Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Posting Issues

Ok, I'm not trying to be thick here, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to comment back when someone leaves a comment on my page, or on anyone else's blog for that matter.  After I type in the comment box, I have tried every option from the pulldown box and it's just not letting me post anything!  I'm sure it's probably me being stupid, but I just wanted to say I am not intentionally ignore anyone who leaves me a comment....If you guys have advice, please leave me a comment! :)  And if your advice works, you will get a comment back from me.  :) 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Woo Hoo! Book Trailer!!

Hi everyone,

I made a book trailer!  I know it might be ameteur, but I must say I am proud of myself!  Check it out!

video

Excerpt!

So I'm thinking this might be my last excerpt...I don't want to unravel the whole story on my blog...And speaking of unraveling-this excerpt does reveal a bit of something that you might not be aware of when you first start reading my book...so it could be a little bit of a SPOILER...  That being said, if you don't mind, read on, if you want to be surprised, don't read any further!  :)  Taken from Chapter 28:


Mandy had fallen into a dreamless sleep when she had gotten to the sanctuary of her own room.  She was woken by a knocking at her door.  She sat up quickly, trying to shake off the sleep fog.  She looked at the clock.  4:30.  Almost dinner time.  She wondered if her parents knew she hadn’t been in school today.  The knocking began again.

“Yeah?”  Mandy called, clearing her throat from the sleepy goo that had made its home there as she snoozed.  “You can come in.”  Mandy’s door pushed open, revealing her mom standing there.

“Hey honey.  Rough day?  I came up earlier and saw you were asleep,” Mandy’s mom started.

“Um, yeah.  Guess I was tired,” Mandy said, unsure of what to say.

            “Well dinner’s almost done,” Mandy’s mom turned to go but stopped.  “Oh, and your friend Lucas called earlier too.  I told him you had fallen asleep and he said he’d just drop by later.  Now don’t get flustered, but I kind of invited him to dinner,” Mandy’s mom grimaced sheepishly, clearly aware of the potential trouble she had gotten herself into.

            “Mom!” Mandy screeched.  Her mouth fell open and her hands dropped uselessly to her sides.  “Why’d you do that?!” 

            “Now, Honey, calm down.  Lucas is a nice kid, I didn’t see the harm in helping your friendship along.  It’s nothing.  So what if he eats dinner with us for one night?  It’s not like you were serious with that Stephen kid.  Right?”

            “Mo-om,” Mandy moaned, turning the word into two syllables.  “Sometimes you make me so mad I could scream.  It’s not your business who I am or am not friends with.  I’m not five anymore!” Mandy stormed past her mom and downstairs.  She could smell enchiladas bubbling away in the oven, her favorite.  She would bet her mom had mde them as a peace offering.  She walked past her dad who happened to be passing through the room and started to fling open drawers, grabbing utensils to set the table.  Mandy’s mom was hot on her heels. 

“Now honey!  Come on!  Be reasonable,”  Mandy’s mom began.  Mandy slammed the silverware drawer shut with a thud, ingoring her mom’s comments.  She began noisily throwing the forks and knives down on the table.  Just then the doorbell rang. 

            “I’ll get that,” Mandy’s dad said too fast, obviously eager to get away from the angry kitchen.  Mandy rolled her eyes and flopped down into her chair crossing her arms in front of her chest, waiting.

            “There’s Lucas,” Mandy’s mom said softly to no one in particular.

            “Oh really?  I wouldn’t have guessed,” Mandy spat out sarcastically.  “I mean, I might have guessed that if I had invited him to dinner, but I didn’t invite him to dinner.  Oh that’s right, my mother invited him to dinner.” 

            Mandy’s dad walked back into the kitchen tailed by Lucas.  Mandy’s mom gave Mandy a glance that said to behave with just a look.  Then she quickly pasted on a smile.  Mandy refused to be part of this.  She didn’t even pretend to smile or even look up.  She stared at the table in front of her until her mother’s chirpy voice called out, “Mandy, Lucas is here.”

            Mandy bit the inside of her cheek, fuming at the way her evening was going.  She felt her nostrils flare and thought this must be what it’s like to be one of those bulls tormented in Spain.  She pictured her head with bull horns and her nose with a gold ring dangling from of it.  The image pushed her towards an inexplicable peal of laughter, which she barely choked back.  She was definitely losing it.  “Hey Lucas,” she managed to say, trying to sound nonchalant. 

            “Hey Mandy,” Lucas greeted her.  He moved towards the table, unsurely.  “Can I sit with you?”

            “Help yourself,” Mandy gestured to the seat across from her.  The wooden legs scraped noisily across the linoleum floor.  Mandy’s mom stood with her back towards them, fluffing up a pot of Spanish rice.

