Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Contagium Release Dates (!!!)

Alright...I know a lot of you guys have been waiting FOREVER for this news (so have I). I recently spoke with the publisher and was given a re-release/release schedule for the first 3 books in the Contagium Series! To quickly recap what's going on with the books...I signed with Permuted Press in the spring of 2013. Books 1 & 2 in the series were originally self published. After gaining popularity, I was approached by Permuted and asked to sign. After some serious debating (Permuted is awesome but I loved being an Indie author) I decided that going to Permuted was the best way to get the series 'out there' to more readers by making it available on ALL e-reader devices and possibly prints in stores. The plan was to go through the first 2 books and thoroughly re-edit (which they needed) them and relaunch them before releasing the third book. Book 3 was completed in June and I am now working on the 4th (and final) book.

Now all the details have been sorted out with not only my series, but with Permuted as well, who went through some exciting change themselves, and I have been given the dates. So, here it is:

Contagious: re-releasing in July 2014
Deathly Contagious: re-releasing in August 2014
Contagious Chaos: releasing in September 2014

Now, if you're like me, your first reaction is that it is a long flipping ways away! So I want to remind you that it is very typical for the re-release/release to take about a year once signed. Permuted has quickly grown in popularity and they have many other authors to work with so these things take time.

But, to ease your pain, I am going to write a novella (around 15K words) in Hayden's point of view. I am hoping to get this done by the end of the year or sooner. After that I would love to write one more character novella, and I'm open to suggestions as to who you'd like to read about. I'll post a poll closer to the time.

Also, in October, I am putting together a big zombie giveaway that will include a printed UNedited ARC of Contagious Chaos as well as hard copies of the first two books (self published editions). Plus other stuff of course :)

And I want to take a quick moment to say thank you to all the fans of the Contagium Series. You guys are amazing!!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Because I wanted to, that's why

I've been asked quite a few times why I write the things I do. I never really know how to answer that other than 'because I want to'. Sometimes the questions get really specific and I've been asked 'why did *insert character name* do that?' And I've gotten comments like '*character* should have done this instead, it was obviously the better choice'. Why didn't they?' The answer is simple: because that's what I wanted.

Sometimes I feel like readers are hoping for a secret, deep meaning behind my reasoning's but more often than not, I just wanted that to happen/not happen. I write my books how I want them to be written, how I see them in my head, and how I think they should play out. With all of my current series, I knew how they would end before I even started writing. I know I've mentioned before that I wrote the very last paragraph of Contagious before anything else. 

Staying in-character can be a challenge, especially when I'm writing a character that is very unlike myself. Orissa from The Contagium Series is one of my favorite characters (if not my all time fav...) and she is pretty much my opposite in a lot of things. I had to make sure her choices, actions, and decisions were fitting to her own personality and not my own. She is a shoot-first-aim-later kind of person and makes her choices based on what is best for the current situation. She doesn't always think about how things will affect her later on; she very much lives in the present. Which, in turn, makes for some sticky situations. She does try to do what she thinks is best, but since she has a tendency to make rash and quick decisions, things tend to backfire and she ends up getting herself into trouble.

So why in the world would I write a character like that? I wanted to. Simple as that. I wanted a character that was very far from perfect. I wanted to write about someone who makes mistakes, doesn't think things through, and isn't loved by every single person in the book. (Huge pet-peeve of mine...I can't stand picture perfect MCs) Orissa is definitely rough around the edges and I really loved writing her.

Some other things I've been asked (multiple times...) can be answered with the 'it's what I wanted/imagined' reply, but some other commonly asked questions DO have a more interesting meaning behind them. I've compiled a list of some of the frequently asked 'why' questions.

-Why is Ethan so much older than Anora (in the Guardian Legacies Series)? I made them have a 5 year age difference because my husband is 5 years older than me. I honestly never thought about it being weird or causing anyone to even wonder. I've never had an issue with my hubby being older.

-Why are your main female characters all brunette? I like brown hair.

-Why do most of your main characters like horses/know how to ride? I like horses so I wanted them to as well.

-Why didn't Orissa use her grandpa's cattle for meat? I didn't want her to kill them. I personally would hate to skin, gut, clean, and prepare that much meat. Plus, cows are kinda cute.

