Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Gift For the Writers Out There and the Readers Too!!

Last week I traveled to Dallas for some training and the weather was colder than I expected, but the setting was amazing. The facility was set on the edge of an old ranch, with rolling yellowed hills and fence posts as far as I could see. On a long walk one afternoon, I found myself drawn to the far side of the ranch where a few cows grazed beneath a tall aluminum windmill. Shoving my iPod into my pocket, I plucked my ear buds out of my ears and listened as the old windmill creaked with the force of the breeze. Inhaling deeply, I smelled red clay, the musk of cattle, and damp hay. Closing my eyes I felt my face slip into an unexpected smile. This place, the serenity in the landscape, the quiet rustle of the animals as they grazed, the smell of the barn, it all took me home.

Throughout the week I was approached by many people who congratulated me, but also by two who are also working to publish their own books. In the midst of leadership training I found myself surrounded by the landscape and embraced by other writers. It made for a great week. I spent more than one lunch hour answering questions about how I was able to make this happen.

So here goes, some links for your stocking that I used to get me where I am:

Read Amanda Hocking’s blog: How it all happened. She told me the recipe for publishing on my own.

Read the Nelson Agency’s Blog. What is an example of a goodquery letter? Kristin offers some of the best advice in the biz for crafting a query letter. She also has a tough love approach that offers honest feedback in a sometimes unsettlingly vague world.
Read about Createspace. This is a subsidiary of Amazon.com with a great model that gives you the ability to finally see your book in print.

Make it an eBook. Create accounts on Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and Smashwords. Embrace the eBook and put it out there.

Create a blog. Create a place where you can write about what you write.

Join GoodReads and share a list of books and authors that you love. Add me as a friend!

Ok now, the gift for the readers…A Marked Past will be on sale for E-Readers for only $.99 for the next 14 days.
Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Stars are in and We Got 5!

A Marked Past just got a 5 star review a book review blogger! Her blog The Page Turner tracks her review and comments for all the books she’s read over the past two years and I am so excited to share her review of A Marked Past.

The Page Turner is a college aged reader, so she assessed the book from multiple vantages and reported back on all of them. She shares a candid account of the thoughts and emotions her experienced as she made her way through the book. Most importantly, she says she would gladly pick up A History Renewed when it’s released.

She says: “I enjoyed every second of this book and cannot simply wait for the second book, “A History Renewed”. This is definitely an author you need to look into and check out”

Here are links to her review:
A Marked Past Review on The Page Turner Blog

A Marked Past Review on Amazon.com






Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pay Day!

I got my first royalty check today for A Marked Past...it's tiny, but means so very much to me!

Thanks for all the kind words you have been sharing about A Marked Past. I'm still excited and amazed everyday to hear that people are actually reading my book... and enjoying it!!

I'm working my way through Book 2 and your encouragement is really helping push me along!!

THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!

If you'd like to post a review of A Marked Past please feel free to visit one of the links below and share your thoughs with me!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Break Out Your Library Card

I got some great news today…the Middletown Library has a copy of A Marked Past in circulation!! I’ve also heard that Springboro High School and Junior High have copies in their library as well.  

Good news just keeps rolling in. I signed 14 copies today of A Marked Past and sent them on their way to their owners. Book sales broke 200 last week, and the reviews are just starting to roll in. One of the Free Giveaway winners gave the book 4 stars on GoodReads and said she’s anxiously awaiting Book 2.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aloha!

This week I am on vacation and even though I am surrounded by the beauty of the island of Maui I always seem to be surrounded too by the magic of A Marked Past. Sitting on my balcony this morning, I was sipping coffee and listening to the surf roll in. And thinking about Book 2. I was silently finalizing the next story in my mind, tossing scenarios out. What if she…, er um… well, what about, if….so alas, I gave up and went snorkeling instead.

In mid afternoon I mustered up enough energy to walk to a small Polynesian stand to get some lunch for my football watching hubby. As I stood waiting for my order, I saw a black cat. She emerged from the wide palm frowns, stretched her long, lean body; titling toward the ground, then arching her back, she turned to face me. I smiled at the sleek feline marveling at the fact, that even amidst the overtly tropical setting, a black cat would find me. Some would call it strange, but maybe it’s magic.

