Wednesday, September 30, 2015

So Flippin Pregnant

I was going to apologize for my lapse in posts, but then my unborn child tried to claw her way out of my uterus, and I thought better about it.

I'm a MILLION months pregnant, and we just moved into a new house. Yay us! But not yay timing because things are in boxes, the coming child has nowhere to sleep, and I have 3 weeks until my due date.

Did I mention that I've never given birth past 39 weeks?

So 3 weeks if I'm using my optimism scale. Which I am. Because the realism scale will give me more heart palpitations than the number on a real scale measuring my pregnant craving escapades.

Point is, I haven't forgotten to update on writing, and my life as a mom, and all that good stuff! It's just that right now my life is unboxing things I forgot we had, and contemplating the value of squatting down to pick up dropped objects. Not the most entertaining blog posts. However, I leave you with a few pictures from my maternity shoot, which made me instantly happier to receive. I look so serene in these artfully manipulated images (holla at ya Allison Choc, the amazing photographer!), that you probably can't imagine I'm sitting in my bed with popcorn kernels littered over my bosom and belly, and an empty can of diet Dr. Bob on my nightstand--both of which are giving me a heart attack from Hades.

Behold, my pregnant glow!

So there you have it! I might make a few more posts between now and B day, but I won't make any promises. Because I'm pregnant and I can do whatever I want. 

Have a fantastic rest of the week, folks!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

So...where'd that book go?

If you get onto Amazon right now and try to find my book Lunula, you'll likely find over-priced physical copies for sale from my publisher's inventory, and that's about it.


Two very interesting words: Contract expiration.

I have mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, my publisher wasn't exactly doing a lot for Lunula with it in their hands--I never saw promotions or marketing from them, and all of that was on me anyway. On the other hand, I'm not "with" a publisher anymore. Which is kind of weird for me. Does that mean I'm sort of a demoted author or something?

I mean, I was the one who let the contract expire without pursuing it, and based on my lack of marketing prowess, I'm not shocked they didn't say anything either. So what does that make me?

The same thing!!

It's the same book. It still has amazing reviews on Amazon. I still have to work hard to promote it if I want people to read it. And I still know that if Lunula didn't make it big, then that just means I need to write a better book. It's not like it's getting pulled from shelves or something--the publisher never got it that far anyway.

So really nothing has changed. And I'm cool with that.

That said, I'm currently working on editing Lunula so I can publish it again. The only "finished" copy I have of Lunula is the one given to me by my publisher. I'm not 100% on this (and if you know, do speak up!) but I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to just throw up the epub version of the book they edited and put together and call it completely mine. 

Unfortunately, I think I have to re-edit, re-format, and re-launch this sucker. 

But there are opportunities in that! I have control over the pricing (i.e. $1 or free for lots of promotions!), and I'm pretty happy just letting people read it. It's a fun book; I'd love to see more people have access to it and just enjoy it. I'm not in it for the money!

But for real, editing is the pits. It's going to take me some time (because, you know, I have SO much excess of that right now), but the payoff will be great in the end. I have control over my book again, and guess what friends? FREE BOOKS FOR ALL Y'ALL. That's all I'm saying. Make it rain. 

 With that, I will get back to editing my manuscript, and let you all know when Lunula will be available again!! Have an awesome week! 


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Day With the Pregnant Hipster

My friend took me shopping last week. Despite the fact that it was like strolling through the mall with a gassy rhinoceros with size awareness issues, my dearest buddy Allison insisted that we have a girls night. Sure, we looked at baby clothes first. And sure, we really only got through one store before my ankles had somehow formed muffin tops over my orthopedic sneakers, but it was totally worth it.

I got sexy underwear I know is just going to torture my husband for now. And flats I won't be able to wear until the baby has been expelled from my body next month.


Check out those pants. Look at those hipster glasses. LOOK AT MY OUTFIT. I knew as soon as I put it on, I had to spend at least one day as a pregnant hipster. And let's be real here--those pants are not at all flattering, and my glasses are very clearly fake. That should have been embarrassing, but I think there's some variety missing in my life or something. I had to do it.

I also realized that if I was going to go a full day as a pregnant hipster, I needed to call myself The Pregster.

It has a delightfully obnoxious ring to it.

The first thing Pregster did was wake up and put her hair into a messy bun. And don her colorful but totally useless glasses.

#2020Vision #GlassesAreAnnoying

Pregster also had a green smoothie for breakfast (with chia seeds of course), and fed her children fruit and organic yogurt for breakfast. Pregster had a full day planned, so she took the children on some errands. Now where would Pregster go? A flea market or thrift store of some kind, presumably, but Pregster DOES have children, and therefore must obtain supplies from somewhere. Where better than Target?

Pregster also had to take an Instagram shot of her lunch. YES we had hot dogs and popcorn, but you know what, haters? Those dogs were all beef. So suck it.

