Monday, June 20, 2016

Guest Blogger: Cara McKinnon

I'm super excited to have fellow blogger and writer, Cara McKinnon, as a guest on my blog today. Cara is here to share her writing and publishing journey. Welcome, Cara!


Making a Commitment to Become a Published Author
by Cara McKinnon
I have always been a writer. Since I first learned how to hold a pencil and compose a complete sentence, I have been using my words to tell stories. I wrote several half-finished novels in high school, and finally finished one in college. Then I finished another shortly after I got married. It was after finishing that book that I decided I wanted to go to school for writing.
I ended up at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction MFA program, which is a fabulous environment for authors in various stages of their writer’s journey. I had a wonderful mentor, Maria V. Snyder, who encouraged me to immediately begin submitting my thesis to agents and editors when I graduated in 2012. But in the four years since graduation, I’ve never gotten a “bite” on my submissions. Maria says she still believes in the project, so maybe someday I’ll unearth it, but I was very discouraged by the amount of rejections I’d started to accumulate. I wrote another book and it’s been rejected a few times, too (although always with very thoughtful criticisms and praises for things I was doing right).
Then, last summer at the yearly In Your Write Mind conference hosted by the Seton Hill Alumni (which is open to all writers, and you should come!), an editor from Tor Books named Claire Eddy gave a talk about the state of publishing. She said the problem was she couldn’t buy all of the books she loved like she once did. They used to have a place in their publication schedule for something called a “midlist” – titles that would be printed as mass market paperbacks (those are the smaller sized softcovers) and would not get as much marketing push and store placement as a big hardcover release. As book sales moved online, that midlist had disappeared.
At least for big publishers. The thing is – the people that bought midlist books are still buying them. They’re just buying them from Amazon now.
And that was when I decided to start publishing my books independently. Oh, I still hope to sell some of my projects to traditional publishing houses. It’s nice to be a hybrid author, because there’s still a certain prestige that comes from being vetted by the big publishers in New York. And they have placement in bookstores that I’ll never get otherwise, and throw at least a few marketing dollars at their projects.
But I can still put my books out for the world to read. I can still share my stories with the world. I just have to do it myself. And I committed to starting that journey this year. When I finished the first draft of my new book, I told myself it would be available for purchase by the time I went to this year’s In Your Write Mind workshop.
I hired an editor, made a cover, and started my journey. Now the book is getting ready for release, I have another two releases scheduled for the rest of the year, and the future for my books looks bright.
It has been quite a journey so far, and it’s only just beginning!
Cara McKinnon writes fantasy romances because her heart pumps equal parts magic and passion. Her love of history caused her to set her books in an alternate Victorian era, with surprisingly few changes from the real world. She lives on the East Coast of the US with her husband, two kids, and an oversized lapdog named Jake.
Her website is

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Blog Tour Featuring The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin's Rampant Rack)

It's release week for The Trouble with Antlers, which is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, and goes live this Thurs., June 23.

Available on Amazon

In honor of its release, I'm participating in a blog tour all week. Here is where you can find me this week:

Mon., June 20:  Visit Firefly Hill Press to read a memo from Shifterville's mayor, David Peacock, on the preparations being made for the arrival of the town's first human residents.

Tues., June 21:  Visit Cara McKinnon's site for a peek at how Shifter High is prepping for the arrival of its newest, and first human, student.

Wed., June 22: Visit Jennifer Loring's site for an inside look at the greatest threat to shifters today: Melvin Moose.

Thurs., June 23: RELEASE DAY! Visit Jessica Knauss' site for a sneak peak and excerpt from The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin's Rampant Rack).

Fri., June 24: Visit J.L. Gribble's site for an author interview, where I talk about the writing process, creating the world of Shifterville and upcoming projects.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Interview with a Moose

Today, we welcome guest blogger, Tyrabbisaurus Rex, who will be interviewing Melvin Moose from The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a., Melvin's Rampant Rack).

Welcome, gentlemen.

Rex, take it away.


Rex: So, Melvin. You're a moose.

Melvin: Shifter.

R: I'm sorry, what?

M: Moose shifter. I'm a moose shifter.

R: And what exactly does that mean?

M: Basically that I can shift from my human form to my moose one whenever I want. And sometimes when I don't want.

R: Yeah, but when wouldn't you want to be a moose?

M: Well, it's not always the best time, now is it? Would you want to be in the middle of class, trying to take a test, having to deal with sudden moositude? Well, would you?

R: Um, well, sure, I mean -

M: Of course you wouldn't.

R: Okay, so if you don't like shifting into a moose, why not choose a different animal? Like, say, an alligator?

M: Because there aren't any alligators in my family tree.

R: Aha! So there are alligator shifters, then?

M: Well, actually, I'm not sure. I've never met one before, but I would imagine they exist somewhere.

R: So how do I do it?

M: Do what?

R: Shift into an alligator, of course. I thought you'd be smarter, since you've got some animal in you, but apparently the human traits outweigh your animal ones.

M: Wait, so you want to shift?

R: Of course!

M: But you're not a human. Are you?

R: Of course not! Blech. Who would want to be a human? I'm a Tyrabbisaurus Rex!

M: Yes, but -

R: And I've decided to be an alligator too.

M: Why an alligator? Just curious.

R: Big mouth. Lots of teeth. Good for chewing veggies. Oh! Speaking of veggies. Parsley! Chomp-chomp-chomp.

M: Well, that's interesting and all, but um, I really should get going -

R: No, wait! Chomp, chomp, chomp. A.J. says you have antlers.

M: Unfortunately.

R: I want antlers too. I want to be a Tyrabbisaurus Rex shifter with antlers.

M: I'm confused.

R: I don't know why. Just show me how to shift into an alligator with antlers.

M: Well, look at the time. I've really got to go.

R: Aw, come on.

M: Nope. Sorry. Top secret shifter business. Can't be shared. You understand.

R: That's not very nice.

M: Well, you know how it is. I'm sure there are top secret bunny -

R: Bunny? Who are you calling bunny, mister?

M: Uhhh -

R: I'm a Tyrabbisaurus Rex!

M: Yes, right. So I'm sure there are top secret -

R: Tyrabbisaurus.

M: Right, tyrabbisaurus things you couldn't share with me.

R: Hm. Good point. Very well. I'll figure out this shifter business on my own. I'm smart. I'm sure I can manage one simple little shift.

M: Well, good luck with that.

R:  Don't need luck. I'm a Tyrabbisaurus Rex. I make my own luck!

M: Of course you do. Well, I'm going to go now.

R: Yeah. Bye. Antlers. Antlers. I'm picturing antlers, right about - oooh. Kale! Yummy! Chomp-chomp-chomp-chomp.


And that was Rex interviewing Melvin the Moose. Surprisingly, the interview revealed very little about Melvin himself. I'm sure that's not because of Rex's personality or anything. If you'd like to know more about Melvin and his world, be sure to check out The Trouble with Antlers (a.k.a. Melvin's Rampant Rack) on Amazon.