2017 Rundown and 2018 Goals!

2017 Rundown and 2018 Goals!

Did it seem to anyone else like 2017 whizzed by? I for one can’t believe we are already solidly into 2018! But before we get too far, I thought I would take the time to revisit last year’s goals, and to plan for this upcoming year.

It’s nice to look back and realize I kicked some serious butt meeting last year’s goals! Here’s what I planned out for the year:

  • Consistently get up early to do my author work before I head to work
  • Finish revising Sunburner and publish it, with a goal of a June 2017 launch
  • Start a street team to help with the Sunburner launch
  • Finish editing The Confectioner’s Guild and submit to literary agents (and hopefully get an agent!)
  • Write the first draft of the sequel to The Confectioner’s Guild in November and December
  • Work on connecting with local schools and bookstores to do some in person events
  • Connect with more writers and authors in person, though attending the PNWA Conference and PNWA and SCWBI events
  • Grow my email list to 10,000, my Facebook following to 2,000 and my Twitter following to 5,000
  • Lastly: keep learning & keep reading!

In addition to meeting (most) of these goals, I took my rights back from my publisher and re-self published Moonburner (which was totally the right call); set up a publishing company, Live Edge Publishing; wrote an additional book, Starburner; and started a Bookstagram  account! I grew my mailing list to 13,000; successfully launched Sunburner; started having consistent 4-figure sales months; and successfully figured out a method that works for me for outlining before I write (a major factor in increasing writing speed). Whew! Also, after seeing how well my Moonburner Cycle is doing once I self-published it, I nixed the idea of getting an agent for Confectioner’s Guild, and plan to self-publish the trilogy. 

Next year I have an even more planned! I’ll be laser-focusing on writing, editing, and publishing more books.  My 2018 Goals:

  • Launch 4 books and a novella–Starburner in the spring, the Confectioner’s Guild trilogy in the fall (titled The Confectioner’s Guild; The Confectioner’s Coup; and The Confectioner’s Truth)  and the Confectioner’s Guild prequel novella, called The Confectioner’s Exile.
  • Write 500,000 words (that should be 6-7 more books!). I’ve got ideas bubbling for a few standalone novels, a fantasy series, and a romance series! 
  • Learn how to use Amazon and Facebook Ads to grow my business
  • Learn how to successfully dictate to increase my writing speed and process
  • Continue engaging my author platform–website, mailing list, street team, and social media
  • Continue learning and reading other books in my genre! I’m going to try to read more books by indie authors this year, and I’m toying with the idea of finding another author to collaborate with on a project

It’s an ambitious plan for the year, but I’m so excited to see what 2018 brings! I finally feel like I have this publishing/selling books thing *mostly* figured out, and can’t wait to just buckle down and write more books. Here’s to the best year ever!

LIMITED TIME ONLY: Winter Sale on the Moonburner Cycle!

LIMITED TIME ONLY: Winter Sale on the Moonburner Cycle!

The holiday season is upon us! For a limited time only, the Moonburner Cycle eBooks are on sale. From December 5-9, Moonburner is FREE and Sunburner is just .99 cents! Grab them together with the FREE prequel novella, Burning Fate, and you’ll score the whole cycle for just .99 cents! Click the covers below to head over to Amazon.

Grab the whole Moonburner Cycle for just .99 cents!

Bookish Gift Ideas for this Holiday Season

Bookish Gift Ideas for this Holiday Season

I can’t believe it’s almost December! I don’t know about you, but for me, this year has flown by. I haven’t been blogging as much, as I’ve been trying to spend my limited free time writing books (almost done with my latest book, Starburner!). But, I thought I’d take a quick moment to give you a little help with your Christmas lists by highlighting some ideas for the book-lover in your life!

I hope your holiday season is merry and bright!

The War of Art: Overcoming Resistance

The War of Art: Overcoming Resistance

Two weeks ago, I finished writing my fourth novel. I set an ambitious pace for myself–2,000 words a day, or a whole book in 40 days. For the most part, I stuck to my goal, and finished in 43 days. But the road to get there wasn’t easy. Getting myself to sit down and write that much every day without fail felt like a Herculean effort.

