Journal 2012

November 5, 2012
Falling Forward

The Daylight Saving Time change has occurred once again (my previous rants on that subject live on here and here) and most of the country has just "fallen back." Regardless of what the clocks say, though, this time of year always feels like falling forward to me. I think that's because the shorter days and impending holidays combine to create a whole lot of tasks that need to get done in the remaining daylight before year's end. I tend to get serious about cleaning and organization in autumn in anticipation of the upcoming month or more when I won't be doing squat in either of those departments, and last weekend I finished this season's most important outdoor project.

Some people think it doesn't rain in southern California, but it does, and California dogs don't appreciate wet weather any more than their owners do. Getting soaking wet at the beach? Fun. Getting dripped on a little bit while using the outdoor restroom? You've got to be kidding. Which makes fall the time of year I start thinking ahead to standing outside with an umbrella getting wet and cold and frustrated. Yes, wet—you didn't think that umbrella was for me, did you?

The only type of umbrella Californians—and their dogs—want to see.

This year I may have finally solved that problem, though, having just finished backyard modifications that make it possible to walk out to our grass without ever having to step out from under our roof overhang. Best case scenario, my dogs will avail themselves of this new feature. Worst case, I'll be able to stay under the eaves while I'm outside holding their umbrella. Considering that our rainy season hasn't even started yet, I'm feeling pretty far ahead of the game right now. Fall forward, as it were.

What will I accomplish next? Who knows? We still have two and a half more weeks until turkey!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


September 27, 2012
Clearwater Crossing #1 & 2 Are Free This Week!

Get a Life has been free for a while now, but this week—for the first time ever—Reality Check is free too! That's the complete first two novels in the Clearwater Crossing series available for you to own for exactly zero dollars!

Download here!

 

I'm hoping everyone who wants a free copy of this e-book bundle will see this post before October 1, so please share the link with your book-loving friends! If you find out late, though, and are a member of Amazon Prime, these books will remain available for free reading through the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


September 10, 2012
Clearwater Crossing Is Now Complete! (Again)

The twentieth e-book in my Clearwater Crossing series went live over the weekend!

The series finale!

Available at Amazon.com

Available at BarnesandNoble.com

(and coming to iTunes soon!)

 

As alluded to in my previous post, it's going to be a transition for me to let go of these characters for a second time, but I'm very, very happy to finally have the whole series available to readers again. Between Amazon, BN.com, and iTunes, these books are not only easy to find now, but also available in many more countries than they were in print! I hope that you'll enjoy them and share them with your friends.

So what will I be working on next? Cleaning up my office, for starters! It's hard to think beyond the towering piles of paper I'm currently surrounded by. After that (and maybe a little rest, too), I've got a whole long list of "next" places to go, so stay tuned. We might find out together!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


September 8, 2012
Clearwater Crossing E-book Finale Kick-off Event!

It’s bittersweet ending my Clearwater Crossing series a second time with the upcoming e-book release of Don't Look Back, so let’s make it all sweet with a finale kick-off event! I have prizes based on your suggestions and the easiest contest imaginable.

Simply go to my Facebook page and “like” the post attached to this picture to be entered to win a signed paperback copy of The Diaries as well as a Nook or Kindle edition of Don't Look Back. Winners’ choice!

Monday morning I’ll draw three names, so “like” the Facebook page now to enter the drawing, then be sure to CHECK THAT PAGE on Monday to see if you won. (I may not be able to contact you any other way.) Thanks for playing, and thanks especially for your support of this series. Wishing you all good luck!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

Update—Congratulations to drawing winners Selena, Michelle, and Amparo!


August 27, 2012
What I Haven't Done Yet On My Summer Vacation

Summer is—unbelievably—almost over, which got me thinking about those dreaded "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" papers that every former kid has written. I hated that assignment.

