My Novels

My Novels
Click through to purchase or on the books tab for more info and upcoming releases.

Jul 22, 2016

Fixing the Mess that is your Manuscript

I’m working on the third rewrite of a book right now and I thought I’d share some of the things that work for me and some that haven’t.

First thing’s first: How do you know if your manuscript needs major surgery.
There are a few clues.

One of the biggest clues is what people often refer to as “writer’s block.”
When you’re staring at your ms and your set goal is just not flowing, something’s wrong. It could be that you’ve been staring at the page for so long words no longer make sense. If that’s the case, take a walk or do something else to give your brain the time to reboot. If that doesn’t work, you may have written yourself into a wall that just can’t be scaled.

Another clue is that the book has stopped making sense.
You’re subplots are tripping up the main plot or they’ve gotten out of control like a patch of Himalayan blackberries. The tract of Plot A doesn’t mesh with subplots a and b anymore, but c might still work. Maybe. It’s possible that you can tweak those plots and herd them back in the right direction, but it might be too late for that.

There are lots of other ways to discover you’ve got to take a scalpel to a book before it will work, but you’re going to be the best qualified to know what went wrong.

Secondly, determine how much surgery you’re going to need.
Is this an appendectomy? Or a full amputation?

Maybe all you need to get back on track is to go through, figure out what happened where and make some minor adjustments. Maybe you need to go in and delete thirty-thousand words. The phrase “kill your darlings” is apt in this situation. Clearly if you’re in this situation, you need to get rid of the things that don’t work. Sometimes, those things are great scenes. They’re just wrong for your book. Evaluation of your plot and how each scene works into that is KEY.

And last, but not least, you have to “get your hands dirty.”
There’s no way to fix a broken manuscript other than to buckle down and just do it. It’s going to be painful and annoying and time consuming and hard…. But it needs to be done. So get out those pens or fire up track changes and dig in.

Jul 1, 2016

June Numbers/July Goals


In Real Life:

June started off with a bang (or a bash?) Comicon was the 2nd through the 5th, and as with last year, it was just a ton of fun. Got to meet up with some friends I made last year, found a few authors who’s books have now landed in my TBR list, harassed my tattoo artist (right leg), went to a screening of a friend’s short film and just had a ton of fun.

And then, it got quiet.

Since we recently bought a car, we’ve gone on a spending hiatus. Honestly, I want to pay that sucker down as quickly as possible and refinance. It’s not like the expense is huge… I just don’t like bills in general, and the more I can lower them, the better. On top of that, it’s just been really nice to stay in, get work done in the evenings, snuggle my ewok and enjoy my husband’s company. (after 7 years, you’d think we’d be tired of each other (at least that’s what people keep telling me).

Since it gets so hot here from May through September, I’m looking forward to another few months of not going out in the heat unless I have to. On top of the 110+ degree weather, we’re in to monsoon season which means rain! An awesome thing to watch… from inside, with the aircon on. Humidity is not my friend.

Reading:
1 book
(AVG GR Rating 0)


I feel like I’ve been running around like a madman. The only books I read this month were rereading things for research purposes. Nothing new, nothing to mark down, aside from my latest book.
Goal: 10 books. Not met.

Writing:
84,584-words in 23 days
(AVG 3677-words/day)




One of my “goals” this month was to work on my focus. I managed that pretty well. Aside from Admin stuff (orange), I only worked on 4 projects. Two of those were edit related.

The beginning of the month was a rough patch. Between comicon and some heavy edits, my daily numbers were low, but I made up for them with the end of the month. Overall, I’d call this the best writing month I’ve had all year, even if it didn’t hold the highest word count (that honor is still held by April)
Goal: 75,000 words. Met

 

Publishing:
1 book



My June release came out on Tuesday. The fourth in my Clockwork Fairytales series, Jack & the Mechanical Beanstalks is a fun almost-Frankenstein-y retelling of Jack & the Beanstalk (never say!). Unlike the first three in the series, no familiar characters show up and it could be treated as a stand-alone (though none of them require that you’ve read any of the other books first)
Goal: Jack & the Mechanical Beanstalks. Met.  
 
 
Reading – 3 books
So last month, I made the decision to slash my book goal for the year in half. Now I only need to get 50 books under my belt. I did this for a few reasons.

