are very much intertwined. I always have a song in mind for this story or that, or for this snippet or that. I love sharing those, and I love when others share theirs. I get giddy when an author posts about what they're listening to.

Maybe that does make me weird, but as an author, it's incredibly helpful, too. Nothing helps you set the right mood like a piece of music. Whether you're inserting it into the story or simply writing the story to it...nothing works quite as well as music for helping you find those nuances that you can't really find elsewhere.

If listening to Secret by Maroon 5 on repeat helps me find exactly the right tone or mood for a chapter, I'm all for it!

Like Delius said, music is an outburst of the soul. I'm okay with that.

What about you? Do you have musical moods or cravings? What are you listening to right now?

Still dancing, 
A.K.M.

Lost, Supernatural, and the Netflix Conspiracy

Dirty Jared.
I've decided that Netflix is the devil. For real.

I'm always behind by a year or two on television viewing. Unless it's a Blackhawks game, I can't be bothered to watch it when it's on, so I wait for it to come to DVD...and then I keep waiting until the show is over. By the time all is said and done, everyone is about two light years ahead of me in T.V. viewing.

Enter Netflix.

We got it to watch movies since The Husbinator and I are big fans of snuggling, and not such big fans of remembering what I did with the DVD we wanted to watch while we snuggled. Anyway, most of our Netflix viewing is television shows we never bothered to watch while they were on the air.

So, I finally started Lost in December. What better way to avoid cramming for exams than to visit the Island o' Crazy Stuff, right? Ha! The show infuriated me. It wasn't the mystery that made me mad. That was fine by me. It was everything else that pissed me off. They made it all the way to season six before they ever explained exactly why the heck all of these people were "coincidentally" connected to one another, which made the entire thing unbelievable to me. On top of that, Shannon died, Charlie died, the Kwon's died, Claire went crazy, but freaking Miles made it to the season finale alive and sane. Meh.

The only redeeming thing about the show was Sawyer in all his bad-boy, I-live-on-an-island-and-I-don't-give-a-damn-hotness. For instance:

Rawr!


Despite having no love for the show, I couldn't stop watching it. Why? Because I'm an avid appreciator of sexy men. I lack the willpower to look away. It's just one of those things that makes me the crazy author you'll all soon know and love. I. Can't. Resist. The. Sexy. Ever.

At any rate, I finally finished my month and a half long Sawyer-a-thon the other night and thought, "Woohoo! Now I can get some reading done!"

But Netflix, being the devil, was not cool with that plan. Instead, they added Supernatural to my list of things I must watch. So now I'm knee deep in demons, Dean and the delectable Jared Padalecki.

*sigh*

It's a hot boy conspiracy, y'all.

Lead Me Not Into Temptation (for I have not the willpower to resist),
A.K.M.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Grammar, Oh noes!


In 2009, I decided that I wanted to post some of my stories online. They were way too long and complex to make decent novel material, but they worked great as serialized fiction. I knew when I started that my grammar needed serious work, but what better way to learn than to practice, right?

I received a review on the very first such story today that made me laugh a little. The review said, "Way too many times "too" was used when "to" should have been but that is awesome compared to some of the mistakes i have endured."

I didn't even have to look back at the story to know the reviewer was spot-on with pointing that out to me.

When I first started writing seriously, my grammar was atrocious. I used semi-colons where no-one would ever think a semi-colon would go. I couldn't remember the rule for to/too, or for its/it's. I was also a huge fan of wordy sentences.

Reading that review today made me realize just how far I've come since then. I won't say I've perfected the rules because I haven't. On occassion, I still mix up to/too, or find myself wondering why in the world I thought it was a good idea to put 87 words in once sentence (It's not. Trust me). But at least I recognize those mistakes now, and can go back and make them all pretty-like.

