Monday, July 25, 2011

The Cover for SIEGE Revealed!!

I'm very excited to share the cover for SIEGE.

 Isn't it amazing?  I really love it.  I feel it goes perfectly with the previous two books.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The SIEGE Revision Letter Has Arrived

plants vs. zombies Pictures, Images and PhotosRevision letters are rather terrifying.  I remember when I received my first one for THE FIRST DAYS from Melissa Singer, my editor at Tor, and I felt a little dizzy.  It wasn't so much overwhelming as it was amazing.  That was the day I truly understood how thorough a big house editor truly is when it comes to edits.  Melissa asked me questions about things I never even thought about.  She focused my attention on details that enhanced the story and the characters. When I finished working on those first revisions on THE FIRST DAYS, I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

When I received the FIGHTING TO SURVIVE revision letter, I was completely overwhelmed.  I had originally chopped the online serial into three books, it was because of the sheer length of the story.  It hadn't occurred to me to try to make the second book a stand alone tome, but this is exactly what I had to do for the Tor version.  Readers had to be able to pick up the second book and enjoy it without reading the first one.  By the time I was done with the revisions, I was very proud of my work on FIGHTING TO SURVIVE. I learned so much and felt very accomplished.

Now the SIEGE revision letter has arrived.  I've been looking forward to this revision letter with great anticipation.  When I originally self-published the three books, I knew the last book was far too big.  I had found a naturally occurring ending with THE FIRST DAYS and FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, but SIEGE ended up being quite big.  I considered chopping it in half, but I couldn't find a place to cut it.  I finally gave up and published it as a massive book.  The fans had loved it online and I was publishing it for them, so I opted to just increase the cover price and not slice it to bits.  I also had no idea how to chop it down.

I have been telling people for months that I fully expect a huge chunk to be ejected from SIEGE.  At least 50, 000 to 70,000 words.  It is a massive book, with a word count of around 160,000. According to my editor, I need to slice around 60, 000. I already knew the revision of FIGHTING TO SURVIVE was going to impact some of the plot points in SIEGE.  Not necessarily changing them, but altering how they played out just a bit.  In my mind, I already knew where I planned to change things.  I also knew the sticky parts where I struggled when originally writing the story and hoped Melissa would give me notes for those sections.  My hope was that when I got the final revision letter, I would have the guidelines I needed to streamline the book and make it more powerful.

After reading the revision letter, I feel I have a solid guide for the revision of SIEGE.  People around me are panicking at the word count reduction, but I'm not.  If I can make SIEGE a sleeker, better book, I'm thrilled to do so.  I know some of the cuts might sting a bit, but it's up to me as a writer to make it work.  I fully believe I'm up for the challenge.

Now to make a book that was never intended to be a novel (but an online serial) into a kick ass novel.

Time to go to work.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Do You Want To Be in a Zombie Short Film?

I got a message from fellow zombie author Rob Fox.  Apparently, a producer is going to be filming a short film of his novel Z DAY IS HERE in Dallas.

Here is the news release:

Z Day is Coming
Audition Notice
Auditions will be held for a feature film based on the book Z Day is Here by Robert Fox.
Auditions will be held Thursday July 14, 2011 from 7:00pm to 10:00pm. Auditions are done by walk-ins. No appointment is required.
Auditions will be held at the Magnolia Lounge in Fair Park located at 1200 S 2nd Ave. Dallas, TX.
Character Breakdown:
Darrel - Caucasian male. Late 20's fanboy with an attitude.
Reggie - African-American male. Mid 30's fun loving former athlete.
Aliza - Caucasian female. Late 30's wife and homemaker.
Mike - Caucasian male. Late 30's husband of Aliza
Please bring headshot and resume and prepare a memorized 1 minute contemporary monologue. May use passage from the book as your monologue.
Filming will take place the week of September 14, 2011. If you have any questions. Also seeking make-up and costume assistants.
Z Day is coming...

