Monday, December 30, 2013

An Amazing Year

Here we are again at the end of another year and the start of a new one. I dug up my 2013 writing goals to see how I fared. I only had two this past year:

1) Revise my Nano book
2) Draft one book

I'm happy to say I did great on both counts. That Nano book I revised is my most favorite story I've ever written. My agent loved it, but there are still a couple details I need to fine tune so it's not submission ready yet...but almost. And I drafted TWO other books. Yay! One is a YA sci-fi that involves herbs (ooh-lala) and the other is REMAKE 2. Writing a sequel was a new experience for me--tough but satisfying. I've yet to revise that first draft, but I'm very excited for the world to read that story. Of course 2013 was also amazing because I got a book deal!

2014 is going to be quite the year for me. I'm attending All The Conferences: LTUE, Storymakers, WIFYR (where I'm talking on a panel as well), and most likely BEA. I'm not too worried about my writing; I've got a large stack of novel starts and ideas waiting patiently to be written. And I'm sure to continue reading every spare minute I have. Of course, the BIG NEWS is the debut of my very first book with a launch and signings and everything that goes with it. Yipee! This year is going to be amazing, so my one and only writing goal for 2014 is this:

Enjoy every moment.

I tend to get caught up in the busyness of moving from one thing to the next, so this year I want to remember to enjoy the journey and be grateful for every part of it. After all, I've worked really hard to get this far, might as well milk it for all the happy, right?

How did you do on your 2013 goals? What's ahead for you in 2014? I hope you all have a wonderful new year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This free digital slideshow created with Smilebox

Friday, December 13, 2013


Guess what today is?

Why, yes. Yes it is.

I think I'm going to do a little of this:

Maybe some of this:

Who am I kidding? You know I'm mostly gonna do this:

And this:

And oh, yeah. This:


Looks like a perfect day to me. :)

If you had a free day to do whatever you wanted, what would it be?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

IWSG: Writing for me

Join the IWSG!
I used to roll my eyes at those know the ones. They'd complain about deadlines and bad reviews and how much they wished they could go back in time to before they were published. I'd hear them ramble about how they just want to write for themselves again, when it was enjoyable and fun. I thought it was all a bunch of BS. Be grateful you have a book deal, I thought. I'd trade my cozy write-for-me status for theirs in a heartbeat.


Today all I want to do is crawl into bed and write something for me, for fun, and who cares if no one else ever reads it. But I can't. Because I'm doing the revision dance and trying to please everyone and their mother with this dang book when sometimes I just want to go back to when I first wrote it and relish the magic it held for me. Oh, the magic's still there, and the story and characters still make me happy. I'm not even complaining about the work, because I know these revisions have to be done, but I assure you, the eye-rolling is no more. Because to you afore-mentioned writers...I get it now.

Something else I never thought I'd say: I actually like a One Direction song (at least until next week when it's all I've heard on the radio for hours on end). I know, what kind of sell-out have I become? :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Out of Tune

OUT OF TUNE by my friend and fab writer Michelle D. Argyle releases tomorrow! Congrats, Michelle!

Twenty-year-old Maggie Roads’ parents are legendary in the country music world. She wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps, but the limelight isn’t reserved for singers who can’t carry a tune, let alone keep a rhythm.

When her parents tell her they’re getting divorced, Maggie decides it’s time to leave home and take her future into her own hands. Moving in with Cole, her best friend and sometimes boyfriend, might not be the best of ideas, but she’s got to start somewhere. Their off-and-on romance gets even more complicated when Maggie crushes on her new voice teacher, Nathan, who unlocks her stunning potential. A sensational music career of her own is finally within reach, but Maggie might need more than perfect pitch to find what she’s really looking for.

Available in eBook and print everywhere online books are sold, as well as ordering from bookstores. See the official book page for more information.

And check out her cool trailer:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Run for the Roses

I'm so excited to have Rachel Schieffelbein on the blog today. Her novella, RUN FOR THE ROSES, released a week ago. Here's a little about the book:

Abigail Conrad has spent her whole life training for one goal: to win the roses at the Arabian Youth Nationals. She’s given up friends, a social life, and doesn’t have time to even think about guys -- much less date!

Now that she’s headed off to college in the fall, it’s her last chance to be a Youth National Champion, and she won’t let anything distract her from that dream.

Except maybe Chase, the older brother of Abigail's biggest rival. He’s charming, funny, and possibly Abigail's biggest problem. How can she focus on riding when her mind keeps wandering to Chase’s green eyes and confident smile?

With her dream on the line, Abigail had better learn to fight her growing attraction to Chase, or she might end up losing the roses and the guy.

Take it away, Rachel...

Thank you so much for having me here today, Ilima! :)

Since Run for the Roses is mostly takes place at the Arabian Youth Nationals, I thought I'd share some of my Youth Nationals memories.

My first year showing at Youth was in 1994, (yes, I'm old.) I was showing a sweet little western mare named Showshill Merit. At Nationals you usually have cuts to make before you get to the finals, (and of course you have to qualify to be there in the first place.) I had two classes I was showing Merit in, so two cuts to make. Both of my first cuts were on the very first day of the show. I got a wrong lead in the first one and got the gate. A few hours later, I got the gate again.

