Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Taking Time To Get The Story Right (Some thoughts about book 3)

Last week I went to a movie--something which doesn't happen much at all lately. It was the third in a series, (not created from a book, FTR) and I settled in with a bag of popcorn and a large drink prepared to spend the next two hours on the edge of my seat. Because that's what happened with the first two.

The thing with series of any kind is that the first book or movie sets up an expectation that the writer/cinematographer/filmmaker must not only fulfill in the next installment, but also exceed in every way possible.

Unfortunately, this was one of those films that only detracted from the original story line. In fact, it was a complete departure. That would be fine if it had been thought through and fleshed out, but to be honest, there were so many parts that felt forced or rushed or just sloppy, and it made me so sad. There was no suspension of disbelief for me, because plot holes stole the logic, and some merely almost-there filming issues left a whole lot of cars on a freeway with no passengers inside them. (Nope. No dummies.)

I left the theater wishing, not that I hadn't chosen to see the movie, but that more time and effort had been dedicated to bringing it up to par with the first two.

The experience has left me thinking about my own attempt to end the DESCENDANT series, and the third book I have been struggling with for so many months. I don't want to make these same mistakes as the makers of that movie. I don't want to write in plot holes, or leave threads untied, or forget important characters. I don't want to smash empty cars on the freeway, or kill off characters for shock value without advancing the plot. And so I am taking my time. Much more time than I ever planned or expected, and more writing than I've had to do since I first wrote Descendant (which went through about 30 drafts) in order to get it right.

Unfortunately, this means Legacy most likely won't be released in April, or even May. But it WILL be released, and as soon as I have a better idea of when, I promise I will shout it out to all of you.

I'm so sorry to keep you all waiting, but the truth is ending a series is HARD. This book is, to date, the hardest book I've ever written. And I want it to be awesome. I want it to be worth the wait. I want to do it right.

What about you? What things have you had to work hard to get right?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If You Love an Author

Look. I’m going to be really frank here, because I think we’ve been friends long enough that I can do that. And if we haven’t, I hope you’ll bear with me for a minute, because this is really important.

If there is an author in your life, and that person happens to be important to you on ANY level, but especially in a familial or close relationship, there are some things you should know.

I’ve avoided this subject for a while, for various reasons, one of them being an inherent belief that I have no business telling someone how to love anyone else. But in a recent moment of clarity, I realized that that is not what I’m about to do. What I’m telling you isn’t how you should love them, but rather, the most important way you ought to be showing that love. Because authors are emotional, sensitive people who pour those emotions and those sensitivities into our work for the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD to read.

What we write is so much more than just words on a page, or a screen, or in a book. These stories often come from the very depth of our souls, distributing pieces of ourselves to everyone who reads them. Luckily, for every slice of ourselves we give away, we grow new, grander ones to share.

Since we are writing to share our deepest, most intimate souls, the hope is we will be joined in this special place by our closest, most beloved people in the world. Our spouses. Our children. Our parents, siblings, extended families, and closest friends.  

Because our stories mean so very much to us, it’s difficult to understand why our loved ones wouldn’t be absolutely dying to read our newest (or oldest) work. But all too often, our loved ones aren’t even interested. And that lack of interest, of support—to us—translates to a lack of personal value.

If you love an author—for whatever reason and in whatever capacity—read their work. I don’t care if you buy it, tweet it, Facebook it, share it, talk about it, or even review it (all of which you should ALSO be doing, but that’s another blog). READ IT. Do not offer explanations or excuses about why you “can’t” or tell them you’ll get to it when you have more time (next year, perhaps?). You might as well be telling them you “can’t” find the time to love them. (And let’s not talk about how short life really is here.)

FACT: Time it takes the average author to write a book = 6 months to one YEAR  .
FACT: Time it takes the average reader to read that same book = 4-6 HOURS (7 if it’s long or you’re a slow reader).
FACT: The average American wastes approximately that much time every week (if not every day) watching TV and/or surfing the internet.

If you love an author, value the time they have spent dedicating themselves to their stories. Read his or her work. Do not make excuses. We are smart people. And you are missing out on the best parts of us.

And that, my dear friends, would be the saddest story of all. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Just Another Artist?