My husband and I have had this certain disagreement multiple times–he refers to writing as my hobby, and I get prickly about it. On the one hand, I can see his point–it’s something I choose to do in my free time because I enjoy it. That seems hobby-esque, it fits the bill. But on the other hand, writing is work. Really hard work. Work that requires serious brainpower, requires serious willpower to drag myself out of bed at 5:30 am, or off the couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, to put my butt in that chair and write. Somehow, it doesn’t feel like my other hobbies. It’s not relaxing or rejuvenating in the same way. It is draining, agonizing, fulfilling, inspiring, all at the same time. I couldn’t help but wonder if this is normal. Why is it so hard to get myself to spend time doing this thing I supposedly love? 

Any time you choose to fight against the path of least resistance, it will be a challenge. But I don’t think I really understood why creative endeavors felt especially tough until I recently read The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. This book is so aptly named. It helped me realize that how I’m feeling is normal. Common. It is all about the war you fight when battling to create. He identifies the enemy, and its name is Resistance. It is a part of ourselves, but somehow other as well. It helped me to name it, to personify it. Somehow it feels easier to do battle. 

Resistance is everything that comes between you and your writing. It’s fear, it’s doubt, it’s comparison, it’s laziness, it’s procrastination. It’s wondering if this is all for nothing, it’s ten more minutes on Facebook. It wears many faces and has many names. Pressfield explains that “Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. . . . If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” What a perfectly frank definition. If you let Resistance overcome you, you’ll deserve what you get, which will be a big bag of nothing. 

So how do you overcome Resistance? You show up. Day after day. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when it’s hard. “[W]hen we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unforeseen forces enlist to our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”

But it’s not enough to just sit down and wait for lightning to strike. You have to become better at your craft, to constantly learn and constantly strive to be better. This makes the difference between being an amateur and “going pro,” as Pressfield calls it. “A professional dedicates himself to mastering technique not because he believes technique is a substitute for inspiration but because he wants to be in possession of the full arsenal of skills when inspiration does come.” 

This little book was exactly the kick in the butt I needed to see me through the end of my fourth novel, and on to start my fifth. Now, when I feel Resistance creep up on me, I call it what it is, and drag myself to my chair to start writing. Because as Richard Bach said: ” a professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

 

 

Happy Sunburner Launch Day!

Happy Sunburner Launch Day!

It’s officially arrived: launch day for my second book, Sunburner! I wrote the first draft of Sunburner in the fall of 2015, so this book has definitely been a long time coming! I can’t wait for all of you to read the continuation of Kai and Hiro’s adventures. 

Here’s the blurb, if you’re wondering what it’s about:

Kai, the newly-crowned queen of Miina, finds her reign threatened by a plague of natural disasters that leave death and destruction in their wake. Are the gods truly angry at the peace between the moon and sunburners, or is something more sinister to blame? Kai’s throne and her very life may be forfeit unless she can appease the gods’ anger and her peoples’ superstitions.

Determined to find a solution, Kai and the Sunburner Prince Hiro embark on an extraordinary and dangerous journey to discover the true cause of the plagues. What they find is an ancient enemy determined to plunge their world into eternal darkness — and one desperate chance to save it. 

And as always, if you do read it, I would love, love, love you to leave an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make a huge difference to readers, and may be the difference between a new reader giving the book a chance or not. So please help this author out, and leave a review! 

New books ahead!

New books ahead!

They say that professing a goal to the world will help motivate you to keep it. So, in that spirit, I wanted to share a new challenge I’m embarking on this fall. (I can’t believe it’s fall already!) Thus far, I’ve written one book each year for the last three years. But, I’m interested in getting more books into the world in the hopes to build some more fans and momentum for my author side-biz. So, I decided to set a bold goal for myself: I’m going to write three books in the next four months. Plus a novella.

