Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day

Some thoughts on Earth Day

I really dig earth day and all, but using tons of glue sticks, green and blue food dye, and foam stickers does not in any way help the planet. Harsh to say, and yes I have a collection of my children's grammar school creations made of up-cycled cartons, plastic thingies, and tissue paper, but when we look closely, and honestly, at the vast amount of consumerism that goes into celebrating what should be a reduction in the impact we have on this beautiful spinning orb, it's kind of appalling.

One of my fave blogs/bloggers Sayward of Bonzai Aphrodite is a shining example of a person living in integrity with her core beliefs. I applaud her for standing up and speaking out for animals during Earth Day events in Santa Barbara. Because of the courageous action she took, changes are being made to make the festivities there more in-line with compassion toward living beings, namely how "farm animals" were on display right alongside beef and cheese patties for sale. Yes, yuck. So she respectfully stood up for these innocent spirits, and guess what? Change is afoot for the celebration this year, with her and like-minded folks at the helm. So a public round of applause.

I think everyone would agree that the fact that there is a day to celebrate the earth is pretty cool; it's a time to pause and recognize this magnificent sphere hurtling through space and the life on it. It's about raising awareness, because it's 2014 and there's a lot of recycling that ain't happenin'; there is alot of cruelty going on against animals and the planet, pollution in the air, water, and soil, and sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming and depressing.

I'm by no means an earth warrior, but I believe in conservation and compassion and want desperately for that to be reflected in all that I do to the greatest extent possible. To me, earth day is a reminder and the heart and soul of this planet is shouting, pleading, "Hey look at me, I'm your home, please take better care of me. I support you in all that you do, what about a lil' love back?" Not sure why my version of the earth talks like that, but yeah.

So this earth day, I'm pledging that it serve as a wake up call, so that moving forward I carefully consider my consumer purchases, the foods and products I put in and on my body, the impact I have through my actions on the planet, and the ways in which I can help it heal from the damage already done.
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Car-pool, public transport, bikes, or feet. 
  • Reduce, reduce, reduce plastic. It is so insidious.
  • When it's time to replace appliances, furniture, whatevs, assess where it comes from, how it was made, who made it, where they treated fairly, etc. and recycle and repurchase accordingly.
  • Examine the ways in which my actions reflect my beliefs and align with that.  
Am I perfect? No, I'm human. But it's worth it to me to make the effort. There are countless lists, pins, and organizations that I can reference and support, but these five items are what I'm getting started with now, today. One step at a time. And the biggest one, is from this day forward, 5% of profits from the sale of my novel, TO THE SEA & the novella, SURFACED, will be donated to the Surfrider Foundation an organization dedicated to protecting the world's oceans and beaches through solving water pollution problems, education, and clean water initiatives and programs.

I hope you'll join me in supporting our seas! If you'd like to find out more about Surfrider or would like to
make a donation directly, please visit their website. 

Let's celebrate Earth Day every day! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Giveaway Winner & Throwback Thursday

Thank you to everyone who entered the SURFACED release giveaway! The winner has been selected and notified. (Check it out!) If you didn't win this time around, the dynamic duo behind Grown Up Fangirl & Oh the Book Feels are doing another giveaway which includes a paperback copy of Surfaced & this rad hat. Get lucky with Jamie!

And because it's Thursday and I'm still riding the I-just-published-another-book train...Here are a few not-so-oldies, but goodies that helped pave my publishing path.

Some very sweet reviews that made me so-super-happy! Read them below:

Cheyanne Young on Goodreads
And to everyone who has left a review for To the Sea on Goodreads & Amazon, thank you, you really help make what I do possible!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

SURFACED // Release day!

Warning: There may be a profusion of exclamation points in this post. Why? Days like today make me speak with strong feeling and high volume! Can you hear that? That's me dancing down the street calling out, today is the book birthday for SURFACED! Hooray! Squee! Yay! All the social-media-i-fied happy words!

Okay, I'll calm down, but not before I thank everyone who has supported, assisted, and tolerated me as I made my second foray into the publishing world happen. I also have an intense, loyal, puppy-dog-like affection for everyone who reads my books. Feel that? That's me nuzzling you because I'm so gosh darn grateful and also you're all really sweet. So thank you everyone!

~ ~ ~

Without further ado, I present to you Surfaced. This fresh follow-up novella, for the new adult novel To the Sea, takes readers back to the beach with Kira’s hot fling, Jamie. Book Two in the Follow your Bliss Series, Surfaced can be read after To the Sea, or as a stand-alone, quick beach read filled with romance, surfing, and transformation. 

By eighteen, Jamie Burke became a pro surfer capturing the hearts of surf fans everywhere. 

