Monday, December 31, 2012
*Published The Sour Orange Derby, Dungeon, and two Helping Hands books. This was a great year for publishing, and everything that came with it, including meeting some awesome indie authors and joining their group. Raine Thomas, Tiffany King, Sarah Ross, and C.A. Kunz, I'm looking at you!
*Completed two novels - The Never and the next Helping Hands novel. These are written but still in the editing phases, which means they will be released in the coming year.
*Broadened my marketing horizons. I think the FIHA Powwow in the beginning of the year was my favorite, getting to connect with my culture, sell books, and spend time with people who celebrate Native American traditions.
*Started teaching creative writing classes at my Alma matter. Never in my life did I ever think I'd be a teacher, let alone an actual professor, but who could turn down such an opportunity? I've discovered that I actually love teaching, and that I'm pretty good at it too.
*Fulfilled my lifelong dream of being an editor. As a kid I dreamed of working for a publishing house as an editor, but let's face it. I'm not cut out for NYC. That dream took a back burner for a while, but with the help of my writing buddies, the dream has become reality.
So, with all that said, what's on tap for 2013? I figure, 2012 gave me the momentum I needed to really get things going and keep them moving forward. I refuse to let myself go backwards. I've set my goals as follows:
*Publish at least three novels. This will include The Never and the fourth Helping Hands book, as well as the third installment in The Whisper Legacy, Into the Shadow Realm.
*Write my first-ever children's book. I think this will be fun, and certainly different for me!
*Complete the fifth Helping Hands novel and start the fourth and final installment in The Whisper Legacy. That's a lot of writing!
*Build my editing portfolio. Long term, I'd like to just be an author and editor. Gotta start somewhere, so let 2013 be the year of building that business.
*Be healthier. In non-writing-related goals, it's time to be healthy. This means to exercise regularly and eat better. Of course, I won't be giving up my Doritos, but I will try to swap them out for some fruit every so often. Maybe.
*Teach more. I'm hoping to get more classes this summer and fall, and become more of a fixture at the school. I also want to research grants and try to get a writing center going at my university.
Looking at this list overwhelms me a bit. It's a lot to do, and only a year in which to do it. Tomorrow kicks off Day One, so let the adventure begin!
In the meantime, here's a cute picture of Ferguson, the star of my children's book:
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The time has come for The Iron Fist: Legacy of the Helping Hands! I'm excited to announce its release, and even more excited to let everyone know that I am currently working on the next book in the series, which has never before been printed!
Below is the synopsis for The Iron Fist as well as a sample chapter (the prologue). Apologies for the inconsistent formatting. Blogger is not cooperating with me at the moment.
The Iron Fist follows rough-and-tough Melanie O'Conner as she struggles to get her life back on track, all while being pulled back into her old life by a child in need. Check it out on Amazon and CreateSpace! E-book versions are coming soon.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Zoom in a few times because the booth numbers are ungodly small, and look toward the bottom, across from the Veteran's Park and at the corner of the "soccer field parking." See Booth #56? That's where yours truly will be this October 6th and 7th.
I'm very excited about this. It's a great location right in the middle of things (on the other side of the lake is where I did my sidewalk paintings at Family Days for 10 years straight). Last year I was right by the amphitheater. Usually, Booth #56 is surrounded by food vendors, and I'm hoping that stays the same so I can smell popcorn and hot dogs and roasted almonds all day long...and send S out on missions to find me some.
I was just informed earlier that all booths for Family Days are sold out, and that they sold out in record time. Glad I got my registration in early! I know I said this last year, but I love Family Days and would be really disheartened to not be a part of it. This will be my 12th year as a participant (10 years as an artist, 2 as a vendor).
Be sure to come see me October 6th and 7th. I should have the next book in the Helping Hands series, Shadows in the Night (blog post on that coming soon) available, but I'll only have a small amount so get yours first!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I can't tell you how many times I hear this at book signings, writing/book conventions, and during random conversations. Each time I smile and nod and offer a few tips on writing, and each time in my head I'm judging you. Hard.
