Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I am celebrating today by releasing a new cover for Malignant.  You guys, I love this gorgeous over. Grab a copy now!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Do You Fudgel? Old English Words That We Should Definitely Bring Back

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook that listed old English words that are still relevant today. I was nodding my head at every single one. You guys, we should totally start using these words again.

Which one do you think is most useful?

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sneak Peek - Chapter 1

Hi everyone,

I want to share the first chapter of my current work in progress with you. I'm hoping to publish in early April, and I'm getting excited about it!

Keep in mind, this passage hasn't been edited yet, so there are probably mistakes in it. :)

Chapter 1

Finally, around 10:15 PM, Mr. Kelley, the owner of Greenridge’s last mom and pop pharmacy locked the front door of his business, slid into his car, and drove off down the street. The slap of his tires rolling through a puddle of water hit the cold, damp air as he turned the corner out of sight. The flaming orange light from the streetlights streaked across the wet asphalt as a tall, thin figure wearing a hoodie and track pants stepped out of the alley beside the bank across the street and hobbled stiffly to the curb. The figure looked left and right before slowly stepping into the street. He walked gingerly without bending his left knee, and there was a bulge at his left ankle. Any passersby who saw him would undoubtedly remark at his unnatural gait, but there was no one on the street. Downtown Greenridge was dead, even though it was still early.
The figure reached the sidewalk in front of the pharmacy and huffed into the cold air. He watched the condensation from his breath dissipate as a mid-size SUV rounded the corner and zoomed through the standing water. The figure snapped his head downward to prevent anyone in the SUV from seeing his face. Someone in the vehicle hooted out the window as the car passed and sped down the street.
Once the car was gone, the hooded figure turned just enough to look up and down the road. This time there would be no cars; he was sure of it. There was no movement visible in any direction, even though the rain had stopped. The figure rubbed his clammy hands together before lifting the front of his hoodie and pulling out a pair of bolt cutters from his left pant leg. As he did so, a roll of duct tape fell out of his hoodie pocket and rolled a few feet down the sidewalk. The figure mumbled a curse as he went to get the tape, all the while holding the bolt cutters against his chest in case another car came by. He fetched the tape and, taking small strips off the roll as quietly as he could, used it to cover the small window pane in the pharmacy door. Once the glass was covered in tape, he wiped his hands on the front of his hoodie one at a time and lifted the handle of the bolt cutters toward the glass. He’d read about it online, and hoped it would work now. Gently he hit the handle of the bolt cutters against the glass and paused to listen. It was silent. He hit the glass again, harder this time, before pausing to listen. The tinkling of shards hitting the floor inside the pharmacy was so loud, the figure froze. He was sure someone else could hear it. But who? No one was downtown at this time of night. Still, he stood unmoving and surveyed the empty street. He hit the window pane one more time, harder still, and the glass fell inward and hung from the duct tape. Carefully, the figure reached in through the broken pane and unlocked the door. It jingled as it opened.
“Crap.” He’d forgotten the bells on the door. The figure shook his head as he stepped into the pharmacy and closed it softly behind him. He clutched the bolt cutters to his chest as he tiptoed through the store and behind the counter. Once more he wiped his hands on his hoodie, eyeing the metal cage where the prescription drugs were kept. He positioned the bolt cutters at a point near the cage’s lock and, pressing the handle against his abdomen, the figure made his first cut through the metal. The snap of the woven mesh separating made him pause and glance around him. The darkness inside the store was reassuring, and he repositioned the cutters.
* * *
“Time to get up,” Tristan’s dad said as he swung open the bedroom door.
Tristan grinned at him from where he sat in his desk chair. “I’m already up.” He finished tying his shoe before standing and throwing his arms wide. “Today’s the day we hear about the third round of voting.”
“Oh, is that today?” Tristan’s dad winked. “Let’s go downstairs. Your mom made some celebratory waffles.
“Dad…” Tristan tried to stifle a grin. “I don’t know if I’ve made it yet.”
Tristan’s dad slung an arm around his shoulders. “Those All American team committee members would have to be brainless not to put you through to the final round. It’s a slam dunk.”
