Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rediscovering the Short Story!

My blogger/writer pal Shelli Johannes Wells was kind enough to have me as a guest on her blog today!

I'm talking about my success with writing short stories as well as my thoughts on the genre and writing style. Good stuff! Go check it out. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Guest Post: Author Callie Kingston Shares Her Story!

Today, Callie Kingston is back, sharing with us the story of her journey as a writer :). She recently published her first novel, UNDERTOW

Take it away, Callie!

My mother passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. For a week afterwards I stayed up late each night to write her eulogy, after having spent the day planning her funeral, cleaning her apartment, and taking care of myriad details. I hadn’t written anything for years, although I had wanted to be a writer since I could hold a pen.

Something gave way in those midnight hours. I haven’t stopped writing since.

The months that followed found me turning over plots and characters in my mind. Twilight had taken the world by storm, and I started imagining Belle as a young girl who was suffering a delusion, a girl on the brink of a psychotic break. What would that be like, I wondered? What if the story was not about her union with a magical creature, but instead focused on her resilience and recovery from a mental illness? Undertow was born.

At first, I wrote in secret. In longhand. Months later and at risk of developing carpel tunnel, I had a rough draft. Finally, I shared my “hobby” with others and discovered an amazing community of supportive writers. Rounds of critiques and revisions were followed by the standard next step: querying agents and pitching editors.

My timing couldn’t be better. Traditional publishing was just getting hit by a tsunami of incredible proportions.  The rise of indie publishing, the demise of the legacy model, and the massive implosion caused by the recession; all of this was eroding the likelihood of a new author like myself getting picked up. Especially with a genre-bending novel about a girl in college who was losing her mind.

The indie publishing journey has been a wild ride, and one I wouldn’t give up. I like the freedom, the control, and the fact that my work remains mine and true to my vision.

Thank you so much, Callie, for sharing your journey with us :). You've been through a ton, and it's inspiring that it brought you to such a great place, publishing your novel!

Check out UNDERTOW, Callie's fascinating debut!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Interview with YA Author, CALLIE KINGSTON!

Callie Kingston is a YA Author and friend of mine, who just launched her new YA novel, UNDERTOW.

I have the privilege of being part of her kick off blog tour, and snagged an interview with her about the new release!

Tell us a little about UNDERTOW. You said it was a genre-bender--how so?

When I set out to write Undertow, I knew the story would be directed to the young adult audience, but target the older end of the age range. With a college-age protagonist who experiences a mental illness, and themes focusing on family relationships, redemption, forgiveness, Undertow crosses over into the women's fiction genre, as well as what many are now referring to as “New Adult.”

Sounds fascinating! What are your favorite novels of all time? :) Which genres/writing styles attract you?

I adore lyrical, literary novels in many genres, especially those which include touches of the supernatural as they address serious issues. Novels such as The Mermaid ChairWintergirlsMists of AvalonJonathan Strange and Mr. NorrellThe Shadow of the Wind, and A Tale of Two Cities are all favorites. But I also love great stories, especially ones with a twist from what's expected. The Adoration of Jenna Fox,as one YA example, and Vibes, for another. 

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is one of my all-time favorites as well! 

If you could go back in time, what's one piece of writing advice you could give yourself?

Have confidence in the story, and my ability to tell it as no one else could. Also, to give up writing long hand! Not only was it much slower, but deciphering my handwriting so I could convert the first draft to Word was brutal!

My hand just cramped up thinking about that... What's next for Callie Kingston? Any other projects in the works?

I have another YA novel entitled Upstaged, which will launch late summer 2012. Also, I've begun a new novel and am currently heavily involved in research, outlining, and drafting.This is the most exciting stage of a project, in my opinion--a lot like falling in love. 

Tee hee :). Love it!

A huge THANK YOU to Callie Kingston for the interview, and best of luck with UNDERTOW!

Here's a sneak peak of what it's all about:

Marissa is nearly eighteen and can't wait to leave behind her traumatic past. With long time boyfriend Drake, she thinks she has her future all figured out--until she discovers his betrayal. She flees to a desolate beach on the wild Oregon coast hoping to escape her pain, where, overcome with emotional and physical exhaustion, she dozes off beside a log. When the first icy waves strike her, it is too late: a rogue wave drags her out to sea.

Somehow she survives, and now each night she dreams of a creature who rescues her. Determined to discover the truth, her obsession deepens until she once again risks her life in the frigid ocean. Will the creature Marissa seeks save her? Will she be lost forever in the eddies of her mind, or will Jim, her new boyfriend, keep her from drowning in the abyss? 

