Monday, April 13, 2015

Wait, Let Me Write That Down!

A question for my fellow creative types:

Have you ever been in conversation with someone, or listened to someone else's conversation, and heard the person say something that gives you an idea for whatever you're working on? Maybe it's a line that a character would say, or maybe it's a perfect description of something you could incorporate into the story. But whatever it is, it lines up perfectly with what's in your head.

And you don't want to be rude or creepy and write it down right away. Especially not in front of them.

So you make a mental note to make a physical note about it later.

And you forget it completely. (Okay, maybe that's just me. But if I'm not alone, please let me know!)

That's where I am right now. I was in a conversation with someone, and she described something so perfectly that I just had to write it down. Except I didn't, and I lost it. Now I'm desperately trying to jog my memory. Hmm... maybe something having to do with shoes? Or clothes? I can't remember.

Can anyone else relate? Anyone have any tips for forgetful people? What was something interesting you've heard lately?

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Change In Seasons

Boy, it was an icy cold winter on the east coast this year. But as I write this (I write posts in advance, so I wrote this weeks ago), I'm hearing birds chirping outside, and the snow has finally melted. Soon, I'll be living out west, in 100+ degree summer heat. ("But it's a dry heat," they say. And it is. But still...)

The weather sometimes makes it hard for me to focus on whatever season it is in the book I'm writing. My current WIP takes place in the fall and early winter, so I'm not in that mindset at all. School starting? Halloween? Leaves falling? Yup, I definitely have to use my imagination.

I'm glad, though, that I'm not writing yet another book that takes place during the summer. Since I write for kids and don't always want to incorporate school scenes in my stories, I tend to choose summer and use the two-month vacation as an excuse. (Although I did recently write a winter story and a spring story, so I've branched out a bit this year.)

What seasons do you enjoy writing about the most? Do you center your stories around certain holidays? What kind of seasonal imagery (snow falling, birds chirping, the warmth of sunshine) do you enjoy the most?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Interview: What It's Like To Be a Self-Published Author

Today, my friend and critique partner, Kristi Wientge, is interviewing me on her blog about my self-publishing experiences.

If you're interested, go ahead and check it out. But if you're not, I still encourage you to stop by anyway.

Why?

Because Kristi recently had some awesome news -- she signed with agent Patricia Nelson of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency! You guys will love Kristi's book! It's incredibly heartwarming and sweet and so true to life.

So, I highly recommend that you head on over and say hi to Kristi (even if you ignore my rambling, it's okay, haha.) Chances are, you'll be hearing a lot about her book in the future!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Upon A Time: Excerpt & Guest Post by February Grace

I am ecstatic to feature February Grace on the blog today! February Grace is not only an extraordinarily talented writer with the most amazing ideas, but she's also one of the sweetest people I've ever "met." Today, she's here to talk a bit about her newest release, UPON A TIME, and to share an excerpt of the book.

The floor is yours, my friend!


“For every soul whose heart defies the limits of their body.”

It is with that dedication that UPON A TIME begins, and those words are more than just words to me.

Why?

Because I myself am one of those whose soul is travelling around in a physical shell that feels too weak to hold it.

I have struggled with health problems all my life, and the list is too long to get into here. Most of them can, collectively, be attributed to a genetic disorder that I was born with but not finally diagnosed with until I was 38. The rest are just an unlucky roll of the Universal dice, I suppose.

Whatever their cause, I know what it feels like to be judged by your appearance and by your disabilities, visible and invisible. Anyone who has ever experienced such discrimination and humiliation can tell you that it definitely feels anything but good.

I wrote UPON A TIME to challenge the long-standing fairy tale myth that beauty equals good. To show that the notion is just that, a myth, and those who have physical challenges can often be stronger at heart than those without such obstacles to overcome.

I also wanted to show through the story that help, and yes, even love can come from the most unlikely places and people, and that those who seem most unlikely to lead can step up, take the mantle of leadership, and wear it with grace and dignity.

Brilliant minds, loving hearts, and amazing souls all dwell within people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. If I could send one clear message through UPON A TIME that would be it. Don’t judge people by their exterior, get to know their heart. That is where true strength, and beauty, lies.