Tristan’s cheeks flamed. “Dad....” He snatched his Muskrat hoodie off the floor and pulled it on over his head. “Waffles do sound pretty good,” he laughed through a cracked smile. Tristan led his dad downstairs. Today was Tristan’s day. Even his toes were tingly with excitement. First the All American team, then the UCLA Bruins. He couldn’t keep the grin from his face.
* * *
“Come on.” Rich slammed his hand on the desk next to the computer, but quickly checked himself. He looked furtively around the library. The handful of other students scattered at the various tables were looking at him, but averted their eyes when his gaze fell on them. The librarian was reshelving books that had been left on the tables yesterday. Rich turned back to his computer. “Keep it down, Rich,” he muttered. The results of the third round of voting for the McDonald's All-American teams had not yet been posted on the website. It was supposed to be posted today. Dick drummed his fingers on the table. He hoped it would be up before school started. He rubbed the stubble on his jawline. He had to be chosen for the team. The All American game was his best shot at getting out of Greenridge. And that couldn’t come soon enough. His mind flicked to his brother, Greg. He’d been popular in high school, and now look at him. He worked the night shift at the local big box store, restocking shelves. Rich bit his lip. He had bigger ideas for his life than living here and working some dead-end job. He had his sights set on a college scholarship and pharmacy school. Plus, if he made it through to the final round of voting, it might get Howie and Arlo off his back.
Rich scanned the magazine rack, and a headline on a newspaper caught his eye. He loped over to the old, metal rack, and retrieved the newspaper from the bottom shelf. He set the paper on the computer desk and lowered himself into his chair.
Local Pharmacy Robbed for First Time
January 9, 2018
Kelley’s Pharmacy in Greenridge was broken into Saturday night around 10:30 PM. The burglar used bolt cutters to access the cage where the pharmacy’s prescriptions were kept.
The owner of the drugstore, Mr. Ewan Kelley, said of the store’s security cameras: “They’re fake. We’ve never needed them since we’ve never been broken into for the ten years we’ve been here.”
The only items stolen from the pharmacy were anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are prescribed for conditions such as delayed puberty, anemia, osteoporosis, endometriosis, and impotence. Steroids are also used to enhance muscle and bone strength to improve performance in competitive sports.
The police department spokesperson announced that they had been able to get photographs of the suspected burglar from a low-resolution ATM camera at the bank across the street. The suspect appeared to be above average height and wearing a gray hoodie and striped track pants.
“It’s a shame,” Mr. Kelley said. “We’ll have to replace the window and the cage where we keep the medications. It’s such a mess.”
The grainy photo was positioned to the right of the article and captioned, “A burglar broke into Kelley’s Pharmacy late Saturday night.”
Rich’s eyes widened as he sucked in a breath and whistled on the exhale. The hum of the heater reached his ears. It was warm in the library. Outside, the sky was gray and soggy from the downpour that had hit Greenridge Sunday morning. The clock on the wall ready 7:20 AM. School would start in 10 minutes. Rich clicked on the search bar and went to Twitter. He scrolled through his feed, but nothing grabbed his attention. It was mostly people celebrating or grumbling about the players in the upcoming NBA All-Star game.
Golden arches at the bottom of the screen caught his eye. He scrolled down and there it was: the results of the third round of voting. Rich clicked on the link. His heart pounded. He scanned the list. “Yes,” he hissed. He threw his hands in the air and stood, looking around. The librarian and the other students in the library looked at him with blank faces before returning to their books. Rich's face flushed as he pulled his arms to his sides and sank back into his seat.
Rich scanned the rest of the list and his face dropped. Of course, his biggest competition would be nominated: Tristan Adams, Muskrat team captain. Eff it. He read the rest of the list and recognized most of the names. Most of these guys had been playing together in summer workshops for years. Rich rubbed his jawline again. The only other guy on the list he knew personally was John Humphrey, who played for their biggest rival, the Beavers. Double crap. Rich ground his teeth as he logged out of the computer and slunk out of the library.
Two police cars pulled into the parking lot as Rich walked past. The officers swung their legs out of their patrol cars and stood chatting. Rich cocked his head as the emblem on the side of one of the cars caught his eye. K-9 unit. It was drug sniffing day. Rich stopped on the sidewalk, and his fingers traced the outline of the travel-sized Rolaids container he had stashed in his pocket. The bottle’s contents rattled slightly. Rich guessed he needed them after all. With a slight bob of his head, Rich jogged through the parking lot.
At least one person was about to have a garbage day.