By twenty, he broke just as many hearts trading his prowess on the waves for sultry nights spent between the sheets. 

By twenty-two, he lamented losing the woman who changed him. Then he disappeared. 

When Jamie surfaces in his hometown in Australia, he discovers his high school sweetheart has moved on, but that doesn’t stop him from believing that she’s the one. He’ll do whatever is necessary to win her back, even compete in a surf-off against tough Mik Tanaka, aka Tank.

Awash on the shore, Jamie also finds pieces of his broken family—a father who took off, his disappointed mother, and a brother who has a secret—and it’s up to him to help put them back together. As he reunites with familiar faces, rallying around him, he might just have to redefine what family means.

Jamie spent years chasing a dream all over the world and doesn’t expect the waves to carry him right back to where he started. Only he can claim the treasures his return home by the sea offers: love, family, and truth. But as he fights temptation, sinks to the depths of despair, and struggles to open up, his biggest adventure will be dropping anchor.

~ ~ ~ 

And as a special surprise for abiding all my exclamation points, today, the kindle ebook To the Sea is FREE on Amazon! Get your copy!

To purchase Surfaced, click through to Amazon. 

A sun-kissed Giveaway including surf-swag from my Etsy shop here. 

And just 'cos, hashtag excited!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Surfaced GIVEAWAY!

As the book birthday for Surfaced nears, I want to say thank you to everyone who's cheered me on! In show of my appreciation, I'm hosting a giveaway to include:

A Kindle copy of Surfaced
A Kindle copy of To the Sea
Your choice of item from my surf-swag shop, Words, Waves & Wonder on Etsy.

That's right, if you win, you get to pick one item from my shop. 

Pretty sweet huh? Please enter below! This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Surfaced // Cover Reveal

Remember that time I wrote a book? (Actually I've written over a dozen, but who's counting!?) I recall with giddy excitement the day I was able to share the cover with all of you... I get to relive it all over again as I share, with great fanfare, the cover for SURFACED—the follow-up novelette (don't you <3 that word!?) to my debut new adult contemporary novel, TO THE SEA

Surfaced is book two in the a six-part series Follow your Bliss. There will be three full-length new adult romances, with a novella follow-ups for each one. Check out the run down for how that works here with a pretty graphic. 


I know, I know, so much chatting, but I really want to build up the anticipation. Yanno? 


Okay, okay, okay...so if you scroll down, tadah! SURFACED, sailing onto Kindles everywhere Tuesday 4.15.14. 


I do love the blues...What do you think? 
If you'd like to add SURFACED to your To-Be-Read list on Goodreads that would make my day. Stay tuned for more to come as the release date draws near!
Surfaced // a novella // 4.15.14

Monday, April 7, 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour

Notice the bandit scarf. It was the wind, I tell ya!

To purchase your copy, please click here.

Also, I have an exciting announcement: Sailing onto your bookshelves and Kindles Tuesday April 15 will be SURFACED—a follow up to TO THE SEA taking readers back to the beach with Kira's hot fling, Jamie. This is book two in the Follow your Bliss Series. Surfaced can be read after TO THE SEA or as a stand-alone, quick beach read filled with romance, surfing, and transformation. Check back soon for updates, the cover reveal, a giveaway, and more. 

Thank you to Faith Sullivan for inviting me on the "My Writing Process – Blog Tour." She's a compelling storyteller, a great Twitter friend, and a quiet rebel with two new adult fiction series: Heartbeat & Take Me Now, along with stand-alone Unexpected. Please check out her books and her website, Faith Sullivan Writes. Also, Hold me Tight comes out in....click here for the countdown!

Click here for purchasing info. 


Wondering about my writing process? Here goes: 

What am I working on? 

As of late March, I'm doing the final edits on SURFACED, a follow-up novella for TO THE SEA. It follows Jamie's story as he washes up on the shores of his native Australia with a broken heart. 

I'm also very tenderly revising SUGAR, a young adult contemporary, with a lot  of heart...that made it to Round 2 of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. I just can't resist a polish. I'm also dipping my toes into a tie-in for SUGAR. I'm never happy when a stand alone novel ends, even if it is fairytale-esque with a happily ever after. There's always that, "But I want more!" (Ahem, that happens with cookies too, but I digress.) So I've been exploring ways to expand the world I created...just a wee bit. For my new adult novels, I intend to write a novella following one of the secondary characters. For young adult contemporary, I'm thinking something more creative and less prose-y. 

I have another new adult book releasing this fall, so I'm doing some preliminary read-throughs, but I have to let that one marinate a bit more before I tear into it. 

