Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sorry I've Been MIA. Blame Finals.

So, long time no read. Sorry bout it. I have been super busy with the release of "Forget Me Not," writing "Morning Glory," my first TV interview, and this thing called college. Stupid college. Why you make me write papers and take finals? Don't you know that I have a trilogy to write? Silly college.

Oh, did I say TV interview? Yes, you can watch me in all my awkward glory here: TV Interview and me being weird.

I have missed this blog and talking with all you lovely readers. I am so thrilled and relieved that "FMN" is finally available for everyone to buy and read. So much has happened that I'm a little overwhelmed by it. I had my first book singing, which is awesomely overwhelmingly crazy. I will attach some photos to this post so you can see my awkwardness and how I sign some books and stuff.

I need to thank my precious sorority sisters Hannah, Audrey, and Kelly for hosting and running the event. It was such a blast and I was only slightly weird that night. Being normal is tough.

Moving on, as soon as I finish up this semester I will be returning home to my precious baby kitten Jasper (he is my writing partner), to my Christmas tree, and to writing.

And then I will finish "Morning Glory" and hopefully send it off to my beta reader, Courtney, and then to my publisher. YAY! The book has been outlined and just needs me to give it some tender loving care and writing time without distraction from this crazy thing called classes. Ha. Ha. Who needs a degree anyway?

And maybe for Christmas,  I will be giving you all a sneak peek to a chapter of "Morning Glory." I guess you all better be good. I'll talk to Santa. We'll see.

Also, there is a giveaway on Goodreads that will start tonight at midnight and go till January 5, 2013 where I will be giving away 2 signed copies of "Forget Me Not." You all should enter and tell your friends and stuff. Pretty please? It's gonna be awesome. I'll even draw you a cat next to my crappy signature.

At least that's what I did for my mom. But really. She handed me her copy and said sign this and draw me a cat. So I drew her a cat. It was pretty legit.

Well anyway, the link to the giveaway is here: Goodreads Giveaway Link

And I think that is all for now. I promise I will be in touch soon. And maybe I'll have a prize for you.

Me signing. With a pink sharpie. Don't judge.

Dr. Elaine Whitaker, head of the English department at GCSU, and I !

Yes, that is my mother taking a picture of someone taking a picture of the long line. Love it. 

Me and my roommates, Kelly and Sophie!

Me and my Momma! 

And lastly, a video of me reading part of "Forget Me Not." Weird: Me Reading. My voice is funny.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cover Reveal: Insert Fangirl Scream...NOW!

So, long time no see! So sorry I have been slacking on the posts to this blog, but I think I may have something to make you happy. The cover to "Forget Me Not" is officially done and ready for to be looked at! AHHHH!!

Drum roll please.....

There it is my lovely readers. My official cover for my first novel and I want to cry. It's just so perfect!

Now, before you ask let me explain. The release date of my novel is soon. Like you can go ahead and order my novel...by the end of next week. Wait, WHAT?!?!

Yes, it will be available from my publisher's website, www.martsisterspublishing.com and from Amazon for Kindle. All other formats will take about 6 weeks before it will be available there. Therefore, my "official" launch date is pending. This simply means the date for when I will start having events and book signings is still up in the air. But for you to order the book is sooner than I had even dreamed. You could have my book in your hands in a little over two weeks.

Ah! So now that you have the beautiful cover, please check back here for more updates. Like my Facebook page for even more updates! I hope you all have a beautiful Friday.

And don't mind me. I'll just be drooling over my new cover!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

That Awkward Moment When Your Characters Actually Exist

So, you know that awkward moment when a character from your head suddenly appears in your real life? You don't? Oh, well I do.

Yeah, today marks the second time that someone in reality actually looks like one of my characters from my book, Forget-Me-Not and the sequel, Morning Glory. What? This doesn't happen to normal people?

