Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Art of Slowing Down

First up—The Effigy blog tour keeps chugging right along and pays a visit today to author Loni Townsend where I ramble on about this one time (not at band camp) where I found some major inspiration in an unexpected place (again, not band camp). Stop by and say hi!

And now, for the main event, I'm turning the floor over to author C. Lee McKenzie as part of her blog tour for her latest release, Double Negative. She's here to talk about reducing stress for writers. Since I never, ever, feel any stress whatsoever, I—yeah, I can't even finish that sentence. Since I never, ever, feel anything but stress, I stand to learn a lot from this post.

Take it away, Lee!

Slow Down Writers

The scientific community can’t say with certainty that chronic stress causes life-threatening diseases. What they can say is people who are severely stressed are often tired and, therefore, less likely to exercise. Not healthy. Some come to rely on habits like overeating (strudel anyone?), drinking (where’s the wine?) and smoking (no temptation here, thank goodness) to “feel” more relaxed.

Anyone with a job, a mortgage, or a manuscript on submission knows how wrung out they feel at the end of a work week. I know I do. And I know how easy it is to say I’m too tired to do much of anything.

When I’m really under pressure here’s what I find helps me reduce the stress of life in general and the writing world in particular. These are things that get me up from my chair and moving. . .slowly, but surely.

Anyone who knows me can guess my first stress reducing strategy. I take a hike, then these other strategies are my back up. I cook something I really like to eat, and I do it from scratch. Spanakopita takes hours of chopping, and then there’s filo to deal with. At dinner, I light some candles and dim the overheads. It’s a mandatory, “everyone-sits-at-the-table-and-talk night.”

No matter what time of year it is, I plant some seeds. If I’m totally on my type A trip, I plant green beans. They grow almost overnight. Once I bought a fountain pen and wrote a letter with it. It’s still around here somewhere in case I need it. Of course, I leave the computer, cell phone and iPad off for at least a half hour—Well, fifteen minutes. Four? And finally, or maybe during all of this, I concentrate on my breath for a few minutes. No one can stress if they have to monitor their breathing.

Here’s to a happy and healthy writing for the rest of 2014.

Double Negative (YA)
by C. Lee McKenzie
Release date: July 25, 2014

Hutchison McQueen is a sixteen-year-old smart kid who screws up regularly. He’s a member of Larkston High’s loser clique, the boy who’s on his way to nowhere—unless juvenile hall counts as a destination. He squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. When that doesn’t work, he goes to Fat Nyla, the one some mean girls are out to get and a person who’s in on his secret—he can barely read. 

And then Maggie happens. For twenty-five years she’s saved boys from their own bad choices. But she may not have time to save Hutch. Alzheimer’s disease is steadily stealing her keen mind.


Monday, July 28, 2014

A Snapshot About Snapshots

Happy Monday, all.

Today the Effigy blog tour visits author  Marcy Hatch for an interview in which I discuss books I've written, books I've read and a few other things, including the story of my first car. Stop by and check it out!

But today on My Pet Blog, we're happily playing host to author Patricia Lynne as she celebrates the release of her novel, Snapshots.


 photo SnapshotsRelaunchBlitz.jpg

Welcome to the SNAPSHOTS relaunch blitz!

Add to your Goodreads shelf
Buy on Amazon | Smashwords
It's said the eyes are the windows to the soul, but that's a lie. They are snapshots of a time yet to come–the future of the person to which they belong.

Cyclop Blaine stands out in a crowd with his pale skin and mismatched eyes, but it’s his ability to see the future that really sets him apart. The unusual gift makes him an invaluable asset to Tyler, his adoptive father and leader of the Victory Street Gang. It also means Cyclop must hide what he can do from others. Once, a man he knew only as Master controlled him, using him for experiments. Cyclop has no desire to return to that life.

But he may have no choice. A man claiming ownership over him haunts his dreams and waking moments, leaving him no choice but to go back to the past he thought he had escaped. Cyclop must face this man, along with his past, if he wants to reveal his own future.

About the Author

photo PatriciaLynneAuthorwithbook.jpg
Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. But some stories are meant to be told and this one chose her. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Follow Patricia on Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Author Blog

Giveaway

Friday, July 25, 2014

Why I Write

Today the Effigy blog tour continues over at Patrica Lynne's blog, where I tackle the very important question of why I write.

And, because the Ninja Captain told me to, and I always do what I am told to do (pause for hysterical laughter from all who know this to be a bald-faced lie)...here's my pretty, pretty cover art one more time (this week.)

Didn't Ravven do such a nice job with this cover?