-Why do you write about your real life pets? I wanted to. I love my animals and thought they'd make great characters.

-Why did you decide to make Hayden a Marine instead of a solider? I felt the Army was over used in zombie books/movies.

-Why did you make Anora's parents have such prestigious jobs? I wanted them to have jobs that required long hours and work outside of work. I wanted her to have 'good' parents that were just too busy with work to pay much attention to her. I know there are tons of other jobs I could have picked, but I just picked two that I liked.

There are deeper meanings in what I write, of course, but that's a whole other post in itself. If you want to know anything else about the books, ask! I love talking about them!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Author Hate

Several years ago, I read Once Dead Twice Shy by Kim Harrison. It was one of the first books that I read about reapers and angels. (It's a really good book! I love the whole mini-series) After finishing those books, I went on to read and devour any other reaper/angel book I could find. So, I could say that thanks to Kim, I discovered that I like the whole angel/reaper story line and discovered a whole bunch of new authors who write in those genres.

Which is why I seriously do not understand 'author hate'. What is author hate? It's my own term for when authors bash other authors, refuse to support other authors, and/or try to hurt another author's ratings. I've seen this happen way more than it should (which is never) and it makes zero sense to me.

As an author who started out self publishing, I am very supportive of other Indie authors, especially those just starting out. I remember how hard and confusing it was to break into the book world and I honestly enjoy helping others get started. I have no problem whatsoever with promoting other authors and being a fan of others' work. I am a reader as much as a writer, and I enjoy sharing when I find a really good book.

So why do some authors feel like other authors are competition? I wish I knew the answer to that because then maybe all this hate would make sense. Though...does anything that has to do with hating ever make sense? No, it doesn't. The thing that confuses me the most is that readers do NOT read one book (lets just say it's a vampire series), enjoy it, and never read another vampire book ever again. In fact, the opposite happens.After a reader finished and loved that series they are MORE likely to go out and buy and read books similar to that vamp series.

To me, it only makes sense for writers of the same genres to support each other. I've never met a reader who said, "well, I read ONE good witch book, I'm not going to read any other books with witches in them." I know I'm not the only one who discovered a wonderful treasure of a book from searching for books similar to one I read, loved, and finished.

Now, the bashing, gossiping, and writing the fake, bad reviews...so lame and pathetic. I don't even want to get into this topic too much because it makes me angry. To me, nothing screams insecurity and/or jealousy more than belittling someone. No one has ever reached success by putting others down. It just doesn't work that way. Not only is purposely trying to hurt someone morally wrong, it's a really, REALLY dumb business tactic. If (and usually when) the hater gets caught, readers become turned off to that author, even if their books are great.

My advice: support each other! As with everything in life, things are much easier if we all get along and act civil to one another. Be jealous but keep you comments to yourself. And remember, if you support other authors, they are more likely to support you back.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Excerpt from Beyond the Sea