The first time I ever saw someone who looked like one of my characters was about one year ago, before Forget-Me-Not had been contracted for publication. Therefore, no one knew about my novel besides myself and my mother.

I was sitting in a college event that my Freshman Seminar had required me to attend. It wasn't much. Mostly young kids reading poems that they had written and the college students who had taught them were beaming with pride.

It was then, when the next group of kids and their college student teacher came up to present, that I saw him. If Cole Dyami had a twin brother, this man would be him. My main male protagonist from my novel, Forget-Me-Not, was now walking, talking, and physically in front of me. And being the mature young adult I am, I freaked out right then and there. In front of my friends. Who simply stared. Of course, I couldn't tell anyone why because I was too embarrassed.

But I seem like less of a freak now that I can explain how crazy this all really is. You know, a fictional character that somehow exists outside of the realm of books.

So now I can explain how a guy in one of my classes looks like another one of my characters. Oh, and they have the same name. The. Same. Name. Oh, you know, no big deal.

But, it actually is a big deal. Because I don't know how to handle the fact that twice a week I will have a guy in my class who looks/acts like a character from my latest novel, Morning Glory.

Why does my life suddenly feel like a weird romantic comedy?

Or boys who originally were in books, but escaped into the author's real life... 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I'm A Big Kid Now...Right?

So, you'd think moving into an off campus apartment and publishing a novel would suddenly qualify me as an adult, right? I mean, I'm almost twenty (I'm still 19 years old and hanging on to my teens as long as possible) so I should feel older, more mature, more grown up.

Um, no. I still feel a bit like the kid I once was when I was a freshman. I'm a sophomore in college now, Co-Candidate Mentor of my sorority, an editor for my university's literary journal, and a published author with her first novel on its way to publication all while writing another book.

But even with all of these blessings and responsibilities, I still feel insecure and constantly asking God, "Is this right? Is this Your will?"

Of course, I need to just breathe, enjoy the ride, and trust God and His plan for my life. But it does get hard sometimes. One day I feel like an adult, but then the next day I just want to crawl back home and let my Mom take care of me. I just want to be a little kid again and slow down this whole growing up thing (Yes, I do realize I sound a lot like Taylor Swift or those kids from High School Musical 3. Don't judge me.)

But I suppose that's life, right? I know growing up is going to happen. Nothing is stopping it. It's the way God intended life to go.

But I do have an escape. An escape that a lot of my peers don't. I write. I write to escape the insecurities and reality of life when I need to. Writing has a way of calming me and in a way, it's a protection. I don't ever have to fully grow up or give up my childhood because I have the privilege of living it all over again through my characters' eyes.

Adeline and the other beautiful characters God has blessed me with keep me grounded in who I was and who I'm becoming. So, I need to breathe and trust this process of life. It all has a greater purpose that one day will become clear. But for now, I can be both the adult and the child. And I think this is exactly as God intended.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will." Romans 12:2

I think I have. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

More on "Forget-Me-Not"

I decided to write a blogpost going into more detail about my novel for those of you who still don't know. Below is the blurb that will go on the back of the book. Drum roll please....


"Cole Dyami is a mysterious boy with a dangerous secret. Adeline Jasely is a typical teenage girl. Living in the seemingly normal small town of Great Falls Montana, Adeline is confronted with everyday teenage problems by a not so normal beautiful boy. As Adeline and Cole’s worlds collide, the line between illusion and reality is blurred. According to a tribal legend, Adeline and Cole are no longer two friends, but two pieces in a complicated mystery. Suddenly, Adeline finds herself in a world she never knew existed. Along side Cole, she attempts to unravel the mysteries of the small Chippewa tribe in order to not only find out who Cole Dyami truly is, but who she is as well. As Cole and Adeline begin to uncover the secrets behind the legends of the Chippewa tribe, illusion slowly unravels into reality and friendship gradually melts into a mutual need of survival."

