Tips for Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse and the YA Spring Fling Giveaway

From March 15th to 30th, a group of YA authors are participating in the YA Spring Fling Giveaway and blog hop.

YA Spring Fling med

Effie’s Senior Year, The Engine Driver, Don’t Haunt This Place and Lover I Don’t Have to Love are all participating in the giveaway, and I’ve already sent in my guest post. Here’s a sneak peek:

What are your top tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse?

Surviving a zombie apocalypse is all about forethought and preparation.

1.) Make slow friends.
Before you accept anybody’s friendship, challenge them to a road race. If you can outrun them, then congrats, you have a new friend! You’ll at least survive a bit longer than them in the zombie apocalypse.

If you can’t outrun them, then their friendship eventually means that you will be zombie food. Ask yourself, “Am I willing to be gorged on by a zombie for this person?” If not, then perhaps you need a new friend.

2.) Build skills, not a stock pile.
Most guides will probably tell you that you should have a warehouse full of supplies. But then you will be less likely to leave them if your current situation becomes untenable. Instead, casually teach yourself the skills needed to survive a zombie apocalypse. Don’t let too many people know though, or the zombies will figure it out and instead of eating you, you will be repairing the zippers on zombie pants.

Small ways to gain zombie survival skills without attracting attention:

• “Oh, this herb garden? I’m not trying to learn how to grow enough food to survive a zombie apocalypse. I just really like fresh basil.”

• “Oh, this blanket made by the fronts of all my favorite but too-small band t-shirts? I’m not trying to learn how to quilt to survive the zombie apocalypse. I just really don’t like throwing out shirts.”

• “Oh, this popsicle stick model of a collapsible, portable dwelling? I’m not trying to figure out how to shelter myself during the zombie apocalypse. I just have a school project about camping.”

The full guest post can be found on Stacy Claflin’s blog later this month as part of the YA Spring Fling giveaway.

What I Learned from #PitMad

1.) This is a terribly stressful thing to decide to do while you’re riding the subway home.

2.) Well-meaning significant others, who you love with all your heart, are terrible sounding boards for pitches about books they haven’t read yet.

2a.) They are great at puns though. Even if you can’t use them.

3.) To be most successful, you’d probably have to schedule out all of your tweets ahead of time.

3a.) This is obviously impossible to do when you’re on a crowded subway, and always have to be focused on the game of “Is that a hand? Or someone’s bag?” to make sure that nobody is taking liberties.

4.) As in all things, jumping in at the last minute really told me that I am feeling stressed about my lack of time to devote to an actual agent search. While this felt, at the time, like something to do to make progress, in truth, I was already set up to fail because I was not prepared.

So, ultimately, I think for me “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As in, I already successfully secured representation through the traditional route before, so there was no need to wreck a lovely walk and dinner with my love so that I could wrack my brain for how to shove all of the complexities and subtleties of The Adventures of Pudding Boy into 140 characters.*

Also, I feel like I’d have a better chance of securing the right agent and editor relationship through the traditional route.

That’s not to say that I’m poo-pooing Pitch Madness. I just don’t think this is the route for me.

 

*That said, I thought this one was pretty clever, even if it’s terrible as a book pitch:

The Clear Sky Files – Part 2

To read The Clear Sky Files from the beginning, click here.


She was right. There were no clouds above her house. But then again, there weren’t any clouds above my house either. It was a beautiful Spring day.

The front curtains moved, and I dove into the bushes that lined the edge of her property. Sometimes, detective work is dirty.

I brushed the dirt from my knee.

Real dirty.

Margaret opened her front door and stepped out on to her porch.

You may be wondering, at this point, how I found her. She must have dropped her purse in the hallway, because on my way out the door I found her card, with a message on back.

141 Church Street. Don’t be late.

You may think this is all too convenient. But I call it good detective work. Afterall, I mighta walked right over that card and never seen it, and then I wouldn’t be here spying on Margaret from her bushes.

Anyway. I couldn’t be late, since we didn’t make an appointment.

Maybe she didn’t mean for me to find that card. Maybe she’s expecting somebody else…

Just then, Frankie’s car pulled into her driveway. Or at least it looked like Frankie’s car. But the man that got out was no copper, that’s for sure.

He was tall and broad-backed, with a hat low on his head. His right hand was covered in rings so big I could see them from my hiding — I mean, surveillance — spot in the bushes.

He grunted something to Margaret. Something guttural and unfamiliar.

She nodded as she opened her clutch and pulled out a cigarette case. She put her hands in front of her face, as if she was lighting a match.

But she didn’t light a match. She pushed a trigger.


More personally…
This month I’ll be participating in the YA Spring Fling Giveaway. Stay tuned for more details!

My latest book, Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories is now available on Amazon.

You can also download Effie at the Wedding free for a limited time on Amazon US (UK), Barnes and NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords, and the Sony eReader Store.

New subscribers can receive two free short stories by signing up for updates about my books or editorial work here, and you can follow me on Twitter or Goodreads.

3 Reasons Effie is Glad It’s Her #BookBirthday

Today is the publication day for Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories, so I thought it’d be appropriate for Effie to say a few words on this momentous occasion.
Effie's Senior Year

3 Reasons I, Effie Green, Am Glad That Today is My Book Birthday

3.) As hard as Ophelia tries, she will never have a book birthday.

