#WW 32 Seconds Teaser

Hello folks!

I apologize for not blogging my Tuesday Teaser yesterday but I was busy becoming a US citizen! Go America! LOL Anyway, you know 32 Seconds will be released soon and Julie Jones can’t stop harassing me to feed you a few excerpts until the book is out.

Ladies and Gents, enjoy!

***

As I selected my fuel and gunned the pump into the tank, I noticed, from the corner of my
eye, the clerk staring at me from the window of the minuscule convenience store. The rain had
done nothing to cool the air, and condensation clouded my lenses. I repositioned my shades on
my nose after cleaning the foggy lenses with the fabric of my tank top, and my breath caught in
my throat.

I didn’t like people staring at me, especially when they thought they knew who I was. Maybe
they had seen me on the latest edition of Entertainment Tonight. I had to be cautious, at least for
the first five hundred miles.

The guy kept staring and I looked away, focusing my undivided attention on the pump. It
finally clicked, indicating the tank was full. I sighed with relief. I wouldn’t have to stick around this middle-of-nowhere gas station for much longer. I locked the car and paced to the convenience store.

The guy staring at me from behind his dirt covered, microscopic pane was much less scary
face to face. I smiled at the young, harmless fellow and handed him my credit card.

“Thank you,” I said, before wandering through the aisles of the tiny store to check if there
might be something else I needed.

I browsed the shelves, collected crackers, chips, pretzels, and water. Stepping back to the
counter, I dropped the contents of my treasure hunt and smiled again at the clerk, like I had just
won an award.

The guy continued to stare at me, looking disenchanted, probably because he worked in a
hellhole; and here I stood before him, with my expensive outfit, awesome hairdo and perfectly
manicured nails. Envious, much?

Steady breathing in place, I gave him a stare full of love and understanding. Yes, I’d also
feel like doodoo if I worked here. Would he smile in return? Nope. As stern as a rock.

“Your card has been declined, Miss,” he said, and I sensed condescension in his tone.

“Declined?” My eyes widened, and my eyebrows shot up to my hairline. “That’s not
possible. Here, take this one.”

I gave him another card from my wallet, one of the fifteen rectangles of plastic I proudly
owned, and waited for him to swipe it through.

He shook his head. “Also declined.” Gosh almighty, what the fly was going on here? I didn’t max out all the limits on the cards.

There must have been some mistake.

“Impossible,” I stated, as he swiped the remaining cards, one by one, until none were left to
burn through the machine.

My level of frustration increased a hundredfold. Palms sweating against the counter, I struggled to contain the agitation rippling under my skin from head to toe, turning me into a hot, bubbling, angry mess. The clerk’s hand subtly slid toward the bottom of his cash drawer, where I suspected he hid a gun; and as he prepared to blow my brains out, because I couldn’t pay for my pretzels and gas, I pulled cash from my wallet and handed it to him.

“Here.”

The kid glared at me like I had lost my mind, then gave me the “why didn’t you give me the
cash earlier, moron” smile, and nodded.

“Have a good day,” he said, and gave me my bag of goodies.

I immediately split, before getting trapped, like a mouse in a room filled with cheese death
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#FF Friday Fun – Selfies!

Selfies… You know the picture you take of yourself with your phone because you love yourself so much, the whole world has to know? The first few times I took a selfie – I thought, nah, I’m not good at it. I can’t just take pics of myself all day long because no one is in the room with me to hold the camera. So I’m going to make it look like someone was in the room, or a tripod emerged from my hardwood floor and bam, here’s a selfie. That exercise took hours – putting the timer, making sure I’m looking at the lens when the red light blinks, and checking a million times if that’s really the pic I want… The Kim Kardashian art of photoshopping my selfies isn’t new, it’s like autotune on a Britney Spears’s record. We’ve all done it. I know I photoshopped the crap out of my pics so much, I didn’t look the same anymore.

Over the years, cell phones have become this amazing little box full of special effects, and I don’t need to buy a real camera! Does it mean I take more pics of myself? Nah. I’m just not good at it. I have three faces: I smile, pout or try to look funny. Third option never works. So I gave up. I admire the people who take great selfies. The funny ones especially. I don’t care about the pose in the mirror, with or without a shirt, in a bikini or a banana suit. I’m talking real art in a selfie, the pic that’s gonna make me chuckle out loud when I’m surrounded by a bunch of strangers while we’re all waiting for the bus. That’s the selfie I’m looking for.

