Friday, December 16, 2011

Time Wasters

I was getting in some really good edits today until a headache hit. Brought on by stress and frustration and a whole bunch of other To-Much-To-Do stuff. The physical exhaustion followed, and I decided I needed a break. But what to do?

Then I remembered my favorite Time Wasters. Yes! I was set!

Allow me to introduce them to you.

First, we've got Movies in Five Seconds. Some of my favorites are:
The Lion King
Sixth Sense
and Harry Potter

Go ahead. Watch them. Then watch the other Movies in Five Seconds. Some of them are pretty darn stupid. Others are hilarious.

Second, we've got Desktop Tower Defense. 'Nuff said.

Then there's Overhead @ BYU. Again, some of the comments are pretty dumb, but others are seriously hilarious. (Yay for my Alma Mater . . . and the occasional silly student who attends. :-))

Then there's YouTube. Everything's on YouTube, ain't it?
We've got:
You're a Woman, Harry! (Potter)
The greatest dating video of all time
Any of Jon Schmidt's and/or Steven Sharp Nelson's videos (done by ThePianoGuys. Their latest video, Where Are You Christmas, actually makes me cry.)
The organist mess-up while playing the Hallelujah Chorus.

I also love looking at all the pictures my brother, Glenn, has taken, though I don't want to call it a Time Waster. :-) His pictures of LDS temples are absolutely breathtaking.

Last but not least, there's Travelocity. Because it's fun to think about getting out of town, even if you can't afford it. :-)

What are some of your favorite Time Wasters? Post 'em in comments below, and I'll add them to the list!

Your Favorite Time Wasters:
Other people's blogs
Playing Words with Friends

Monday, December 12, 2011

Can Guys and Girls Just Be Friends?

Okay, I need you to do something before reading more (or even watching the movie). Answer the poll to the right of this post. "Can Guys and Girls Just Be Friends?" I know it's hard to see (it won't let me change the colors), but the first option is "Yes," and the second is "No."

Have you voted? No? Come on, you know you want to do it. :-)

Now have you voted? Yes? Okay. We go on. :-)

Watch this video (it's not long). Then come back and discuss. :-)

Do you believe it's possible for guys and girls to be friends? What was your answer? What experiences have you had where this is concerned?

My answer was "No." My dad made sure to teach me at a young age that it's impossible for guys and girls to be friends without one being interested in the other, and subsequently being hurt.

While I was on a mission for my church (LDS), I got in a discussion with other missionaries about this. All of the guys said, "No," and all of the girls, minus myself and my companion, said, "Yes." I'm not sure if it's possible for many girls truly to understand how it works until they experience it. Either they'll be dying for a guy friend to ask them out and he never does, or he's waiting for a sign from her that she's romantically interested in him.

And one of my favorite music videos from Steven Sharp Nelson (and when he and Jon Schmidt go extremely big, I'll be able to say I've met both of them a million and a half times. I doubt they remember me. Ha ha. :-)):

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nature's Deadliest . . . Eeek.

My husband and I are sitting here, working on separate projects. I'm putting together some stuff for book marketing, and he's working on things for clients. To keep us company, we're watching documentaries on nature's deadliest creatures (Netflix, Discovery Channel). Needless to say, we've decided never to move to Australia, Africa, or Brazil.

It's really fascinating, and honestly, I'm finding myself inspired for future monsters to put in my stories.

There's this fish in Australian oceans that delivers a poison which targets the pain centers of the brain. No amount of medication or morphine or anything else will remove the agony. And it takes hours for it to wear off. Doesn't kill the person, just makes them wish they were dead.

Then there's the dingo - a really pretty wild dog in Australia that can kill an adult in ten minutes.

Next, the different kinds of snakes that kill really quickly. (Three minutes up to 48 incredibly agonizing hours. Lovely.) And of course monstrous crocodiles. And bull sharks, which swim upstream into rivers and kill within three minutes. Don't forget spiders and scorpions and Cape Buffaloes and rhinos and hippos. And killer bees. (Give them five minutes) And hyenas. (Only need three.)

We live in such a beautiful world. But dang, it's dangerous! :-)

Oh, and did you know the anaconda has six rows of razer sharp teeth? And I thought my Eetu fish, with its triple-lined teeth, was bad!

But seriously. If you write fantasy, or simply like to create different deadly creatures, why not get inspiration from these animals? The snakes, beautiful frogs, and spiders have enough differences to generate a lot of creatures.

Anyway . . . back to marketing. :-)

I'm putting together a list of somewhere around 400 middle grade and young adult fantasy books. I'd love to be able to read them all! Should I post them on my blog? I think I will. :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kindle's Borrowing Program. Like? Dislike?

How many of you have Kindles? How many have Nooks? Have you heard of Kindle's newest plan to help push their products?

You can find it here for authors and here for readers, but in short, it allows Prime Members who own a Kindle to borrow up to 12 books a year (no due dates) for free. This is great - in my opinion. I'm a Prime Member, and once I can afford a Kindle, I'd love to participate. (Kindle phone apps don't apply.)

However, in order for the author to have their book in the borrowing program (which comes with perks), they have to agree not to upload, sale, or distribute their books via any other method, including their websites and blogs, for as long as 90 days.

Kindle, Nook, and other eReader device owners, how do you feel about this?

Indie (and other) authors, are you willing to take the risk of losing potential readers just for the extra perks?

As for me, I'm not. I don't get as many sales through Nook, but I get a ton of traffic from Smashwords and the eReaders it distributes through. And I really feel sick when I think of alienating those and my Nook people. Plus, Smashwords allows me to be in complete charge of my prices, including allowing me to drop a book to free for as long as I want it that way. Kindle doesn't give you this freedom (though, with the new program they'll let you post your book for free for a few days. Whoopee.)

Another thing: Smashwords has helped me so much with formatting, style, and sales (things applicable to Kindle and Nook) that it would be pretty stupid of me to pull my eBooks from their catalogs. And why would I want to prevent potential readers from accessing my stories for 90 days?

Lastly, I just partnered with an independent bookstore to sell my eBooks through their online store. That was hard work and I'm not about to throw it away!

I don't think the perks equal the disadvantages. Amazon usually does smart things, but for an author, this really isn't one of them.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

JK Rowling on Failure and Imagination

JK Rowling's address to Harvard graduates is one of the most inspiring I've ever read. I hadn't known her depth of understanding or experience in true-life matters, aside from what we hear all the time: "She wrote Harry Potter on napkins in cafes," until I read this. She really "gets" it.

Her thoughts on failure are uplifting and inspiring, and she definitely understands her way around the English language.