If you live in the Dallas area or nearby, you might want to check it out.

Good luck!  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Interview with Amberkatze's Book Blog!

I'm a little under the weather today, but I wanted to give you a heads up on a new interview.  Amber from Amberkateze's Book Blog recently interviewed me about THE FIRST DAYS.  I had a lot of fun answering her questions. We discussed research, music, and the ups and downs of being a writer.

I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Attend the All Day Online Release Party for THE FIRST DAYS!!

Join me July 7, 2011 for the All Day Online Release Party for THE FIRST DAYS hosted by Rachel over at Bitten by Books, the paranormal review site with bite.  I will be guest blogging about THE FIRST DAYS and holding a contest for a $50 Amazon gift card.

Starting tomorrow at 12 noon Central time, I will be answering your questions about THE FIRST DAYS, my writing career, or anything else you may want to know about.  

Bitten By Books requests that you RSVP to enter the contest.  Just follow this link.

I look forward to celebrating the release of THE FIRST DAYS with you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Anxious Thoughts, Tummy aches, and the Reality of Today

I woke up with a nervous stomach ache today, crawled out of bed, checked my phone messages and trudged downstairs to ponder eating a meal.  My stomach was not happy with me, so I put it off, got on my computer, and checked my emails.

I saw that my post was up on Angie Fox's blog and that fans were already snagging copies of the book.  I glanced at, read a short email from my Tor editor, and pondered why I wasn't bouncing off the walls.

It took me most of the day to realize why I wasn't jumping for joy or careening through the house like a manic whooping it up.

This is it.  It's all official now.  THE FIRST DAYS is on book shelves with a tiny Tor logo on its spine and at some point later this year I will receive my first royalty statement from Tor.  I'm in the big leagues now.

With that status comes responsibility, not only to myself, but to Tor.  I want this book to do well not just for me, but the publishing house that believes in me.

As more comments came in from fans today, I realized another reason why I've been strangely subdued.  I want my old school fans to be happy with this new version.  I really want them to love it.  I've had quite a few complain that they felt I didn't need to revise the books.  That they were perfect as is (which I know isn't true) and that they were afraid of the revisions.  When at last I began to have positive feedback from the fans, I felt my anxious mood began to dissipate.

This evening some friends took me to dinner and we had a very nice meal.  As we were discussing my journey (they have been there since day one), they reminded me of all the reasons why I love writing, self-publishing, going with Tor, my fans, and even reviews.

I love telling stories for my fans to enjoy.

Yes, now my book is on the shelf and I do want the book to sell well for Tor's sake.  Hell, I want it to sell well to garner attention so the producer with the option to make it into a TV show can sell it to a network.  But at the core of my soul, I write because I love sharing the stories in my head with the people who will enjoy it.  That was why I originally self-published and why I signed with Tor.

Once I regained my perspective, my anxiety lifted.

Tonight I'm at peace and smiling.  I'm happy.  I know that this amazing journey I am on is only just truly beginning and it has been fabulous so far.

Guest Blog Up at Something Wicked!

New York Times Bestseller, Angie Fox, is a pretty cool chick.  She writes about a demon slayer, griffins, biker granny witches, and an adorable Jack Russell Terrier with his own pet dragon.  I stumbled across Angie's books when the first in her demon slayer series was a free Kindle download last year.  I had been reading some pretty heavy books up to this point and wanted to read something lighter.  

I ended up laughing out loud more than once when reading the first book and promptly bought all the rest  of the books in the series that were available.  I loved the sense of humor and the fun that was in the magic system Angie created.  I was also impressed when the story darkened and became quite frightening a few times.   The demon slayer series was a fun read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  It reminded me of two of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed.

On a whim, I friended Angie Fox on facebook and she responded to a post I made about the last novel in her demon slayer series.  Due to complications with her publisher, she regained the rights to her best selling series and self-published them.  We ended up chatting back and forth and she was kind enough to send me a t-shirt supporting her series with the awesome tagline "Kiss My Asphalt!"