And that is tough to find. But I manage every once in a while to pull a gem from the internet treasure chest, and this makes my day. 67c2418bc8835d860eedfa17fd1afa41

LOL is it called cheating if I love animal selfies? Anyway, I hope you folks have a great weekend. Catch you next week.

9/11, Thirteen years later… Where am I? #911anniversary

Happy Thursday folks. Today is 9/11 so I have no idea how many people will blog about this because the wound is still fresh (and no, I’m not going to start a rant about politics and terrorism), but I have certainly not forgotten where I was, and what I was doing when the attacks occurred. I’d like to take a step back and reminisce a little.

Where I was: France. On September 11, 2001, I was 18 and was taking driving lessons. After an hour spent in hell with my instructor (getting your driver’s license in France is like searching for the Holy Grail, especially when learning to parallel park uphill), I pulled up to the driving school and another instructor
stormed out: “It’s like watching a movie and planes are crashing into the Twin Towers…” he said. What???? I was so in love with the United States (and still am), just hearing this made my heart bleed. Once home, I turned on the TV and bam, here it was, live. The attacks happened around 9 am, and in France, it was 3 pm. Prime time TV had some meat to chew on that day, and for many days after.

I was 18. I was still living with Mom and Dad, I was going to school, hated it but I was going, and never thought I’d be moving to New York. July 26, 2006, I landed at JFK airport, and have been living on the East Coast ever since. Next week, I’m taking my citizenship test.

Thirteen years later, I’m becoming a US citizen, I’m working in the City, I live in New Jersey with four cats and an amazing boyfriend, I spend my time writing books and dreaming greater dreams of writing full time, and I’m a happy gal. Of course, the road to happiness was paved with crap along the way, but the crap was worth it. Crap makes you appreciate the present moment (at least that’s what I tell myself every time I step in it).download

Life is so unpredictable. I never know where I’m going to land next. But it’s great. Makes the journey more interesting.

Look at the bright side, don’t step in too much crap (and if you do, well, it’s good luck, right?) and move on! Dwelling on the past doesn’t help (Julie Jones (32 Seconds) knows what she’s talking about, and so do I). Have a great day folks!

#WW Publishing Logistics

Happy hump day!

I’m learning how to self-publish a book. Not my first try at publishing, I’ve already done it once (actually three times, but it was the same book released on Smashwords, Kindle, and then through CreateSpace), and here’s my take on it. DIY is nice, but at some point you need help from professionals to make the book stand out.

There’s no cutting corners anymore. As an indie writer, I had to invest in an editor, a cover designer, professional interior formatting and marketing. And I know, my dream and my credit card sometimes don’t get along, but the competition is fierce out there! If I don’t pull the big guns, I won’t make an impact. And this post is a reminder that when you want to publish a book, your publishing cost will start at zero if you decide to MacGyver it all, or skyrocket the more you ask for assistance from pros. FeaturedImageSelfPubCosts

Here’s an example:

Editing: $1000-$1200

Cover: $200-$500

Interior design: $200-$500

Marketing: $250-$1000

ISBNs: $300 (pack of ten so $30 each)

Library of Congress number: $25

Have I forgotten something? Okay, your book will cost you: $1705-$3255.

Cha ching! The credit card is burning. Easy to say, eff it, I’m going to go for free with Smashwords and not bother with that crap. Except, well, at some point you will bother with that crap because it’s a fact: once a book looks professional, readers are inclined to trust you more. They will know your story has been reviewed and edited, and they’re not going to stumble upon a million typos and plot inconsistencies. The cover will look so nice your book can become a coffee table display. And the interior will push people to buy the paperback? Maybe? So that they can enjoy the reading experience on real paper and not just on a tablet?

Unless you manage to get a contract with a big house, and even then your chance of selling a lot isn’t guaranteed, with a small publishing house or by yourself, you’ll have to use that credit card if you want your book to be the next sensation. And writing becomes more than just a dream. It’s an investment. You’re not a writer anymore, you’re an entrepreneur.

I know. Scary. But true. It’s so worth it though. 9158

UPDATE: my own publishing logistics forced me to reconsider Nov. 7 as my official release date for 32 Seconds. The book might not be available on that day, so now we’re looking at Dec. 5. Anyway, I’ll keep you folks appraised…

 

 

#TuesdayTeaser – 32 Seconds

Happy Tuesday! Tuesday calls for a teaser, so without further ado, here’s an excerpt from 32 Seconds, which will be released on November 7.

***

My butt hit the pavement. As I opened my eyes, and tried to figure out where I had landed, an explosion popped right next to me. I ducked flat on the ground. 