I’m here in Maui, sitting on my balcony, with my computer on my lap and Lyla on my mind. More to come.
The view from my balcony.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Progress Report

This past week has been an exciting one for A Marked Past and me.
A Marked Past recorded more than 200 sales and received 9 five star ratings on GoodReads, Barnes and Nobel, and Amazon.com. This is awesome and wouldn’t be possible without readers like you!
I also got the honor of shipping out 5 books to the Free Giveaway Winners on GoodReads, and I’ll anxiously awaiting news from the 4 teen book reviewers who are currently reading A Marked Past. When they post their reviews on their blogs I’ll share the links asap!  
As for Book 2, I AM making progress, I promise!
I was away for training for a few days so I took advantage of my flight time to do some writing in book 2. I’m excited to report that it’s coming along nicely. I have about 50,000 words left to go before I can hand it off for preliminary readers. It might sound like a lot of writing left to do, but when you start writing about something like a battle, you’d be surprised how quickly those words add up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Signing Results and Reviews

The Book signing this past weekend was an amazing success, resulting in a total of nearly 50 books sales at the event, and more than 40 more following. The staff of Ambiance Art (Patty and Heather to be specific welcomed the A Marked Past fans with open arms and cookies!
I’ve posted some pictures below if you’d like to see for yourself.








For all of you who are reading, plan to read, or have already read A Marked Past, I’d love to hear from you! Please take a few minutes to post your reviews on one of the following sites:
·         www.amazon.com
·         www.barnesandnoble.com
·         www.goodreads.com

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Marked Past Book Signing and the Dayton Daily News

I am bursting with exciting news! I just finished an interview with the Dayton Daily News and (drum roll please) my very first book signing in one week from today!
I’ll let you know when the interview will be publishedin the paper but until then, here are the details about my book signing.
I’m coming home to Springboro next weekend and I’d love to see you!
Here are the details:
Saturday, October 22, 2011 11:00am-2:00pm
Ambiance Art @ 345 S. Main St, Springboro, OH 45066
If you will be in the area, please stop by and see me! You can bring a copy of A Marked Past to be signed, buy one there, place an order for one, or just stop in for some coffee and to say hello. Hope to see you there!!
Paperback books are available now at:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Book sales, Book Signing and an Interview!

I’m excited to share that we have sold about 80 books in 8 days. That is so amazing!! Thanks so much to everyone who has placed an order. I can't wait to hear what you think about the book!
I’m working with a small business in Springboro (Ambiance Art) to coordinate a book signing for Saturday 22 October and I'd love to see you! So mark your calendars and tell your friends! I’ll be sure to share more info when it’s all set up.
Until then, here’s a link to an online interview I did recently for a book club called Never Too Young for Y.A. Books. Hope you enjoy!   Author Leslie Deaton Interview

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some Overdue Acknowledgements and Thank Yous!!

In the midst of publishing my book I have had the opportunity to think a long time about how I could have possibly achieved such a feat. How did I, as normal everyday person, achieve such a wonderful thing? What made it possible? I know you will say I did it, that I worked hard and focused and dreamed and wrote a book but it’s more than that. It’s a million little things that add up to having the courage to even pick up a pen and start a story.
It’s coming from a mom who took the time to read to me and took me to the library to get my OWN library card as soon as I could sign my name on the back. It was watching my dad pick through his stack of western books to choose the next one he would read, and paging through the his auto body books in his garage researching the perfect part to make a repair to his GTO. They may have been young, but they were nothing short of amazing to me.
It’s knowing that no one would work as closely with me as my sister Sarah to get just the right phrasing for AMP, and no one would put up with my “creative” ideas with more patience that my brother Ed. It’s having an extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends) who know I am a little odd but love me anyway.
It’s elementary teachers who read to us every day, expanding my vocabulary and piquing my interest. It’s high school teachers who gave me a chance to be in honors English, and classmates who despite my differences (yes I was the chubby girl, the smart girl, the nerdy girl, the band girl,) never treated me like I was anything other than Leslie. It’s for all those people who had to listen to me read my writing because the teachers always called on me and you never made fun of the stuff I wrote about.
For all those little things you did that let me just be me, Thank You!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Marked Past is now on sale!!!

The A Marked Past pre-sale starts today.

Paperback books are available on the A Marked Past website at: A Marked Past Paperback Version  

Kindle versions are available on Amazon.com at: A Marked Past Kindle Version
Nook versions are available on Barnes and Nobel.com at: A Marked Past Nook Version
Happy Reading Everyone!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Marked Past Links to share!!

I have some exciting links to share today!

First the A Marked Past Book trailer is officially up and ready to go! Check it out here: http://vimeo.com/28443440



AND....Recently I was asked to do an interview about A Marked Past and my journey to publication it's here:

The Secret Writer: Guest Post with Author Leslie Deaton: A Journey to the Publication of my First Novel First, I’d like to thank the Secret Writer for giving me an opportunity to share my...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend news

My paperback proof arrived this week!! (Needs some small tweaks but we’re getting close!)

