Introducing Two New Features (of Interest to Writers)

Some of the observant out there may have already noticed a couple new additions to the site. But those who don’t regularly stalk my online hub of awesome may not be aware yet. So, here’s your handy little announcement. (Listen up, writers! I think you’ll find what I’m about to say especially interesting. ;))

The first new addition is an expansion of my freelance editing menu. I understand that hiring a freelance editor can be extremely expensive, and that sometimes, you simply don’t have the budget for that. So, in the interest of assisting authors, I’ve created a few (more cost effective) options. You can check out the full details of everything I offer here. But these are the new items, what I’m calling the Misc. Editorial Goodies:

  • Back Cover/Query Blurb: $50 (eARC of entire manuscript required)

Whether you’re a self-published author who loathes writing jacket copy, or a querying author searching for the perfect hook, I can help. With a background in film, and experience as an acquisitions editor, I have the insight to help you make your blurb shine.

  • Reader Report: $200-$500 (depending on page count)

Curious what reviewers/acquisitions editors think when they read your story? Here’s your chance to find out. Using my talents as a developmental editor, I’ll read your work and analyze it from top to bottom, providing you with an in-depth response that will help you refine your work and possibly even land that elusive publishing offer. 😉

  • First Chapter Polish: $0.02 per word

Are you querying and would really just love to make your first chapter sing? Then this is the option for you. Let me guide you to the strongest opening chapter for your book. Because, as we all know, first impressions are everything. Why not make a good one? (Includes content/line edits and proofreading on the first chapter only.)

  • Technical Martial Arts Fight Scene Editor: $75-$150 (depending on number of fight scenes)

This is perhaps the most unusual item on the menu, but it’s one I think many of you could find valuable. Capitalize on my 15+ years of martial arts experience and championship-winning choreography skills. Let me help your fight scenes be dynamic, and most importantly, believable. Whether you just want the seal of approval, or need a little assistance in figuring out the logistics of a fight, I’m your girl. (Requires full disclosure of the entire manuscript, but I will only offer critique and advice on the fights specifically, including adjustments to the choreography, as well as the standard editorial assistance.)

Interesting stuff, yes?

The second addition to my site is a new section for book reviews. As part of my continuing efforts to provide content that’s both helpful and inspiring, I’ll be reviewing and/or recommending books I come across that I feel are deserving of your attention. In a marketplace inundated by titles, it’s hard to know where the gems are. I’d like to showcase the ones I stumble across, and in the process, help my fellow authors and indie publishers gain some much-needed exposure.

I’ll use my insight into storytelling to help you wade through the ocean of books out there, and promise to give honest, thoughtful opinions with only a modicum of snark. 😉

If you have a book you’d like me to review, please let me know via the contact page. I will happily accept ARCs (in any form) in exchange for my opinion, and will read just about anything (although I’d prefer if it were in the realm of Fiction, and preferably not Erotica). Due to my fluctuating schedule, I can’t give a flat turn-around time, but you can always inquire before sending me your book.

I’ll still be featuring those titles I’ve had the privilege of working on under my “From the Editor’s Desk” series, so make sure you check that as well. Otherwise, click on the book review link above and potentially discover your next favorite read!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I’m pretty excited about these new features and hope you are as well. If you’d like to see even more awesome added to the site, please feel free to send me suggestions! 🙂

Featured From the Archives: The Definition of Black Belt

It feels like I’ve done so many of these lately, but this will only be the fourth one ever. Still, I know you come here for new material, and I promise, I am working on that. (In fact, some of the observant out there may notice a new addition to the menu — Book Reviews. Check it out if you’re curious what I’ve got happening behind the scenes. 😉 ) But there’s a reason I decided to feature this post today. Tonight (right now, actually) is the annual WTSDA Region One Black Belt Test. And though I’m not there, I still want to acknowledge it. So this is my way of honoring those testing, of imparting the lessons I learned in my own journey. Yes, it is specifically geared toward martial artists, but give it a glance anyway — I think you might be surprised to find many of things apply to you whether or not you have ever trained.

 

The Definition of Black Belt

By Kisa Whipkey

(Originally Posted on 5/25/12)

 

I promised there would be posts about martial arts. And so far, I haven’t delivered. **2014 Note: Technically not true anymore. Disregard. There’s a whole slew of them in the index if you’re interested.** So, in honor of the annual WTSDA Region 1 Championship, (which I’m not attending for the first time in, well, ever! **2014 Note: Also untrue. I’ve now missed like three. And yes, that does make me a slacker. Thank you for noticing.**),  I present my first post dedicated to the martial arts. But be warned, my opinions on this topic can be either melodramatic and preachy, or poetically accurate, depending on whether or not you agree with me.

