Thursday, February 2, 2017

BETA Readers Wanted!

Hello, all! So if there is one thing I've learned about writing so far, it's that writing is hard. Like really hard. Like steroid abs hard. If there are two things I've learned about writing, it's that writing is hard, and it's really hard to do without help. That's where you come in!

I NEED you!
It seems like every month or so I think to myself, "This is it! This time my manuscript is perfect!" But I am always wrong...except maybe this time. I don't know. You be the judge!

But complaining is easy!
If you are reading this, you must be somewhat interested in being a BETA reader--either that, or I begged or bribed you into considering it! Since I have a few of you targets in mind, I figured I would write this gif filled guide to answer some questions you might have.

So what is a BETA reader, you ask? Well, let me break it down for you!

Oh yeah! Breaking it down!

The Ultimate(ish) Q and A for BETA Reading! 
(If you can think of other questions, leave them in the comments!)

1: What is a BETA Reader?
A BETA Reader is someone who test drives a book before the author tries to publish it. Consider yourself a test audience, whose opinions will help shape the work before it moves on to a bigger stage. All you have to do is read, and give your honest opinion on as much (or as little) of the book as you want!

I am a BETA Reader!

2: What do I get for BETA Reading?
Well, you will get to be one of the first people in the universe to have read a particular book! That's kind of cool, right?

I personally might throw in some real bribes though!

3: Does Feedback have to be Detailed?
NOPE! Recreational books are supposed to be entertaining. This shouldn't be work for you. You just have to read, and have an opinion! Your feedback can be as detailed, or as vague as you like. Any feedback is good feedback.

Eh, I got bored on page 3 and quit!

4: Should Feedback be Nice and Sugar-Coated?
It depends on the author. But in my personal case NOPE! Constructive criticism is invaluable. Telling me what you don't like is the best way for me to make my book better! You are helping me. I'm not going to complain. The path to publication is filled with rejection, so writers have to have thick skin. You can't hurt my feelings... and in the off chance that's a lie, there is always chocolate to improve my mood!:)

Cake is the kind of sugar-coating I like best.

5: What if I don't Want to (or Can't) Finish the Book/Pages an Author Sent to Me?
That is A-OK! Just tell the author where you stopped, and why! Did life get in the way, or was it something about the book? Did the action get too slow? The book boring? Did you really hate a certain character? Just tell it like it is!

Rules and Requirements for BETA Reading!

1: Must like to read! 
This is virtually the only must! If you don't enjoy reading, then you won't enjoy BETA reading either.

2: Should like books in the same genre!
If you aren't interested in the genre you are asked to BETA for, you probably won't enjoy the author's book either. Your opinions would still be valuable, but your time is also valuable. Make sure the book is a good fit for you!

Like your momma said, "Honesty is the best policy!" In this case, it's the whole point!

Help me exorcise my book's demons! 
Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis satanica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, ergo draco maledicte, ut ecclesiam tuam secura, tibi facias libertate servire, te rogamus, audi nos!

4: Do Not Share BETA Materials with Third Parties.
With self publishing so available these days, having your manuscript stolen does happen. I've know people who have had their work copy/pasted and sold as ebooks by thieving thieves!:-(
An author wouldn't ask you to BETA if they didn't trust you, but things get complicated if an author loses control over how many sources have their manuscripts. So if you DO want to share the author's materials, please make sure to get the author's permission first. :-)


So that concludes my guide! Hopefully it was informative enough to help you make the best decision for me and other authors for you! Thank you for considering to read! If you have more questions, please leave them in the comments! If you wanted more gifs, tell me in the comments! Thank you!

I swear I won't be pushy!

BONUS: Rules and Requirements for Authors with BETA Readers!

1: Be Patient.
Be patient! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Unspoken VW Code

Well, the Volkswagen Family Reunion is next weekend, and I was going to to make some spiffy decals for Herbie (a totally original name for my white '72 Super Beetle), but on way to the art store to get supplies for said decals (and for some art commissions too!) a texting teenager smashed my decal dreams, as well as my poor car. Herb is 42-years-old and has never been in a wreck before now as far as I know.

Anyway, as I heal my achy body and await the verdict on Herbie, I will write down some of the unspoken rules collectively adhered to by Volkswagen owners. My mom passed Herbie on to me about six years ago, and in that time I have learned much of the unspoken code, but I am sure there is still much more for me to learn. If I've missed anything in my list, please let me know in the comments!