1) I know myself well enough to understand that keeping the 100 book goal now that it’s improbable I’ll hit it is just going to result in bad things.
2) Related to #1, I’ve accepted the fact that this is a part of my self-care that outweighs my desire to beat myself at everything.
3) Less stress means I’m more likely to pick up a book.
4) Who cares how many books I read in a year, really?

Writing – 90,000
The goal might be lofty, but I’m confident I can make it (especially given the next goal). In 2013, I managed to get over 94k—which wasn’t even my best moth of that year—and I’m always good at pushing myself to finish goals. I’m a completionist, after all.

Publishing – Another break
I’m wrapping up a book I plan to release in August and some fun little things I’ll be putting up for free in September, so I’m taking July to get the first finished and the bulk of the second taken care of as well.

 photo signature.jpg

Jun 27, 2016

When Edits Won't Leave You Alone

www.amazon.com/author/abkeuser

It’s happened again. That manuscript I thought was “done” has come back from an editor and somehow there are one hundred and one changes that I’m finding on the lasts read through. (Note, this is after her changes have been addressed.)

A manuscript is never truly done. You’ll always find things you could have changed.
I don’t remember who said that (there are probably multiple people at this point) but someone did, and I’m paraphrasing it now because it is so apropos.

Draft seven is what I’m going through right now. Draft eight might be the one where I have to accept the way things are and learn to be less neurotic.

Then again, this edit was meant to be one where I went through and removed a subplot that dragged the rest of the story down. (Pink highlights!) The amount of extraneous changes are a little out of hand.
That page has more edits than any other, but I’m still changing things on almost every page.

I’m still on Hiatus, and largely because of things like this.

Talk to you later, kids.

 photo signature.jpg

Jun 23, 2016

Giveaway 4 of 4: Signed copies of Silver Vol 1 & 2 by Stephan Franck (CLOSED)


Silver Vol 1

Expanding Bram Stoker’s original universe fifty years hence, into the pulp era of the 1930’s, SILVER introduces James Finnigan, a witty but (figuratively) soulless con man, who sets out to separate the living-dead from their precious silver.

Personality conflicts, emotional entanglements and character comedy abound, as Finnigan assembles the crew of talented but broken misfits needed to pull off the heist of the last ten centuries.

Silver Vol 2

Continuing the adventures of master-thief James Finnigan, Rosalynd "Sledge" Van Helsing, and their team of talented but troubled individuals, as they endeavor to steal an ancient treasure hidden in Dracula's castle. Suspense, humor, intense character moments and enthralling world-building ensue as the team reaches the castle, and the veil continues to lift on SILVER's rich and unique mythology.

More Info:
Amazon
GoodReads Vol 1 | Vol 2


The Giveaway!

To win these books, all you have to do is answer this question in the comments:
What is your preferred method of killing vampires?


GIVEAWAY ENDS AT MIDNIGHT PST 6/26/15.
WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN FROM THE COMMENTS VIA RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR.
GOOD LUCK!

One entrant, one winner. Congratulations, Katie!

 photo signature.jpg

Giveaway 3 of 4: Signed copy of Strangely Beautiful by Leanna Renee Hieber (CLOSED)


Strangely Beautiful

Originally published as two books, Strangely Beautiful unites Leanna Renee Hieber's critically acclaimed novels in a single revised volume, restoring the author's original vision for the work.

Miss Persephone Parker—known as Percy—is different, with her lustrous, snow-white hair, pearlescent pale skin, and uncanny ability to see and communicate with ghosts. Seeking to continue her education, Percy has come to Queen Victoria's London, to the Athens Academy. What she will learn there will change her life forever.
Athens Academy is the citadel of The Guard, an ancient order that battles the forces of evil. The Victorian Guard, led by professor Alexi Rychman, is incomplete. They cannot defeat Jack the Ripper— who is more than the serial killer he appears to be—or the greater monster his appearance heralds.
Percy's lifelong habit of concealment combined with Alexi's fevered search for the Guard's missing seventh nearly prove disastrous as ancient Greek myths begin playing out in modern, gaslit, Victorian London. Percy and her new friends and allies must overcome their preconceptions about each other and their own histories before they can set the world to rights.

 More Info:
Amazon
GoodReads


The Giveaway!

To win this book, all you have to do is answer this question in the comments:
If you could communicate with ghosts, who would you seek out to talk to?

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT MIDNIGHT PST 6/26/15.
WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN FROM THE COMMENTS VIA RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR.
GOOD LUCK!