* * *

Swish. The basketball fell through the net without hitting the rim. Tristan grinned and turned toward the bleachers where his girlfriend, Annie, sat. He blushed slightly as she met his gaze. They had been dating for three months and having her here at practice still made him self conscious if he thought about it too much.
Annie sat hunched forward and bundled up in her khaki green anorak even though it was stuffy in the gym. Weirdo. She was always freezing. She smiled weakly at Tristan before taking a long drink from her bright pink water bottle. She carried it everywhere. Annie had told him that she was practically addicted to the sparkling water she carried in it.
Tristan turned back toward the court, but the long, lanky guy sitting next to Annie leaned toward Tristan, catching his eye. Annie’s older brother, Ren. He was probably at practice to ask questions about the All American team selection process for the school newspaper, The Daily Muskrat.
“Nice shot,” Ren drew out the words as he looked at the cell phone he held in his lap and typed quickly with his thumbs. Once he was done typing, Ren looked back at Tristan. “I bet you're excited that you made it to the next round of voting for the All American West team.”
Tristan nodded and opened his mouth to speak, but Annie interrupted.
“Ren, leave him alone.” She cuffed him in the shoulder with her water bottle. “He doesn’t have time for that right now.”
“No, it’s cool,” Tristan gestured with one hand. “Go ahead.” He dribbled the ball slowly and with control as he stood waiting.
“So, you’re excited,” Ren asked again with a slight upturn of his mouth. With one hand, he rubbed behind his ear where his glasses sat.
A warm grin moved across Tristan’s face. “Yeah, it's awesome. I’ve worked hard, and it’s paying off.” This was his dream. He was going to make the All American team and get a full ride to UCLA. California, here I come.
Tristan took a few steps away from them and shot the basketball again. This time, it bounced high off the rim before falling through the hoop. Tristan jogged to retrieve the ball and came back across the shiny wooden floor to stand at the bottom of the bleachers.
Ren leaned forward on the bleacher seat and spoke in a low voice. “How does it feel that Rich also made it through?”
“Geez, Ren…” Tristan responded in a low voice. He looked around the gym and back at Ren. “Rich is my teammate… and friend-ish.”
“Come on; it’s news,” Ren said with eyebrows raised.
Annie rolled her eyes. “Rich is a good player,” she said. She shivered and rubbed her arms.
Tristan cocked his head at her and held the basketball under one arm as he spoke. “He IS good. He just tends to be a little--”
“He’s an ass,” cut in Jacob, as he and Arlo strode across the court toward where Tristan was standing.
Arlo pulled off his school hoodie and threw it on the bleachers at Annie’s feet. “Watch this for me, will you?” he asked as he reached up one tawny brown hand to smooth out his black, spiky hair.
“Sure,” Annie said, taking another sip from her bright pink bottle.
“Who’s an ass? Rich?” asked Howie, another member of the basketball team, as he joined them. His arms looked unnaturally long in his basketball jersey, and his black basketball goggles stood out against his pale skin.
“Obvi,” Arlo said.
“Rich the Dick,” Jacob chuckled.
Arlo smirked. “Action Jackson.”
Howie smirked as he too pulled off his hoodie and tossed it at Annie’s feet. He adjusted his goggles on his long nose before speaking. “Bacon rod?” He raised his eyebrows and waited for the nod from Arlo.
“Nice one.” The two guys high fived.
Jacob guffawed.
Tristan smirked, but stifled it quickly. That was a good one.
The gym door made a creaking sound as someone opened it, and they all swung around to look toward it.
Rich stood there, water bottle in hand, watching them.
Tristan’s face reddened and guilt pricked his conscience, even though he hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Clam hammer,” Arlo whispered.
