- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.UVsgb4Gv.dpuf Erin's Alter Ego Writes Books: 2012

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Quick Update on NaNoWriMo

It was the first day of NaNoWriMo and I had a good day. To be on pace is 1,667 words. I did 2,202. Hopefully I can keep that up.

I'm excited for this one. It feels nice to use explicit language in a novel again.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

NaNoWriMo Plans

So November starts on Thursday and I'm going to *try* and do NaNoWriMo. I've tried a few times in the past, but I've never completed it. I started Jacob Smith as a NaNoWriMo novel last year, so even if I don't finish, it'll be a great start on it.

NaNoWriMo is where you write 50K words in one month (so 1,333 words a night), and you start and complete a novel. Even though I'm in the middle of writing Jacob Smith's sequel, I'm going to break from it and spend the month writing a horror story based upon a dream I had about two years ago. It's stayed with me ever since and I need to finally get out on paper. It should be fun, in the vein of Clive Barker. I'm excited.

I'll start putting a Pinterest board together for inspiration. It's a creepy idea in my mind. I hope it succeeds.

Stay tuned, peeps!


Just a hint of what's to come.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Photos of friends and fans

I just had to post these pictures of my friends and fans (and they're both at the same time). It means a lot to me and I hope they enjoyed my books as much as I enjoy seeing them with a book.

A special shout out Chandler, who's already reading Bedtime at the Zoo:

And a shout out to Emily, who was the first to tackle my very rough first draft of Jacob Smith:

Thank you Tina, Ashleigh, Chandler, and Emily. I seriously had tears in my eyes when I saw these pics.

With love,
Erin x

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Reviewing Books

Here's just another shameless plug: Jacob Smith has been approved on iBooks! http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/jacob-smith-is-incredibly/id563129831?mt=11&uo=4
So if you haven't bought it yet, please do. I think you'll like it.

Onto the actual topic of this post:

I posted a few days ago that I would start posting written reviews for books I've read. Usually I'm pretty bad about reviewing a book. I might leave a review just in stars. Or I might just let others leave reviews for me.

After finishing one of my favorite indie author's books, Rhiannon Frater (for her excellent book, Pretty When She Kills), I realized that as much as I love any of my favorite authors and books, I rarely ever review it. And as someone trying to self publish, I know how much reviews can make or break your book. So I proclaimed that I'll start leaving reviews on books that I've read, whether or not I liked it.

Usually my feelings towards book are very dichotomous, but it should help I think. I don't know. As it is, I hope it acts as karma. I review a book, someone will review my book. That's the idea.


Anyhoo, I did one of those Scarlett O'Hara moments (you know, where she promises that she'll never go hungry again) where I proclaimed that I would review books.

I hope it works.

I'm reading Life After Death by Damien Echols now. It's going to be interesting trying to come up with a review for it. It's absolutely fascinating and well written, I just need to collect all these emotions into a coherent review as it is leaving me both exhausted and contemplative when I read it. It makes me appreciate every bit of fortune my life has provided me.

Strangely enough, since I never read nonfiction, my next book might be Lizzie Velasquez's Lizzie Beautiful, as I had stumbled on her story yesterday and find it sad and fascinating as well. I wish her the best with every endeavour.

And that's the end of my blog entry. Jacob Smith is on Goodreads with a giveaway now. If you're curious, head here.

Until next time,

Erin x

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Official Release and a whole heap of links

Hey guys!

So Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average has been officially released on all major platforms for ereaders. There are still a few stragglers that haven't had their approvals ready yet, but here's what's available so far:


Barnes and Noble:




Apple iBooks:

I'll be updating these as the links go live. Also, be sure to check out the Goodreads listing, where I'm giving away 2 print copies of my book for two lucky readers.

Please give it a go if you're interested in an extraordinary story about a very ordinary boy.

Sequel is well under way!


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Night before the fabled release of Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average

So I'm sitting here, debating what to say about my release date for Jacob Smith.

I guess I'll go ahead and start.

If you're friends with me or Chris, you will have already heard that I've had a bit of a "soft" launch day already - the book is up on Amazon, BN, and Smashwords at the moment. It's also available in print at Createspace and Amazon, which I frankly think is one of the coolest things I've ever held. It adds a bit of reality to something that I've only otherwise seen on screen. I was in awe. I hope you guys will be too.

I apologize in advance, guys, because you will see me re-posting these links throughout the day on Friday on my social media sites.

So why the soft launch?

I am, admittedly, still new to this whole publishing thing. I knew that it would take some platforms a bit of time for them to post my book onto their store, not to mention I'm combating formatting and technology when I'm submitting it. So I tried allowing for a time difference between when I hit "submit" and when it appears in the store. Apparently, some are far quicker to approve than others.

Within a week or two, you'll see Jacob Smith popping up on Sony, Apple, Kobo, and some other formats that I didn't know existed. I'll be posting those links as soon as I know what they are.

The point is, I want this book to do well. Embracing Her Wolf has sold about 1300 copies, Bedtime at the Zoo is far less, but it's to be expected for that type of book.

Jacob Smith's story is exactly the story I wanted to write, and I want him to grow up to be special. I'm proud of the story, proud of the cover I did, proud of my editors, and I'm proud of the book. The premise has gotten a great reaction from friends and co-workers, which is encouraging. I'm also going to try putting a bit of advertising behind it to see what happens.