ASIDE: Surprisingly, it is hard to find animated VW .gifs (I must make some I guess), so I apologize for the static appearance of this post!

The proud coat of arms of the VW brother/sisterhood!

The Unspoken Rules of owning an older VW model:

1: You must always wave, or otherwise acknowledge another VW driver

2: You must be more enthusiastic if they are driving the same type of car as you (example: 2 buses passing, or 2 bugs).

3: If you come to a stop near a VW of the same type, you must roll down your windows, and make small talk until the light forces you to leave.

4: If you happen to talk to another VW owner, you must start the conversation with: "What year?"

5. If you meet someone who owns a similar car, you must compare lists of recent repairs to see how many are the same.

6: If you are talking to a Super Beetle owner you must ask if they have experienced the "Super Beetle Shake".

7: If you see a VW in a parking lot you MUST park as near to it as possible. Since VW drivers prefer to stay away from the fray, there is usually a space adjacent.

8: If you are about to leave a parking lot, and you notice another VW has parked next to you, you must leave a love note on their windshield.

9:You must wave at children who wave at you (as long as it is safe to do so, and your attention on the road is uncompromised).

10: If a New Bug owner waves at you, you must wave at them, and encourage them, for they will be joining your ranks eventually. If they ignore you, it is alright to ignore them. They must not want to be true Beetle owners.

11: You must have fun driving your VW at all times!

Well, that's all for my list at the moment! Being a part of the club and owning an old VW really is a fun experience. One that I hope to continue for many years. Please keep your fingers crossed for my Herbie!

I'm adding this picture because it is the most glorious thing I have ever seen!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blog Tour: My Writing Process

Today I’m posting my first ever blog tour post, and since I’m out of town, I had to figure out how to schedule posts. WHICH I DID! Go, me! EDIT: My scheduled post didn't work, and now this post is a day late, so BAD ME! Anyway, this blog tour is all about individual writing processes. Pretty cool, right? My friend Holli posted hers last week, so first things first. I will tell you a bit about her, then you go check out her blog, okay?  Okay!

Holli is a novelist, a world traveling journalist, a kick-butt kickboxing writer, and an all around cool person. You will love her, and her writing style, so go check out her writing process here: A Life Less Ordinary

I was also tagged by my wonderful fairy friend Kathleen about a month ago, but I didn’t see it! *Hangs head in shame.* It's pretty impossible not to love her, so check out her wonderfully whimsical blog here: Finding Faeries

Okay! On to the questions!

Yes, I do have an amazing Gryffindor scarf!

What am I working on?

I am still tightening up the writing in LOGIN (which is my excuse for not sending out any more queries just yet!). Hopefully my debut, LOGIN is a YA speculative fiction in which children are manufactured and purchased like commodities in an internet addicted future.

Editing feels like a never ending process, but I know the story gets better with each pass, so I guess I will keep going through! Aside from that, I'm working on RESTART, which is the sequel to LOGIN! I haven't worked on it in a few months, but I'm really excited to finish that story, and complete the journeys of those particular characters.

The Dead and the Dying is a YA Paranormal. It was my NaNoWriMo project, and although I didn't get very far in it during NaNo, I'm going to finish fleshing out ideas so I can get back to work on it. It's about a ghost who haunts the Hotel De'Tour in the New Orleans French Quarter, and finds someone worth un-dying for.

Simulated Silence is my newest project, and I am really excited about it! I've had a blank spell for months this winter--the cold-weather blues, or maybe I was just concentrating more on my owl shop? Whatever it was, it lasted a long time, and I was beginning to think I'd never be able to write again. ...Is that a violin I hear?  Anywho, the idea for Simulated Silence came to me a couple of weeks ago, and I was able to bang out the first chapter pretty quickly, and ideas keep coming to me about it. It will be a YA spec-fic, that blends together science fiction fantasy (like: The Matrix, Inception, .hack//, and Sword Art Online), and current affairs. I'm still deciding on characters, names, and trying to come up with a basic structure to follow. 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've been an artist for as long as I can remember (linklink!), and I'm also a huge fan of graphic novels. I think that translates into my writing. The artist in me likes to first and foremost approach stories as a visual progression through scenes, rather than relying so heavily on dialogue or narration.

Why do I write what I do?

