Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Amish

I just wanted to write a quick note about The Amish Mafia show airing tomorrow tonight. It’s no secret that the Amish lifestyle is a major part of my new YA novel. When I began writing Rumspringa a little over a year ago, the Amish hair cutting hate crimes were first reported in the news. I ended up using that as a major plot line. In the course of my research, I've discovered a wonderful online site about the Amish hereErik talks about Amish Mafia Brain Drain (which his title, by the way, is so apropo it cracks me up) and I thought I’d share for those of you who are interested.  Also, check out Bill Coleman's website for some spell binding photos of the Amish way of life. I am particularly drawn to the pictures of quilts as my grandmother and great aunt were fond of quilting and it brings back wonderful memories.


Monday, December 3, 2012

A BIG Thank You!

A BIG thank you to a local elementary school for inviting me to give an author presentation! I got to talk shop with seventy people for an hour and had a blast! They were so attentive and asked great questions, it was such a pleasure!

Reading excerpt from Between

Discussing Writing Tricks

In other good news, I’ve partnered with Barbed-Wire Books @ 504 Main St. Longmont. This brick and mortar bookstore will be selling paperback copies of Between! Another BIG thank you to owner Kathe Heinecken and if you haven’t dropped in yet you definitely should go check it out – one of the best indie bookstores around. Here are the photos to prove it.

Now don’t you just want to go curl up with a good book? Me, too.

Also, as a special promotion for the author talk and recent paperback release of Between, the Kindle eBook version is free this week only. It’s already climbed to #1 this morning on the Top 100 Free Children’s New Releases in Friendship which is great, great exposure!

So a BIG thank you to everyone!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November? WHATEVER.

Okay, so at the expense of repeating myself, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S ALREADY THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER! I can’t even. Moving on…

Finally, finally, finally my kids sports schedules have ceased giving us a quick refrain before the basketball season starts up. This past weekend Hansel didn’t even get out of his pajama’s which was just fine with me. I would’ve joined him except that I decided to start Pilyoga again in a concerted effort to lose five pounds before Christmas. You must be kidding me? you ask.  Yes, I am a glutton for punishment to start dieting a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving (pun intended). Anyway, I downloaded the MyFitnessApp which I’ve used before pretty successfully in an effort to record what I eat/exercise everyday. When I told My Knight In Shining Armor what I was doing he said wanted to join me but I quickly put a damper on that. You have to understand people: he just ran the Turkey Trot this weekend and eats like a bird (pun intended, I'm on a roll here). When I told him I didn’t want him to join me he looked up with shock and indignation. I explained, “You’re going to want to tell me all about your three hours runs and how many calories that burned followed by the two stalks of celery you ate after words. I won’t have this be a competition. Think of it like my writing. You’re job is to read what I write and say, ‘That’s wonderful, dear.’ I need the same thing here.”
I think he finally understood.

On that note, THINGS ARE HAPPENING with my writing but alas, very s.l.o.w.l.y. My edits for RUMSPRINGA got delayed by Storm Sandy followed by the Nor’easter. My freelance editor lives on the East Coast. Really and truly, the images are frightening and make me very thankful for hot water and food and everything. Hopefully, they can get back to some semblance of normal asap. I felt especially bad for Staten Island. Much of the publishing industry resides in the tri-state area and it was disheartening to read all the tweets but it sounds like most of the folks I follow are now back on their feet, so to speak.

I also found the most wonderful print on demand formatting service to make BETWEEN a paperback. If you want your book formatted for ePublishing or print I highly recommend, Deb with Arena Publishing. I made enough writing money last month I was like, Boo-Yah! back into the business it goes! So yes, BETWEEN will be available in paperback before Christmas. Details coming soon...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving…gobble, gobble!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Little Update

I am certain that I’m not going to be the only one to mention that fact that I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S ALREADY THE FIRST OF OCTOBER! Time to put on a sweater and sip a Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced latte while watching my kiddos rake the leaves into a pile to jump in (let me be sure to schedule that).

My daughter went to her first high school football game with her posse of friends and had a good time. According to her, EVERYONE was there. So if you’re missing someone, apparently they made their way to the LHS football game Friday night.

