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GH Finalist News!

March 26th, 2014 by Steph

I remember how excited I was when I got that phone call in 2012. I could barely speak when the caller said I was a Golden Heart finalist. I mean, things like that don’t happen to me.

Last night, my stomach swam with nerves. I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep. I was up early this morning, scrolling through social media sites, wondering who had already gotten the call. To be honest, I didn’t expect to hear my THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS ringtone at all. So you can imagine my surprise when blue canary in the outlet by the light switch echoed in my room.

And wow–what a wonderful thing to begin the day with. I’m a GH finalist again! I never thought I’d be able to say that. I’m amazed that I can. It means a lot, and I’m doubly excited to see familiar names on the list (including my friend Pintip Dunn’s!).

Congratulations to all the RITA/GH nominees!

Blogging Elsewhere

October 28th, 2013 by Steph

Hi there! Just a quick note to direct your attention to the DoomsDaisies site. I’ve been blogging there instead of here. My fellow Doomsgirls are amazing, and I’m so lucky to have met them. Anyway, go check out our blog if you get a chance.

Summer’s Here…Now What?

June 17th, 2013 by Steph

Summer Beach

Now that summer is here, my usual schedule of WRITE ALL DAY doesn’t work. The Kid is out of school for the next two months, and I’m taking a breather to do other things (but I am writing a little–I can’t completely stay away). So far my plan to finish the bulk of one book during the school year seems to work, and summer is my time to plot and outline the next idea. Plus, there are all kinds of book related things to do during summer break. Below are my favorites:

1. Spend time at the bookstore. The Kid loves going to cafes, so we splurge on drinks before we peruse the aisles. I do try to steer her away from the toy section, which unfortunately tends to be located right in front of the entrance to the children’s books.

2. Go to the library. There are plenty of free activities for children at libraries. Our favorite is the Read to the Dog program. Most libraries also have summer reading programs that happily end with ice cream sundaes or pizza parties.

3. Plot and write a story together. When I plotted last summer, I also made a plotting board for The Kid. She had fun making up parts of a story and adding them to the board. Sometimes she would ask, “Can we go plot now?” as soon as we finished breakfast. I loved that!

Anyway, I wish all of you a wonderful summer. And stay cool!

Retreat!

March 9th, 2013 by Steph

Tomorrow morning I’m catching a flight bound for Texas. Why? Because I’m going to spend a week with 21 other writers! Just look at all the amazing people I’m about to meet:

Brandy Allard
Anna Carey
Rae Carson
Corinne Duyvis
Sonia Gensler
Tessa Gratton
Bethany Hagen
Tara Hudson
Emily Kate Johnston
Michelle Krys
Gretchen McNeil
Myra McEntire
Amy Parker
Natalie Parker
Amy Plum
Beth Revis
Carrie Ryan
Victoria Schwab
Amy Tintera
Kim Welchons
Brenna Yovanoff

I’m looking forward to talking about all the writerly things. Yep, I’m excited.

Converting Your MS to an EPUB File

December 7th, 2012 by Steph

Between each revision, I’ve found that reading my ms on my Nook or iPad often makes it easier to catch errors. Plus, it’s cool to see my words in an ebook format. I thought I’d share my method for converting an ms to an epub file. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to some of you.

Step 1: Open your ms in Word and save it as an .htm file. Change the view to draft (to do this, go to View in the menu and select Draft). Note that I’m assuming your ms is formatted with double-spacing and a font-size of 12.

Step 2: Change the chapter titles to bold and font-size to 16. Change the first letter of each chapter to a font-size of 18.

Step 3: Change the paragraph indentions. You can select text in a scene/chapter and move the top slider on the ruler. I usually change it from this:

To this:

Step 4: Save your .htm file.

Step 5: Open Calibre. If you don’t have it, it’s a free download at http://calibre-ebook.com/. Click on Add books–>Add books from a single directory. Select your .htm file. You’ll see it added to the list.

Step 6: At this point, your file needs a title and an author. Right-click on your newly added file and select Edit metadata–>Edit metadata individually. Insert what you want for title and author. You can also generate a cover if you wish.

Step 7: Time for the EPUB conversion! Right-click on your file and select Convert books–>Convert individually. Go to Page Setup and in the output profile, select the device on which you’re planning to read your ms. Click the OK button.

Step 8: That’s it! Your new EPUB file should be saved in your documents under Calibre Library/(author_name)/(title). Note that I’m using a Mac so this may vary for Windows users.