Please take the time to read (or listen to) her address, located here. Her message is valuable! Plus, she's funny. :-)

Oh, and also, The Key of Kilenya is being featured on SavvySisterShops! Go here to see it. :-)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

This is soooo hilarious!

I couldn't help but share this. With everyone I've ever known my entire life. :-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Guest Post from Danyelle Leafty's Husband

Hi, everyone!

Danyelle Leafty, author of the Fairy Godmother Dilemma series, has gotten really sick, and we'd like to help her out. Here is a message from her husband about what happened:

Danyelle had been working very hard to get her series up before Christmas. Then "IT" hit. I guess she'd had internal gas all day, and by 10:45pm, she started experiencing unbearable pain that went until 12:15am when I got home. I got our four kids out of bed and loaded up, then helped Danyelle into the car and drove her to the ER.

As soon as we pulled into the hospital parking lot around 1:00am, our six-year-old autistic son flipped out. He hates doctors. He didn't want to be there, and I didn't want to leave my wife. I contacted someone from our church who volunteered to sit with our kids at home so I could stay with Danyelle.

Turned out to be a kidney stone. We got Danyelle home around 4:00am. Luckily, during the last two days a great lady has filled in for me at work, so I could wait on Danyelle hand and foot, and tomorrow my mom is coming.

Having Danyelle get sick right when she was working on releasing her books has been very stressful. We'd appreciate any assistance anyone has to offer to help us get the word out before Christmas.

Three of Danyelle's books are available as eBooks, and she has five total for this series. Here are the three on Kindle: The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Catspell, The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Firespell, and The Fairy Godmother Dilemma: Applespell.

Her website.
Her blog.
Her Facebook account.
Her Facebook Author Page.
Her Twitter Account.

Thank you!

Check out these other blogs featuring Danyelle and her books!
Andrea Pearson Books
Notes From the Writing Chair - Giveaway!
Anne Bradshaw's Place
Diana's Amazing Book Adventures - Giveaway!
Christine Fonseca, Author - Giveaway!
Roots in Myth - Giveaway!
Robin Weeks - Giveaway!
An Author Incognito & Janette Rallison's Blog - Giveaway!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday eBook Giveaways!

Okay, so I LOVE getting free stuff, especially when I don't have to work hard to get it! I believe a lot of people are like me. :-) So, in honor of Cyber Monday, I'm doing somewhere around a GAZILLION eBook giveaways over on my fan pages on Facebook, and the only thing you have to do to win is to be one of the first to comment!

What you'll want to do:
  • Fan one or all of my pages here, here, and here.
  • Check back to them frequently tomorrow (bookmark this post if you don't want to keep tabs open)
  • Be the first (or second, depending) to comment
  • Win!
When I've announced the winners, I'll ask them to email me (ap AT andreapearsonbooks DOT com). I can't give out the link and/or the coupon for the eBook until the winners have emailed. Oh, and in case there are any ties, both people will win. :-)

If you've already got the eBook I'm offering, use it as a Christmas present! :-)

I'm so stinkin' super excited! :-) See, this is how excited I am:

I'm seriously deranged, I'm so excited. :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yay! NaNoWriMo Success!!!

Can I hear a big Hallelujah? :-) I won NaNoWriMo! My very first year. Yay! :-)

Anyway. I'm still pretty excited. :-)

Oh, and also, The Key of Kilenya, in eBook format, is up for free again! Go here to get it. :-)

I'm nearly ready for beta readers for August Fortress, Kilenya Series Book Three, so hurry up and get through books one and two and let me know if you'd like to help out!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Author Interview!

I love author interviews! :-)

This one was put together by the amazing Diana Ault who is SOO super supportive. You can check it out here, on her blog.

A couple of other updates:
I got my hands on the most amazing website ever--readers, beware! You're going to be seeing a lot more reviews of my books! I'm super excited. :-) I'll give more information after I figure out how to use it. :-)

Oh, and also, we're putting together an eBook anthology of books 1 and 2 for people who don't want to purchase them separately. It'll have its own cover (which is going to be awesome!), will cost $1.99 (discounting both books), and will be ready in a month or so. Keep your eyes peeled! :-)

Next, I'm getting ready to write the climax of August Fortress, Kilenya Series Book Three! Eeek! It's going to be so intense! I'm freaking out about it. Not only did Jacob just about die, trying to get away from an Eetu fish, but now he's going to be facing _____, _____, and _______! (Don't want to give away any spoilers. :-))

Last but not least, the amazing Jon Schmidt, Steve Nelson, and ThePianoGuys have put together another incredible music video. Check it out:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Signing and Jacob's Getting Attacked!!!

My next book signing is scheduled for this weekend in Orem, UT. Yay! :-) Here are the details:

Place: Pioneer Book
Date: November 19, 2011
Time: 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Address/Phone: 858 South State Street, Orem, UT (801) 356-2931

Hope to see you there! :-)

And right now, Jacob, my main character, is getting attacked by THIS (click on it for larger, better detail):

This illustration by James Curwen is my favorite by far (posted with permission).

Many of you will recognize it as an Eetu fish--the creatures Jacob and his friends encountered in The Key of Kilenya. My current writing project is August Fortress, Kilenya Series Book Three, and I'm half-way through writing Jacob's next encounter with one! Creeeeeeepy!

Back in The Key of Kilenya, when Jacob and his friends first "ran into" these fish, he and Akeno asked Aloren to tell them what they'd just seen. Here's a bit of that discussion (found on pages 110-111 of The Key of Kilenya):

 “Eetu fish are really dangerous. Their fins can act like feet, giving them the ability to move quickly regardless of whether they’re on land or in water. They get to be huge—sometimes up to ten feet long. They have razor-sharp teeth that triple line their mouths, and are able to make a full-grown man disappear in a matter of seconds.”
Jacob raised his eyebrows. These fish sounded like Piranhas on steroids.
“This isn’t the only reason why they’re so dangerous, though. If a drop of the water from their territory hits you, they will hunt you down until they’ve eaten or destroyed you. They’re able to sense where that water went, regardless of whether it has evaporated or not. They know when someone has come in contact with it—even just one drop.
“Your only defense when you get wet is to hope you’re able to outrun them. They only last above water for an hour or so, but most people make the mistake of thinking they’ll die or retreat after that. This isn’t true. An Eetu fish can replenish itself with any water source big enough to cover its gills. Once it’s replenished, it continues the hunt. On average, it takes the Eetu fish around twenty-four hours to lose the scent of that bit of water.”
“Is it possible to kill one?” Akeno said.
“Yes, but it’s difficult. No average man or woman has been able to defeat them, mostly because Eetus are fast and intelligent. The only safe bet is to outrun it, if that’s even possible.” 