So, that is the basic premise of the novel. My two main characters, Cole and Adeline, come from two different worlds and cultures. Together, they have to come to terms with where they came from and what their futures hold. Forget-Me-Not is a coming of age story for two people who are falling in love. Yet, this isn't just a love story. Forget-Me-Not is a young adult paranormal romance meaning outside forces (and yes, they are paranormal) threaten not only Cole and Adeline's friendship, but their lives as well.

Well, I hope that helps explain, in a bit more detail, the book itself. And I really hope you buy it and love it. That would be awesome. 

Pretty much explains Adeline and Cole. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Website, Editors, And All That Jazz

My official website has finally been launched! How great is that! This post will be short because everyone should go from here to my lovely website. The link is below!

Allison's beautiful, magnificent website you should tell everyone about

In other fabulous news, my editor emailed me the first edits to "Forget-Me-Not"! (insert scream of joy here) And do you know what that means my lovely readers? It means the release date is getting closer and closer. And before you ask, no we still don't have the "official" release date yet, but once I know I will sing it from the mountaintops!

Ok, just kidding. I won't actually sing, but I most likely will put the release information on my blog, website, Facebook, twitter, etc. The internet will be screaming it from the mountaintops for me.

So, writing "Morning Glory" had to be put on hold while I went through the edits, but now today I am really hoping to get some serious writing done. My hands have been twitching from the lack of writing.

But then it will have to be put on hold once more because I move back to college in 4 days, 13 hours, 38 minutes, and 50, 49, 48 seconds....

And I still have to pack. Yeah, about that.

But other than all that business and craziness, I wanted to thank all my lovely readers who have been so patient with me. It means the world. I also am so thankful to my God who has blessed me beyond anything I could imagine from signing a publishing contract to meeting (via internet) my favorite author who I now call my friend. I have so much to be thankful for.

I also want to say that all of my prayers are with the people who were affected by the horrible tragedy in Colorado. Please keep the victims and their families in your prayers!

I will continue to keep everyone updated on "Forget-Me-Not" and the series in general. I am so excited for everyone to read my debut novel. Hopefully, all of you will love reading it as I did writing it!

I will leave you with this photo I found on Pinterest  (I told you I'm addicted). It made me laugh and I thought I'd share. Until next time!

Why yes, I do write novels about those feelings.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Character Deaths and all the Therapy I'm Going to Have to Go Through

Yes, there comes a time in each writer's life where they must do the inevitable: kill some people.

Now, before you call the cops or have me committed, I don't mean "real" people. I'm talking about the characters writers work so hard to develop, bring to life, and then very quickly end their short fictional lives (It's like ripping off a bandaid).

I am currently writing the sequel to Forget-Me-Not, Morning Glory and I realized pretty early on that some characters wouldn't make it. Of course, I'm not going to name names or even give tiny, little hints. Trust me, my mother has tried and I have refused. (Finally the tables have turned and I feel like I know where the Christmas presents are hidden and my mother is begging for a clue.)

But, just so you all know, I am not a heartless writer, thriving over the complete control of fictitious lives. On the contrary, I know I will cry when I must write future character death scenes (Yep, there is more than one). I don't think readers quite understand that it hurts the author just as much as the reader.

Of course, I would love to have a perfect world where everyone lives happily ever after. Unfortunately, life is not like that and I strive to make my writing as true to life as possible. I want the reader to hurt with my characters, laugh, cry, share all their emotions. I would be lying if I didn't say this was every author's wish.

So, as I continue to write and finish the sequel to Forget-Me-Not, I must constantly keep in mind the effect that this book will have. When I was writing my first novel, my audience was pretty easy to please: me. And even though Forget-Me-Not is not out in the world quite yet (the time is coming soon!), I am already considering how my future readers will not only react to my debut novel, but to the entire series in general. I have broad ideas of how this saga will end, but I'm not completely 100% sure yet. However, I will not lie to you. The following books after Forget-Me-Not are sad, tragic even.