Howie chuckled. Jacob wiped a hand over his mouth to smother his laugh.
“Shut up, guys,” Tristan huffed under his breath. He shot a small smile at Rich, who frowned slightly as he crossed the court.
When Rich reached them, he fixed a smile on his face. “Hey guys.”
“Hey. Congrats on making the cut.” Tristan gave Rich a pat on the back.
“Thanks. It’s awesome.” Rich climbed the bleachers to sit beside Annie. “Hey neighbor. Are these guys trying to make you the coat lady again?” He pulled his worn hoodie over his head, wadded it into a ball, and shoved it between the bleachers.
“Yep,” she said. She shivered and took a swig from her bottle.
“Whatcha got there?” Rich asked as he leaned toward Annie and took a whiff of her drink. His nostrils flared as he looked up into her face with a grin. “Care to share?”
“No way,” She squirmed as she pulled the bottle out of his reach. “You’d hate it anyway. It’s sparkling water.”
“You’re probably right.” Rich smirked as he leaned back in the bleachers and met Ren’s eyes behind Annie’s back. “Are you here on newspaper business?”
“Yep.” Ren angled his body toward Rich and spoke. “I was asking Tristan how it feels to have made it through to round four, especially in competition with you.”
“What did he say?” Rich glanced toward Tristan and then back at Ren.
“Chill, Rich,” Tristan said coolly as he began to dribble the ball again. “It’s no big deal.”
“For you, maybe,” Rich mumbled as he leaned back on the bleachers and stretched out his legs before glancing at Annie. She met his eyes for a moment before turning away. She scooted toward Ren and read his phone over his shoulder.
Ren shrugged her off before speaking. “Anyway, how does it feel? Are you excited?” Ren asked again.
“Hell yeah,” Rich said loudly. “It's my ticket out of here.”
“To where?” Ren asked, his thumbs poised over the phone.
Rich glanced at Howie, Jacob, and Arlo before speaking, more quietly this time. “Pharmacy school.”
Jacob snorted.
Tristan glared at him, but didn’t speak.
Ren’s eyebrows shot up and he started typing again. “Really? Wow. I didn’t expect that…”
“Yeah,” Rich lifted one corner of his mouth and jabbed himself in the chest with his thumb. “I’m smarter than I look.”
“Right,” Howie said as he snickered.
Arlo laughed in agreement.
Tristan rolled his eyes. “Dude has an A in chemistry. If you paid attention in class you’d know that already, brillo head.” His hand shot out and messed up Howie’s already fluffy curls.
“Shut up,” Howie said, glaring at Tristan as he tried to comb his hair with his fingers before giving up and dropping his hands to his sides. He glanced at Arlo, who gave him a thumbs up.
“All right guys, let’s get moving,” Coach Edmonds hollered across the gym. He nodded to Tristan as he marched toward the group of guys. “Three on twos. Count them off, Captain.”
“Right,” Tristan said. “Let’s go, guys.” He tossed the ball to Rich, who caught it easily as he stood up. “Come on, Rich.”
Rich hopped off the bleachers. “Aye aye.” He saluted Tristan with one hand as he dribbled the ball with the other.
Howie and Arlo followed them toward center court.
The rest of their teammates moved across the gym from the locker room door and congregated at the center line.
“Tristan Adams,” a loud voice yelled across the gym.
Everyone spun to look, their shoes squeaking on the polished floor.
Principal Hastings stood in the doorway with a police officer at his side. “Come with me, please,” he said, fidgeting with his hands as he spoke.
Tristan furrowed his eyebrows, but jogged over to them. “What’s going on?” He asked.
“Let’s have a chat, in my office.” He grimaced at Tristan, whose eyes widened.
“Let me get my stuff,” Tristan said. What could this be about?
Principal Hastings glanced at the officer, who pursed his lips and met Tristan’s eyes. “Fine, but do it quickly.” His shoulders slumped.
Tristan nodded slowly and looked over at Annie and Ren, who were standing on the bleachers watching him. Hesitantly, he gave Annie a small smile before jogging out through the door that led to the locker room.
