BLACK WATERS

Book #1 in the Songstress Trilogy
The Story...

Sixteen-year-old mermaid Abby Carson thought she had her secret under control. Who cares if after “the change” took place, she became so beautiful that all the girls at school hated her. And the boys, well, when they look at her, hate isn't exactly what's going through their minds.

But when Abby witnesses a teenage girl's murder by a preternatural creature off the coast of Cape Cod, her carefully controlled life slips into chaos. Hiding in the water until the killer's gone is a must. Getting spotted by Brian Baker, a boy from school, isn't. Neither is falling in love with him. That definitely wasn't part of the plan.

Combine all this with the mysterious mermaid box Abby receives as a postmortem birthday gift from her dad, and she's pulled even deeper into the world of shades and monsters. Once the full force of Abby's deadly siren powers are revealed, the only one she can hurt more than herself is the boy she loves.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Black Waters Staying Free


Well, today is the day I'm suppose to push Black Waters back up to $0.99 on Smashwords. I thought about doing it, I really did, but for now I'm going to continue to offer the book for free. I'm hoping this strategy translates into a good-sized readership. That way when Evening Tide, the next book in the series, is ready for release, I might have somewhat of an established fan base. (I'm no marketing guru, so we'll see if my little plot works.) Anyway, wish me luck.  If you download the book for free, then please don't be shy about writing a review. I'd really appreciate it! :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I'm Finally on BN.com


I'm psyched to say that Black Waters is now on barnesandnoble.com, and, yes, it's still available for free. I'm pretty excited about this, though I'm not sure how easy it is to find the book on the Barnes & Noble website. I tried searching for it a bunch of different ways, but I always came up empty-handed. The only way I was able to find it was by typing in my name, and really-- who is going to do that but me? Anyway, wish me luck :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Little Publicity


Last month Immortal Ink Publishing put out a call to all indie writers asking them to send in info about their books. Immortal Ink then selected a few to review. Though Black Waters was not one of the books selected, one of the reviewers did mention that she really liked the cover. I thought that was kind of cool. (It was nice to be mentioned at all, as it sounded like a lot of people sent books over there.) Yes, publicity is always good-- at least good publicity is.:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I'm Giving My Book Away On Smashwords



If you're reading this blog then you probably know that I recently put Black Waters up on Smashwords as a free download. This was a tough decision for me because, in reality, I'd like to get paid for my writing. But since I'm a new and virtually unknown writer, free seemed like the way to go.

In July, when I first published Black Waters on Amazon, I listed it at $.99. (Note: I know the publication date says May, but that's actually the date I loaded the book up onto Amazon's website. It took me two frustrating months to get the formatting right, so July was when it was actually available for sale.) Now, of course I think the book's worth more than that. Much more. I mean, it took me a couple of years to write the thing. And then I had to edit it, get beta readers, rewrite it again, and again and again.... And after all that, I still had to figure out a way to get an inexpensive yet professional looking cover. (I tried making one myself, but the outcome was pathetic.) All in all, it was a lot of work. Fun yes--but still work. But, and this is a problem for me as well as gazillions of other new authors out there, nobody knows who I am. I am anonymous...and also possibly a little naive. You see, I didn't have much a a marketing plan going into all this. “Hey,” I thought. “ I'm just a writer... what do I know about marketing?” And so, unfortunately, at least on Amazon, it's been really hard for me to make sales. I was hoping that pricing Black Waters at $.99 would encourage readers to take a chance on me. And that plan is working... sort of. I've gotten some good review, and I have sold some books, but, let's face it, I haven't sold that many. As of today, I've sold approximately fifty books on Amazon. That's it. Obviously I'm not making a living. But, in all honesty, I'm not even aiming for that right now. I just want people to read my book. That's it.