            “I tried to call you earlier, but your mom said you were taking a nap.”

            “I was,” Mandy said curtly, evilly eyeing her mother’s back.

            “I didn’t see you at school today, just wondering where you had gotten off to,” Lucas said, eyeing her knowingly.

            “What’s it to you, it’s not like we hang out nowadays,” Mandy said curtly.  Mandy kept her arms crossed in front of her chest.  Of all the days for her mother to do this to her.  Lucas cleared his throat, sounding uncomfortable.  His fingers drummed across the kitchen table.  Mandy felt a slight twinge of triumph at the fact that she had at least succeeded in making this awkward for everyone if she was going to be forced into a situation she had not asked for.  She looked up from the table to gauge Lucas’s face, and the triumphant feeling dissipated like it had never even been there at all.  In a split second the feeling was replaced by sheer terror. 

            Lucas had cleared his throat not because he was feeling awkward and uncomfortable.  He had been trying to get Mandy’s attention.  He was scowling at Mandy, his eyes narrowed until all you could see was a slit of his flashing green eyes.  His mouth was turned down in a sneer mixed up with a frown, his nose wrinkled in disgust.  The hand that had been drumming continued to do so, while his free hand moved across the table.  His finger was out and pointed down like a pencil, like he was drawing pictures mindlessly across the wood. 

            Mandy felt the blood rush out of her face as she sat up, dropping her arms from her chest and instead gripping the edges of her chair.  Something was not right here, that much was clear from Lucas’s expression.  She felt her mouth turn down in a frown.  She watched Lucas’s hand with the extended finger gliding across the polished surface.  All of a sudden she realized he was not aimlessly doodling.  His finger was writing something over and over again, invisibly across the table.  Long diagonal drag down, short diagonal drag up, short diagonal drag down, long diagonal drag up.  W…long drag straight down.  I…straight drag down, drag across the top.  T…Half a circle.  C…two long straight drags down connected by another drag across the middle.  H.  Mandy gasped audibly as things clicked into place in her head.

            Mandy’s mother turned around.  In the time she did Lucas impressively smoothed his face out like he didn’t even know how to look upset, much less sneer.  Almost imperceptibly, he gave a half shake of his head in Mandy’s direction.  Mandy swallowed noisily.  “Everything ok?” Mandy’s mom asked looking from Lucas to Mandy.

            “Yeah, I just need a drink,” Mandy said scraping her chair back so quickly it bumped into the wall behind her, leaving a small brown mark. 

            “Don’t forget your guest, Mandy.  Lucas, what would you like?  We have milk, apple juice, soda…” Mandy’s mom suggested.

            “Soda would be fine,” Lucas practically purred as he smiled sweetly at Mandy’s mom and then at Mandy herself.  Mandy swore she could feel the bile rising up in her throat.  She turned the tap on at the kitchen sink and poured herself a glass of water, chugging it down and ignoring Lucas’s request for the moment.  Once it was gone she turned to the fridge and looked for the soda.  There were two 2 liters inside.  One was a
Diet Coke, which had been sitting there, opened, lonely, and untouched for the past couple of weeks.  No one drank it besides Nana.  Then there was a brand new bottle of Mountain Dew, fresh with its carbonated bubbles eager to quench a person’s thirst.  She chose the Diet Coke, knowing it would be flat and unpleasant.  She poured a glass in a chipped tumbler, not bothering with ice.

            “Mandy, you should have gotten Lucas a glass,” Mandy’s mom said obviously embarrassed.

            “That’s ok,” Lucas said quickly with a smile.  “Tastes the same.”

            Mandy looked unapologetically at Lucas and slid the soda down across the table towards him.  She pushed it a little too hard and oops, wouldn’t you know it didn’t stop where it should have but tipped right off the edge of the table and onto Lucas’s lap.  Now it was Mandy’s turn to sneer.  She heard the sudden intake of her mother’s breath and she wiped the sneer off before her mother had time to turn around and catch her.  She tried her best to look horrified.  “Oh, geez, sorry Lucas!  I’ll get you a towel,” Mandy said running from the room.  She tried as best as she could to stifle the laugh that was threatening to explode.  She grabbed a ratty old towel from the cupboard and came back into the kitchen to find her mother mopping up the mess as best she could with paper towels.  Mandy flung the towel at Lucas and she could almost feel the heat of his anger radiating out of him. 

          

In the Works...

Hi everybody,

It's been a few days since I've written, mainly because I've been super busy looking for ways to promote my book.  There's a lot of good resources out there, but I'm actually finding that the number of resources is a bit overwhelming!  I've been sending out email after email, mainly to different book blogs, looking for reviews/interviews/guest posts, etc. 