Friday was a half work day for me so I spent my afternoon working on marketing for my book. For all you Nook readers, I signed with Barnes and Nobel to sell the Nook version of A Marked Past on B&N.com starting 1 October. For everyone else, Kindle and Paperback Books will be available 1 October on Amazon.com and www.amarkedpast.com

After a well deserved caffeine buzz and some smoozing (yes I had to drink 4 iced coffees in as many hours) I am proud to say that my book marks are available free in all four local coffee houses within 10 minutes of my house. And I’ve been invited to attend a First Friday at King Street Coffee this winter to do a reading and a book signing (date TBD).
Next I ventured to the local library and was thrilled when they asked for 1000 bookmarks to pass out! They also made my day by asking me to host a teen writing event this Spring. This is something that I would LOVE to do. Those of you who knew me in high school might recall that I always wanted to be a JR High or High School English teacher so spending an evening with a bunch of aspiring teen writers would be a great night for me!
For all my Ohio friends, free book marks will be available at the Stillwater ChainMaille booth at the Renaissance Festival. Say hi to Jeff B. for me and be sure to check out his handy work – it’s really cool!

Keep watching for news, we’re down to just over 30 days till release day!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On the same page

Today was an odd day, sprinkled with unrelated events. First a meeting with the printers to finalize the posters, they should be ready this weekend! Then a dentist appointment, then a series of random meetings, then an earthquake, then the delivery of my book marks. So to recap, good, meh, meh, yikes, and then YEA! Crazy day.
Ever wonder what 2,000 book marks would look like? Me too! And PS they weigh a ton too!
(I guess the earthquake damaged the server becuase this picture was not posted upside down!)





Close up


The book marks will be featured as part of my book giveaway coming up next month on Goodreads. The Giveaway winners will receive a signed copy of A Marked Past with a custom bookmark included.
I’m also working with Amazon and cafĂ© Press to offer special items like signed copies of the book with a bookmark, t-shirts, hoodies, and some other fun stuff. I’ll keep you posted on these items as more details are available. Until then, keep watching the A Marked Past website for the trailer release!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sticking to it

With just about a month and a half to go to release day (October 1st) I have a million little post-its sticking all around me. I even found one stuck to the bottom of my sock this morning reminding me to write this blog.
I’m working with Amazon to finalize the manuscript and cover for my proof copy. This means that they will print a draft paperback copy for me to thumb through and look for any last minute tweaks. They also sent me the draft ebook version this week so I am reading through it on my Kindle and making notes (more post-its).
Next, I’ve agreed to participate in an online interview/guest blog on a book review website. I’ll post details when I know more about when the post will be revealed.
A big thank you to all who joined Goodreads and voted for A Marked Past – I really appreciate it! It’s currently in the lead for the book club read in November and with any luck it will stay there.
I’m working with Amazon to set up a pre order sale starting on or about September 25th. I’ll post a note when it’s set up and live.

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Girls Are Famous!

A fellow dog lover and blogger has posted a short article about my three dachshund girls and how they helped me write A Marked Past. Well, how they slept through it anyway. Take a peek at Mary's Blog

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Vote Vote Vote!

I’ve checked the polls and I’m just a few votes away from A Marked Past being selected for the November book club on goodreads. If you have about 5 minutes to create an account and want to vote, please do! It would be amazing for A Marked Past to be the book club read! Here's the link to vote! Vote!

Next I’m excited to share that I will be ordering my proof copy of the book this week from Amazon. This is draft version that I can look through to double check final things like pagination, cover images, all those last minute things that have to be done before the book can be released. It will also be the first time I will see A Marked Past in true book form. I am so very excited! I’ll post a photo when it arrives.
Tonight is the ebook test as well. I’ll be receiving the file from Amazon to test on my Kindle. With just over 50 days to go, it’s all starting to come together!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two steps closer

Today was a busy book day! I sat down and reviewed the Amazon agreements and signed the legal documents, so we should be good to go with the October launch and maybe even a pre order launch in late September.
I also awoke to a great surprise; I got the final manuscript back from the editor today. Diana did an amazing job catching all of my typos so I now I’ve got to finalize the manuscript for the printers!
Last bit of amazing news for this week is, the video shoot starts in 2 days! We’re working to have that posted in about 2 weeks. Keep watching the A Marked Past website!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eek, great news!

Today I got an email letting me know that A Marked Past has been nominated to be part of the November 2nd Group Read! This is a book club event on GoodReads.com where people vote for a book to read and then review it.
If you’re already part of Goodreads you can request to be part of the Book Haven group and then vote for A Marked Past to be the book we read in November! I’m so excited to be part of the running and hope you will join me in voting for A Marked Past!
Not a member of Goodreads? You can join at http://www.goodreads.com/ then join Book Haven to vote.
So many exciting things are happening right now and there are many more to come!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The A Marked Past Website is live!!