I write YA because I love reading YA. Original answer? No. But everyone says that because it's true. YA is amazing. I don't think anyone really escapes those awkward teenage years (especially us writers! *wink*), so the situations our YA heroes/heroines find themselves in, are easy to empathize with, and relate to. That aside, there are just so many good ideas in YA!

How does your writing process work? 

I have to admit, I'm a sporadic writer. I can't get myself to write all the time, but when I'm inspired, or motivated, or an idea hits me, I can't be stopped.

I'm a discovery writer. Once I get an idea that jolts me, or a specific picture stuck in my head, I just go with it. I write a chapter or two based on that idea, then I brainstorm and try to come up with some building blocks for the world of the story, for the characters,  where the story will go, and what it will actually be about. I always have a vague idea of how I want the story to end, but it changes as I go along; characters I thought would be important slip out of the story, while others appear from nowhere; old ideas are forgotten, or new ones take their places.

Discovery writing is a very strange thing. I always get the feeling that I'm not really the one in control; that my characters only find out about their next task at the same time I do. It's a very weird feeling, seeing twists come out of my keyboard, and not knowing they were going to be there. I'm sure my writing friends know what I'm talking about. I feel like I'm just an observer in the process!

I'm a discovery writer, but I'm trying to awaken the outliner that must exist somewhere deep within me. I want to be a better writer, and although I doubt I will ever be a complete outliner, I really want to work on plotting out the endings to my books. The best piece of advice I ever stumbled upon was from Brandon Sanderson's online class videos ( I'm going to paraphrase, but basically he said that: "discovery writers know how to end each chapter with an explosion, and make it interesting, but plotters know how to end their books well."

So, as much as I love the journey of discovery writing, I'm trying to incorporate more planning, to make sure the overall endings are more satisfying.

The End!=)

See what I mean about planning out the endings?
Was that really a satisfying ending to this post?

Okay, well, that's the end of my first blog tour! I hope any visitors enjoyed their stay here! Make sure you check out the ladies I tagged. Their posts go up next week.

NEXT WEEK: May 19th Posts!

Rachel Scott: Rachel is an amazing person, and I am so lucky to have gotten to be her friend. I love her like my cat loves naps. ...Oh, should I be talking about her writing? Well, Rachel is just leaping into the query trenches for her first series, a YA historical fantasy that takes place in ancient Rome! Already sounds cool, right? She is also writing a steamy YA romance based off of her time as a lifeguard. She has a Pinterest board for that particular project, which is awesome to check out (if you love shirtless guys and puppies)!

Debey : Debey is a writer of fairy tales, which you can find here! Her 3 stories all connect to one another, so you're going to have to read all three! They are constantly going on sale too! Debey also writes MG, with some really neat ideas for contemporary boys! What little boy doesn't want to read about video games?

Folks who already did this tour!

Rena Olsen: Follow her on Twitter (that's how we met!) @OriginallyRena. She is totally original, and absolutely hilarious! She is one of the coolest people I've never met, and she is also the CP who whipped the beginning of LOGIN into shape (I'm sure she will find some errors in this post too! ";;;"). She writes just about anything you could ever imagine being interested in: from Above Eden (a  beautifully written YA sci-fi with some totally cool concepts)--to Remembering Diana, about a woman rescued from a human trafficking ring, trying to overcome stockholm syndrome to remember who she once was. Rena is like a kindly ice-cream vendor. You don't need to pick just one flavor. She will give you a scoop of everything!

FiFi the Ninja: An amazing ninja writer I met on Twitter! I will update this once I'm back in town! =-)

Paula: Paula is a super talented fellow Louisianian who also runs a blog for the fictional high school in which her debut science fiction series takes place. Check it out for her characters' views on the latest gossip! Paula has a very humorous voice, and she loves exclamation marks! So you are going to laugh, and be excited at the same time! You are going to love checking her work out!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Blogger hates me, and BEEKEEPER EGGLET!=)

Okay, so I have a lot to post on lately, but I never feel like it, since Blogger hates me like Voldemort hates Boys Who Live. I have more issues with Blogger, than old Zoobooks in my closet (and I have a lot of old Zoobooks!), but the thing that's been bugging me the most? 