First of all, this asinine statement makes it sound like writing is easy, that anyone can do it and do it easily. Sure, anyone can write, but writing a good book IS hard work. It takes time, dedication, focus, and passion. This is not to say that every book is good, or will appeal to everyone, but regardless, a book isn't something you can just throw together all willy-nilly and think it's up to par with the work of someone who has given it the proper amount of time and attention.
Second of all, it's incredibly insulting to those of us who don't write simply to cash in on a fad and make a quick buck. Some of us simply love to write, and enjoy sharing our words with others. It's fun, it's hard work, it's fulfilling, and there's nothing else we'd rather do. It's not all about the money, which is why many, many, many of us have other jobs and use what little free time we do have to write. Because we love it.
At my last book event, I had no less than five "writers" say this to me. One stated that the economy was bad and she couldn't find a job, so she was going to write a book and cash in on the paranormal trend/craze while it was still hot since "people love vampires and I figure books can't be all that hard to do." Another asked if my books paid all the bills and allowed me lots of vacation time/spending money, and when I stated otherwise, decided "maybe writing isn't worth it after all." I was tempted to ask their names simply so I'd know better than to buy their books in the future.
Maybe I just don't understand this mindset. Perhaps I'm too sensitive. Sure, every writer wants to be successful and be able to support themselves solely on their books. But unless you are incredibly lucky or know someone in the industry, chances are, you aren't going to be an overnight hit. Maybe you never will be, but if you love writing, then that doesn't matter. You do it anyway because it's about doing what you love, and not about trying to leech ideas off of people you think are also only writing to pad their bank account.
If your goal is to be rich and famous overnight by writing a book you don't care about past a paycheck, then good for you. I wish you the best of luck. Just leave me out of it.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
The Florida Heritage Book Festival in St. Augustine, Florida was a success! I sold a lot of books, the most popular being The Sour Orange Derby. I definitely need to order more in time for Port Orange Family Days next month. I also got a chance to network with people and get new ideas for marketing my books, including making audio books and videos featuring local Native American histories and landmarks. More on that to come!
I also got two new indie books to read for my Indie Year Challenge - Prey of the Spirit Bear and memoirs from a flight attendant (can't remember the exact title, but I will post more about it after it's read). I started the Spirit Bear book already and am excited to get into it. Y'all know how much I love my Native American stories. This one focuses more on the tribes of the Southwest.
That reminds me - if you're ever an author at a book event like this, don't go around asking people how well they did and then tell them, "Oh, well I sold out! Lucky me!" First of all, everyone brings a different number of books so selling out doesn't mean much if you bring 15 and another brings 50. Second of all, you kind of sound like a douche. Just saying.
Anyway, some pics!
Sunday, September 9, 2012
It's been awhile since I've done a blog post. Things have been overwhelmingly busy with teaching, work, and book stuff, and I'm happy to say a lot is getting done, including the upcoming release of Shadows in the Night (Helping Hands Part Two) and finishing Into the Shadow Realm (Book 3 in the Whisper Legacy - titles coincidental, I don't actually have an obsession with shadows.
My latest endeavor is to release my first-ever short story titled, "Dungeon." I started it years ago but never finished as I began working on other books. I've now dragged it off the literary shelf, dusted it off, and completed it. After editing it will be made available for the Kindle only, price still to be determined (but no more than $.99). In the meantime, enjoy a synopsis below!
Locked away from civilization. Starved for a freedom yet to come. Lost in the world they created for themselves.
They were friends once, before they were prisoners. Then they were allies, dependent on one another for daily survival. When they escaped, if they escaped, more than just that bond built on desperation, loneliness, and familiarity would be tested.
Their existence - one small, cramped room with a cracked table in its center. Their reality - secrets and lies and a struggle to balance the present with the past.
They were the four. They were the prisoners of the Dungeon.
Stay Tuned for the Release of "Dungeon"
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Barnes & Noble Nook
That would be you ;) I have been writing short stories and poems my entire life, but never really thought of other people enjoying them. Your constant excitement kept me writing and made me realize that this is something that should be shared. My mom actually got pretty emotional when I told her that someone was encouraging me to write, and then publish. I had given up on it in college because “I was no Emerson/Tolkien/Rowling” and had forgotten why I write in the first place.
