Sunday, April 29, 2012

DC is done!!

At 1 AM, I typed the last word in Deathly Contagious. I have to say that I think the ending is awesome. :) Of course I would say that, right? A lot happens in the book. Lots of action, more romance, new characters, new problems, and of course lots of zombies. The plot gets thicker and zombies aren't the only thing Orissa has to worry about. She continues to grow and evolve as a person and has to learn how to live with losses, death, and  fear.

Now, for the exciting stuff. I will need beta readers and ARC reviewers. If you're interested, then listen up! :)

Content Beta Readers
I would like to have five people read through and give me their feedback on the content of the book. This includes the plot, any holes you can find, character personalities, descriptions, point out anything you think is stupid or boring.

Grammar Beta Reader
I need five people who are good at proof reading to read through DC after I get it back from the editor to make sure all mistakes were caught.

ARC Reviewers
I'd like at least five people to be able to write ARC reviews. You will get the finished book several weeks before its publication date with the understanding that you will read it and leave a review on amazon and/or goodreads before or on DC's release date. That way there are honest reviews up for people to see as soon as the book is available.

Before I can have any betas, I need to finish going through the book myself and make some changes and add a few more details that I thought of at the end. I have finals this week so I'm not sure how much I'll be able to get done. I'm gonna get started right away. By the end of next week, I will be ready for the content betas. :) I'm excited. I hope you guys like this book!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Death Becomes Us

I've killed a lot of people recently. Some died quick, others unfortunately had to suffer. Most died unmercifully, a few died for a cause, and even fewer had just or fair deaths. It was hard killing most of these people and I kept changing my mind, thinking I couldn't go through with it. But I had to.

Of course, I'm talking fictionally. If you've read Contagious, then you know no character is safe and I off quite a few of the main characters. Alas, such is the life in the ZA. No one is safe, especially if you go out on a mission or fight against the zombies. Every minute is literally life or death and one false move can cost you your head.

For reasons most unfortunately more realistic than the books, death seems to be lurking. I've been around death and dying a lot lately, and it got me thinking about life, living, and the purpose of it all. I've been stuck in a funny mood, unable to move on or get my head focused on anything else.

Life is short. We've heard that little (yet powerful) saying many, many times. When I think back on my childhood years, life doesn't seem short. But when I think about how fast this past year has gone, it scare me by how quickly time can slip between my fingers. There is so much I want to do with my life and not only before I die. I have a list of stuff I'd like to accomplish before graduating nursing school, before having children, before the summer, by the end of the night.

I get myself so overwhelmed just thinking about everything I have/want to do. And then I usually don't do half the shit I want to do b/c I'm too overwhelmed. Totally counterproductive, I know. I started making lists, trying to prioritize what needs to get done first.

Being in school, working, writing, having horses, ferrets, my dog, my friends, and being a wife takes up a lot of time. Like right now, I'm already ready for bed. I REALLY wanted to finish DC tonight. (A little side note...I don't like to write when I'm really tired. It usually turns into complete crap and I rewrite it.) I'm always wishing for another hour to be added to the day so I can have more time to get my shit together. I always look forward to the weekend so I can have that day off to sleep in, be lazy, and write.

I want the week to end so I can get to Saturday.

And I need to stop. I need to stop rushing. I need to sit back and enjoy every minute of every day. I know I won't be happy every minute of every day, but I want to remember that I am alive. Which brings me to my purpose of life debate that causes much inner turmoil and late night philosophical conversations with my friends.

Why are we here?

We have to have a reason other than to get married and have babies, right? To me, the purpose of a human life has to be more than just reproducing. That is so...animalistic and basic. This will be a question that I will never be able to answer or ever feel satisfied with. I like to think we are here to make a difference: and that difference can be good or bad.

Obviously, we should make a good difference. But life is about balance: light and dark, good and evil. If there was no evil, no crime, no sickness, then the world would be a perfect place, right? How can you improve Utopia? You can't. So you really wouldn't be able to make a difference. Would that make you not have a purpose? Would your purpose be something simple like growing crops? Simple, yet needed.

