What I’m Reading

It’s the new year… which means lots of new books to read! Over the holidays I was sadly way too busy to do much reading, and I’ve fallen even more behind…but I’m hoping things will calm down a bit now, if not… I’m promising myself to MAKE time to read more!

Here are the books I’m reading now, or at the top of my To Read List…

The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe – I won this one through a blog contest. I’m lucky enough to have a personalized signed paperback. Yes, you may all be jealous. Alex is an amazing author, if you haven’t checked out any of his work get off your butt and do so!

Product Description

No one knows where the Tufa came from, or how they ended up in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, yet when the first Europeans arrived, they were already there. Dark-haired, enigmatic, and suspicious of outsiders, the Tufa live quiet lives in the hills and valleys of Cloud County. While their origins may be lost to history, there are clues in their music—hints of their true nature buried in the songs they have passed down for generations.

Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.

With death stalking her family, Bronwyn will need to summon the strength to take her place among the true Tufa and once again fly on the night winds. . . .

This Montana Man by Angela K. Roe – I’m a horrible person. This book was sent to me by my wonderful and talented friend Angela in the summer I think. I’ve just not had the time to read yet. I shall be rectifying that shortly!

Product Description

Caroline Edwards takes a year’s lease on a run-down farmhouse in the middle of Montana. She needs the solitude to complete her newest novel. Jamie Overton isn’t pleased that his mother rented out the old house and thinks it should be torn down. When he meets Caroline, he’s convinced this city girl is out of her element. Will those sparks grow stronger when Caroline’s ex puts in an appearance?

Last but not least… Zombies Don’t Cry (A Living Dead Love Story) by Rusty Fischer. Rusty is one of my favorite authors, and another friend! I had the pleasure of reading one of his books not yet published- Detention of the Living Dead. Total awesomesauce! Keep your eye out for it! I think Rusty is part zombie himself- other than clones it’s the only way I can think of that he can have the time to write so many wonderful stories 😀 Another author you MUST go and check out! I lucked out again with this book. I got a personalized signed paperback at christmas (sneaky people!) Again, you may all be jealous! (Isn’t the cover gorgeous?)

Product Description

In the sleepy small town of Barracuda Bay, Maddy Swift leads the life of a fairly typical teenager, but while attending a party one night, Maddy is struck by lightning and awakens to realize she has been reanimated and turned into a zombie. While becoming acquainted with her new “lifestyle,” Maddy stumbles upon two unexpected undead chaperones, fellow students Dane and Chloe, who begin to teach her the ways of zombie life, including defending the populace from Zerkers—the bad zombies. Together, on prom night, the three teens must ultimately defend Barracuda Bay High from an all-out zombie Armageddon.


Three Reasons Why I’m Not Ready to Self-Publish (Yet) by guest author Rusty Fischer

A Guest Post by Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don’t Cry

Zombie Rusty!

Recently I read a wonderful book by Deborah Bryan called The Monster’s Daughter. I keep calling it “lyrical” in all my (five-star) reviews because, well, it is; there is poetry on nearly every page and the author created such a carefully-constructed world I loved spending time there – and hated when the story ended. (Luckily, it’s the first in a trilogy, so… it’s not really “over,” over.)

The thing is, The Monster’s Daughter was self-published; beautifully and professionally so. It gave me hope that, someday, I too could self-publish successfully. Key word being: someday.

For now, though, I’m just not ready; and here are three good reasons why:

The First Reason I’m Not Ready to Self-Publish (Yet): Editing!

I just finished my “last” round of edits – I always use quotes around “last” because you know they never really are – for my new YA book coming out soon.

I’ve numbered them for my records and this is “Version # 9.” I thought we were done at oh, say, Version #… 5?

But every version, one of us catches something different. Like this last time, I had one of my characters saying, “But you said we should never split up; that’s what you said!” To. The. Wrong. Character.

The thing is, I’m not sure I would have read and re-read that book NINE different times if left to my own devices; but I’m ultimately glad that I did.

So, yeah, I need that backup; I need that “safety net” of two or three extra pairs of eyes on the book to catch things like that during the long and occasionally challenging – but ultimately necessary – editorial process.