So, there you go. I'd probably die from fear if I ever saw one of these in real life--knowing what it was capable of. :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day

I'm heading out of town soon, but wanted to say thank you to those who have served our country, and are currently serving. I love you, I appreciate you!

My brother's tribute to The Unknown Heroes:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Book Signing Giveaway!

To celebrate my book signing tomorrow (November 5, 2011), I'm doing a giveaway!

Enter to win one of the following:
  • A free copy of The Key of Kilenya
  • A free copy of The Ember Gods, Kilenya Series Book Two
Everyone who enters will win a free eBook copy of Samara: A Kilenya Romance! :-)

To enter: simply come to one of the book signings tomorrow! (If you can't come, or you missed the book signing, send me an email: ap AT andreapearsonbooks DOT com, and you'll still win a free eBook copy of Samara. :-))

First Book Signing:

Time:10:00am to 2:00pm
City/State: Heber, UT
Bookstore: Handcarts in the Valley
Address/Phone #: 32 S Main St # C, Heber, UT (435) 657-0107

Second Book Signing:

Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
City/State: Roosevelt, UT
Bookstore: Inspirations
Address/Phone #: 1563 East Highway 40, Roosevelt, UT (435) 722-2160

Can't wait to see everyone there! :-)

The winners of either book will be randomly drawn from a basket, and will be notified after the book signing is over. (When you come, I'll have you put your name and email address down. No email addresses will be used without your permission, and they most definitely won't be sold. They'll be kept private.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My First Book Signing!!! Yay! :-)

My first ever book signing is going to be this Saturday, November 5, 2011!! I can't even begin to say how excited and thrilled I am. :-) Actually, I'll be having two book signings on Saturday. Yayness! :-)

Here's the info!

First Book Signing:

Time:10:00am to 2:00pm
City/State: Heber, UT
Bookstore: Handcarts in the Valley
Address/Phone #: 32 S Main St # C, Heber, UT (435) 657-0107

Second Book Signing:

Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
City/State: Roosevelt, UT
Bookstore: Inspirations
Address/Phone #: 1563 East Highway 40, Roosevelt, UT (435) 722-2160

I'll be signing both books in my series, The Key of Kilenya and The Ember Gods. Plus, two of my best friend authors will be signing with me!

Tristi Pinkston, author of the Secret Sisters Mysteries, and Jenni James, author of the Jane Austen Diaries (Pride and Popularity).

I've read books by both of these women, and can I tell you how awesome they are? I about DIE laughing when reading Tristi's Secret Sisters Mysteries, and I about DIE giggling when reading Jenni's Jane Austen re-writes! They're hilarious books, and you'll just love these two women!

Can't wait to see you there!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Samara: A Kilenya Romance Has Been Published!

This is the official announcement. My novella, Samara: A Kilenya Romance, has been released! I'm sooooo excited!

When Samara Oldroyd meets the most amazing guy ever, she's frustrated their conversation is cut short. Her wishes that they'll run into each other again come true when she meets her sister's new boyfriend. It's him! Eeek!
Inspired by the film Dan in Real Life, this novella will tickle you pink as Samara tries—in vain—to undo her crush.

Price: $0.99
Go here for Kindle
Go here for Nook
Go here for Smashwords (nearly every other eReader)

(This book won't be available in paperback/hardback format.)

Here's what people are saying so far:

"This book was adorable! I lovedddd it! The ending had me 'awwing'. Is it possible to fall in love with a fictional character? 'Cuz I am in love with Matt. :-) It showed a whole other side to him that made me love him even more than I did, which I honestly didn't think was possible. Oh, my gosh, I'm so much in love with him!" - Sarah

"I didn't enjoy this book, I LOVED it!" - Jennifer

"There were a couple of rough spots, but over all, I absolutely loved this story. It was short (One-fourth the size of The Key of Kilenya), but I knew that ahead of time, and it didn't really bother me. I can't wait to read more Kilenya Romances!" - Jessie

"I just finished reading Samara and I LOVED it! Matt is insanely nice! He's my favorite. :)" - Tani

"I loved how the author knew her subjects...the nuances of each age, the subject of music and guitars. I felt like she knew the information and didn't just write a story without research or first hand knowledge. I have a feeling more people will be knowing who Andrea Pearson is in the future!" - Kim

Can't wait to hear what YOU think! :-)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sneak Peak at the Cover for Samara!

Yay for new books! I'm so excited for people to read this one. :-)

Samara: A Kilenya Romance is nearly ready for publication! Woohoo!! It's about this seriously talented chick named Tracy. Ha ha. Kidding. :-) Her name is Samara, and she meets this amazing guy, gets a huge crush on him, then finds out later he's her sister's new boyfriend. She swears to herself she's going to forget him and move on . . . but she's not very successful. Inspired by the film Dan in Real Life, embarrassing, awkward, and hilarious situations abound in this novella as she tries to figure out what to do!

Now for the part I've been waiting for (you too! :-))! The unveiling of the cover!

I'm so in love with it. :-)

Samara: A Kilenya Romance (novella) comes out October 24, 2011. Yay! :-) Here's what people are saying so far:

"This book was adorable! I lovedddd it! The ending had me 'awwing'. Is it possible to fall in love with a fictional character? 'Cuz I am in love with Matt. :-) It showed a whole other side to him that made me love him even more than I did, which I honestly didn't think was possible. Oh, my gosh, I'm so much in love with him!" - Sarah

"I didn't enjoy this book, I LOVED it!" - Jennifer

"I just finished reading Samara and I LOVED it! Matt is insanely nice! He's my favorite. :)" - Tani

"I loved how the author knew her subjects...the nuances of each age, the subject of music and guitars. I felt like she knew the information and didn't just write a story without research or first hand knowledge. I have a feeling more people will be knowing who Andrea Pearson is in the future!" - Kim

Friday, October 7, 2011

Book to Check Out: Shifting

From a good friend, to help a fellow author, Bethany Wiggins. Due to health issues, Bethany has been unable to promote her book a whole lot. Personally, I think it sounds good. :-)

Book: Shifting

After bouncing from foster home to foster home, Magdalene Mae is transferred  to what should be her last foster home in the tiny town of Silver City, New Mexico. Now that she's eighteen and has only a year left in high school, she's determined to stay out of trouble and just be normal. Agreeing to go to the prom with Bridger O'Connell is a good first step. Fitting in has never been her strong suit, but it's not for the reasons most people would expect-it all has to do with the deep secret that she is a shape shifter. But even in her new home danger lurks, waiting in the shadows to pounce. They are the Skinwalkers of Navajo legend, who have traded their souls to become the animal whose skin they wear-and Maggie is their next target.