Principal Hastings turned and trudged out of the gym with the police officer striding ahead of him.
“What the crap?” Arlo asked as he stood on the court with his arms out, palms up.
Ren shrugged as he stood. “I’m going to find out.” He jogged after them.
“Wait up,” Annie called to Ren as she stood. She popped a piece of gum into her mouth and slung her backpack over her shoulder. Quickly, she jumped to the floor from the lowest bleacher bench and power walking after her brother.
* * *
Rich watched Tristan leave the gym through downcast eyes. That hadn’t taken long. He turned to look at Annie out of the corner of his eye. She shivered as she crossed the gym after Ren, her arms swinging at her sides. He watched her move out of sight down the hallway before turning back to Coach Edmonds.
“Okay, guys. Focus. I’m sure he’ll be right back.” Coach clapped his hands and the remaining basketball players took the court.
* * *
Tristan jogged to his locker. His heart was pounding. He ran his hand through his shaggy brown hair and exhaled loudly. Excitement coursed through him. Maybe the selection committee for the All American team had given early notification that he’d made the team. It could happen, right? Why else would the principal want to see him?
That was it. It had to be. It was Tristan’s year. He’d earned it.
He stuffed his clothes into his backpack and pushed his locker door closed. He took a breath to try to slow his heart down, but it continued to beat rapidly.
Tristan willed himself to walk calmly down the row of lockers toward the school hallway. As he opened the door, he saw Annie standing there, leaning against the wall, waiting for him, chewing gum. She stood bolt upright as he approached.
“What’s going on? Why do they want to see you?” Annie put her hands in her pockets and pulled them out again.
“No clue.” Tristan studied her face. Annie’s eyes were wide and a little bloodshot.“Are you okay? Your eyes are a little…”
“Oh, yeah, I didn’t sleep well,” Annie said as she waved her hand. “No biggie.”
Tristan nodded. “All right.” A grin spread across his face. “What if they’re going to tell me I made the All American Team? That could be it, right?”
Annie bit her lip and looked away.
“You don’t think that’s it?” Tristan asked. He watched her, waiting.
She looked back at him with a small smile. “It could be, but I didn’t think they made their choices for another week.”
Tristan shrugged. “Maybe they made an exception.”
“That’d be awesome.” Annie said slowly.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Tristan asked. “You don’t seem excited.”
“I’m excited,” Annie said quickly. She stepped closer to him and went up on her tiptoes to kiss him lightly.  “I am! See?” She smiled at him, but it didn’t reach her eyes.
Tristan studied her face for a moment and sighed. “Okay, let’s go.” He tried to suppress a grin as they walked down the hall. A bolt of excitement at the possibility of having made the All American team coursed through his body, tempered by Annie’s lukewarm response. But there wasn’t any other reason he’d be called up to the office. His selection to the All American team had to be it.
The halls were pretty much empty. Almost everyone was gone for the day, having left campus as quickly as they could after the final bell rang. Tristan’s shoes squeaked on the slick linoleum floor as they rounded the corner in front of the administration office.
Ren was standing outside the office door waiting, phone in hand.
“Ren,” Annie called to him. “Go home. This is not the time.”
“But this could be a huge story.”
Annie glared at him. “Leave. Now.”
Ren narrowed his eyes at her but slunk away toward the exit.
Tristan raised his eyebrows. “Kind of harsh, don’t you think?” He grasped her hand and led her into the administration office. He stepped up to Mrs. Bloomfield’s desk and opened his mouth to speak, but froze when he saw who was waiting for him.

