It’s Summertime?

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Last Monday I took Grandma E to the doctor and lunch. It was the first time I’ve taken a few hours off on a weekday this summer.

It was 95 that day. As I was driving home I realized that I hadn’t enjoyed much of this summer weather. I’d been cooped up in the Kor cave toiling away on promo work and writing work.

So I made an executive decision, I was going swimming that evening. Didn’t matter that I showered that morning. I couldn’t be bothered to try to coordinate that aspect of my schedule.

At 7 p.m., as I was heading over to my aunt’s pool, our power went out. I didn’t care. I was going. When I arrived, their power was out too. So Grandma H joined me in the pool. My aunt and uncle came up too. There wasn’t much else to do but hang out.

I swam 40 laps. My aunt joked that she was watching the Summer Olympics. My uncle called around to find out what was going on with the power outage.

Grandma H cheered me on. She’d ask, “What lap are you on now?” and then say, “Good, keep going.”

When I told her I was almost done, she said, “Why not do a few more?”

She was loving her pool time. My goal was to swim to my age. But I pushed onward to 40.

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TGWIG’s Release is Almost Here

It’s less than a week until the book officially releases. The ebook comes out July 31 and the paperback is August 1. I can’t believe it’s really here.

I’ve been finishing up the posts for the blog tour. Working on school visit workshops. And finishing up the ending of TGWIG’s sequel. Still have a few more days on that and then a round of revisions in August before the first draft feels complete.

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Preorders and Free Bookplates

If you preorder the paperback from Amazon and you can’t get to one of my signings, I will mail you a free bookplate. Just email me a screenshot of your preorder (kourtney(dot)heintz(at) yahoo(dot)com) with your mailing address and I’ll send it out to you!

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I can also autograph your Kindle or ebook copy. Just pop over to Authorgraph and request an autograph.

TGWIG Giveaways

With the release date looming, there are a few book giveaways going on this week to celebrate TGWIG’s arrival!

Goodreads

Reading Away the Days

Fresh Fiction

Free Book Fridays

What I’m Reading Now

After Readercon, I’ve been sneaking in 30 minutes of reading before bed. So far I’ve finished Paige Shelton’s awesome Bushel Full of Murders, and moved on to Gretchen Archer’s tantalizing Double Mint.

Posted in book release, Giveaways, me time | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

The Whirlwind of TGWIG

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Flash Fiction Writing Contest Update

Big thank you to everyone who entered the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest! It closed to entries on July 15th at 11:59 p.m. EST.

I have been reading through them all again. You made my job very, very difficult. Seriously talented writers all sent their work into this contest.

If I could have sent you all on to my editor, I would have. Whittling it down to the top ten is not an easy task. I don’t know how my editor will figure out who the top 3 are.

I will be posting the first, second, and third prize winner  here on the blog by August 5th and also contacting them by email.

Writing 

I’m hard at work on the sequel to TGWIG. Since June 9th, I’ve drafted 60k words or 250 pages, if you prefer. It’s the most rigorous writing schedule I’ve ever attempted. 4-5 solid writing hours every day.

I’m also doing a ton of research as I write. I’m kinda enjoying the travel journals, but if one more person writes, “the hotel was nice,” I am going to lose my mind.

I need to know what a hotel in 1831 was like. I have several scenes in one. Nice isn’t going to cut it!

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Promo Activities

With less than two weeks until the release of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, I’m in a promo frenzy.

Still writing guest blog posts. The majority of them are done, but I have a few more in my queue.

Finishing edits to an essay for the YA Review Network. Somehow that file got corrupted. So everytime I saved it, it garbled up. I finally had to open a clean Word document and retype the entire 10 page essay into it. I nearly lost my mind over that tech kerfuffle.

I’m working on workshops for school visits in the fall. I have one I’m polishing up. Two others are in the drafting stage.

I’ve bought ad space online and in print.

Signed TGWIG Book Giveaways

Right now, there are a couple giveaways going on for signed copies of TGWIG:

Goodreads

Reading Away the Days

Fresh Fiction

TGWIG Facebook Launch Party

I’m planning TGWIG’s Facebook party. There will be games and giveaways on August 3rd between 6-8 p.m EST. If you want to swing by on Facebook, here’s the party page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/642330805866722/

Upcoming Author Events

August 1, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in Madison, CT, at the Madison Green (26 Meeting House Rd): Selling and Signing copies of TGWIG

August 13, 2015, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., in Waterbury, CT, at John Bale Book Company (158 Grand Street): Selling and Signing copies of TGWIG

August 27, 2015, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., in Wolcott, CT, at La Fortuna Restaurant (388 Wolcott Rd): Community Dinner Night with Local Author (proceeds to benefit the Wolcott Volunteer Ambulance): Selling and Signing copies of TGWIG and donating $1 from every book sale to the Wolcott Volunteer Ambulance.