I'm not expecting a million best-seller or anything - I'd have to be delusional for that - but if I gain some fans out of this, I'd consider it a job well done. There are two other books I want to write to tell the rest of Jake's story, and I want there to be an audience ready for it. Don't worry, the first book is entirely standalone, just in case you don't like it.

So, what's next? I'm writing the sequel to Jake Smith, as I've said. I have a third book up my sleeve to complete Jake's journey, and I also have an adult horror novel to write, which I plan on doing for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a slippery slope - I've tried it the past two years and I have gotten too busy to finish it. But I do have an interesting story to tell there - oh boy. It's based upon a nightmare I had. And I think it has a place.

I've also decided that I should start writing more reviews for books I read, in light of all of the recent controversy around authors paying for reviews. I usually leave an honest starred review, but I am also going to start leaving a text review. I figure it's a karma thing. I shop like a normal person, so the more good reviews a book has, the more I'm inclined to read it. So, for karma's sake, I'll start reviewing books I've read, and I'll possibly go back and review some of my favorites. It's only fair, if I hope people review my books.

So, watch out on Friday, guys for the official release. And, as I've mentioned before, I hope you like Jake's story. Because I do.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Jacob Smith will be released September 21st and full cover wrap reveal!

Hey guys,

So I've been a busy little bee the past few weeks, what with work and trying to get Jacob Smith ready for publication.

But the awesome news is that I had a big surprise waiting for me at work on Monday - my proofs came in. It's an amazing feeling, holding the book you've been working on for months in your hands. It makes what was just a document on your computer into a real, tangible thing. Truly, it is such a great feeling.

Behold its awesomeness!

Isn't it gorgeous? Chris got a huge kick out of it and we had coffee to celebrate. It's now sitting on a revered spot on my desk and it keeps distracting me because I constantly check on it to make sure it's there. 

And if you like the cover, here is the full wrap, featuring the back description.

Behold this one's awesomeness too!

The back description reads:

"Jacob Smith is an average thirteen-year-old boy. 
 He’s of average height, average intelligence, average looks. He even has a normal family, like an over-achieving brother, a rebellious sister, a kooky grandfather, and one or two family secrets.  Maybe he was living too normal of a life.  When his mother announces she’s expecting another baby, Jake starts noticing that he’s being followed by strange beings. They want Jake because he is the most normal, average person on Earth. And they need him so they can take over the planet.  Can a boy like Jake save the world?"

Sounds like something you want to read, right?

Well guess what? Jacob Smith will be released SEPTEMBER 21st for print, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, and hopefully Sony. I'm trying to figure out how Apple iBooks works and will try to get it on there, but you have to fill out an application and such to publish on that platform. So I'm working on it. Until then, if you do read from an iPad and such, you can download one the Kindle or Nook reading apps and read it like a pro on there.

I'll do a whole host of links when that happens, guys, so you can find it really easily. I really want this book to do well, so I'm going to be pushing for it everywhere I can. And once it gets its proper push, I'll delve headlong into the next book.

This is so much fun, and thank you for your support.

Erin x

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Jacob Smith Progress and the first chapter!

Chris just gave me an idea for the title of two vampire books. I might just have to write two vampire books in order to use those titles. They're awesome.

But, before that happens, I'll have released Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average. I just got my final proof back from the editor, and it's exciting to have it starting to feel like a real book. I'll let you know when to expect it to be released - should be next weekend that I'll send for a proof from Createspace, so my eta is end of September for a release.

Until then, here's a preview of the first chapter to whet your appetite for Jake's world. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Chapter One