(Got the gate, is the horse term for I got sent through the gate with diddley squat.)

So that was it, I got to just hang out the rest of the week with nothing to do. Lol. But, years later I saw a hat at Youth that said, "I got the gate at Youth Nationals." I loved it. I may not have gotten a ribbon, but I'd made it there. I was competing at a level I'd never dreamed of before and that was pretty cool.

And I use the expression with my speech kids all the time when they are competing at State. Anything from here on out is just gravy, you made it here and that's awesome.

It's true for writing, too. Be proud of yourself each step of the way. You got a personalized rejection? Awesome. You got a request? Way freaking cool. Even if they turn it down you know you are making progress. You are heading in the right direction.

And here's a cute picture of a foal, just for fun. ;)

I love that! And it's so true. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel. You can find her book on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Congrats!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Well, I did it. I hit my 50K. *cheers*

NaNoWriMo was a little different for me this year as my word total came from more than one book. I was already halfway through drafting a novel (a sequel) when November started so I decided to finish drafting that one first, then started another. NaNo was just the kick in the pants I needed to finish the sequel, which has been kind of a pain for me. 

I originally wrote 20K of it and knew the story wasn't working, so I trashed it and started over. For OCD controlling outliner me, it was hard but had to be done. And I'm so glad I did. Yesterday, I skimmed through that book and laughed and cried and realized it doesn't suck as much as I usually think my first drafts suck, so I'm very excited to start revising it.

Some other firsts this year:
* I finished my longest book yet, sitting just under 80K.
* I broke my personal record and wrote over 9K in one day.
* I managed to write all month w/out the help of diet coke.

So maybe that last one is weird, but I'm proud of it because I've been trying to quit, and my body is thanking me for not staying up until 2 in the morning to get my word count in as I have in the past. :)

How are you with your NaNo goals? Don't give up! There's still a lot of time left. Need some more motivation? Here's a link to a guest post I wrote last year on all things NaNoWriMo.

What am I going to do to celebrate? Date night this weekend at the movie theater! Anyone else Catching any Fire this week? I'll be back the first of December. Have a Happy Thanksgiving all!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


No, this isn't a post about Firefly.

I'm talking about serenity, as in peace and calm. It's something I haven't enjoyed in a while and if you're doing NaNo you probably haven't either. But remember this post? I thought I'd share some after pics of my newly designed bedroom:

The medieval doorway leads to our bathroom...or should I say throne room?

If you squint really hard you can see pics of my family

Where the magic sleep happens.

In LOVE with our giant mirror. 

Pretty, no? Somehow, just looking at it calms me down. And I'm so grateful for that right now. I've had a rough couple of days and peace is something I'm ready to welcome like an old friend.

My husband also kidnapped me this afternoon. Within 3 1/2 hours we drove to Ikea, bought all the fixings for a new chill lounge for his employees, ate lunch, drove back to his office, unloaded endless boxes, assembled everything and put the room together. Talk about instant gratification. It was quite therapeutic, actually. And the feeling of accomplishment lifted my spirits quite a bit.

You can't see the flat screen TV and mini-fridge on the other end. How will work ever get done?

We're almost halfway through November. How are you with your NaNo goals? Consider taking a hot bath, sipping some cocoa by the fire, and taking a minute to ponder on everything you've accomplished so far. Mmm, serenity achieved.

Now get off your butt and get to typing. We've got some words to write, people!

One of my CP's sent me this song yesterday. She heard it and knew it was perfect for one of my books, and now I can't stop listening to it. Just what I needed. Thanks, Katie!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ten things I hate about NaNoWriMo

I hate the way you're hard to spell and even worse to say.
I hate it when your site goes down in the middle of the day.
I hate the month you choose to live.
I hate your taunting graph.
I hate how all my buddies read my word count with a laugh.
I hate how much my hands hurt and my eyes and rear end too.
I hate that all my words are crap.
I hate staying up 'til two.
I hate it when you're over and my life's no longer stalled.
But mostly I hate the way I don't hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

To all of you doing the crazy NaNoWriMo dance this month...

Keep going!

You're awesome!

You can do it!

I believe in you!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Steampunk Adventures and NaNoWriMo Wishes

A couple of great books to spotlight today. First up is the cover reveal for Jay Noel's novel, DRAGONFLY WARRIOR. It's a steampunk adventure that mixes Asian and European mythology, the Wild West, martial arts, traditional fantasy, and high powered steam action. How cool is that? I LOVE how the cover portrays all of this:

Isn't it awesome? Dragonfly Warrior is the first book of The Mechanica Wars and will debut on January 6, 2014. Congrats Jay!

Also, today is the release of THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS ANTHOLOGY from Jennie Bennett, Jessica Salyer, Kelley Lynn, David P. King, and Cassie Mae. You can purchase it here. All proceeds from sales go to benefit NaNoWriMo, and they are hosting a Blog Hop to celebrate.