I also hit some spots where the characters or events totally surprised me by taking a different path than originally intended, and that is always exciting. After one fight scene I found myself going “Oh wow, I wonder what will happen next and if everything will be ok!” Then I realized I would have to actually write that and figure it out as the story evolved.
Mateo is actually the only one based on a real person, although more so his nicer side. Also, many of Rhea’s college experiences she refers to late in the book were pulled (and embellished a bit) from our friendship.
Many of the terms, names, and creatures do pull from a variety of languages (mashed together in many cases) or loosely resemble myths and folklore stories told throughout the world.
Absolutely. I was an avid horse rider when I was younger but had to stop due to time and lack of funds when I went to college. I find myself re-living those days a lot in my writing.
I have always felt a close connection with nature and grew up in the middle of a cornfield, surrounded by a forest. When the average teen was playing video games or hanging out at the mall, I was exploring the woods and trying to sneak up on the resident deer population. I worry that the current youth of the world are going to greatly miss out on the joy that can be found in the woods, and in untouched natural places. Hopefully they can get that connection from the book, and then go camping for a weekend or just sit in a park and feel the breeze.
I have two other books currently started, the sequel to LoS and a different fantasy story for another series I would like to write ( sort of a “how the gods came to be” series for a new cosmology).
I am hoping to do some local events as well but have nothing scheduled as of yet. I will keep all of those updated on my Facebook page (Novels by Kristi Strong) or Twitter (StrongNovels)
Letting it be finished. I feel like there will always need to be one more edit, one more re-write, etc. I think there is also a touch of apprehension/ anxiety when releasing characters that I have known and loved for so long into the public. I can only hope others love them as much as I do.
7) Describe LoS in two sentences (and yes, I know how hard this is).
The Lady of Steinbrekka is a book about creating your own destiny, and finding the strength to change a world that isn’t the way it should be. It isn’t your typical fairy tale and, I hope, gives an aura of reality to the classic story of good meets evil.
Rowan all the way. I fell in love with him as the book evolved. He did not start out nearly as lovable (in my head) as he ended up being. I can’t wait to focus more on his side of the story and emotions as I get further into the second book.
I have The Devil’s Diadem by the late Sara Douglass ready for reading in my Nook. Also a copy of The Sour Orange Derby by yourself, and a million “How to raise your toddler” books. Also any of the series by Anne Bishop. My paper copy of her book, Dreams Made Flesh, just literally fell apart from being read so much, so I need to re-buy it!
Writing is just…everything. It releases emotions, it is therapy, it is joy and celebration, happiness and grief. I love to create these worlds and create characters, and love even more when they take paths that were not originally intended to be taken. It can be incredibly frustrating at times, especially when you know what is supposed to happen several pages away but just can’t make the connection between “this page” and “that page”, but it is a wonderful and incredible thing.
11)You have the chance to be any animal for a day. What do you transform into?
My cat. I have a toddler at home so spending the day sleeping in a sunny spot and only waking up to go get petted seems like a nice thing. It also seems incredibly fun to be able to just randomly jump five times higher than my height, or to have a fluffy tail. Really, it’s all about the fluffy tail.
I would say financial ruin, followed by the shut down of all electricity which leads to complete chaos and sends us back a couple thousand years as we try to figure out how to grow crops, hunt, and survive in a world where there are too many people for the resources. It would definitely not be a pretty sight, but would definitely make a good story…
To all writers out there, just do it. Keep writing your stories and letting your characters live. If it is something you enjoy, just keep writing. Even if no one reads your words until years and years later (I wrote my first “book” at age 8 and my mom still has it, printed on the old school printer paper with the perforated edges), just let yourself enjoy getting lost in worlds and characters that you have created.
Read and draw inspiration from others. I have running storylines in my head that I play out if I am bored, or can’t sleep, that revolve around the characters of my favorite books, but take place completely outside the actual book plotline. That is a great place to start and many times I can take those events and re-work them into an original story.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
My first book blog tour has come to an end, and I'm pleased with the results. I got some great reviews, generated some awesome press, and sold some books! I've provided the links to all the reviews, interviews, and other posts below.