Posted in author appearance, flash fiction writing, Giveaways, marketing a book, new release | Tagged , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Final Days of TGWIG Contest, Readercon Highlights, & Miracle Girl Shout Out

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There are only two days left to enter the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest! If you want to get your flash fiction ghost story in, make sure you pop over to the original Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest and follow the guidelines before July 15th 11:59 EST.

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Readercon Highlights

I did my best to live tweet and Facebook post things this weekend, but here are my highlights:

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A thought provoking panel discussion of zombies, vampires, and capitalism by Jack Haringa, Toni Kelner, and Faye Ringel.

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A fabulous reading by Leigh Perry of the next installment of the amazing Family Skeleton Series, A Skeleton Haunts a House. It’s out in October. I’ve already preordered this one–the perfect Halloween read!

As if things couldn’t get cooler, I got to have drinks with the amazing Leigh Perry/Toni Kelner on Friday night and talk about writing and publishing.

Best Readercon night!

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Listening to Nicola Griffith be interviewed by her wife, writer Kelley Eskridge. If I hadn’t already bought Nicola’s book, this fascinating interview would have made me do it! Excited to dig into Hild.

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While I’m talking books, I want to give a shout out to a great blog friend of mine, T.B. Markinson. She has a gorgeous new book out this month. Seriously crushing on that cover.

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Book Summary

Newspaper publisher and world traveler JJ Cavendish continually feels pressured to live up to her Miracle Girl nickname. Not many people know she’s living a carefully crafted lie. She may not hide ties to the LGBT community, but she does hide past struggles with addiction.

When the Colorado native is handpicked to take the helm at a dying Denver newspaper, she ends up reconnecting with her long lost love in this contemporary lesbian romance. Only there’s a catch. If JJ fires the most belligerent editor at the paper, she risks losing the love of her life.

Mid-afternoon office romps abound in this romantic comedy while also focusing on what it takes for a newspaper to remain relevant in this age of social media.

Must JJ lose everything in order to gain a life more fully her own?

Author bio:

T.B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order.

Buy Links:

Amazon US      /     Amazon UK      /     Amazon Canada

Where to find T. B. Markinson:

Twitter       Facebook       Blog       Goodreads     Amazon Author Page

Posted in Contest, fantasy convention, flash fiction writing, writers, wrtiting | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Celebrating Connecticut and TGWIG Contest Deadline Looms

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Hope everyone had a wonderful July 4th!

This week I’m guest blogging over on Reading Away The Days and representing for Connecticut in the Virtual US Road Trip blog tour.

My post will be up July 7th. You can check it out here: http://readingawaythedays.blogspot.com/2015/07/virtual-road-trip-day-7-connecticut.html

She’s also giving away two copies of my upcoming release, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts, so you can enter to win one there.

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There are only 9 days left to the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest! May sure to get your entries in before July 15th.

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Here’s another one of my PicMonkey creations–this is from a photo from my tour of Washington Irving’s home.

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The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is getting some great early reviews online! I created a page on the blog for the TGWIG reviews.

Posted in guest blogs, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments

Book Trailer, Conference Proposals, Workshops, and Self-doubt

I’m so excited to share the book trailer for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts! We started working on this in February. I wrote the script, Cacko Studios produced the video, and Leah Merritt is the fantastic actress who brought Kat to life.

It’s funny how much time and effort goes into a 1 minute and 40 second video. I’m really happy with how it turned out! Many thanks to Leah and Frank for all their hard work on the video!

I’m finalizing conference workshop proposals for next years NESCBWI. They get submitted July 1.

I’m fine tuning a workshop for teens “Finding your Story: How to Turn your Idea into a Story” on August 24th from 7 p.m.-9 p.m. for the Elting Memorial Library in New Paltz, NY.

I’m still working on all the blog posts for the blog tour. I’ve been tackling 4-5 a week.

For The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts sequel, I’ve been writing 2k a day and am at 160 pages. I’m having trouble researching the time period that they travel back to–it’s 1831 Vienna. Have been doing research online and at the library.

I need really specific stuff like what the streets looked and sounded like or what sort of places someone would stay at. Lots of times, I just throw a comment down to figure this out later, because I’m in a rough draft and I’m not sure this will stay yet.

Things are very fluid and change so much when you draft fast. It doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of time on research until I’m certain a scene will stay in the book.

There are only 2 weeks left to the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest–make sure to get your entries in!

I have a couple Goodreads giveaways going on right now for The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts. The are open to any country in the world.