I would not be doing my characters or the story line any justice if I refused to allow real life to occur and real life includes real death. I know first hand the consequences and effects of death and trust me, it's not pretty. But I want to dig deep into that with my second and third books. I want readers, who maybe know exactly what my characters are going through or don't even have the slightest idea (you are truly blessed if you don't), to have to deal with the harsh reality, even in fiction, of the tragedies life can throw your way.

However, I also want my readers to understand the beauty of life: hope and love. It's a hard balance, but one I am trying to master.

So, as I continue to write and expand my knowledge of both my characters (whom I love, trust me. It literally breaks my heart when I think of the tragedy they will have to encounter) and fiction in general, I am left with the satisfying feeling that everything is happening as it should. I came across a beautiful quote on Pinterest (I actually have a board dedicated to my series. Please follow me! I'll leave the link here: http://pinterest.com/lafleur1218/the-forget-me-not-series/).

I will leave you with this quote. It is something I strive for as a writer and hopefully, I will succeed. This would be my top advice to any aspiring writers: Don't be afraid of writing the truth, even if it breaks your heart in the process.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fan Girl Scream...NOW!

Okay, so you know how I eluded to the fact that my favorite author of all time...ALL TIME (note the excitement with the caps lock) said she was, and I quote, "looking forward" to reading my book? Well, she also read my blog....and LOVED IT!

The lovely author, who you all should go out right now and buy all her wonderful books, is Marianne Curley (Seriously, if you need to stop reading to go get her books, then stop and come back. I'll be waiting). I will post a link to her website at the bottom of this post. She is a lovely Australian young adult novelist whose books literally inspired me to read and write. If it wasn't for her books, I probably wouldn't be typing these very words.

Her works include "Old Magic" (LOVE!), The Guardians of Time Trilogy, which include "The Named", "The Dark", and "The Key" (LOVE LOVE LOVE!) and her latest work "Hidden" (Book 1 in The Avena Series) should be available soon. I am already counting down and can't wait to get my hands on a copy! Where is that darn pre-order button?

So how did my favorite author find out about "Forget-Me-Not"? Well, I sort of just told her. I decided that it was necessary to pay the proper thanks where it was due. So, I bit the bullet and messaged Marianne (Yeah, we're on a first name basis. It's legit.) thinking the odds of her actually having time to read and respond were very slim (She is super busy writing and doing what published authors do). So, I let it go and tried not to think about it.

Well then she replied. And I cried. And then ran around my house while my dogs barked at me.

She was so encouraging and sweet, saying how she was looking forward to reading my book and how excited she was for me. Later, I sent her the link to this blog just so she could stay up to date until my website is finished (which may be launched as early as next week! AH!). She checked it out and actually said I was funny. And that I inspired her. I. Inspired. Her. WHAT?!

And then she said she was proud of me. Again, WHAT?!

So, why does this particular author make it to the top of my favorites list? Well, her words inspired me during a time when I didn't think I'd be able to see any good in the world.

You see, when I was in the 6th grade, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer, which he later died of when I was fifteen. At that point, I couldn't see any real goodness or happiness. I didn't understand and I questioned my purpose. Then, the Lord pointed me to a Borders where I was roaming the young adult section looking for a novel for a book report. I hadn't particularly enjoyed reading up until that point. It was more or less something I had to do for school, not pleasure. I was glancing at the different titles aimlessly when my best friend at the time pulled a book out and showed it to me. It looked like this:

I flipped through a couple of pages, deciding that this would be good for the assignment. (I think it was analyzing a familial relationship. I chose Ethan and his father Shaun for those of you who care.) Well, I started reading and well, couldn't stop. After the book report was turned in, I reread "The Named" one more time before going back to the same Borders and buying the second installment "The Dark" where within the first couple of chapters realized I was in Arkarian's POV and I honestly thought I had died and gone to heaven. Then I zoomed through the second book and went on to the third, "The Key" where I literally balled like a baby when a few choice characters *ahem* died (I'm still in denial about those). Then after wallowing in a depression that only fictional characters can inflict, I realized Marianne Curley had written "Old Magic". I then forced my brother to drive me back to the bookstore to buy it.

