Unsolicited Advice: Attending Conferences

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Last week, I had an amazing opportunity to attend the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference. I had gone before, but not for about three years. Coming back was like coming home, in a writers-bonding-with-writers kind of way. It’s a community like no other, and there’s nothing quite like talking about writerly things with people who have been there, who understand the struggles and the wins just as you do. I thought of a few things that I learned, and whether you’re a writer or not, they should apply to situations related to your own career in which you might find yourself:
1) Follow Directions/Read your handouts: It may sound like a no-brainer, but be prepared. Know where your classes are, and how to get there. Bring the materials that the instructors want you to bring, and in the manner that they told you to bring them. There’s nothing quite like missing out on some valuable information that could change your career because you didn’t double space your sample pages (which I’m certainly glad I did!)
2) Don’t be an A-hole: A good life rule in general, but definitely applies to the conference scene. The last thing you want to do is sit down to a pitch session and stare wide-mouthed at the person in front of you, thinking to yourself, “Oh (insert expletive here), this is the woman who I couldn’t be bothered to hold the elevator for this morning.” Remember, no matter how brilliant your work is, nobody likes a jerk, and more importantly, nobody wants to WORK with a jerk. Would you?
3) Read, Read, Read: Would it kill you to read a book about your craft? Nope. I admit, this is a rule that I’m trying to get better about following. Hence why I bought books by all the master class speakers whose workshops I attended. Which brings me to the next rule…
4) ATTEND THE MASTER CLASSES: Yes they cost more money. There’s a reason for that. I learned more in those half day sessions than I learned in the vast majority of my college classes. GO! You’ll be glad you did.
For more information, email me at authorreneenmeland@gmail.com. Happy reading! 

Performance Anxiety

Catchy headline, right? Now that I have your attention, I’m probably going to disappoint you in that I’m not going to talk about what you thought  I would be talking about. I’m going to be discussing what I’m sure many other writers go through: stage fright. I am about a fourth of the way through the first draft of book 4, and I’ve got to say, I’m feeling a little gun shy. There are a couple of reasons for this:

It’s time to say goodbye: Like all writers, I’ve gotten attached to these people that I’ve created in my head. Cain and Riley have been a part of my life for years, and at least for the near and somewhat far future, we are going to be parting ways so I can work on some other projects that I’m excited about. It’s time to make some new character friends, but you never forget the old.

(THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH CONTAINS SONS OF ANARCHY SPOILERS SO DON’T CONTINUE IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING THE SERIES)

…….

These people are real: I bawled like a baby when Jax Teller  (Sons of Anarchy for those who don’t watch the show) died. My husband looked at me like I had two heads. I was a swollen mess of tears. Because for the last several years, Jax Teller had been just as real as any person we’d see on the news. I will never meet those people either, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Writers create real people in our heads, real for all intents and purposes. So when they die, they take a piece of us with them. For book 4, there will be some definite bloodshed, and I don’t think some of my precious friends, who I have spent the last six years with, will make it out of the book alive.

I want to do right by the characters: When you spend that long with someone, as a writer, you want to make sure you do it right. You’ve poured your heart into something and you want to exit with the color and circumstance that it deserves. But rough drafts can make you wonder if you’ll ever get it right. I want the closing act to be the best one yet, and that’s a lot of pressure.

I want to do right by the readers: For every reader that has stuck with me and my books, I want to make you proud. I want you to get to the last page and feel like your journey was worth the trip. And maybe I want to make you remember these peoples’ stories for at least a little while. Maybe you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll let your children read it when their old enough (and PLEASE wait till they’re old enough). I want to do right by you, and thank you for taking this journey with me.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll take the next one with me too.

 

 

 

 

The Extraction List is FREE!

TEL FREE promo pic

Exciting announcement! The Extraction List eBook is now FREE on Amazon! A great way to start the series. Pick it up here (why not? it’s FREE!): http://www.amazon.com/Extraction-List-Renee-N-Meland-ebook/dp/B00V8KADEY/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1437501005&sr=8-1&keywords=the+extraction+list

Book Review: Empath by S. Usher Evans- 4 Stars

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I picked up this book because I am a fan of the author’s other writing. I usually am not excited by dragons and such but I trusted this author to wow me again.

And I was right.

