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  • Saturday, May 3, 2014
  • Andrea
  • Whew! What a crazy past couple of months. I was right in the middle of updating my facebook page when I realized I had more to say than the status update would probably allow me to write. It's been a while since I've been on the computer long enough to write, much less update anything! Sometimes think I need a secretary to manage my facebook page because I'm hardly on there anymore. Hopefully I'll have enough time to finish this post before a child wakes up. ;) 

    In short, my little family and I have changed jobs twice, boxed everything up and moved, had two birthdays (mine and my daughters), and added eight chickens to the family (as if I wasn't busy enough before!). It's been a crazy couple of months, like I said, but it has been fun.

    I want to take just a moment and update everyone on the progress of book two in The Tabitha Hale Saga. I keep going back and changing things. This is a bad habit I've gotten into...some also call it being a perfectionist. I want it to be 100% perfect before I put it out there. I wanted to have it out a month ago, but I'm not satisfied with it yet. I've actually gotten pen and paper out and drawn a sort of timeline starting with the end of the series and working my way backwards so that I know exactly where I'm going with things. The more I go through all of the details (and there are a LOT of details to keep straight!) the more I remember something my grandfather always told my father when he was writing sermons: K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. It's interesting the things I think of while writing, but I have weeded out a lot of 'non important' details in the last couple days in an effort to keep things clear and concise. I don't want my readers to be bored with so many details that they are sitting there thinking, 'What was the point of this again?' At the same time, I don't want to have a lack of information and everyone wondering how I got from point a to point b. The battle between the two is... frustrating.

    I'm going to try to make a point of getting on here more and blogging (when I have those brief two moments to myself). Not all my posts will be about the book and I'm going to attempt to *gasp* make things a little more personal. That's odd for me coming through the internet to God only knows who is reading this, but I'm going to try. Let's start with this one:

    Hi, I'm Andrea and I have a book addiction. Over the last two and a half days we have been sick and I had someone insist that I read a new six book series. *heavy sigh* Just so you know, every time someone does that I end up getting hooked. When I say hooked I mean you don't see or hear from me until I'm finished with it. I try so hard not to read anything while I'm in the process of writing because I want to focus on the task at hand. Two and a half days and six books later, I'm finally coming up for air. Be careful what you do with this next information because you will lose days of your life. You've been warned. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. You're welcome.


    A New Chapter

  • Tuesday, January 28, 2014
  • Andrea
  • Well, I did it. Yesterday I began sending out query letters to a fresh batch of agents for the first time since Pauline died.

    If you have no idea what a query letter is, it's basically like sending out your resume to prospective employers. I have a couple of databases I search through that contain agent's names. I go through and click on each name and carefully read what each person requires in their query letter, what books they represent/enjoy reading, and their bios. Every person is different in what they require which makes it time consuming to go through them all and change my letter to their preferences. When reading through it all, I carefully consider if that person will not only be a good match for promoting my book, but also a good match in promoting me. I try to make sure we have similar interests, beliefs, and goals.

     It took me ten months to finally feel it was time to start over again. Interestingly enough, I feel really good about 'moving on'. I'm thankful for the time, however brief it was, that Pauline was in my life. She was such an influential part in helping me decide to self publish. Her firm belief in my series and wonderful encouragement to keep going no matter what happens is such a precious reminder to me as I push through the 'query process' all over again.

    It's exciting to wake up each morning and check my email even if the agent is not interested in my work. Each 'no' I receive only means that I didn't find the match. If there's anything I've learned through the last agent search I went through it's that the right person will come along at exactly the right time and no sooner.

    As wonderful and influential as Pauline was, I'm greatly looking forward to meeting the person that I will not only work with, but become friends with.


    To all self-published authors: I salute you.

  • Monday, December 2, 2013
  • Andrea

  • Let me just say that I have a new found respect for self published authors and even agents with the massive work load that they must have. Good grief, it's some serious work! Not having been through the process before now, I had always wondered why book prices were so high. I never took into account how much it cost to actually print the book, ship it to the author, then ship it to the buyer (none of that even includes what the author would make on the book). There is sooo much that goes into it! I won't even go into formatting for each book. The eBook version is way different than the print version. It's not stressful at all. :x

    I also feel for new authors who have no idea what to do with their book covers or have no one to edit their books. Fun fact #1: The cover of A Perception of Dreams is my mother's photo. Fun fact #2: My father is my editor. I have spent countless hours on the phone with both of them going over all the little details. They are such a huge part of my having the courage to put my writing into print. I've dabbled in a lot of random creative things, but had never found my niche until it came to writing. I had a lot of fun playing with Photoshop to get my book cover just right though. It only took a few days or a week (my mind is so shot that I can't remember exactly...or I blocked the trauma out) and many tutorial's online, but I figured it out ;) 

    Just so all my bases are covered, I want to make sure and re-post what I put on facebook this morning. If you aren't following me on FaceBook or Twitter, go check those pages out. There are way more updates on there than there are on here.


    Amazon will be offering A Perception of Dreams (eBook version) for only .99 (86% off!) on 12/3. The price will increase by a dollar every 32 hours until it goes back to its normal price of $6.99 on 12/10. Share with your friends!

