March 21, 2015

YA Spring Fling interview with author Cady Vance

The YA Spring Fling giveaway started yesterday! Remember to enter for a chance to win from over 100 ebooks and other prizes!

Before you do, let's hear from Cady Vance, one of the authors whose books you can win.

Tell us more about your books.

Never Sleep is a YA science fiction story set in New York City. The protagonist, Thora Green, suffers from chronic months-long insomnia, and she's heard a rumor of a secret haven with a cure called the Insomniac Cafe, hidden in the streets of Manhattan. So, she takes off to follow the clues in an overnight epic adventure.

Bone Dry is a YA paranormal about a con artist shaman who tricks her classmates into being haunted. But, of course, real spirits start showing up in town, leaving behind a trail of bodies, and Holly has to get to the bottom of things before more people die. There's also a swoony comic book nerd named Nathan Whitman who helps her out.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee all the way. Lots of it, all day every day. Along with chocolate. Best combination ever!

Plotter or Pantser?
A bit of both. I need to know where I'm going and the major steps along the way, so I write out an outline before I start working on the story. But I like to leave some room for surprises, because my mind always comes up with cool ideas as I'm typing out all the words.

Are there any books involved in the YA Spring Fling that you’re secretly lusting after?
I've been eyeing Bound in Blue for awhile, and I have The Witching Elm by C.N. Crawford on my Kindle. Can't wait to dive into that!

What are your top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse?
You need a weapon, obviously. I think a crossbow is your best option. It gives you the distance you need, but it's not loud like a shotgun (which, as we all know, gets the zombies coming). Also, it's very important to get to a secluded location. I'd head straight for a ship and make sure I had the supplies for fishing. I'm a vegetarian, but when the zombie apocalypse comes, I'll have to survive on sea creatures.

Where can readers find your books?
You can check out my website at to see all of my books and upcoming releases!

March 14, 2015

YA Spring Fling Giveaway

I'm excited to announce that two of my books, Gifted and Keep Your Enemies Close, are part of the YA Spring Fling Giveaway! There are over 100 books up for grabs, along with other cool swag. I know that there are quite a few books in the giveaway that I'm personally itching to read.

The giveaway runs from March 20 to April 3. If you want to receive updates, you can sign up for the mailing list at Anyone who signs up before the 20th is guaranteed to receive at least one e-book!

March 7, 2015

Search (The Driver Series #3) release announcement

I'm happy to announce the release of the third story in the Driver Series, Search!

It’s been a month since Claire returned from her last run. One day, the mayor reveals shocking new information about the Outsiders that goes against what she has believed her entire life. He also tasks her with a mission that will take her into the heart of Outsider territory.

At first, Claire’s Protector, Shaun, is reluctant to accompany her, but he later relents, because what is as important to him as the mission is the answer to a personal question that has tugged at his soul for seven years. A question that the Outsiders can answer.

You can pre-order Search for 99 cents by using this link to Amazon. The book will also be available at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and iTunes in the coming weeks.
    Haven't read the first two books in the series yet? Don't worry, you can pick up Drive for FREE and Protect for just 99 cents!



    February 28, 2015

    Book Review: Dust by Hugh Howey

    Buy from Amazon
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    Description (from Goodreads):
    In a time when secrets and lies were the foundations of life, someone has discovered the truth. And they are going to tell.

    Jules knows what her predecessors created. She knows they are the reason life has to be lived in this way.

    And she won't stand for it.

    But Jules no longer has supporters. And there is far more to fear than the toxic world beyond her walls.

    A poison is growing from within Silo 18.

    One that cannot be stopped.

    Unless Silo 1 step in

    Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

    February 21, 2015

    Too many ideas, not enough time

    I might have mentioned in previous blog posts that I keep a notebook of story ideas. Whenever I come up with an idea that I think would make a great story, I jot it down in the notebook. It's usually just a couple of sentences to a paragraph. I have so many ideas now that I could easily spend the next decade writing them! Yet new ideas come up every week.

    What's a writer to do when there are so many shiny, new ideas beckoning? Especially when motivation for the current project that I'm working on has waned, and any distraction is welcome? Here's what I do, with varying degrees of success.

    1. Finish the current project: As tempting as it is to take a break from the manuscript I'm working on to start a new story that seems better at the time, I force myself to finish the current story or at least set a deadline when it has to be done. I use the prospect of working on the new idea as an incentive for me to finish the current one. The other reason why it's important for me to stay the course is that a story doesn't count for anything unless it's done. An author could have half-written manuscripts for ten stories that are great, but until they're done and published, readers won't know about them.
    2. Set aside the new idea for it to age: Sometimes a story idea gets better with time, and sometimes it spoils if left alone. I can't count the number of times when I thought an idea was The Next Great Thing (TM) when I first had it, but when I revisited it months (or years) later, it sounded lame. The opposite can happen too. I've had ideas that I thought were just OK, but upon later inspection, I discovered that it held much more potential than I previously imagined.
    3. Incorporate an idea into the current story: It's happened before where I was flipping through my notebook of ideas while working on a story, and an idea for another story sounded like it could make a good subplot for my current WIP or trigger a similar idea that I could incorporate.
    Do you have more ideas than you know what to do with? How do you handle them?