Regardless of which side of the fence you land on after reading this, here’s my interpretation of . . .

What it means to be a black belt

A black belt is more than the strip of fabric around your waist.

It’s helping those close to you because they need it,
not because it boosts your ego.

It’s knowing when to pick your battles and when to walk away.

It’s the dignity you have in the face of adversity,
and the grace with which you take criticism.

It’s the humility you show others,
and the respect you give to the people and
places that offered you this gift.

It’s the wisdom to realize that it’s better to be selfless,
but the strength to stand up for your convictions.

It’s the integrity you put behind your promises,
and the obligation to teach those that follow in
your footsteps these same lessons.

It is an achievement to be worn proudly,
but it’s not the color of the fabric that makes you a black belt;
it’s the attitude you present to the world.

–Kisa Whipkey
(Originally Posted to Facebook on May 17, 2011)

Shame so many forget that, or never bothered to learn it at all. So often, you’ll run into martial artists whose sole reason for training seems to be bragging rights; they’ve taken all these different styles (and mastered none of them); they’ve beaten X number of opponents to a bloody pulp in cage fights (proving their ability to brawl like a school-yard bully); they’ve won X amount of awards and trophies (Fantastic! So they’re basically a mockingbird attracted by shinies?); and they’ve done absolutely nothing of value to anyone but themselves.

Does the definition of black belt really have to be limited to the physical ability to kick ass? I don’t think so. True, you should be able to defend yourself effectively — why else did you learn to fight? But that’s not the main definition of the rank. You don’t need skill to be a good fighter. Luck, maybe, but not skill. Some people are simply born with natural ability, and the advent of technology has ensured that the rest of us can survive with little to no physical skill involved. So why go through the process of earning a black belt? Investing 2-4 years of your life, sweating and screaming in some archaic form of military practice? Because there’s more to it than that.

Being a black belt is a lifestyle choice, like choosing to eat healthy and exercise, or choosing to believe in the power of religious faith. It’s not about bragging at all. It’s about honor, dignity, respect, discipline, and integrity. No one said that being a black belt was easy. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. The martial arts were originally intended for the elite, for the warriors who protected their country (like our soldiers today), and was not offered to anyone and everyone. Attaining black belt was a grueling process that required dedication, physical prowess, and spiritual development. Something that’s been sadly watered down over the centuries. But that doesn’t mean we have to let it slip away into the forgotten realms of ancient history. We can still embody everything the martial arts was supposed to represent, whether we’re training or not.

I’ve learned that people who take the philosophical meaning behind the martial arts seriously, exhibit subtle traits you learn to notice — it’s the way they walk or stand, the way they present themselves to the world, the way they interact with others. Allthose things are the marks of a true black belt. And they are only gained if  the student is willing to pay attention. Each belt color represents a new set of techniques to be memorized, yes, but it also represents a new challenge that will refine their character if they let it. There are so many out there who only care about the fighting portion and completely look past the rest of it; becoming the black belts who puff themselves up with glorified victories, leaving nothing but an impression of arrogance and brutality as their legacy. Personally, I prefer meeting martial artists who are quietly proud and let their actions speak for themselves. Poise, respectfulness, and integrity are always more pleasant to encounter than arrogance, inflated egos, and superiority complexes. Don’t you think?

Simply put, the goal of the martial arts was (and is) to be the best person you could (can) be. Which is why the black belt spirit can be found even in those who have never trained. It’s in those who volunteer to help the homeless/disabled/elderly/anyone-who-needs-help. It’s in those that donate their fortunes to charities, enriching the lives of others while living modestly themselves. It’s in the teacher that goes above and beyond to help a troubled student reach graduation. And it’s in you whenever you choose to do the right thing instead of the easy one. Being a black belt is a commitment to values, whether you gained them from religion, martial arts, or simply had them imparted to you by your parents. You don’t have to wear a strip of fabric around your waist to be a black belt, you just have to be a good person who cares more for their family, community, or world than themselves. In my eyes, anyone fighting for a noble cause, who earns accolades with dignity and humility, or who presents themselves to their daily tasks of school, work, and socialization with integrity and respect is a black belt. An honorary one, anyway.