Under Surveillance

     The dark man sat in his car, frowning, although it was hard for him to have any facial expression other than a frown. He popped another sunflower seed into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully.
     Surveillance, he knew, was always a boring activity. But no one had informed him just how boring it truly was.
     He was watching a boy who lived in a house just like every other on this pathetic suburban street. The address was 592 Norwalk Street, Pflugerville, Texas, on this accursed planet Earth.
     He hated it.
     He hated how all the houses had a pitiful lone tree in the front yard. He hated how all the garages opened out to the street. He hated how the neighbors’ houses looked exactly the same except for their addresses. He hated how the mailboxes all looked the same. He hated how the grass was never green, no matter how much water everyone tried feeding the thirsty ground. And he especially hated how the boy was a bit of a loser, never doing anything really exciting or interesting.
     But then again, that was why he was constantly in front of 592 Norwalk Street, watching him. Watching him day in and day out. For all thirteen years of his boring little life.
     It wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs; his superiors knew that.
     He grimaced with a hiss as the classical music radio station turned over to advertisements. He hated how humans always ruined a good concerto with something about a mattress sale.
     And humans had such grating, annoying voices.
     He flicked through the other stations he had marked, but they were either on commercials themselves or playing something else that hurt his ears.
     He turned the radio off in disgust and sat back in his seat with a scowl, crossing his arms while continuing to frown.
     Such a boring job.
     After a while, his eyelids started drooping. There was no way for his superiors to know if he napped while watching the boy. And after all, he was only human. Or, alien, as was his case.
     Suddenly, his communicator sprang to life with whistles and hums, announcing the imminent arrival of one of his superiors by short-range wormhole.
     He jumped at the noise and grabbed the communicator—his commanding officer expected promptness, and a second too long was a second less than perfect.
     He answered back, with his own series of lilting melodies.
     There was no further response, which he knew just meant they were on their way.
     He sat up, grabbed some fast food wrappers from the front seat of the car, threw them to back, covered them with his jacket, and stepped out of the car. He straightened his black uniform, re-buttoned the collar, and tried not to notice how much he was suddenly sweating.
     The pressure in the air around his car dropped drastically. Despite himself, he shivered. He steeled himself for their arrival.
     Turquoise lightning crackled through the air, drawing power from the overhead power lines. The lightning bulged near the car and a sphere formed. From it, a group of three black hooded figures landed lightly on the ground.
     These new additions were dressed exactly the same as he. They were all bald and stood at exactly 6 feet 5.16 inches tall, even the female. None of them had a nose, just a smooth, slight bump where a nose should have been. Their eyes were milky white—the color of blindness—yet they had perfected their vision beyond human ability. They had no teeth, just lines of purple gums. But it was their tattoos that were really fascinating.
     They each had equations outlined on every part of their body, complex equations that would stump even the most seasoned mathematician on Earth. Every single equation was solved. Not a square inch of their otherwise pale skin was left free of them. They also had tattoos for their body proportions—the better they were proportioned, the more they displayed those perfect proportions on their skin, like living mathematical diagrams.
     He looked exactly like these newcomers, except with fewer tattoos and a less perfect face. That was the reason he was so lowly ranked—he wasn’t perfect enough to rank higher.
     The female was the leader of the pack. Perfect in every conceivable way, she regarded him with a cold expression. He met her eyes, at first defiantly, but then felt himself wither under her gaze.
     She asked him a quick question, to which he nodded. A slow smile came to her lips. She spoke to him some more, imparting the crucial information that their spy robot had gathered. Her companions stood stoically at her side, but his eyes widened.
     He asked her if she was sure the spy robot had been correct. She seemed annoyed that he would even consider asking her such a question. He lowered his eyes in supplication.
     She motioned to the soldier on her left, who handed her a small, flat, black object. She extended it out to him. The dark man paused briefly before taking it. This object contained information that could change everything for them. He could almost feel the power emanating from it. He was speechless at the thought of it.
     She gave him a curt nod and in another blast of turquoise light, he was left standing there, alone in the dark.
     This was it. This was the beginning.

See what happens in Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, eta end of September!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Thinking too much about Pluto

I was getting my shoulders massaged when my mind started wandering off to the most randomest subjects. Then I  got stuck on one subject. Specifically about the former planet Pluto. With all of the hype surrounding the Mars and writing my science fiction novels for Jacob Smith, I've been doing a lot of thinking about our planets. More so than usual. Usually, my planet-related thoughts are around fake ones that I've made up for my stories, but I have been looking into some very cool planet stuff. One of the coolest sites has to be http://omgspace.net/ where a graduate student made a website to show the scale of the solar system. I never realized it was THAT big.

So back to Pluto. My thoughts come to me maybe a few years too late, but here they are.

With Pluto being downgraded to a dwarf planet a few years ago, there's an inner child in me that demands it still be categorized with the other eight planets. I grew up with it being a part of the "My very educated mother just served us nine pickles" as a mnemonic device, Sailor Pluto saved the earth with all the other sailor scouts in Sailor Moon (and she was one of my favorites). The Magic School Bus even traveled to Pluto. I could go on and on about how much Pluto had to do with my childhood (Mickey's dog, anyone?). So for Pluto to be downgraded was like a slap in the face, a middle finger to my education.

No, my mind said, it will always be a planet to me. It was just a way to make controversy, right? It was a bunch of scientists who had nothing better to do but downgrade a very much neglected planet.

However, as my very tense shoulders were being worked, however, I thought about how that was very narrow minded of me. Not just for Pluto, but for anything that defies what I had believed before. I'd like to think that I have an open enough mind for change like that. I mean, imagine back in the 1930s when Pluto was discovered. There must've been a whole lot of people who were flabbergasted.

Truth is, we have no idea how big the universe is and there are planets, dwarf planets, gas giants, etc etc (there's a solar system that plays a lot into the next Jacob Smith book). I recently read something online that explained how there is indeed an observable universe versus the wider universe beyond that (basically, if the universe is 9 billion years old, we can only see the light that's traveled from places 9 billion lightyears from us - and there's no way for us to see beyond, except to wait for the light to hit Earth or move our position). There are maybe trillions of stars and solar systems and planets in the universe. There are any number of ways there are life on other planets, and maybe not life as we know it. Pluto being downgraded means that we're just scratching the surface of just trying to make sense of the universe.

The same goes for the happenings on Earth. If presented facts, I'd like to believe that everything is at least up for discussion. I'm curious. I want to understand the world around me. And if that shakes what I thought was true, I will be receptive to that change.

So I will try to keep an open mind from now on. So Pluto, my favorite dwarf planet, enjoy your highly elliptical, inclined orbit. Stay mysterious and small. Because you're cool with me the way you are.

Here are some very cool planet graphics:

An artist's depiction of the surface of Pluto, with Charon on the left and a tiny dot for the sun in the upper right corner.