©2012 Emily Goodwin

Melia was fascinated with fire. She had never seen one this big and was a little wary at first. She stayed close to Peter, not wanting to get too close but unable to resist moving toward the flickering heat. She wanted to throw something into it, or get a big stick and poke at the fire. She sat, completely transfixed by the dancing flames. They were in the middle of a forest and had to walk a rather long and winding trail to get to the party. The bonfire was in the center of a small clearing; logs and lawn chairs encircled it. Music played in the background, floating through the trees. People talked and laughed and some were throwing a little white ball back and forth into plastic cups. When the ball landed in one of the cups, it had to be drunk. Melia didn’t understand that game.
Peter was talking to Connor and two boys Melia didn’t know or recognize. The call of the crackling fire was stronger than that of the nearby stream, and Melia released Peter’s hand and stepped closer to the flames. She sat on a log feeling happily rustic, becoming hypnotized by the dancing fire.
After turning down yet another offer for a drink, Melia slowly rose and strode over to Peter. He put his arm around her and kissed her forehead. The guys were talking about sports and complaining about the bugs.
“Are you getting eaten alive?” Unknown Boy #1 asked, waving an unseen bug away.
Melia had to recall the not so literal sense of the phrase. “No, I haven’t gotten bitten yet.”
“Really?” Peter asked, slapping a mosquito from his arm.
“Yea.” Melia shrugged. “I guess bugs don’t like me.” She smiled innocently. Mosquitoes didn’t like merrow blood; it was too salty. 
“That’s—” Unknown Boy #2’s voice got cut off by a high pitched scream. There was a moment’s pause followed by more screaming. Three girls fumbled through the woods in a tumultuous and desperate escape, crying out frantically about a dead body.
At first no one believed them. The small crowd of partiers waited for a “Hah! Gottcha!” But when one of the girls began to cry, a chill echoed through the air. Eyes fell upon Unknown Boy #1, who apparently was hosting the party. “Where?” he asked the girls, his voice weak.
“Not too far,” the calmest answered. She pointed in the direction they had run from. “By the stream.”
Familiarity slid a cold finger down Melia’s spine. She gripped Peter’s hand and took a deep breath. Though it was extremely faint, the rotting smell of water slimed grass lingered in the air.
“Jason,” Connor called to the boy, who Melia figured was his cousin—they did have the same eyes. “I’ll come with.”
“Me too,” Peter said and gently removed Melia’s hand. “Stay here,” he instructed, getting out his phone to use as a flash light. Melia waited until he, Jason and Connor were a few paces ahead before falling in step behind. She didn’t understand why Peter was acting protective. The body was already dead; it could do her no harm.
The gentle babbling of a stream is oddly serene when it houses a rotting corpse. The smell alone alerted the boys the body had been here for more than a few days. Laying face up in the shallow water, birds or bugs ate away at the dead boy’s eyes. His skin was pale and crinkled, and the flesh around his mouth was ragged and torn.
The smell was stronger here. Melia had smelled it before. She shivered at the memory. It was one of the few she had of her father. He had taken her and Lana to a rocky shore to watch the sun sink into the ocean. Being a full merrow and unable to transform into human shape, he stayed in the water, keeping a close eye on his daughters. Of course, Lana didn’t listen to his requests to stay nearby. She beckoned Melia to follow her and led her to a river that dumped into the sea. Melia remembered being hit with the pungent smell of decomposing plants.
Then the woman appeared. Not being familiar with humans, neither Lana nor Melia knew she was dangerous. In a flash, she grabbed the girls and dragged them under the water in an attempt to drown them. Of course that didn’t work, and Melia’s father swam to save them. He stabbed the woman, whom Melia later overheard him call a ‘gwyrrd’, in the heart with a trident made of silver. Melia also overheard that the only way to kill a gwyrrd was by staking them in the heart with silver.
Since that day, Melia had learned more about the gwyrrds. She couldn’t be certain. She stepped closer to get a better look. A twig snapped under her foot and caused all three boys to jump.
“Shit, Melia, what are you doing here?”  Peter asked, wide eyed. He felt sick from looking at the body. Moonlight cast eerie shadows over the dead boy’s face. Well, what remained of his face. Melia bypassed answering and took Peter’s hand. Her merrow eyes allowed her to see every detail; it looked like algae covered seaweed was wrapped around the boy’s fingers on his outstretched hand.
“We need to call the cops,” Peter mumbled. Jason sputtered about the beer and how everyone was underage. Peter motioned to the body. “He’s something to someone.”
Peter’s words hung heavy in the air.
“Right,” Jason agreed. “Lemme hide the booze.”
“It’ll still look suspicious,” Connor warned. “All of us, up here.”
Peter nodded. “The girls that found the body—they need to stay. Everyone else needs to leave.”
“Right,” Jason uttered again. “Give me ten minutes.”
Melia tiptoed to Peter. He looked sick; Connor did as well. “We don’t have to watch it,” she said quietly. “He’s not going anywhere.”
Connor agreed and turned away. “I feel bad leaving him alone. Is that crazy?”
“No,” Melia assured him, taking his hand and leading him away. She took Peter’s hand in her other hand. “It shows that you are more caring than I thought you were. Though his spirit is gone, the body still symbolizes his life and everything that used to be.”
“Yea.” Connor cleared his throat and gave Melia’s hand a squeeze before letting go. They stopped at the edge of the clearing. Melia was on high alert. She didn’t know what she would do if the gwyrrd attacked, though her first and only plan was to let it take her since she can’t drown. That was one of many holes in her plan. Anxiously, she waited for the others to leave. She needed to keep the small group that remained together. Gwyrrds don’t attack groups. And what about the police officers who will examine the body? Melia knew, from watching numerous shows on solving crimes, that she couldn’t stay when the authorities looked for evidence.
“I’m sorry you had to see that,” Peter apologized, hugging Melia.
“It’s not the first dead body I’ve seen,” Melia whispered softly. Peter hugger her tighter.
The wait for the cops to arrive was excruciating. Awkward small talk was made, but the fact that there was a dead, rotting body nearby was hard to forget. The girls who had discovered the body were MJ, Nikki and Chloe. They exchanged a few words on fashion with Melia; Chloe complimented her designer boots.
MJ interrupted the silence that fell over the group. “You guys, that boy was probably murdered. What if the killer is still out there?!”
Nikki gripped Jason’s hand.
Melia shook her head. “If I were going to dump a dead body, I’d put it somewhere I’ve never been and wouldn’t come back.  Unless I was crazy, then maybe it wouldn’t matter.” Peter looked at her sideways. “Or at least, that is what would happen on crime shows.”
“So,” Nikki spoke. “We either are safe, ooorrr we have to watch out for a raging lunatic.”
“Basically,” Connor assured her.
“Do you think they’ll suspect us?” MJ asked.
“I doubt it,” Peter answered, unable to help the red hot flash of fear that flooded his veins. Would the cops find it ironic a group of kids innocently went for a walk in the woods and stumbled upon the body?
Melia’s head snapped to the left. Voices. Flashlights bouncing off the trees. Footsteps. The police were finally here.
What seemed like hours later, Melia and Peter got into the Mustang. Peter sighed, looking tired. Melia placed her hand on his.
“Want to go to my house?” she offered.
“Yea.” Peter revved the engine to life. “So much for a fun night, huh?”
“Well, at least it was exciting.” Melia half smiled. Peter laughed. She didn’t like seeing Peter upset. It bothered her more than she expected. She brought up the subject of prom and it seemingly worked to cheer Peter up. They discussed dinner plans; Peter admitted he had assumed they would go with his group of friends. He didn’t say it, but Melia knew he didn’t think Jamie would be going to prom. Connor was taking Courtney, Matthew and Amanda were going together, Nate was taking Hannah, a cheerleader Melia had few interactions with, and Brian was going with Justine, a junior from another school. He didn’t mention anything about Kaitlin or Janet.
It made sense, Melia knew, for Peter to want to go with his friends. And it would be fun going with a group of people, right?
“My mom wants me to go to New York to find a prom dress,” Melia told Peter.
“Should be fun.”
“Yea, but I don’t like shopping.”
“Really?” Peter glanced over at her.
“It’s fun at first, then I get bored.” She turned to face him.
“You are too good to be true, Melia.”

