Dez Yourself

An exciting new trend is sweeping the nation!

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but we can change that! Forget planking, selfies, and photo bombs (and whatever else you crazy kids are doing these days), the cool new trend is Dezing yourself!

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Move over, duck face!

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So grab your copy of Life, A.D. (Don’t have one yet? Click these AMAZON and B&N links), CLICK HERE to head on over to my Facebook page, and share your Dezing yourself pics!

Big thanks to Joy and Marsha for sharing your photos!

Facebook “Likes” Contest

One week from today, my debut novel will hit the shelves, and I feel like celebrating!

On release day, I will be giving away a signed copy of Life, A.D. along with a signed Life, A.D. bookmark to one of my Facebook Author Page fans. If you already like my page, or if you click that snazzy like button by 12:00 AM Central Time on December 10th, you will automatically be entered.

I want you to help me spread the word, which is where the fun part of the contest comes in. For every friend you get to like my Facebook author page, your friend will get an entry in the drawing, and you will get one additional entry. Refer ten friends? You get eleven chances to win! Refer 10,000 friends (it could happen, right?) get 10,001 entries!

All you have to do is help me spread the news. Have your friends “like” my Facebook page and write a message on my page’s wall letting me know you sent them.

Example: Buddy the Elf likes my page, and gets Mr. Narwhal to like my page, too. Mr. Narwhal writes, “Buddy the Elf sent me!” on my wall. Boom. They’re both entered in the drawing, and Buddy gets an extra entry!

My page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMichelleEReed

So head on over and start liking! Tell your friends!

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All Done Forever

“Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”

-Oscar Wilde

On Sunday, I turned in the final corrections on Life, A.D. after spending three days scrutinizing the proofs in search of errors (and thanks to the amazing work of the Month9Books staff, there was hardly a thing I could find!). After clicking “send” on the email to my publisher, I was hit was a strange feeling, one that was a sense of accomplishment combined with relief, and a bit of sadness.

You’d think I’d be giddy, right? My book is finally off to print! Hooray!

And I am excited. Believe me. It’s hard to put into just how excited, which for an author, is a bit of a problem. I should be better at expressing myself, but in this regard, I am at a loss for words. It’s such a privilege to be where I am right now as a writer, and it’s hard for me to find a way to adequately describe my feelings.

Amid the excitement and the sense of relief that all this time and work is finally paying off, there’s a hint of sadness.

I’m done with Life, A.D.

Forever.

My work on a book that began in the usual way—a spark of an idea that floated into my mind—had reached its conclusion. This is the first book I’ve ever written, a project I worked on in fits and starts since shortly after the birth of my son (now almost six!), and now I’m done. Completely.

What I’ve written is going to printed page, and I will have no more chances to make it better.

I know that revision is a potentially never-ending trap, which is why I’m glad I have a publisher, and deadlines. Left to my own devices, I might never get done. My hats off to those who self-publish (seriously!), because I’m the kind of person who needs to be pushed off the ledge in order to fly. I’m not jumping.

It’s a bit daunting, this being done forever business. My book is going out into the big, bad world, but it is ready? Am I ready? This is the kind of thing that drags out all my worst, neurotic qualities. What if nobody likes it? What if my words aren’t good enough? Did I work hard enough? Is my story strong enough? Yuck, right? I mean, give me a break, crazy lady…

The thing is, the publishing process keeps you really busy. I am on the cusp of the following: promoting book one while editing book two, and writing book three. Kind of all at the same time, which means I don’t have nearly the time my crazy mind would like to spend being freaked out.

So back to it I go.

Fly, Life, A.D., fly. You’re getting kicked from the nest.

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http://www.amazon.com/Life-A-D-After-Dez-Atman/dp/0988340917/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383764902&sr=8-1&keywords=month9books

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-ad-michelle-e-reed/1117217871?ean=9780988340916

An Interview!

Another weekend breezed by far too fast, but my good Monday morning news is that in one of today’s stops on the Very Superstitious Blog Tour, I’m being interviewed over on Library of a Book Witch. It was lots of fun, and I’m still trying to get used to the idea that someone wants to interview me, and that other people might want to read it! You can check out the review and my interview here. Be sure to enter to win the Month9Books giveaway!

