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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Writing 101: The In-Book Preview Page

I remember the first time I cracked open "Flowers in the Attic" by V.C. Andrews. I'm one of those readers who always starts right at the beginning and looks at every page. I begin with the dedication, I read every author's note, and I'll even skim over the Table of Contents before I get started. But when I found a page before the story that was an exactly copy of a page inside the story, I didn't know what to make of it. It was the first time I ever saw an in-book preview page, and it totally blew my mind. So now I'm wondering: do you put these pages in your books?

The Preview

Does anyone remember the preview page of "Flowers in the Attic," by the way? It's this amazing intense scene with the evil Grandmother, and everyone's calling each other by their names and they're all in this small room together and it's totally confusing but it's also terribly exciting. That page accomplishes exactly what a book excerpt is supposed to accomplish. And maybe you should be adding it to your book, after all.

There Are No Rules Underwater

"We begin the most amazing ride with Brenna." 

"I have read several mermaid books. This one is nothing like any of them. The rules have changed." 

"Song of the Sea" has been reviewed at Happy Tails and Tales. Read the review to find out which rating the reviewer gave me!

Get a peek at "Song of the Sea," and find out where you can get a copy.

Under the Waves

"Varden balances the teenage voice without having it shallow or stereotypical, but she also manages to capture the tone and experiences of being fifteen and discovering love, losing a parent, and trying to work out a place in the world."

"There is suspense and surprises, and tiny moments of joy that make this a fantastic fantasy adventure and one that will manage to warm and break your heart at the same time."

The newest review for "Song of the Sea" is up at Lost in a Good Book! Read the whole review to find out what's happening under the waves. 

Visit the Free Book Stuff area to get downloads and samples for "Song of the Sea." Don't forget to get your copy of "Song of the Sea" at Amazon!

Writing 101 Redux: Colons and Semicolons

When you're writing a book, the simple period and comma aren't always enough. Sometimes, you have to start using somewhat fancier punctuation -- like colons, semicolons and ellipsis. Today's TBT Writing 101 will help you remember how to use them perfectly. 

Perfect punctuation is important in every book, because (trust me) some reviewer is going to notice the first colon you put in the wrong place. Learn how to use colons and semicolons the right way, and you can do a lot more with your sentences. Read all about it in this throwback Writing 101.

Writing 101: The Neverending Series

No matter how you might feel about the books, you know you wouldn't mind writing something with Twilight-like popularity. You wouldn't mind having a popular series like The Hunger Games, probably, just like most authors. Writing a series is great. It allows you spend some time in a certain world, gives you the chance to really develop your characters and could even become a hugely successful movie franchise. But writing a series can also turn into a trap. This is the good side and the really ugly side of a neverending series of books.

This is the Series That Doesn't End

Sometimes, a book series can become much bigger than the author ever expected. The character in the series, the series itself, becomes much bigger than the author. Like, way bigger. Some book series don't end. Like, ever.

Writing 101: Update Your Outline

My struggles with my current manuscript have been well documented. I tried to push my way through writer's block, discovered that I needed to change the story, erased a ton of stuff...and then, I promptly got stuck again. But recently, I discovered the problem and ended up unlocking an ongoing problem I have with my writing. Maybe you've got the same one. Ask yourself a question: do you update your outline? 

Writing Inside the Lines

I start every book with a lot of ideas about how I'm going to write it. I sit and plan out every single chapter, not in great detail but in some detail, and then I start to write. And inevitably, all that stuff I planned ends up changing. Characters end up being different people than I imagined, events unfold in ways I didn't expect, new things happen that I never planned for. I go with it, of course, because good things can happen this way. But I don't go back and update the outline...and that ended up causing me some big problems.

Writing 101: The Danger of Doubting Yourself

For me, it almost always follows the same pattern. At the beginning of the book, I’m excited. I’m writing everything the way it’s supposed to written, it’s all flowing well. Then, I get to some intense scene. And I start to wonder. Should that character be killed? Should that scene be here? Should these two kiss right now? There’s a lot of danger in doubting yourself, and I know. It happens to me all the time.

Self Doubt

I ask a lot of questions. It's how I come up with a lot of my ideas, but sometimes it take a turn for the dark side. Sometimes, I start asking myself questions after I've already started working on a project. I'll get to asking questions, and instead of writing I'm fooling around with my outline and erasing paragraphs and doing new research. This is what self doubt does to me. Self doubt is different for everyone, but it almost always has the same effect: it keeps you from writing well. 

Writing 101 Redux: Tense

If you get tense over your tenses when you're writing, today's Throwback Thursday post was made for you.

It's don't-be-so-tense-about-tense Thursday, and I'm celebrating with this Writing 101 all about it. Relax. Tense isn't so hard when you know more about it.

Writing 101: Everyone's Opinion is Subjective

Beta readers. Reviewers. Your good friend. That writers group you joined. A lot of people are going to give you a lot of opinions about your book. They'll ask questions and tell you what they think. And as the author, you've got to remember that everyone's opinion is subjective.

Everybody's Got Something to Say Except for Me and My Monkey

It's a fine line for any author to walk. You need the opinions of readers, because you're writing for the readers. But you also need to stick to your guns when it comes to telling the story that you want to tell. In other words, you can't always follow the advice that your beta readers, friends and reviewers give you. Sometimes, you have to write what you're going to write anyway -- and leave it that way.

Writing 101: Writing is Re-Writing

Getting finished with the first draft is a hurdle, and it's a good one, but it's just the first one. Real writing is a whole lot of re-writing. You'll end up changing lots of stuff about your first draft...maybe even most of it. 


In other words, you're going to have to write everything twice -- more or less, anyway. You'll have to tweak and perfect, change and edit. You'll have to go over everything and possibly alter all of it before you come up with a finished product that you can use. Writing is rewriting...and sometimes, it's awful.

Writing 101: Are You Disposable?

You know how they say you're only as good as your last book? They say it because it's true. Some people throw books away when they're done reading them. I delete mine right off the Kindle. You may not like it, but as an author you are disposable...to at least some of the readers, all of the time.

Getting Trashed

The life of an author can be painful,. If you send out letters to agents and publishers pitching your book, you will be rejected by some of them. If you self-publish and you court the book bloggers, you will get reviews that hurt your feelings. If you make yourself available to fans through social media, you will be leaving yourself open to ridicule and attacks. But few things hurt quite as bad as simply being totally, completely ignored.