So the next time you run into a black belt/instructor who seems intent only on wowing you with their peacock display of achievements, smile and respectfully give them the ego boost they’re really seeking. Then walk away, safe in the comfort of knowing something they missed. That respect is never taken, it’s earned. And that strip of fabric around their waste doesn’t entitle them to it anymore than if they didn’t have it.

And to my fellow martial artists, please remember that being a black belt doesn’t end when you walk out the door of the studio. It’s a commitment that should reflect in every aspect of your life. Decide for yourself what black belt means and then embody that to the best of your ability. If you want respect, earn it. Don’t just do things to bask in the glory of a good deed.

That’s what it really means to be a black belt.

Featured From the Archives: What’s in a Name?

My muse failed me this week. Like straight-up turned tail and ran, laughing maniacally as she went. So I apologize for once more having to cull something interesting from the archives. I promise, there will be new material next week. Even if I have to drag my muse, kicking and screaming, from her beach sanctuary and duct tape her skinny butt to the chair. It will happen.  In the meantime, here’s a snarky look at every writer’s favorite task — naming things. Enjoy!

What’s in a Name?

By Kisa Whipkey

(Originally Posted on 6/29/12)

 

Maybe I’m part Fey, or maybe I’m Rumpelstiltskin’s great-granddaughter, but I believe names are extremely important. Probably because I’ve been graced with a somewhat unusual name myself. Wait, did I say graced? I meant cursed. Doomed to endure countless mutilations, including: “Keisha,” “Kissah,” “Kye-sha”, and my favorite, just plain old “Lisa,” because obviously that “K” has to be a typo. There was even an unfortunate incident where, after explaining the spelling of my name as “Lisa, with a K,” the person responded with, “okay, Ms. Withakay, will there be anything else?” Seriously! No joke. So now, I actually do give my name as “Lisa” at fast food places, or anywhere they’ll be calling it out randomly, because it’s just easier. As long as I remember I’m answering to that. And who knows, Lisa Withakay might just make an excellent pen-name someday. Everyone needs a good alias, right?

For the record, my name is pronounced “Key-saw.” Difficult, isn’t it? But I respond to pretty much any variation thereof, as evidenced above. I think I already mentioned that it’s Russian for kitten, didn’t I? Well, it is, as confirmed by several people I’ve met who actually speak Russian. And no, I’m not Russian, nor is anyone in my family tree that I’m aware of. German, English, a little Scottish, yes. Russian? Sadly, no.

So how did I end up with this charming, pain-in-my-ass name?  Let’s just say this is what happens when soon-to-be parents stumble on those lovely little baby-name books in the bookstore. And trust me, after seeing the other options my parents had circled, I ended up with the best one. As much as it has irritated me over the years.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand — names.

Finding a title for a work can be the hardest part, whether it be a novel, a masterpiece of art, or a choreographed routine. It’s one of the first impressions your audience will get, so it has to accomplish a lot of things: summarize the plot, theme, and overall tone; provide something catchy that will make your work stand out among the masses; create a lasting impression that’s easily remembered; and build a sense of mystery and intrigue about your work’s content. All in just a few short words. No wonder many people find the process of naming a daunting task.

For me, this is a critical part of the creative process, and often, I have a title before I have anything else. Naming something is my favorite part. It’s the moment when whatever I’m working on becomes a thing of substance, its existence clicking into place like the final piece of a puzzle. It’s no longer just a vague concept floating around in my head — it’s a declaration of identity. And I rarely change a title once I’ve found it, whether it’s on a story, an image, or a character.

Others aren’t so lucky, struggling under the burden of working titles or simply leaving something as “Untitled.” And still others completely miss the mark, dubbing their spectacular work with a lame, uninspired title that dooms it to obscurity forever. They say you shouldn’t judge a book (or artwork, or choreography, etc) by its cover, but the truth is, everyone does. And the title is as crucial to your work’s success as the rest of the packaging. How often have you picked a book off the shelf solely for its title and cover art? Or browsed Itunes and found new artists because their album covers looked cool? Or rented a movie because it had an interesting name? And how often have you done the opposite? Scoffing at something because of a lame title, stupid cover, or lackluster blurb? I think you see my point.

So, what’s in a name? Everything!

Which is why you should spend as long as it takes to create the perfect title for your piece, whatever it may be. I’m afraid there aren’t any sure-fire techniques I can share for how best to choose a title, though. I’m sure there are others out there who would gladly try to tell you the correctness of their own process, but I believe creativity is too personal for that, and every artist, dancer, martial artist, writer, musician, has to find their own way of doing things. What I can offer you is a succinct version of how I go about it.