Monday, November 27, 2017

On Writing: A Conversation With Melissa Carter

Hi everyone,

Recently a writer friend of mine asked me to do an interview for her blog. Of course I was thrilled to say yes. :)

It went live several days ago (yes I'm behind in posting it) and I'd love for you to check it out if you want to find out a little more about me, including one of my weaknesses (it's food related).

Here's a taste:

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? 
As was hinted above, I love Superman. Dean Cain is my favorite and has been since I was eight. I would love to meet him in person someday. I once had a dream that I ran into him in a shopping mall, and he was thrilled to meet me until I told him how old I was when Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman aired.  He was angry that I'd reminded him of how old he was, so he chased me through the mall with a crossbow. That was fun.

Click to read the rest.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Writing Goals for 2018

Good morning lovely readers,

I hope this post finds you well.

I want to update you on what's going on with me. Last weekend I was at a conference for indie authors and it was inspiring and challenging. I learned a ton about how to be a better author, from writing tips to marketing tips to setting difficult goals for myself.

To that end, I want to share my 2018 goals with you guys so you can keep me accountable. :)

My Goals for 2018:
1. Pick one genre to write in.
2. Come up with a concept for a series.
3. Publish the first two books in the aforementioned series.

You guys, these goals scare me! The idea of picking ONE genre scares me. The goal of writing and publishing two books in one calendar year scares me. My mind is full of what-ifs. What if I can't think of a concept I like well enough? What if I simply can't do it in the limited time I have after my girls are in bed at night? What if...?

But do you know what I'm realizing?

The biggest thing stopping me is fear. I CAN do this. All I have to do is put my fear aside and get to work.

Now I want to know, what are your goals for next year? How are you going to make 2018 your best year ever? Comment  below to share your goals with me. I'd love to hear them.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Compiled List of Facial Expressions for Fiction Writers

Basically, writing is putting down words on a page. A big part of that is knowing lots of words, or knowing how to find lots of words, so you don't use the same ones over and over again. For example, my characters in the draft I'm working on are constantly smirking or saying "sure." I know this, and I'm working on changing it. Reading is much more interesting when characters make more varied expressions and use varied vocabulary.

So I'm compiling a list of articles that describe facial expressions for writers. These will help me make my writing more dynamic, and will help me describe my characters more accurately. 

Thank you Internet!

Happy wordsmithing.

- Emily

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thinking About Protagonists and Antagonists as I Write

As many of you lovely readers know, I'm working on the first draft of my third novel. It's a bit tricky because the story is told from the points of view of three different characters. Two--Tristan and Annie--are protagonists. The third--Dick--is both a protagonist and the novel's primary antagonist.  It's as challenge to balance making Dick feel real and nuanced while making him somewhat likeable.

I stumbled across these articles on a Twitter friend's blog and had to share them. They're funny, but they also shed light on some important aspects of writing main characters--both protagonists and antagonists.

10 Reasons Why Your Protagonist Hates You

10 Reasons Why Your Antagonist Loves You

What are your favorite aspects of protagonists and antagonists? What makes them feel real to you?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Why Aren't I Selling More Books?

I'm a member of an amazing author group on Facebook, and yesterday one of the authors dropped this post. It is hard truth, but it's also inspiring.

Being an indie author is hard work. You have to be a writer, editor, formatter, marketer, publicist, designer,  advertising guru, and more. But you guys, it's worth it.