And here's the planets with the size of the sun as viewed from the surface of the planet. I don't think Pluto is on here.

And here's all 786 known planets to scale.

And here's this, which is cool and kinda freaky:
For more information, go here.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sauce pan vs. Frying pan

It's time for another round of my cooking stories. I've started a new job and already my cooking skills are legendary. In not a good way.

Okay, Americans, do we know what a sauce pan is?: I was following a NZ recipe for spinach soup and it called for a sauce pan. Now... all I know about pots and pans is there's a frying pan and small pots and big pots.

Frying Pan:

I have no idea what a sauce pan is. BUT, since it had the word "pan" in it, I figured it had to be the frying pan. Maybe they said to put it in the pan because of even heating or something - I don't know, I thought I was following the recipe.

So I cook my spinach soup. Never mind I didn't have a blender to blend my ingredients, I just stirred it by hand for a long time - so long, I think my left arm is a bit stronger than the right. I poured all my ingredients in a bit too enthusiastically, and lo and behold, it spilled over the side and onto the stove, creating a huge cloud of smoke. Thankfully, or unluckily, our fire alarms are either not sensitive enough to pick up the smoke, or they don't work, but I didn't have any alarms going off. Despite this mushroom cloud of smoke.

Anyhoo, I quickly tried to mop up the mess and FINALLY put it into a pot. Or a sauce pan, apparently. Unfortunately, the hijinks didn't end there. I didn't have any bacon to add to the top of our soups. And, as mentioned previously, I didn't have a blender, so we had a mound of extremely stringy spinach soup. Plus, I apparently got the amount of cream wrong (I didn't have a measuring cup at this time). It tasted like we had a bowl of spinach and butter.

I had one bite and that was it. Chris toughed it out for most of it, poor guy.

I haven't made spinach soup yet. But I do know what a sauce pan is now. I think.

I leave you know with a bit of humor. Anyone who hasn't seen or heard of Flight of the Conchords should fix that. right. now. Because they're awesome. And it's business time. Not safe for most work places. I think. I do think that my what's-appropriate meter is a bit off though.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Indie Game: The Movie and That Creative Bug

So I've been meaning to post about this for a few weeks and have just gotten around to actually writing it.

My husband and I sat down with a bowl of popcorn to watch Indie Game: The Movie. I have to say, I wasn't expecting much, so to see such an inspirational film just blew me away.

I'm not a gamer myself, per se. I like something with a good story and something not too challenging. But when you're me, pretty much everything is challenging. Chris, on the other hand, is a bona fide gamer, and his ultimate dream is to become the next Shigeru Miyamoto and come up with some awesome games. (I honestly think that's why we're a perfect pair - I write my books and he makes his games and we work to support each other in our dreams. We're trying to collaborate coming up on some ideas, so stay tuned and fingers crossed). You can check out his rarely updated Facebook page and I'll pester him to update it, although he's busy learning and making games, so it's understandable why he rarely updates it. I have trouble with that, too.

Any hoo. Back to Indie Game. It chronicles a few indie game makers on the road to releasing their games. Since they were children playing their first games, they've made mental lists of things they want to play for themselves and have worked to achieve that. Here's a video of one developer's past. It's mirrors a lot of Chris's and my pasts with creating our own world and being slightly different than other people.

Now, I'll admit that staying with a book from beginning to end (to date, it's only happened a few times for me). Imagine that tenfold with a polished video game. These guys have deadlines, pressure, depleting resources, and DEADLINES! These guys have sacrificed everything to release their games. One of the games profiled, Super Meat Boy, which I know is a strange name to the uninitiated, basically makes its creators dreams come true.

At one truly awesome point, one of the programmers was reminiscing as Super Meat Boy's first reviews were rolling in from reviewers prior to publishing it to the masses. The game was getting stellar reviews and some of the highest kudos seen on the XBLA platform. It's the point where the guy realizes that all his hardwork, his childhood ambitions, and his dreams are going to come true. "Everything's happening now," he says in awe. It really is quite an awesome moment to behold. I can't find a clip online of it, but I highly recommend watching it. I really teared up watching the disbelief on Tommy's face.

That's something that Chris and I are aiming for in our individual capacities. Just that moment of knowing that we've made it as an author and a video game developer. And I really want that to happen, even if it is 1/1000th of the success of these guys.

Because it's something we're doing for ourselves. And it's such an inspirational piece of film to watch.

So, kudos to the filmmakers, and good luck to everyone who has ever had a dream and is working to make it happen. I'll be getting back to my writing now. Jacob Smith is Exceptionally Average is with an editor at the moment, as I'm trying to perfect it as much as possible to give my baby as much of a chance as I can. I'm working on it's sequel at the moment (!) and I'm having a lot of fun with it. There will be two sequels, although the first book is standalone.

You'll enjoy it, I promise.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

I'm a sucker for a good promotion

So it's a rainy Sunday night here in Auckland. My husband and I are settling into our desks for a night of me writing and him setting up his new laptop he bought. I was shopping around on countdown.co.nz, our local supermarket's online delivery site when I stumbled on this promotion:

I've been wanting an iPad for forever. Having one would be beneficial for both Chris and I: it would act as a development device for his video games and I could find examples for an interactive storybook I've been wanting to make for a while and I could get the hang of iBooks.

