Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Joe Knows

Well, I spent Monday back at work at my full-time job, after the four day holiday weekend. Fortunately, I only had to work the one day and took the rest of this week off to entertain friends....since I was getting Thursday and Friday off anyways, I figured I might as well take Tues and Wed off too...

So after my house guests left this morning (which left me sad over their brief stay), I spent the day writing away, as my lazy pugs slept idly at my side. Then I receive a tweet from the patron saint of self-publishing himself, J.A. Konrath, about his blog post for the day, You Should Self-Publish. After reading the post, I immediately read previous post, A Bedtime Story (I don't know how I missed that one) told from a third person perspective.

And last Sunday, I read and was equally inspired by Amanda Hocking's blog post, How Everything Went the Opposite of What I'd Been Told.

I would hope that I never have to justify myself to others that think I'm crazy for going the self-publish route. But if I was ever in doubt, I just have to remind myself that there are other self-published authors who are out there making it happen.

Other than my time, there is no monetary investment involved with me taking a chance. I now have the opportunity to tell a story and actually become what I've always imagined I'd be: a writer.

To be honest, I've always been embarrassed to tell my friends and family (I still don't think my husband fully understands why I spend my nights writing every night), but now I just don't care. I realized that if I could succeed in the government, corporate, and non-profit sector and complete two Master's degrees, I shouldn't be ashamed to tell people that I'm going to try my hand at becoming a writer.

I have no idea if my books will sell or if I even have the talent...but you can bet I'll keep on writing. One of these days I'll fullfill my life long dream of working for myself.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Post Holiday Cheer (Contest Winner Announced!)

I trust everyone had a great holiday weekend. I spent the entire weekend at my mother-in-law's eating cookies, enjoying eggs benedict two mornings in a row (did I mention my husband is a former chef?), watching the Star Wars trilogy, eating more cookies, losing at Trivial Pursuit (I still maintain that the Sphinx is part of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and not just the Pyramids), and reading several books on my new Kindle*.

Aside from spending a wonderful weekend in total gluttony, I am glad to finally be home and spent the last night of my Christmas vacation last night doing the exact same thing in my living room: lying on the couch reading yet another book (still eating cookies) and selecting the winner of the Holiday Contest!

And the (randomly selected) winner is........Erin!

So Erin, if you are reading my post today, please email me at claudia.lefeve [at] with you full name and contact info.

Thanks for everyone who entered and  hope to have some more contests/giveaways as I get closer to the publication date, so keep checking in!

*Okay, so I knew I was getting a Kindle for X-mas and I really wanted the Lilly Pulitzer cover which is designed to fit the B&N Nook. When I went to B&N last week and asked the sales lady if it was Kindle compatible she said no....Anyways, I went back last night and bought it anyway (it was no longer on sale) thinking I could always return it if it didn't fit. Well, guess what? It fit just fine! The bottom row of the keypad is slightly covered though, but I'm reading, not typing, so its not that big a deal to me. Take that, B&N saleslady!! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

This will probably be my last post until I announce the winner of the Holiday Contest on December 27th! I hope everyone has a happy holiday season (I know I'll be enjoying these next few days off!).

You'll notice some changes today...a new cover and I updated the blurb for Heir. Now that I am getting to the end of editing, I felt comfortable adding a bit more information about the book.

I hope everyone gets what they wished for from Santa (I can't wait to get my Kindle!) and for my adult friends: lay low on the egg nog! I learned my lesson after this mornings post egg nog headache.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 it's Cover

Christmas is almost here and I still have tons on my to-do list. I really need to get some more writing and editing done before I spend the weekend with my family eating, opening gifts and being a complete couch potato this weekend. Plus, my husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas (I can't believe I'm not allowed to open it yet. It's been sitting on our dresser for weeks now.), as I have grown out of using the Kindle app on my iTouch and laptop. No doubt you know what I'll be doing over the holiday weekend...reading!

One of the things on my list, especially now, as I am clearly taking a break from the toils of editing, is debating whether not to change my cover (see yesterday's post). Perhaps I need to be a bit more edgy. Since I'm not going the traditional publishing route, I have to work a lot harder on marketing my book. I don't want it to be overlooked based on appearances alone.

