December 27, 2014

What I read in 2014

For the second year in a row, I read at least 100 books! Having never read that many books in a year until last year, this is a big deal to me. However, I'm not going to promise to read 100 books again in 2015. :-)

The ratings for the books I read this year broke down as follows:
  • 5 stars - 29 books
  • 4 stars - 45 books
  • 3 stars - 27 books
  • 2 stars - 1 book
This comes out to an average rating of exactly 4.0 stars per book read in 2013.

Of the 102 books that I read, 43 were indie published. While that wasn't as many as in 2013, I'm still happy with the number of indie books I read. More often than ever, I couldn't tell if a book was indie published by looking at it or reading it. In 2015, I expect the lines between traditionally published and indie published books to blur even more.

In case you're interested, the ratings for the indie books were:
  • 5 stars - 9 books
  • 4 stars - 23 books
  • 3 stars - 11 books
There are three indie authors who I want to give a shout out to because they've all written 5-star books that I read this year and I think everyone (especially those who are hesitating to read indie published books) should check them out.

  • Kate Avery Ellison - I started reading The Frost Chronicles this year and loved the series. As a result, I'm going to try reading all of her other books!
  • Katie French - I've raved about her Breeders series before. The novels are among the best YA dystopian books I've read.
  • M.A. George - Perhaps best known for her Proximity series, it was her latest novel, Aqua, that turned me into a big fan. I recommend trying both!

Next week, I'll list my top ten favorite books read in 2014. Stay tuned!

December 20, 2014

99 Cent Holiday Sale

The Christmas holiday season is my favorite time of year, and to celebrate it, I'm letting all of you readers buy my books for 99 cents or less on Amazon! That's right. Every one of my books will be on sale for 99 cents or free on Amazon from now until the new year!

99 CENTS (novels):

George and the
Galactic Games
In the Hands of
New Eden

Keep Your
Enemies Close

FREE (short story):

FREE (short story anthologies):
Through a
Tangled Wood
Celestial Stories on the Go

Happy holidays!

December 13, 2014

The Benders and an interview with Katie French

I read the first book of Katie French's The Breeders series in early 2013 and it became one of my favorites of the year. Then I read book 2 in January of 2014 and loved it as well. I'm excited to announce that the third book in the series, The Benders, is now available on Amazon! Katie has also graciously agreed to participate in an interview that you can find below.

The third book in the award-winning, best-selling dystopian series.

They’ve escaped the Breeders.

They’ve broken out of the Citadel.

Now, after all they’ve been through, Riley, Clay, and Ethan know one thing for sure: nothing tastes sweeter than freedom. And no one can rest easy with Auntie Bell in bondage. The group journeys home to rescue her and liberate Clay’s town from the cruel Warden. But when an ally betrays them, they must face the very enemy they’ve been trying to avoid.

Captured and separated, Riley is sold to a slave-owner who uses human beings for sport, while Clay and Ethan become the latest in a series of lab rats to be poked and prodded. As a slave, Riley conceals her identity to survive among the other benders, but it’s only a matter of time before a dangerous job takes her life. Clay and Ethan find themselves a war zone between a madwoman and marauders. And the odds don’t look good. 

You can buy a copy of The Benders on Amazon.

December 6, 2014

What I learned from NaNoWriMo

I finally participated in NaNoWriMo this year! It was quite an experience trying to write at least 50,000 words over the course of 30 days. To my amazement, I actually reached the 50K word count goal! However, it wasn't pretty, but NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality, right? So what did I learn from the experience?

It IS possible to write 50,000 words in a month.
I may have been selling myself short, but I honestly didn't plan on reaching the goal. Initially, I intended to just give it my best shot, and if I wrote 25,000 words by the end of November, that would have been twice as many words as I normally wrote in a month. Yet, as each day went by and I managed to stay close to the 1,667 words/day pace, it drove me to keep going at it. In the end, I wrote 50,043 words! The resulting manuscript wasn't pretty, but I proved to myself that I was capable of reaching that level of output if necessary.

I can't stop editing while I write.
I've often heard authors write quick first drafts because they don't filter their words. I've never been able to do that. Even with a first draft, I'll sit there and think of the best way to write a sentence or to craft a scene. With NaNoWriMo, I got better at just letting myself write. I had no choice because I didn't have time to edit as I wrote. The end result, however, was a manuscript that left me feeling very uneasy due to the quality of the first draft. I plan to go back to my edit-as-I-write style of first drafts as soon as I start penning my next book.

My NaNoWriMo manuscript sucks.
This is a natural outcome of having to write whatever comes to mind in order to reach the word count goal. Everything after the second week was pretty horrible and I knew it as I was writing it. I'm going to dread going back through and revising this manuscript. My guess is that I'll be spending the next several weeks, if not months, doing so.

Some preparation beforehand helps.
I went into NaNoWriMo having already done some research on the topic I was writing about. I also wrote an outline of the story's plot. This really helped because I didn't have to spend extra time asking myself "What comes next?" whenever I sat down to write.

I like writing a first draft with pen and paper better than on a computer.
With every novel I've written, the first draft was done with paper and pen. Then, I typed the whole manuscript into the computer, revising it along the way. With NaNoWriMo, I didn't have time to write and then type it again, so I wrote the first draft in MS Word. I prefer my old method because I find it easier to change things around on paper by drawing arrows, crossing things out, and writing in the margins. I can do the latter online as well, but it's just not the same to me. Also, it's more painful to carry my laptop everywhere than it is to carry a spiral notebook.

I'm glad it's over.
I had a great experience with NaNoWriMo. I was able to try new things that I hadn't before. However, I'm glad that it's over, and I can go back to how I wrote before. After all, one of the reasons why I chose the indie publishing route is that there aren't any external deadlines to meet. I can write at the pace I choose to. Will I participate in NaNoWriMo again? There's a fifty-fifty chance that I will. I like stretching myself occasionally to see what I can do. But I'm looking forward to eleven more months without the pressure to write 50,000 words a month.