I could talk about the fabulousness of the writing, the wit of the main character, and the well-fleshed-out minor characters, but this book has such deep and important element to it that I am going to focus on it instead. This book reminded me of the amazing book 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, a book that will stick with me forever. It is one of the highest compliments I can give, trust me on that. Both authors took the horrors and realities of depression and gave them a face and a name. I thought it was smart that she took a problem that, unless you happen to meet the love of your life when you’re eight or something, everyone faces at some point: a breakup. The main character is afraid to tell anyone that she is not, in fact, doing ok after realizing the person she had devoted 5 years of her life to is not the one she is going to eventually call “husband.” She is afraid to give voice to the fact that her heart is broken and, at least until the end of the book, she doesn’t think it will ever be whole again. I wish I could remember something that a secondary character said verbatim, but I’ll paraphrase. Lauren basically said that she didn’t think her problems mattered/were important in the light of other things going on/etc, to which the secondary character replied “but they are important to you, so they are important to me.” There may be bigger problems in the world as a whole, but it’s important to remember that doesn’t make the problem any less devastating for the person going through it. So in the spirit of this amazing book, ask your friends how their doing…and then ask again. They might not tell you the first time. But eventually, knowing you are there when it counts can make all the difference in the world.

Author Interview: Iris Blobel

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1) Tell us a little about your book. “Let Me Love You” is the second book in the Australian Sports Stars series. It’s about Oliver, a baseball player from Melbourne who falls in love with his coach’s niece. Tamara, however, has just lost her husband in a burglary gone wrong and is hesitant to succumb Oliver’s charm.

2) What is your favorite part about writing? Least favorite? My favourite part about writing is, to create a story, to create something –hopefully- wonderful other people enjoy. The least favourite part … is the promoting 

3) A director tells you that you have complete control over casting the movie version of your book. Who plays who? When I wrote the story, I had a baseball player called Brian Pruett in mind – but an actor? Alex O’Loughlin comes to mind and Rose Byrne as Tamara.

4) If your house was burning down and you could only save one inanimate object, what would it be (don’t say photo albums, everyone says photo albums)?
My laptop and wallet.

5) If you could choose what one message that a reader takes away from reading your book, what would it be? I’d like readers to finish my books, take a big sigh, not wanting to return to reality and say, “Wow, I’ll miss my friends.”

6) Imagine a world where everyone wears a t-shirt that says something about who they are as a human being, i.e. “Doesn’t play well with others” or “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee.” What would yours say? Hahaha … exactly that … “don’t speak to me before breakfast” …. Or “Alert: humour level is low”

7) Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing? Oh, definitely my family. My husband encouraged me from the very first moment I decided to give it a try and my girls always get excited about another cover … except when I have days when I’m swamped with deadlines (edits or galleys). I have a feeling they curse the writing during those moments.

8) What song is the soundtrack to your life?
“Fragezeichen” (Question mark) by Nena

9) If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life what would it be? “If you could see me now” by Cecelia Ahern

10) Favorite quote about writing, life or otherwise:
If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

Iris Blobel 2013
INFO:
Book title: LET ME LOVE YOU
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Australian-Sports-Star-Book-ebook/dp/B00RQRKAXM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/irisblobel
Twitter: @_iris_b
Website: http://www.iris-b.blogspot.com
Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4067254.Iris_Blobel
Please attach author photo and book cover when you send back your answers. Thanks!

Beneath the Cape- The Super Hero Anthology to Benefit the Wounded Warrior Project

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I am so excited to be a part of the book blitz for this book. I have been told that all author proceeds are going to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, something that is a cause we can all get behind. Check it out to learn more about the book and where you can purchase it!

Book & Author Details:

Beneath the Cape: The Superhero Anthology by Angela McPherson, Cheryl McIntyre, Christine Zolendz, D. Nichole King, Laura Thalassa, Lynn Vroman, Megan Vernon, and Sunniva Dee
Created with the sole purpose of benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project.
Publication date: July 1st, 2015.
Only available through September 30th.
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Superheroes, Military, Anthologies

Synopsis:

Superheroes. Save the world and protect mankind.

But what’s beneath the cape? Behind the mask? Under the steel-plated façade?

Eight bestselling New Adult romance authors have come together to bring you seven stories about superheroes and what it takes to win their hearts. From the skies, to the cities, to the ocean, our superheroes face death, fight villains, conquer evil and—

Find love.

The world is full of heroes. Every-day men and women who risk their lives for the sake of others—for life, liberty, freedom, and justice. Often these men and women are wounded—physically or mentally—in the line of duty. Therefore, we have created this anthology with the sole purpose of benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.

Because heroes should never be forgotten.

The stories:

Reaping Angels by Laura Thalassa:
The Executioner’s touch can kill.
Angel’s can heal.
A villain and a hero. One who stood for death, and the other for life. Mortal enemies until the impossible happened.
A touch.
A kiss.
And now, a manhunt.

Cat Love by Sunniva Dee:
A sexy thriller about the animal in all of us.
Aidan uses his superpower to stabilize minds at the Hollyreed Specialist Hospital. Ulani uses hers to chase rats on rooftops. Until she’s caught and deposited in Aidan’s care.
At the hospital, Aidan finds Ulani’s room empty—save for a cat, whose fur retracts in favor of silky skin and a vamp-gorgeous femme fatale.
Aidan’s obsession with Ulani grows, while patients go missing.
Making the couple use their powers to bring criminals to justice.