I can’t believe The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is coming out in 4 weeks. I’ve been preparing for this since March. Back then it seemed so far away. And now we are just 4 weeks until the release. I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m hopeful. I’m scared.

I’m really hoping sales are good. But I also know how hard it is for a book to get noticed and probability is not on my side. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic. But I don’t want to get my hopes smashed. I want my book to be beloved by readers. And deep down, I want this to be a hot summer release.

But at the same time I know how tiny a chance there is for that. So I just try my best and keep putting energy into promotion. Even when I have those moments where I’m not sure any of it will pay off. It’s like the lotto, you can’t win if you don’t play.

So I keep trying. And in 4 weeks, we’ll see what happens. Gulp.

Posted in Conferences, Contest, Events, Giveaways | Tagged , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Work and Play: Pic Monkey and Between

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I’m trying to think of creative ways to spread the word about TGWIG’s reviews and also remind people to preorder it on Amazon, so I have a chance at hitting the Amazon bestseller list on my release day.

I’ve seen other authors use a cool photo with a short blurb and the title and release date.

I’m not graphic design great or terribly tech savvy, but I’m good at tinkering and figuring things out.

I remembered reading about sites where I could do this a while back. I’ve almost exhausted my budget for graphic design work, so I thought, hmmm, maybe this is something I can take on.

I googled it. Pic Monkey came up. That name rang a bell from an article I’d read.

I have to use my own photos, but luckily I have 70k photos on my external hard drive that I took over the years. The challenge was finding an image that went with the blurb.

Then playing with it until it was really cool looking. Pic Monkey is free and has some really amazing things it can do to a photo.

My first attempt was awful. It took over an hour and it was hideous. But it wasn’t time wasted because I was learning how to use Pic Monkey.

The photo above is my second attempt. It’s a beach in Old Saybrook, CT. The town of Wright is loosely based on it. This is my third attempt:

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That was a cool mausoleum door in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in NY. Since my story is a YA time travel murder mystery I loved the hour glass image.

This was a really cool combo of work and play. I love photography and I’ve never played with the effects before and I got to create these promo pics for the book.

I’m also hard at work on the sequel to TGWIG. I’m laying down the first draft this summer. I drafted 100 pages in 10 days which is my most ambitious drafting schedule to date. Writing 10 pages a day while promoting and having a part time job was definitely a challenge.

I do see the pros of writing fast though. I don’t have time to dawdle or be uncertain. It’s gotta happen. And things get said a few times because I’m not sure where exactly they work best, but the bones are getting laid down and eventually re-arranged properly.

I’m doing a 3 day edit and then Tuesday I’m on to drafting the dreaded middle. I think I should be able to knock that out before ReaderCon.

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(This is also the door I used for the cool blue pic above)

Please remember to get your entries in to the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest. There are only 3.5 weeks left until the contest closes to entries!

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Between–Netflix does it again! It recommends stuff and I usually love it. Between is this sci-fi thriller about a town under quarantine because everyone over 22 suddenly starts dying. Within a month there is no one over 22 left.

It’s a really fascinating study of character because how people behave in these kinds of situations is really revealing. After 5 episodes I’m addicted. And I have to wait for episode 6.

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I have two audible.com free audiobook codes left if anyone (either US or UK Audible.com) is willing to trade an honest review for a free copy of The Six Train to Wisconsin’s audiobook. Just comment below with your email and make sure to say you want to trade an honest review for an audiobook, then I will send you the free audiobook. This will go to the first two commenters who do this.

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What have you been up to for work and play?

Posted in audiobook, marketing a book, Personal | Tagged , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Promo Work, Sequels, and Sanity Checks

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I feel a bit like Emerson lately. Squinting at the sun because I’ve been chained to my desk so much.

I’ve been so busy with promo work, you might have noticed I missed last week’s blog post. It was Monday afternoon when I noticed the lack of a post (because I hadn’t written one), so I figured the contest post would have to sustain you two weeks.

So here’s what’s been going on here.

Reagan, our 9 years old golden, has been recovering from a massive sinus infection that thank goodness wasn’t cancer.

My uncle had major spine surgery that involved fusion and rods last week.

The second draft of Six Train’s sequel is done and in the hands of beta readers.

I took a week to focus solely on promo stuff, during which I pounded out 8 guest blog posts, worked on an essay, paid for ad space and weighed in on ad designs for TGWIG, scheduled a library workshop, booked the venue for a cocktail party for the book (September 17th at Bin 300 in Wolcott), and finalized the script for the book trailer.

I have a brand new workshop I had to create for October. I spent several weeks in May drafting and fine tuning that. I also created podcasts to go with it. Laying down those three 3 minute tracks took hours.