I feel my rational goes in circles. What is it about humans that makes us want to know this crap? Why do I even care? Why do I feel this hallow, pulling drive to be the best I can be and fulfill my purpose? I have no idea. All I know is without this pull, without this desire, I wouldn't be the person I am today.

I'm totally going to assume other people feel this way. Hopefully, lol. So, I try to live my life to the fullest each day. And that doesn't mean I do something grand and amazing; I just appreciate what I was able to do today, even if it was sit on my ass, eat Swedish Fish and type on this blog. Life can be gone so quickly.

Be grateful for your health.
Be thankful for the people you have in your life.
Be happy for others.
Let go of grudges.
Do something nice for yourself.
Do something nice for someone else.
Appreciate that you were able to get up this morning.
"Live like you are dying."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Almost done with DC

When it comes to writing, I come up with an idea, play around with it for a few days and usually dive right into whatever scene is fresh in my mind. Once I get that our of my system, I sit back and make a rough outline. Then I make a list of things or scenes I want to include, rework the outline, think of more stuff, rework the outline again and finally start writing.

Why? I like being organized. I like having a clear plot to follow and I like being able to make little connections throughout a series. If I know how book number ten will end, then book number one can contain a crap load of hints and foreshadowing you won't pick up on until the end and then (hopefully) you'll be like 'ohhh, so that's why that happened' or something of the sort.

I wrote three very detailed outlines for the Contagium Trilogy. I wrote the last paragraph in Contagious before I started the novel and I have the last chapter of the final book finished. I try to stick to the outlines because it helps me write quickly. If I know exactly what is suppose to happen, I can type like a ninja. However, I tend to go off from the outline or add more detail than I thought. I tend to find places to add more character development which can literally add chapters that I hadn't planned on writing.

That is my current state with DC. It is a lot longer than I expected. I planned on having Contagious and Deathly Contagious be roughly the same length. DC is already 2,000 words over and not finished. If I stick to my outline, then I have about 2-3 more chapters to go. But, I added another zombie close call scene that takes an emotional toll on some of the MC's, which is gonna add another chapter. So now I have 3-4 chapters to go.

I'm really hoping and trying to get this done by the end of the month or sooner. I do want to take more time with the edits this time and I do have someone else looking through it. I'm very eager to get the book out there but I know you guys like a polished product. So, editing might hold back the release date. I don't really know yet. I've been dreaming about zombies attacking a lot lately :) I think I'm starting to channel Orissa!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Meet Mystery

Mystery is my 21 year old Arabian gelding. If you've read Unbound, you know that Anora also has a white Arabian named Mystery. Now you know why ;) I bought Mystery when I was 16. My current horse, Sundance, was getting old and had pretty bad arthritis and wasn't able to be ridden as much as I liked to ride. I had been on the hunt for a horse for a while when I heard about Mystery.

He went by a different name then (based off of his registered name). He was currently living with his second owner,a  woman who showed him in dressage and did pretty well (I got to see a few dressage test scores). His owner got in a non-horse related accident and was no longer able to handle Mystery's springy and bouncy strides. She got a new gaited horse that was smoother to ride. Mystery lost his stall in the barn and was forced to live outside in the middle of a hot summer.

Mystery became an inconvenience and was no longer wanted. On August 28th, a truck was scheduled to come and pick him up and take him to an auction that sold horses to the slaughter house. (This was back before it was made illegal.)

I saw Mystery once and fell in love with him. I offered the owner my hard earned summer wages and bought Mystery on August 27th.

Mystery is registered and has impressive bloodlines (The Real McCoy is his great grandfather). He has the sweetest personality of any horse I have ever met, and I've been around horses for over 20 years now. We say that if he could crawl in your lap and cuddle with you, he would. He stands perfectly still for grooming, shots, doesn't mind getting his ears clipped, loads into the trailer like a dream, gets along great with other horses, and I do not have to put a halter on him to give him wormer or when he gets his shots. It still baffles me that he was going to be thrown into the kill pen.