Check it out here on Amazon.

I'm giving away one copy of UNDERTOW to one of the people who comments on this post, by tomorrow! :) 

About Callie:

My home is in the Pacific Northwest, where I live with an assortment of furry creatures (husband included). I have a masters degree in Psychology. When not writing or working, I like to explore the outdoors, especially the forests and beaches along the Oregon coast. I also enjoy a great cup of cappuccino, which happily is easily found in this part of the world.

Don't miss the rest of Callie's blog tour for more chances to win a copy of UNDERTOW!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, my lovely blog friends! :)

If you're like me, you're maybe not as into the whole "give one another a whitman sampler" tradition as most, but my husband and I do have a very special thing that we do every year to celebrate this wonderful day.

We watch V for Vendetta and eat steak! This is why I'm excited that V Day has come 'round again. Gonna eat me some cow, watch me some distopian goodness. What could be better?

Love, people. Love. I obviously was lucky enough to find my soulmate. Who else would not only put up with such rituals, but participate in them with gusto?

Here's hoping you have a wonderful V Day however you might celebrate it, and whomever with :). Much Love!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cha cha cha Changes! Adjusting to My Weird, New Life.

So, now that I've gotten what I wish for, it's bizarre adjusting to this new life. I thought to share some of the Weird I've been adjusting to, I'd share a list of Working From Home Pros That Are Also Cons :).

1A) I get to work in my PJs!

This is awesome. I get up when my husband leaves for work, smooch him goodbye, then just hang around in my pajamas. It's a personal choice whether or not to put on Real Pants. This is new and exciting. There's nothing I love more than comfy clothing, so this is a major benefit in my new career path.

1B) I'm allowed to stay in my PJs.

It's strangely difficult to do anything productive when you're schleppin' around in your pajama bottoms and a hoody with no time restraints or places to be. Ooh, is Iron Chef on Netflix? Ooh, check out those birds nesting in my yard! Ooh, a new Youtube video of an adorable panda sneezing.

Oh, wait... I guess I should probably write something... Maybe it's time to put pants on.

2A) I get to cook for myself! 

Screw you fast food. Screw you in the eye. I'm done with you and your easy-but-crappy breakfast and lunch choices. I have options now, and they include making myself delicious fresh eggs and bacon every morning. Woo hoooo!

2B) I love cooking now.

And time looking up new things to make for lunch today and riding my bike to the store to get ingredients is time that I'm not actually writing. Damn you, delicious, fresh food! *shakes fist*

3A) I have more time to help around the house!

Yaaay! Now I can finally do all of those chores I've been putting off for the last few days years. Awesome! After all, those curtains won't dust themselves.

3B) I have more time to help around the house.



Overall it's awesome, but I'm definitely figuring out what works as far as a steady routine and what makes Becca an Unproductive Citizen.

Rule #1: Put on Real Pants.

After that, the rest just falls into place :).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guess What I Do For a Living Now?

Wait for it........


.................... Waaaait for it.................................


I WRITE!!! :)

You read that correctly, guys!

I quit my job a couple of weeks ago, and have just settled into the groove of living my dream: Being a Full Time Writer for a living!

For the last few months, I've been quiet because I've been busting my balls writing stories under a variety of pen names, as suggested by a guy calling himself Throwaway Writer who gave some excellent writing advice on Reddit:

That gentleman is making ~$1000/day from writing alone, so I took his advice seriously. Before I'd heard of him, though, I knew the old adage "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket," so I was already busy, typing away.

Well, it all paid off :). For the last three months I've matched (and recently far exceeded) my salary at my corporate job, and was able to quit.

It was a surreal feeling handing in my notice, and even more surreal when people asked what I was going to do, and I just responded "write." This was met most often with blank stares, because, lets face it, it's like I told them my garage band just got signed by a major label or something equally impossible.

I'm living my dream.

When I was a child, I drew books with crayon before I could write. In the 6th grade I did an assignment where we had to present on what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to be a writer. I majored in Writing/Literature in college, a degree which everyone thought was useless and fanciful.

I am so BLESSED that I'm able to do what I love and fulfill my childhood dream. I thank God every day. It still hasn't quite sunk in.

I got lucky, but I also worked incredibly hard. Right now I have almost 40 titles out. Soon I hope to make enough money to allow my husband to go back to school and follow his dreams.

I just wanted to share and say that with indie publishing, it IS possible to make a living as a writer :). I did it, guys! And all it took was hard work, luck, and determination instead of years and a mountain of query letters.