Today is one of those days when all the pieces of this publishing journey are coming together.
The A Marked Past website is officially live and contains a sneak peek of the book just for you. Take a look, mark it as a favorite, share it with your friends, and most importantly, keep checking back.
The A Marked Past book trailer is in the making and will be released next month! Also, keep watching for a free giveaway, and information on pre order sales!
Come check it all out at www.amarkedpast.com

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Marked Past Goes Global

This was another busy week of stretching out my arms to create as much attention as I can for A Marked Past. So, I was very surprised and pleased to receive an email from a book review blogger who is excited about the upcoming release too! AND she’s offered to help me do some marketing! She has a link on her blog A Diary of a Book Addict about A Marked Past and has also posted a page out at GoodReads. In addition to her generous links, she also reached out to her blogger buddies and has them sharing the cover, a new blurb, and the release date with their readers around the world. I can’t thank them enough for sharing in my excitement! Don’t forget, the website will be launched in the next two weeks with a sample chapter so keep checking back for the launch!
Now, just for you, here’s a more detailed blurb for A Marked Past, hope you enjoy it!
Lyla Mercer’s life changed the moment her dad was murdered, and again when she heard that she could be next. Forced to move to Salem for safe keeping, Lyla soon discovers her family has a dark history in the small town, and when a glossy black moon appears on the back of her neck she becomes newest part of that legacy. Her family is marked and being hunted, but Lyla may be the weapon they need to survive. Lyla attempts to ignore the danger, pretending to be ordinary, but whispers and rumors follow her everywhere. She thinks nothing can ever be normal for her again until she meets Caleb, the minister’s son, and the absolute wrong boy to be dating a witch. He’s everything she wants to be, just a normal kid from a normal family. At least that’s what she thinks, but nothing is as it seems in Salem. Caleb has secrets to keep about his family that rival her own. Until recently, Caleb’s step father has managed to keep his true identity and murderous ways a secret, but when Lyla uncovers the truth about him, nobody is safe, especially her.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Busy busy bee

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. I was a busy busy little marketing bee this weekend, trying to make some marketing plans for A Marked Past. The good news is that in addition to the thumbs up for hanging a poster and hosting a book signing at Esoterica; Books a Million has agreed to pass out book marks; and my favorite Chain Mail Maestro said he would pass out stickers at his Renaissance Festival booth in September! If you are a local to the Dayton area go check it out!
I’m working some more angles and waiting to hear back on them. I’ve got a call into the local libraries requesting that they hang a poster and give away book marks and I’m working on an application with Barnes and Noble requesting them to stock A Marked Past online and in the store when it comes out.
Ed is building out a website for me right now that will have a sample chapter on it for you all to read so watch for an announcement because it should be going live in the next two weeks!
These are small steps but I am so very excited to see the pieces coming together. I can’t wait for October 1st!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From One Witch Shop to Another


This week I exchanged messages with the owner and partner of a local witch shop Esoterica. I’m sharing this because I frequented this shop while I was writing A Marked Past. I made excuse after excuse, to go into the heart of town and gaze in the windows of the little shop. I’d peer past the purple drapery wondering what could lie behind that glass, imagining the magic that lived in the large jars and little brown vials. After about 2 weeks of imagining I finally got up enough courage to go inside and wander around. The store was old, but it smelled just right, like incense and musty boxes. The fabrics in the far corner shimmered in the dimly lit lighting, catching my eyes, entrancing me, creating a perfect place for secrets.
Running my finger over the glass case that held the old jewelry I felt a chill crawl over my skin, like these stone had a history all their own. This place was eerie and quiet except for the chatter of the women in it, a tattered sign for fortune teller caught my eye and I felt a smile spread across my face. This was the coolest place ever, and it needed to be part of my story. As I moved through the aisles of herbs, my eyes roamed over tags like dragon’s blood, and dandelion root. And when no one was looking, I lifted the lids and sniffed the strange clippings, considered buying something to take home but didn’t commit.
I’m sharing this because these amazing ladies have invited me to host a book signing at their shop after A Marked Past comes out and of course I said YES!!! Thanks so much to you amazing, magical ladies. I’m looking forward to bringing you some calling cards and a poster to display very soon and to taking in the magic in your shop once again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Creating a Buzz

My world seems to be spinning right now. A Marked Past is with the proofer, book two is still creeping along, the cover art and marketing materials are underway, and my day job seems never ending. As I am driving to work in the morning I start to wonder, am I doing everything I can right now to build interest in A Marked Past?
Am I blogging enough or too much? Should I be gathering addresses and sending out emails, making calls, mailing out letters, passing out cards or book marks to libraries and book stores? Am I driving my Facebook friends crazy?
I’m new to this world so please bear with me as I “mention” my upcoming book A Marked Past every three seconds for the next three months J 
I’ve been reading about self publishing wonders like GP Taylor and Amanda Hocking who went out on their own and are now highly successful authors. So, feel free to tell your all of your friends, to tell all of their friends, and I’ll tell all of mine to check out the book, visit my blog, shoot me an email. I want to hear from you!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The A Marked Past Book Cover is ready!!