What’s more, I want it. I really like the idea of my publisher having this whole umbrella of services that I really need and want, like… the same kick-butt cover designer (I’ve had really good luck with my cover designers so far!), the same team of copy editors, the same tough as nails Managing Editor, the same nurturing Senior Editor, etc.

I know that in this world of freelance professionals I could easily find a great cover designer, a great book formatter, a great copy editor, even a great developmental editor but… am I willing to go that far?

The Second Reason I’m Not Ready to Self-Publish (Yet): I’m “Just the Writer,” Not “the Boss”

What’s more, am I willing to be the last pair of eyes on every one of those vendors? From the cover designer to the copy editor to the formatter? I guess I just don’t trust myself enough yet to be “the boss” yet.

I’d rather be “just the writer” and spend my time there for now.

Don’t get me wrong; I can see the benefits of self-publishing. One of them is speed. I write fast and I’m always worried that “someone will get out there with this idea faster than me.” I don’t mean I rush (okay, sometimes I rush), but when I get fixated on an idea I’m like a bulldog and won’t let it go until I’m done with a new YA novel. Sometimes it would be nice if things came out faster.

But… but… publishers are good about saying, “Look, let’s not saturate the market do-do brain. Let’s dole these things out, a few months at a time so folks actually look forward to what’s coming next.”

That’s good advice; good advice I probably wouldn’t listen to if I was solely on my own.

June Release!

The Third Reason I’m Not Ready to Self-Publish (Yet): Gratitude

Maybe it’s because I’ve tried for so long to get a publisher before finally finding success this past year, but… I’m really grateful for all my publishers do. From Medallion to Decadent to Noble Young Adult to Echelon Press/Quake, I enjoy the editorial process, the expectation of cover leaks and excerpts and release dates and all the “publisher-y” things that go along with publishing. I’m not typically a “joiner” in my personal life, but in my writing life I’m glad to be part of a team; I need that teamwork to be successful.

So I work hard and try to promote myself and tweet and share on Facebook and post FREE stories on Scribd and Smashwords to build my author “brand” because I really want to pay my publishers back for having faith in me.

I know going with a publisher means I give up a little money, a little control and a little freedom, but I’m okay with that for now. As long as I’ve been writing, professionally for others and personally for myself, I still have loads to learn; about promotion, about editing, about timing, about branding, about storytelling and, yes… about writing – the craft, mechanics and occasional magic of writing.

I don’t feel comfortable learning all that alone; as solitary and private as I am in my writing life, I’m getting more and more social in my author life – and that’s a good thing. I’m “meeting” more authors online; like Jen here.

They teach me things even without knowing it. In fact, I always call Jen my “promotional hero” because just by watching her I’ve learned a lot of the rules of social media, when to post, how often, how to find reviewers for your eBooks, the list goes on.

Editorially, I learn something new with every pass through every manuscript; about dialogue tags, about characterization, about not giving too much away, about not holding too much back, about punctuation, about avoiding fads. Like. This. One. And so much more.

I know I have lots more to learn and I’m not comfortable learning that on my own just yet. Maybe I’m over thinking all this; I do that. Maybe I’m just being a Nervous Ned; I do that, too. But I don’t think so. For me, for now, as long as I’m lucky enough to be published with this elite group of independent, forward-thinking and author-loving publishers, I’m going to bask in that and wring it for every drop of knowledge, experience and wisdom I can possibly gain.

But, again, that’s just me. If you are a successfully self-published author, and I know there are plenty of you out there, I don’t mean to offend, ruffle feathers or take aim. We are all different and learn at different points of our lives. I’m envious of you; I really am. But I’m also proud of what I’ve accomplished, too, and a big part of me knows I couldn’t have done that without a LOT of support; and, ultimately, that’s what publishers offer, I think: support.

Yours in YA,

Rusty Fischer

About the author: Rusty Fischer is the author of Zombies Don’t Cry: A Living Dead Love Story, out now from Medallion Press.

Visit his blog, www.zombiesdontblog.blogspot.com, for news, reviews, cover leaks, writing and publishing advice, book excerpts and more!

Look for his next book, Vamplayers, due out from Medallion next year!