Actually, all I really want is a new toy.

The promotion is this: for every 6 Chupa Chups you buy, you get an entry into the draw to win 1 of 4 iPads. Chupa Chups are iconic suckers on this side of the world and I've never had one. If you want to look at their FB page, it's here: http://www.facebook.com/chuckthinks

The competition ends tonight at midnight. I mean, seriously, how awesome is this promotion? How many people buy 6 suckers at once? And there's 4 iPads? My chances of winning just *have* to be high, don't they?

I also have a $15 voucher for Countdown. I check on the voucher and on the site, and there's nothing that says promotional products purchased with this voucher voids its entry. I ask Chris if it's all right if I use the entire $15 voucher to buy suckers - Countdown gives you $15 when you spend so much money there, so it's not like I'm actually paying out of pocket. It's not a very smart use of money, I admit, but it's for an IPAD.

Chris says yes, I can order $15 worth of Chupa Chups.

I get all excited and jump up and down. I load up my suckers and prepare to check out for a delivery for tomorrow. After a quick check of the terms and conditions though, I realize that the items have to be delivered in order to count towards a promotion. It ends tonight - my suckers wouldn't count towards entries into the draw.

My hopes fall.

So what happens next? Here's a hint:

That's 36 Chupa Chups or $15 worth of suckers. 6 entries, 6 chances to win me a brand new iPad. 

Because this is how awesome my husband is:

He asked if I wanted to go to Countdown and pick them up tonight so I do get my entries into the draw for a chance to win. Let me remind you that it's pouring down rain tonight. And we don't have a car. And the nearest Countdown is a 30 minute walk from my flat.

I say yes, please.

So we walk to Countdown, in the dark and in the rain solely to pick up 36 suckers. I get a basket and count out 36 of the little guys and we go to the checkout. The checkout lady spends the next ten minutes scanning in each of the suckers, one by one, because I got different flavors and different types - one barcode won't work for the entire batch.

The checkout queue gets longer and longer behind us, while all of the customers are glaring at Chris and I. 

Of course, he and I can't stop laughing. No one else in line thinks it's funny.

Finally, the checkout lady bags our suckers and asks for $15. I brandish my voucher. Oh the dirty look she gave me.

Chris and I left Countdown and I still can't stop laughing whilst sucking on my first Chupa Chup (it's pretty darned good, by the way. Watermelon flavored, and anyone who knows me knows that I love watermelons).

So I'm back at my flat now, soaked to the bone with 36 - now 35 - suckers and 6 entries into the iPad draw. It's drawn in three days - here's to hoping that the ridiculousness of the situation lends to my luck.

Until then, does anyone want a sucker?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Chutney is not curry

So, as promised, here is a story about my cooking escapades.

I'm a terrible cook.

I try hard. I try following recipes, but they don't seem to work out. I never have all the ingredients. I always substitute the wrong ingredients, thinking that it will still work out. Chicken is burned on the outside and raw on the inside. Rice is hard. Or soggy. My pots always boil over and I smoke out the kitchen. My future children will be malnourished, but not for lack of trying.

I do have a few shining moments. Shining failures, but they still shine.

One was the time I was trying to cook a curry. For some reason, I never check the ingredients before starting to cook. So when I was trying to cook my curry, I realized that I didn't have a key ingredient: curry paste.

So what I do? I substituted it with mango chutney.

Now, for those who don't know, chutney is like a sweet salsa you put on top of... other foods. I'm actually not even sure, and I don't remember why or how I bought the mango chutney. For all I know, it came with our flat. It's certainly not curry.

To follow the recipe, I remember that curry has coconut milk. So I poured a can of it in (after asking Chris to  open the can for me - he didn't know what I had done at that point).

It was the sweetest thing you've ever tried. And not in a good way. I think I had three bites to be polite to myself and stopped. And it didn't help that I basically had raw onions pieces in there because I under cooked those. Chris didn't even like the rice - it was one of those nights where I had made it too mushy.

Haven't messed up my curry since. Now other food... that I've messed up.

But those are stories for other days. I'll try to snap pictures of my failures, but usually I'm laughing too hard to remember.

Have a good night guys. Eat well.

Erin x

Monday, 2 July 2012


I've been so bad. Sorry guys for not being here, even when I said I'd be back in my last post. I've had a whirlwind past few months, filled with job-changing, life-settling, and stuff like that.

Still no excuse, I know.

But I won't dwell on the past. Onward and upward, as I've been telling myself.

Jacob Smith is Exceptionally Average is with its editor, hopefully getting some magic fairy dust that will make it into the book I know everyone will love (my friend Emily did a first editing pass, and really thinks it has potential, fingers crossed). I've also been planning out its two sequels. Don't worry, the first book is entirely standalone, so you'll only have to commit to one book. But I promise you, I have some big plans for Jake Smith.

With that said, I'll do a cover wrap reveal of the book in all its glory. I'm quite pleased with it, because even though I had some severe limitations, I didn't have to compromise too much on my vision of it, so I'm really happy. I do one day want to use the fabulous PhatPuppy Art, but that may be a while. Once I get the final dimensions of the thickness of the book, I'll be able to add a spine and the back copy.

