Kings & Queens eBook Only 99 Cents

Yipee! My YA mystery-suspense novel has just been reduced to 99 cents and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

What’s it about:

Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.

So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.

What readers are saying:

“I think the best way for me to describe the book is quirky. “Beautifully unique” would be another term I’d use. I just…I love this book. Each character, especially Majesty, was like a 20-layer cake. The book was both character-driven and plot-driven, which promises to be an exciting ride for every type of YA reader. Add to this Courtney’s incredible writing style and you have a story that you want to devour in one sitting.” ~ Missy of Missy’s Reads & Reviews

“I was left with my mouth hanging open as I was totally wrong when I thought I knew what was going on. WELL PLAYED, Vail, well played.” ~ Heather of SupaGurl Tours

“The plot of this book is so original and twisted, I don’t think I’ve read anything like it. One minute you’re rooting for a character and the next minute you think he could be the villain. It is very cleverly crafted. The ending is so sweet and romantic and touching that I will never for get it. This is a unique, one of a kind book that will stay with you for a long time.” SL Nelson

Get your copy today.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

It’s Not Me, It’s YOU, WordPress

After much consideration, I’ve decided to leave WordPress and start up a new blog at Blogger. I am a YA writer primarily, and many of the YA reviewers and fans are on Blogger, and you can therefore, connect with them through Google connect. Blogger accepts javascript, which means you can add whatever widget you want to your sidebar, including follower widgets. And instead of sticking with stock designs, you can also choose from thousands to truly make your blog you own and more representative of your content.

I did have a little blog at Blogger years ago, and I didn’t like it. It felt like an island because it didn’t have a community section like WordPress, where you can go and search for other blogs through tags. You know, you come into WordPress, and there’s a huge welcome mat, you can easily find the forum if you have questions, you can discover fun posts through Freshly Pressed. But none of that matters to me right now, as my blog needs have changed and it’s hard to do everything I want here. It’s too limiting.

But, Blogger has grown over the years since I used it. It now has a stats page, whereas before I had to add code. Granted, Google analytics sucks in my opinion, but at least they have a stat page now. What I really love most about Blogger is Google Connect and you can also add the Networked Blogs widget, so people can easily follow your blog. Visitors can also see what I’m reading and whatever else I want to share in my sidebars.

I will be keeping this blog live because it has a ton of great content for writers and many of my articles rank high in search engines, but I’m taking my blog in a new direction and expanding it beyond writing and publishing into a more YA-focused zone. And Blogger is more accommodating to that vision. I may post in here from time to time, but for the most part, my new content will be at my new home, Gotta Have YA. Come over and visit, and sign up as a follower if you haven’t. I love my design. And if I get sick of it, I can easily change it to whatever crazy layout I want.

Thank you so much, if you’ve been following my zaniness here!

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Almost There…Eeeeek!

Okay. I got my final proof yesterday. I’m super excited because I’m almost finished with this twisted YA book, Kings & Queens, and the paperback will be out very, very soon.

I got as many PDF conversion glitches as I could find in my eBook. There may still be a couple of missing words or whatever, but I’m done with it. It will have to be as-is. [My eBook has been updated at Smashwords, Amazon and B&N, so if your copy doesn't change, let me know and I'll give you a coupon for a free replacement. I used a different font for chapter headings, so you will know instantly if you open it.]

I really need to move on to my next projects. I was going to finish Dropping Like Flies, but changed my mind. I’m going to put out Sapphire Reign next, in February or March, to keep my series momentum going. And I’m also going to continue writing StarStruck, which I intend to give away for free.

It’s been a challenge to get this book out with one delay after another, including a power surge during a tornado storm, but I figure there’s a reason for everything and I have definitely learned a lot about perseverance. When you want a dream to come true, you just have to keep pressing on and dealing with the obstacles as they come your way.

I know my book is not for everyone, and that I write on the side of realism and a character’s mindset rather than my own standard of morality, but I believe a work becomes comprised and its message diluted when an author gets in the way. So, I just can’t write in a pristine way. It’s inauthentic to me. I let my characters be however ugly they are, say bad things and make mistakes because that’s how people are in real life. Even my Christian characters are not morally perfect because, really, who is? I’m sure not! So why would I draft up book people who only make tiny, minor mistakes and never fail big? That’s boring to me and not a true depiction of or glimpse at the problems, temptations or issues people face.

I believe the fact that I SHOW God’s grace in a very non-preachy way in Kings & Queens and have an authentic and raw character who finds that grace will make a huge impact with some readers. And a certain enemy is clearly opposed to that message getting out and finding those curious, broken, questioning, thirsty souls who don’t even know they’re in search of it. When the initial idea for the novel came to me, I specifically prayed for a way that I could show God’s grace, and that came about through my parallel protagonist’s depravity and deep hunger for a clean slate.