I don't know how teachers got it into their heads that asking for an accounting of a person's past three months is a creative writing prompt. Any grade-school student recognizes that paper for the insidious fact-finding mission it is—and most of them will tell you that the less adults know the better, even when there's nothing to hide. Teachers, if you're reading, this year try "What I Would Have Done On My Summer Vacation If I Could Have Done Anything In (Or Out Of) This World." That's how you'll find out who's creative.  :-)

The paper I'd assign myself this September is "What I Haven't Done Yet On My Summer Vacation." When you're out of school, summer isn't over until you let it go—and I'm stubborn that way. According to my calendar, I still have until September 22 to pack in as much more summer as I can, and that's a challenge I intend to take seriously. At a minimum, I still have a lot more walks on the beach to take with my dogs, I'd like to travel to a destination more than 100 miles from my house, and I will very likely finish converting my Clearwater Crossing series into e-books with the addition of title #20, Don't Look Back.

In fact, since the last time I posted, #19 Now & Always, has already made its debut!

Now available at Amazon.com

Now available at BarnesandNoble.com

 

All nineteen completed Clearwater Crossing e-books are available through iTunes as well as BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com, and this week Amazon expanded Kindle into India, which was very welcome news. According to Internet figures, India is second only to the US in its number of English speakers. India has more than twice as many English speakers as the entire UK. And India has at least a few Clearwater Crossing readers, because they have contacted me about the difficulty of finding these books there. So, hooray, Amazon! Way to go!

I also learned this week that Barnes and Noble is expanding Nook's reach into the UK. About half of my current e-book readers are on Nook, and until recently my Nook readers outnumbered Kindle readers by a large margin, so I'm very happy to hear this too. Side note to B&N: Next stop, India!

One last thing I'll definitely be doing this summer is brewing up some sort of contest/giveaway to mark the release of Don't Look Back. We're working on those details over at my Facebook page, so please pop by with your suggestions—or just to say hello.  :-)

Thanks for visiting!
Have a great 26 more days of summer!

Laura


July 18, 2012
The Big Bang Goes Viral

Happy July, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your 4th festivities. You may have seen in the news that San Diego's 4th of July fireworks went off with a bang. Literally. (Ha! Obscure Green reference!) If you didn't catch it elsewhere, here's a very short video:

 

There were actually three fireworks barges in San Diego Bay, identically loaded up for the usual twenty-minute synchronized show, and a computer glitch caused this to happen on ALL THREE of them.

Oops.

This year was the first time I've skipped the San Diego Bay fireworks in a long time, because I was out of town watching the sky show somewhere else. When I first heard about the glitch here, I was quite glad I'd made those other plans, because I enjoy fireworks and I got to see a beautiful long display. Upon further reflection, though, this once-in-a-lifetime mess-up would have been something to see, too—and hear! Oh, well. I'm calling this year a win-win situation. :-)

It's July in Clearwater Crossing as well, which means that fireworks also go off in my newest Clearwater Crossing e-book, Prime Time.

Prime Time, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton Roberts

Now available at Amazon.com

Now available at BarnesandNoble.com

I'm excited to have reached this milestone in converting the series, with eighteen of twenty novels now available as e-books. Only two left to go!

Here's the scoop on Prime Time:

Miguel is having the summer of his life. Helping out at the day camp, working at the hospital, and spending every spare minute with Leah or goofing off with Eight Prime is the most fun he’s had in years. To top it off, he and his family are about to move into a house of their own. Can life really be this good?

Jesse can barely believe that he and Melanie are finally together. So how can he leave her? Sure, he promised to visit his mother in California, and Melanie promised to visit her aunt Gwen . . . but can’t they get out of it somehow?

Nicole’s mom is having a baby! How could her parents do this to her? Don’t they know how embarrassing this will be? More importantly, don’t they realize they could all end up with another Heather on their hands?

 

I had a lot of fun with the Junior Explorers in this book, although there's drama at camp as well. It's Clearwater Crossing—where isn't there drama? :-) Drama doesn't have to be negative, though, and Prime Time brings some happy resolutions as the series gathers toward its conclusion.

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


June 18, 2012
Summer Reading Madness!

It's finally summer, and you know what that means: Time for summer reading! As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm working on reading through the Printz list (only 46 books to go!), but I'm not stopping without bringing you some summer reading of my own. There's so much e-book coding going on in my office lately that I've dubbed it Summer Reading Madness!

