Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Quick Update

I hope you'll forgive me for the sporadic blog posts, tweeting, responses, etc. 

The truth is, I'm making an insane amount of headway on Vendetta edits, and I'm trying to run with it while I can. This is also my last week of "summer vacation" (I use that term loosely since I work from home). The day job will take up more of my time starting in July, and I would really love to have this round of edits completed before it gets too crazy.

In the meantime, if you haven't already seen it, Meghan Cox Gurdon strikes again. You can read the defense of her last article about YA literature here.

Also, The reviews for Cross My Heart keep pouring in. A special thanks to @windsorstore for selecting Cross My Heart for their "Must Read Monday."

You can read the full review here. 

Be sure to check out their online store. I was totally sucked in last night, shopping when I was supposed to be editing.

Among my favs:

This bolero . . .

This . . .

And this . . .

If you have some time to kill, go shopping. 

And finally, I love that so many of you are reading and liking Cross My Heart (and telling others about it). 

This review (posted yesterday) was especially meaningful.

The reviewer says (among other things):

"What this book does the best though is expressing emotions. It takes you on such an emotional ride, you don't even realise how subtly (and sometimes rather completely) you're tied to the emotions of the characters. Every emotion Jaden feels, you feel in turn, which makes this an extremely powerful story."

Why do I appreciate this? Because writing takes me on an emotional roller coaster. The music I listen to when I'm writing, putting myself into the story . . . it's all emotionally draining. In Vendetta, Genesis is going through a personal hell, and it has been SO HARD to write/edit. I just want to get it right (whatever that means), and a few days have left me so mentally exhausted that I wanted to stay in bed all day, hiding under the covers. Everything my characters feel, I feel. When they're happy, I'm happy. When they're depressed, I'm depressed. It's reviews like this that remind me why I write what I write, the way I write, and why the temporary bouts of insanity are worth it.

That is all.

The end of the month is fast approaching! Be sure to check back on Friday. I'll have my June sales numbers!


Friday, June 24, 2011

YA News

Hi, Everyone! 

Apologizing in advance because I have no YA Indie Spotlight for you today. I'm actually knee-deep in Vendetta edits. This is the hardest round: line by line, word by word. It's *SO* time-consuming, but will be worth it in the end (I hope!).
In the meantime, there are some things going on in the YA world (both indie and trad) I wanted to speak of.

First of all, Andi Adams has an ebook out called The Clair Witch Project.

It looks so cute, and will be in my TBR pile very soon. You can follow her on twitter at @AndiAdams_YA.

YA author (and friend!) Shana Norris is releasing an ebook as well. The Boyfriend Thief will be available in July. If you've read Troy High and Something to Blog About, you know how excited I am about this. Stay tuned. (She tweets as @shananorris.)

Also, the 2009 Debutantes have news! They released the cover of their YA anthology, which will be available as an ebook this fall. Isn't it gorgeous? 

The list of contributing authors can be found here.

Finally, I have no clue what's up with all these articles about YA writers and books lately, but a new article was circulating yesterday.

The phrase that annoyed me the most? 

"Readers in Y.A. don't care about rumination."

*begin rant* As a YA writer and reader, let me just say that I'm proud of this genre, and it's getting old, the people who refuse to take it seriously. I would love to see a pro-YA article written by someone who actually READS and cares about YA novels. *end rant*

My weekend is already planned out for me. Edits. Edits. Edits. In fact, there's some chocolate ice cream in the freezer. I'm predicting it will be gone by the end of the day. :)


Monday, June 20, 2011

YA Indie Spotlight: G. P. Ching

Hi Everyone!

I missed the YA Indie Spotlight post on Friday, so I'm putting one up today, instead.

Today, I'm featuring another DarkSide Publishing author, G. P. Ching. You can find the other DarkSide girls (Megg Jensen and Karly Kirkpatrick) on the blog as well. G. P. Ching is the author of the YA novel The Soulkeepers.


There are no accidents.

When fifteen-year-old Jacob Lau is pulled from the crumpled remains of his mother's car, no one can explain why he was driving or why the police can't find his mother's body. Made a ward of his uncle and thousands of miles from home, a beautiful and mysterious neighbor, Dr. Abigail Silva, offers to use her unique abilities to help him find his mom. In exchange, she requires Jacob to train as a Soulkeeper, a biologically gifted warrior charged with protecting human souls. He agrees to her demands, desperate for any clue to the mystery of his mother's disappearance. But soon Jacob finds himself trapped in a web of half-truths, and questions Dr. Silva's motives for helping him.

About the Author

G.P. Ching is a short fiction writer, partner at DarkSide Publishing, and a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Illinois with her husband, two children and a very demanding guinea pig.

What People are Saying

"The Soulkeepers burns through the night, keeping you up way longer than you planned."

"The Soulkeepers is an utterly spellbinding, elaborate and spectacularly written young adult novel."

"A true page turner."

"One of those rare stories that seizes your attention from the start and never lets it go."

The Soulkeepers is priced at $.99 (an absolute steal!) and can be purchased for Kindle and Nook.

You can find G. P. on the web or hanging with her fellow DarkSide authors

Also, don't forget to follow her on Twitter at @GPChing.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Newest Sales Milestone!

This happened quietly over the weekend, but I crunched some numbers last night, and I'm officially verifying that I've sold over


copies of Cross My Heart since it released in March (exactly three months ago).

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who purchased a copy, rated, reviewed, tweeted, and just helped me get the word out in general. 

You guys are awesome!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Kindle Returns, or Why Do People Hate Me?