I am having a really great resonse though, so luck must be on my side.  I'm a guest blogger on http://thefairytalenerd.blogspot.com/ on August 31, and will be doing a giveaway of my ebook, so if you have time check it out!  I've also got some more guest blogs & interviews in the works, so I'll let you know as they come around. 

Oh and I now have facebook and twitter pages for my book, just to confuse me more!  :)  I have to figure twitter out as I've never used it...but you can find me under Enchanted179 on both sites!

I'll probably be posting one last excerpt later today.  I don't want to give away the whole story, so I figure I can't really keep posting them or I'll end up with my whole book on my blog! 

So stay tuned and have a great Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Guest Blogging!

I'm excited to say that I'm a guest blogger over on AlaskanBookCafe today...
You can check me out here:  http://alaskanbookcafe.blogspot.com/  and find out a little bit more about me and what inspired my book as well as a new excerpt!!  Cristi at AlaskanBookCafe reviews books on her blog (she'll be doing a review of mine in the near future) so stop and browse around on her site for a while and find some good reads!  :)

Have a great day everybody!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Frustrated!

Who knew that self-publishing a book could be such a pain?!  Honestly, if I'd known, I don't know if I would have attempted this...so maybe it's better I didn't know...

As I've mentioned before, my book's formatting has issues.  But I found someone to fix it.  Even having someone fix it has not been as easy as I had hoped though.  I thought I could just email him the copy, he'd fix it, mail it back, and voila! good to go!  Sadly that has not been the case...

My first two attempts to email the book were met with a message that the file was corrupted and wouldn't open!  My third attempt was successful...sigh of relief.  So tonight I get an email from my fix-it friend that it is all fixed...Yay!  Go to open it and what do I get but a message that the file is corrupted and won't open.  At this point I am ready to bang my head repeatedly into the wall, or pull my hair out strand by strand, or both...

I want so badly to just have my book be in perfect condition and just worry about promoting it, but it seems it is never ending issues right now.  So in the meantime, I'll be hitting up the wine bottle and hoping and waiting for a response from the person that fixed it...hoping that a.) he writes back and b.) he knows what to do, cuz I certainly don't! 

If it is ever cleaned up and good to go I will be soo happy!  Cross your fingers I put that update up on my blog...SOON! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Excerpt!

I've been promising you all a new excerpt, so here it is, taken from Chapter 6: 


          “Mandy,” a soft voice whispered close to Mandy’s ear.  Mandy heard it, but she wanted to sleep a little longer so she decided to ignore it.  She was still so tired she felt as if she had just gone to bed.  Mandy knew it must be morning and that she must have slept through her alarm clock since her mom was trying to wake her up.  “Mandy,” the voice persisted. 

            Mandy groaned and pulled her pillow over her face.  “Mandy,” said the voice again.  Mandy felt the pillow be pulled away from her eyes.  She knew the charade must be up, she would have to give in to the day now.  She forced her eyelids to open a bit in a squint, prepared for the morning light to be bright and painful, but instead darkness met her eyes.  She rubbed her hands against her eyes and half sat up in bed.  It was still dark, she was not imagining that. 

            “Mom, what are you doing?” Mandy asked appalled that she had been called awake at this ungodly hour.

            “Mandy,” the voice said again, softly.

            “Mom?” Mandy asked quietly, her voice icy in her throat with the sudden panic that was enclosing around her.

            “Mandy,” said the feather soft whisper.

            Mandy looked around quickly, willing her eyes to adjust to the darkness.  She could see no one in her room.  There was no light coming in from out in the hallway or further in from the house, no light shining in from the windows.  She was surrounded by the pitch black, alone in her bed except for the voice.  She felt a scream rising in her chest but it would not come out.  Mandy felt paralyzed with fear.

            “Mandy,” the voice was very faint now. 

Mandy had the sudden urge to pull the blankets up over her head and hide, but she knew that was pointless.  She summoned all of her courage, which wasn’t very much and said to the disembodied voice, “What do you want?”  She was almost more terrified to hear the answer than to hear the whispered voice again.

“Come,” it breathed. 

Mandy was certain of one thing: she was definitely not getting out of her bed willingly.  She grabbed hold of her blankets and pulled them up a little higher and tighter to her body.

“Now,” it instructed.

Suddenly a gust of air blew in though Mandy’s open windows.  It was cold, the summer nights always cooled off drastically.  Coolness blew in right off the waters.  The wind seemed to wrap its icy, invisible arms around Mandy, embracing her in its powerful nothingness and pulling at her unrelentingly.  

