March Progress: Manuscript #3

Today I finished the first draft of the fantasy manuscript that I started for NaNoWriMo, Painting the Roses Red. Current stats stack the project at forty chapters with 141, 432 words. Regardless of where I go later wit this project, I’m proud of myself for finishing such a big project in five months. The target finishing date was by the June release of my next novel- and I’m nearly two months ahead of schedule. I’ve really enjoyed writing it, and depending on how the first readers receive it, I’m really looking forward to polishing it and seeing how it fares in submission processes somewhere down the road.

I’m going to take about a week off from anything writing-related and just read and play video games in the time I’ve been using for drafting. Then I’ll dive right back into it, beginning the planning processes for The Thing About Apples, the third installment of my current ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series. This next one is going to be the most personal and I also think the most fun out of the current books in the series, so I really look forward for this one being a lighter, more fun coming-of-age novel than the previous two that took on more heady, series subjects.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting me thus far, giving me encouragement and well-placed kicks in the rear to keep up the momentum.

Anniversary Giveaway: The Winners!

Can you believe that it’s been a full year since my first novel, ‘Till the Last Petal Falls, was published? I still can’t believe it- even though I’ve already even finished the second and have everything set for a summer publication.

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1114 people entered my anniversary Goodreads giveaway- that’s about twice as many people who entered my first giveaway more than a year ago! If you had told the me then that more than a thousand people would be requesting something I wrote, I would have laughed you off.

I’d like to take this moment to thank all of my supporters and fans for one heck of a year. It’s been exciting, jumping headfirst into this whole authoring thing- but  I wouldn’t have the strength or the will to keep pushing myself to become a better author, producing better stories for you, if I didn’t have such a wonderful network of encouragement and kindness.

Congratulations to the five winners of the giveaway:

JC Tenney

Candace Banning

Sharon Powell

Caryn Landreth

and

Paige Bryant!

 

Your signed copies of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls will be shipping out to you this week! For those of you who entered and didn’t win, you can still get your copies at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, through the Book Bar or requesting a copy from your local independent bookstore. If you’d like a signed copy, always feel free to contact me personally through my contact form here!

Small Business Saturday: A Promotion

November 30th, as a part of their participation in Small Business Saturday, the Bookbar in Denver is offering 20% off of all local author titles- including mine! Why not spread the cheer this year and support an independent business, who is in turn supporting local authors who are often published either independently or through smaller presses?

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and is now having a safe shopping weekend!

A Dark Twist on a Beloved Fairy Tale That Will Draw You Into Its Clutches!

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A five-star review from Momma Chaos, of Reviewing in Chaos:  (full review can be found if you click that link)

I personally was amazed at how drawn in I was. How I missed some of the signs and symptoms until the very end… This is definitely not a light read. It will pull you in and force you to face the hidden side of humanity. The dark side that we chose to turn away from and pretend it’s not there.

A story of child abuse, self-mutilation, and domestic violence that will wrap it’s tentacles so tightly around you, you will be left gasping for breath. I highly recommend this story and personally can’t wait to read more as Elizabeth takes on other fairy tales and brings new things to light for us to see.

Glad you enjoyed it, Momma! The overwhelmingly positive response to this first novel has left me geared up and ready to go with the rest of the series!

(If you haven’t got your copy of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls yet, it’s available in both eBook and paperback versions now- from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a couple local bookstores. Check here  for all the possible places you can get yours! If you’re looking to breaking into my work slowly (and cheaply), why not also check out some of my short works? )

PSA: Unintentional Offense

As I continue to write the rest of the ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, I find that I’m learning more and more about how media affects people, both positively and negatively. Seeing as that’s one of the main points of the series, you’d think that’d be a given. But in my research into how media representation and portrayals can affect one demographic, I’ve become absorbed in how the way all demographics are portrayed in the media, and how that affects people.