So that'll be another reveal. ;)

Here goes the book cover.

If you're a book blogger and are interested in reading an ARC of Jacob Smith please email me and I will lovelovelove you forever. I'll send you a physical edition of the book, plus anything else to promote it. Dress me up like a monkey, record me singing "My Heart Will Go On" - anything if that makes reading and reviewing my humble little book more enticing. I will embarrass myself to make it work.

Hmmm... What else? I have a few cooking stories to share, at the behest of my friends Cbel and Sam. Where do you guys think I should start?

I have an idea. And that will be the next post. FYI for those who don't know, I'm an absolutely terrible cook. Worst part is, I actually try. Just something about substituting, not following the recipe, not get it. I blame my cooking equipment, but I don't think that's it. I don't know. All I have to say is "chutney" is not "curry".

And that'll be my next blog post. I promise. Gimme two days and a glass of winter cider and I'll have it up here.

I won't leave you guys hanging for so long again. Promise.

Erin x

Sunday, 25 March 2012

From page to screen

I saw The Hunger Games last night.


And just like I expected from devouring all three books in a matter of days, it was epic. It was awesome. And I loved every minute of it.

I know people who have debated the finer details of the plot that the book left out or changed. "This didn't happen..." or "Why did they change that?" So many people discredit a movie because it's not as good as the book. That may be true in many places, but in my mind, the book and the movie are two different types of media and can't be transitioned from page to screen. Or vice versa (I've read some novelizations that have expanded upon the original movie and I appreciate the extra insight into characters). So I tend to try and take them as separate entities.

Here's why: so long as the original essence of the book is correct and true to its fans, little changes like that have never bothered me. If there's a plot difference that makes you feel differently about a character, or something happens that completely changes how things end, then that's more up for discussion. As it is, I like it when directors bring their own vision to the screen, but it has to be the essence of the source material.

Granted, I've never had a book I've written be butchered by a movie, but I'm also not great when it comes to film, as my efforts during school have proved (oh school projects, how horrible you turned out). But, as I see it, movies from books should not be literal adaptations. I'd hate to hear every single thought the main character has or how this thing was just a tiny bit different. If it helps move the plot along, I just don't mind. Many times a book needs to be updated for the current audience.

So I absolutely loved The Hunger Games in its own right and I can't wait for the next one, when my favorite character makes his appearance (Finnick, my hero!). I can't wait to see how they treat him.

I've always found the first two Harry Potter movies to be the most boring out of the entire eight-movie series. That's because they were absolute literal adaptations of the books, just so it didn't offend any fans. They were overlong and dragged when the plot needed to move along. When The Prisoner of Azkaban came out, it was like a breath of fresh air. Alfonso Cuaron imbued life into the book and made an entertaining movie that never dragged. I won't say all of the movies were perfect in that respect - having characters like Cho in the movies do something she'd never do in the books was a jolt for such faithful adaptations. But they were all overall a good job.

Same for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I've only seen the Swedish version, the American version, and read the first book, so I can only speak about the that first storyline (and with a hazy memory). I'd have to say, I liked the American version better. David Fincher put his own brand on it, and while there were some changes, they didn't change the overall outcome. Same for Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet - the story changed somewhat, but the soul was still there. At least I think so.

Even Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining, however different it was from the source material, has its own merit. This is one of the instances where I definitely liked the book better than the movie, but to each his own, right? The movie was spectacular and I did see it before reading the book. It's just one of the those things where I like the medium of a novel moreso than its screen counterpart.

The Mist? Yes, it had a different ending, but it felt so perfect, no one really complained.

Instances where book to screen transitions didn't work too well for me include Ella Enchanted (oh my God, what they do to it?), and some others that aren't coming to mind at the moment. If a movie adaptation is going to converge so much, why even give it the same title? Movies have changed their titles from their book counterparts - do that for all those films that will give fans a WTF? moment so we don't have a false sense of security.

The only movie based upon a book that I'm afraid to see is David Lynch's version of Dune. The book is my all-time favorite book, and I hear conflicting (and mostly bad) things about its screen adaptation. I'm trying to dredge up the courage to watch it, but it might be one of those instances where I can't separate it from my expectations of the novel. I'll let you know what I think when I do. Honestly, at the moment, there are far more movies that I have more interest in seeing.

On a closing note, I saw a trailer for Nicholas Sparks' new adaptation, The Lucky One. Seriously, how does this guy get funding for his movies? I've only seen The Notebook and read the book and I was nearly bored to tears (which was coincidentally when all of my friends started crying during a viewing, so they thought I was going along with it).

So what if it has Zac Efron??

And with that, good night. At the request of some of my friends, my next blog post will be a departure from the usual fare and will be about my cooking misadventures. I'm a terrible cook. As you'll find out.

Thanks, guys!

x Erin

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Back in action and a short story

Sorry guys, I know you've missed me. Just wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten you.

So a quick update: Extraordinarily Average has been completed and is going through a painful editing process. They say that the best writers are those who can edit. Well, I hope that's not true. Ask a friend of mine: she spotted a massive typo in the second paragraph of the entire book. And I mean massive.