Before she could scream she was somehow not in her bed anymore but out in the dark night.  Her house was gone.  Her bare feet felt the crisp grass beneath them.  The land was flat.  There seemed to be a house in the shadows but Mandy couldn’t make it out clearly.  The lonely moon peeked out a little from behind some silver clouds, sillouhetting a few tall yet crooked looking trees.  They reminded Mandy of skeletons, all bony and knobby, the branches pointing like long, skinny fingers.  Mandy followed the outline of the branches to the end, realizing suddenly that something was looped on one of the bigger branches.  She took a few steps closer, squinting in the darkness, trying to make out what the object was. 

It was dangling.  The wind whipped around Mandy and gave the object a push as well.  It began to sway a bit from the gusty breeze.  A break in the clouds soon allowed the moon to show itself completely, illuminating the horror before Mandy’s eyes.  A corpse it was, dangling from a rope tied about the tree branch.  The head was at an awful angle, unnaturally bent to the side.  It was dressed in outdated clothing in muted tones of brown.  A blouse and long skirt.  The breeze pushed it again, making it swing gleefully.        

This time the scream did find its way out of Mandy.  She screamed and screamed, staring in unparalleled fear at the traumatizing sight in front of her eye.  She wanted more than anything to back away, to run away, or to at least look away or close her eyes, but she couldn’t.  It was as if her body was not under her control anymore.  She continued to shriek until finally she located her legs and they began to respond to her commands and move her away. 

Mandy ran blindly, not caring which direction she went so long as she got away from this horrid place.  She had only gotten a few paces away when she tripped over something, perhaps a tree root poking out of the ground.  She fell on her stomach and found herself staring at something directly in front of her.  It was a large gray stone.  A slab.  A headstone.  Her eyes began to read the carving even though she knew what it said before she did so. 

Here liest quite free from Lifes
Distreƒsing Care,
A loving Wife…” 

The scream gurgled up again in Mandy’s throat.  She squeezed her eyes shut and let the scream surround her in the dark night until her throat felt like it would collapse in on itself. 

Under Construction...

Hi everyone,

As I've mentioned previously, when I uploaded my book to the Nook and Kindle I had some problems with formatting, such as indentations disappearing and blank pages appearing.  I tried to fix issues the best I could using Sigil, but even that was confusing to me and didn't fix everything.  I put it up for sale on both e-readers anyway, figuring it wasn't completely un-readable and I felt that the price was cheap enough to make up for the little issues. 

However, I was recently advised to try out Smashwords.  I downloaded their free e-book on how to format your book and began to try to sort it all out last night.  After about 20 minutes I had had enough!  Even though the book seemed pretty clear, I was still confused.  I have Word 2010 which I think only makes matters worse.  So...I decided to contact someone through Smashwords who would be able to reformat it for me properly.  I figure it is the only way it's going to get done and look its best.  That being said, once it is correctly reformatted, I am planning on pulling the old versions for sale and listing them with the "good" copy, which will be better for all of us.  :)  Hopefully the corrected version will be up for sale soon!  I'll let you all know. 

I had another reader suggest I ask for reviews from you all, which I think is a great idea.  So if any of you have a blog and do reviews, let me know in the comment section.  I would love to get some reviews going and/or some publicity!  It's hard to promote your book, so any help I can get I would really appreciate! 

Or if any of you happened to read my book already, or even just the excerpts posted on this blog, I would love to hear what you think in the comments section!  I'll probably be posting a new excerpt today at some point, so check back! 

Have a great day! 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacation

Sadly I am back from vacation and back to reality...It's always hard to get back into the swing of things, like unpacking and a week's worth of laundry, not to mention having to cook and do dishes and all of the things that accompany life.  But I did have a great vacation. 

I was at York Beach, Maine, which is actually where my book takes place.  So I thought I would post some pictures so everyone could see some of the actual spots in my story...



So this is Long Sands Beach in York, where my main character, Mandy spends some time....Beautiful beach on a beautiful day...



This is Short Sands Beach in York, which I don't really care for myself, but it is mentioned in the book so I thought I'd give you all a glimpse.  



This is the Goldenrod restaurant in York, which plays into my story a bit...really good breakfasts and I also love their grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches!  Yum!



This is Surfside Restaurant, where my main character ends up on a date... :)


The Fun-O-Rama on Short Sands beach, another bit of a stop in my book...


The view looking down along all the souvenir shops in town...


And finally, this is Nubble Lighthouse, which plays a significant part in my book!