To participate, I just have to share my NaNo wish. This year I want to finish drafting Remake 2. It's told from the POV of my all-time favorite character, and it's been quite an emotional journey for most challenging book to draft so far. But it will be worth it!
Shiny. Let's be bad guys.

How about you? What's your NaNo wish?

If you want to friend me on NaNo, I'll friend you back and we can support each other all month! My username is ilimaktodd.

How was your Halloween? Any guesses who I dressed up as?

And who else is seeing Ender's Game tonight? I can't wait!

Take my hand and come walk with me...

NaNo Blog Hop list:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Carrie Butler on Writing a Series

I'm thrilled to have Carrie Butler, author of Courage (Mark of Nexus #2) on the blog today talking about writing a series. Take it away, Carrie...

Thanks for having me over, Ilima! To start a series, I believe a writer must possess at least five things:

5. A big idea. Come on, that one was a given...

4. The desire to do that idea justice. Just because you’ve released a book or two doesn’t mean you can finish the series on auto-pilot. Continue to study your craft, read other series, and take note of readers’ reactions. Make the last book better than the first!

3. A way to keep track of details—whether that be Scrivener, a notebook, or a crinkled up cocktail napkin. When you’re knee-deep in Book 2, wondering about the position of someone’s facial scar, you’ll thank me.

2. Great CPs, betas, and editors. Hopefully, they’ve been with you since Book 1. These talented individuals are likely to spot things you miss, like the fact that you did a time-skip and it’s now December in Pennsylvania. The crickets are dead! Nix them in chapter seven...

1. A loose grip on your sanity. In fact, just forego the sanity. (What? You’re a writer—it’s bound to leave sooner or later.) A series is a huge undertaking with built-in pressure. The work is hard, the pay is lousy, and it’ll make you feel incredibly vulnerable. So, why should you bother?

Because you love your story. You love the world you’ve created and the characters that inhabit it. Your ideas are too complex to cram into one novel, and you refuse to leave things undone. So, go for it. Take the risk. We’re all waiting to read your series, and I know it’ll be fantastic!

No pressure. ;)

Thanks for stopping by, Carrie! Click on the link to find out more about the Courage blog tour. And here's a little bit about the book:

Rena Collins never thought she’d long for the past—back when affection from Wallace, her freakishly strong boyfriend, was the most dangerous aspect of her life. But now that the human-altering organization known as ERA has gone on the offensive, nothing is safe. Her bloodline is exposed, her relationships torn apart, and just when it seems like things can’t get any worse, ERA ups the ante. To save mankind from forced evolution, Rena will have to mend her broken ties and form a resistance... hand-in-hand with the one she hurt most.

Find COURAGE on Goodreads.

You can find Carrie here:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Writing

In case you haven't noticed, I've been participating in a lot of bloghops, cover reveals, etc lately. I love supporting my fellow authors! I've a few more scheduled in the next month, but I'm popping in to say yes, I'm here too!

My writing life is currently in this weird limbo. I'm mostly waiting on others to get back to me on different projects, and it feels like this calm before the storm of Nano. Can you feel it too? I'm struggling to draft a book while the shiny-new-idea of another keeps knocking and distracting me. Not to mention another book that's desperately calling me for a major revision. (and several other projects either started or plotted waiting for when I have more time...hahahaha)


This has become the story of my life, and though I'm so grateful to have so many projects I'm excited about, I feel like a child hopped up on sugar trying to sit through a church service. I KNOW what I'm supposed to be doing, but it's hard to focus sometimes and I just want to misbehave.

One thing I DO know, though, is that I'm in this writing thing for the long haul. There's something gratifying about doing what you're meant to do no matter how HARD and frustrating it is sometimes.

This song perfectly describes my relationship with writing and just plain makes me happy whenever I hear it. Whether you're drafting, revising, editing, plotting, researching or critiquing this week...make it a Happy Writing week. And do me a favor...kick my butt in gear to finish drafting this book!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. --Cover Reveal!

*If you're stopping by for the (Never) Again bloghop, please scroll down. :)*

Here's a bit about PK Hrezo's awesome book releasing November 12th:

Welcome to Butterman Travel, Incorporated
We are a full service agency designed to meet all your exclusive time travel needs. Family-owned and operated, we offer clients one hundred years of time travel experience. A place where you can rest assured, safety and reliability always come first.

Anxious to attend a special event from the past? Or for a glimpse of what the future holds? 

You’ve come to the right place. We’re a fully accredited operation, offering an array of services; including, but not limited to: customized travel plans, professionally piloted operations, and personal trip guides.  *Terms and conditions do apply

Conference us directly from our Website. Our frontline reservation specialist, Bianca Butterman, will handle all your inquiries in a professional and efficient manner, offering a tentative itinerary and free fare quote, so you can make the most of your time trip.

We look forward to serving you at Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.   

Now for the cover. Drumroll....

Isn't it beautiful? PK wants to know...If you could walk into a time travel agency and book a time trip, where and when would it be, and why? For me, it would be the future, maybe several hundred years in the future. The unknown is just so exciting to me. Plus I'd want to see how large my posterity cool. How about you? When would you go?

Congrats again to PK Hrezo. You can find her online at her blog, twitter, facebook, and website.