Full of romance, mysticism, and intrigue, this dark take on Navajo legend will haunt readers to the final page.

About the Author:
Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid writer. She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn't until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction--not the Bible

Several years ago Bethany's sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel.  Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read--but it taught her how to write.  The fifth novel she write, SHIFTING, is being published by Walker Books September 27, 2011.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Author Etiquette and Rules

The other day, one of my author friends was put down very harshly by another writer. It made me pretty upset, and I sat down and wrote out these rules. The list is in no way complete, and some of you may disagree with me on them. If so, that's fine. :-) Regardless of whether you agree or not, there's something to be gained by following them.

Oh, and this post isn't meant to beat around the bush. I've written the rules in a very straightforward manner because there's too much tiptoeing going on in this world. 

As you read, please remember that everyone of us, at one point or another, has made many of these mistakes, if not all of them. We're not immune to doing dumb things. :-) Let's correct our errors now, shall we?

Writer Rules as follows:

1. Don't ever, ever belittle other writers.

It doesn't matter if they've only been writing for one month and we've been writing since we were six. It's wrong for us to elevate ourselves and put other people down, regardless of how many books we've put out.

2. We will always, always find writers who know more about the craft than we do.

Again, it doesn't matter if they've only been writing for one month and we've been writing since we were six. We have something to learn from everyone, and the life experiences of a sixteen-year-old girl are very different from ours. She may have something to teach us about writing.

3. Don't preach to, offer advice, tell writers what to do, or give feedback unless it's been asked for*. (Or we're presenting. :-))

Basically, unless someone asks for assistance, we shouldn't solicit our opinion. This is one of the habits writers break the most often. We see a problem, we want to fix it. However, if we're honest with ourselves, we'll recognize that many times we do so only because we want to look good.

* Joining online writer's communities such as Wattpad, Authonomy, Gather Writing Essential, is basically asking for suggestions. The point of these groups is to provide a conducive atmosphere for exchanging constructive criticism.

4. Maintain humility.

No one likes arrogant authors. Period. End of story.

Elevating ourselves by doing things to make people feel below us is wrong. If we don't know whether we're doing this or not, we need to think what our motivations are before we  speak (or, in our case, type). :-)

I'll never forget the time, before I'd been published, when someone dear to me introduced me to a published author. He wouldn't look at me, didn't acknowledge me, and barely even spoke to his friend - the one doing the introductions. She later apologized. Said the author had just signed a big contract and had been acting differently toward other authors, even friends, since then. Arrogance! Disgusting! :-)

5. Don't down talk our own books, even if we know they have problems.

Who wants to read an author's work (even their good books) if they aren't confident in it? If someone is curious about a book we know doesn't represent our best work, simply tell them the good points and then introduce them to another work of ours.

6. Be professional.

Can't say this one enough. Our image, especially online, is hugely important! The internet is forever. And forever is a long time to look like an idiot. :-)

7. Regardless of how our books have been published, don't act like it's the only way to go.

Self-publishing, small-press-published authors, or legacy-published authors all equal the same thing = hard work. One way isn't perfect for everyone.

8. Don't view self-publishing as a "dirty method to reach readers."

It's not. More and more frequently, publishers are finding their biggest authors from those who've self-published and have already proven that they're good. (Also, if you want to know how the world is changing where eBooks are concerned, read Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath's book, Be the Monkey. It's up on Smashwords for free, and may just completely change how you view the publishing world.)

9. When we write reviews, be professional. 

Don't rant about anything off-topic. Don't say things like, "I'm so confused about the book I just read. Would someone go read it and tell me why I was confused?" (Yes, I've seen that before. :-)) Our reviews must maintain dignity, for the author's and reader's benefit. If reading the book brought up a rant, use a different post.

Also, if we hated the book, don't flame the author. I've read so many awful reviews where the author was completely belittled and torn apart. This isn't good! If we hate the book that much, we shouldn't review it. And again, if we're completely honest with ourselves, we'll realize the review is acting only as a way to satisfy our vain ambitions, or elevate ourselves in other peoples' eyes. Attempting to make ourselves look better than the author will only make us look like a jerk to most readers. :-)

10. Help other authors!

There is no such thing as, "If they read your book, there's no way they'll read mine!" Authors build each other up. They help each other find readers. And readers will listen to what other people have to say about a book over what the author has to say. So if we're willing to help other authors, they'll usually be willing to return the favor.

11. Don't take offense when someone doesn't fall in love with our writing.

This reminds me of something a Relief Society president (LDS religious leader) once told the women in our young single adult group: "Don't be offended when a guy doesn't fall for you. There are others who will - just shrug it off and move on." She was right, and it applies to writing as well. Not everyone will like what you've written. Get over it. There are plenty who will. :-)

And that's it for now. Anything you'd like me to add? Leave a comment and I'll put it in.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Brother, Joshua Pearson

I wrote something like this for my mother a few months ago. You can read that here.

Typically, the youngest child in a family gets all the attention. They're spoiled, babied, and their parents are able to provide them with a lot more conveniences the older children didn't have.

Josh is on my lap, pointing at the camera :-)

Big smile! (And ugly overalls. :-))

The youngest member of my family, Joshua, has never really enjoyed that sort of thing. Growing up, his brothers and sisters frequently demanded the time and attention usually given to the youngest. Even now, his older siblings and their children are almost always in the lime-light.

I wanted to devote some time to my younger brother, and give everyone the opportunity to get to know him better.

My mother, before having her 5th child, was warned she'd probably die if she had any more kids. This didn't deter her—she knew there were still children who were supposed to come to her home. Michael was the sixth, then she waited over three years before having her seventh.

Her pregnancy with Josh was very difficult. She was on bed rest for a great deal of it, and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. For those of you who don't know a lot about this condition, it makes babies gain too much weight and they are prone to die suddenly before birth. Also, their lungs don't develop as soon as they should.

In the garage of my parents' house while it was being built

Waving at the camera :-)

(A cute story: When the doctors did an amniocentesis test to see if Joshua's lungs were developed enough for birth, he grabbed the needle. They had to wait until he let go. They couldn't pull it out of his hand or shake him off for fear it would harm him. The doctor said, “You can't tell me babies are not aware of what goes on in the womb. He [Josh] knew the needle was there.” His lungs were not developed and they had to wait another two weeks before delivering him.)

Joshua was a big baby (9lbs, 15 oz, 22 ½”), and my mom's doctor decided the safest way for her to deliver him would be via C-Section. She was too small to have a traditional birth.