About the Book

A blacksmith’s apprentice who would be a knight. The heir to the throne, at death’s door. One woman who would save them both, if she could… Charlotte was number sixty-four in the second group of young, hopeful maidens intended to meet the Prince at a grand ball in his honor. That introduction was not to be. She returned home to her tiny village—and her visions of a future limited by it—without any warning of the drastic turn her life was about to take. Soon she would be fighting against the odds to help keep a gravely wounded stranger alive; and waging war with her own heart, as he stirred feelings in her she’d never known. When the stranger’s royal identity is revealed, Charlotte is faced with an entirely different battle: one to keep her family, village, and the injured Prince in her care all safe from a madman set on taking the throne by any means necessary.

Excerpt from the book:

SEARCH FOR SLIPPER GIRL ENDS: CINDER MAID TO BECOME FUTURE QUEEN!

The proclamation was nailed to the largest tree in every village square, announcing the Prince’s betrothal.

“Well, good for them, I hope they’ll be happy,” Charlotte said, reaching into the bag at her waist and pulling out an apple for her horse. Poor old Beau was still expected to keep up his daily duties, even though he’d barely recovered from the long trip to the palace and back for the ball a fortnight ago. Still recovering as well, it seemed, was Charlotte.

“So, he’s going to marry her, then?” A familiar voice spoke nearby, and Charlotte looked up to see her friend, the young apprentice to the village blacksmith. She had known Thomas since they were both too small to climb the tree they now stood before. It became a contest between them as the years went on, until work took the place of play full time. Now, neither could remember when last they’d raced to that tree and grasped bough after bough until they overlooked the whole of their little village.

“Looks that way. They never even made it this far out with the slipper to try it on anyone. Not that I’d have bothered. I knew it wasn’t mine.” Charlotte shook her head. “Imagine, leaving a party in such a rush you lose your shoe.” She reached out as Thomas repeatedly tossed an apple he had brought with him into the air. She snatched it away and held it out toward Beau.

Thomas patted Beau’s swaying back, noting that the horse looked wearier every time he saw him. He didn’t know what Charlotte was going to do when Beau’s days upon Earth came to an end.

The horse gobbled up the fruit and whinnied his approval, nuzzling his nose into Thomas’s hand. “You’re not really disappointed, are you? About… you know?” Thomas let the question hang in the air. He hadn’t liked this idea of the Prince selecting a bride based upon one initial meeting under such strictly controlled circumstances. How could a man ever expect to find a woman to be his partner, his equal, in such a way? Someone with the strength to stand beside him and rule the people justly? For the life of him, Thomas couldn’t fathom the idea, and he was glad that, for Charlotte, any dreams of becoming royalty had ended the night they began.

“About the Prince?” Charlotte shrugged. “I didn’t even get a very good look at him, they had him sequestered in another room most of the night, and then he just danced the golden-haired maid past us all and was gone. I know nothing of him; nothing of his character or spirit. So I can’t say I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to marry a stranger...” her voice trailed off.

“But?” Thomas looked away, examining his rough-hewn hand as if he’d never seen it before.

“The idea of a different life, for just a moment...”

About the Author

February Grace is a writer, poet, and artist from Southeastern Michigan. She has created characters with clockwork hearts, told the romantic tale of modern fairy godparents, and has now put her own spin on a classic tale in UPON A TIME, her fourth novel published by Booktrope. She sings on key, plays by ear, and is more than mildly obsessed with colors, music, and meteor showers.

Find out more about February Grace by visiting www.februarywriter.blogspot.com
Or find her on Twitter and say hello! @FebruaryGrace


Goodreads
Amazon (Paperback)
Amazon (eBook)
B&N

Thank you to February Grace for sharing with us today! I can definitely relate to the message behind your writing, and I can't wait to read this book!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nerds Rule! Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

Today, I'm swapping blogs with the super cool & fabulous Stephanie Faris! Stephanie is the author of 30 DAYS OF NO GOSSIP and 25 ROSES and the creator of a very fun blog!