I've also started outlining my next book (jumping on the vampire bandwagon, but it was a bandwagon that I initially jumped on way back in 2002, so I'm actually ahead of the game - more on that when I get to it), and my husband and I are talking about possibly doing a joint book after that. So who knows, it'll be interesting coming up.

And on top of that, I've been trying to do some entries for advertising awards. Which in of itself is always both a pleasure and a chore, aka I love doing it and coming up with great ideas. It's always a strange thing to compare advertising writing to literature writing.

So, in honor of my latest shenanigans, here is one of my short story entries into NYC Midnight. In these competitions, you have a weekend to write a 1,000 word short story with a required location, object, and genre. This entry was one of my favorites that I did for it, and while perhaps a bit cliched, I still think it's fun.

So here goes. My given location was a rehab clinic, my object a wig, and my genre was sci-fi. At least the sci-fi part was easy for me. There was a lot that I wanted to say, but couldn't given the 1,000 word limit. Enjoy.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Okay, so apparently my story is going over 65,000 words

Hi everyone,

Just a quick update - apparently the length that I thought Extraordinarily Average was going to be isn't, so it's a bit longer now and  I still have two more scenes to write that I added in at the last moment. It was one of those decisions that I made while writing what I thought was the final scene, but decided that it would be so much cooler if I did this.

So, that means that it'll probably be about 72,000 words by the time I'm done with it. So I'm not quite there yet, but I am fast-tracking my writing to get it done so I can start editing.

But I promise it'll be worth it. This ending will be so kickass you won't know what hit you. Muahaha.


Monday, 20 February 2012

So you wrote a romance novella AND a picture book?

The short answer: Yes.

The long answer: Yes, because I had two stories to tell.

The why is a bit more interesting and I've had so many questions asking why (actually, I've had none, but I'm preemptively answering future questions. Pretty cool, right?).

Embracing Her Wolf and Bedtime at the Zoo are complete polar opposites of the literary spectrum. I know this. But they came from two different places in my heart and in my life.

Embracing Her Wolf was a bit of an experiment. As mentioned before, I've always had trouble finishing stories that I've written. I even have a draft of a book saved on this computer that is 345 pages long and I just can't bring myself to finish it (that's a post for another time, because that book will be making a comeback - hint, hint). So, after finding out how great and wonderful it is to self publish your books, I also saw that there were varying lengths of books. What better way of getting back into writing than starting on a novella? And a paranormal romance to boot - that's where I was mentally at that time. Well, six months later, I FINALLY released it in its current form. It was the first piece of writing that I ever fully sat down and edited from beginning to end, had my husband read it, edit it again, send it off to friends to read it, edit again, again, and again until I was about to tear my hair out. In a novella of 17,000 words, it took me just as long to edit it as it did to write it. The joys of editing.

Bedtime at the Zoo grew from a single print ad I did for a class. The very first picture I drew was of the bear holding his teddy bear, getting ready to sleep. From there, I added and added to it, and compiled all of these pictures into a storybook. It was a labor of love for four months, constantly drawing and tweaking the drawings. My art direction assignment turned into a full-blown copywriting assignment as I had to write the words to go with my book. I'm very proud of the final outcome. And it's great to make something with your hands every once in a while.

So, without further ado, I've approved the printed version of Bedtime at the Zoo for print through CreateSpace and Amazon (still waiting for Amazon to post it to the store) for $7.99. To celebrate, I've also lowered the price of the eBook to $1.49 as well on both Amazon and Nook.

Thanks for the support guys. NEARLY done with Extraordinarily Average. Should be up and running soon!

Erin xx

Saturday, 11 February 2012


I have to admit it.

Writing the last 20% of Extraordinarily Average is proving to be incredibly difficult. I don't know if I'm just really tired or I'm out of luck. My husband and I are both feeling it at the moment (he works in video games and is trying to get his own work off the ground, so hopefully there will be some news about that coming up).

Instead of meeting my daily writing goals, I'm barely making it to even a third of the way daily. Which just prolongs the agony of writing this specific part.

It's been hard and it has been slow going.

I'm just feeling uninspired. Take a cue from one of my favorite songs: "Uninspired" by 8Stops7:

I might be a bit scatterbrained at the moment due to my distress at being unable to write quickly and well at the moment, so I apologize if I'm not very linear with this post.

My lack of inspiration leads me to a question: how do you find inspiration when you don't have any? You'll find a lot of it on the web. I've been to writing and reading seminars where writers discuss what they do and even chatted with some authors about what they do when they've hit a wall.

I've been told the same thing over and over again: get inspired and keep writing no matter what.

Easier said than done, right? Oh yes indeed.

In advertising, they tell you to get out and do something that's not advertising related. Go ride a bike. Go to a concert. Paint your life story in paint drip splatters. Go be a barista. Be a Michael Jackson impersonator. Just something different to give you experience from which to draw inspiration. Because if you're too caught up in what advertising has been doing, you'll never look forward to seeing what you could do to make it that much better.

It's the same way with writing. Or at least I think so (certainly doesn't seem to be working now!). I can definitely tell that the writing flow easier after a good day versus a bad day.

It's our life experiences that inspire us to do what we want. It's the people before us that pave the way for us to take in their work (not copying or plagiarism, but some that takes us to the next level) and it's how we keep ourselves going when it seems like there isn't a light at the end of the tunnel. I read a great article by Malcolm Gladwell for The New Yorker about Steve Jobs and his inspirations. There is also a great video series about how the best inventions were just tweaks and copycats from the originals (I can't find it now, but I'll add it if I find it).