So...I decided to publish it on Smashwords. Of course, I was always planning on putting Black Waters up there, I just dreaded the awful formatting process. It took me such a long time to get it right on Amazon, and now that I'm working on my next book, I didn't want to format it all over again. So I procrastinated, and procrastinated, then procrastinated some more. Then I found someone to do it for me. It only cost me fifty bucks, and it was TOTALLY worth it. Only that's when I thought, “Hey, I need more readers; I need more people to review my book. Free, yes, that's what I'll do. Because who doesn't like free stuff? I know I do.”

As I mentioned previously, if you asked me how much I really think my book is worth, then free would definitely not be my answer. No way! In the best of all worlds, I'd price Black Waters at about $3.00. I think that's a fair price because there really are no upfront costs for me when I sell my ebook on Amazon of Smashwords. Also, I personally believe that ebooks should cost less than physical books. Holding an actual book in your hand means something, at least to me. Unfortunately, it seems that even $.99 is a lot on Amazon when there are thousands and thousands of books for sale. So for the next month (through Dec. 18th), Black Waters is free. At least it is on Smashwords. I can't sell it for anything less than $ .99 on Amazon. Trust me, I would if I could.

Lately, I've been reading that a lot of authors are unhappy about other authors offering books for free. And I understand that. I really do. When you put your book up for free, you depreciate the value of everyone else's work. Plus, if readers get accustomed to getting free books, they may feel that they shouldn't have to pay for books at all. Then how will authors make a living? But the problem is that when you're unknown, free might actually help you build a fan base. And that's something every author needs.

Since Black Waters debuted on Smashwords last Thursday, I've had a large number of books downloaded for free. A lot more than fifty, anyway. I do have one concern; however, and that is whether the people who downloaded my book are actually going to read it. I know how it is because I do this myself. You download a free ebook because you think you might like it, but then you never bother to read the thing. Maybe it's because you weren't really a hundred percent interested in it in the first place, and you only took it because it was free. My hunch is that if you had to take out your credit card and type those numbers in to get the thing, then you're more likely to invest the time it takes to read it. I know I'm like that. I've downloaded a countless number of books that I haven't read. I'm planning on reading them; I really am. I just haven't gotten around to it yet. And, do you know what? I think that's okay. It's the territory that comes along with free. But as a writer, I only ask that if you've enjoyed my book for free, please think about leaving a review on either Smashwords, Amazon, Goodreads or, preferably, all three. For an unknown like me, reviews are better than money. And yes, dear reader, I'd love to hear what you thought. It's so cool to think that somewhere, someone I don't even know might be curled in a corner reading my book. Well, I hope that someone is you and that you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Waters Availabe for FREE on Smashwords

For the next month (through December 18th) Black Waters will be available for free on Smashwords.  So check it out and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Indie Aisle's One Year Anniversary Webcast

I'm very excited to be one of the featured guests on the Indie Aisle's one year anniversary webcast.  It's all happening this Thursday at 8pm pacific time.  Check it out if you're interested at http://blog.indieaisle.com/

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Balance... That's My Goal (Gulp!)


Today I've been thinking an awful lot about my attempt to balance writing and marketing on only about 1.5 hours a day. Yes, it's true. That's all I have. I'm a busy person with lots of obligations, and it's hard to squeeze in those few precious moments.

Now, unfortunately, and I say this in a wish I knew then what I know now way, I had no game plan when I first put Black Waters up on Amazon. I'd read a couple of top selling YA/PNR books and thought mine was comparably good, so I put it up. Oh yes, I admit it. I was one of those naive writers who fervently believes that if he/she publishes something on Amazon then people will buy it. Alas, that's not exactly how it works. There are tons of books on Amazon, and I mean TONS. You have to make a real effort to get yourself known. It's tough because, like most writers, what I really want to do is work on my next book. You see, Black Waters is a series, and I've got the next installment all mapped out. (Plus a big chunk of it written too!) But how do I juggle my time between marketing activities like blogging, tweeting, trying to get reviews, commenting on other people blogs, etc., and still have time to work on my next novel?