Before that though, I just wanted to say that this has been a pretty incredible experience. I don't even care so much about the sales as I do what fans and reviewers are saying. Truth be told, I never expected so many people to enjoy The Sour Orange Derby. I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I did worry it would come off as confusing, disjointed, and with an overall air of "why is this important?" After all, it's a story I understand and appreciate, but would others outside the family?
Now, though, I'm pleased that readers get as much out of the story as I did writing it, living it. So many great reviews make me even prouder to be a Standridge (you know what I mean), and recall those memories with an even bigger smile. So, thank you for making The Sour Orange Derby a fantastic experience for me.
Generations of Savings (Excerpt)
My Crafty Life (Review)
Couponing with Boys (Review)
EReading on the Cheap (Author Interview)
Susan Heim on Parenting (Guest Post)
Day by Day in Our World (Review)
Niki's Book Corner (Review)
Identity Discovery (Review & Interview)
Gina's Library (Review)
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Side note: Another reason why I'm determined to do this is because when I mentioned it to S', we had the following conversation:
Me: So, I think I'm gonna go an entire year reading only indie books.
S': Good luck with that.
Me: Meaning what?
S': Meaning you have too many favorite authors to not buy their new books as soon as they come out.
Me: Are you doubting me, peon?
S': Of course not, minion.
Me: So what are you saying then?
S': That "one year" in Kristina Time is more like 3 months. No way you make it a year.
Me: Challenge accepted.
And thus the Indie Year Challenge was born.
HOWEVER, S' is right in that I do have many favorite authors. I'm considering allowing myself 2 "cheat" books. One would be reserved for whenever the next Percy Jackson book comes out (shut up, I love Rick Riordan). The other, probably either Cassandra Clare or Veronica Roth, whoever comes first. But I will have to earn these cheat books, so we shall see.
My Indie Year Challenge begins with 3 books:
Let the Challenge begin!
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Kindle & Nook Coming Soon
Fans of the series, you'll notice this book is a bit shorter than the original (by about half). Not to fear! Part Two is coming soon. I suspect these first two books will be the shortest of all 7 in the series, but because it was soooo long originally we just couldn't make it work without charging readers a small fortune or making the font super tiny (you're welcome). Book Three will certainly be longer!
Also, I would like to note that The Helping Hands is not like my other books. It is not YA, has no elements of fantasy or "magic," as I like to call it. I might even venture to say it's not for the faint of heart (feint of heart?). There is a lot of violence, drug and alcohol abuse, language, and general dark themes. But at it's core, it's a book about hope, overcoming the bad, and fighting for the good.
I only give this warning because people have told me they never know what to expect from my books as I don't stick to any one genre, so I wouldn't want anyone to go into The Helping Hands expecting something more light-hearted or YA-age appropriate. I'll even admit that one woman called my main character, Melanie, such an "evil, morally depraved character with no hope for redemption" that she had to stop reading. First of all, how fucking awesome is that. Thank you. Second of all, if you actually read the book, you'll see this is not true at all. Melanie's just a little rough around the edges. But it's still my favorite book insult-compliment ever.
And yes, I am fully aware that the entire book is based on an entirely implausible plot that might as well make it fantasy. Just go with it. It's fun, I promise.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
In my dream, S' and I went to visit his mom, who all of a sudden lived in Pittsburgh (don't know why, I've never even been there). After a nice visit, S' decides he wants to go kayaking in the misty, monster-infested marsh. It's getting late, but I agree anyway.
We kayak our little hearts out, seeing lots of wildlife, teasing each other on being slow or for running into trees, and then it gets dark. Being the smarties we are, we didn't bring any lights. But we see a glow up ahead so we decide, hey, why not? Let's go toward the light.