It's a good feeling. :)

That said, I still spend a lot of time looking up grammar rules. Let's face it, there are a whole lot of those things that none of us really remember, and for some reason, I absolutely have to know the most obscure rule. One of the best resources I've found is Grammar Girl. It's straightforward, easily understood, and covers just about every rule I find myself needing to know. Best of all, I don't have to search through 8,000 different opinions (ahem, Yahoo Answers) to find out what I need to know. That in and of itself is a life-saver.

xoxo,
AKM

Are there any grammar rules you just can't remember, or grammar rules that you absolutely hate?

My Reading List: Poughkeepsie, Sempre, and the Oz series

Hi all,

I should know next week if I'm an official graduate or not! I have high hopes that my anal-retentiveness has paid off, and I'll pass exams. Yay! It'll be a little sad to leave behind being a teaching assistant though. I've done it for a little over four years now, and have just loved it. But who knows? Maybe I'll be in front of my own college class one of these days. :)

My to do list after this week is rather awesome, actually. I'm diving head-first into Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia. I've had the book for several weeks now, but haven't even had the chance to crack the first page. My dear friend Leah would be disappointed in me. As she said when I told her I hadn't read it, "It has explosions and homelessness! It reminds me of you. You need to read it!"

I'm a huge fan of action. I just love it. I'm also very much involved in solving the homeless problem. One of my life goals is to open a nonprofit that provides legal and mental health resources for the homeless. So naturally, as soon as she said that, and because it's Leah and Leah never leads me wrong, I had to pick up a copy of Poughkeepsie. I cannot wait until exams are out of the way and I can curl up with it for a while.

I'm also ecstatic for the release of Sempre by J.M Darhower. I read the story in its first incarnation (Emancipation Proclamation), and fell in love with it. I don't think a story has ever made me cry as hard as that one, or stuck with me as fully as that one. I was on what is called the Defcon Vodka watch. Basically, everyone would read a chapter ahead of me, and assign it a ranking. The higher the ranking, the more certain they were I'd need a little liquid courage to make it through the chapter without sobbing like a baby. What can I say? I'm a coward when it comes to heartfail!

Now that it's being officially released tomorrow, I cannot wait to get lost in it again. Minus the liquid courage, of course. *grumbles at the neurosurgeon and his evil twin* It's just one of those stories that completely awed me for a million different reasons.

The Husbinator doesn't read, like ever. Seriously. In the 10 years we've been together, he's only read 2 books (Angels and Demons, and one about nuclear warfare that had me paranoid for a good six months!), so I'm determined to make him read Sempre. He told me if she ever published it, he'd read it. I like to pretend she published specifically so he'd have to read it and I could do a happy dance of gloating.

I'm also really excited about rereading the Oz series. The Husbinator got me a tablet PC for my birthday, and immediately put the Kindle and Nook apps on it for me (because, you know, I must have both). I think it took me all of two seconds to download the Complete Wizard of Oz series.

I was one of those nerds in school who loved being assigned a classic to read (except Agememnon. I hated that one with a fiery passion). To this day, I'd still rather pick up a classic more often than something contemporary. The entire Oz series is up there with Candide, The Call of the Wild, Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Iliad in my opinion. If you're in need of a fun, easy read, I highly recommend you grab a copy of the series and dive in.

What's next on your reading list? Do you have a favorite classic novel or do you avoid them like the plague? What book makes you cry like a baby?

Cheers!
AKM

It's official

Hello all!

I am so excited to announce that Fade is officially contracted with Noble Young Adult, an imprint of Noble Romance Publishing! In the coming weeks, my completely awesome editor will be whipping me and the novel into shape. Once I know more about release details, I'll post those here.

I really am excited to join the Noble family. Everyone has been so wonderful and welcoming. I'm also excited to begin the formal editing process. I know that's not always a favorite amongst authors, but I'm all for tearing my work apart and putting it back together again so that it's neater, cleaner and a lot stronger than it began.

The Team Losh Compilation was released this week as well! If you haven't gotten your copy yet, you can do so by making a donation of at least $5.00 to the Team Losh Fundraiser. All proceeds go to a very good cause, and you get a collection of nearly twenty stories from some really fantastic authors, too. You can't beat that! :)

Until next time,
AKM