*** UPDATE the hardcover of Water So Deep is now available for purchase on Amazon!***

Last weekend, I went to a retreat with a few good friends. We spent our few days writing our tails off (I got 12,000 words done on Legacy, so YAY!) and also took a short break to detour to a nearby writing conference, where two of my friends were on panels.

We were literally there for a total of two hours, and then we left. In that two hours, I ran into quite a few people with whom I am friends or at least acquainted, and those were only a few of several hundred people who were in attendance at this conference.

One of the hazards of publishing these days is that there are so many authors writing so many books, that at some point or another, we all feel slightly lost in the sea of awesome.

My oldest son and I had a discussion this weekend in which he informed me that he’s not sure he wants to go into art as a career field, because it is just too hard to be anything more than “just another artist.” And it’s true. He is a phenomenal artist. He paints, and draws, and creates some amazing things. He has such talent. But unless he fully commits himself to rising above the crowd, that is all he will ever be.

There are those cases in which one special artist or author breaks through the bottle neck on the first try and succeeds in a way that most of us will only ever dream of, but even those people will at some point have to produce a spectacular product in order to keep their audience/fans happy, or they too will become lost in the sea.

But is that a reason to give up? To go a different direction? Maybe for some people. And that’s okay. But for others, it’s not. It’s really not. Because while all artists need to be paid, we are not ALL in it just for money (although, at some point, we have to at least break even with our time and investments*). Some of us are in it for the love of the thing. Or to change the way someone thinks, or heck, to just entertain someone. And that’s enough for those of us who are in it for the long haul.

Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is that there is no such thing as being “just another author/artist.” Each one of us has something important and unique to share, as long as we dedicate ourselves to doing it.

Are you dedicated to something in life?

*To clarify, most authors/artists only make pennies per hour for the work they do. Love of art can only go so far when it comes to survival. Please remember that downloading pirated books/art greatly risks our ability to continue producing more books/art. Please consider our art at least as valuable as a cup of coffee or a soft drink and pay for it. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Romance and Love or Everything Else? What Are You Reading This Week?

Release week is over, and I was overwhelmed and so touched by the outpouring of love and support I received for Water So Deep. I cannot tell you all how much it means to me to have all of you jumping in to help raise my new baby book.

But now I feel like I've talked about it nonstop for months, and it's time to talk about something else. Like love and Valentine's Day.

I mean, let's face it. Valentine's Day has become a bit of a commercialized cliche, which is focused more on kids than on adults who are actually in love. I think in a lot of ways it's better this way because then all those people who are unattached can still enjoy the day, seeing little kids sharing their candy and cards. But that still doesn't take away the sting of feeling invisible or forgotten.

That's the beauty of reading, though, I think. I am such a sucker for a good old fashioned romance novel. And not the Nicholas Sparks kid of ending, either. Happy endings. Boy gets the girl or girl gets the boy, or whatever whatever, and the couple falls in love and overcomes all odds and obstacles because in the end they belong together. That is my favorite Valentine's Day reading go-to.

Because kissing. And love. And all things romantic.

(Side note: if you're reading Water So Deep right now, please don't hate me at the end! I promise book two will bring closure!)

This week, I'm reading Joyce DiPastena's The Lady and the Minstrel, Ally Condie's Atlantia, and This Shattered World by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. I won't finish all three in a week, because I have a deadline of my own, but still. Those are on my nightstand right now.

What will you be reading this week? And is it romance and love or everything but that? I'm curious.

Monday, February 2, 2015

It's HERE!!!! WATER SO DEEP IS HERE!!! (And adding even more !!!!)

Guys, today's the day. Water So Deep is finally available for purchase!

Only the e-book version for now--there has been a very slight delay in the hard cover release, but I hope that will all be resolved this week, but all of you e-reader addicts, go! Buy! Enjoy! (And then hopefully review!)

I am not having an online launch party this time, but there is a blog tour happening starting Tuesday, February 3, and as soon as the hard cover issues are worked out, I will consider scheduling at least one signing.

In case you missed yesterday's teaser, here it is:

And one more, just because TODAY'S THE DAY!