I have a few ideas in mind and now that I'm writing about it, the more I'm leaning towards changing it.

Almost forgot!! Don't forget to become a follower and let me know in the comments section of the post you want to enter my Holiday Contest! Contest ends Dec. 26th!

Also check out Subjective Soup for more giveaways!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Don't Judge a Book...

After spending an hour in rush hour traffic, I decided to stop by Barnes and Noble before I got home from work. Maybe it's because I've spent the last year reading ebooks or I just never noticed, but an entire section devoted to teens was right smack in the front of the store. So I decided to check out the covers to see what was appealing about them. I noticed that unlike a lot of adult fiction, the young adult shelves were stocked with books with pictures of sexy young people versus the adult sections that boasted more illustrated covers (if you read cozies or chick lit, you get what I mean).

As an "adult" over the age of 30, perhaps that's why I was drawn to my own cover art. It is a beautifully illustrated cover, but does it scream YA? I don't know. It's certainly something to consider before I publish.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Contest! Win a chance to be a character in Heir!

This last week has left me running frantic trying to meet some of my deadlines and get some more editing done before Christmas. Unfortunately for me, I had to re-write a few chapters, which meant updating a lot of other scenes in the process. But the good news is, I work my own schedule and I don't have to answer to anyone - one of the perks of being an indie author.

I really wanted to do something fun for the holidays and since I don't have any giveaways (yet), I decided to give one lucky reader a chance to be a character in my book. That's right mi would you like your name featured as a character in Heir**??

The winner of the Holiday Contest will receive:
1. A written part in Heir (minor character)
2. An advanced copy of Heir prior to its release (hopefully some time in March) 
3. An mention in the Acknowledgments section of the book

What do I have to do to enter?
1. Become a follwer of this blog
2. Post a comment at the end of this post telling me you want to enter to be a character in Heir.

The contest will run from December 17th - December 26. The winner will be randomly selected and will be announced December 27th!

Good Luck and Happy Holidays!!!

** Heir will be released as a YA paranormal mystery/romance.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Today's Thoughts

I often get strange looks when I tell people I'm writing a book. Not because I'm writing a book, but because I plan on self-publishing. A few years ago, self-publishing wasn't an option if you were serious about your work. Writers would spend years trying to land an agent and a book deal. But with the advent of ebooks (thanks Kindle) and websites like CreateSpace and Lulu, indie authors are flooding the literary market with...great books! Nowadays, I buy more books from self-published authors than I do from best selling or even mid-list authors.

It's no different than let's say, the music industry. Many of our most popular artists got their start in backroom bars or by performing the college circuit getting paid in beer. Musicians promote their music on YouTube, start their own labels and distribute their CD's or MP3's online. One of the reasons American Idol is so popular is because we want to see the no-name underdog see their dreams come true.

So why does self-publishing for authors carry a stigma? Are there just too many books that we cannot afford to flood the market with the good, bad AND the ugly?

We spend big money on Hollywood blockbusters that end up as flops (and unlike online retailers, we can't ask for our money back)  and buy entire CD's for just one good song (admit it, you do). But for some reason, a self-published book automatically equates to bad writing. Sure, most authors who self-publish do so because they've been rejected by agents and/or publishers. But there are a lot of authors who decide from the very beginning they are going to self-publish. Even traditional published authors, like J.A. Konrath (patron saint of self-publishing), are now self-publishing their work.

Is self-publishing any different from being picked up by a small publisher? You don't get advances and you still have to put in the same amount of effort to promote, market, and sell their book.

Are we just book snobs? Do we only consider published books acceptable because they've been vetted by agents and editors?

Sure, being an indie author is not without its drawbacks: a self-published book probably WON'T get the attention of an agent, ever appear on the NY Times Bestseller list, get nominated for an award, or allow you to quit your day job.

These are some of the reasons why I chose to self-publish:
1. I don't want to waste my time querying agents for years so that I can get a pittance of a royalty.
2. I don't plan on leaving my day job (unless of course my books sell).
3. I don't want readers to have to wait a year in between books.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pick Your Genre

Normally, books are defined by a single genre: mystery, romance, fantasy, young adult, science fiction, horror, get the idea. But what if you have a sixteen year old detective, who is also a fairy, who falls in love with a werewolf, set in the city of Los Angeles? Is it considered romance? YA? Paranormal mystery? Urban fantasy?