Finally we come upon a beach (yes, a beach in the middle of PA). People are standing around having a grand ole' time, so we park our kayaks on the shore and head up to figure out where the hell we are. There's a creepy music-filled carnival going on just up the road with ferris wheels, strange games, roller coasters, and people pretty much getting it on in the middle of the street, so we walk around, have a good time, totally not concerned that someone has probably stolen our kayaks back at the beach. It's a weird festival that I know is inspired by Anne Bishop's Ephermera series and the Den of Iniquity (or, the carnal carnival) since that's what I was reading before I went to bed last night.
I ask someone where we are and she says, "Fitchland Burns." Where is Fitchland Burns, you ask? I have no idea, since Google couldn't tell me when I checked on my phone. So I start panicking figuring we just kayaked our way into some kind of hell when I see an information booth.
According to the woman at the booth, we are about 7 hours from Pittsburgh. HOW did we kayak 7 hours away in such a short time? I blame the misty marsh. Before we can decide what to do, one of S's friends appears out of nowhere. Turns out he lives in Fitchland Burns and is more than happy to show us the way home because, naturally, we have decided to walk.
Why didn't S's friend offer us a room to stay for the night? Why didn't we call a taxi, or S's mom to figure out what to do? Why didn't we go back for our kayaks? I have no freakin clue. No, walking was a much better solution.
So, we set off for the open road. We've walked a couple hours when S' decides he's tired and is going to sleep. "You can't sleep in the middle of the road, idiot," I say, annoyed. "Someone will rob you, or kill you." S' then says, "Well, you can carry me." Of course, why didn't I think of that?
But S' is too heavy for my weak arms to carry. "And how am I supposed to do that?" I ask. To which S replies, "I'll make it easy for you."
Here's where it gets really weird, people. How does S' make it easy for me? By turning into a large pile of sticky spaghetti noodles. Oh yes, a pile of noodles. But dream me doesn't find this weird, so I gather the noodles in my arms and keep walking.
Fast forward some 5 hours later and I'm walking down the sidewalk in the early morning light. It's a pleasant little town with cobblestone walks and shops lining the street. People greet me warmly as I pass and when I see a bakery I decide to get some breakfast. Glass of OJ, chocolate-covered donut, and a sprinkle donut hole.
I resume my walk, enjoying my treats, when I realize I'm no longer holding my noodles. I start to panic, searcing all around for my poor lost husband. The noodles were nowhere in site, my hands filled with nothing but fried ddough deliciousness. Before I could start a mad search andd rescue, I woke up.
So, yes. I left my poor noodle-form S' somewhere between Pittsburgh and Fitchland Burns, more concerned about my donuts than his safety. Luckily S' found this dream quite hilarious and told me I'm one of the biggest weirdos he's ever met.
He better be careful. I might leave his noodles somewhere more dangerous next time. Like a boiling pot.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Those of you who have read The Helping Hands already will be the only ones to notice these changes, but I'm going to tell everyone else anyway because it helps me to talk through them. Or type through them. The biggest of those changes - The Helping Hands is being split into two books.A novel idea, I know! I've toyed with this idea for years but figured it wasn't really possible since it was already published as one. But when my new publisher suggested the idea, I figured hey, it's my book, I can do whatever I want with it.
As of now, it is divided into two parts, with Part 2 taking place about 4 years after the end of Part 1. Part 2 is now getting its own book. This not only makes the (very) long book shorter, but also more affordable for readers. It also gives me an extra title in the Helping Hands series overall, which I love. That means we're now at 7 books. When I say I love series books, I mean it. Y'all have no idea how hard it is for me to keep the Whisper Legacy at just 4 books -- and I've already planned a spin-off with two characters introduced in Book 3. I have a problem. But luckily, everyone else benefits from it.
Side note - The Helping Hands series is WAY different from the Whisper books and from The Sour Orange Derby. It's dark, gritty, violent, and I like to think, pretty damn cool. It's not YA and not for the faint of heart. If you're looking for a light read, this probably isn't your cup of tea.
Second side note - Something just fell out of my laptop and I don't know where it goes back in, or what it does. Here's to hoping my laptop doesn't spontaneously combust on my lap and turn me into a puddle of purple goo.
Anyway. So what happens next?