There is a reason why God led me to that particular book that day, why it was "The Named" that ignited a fire and a passion within my heart for reading. Of course, I didn't know at the time that this newfound love for books would blossom into my very own career. It is true when the Bible says that the Lord has all of our days and moments planned. The Lord knew exactly who would read "The Named" when it was first published and He knew how it would drastically change my life at only twelve.

So, you see it isn't just the books themselves that changed me, but it's how they helped me cope with a harsh reality that I didn't completely understand at twelve. Marianne Curley's books not only inspired me to read, and love every second of it, but to write too. It was after reading her works that I knew what I wanted to be, what the Lord had laid on my heart. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a writer so I could inspire other little girls who, maybe, all they need at the moment is a good book that can take them somewhere else. Somewhere safe, somewhere they can realize that they are not alone.

At least that's what these books did for me. And that's why I had to thank the author who inspired this dream. So, thank you again Marianne. You have no idea how much you helped the scared little girl with your beautiful words.

Seriously, I miss Arkarian like no other. It's bad. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Writing, Publishing, and Bears, Oh My!

Just kidding. There aren't any bears in this post. Sorry to disappoint you.

So, how did this whole novel writing/publishing thing happen? Good question. I'm still trying to figure it out even now. But I suppose starting with the beginning would be best. I was fifteen years old when "Forget-Me-Not" was born. It was April 4, 2008 and yes I am a nerd because I can remember the exact day, moment, and time. Don't judge.

I was sitting in study hall doing my best to study for a test I had the next period. I was very studious like so.

Note the confused expression. I honestly don't remember how I did on that test.

When all of a sudden a voice started talking to me. I swear I'm not making this up. This is legit how it all happened. Of course, I don't normally hear voices in my head so I kind of freaked out like this.

Um, hi random voice in my head? 

I tried to ignore the persistant voice (who was later named Adeline Jasely, my protagonist) because my classmates were beginning to stare at me. My head was twitching like a mad woman.

Uh... too much coffee? 

But she wouldn't shut up (she tends to talk a lot). So, I stopped studying and wrote down what she was saying, thinking if I just wrote a little bit, she would leave me alone. Well, four months later I had a manuscript on my hands and a mild case of carpal tunnel.

So, what now? Edit, edit, edit, and did I mention to edit? This was so crucial to the entire process. I read through the entire manuscript and tweaked some things, completely rewrote other things, and basically did my best to make it absolutely perfect. Now it was time for me to let my baby go out into the harsh world of querying literary agents and publishing companies. I wonder if this is how my mom felt when I went off to college...

So here comes the hardest part on the road to publication. Query letters and the numerous rejection letters that will follow. What is a query letter you ask? Good question!

A query letter is a pivotal tool in trying to get published. It is basically a pitch that says, "This is what my book is about and this is why you should publish it!" Writer's Market.com is a great place to learn how to write a good query letter!

I received countless rejections in response ranging from "don't query us again" to very polite responses with suggestions on how to improve my manuscript. I had to learn from my mistakes and move on. Publishing did not happen over night. It took four years of hard work, perseverance, and trusting God before my dreams were finally realized.

Many people have the common misconception that publication will happen over night. Ha ha. No. The road to publication is a long, hard road to follow. It was definitely not easy, but completely worth it.

So here comes the happy ending to my long road to publication. I had sent a new batch of query letters in May 2011 after I had graduated high school. I got several rejections off the bat and several did not even respond. I decided to take a break and just focus on getting ready for college. Well fast forward almost one year. March 4, 2012 I checked my email, shocked and confused to find a response to my query letter. It was a very positive response asking for the full manuscript to review for possible publication. My reaction was something like this:

REALLY?! You want to read it?