Lastly, I have a young adult fantasy brewing that I am super eager to make time for. It will be a three-part series involving ice, ink, and ire. Wink, wink. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

As an author there are certain boundaries created so a novel makes sense to a reader. I've noticed some self-pubbed books don't quite follow these guidelines and not for creative purposes. This makes it hard to stay in the story and trust what's going unfold if I'm not sure what tense we're working in or if there are major plot holes. That's not to say I don't make mistakes, but I appreciate the stitches on these seems. However, as an indie-author (and non-traditional person in general) I also like having the freedom to see where my stories go, how characters develop, and just how real I can make a book while it still providing the reader with an escape. I find there is more room for this in the self-pub format because my bottom line is connecting with the story and readers, not what's necessarily hot at the moment and will sell, though that would be nice too. 

But to really answer this question, I'll refer to the kind words of author and book lover, Cheyanne Young

"The author's writing style was absolutely beautiful and I constantly got chills while reading. This is the kind of story that I'd love to see in every New Adult book. It wasn't just trashy sex scenes and dumb Mary-Sue main characters -- This was a sexy and smart story that truly livens the NA genre and puts plot and substance into a story that is also sexy and fun." 

Why do I write what I do? 

The short answer is I can't not write.  

The long answer, ideas for my novels appear, often inspired by snatches of time that stick in my mind like a photograph and then develop from there. I first started writing in the young adult genre because I still hadn't answered the question, Who am I? (As a high school freshman, I had to write an essay answering that question, then senior year I had to revisit it. Ten years later, I still wasn't sure, so I took the opportunity to explore it through fiction. I found myself immersed in contemporary, hopping into fantasy, and then as the A to my Q coalesced, I shifted into new adult territory where once again, I delved into what it is to be a young woman. 

I write for the love of it. To connect. To share. To show my children and people everywhere what it is to pursue a dream, press through the shifting currents, take the no's as delays, and never give up. To entertain. To grow as an individual. To put a story in a reader's hands and give them that same experience that broadens their world. 

How does my writing process work? 

Once I get an idea, I sketch an outline, estimating about how long I want each of three rough sections to be and then give myself an estimated word count. Like I said above, I like having boundaries (sometimes I stay in the lines, other times, I go right to the edge, and still other times I push right past.) But they're there and that is helpful to me.

Then I start writing. I tend to write well in large chunks of uninterrupted time. Yes, I suffer from writer's butt.

After the first draft is completed, I add any last minute details while the story is fresh, do a spell and grammar review, and let it marinate. Sometimes I'll do a preliminary read-through here.

Then I read in document, print out and edit for both style, consistency, and grammar...I'll copy the changes into the doc, and then read again, aloud. I may repeat any of these steps until I'm jump-up and-down happy with the outcome.

I'll step away for a couple weeks (or months depending on what I have going on) and then reread...making changes, etc.

Following this I have some beta-reads, then after whatever changes need to be made, move forward with the final draft.

Next week check out the writing process of these great authors:

Cheyenne Campbell: UK via US author of fantasy & contemporary, Cheyenne also wrote her disertation referencing Tolkien and Rowling—a fantasy-lovers dream! Aside from being widely read, she's traveled extensively and has a great taste in music. 
Visit her Website
Check out her books. 
Join her on Twitter 

Colleen M. Riordan: Sci-Fi and Fantasy author Colleen lives like she means it and her writing is no exception. She rallies on skates, jumps from great heights, and takes the long way 'round. Check out her blog to find out what she's been up to. 

Visit her Website.  
Join her on Twitter. 

Cheyanne Young: a native Texan who live up to her state's standards of "Go big or go home," with high-octane new adult novel MOTOCROSS ME and young adult fantasy series, POWERED and contemporary UNDERSTUDY. Her words are powerful, lovely, and I look forward to reading more from her.  

Visit her Website.
Check out her books
Join her on Twitter

Thanks for reading! Let's connect!
On Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Etsy // Pinterest // Instagram

Please check back soon for splashy novella SURFACED, releasing next week!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Upcoming New Adult Novel Releases

April is a hot month for new (or rereleased) books! I'm so excited...there are sure to be some beautiful spring afternoons spent reading in my hammock! What's on my TBR?

Surfaced, the novelette follow-up to To the Sea sails onto shelves Tuesday April, 15. Stay tuned next week for teasers, the cover reveal, giveaways and more!

I've been patiently waiting for ST Bende's nordic Elsker Saga to return...and it is, in May! Hooray! Find out more, including info on the cover reveal and rerelease HERE.

And...Faith Sullivan's Hold Me Tight...has a countdown! Check it out!

Happy Reading!What's on your to-be-read list? Any book recs? Let's hang out on Goodreads together!