    February 14, 2015

    What I plan to copy from Joe Konrath

    Joe Konrath is sort of a legend in indie publishing circles. He's sold a boatload of books since he severed his traditional publishing ties and decided to publish his books himself. Not only is he successful, but he's also an evangelist for the indie publishing industry. His posts on last year's Amazon vs. Hatchette controversy, for example, were often referenced by others covering the story. His earlier posts are part of what inspired me to become an indie writer.

    Of all the things that Konrath has accomplished, there is one that I plan to follow in the footsteps of. Note that I said "plan", not "hope" or "want." I hope to be as successful as him one day, and I want to make millions of dollars selling books like he does. However, that level of success is beyond my control. Even Konrath will tell you that luck played as much of a role in his success as skill did.

    What I plan to copy from him is summarized in this screen shot from his site:

    See those books? That's not even all of the ones he's written because that widget scrolls to reveal more! That's a lot of books!

    How many books have I published? Well, you can see them all on the side bar on the right-hand side of this page. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Konrath has been doing this for a lot longer than I have, but his catalog is still impressive. It just reminds me that I need to keep on writing in order to stay in this business and to increase the chances that luck will eventually come my way. Check back in ten years or so to see how far I've gotten in my plan to publish as many books as Konrath has.

    February 7, 2015

    It's the best of times and worst of times to be an indie author

    I know the title sounds contradictory, but it's true (and similar wording worked for Charles Dickens). If you're an indie author or aspire to be one, then congratulations! Also, my condolences.

    Why is now the worst of times to be an indie author? I wrote this post because for the first time since I started indie publishing my books, authors who used to make a good living wage from their books are reporting depressing sales. Some are so discouraged that they're calling it quits. I know it's happened to me. My sales fell off a cliff last summer, and although they recovered somewhat over the holidays, they're back down to the levels they were at last summer and fall. This is after releasing two new novels and a short story in 2014! Some blame the introduction of Kindle Unlimited for their woes, but I think the causes of the slump go way beyond KU. Publishing is getting more competitive than ever. Thousands of authors with millions of books have entered the market in the last four years. Additionally, traditional publishers are starting to catch on and offering e-books at lower prices. I believe that reader demand is growing, but not at the pace of supply. It's natural for all the titles available on retailer sites to drown out any individual author or book. Gone are the days of publishing a book, discounting it, and seeing a surge in sales. (Actually, I've never seen this myself, but I've heard it happen to other authors in the 2010 to 2012 time frame.) Unless you already have a fan base, it's going to be harder than ever for new readers to find you.

     So what makes this the best of times to be an indie author? For one thing, the trend is still moving upwards for indies as a whole. The latest Author Earnings Report shows that a third of all e-books sold on Amazon are indie published and indie authors earned 40% of all dollars earned by authors on e-books!

    For me, the more important reasons why it's great to be an indie author now are freedom and control. Authors have the freedom to write the book they want to write, and they have more control than ever over the publishing process. No longer do we have to send out manuscripts and wait months for an agent or editor to reply. Under the traditional publishing system, if you were one of the lucky ones to get accepted, you'd still need to wait another year or two before your book saw the light of day, and you'd have little or no control over the appearance of the final product, including the cover and the jacket blurb. Nowadays, it's easy to publish your book and see it available at a wide variety of retailers as soon as its ready.

    Amazon is still the gorilla of the industry, but Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Google have all become viable channels for authors to make a living. Newcomers like Kobo and Scribd are also becoming popular among readers. A cottage industry has also sprung up to support indie authors. There are dozens of places to go now to find cover designers, editors, and advice. The biggest difference between now and two years ago is that a smaller percentage of authors will see financial success. Those who jumped in with the hopes of getting rich quick will be disappointed, but those who became indie authors because they love to write will be able to take advantage of everything that's available to them today.

    What about slowing sales that are leading some authors to give up? That's typical after a gold rush. After an unsustainable increase in participants, many are getting weeded out, and a new generation of winners will emerge. A recent example from the high tech industry was the dot-com bubble and collapse between 2000 and 2003. I remember it vividly because I worked in Silicon Valley at the time. A sudden rise in all things related to the Internet created a glut of companies that were only interested in getting rich quick and had no business existing. (Anyone remember Webvan or the sock puppet?) Although many dot-coms went away, some strong ones survived (e.g., Yahoo, eBay), others thrived (Google, Amazon), and new ones emerged (Facebook, Twitter). I think the same will happen with indie publishing. I don't know if I'll be an eBay or a Google or something else, but I still love to write and I still have lots of stories to tell, so I plan to weather the storm to see what's on the other side.