Dogs, Laundry, and a Book Giveaway

September 18th, 2012 by Steph

There was much excitement in the house over the weekend. Our new (new to us) dog came home with us on Friday, and he’s already entertaining us with his silliness. Say hi, Baxter!

I’ll never forget one of my first dogs, a Shetland Sheepdog named Heidi. She was a best buddy to us kids, but no amount of exercise seemed to save her from trouble. She was a little thief who liked to chew up our toys and shoes. Once, my mother had to write a note to my teacher explaining that Heidi really did eat my homework.

Out of all of Heidi’s crazy antics, this one is perhaps the most memorable:

To this day, we still don’t know how that happened. Heidi’s unfortunate mishap with dirty laundry is detailed in DO NOT MACHINE WASH. It’s one of the stories that appears in CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: I CAN’T BELIEVE MY DOG DID THAT!, which releases today. Look for it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Powells.

To celebrate the release day, I’m giving away a free copy. To enter, just comment below and tell me about a crazy pet you know. I’ll pick a winner this Friday at 5 PM EST. (Sorry, US only.)

CONJURE Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

August 20th, 2012 by Steph

Today I’m helping fellow YARWA member Lea Nolan reveal her cover for CONJURE. So exciting! Without further ado, here it is:

Isn’t it beautiful? Here’s more about CONJURE:

    Be careful what you search for…

    Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

    When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.

As a bonus, Lea’s giving away five CONJURE digital ARCs. To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’d like to know more about CONJURE or Lea, please visit these links:
CONJURE on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13425130-conjure
Lea’s website: http://www.leanolan.com/
Lea on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lea_Nolan

RWA 2012

August 3rd, 2012 by Steph

Last week I attended my first writing conference ever. You know the saying. If you’re going to go, go big. And the RWA National Conference was, well, HUGE.

I flew in last Wednesday morning and raced to the hotel for YARWA’s Day of YA. I’m so glad I did. Though I missed the first half of the scheduled day, Alex Sokoloff’s Screenwriting Tips for Writers workshop was well worth the registration cost itself. And Simone Elkeles…anyone who was there can tell you. That lady is seriously funny AND smart.

The next few days included a few more fabulous workshops, some book signings, luncheons, a champagne reception, and a Harlequin pajamas party. All this leading up to Saturday, the day of the big awards ceremony.

Gulp.

I’d heard it coined ‘the Oscars for books.’ Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I’d be lying if I said that stage didn’t terrify this introvert. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t have to go up on that stage, but still…ALL THOSE BRIGHT LIGHTS. *cheers for Romily*)

The biggest benefit of the conference was the friendships made. I’d talked to fellow YA finalists Romily Bernard, Mary Danielson, Pintip Dunn, Megan Macijauskas (M. Kassel), Natalie Vawter, and Cecily White over social media, but meeting them in person was definitely the highlight of last week. And watch out, world, because these ladies are beyond talented. Marni Bates, Darcy Woods, and Natalie Markey (to name a few—there were countless others) were also part of the reason last week was so much fun.

Even though SDCC is the same week as RWA 2013 (ouch!), I hope to see everyone in Atlanta next year!

Christmas in July!

June 28th, 2012 by Steph

Just a quick post to direct everyone’s attention to the fantabulous contest hosted by my writer friends Ruth Lauren Steven and Michelle Krys. It’s called Christmas in July and it’s HUGE. And by huge, I mean 30 pitches, 10 agents, 1 week. What’s not to love?

You’ll need a query letter and the first 500 words of your manuscript. Details can be found here:

http://ruthlaurensteven.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/christmas-in-july-agent-judged.html

and here:

http://michelle-krys.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/christmas-in-july-agent-judged-blog_25.html

Time to polish up those words!

Everything But

May 16th, 2012 by Steph

I’ve been MIA from this blog.

I have my reasons. I swear. Most of them have to do with moving. I’ve been ripping apart the house like a mad woman sorting through my stuff (WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY THINGS?) and making lists and lists of things to do before we begin our week-long road trip to California.

In the meantime, I’ve fallen WAY behind on writerly things. Ideas for future scenes of my WIP are flowing, and I’m jotting them down as they come. I’m itching to sit down and WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. But alas, I must wait. I’m horrible at multitasking. I’m more of an all-or-nothing girl. When I’m writing, I’m writing and not doing much of anything else.

*throws darts at to-do list*

Are there any suggestions on how one becomes a multitasker?