The e-book editions, I swear, are coming soon. Maybe later today. Maybe tomorrow. Or Monday. Or a week from Monday, even. Which is still 'soon', right? Hmmm. Probably not.

Until then, thank you to everyone to helped to make my first release week a success (is 'release week' even a thing?). You're awesome!





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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let The Blog Tour Commence!

So, you might not have seen this on any place on any social media—because no one's been talking about it (note: not a true story. So many wonderful people have been talking about it, and I am both floored and honored)—but I published my first novel, Effigy this past Tuesday.


(Are you totally sick of seeing this cover yet? I promise I'll stop plastering it everywhere soon. Well, that's probably a big fat lie, so don't hold me to it, okay?)

Today marks the start of my very first blog tour. I'm a little bit nervous about it, of course, because I'm me and nervous is what I do.

Anyway, my first stop on the tour is an interview with Misha Gericke at The Five Year Project. Please stop by to say hi, if you have the time.

Also...have you entered the Effigy giveaway? If not, here's your chance...



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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In Which I Publish A Novel

Yep. This is happening. How is this happening?

I checked, and hell didn't seem frozen over. Weird. I really thought it might be.

Anyway, it's Effigy Release Day!

Check out these amazing bloggers who are helping me get the word out today:

S.K. Anthony
Annalisa Crawford
Murees Dupé
Heather M. Gardner
Kyra Lennon
Melissa Maygrove
Christine Rains

THANK YOU, ONE AND ALL! YOU'RE THE BEST!!!

Next up...The Effigy blog tour. (more information on this to follow...)

Wait...am I seriously doing a blog tour?

What is happening here?

This. This is happening.

And now, here's everything you needed to know about Effigy but were maybe afraid to ask...

EFFIGY (Epic Fantasy), Book One in the Coileáin Chronicles
by M.J. Fifield (Hey...that's me!)

Release date: July 22, 2014 (Hey...that's today!)

Now available in paperback at Amazon, Amazon UK, and CreateSpace (E-book editions to follow soon!)

The survival of a once-mighty kingdom rests in the hands of its young queen, Haleine Coileáin, as it slowly succumbs to an ancient evil fueled by her husband’s cruelty.

A sadistic man with a talent for torture and a taste for murder, he is determined to burn the land and all souls within. Haleine is determined to save her kingdom and, after a chance encounter, joins forces with the leader of the people’s rebellion. She gives him her support, soon followed by her heart.

Loving him is inadvertent but becomes as natural and necessary as breathing. She lies and steals on his behalf, doing anything she can to further their cause. She compromises beliefs held all her life, for what life will exist if evil prevails?

Her journey leads to a deceiving world of magic, monsters, and gods she never believed existed outside of myth. The deeper she goes, the more her soul is stripped away, but she continues on, desperate to see her quest complete. If she can bring her husband to ruin and save her people, any sacrifice is worth the price—even if it means her life.



Add it to your Goodreads List!



About the author:

Armed with a deep and lasting love of chocolate, purple pens, and medieval weaponry, M.J. Fifield is nothing if not a uniquely supplied insomniac. When she isn't writing, she's on the hunt for oversized baked goods or shiny new daggers. M.J. lives with a variety of furry creatures—mostly pets—in New Hampshire's Mount Washington Valley. Effigy is her first novel. Visit her online at mjfifield.com, find her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter.




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Monday, July 21, 2014

One Day More

I like reading my horoscope. I especially like reading them in my local paper because they're so often eerily accurate.

For example, one day it had a bunch of unspecific mumbo-jumbo, but ended with "Don't forget to return your library book." This was perfect because I actually had a library book that I had forgotten to return.

Another even more awesome example is the horoscope which ended with "A friend is pregnant with a boy." I remember laughing about that one, but I stopped laughing when, about two weeks later, my best friend told me she was pregnant. Instead I got super excited. I was even more excited when, the next month, it was confirmed that she was pregnant with a boy.

Yesterday, my horoscope once again spoke clearly to my situation. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you've already seen this, but this weekend, I opened up my local newspaper to read my horoscope (and, you know, the news and stuff, too). This is what it said:

Self-esteem isn't a fixed thing, and you will feel yours waver throughout the day. The important thing is that whether you feel strong or scared, go ahead with your plans.

So this is me going ahead with my plans.

Effigy will be released tomorrow.

Tomorrow. (It's only a day away...)

Like, for real, even, and not just in some wild daydream I'm having while I'm at my day job. Which I am, today. At my day job, I mean. As you're reading this, I am either working my way through an endless list of needlessly confusing markdowns, or working my way through an endless pile of needlessly ugly new product as we welcome in our fall line.

Living the dream—that's me.