I spent the next three days rereading my manuscript and giving it one last good edit before I sent it to Martin Sisters Publishing. I took a deep breath as I sent the email, feeling God's overwhelming peace. It was like He was saying, "This is in My timing."

And so I waited, assuming they would take the full six weeks to read it and make a decision. I religiously checked my email and tried not to think about it every single second of every single day.

On March 31, 2012, only 4 1/2 weeks later, I checked my email at about 12:00 am on my iPhone. I found a response from Denise Melton, the publisher from Martin Sisters Publishing. I sat sleepy eyed, staring at my inbox.

So sleepy...


Information is processing...



And then I did my happy dance with my mom, ran around my house, had to sit down because I couldn't feel my legs, cried a little bit, and then after a few phone conversations with relatives at 12:30 in the morning, I tried to go to sleep. But there was just too much excitement and I don't think I slept for even a minute. I felt like it was Christmas Eve and I was five years old again.

Major Cheesing Here!

And that ladies and gentlemen is how my journey from writing to publication went down. The Lord has truly blessed me and I give Him all the glory. I am excited for the future and I honestly feel like there is so much more that will happen. I can't wait to see where "Forget-Me-Not" will take me!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wait, I'm A Published What?

I'm a published author. Wait, what?

Yeah, that's my reaction whenever my brain suddenly realizes that my book, my baby, my heart is going to be published. And be available for the whole world to read. Insert scream of joy and fear now. 

Now, don't get me wrong. I am absolutely thrilled, astounded, dumbstruck that someone, anyone, is going to read this book (including my favorite author of all time, but that deserves a blog post of its own). However, the nagging voice in the back of my head still creates numerous doubts, the top one being: everyone will hate it. Of course, this is simply fear of the unknown (the unknown being, I've never been published before and don't know what the heck is going to happen). Yet, the Lord says 365 different times in the Bible "Do not fear." Okay, Lord, I get it.

However, I am not so naive to believe that everyone will love it. There are haters out there in the world whose sole purpose in life is to hate on things and people just because they get some sort of strange, sick pleasure out of it. Do I think those people need psychological help? Yes, but alas they will continue to reproduce and continue hating things and people for the rest of existence. 

So as I continue to traverse through life on cloud 9, I am frequently pulled back down to harsh reality whenever the thought of someone actually reading my book crosses my mind. Strange, you'd think I'd be so excited at the thought, wanting to look over their shoulder and watch their reaction? No. I'd rather bury myself in a hole and hope they don't hate it too much. 

But that's just the shy, sensitive writer in me who has to constantly be reminded that if this book wasn't supposed to be published, then God wouldn't publish it.

"Every good and perfect gift comes from above." James 1:17

Okay, so taking a deep breath and trusting God first, I guess I should probably at least mention what my book is about. Right. Almsot forgot that one.

Well, my novel is entitled Forget-Me-Not. It is a young adult paranormal romance with some Native American culture thrown in. It is the first book in the Forget-Me-Not series. I will definitely go into lots more detail about the book itself, my characters, the inspiration, etc. in later posts. 

Forget-Me-Not is going to be published by Martin Sisters Publishing, LLC. They have a website and a blog so please go check them out and their other lovely authors. 

I am also in the process of having website built (don't I sound fancy?), which will have lots of fun things on it and hopefully everyone will like it.

More posts to come! I do have to do this thing called writing, since you know, that's what I am. A writer. I'm currently working on the second installment, which we shall call Morning Glory for the time being, and then I have this other commitment called college. Ha. Oh, I have a seven page paper due when? Right. 

So all of that to say I am both elated and terrified that my dream of publication is coming to pass. This is a precious time and I have so much to be thankful for, but I wouldn't be human if I didn't freak out a little bit, right?

 Hopefully you have liked this first post and will like my novel when it is available for everyone to read. Until next time!