I remember reading somewhere, (and I apologize that I don’t have a direct quote for you), during my research of Disney’s story process, that they try to sum up each film’s plot in a single sentence. Being the complete fangirl I was back then, I thought that was a brilliant idea and adopted it for myself. It’s actually a lot harder than it seems to boil a complicated premise down to a simple sentence, but eventually, you get good at it. How does this pertain to titles? Well, once you can summarize your work with a single phrase (and this generally works best for writing, although it can apply to the concepts of art and choreography too), you can take it one step further and chop it down to only a few words. Something that single-handedly conveys the heart of your piece to your audience. Sometimes, that will be the name of your main character; sometimes, it will be an integral theme central to your work; and sometimes, it will be a metaphor summarizing the subtler messages you’re trying to convey. There are no hard and fast rules. The important thing is that it be inseparable with the larger work.

As an example, I’ll dissect the names of my three published short stories and show you the thought process behind them.

The Bardach was named for the race Amyli (Nameless) comes from. They’re a central key to that world because they have the link to its gods. All the conflict revolves around them fighting against the Mages who want to destroy that link and corrupt the gods for their own purposes. Since they are essentially the heart of the story, it seemed fitting to name it after them. Plus it’s a short, interesting title that might make someone click on the link, buy the magazine, or read the excerpt.

(2014 UPDATE: The rewrite of this story now goes by the name Kindred, as it’s a more character-driven, dual POV version that centers around the main character, rather than the culture. When its released, you’ll see. It’s been completely stripped down and rebuilt into what feels almost like an entirely different story, hence the need for a new name. The thought process I went through to choose the name, however, is the same as outlined above. 😉 )

Spinning has a more complicated meaning. It refers to the sect of people Taylor becomes part of, but it also refers to the ability to morph time that they all have, so named because it literally spins the world around them. It also refers to the emotional turmoil Taylor feels throughout, as his world is completely turned upside down, inside out, and sideways. He’s left with a confusing mess of half-answered questions, and is emotionally off-kilter for the entire story — spinning, as it were. It’s also a subtle tip-of-the-hat to the inspiring song by Jack’s Mannequin of the same name. Most of these connotations a reader wouldn’t grasp until after they’re read the piece (and some they might never know), but it adds layers to the title for them to discover along the way. Plus, it’s short, to the point, and hopefully mysterious enough to draw someone in.

Confessions has a dual meaning. It actually does refer to the characters confessing hidden truths, so it’s perhaps one of the more literal titles I’ve used. The thing that makes it interesting is its mysteriousness.  Its vague meaning hopefully makes a reader want to know what’s being confessed and would get them to buy the story to find out. But it’s multi-layered enough that they’ll get the full meaning only at the end. I can’t disclose much about this one without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just say that the obvious confession (Constia’s) isn’t the only one the reader comes across. Plus “Confessions” seemed like the perfect title for a story about losing faith.

Now, my process may not be your process, and that’s perfectly okay. The goal here was to get you to reconsider your approach to titles. The lesson in the above examples is that what appear to be simple one or two word statements, are actually layered with meaning and perfectly embody the message of the piece. Which is the ultimate goal of a title, isn’t it? (If you answered “no” to that, then I think you seriously need to reappraise your opinions of titles, and why did you bother to read this whole huge novel of a post? Just saying.) However you go about finding your names, the important thing to remember is that they are just that — important. Don’t spend months or years of your life on a project and then give it a half-assed name. You poured part of yourself into that thing! Give it enough respect to name it accordingly. You’ll be surprised how effective a marketing tool a simple title can be. It may just be the difference between massive success and complete failure. And I don’t know about you, but when so much hangs on a single decision, I think it deserves a few extra moments of my time to get right.

Featured From the Archives: Plot Bunnies; Friend or Foe?

Now that we’re officially into the second year of Nightwolf’s Corner shenanigans, I think it’s time to dredge up another post from the archives. And since last week’s stats rundown showed this fluffy little guy was languishing in the Basket of the Unwanted, I thought, why not dust it off and let it hop its way back up the popularity charts. (Yikes, could I have stuffed any more rabbit puns into that sentence? Clearly, my snark-fund is running low this week.)

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this sarcasm-fueled look at a plague writers know all too well,  complete with my somewhat lame strategy for how to deal with them.
 

