Justice (Deck of Lies, #1)

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The Tower (Deck of Lies, #2)

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Death (Deck of Lies, #3)

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Judgment (Deck of Lies, #4)

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Hope's Rebellion

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Big World, Few Words

"I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed Varden’s world  building skills and the rich characters she presented."

"With a world that is so big you want to keep exploring and a few surprises at the end that you won’t see coming, 'Hope’s Rebellion' is definitely a book worth checking out."

Christina Escamilla has reviewed Hope's Rebellion. Go read her comments before you buy the book!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Writing 101: Is It 'Worth It?'

Is it really worth it to be a writer? The romantic answer is a resounding yes. And if you're the type of person who likes insecurity, criticism, instability and exhaustion, then it's definitely something you ought to pursue. But if you enjoy getting holidays off and want to have some sort of extra time on the weekends, you've got some hard thinking to do.

Being a writer means paying a ton of money in taxes -- much more than you would if you had a "real job" -- and it means working much longer hours than the 9-to-5 guys who get the luxury of being on the clock just 40 hours a week. It also means being disregarded by everyone you know, because they'll assume it's easy for you to be flexible when it comes to your work. After all, to some of them what you do isn't even going to be real work. So before you pursue the goal of working as a full-time writer, make sure it's really worth it to you...because I promise, you're going to have to give up a lot to make it work.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Writing 101: The Ampersand, Percent Sign and Other Stuff You Can't Use

As an author, you're free to use words any way you want to paint pictures, evoke emotions and tell your story. But you're not free to use any symbols you want. It's time to find out about the ampersand, the percent sign and the other stuff you can't use.

Symbols vs. Punctuation

The ampersand, the percent sign and the slash actually are not punctuation. That's the first thing you've got to know and that's what you'll need to remember. These parts of the keyboard are actually symbols, not punctuation. And that's why you can't use them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Writing 101: Wikipedia is Not a Source

If you want to be an author and you want to write amazing books, there's one thing you have to know and keep in mind at all times: Wikipedia is not a source. Really, that's all you need to know. But there are some people out there who are going to want to know why they can't use Wikipedia to research their stories. For those people, I'm writing this post.

Public Opinion

Wikipedia passes itself off as an encyclopedia, and it's incredibly attractive. You can type in almost any name, any book, any movie and learn more about it. I know this better than most, because I can go to Wikipedia and suddenly spend an entire hour checking up on sitcom stars from the 1950s (don't ask). It's full of links and there's a lot you can find out, and that's all amazing. But there's a fly in the ointment. Wikipedia is not all that it appears to be. And there's one strong reason that no writer can use Wikipedia as a source at any time: it's not accurate.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Writing 101: Why Do So Many Authors Commit Suicide?

Suicide. It's certainly a dark topic, but to ignore it completely would be an injustice to literature. Many authors have written poignantly about suicide from a variety of different angles. And many more authors have actually killed themselves. In fact, the number of authors who have is rather startling. So today I have to ask, why do so many authors commit suicide...and are we more at risk than people with non-writing careers? 

Gone, Not Forgotten

Some of the most brilliant authors committed suicide. The list includes Virginia Woolf, who filled her pockets with rocks before she walked into the river at age 59. Edgar Allen Poe clearly thought about death a great deal, as evidenced by his work, and tried to kill himself at least once before he died under mysterious circumstances in 1849 at age 40.

Novelist Cesare Pavese was disillusioned by politics and overdosed on pills in his hotel room. In a bizarre twist, the suicide mirrored a scene depicted in his book Among Women Only. He was 41. Paul Celan, who wrote poetry, was 49 when he threw himself into the Seine.

One of the most notable author suicides is that of Sylvia Plath. It's notable because she wrote about suicide in The Bell Jar, a book that continues to be studied and shared all over the world. The dark tale details a young woman's thoughts about suicide. The work is largely autobiographical, though Plath changed all the names. She did commit suicide shortly after the book was written and died at age 30. 

Are you a danger to yourself if you're an author? 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Writing 101: When to Change Your Story

You've just started your new book, and you're excited. Everything is great...until you go to the movies, and you see a trailer for a plot that looks exactly the same as your new book. Being an author means you have to know when to change your story.

Simpsons Did It

I had to face a similar circumstance recently. I went back to an old project to complete it, and found that one of my characters has the same name as a character in another book series.  A much more popular book series.  And it's also a TV show. And even if I were to take a magic potion, my book isn't going to become as popular as that other book. Doesn't that mean that I have to change my story?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Writing 101: Fear of Failure

For every single indie author who takes the plunge and self-publishes a book, there are probably 5 or 6 authors who write books they don't ever publish. But it doesn't matter how many books you publish. You can always wind up struggling with a fear of failure. The real question is: can you defeat it?

Are You Afraid of the Words?

Anyone can fail at something, no matter how good they are at it ordinarily. Professional athletes, great actors and career politicians prove this to us all the time. Failure is a part of life, and we all do it. But when you're an indie author, failure feels especially frightening. What if you spend all this time working on your book, pouring your love and your sweat into it? What if you fall in love with it and you truly know how great it is? What if no one buys it? Even worse, what if everyone hates it? 

Doesn't that make you a failure? 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Writing 101: Can You Be Too Disciplined?

When you are a self-published author, you've got to be your own boss. That meas being hard on yourself, sometimes. You've got to tell yourself to get to work when that great movie is on cable, say "thanks but no thanks" to certain social outings in order to get more done, sit at the computer screen to write when you'd rather be on Twitter. But it is possible to be too hard on yourself. Can you be too disciplined?


The indie author game moves quickly. New books are published every single day, and new authors are appearing on Twitter like an ever-recycling magic trick. You've got to keep tweeting, keep blogging, keep publishing and keep staying active if you want to stay in the game. And when you also have to work a full-time job, maintain a social life, keep up some degree of a family life and still take care of yourself, you've got to be driven. You've got to stay motivated. You've got to keep working. 

Because you've got to do all this, you can start driving yourself a little too hard to get it all done. And I ought to know. You can be too disciplined. I know, because I am.