A big thanks to Jen for hosting me on her fantastic blog!

Late to the Game

Hello, evening! Where did the day go? It’s been a busy day off for me, full of running errands and volunteering at my son’s elementary school (vision screenings of third graders can fill a day like nobody’s business!). So I am a bit late to blogging, today.

The Very Superstitious blog tour continues, with a great review over on the Writer’s Alley blog. Check it out here!

And if you haven’t picked up a copy, you can grab one right here. Proceeds benefit SPCA International!

Sorry to be so brief, but it is rather frigid here in Wisconsin and I must return to my pseudo-hibernation beneath a pile of blankets.

Anthology Launch

The day has arrived! I am now, officially, a published author!

My publisher, Month9Books, has released this year’s charity anthology, Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends and Tales of Superstition, which benefits SPCA International. My short story, Midhalla, is a creepy twist on the superstition surrounding opening umbrellas indoors.

It is a pleasure to be a part of an anthology that benefits a good cause, and to be included among the works of such fantastic authors!

And I’m published! Hooray!

So grab your copy today, and check out today’s stop on the blog tour, which can be found here.

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Teaching and Learning

I’ve discovered a great new way to learn about writing and the craft of storytelling: teach it to fourth graders.

I recently volunteered to lead an afterschool club at my son’s school, and when they learned I am a soon-to-be-published author, they asked me to run a “storytelling” club.

Fun!

I jumped in with both feet, enthusiastic to share my love of writing with eager kids.

And then I realized I’d have to be organized, and detailed, submit a lesson plan each week, and find a way to keep a group of fourth graders occupied and engaged for an hour and a half, after a long day of school.

Gulp.

I started planning. Where to begin? What goes into storytelling? What are the fundamentals? I was all set to go with analyzing Harry Potter using Freytag’s five-part narrative structure. My husband (a few credits shy of his Master’s in education) felt I might have set my expectations a teensy bit too high.

So Aristotle’s beginning, middle, and end it would be. I was banking on all the kids being familiar with Harry Potter. I came up with games we could play, trying to discover ways to make my club as fun and relatable as possible. I had plenty of material to cover for my first session, I figured, so in I happily went in yesterday afternoon, ready to run my club like a pro!

Hitch in the road number one hit me before we even got started. All of the children gathered in the cafeteria for snack and recess before we were to go off to our clubs, and when my son (age five) realized he was not in my club…well, it got a bit ugly. Tears, wailing, begging to go home.

“But you’re in the Sports All-Stars Club!” I told him with great enthusiasm. “You get to play soccer!”

“Why don’t you want me in your club?” he wailed.

“We talked about this last night, and this morning, too,” I tried to explain. “My club is for older kids.”

“Don’t you want to be with me?” he sobbed.

Oh, boy.

Fortunately, his Kindergarten teacher is an absolute gem, and stayed with him until he calmed down, after I promised he only had to try his club just this once, and if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t have to go again. “Because we made a commitment,” I told him as I left to sit across the cafeteria with my club.

Fast forward to club time. We get in our classroom, my eager students ready to go. And by eager, I mean…mostly. One boy was clearly there as a time-filler. “Do we have to do all this stuff?” he moaned as I asked them to circle up the chairs so we could have a group discussion. “This is dumb.”

I smiled and promised he’d have fun if he just gave it a try, and began to launch into my prepared speech about the fundamentals of storytelling. Not a complete sentence had passed my lips when four hands shot into the air.

“Are we going to be published?” asked one boy, beaming with excitement, practically bouncing out of his seat.

“Um, well, getting published is a long, complex process.” I told him. “We could self-publish our short stories in an anthology, if you’d like,” I offered.

Frowns.

“You mean we’re not going to get a publisher to put our stories in the bookstores?” he said.

“Well…”

You got a publisher, right?” asked the girl sitting next to him.

“I did. But it took a very long time.”

“How long?” she asked.

I thought for a moment. “I started writing my book in 2008, and worked on it off and on for a few years before really committing to writing it. I got my publishing offer last year. So that was four years.”