Gypsy Love by Angela McPherson & Lynn Vroman:
For two hundred years, Adrian vowed to seek revenge against the Gypsy woman who bound his spirit for eternity.
Until her.
The one man Mia wants only exists in dreams.
Until he doesn’t.
The curse may be broken, but not without a price.
One love must end for another to begin.

The Only Difference by Magan Vernon:
The Only Difference between a hero and a villain is what they do with their power.
Leonel “Short Stack” Garcia-Shapiro’s life changed the night he decided to stop one of his fraternity brothers from taking advantage of a girl. Now he can’t stop thinking of that girl and how he can save her.

Heroes by Christine Zolendz:
Kelly Black can’t believe she’ll be the new teaching assistant to Alexander Masters. The Alexander Masters—the head of the entire biology department. As soon as they begin to work together sparks fly and danger swirls around them.

Breaking Through by D. Nichole King:
Two years after her brother Nate died during a Navy operation, aquator Nautia Olson’s nightmares began, and her ability to manipulate water became erratic. Anger, fear, joy, desire—they all trigger disaster.
Now, the Navy wants her for a top-secret mission, but Captain Riley Barton has his reservations. He’s read her file. He knows the damage she’s capable of, and yet—
If he can harness her ability—break through her walls—
She’ll be unstoppable.

Villain by Cheryl McIntyre:
How can you tell a hero from a villain?
If you’re Ember Willis and the villain is Lanely Frost, you can’t.
How can you tell a superhero from a delusional young woman?
If you’re Lanely Frost and the woman is Ember Willis, you don’t care.
For both, finding the balance between right and wrong and love and lust are not the only battles they’ll face.

Purchase:

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Beneath-Cape-Superhero-Anthology-Benefiting-ebook/dp/B00ZM3RSN2/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beneath-Cape-Superhero-Anthology-Benefiting-ebook/dp/B00ZM3RSN2/

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/Beneath-Cape-Superhero-Anthology-Benefiting-ebook/dp/B00ZM3RSN2/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Beneath-Cape-Superhero-Anthology-Benefiting-ebook/dp/B00ZM3RSN2/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25650677-beneath-the-cape-the-superhero-anthology

AUTHORS:

Angela McPherson: author of the new adult Distraction series and the paranormal Hope’s Decree.

Cheryl McIntyre: author of the new adult Sometimes Never series, Dirty, Infinitely, the paranormal Dark Calling, and the erotica Hard.

Christine Zolendz: author of the paranormal Mad World series, the new adult Beautiful series, and Triple X.

D Nichole King: author of the paranormal Spirit trilogy, and the new adult Love Always series.

Laura Thalassa: author of the paranormal The Unearthly series, the sci-fi new adult The Vanishing Girl series, and the dystopian new adult The Queen of All that Dies series.

Lynn Vroman: author of the young adult fantasy The Energies series, the young adult lesbian Summer Confessions

Magan Vernon: author of the new adult short series Forever Wild, the young adult The Only series, the new adult My Paper Heart series, and the sci-fi My Alien Romance series, and the contemporary Life, Love, and Lemons.

Sunniva Dee: author of the paranormal Halos series and the new adult/erotica Deepsilver series.

Authors’ contact info:

Angela McPherson:

Website: http://angelamcphersonblog.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YAAuthorAngelaMcPherson

Twitter: @abt3mcpherson

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7074174.Angela_McPherson

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Angela-McPherson/e/B00EJ4535K

Instagram: https://instagram.com/angela.mcpherson/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/armcpherson/

TSU: http://www.tsu.co/Angela_McPherson

Cheryl McIntyre:

Website: http://cherylmcintyrebooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CherylMcIntyreauthor?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherylHMcIntyre

Christine Zolendz:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristineZol?ref=hl

Website: http://www.christinezolendz.com

Blog: http://christinezolendz.blogspot.com

D Nichole King:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dNicholeKing
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordnicholeking

Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/D.NicholeKing/e/B00JHOR7WO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1433361413&sr=8-2-ent

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7762889.D_Nichole_King

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dnicholek/

Website: http://www.dnicholeking.com/

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/-CsJD

Laura Thalassa:

Website: laurathalassa.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LauraThalassa

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraThalassa

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7152490.Laura_Thalassa

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/laurathalassa/

Lynn Vroman:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lynnvromanauthor

Website: http://lynnvroman.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lynn_vroman

Magan Vernon:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Magan-Vernon/215620155165079

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaganVernon

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5237606.Magan_Vernon

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/authormagan/
Blog : http://www.thepunchingbagfightsback.blogspot.com/

Sunniva Dee:

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SunnivaGR

Facebook: http://bit.ly/SunnivaFB

Twitter: http://bit.ly/SunnivaTW

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/SunnivaP

Instagram: http://bit.ly/SunnivaInst

Spotify: http://bit.ly/SunnivasSpotify

Tsu.co: http://www.tsu.co/SunnivaD

Author Interview: Mia Hoddell

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I am very excited to introduce Mia Hoddell, author of False Finder, a book with a concept that intrigues me greatly: what if someone had the ability to detect lies? Read on!