And the madness has already started! Here to kick off summer are not one, but two new Clearwater Crossing e-books:

Just in time for summer reading!

Just Say Yes, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton RobertsClearwater Crossing Collection 1; Getting Together by Laura Peyton Roberts

Amazon Kindle edition                 Amazon Kindle edition
 B&N NOOK edition                      B&N NOOK edition

 

Just Say Yes is the first book set during summer in Clearwater Crossing (which I'd like to say I planned, but the credit really goes to you readers who hurried me along), and for Melanie-and-Jesse fans, this is the must-read title of the whole series. Just Say Yes also includes a lot of fun with a day camp for the Junior Explorers, as well as a twist involving Miguel and Leah. Here's the scoop on Just Say Yes:

Peter never expected running a day camp to be like this. Jesse is sulking, Nicole’s skipped out on them, and Melanie is flirting with his brother! Jenna has a cold, the kids are acting like pro wrestlers, and bumbling Counselor Ben is about to wear through Peter’s last good nerve. What did he get himself into?

Who would have guessed that little Elton had such a pretty sister . . . or that Ben could have a chance with her? If only he can keep his rep as a geek under wraps, this could be his summer of love!

Melanie and Jesse have seen their ups and downs. First she hated him, then she liked him, then she dumped him . . . and then she fell in love. Their timing has always been terrible. Will they ever get things sorted out? Or is it time to walk away for good?

 

But that's not all! I've also just released the first-ever Clearwater Crossing Collection! Clearwater Crossing Collection 1; Getting Together includes the first four full-length novels in the series—a whole lot of summer reading for only $5.99! Madness? Or genius? You'll be the judge! :-)

I'd love to hear what you're reading this summer. If you've recently read a book that you'd like to recommend, please visit my Facebook page and tell us all about it. Or just stop by and say hello. Wishing you the happiest of summers and many lazy days of summer reading ahead!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


May 26, 2011
Can I Get a Drumroll Please?

Making its debut just in time for the long weekend . . . Ta da!

Tried & True, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton Roberts

Now available at Amazon.com

Now available at BarnesandNoble.com

Tried & True is the second Clearwater Crossing e-book to come out this May, and the timing couldn't be better for a book that includes the high school graduation of seniors Leah and Miguel. (That's them pictured above.) Tried & True also kicks off summer in Clearwater Crossing. I had a lot of fun writing the summer books, in which Eight Prime volunteers as day camp counselors for the Junior Explorers, so I'm looking forward to revisiting these titles during an actual summer. Two words come to mind: Counselor Ben. :-)

The first summer book, Just Say Yes, is one I get asked about a lot, as it is the must-have title for readers who want to be present at the big moment when Melanie and Jesse finally resolve their on-and-off romance. Will that pair finally work things out? Will they agree to walk away as friends? After building the dynamic between those two characters over sixteen books, I was as excited as my readers about seeing them finally hash things out! Look for the Just Say Yes e-book sometime in June.

In the meantime, I wish you all a fantastic Memorial Day weekend! Please take a moment to remember our fallen by observing the National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


May 5, 2012
Happy Cinco de Mayo! (aka What Happened to April?)

Hmm. It would appear that I missed posting here during April. But I have good excuses!

Excuse #1:

What Goes Around, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton Roberts

Now available at Amazon.com

Now available at BarnesandNoble.com

Converting these Clearwater Crossing novels into e-book code on my recently accelerated, book-a-month schedule is keeping me quite busy. However, I am definitely not complaining! I'm thrilled that so many of you are enjoying these books—and urging me to produce them even faster. My plan at this point is to have all twenty e-books out by the end of 2012. I believe I can stick to that schedule, and I will definitely do my best.

Excuse #2: Even when I'm not journaling here, you can usually find out what I'm up to over on my Facebook page. I went with a public page over a profile specifically so that people wouldn't have to join Facebook in order to view my information. I'd love to have you jump into our FB conversation, but if you're the shy type, feel free to lurk by anytime. Believe me, I totally get it.