On that note, I heard some disturbing news about some girls at another middle school who are peer pressuring each other to burn their skin and rub salt in the wounds to scar. Ouch. Sometimes, it is hard as a writer to walk the fine line of pleasing the gatekeepers and my target market audience (tweens). Adults don’t want to hear about this stuff but it’s real and my view is to write about it. I don’t know about many coming of age books that are all rainbows and unicorns and I know this bothers a lot of the parents out there but growing up is hard work. I know I always appreciated honesty as a teen reader (and actually still do). I always loved Judy Blume’s response to adults who say these topics are too forward (and I’m paraphrasing here), that people who say their growing up was all roses perhaps aren’t remembering very truthfully. I like that…not remembering very truthfully. That cracks me up.

On that note, our schedule is about ready to crack me up for realz. I am usually a complete Nazi about leaving some time just to breathe but we are cutting it entirely too close to the edge. Also, our cat is waking me up at 5am every morning for some cuddle time because, needless to say, it’s the pets that get neglected when we are so busy. Want to know how someone’s life is going? Look at how their pets are doing.

I received a wonderful comment from the mother of a reluctant reader. She mentioned that it is sometimes difficult to get her son to read. OMG, let me tell you, I feel her pain. Hansel’s favorite subjects are recess and lunch. Getting him to read 30 minutes for his school reading log is like, well for lack of better analogy…pulling teeth. No, a root canal. No, more like being forced to watch an episode of Storage Wars while getting a root canal in 100 degree heat. There. That’s it. That’s what it’s like. Unless I bribe him, which I MIGHT have been known to do.

Anyway, when she wrote to tell me her son loved BETWEEN and was waiting on the edge of his seat for APART to come out I was floored. Number one, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I hear about boys reading BETWEEN because the protagonist is a girl. Number two, how much do I love that fact that someone is reading my book, no matter who they are? Number three, nothing will get me more motivated to write than hearing about someone waiting for another of my books to be written.  So thank you for sharing, I appreciate it more than you know! And, I get it. There are authors out there that I would pay to read their grocery list while I’m waiting for their next book to get released. So naturally, I am hard at work on APART.

Also, I decided to re-enroll in Kindle Direct Publishing Select again. This means that BETWEEN will only be offered on Amazon at the moment. At the beginning of September I published BETWEEN on the Barnes and Nobles site to which I received absolutely no sales at all and saw a significant drop in sales on Amazon. Before that about a third of my writing earnings originated from the Kindle Owners Lending Library (not an insignificant amount of money). When I read about the success other kidlit authors were having with KOLL I realized I must go back. I’m not going to lie, I’m in this to make money people so that I can fund my writing habit with more writing. My next step is to get BETWEEN available for print on demand (POD) so that I can get hard copies into the hands of readers. Um. Oh yeah, and also finish the sequel.

So there you have it. A uh, er— little update.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I am Such a Book Slut...

OMG, you guys! Today I am sharing some authors with you that are absolutely swoon worthy—you know the type— the kind that make me INSANELY JEALOUS because their writing is so brilliant! That when I read them I suppress the urge to pack my own writing away and stuff it in a drawer somewhere never to be seen again, but not quite (well, obviously, I’m posting this aren’t I?). I am hopelessly addicted to great writing and will always, always happily share those stories I run across with readers because word of mouth is the best advertisement. But first, I have a confession to make:

I get a little crush on whatever current fab author I’m reading. Does this happen to anyone else? Last week it was the brilliant Lauren Oliver and this week it is the Hafer brothers. I don't discriminate. I’m so fickle, it changes all the time. Who knew I could be such a book slut? (don’t answer that) LOVE, them! Want to go to LUNCH, with them! Want to pick their BRAINS, with them! Okay, gross. But you know what I mean.

So to start off, I absolutely DEVOURED Lauren Oliver’s Delirium and Pandemonium series. I mean, listen to this: her protagonist is trapped in a prison cell for days and is talking about time and how slowly it can go and I quote,

“The hours here are flat and round, disks of gray layered one on top of the other. They smell sour and musky, like the breath of someone who is starving. They move slowly, at a grind, until it seems as though they are not moving at all. They are just pressing down, endlessly down.”