How does an author decide to market their book?

Let's take a look at Charlaine Harris. In case you've been hiding under a rock, she's the author responsible for the popular Sookie Stackhouse series. Now, we have our heroine, Sookie, who is part fairy and is also a telpath. There are vampires, werewolves, witches, fairies, demons, etc. within the Sookie universe. Each book (usually) contains two mysteries Sookie is inevitably involved in (one within her human relationships and another on the paranormal end of things). Oh and less I forget, there is always some kind of romance brewing.

Charlaine has the advantage, as each book in the series carries an element of mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romance that attracts a broad cross section of readers.

Which brings me to my point (I swear, I have one). Now that I am slowly beginning to build up a reader base before my book comes out next Spring, how do I market my book? Young adult (my protagonist is seventeen), fantasy (she's an elf princess), mystery (no spoilers), and romance (hello? teen love)? Oh, yea, the elves in my book all have some form of psychic ability.

Seriously! Pick my genre!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Spreading Holiday Fear

Yes, it's that time of year again where we see the holiday season invoking fear in the hearts of many. Last night, I got a call from my sister telling me that our parent's house had been burglarized. Thankfully, nothing of value was taken, they were probably looking for cash (and my folks don't keep cash in the house), but my mom was still afraid they would return later that night.
Then earlier today, I had to respond to a crime scene to assist some very nice people who were held at gunpoint by thugs who robbed their store.
Some families are going to have a great Christmas, as a result of all this thievery.
Until today, I've never really given much thought to our house getting broken into. We don't keep many valuables in the house (we don't really have any) other than our flat screen TVs, but then the more I thought about it, I remembered my laptop! What if someone broke in and stole my laptop (which is totally worthless because the internal battery is dead and it only works if I keep it plugged in). All of my writing that's stored in it would be lost to me forever. Just like that. 
Never mind all of the WIP's and short stories that I'd never be able to replace, but more importantly, I would lose all the time I put into all of my writing. Time that I consider to be the most valuable possession I own. 
This weekend I totally intend to invest in a nice thumb drive to back-up all my files. They can keep the laptop - I need a new one anyways.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Be Your Own Inner Princess

Today I was reminded that while most of us won't ever get a chance to become an honest to goodness princess (Why wasn't I born ten years younger and British so I could have had a shot with Prince William??), we can all be an inner princess.
As I was coming in to work today, I had to go past one of the security guards. I flashed him my awesome i.d. badge (allowing me to bypass the regular line) and the guard bowed and addressed me as "your majesty." Now, I'm not regal by any means - I'm short, I get the occasional zit, and I could probably benefit from some regular exercise. So I've come to the conclusion that it must be the way I interact with people that makes a difference in how people respond to me.
That's the message I hope to capture in Heir. With forces at play between good and evil, love and hate, and valor versus cowardice, it all boils down to the choices that we make and what side we chose to play on. But just in case my point it isn't made clear enough, I've thrown in a juxtapose of characters (yes, that includes evil twins) for good measure.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010


It's been a long Sunday and I'm sorry to see it go. I was able to get about five hours of writing done today, worked a bit on my blog, went to Wal-Mart, worked on my Christmas wreaths (I can't believe it's almost here...I'm still eating left over turkey from Thanksgiving!), gave myself a much needed manicure (I've been procrastinating on the pedi), and watched Dexter. Whew!

Now that it's almost 10:30pm, I guess I'll do a little bit of research on the Blue Ridge Mountains for Heir before I go to bed.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Welcome to my new site, non-existent readers (but you'll be around soon I hope!) This blog is yet another attempt to hold me accountable for my writing. Granted, I had ran into some success earlier this fall by getting two short stories published, but my ultimate goal is to finish my book.

Fortunately, I have a story that just won't go away in my mind. With any luck it will be finished soon, I'll have a huge followers on my blog, and Heir will be published Spring 2011.