Okay, so there's no easy answer for that one. But, really, I think all a person can do is designate specific times for writing and specific times for marketing. (And then you basically have to try not to obsess about one while you're working on the other-- so hard!) Balance, yes--that's what I'm after. And maybe I should start waking up earlier so I have a bit more time-- especially since I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Oh no, what was I thinking???? Why am I blogging when I should be working on my novel???? Wait...deep breath. Balance...that's right. Okay, here we go again.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Typing Is Not My Forte



This NaNoWRiMo thing is is SO hard-- and it's not because I don't know what I want to say. Let's face it folks, I'm a horrendous typist. I guess I didn't pay enough attention in typing class in high school. Aaaagggh!!!!! I really don't want to write 150 illegible pages, but I can't stop my brain from racing faster than my hands. Any advice out there? (Besides hiring a secretary.) LOL!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWiMo: Day 1


NaNoWiMo is kicking my butt! Today I only wrote 811 words. That's not much. (Think something like a page and a half.) Guess I need to pick up the pace. (Or maybe I should learn how to type a little faster.) AAAAGGHHH!!!! But it's only the first day. There's still hope, I hope.  At least the power's back on, so I can actually try and get something done. Plus, my house isn't freezing anymore.  There's always that.

Friday, October 28, 2011

So I Just Joined NaNoWriMo....


I just joined NaNoWriMo, which, for those of you who don't know, stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's basically where you, the intrepid though possibly crazy writer, try to write the entire rough draft of a novel in a single month. (What? you say. Is that even possible? ) Well, I sincerely hope it is because this November I am going to try and plough through the rough draft of Evening Tide, the next book in my series. I promise to do my best and keep everyone posted on my progress. Though who am I kidding? The only one reading this blog is ME. (Insert maniacal sobbing.)


Anyway, I'm super psyched (read incredibly terrified) about this new venture. My biggest concern is that my typing borders on ghastly, so I know it's going to slow me down. But I can't wait to start-- just three more days to go. Yea!!! (Or maybe scary ahhhhh! What have I just done!!!!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Torment... Back-story and the Series Writer's Dilemma


 I just finished Lauren Kate's Torment, and I have to say that, though I liked Fallen more, this book was still a fun read. The plot was engaging, and I especially enjoyed the time traveling sections. However, Kate's writing wasn't as crisp as it was in Fallen, and the love story between Luce and Daniel began to grow a bit stale.

The biggest reason I read Torment was that I wanted to see how much of Fallen's back-story Kate put into the book. Usually when I read a series, I read all the books in a quick succession, and so I often skip over back-story info that I already know. However, since I'd read Fallen over a year ago and many of the plot intricacies were no longer fresh in my mind, I was really interested in seeing how Kate handled the great back-story dilemma. (Since I'm currently writing the sequel to my own novel, I'm dealing with this situation right now. I'm finding that, as a writer, you really have to strike the right balance so that you're not boring the reader with too much back-story, but, at the same time, you're not providing so little that he/she is completely lost.)

Kate was actually pretty smart in how she handled the back-story in Torment. She basically spread out the important bits of Fallen throughout Torment's first seventy pages, while, at the same time, she began building Torment's plot trajectory. This method was very successful because it made it virtually impossible for the reader to be hit over the head with too much information that he/she already knew. Plus, Kate sustained the readers interest by moving Torment's plot forward instead of just treading water while she reminded the reader about what had happened in the previous book. (I've read a couple novels where writers struggled with this, and it's really slowed down the beginnings of their books.)

So, in the technical back-story sense, I think Lauren Kate did an excellent job. Am I still in love with the series's storyline? Unfortunately, no. Fallen really gripped me, but this could be because Luce and Daniel's romance was fresher then. I think it's going to be very hard for Kate to maintain their relationship's intensity throughout four book, but we'll see.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm Twitterfied!!!