Excuse #3: The amount of time I've been spending on the computer lately has left me with less to journal about. You're probably not interested in my mouse-related tendinitis, or the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit Java, or how to price e-books in nine different currencies in a way the iTunes store will accept. Unless you want to talk about TV or other people's books, I'm kind of at a loss. . . .

Let's talk about TV and other people's books!

As I've mentioned before, I love TV—maybe more than I should. Not only do I appreciate it as another form of storytelling, but after a full day of peering at text twelve to twenty-four inches away, my eyes rejoice at the sight of a screen that is WAY OVER THERE. In short, TV is awesome.

I don't have a favorite show at the moment, but there are lots of shows I like. I watch a variety of dramas, comedies, and various forms of "reality," especially reality involving animals, nature, or other people's jobs. In person I find it hard to stand around watching someone else work, because I feel like I ought to be helping. From the comfort of my sofa, however, I could watch other people work all day. There's just something fascinating about getting an inside glimpse of a profession you know you'll never be part of. It's like peeking into a secret world, one with new goals, new skills, new worries, new rules—even new vocabularies.

TV jobs I've found interesting over the years? Motorcycle builder, tattoo artist, dance instructor, gold miner, aquarium builder, pawn shop owner, and—perhaps my all-time favorite—crab fisherman. No amount of money could entice me to go out on a Bering Sea crab boat (although the crew would likely pay to get me off one), but I've seen every episode of Deadliest Catch. I can't quite put my finger on what makes that show so engrossing, but it has something to do with the treasure-hunt aspect of finding hidden crab juxtaposed against working conditions that most human beings wouldn't last an hour in. That show has animals, nature, and someone else's job. And it probably doesn't hurt that those guys crack me up. :-)

Moving on to other people's books, I've been reading mostly e-books lately, switching back and forth between my Kindle and Kindle Fire. The majority of books I read are also available in print—and there are ways in which I still think print is better—but I'm more and more in love with the ease of e-book reading, and especially the ease of e-book carrying and storage. There are only so many bookshelves my house can accommodate!

Not surprisingly, I read mostly YA, and I gravitate toward books with good reviews, great popularity, or top awards. With that in mind, it occurred to me last week to make a goal of reading every Printz award winner and honor book. The American Library Association has only been awarding the Printz for thirteen years, so this plan isn't quite as overwhelming as making the same pledge for the Newbery would be. On top of that, I believed I had already read a lot of the Printz books. Oops. There turned out to be 62 books on the complete list, of which I have read only 14. I've obviously got some catching up to do, especially as my To Be Read list includes plenty of books that aren't on this list. If you're looking for YA recommendations, though, this Printz list is a good place to start.

And speaking of e-books, have you seen this yet?

NOOK Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™

The main reason I switch back and forth between Kindles it that my e-ink model is better in strong light and has a long battery life, whereas the Fire is lit in a way that's great for bedtime reading. This new Nook has all those things in one. If you read on a Nook—or don't have an e-reader yet—you might want to check out this new model!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


March 27, 2012
Marching Right Along

First, a big thank you to everyone who has e-mailed me and/or posted on my Facebook page. I really enjoy hearing from you, and your feedback is how I know you're excited about the faster pace at which I've been releasing e-books in my Clearwater Crossing series. Two new e-books came out in February, and Love Hurts went online this week! Woo-hoo! That's fourteen out of twenty!

Love Hurts, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton Roberts

Available at Amazon.com

Available at BarnesandNoble.com

 

But wait—there's more! I've finally figured out how to get these e-books into the iBookstore! (All right, I hired someone to do it for me, but the important thing is, it's figured out.) The first thirteen Clearwater Crossing novels have already been converted to Apple specifications. One book needs a tiny format tweak, after which I hope they will all ship out this week. It will likely take another week for them to show up in the iTunes store, but after that, we're golden! I'll start the process with Love Hurts as soon as the other books go out, and iTunes will be all caught up. Thanks again to the readers who prodded me to do this—you know who you are! :-)

In completely unrelated news, on Sunday I DVRed a MythBusters episode in which two men have to survive on a deserted island with duct tape as their only tool, and yesterday I downloaded this free Kindle guide to making duct tape bags. If asked, I wouldn't have said I have a fascination with duct tape, but I've always loved those stories about girls making their prom dresses with it. Who knows? Maybe I'll find a new hobby!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura

Update #1: I finally got around to watching this MythBusters episode and it's official: I do have a fascination with duct tape. Also, I need one of those hats.