One entrant, one winner. Congratulations, Katie!

 photo signature.jpg

Giveaway 2 of 4: Signed ARC of The Last One by Alexandra Oliva (CLOSED)

The Last One

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.
It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.
Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.
But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.


More Info:
Amazon
GoodReads


The Giveaway!
To win this ARC, all you have to do is answer this question in the comments:
What skill set would you bring to a reality survival show?


GIVEAWAY ENDS AT MIDNIGHT PST 6/26/15.
WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN FROM THE COMMENTS VIA RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR.
GOOD LUCK!

One entrant, one winner. Congratulations, Katie!


 photo signature.jpg

Giveaway 1 of 4: Signed ARC of Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan (CLOSED)

Age of Myth

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.


More Info:
Amazon
GoodReads


The Giveaway!

To win this ARC, all you have to do is answer this question in the comments:

What is your favorite mythos and why?

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT MIDNIGHT PST 6/26/15.
WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN FROM THE COMMENTS VIA RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR.
GOOD LUCK!

One entrant, one winner. Congratulations, Katie!


 photo signature.jpg

Jun 2, 2016

Goals for Phoenix Comicon this year


1. Try not to fangirl Alyssa Wong too hard

2. Avoid everything relating to Sanderson and Rothfuss if possible

3. Annoy Michael J. Martinez less this go around

4. Study Beth Cato’s mannerisms and inflections so my clockwork automaton will blend seamlessly

5. Get a copy of Red Rising signed for Shash

6. Convince Jamie Wyman we can take over the world

 photo signature.jpg

Jun 1, 2016

May Numbers/April Goals


In Real Life:

I had a SUPER minor surgery on my arm. They pulled out three chunks of run-away fatty tissue. The lipomas were in the exact same spot as one my mom had decades ago. Hers was removed by a dermatologist… mine was pulled out by a plastic surgeon. I am still chuckling about that. Aside from medical stuff (yay neurology follow up), we had an interesting month.
The dog had some teeth pulled. I’m not sure who was in more pain, her… or my wallet.

I got a new tattoo. Slowly filling up my right leg (emphasis on the slowly) Jason put a banjo on my shin, using my own as reference.

We bought a new car and promptly took it on a single day road trip. There were dirt roads, fire crews, and giant squirrels. Also, a few strange looks from people in off-road vehicles.

And, I found an app that makes my life SO much easier. It’s a productivity app that helps me remember the important daily tasks I tended to forget.

Reading:
6 books
(AVG GR Rating 2.66)

Three of the books were duds, and only one got a 5-star. I haven’t gotten around to reviewing them yet, but it’s on my June list.
Goal: 10 books. Not met

Writing:
71,723-words in 22 days
(AVG 3,260-words/day)

Considering the fact that the highest percentage of words this month came from the “miscellaneous” category… I definitely didn’t get the “focus” I wanted. But words are words, and I got a lot done on the things I wanted to focus on (if not everything).
Goal: 65,000 words. Met

Publishing:
No Books. So, exactly where I meant to be.
Goal: Take a break…. Pretty sure I met that one.
 

Reading – 10 books
I’m starting to feel like a broken record with this one. But I’ve got several titles I’m excited about and a few that I just HAVE to get through.

Writing – 75,000
I have a rewrite to do which should go quickly and get me over half of those words, so I’m pretty confident I’ll manage that number. And that will make it the best June in the past 4 years.

Publishing – 1 Book
Jack & the Mechanical Beanstalks will be out at the end of this month! I’m excited for you to read Jack and Orla’s book and see how I played with the original story line.
 

 photo signature.jpg

May 6, 2016

Hi-atus

Ian Malcolm was wrong. His quote is missing some words.

“Life finds a way… to get in your way.”

I’ve suddenly been thrown a new project that I can’t share yet but that’s going to take up a large chunk of my time. This means I’ve got to rearrange some things in my as-to-now normal work schedule. Changes, they are coming.

One of those changes is that I’ll be dropping regular blogging for the time being. It’s the second thing I’ve had to cut (the first was having any free time, naturally).

I’ll pop in from time to time if there’s something I just HAVE to talk about. And I’ll still be putting up monthly stats, but for the most part, I’m going to be a ghost.
Twitter and Instagram will be the best places to look for me—I’ve got to have some outlet, right?

Hope you have a great summer (How is it already time for me to say that!) and have fun without me!

Talk at ya soon and happy reading!
 - Amy