Okay, if you're a seasoned e-pubbing professional, you know a thing or two about returns. If you're new to this whole Indie thing, or haven't published yet, there's this little thing you should know about. It's called "returns."

You can count me as one of those authors who cringed every time she saw the number in the "return" column increase. Since I am now the proud owner of a Kindle, though, I can honestly say, without a doubt: it's not you (or me).

First of all, both BN and Amazon let you sample a book before you purchase. If there's an issue with your writing, the reader will likely know after they sample, and no purchase will be made.

I noticed on the Kindle, though, when I select a book to view and the page pulls up, the "Buy" button is automatically highlighted. What this means is that if I accidentally hit the "enter" button, I've purchased the book. I, quite literally, have to make a conscious effort the moment I click on a page to move to a different part of that page. If I don't, I'm one of those people who would accidentally buy something I didn't necessarily mean to purchase.

The good news is, once this happens, a message pops up asking if the purchase was a mistake. This is why, if you watch your sales closely, odds are you'll see a purchase followed almost immediately by a return.

The Percentage of Acceptable Returns (that sounds like it should be some kind of law, right?) that I've seen floating around the KindleBoards is 2%. If your return rate is less than 2%, you're fine. If it's more than that (or your return rate is astronomical), you might want to check your formatting, just in case. Obviously, the more books you sell (the more people who view your books), the higher your return rate will be.

For instance, for the month of May, I sold 2,435 copies of Cross My Heart, and I had 55 returns. This left me with 2,380 copies sold. I sold 150 copies of The Guardian, had three returned, and ended up with 147. In both cases, the return rate is less than 1%.

I'm cool with that.

This is what it looks like on the KDP homepage.

Barnes and Noble (PubIt) doesn't show sales vs. returns.

Bottom line? No need to panic. Returns are a way of life for the indie author. It's not you. It was an accident. It might've even been me . . . except that I'm trying to be super careful once I hit that product page. I don't want to cause unnecessary angst.


Friday, June 10, 2011

YA Indie Spotlight: Karly Kirkpatrick

Hi Everyone!

For this week's YA Indie Spotlight, I'm featuring Karly Kirkpatrick (which, I'll admit, I should've done long before now). Karly is one of the founding members of DarkSide Publishing. Remember Megg Jensen? Karly is her partner in crime. Today, I'm spotlighting Karly's sophomore novel: Bloody Little Secrets.

17-year-old Vicky Hernandez has a big problem. She's dead. Or not quite. After discovering she's been turned into a vampire, she tries to settle into a quiet suburb of Chicago and return to a normal life. If only she could stop wanting to bite her boyfriend. Not to mention she is dying to find out who turned her, and why. She doesn't have to wait long before they come to her.

Karly Kirkpatrick is a YA writer, avid reader, high school German and French teacher, and mother of a toddler. She is currently pursuing an MA in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University in Chicago. She lives in Elgin, Illinois with her husband, daughter, and two stinky Shih Tzus.

"The book is witty, humorous and action packed. It's definitely a great read whether you're into vampires or not."

"The twists and turns in this book left me reading late into the night and kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending was fantastic . . ."

"Bloody Little Secrets is a teen's dream vampire novel. Vicky's strength and determination to solve her own problems combined with a strong, hot guy and killer vampires makes for a wild ride you won't be able to put down. Kirkpatrick's humor shines throughout, leaving readers laughing out loud."

(Hijack! I also read something about steamy make-out scenes, so . . . yeah.)

Bloody Little Secrets is available for

The ebooks are priced at $3.49, and there is a print version available.

She has another YA paranormal novel out as well, Into the Shadows, which is priced at $2.99.

You can find her on the web or follow her on Twitter at @karlkirkpatrick

For more information about DarkSide Publishing, go here.

I hope you'll check her out!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Post!

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that Jennifer Hubbard (THE SECRET YEAR) was kind enough to ask me to guest post on her blog, so if you aren't sick of me, yet, you can find me here and here.

I'm doing my best to keep up with the conversation in that last link. Stop by if you feel inclined, and be sure to follow Jenn's blog while you're there. She posts a lot of helpful writing advice, and talks quite a bit about "the process."


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I'm getting more and more fan mail these days, which I LOVE, so thank you for sending! I never wanted to become one of those authors who can't reply to everyone individually, but I'm beginning to see why some have to take this route (um, they would never get any writing done).

I'm not at this point yet, and I'm doing my best to respond to everyone as soon as I can. There are two questions that most of these emails center around, though, so I thought that answering them on the blog would help.

Question One: Will there be a sequel to Cross My Heart?

Answer: I have no idea. The truth is, I really like where Parker and Jaden end up, so I'm not sure I'm ready to revisit their world. I never say never, but right now I'm hard at work on Vendetta, so I'm knee deep in Seth and Genesis. It's on my mind (if not in the form of a sequel, possibly a related "companion" book), but it's not something I'm undertaking at this moment.

Question Two: Will there be a paperback version of Cross My Heart released?

The short answer to this question is that, while I love the idea of releasing a paperback, there's quite a bit of work involved. I'm researching the various possibilities, though, so it's on my radar, and something I'm definitely considering for the future. As of this blog post the print rights are still available, and I'm not against heading in a more "traditional" direction when it comes to this aspect of my writing.

I love books, and I would love to see a paperback version, too. I would venture to say: Yes, at some point there will be a paperback edition. How soon will this happen? I have no idea.

Wow. That wasn't really the "short" answer, was it?

At any rate, I hope this sheds some light on where I stand on these two (v. important) issues. I'm sorry I can't give you more definitive answers (I know those of you asking are looking for a hearty "yes"). Keep checking back, though. The moment any of this changes, you all will be the first to know. :)