So I'm finally, FINALLY on Twitter. (You're probably saying to yourself that it took me long enough, and what century do I think I live in anyway?) Truth be told, I actually needed a writer friend's cajoling to get myself in gear, but I did it.  And though I do have a bit of techno anxiety about this strange new world, I'm also pretty psyched. So look out cyber world, here I come. And follow me...if you dare. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Water Mirror-- A Must Read!!!!


I just finished reading Kai Meyer's The Water Mirror, and it was amazing! I stumbled across it at the library and was immediately drawn in by the mermaids on its cover. (Of course these aren't typical mermaids at all. They have enormous, gaping mouths with several rows of razor sharp teeth!) The book centers on fourteen-year-old Merle, who is taken from a Venetian orphanage and sent to apprentice for a mirror maker who is rumored to build magical mirrors.

There is so much magic and intrigue in this book that I found it nearly impossible to put down. Merle is a strong and likable character, someone easy to root for as the story unfolds. Early in the book, we find out that Merle possesses a mirror of her own. It's the water mirror, the story's namesake, and though its surface looks like glass, Merle can actually stick her whole arm into it without her hand coming out the back end.

One of the things I really love about this book is its wild imagery. There are flying lions made of stone. Hell, it turns out, is a real place full of freakish ghouls that try and bargain with the Venetians. And the canals that wind their way through the city harbor mermaids and the Flowing Queen, a mysterious essence that protects the Venetians as well as their waterways.

Of course, as always, there's a love interest. Merle meets Serafin, a master thief who works for a weaver in the same district at Merle. Through happenstance, Merle and Serafin overhear a plot to destroy the Flowing Queen. This knowledge thrusts them into danger as they fight to save their city's protector from enemy forces.

I'm going to stop writing now because I don't want to give anything away, but this book was great.  I read it in a night.  It's part of the Dark Refections trilogy, and I'm planning on reading the other two installments as soon as I possible can!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tron: Legacy...Wish I'd Seen It at the Movies


Last night I saw Tron: Legacy on Netflix, and it was EXCELLENT. I wish I could go back in time and see it at the movies, or better yet, in 3-D. But of course the price of a babysitter AND a movie (especially a 3-D one) is a little too steep for me, so I kept my dollars in my pocket. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

Now I'm a huge fan of the original Tron movie. In fact when I was eight, I was so impressed by the film that I wrote a play based on it. I called it Computer Kidnapped. Somehow, I managed to convince my third grade teacher to let me produce and direct it. Eventually, my cast of third graders performed Computer Kidnapped in front of the entire school.

Okay, back to Tron. As a kid, one of the things I really liked about Tron was the special effects. I also remember being desperately terrified of David Warner who plays, among other characters, the MCP (Master Control Program). I'm actually a little nervouse about watching the original again, and it's not because I'm still scared of David Warner. It's just that, sometimes, when I watch a movie that I loved as a kid, as an adult, it looks terrible to me. I actually destroy all the good feelings I have toward said movie. (This happened to me with Ladyhawke, by the way. If you liked that movie as a child, DO NOT watch it now!) I'm not saying that's what will happen with Tron, but I don't want to risk it.

Anyway, like Tron, Tron: Legacy was pretty fantastic. Though the plot is a teeny bit predictable, the special effects make it so you don't care. I really like the idea of falling into another world. (So in that way I guess there's an Alice in Wonderland feel to the movie.)

In Tron: Legacy, The Grid is a scary place. The sky is a dark slab of black that rolls over a desolate landscape. Most of the light in the movie comes from the red and blue glow of the various programs' suits and vehicles. Visually, it really is like you're inside a video game. Not a place I'd like to end up permanently, but a pretty amazing world to visit for a couple of hours. So two thumbs up from a late to the game watcher but still a huge fan!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Shark Movie to See...Aaaaaaahhhhh!!!