*swoon*  I am dying here! Is that not the most amazing description of time-inching-along that you’ve ever laid your eyes on? That is the prose of a true writer, my friend. She takes something as universal as time and nails it with the most unique and gorgeous description I’ve ever heard. I can’t even.

The other story I am compelled to share with you is Bad Idea by Jedd and Todd Hafer. I downloaded this gem when I was checking my own book every other minute on the free download day on Amazon. This is such beautiful, wry, caustic, painful (but in a good way), amazing writing I don’t understand why it’s not on the bestseller list somewhere. I have a feeling it hasn’t been exposed to it’s target market audience yet (there seems to be an awful lot of conservative adults reviewing it on Amazon). But really it NEEDS to be in the hand of high schoolers. What I want to say to those reviewers who don’t quite “get it”…have you walked the halls of a middle or high school lately???

I thought so.

If you love J.D. Salinger or Kurt Vonnegut or John Green, this book is for you. I mean, laugh out loud, pee in your pants biting sarcasm ON. EVERY. PAGE. It drove me nuts because I can only come up with something like that in my own writing every once in awhile. But whatever.

Get thee to an Amazon button and download these books, stat. You won’t be disappointed!

You’re welcome!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Big Thank You

I cannot even tell you how grateful I am to connect with so many readers last week during the free promotional download for BETWEEN. I get a big thrill when I think about people enjoying the characters in this story. I even received my first fan email who called BETWEEN "a fun uplifting book" and couldn't wait to read the sequel. I can tell you this, the feeling is mutual. I'm SO anxious to get it out to you guys! I had originally planned on APART being released in the spring of 2013 and will try to move it up once Rumspringa (my YA debut) is finished. But I will not sacrifice good writing in order to do so. Creating a novel is a process, that's for sure.


Last week BETWEEN climbed to #3 on Amazon's Children's Top 100 Free Bestseller List and #1 in the specific category of Social Situations and Emotions and Feelings books. 

Thank you for that. I mean it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

BETWEEN #1 on Amazon Top Free 100 Children's Friendship Books!!!

BETWEEN is #1 Best Seller on Amazon's Top 100 Free Books for Children on Friendship!! Woo-hoo! This is what the free promo does folks - it gets your name out there and results in lots of downloads and eventual sales.
Also, BETWEEN is featured on Cents-ible eReads Free Feature today. Please check out the link here. Thanks a bunch for spreading the word! Also, download and enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Teaser #1

At the pumpkin patch...

Maybe I’m too old for this now. This used to be fun.  Turning the corner by the barn, I spy endless rows of pumpkins making a haphazard pattern in the field.  
     I want a really giant one this year to fill this expanding hole in my chest.  When I find the biggest one, I try to lift it into the wagon.  Which isn’t working out so well.  It’s seriously heavy.
     “What are you trying to do, sink the Titanic with that?” 
     Startled, I turn to face Ryan staring down at me from underneath his long eyelashes.
     Oh, man.  I haven’t seen him since the note writing incident.  But now I know that he knows that I might like him.  Especially after what Joey said to me in the hallway.  Ryan knows.  He must know. About the note. Especially considering the fact that he and Joey hang out together and everything.
     “That was a joke. Earth to Peaches.” He lifts his eyebrows questioningly.
     I feel my cheeks flame.  “Um, yeah,” I say, squinting up at him, helpless.  
     “Would you like a hand with that?” he offers.
     “Um, yeah,” I say again, because evidently that is the extent of my vocabulary.
       He grins.  “Ma’am,” he tips his imaginary hat my direction and speaks in a western drawl. “I’d be honored if you’d lemme help you with that.”
     Goofy but cute.  
     So I decide to play along.  “Why, thank you,” I say in my best demure voice and flutter my eyelashes, then crack-up because I feel so ridiculous.  He chuckles, too.  Amazingly, through a fit of laughter, we manage to get the ginormous pumpkin into the wagon without crushing our fingers.  But then it’s like, mission accomplished, and things get quiet.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Teaser #2