I hope you guys enjoyed my "virtual tour" of the hotspots in my book.  Perhaps I've piqued your interest enough to download a copy... :) 

Check back soon as I'll be posting a new excerpt from my book within the next couple of days!  :) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

New Excerpt!

I am going on vacation tomorrow for a week, to the same town where my book takes place!  Can't wait to go have some fun, but before I do, I thought I'd post a new excerpt taken from Chapter 2:

  This high-pitched yipping of a little dog stole Mandy's attention.  She looked towards the direction of the noise and saw a little Chiauhua sitting up on its haunches, pawing at the air.  A thin leather leash was attached to his collar, leading up to a squat looking older woman sitting on a chair next to a round table.  Her tan skin was wrinkled like she had smoked too much or sat out in the sun for too long, or maybe both.  Her black hair was too long for her age and pulled bakc into a low ponytail.  Her eyes were like two dark marbles watching Mandy.  Across the little table sat an older man with coarse looking gray hair in a  bad attempt at a comb-over.  He was wearing a brightly colored shirt that was unbuttoned a few too many buttons, showing off tan skin that matched the woman's, but it was buried in gray fuzz.  In the fuzz rested too many glimmering gold chains.  The dog uipped again and pawed the air.  This was the one shop that never seemed to really fit in among the all the other familiar ones, the one Mandy had never visited.  A past-board white sign propped up on the table promised "Psychic Readings by Ms. Ophelia".  In front of the sign sat a glass ball; Mandy supposed it was a gaudy attempt at a crystal ball.  Mandy realized she was staring and quickly turned her head and stumbled a bit backwards.  
“Don’t worry, he won’t bite.  He’s actually very gentle.  He’s been waiting for you; I think he must want to say hello,” the bronze lady said.
Mandy took another slow step back.  “Waiting for me?” she asked.
“You are Dolly’s granddaughter, aren’t you?”
“Oh, yeah.  You know Nana then.”
Ms. Ophelia chuckled.  “Oh yes, Dolly and I go way back.” 
At this the man got up suddenly and disappeared behind the curtain that hung in the doorway.  “Have a seat,” Ms. Ophelia offered.
“Oh, actually, I really should get going.  It’s getting late and…”
            “Don’t worry, Mandy.  I know your Nana wouldn’t mind.”  Ms. Ophelia’s marble eyes burned intently on Mandy, who hesitantly made her way to the now open chair, wondering all the while how she could respectfully excuse herself from this awkwardness.  As she sat she could smell a strong incense burning.  It felt as if it was singing her nostrils.  It must be coming from behind the curtain where the old man had vanished to.
“Reading on me.  What would you like to know?  Past, present, or future?” asked Ms. Ophelia.
“Oh, I don’t really bel…”
“You don’t believe in that stuff, I know.  But you will.  Don’t be shy.  Let me see your palm, Mandy,” Ms. Ophelia instructed.
Obediently Mandy gave the psychic her hand, palm up.  Ms. Ophelia took it in her own hand, which was a bit too hot, like she had a fever.  She began to trace the lines in Mandy’s palm with her fingernail, which was slightly too long and painted a shocking shade of fuscia.  Mandy stared, mesmerized by the fingernail.  They were almost like talons.
Ms. Ophelia inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, all the while her claw-like nail still making invisible pictures on Mandy’s palm.  “Ah, yes, I see it as I knew I would,” she breathed.
“See what?” Mandy asked, curious in spite of her pessimism.
“Shh,” commanded Ms. Ophelia.  She breathed in and out slowly, her nostrils flaring.  The little dog cocked his head and whined.  Mandy was feeling more and more uncomfortable as this continued for what felt like an hour, but was in actuality only about two minutes.  Ms. Ophelia’s eyes suddenly snapped open.
“It’s very clear to me, Mandy, but it won’t be so soon to you.  In time it will reveal itself to you.”
“Who will reveal what to me?”
“Your lines, your roots here, are long and deep.  You cannot deny who you are and what you are destined to become.  It’s why you are here.  You must uncover your past to reveal your future.”
“What?”
“That is all I am at liberty to say.  Of course, for ten dollars I could tell you a little more,” Ms. Ophelia cackled.
Mandy pulled her hand back annoyed.  This was the reason she had never come to this particular store in this particular town.  Bluffing lunatics!  “That won’t be necessary,” she replied curtly to Ms. Ophelia.
Ms. Ophelia shrugged as if to say “your loss”.  The little dog whined again and Ms. Ophelia bent and scooped him into her lap.  Mandy stood and said, “Um, thanks,” and started to back away once more.
“Oh, Mandy.  One last thing: you might want to start in the antique trunk,” Ms. Ophelia advised as a low chuckle escaped her puckered mouth.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Up For Sale!