I am giving away a short eCollection called Death Calls. Most of these pieces are scattered throughout my blog and now they’re in one place for your reading pleasure. The collection is free at Smashwords and available in .mobi, .epub, PDF and RTF, so you can download your copy today. I also have it up at Amazon but I’m not sure how long it will take to switch to FREE. It’s currently .99 there. Each piece touches on life’s journey, death or dying in my own freakish way and it also includes a 5-chapter excerpt from my novel Kings & Queens, which is why I want it to be free at Amazon too. Everyone likes presents and you can’t beat FREE advertising!!!

 

Well, I’m off in search of dinosaur tracks. For real!

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Slooooow Progress

Here’s where I’m at: the galley. I’m just waiting for that to arrive so I can go through it several times with a fine-toothed comb, a hatchet, and a red pen.

Ya see, when I lost my book files from the tornado storm, I had to convert my novel from a PDF to a doc I could manipulate, and when I did that, it randomly stripped out words, punctuation marks, numbers, etc. Oh joy. Right. Insanely annoying, especially for a perfectionist like me.

I uploaded my eBooks at Amazon, B&N and Smashwords on July 5th, but I’ve done at least three updates since because I keep finding these weird, random errors. (Soooorrry if you’ve bought my YA novel Kings & Queens and it keeps changing on your Kindle. :( I’m not finished either. One more round should do it.)

So, once I have my paperback book file and eBook file ready, I’ll re-upload and send the final to the publisher and get to organizing another blog tour. Because I keep having one unforeseen delay after another with this novel, I wanna wait until my book is up everywhere so perked people won’t have to wait for its availability.

I just wrapped up a Giveaway at LibraryThing. Three more people have requested my eBook in exchange for a review, which is cool with me. If you didn’t win a copy and would like one for FREE, just let me know. I’m giving out Smashword coupons and my eBook is available in all eBook formats expect plain text.

Publishing a book is exhausting and this is just the easy part. Then I’ll have to kickoff my big marketing phase and simultaneously finish up my second novel, StarStruck, which I hope to have out before Christmas. My plan is to offer that eBook for free. When you have a FREE eBook, you end up listed on all these sites that list free Kindle books, and that’s free exposure and might just generate sales for Kings & Queens.

For marketing, beyond the blog tour, I may do another giveaway at Goodreads. I’m creating flyers, bookmarks and a press kit with a press release. I’ll send the kit out with copies of my book (that I’ll get for free with ecards I’ve gotten through swagbucks) to major newspapers, I may try click advertising at Goodreads for a month and try to land as many eBook of the day spots as I can across the web, like on Kindle Daily Nation. That’s just to start. If you have any other inexpensive or free marketing ideas, please share. Thanks.

So that’s where I’m at.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Win the Kings & Queens eBook

I’m giving away 50 eBooks of my YA suspense novel, Kings & Queens, all formats, in exchange for a review at LibraryThing. LibraryThing is not as pretty and or as easy to navigate as Goodreads and it seems far less social and popular, but there are some cool e-Books you can win. So sign up and click to win Kings & Queens. http://bit.ly/qcY7Pk

Here’s the synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Majesty Alistair wants police to look further into her father’s fatal car wreck, hopes the baseball team she manages can reclaim the state crown, aches for Derek…or, no…maybe Alec…maybe. And she mostly wishes to retract the hateful words she said to her dad right before slamming the door in his face, only to never see him again.

All her desires get sidelined, though, when she overhears two fellow students planning a church massacre. She doubts cops will follow up on her tip since they’re sick of her coming around with notions of possible crimes-in-the-works. And it’s not like she cries wolf. Not really. They’d be freaked too, but they’re not the ones suffering from bloody dreams that hint at disaster like some crazy, street guy forecasting the Apocalypse.

So, she does what any habitual winner with zero cred would do…try to I.D. the nutjobs before they act. But, when their agenda turns out to be far bigger than she ever assumed, and even friends start looking suspect, the truth and her actions threaten to haunt her forever, especially since she’s left with blood on her hands, the blood of someone she loves.

Here are some recent spots I landed on the web. Check ‘em out.

An  interview with me at Jeanne Bannon’s blog, Beyond Words.
An interview with Derek, at Lost For Words, where you can find out how Derek and Majesty met.
An interview with Majesty at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, where you can find out what she’d most like to change about herself.
Character Tweets
will give you a sense of my main characters’ personalities and how they’d communicate if on Twitter.