Then last week, I started my summer writing project: the sequel to TGWIG. I had a 3 page outline I did in March. With Six Train’s sequel, I wrote a 90 page outline that took forever and then I didn’t really follow it because as I got into the story it didn’t feel right.

So on this sequel, I went back to what I did for the first book in a series–a short 3 page synopsis. I’m on tight deadlines because of Six Train’s sequel, so I have 3 months to lay down a first draft of TGWIG’s sequel and clean it up. That means I’m drafting 2000 words (10 pages) every day for a while. So far I’ve got 10k words on the page.

I’m finding the easiest way to face that word count is to go back over yesterday’s pages and start adding to the word count. Then when I get to the blank page, I’m in the flow of the story and I’m ready to go. It takes me 2-3 hours to knock out that word count.

Then it’s back to promo stuff. I set up three ads on Goodreads to start running. I’m working on another workshop for the library event in August.

And I’m gearing up to start offering school visits this year. Which means I have to figure out what I will charge and how to get the word out to schools and fine tune my workshops for teens.

Yes, it’s going to be a very busy summer!

There are some amazing entries to the Tell Me Your Ghost Story contest. I am so impressed by your writing skills. This is going to be a hard contest to judge! Thanks to everyone who has entered. We’ve got one month left on the contest, so make sure you get your entry in before July 15th at 11 p.m. EST!

On the good news front, The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts has some really awesome reviews coming in on Goodreads!

If you plan to order TGWIG from Amazon, please preorder it–it really helps jump my author ranking on the release day and will help my book hit the Amazon bestseller list!

Posted in Uncategorized | 29 Comments

Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest

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We are down to the final 2 months before The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts is officially released. Time to kick off the Tell Me Your Ghost Story contest!

I’m a huge fan of flash fiction writing contests, so I’ll start things rolling by telling you a 150 word or less ghost story from my life.

When I lived on Wall Street, one night in that haze between dreaming and fully awake, I saw people dressed in clothes from another era and exuding an eerie bluish light at the end of my bed. I felt like they wanted to tell me something. I have no idea how, but in my bones, I just understood that they were ghosts.

I freaked and threw the covers over my head because, as we all know, that protects us from the supernatural. By the time I’d gathered enough courage to look again, I was completely awake and they were gone. It turns out there were some horrible fires that destroyed buildings down there. I think when people die tragically something of them remains.

How the Contest Works

This contest is open to anyone 12 years old and up. (On Wattpad, 13 years old and up due to Wattpad’s terms of use.)

From June 1, 2015, at 7 a.m. EST to July 15, 2015, at 11:59 p.m. EST, I’ll be running the Tell Me Your Ghost Story Contest here on my blog and via Wattpad. It’s a flash fiction writing game with awesome prizes.

To enter, all you have to do is tell me your ghost story by commenting on this blog post before July 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Your comment must include your name, email, and your ghost story. The entire ghost story must be 150 words or less. (Note: Your title doesn’t count toward the 150 word count.) It can be based on your own ghostly encounter or can be a scary ghost story you make up.

Each contestant is allowed up to 3 entries. So if you can’t narrow it down to your favorite ghost story, you can post your top 3 ghost stories.

The story should be PG-13. It can fall into mystery/fantasy/paranormal/horror categories, but it must prominently feature a ghost. If it is longer than 150 words, it won’t be eligible for this contest.

If you are entering via Wattpad, please make sure to tag your story with: #TGWIGcontest #wpcontests so that I can find it and add it to the entries. Here’s the link to the contest on Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/myworks/41168308-tgwig-writing-contest

I will select the top ten best ghost stories based on spookiness and quality of writing. Then I will send them to my editor, Jessica Jernigan, who has graciously agreed to judge them for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in the contest.

The Prizes

3rd prize: A critique from K.C. Tansley of the first ten pages of your short story or manuscript + a query letter critique + an ebook copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts + author goodies. Total value: $50.

2nd prize: A one hour Skype visit with K.C. Tansley for you, your book club, your school, or your community. You can ask me any writing questions you’d like or chat about books with me. It’s your hour to pick my brain on anything writerly. If you want to pass pages by me for review, I can give you instant feedback during that hour. You’ll also receive a signed copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts + author goodies. Total value: $70

1st prize: A gorgeous limited edition sterling silver replica of the Radcliffe ruby necklace. There are only three in existence and they were hand crafted by Marina A. Raye. You will also receive a signed copy of The Girl Who Ignored Ghosts + author goodies. In addition, I will publish your winning story on my blog + sing your praises on social media. Total value: $150.

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 Announcement of Winners

Winners’ names will be posted on my blog and on Wattpad by August 5, 2015 11:59 p.m. EST. I will also email winners to request their mailing address by August 7, 2015 11:59 EST.

Posted in Contest, flash fiction writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 96 Comments