I found that I’d inadvertently made no less than two media representational sins in my first book (though pointing them out here would spoil the book for people who haven’t read yet). One of them I cannot fix, but the other I do hope to fix in future editions of the novel. Furthermore, in editing To Dwell in Dreams, I find that I keep coming up across descriptions that I have now learned are wildly offensive (such as describing skin colors in terms of food). I’m grateful for the opportunity in my editing to change these things and to fix them before they can get to print this time.  It just goes to show how much I’ve already learned about this industry, and just how much more I have to learn just in general about the world around me. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to have my eyes opened like this.

Point being, I would like to take this opportunity to invite my readers to never be afraid to contact me if you find something in any of my stories that you find problematic in terms of representation, or the use of stereotypical tropes or description. It may have gotten beyond the point that I can fix or redact it if the story has already been published, but I can ensure that the product of the discussion we have makes is applied to the next piece that I write. I want to be able to work towards a world where writing can help bring out the best in people through imaginative dialogue- and I can’t very well accomplish that if I’m perpetuating media representational stereotypes. I haven’t had anyone complaining to me yet, but I know my own work well enough to have my own complaints against myself already. Let’s keep on learning together!

On Donating Royalties

The first quarter for my first novel has ended, and I’ve gotta say I think I’ve done decently well. It’s sitting at a 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, a 5 star rating on Barnes & Noble and a 4.5 out of 5 on Goodreads. Online, through my publisher and through reviews and consignment acquisitions, I’ve gotten about fifty some books out there, floating around. Not the thousands that every author dreams of, but I’m pretty proud of myself. For this quarter, I get the quarter-royalty for about twenty or so of those books. Which brings me to the point of my post- I have committed myself to donating 10% of my royalties every quarter to help locally combat domestic violence, with the first effort being through donating to SafeHouse Denver*. This quarter, however, that comes out to about a dollar.

Now I don’t want to be a liar- I’ve committed myself to this entirely. So I don’t want to not donate anything for this quarter. But I also doubt the effectiveness of donating a dollar. I considered combining quarters until I had a suitable amount of royalty to donate. However, I recognize the kind of trap that can lead me into, morally. I also believe that would be rather petty of me, in the long run.

So here is the solution I have come to, currently: At the end of every quarter, I will donate a base amount of $10, regardless how many copies of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls sells. (Hopefully, after I graduate college and have a more stable career, I will be able to increase that base amount.) Starting with this royalty period, I will begin to keep track of how much my royalties amount to, how much that would mean donation wise, and will collaborate this with how much was donated and to where each period. I want to be entirely upfront about how, when, where, what and why I am donating right from the get go.

If you’re interested in donating to the organization directly yourself, feel free to click on the link provided above. Remember, 10% of all author royalties from ‘Till the Last Petal Falls will be donated to support local battered women’s services in Colorado (or a base donation of $10 every quarter).  If you want some other ideas on how to donate, or support the fight against violence in relationships, click on any (or all) of these links:

Hopeline: Donate old/unused cellphones to be refurbished and distributed to victims, as well as awarding cash grants to domestic violence organizations

Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Strengthens shelters and programs throughout Colorado (the author’s home state, and the setting of the novel)

Men Stopping Violence:  Engaging Men in creating safer communities for women and girls

SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone):  Helping those who are otherwise overlooked in the fight against domestic violence, including straight men, GLBT victims, teens and the elderly.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

More links to these organizations, and many other organizations like them, can be found here on the Family Tree website. If you have an organization that you favor or donate to regularly, why not mention it in the comments so that me and other followers of this blog can see it?

We can all make a difference.

*Donations to SafeHouse Denver

will be entirely made out of the author’s own free will.

This does not constitute any endorsement

by said organization to ‘Till the Last Petal Falls. 

Typhoid in Kenya is Subject of Gripping New Fiction by Young Denver Author

As a follow up to his generous review, Frank T. Kryza has written a full-length article about Wanakufa and its relationship to both his memories/first hand knowledge about Kakamega and my own dedication to making a difference with my fiction. Thank you so much for the signal boost, Mr. Kryza!