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Amelia :)

So once again I haven't posted anything in a while, though this time I have the best excuse yet: I had my baby! Amelia was born on July 26th, weighing 6 pounds and 1 ounce and was 18.5 inches long. I had a headache and high blood pressure at the beginning of labor, but everything went smoothly and she was born after only 7.5 hours of contractions. Of course, I think she is just perfect!!

Taken by Krystal: www.facebook.com/KrystalShawPhotography

My sweet little girl is already 16 days old! My husband and I (and the dog) have settled and adjusted to life with a baby and things could not be more perfect. She is such a good baby and is only fussy when she needs something. By day 5 she was sleeping for 2-3 hours at a time at night and now I have to wake her up to eat.

I don't know what I did to deserve her. I am so incredibly grateful for my family. There are no words to describe how much I love my daughter. I knew I would love her (and I loved her since the moment I found out we were expecting!) but I had no idea how deep that love would be, and how much it continues to grow each and every day. I think it's something only parents can understand because I didn't get it until now.

Enough with the sappy-ness, right?

Now that things have settled and I'm all caught up on sleep, I plan on getting back to the books. I'm roughly halfway done with STAY, a new adult, contemporary novel I started about a girl who is kidnapped and forced into human trafficking. (Blog post about that to follow...someday) I am doing some interior makeovers to my self published books and then planning a big re-launch party for them and I have some exciting news from Permuted about the Contagium series but I can't share it just yet.

I have lots of fun things planned and I've added two more book ideas to my list. Having a baby has been very inspiring for some reason. In the few hours of sleep I was able to get a night I did have some weird dreams!