From the corner of one eye, I saw columns of blackish smoke in the distance, and the ruins of a town I didn’t recognize. The air had turned into a toxic mess, making my eyes water. To add to the pleasant experience, a violent cough proceeded to shake my core.

The explosions continued and were deafening. My mind told me to run, but my body remained stuck in place. 

I rubbed my eyes to make sure this wasn’t a dream. It didn’t feel like a dream. Maybe the old witch I met by the one-dollar store did poison me with her chocolate, and I had landed in hell?

My body trembled from head to toe. From the little I could take in, the area looked like a war zone. I needed to find shelter before figuring things out. Struggling up on my wobbly legs, I turned in a circle, trying to find an escape route. I struggled to regulate my breathing. My lungs burned. I wanted to get angry, to scream and pound my fists at something or someone, but I felt so weak. The same question looped inside my mind. Where the heck had I been transported to, against my will?32secondsfinalcover.jpg

Asking Didi for directions was out of the question, since I had been robbed of my phone too. It was clearly my lucky day.

A shape moved ahead of me. I thought it was smoke, or an optical illusion. After a few seconds, I realized the shape was coming in my direction. Shizznit. Was it an animal? The thing ran quickly toward me. Soon I realized that something was actually someone, and that someone looked like a boy.

The muscles of my legs gave up and I fell to the ground. The cough was killing me. My heart was beating at a hundred miles per hour, my quickened breath jamming inside my throat as I stared at the approaching stranger. He opened his mouth and said something, but I didn’t understand a word through the ruckus of the incessant explosions. Through my watery eyes, I took in the sight of him. The dark haired boy wore black jeans and a t-shirt, and his skin was covered in grayish dust.

He yelled something. It sounded like “un.”

Not sure what to say in response, I waved at him.

When he finally reached me, I noticed his eyes were glowing green. 

“Hey…” I slurred between coughs. To my shock, he leapt like a jaguar and grabbed my arm in the process.

“Run!” he yelled, and propelled me off the ground like I weighed nothing.

Caught in his grip, I had no choice but to follow.

#MuseMonday – The Journey of a Self-Published Story

Hello friends! And happy Monday!

I’ve been absent from this platform for a few days as I was working on my novel, editing some more, formatting and mostly, reviewing, making sure my story was solid and ready to be released as planned on Nov. 7.

When I started writing a few years back, I didn’t think of logistical details such as publishing a book. I just put words on a page, and wrote until a story came to life. Of course, I had dreams. I wanted to write something people would remember, a story that would speak to them, and make them feel at home. If I’ve learned one thing from having a dream, and making this dream come true, it’s discipline. Writing on a regular basis, thinking and plotting 24/7, talking with other authors and reading their work, sharing ideas and developing concepts with critique partners – the list is long and not exhaustive.

Writing a book takes time, blood sweat and tears, but the result is extremely rewarding. I am not only excited to be done with this novel, but I’m ecstatic to start the next one. As long as I have ideas, I’ll be a happy camper. My decision to self-publish is the start of a journey I’m looking forward to undertake.

Make sure to check in often as 32 Seconds will be ready for your enjoyment!

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#TT Tuesday Teaser – 32 Seconds

Happy Tuesday everyone! 32 Seconds is hitting the final stages of completion, and as I’m going through my editor’s notes, thought it’d be nice to post an excerpt from the book. Release date has now been set to November 7, so mark you calendars…

Enjoy!

***

A sudden shower pelted my windshield, reducing the visibility to almost nothing, but I maintained my speed. The black asphalt licked the bottom of my tires, striking every inch of the rubber, hungry to swallow me whole and transport me to my next destination. And at this point, I could go anywhere. Eager to get out, I didn’t even care whether I died in a car-crash. After what had happened between Mark and me earlier today, it truly was my way or the highway.

Planning my escape wisely hadn’t crossed my mind when I ignited the V8 turbo engine and dashed out of the school parking lot like a hoodlum in panic of being chased and caught by a platoon of law enforcement officials, after an unsuccessful bank heist. Like I said, I wanted out. And whatever I wanted, I achieved by any means necessary.

Running away brought me closer to freedom. No consequences for my actions. No guilt. No pain.

As my foot pressed harder on the gas pedal, I listened to the roar of the engine, which threatened to remind me of the overbearing loneliness I continued to ignore. My hand reached for the radio and I turned the volume to high. My head needed that noise to overwrite any internal monologues. Relentless, like waves on the shore, my thoughts wouldn’t stop crashing inside my brain, giving rise to a series of hot and cold sweats, while my inner self kept screaming the same question.

Why did I always have to run?

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