Fun Times with Great Authors

I know, I know… this isn’t quite about a job.

But, hear me out. I haven’t found a new job yet. So until I do, my posts may not be quite job related. At least I applied to three new jobs today, right? Right?

Okay, okay…

So let me share some fun news with all of y’all out there. I happen to be a rather heavy reader. I read a lot in general, and I read even more when I’m stressed. Now, bear with me, I’m not exactly stressed, but when I don’t know what to do, I either read or write, and this week has been a combination of reading and writing.

(More about the writing later.)

That said, I read two books this week that made me stop and pause. I read one book on Wattpad, and it was by this fabulous author named Lauren Nicolle Taylor, who just so happens to be Australian and has three subsequent novels in her series.

The series called The Woodlands by Lauren Taylor is a fascinating YA dystopian set in a rather unique version of the world that I can’t quite wrap my brain around. (Honest – I spent some time during the book trying to figure out if the main characters lived in a colony in Brazil or Russia. You read it and tell me if you have the same questions!)

The hyperlink above should take you directly to the first book in the series (also titled The Woodlands) on Wattpad where you can read the whole story. I won’t tell you too much about it other than to say that I’m a sucker for dystopian novels and have been ever since I read 1984 as a high schooler.

That said, Taylor’s Twitter account (which I follow) was updated recently to recommend a book by another author, E.R. Arroyo, that was out for free on all eBook readers with perhaps one exception (that being Nook, I think).

So what’s an unemployed lady to do when faced with free eBooks recommended by an already acclaimed (to her eyes) author? Obviously download and read Sovereign, the first book in Arroyo’s series.

You’re probably thinking, yeah, this is boring.

But wait! There’s more!

Yesterday, I finished Sovereign just in time to notice that Taylor had Tweeted about a Facebook event the two author’s were doing where they were switching pages with one another and promoting their books on each other’s pages. (Weird, I know… who does that?) And then I saw the bright, shiny word: giveaways!

I slavishly went back and forth on Facebook for two hours last night looking at their pages and commenting on each giveaway post in the hopes of winning a shiny.

And guess what?

I won giveaways from both authors! Do you know how cool that is? Do you know how rare it is that I win giveaways…especially giveaways of things that I actually want??

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve won a giveaway and the number of times it’s been an item I wanted. I’ve won precisely two giveaways in my life. Once was a bottle of ant-killer at the local community fair. (Yeah… the enthusiasm is oozing off me as I type that.) The other time was at a local strip mall where I won a $75 gift certificate to a ridiculously ritzy steak restaurant called Flemings. (I totally went there on my 21st birthday with my best friend and spent more than double that – thank you, gift certificate!)

To recap what I won – from Arroyo, I won eBook copies of both her books Sovereign and The Offering; however, I’m only taking the second one since I’ve already got a copy of the first. From Taylor, I won an eBook copy of the second book in her series, The Wall. She’s even already sent me the epub version for my iPad.

I can’t tell you how cool I think this is. I can’t tell you how excited I am about these authors and their work. And I can’t express how much I want to be these authors someday: doing giveaways and Facebook page swaps for fans and simply being this awesome.

Also, if you have a chance and are interested in YA dystopian fiction (think Hunger Games series or Divergent series by Veronica Roth), I would recommend  either of these authors as an excellent alternative to the norm in YA with a number of fun twists in their writing that will keep you riveted to the page.

Granted, I haven’t finished either series, but for the first novels, that’s high praise coming from me.

All right, enough from me. I’m off to sleep and then to do more writing so I can be that writer someday.



I’m Entering a Writer Contest! (And Other Fun Stuff)

So now that I’m looking for a job during the day, I thought it would be worth some of my time to go back to what I’m passionate about: writing. I know I’ve mentioned this to y’all before at least a little, but writing novels is what I’d love to do with my life. If you’ve followed any of my Tweets on the little sidebar, you’ll notice I tweet other authors that I read and get super excited when they respond to me.

That said, I’ve recently come across an opportunity that I never knew about and am excited to share it with anyone else out there who would like to know about a potential contest they can enter to showcase their work to an agent!

If you’re reading this thinking it’s not for you, that’s fine, but I hope you’ll be excited for me because this is a huge step for me in putting myself out there since I almost never do stuff like this at this stage of my writing career.

So let’s go over the facts, folks.

The contest boils down to this:

It’s called “Dear Lucky Agent,” and it’s hosted by Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agent’s blog over on the Writer’s Digest website.

Apparently they do the contest on a rolling basis and change the parameters every time to include different genres and audiences, which I think is fabulous! The contest this time is open until Wednesday, April 9th to all authors of YA fiction who have full-length works ready to submit.

Wish me luck! If you enter, I’ll do the same for you!

If you check out the page, you’ll note that they don’t exactly specify what they mean by a completed manuscript, so it seems rather open to interpretation. However, Chuck has supplied an email for any questions, and I would assume a completed manuscript does, in fact, require it to be at least to an end point in the book where it’s finished.

So what am I entering to this contest?

You’re told by the contest rules to enter the first 150-200 words of your completed YA manuscript to the contest. I started looking at my one complete YA novel and realized that to really have the whole thing make sense I would have to submit the first 225 words because of where the paragraphs ended. That said, I didn’t intentionally go over the word count, I just submitted a tiny bit extra.

Edit: I realized after looking at the contest entry details that they do not consider entries that are less or more than the specified length, so I altered my word count to fit the length before submitting! I hope any of you who submit will make note of that as well before submitting because I wouldn’t want to lead anyone the wrong way with this contest!

The story I’m submitting is a book I wrote back in 2009-2010, called Fire and Ice Bound. It’s probably one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written. I love the book as a whole and intend to publish it someday. I have high hopes it will be worth reading, and even if it isn’t one of the three winners of this contest, I still feel this is a huge step in the right direction for my writing career.

I look forward to seeing how the contest plays out, but even if I don’t go far, I’ll be happy to simply keep working on my two projects that are in the works right now. It’s all worth it in my eyes.

Let me know if you decide to enter the contest, too! I’d be interested to hear how many of you are writing YA and find this contest just as exciting as I do!

– RaeNez