Before you tell me I’m crazy to sign myself up for such madness, let me explain. If I write 2,000 words a day for the next 120 days, I’ll have written 240,000 words, or three 80,000 word books (that’s a little less than 300 pages per book). Now, that may seem like a lot, and it is in some ways, but in other ways it’s not. I write about 1,200 words an hour. So really, this equates to about 1.5-2 hours of writing per day. All this year, I’ve been getting up to write before work, between 5-5:30. If I keep that up, and write consistently each day and on the weekend, I can do it. I’m excited at the prospect. I’ve already plotted the books out, and started September 1st. So far I’m on schedule, in fact, I’m a little ahead of schedule, at 20,032 words!

So what are these books, you ask? The first is a third book in my Moonburner series, which will be called Starburner. It’s going to be set about 20 years after Sunburner ends, and will feature Kai and Hiro’s daughter, Rika, as the main character. It starts when the black sails of invaders appear on the horizon, and will have a prominent romantic angle. The book will take the characters to an entirely new island in the world and feature a new culture and characters. I’m really excited about the story! I’m aiming to release this book May 2018.

The other two books will be book two and three in my Confectioner’s Guild trilogy. The Confectioner’s Guild is a young adult fantasy mystery about a young chocolate-maker who finds out she has the ability to make magical food, right before she’s framed for the murder of her guild master. Book 2 features a prominent mystery element as well, as Wren and her friends investigate a kidnapping that unfolds while a hostile power lays siege to their city. In the third book, the bad guys have taken over (spoiler!), and they must repel the foreign invaders and take their city back. I’m also halfway done with a prequel novella that features one of the main characters. The world of the Confectioner’s Guild is loosely based on the west coast of the U.S. (especially Washington!) and the city, Maradis, is based on Seattle. So you Pacific Northwesterners will find yourself in familiar territory. I plan on releasing these three books (if all goes according to plan) in September, October, and November 2018. The novella will release earlier in the year and will be a freebie to get people excited about the trilogy. 

So, that’s my crazy plan. I’m pretty good at sticking to goals I set my mind to, and so I’m really hopeful that I can pull this off. I’m just so excited to bring these stories into the world, I don’t want to wait another few years to write them! Plus, the process of writing a book is getting easier each go round, which is lending me extra confidence and courage. Hopefully I’ll be reporting back in the new year that I have some fantastic new stories to share with you! If I can edit them all in time. And that, my friends, is a problem for another day.

 

Sunburner Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to share the cover reveal for my second book, Sunburner! This cover was also designed by the talented Sarah Hansen (like Moonburner), and she did a fantastic job capturing the feel I wanted for Sunburner! This second book focuses on both Kai and Hiro’s point of view, so we decided to put Hiro on the cover to have a nice contrast to the Moonburner cover.

Want to know what that creepy monster is? You’ll just have to read the book! It officially launches September 26, and is available for preorder now! Preorders are eligible for some exclusive bonuses and swag, including deleted scenes, a high-res digital poster of the cover plus map of the world, plus a Moonburner/Sunburner bookmark! 

 

Now without further ado, here it is!

BOOK REVIEW: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee

BOOK REVIEW: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, by Mackenzi Lee

A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is an absolute gem of a book. It has everything you want: adventure, friendship, young love, and laugh-out loud humor. I could not recommend this book more highly!

The book features Henry Montague (Monty), a philandering Earl’s son who can’t seem to get his life together. The book begins when he and his best friend Percy depart on their one-year tour of the continent. It will be Monty’s last year of freedom and debauchery before he returns home to manage the estate with his overbearing father. It seems that they will have a grand time–so long as Monty ignores the fact that he’s head over heels in love with Percy.

When Percy is afflicted by serious illness, Monty, Percy, and Monty sister, Felicity, set off on a rollicking adventure to find a mysterious alchemical cure. Waylaid by highway men, kidnapped by pirates, and chased by a dangerous French Lord, Monty has plenty to keep his mind busy (other than thoughts of Percy!)