But I guess I kind of am because, yeah. Effigy will be available tomorrow. (I think if I say it enough times, I might actually start to believe that it's true.)

Well, in limited release, anyway. Starting tomorrow, people will be able to order a paperback copy from the CreateSpace store. It won't be available on Amazon until the end of the week because of the Post Office Delay of Last Week (thanks, USPS! You're the best! (Note: that was sarcasm.)). Also, the e-book versions have been delayed because of some unexpected and, quite frankly, strange formatting problems. I found that out yesterday afternoon.

I took it very well. True story. (Note: not a true story)

So it might not have gone as smoothly as I would have hoped (or, you know, not even close to it), but it is happening. Kind of. And this whole limited release thing is all right. I mean, Hollywood does it with the big Oscar contenders every year, so why shouldn't I do it with my debut novel, right?

While I go and try to convince myself of that, check out this video. This is the song that's been in my head since I titled this post. I chose the 10th Anniversary concert edition—it doesn't involve Russell Crowe destroying the role of Javert. (Note: still not over that.)




Thanks for stopping by today, and I'll see y'all tomorrow.



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Something Fun

Today, My Pet Blog is in the hands of author Kyra Lennon as part of her tour for her latest release, Sidelined. She's promised something fun, so let's see what's on tap...

Take it away, Kyra!



Hello! SO excited to be over here on M.J. Fifield’s blog today!

I promised something fun for this post, and I thought really long and hard about it. The problem is, in Sidelined, the themes of the story really aren’t fun. See how I’m totally doing a great job of making you want to read it? :p The thing with Sidelined is that it tackles some deeper, more sensitive issues and they don’t easily apply themselves to fun activities.

SO, I decided to do something a little bit different! 

The game 2048 seems to have taken over the world as the most addictive game since Flappy Bird, and... all those other addictive games that came before it.  These are the basic rules of 2048:  the original version. It’s fun and all, but I’m not really big on numbers so I decided to make a Game On/Kyra Lennon version! I know, I know, it sounds totally egotistical; I honestly didn’t intend for it to come across that way. But the game is fun, and it’s also a quirky, different way of showing off my books, and what they are all about! 

So, here we go – my version of 2048 – enjoy!


 
Blurb: At the age of twenty-one, Bree Collinson has more than she ever dreamed of. A handsome husband, a fancy house, and more shoes than Carrie Bradshaw and Imelda Marcos combined. But having everything handed to her isn’t the way Bree wants to live the rest of her life. When an idea to better herself pops into her head, she doesn’t expect her husband to question her, and keep her tied by her apron strings to the kitchen.

Isolated and unsure who to turn to, Bree finds herself falling back into a dangerous friendship, and developing feelings for the only person who really listens to her. Torn between her loyalty to her husband and her attraction to a man who has the perfect family she always wanted, she has some tough choices to make.

While Bree tries to figure out what she wants, a tragedy rocks the Westberg Warriors, triggering some dark memories, and pushing her to take a look at what’s really important.


About the Author:


Kyra is a self-confessed book-a-holic, and has been since she first learned to read. When she's not reading, you'll usually find her hanging out in coffee shops with her trusty laptop and/or her friends, or girling it up at the nearest shopping mall.

Kyra grew up on the South Coast of England and refuses to move away from the seaside which provides massive inspiration for her novels. Her debut novel, Game On (New Adult Contemporary Romance), was released in July 2012, and she scored her first Amazon Top 20 listing with her New Adult novella, If I Let You Go.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Final Meltdown

In theory, the debut of my debut novel is in seven days. I say 'in theory' because it's still not a sure thing, and I've been feeling lately, more than ever, that I am perhaps just not meant to publish a book.

So many things have gone wrong, and continue to go wrong, and I just can't help but wonder if the universe isn't maybe trying to tell me something.

Unfortunately for the universe, I suck at being told what to do. As to which my boss can attest, when I am told to do something, I will—more often than not—go out of my way to do the exact opposite.

So I don't care if you don't think I should publish a novel, Universe. We march on.

Take that, Universe.

After a seemingly successful cover reveal event (thank you, everyone!), I took a good hard look at my proof copies. Turns out, they looked beautiful on the outside but contained far too many errors on the inside. Stupid typos and missing words and simply wrong words—things that should have been caught and corrected long before this point but weren't. I was pretty pissed off about it. I still am, truth be told, but I compiled an embarrassingly long list of needed corrections, sent it off to the formatter (by the way, I do believe I will need to get a second job in order to cover all of my formatting costs), and then ordered a new proof copy once the changes had been made.