 My new schedule looks like this:
     1st period—Advanced Math
     2nd period-–Advanced English
     3rd period–-Social Studies
     4th period–-Beginning Band
     5th period-–Science
     6th period–-P.E.
     7th period- Art
     It sure is going to be weird not to have the same teacher all day, not to mention any recess.  
          While Ms. Brown calls attendance, Jeanie taps my shoulder and we quickly compare schedules.  We have Advanced English and Art together.
     “Geez, are you a brainiac?” she whispers, but not unkindly.  “You’ve got all the advance classes.”
     “Um, I guess I like to get good grades,” I admit, wondering if that makes me sound super conceited. 
     “I’m not very good at math,” Jeanie confesses.
     “Joey McGregor?” barks Ms. Brown.
     “Yep.”  Joey’s voice is muffled because he is slouched down in his chair.
     Ms. Brown peers over her bifocals apparently studying Joey.  In a steely voice she adds, “Mr. McGregor, you will respond appropriately with “here” when called.  Is that understood?”
     The class is dead silent.
     Joey makes a big production of sitting up, ram-rod straight in his chair.  “Here!” he shouts.
    He is such a doofus.  I would never consider talking back to a teacher.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Teaser #3
This is crazy.  Evidently each of us; Mom, Dad and me have to be interviewed by a court appointed advocate.  I don’t even know what kind of questions they’ll ask.  What if I mess up?  What if I give them the wrong answers and they give me away to the next passerby?  
     This is the kind of thing I used to run over to Wren’s place and consult with her about.  I really miss being able to do that.  Sometimes, I really just want to talk to my best friend.  So instead, I try to call Jeanie on the phone.  Her mom answers and says that she’s out at her Dad’s.  I grab Bert and go to my room and listen to my new iPod.  Some stupid song with a repetitive chorus lasts an eternity.  I turn it back off and fall asleep early.  
     That night, I have a dream that I’m late for class at school and can’t remember my locker combination.  Joey is the only one who knows it.  In the dream, he tauntingly holds the scrap of paper with the combination of numbers high above his head where I can’t reach it.  When I wake up, I feel irritated.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Four...

Teaser #4

But a school dance?  I have never thought of that.  Of course, Lori and Jay will go together because they’ve been going together ever since the end of fourth grade.  If you ask me, Jay is girl crazy.  When we first moved here, in the beginning of fourth grade, he put a gumball machine ring in my lunchbox.  My dad about had a cow over that!  Dad said I was too young to be going with someone.  He didn’t have to worry, I didn’t want to go with Jay.  I don’t think he understood that in fourth grade, going together means you basically play together at recess and that’s about it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Free Promotional Count Down Begins... In Five...

As I mentioned before, I chose to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing Select for the use of some exceptional promotional tools, one of which is that BETWEEN will be listed for FREE on Amazon for five days in a row, beginning Monday, July 16th.

As we all know, the best advertisement for a book is word of mouth. This is why editors and agents can’t exactly predict which books will be the next big thing (that’s not to say there aren't some good indicators, because of course there are and folks in the publishing industry are experts at this). It may seem counterintuitive but numbers have shown that the more free downloads of a book, the better the sales. So this is why I will be offering a teaser per day in a five day count down to five days of free downloads!

Teaser #5
By the time I get to school the next day, the rumor mill has completed its circuit.  Everyone now knows that I think Noah Johnson is cute.  Well, so what?  Half the sixth grade population thinks he’s cute— and that’s not news.  But now Wren is really mad at me.  She’s not at my locker before Social Studies, like usual.  She never told me outright she liked Noah, but it’s pretty obvious to anyone with eyeballs.  And now, everyone thinks I like him, too.  Which I don’t.  Not on your life.  And I’m feeling miserable about the part about Ryan.  How I wrote his name in that note also.  I really don’t want him to know I might like him.  Actually, I don’t even know if I do.  It’s just that, now I’ll never know.  I just thought it was nice when we played basketball together, and my name sounded so good when he said it.
     I’m beginning to think middle school is more like a battle field than an actual learning environment.       

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I'm an INFJ, what are you?

Yesterday, on a whim, I took a personality test that categorized me as INFJ (introvert, intuitive, feeling, judging). Apparently, only one percent of the population tests at this level. I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about that. I mean, for obvious reasons, it validated how I can really feel so outside the box with my unorthodox views. But on the other hand, it left me feeling a bit lonely, because I don’t always connect with the rest of the world.

