Sunday, April 01, 2018

April Reading Challenge: The Kids' List

My kids are just as passionate about books as I am, so it was fun to wake up this morning to the beginnings of a "Must Reads" list. Welcome to five Middle Grade books recommended by the fourth grade set.

April Reading Challenge
The Kids' List


"Life is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical,
science-fiction cowboy detective novel." ~ Alan Moore

Thursday, March 15, 2018

New Title Alert!

Burnout - New Title!

Old Covers:
NanoWrimo, Kindle Scout, and Published

After much research, a new title for my second book, to replace Riding with the Hides of Hell, was imminent! Help me welcome the new name, Burnout, which has many definitions: 1.) a totally destructive fire, 2.) the result of prolonged stress, and 3.) the act of spinning tires, causing heat and smoke due to friction.

All of these meanings can be found in Will and Miki's story. It's about riding motorcycles, being outside and feeling the dirt on your skin, the wind in your hair. It's about adventure, wearing leather, and being a rebel...and if you couldn't tell by the heart, it's about sweet love, too.

Time and readers will tell, but in this moment, I believe the new title works! Burnout is short, attention grabbing, and easy to remember. It gives a hint to what the story is about, and bonus, I can tell people the name without getting weird looks in return. Win!

It's a slow process getting things changed, so bear with me while the two titles float around. The pages within are basically the same, though, so have confidence reading whichever title you like.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Was, Were, and Wishful Thinking

First of all, I'm not a Grammar Queen and probably shouldn't give too much advice in this area. But sometimes I have a question about what "sounds" right to my english-is-my-first-language ear. I don't recall the school lesson or the rule, but why do these two sentences work*?

1.) I wish I were the Queen of England.
2.) I wish I was the Queen of England.

If I leave off the "I wish" part, then the first sentence definitely doesn't work. One would never say, "I were the Queen." Where were is to plural (we were, you were, they were), was is to singular (I was, you were, he was, she was, it was). Same goes for an "if" phrase...

3.) If I were the Queen, I'd have my own library.
4.) If I was the Queen, I'd have my own library.

Admittedly, I don't think the sentences above, numbers 2 and 4, sound right, but I've critiqued a lot of work and read many traditionally published books where this was the usage. However, * says, "It's never correct."

Want to know why? Apparently, it has to do with wishful thinking, statements that aren't true, and a verb's mood. When you see sentences starting with the idea of wishing for something, (I wish, Sheila wishes) and the word "If," those are huge clues to use "were." For deeper insight, let me guide you to some helpful resources, because when I see a word like "subjunctive" I know I'm sailing off the deep end.

Here are some sites I visited to better explain the matter:

Subjunctive Definition and Usage by
Subjunctive Verbs by Grammar Girl
When to Use "If I was" vs. "If I were" by English Language and Usage Stack Exchange

"Grammar is a piano I play by ear." ~ Joan Didion

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Book Giveaway on Etsy!

Head over to ESPIALdesign's shop on Etsy for one of four copies of Riding with the Hides of Hell available for $1. Each one comes with a hand-crafted corner bookmark and free shipping, too.

Riding with the Hides of Hell
Young Adult FINALIST in the 2016 PNWA Literary Contest

Riding with the Hides of Hell (RHOH), a young adult adventure romance, is getting a new title! So to get rid of the back stock where the old name is used, I'm giving four copies away - for $1 each (Etsy wouldn't let me do free, sorry!) - first four, first served! The story content and cover will remain the same (aside from the new title). Enjoy!

"It's always trouble with you."
While grieving the death of his mom, sixteen-year-old Will Sullivan drinks, drives, and lands his butt in the hospital, lucky to be alive. Enter his dad’s buddies from the Hides of Hell Motorcycle Club with big ideas about biker therapy, as in get ready to ride. Unfortunately, Will is teamed up with the prez’s daughter, the troublesome Miki, and playing passenger on her bike is gearing up to be the ultimate nightmare.