"I’ve seen a lot of similarly-themed questions in all the groups I belong to, and they all go something like this: “Why aren’t I selling more books?”
Assuming your writing is great – and you REALLY need to take your reader feedback to heart to know that – it comes down to marketing. Period. If you’re going to self publish, once your book is written, you have to stop thinking like an artist, and start thinking like a business owner.
We of the pen are not programmed for this. We are artists. We are feelers and dreamers. We believe in the powers of magic, of justice, of struggle, of trial and redemption. We believe – each and every one of us! – in our heart of hearts that our talent and effort will win the day, and if our book is amazing, the world will beat a path to our door… because nothing else would be just. If we did *not* believe those things, we would suck as storytellers… and we probably would never have written a story to begin with.
Here’s the problem: once you have written a book, it’s no longer a book – it’s now a product. Did your stomach just drop? Of course it did. How terribly reductive… that something so beautiful, so original, so perfectly, genuinely *you* should now become some commercial item to be bartered and sold, as if a piece of your very soul wasn’t embedded in it.
But you’re not just a writer anymore… now you’re a publisher. You have to sell a product. You have to polish it (pro editing). You have to package it (pro covers). You have to market it. It’s gonna be expensive. You’re going to have to learn new skills. You now need to become an expert on so many things you never even knew were things. You’re going to have to come out of your shell and engage with readers – many of us writers are introverts, and for some of you, I know that’s flat out terrifying.
Here’s the harsh, cold reality: there is no luck in this business. No one is going to “discover” you and make you famous. You have to buy advertising. Lots of it. You will NOT get an ROI anytime soon. You will do it poorly sometimes. You will burn through money. You will get pink slips in the mail from the electric company, you will gaze into an empty refrigerator, and you will scrounge for change to buy necessities that you used to take for granted. You might need to cancel cable, get a second job, trade in that new car for a beater.
Because now you’re a business owner, and unless you are independently wealthy, you have to face the same thing that all business owners face: this is HARD, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
But here’s the good news: there *is* a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
If you do *all* these things, and keep writing books, and keep learning how to be a better business owner, your success is a foregone conclusion. Learn from your mistakes. Double down on your successes. Write. Design better ads. Take a writing class. Network with other authors. Write. If you learn something, teach it to someone else. Don’t just beg people to help you… earn allies. Find more money. Write. Read your most awful reviews. Be honest with yourself. If they have a point, cry. Then fix it. Write.
Don’t quit. Don’t give in to despair. You can do this. It’s hard. Hard as hell. But you’re harder. Your dream got you here, but your good sense will take you the rest of the way: you know becoming a best-selling author isn’t just a matter of putting 80,000 carefully arranged words together. It’s a career. No one starts a career at the top. But everyone at the top shares one common trait: no matter how hard it was, no matter how many times they stumbled, they never, ever stopped believing in the dream that made them write that first line to begin with.
I know you can do this. I *know* it."

Monday, August 28, 2017

Enter to Win a Signed Copy of Life Among the Ashes via Goodreads

Hi everyone! Happy Monday to you.

We're closing up the house and preparing for a heatwave. Yuck. The worst part of it is that we're enrolled in a program that allows the power company to shut off our AC for up to six hours at a time to save energy, and I know they're going to shut it off from 4-8 today.

I can deal with it, even though it's hot, but having to put my girls down for bed in a really hot bedroom is the worst. I'm dreading it already.

In better news, I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway of Life Among the Ashes. Head over to Goodreads to enter a signed copy. It'll be fun!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Life Among the Ashes by Emily Kazmierski

Life Among the Ashes

by Emily Kazmierski

Giveaway ends September 04, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, August 21, 2017

Classic Books Everyone Loves, But I Hate

I've read a lot of classics. Up until a couple of years ago, a vast majority of the books I read were at least 50 years old. What can I say? I like old books. :)

But there are some classics that I can't stand. I know they've endured for many reasons, but these books make me angry.

Jane Eyre

I know--it's a shocker. I can't stand Rochester. He is so repellent. Read it again, you say. You'll appreciate him more. Alas, dear reader, I've read Jane Eyre three times (thanks to high school and college professors who assigned it), and the subsequent readings aren't changing my mind. Oh well.

Wuthering Heights

I'm not exactly sure why anyone loves this book, although I know many do. Heathcliff is an absolute monster. He's physically and emotionally abusive, manipulative, dishonest, greedy, and altogether hateful. No fictional character has made me as stabby as he did.

The Jungle

No book has made my stomach turn like this one. It's yucky. 

A cool aside: my mother in law recently moved to a darling little community, and she lives right down the street from where Upton Sinclair lived. I may have gotten a little excited about it. It's a gorgeous house too.

So, what about you? Are there any classics that leave you scratching your head or wishing to throw the book across the room? Do tell.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Books at the Top of My TBR Pile

In between reading the classics I haven't read, but should, there are tons of books I want to read. I'll never be able to read them all.