We're both blogging about nerd-related topics today. I'm over at her place, talking about nerd conventions. Meanwhile, she's here today to talk about how much nerds rule!

The floor is yours, Stephanie!
* * *
Thank you for having me today, Shelley!

Since the first time I saw the Internet, I’ve questioned the use of the term “nerd.” After all, the guys behind the technology we use every day are the same ones who were playing video games on their Commodore 64s in the 80s. We made fun of those guys then. Today…

We still make fun of them? Really?

Shows like The Big Bang Theory have tried to make a mockery out of super-smart people who lack any social sensibilities whatsoever. Sheldon and his team of physicist buddies dress up in superhero costumes, hang out at comic book stores, and spend way too much time on online role-playing games. In other words, typical “nerd” behavior.

But when you break it down, nerds are merely people who are passionate about their hobbies. The only difference is, a passionate interest in video games gets someone labeled a nerd, but a passionate interest in sports doesn’t. What’s the difference?

Both nerds and sports fans set their lives aside for events related to their hobbies.

Both nerds and sports fans dress in costume for events.

Both nerds and sports fans spend an excessive amount of time talking about their hobbies.

Of course, without the social skills necessary to make it into the top social cliques in school, nerds will likely always be seen as outcasts…until they graduate. At that point, they go on to excel in college, land top jobs, make six figures, and serve as presidents and CEOs of the companies that power the products you use every day.

Perhaps books like Shelley’s are the key to changing all that. Once kids start to realize nerds are a lot cooler than they seem on the surface, they might try to get to know them. They might realize nerds are much more interesting than they ever realized. Even if those nerds are their own dads.


Yes! As a nerd, I definitely hope that people will start to see that nerds aren't so different from non-nerds after all. Thanks, Stephanie!

Here's more about Stephanie's latest book (which I will be reading very soon -- can't wait! I loved her first book!):


Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.

Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight.


Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.

Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive.

Find Stephanie and her books here:

Buy (Autographed)
Buy (Amazon)
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Winner Could Be You!

To celebrate my latest book release, I'm offering several chances for readers to win free books (and more)!

The Release Day Party giveaway via Rafflecopter has just ended, and the winner is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congratulations, Tiana! (She was chosen at random, but I'm happy because she's super awesome!)

But just because that one giveaway is over doesn't mean there are no more chances to win. I'm currently running a Goodreads giveaway for the print version of One Hundred Thirty Stars:



Goodreads Book Giveaway


One Hundred Thirty Stars by Shelley Sly

One Hundred Thirty Stars

by Shelley Sly


Giveaway ends April 03, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.


Enter to win



And also, if you're still interested in winning an e-book, you'll have another chance next week. My critique partner, Kristi Wientge, will be hosting a giveaway on her blog on the 31st! She'll also be interviewing me about the publishing process, so if you're interested, be sure to check it out!

Thanks for all the kind words about One Hundred Thirty Stars the past few weeks! Now I'd like to shift gears and focus more on books by my lovely writer friends, so check back here for some fun guest posts in the coming days!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Visiting Friends This Week -- Come Join Us!

A bunch of my wonderful writer friends are featuring me and/or my book on their blogs this week!

Today I'm over at Jemi Fraser's blog, talking about the difference between the two genres I've focused on: middle grade and romance.

Jemi is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful people you'll find in the blogging community (and, possibly, in the entire world. She's that nice!) If you haven't been to her blog yet, I highly recommend it!

On Wednesday, I'm excited to be on Tyrean Martinson's blog, where I'm answering questions about my writing life!

Tyrean is SO incredibly nice, and she's the author of many books and short stories. If you haven't already, please check out my post about her book, A Jumble of 500+ Writing Prompts!

And on Friday, Medeia Sharif's blog will feature my new release, ONE HUNDRED THIRTY STARS!

By now, you must have heard of how awesome Medeia is -- she's written lots of books with unique and catchy premises. I can't wait to catch up on the ones I haven't read yet!

Also, just a reminder -- the random drawing for a free e-book and 20 page critique ends in less than a week! Check it out below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hope you guys have a terrific Monday!
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