    In other news: The VERY FIRST paperback copy should be on my doorstep in the next couple days!! For those of you planning to order a copy, I need to know how many books you are wanting to order ASAP so that I can order enough in bulk ahead of time for them to arrive on your doorsteps before Christmas. The list price is $12.99 per book not including shipping. Shipping is a flat rate of $4 for media mail. I'm working on setting up a paypal option on my website. Until then, comment below and let me know who is wanting what so that I can get an idea =) Thanks everyone ♥


    A Writer's First Rules

  • Saturday, November 30, 2013
  • Andrea
  • Goooodness. I decided on a whim to crack open a book and enjoy a bit of reading. I needed a break from writing to focus on something else for a while. I typically have a very strict 'do not read while writing' rule. I don't want to allow anything else to distract me from where I am with my own story.

    When I pick up a book I become immediately wrapped up in it, so much so that I literally tune out the entire world and focus on engulfing the book. If it's a really good book I won't answer my phone, I become non-existent online, and you're lucky to get me to take a break long enough to make food. Now that I think about it, it's a really great dieting idea. ;)

    On Thanksgiving, I opened said book and, since a new one had just come out, I caught up on the previous two. Ok, folks. If you're an author or enjoy writing even the tiniest bit then this part is for you. Here is my number one rule: Don't make your readers mad. If you, even once, break this rule without having an exceptionally awesome reason for it and an even better idea to pull your readers back into being infatuated with your story then you've completely botched your writing career. From that point, the point that your reader hates you, they won't read anything else you've written because you've lost their trust. Then it's pretty much game over.

    When I'm writing, I try really hard to remember what I want out of an author or out of a book that I read. Would I like a happy ending where everything is pink rainbows and butterflies? Yeah, I would. I'm a sappy, hopeless romantic when it comes to 'happily-ever-afters'. I want the main guy to be the protector of the main girl and I want both of them to overcome whatever it is that is keeping them apart, conquer the world, and be insanely happy at the end of the book. Is that really too much to ask? Yes, it is.

    Let's face it: life isn't always pretty. Life will throw curve balls at you, people will die- people you have come to depend on and love deeply, things will never go quite the way you had planned that they would, and even though each and every one of us want that 'perfect ending' every day, we need to face that it won't always happen. This is my favorite part though. Life causes us to grow. Life is what shapes us into the people we are and the people we are going to be. Those trials that we all hate are the ones we look back on later in life and say, "I really hate that it had to happen like that ... but if it hadn't happened then I wouldn't be the person that I am now."

    Sooo ... When I'm writing, I try to remember that. I know that life can suck, but I also know that it can be absolutely beautiful. I try to add a splash of realism with a heavy dose of "It'll all work out so let's all just be freakin' happy." I also try to remember that, if I don't like it when an author kills off a beloved main character then brings the character miraculously back in the next book then makes the character a horribly nasty person then takes the character back to the amazingly good person he originally was, then I don't want to write like that. I don't want to force my readers to sit through it if I'm not willing to sit through it. If your reader is skimming and flipping the pages wondering when the author is going to get to the point and stop dumping on the characters, buckle up. The book should be so good that you can't miss even a word.

    The writer's first rules should be the following, 1) Don't make your reader mad. 2) Keep the main thing the main thing. If you have a goal for the book, tattoo it on your arm (or something possibly not so permanent) so that you never forget, through all the side stories, where you are heading. Don't lose sight of your focus or ever make your readers wonder 'What was the point of this again?" 3) Develop your characters. Don't leave them to be the same whiny brat they were when the book started for three entire books before you decide to make them grow up. That leads back to rule #1.


    Let Them Be Little

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2013
  • Andrea
  • I really enjoy Halloween. I have fond memories of watching scary movies with my brother and dressing up in cool costumes pretending to be someone else for a day. One year I was even a witch ((gasp)) because I thought it would be so cool to fly and wear a pretty, sparkly hat. I loved pretending to be someone else and knocking on a stranger's door knowing that one day a year everyone had their doors open to greet each other. Essentially, we were all playing one giant game together- until the porch lights went off. That was the universal sign that we were done playing. (A sign I'm certain people don't remember.)

    This year I'm bummed though. I look around me at terrifying or provocative  'children's costumes'. I see sugary, crap food everywhere that society has been trained to think of as 'normal' for a child to consume. Each and every single one of the ingredients in any candy bar contains high fructose corn syrup. (Go research what that is, what it does to your body, and then you'll understand why I am bothered by giving this to my children.) 

    I have the desire to take my children trick-or-treating because I want them to experience what I experienced at their age. I want them to look back and remember the times we spent together doing things as a family. I want them to be able to hold out their bag and get excited by what is inside at the end of the night, but it is not worth it to risk their health or their lives just to get candy which we all know they would be devastated to receive and not be able to consume.