I also feel that way about my list of recipes to try: so much food, so little time.

Anyway, here are some that are at the very top of my virtual stack.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Write This Down by Claudia Mills

My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Tell me, what books are at the top of your list?

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Do You Organize Your Books?

We organize ours by color because it looks amazing. See?

I'll admit that it's a bit tricky when I'm trying to find a book and I don't remember what color it is, but I think it's worth it.

Do you notice the clock on the second shelf? It was my grandma's. It's an Ansonia clock and it's about 110 years old. It's one of the few things I inherited from her and I'll keep it always.

How do you organize your books? Alphabetically? By category? Do you stack them wherever there's room? A curious mind wants to know. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Classics I Haven't Read, But Probably Should

There are hundreds of books that people consider to be "classics," and not everyone agrees on which ones qualify. There are even lists you can check off to see how well read you are. I've played those games, and they're fun because I've read more of them than a lot of people. I like old books. :)

But there are some classics that I haven't read, for one reason or another, and I probably should. Have you read these? Are there any you have been meaning to read, but haven't yet?

1984 By George Orwell

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Honorable Mentions

The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Let's connect on Goodreads

Friday, August 4, 2017

Get Malignant for Free from Now 'Til August 8

I'm so excited about the launch of Life Among the Ashes that I'm giving Malignant away for free.

Happy reading,

- Emily

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today is Release Day - Life Among the Ashes is Available on Amazon

You guys, it's finally here. Life Among the Ashes is available on Amazon. And guess what? Because I'm so excited about it, I'm making it $0.99 for the first three days. So get over there and grab it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Interview with Jack Vaughn About Why I Write Stories Like Life Among the Ashes

I recently did an interview with fellow author Jack Vaughn about Life Among the Ashes. Jack asked some great questions! Here's an excerpt:
Life Among the Ashes releases August 1st! Always an exciting time for an author. Introduce us to your main character, Tess.
In many ways, Tess is a typical 22 year old. She’s trying to figure out what her purpose is in the world and what her passions are, aside from her husband and young son. She and her husband, Michael, agreed that she would be a stay at home mom until their son, Kavan, started school, and Tess is already wondering what type of job she wants when our story begins. She’s a little clueless about how the world works. And in Life Among the Ashes she has to grow up and stretch herself to find a career she’s passionate about, and to love and support Kavan well.
Without spoiling your novel, is there any part in your novel that you especially loved writing?
I really enjoyed writing the first scene because I knew exactly how it was going to go before I sat at my computer. And I really enjoyed writing Tess’s conversations with her best friend, Beth, because friendships are important, and I wanted to portray healthy, positive friendships that can be a lifeline when a person is struggling like Tess does throughout the book.
Click here to read the rest of the interview.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Title and Cover Reveal

You all know that I've been working on a new book. I have it almost ready to go; all it needs is a proofread. ;)

In the mean time, I want to share the title and cover with you. Isn't it gorgeous? I'm so excited.

This baby drops in the Amazon store in one week, on August 1. I'm holding onto my hat!

Want to know what it's about? Here's the blurb:

Tess is devastated when her firefighter hubby dies on the job. She wants only to grieve, but a young son and a dwindling bank account balance compel her to return to waitressing. Meanwhile, Tess searches for a career that evokes passion in her, like the zeal Michael showed for helping people and fighting fires.

Tess’s memories of her brief time with her husband inspire her to reach for a new dream. With her friends and family by her side, she discovers that the heartbreaking struggle she has endured has made her stronger, more self assured, and serenely prepared for whatever comes next.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Roundup of Free Young Adult Books

Hi there,

Sorry I've been absent. I've been typing away at my second novel. I actually finished my first draft in three months, which is a miracle since it took me forever to write Malignant.

I'm editing it now and I'm excited to share it with you.

In the mean time, look at what I made (with Mom's help) today: apricot jam. My favorite!

Also, I've rounded up some goodies from across the internet so you have something to read on this finest of Wednesdays.

Bonus: You can get the first three chapters of Malignant for free by clicking below.

Click here.

Go here.