I am so proud and excited to reveal the cover for my new book A Marked Past. It’s being released on Amazon in October. More details to come!  


Monday, June 20, 2011

Some news!


I took two weeks off for vacation and finally made some progress toward my upcoming release date for A Marked Past. Over the past few weeks I have been both blissfully unconnected from the web and quietly driving forward, developing my cover art and marketing materials for A Marked Past.
I am very excited to share that Erin Enderle (amazing photographer that she is) has agreed to let me use one of her photos for my cover. It’s dark and moody just like the setting and I hope you love it as much as I do. After getting permission to use the photo I met with Ed Deaton, my art director (and brother) who is now cranking away on a concept for my book trailer and a layout for the cover. We’ll meet later today to talk through the work he’s been doing for me and I hope to have the cover posted in the next week or so.
While in Kentucky I hoped to learn a bit more about different types of magic but to be honest all I found was this…

Instead I learned more about my ability to nearly forget that I had a life outside of that boat and the deep lake water around me. I missed writing but I feel rested, more whole somehow. I sat in the evening air and listened to my parents’ voices carry through the cabin and remembered where I had come and who fueled my creativity in the first place. It was a week of family, good friends, and a much needed break.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Location, destination, expectation



Location, destination, expectation
For those of you who have only known me in a world of consulting, and business suits with college degrees and a fabulous wardrobe, it surprise to you to know, that I come from a vastly different world. It’s smaller in some ways, but better in others; it’s quiet at times, serene to the point of longing for an afternoon nap, but warm and nurturing when you feel the heat of the sun on your neck or the breeze at your shoulder. It’s one of blue collar roots that run deep and keep me grounded, even in the midst of traffic on K Street, or sitting on the beltway after a long morning meeting. Those roots stay with me and feed me inspiration.
In literature, as in life, we are shaped by our experiences, and our characters reflect those moments. They live out the fantasy of the situation, good, bad, or fatal, while we simply watch from afar, remembering or imagining the outcome. When I was writing about Salem it didn’t become authentic until I went there. The feel, the smell, the experience was missing from my words. I’ve always heard write what you know, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to write what I wanted to know, to change who I was, in order to create something amazing on the page. I wanted to feel the chill of the Salem swirling around me as I stood outside the old Town Hall, so I went there and stood in the cold air.
This weekend is no different. Right now I’m interested in learning about root working, and the people who to it for my second book. I want to understand their tie to the ground, the vegetation, and the power that comes from the earth. So, I’ve done my research and this time tomorrow I will be on a boat in Kentucky, floating across a lake toward Cumberland River. And as the peacefulness of the bluegrass state calls to me I’ll be taking in the beauty of the world around me.  Deep in the lush green, watching the sway of the tree, I’ll be channeling my inner Mark Twain, and dreaming up my own Huckleberry Finn. Signing off for a week from the internet...
"We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twai
n
.    

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Science of Superstition

Everyone has a vice, truly everyone, even that mild mannered little old lady at the bus stop with her bible in hand has one, trust me. Some days mine is simple, Gin and a good book, other days it’s more complex; it’s fulfilling that thing that lives inside of me and drives me. It’s the type A personality gene that tugs at me when I am doing something like sitting down to watch tv – it says, ‘you are wasting time, do something constructive and only half watch the show you’ve been dying to see’. In a nutshell, it’s annoying but also pretty effective too. After all, instead of just sitting around watching old episodes of Roswell, I wrote A Marked Past while watching those old shows.
So my obsessive, hyperactive mind has to wonder, what does it mean that every day on my way home for the past two years I’ve seen a red winged black bird sitting on a fence post?
Does he have some deep meaning that I have yet to discover?
Does he live in the tall grass around there?
Is he a messenger from the publishing world telling me to get out there?
Will he still be there in Oct when my book is released?
Any ideas?
Here’s a pic of the little guy

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The New Young Adult: Cross Genre, Multi Layered Storylines