My paperback should be out next month. If you’d like to have me on your blog for a guest spot with an interview or anything to help me fill out my blog tour, just let me know in the comments. Thanks.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

 

The Kings & Queens eBook

…is finally here. I expected it to be out by June 30th, but that didn’t happen. After a little bit of a delay with my computer getting zapped in a tornado storm and me having to redo the eBook format, my YA suspense novel, Kings & Queens, is finally LIVE and available for purchase at Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (NOOK book) for $3.99.

It was a pain to get it to look the way I wanted, and hopefully, it’s right now. But, I do not own Microsoft Word, so that will present a problem in the future. I’m on a limited-use trial of Word on my computer and it wants the dang code. I think I have 5 more uses. I tried converting my file from Works and it completely disregarded styles, including the indents I set, and smashwords will take Open Office files that have been converted, but they DO NOT prefer them and tell tales of various horrors.

And marketing??? Well, I just wrapped up my tour with Teen Book Scene, which was a blast, and have been hesitant to fill out more dates until I at least had the eBook up. But really, I’m gonna need the paperback on hand too before I can go fish for YA book blogger reviews. Not all, but most bloggers only accept paperbacks. For the ones who do accept eBooks, once my book is LIVE on Smashwords, I can offer coupons and they can get it in any format they choose. And I’m still waiting on that.

I’m not sure when my paperback will be out, but hopefully by the end of the month.

The Kindle Indiependence Day Giveaway wrapped up. Congrats to the Grand Prize winner, Lilibeth, who won the FREE Kindle and all 17 Kindle books by the participating authors. If you haven’t yet, you can still subscribe to the Kindle Indiependence newsletter to stay abreast of book news and upcoming contests. Just go here.

Once my dizziness ends and I find ground, I’ll start compiling a blog tour. If you’d like to host me, let me know. That would be great!

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

Swearing…

….in any given novel can be…

Perfect
Humorous

Honest
Crude
Biting
Fitting
Silly
Sardonic
Sexy
Innocent
Spontaneous
Offensive
Reactionary

Spiteful
Flippant
Careless
Stupid
Erotic
Redundant

Unnecessary
Instantaneous
Needed
Vulgar
Forgettable
Modifying
True
Rebellious
Rude
Blasphemous
Junky
Endearing
Contextual
Cool
Uncool
Superfluous
Shocking
Acidic
Stunning
Ill-timed
Cutting
Filthy
Edgy
Rough
Courageous
Kick-ass
Unspoken
Popular
Resistant
Liberating
Suitable
Over-the-top
Plentiful
Abusive
Clingy
Distasteful
Showy
Raunchy
Heightened
Playful
Emotive
Ugly

…and then some. But it is NOT…LAZY.

Not!

So why do I keep seeing this statement everywhere I look from readers and writers alike? To blanketly write off EVERY swear as being “lazy writing” is not only incorrect, it’s infuriating. I’m so sick and tired of hearing this.

Sometimes, swears just fit. Sometimes, they’re meant to be funny or understated.  Sometimes, a setting or mindset demands it. Sometimes, nothing better conveys pain, frustration or anger. And sometimes, no offense is intended and there’s a contradiction in the reader’s response. Like if your story features a dog show, yeah, that’s fine, but ‘bitchin’ can’t stand in for ‘to complain’? Or an ass can heehaw but you’d better not talk about its rear. What is with that? It’s the same word.

Sure, there are books with swears that run amuck in prose and dialogue like verbal diarrhea, when the writer DID take the easy way out, when a story got ruined because of absolutely no restraint, but to say any and all writers are LAZY if they use ANY swears means you were too lazy to come up with your own reason for not liking them. That is parroted talk. And it needs to stop, damn it! Right now.

(Oh, and BTW: swears are okay in YA. It rhymes, so that should be easy to memorize. Let’s say it together, “Okay in YA.”)

I really don’t want my characters or stories to be censored by ME and MY moral code, my comfort level or my mom. I am not my characters. And they are not me. And if one of my characters needs to swear, given the circumstance, that doesn’t make me lazy. It makes me gutsy and FREE, in letting the story be told the way it needs to be told.

So, stop being a parrot. If you don’t like swears, that’s perfectly fine and up to you. No big deal. But please stop calling writers LAZY, or even thinking that way. Your tainted poison is unnecessarily and wrongly spreading to other weak-minded trolls.

Writing is never LAZY. It is a rush of creative breath, a gift from one soul to another, an exertion of energy, blood, sweat and tears. So how are you seeing laziness in that?

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.