Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Writer Wednesday: The Common Thread


A while back, Beth Fred and I were talking about mission statements and the common theme in the books we write. Now, you all know I write across genres and age levels, so you can imagine my reaction when Beth said there must be a common theme in all my books.

Um… Yeah, that was me. I've always said I'm not one to write to trends. I write the stories I feel I need to tell. And that's led me to having a pen name for romance while I write speculative fiction under my own name. But after a while, I realized Beth was right. There IS a common theme in all my books. It's self-discovery.

In my Touch of Death series, Jodi finds out she's a special kind of necromancer descended from the Gorgon Medusa. She struggles with what this means for her and how she'll have to adapt her life now that she's poisonous to humans.

In The Monster Within books, Sam dies of cancer at seventeen and is brought back from the dead as a monster who has to kill to survive. She struggles to figure out where she fits into the world and whether or not she's willing to kill others in order to live.

In Perfect For You (Ashelyn Drake title), Meg is trying to find herself again after having her heart broken in a very public and humiliating way. As much as it's about her finding the right guy, it's about her finding herself.

In A Lion's Song (my most recent picture book), Amara is trying to figure out her place in the pride when she's the only lion who can't roar.

I could keep going with all my books, but I think you can see the common thread. All my MCs are struggling to figure out who they are in this world and what that means for them. So I do have a common theme after all, even if I didn't know I did at the time I wrote these books.

What common theme pops up in your work?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Monday Mishmash 5/25/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Memorial Day  Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I hope you have a fun and safe holiday.
  2. Editing  I've been editing a lot lately, which is nice because I just finished a big writing binge before these edits rolled in.
  3. Secret News  I'm going to have news to share hopefully soon. I'm really excited. :)
  4. The Darkness Within  June 2nd is just around the corner, which means it's almost time for the release of The Darkness Within. I love that Ethan has a bigger part in this book. I've got a release day blast, a blog tour, and a social media takeover planned for release week. Wow!
  5. Feeling Thankful  I've said it before but I have to say it again. I have the best street team. I'm always completely amazed at how my street team members take it upon themselves to find new ways to promote my books. They do a lot on their own, and I couldn't be more grateful. I love Kelly's Coven!
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Feature: This Is Sarah



When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin’s world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to bring her back?

Excerpt:
I get up early to run, because it’s easier in the morning. There's no one up yet at five am, and the streets belong to me. I don’t even bring music anymore. I only want to hear the steady thwack of my sneakers on the pavement, the rustle of leaves in the breeze and the huff of air coming out of my lungs. It sets up a rhythm that allows my brain to shut off for a while so my mind stays empty.
Not thinking feels good. It’s one of the few things that still feels good.
            I crest the hill at the top of Cedarhurst and pick up speed going down. My lungs feel clean and clear, and I think about sprinting the last five or six blocks back to my driveway. My energy seems a little low, but I figured I can probably push it.
The sound of my feet hitting the pavement intensifies and I pump my arms hard, small tears forming in my eyes from the wind. I clear my mind. I am no longer Colin. I’m just muscle, tissue and bone; a complex and delicate machine pushing its way against gravity and inertia, covering distance on this rock floating in the darkness of an ever-expanding space.
            When Claire pulls her bike alongside me I nearly jump out of my skin. Where the hell did she come from? She pedals hard, riding off the seat, her blonde hair whipping back. She passes me and looks back and smiles. As the distance between us grows, I’m overcome with loss, and a sort of panic, like I need to catch up to her. I’m not sure what it is, but I watch her move away from me, her blonde hair streaming, her legs working the pedals and every muscle in my body screams to catch her.
Suddenly Claire is everything in the world, everything beautiful, alive, peaceful, and good, and it’s all getting away from me.
The farther she gets from me, the closer she gets to the monsters and all I want in the world is for Claire to always be safe.
Jesus Christ, I just want to be able to save one of them.
She looks back at me once and smiles before pumping the pedals again. In that moment, that small bright moment, her hair and her smile reflecting the early morning sun, she looks just like Sarah. Just like Claire looked that day in the hallway.
Suddenly I feel so hollow and empty, carved out like the husk of some dead cicada. I watch her get away from me and feel more lost than ever before. She rounds the bend and disappears from my line of sight, something inside of me snaps and I stumble forward. My feet now clumsy, my balance thrown off, until I stop, bent, heaving, coughing, spitting foam, my heart wild inside me. In my head, an image forms of Sarah when I made her laugh so hard she nearly choked on her sandwich at the diner.
That was Sarah.
Sarah and me, in a moment we won’t have again. A moment that was once real but now feels like it belonged to another life. Neither of us foresaw it ending this way.
The year before or the week before or the day before. We never saw it coming.
If I knew when she stood on that driveway, staring up at me, with me hanging out of the window looking down at her, if I knew, I would have told her everything.

Find This Is Sarah on Amazon.




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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Who Am I?