3 a.) That said, she has pushed out a baby, which will have birthdays annually. I’ll pretty much have this birthday once.

3 b.) But how special is something that happens annually, compared to something that happens once in a lifetime? It’s like today is Haley’s Comet, and Ophelia’s baby will have birthdays like…. well, birthdays.

3 c.) Birthdays come with cake though, and Haley’s Comet comes with standing outside in the freezing cold while your mother yells at the top of her lungs that “Effie, I can see you’re cold! Didn’t we just buy you a padded bra? Come inside and you can watch this on TV!”

2.) Today’s book birthday means that I have survived my senior year of high school.

2 a.) Just barely.

2 b.) That said, there were only a few days were I thought I would die a literal death. These days usually coincided with major school events, and pretty much any day where Robbie had just had a chocolate milkshake and refused to roll down the windows even though he was creating enough methane for literally every cow whose milk he had just drank.

1.) I get to talk to you one last time before my series is closed.

1 a.) Oh my god, who am I going to talk to now?

1 b.) And what about when I go to college?

1 c.) Gulp. Am I going to have to take advice from my mom?!

1 d.) WAIT! WAIT! I AM NOT GLAD IT’S MY BOOK BIRTHDAY!


More personally…
This month I’ll be participating in the YA Spring Fling Giveaway. Stay tuned for more details!

My latest book, Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories is now available on Amazon.

You can also download Effie at the Wedding free for a limited time on Amazon US (UK), Barnes and NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords, and the Sony eReader Store.

New subscribers can receive two free short stories by signing up for updates about my books or editorial work here, and you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Goodreads.

Bittersweet Feelings on the End of the Effie Stories

Effie-Series-806-by-393

Finishing a series is bittersweet.

On March 8th, Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories will be published. Effie will graduate from high school, and in a small way, it feels like I’m closing a chapter, too.

For the last few years I’ve seen Effie as a series of shorts that brought her through her senior year, though I did leave myself room for an Effie novel that takes place during the summer before her freshman year of college. That said, I don’t know what Effie’s story is that summer.

So for now, it is goodbye to Effie, Ophelia, Robbie, and all Effie’s crazy relatives. And while it sometimes doesn’t feel like it, I’ve actually been with Effie for quite a while.

The Beginning of Effie

“The Wedding” was a short story that I previewed on the blog back in 2009. I later published the whole draft in three separate posts, and got a lot of positive feedback (though it looks like along the way, I deleted those three posts.)

Between 2009 and 2010, I uploaded a finished version of Effie At The Wedding to Scribd as an experiment. I forgot about it for a while, until I started shopping for an agent. The story had been featured as a Scribd Editor’s Pick and had racked up more than 40,000 reads. (By the time I switched to distributing to Scribd through Smashwords, it reached over 72,000, but alas, they couldn’t merge the counts from one version onto the page for the new one.)

I played with the idea of a non-linear version of Effie’s story – an interactive website where one could click various pieces of ephemera and learn more about Effie and her life. I started building a sample, but in the end, I didn’t have the resources to execute this idea in a way that I’d be proud of, and so I scrapped it.

I also started working with Antlers on a stage adaptation of Effie’s story. This was put on hold, but I still have all of our work, and would love to get back to it some day.

A Different Opportunity for Effie

When I was started working on Pub Speak: A Writer’s Dictionary of Marketing Terms, I was having so much fun with the process that I decided to purchase new cover art for Effie as well, and distribute through the same channels. Effie At The Wedding was published on Amazon on March 31, 2011 – one day after Pub Speak.

After publishing, I started to see Effie as a series of shorts. I published George & Ophelia’s First Christmas in November 2011, Effie On A Date in May 2012, Effie On Vacation in June 2012 and Effie Goes To Prom in November 2012.

In all this time, I learned about how to find readers, how to gather fair and honest reviews, how to use giveaways to increase readership and – frankly – how much work is required to move that dial!

I also started graduate school in September of 2012, which is partially why the final Effie story wasn’t ready until 2015.

The other reason that the end of Effie’s story has taken me so long to write, is that I didn’t want to get it wrong.

In a way, this short story that I wrote on a whim in 2009 became the impetus for my entire self-publishing journey. But what started as an experiment with Scribd quickly became a character that readers were identifying with and rooting for.

I don’t know that I will write that Effie novel. I know that I have other books that have to be written first. But I’ve also felt the pressure to write an incredibly satisfying goodbye.

I hope I’ve done it. I’m excited to see Effie’s full story available to readers. But I’m nervous, too.

Stories are usually judged by their beginnings and endings. And Effie deserves a great ending, since she was a great beginning for me.


More personally…
My latest book, Effie’s Senior Year: The Complete Effie Stories is available for pre-order on Amazon.

You can also download Effie at the Wedding free for a limited time on Amazon US (UK), Barnes and NobleiTunesKoboScribdSmashwords, and the Sony eReader Store.

New subscribers can receive two free short stories by signing up for updates about my books or editorial work here, and you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Goodreads.