#MormonCoffee #NeedCaffeine 
Pregster wonders if its too early to wear scarves.

#90DegreesOut #StillFab
Target shopping completed, Pregster couldn't go a full day without Starbucks. But since Pregster is Mormon, she got iced hot chocolate and gave her kids ice water. Pregster likes to defy convention.

#TallIcedWater #Starbucks #StillExpensive
Unfortunately, Pregster could not find everything she needed at Target. She proceeded to weep as she realized she would need to set foot in WALMART. The horror.

Pregster survived the trip into Walmart, though, and picked up her eldest child from school while convincing herself that she was enjoying the alternative station on Pandora.

All in all, it was a successful day for Pregster and her offspring. Will she be wearing those pants and those glasses in public again any time soon?

It's hard to say. You can't just pin down the Pregster like that. She does what she wants. #PregLife

Friday, August 28, 2015

G is for Ghost--Free Preschool Literary and Math Packet

How's it going netizens?

I've been a busy mom-glasses wearing chick over here. With a new baby on the way, I didn't want my preschoolers to fall by the wayside education-wise, so I've actually been planning out their curriculum and putting together several months' worth of material in advance. I figure when I'm (more) sleep deprived and caring for my newborn, it won't be too hard to open my "October" bin, glance at my detailed lesson plan for the day, and do what I've got to do from the couch.

So that said, I was planning our "G is for Ghost" week, and found a shocking lack of preschool activities related to that theme. Seems like kind of an obvious one to make, but I guess not! So naturally, I fired up GIMP and spent all of yesterday putting together a small bunch of activities.

Again, disclaimer, I am SO not a graphic designer, and my program/skills are limited. But I'm pretty happy with how it turned out nevertheless. I only made the activities I was specifically searching for but couldn't find, so this could be a supplementary packet to some of the other (way more amazing) ghost-themed preschool packets out there. Also, I made two versions of some of them--pretty versions with color and backgrounds, and a simple version that is more printer-friendly.

It's free, and I'm happy to share! Just please don't try and sell it, or I'll have to get all fussy at you. :)

Included in the Packet:
--G sounds poem for distinguishing between soft G and hard G
--G sounds matching
--Letter G tracing sheet
--Counting ghosts cards (not in order so child can do it without cutting them out if you wish)
--Haunted house letter G find game
--Ordinal ghosts coloring activity  

If you have any preschool packets you'd like to see done, shoot me an email and I'll see if it might be beneficial to both of us if I put one together! I'll likely be making more since I have some random letter themes planned that I simply know won't be out there!

Have a great weekend!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Free School Day Schedule Printable

Hey there peeps!

So my oldest child started Kindergarten last week. Yes, I cried. Yes, it kind of sucked, and definitely a lot more than I thought it would. But just as much as I miss her during the day, I am equally excited for the experiences she will have and the things she will learn in her new environment!

I knew this would be a big adjustment for us. I'm used to sleeping as long as the kids do, and sometimes even clicking on the TV, throwing granola bars at them, and continuing to sleep for another hour while we all roll around on my bed in our PJ's.

Not so much anymore.

So knowing that I would need a solid schedule in place (especially if I want to manage my time correctly as I talked about in my earlier post), I went looking for something simple and cute I could edit myself.

APPARENTLY that doesn't exist though. Like seriously, why would I pay someone for an empty schedule to fill in just because its cute? I'm no graphic designer, but I can get around GIMP and pretty well, so I just up and made my own.

Why not, right? And since I went through all the trouble to make it, I'm happy to share if you think you could use it! I'm uploading the empty schedule for you to fill in. Just go to, select your fonts, and add them as you wish. That way it's customized for you and whatever your family needs. I also uploaded my completed schedule so you could see what it might look like.

It's really a very simple background for you to add text to (again...not a graphic designer over here!), but it has owls. I love owls.

If you think it might be useful, then feel free to grab it! And have an awesome start to your week, whether you were on the ball with you schedule this morning, or you were like me and stood in the shower for fifteen minutes too long.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Big News--Pitch Conference in September!

My writing partner has decided to take the plunge. We feel very confident about our latest book (which is still in development, but we are almost done, thankfully), and we wanted to give it the very best chance we could. Since this is my mother's lifelong dream (and mine too...its just...her life has been 21 years longer than mine...), she has decided to take our pitch and manuscript to the New York Pitch Conference in September.

This is an expensive endeavor, and definitely a financial risk to undertake. But we wouldn't do it if we didn't think that pitching this book in person to a round of agents would result in something fruitful. We've done some research, and after hearing story after story of successful writer get rejected in letter form, and accepted in person, we felt this was a good step for our book. We haven't pitched it to anyone yet. No queries sent. And we'd like to keep it that way by spending two days refining the pitch through the workshops, and then presenting it in person to some of the top agents at the conference.