Plot Bunnies; Friend or Foe?

By Kisa Whipkey

(Originally Posted on 5/18/12)

 

Firstly, what the heck is a plot bunny? According to Urban Dictionary, it’s “an idea for a story (usually referring to Fanfiction [writing your own version of someone else’s story]) that gnaws at the brain until written.”

I stumbled upon this amusing little moniker while reading through the blog of one of my favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater (check her out, she’s very entertaining). I’d never heard the term before, not being prone to write stories featuring other people’s characters/worlds. I mean, really, why would I want to mooch off someone else’s ideas when I’m drowning in hundreds of my own? Literally, hundreds. But anyway, I found the term endearing and adopted it. So you’ll hear me refer to plot bunnies quite a bit. Which prompted this post. Before I started throwing that term around and no one would know what I was talking about, I figured I’d better explain it.

Despite their adorable name, I actually define plot bunnies as procrastination and fear-of-failure personified. Every writer suffers from them. Usually, when you least want them around. And if you aren’t graced with their obnoxious presence, well, then, good for you. You’re one of the lucky few, and probably a bit inspirationally challenged. The rest of us carry around overflowing cages, bursting to the brim with plot bunnies that breed like, well, bunnies. Every so often, a few will make a run for it, escaping from their confinement to wreak havoc in whatever project we’re currently bordering on boredom with, and completely distracting us from anything productive until we wrangle them back into a newly-constructed, extra cage, and the process starts all over again. (Whew! That was a long one. Is there some kind of award for that?)

So, are they friend, or foe? I’ve found that it really depends on the day. Some days, (like those rare moments between projects when you can step away from your computer and realize the world actually still exists), they can be your best friend, bringing you bright, shiny paths of freshly minted inspiration and leading you ever closer to the coveted title of “prolific.” Other days, (like when you’re in the middle of an important, complex, pulling-teeth kind of scene that you’d rather jump in front of a bus than write), you really just want to take them out back and shoot them in the head.

This week, they’re heading toward being on my kill list. They’ve gotten decidedly more rampant since I finally figured out where my aimless work-in-progress (aptly and ironically titled Unmoving) was going. In the past two months alone, I’ve had 8 of the little buggers spring up . . . oh, nope, better make that 9. (Stupid radio, playing random-song-I’ve-never-heard-before and spawning yet another plot bunny.) Some are more demanding than others, requiring my complete attention and blocking out any hope of moving Unmoving forward. Others are just a tiny glimmer of an idea, a baby bunny shyly showing its whiskers for the first time. But all of them are extremely annoying.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to be drowning in overflowing inspiration. But when you suffer from a distinct lack of ability to finish anything, prolific ideas only get you so far. Maybe I have writer’s ADD, growing bored with projects well before they’re done and becoming easily distracted by the shiny new fur and whispered promises of plot bunnies. Or maybe I just have a hard time sticking with something that, for me, has been finished for months, and continuing to write it feels like sludging my way through a movie I’ve seen 8 million times. (There are many days I fervently wish my brain had a USB port and a download button. That would make life so much easier! Wouldn’t it?) Or maybe I’m just lazy, and completing a story on paper, to the level my perfectionist side demands, requires far more work than I really want to expend. Whatever my problem, plot bunnies equal bad news.

How do I deal with them? Since they’re a figment of my imagination, I can’t really take them out back and kill them. Well, I could, but that might make me a candidate for the title of Schizophrenic Bunny Murderer. Besides, I’ll need those shiny new ideas when I finally finish my current project, (or when I can’t stand it anymore and move on, adding yet another unfinished story to my Drawer of Fragments). You never know, one of those cute little fur-balls driving me insane might just land me on the NY Times Bestseller List. Eventually. Someday. If I can ever finish something again.

No, my strategy for dealing with plot bunnies isn’t violent at all. I actually humor them. I give them their moment in the spotlight and let them rule the creative half of my brain, until eventually, they run themselves into exhaustion and shut up. Sometimes, it only requires giving the new idea a title, solidifying it into existence by the sheer power of naming it. Other times, I have to write the whole plot in my head, complete with character bios, description and dialogue. And recently, one super annoying bunny decided I had to pinpoint the exact, and very real, setting before it’d leave me in peace.

Eventually though, they do all quiet down. I can then add them to my ever-growing to-do list of ideas (seriously, at last count I had 164 potential stories, including the 9 that just popped up) and return to the task at hand — the grueling process of moving Unmoving closer to completion.