"Hop on!"
Miki Holtz isn’t some bubblegum chewing high schooler who only cares about her blue hair and the chips in her nails. She wants to be a mechanic and to make a love connection with her soul crush, Will Sullivan. Yeah, her speed is fast, and his is slow. She’s a mover and a shaker while he’s oddly attached to his floral couch. Will had better get ready for change, because if he’s riding on the back of her bike, he’ll need to hang on tight. Hell, yeah!

"I don't like the way you like me."
The easy ride takes a turn when a bad decision is made, and their rivals, the Pulver Skulls MC, take notice from the shadows.

Riding with the Hides of Hell is an adventure story set in the Pacific Northwest where a strong girl and a moody boy discover love while trying to survive on a road trip from hell.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Making a Title Change

I'm just now venturing down the path of making a title change for Riding with the Hides of Hell. The idea struck me after seeing a one star review by a person who reads biker erotica. So, I guess my title didn't convey that it was a chaste-young adult-love-adventure-story! My bad.

And the special tonight is...Roasted Popa Toes.

But it certainly pointed me in the direction of looking at marketing with a keener eye. So I did a little research and found some helpful articles by those who've been down this same road. Good resources on the topic include:

1.) On Changing Book Titles and Covers: My Own Experience by The Creative Penn

2.) How to Change a Book's Title Without Losing Reviews by Indies Unlimited

3.) On Books Changing Titles by Stacked

4.) Thread: Changing Titles on Amazon KDP Support

Now that I know what to do AFTER I make the change...what do I do before? Like what makes a good title? Believe it or not, I've been down this "Coming Up with a Title" road before. Good stuff, too.

But that didn't keep me from doing a little more research. According to Book in a Box, while brainstorming for the perfect title, ask yourself these questions: Is it attention grabbing? Is it memorable and easy to say? Does it hint to the potential reader what the book is about? Is the title idea embarrassing or a problem for someone to say out loud to their friends?

The folks at First Second Books have some helpful tips, too. Is the title you've dreamed up already in use or too similar to another book? Does your title have profanity in it?  (Gulp! "Hell" is probably a bad choice for the childrens market.)

I'm going to add one more brainstorming question that I just thought of...does the title accurately convey the tone of the story? I'll go ahead and answer no for myself.

"Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
~ L.M. Montgomery from Anne of Green Gables.

Monday, March 05, 2018

ESPIALdesign on ETSY: Heart Bookmarks in Shades of Green!

Today, I took a break from writing to work through some mental kinks by crafting some BIG, heart corner-bookmarks. Being March, I dipped into my green paper stash, which came from the Western Washington Scrapbook Retreat a couple years ago. See why you can't throw anything away? You never know when it'll come in handy.

I also had enough little bees (paper recycled from a German gift bag) to make four more bee themed bookmarks. Check out the new stuff at ESPIALdesign on Etsy. Unfortunately, my window lighting was typical Seattle the colors look a bit cold. The background paper used below may not look it, but it's a dark teal.


"Craftiness is happiness." ~ Unknown

Friday, March 02, 2018

2018 Camp Nanowrimo

March is prep time for next month's Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where writer's set their own goals, like choosing how much to write or choosing to do edits and revisions. It's a good way to stay on task while using the Nanowrimo community for accountability. Want to write together? Look me up: Espialdesign.

Get Lost. Write

I like to create covers to upload to Nano; it's an official start for me. I've thought about the story and the title (even though I know it's going to change), I can advertise that I'm the author of Dealing with Blue, and I even added, "Surely, a stunning read." by a made-up reviewer called Review Dog. Now, all I have to do is fill in the middle with 25 thousand "stunning" words.

Work In Progress
Young Adult Fantasy

The cover above was designed on my Mac, and I had all kinds of problems: My computer froze, embedding the font into the picture *sigh* and then when I saved it, suddenly my name was cut in half horizontally. Never seen that one before. Also, I just noticed my quotes around the review totally disappeared, but I guess that's what you get when you use Mac's previewer for a quick design.

No serves its purpose as being a step one in the Camp Nano process. Step two this month is to create characters and an outline, so that step three, when April 1st rolls around, the writing will come a bit easier. 

Good luck participants!