After many painful hours of reformatting my story, I finally got it to a point that I thought would be acceptable and clicked the little button on Pubit! to put it up for sale!!  Within the next 24-72 hours it will be available for purchase on the Nook!  I am excited but nervous.  Excited because of the unknown but nervous for the same reason.  What if no one reads it, what if people read it but hate it?  All I can hope for is I at least get a few readers and they like it.  My ultimate goal/dream would be that it takes off and I get lots of readers who love it and are begging me for more!  Ha ha, but I'm realistic so I'm not holding my breath. 

The process of getting it onto the Nook was not easy for someone who has minimal knowledge of computers like me.  It looked easy, but when that first preview opened up and I saw what it would look like on the Nook, I saw that the chapters were completely messed up...not starting on the right pages, etc.  After much browsing around online, I decided to try the program Sigil which will let you edit your book in a way that makes it compatible with the Nook.  Trying to figure Sigil out was a bit frustrating, even though I read that it's one of the easiest programs to use...maybe it's just me.  Then I had to redo the cover because it was too big, and that was another whole issue.  Took me a long time and I ended up with a headache.  But it's done.

While my book is done, I am not going to claim it's perfect or probably even anywhere near perfect.  It's my first attempt at a book, first attempt at publishing, first time using any of these programs.  I'm not going to lie, I don't know what I'm doing.  I reread my story and looked for mistakes, I used the spellcheck and grammar check on Word, but there's probably still errors here and there...hopefully not too many.  To me the story makes sense, but no one else has read it yet, so I'm hoping other people will back me up!  I couldn't figure out how to make a table of contents on Sigil (for some reason it was only working with certain chapters) so there is none.  With all that being said...I put the book up for $1.99.  Originally I was going to price it at .99 cents, but even though it's not perfect, I did work long and hard on it (a year and a half to write) so I decided to give myself some validation and price it at $1.99.  If it were me, and I spent $1.99 on a book, I would not be too upset to not get a table of contents or to find some errors.  What I would be expecting for that price is a good read, which I think my book is.  I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just trying to keep it real!  I expect that not everyone will want to read it, and that some of the people who do read it probably won't like it and may leave negative feedback.  All I can say is that I'm sure I will learn as I go and I hope you will take a chance on my book! 

So, now that I have that off my chest, here's your first sneak peek, taken from Chapter 1...enjoy!  (And check back tomorrow for a new excerpt from a different chapter!)