So my advice to writers debating whether or not to turn their plot bunnies into new fur coats is this; try giving them the reins for just a short period of time. Do whatever it is that will satisfy that insatiable urge to follow them down the rabbit hole. Whether it be my method, or (as I’ve seen suggested by other authors) writing a short story/synopsis of the premise, or something else of your own creation, I promise, they do eventually shut up and let you work.

And let’s face it, until you learn what your particular method for dealing with them is, you’re probably going to find yourself as unmoving as my current project.

"Bunny--Better Quality" by Vic-the-Raccon

Bunny–Better Quality” by Vic-The-Raccoon

Copyright 2012

Blogiversary Link Round-up: Year 2

Guess what? Today officially marks the initiation of Nightwolf’s Corner into the Terrible Twos! That’s right, two years ago today, I posted my first ever blog post. (Holy bejeesus, that’s a long time ago!) Things have changed a lot around here since that first step into the blogosphere — I reached 100 followers, and then passed 200 before I even knew it; I’ve featured guest posts and giveaways, and wrote my 100th blog post; you’ve watched me venture into the world of the professional editor and serialized fiction. But one thing hasn’t changed — me. I’m still the same aspiring author/starving artist who set out to provide a fun, sometimes informative, sometimes sarcastic look at all things creativity. It amazes me that there over 200 of you that care what I have to say. I’m humbled, and completely flattered, and I can’t even begin to tell you what that support means to me.

So, today, I say thanks. And look back at last year with a fond, misty-eyed moment of nostalgia (which may or may not also have to do with the fact that I just ate the last of my Cadbury mini-eggs for the year). Care to relive the glory (of the blog, not the mini-eggs, although they were epic) with me? (Good, because you really didn’t have a choice. 😉 )

Over the past year, I’ve written a grand total of 66,770 words for the blog. While my grand total in actual fiction is lurking somewhere in the 10,000 range. Good to know some things don’t change, right?

Surprisingly, my most popular post this year was How to Write Martial Arts Fight Scenes, while the least popular were Memorializing Firsts: A Celebration of Author Bridget Zinn, Channels of Distribution, The Devil’s in the Details, Plot Bunnies; Friend or Foe?, My Ode to Bose, Storytelling for Demo Teams, & Two Steps Closer Giveaway. Given how old some of those are, I’m thinking it may have had more to do with age, and not necessarily subject. (Perhaps a few will be featured in my new Featured From the Archives series . . .)

My name was the top Googled thing that led people to my little digital home, while Twitter holds the record for highest referrals. Elitism in the Arts, and funnily enough, considering its place in the least popular posts, The Devil’s in the Details received the most shares. (Hmm, maybe my stats aren’t all that accurate, after all.)

The title of Longest Post goes to Exploring the Subgenres of Science Fiction, and the shortest was Writing Workshop Alert: Have You Scene It? Not really surprising, since it was just an announcement.

This year featured a grand total of 9 Guest Posts (conveniently flagged in the Index as such) and brought you 3 new series: From the Editor’s Desk, Featured from the Archives, and Featured Art. Oh, and there was also that little opportunity to read Unmoving well before it’s finished. That was pretty cool, too. 😉

I even learned how to play with GIF’s this year — My Average Day as an Editor (In GIFs) — and interviewed two authors about their journeys to publication — A Double Dose of Awesome: Author Interview & Holiday Giveaway & Conquering the Publishing Divide: An Interview With Author Jessa Russo.

So, all in all, it was a pretty productive year.

But the reason most of you are here, I’m sure, is because today’s the day I announce the winners for not one, but TWO giveaways. (I may have been a little giveaway happy this year, too. But I don’t think you’ll complain. Right?)

Okay, I won’t leave you in suspense anymore. Here are the lucky people winning whatever it was they signed up for:

For the eBook of Divide by Jessa Russo, the winners are . . .

Kathleen P.

Courtney W.

Brock G.

And, because I received over 400 entries in my blog-birthday giveaway, the 5 lucky people walking away with their chosen book are . . .

Alexandra P.

Gabriela C.

Alexandra T.

Mandy S.

Tiffany T.

Congratulations to the winners, and a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated. I’ll be emailing the winners with information about their prizes over the next week.

That’s all I’ve got for today. But before I go, let’s raise a glass of something — water, soda, wine, or, in my case, energy drink — and have a toast: here’s to another year of snarky festivities, helpful information, and lots and lots of writing. Cheers!