I just saw a very exciting shark movie the other day, and I wanted to mention it to everyone. Though the plot isn't great, and it's easy to guess who will perish (and in what order), the movie's greatest strength is that it's pumped full of adrenaline. I actually had to leave the room a couple of times. Yikes!

The movie's called The Reef, and it's based on a true story. (That one little fact really amped up the scare factor for me.) Here's the basic plot: Five people are sailing around the Great Barrier Reef when their boat capsizes. They are forced to swim to shore while being hunted by a great white shark.

So, though The Reef, is not anywhere nearly as good as Jaws, my all time favorite shark movie, if you're a shark movie fan then it's definitely worth seeing. The characters' reactions to the shark are particularly believable. I was (literally) on the edge of my seat.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Movie or the Book Continued...


In a quick continuation about what I said the other day...I would LOVE to see Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game come out as a movie. From what I've read, it's no longer in the works. But that book was AWESOME--one of my all time favorites. So even though movies based on beloved books usually disappoint, I'd drop everything to see Ender's Game.  (If it ever exists!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Movie or the Book


So, today I was thinking about books and movies, or, more specifically, how I feel when books I love are put on the big screen. And really, almost always, the answer is that I don't like it. Take the Harry Potter series, for example. I Loved the books. I mean, I'm a huge fan. I stayed up all night reading the last one and that was when my second daughter was only an infant, so you know I had to get up really early the next day and deal with her. But, the truth is, I had a hard time getting into the movies. Now, a lot of people disagree with me, and this is just my opinion (But that's what blogs are for, right?) And it's not that I thought the directors did a bad job with the movies at all-- it's just that, after reading the books, the movies pretty much paled in comparison. By the way, this was also true for the Twilight films. (Or at least the first one. I didn't see the others.) I'm a big Stephanie Meyers fan. (I especially liked The Host.) But, try as I might, I barely made it through Twilight. It felt like an after school special to me.

Now, I'm not trying to knock any of these movies. A lot of people really liked them. It's just that, for me, the movie is almost always weaker than the book. Much weaker. Now part of that might be because when you read, the story comes alive in your head. Sure the author provides a lot of the details, but you're the one who puts it together and plays it on the screen inside your mind. This makes you, the reader, a sort of partner in the work. You're taking an active role. You get to help decide how everything looks. A movie, however, is a completely different deal. When you watch a film, you're taking a passive role. You don't get to be in control of anything. That's pretty much where the problem arises when you see a movie that's based on a book. You, or at least I, already have things set in your mind. The director can't compete with your expectations. It's his vision of the film, not yours.

Another problem is that movies are short. I mean even extra long, three hour marathons like Avatar are a brief affairs when compared to most books. And because they're short, it's impossible to get everything in. So if you've read the book first, and the movie is MISSING things-- especially IMPORTANT things.... Well, I don't know about you, but I HATE that!

But maybe comparing books with their subsequent movies is unfair. Maybe the two are completely different animals, and, as the viewer, you just have to accept that. And even with everything I said above, I have to admit that whenever a new movie comes out about a book I loved, I always want to see it. Even though I know it probably won't live up to my expectations. I just can't help myself, and I bet a lot of other reader feel that way too. So hello Hunger Games movie, here I come!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Katniss Minus the Hotness

I just responded to a Goodreads discussion about all time favorite YA heroines, and it really got me thinking. I'm a huge Hunger Games fan, so I wrote something about Katniss Everdeen, one of my favorite heroines. Katniss is cool in every way. She's fierce, smart, and independent. But the one thing about her that I wish had been different is her looks. I don't think she needed to be beautiful. In fact, she might have been more interesting if she'd been plain.


I've noticed that looks are important in a lot of the YA books I've read. The heroines are almost always pretty, and I'm not sure why that is. Of course, I'm guilty of the same thing with the main character in my book. Since she's a mermaid, I felt like her bewitching beauty was an integral part of her character. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have written her that way.