Mandy shivered as she stared out the car window at the ever-pressing gray sky encompassing all views.  She pulled her long white sweater coat more tightly around her.  It was August.  The sky should have been a pristine blue color dripping with golden drops of warm sun.  An occasional cotton candy cloud would be acceptable, too.  However, this was York Beach, Maine.  It was a beach town, as its name suggested.  Unlike other beach towns, it did not radiate sunshine and warmth, even in would-be hazy, lazy August.    Mandy had been coming here every summer since she had been knee-high and it was always the same.  Or at least she had always perceived it as the same.  There would be a few days that passed as nice, when the sun would flirt and tease with your vitamin-D deprived skin, playing hide and seek behind the dark, angry clouds threatening storms.  Mandy sighed.  She didn’t know what her parents saw in this place. 
            For as long as she could remember, her parents had brought Mandy up to York Beach each summer to spend time with her grandmother on her mother’s side.  She was ushered up from Boston each June a week after school let out for the summer and ushered back to Boston each August a week before school was back in session.  Mandy had been tired of spending her summers here, but as if that wasn’t bad enough, now she was being forced to move to the sleepy seaside town.  Her parents had claimed that Nana was getting older, and it was time they started acting like a family before it was too late. 
Mandy saw Nana every few months.  Boston was practically a stone’s throw from York Beach, only about a two hour drive.  She didn’t feel like Nana looked any older than she’d ever remembered her.  She didn’t act any older either.  Nothing had changed with her health, she was as fit as an ox; Mandy couldn’t understand what her parents were making such a fuss over. 
Mandy’s dad had been offered a position as a letter carrier in York.  He had been a mailman since he was 20 years old.  Unfortunately he still thought he was 20, even though those years were practically ancient history.  He drove Mandy crazy sometimes, the way he was constantly trying to use slang and as he would put it, “be down with his peeps, yo!”  He really had the potential to be an embarrassment, that is if Mandy ever made any friends here to be embarrassed in front of.     
Mandy’s mother had alternated between working at part-time jobs when they needed the extra income and staying at home with Mandy when she was younger.  Mandy’s mother wasn’t as much as a problem as her dad was.  Her only fault was wanting to know every detail of Mandy’s life.  That was fine when Mandy was younger, but now that she was seventeen, she didn’t always want to share every nook of her life with her mom.   Now that Mandy was entering her last year in high school, Mandy’s mother was planning on working in Nana’s flower shop. 
Nana had owned and run Enchanted Dew Drops since long before Mandy was born.  It was the only flower shop in town and therefore prospered well.  It seemed all the town inhabitants were on a first name basis with Nana, or Dolly as they called her.  Nana made a good amount for an older, single widow, especially at Prom time and in the summer months, which were always popular choices for seaside weddings.  She had all the major holidays covered as well, and of course there was always some star crossed lover that needed to buy a pretty bouquet to woo his soul mate, or some jerk that needed to apologize to his wife for his latest wrong doing.  Just this past year Nana had expanded her little flower shop to include a candy counter.  This lured in some of York’s younger crowd.  She had penny candy as well as handmade treats, such as fudge and chocolate dipped strawberries.  Something for everyone.
In the summertime, the town of York beckoned to tourists like Popsicles beckon to kids on hot days.  People flocked to the little town, loving its feel of old time fun and nostalgia.  There was something pure and clean, comforting even in the light breezes that rolled in off the ocean.  Comforting to most, but to Mandy it just oozed boring.  Mandy wouldn’t be able to enjoy those breezes even if she had wanted to because her mother had volunteered Mandy to work at Enchanted Dew Drops alongside her.  It wasn’t completely unfair, Mandy supposed.  Nana was going to pay her.  Still, she was sure she could have found something else to do with her time besides getting sucked into the family business. 
              Mandy had always been the quiet type, so maybe working the whole summer in the flower shop wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  It’s not like she had anyone she could pal around with anyway.  Without the job, she probably would have just spent the remainder of the summer curled up with a good book.  At least the job would keep her mind off the upcoming school year.  Hopefully. 
            It wasn’t that Mandy had any problems with school, itself.  She was smart and good grades came easily.  She didn’t get into any trouble either.  Ever.  She figured she was what most people would classify as a wallflower.  At her old school she had acquaintances that greeted her in the halls or the classrooms, but she didn’t have any real friends.  She had never really clicked with anyone, girls or guys.  She was about to be a senior and she still hadn’t even had a boyfriend.  Mandy didn’t consider herself ugly, but neither would she call herself pretty.  She was just average, way too average.  She had boring brown hair that was that odd shade where you couldn’t tell if it was really light or dark.  It hung straight and limp to her shoulders.  There was no chance of a curl or even a wave being found in it.  Her brown eyes, like her hair, were not light enough to be pretty and not dark enough to be enticing.  She wore a little mascara to try to liven up her unnaturally short eyelashes, but it didn’t really help much.  Her lips were not big and pouty nor thin and flirtatious.  They were just dull, run of the mill lips.  If anything was on them it was usually Mandy’s favorite peach lip-gloss.  In the end, Mandy categorized herself as plain.  Not quite ugly, but not quite pretty.         
            Her wardrobe was acceptable.  She couldn’t make up for her looks, so she at least tried fit in with her clothes.  Mostly she had a lot of plain colored thermal shirts and t-shirts, and jeans.  Tons of jeans.  Of course she didn’t own anything too short or too flashy.  Her parents had made their expectations known from a young age and Mandy didn’t really feel the need to fight them on it.  It’s not like she had a gorgeous body to show off anyway.  Mandy was naturally thin, which she was thankful for, but she didn’t have an hourglass figure to accentuate like some of the girls at school did by any means. 
            Here it was August and Mandy was actually chilly sitting in the car with the air conditioner blowing at her.  She let her head rest on the cool glass of the window as she stared sullenly out at the passing fir trees that were just a blur of green along the gray road.  Gray above, gray below, a strip of dark green in the middle separating the blandness.  Almost there. 
            Her mother put the car’s blinker on and began to exit the highway.  They followed the green signs pointing them into the town of York Beach.  Before long Mandy caught a glimpse of more grayness.  The unending gray of the Atlantic blended seamlessly into the gray sky and crashed into white foam along the gray shore of Long Sands Beach.  The rocks lining the top of the sand were also varying shades of gray.  Gray, gray, gray.  Mandy felt like she had just arrived in a colorless world.
            There were people on the beach despite the uncooperative weather.  Young families with their blankets and towels spread out, lounging with books and magazines.  Guys, by the looks of it close to Mandy’s age, trying to show off to the girls laying on the sand hoping for some glimpse of the sun to kiss their already perfectly bronzed skin. Children, oblivious to the cool day, splashing in the even cooler water or making drip castles in the sand.  Mandy’s mother switched off the AC and rolled the windows down a bit.  Mandy could hear the delighted shrieks of the children and the cries of the gulls as they waited for dropped French fries or bits of sandwiches and chips.  She could smell the distinct smell of salt water and sand with the wafting smell of hamburgers mixed in from the Sun’n’Surf beachside restaurant.  She watched the little sandpipers running distractedly in zigzags up and down where the shore met the sand.  They always looked confused and worried to her.  Running from something, but at the same time not knowing what or why.  Of course they had the option of flight.  Mandy wished she had that option right about now.  She would fly away somewhere by herself.  Somewhere far from here, and warm, the way a beach was supposed to be. 
            The car drove on and Mandy found herself staring mindlessly at Nubble Light, the most photographed lighthouse on the east coast.  It stood out at the precipice of a rocky clustering, alone and isolated on its own little island, blinking at Mandy as mindlessly as she felt.  The waves crashed roughly against the gray boulders there, throwing its foam and mist angrily back to the sea.  Mandy shuddered.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cover for e-book