Unfortunately, when Josh was ready to be delivered, my mom's regular doctor was performing an emergency C-Section for someone else. She ended up delivering Josh the standard way. Because the doctor who took over wasn't paying attention, he allowed my mom's cervix to clamp around Josh, crushing his chest. She pushed for an hour and a half, and had to have four people help her by pushing against her stomach.

After birth, they noticed he was turning blue and not breathing correctly. They suctioned blood out of his lungs, and he was immediately whipped away and placed in the intensive care unit for newborns. His lungs were bleeding, his heart wasn't pumping correctly, and the doctors said the chances of him making it were close to zero. They sent a video of his heart to Primary Children's Hospital, and the specialist there said he needed the heart/lung machine for infants. Unfortunately, this machine was in Boise, and the only machine at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center that might work was an oscillating respirator for adults. They wanted to fly Josh up to Idaho, but the oscillator wasn't built for traveling, so he was stuck at Utah Valley with close to no chance for survival.

With his little niece

He loves playing the piano!

I remember how he looked there, in the NICU. There were so many tubes and wiring coming off of him, I could barely see him. He wasn't responsive, and was on adult-level doses for eleven different medications.

My parents were devastated. Our ward and entire family (both sides) fasted, and my dad and grandfather gave him a Priesthood blessing. We visited him as often as possible, praying for a miracle. The morning after the blessing, he started to improve. He stabilized three days later. Another video of his heart was sent to the doctor at Primary Children's, and she said it wasn't the same heart. He'd healed with absolutely no sign of his difficult birth.

He was Utah Valley Regional Hospital's miracle baby of the year. They had to gradually wean him off the medication, but eleven days after his birth, he was released from the NICU, and my parents were finally able to take him home.

His first year of life was spent quarantined with my mom. The doctors didn't know what caused the bleeding so told my parents to avoid anything dangerous until he was older. They didn't want there to be any chance of him getting sick, so my mom wasn't even able to leave the house. This year was interesting for me – I couldn't pretend to be sick, else I wouldn't be allowed to hold him. :-)

Self portrait :-)

With our older sister, Lisa

He was a beautiful baby—longer eyelashes than I've still ever seen, and tons and tons of dark, curly hair.

His birth wasn't the only miracle he's had.

When he was 18 months old, he backed his bike down the tiled, metal-edged stairs in our house in Payson. My brother, Erik, then 14 years old, had a feeling to leave his room and walk to the bottom of the steps and hold out his hand. As soon as he put his arm out, he caught Josh, not even knowing Josh had been falling.

When Josh went over the stairs, he flipped over, landed on his jaw on the steps, then flipped again and was falling head first to the tiled cement at the bottom of the steps. The outcome would have been much worse if Erik hadn't been there to catch him. As it was, Josh broke his jaw, lost two teeth, and his top teeth were deadened and turned blackish gray. Poor kid!

Two summers ago was another near-miss experience. He was doing backflips on the trampoline, lost his footing, and landed on his face on the springs/bars. A little farther up and he would've broken his neck or lost an eye. Instead, he got 16 stitches. :-)

Before the stitches (which went around his eye and on his forehead)

With me in my parents' kitchen

Now, on to Josh's personality.

He LOVES cooking, is known for it, and makes the best home-made pizza and bbq'd chicken in the world. He also makes a really good spaghetti sauce, the recipe for which is in the World Wide Ward Cookbook. He used to make it for ward auctions, and it was always one of the first things to sell.

He's dedicated to educating himself, preparing for a mission, becoming a pilot in the Air Force, and Scouting. He has the Arrow of Light award, and received his Eagle this September (2011). He does very well in school.

His niece still calls him "daddy" sometimes. He looks like her dad!

Senior picture (taken by our brother, Glenn)

Josh will be embarrassed when he reads this, but he is very tender-hearted. I'm not saying tender-hearted as in he cries a lot, but that he always knows when me or my mom are in pain, emotionally or otherwise. He's never been cruel to people or animals. He empathizes with other people's pain. Out of all my brothers he's the only one who has consistently opened the door for me (since he was five years old). He's always the first person to hug me.

There was a time when he wouldn't go to sleep at night until he came and gave me a hug and said goodnight. Once, when I got home late, my mom said he'd waited up for me, gave up, and had gone to bed. I found a sticky note on my door that said, “Goodnight, Andrea, I love you!”

He's quick to smile, slow to anger (rarely gets upset), and eager to help anyone. He's bashful and shy. He loves sports, photography, woodworking, dating, singing (bass), and especially playing the piano. His compositions are beautiful (go here for his YouTube channel), and he regularly plays Jon Schmidt. He loves animals, especially his chickens, and cat (Harley) and his bird, Kitty. He loves mountain biking.

Another senior year shot (photo by Glenn)

He's 18 in this picture, though he looks a bit older. :-) Photo by Glenn.

Out of all of my parents' children, he's always been the one most willing to help other people. Every time I've had surgery, he's been right there to make sure I had everything I needed. Last year, when I got strep, he cooked food for me and ran every errand I needed.

Joshua is a great brother and a excellent example to me of what it means to be charitable. I'm sure he'll always be this way – it's in his character.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: Hang 'Em High

Author: Tristi Pinkston
Tristi's blog.

This is the third installment in the Secret Sisters mystery books. Here's what it says on the back of the book:

When Ida Mae Babbitt receives an invitation to visit her son Keith's dude ranch in Montana, she's excited to mend their broken relationship, but not so excited about spending time with cows. Arlette and Tansy go along with her, ready to take a vacation that does not involve dead bodies or mysteries of any sort - one must have a break from time to time. But it seems a no-good scoundrel has moseyed into Dodge City and is bent on causing all sorts of trouble for the ranch. Unable to keep her curiosity in check - especially when it seems her own son is the most likely culprit - Ida Mae decides to investigate. Can she lasso the varmint and get him to the sheriff in time?

Okay, Hang 'Em High was freaking awesome. I LOVED the ranch setting, the new characters, Arlette--an older woman--trying to break into someone's window (seriously one of the funniest things I've read in a while), the intrigue, the deaths and almost deaths, and the nervewrackingness of not knowing who dun it!

My one beef with it was that it felt like it took a bit to get into the swing of things--the humor wasn't really there until the group was settled in at the ranch (aside from Ida Mae and her jeans. That was awesome. :-)).

I was at my in-laws while reading it, and they probably think I'm crazy now. While they were finishing up work projects and talking about guy things, I was erupting into hysterical, uncontrollable laughing fits. I couldn't put the book down! :-)

Seriously, people. You need to read the Secret Sisters books - they'll lighten your day and put a smile on your face. I love them!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yay! Edits Finished!