Mystery got his name because I couldn't think of anything to call him. I didn't like his current name and felt that he needed a fresh start, including a new name. For the first few hours I owned him, I called him my 'mystery horse' because he was nameless. Then I though, hey...Mystery is a cool name. And so it became his.

Now, that isn't to say Mystery and I haven't had our struggles. I'm convinced that along with dressage, Mystery was used for gaming, particularly barrel racing. I used to only be able to get him to stop if we ran into a fence. He was hyper and LOVED to run. When he saw barrels, he got worked up and knew the pattern, hence me thinking he used to run them.

Mystery hated going slow. He didn't like hunter pleasure classes, I really think it bored him. He was only 15hh but was an amazing jumper. We got one good jumping show season in my senior year of high school. If you're not a horse person, I don't think there is a way to get you to understand how strong of a bond you have with your horse. You trust your horse with your life. You put so much time and effort into caring for them and even more when you're training and showing. My life was literally spent at the barn.

Poor Mystery has had just about everything go wrong. I wasn't told he was prone to colic when I rescued him. He's coliced more than I can remember, one time resulted in a twisted gut and he had to go to Purdue in the middle of the night for emergency surgery. (Thank you Dad for paying that vet bill!) He's chocked twice, both times needing the tube to clear the obstruction. He cribs like a fiend. He's had gravels in his hoof, parts of his tail hair ripped out, allergic reactions to just about anything, swollen legs from fly bites (he's now the 'nerd horse' b/c he wears a fly mask, a fly sheet and fly boots in the summer), cuts, pulled muscles, and ulcers from nerves.

Flash forward seven years. Mystery is older, has hock and stifle issues and can't be ridden. I will occasionally get on and walk/trot bareback. He is every bit as sweet and lovable as ever. He is great with kids and is the calmest horse for 'pony rides'. I think my niece 'rode' him before she was a year old.

I've gone through a lot with that horse. He's taught me even more. He's been there for me when no one else was, he knows all my secrets and will never ever tell. He's tested my patience, my pride, and my willingness to work for what I want. He's taught me responsibility and dedication. He will never judge me for what I look like; he only cares how I treat him and reflects that respect.

It still upsets me when I think that he could have been hung upside down and had his throat sliced open to slowly bleed to death. (If you don't know the disgusting, brutal ways in which horses are know a bit now. I'll warn you, it's tough to watch, but I think education is a key to getting people to take action.) Though he is far from a perfect, push-button horse, Mystery is perfect to me. I will always love you, Mystery.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Love this song

I've been listening to Part of Me on repeat for days. Anyone who has read my books knows that I love strong women. I love the lyrics to this song and the actual video itself. :)

Kelly Clarkson's Stronger is another good one. Maybe I'm super sappy but I really like anything (books/songs/movies...) that can inspire anyone to not give up!

Friday, April 6, 2012

I've come to suck your blood

I have this totally irrational fear of needles. Not of all needles, just needles that are going to stick me. I can give a shot, take blood, watch surgery, clean necrotic tissue from a wound (I pretty much love gross stuff) but I FREAK out when someone has to take my blood.

One in seven people admitted to the hospital needs blood, someone needs blood every couple seconds, and one pint of blood can save three lives.

I decided to get over my fear and donate blood.

My heart was beating so fast (96 BPM haha) when they did the initial assessment and I was so scared I was almost shaking. Luckily my wonderful friend K was with me to laugh at me and calm me down. I couldn't look when the phlebotomist stuck the needle in. The needle, BTW, is bigger than 'normal' so the platelets don't break apart when leaving the vein.

I could barely feel the needle once it was in my arm. I was told I have 'good blood' and my bag filled really fast (like only 10 minutes) due to being well hydrated. So, it wasn't bad at all. I feel good about donating blood and I hope it can go to someone who needs it! I will definitely be donating again in the future and I encourage others to donate as well! :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Win a copy of Beyond the Sea!

If you're interested in Beyond the Sea, enter here for a chance to win an ecopy! :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Beyond the Sea

Yay! Beyond the Sea is out!!!

That's really all I have to say can get it on amazon, B&N and smashwords. I will be giving away free ecopies all day long on my FB page (