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1) Tell us a little about your book.
False Finder is a standalone, urban fantasy, dystopian thriller aimed at upper young adults and new adults. It’s an action-packed novel about secrets, lies, betrayal, and family ties as a girl with a unique ability fights for survival in a country run by criminals. Here’s the blurb:
Cora has been able to detect lies since she was born, she’s…a False Finder.

However when blackmail, betrayal, and lying are all the population has to protect themselves, it makes her dangerous. It also makes her a target.

Because of Cora’s ability, Rogan Carvelli—London’s biggest criminal leader—has been trying to acquire her for years.

Cora has learned to survive and remain undetected—at least until one careless mistake causes her friends to betray her.

Sold to Carvelli, Cora is only left with the help of a secret organisation to escape. She knows nothing about them, but they have saved her too many times to ignore.

However, the closer she gets, the clearer it becomes…
Their motives are far from innocent.

2) What is your favorite part about writing? Least favorite?
I love all aspects of writing. However, my favourite part is when the first sentence of a new novel comes to me. That’s the point I get most excited because there are so many possibilities and I can’t wait to get them down on paper. Although, seeing the final book for sale is pretty great too. My least favourite is probably when I’m nearing my final rounds of edits. The first three rounds I enjoy it, but after that I just want to get back to writing my next idea.
3) A director tells you that you have complete control over casting the movie version of your book. Who plays who?
I’ve never liked this question if I’m honest. The problem is I don’t really watch many movies and therefore have no idea who I’d choose. Generally, I base my characters on image I find on stock websites. For my female lead in False Finder, the image on the cover is exactly how I pictured Cora when I created her. I also like for the reader to create their own version of my characters when they read the book rather than give them a celebrity.
4) If your house was burning down and you could save one thing, what would it be (don’t say photo albums, everyone says photo albums)?
It definitely wouldn’t be photo albums. I can’t begin to describe how many pictures of me there are I wish had never been taken! This is probably going to sound bad and unsentimental, but it would be my iPod because I use it for everything, including writing my books. I have all of my notes, plans, vague ideas, chapters, and backups on it and I’d hate to lose all of that work (I may be a workaholic). It does also contain my photos, music, ebooks, videos, and other stuff I’d hate to lose.
5) If you could choose what one message that a reader takes away from reading your book, what would it be?
False Finder is different from all of my other novels. It’s darker and an urban fantasy thriller, whereas most of my other novels are romances. In my romances I like write about characters struggling to find themselves or accept who they are. I’d like readers to take away that it’s never worth compromising who they are to get someone to accept them. In False Finder I’d like people to take away that it’s worth fighting and standing up for what you want.
6) Imagine a world where everyone wears a t-shirt that says something about who they are as a human being, i.e. “Doesn’t play well with others” or “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had coffee.” What would yours say?
Um … either “I love books more than people” or “I like to party and by party I mean stay at home because socialising stresses me out.” Actually, any of the 22 mentioned here work: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/introshirts#.muPRVD286
7) Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing?
My family. Without them none of this would have been possible.
8) What writer do you admire the most and why?
At the moment I admire those who started out as indie authors (Colleen Hoover, Jennifer L. Armentrout, J.A. Redmerski etc.) and are now topping best seller lists or have become traditionally published authors. Because my roots are in self-publishing I look to them as a sort of role model because they’re great with their fans and have made it work.
9) If you had only one book to read for the rest of your life what would it be?
Dragonfly by Julia Golding. It has a little bit of everything: romance, adventure, action, mystery, and a new world. She’s my favourite author and it’s one of the few books that has stuck with me since I discovered my love of reading.
10) Favorite quote about writing, life or otherwise:
It’s kind of cheesy, but I like it anyway. “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
*Also, just a side note. The box set for my #1 Amazon bestselling series, Seasons of Change, is currently on sale for the summer. You can get all 4 books, plus 2 free exclusive stories, and save 40%!

Thank you Mia!

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INFO:
Book title: False Finder
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Mia-Hoddell/e/B0093M18QQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1434537448&sr=8-1
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mia-Hoddell-Author/421368247889610
Twitter: http://twitter.com/miahoddell
Website: http://miahoddell.blogspot.com/
Goodreads link: http://goodreads.com/miahoddell
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/GFF_1