I finally finished my edits for The Ember Gods! I'd been burned out on them for about a month. Burnouts are no fun. We should be ready for the book to be put out as an eBook in a couple of weeks, and then in print a few weeks after that. Yay!

Anyway - just wanted to post this little thought/announcement before running off to do my errands for the day. :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Keep Your Readers to Yourself!

Ha ha. I'm still giggling over the title. :-)

The topic of this post is something I've stewed over for a very, very long time, and is somewhat of a pet-peeve of mine. Today, I finally hit my "endurance threshold."

We blog for a reason--we want to reach out to people. We want to be read, for the most part. We want to share our thoughts and desires and feelings. We hope there are people actually reading what we're publishing.

And we get and keep readers by doing a few things:
  • Posting frequently (I know, I know. I'm really bad at this. Shame on me. :-))
  • Talking about things others want to read about
  • Being intelligent (like, totally, youll like, lose a lot of readers if your like, not on the same level with them. You know? :-)) (*Andrea shudders.... Must.... fix.... grammar....           She resists.)
  • Quoting/mentioning others
  • Using fun and interesting articles as reference
  • Bringing the readers back
A lot of people have the above down pat. But one thing they forget all the time, is to make sure their readers come back after checking any external sites listed or quoted.

Here's an example.

I really like reading Amanda Hocking's blog. She's upfront, honest, and obviously doing something right. She started out small - one book up on Kindle/Nook, and five months later, five books published and thousands and thousands and thousands of eBooks purchased by readers.

One of my favorite posts on her blog, found here, talks about what she did to become successful. She calls it "The Epic Tale of How it All Happened." Another favorite post is here, titled "Pretty Much Everything I Have to Say About How to Do What I Do." There's a TON of excellent information in this post. I think I've read it a gazillion times.

For this example to work, go back and read the two posts I mention above. Then explore around her blog a bit--familiarize yourself with her. Go. Now. :-)

You should be back after having read the above information. How long did it take you? Ten minutes? Twenty? Thirty? Did you forget where you'd started; what had referred you there? Did you close your Amanda Hocking Blog window and find mine still open?

If you followed the instructions above perfectly--acting as a curious reader would--you didn't return for a while. If I hadn't altered the html, you might not have returned at all.

How can people return to your blog if they don't even remember they were there at one point, or that it was the starting spot? And why would they want to click "back" a gazillion times to return, if they do remember?

This is why I like to add a very small, simple bit of code into the html of my posts. I call it the Keep Your Readers to Yourself code. Here it is:


Many of you are familiar with it already, but perhaps aren't sure how to use it, or forget what it is or how to use it correctly, etc.

Here's how you do it:
  • In your post (if using blogger), click on "Edit HTML"
  • Find your link. It'll look something like this:
    • < a href="">The Kilenya Series Website < /a>
  • Then, insert target="_blank" here:
    • < a href="" target="_blank">The Kilenya Series Website< /a>
What this does is open a new window when someone clicks on links in your post. This makes it much, much easier for readers to return once they've finished perusing the external links you've provided. You should be doing this every time you point someone away from your blog/website, since one of the best ways to retain readers is to help them find their way back.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Book Review: Fall

Author: Jennifer Hurst
Jennifer's website.

From the back cover:
Women and construction shouldn’t mix.  At least, that is what the client, Mr. Blackwell, thinks when Twenty-one year old Julia D. Halstead is promoted to project manager and tasked with remodeling a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse into a bed and breakfast in the tourist town of Torrey, Utah. However, the schoolhouse contains a dark secret that has been hidden for over a hundred years.  A secret that will unleash the furies of Hell and cause the Angels in Heaven to weep as ethereal brothers, Matthew and Nathan battle over Julia’s very soul.

Jennifer has the ability to create awesome "tense" scenes. Her characters were well developed, and it was easy to see the differences between Matthew and Nathan. Jennifer did a great job at showing the "evil" sides and the "good" sides of these two.

The premise is excellent, and the setting wonderful (I've been to Torrey and it really is beautiful). I enjoyed the side characters Jennifer included, and JD is very unique, especially for a woman working in construction.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing Prompt: Cliches

I'm the Friday Editor for's official writing group, Writing Essentials. I'm in charge of content for Friday, along with posting a writing prompt every week. The responses are a lot of fun to read - there are some great writers on that site - and I've enjoyed getting to know everyone.

Using writing prompts as a way to further our skills is an excellent idea - especially if those prompts were made up by someone else. (This prevents choosing the "easy way out." :-))

I'm going to post my prompts on this blog as well. If you'd like to join in, simply write a post on your blog in response to the prompt, following the rules I mention, then come back here and comment on this post with a link to your blog. Then readers can follow along, seeing which direction you took.

Today's Prompt:

I'm obsessed with all sorts of dos and don'ts, especially those involving the written word. During the past week or so, I've mulled over cliches. Most editors will tell their authors never, ever to use them, and the reason is that they weaken the writing. Readers glaze over those phrases, never internalizing them.

This isn't good.

Of course, how do we know we're using cliches? They tend to slip in when we're least expecting them, when we're not paying attention. I propose we force ourselves to recognize these phrases. :-)

My challenge:
Write a poem/short story/memoir/essay/advertisement/novel/whatever else you feel like writing (fiction and non-fiction). It can be humorous or serious.

  • You must use three cliches.
  • You must start out your writing with "It was a dark and stormy night," which counts as one of the three clich├ęs.

And that's it! Good luck!

You have until Thursday, August 18, 2011 at midnight. (Yes, I'm giving you a deadline. Isn't that awful of me? Muwahahah!!!)

Don't forget to put a link to your blog in a comment when you've completed the challenge!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Why Only Ninety-Nine Cents?

Before getting into the details of today's post, here's some info:
  • The Key of Kilenya is on Blog Tour!
  • July Sales for The Key of Kilenya are available for viewing.
Go here for more information on both of the above (including reviews from the Blog Tour).

Now, then. On to today's topic.

I've had a gazillion people ask why I'm selling The Key of Kilenya for only $0.99. The reason is simple: people (usually) aren't willing to spend more than $1.00 for an eBook they've never heard of, from an author they don't know.

Let's face it: people (usually) aren't willing to spend more than $3.00, $4.00, or $5.00 for an eBook from an author they know.

Why? Because it's not the physical book. Readers don't really "own" it, it can't be signed, and they can't proudly display it on their bookshelves.

We buy eBooks because we love reading. We find joy in the story, not the method in which it is delivered to us. We buy printed books because we're traditional and we love the feel of the pages, and for other nostalgic reasons. (Or because we can't afford an eReader yet. :-)).