After all, here are some infamous INFJ types:

Adolf Hitler
Osama bin Laden
Mel Gibson
Ayatollah Khomeini

All of a sudden, my #axisofevilpickuplines tweets don’t seem so funny anymore… Are you sure you're not a terrorist? Because you've just captured my heart and are holding it hostage. #axisofevilpickuplines or Was that an explosion or did you just rock my world? #axisofevilpickuplines. When I am in heaving editing mode, I pretend I am an evil dictator that has to “kill my darlings”, i.e. get rid of prose I love if it does not advance the story plot. I like to play Napoleon with a guillotine. But it’s pretend! Really!

On the brighter side, here are some more idol worthy INFJ types:

Mother Teresa
Oprah Winfrey
Martin Luther King Jr.
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Agatha Christie
Dante Alighieri
Edward Norton
Cate Blanchett
Noam Chomsky
Carrie Fisher
Billy Crystal
Mahatma Gandi
Jimmy Carter

INFJ’s are pretty even in terms of utilizing both left and right brain talents (case in point: I’m an aerospace engineer turned novelist). And here is an excellent description of the INFJ personality. Pretty amazingly accurate, I think.

What type are you?  Go here to find out.

Friday, June 29, 2012

BETWEEN is Today’s Feature on Cents-ible eReads!

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s been an incredible week. Today, I am so pleased to announce that BETWEEN is featured on Cents-ible eReads! Please click the link, check it out and share profusely. I am especially excited because there is an audio excerpt of me reading the first chapter!

Not sure a middle grade story is the book for you? Listen and find out!

Also, if you or someone you know would be interested in reviewing BETWEEN for your blog. You can email me at cariouweneel[at]comcast[dot]net.

Many thanks!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

BETWEEN is #28 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Children’s Emotion & Feeling’s Books

This has been a tremendous week! A big THANK YOU for all of the love and support of my middle grade debut, BETWEEN. As those of you close to me know, I had gotten pretty close to getting picked up by the traditional publishing market. It took me a long time to decide to go indie with BETWEEN but I’m so happy I did. Because I just found out that BETWEEN is #28 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases for Children’s Emotion & Feeling’s Books. Please click on the link and check it out! I am so thankful and proud!

As readers and book enthusiasts everywhere know, the best marketing for a good read is word of mouth. That’s why it’s so difficult for editors and agents to predict which books are going to be best sellers. If it were easy, we’d all be doing That Which Is Easy. I very much appreciate you spreading the word. All the emails, comments, tweets, Facebook likes, etc. really do add up and make a difference!

I am tickled to the core and had to interrupt my daily writing to share this amazing post!


Update: Apparently the Amazon's Hot New Release list gets updated hourly. Currently (at the time this update gets posted) BETWEEN has moved to #31. Not sure what you'll find when you click on the link but the day I get in the top ten you'll probably hear about it! ;-) And, I'll not forget to snapshot the page!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Release of debut book BETWEEN!

I’m excited to share with you the launch of my new website and release of my debut middle grade book BETWEEN, now available on Amazon!

When good girl Lucy Montone, or Peaches-n-Cream as her family likes to call her, is shocked by the sudden announcement of her parents divorce, she starts sixth grade with her world turned upside down.  Peaches, desperately wants things to be like they used to.  This seems impossible when she learns that her best friend has just dropped her for someone else and that the certified school creep considers her his favorite target. Worst of all, she will be forced to decide between her parents in a heated custody battle.  On the edge of thirteen, Peaches discovers that life can take an unpredictable course and that sometimes breaking the rules and letting go are part of growing up and making the unthinkable choice.

Please feel free to buy, download, read, review, comment, tweet, Facebook and share profusely! Many thanks!
Anyone can read BETWEEN by downloading the free Kindle App on their Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad , Blackberry, Android and Windows 7 phones. Just order BETWEEN off of Amazon and downloadBETWEEN will soon be available on Sony, Kobo, Barnes & Nobles, Apple, too. Please read the FAQ section of this website for more details.

I’m off to go celebrate.