Thanks for being patient with me and for supporting me as an author. I promise to start blogging about other things now. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

All theTeasers, Just in Time for Release Week

Guys! Next Monday, Water So Deep is released to the world. That is less than a week from now, and this news is just hitting me. Not because I don't pay attention to the calendar, but because I am currently being pulled in so many different directions that it only just now HIT ME.

Six. Days.


So for today's (semi-late) post, I am going to share with you all the teasers I have posted on social media thus far. There will be more next week, I assure you. And celebrating. And some possible flash giveaways. But for now, here is your lead up.

And also, in case you haven't seen it, you can read the first chapter of Water So Deep here.

And in case you haven't taken advantage of the introductory pre-order price, you can purchase your copy in all of these places, and by pre-ordering have the book delivered directly to your device on release day.

Nook: Pending

One more little detail. Water So Deep will also be available as a HARD COVER! I am crossing my fingers that it is also available on February 2, but there have been a few minor delays, so I will update this post if that changes. However, there is no pre-order option for that at this time. But in case you're wondering, this is what the jacket will look like.

What do you think? I can hardly wait to see this baby in person and be able to show it off. So if you are a person who loves ink and paper books that you can put on a literal shelf rather than a virtual one, stay tuned. These will be available as soon as possible. Hopefully, hopefully the same day as the ebooks go live!

Thanks for being a part of my journey!

Teaser #1:

Teaser #2:

Teaser #3:

Teaser #4:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Woven by Michael Jensen and David Powers King

I'm very excited to announce that this book is FINALLY available for purchase, after a 2 year delay and a major change of publisher. Please join me in supporting and congratulating these two resilient authors who overcame some very serious stumbling blocks on their publication journey. Guys, I can't wait to read this!

WOVEN by Michael Jensen and David Powers King, published by Scholastic

Two unlikely allies must journey across a kingdom in the hopes of thwarting death itself.

All his life, Nels has wanted to be a knight of the kingdom of Avërand. Tall and strong, and with a knack for helping those in need, the people of his sleepy little village have even taken to calling him the Knight of Cobblestown.

But that was before Nels died, murdered outside his home by a mysterious figure.

Now the young hero has awoken as a ghost, invisible to all around him save one person—his only hope for understanding what happened to him—the kingdom’s heir, Princess Tyra. At first the spoiled royal wants nothing to do with Nels, but as the mystery of his death unravels, the two find themselves linked by a secret, and an enemy who could be hiding behind any face.

Nels and Tyra have no choice but to abscond from the castle, charting a hidden world of tangled magic and forlorn phantoms. They must seek out an ancient needle with the power to mend what has been torn, and they have to move fast. Because soon Nels will disappear forever.

Available now wherever books are sold


About the Authors:

Michael Jensen is a graduate of Brigham Young University’s prestigious music, dance, and theater program. Michael taught voice at BYU before establishing his own vocal instruction studio. In addition to being an imaginative storyteller, Michael is an accomplished composer and vocalist. He lives in Salt Lake City with his husband and their four dogs.

Photo credit: Michael Schoenfeld


David Powers King was born in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where his love for film
inspired him to become a writer. An avid fan of science fiction and fantasy, David also has a soft spot for zombies and the paranormal. He now lives in the mountain West with his wife and three children.

Photo credit: Katie Pyne Rasmussen


Praise for Woven:
"It’s not often that you read a fantasy that feels as epic and original as Woven by King and Jensen. Clever, well-paced, and full of intrigue, it’s a superb read. Highly recommended."
— James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner
"WOVEN reads like a lost classic that was somehow just rediscovered. It has the feel of a comfortable, familiar blanket that's somehow been newly-made of the brightest, most original material possible, and it is pure pleasure to read."
 James A. Owen, author & illustrator of Here, There Be Dragons
"The worldbuilding is dynamic, original and intriguing … and the characters, appealing. A sure bet for high-fantasy fans." — Kirkus Reviews
"This brisk adventure from first-time authors Jensen and King is a charming quest tale in classic fantasy tradition." — Publisher’s Weekly

Rafflecopper Giveaway Link (One of 5 copies of Woven – signed by both authors):

a Rafflecopter giveaway