It’s Tuesday and after 10 days abroad I needed a day to myself, to coop from the time change, to not be “on” for a few hours, to just relax and catch up on the publishing world.
Reading through the agent blogs covering the BEA YA Buzz Panel made me giddy with excitement because my works actually fit the hot categories this year. I’ve been pitching my historical fantasy interlaced with magic for the past two years and no one seemed to bite but maybe, just maybe, this is my year. Publishers Weekly says this year is all about combination, multi-layered genres, dystopian futures layered with magic, witchcraft and magic with historical ties, and steampunk with romantic storylines. This has me dancing in my socks because I’ve got 2 witchcraft/historical/mystery manuscripts and one steampunk /adventure in the works. I’ve always heard it’s all about timing and hopefully mine is coming.
Multi genre makes so much sense to me because I don’t think any piece of work is purely one genre. No one writes a mystery without an element of romance, or a fantasy without a tie to historical events; it’s human nature to combine these elements. Jane Austen’s romances would not have been complete without their tie to mystery, Dickens told of misfortune that was tied directly to social demons, and more recently Stephanie Meyer entranced her readers with a fantasy so laden with romance that even I got caught up in it. As an author I think we all live and write in multi-layered, cross genre worlds and I’m so glad to see it becoming a recognized, valued segment of popular fiction.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

7 Hours of Witches

Yesterday I flew back from London and on the plane I took advantage of two things, an economy plus seat and the ticking clock. I figured since I was flying from East to West I would use my extra 5 hours to think about A Marked Past and of course the sequel. I may have mentioned a few hundred times that I am about ¾ of the way through book 2. So in mid flight, armed with my laptop, a bottle of Coca-Cola, and my iTouch I settled in for 7 hours of self induced writing cocoon.
To be honest I think I’m struggling a bit to figure out the closing chapters. So far I’ve written 270 pages and about 85,000 words, but I’m still not sure how it’s going to play out in the end. Will the good girl win or the bad guys? Will my readers shake their heads in relief that the good guys walked away or shake them in defeat? No one wants to write a clichĂ© but will the readers return if their hero is squashed like a bug? I have to think back to JK Rowling’s demise of Dumbledore and how she took that chance and killed our hero, Harry’s hero. I cried for him, literally wept so I believe that sometimes defeat is just as rewarding an experience as winning.
This dilemma haunted me in A Marked Past too and not until I actually wrote the closing chapter did I truly know how the book would end. So there I sat in 27C blinking cursor illuminating the tray table in front of me letting my mind wander as the British man next to me read every word that I typed on the screen. Probably even the words of this blog, he even chuckled at some of the high jinks I was writing so I maybe I’m on the right track after all. I guess we’ll know in 8 months or so when Book 2 is polished and released.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Part time writer, full time obsession: BEA’s NY Book Week

BookExpo America (BEA)’s NY Book Week - BEA - BookExpo America

I'm so jealous to be missing all the fun but alas, this is just one of those weeks when my "real" job must trump my fantasy world.

There’s a Teen Author Carnival going on at the Mulberry Street Library in NY. They’ve got giveaways, panels, Q&A and more with and more than 25 Young Adult authors are onsite to sign their books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not so deluded to think that I would have a line of people awaiting signatures, but I would love to be part of the action. Meeting fellow authors, exchanging experiences, tips, advice, and supporting an event that promotes teen lit is a perfect event for me. I’d love to spend some time with other teen lit enthusiasts and meet some of the new authors on the scene.

That said, I am blogging from my hotel room, wishing I had a bit more time to work on Book 2 while A Marked Past is in review with the proofreader. I suppose, I fancy myself a bit of Halfling, not a hobbit, but instead, a well-dressed consultant with a set of fairy wings etched on her back. If you see my head bowed this week seeming in consideration of a new technical solution, or a system enhancement, and my lips are laced with a crooked smile, my mind might just be wandering beyond the spreadsheets and into to the streets of New York to the Carnival quietly longing to be part of the action.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Ghosts of Salem

It’s funny how when I actually began writing everything just started unfolding in my head, then traveled down from my mind to my hands, then to the keyboard and so on, until I had a draft. The concept was good enough to win over a literary agent, but after reading my manuscript she said something was missing. When she read the descriptions of Salem she felt like I was lacking a personal connection to Salem. So I kicked around her comments, reading every webpage I could find on historic Salem, and still I felt like maybe she was right. If I wanted to bring the world around Lyla to life then I needed a personal connection to the pictures and stories I’d seen online. So I went to Salem.
A year and a half ago I went to Salem with my sister Sarah and roamed through the cobblestone streets of the small town. We walked past all of the historical homes and buildings that I thought I had visited. The cool air wrapped around us and pushed us through the town, slowing when we approached the old cemetery, and stopping altogether when we found the memorial to the fallen “witches”.
Rough cut cold grey stones lined a cobblestoned rectangle, displaying the names of all of the people who were said to be witches and died at the hands of paranoia and fear. History says a young girl pointed the finger at an Irish wash woman rumored to have powers and so began the hangings of the witches of Salem. Their names are etched on the old stone slabs and still linger in the town, whispering their stories on the coastal wind.
She was right, the agent, after I went to Salem my work changed. I could feel the chill in the air when I wrote about the eerie dark streets of Salem after that visit. Lyla’s world had become part of my own.