Monty is delightful protagonist. He’s hilarious and irreverent and just self-aware enough to not be insufferable. As Monty and Percy grow closer and romance blooms, you find yourself rooting for Monty to get over himself and learn how to truly share his feelings. It’s a refreshing change of pace to find a hero that is so unheroic. Somehow, this only makes you love him more.

If you like reading humor, or adventure, or historical fiction, or romance (really if you’re a breathing human being), I highly recommend this book!

Ten Best Asian-Inspired Fantasy Books

Ten Best Asian-Inspired Fantasy Books

Ever since I was a little kid, and my family hosted Japanese students, I’ve had a special place in my heart for Asian culture. My Japanese “big brothers” introduced me to a new world of sweeping calligraphy, honor-driven samurai, and mythical creatures unlike any I had seen in western fairy tales. I think that’s why when I set out to write my first book, Moonburner, the Asian-inspired setting felt right. If you’re like me, and can never have enough Asian-inspired fantasy in your life, try some of these favorites!

Click on the covers to head over to Amazon to find out more. 

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

This one-of-a-kind fairytale retelling imagines Cinderella as a cyborg on the mean streets of New Beijing. This book has it all—handsome princes, evil space queens, deadly plagues…this sci-fi future will be unlike anything you’ve ever read.

A Mortal Song, by Megan Crewe

This book set on the slopes of Mt. Fuji turns typical YA tropes on their head. Sora is a kami, a magical Japanese spirit who is fated to protect her people and all Japan from a ruthless horde of demons. Or is she? It turns out she’s really a human switched at birth with no magical powers at all! Dun dun dunnnn…

Serpentine, by Cindy Pon

This sweeping tale is set in the kingdom of Xia, and tells the story of Skybright, a handmaiden to a wealthy girl, who begins to notice some very alarming changes (cough *snake-tail* cough). Filled with Chinese mythology and magic, Skybright’s story of transformation will enchant you!

Stormdancer, by Jay Kristoff

This steampunk fantasy follows Yukiko on an impossible journey to capture a legendary beast thought to be extinct. The lush worldbuilding and snappy dialogue between Yukiko and a certain not-to-be-named-cuz-I-don’t-want-to-spoil-it character makes this one a favorite!

Bridge of Birds, by Barry Hughart

This hilarious book tells the tale of wise man Li Kao and Number Ten Ox (you read that right) as they try to find the cure for a mysterious illness. Irreverent and charming, I promise this medieval mystery is unlike anything you’ve read before.

Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

This art-deco-steampunk graphic novel is just flipping gorgeous! It tells the story of Maika, a teenage girl struggling to understand the trauma of war and her psychic link with a monster of deadly power. With 11 volumes currently out, this one will keep you happy for days!

Shadows on the Moon, by Zoe Marriott

Is romance more your thing? This book is touted as Cinderella meets Memoirs of a Geisha, and features 16-year-old Suzume, who is trained in the mythical art of shadow-weaving, which allows her to recreate herself in any form. Full of mystery, illusion, and heart-break, this book is haunting and heart-wrenching in one go.

Eon: Dragon-eye reborn, by Alison Goodman

Lovers of dragons and epic fantasy will be delighted by this read, which features Eona, who has disguised herself as a boy in order to become trained in dragon-magic. Will she find her dream, or her doom?

The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadows, by Fuyumi Ono

Translated from the original Japanese, the blurb for this one says it all: Once confronted by a mysterious being and whisked away to an unearthly realm, Yoko is left with only a magical sword; a gem; and a million questions about her destiny, the world she’s trapped in, and the world she desperately wants to return to. If you want truly inspired Asian fantasy, look no further than this series!

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Julie Dao

Releasing October 2017, this much-anticipated debut features Xifeng, who must choose between a destiny full of dark magic and the boy she loves. Definitely don’t miss this one when it launches!

Moonburner, by Claire Luana

Ok, I’m a little biased, but I thought I’d sneak this one in here! Mulan meets Sarah J Maas in this thrilling tale filled with celestial magic, death-defying adventure, and enduring friendships. Check it out!

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