She was also kind enough to ask me to write a guest post for the release day for THE FIRST DAYS for a blog she shares with several other authors called Something Wicked.  After a girly squeal of delight, I said yes!

The guest blog post is now up at Something Wicked.  Please check it out.

And if you're a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, check out Angie Fox's demon slayer series.  It really is a lot of fun.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Interview with is Up For Your Reading Pleasure

I hope everyone is having a great Fourth of July. I'm spending it with my hubby sipping margaritas and watching True Blood.

Meanwhile, I thought I would share a brand new interview I did with  They recently gave THE FIRST DAYS a great review.

Click here to read the interview.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Win An Autographed Copy of THE FIRST DAYS at the vvb32 Blog!!

If you would like to win an autographed copy of THE FIRST DAYS, hop over to vvb32 and enter the contest!  Velvet of vvb32 is going to be posting her review of the novel in the next few days as well as celebrating the re-release of THE FIRST DAYS.

Later this month, a special short story that I am writing just for vvb32 will be appearing on her blog featuring one of the favorite characters from the ATWD world.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!! And Something Special For All the ATWD Fans!!!

I pray and hope that everyone who visits this blog is having a wonderful weekend!  For everyone in the good ol' USA, keep it safe while you're having fun.  Yes, that means watch out for zombies.  Vigilance is the key!

I thought I would share something that is pretty freakin' awesome before I start cooking burgers and mixing margaritas.

This fabulous sketch is the work of Philip R. Rogers.  He is doing the cover artwork for the AS THE WORLD DIES: UNTOLD TALES VOL 1.

Original artwork by Philip R. Rogers
If you read the rough draft of the ATWD novella Eric's Story when it was online, I'm sure you instantly recognized the scene in the sketch.  I am presently revising that story and a few others before I send them off to editor, Felicia Tiller-Sullivan.

When I saw the three sketches Philip sent over for me to consider for the cover, my heart just leaped with happiness.  I am so happy to finally give this novella its due and get it out to a wider audience.

Frankly, the last week has been really wonderful.  THE FIRST DAYS is hitting the shelves, the artwork for the new book came in, and I got a really awesome invitation to teach a workshop on self publishing.  I have to say I'm liking this full-time writer gig.

Have a safe and fun Fourth of July weekend!!

And remember, July 5th is the drop date of THE FIRST DAYS.  YAY!

To order the book, follow this link.

Friday, July 1, 2011

THE FIRST DAYS on the Shelves at Barnes & Noble!!

This afternoon I stopped by Barnes & Noble on a lark and my friend found THE FIRST DAYS among the shelves of new releases.

THE FIRST DAYS makes its official appearance in Austin, TX
It was extremely exciting to see my novel on the shelves.  I quickly snapped a photo and sent it to my mom.  I introduced myself at the information desk and explained that I'm a local author with a book on the new release shelf.  They asked me to sign the books and gave me a Sharpie.  I quickly signed all of books and watched as the store employee began to label the covers with little stickers indicating they were signed by the author.

I left in a cloud of happiness and nervousness

This is it!  The culmination of years of  long writing marathons, tears, and lots and lots of day dreaming.  My first novel is now on the shelves of a major book retailer.  After years of dreaming about this moment, I have to admit it has yet to sink in fully.

I spoke to my mom on the way home and she was weeping with happiness.  "How long have we dreamed of this?"  she asked me.

The honest answer is all my life.

I want to thank all my fans for their constant support.  You helped to get me to this point, but I also have a special favor to ask of you.  Please spread the Jenni & Katie love to everyone you know.  If this series sells well, it will allow me to keep the monster lovin' coming your way.

And thank you again for all you do!!

Edited to add:

THE FIRST DAYS in Pasadena, CA

It's starting to pop up everywhere!