A word of advice: Stop thinking about the royalties you would be getting if you sold your book at a higher price, relax, and let things naturally roll forward! :-)

The whole point of putting a book out at $0.99 is so more people will buy it. If you sell your book at $10.00, you might have 10 people download it. And they might tell their friends, but only a couple of friends will actually buy it at that price. Now, if you sell it for $1.00, you'll have many more people purchase it, and they'll tell their friends, and many of their friends will be willing to download the book for $1.00.

Eventually, your royalties from $1.00 will far exceed your royalties from $10.00. And it's exponential: more and more people will read and tell people and more and more will buy it. You'll reach far more readers than you would if you were selling the book at a higher price.

And isn't reaching readers the whole point of writing?

I'm not saying you should sell all of your books at $0.99. No - only your first book (or a book that is a good example of your writing) should be sold at this price. For the Kilenya Series, books two through six will be $2.99 each. By the time readers get to book two, they'll know if they like the story or not and if it's worth it to spend the $2.99.

I didn't make up this formula. It's been successfully used by many eBook authors, including Amanda Hocking and JA Konrath. (Many thanks to Jenni James for opening my eyes to this route!)

EBook publishing has to be different from traditional. Its strengths are different, and readers aren't getting the same thing.

I've seen far too many successful authors try to sell their eBooks at ridiculous prices, and I (like many others) am waiting for them to figure things out before I buy. :-)

Now then. How can we (yes - me, too!) sell more books if we're not writing? Andrea, and everyone else, get off the internet and get to your stories! :-)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Print Version of The Key of Kilenya

I'm soooo excited to announce that the print version of The Key of Kilenya is now available! Hallelujah!!

If you'd like to order a signed, personalized copy, go here.

I haven't had much time to update my blog. I'm busy everywhere else! Trying to keep up with an older house that has had some problems, a wonderful husband, the writing/editing/promoting that goes with getting published, being a Friday Editor for's official writing group, and everything else on top of that. Life sure is insane!

Also, I was interviewed recently by the amazing Deirdra Eden Coppel. You can check out the interview here.

Things are moving forward!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: Nia

Book: Nia
Author: Mella Reese
Purchase Link.
Mella's blog.

Description from back of the book:
Suddenly this kneeling, filthy man caused all of my attention to pivot upon him when he grabbed my hand. I was just opening my mouth to warn him that he would surely be one was allowed to touch me, Princess Nia, without permission. My protesting words were replaced with a swift intake of breath as the soldier produced a strange-looking dagger and drug it lightly over my finger. I stared in wonderment as he gently squeezed my fingertip to produce just one red ball of blood, my blood. Then the man kneeling before me swiped the blood from my finger with his own and plunged it into his mouth. "Your blood is now my blood. Your world is now my world. Your life is now my life," were the words he chanted...

Nia is a coming-of-age story of a young princess who basically ends up chained to a prince from a neighboring kindgom. He can't ever leave her side. Garreth is his name, and he's very proud to be her life-long guardian, much to Nia's frustration.

Imagine that. Having someone always with you, regardless of what you do. I found it very entertaining. :-)

I really enjoyed this book, and am impressed with Mella's writing abilities. Nia satisfied my need for an easy-going story that never ceased to amaze or entertain me. It hooked me from the start, and I couldn't stop reading. Even my husband grew tired of my frequent comments: "Oh, my gosh! I can't believe that just happened!" "Wait, what's going on next?" "Oh, no!" "Ah! That's so awesome!" And the occasional giggle. Nia's dilemmas are frustrating, delightful, but very human. The characters are well-rounded. I loved how she viewed things and people. For example, Andras isn't a huge player in most of the story, and yet I felt close to him because of Nia's internal monologues about him.

I was slightly disappointed with the ending, but only because I hadn't known previously that Nia is the first book in a trilogy. As soon as I learned this, the disappointment left. I really enjoy books that leave the reader wanting more, while knowing there's more to come. I can't wait for the next book!

I highly recommend Nia to anyone, but especially teenage girls. It's clean, uplifting, and fun. I would have gobbled this story up in my early teens.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Am I Crazy? No - Definitely Not. :-)

Well, maybe I am a little crazy. :-) I've decided to make my book sales public for the next four or so months.

I'll give a link to the numbers in just a moment, but I want to first tell why I've chosen to do this.

My reasons:
I've been asked by other writers how and why I chose to eBook publish, how things have worked for me, and how I had so much success in the first week of my book being released. Since eBook publishing is still a new world, many authors don't know what to expect, especially if they are about to release (or just have released) their first book. I too am a first-time, no-name author, and I don't mind if you use my sales as a reference point to your own success.

Amanda Hocking, a major eBook author, has made her first few months of sales public, and it has helped her spread the word, since it's exciting to fans to see they're really making a difference. Her progress was a bit slow at first, but then it started gaining. I'm expecting it to be like this for me, with sales being really low in the beginning, while people still haven't heard of my books. Having outsiders know Amanda's success didn't hurt her sales, it advanced them.

So that's that. :-)

To see my sales/downloads for the month of June, plus an update on the physical version of the book, go here. (It will lead you back to this post, so don't worry about losing your place. I've created a separate blog completely devoted to the Kilenya Series, and will be using this blog for all my other random things. :-))

Now, I'd like to talk about how I got so many downloads within 30 hours of my book being released. I hope by letting people know this, other authors will be able to implement it into their marketing/promoting, thereby spreading the word about their books.

First things first: I use the networking basics: my blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I've been very good about using Facebook, and mainly because I enjoy keeping in touch with family and friends. Some of my cousins, siblings, and friends live very far away (boo!), so I make sure to do frequent status updates to keep them in the loop, and I check out theirs, too.

If you don't use Facebook a lot, and aren't comfortable with the people you're friends with, this step of what I did probably won't help you promote your book. Which is why I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and start using Facebook now. :-) Don't forget Twitter and your blog, though! (I'm a sporadic blogger, if you haven't noticed. Shame on me. :-))

I made sure to post a status update about my book nearly every week. There was a time when nothing was happening, and finding new things to say was really difficult. So I didn't. :-) Once things picked up again, that no longer was a problem.

 He he. :-)

About a week before my book was published, I went through my Facebook friends and picked out those I felt comfortable approaching and asking a favor. Some of you will remember my "Totally Random" message I sent out. I was really nervous it would offend people, but I didn't have any negative replies. I think those who didn't want to do it, simply didn't respond to my message.