It hasn't shown up yet. It really should have. I finally received a tracking number late last night, and according to the post office's website, my package has been sitting two miles up the road since July 10th. This I find to be particularly irritating because I have gone into the post office EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DAY for the last five days (well, except for Sunday) looking for this particular package because it's VERY FREAKING IMPORTANT, and EVERY SINGLE FREAKING DAY for the last five days (well, except for Sunday) I was told that my package WAS NOT THERE.

So I am going to the post office today, and I imagine that yelling will ensue. I know one may get further with kindness than screaming, but as I have previously said, this is a very freaking important package that I could have had FIVE DAYS AGO. I am now five days behind where I should be, and that completely sucks when you're supposed to be seven days out from publication.

But hey, it's cool, right? So cool. So freaking cool. Who needs sanity? I've been sane for a while now, and change is good. (Name! That! Reference!)

Right.

But despite this latest speed bump, it's still quite possible that I can keep my scheduled date, and I am going to keep working toward this goal. As a good friend of mine once said, "Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on." (Name! That! Reference!)

Then, if it gets to be the 23rd and I didn't get to hit that magical and elusive 'publish' button, I'll pick a new date and work toward that one.

Yay.

But it will be the 22nd. It will.

It will.

So if anyone out there is maybe interested in helping with a release day blitz-type thing, or maybe hosting me and all my crazy as part of a blog tour, please let me know either through email (mjfifield at gmail) or in the comments below. I know it's last minute, and a lot of people have a lot of books coming out, and many of you already helped with my cover reveal last month (thank you!), so I completely understand if you can't. But if you might be interested in and/or able to help, it would be much appreciated.

Oh, and one last thing because it's been in my head (and maybe yours too?) since I thought of the title for this post:



Yes, I'm an 80's child, and I'm okay.

Just a little crazy. Crazier.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Hardships of Being A Writer

Today the blog belongs to author Tara Tyler as part of her tour for her latest release, Broken Branch Falls, and she's here to talk about some of the hardships of being a writer.

Take it away, Tara...


I'm so happy for MJ!! Effigy is finally becoming reality! And seeing her brave up, conquering her fears and taking the plunge into indie-publishing, I was inspired to write this post…

The Hardships of Being a Writer

I've been a lot of things:
babysitter
tutor
Walmart employee
rocket engineering aide
waitress
admin assistant
high school math teacher
MOM
substitute teacher
writer

Some of those I still am. The hardest job is being a mom, which I will cherish forever. But writer is the second hardest job I've ever had – and I will keep writing till I can't write no more! (Remember, I was a math teacher before I was a writer…) Funny how some of the hardest things we do, we love the most!

Helping and encouraging people has always been a big motivator for me – and writing has become another outlet for me to share and influence others in a positive way. But not without great sacrifice. Writing, like baseball, is a game of failure - but the successes are worth it!

MJ is a talented haiku seamstress. I also have dabbled in haiku, and I wove these to further illustrate what writing is.

Writing takes courage,
humble tenacity, and
ingenuity

Writing takes boldness,
perseverance, persistence,
thick skin, and patience

Writing offers hope,
connections across the globe,
bridging distant gaps

A writer doesn't have to be published to call herself a writer.
A writer doesn't have to have an English degree to say she's a writer.
A writer just has to write and keep writing.
A writer reads and learns and listens and writes some more.

So, if you ever get discouraged, reach out to other writers. We know the pain of which you speak! Together we can write on!

Congrats again, MJ! And thanks for having me here!
What is writing to you?
(And don't forget to enter the giveaway below!)

BROKEN BRANCH FALLS (MG Fantasy)
by Tara Tyler
Release Date: June 24, 2014 (NOW!)
Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Gabe is an average fifteen-year-old goblin. He’s in the marching band, breezes through calculus, and gets picked on daily by the other kids at school, especially the ogres. But Gabe wants to break out of his nerdy stereotype and try other things. He has his eye on the new ogress at school. Though it’s against all beastly rules, there’s just something about her.

Gabe starts a fad of mingling with other species, forcing the High Council to step in and ruin things by threatening to destroy the school and split up Broken Branch Falls. With help from other outcast friends, Gabe sets out on a quest to save his town. They'll show 'em what different friends can do together!

Available at
B&N ~~~ Amazon
Add it to your GOODREADS list!

Tara Tyler has had a hand at everything from waitressing to rocket engineering. After living up and down the Eastern US, she now writes and teaches math in Ohio with her three active boys and Coach Husband. Currently, she has two series, The Cooper Chronicles (techno-thriller detective capers) and Beast World (MG fantasy) She's an adventure writer who believes every good story should have action, a moral, and a few laughs!


Also by Tara Tyler, techno-thriller detective series,
The Cooper Chronicles, Book One: POP TRAVEL

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