It would really be refreshing to have a YA heroine, or, more specifically, a YA paranormal romance heroine, who is plain. (Think Jane Eyre. She's no beauty, but she still gets the guy in the end.) Of course, maybe there are books out there like this, and I just haven't read them. If you know of one, let me know.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Halibut Point State Park

We just visited Halibut Point State Park this past weekend, and it was amazing...one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. The coast is just covered with enormous rocks. There are tons of tidal pools all over the place, and you can climb everywhere and explore. It's so cool that I'm thinking about using it as a setting in the third book of the Songstress Trilogy. I'm already well into the second novel, and Halibut Point doesn't play a role. Oh well. But for the third, I could definitely use it. I can already see Abby diving in!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photo. It doesn't really do the place justice, but still.... Check it out if you're ever in the area.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Check out My Interview

Check out my first interview at http://merbooksblog.blogspot.com/2011_08_01_archive.html. This is a really good blog with lots of information about mermaid books, movies, etc.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm so Psyched!!!!

I'm so psyched! I just got interviewed for a blog. I'll post the URL address when the interview comes out.

Monday, August 1, 2011

An Interesting Idea....

Since I've been working on the new book, I started thinking...wouldn't it be cool if I could teach a YA course when I go back to work? (In case you don't know, before I became a stay-at-home mom/indie writer, I used to teach middle and high school English.) I would love to create a course about YA literature! How neat would that be? Kids could read a selection of YA books, analyze them, and write some stories of their own.

It's just an idea, and I should probably research it. I bet there's teachers out there who are doing this already. When I was working, I taught a few YA books, but never an entire YA course. I just thought it would be neat if my future students could read some indie writers too-- writers they'd never heard of before. Well, we'll have to see what happens if and when I land a job. Not that I'm actually looking yet. I have another year before my youngest starts kindergarten. I just thought it was an interesting idea.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Case You're Wondering....

In case you're wondering, I haven't gotten my lazy bones up early yet. But I am hard at work on the next book in my series. Evening Tide...hmmmm.... I kind of like the title. The first chapter's done, and I'm ready to cruise! Can't wait to put a sample up for you to read!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Why Can't I Wake Up!!!

If you're reading this post, then you probably know that I just published a book on Amazon's Kindle site. I am VERY excited to be an Indie author. However, now that I have something published, I actually have things that NEED to get done. And this is what leads me to my current problem: having time to do anything.

You see, I'm a stay-at-home mom, and my kids are home for the summer. But even when it's not summer, my youngest one's only in school five hours a week. So, really, it's a struggle for me to accomplish anything. (Anything besides cleaning, feeding them, and chauffeuring them around. Ahh, but I do love it!!) And that's why I've decided that tomorrow, yes tomorrow, I'm going to start getting up at 5:30 in the morning to write.

You wouldn't think I'd have such a problem with this. When I taught high school, I had to get up at the crack of dawn. (And I mean that literally.) But now, with no boss, not counting myself, I can't seem to get moving. (Yes, I'll admit it. I've tried this before, but I always end up slamming my alarm off and telling myself: You deserve to sleep. Just get up early another day.) My husband hates when I do this because my alarm inadvertently wakes him up at 5:30 as well. I don't know how many conversations we've had that have ended with him saying: If you're not REALLY going to get up, then DON'T SET THE ALARM. But here's the rub, I need to get up. I have another novel to write. After all, my first is part of a trilogy, so I HAVE to write the next one. And the one after that! I have the outline, and the the first chapter, but I've gotta MOVE!!!!!

So I guess my question for all you readers out there is: How do you get yourself up in the morning? I, for one, probably need someone to dump a bucket of cold water on me or possibly shove me out of bed. Ahh, if only I could clone myself. Then I'd get twice as much done. Wasn't there a movie about that once? Maybe with Michael Keaton? Oh well, the fight goes on. Let's hope I win it.