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. :-)