Unfortunately I can't go! I've got 3 kids, and traveling to New York while 9 months pregnant is, obviously, not really doable. So it will just be Eileen Sharp representing the dynamic writing duo. We're both nervous, and working feverishly on our manuscript to a.) finish it and b.) polish the beginning.

But here's the really, truly exciting part about this post. You ready?

I'm going to reveal the first hint about what this book centers around, why we think its such a unique idea, and who might be interested in reading it. I'm going to give you the title. If you know what it is, then super high five to you! If not, Google it. I think you will find it rather intriguing. This is the first in a working series of three, and is called......................................


Look it up and see if you can discover the angle we have taken with this novel.

Also, I will keep you updated on all things pitch conference as things progress. For now, we sent them our initial pitch and were accepted into the conference, so that's an encouraging start. I know these pitch conferences are a little controversial in the writing spheres, so feel free to give your opinion, but also know that we're still doing it. ;)

It should be an exciting adventure! And if it doesn't work out, then guess who will tell you all about it in detail? Isn't it fun to have a writer friend willing to take crazy risks? You can learn about it from us before you try it yourself!

Have a great week, my friends, and remember to leave your blog address when you comment so I can visit you in return! Happy writing!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Your Author Photo

Once you have decided to become an author, whether that is through a publisher or your own marketing savvy, at some point you will need an author photo. In fact, it's probably good to have one even before you get started with publishing. I recently read a great book about self-publishing called The Sane Person's Guide to Self-Publishing by Catherine Ryan Howard. She's quite successful with self-publishing, and I found some great tips in her book. One of which was to create your author presence before you release your book. Something I never thought to do.

But if you plan to self-publish, or even if you don't, it's always a good idea to get into the writing community beforehand. For that, a photo would be most useful.

So how to get your face looking good in this photo? Because lets not lie here, just like we all judge a book by its cover, we also kind of judge faces. It's what we do as humans. So its my opinion that your photo, your first impression if you will, does hold some importance.

If you've got money to burn, you could get it done professionally. There are lots of options for that--a full on photo shoot with locations and such. The little photo place in Wal Mart with all the corny angel baby pictures on the wall. Whatever strikes your fancy and tickles your wallet just the right way.

OR if you're like me, you don't have cash to drop on beauty shots. So how to make your picture look great and still professional? Here are my best tips below to give yourself a good looking head shot:

1.) Put some thought into your appearance. If you're taking the picture on a random day with your hair in a pony tail, or after you get home from work and you look like you haven't slept in four days (because you've been up at all hours writing), it's not going to turn out as well. I know not every woman is into makeup and primping, and most guys don't give a flying fart what their hair is doing, but for this, for me give it a go. The more care you put into your appearance the more professional this will look. Pick a nice outfit, do something with your hair or makeup. Just be neat and tidy, and don't wear a grungy t-shirt (or any t-shirt really...v-neck might be an exception), and please no sunglasses.

**Side note: What we want is professional. As self-published or Indie writers, our curse is that we lack of the big dog support behind us. So what we want is for readers to look at our books and at us, and think, "Wow, they look legit!" Dress for the job you want. Take an author photo for the gig you desire.**

2.) Pick an ideal location. It doesn't matter what kind of camera  you have, really. If you have a friend with a high-pixel camera then call in a favor, but if that isn't within your means, then the right lighting and location will do wonders. Natural sunlight is best. It brings out the best in us, and it looks the most professional. So you can't go wrong with a nice outdoor location. You can even use your webcam, but make sure the background is neutral and the sunlight is flowing. I've seen some author pictures where they look like they're in their basement at night and taking a selfie. Not professional.

3.) No cats. I mean it.

4.) Natural positions look best. The hand shelf, or the thinking pose, or the well-placed hand are, at this
point, pretty outdated. Make the shot from the chest up, and do your best to be relaxed and natural. If you're smiley (like me) pull out the grin. If you're more comfortable not doing that, then go for it. Just as long as its you and its comfortable, that will come across in the photo.

5.) Get a good angle. Angling the camera from above is always pretty flattering. Not too much, but just enough that you get all the pretty angles of your face will usually look good. Angling from below is not suggested. You can do it head on, but my suggestion is to try a few different ways. Whether you're having a friend do it or you're using your webcam, try a few different angles to see what turns out best.

6.) Another tip I picked up from Catherine Howard (it made me laugh, but it might work for you) is to color coordinate with your blog or website. Cohesive things like that are what lend a professional air to your author presence.

For my current author photo, I had my sister take it. We were in the snow (hence the white behind me) and it was sunny outside. I did up my hair, put on some makeup, and angled that sucker up high. Bam. Decent picture.

Want to share your author pic? How did you come by it? Any tips to add?