video

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Own GoodReads

GoodReads
Today I created my own GoodReads page to rate the books I’ve read. It’s actually a lot of fun to flip through the book lists and rate (in stars) the ones that you enjoyed most. Since I’m interested in Young Adult fiction I started listing my faves from Junior High and High School, and of course the recent YA series that I’ve been cruising through for the past two years. There are a lot of good books out there right now.
Take a look, build your own bookshelf page and friend me!
Leslie Deaton Good Reads page

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Making a Book Trailer

I’m currently unraveling the mystery behind the newest marketing tool for authors, the Book Trailer. I saw my first one last summer for a book called Beautiful Creatures by Garcia and Stohl. As my first experience I thought the trailer was amazing, after some critiques from some art peeps I was later informed that it’s meh. J
 Beautiful Creatures
But, I’m not deterred, especially with the help of Ed and Erin. The publishing industry says book trailers are the new preview, and YouTube is our free passport to them. Lots of authors like me, with no film or movie-making experience are using basic applications to create their own masterpieces (i.e., MovieMaker or iMaker). The basic rules are choose a theme, keep it short (30-90 seconds), and entice the reader by sticking to our stories, give the readers a sense of what to expect when they open the cover. And most importantly, include the book cover and release date, website, and story snippets.
I’m working on pulling some plot revealing lines from A Marked Past that will lay out the story line without revealing the entire plot. Author, Amanda Hocking, does this extremely well in her book trailers (Switched, Letters to Elise). Take a look and let me know what you think of these.  I'm going to working with E2 Iover the next month or so and I'll share mine here too! 
Letters to Elise: A Peter Townsend Novella (My Blood Approves)
Here are some other links that I’m using to get ideas and advice:

Friday, May 13, 2011

For the Love of...

I guess I already knew that by choosing ePublishing I was probably going to have to forgo the unbelievably successful and lucrative career status of authors like Stephen King and JK Rowling but I’m ok with it. After all, what I really want is to get my book out there, isn’t it? It’s a delicate balance between value and art, between black and white, a topic I’ve heard my brother spout endlessly about.
Black. As a business woman I find myself reading articles like the Sister’s in Crime blog and tossing around ideas like, what is my price point, how many books to I realistically think I am going to sell, but more importantly, should it matter?
White. Aren’t I considered some kind of artist by nature and therefore I should be above worrying about the bottom line? Does my success have to be measured by the number of copies I sell, or simply by the fact that I am sharing my work with someone besides those of you whom I suckered into reading for me? - (my wonderful little sister and my amazing friends) Yes, this is bribery because I am working on book 2 and will be soliciting your help again.
Black. I’ve delivered the manuscript to my Proofreader Diane and am anxiously awaiting her response (ETA Aug 1) and in the meantime I am diligently working to finish Book2. I’m also waiting for my brother to graduate so he can create me a killer book trailer, and for my favorite photographer to finish up classes and catch up on her missing sleep so I can talk business with her.
White. You see, I’m planning on making her “famous” right along with me in this whole book endeavor. She was one of my first readers, offered me encouragement when I needed it most, and Erin E, if I haven’t mentioned this before, I love your work. Feel better soon.
Black. I’ve done the research and trust me I am not going to be a millionaire anytime soon, but that doesn’t diminish my excitement over the process.
White. But really, how many of you are really going to buy my book?  J

Sisters in Crime: Braving the New World of E-book Pricing, Part 1 of...

Sisters in Crime: Braving the New World of E-book Pricing, Part 1 of...: "By Lori L. Lake Nathan Bransford recently wrote a timely and insightful piece called “99 Cent E-Books and the Tragedy of the Commons” in w..."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Learning About ePublishing

This afternoon I spent some researching a website called GoodReads. This is quite possibly the best website ever for a nerdy writers and avid readers because it brings us all together in one place to enjoy books! You can create your own account and use it to rate books that you’ve read, write reviews, and even register for free book give always. As a new author I will definitely be posting my book on the site in a free give away contest and will also be begging all of you to create an account and write a review for me!