First of all, a new cover for The Helping Hands. We've picked the image, and the final piece is coming soon. We also have a final edit before formatting. Because of the split, I'm happy to say that The Helping Hands is set to be released by the end of the month, or very early August (assuming all goes well, of course, nothing is ever final). I can’t wait for the “new” Helping Hands to be released. After what, 8 years? I'm finally able to get back to this series and share it with the world.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
I was actually trying to be productive today. Got some work done on the third Whisper Legacy book (and it's going to be completely awesome, by the way), got some pre-ordered books ready to be shipped, and then started working on my guest post for my upcoming blog tour. And here's where the day spiraled downward.
About 5 sentences into my blog tour post, I remembered I haven't checked any of my friends' blogs lately. Obviousy that's more important. Off I went to check the dozens of blogs, and after reading this one about Ryan Gosling my brain naturally switched to "Ryan Gosling is hot. So is Sam Worthington" since we just watched "Wrath of the Titans" last night.
Cue the Google search for all things Greek gods. My minor was classic civilizations so I already have a pretty decent background on the Greek gods, but I still love reading about them anyway. I'm pretty sure about 2 hours were spent reading about Poseidon, Agenor, Perseus, and Theseus, among others.
Ah, Theseus. You can't read about Theseus without looking up the movie "Immortals." Greatest collection of hot dudes since "300." Naturally, this search was conducted primarily in Google Images looking at, well, I'm sure you can guess. And after looking at hot movie guys, of course that would lead one into seeing what movies James McAvory is working on (I just watched "Wanted" today, it was a natural progression).
Side note - In case you were wondering, "21 Jump Street" was surprisingly hilarious. Go watch it.
Amidst this search I also was playing Words with Friends with my cousin and had the opportunity to play the word "shat" for 18 points, which I didn't even think WWF would accept since it rejected my numerous attempts to play words that probably don't even exist. This amused me for reasons I can't really explain, but I decided that I should nonetheless
tell the Internet about it. And here I am. You're welcome.
But now I have to go back to work. I'm seriously considering disconnecting the wireless for an hour or so. But who am I kidding. I'll just tell y'all that I did and then lurk like a champ. I need an Internet-vention.
Also my spell-check said I wrote this entire thing without a single misspelled word. I refuse to believe this, but I'm going to accept it anyway because who knows, maybe I really am that awesome.
Friday, June 15, 2012
1) The Sour Orange Derby is officially released in all avenues, both on Amazon and through my CreateSpace store as well as for the Kindle and Nook. See my website for all the details! I look forward to promoting the Derby and creating lesson plans to hopefully get it in schools like I did with Beyond the Western Sun.
2) The Helping Hands is being re-released soon! I am beyond excited about this. As much as I love the Whisper Legacy, the Helping Hands has a special place in my heart and I am so happy to finally be getting back to Melanie O'Conner, Tyler Mason, and the rest of the Hell Hounds. More on that to come!
3) My first official blog tour starts July 16th! The Sour Orange Derby will be featured on various blogs with reviews, excerpts, author interviews, and my own guest posts. More on this coming soon as all the details are still being worked out, but for now here is the tentative schedule:
July 16 - Book Review http://mommyreadstoomuch.com
July 17 - Excerpt http://generationsofsavings.com
July 18 - Book Review http://www.craftylife.net
July 19 - Book Review http://couponingwithboys.com
July 20 - Author Interview http://ereadingonthecheap.com
July 22 - Author Post http://susanheim.blogspot.com
July 23 - Book Review http://daybydayinourworld.com
July 24 - Book Review nikita-mattes.blogspot.com
Stay tuned for the latest details on the Derby, Helping Hands, promos, and blog tours.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
It's time for another giveaway on Goodreads! The giveaway for Beyond the Western Sun was a great success, so now I'm offering 2 free, signed copies of Walk the Red Road. The contest ends June 25th, so sign up today for your chance to win Book Two of The Whisper Legacy, and tell your friends to do the same!
Enter Here (Clicky)
Monday, May 21, 2012
I'll be submitting the art soon, and after that the Derby will be ready for print!