Update #2: Books 1-13 have shipped and should show up in the iBookstore any day!


March 17, 2012
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I hope you have fun plans involving wearing, eating, and possibly even drinking plenty of green! I'm celebrating the holiday with a Green-related Q&A on fellow author Tracy Marchini's blog. Please stop by and join us there!

Green, a novel by Laura Peyton Roberts

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


March 1, 2012
Leaping into St. Patrick's Day

I really wanted to post yesterday because it was Leap Day, and how many chances does a person get to do that? One every four years, just like the Olympics. Unfortunately, AT&T had other plans; the "short period of time" that my Internet connection was down during an upgrade began without warning at 11:30 a.m. and lasted until 8 p.m. PST. At which point I had the fun *rolls eyes meaningfully* of installing the new DSL on my own. By the time I was up and running, Leap Day was already over in a lot of the country and much of the rest of it was asleep. I'm leaping again today, though, because my new connection is way, way faster.

Speaking of the Olympics, it was the book Olympics here last month, with a record TWO Clearwater Crossing e-books both released in February!

Dream On, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton Roberts

Two new e-books in February? Nicole is excited!

Available at Amazon.com

Available at BarnesandNoble.com

 

This unexpectedly early release for Dream On turned out to be good timing, too, because one of its plotlines involves a St. Patrick's Day sale of green suckers Ben mistakenly ordered for Valentine's Day. I proofread these e-books several times each in an effort to catch all the OCR errors, so by the time I finished with Dream On, I had St. Patrick's day on the brain. Which, of course, got me thinking Green.

It's almost St. Patrick's Day. Don't go out without your Green!

 

Many of you drop by my Web site because of Clearwater Crossing, but you won't find any leprechauns there. Green, on the other hand, is packed full of them, not to mention gold, piskies, magic, and a whole lot of leprechaun luck. If you're looking for a quick fun read to put you in the St. Patrick's Day mood, check out an excerpt from Green here—or watch the book trailer!

Even given an extra day this February, though, I still didn't manage to get Clearwater Crossing e-books into the iTunes store. In fact, a couple of bumps in that road have resulted in unexpected delays. I believe I'm on track now, however, and while the process will likely take a few more weeks, when the series does go live at Apple, all thirteen available books should show up simultaneously. When that day finally comes, I'll be right here letting you know—and leaping!

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


February 1, 2012
Off and Running

February is only a day old, and it's already been a productive month. Most notably, I figured out a shortcut that allowed me to complete the newest Clearwater Crossing e-book, Hope Happens, in record time. Amazon and BN.com broke all their past posting records too, which means that this book is already online!

 

Hope Happens, a Clearwater Crossing e-book by Laura Peyton Roberts

Available at Amazon.com

Available at BarnesandNoble.com

 

I capped off that achievement by having some new tires put on my van. Granted, this is not in the same league excitement-wise, but the old ones were nine years old, so the type of excitement I was likely to receive from them was not of the happy variety. I've never had a tire blow out on me, but I have changed one on the side of a road using a dinner fork as one of my principal tools. Yeah. I'm leaving that stuff to MacGyver now.

So what's next for me this February? This is the month I figure out how to put all the available Clearwater Crossing e-books into the iTunes store. Both the Nook and Kindle versions can be read on Macs, iPads, and iPhones, so I thought I had Apple covered, but you readers have let me know that it's not covered to your satisfaction, and I appreciate the feedback! iTunes, here I come! I'm not promising that February is the month this will actually happen, but it might—and I will definitely have a firm plan in place (and hopefully in action) before we get to March. In the meantime, Get a Life is already available on iTunes, and it's free! Here's the US link; readers in other countries can find the book by running a search within iTunes.