    Then there is the other reason I'm bummed. The 'fun-suckers' come out. I see social networking sites explode with negative and purposefully nasty, judgmental comments directed at those who 'partake' in Halloween. I still fail to understand how people who claim to have a desire to show Christ can sit around the same table and make such purposely hurtful statements based on no facts to back them up. When it comes right down to it, my reason for 'celebrating' Halloween may be completely different than the couple down the street. Is it true that there are those who 'worship' this 'holiday'? Yes, it is, but to lump everyone into the same basket isn't fair or accurate. We are all different. We have different backgrounds, different beliefs, different reasons for why we do the things we do. The thing that constantly surprises me is adults' desire to turn a child's imagination into more than what it is. 

    I've said this many times, but it's worth saying again. If something is a stumbling block for you-- Stay away from it!!!! Good for you for recognizing a problem in your life and not having a desire to be around it. I sincerely applaud you and am genuinely happy that you are trying to do the right thing by you. But we have got to stop getting so angry and upset at others for doing things that we stumble over. Your situation is not the same as theirs, it's a matter of opinion rather than a matter of salvation, and you have no idea where someone else is at in their journey to criticize something they choose to do. Live your life, tend to your own garden, and let them live theirs. At the very least, be polite when having a disagreement. Not everyone has to think the same way or do the same things, contrary to popular belief. If you're reading this and are completely anti-Halloween... That's ok! I completely respect you and the decision you have made about what you feel is best for your family.

    For me, Halloween wasn't about sitting around in a dark room speaking in unintelligible languages to the dark forces that be. It was about playing dress up and using my imagination to fly or put out a pretend fire like a fire fighter. As an adult, it's about reliving my childhood and seeing a smile light up my son's face as he uses his imagination. Now, to me, it's more of a tribute to fall and a reason to do something we wouldn't normally do. (Plus, I don't think i'll ever grow tired of playing dress up.)

    Let me tell you something that happened a couple days ago. As my husband and I walked our children through Aldi, my son saw all the costumes on the shelf. I asked my husband if he wanted to 'do Halloween this year' but he didn't care one way or another. As we had our own conversation, my three year old points up at one of the costumes and says, 'Mamma, I wanna be buzz lightyear!!!' Seeing his face light up with the uncontainable joy only three year olds possess, we picked through the costumes to find his size and handed him the package. Anyone with a three year old knows what came next... 'Mommy, open it!' followed by daddy saying, 'We have to pay for it first, then you can put it on at home.'

    Fast forward to the very moment we crossed the threshold of our home. Little squeals pierce my eardrum as my toddler begs his daddy to 'Open Buzz!' While my husband unwrapped the millions of layers of packaging with a Swiss Army knife and a crowbar, my son was readily disrobing with the door half open to the world. Eyes still blazing with excitement, my son begins running around the house hitting the 'button on his arm' and saying 'pew, pew!' He dubbed our miniature dachshund 'slinky dog', gave me the title of 'the dinosaur', my daughter was 'bo peep',  my husband became 'woody', and my son made us call him 'buzz lightyear' all within the span of a wardrobe change.

     Isn't it amazing what our little ones come up with when given room to let their imaginations run untamed while they are little? Embrace their precious imaginations. One day you'll look back fondly on all the times you spent together in make believe land. Let them be little. They grow too fast as it is. 


    And the winners are...

  • Saturday, September 28, 2013
  • Andrea
  • I am super excited to announce the winners of the very first giveaway for 'A Perception of Dreams'!!!

    Collin C. & Amanda J.

    Congratulations to both of you!! I will be sending you emails hopefully by tonight. (Here's hoping my children allow me five minutes of peace!)

    I will be hosting another giveaway as soon as we reach 100 likes on The Tabitha Hale Saga facebook page. However! As an added incentive to help me get the word out, I will happily have TWO MORE WINNERS if we can reach 100 likes by Monday!! Only 9 more to go =)

    Congratulations again to Collin and Amanda! I can't wait to hear what you both think!

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013
  • Andrea
  • Oh, the life of a mom. Yesterday I said I would get 'A Perception of Dreams' (affectionately known as APoD) on another site. As is typical, life happened and my littles picked that day to be demanding. I love, love, LOVE being a mommy, but it is so complicated to be an author at the same time! The deadlines I set for myself have to be lengthier ones so that I'm sure I meet them on time. What would normally take me a couple hours to do or figure out now takes a day at the least, but most likely several. I have emails that I haven't had a chance to respond to and a very dear friend that has been left hanging somewhere in facebook land because I haven't had more than two minutes to sit down and type out a well thought out reply. Bless her heart for still keeping in contact with me though!

    I really do love being a mom though. It is hands down the best job I have ever had and more rewarding than anything. Even now, my daughter is in her bouncer giving me those baby blues asking to be held, I just noticed that my son drew on his face with blue and black markers, and my phone is going off every two minutes. I wouldn't change it for anything.

    Finally, a day later, I've gotten around to the 'other site' that I wanted to put APoD on. It is now avaliable for purchase on Smashwords. Also, for those of you who have read the book already, I would greatly appreciate it if you left a review on either Amazon or Smashwords or both! Thanks! <3

    Have you entered the contest to win APoD? Remember, you can do so daily! Share with your friends =)