Something else that caught my eye (10 minutes of my time to be exact) was the Trivia section. You can play trivia games based on your favorite books. And yes, I did take the Twilight Quiz. I got an 8 out of 10; and later I’m going to try the Harry Potter ones too. I guess this means when I’m published I’m going to have to create a trivia game for A Marked Past.
I’m reviewing the publishing process to find out where to post, advertise, and sell my book. I’ve been following other self publishers on their blogs and they are all using sites like Smashwords to get their work out there. You should take a look; most of the books are priced at under $5. It’s a great place to get started a self publisher.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Mother's Touch

On Mother’s day I have to take a few seconds to honor my mom; she is a huge reason why I write in the first place. My mom was very young when she had me but she didn’t let that stand in her way of a wonderful, supportive, and loving mom. When I was little I loved to read, and be read to, enter my mom, who read to me night after night, even when I chose the same books over and over again. The Monster At The End of This Book with Grover was my favorite for a while, and I can still remember the suspense she would build up as she flipped each page, growing ever closer to the monster….
She later told me that I made her read that book so often that she hid it under the couch cushion just to get me to pick something else to read. From Grover, to Ramona, to Dear Mr. Henshaw, to the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, to Sweet Valley High, then Christopher Pike, then Dickens, then Hemingway, then Austen, then two English degrees later, none of it would be possible without my mom.  So Mom, this is for you.
In my first drafts of A Marked Past I wrote Leah, Lyla’s Mom, in as a major character, mirroring her after my own mom. I gave her a positive outlook, an outgoing, bubbly personality, and a forgiving heart. Leah was front and center in the action, teaching Lyla about the importance of family, loyalty, and honor; but my literary agent told me she had to go. She advised me that “teens do not want to read about parents, cool or not” so Leah’s role changed; I cut it to one of a static character, removing her from the main storyline, pushing her to the background, but still being careful to keep her as part of the larger story. She may not be part of the everyday action, but she appears when Lyla is at a crossroads and needs to be reminded of what she’s fighting for. Most of our moms are probably in the same situation. They may not star in the everyday drama we call our lives, but they were there in the beginning shaping us in to the people we are today, and even now, they always seem to make an appearance when we need them most.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there, especially mine!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Choosing a Topic

Choosing a Topic

I’ve always known that I wanted to write about magic, but not the kind with a magician and a top hat. I was interested in the kind that came from within, the kind that lived in the hands and hearts of ordinary people. Maybe it was because I always wanted to be magical, or maybe it was because I always thought my grandma was a witch. And, trust me, I mean that in the best way. She was a beautiful, amazing woman with a spirit that just wouldn’t quit.
Always the embodiment of magic to me, her house was filled with mystical pieces mixed in with the usual kitsch. If you looked closely you might find a tiny copper kettle that she never used for creamer, an old wine bottle with a dripping candle that lived in it, and a triangular prism wrapped with a small blue bead hanging from a long chain. These are all things that she gave to me over the years, trinkets to carry with me, to keep me safe. And thankfully, I was never so far away from home that she wasn’t with me in some way. Even now.
When A Marked Past is published, you’ll see little pieces of her in my novel. Her dark hair, fair skin, and bright blue eyes inspired me as a kid so I gave them to Lyla. Her brooding spirit, quiet intelligence, and her undying dedication to family inspired me to write a tale of a suffering family. The Mercer family, like our own, is one who has experienced tremendous loss, one who must overcome their differences to learn to trust one another again, and ultimately one who must find the will and strength to fight to save one another. We may not actually be witches, but my grandma had the power to make each one of us feel like we were the most important thing in the universe when we were with her, and if that’s not magic then I don’t know what is.
Trust me, don't ever turn your back on these two...             


Thursday, May 5, 2011

This is my personal journey through the wild and terrifying world of publishing. Three years ago I sat at a table a friend and answered the question he posed...Why aren't you writing if that's what you want to do? I paused, embarrassed, and said. I guess I'm afraid, and I was. Justin smiled and said it's a blank page, there's nothing scary about that. What do you want to write about, let's map it out. And from that lunch, in a room with a hundred strangers, surrounded by the smell of pizza and French fries we mapped out my first novel. What I learned from this: Sometimes we meet amazing people in mundane settings and they have the power to change our lives.

It's laughable now, how different the story line became, all the changes, advice, and comments I've gotten over the past three years have changed the concept completely. But my lead character Lyla has always been there, evolving with the flow of the story, waiting for three long years to find an audience. In the next few months I hope she will, with the help of some amazing people (both friends and family) I'm working to finally give Lyla Mercer a voice.

I've hired a proofreader, requested some help to create a book trailer, and will be hitting up an amazing photographer for some help on a cover. When it's all done I'm doing it. I'm going to publish my book online. I'm learning everything I can about ePublishing for Kindle, eBook, Nook, iPhone, iPad, and any other format that’s available. I'll keep you posted on my progress and will ask for your input along the way. From blurbs, to covers, to trailers, I'll share it all with you.

Here's the original map, enjoy the chuckle!