 I keep trying to add blogs to my "reading list" but Blogger won't let me. Worse than that, Blogger DELETED all the blogs I WAS following, and it won't let me re-add them. I feel like a total jerk, since a lot of the blogs I was following were contest runners' blogs, and I owe them follows for all they've done (not to mention I like to read their posts!)! Ugh. To everyone I was following, I'm sorry! I don't know how to get it to work again. It's all so frustrating. I'm thinking I should switch to WordPress? I'm never going to really get into the blogging if Blogger keeps being a jerk. =-(

Blogger pictured above.

Any opinions on WordPress?

Any advice on HOW to get the follow thing to work again on Blogger? I don't appear to have anything blocking or messing with it.=-(

Not cool, Blogger. Not cool!

Beekeeper Egglet!

To end on something that makes it look like this post isn't just a complaint about Blogger, here is the newest Egglet from my shop! If you followed along with the giveaway contest (which you should have done! There were literally, dozens of awesome puns going on at Fairies & Finds!), you will have noticed that BEEKEEPER Egglet came in second behind the Mad Hatter!
Luckily, someone awesome ordered him anyway, so I got to make him in spite of him losing the contest!=)
I have more pictures, but I need to edit them. He has cute, drippy honey feather ears!=-)

2nd place? I don't think so!
Oh! I have another fun thing to post about too! I'm doing an illustration for a REUTS fairytale compilation! I am so excited to be working on the story I picked (it is amazing), and to be comparing sketches with other artists--oh yeah, and about GETTING PUBLISHED! AHHH!! I need to make a different post about that though, when I have images edited and blogs to tag (which is much that Blogger won't let me have a blog list....)!=-/


Thursday, March 13, 2014

"What is the Use of a Book Without Pictures" in NYC!!!!

Today is my unbirthday! 
Well, it is almost my birthday (Again! How does this keep happening?), which means it is almost the anniversary of the first query letter I sent... which means I need to hurry and send out more queries before my birthday, so I don't feel bad that I sent out less queries in a whole year, than most writers sent out in an afternoon! 
I did enter every contest I could, but I guess I dilly-dallied a lot on the query front? Ah, well, as Lewis Carroll would say: "I can't go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then." I will just have to try and do better this coming year.  :-)

"Dilly-Dallying" pictured above.
Anywho! Enough with the "lack of query sending" guilt! On to what I wanted to talk about!

Okay, so I might have mentioned before that I have a slight obsession with "Alice in Wonderland"...and that might have been lie. Yes, it was definitely a lie.
I don't have a slight obsession, I have a huge obsession with "Alice in Wonderland"! (See "portfolio" for madness references.)

"Alice" is just such a great story, and I love it for many reasons (which I will not bore you with here). 

Anyway, so a few years ago, I was contacted about a super cool project called: "What is the Use of a Book without Pictures?" which, as you might have guessed, was/is an "Alice in Wonderland" project.

The premise of the project was to replace every single paragraph of "Alice" with a full page illustration, and to do so in as many styles as possible. As you might have guessed, I was immediately intrigued by the idea, and leapt right in! It's an international collaboration, and there are hundreds of participating artists! The photo below shows some of the artwork from the project.

All artwork (c) respective owners.

Anyway, I did five illustrations for the project, and after flipping through the digital albums a thousand times, I sort of forgot about it. Now, as it turns out, WITUOABWP is getting its own website, a possible print form, and it will be shown this April at the Lewis Carroll Society Spring Conference in New York City!

I'm not sure if any of my illustrations will be shown in the presentation, but I am still super excited! If you are in New York City late April, please consider stopping by the conference! Here is some of the event info from Facebook!
If you click "Event Photos," one of my drawings is # 4! "Alice Crying.";-)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Luna Lovegood Egglet!

Luna Lovegood Egglet! Or, Luna Lovegglet! Luna is one of my all time favorite characters, so I was so excited that someone commissioned a Luna owl!
This was so much fun to make!
The owl came with: turnip earrings, a wand, Spectrespecs, a mini Quibbler I designed, and of course, Luna's Epic LION HAT!=D

Luna Lovegood, Quibbler, Spectrespecs all (c) my hero, J.K. Rowling!

ASIDE: Posting photos on here is ridiculously complicated.=-/

Monday, January 27, 2014

Computer repairs!

Getting computer repairs done today! Hopefully will be able to get back online in a couple of days!=)

My newest Egglet! Luna Lovegood!! More photos coming soon, now that my computer is back! Click the "Fairies&Finds"' tab for more Egglets!