I also find TEDTalks to be great as well for just seeing how people got to where they are.

But basically, experience and then do. That's the only way you'll get ahead.

So, without further adieu, I'm going to try and get back to writing.

Wish me luck.


P.S. I had some great conversations with some writers and bloggers in the past week. Thank you, you guys. You're a part of my inspiration.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The importance of reading when you're a writer

I've always been a voracious reader.

I remember being in second grade and I finished my first long chapter in a day - The Boxcar Children. I devoured it in a matter of hours, not even going to recess that day. I was so excited about the series that I went out and bought the next six in the series. But the appeal of their story ended there.

I credit my nerdy fascination with sci-fi and fantasy with the first time I watched Star Wars when I was 9. I was over at a friend's sister's birthday party - her name escapes me now - and she loved the series, so they watched the whole original (best) trilogy over the course of the party. I hadn't seen it before because I tried watching Star Trek and, well, it just seemed so weird to see aliens like that. They were ugly and their storylines were so confusing. But watching Star Wars - that was a turning point for me.

Suddenly, I wanted to continue that that universe, to tell my own stories of stuff that doesn't happen in our world. I sat down and crafted out stories about Luke Skywalker and his enduring adventures with Ewoks (hey, I was a little girl, after all and the Ewoks had this whole teddy bear appeal for me).

In fourth grade, I was introduced to the Redwall series when my teacher purchased The Outcast of Redwall, featuring a ferret on the cover. I had no idea what it was about, but I wanted to know. So I bought the first book - at three hundred odd pages, it felt like such a huge read for me. I read them every chance I got. During recess, after school. I fell into a rhythm and I bought the next book in the series every weekend.

From there, I graduated to other books. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Dragonriders of Pern, The Sword of Truth series (which I was way too young to read at the time), Ender's Game, Anita Blake, Stephen King... the list goes on and on.

And, as strange as it was, I would write my own stories. First, it was just expansions of the universes created in the books I was reading, but then I moved on and started writing books with my own characters and my own stories to tell. I'd shut myself up in my room and would clink at my keyboard for hours. I think that's part of the reason why I can type so quickly.

But above all else, I knew that I wanted to tell my own stories. I knew what I wanted to read, I had my own preferences with how things were written. I knew styles. I had my own pet-peeves of what other authors did.

I took all of their inspiration and mistakes and fused it with my writing. And I think that helped me more than any writing class ever would. Reading, that is.

Unfortunately, I had the bad habit of starting a story and then never finishing it, whether or not it was because it took me so long to write the books or I lost interest or my writing style changed. I have a print out of all of these old books in a binder at my parents' house. Probably only two living souls have seen these stories.

And then I fell out of practice with it. I went to college. Suddenly, I had a myriad of other things keeping me from writing. Projects, tests, exams. My very future depended upon how well I passed my classes. Reading took a back seat. So did writing. After all, so very few people actually got published, how could I ever make a living doing it?

And then, the strangest thing happened. Last year, my parents bought me a Kindle for Christmas. At first, it was a toy, just a strange thing that I never really used. But then, I bought a book on it for $.99. That's right, less than a dollar. It wasn't until I read that book (thank you, Rhiannon Frater, for Pretty When She Dies) and I started researching the writer that I realized she was self-published.

And I looked into it. The world of digital publishing meant that I didn't have go through a publisher. It meant that I could tell my own stories, the way I wanted. I had tried sending stuff off to publishers before, and I had always been rejected. But with this whole self-publishing thing - I didn't have to worry about it.

Suddenly, something clicked. This is something I want to do, have been preparing for it ever since I sat down to write out how Luke Skywalker ended up with a girl who was raised by Ewoks.

And so, I'm trying this out. Going back to what I enjoyed doing when I was little. Sure, I'm not making a living doing it. Right now, I'm averaging about 5 book sales a day. But Chris hears about each sale as it happens, usually through email and we have our little :-) celebrations.

It means a lot to me that I'm writing. And it means a lot to me that people are reading it.

Thanks for the support.

P.S. I've spent this entire post talking about writing in the past, I just wanted to give a quick update on my next book. I'm at 52k words right now and should been done with a first draft by the end of the month and then I'll send it off to some friends to edit it. So give me until March for Extraordinarily Average.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Welcome to my blog page!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my personal blog page, where I discuss everything writing, what's going on in my life, what's happening with my books, and whatnot. I'm just a fledgling writer at the moment, but I'm working on it.

Currently, I have two books self-published on Amazon and Nook: Embracing Her Wolf, a paranormal romance novella, and Bedtime at the Zoo, a children's picture book. The paperback versions are coming soon, I promise, and I'll start investigating other ebook publishing outlets.

I'm writing my third novel, tentatively titled "Extraordinarily Average", a YA book about a boy who's so average, he's considered the perfect human specimen by aliens that want to colonize the planet. So, that's on the books for now, and I have a fourth book outlined after that.

Feel free to contact me for a review copy or make some comments. It'll be exciting to see what happens from here on out.

Thanks for the support, guys,

Erin Hayes