Did my post title confuse you? It confused me a little too if I'm being honest. And here's why. My agent, the very talented and uber intelligent Sarah Negovetich, recently posted about author bios, and I had to smack myself in the forehead after reading her post. Why? Because I did every one of the things she cautions authors NOT to do. ;) Oops! If you haven't read her post, check it out here. It's definitely worth your time.

I realized I had to change my bio because one thing I really pride myself on is being me. I embarrass myself all the time because I refuse to hide who I really am. Yet my bio was doing just that. It was stuffy and boring. My motto is, and has always been, "If you're not weird, you're boring." So why was my author bio boring?

Here's my old bio so you can see for yourself:
Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. Hashway is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency. 

It's over, so feel free to stretch and wake yourself up again. Yawnfest, right? So, I'm trying to get my bio to convey who I really am, and while I'm not quite happy with it yet, I think it's getting there. So, I'm going to share it with you today so you can tell me what you think.

Here we go:
Kelly Hashway fully admits to being one of the most accident-prone people on the planet, but that didn’t stop her from jumping out of an airplane at ten thousand feet one Halloween. Maybe it was growing up reading R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books that instilled a love of all things scary and a desire to live in a world filled with supernatural creatures, but she spends her days writing speculative fiction for young adults and middle graders. Kelly’s also a sucker for first love, which is why she writes YA and NA romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she’s not writing, Kelly works as an editor, and also as Mom, which she believes is a job title that deserves to be capitalized. She is represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

For those of you who have known me for a while, what do you think? Is it more me? Would you change anything, add anything? I'm all ears. :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Mishmash 5/18/15


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. Editing  I'm finishing up a client edit this week. I've already gone through the book once. Now I'm reading it backward.
  2. Secret Project  Last week I got the idea for a new secret project. I've started on this already, but this week I'm hoping to really jump into it. I'm kind of working on it around other things though, so it might take me a little while.
  3. FB Takeover Party  I'm participating in KJ Farham's FB launch party for her new book, and I'll be taking over at 7:00-7:30 CST (8:00-8:30 EST) on Thursday night. I'll be giving away an ARC of The Darkness Within and an ebook of Touch of Death. If you want to join in the fun on Thursday, you can do so here.
  4. Reading  I admit my reading has suffered lately. Sure, I'm constantly reading books when I edit, but I haven't been able to sit down and just read for enjoyment in a while. I'm hoping to fix that this week.
  5. Good News  I just found out that Into the Fire (published as Ashelyn Drake) was picked up nationally by Barnes and Noble. That's pretty darn cool, and means my odds of being on shelves is much greater, so yay!
  6. Beth Fred's Cover Reveal  My friend Beth Fred is having a cover reveal on May 22 for her YA novel Decree of Hope. If you can host her reveal, sign up here.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Feature: Extraordinary Sam and the Adventurers' Guild



“This box may seem empty,

But there’s more than meets the eye…”

Sam Miller seems like an ordinary twelve year-old boy, but the discovery of a mysterious box from his missing grandfather changes his life forever. He soon finds himself in a strange world full of adventure and magic where he must battle pirates, giant spiders, and an evil tyrant. To survive, Sam must overcome his fears, solve the riddles, and most of all, be Extraordinary. 

Find it on Amazon.

Kevin A. Springer grew up on a farm in Maryland where his imagination knew no limits. As a husband and father, he reconnected with his creativity while telling bedtime stories to his two young boys. One such story evolved into his debut book, Extraordinary Sam & the Adventurers’ Guild (Bookfish Books LLC.), which tells the tale of an ordinary boy who finds a hatbox and discovers a world of adventure and self-discovery.
Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia blog.
 
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Want your YA, NA, or MG book featured on my blog? Contact me here and we'll set it up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Marketing Highs and Lows

Last week on my Monday Mishmash I mentioned that I've been committing to doing at least one marketing effort per day. I also mentioned that I've seen some positive results from this. So I thought today I'd share a little more about what I'm doing.

I tried something new, which is to use sites to advertise my books. I'm not one to spend a lot of money on advertising though, so I found some sites that are free and others that are under $10. My results were mixed. Some of the promo days wants really well, ranking my book in the 200s on Amazon. One book was ranked there twice in the span of a few weeks and is still going strong. This book is free though. Now you may be thinking, Kelly, why would you pay to advertise a free book? Well, here's why. When you put a book out for free, you're doing it to allow readers to sample your work and hopefully become fans. If you succeed, you'll get readers who then go buy your other books. When you market a free book, you're reaching more potential readers. Will I make that money I spent back with my free book? No. But I hopefully will with the next book in the series.

Now I mentioned mixed results. This happened when I promoted a book that wasn't free. I saw no change in sales. None. Same tactic, different book, very different results. Does that mean I'll never try it again with a paid book? No. I think everything with marketing is hit or miss. It could have been the day of the week, the price of the book, the fact that this followed another promotion that was free and readers didn't have enough time to read my previous book they downloaded, etc. There are so many factors that could have contributed to it.

So what does all this mean? I think the promotions helped get my name out there. Right now it's too soon to tell how many new fans I was able to hook, but hopefully that will become apparent soon. In the meantime, I'll continue with my one marketing effort a day.