“That’s a long time,” chimed in another girl.

“It is,” I said with a nod. “Since you guys were in Kindergarten, right?”

This back and forth went on for a good half-hour before I got us back on track. We talked about Harry Potter; we discussed protagonists (main characters!), we talked about antagonists (Voldemort!) And they loved it. Hooray! I gave them Paul Bunyan stories I had printed out and cut up, and had them try and put the stories back together in the right order.

We played seven-word sentence in which we picked seven random letters and formed sentences. My favorite? GWRHAFC: George Washington rides horses and fights crocodiles.

And guess what?  Mister “this is dumb” had the most fun of all.

With the time we had left after games, I had the kids start to work on their short stories. I asked them to come up with their protagonist. Who is he or she? What do they like to do? Where do they live? What are their favorite foods? Who are their friends?

One of the girls asked me the name of my book, and the name of the anthology my short story is in. She ran off to a corner and began to work. When our time was up, she handed me this:

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Yesterday I learned a lot, the most important point being this: if you can’t explain a subject to fourth graders, you probably don’t really understand it yourself. And if you talk to kids in a fun, relatable way, they will listen. What a great exercise in reflection and comprehension this was for me. I can safely say I got as much, probably more, out of our first club day as the kids did. I can’t wait for our next meeting.

You want to get better as a writer? Find an opportunity like this. You’ll learn so much.

And you might even get yourself a fan.

Hop on the Blog Train!

So here’s the latest thing in my orbit: blog tours.

Very Superstitious: Myths, Legends and Tales of Superstition, my publisher’s annual charity anthology, is about to be released. This means the contributing authors (including me!) are gearing up for the promotional blog tour.

This is all brand new territory to me. And it’s so cool! But it’s kind of weird, too. I mean, the guest blogging part, I get. It’s not a huge leap to go from the sporadic blogging of which I partake to a guest post on an awesome blog (or two).

However, a few nights ago I received my first interview questions. And that’s the weird part; the part I’m still trying to wrap my brain around. Someone wants to interview me, and other people will (presumably) want to read it.

So now I have to try and be interesting. I will do my best.

I have to tell you, it’s pretty cool being the wide-eyed optimist, seeing the publishing world for the first time. Granted, being the successful, veteran author sounds extremely appealing, but I am content to enjoy the ride that is new-authordom, and take in all the sights.

Stay tuned, and be sure to add Very Superstitious to your “want to read” shelf on Goodreads! This year, the anthology benefits SPCA International.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18157997-very-superstitious

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The Pressure’s On

The road to publication is long, to be sure. From inspiration to printed page, the journey can span years. For me, the goal is growing nearer, no longer a dot on the horizon. What began as a glimmer of an idea that came to me in 2006 is now an actual book, just a few short months from hitting the shelves.

It seems I learn something new about publishing on a near-daily basis.

What I’ve just learned is that the going is slow until it isn’t.

Huh?

What I mean is, the time seems to crawl along, until one day when it hits you: I will be published, soon. Everything seems to speed up, and your brain (if you’re anything like me) goes into super freak-out mode.

In less than one month, the short story I wrote for my publisher’s annual charity anthology will be out, and come December 10th, my debut novel, Life, A.D. will hit the shelves!

This. Is. Awesome.

And a bit scary.

Review copies of Very Superstitious are going out, bringing me to freak-out point number one: People I don’t know are/will very soon be reading my short story.

I know.

You’re thinking, but isn’t that the POINT of publishing?

Yes, it is.

But now that it’s actually happening, it’s a bit intimidating.

I’ve always written for more than just myself. From the start, I’ve written with an audience in mind, picturing the reader following along, and, hopefully, getting swept up in the worlds I’ve created.

And now I will actually have an audience. Large or small, a multitude or a few, people will be reading what I’ve written.

And all I can do is wait and hope. Hope that the work I’ve put in will pay off, and that the words I’ve written are satisfying and engaging. Hope that I did enough, that I won’t let my readers down, that they will fall in love with my characters like I have. Hope that my publisher was right to put their faith in me.

No pressure like the kind that’s self-inflicted, right?

But I know how lucky I am. I wouldn’t change it for the world.