I've been trying to figure out a cover for my book, which to me has been more difficult than I had assumed.  I see all kinds of great covers on the Nook, and didn't really stop to wonder how exactly people were creating these covers until I realized I would need one myself if I plan to publish it anywhere.  I'm still not exactly sure how people are creating their covers.  I would assume some people hire a professional to do theirs, but it's my project, so I decided to go it my own way...so I've been looking up pictures in the public domain.  I have found three different pictures I like so far.  The first one was a cloudy gray sky, but when I slapped my title on there, it was just too washed out looking.  So then I found a picture of a pink cloudy sky with a sliver of a moon, which was neat looking, but I didn't feel like it did enough for me or would do enough for a perspective reader.  Finally I stumbled upon the coolest picture of a girl, who could definitely pass for the image I have in my head of my main character!  It's not just any picture though...It almost looks like the paint is peeling off the canvas, and the colors she is painted in are very earthy colors, which is an added bonus because my book has an element of nature in it, specifically having to do with flowers and herbs and their healing properties.  I'm very excited I found this picture, as I feel it's the perfect cover for my book.  It's mysterious and beautiful all at once...I would hug it if I could!  I discovered it at:  http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=4186&picture=decompose  I don't know who is responsible for this materpiece, but as it is listed as free for use in the public domain, I would just love to give a big shout of thanks for making my day!  And here is the tentative cover:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First Book! I did it!


So I'm happy to report I decided to write a story, and I actually finished it!  It's actually more of a novel, as it's about 80,000 words...I was going to try to get it published, because that would just be so cool to actually have written a book and then have it physically sitting on a shelf with my name on it, but, I have heard it's nearly impossible to get stuff published when you're just a nobody and know nobody.  So I've decided to go the Indie route, as in publish it myself.  I've discovered you can publish books for free on the Kindle and the Nook, so as I own a Nook, I decided to try that out first.  I'm still in the process of checking the story for errors, but I hope to be done soon and if uploading it is as simple as the Pubit! website claims, it should be up for sale very shortly.  I'm not looking to make a million off of this book (although don't get me wrong, I would love that!), but I had fun writing it and I'm glad I wrote it, so I am hoping there might be some people out there who would want to read it too.  I'm pricing it at .99 cents, so it's not like it's going to break the bank if you buy it.  If you do buy it, I'd love to get some feedback, good or bad, honest opinions!    As for the story, I would say the genre is paranormal/fantasy with a hint of romance, of the teen variety.  I am hoping to post some teasers from the chapters soon, but this synopsis will have to hold you all over for now:

Mandy is a quiet teenager who just wants to blend in with the crowd rather than stand out as anything or anybody.  Mandy's pretty successful at this until her parents decide it's time to move from Boston to the quiet seaside town of York Beach, Maine,  to "be closer to Nana".  Although Mandy has been vacationing in York every summer since she was a child, she has no desire to live there and is worried about fitting in and finding friends during her senior year of high school. 

Nana owns a flower shop in town and while working alongside her, Mandy makes a few friends and observes the oddities of the little town and its inahitants.  When she finds some old correspondance hidden inside an antique trunk handed down from her Nana, the "oddities" turn into full fledged mysteries.  As she unravels the forgotten and hidden history of the town, she simultaneously unravels her own family's past and current secrets while writing her future.  With bits of romance and paranormal along the way, she is able to figure out the puzzle of the correspondance, the magic she never realized was surrounding her, and visions of the past and future.  Will she walk away from her personal history and her future or will she realize it's ok to be somebody, even if that somebody is nothing like everybody else?