I'll be checking in with additional February progress reports on my Facebook page and would love to have you join the conversation over there. Or, if you're the shy type, just pop by and see what we're up to. :-)

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


January 3, 2012
So You Want to See Your Name in Ink. . . .

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you had a great time welcoming in the new year and are making big plans for its future. The past few years have been tough for many, so here's looking forward to better things in 2012!

I'm going to kick off this year's Journal by answering a question that I get asked quite a bit: How can I get my first book published? There is a ton of excellent free advice already available on this subject and I don't claim to be an expert. I'll give you my opinions, though, and point you to some pros.

1. Finish the book. Actually, at this point you'll be calling it a manuscript, and it ought to be completely finished before you approach anyone about publication. We've all heard stories of books sold off verbal pitches or short written descriptions. A lot of those stories are true. But I feel confident that when it comes to fiction very few of those authors had never been published before, in one form or another. If you're a celebrity, a journalist, a produced screenwriter, or if you've done something else involving telling stories professionally, you might be able to skimp on this step (up front, at least). For everybody else, finishing the book is good advice. Every new author starts out without a publishing track record; a completed manuscript is the best way of convincing agents and editors that you can deliver the goods.

2. Revise your manuscript, preferably more than once. Finishing a manuscript is hugely exciting. If you're like me, you knew what the cover ought to look like before you wrote the second chapter, you're tired of slogging away in obscurity, and you WANT TO SEE THINGS HAPPEN. Until you've revised your manuscript, though, you're not ready to send it out. Go over it once or twice as critically as you can. Then, if at all possible, put it away for a few weeks. I promise that when you come back you'll see lots of things that you missed before—sometimes those things are mistakes, and sometimes they're opportunities. Revise accordingly, then polish to the best of your ability. Consider showing your story to someone who you know will give honest feedback, such as a teacher or critique partner. Then, if you still think your manuscript's ready, it's finally time to submit!

3. "But it's going to be a series. . . ." Pitching a series is challenging when you haven't been published before. Your first book will need to stand on its own to interest most agents and editors. If Book 1 is a strong, satisfying read in its own right, then people will be excited to know you have sequel ideas. My advice is to concentrate on writing and polishing Book 1; then move on to step 4 below. Your new agent can tell you how best to pursue the series angle.

4. Look for an agent. You don't have to have an agent to get published, but it's likely to be a big help. Due to the volume of manuscripts received, many publishers don't want to look at unagented work (also known as slush). Moreover, submitting to multiple publishers involves some complicated etiquette that it's better not to get wrong and negotiating contracts properly takes so much time to learn (and keep up on) that most writers prefer to spend those hours writing. If you choose to hire an agent—and I'd recommend that—the good news is that you can stop worrying about how to approach publishers because all of those headaches will become your new agent's job. The less-good news is that landing a qualified agent is a job in itself.

Here's where the pros come in. There are so many things to know about the process of querying and retaining an agent that whole blogs are devoted to it. Here are my two favorites, both written by respected literary agents and so full of valuable information that you should plan to spend a few days (or weeks) combing their archives. Do it while your manuscript is taking that time-out!

Miss Snark—This blog is no longer being updated, but it's still a gold mine of good advice (and belly laughs). Pay special attention to the entries about targeting agents, avoiding scams, and proper querying. If you're writing a series, be sure to look at those posts too; some methods of pitching a series work better than others.

Pub Rants—Pub Rants is another invaluable blog, and this one is still active. Hang out, read the archives, and follow interesting links to other online writers, agents, and editors. The more you learn before you query, the better off you'll be.

5. Pace yourself. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Lots of people work at it for years before they finally succeed, and many published authors never succeed in placing the first book they write. Some of us end up grateful for that.  :-)

6. Don't give up! See step 5 above. People say that the best thing you can do while your first manuscript is out on submission is to put it out of your mind and write your second manuscript. I would have to give myself a big Fail on putting things out of my mind, but writing that second manuscript? That's solid advice.

Thanks for visiting!
See you soon,

Laura


 

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