I chose around 400 people and sent each of them a personal message. (Took me seven hours. Tristi, my editor, says I'm crazy. :-)) I asked if they wouldn't mind posting a little bit about my book with a purchase link on their Facebook Wall the day of my book's publication. Somewhere around 200 people were very happy to help me out (thank you, thank you, thank you!).

I also sent an email to every person I'd ever met in my entire life. (Okay, okay slight exaggeration. :-)) I tried to personalize those emails, too, but that was difficult. I figured they'd delete it if they didn't want to read it.

One thing to note for emails and Facebook: People don't like getting mass messages--they tend to be formal and unpersonalized, making the person feel lumped into a group, patronized, unimportant, or like the sender won't notice if the receiver doesn't read it, which may or may not be the case. Plus, on Facebook, when one person responds, everyone gets that response. Which is annoying. So, a personalized message is the best way to go.

Anyway. That's the first thing I did.

A word of advice: don't be afraid to be excited about your writing - your enthusiasm will spread to friends and family! It was so very hard for me (at first) to tell people I was working on publishing a book. I soon realized, though, that without support, I wouldn't go anywhere. (To my friends and family reading this: thank you for that support.)

Happy reading (and writing!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Great Website for Financial Planning

Howdy, Everyone!

I got this information from a friend, and I thought I'd pass it along in case you'd like to check it out. I took a look at the website and thought the planning map sounded like an excellent tool to help secure financial peace. Oh, and it doesn't cost anything. Read on if you're interested. :-)

The state of today’s economy is insecure, causing concern in many people and fear in many others.  It used to be that we relied on our retirement income to see us through our golden years, but we now have to face the reality that we must take action to ensure our well-being in the future.  How do we go about this?  What steps do we take, where do we go, how do we know we’re doing it right?

Financial advisor John Hauserman, CFP®, has created a no-cost website as a tool for you to use on your financial journey.  This site features the amazing Planning Map, designed to help you think like a financial planner.  You can begin by setting up an account at no charge, complete with your zip code which will enable you to save your progress, but your information will never be sold or given away to any outside party. Or, if you prefer, simply skip registration with a single click. As you chart out your financial situation, you will never be asked for account numbers or personal information.

As you go through and create your personal profile, you’ll feel in control of your future—a sense of freedom and independence that perhaps has been missing since the economy went downhill. You will get the tools you need to help:

1.  View the financial planning process from the eyes of a CFP®   professional in a user-friendly format that most find easy to understand

2.  Get the whole story on various investment products, not just “the good stuff” that financial (snake oil?) sales folks talk about

3.  Find useful links to government and other helpful websites

4.  Identify if a financial advisor has been thorough in their duties

5.  Identify and avoid fraudulent advisors

6.  Make better financial decisions

You’re invited to stop by the RetirementQuest® website and see for yourself if this is a tool you can use.  Again, it’s no cost, and all you have to lose is your financial stress. Those who take action now will find themselves in a much better place later—why delay your future security? Plan ahead and be prepared.

Securities and advisory services are offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC. A Registered Investment Advisor. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

How NOT to Write a Resume - Tip One

Writing Resumes Tip Number One: Do NOT turn in a resume like this.

This is an actual resume turned in to me for a position fairly high in the company. I may not even follow up this tip with others, but I had to post this picture.

What's your first reaction? :-)

Friday, July 1, 2011


Yay for contests! Ready to hear who the winners are? I'm ready to tell!

*Andrea steps to the mic, holding a blank envelope in her hand containing a sheet of paper, which she removes.*

And now presenting The Key of Kilenya Contest Winners!! (If they're on Wattpad, I'm giving that name instead of their real name. :-))

1. Congbaide
2. Scattered_Roses
3. Kamcorder
4. Ozzyfan97
5. Anahlynn
6. BookwormStewart
7. Amanda Smith

Congratulations, Winners!!

Give them a round of applause, and let's celebrate with them!

 (Hippies crack me up. :-))

And now on to the prizes! The first place winner gets first choice, followed by the second, and so on and so forth.
  • Key earrings (made by me!)
  • Me to read, edit, and give opinion on first four pages (double spaced, Word document) of manuscript. (I'll let you know where your weaknesses and strengths are, which will help you with the rest of your book. I won't be able to read it more than once, or read more than the first four pages.)
  • A key necklace
  • Karen Hoover's eBook for free - The Sapphire Flute (amazing fantasy story about two girls. It's really, really good)
  • Jenni James' book Pride and Popularity - autographed and personalized (a great, great story! Girls, you'll love it if you haven't read it already. :-))
  • A hair flower (made by me!) (I'll tell you the colors/flowers I have available and let you choose what you want).
  • $10 iTunes gift card
I want to give everyone something they want, so if none of the above appeal to you, the following are also possible prizes:
  • A Drawing from James Curwen - your choice from the drawings he's done so far (a Molg and an Eetu Fish. Super cool, but super creepy too. More artwork to come later (he plans to do a Dust and Lirone, too))
  • Drawing from me (I've illustrated half of the artwork for the physical book). Your choice, from the drawings I've done so far (Early, A head shot of Aldo, and a bunch of other random illustrations.)

Some stats/trivia on the contest:
The most entries by one person was 255. That's amazing!
The smallest amount was 6.
The total number of entries was 1374. Awesome!
Nearly everyone who entered is a member of Wattpad (Go Wattpad!).
Early is the favorite character by most everyone.
Lirone came in close second.
A lot of people guessed pretty closely to how things are going to turn out, but no one person was completely correct. :-)
Only two questions were answered incorrectly - good job, everyone!
Most everyone was scared of the Fat Lady (which surprised me, actually. Course, when I pictured myself in Jacob's shoes, I would've been scared too. :-)).
The tunnel had a couple of people near to throwing up when they described how they would react to it.

Now I want to explain how the winners were selected. First off, as I was counting entries along the way, I kept track of the number of entries each person had. Then, today, I sat down and did the following:

So and so had 47 entries. Numbers 1-47 are assigned to him.
So and so had 16 entries. Numbers 48-63 are assigned to her.
So and so had 255 entries. Numbers 64-318 are assigned to her.

And so on and so forth. Having all the entries by each person chunked together like that isn't a problem with random number generators, since the numbers they pick are, well, random. :-) Here's the software I used:

One final congrats to the winners! Great job, guys! I'm very pleased with how things turned out. :-)

Oh, and one last thing: the characters who you chose to play Jacob and Aloren will be posted to my Facebook soon (along with those who SHOULDN'T play them), as will the covers you created for my book. When I've posted them, come along and tag yourself in them so everyone knows you suggested/created those things. (Make sure you're friends with me on Facebook here.)

Thanks to all of you for participating! :-)

I've sent emails to the winners. Please check your email if you haven't already. :-)