Monday, November 12, 2012

The Silver Lining

You know how sometimes things don't go as you planned? Or is that just me? Months ago I set myself a deadline to complete book three of The Unaltered Series. It was a self-imposed deadline that in hindsight was impossible to reach due to the many different directions I was being pulled in. Yes, I am still writing on book three, The Diamond of Freedom. I haven't given up, for those of you who are wondering. I've just been extremely busy living life and dealing with all the many different complications that arise when doing so.

My life isn't any different than yours. It is full of excitement, adventure, drama, sadness and joy. Everyone has these aspects in their lives, maybe not at the same time, but all the same they are there if you look for them. (I don't necessarily look for the sadness, it just finds its way in. However, it makes the happiness and joy even better when you have something to compare it to.)

I've been busy moving my family 700 miles from Idaho to the Portland, Oregon area of the Pacific Northwest. It's been a dramatic change both visually and emotionally and my husband and children are settling in well. There have been ups and downs, and a few "inside outs" (for lack of a better description,) but we are all doing well now.

Earlier in the year, back in Idaho, we opened our home to a friend from Holland for a couple months. He brought a different perspective of how to view the world and the people in it, and while he was there I learned about meditation, quantum physics and how to enjoy brown rice. I also experienced the harsh judgment from the ultra-conservative community for having a male house guest in my home; this coming from a community that touts, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." Funny ole world, isn't it? Good thing my husband and I have grown thick skin ... how we grew that skin is a whole different story. Ah, maybe I'll write my own memoir. My tens of fans would love it!

Through it all, I've grown as a writer and am busily working on my manuscript. A Diamond in my Pocket remains on Barnes&Noble's Teen Bestseller list ranking #130 as of 11/12/2012. It has been as low as #100. The fact that it's free has brought it a lot of attention, and NOOK fans have been absolutely awesome with their reviews and comments! The book ranks #7 on the Teen low to high pricing list. The last number of total downloads from the different Internet outlets for all four of my titles was just under 70,000. Not bad for being on the Internet for a year and a half.

I apologize for the delay in completing The Diamond of Freedom, I am working on it on a daily basis.  Rest assured I'm not going to release it until I feel the storyline is gripping enough to please my dedicated fans.

The phrase, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade," is similar to, "finding the silver lining in the clouds." There is always something good that comes from a storm, the trick is to open your eyes and see it. My experiences of 2012 will definitely find their way into my future books in some way or another making my silver lining the richness and depth I've developed personally and lived firsthand.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Be careful what you wish for

A recent comment left by an unsatisfied reader left me contemplating my Young Adult series, The Unaltered. I’m no stranger to bad reviews and I’m of the mindset that a critical critique can be made into a positive resource if adequate information is given. Frankly, if an Indie author can’t handle being cut apart, then they’re in the wrong business. The reviewer in question, most likely an adult female, didn’t like my writing style saying it was predictable, lacked description, and she was upset with one of my character’s behaviors in the second book feeling that other readers should be aware of the immoral, age-inappropriate conduct before going into the series.

My first reaction to any harsh critique is to take a deep breath and remove myself from the computer. Perhaps I’ll pour a glass of Pinot Noir and watch a movie, or I might surf the Internet and look at famous authors’ bad reviews while I let the new negative comment sink in. It would be a lie to say these kinds of comments don’t affect me, so I won’t say that. This particular review was posted on Barnes & Noble and unfortunately may deter some readers from entering my fantasy world--and that’s too bad.

I’m going to veer off in a different direction for a moment. With every year of life come experiences that make us who we are individually. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced being loved on the basic level of parent/child, we’ve probably been in situations where we weren’t accepted by our peers, and we’ve all probably had a moment in life when we were extremely scared. However, the level of severity of these experiences varies from one person to the next. The difference between someone giving you sympathy or empathy is based on that person’s own experiences in life; if they’ve experienced the exact same thing, they can empathize with you… otherwise they can only give you sympathy. Every experience in life, whether good or bad, is cataloged in our brain and is often referred to when reading a book or watching a movie. Consider the phrase, “It leaves nothing to the imagination.” If a scene in a book or movie is painted in a way that “leaves nothing to the imagination” then the reader/viewer doesn’t need to access their own archive of stored experiences to fill in the blanks. However, if a scene is painted vaguely using euphemisms, harmless words that substitute suggestive or offensive words, to encourage the reader/viewer to fill in the blanks, the intensity of the scene will vary from one person to the next based on personal experiences.

For example, the disappointed reader didn’t like the character who I painted as a “player” who uses his “special ability” to “get what he wants.” To a twelve year old, whose own life experiences are slim to none in this area, the term “scoring” may mean kissing; to a college aged individual it means something entirely different. The point is the intensity of my writing is only as powerful as the reader’s own experiences. First and foremost, my books are in the Young Adult category, not Middle Grade; second, my own experiences as a teen and the stereotypes I dealt with are mirrored in my books in a vague way and anyone who has experienced similar things will pick up on what I’m implying. Lastly, I think it’s safe to say that my negative reviewer connected with my books on a much deeper level than she cares to admit. For her own life experiences to fill the blanks I left open in such a way that she felt others shouldn’t read the book, it says to me that she wants to protect youth from having to experience what she went through. That’s a powerful response. She would have an interesting story to tell, I think.

Fiction is all about imagination… for both the author and the reader. I’ve had a huge amount of feedback from teens that identified with the different characters in the book. In fact, some of my fans have attacked the negative reviewer defending the character and saying that the “player” behavior is what made the book more believable. I can’t even begin to describe how it feels to have fans defending my made-up characters and my writing style.

As for the other topics of predictability, lack of description, and a “writing style that left much to be desired,” I can only say this reader is not in my target audience and she won’t be the last person who doesn’t like my style. I won’t be reading any other negative comments from her because she said she “won’t be reading anymore books by this author anytime soon”; that’s good at least. She did say that my “idea was fairly inventive” and that garnered me a two star rating. And that’s good as well.

To all the aspiring authors out there who dream of thousands upon thousands of readers, be careful what you wish for. Understand that the more popular your book becomes, the more likely readers outside your target audience will read it, not like it, and then feel they have to tell the world about it. But take heart, once you reach this level you’ll know you’ve made it over the hump of obscurity. Don't ignore the negative reviews because sometimes you can implement changes based on the review. I will certainly work on my descriptive words and character building thanks to her critical critique, but I won't be doing it to please her, I'll do it to improve my own writing.

A Diamond in my Pocket --FREE

A Diamond in my Heart --$2.99 (Limited time- $.99)
NOOK, Kindle, Multi-Format

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Website:

My dot com website is up and running and ready for visitors. Please check it out and leave a comment on the contact page. Everyone who does gets a free cookie!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Importance of Reading the Fine Print

**Edit 3/22/12 Amazon has relisted my books and the issue was resolved**
My books, The Unaltered Series and Scars of Defiance Series, are available for purchase on in several formats, Barnes & Noble for Nook, and iTunes.

My books are no longer available on books due to an oversight on my part. **Edit** My books are back up on Amazon 3/22/12 **Edit**  Apparently Amazon doesn't like it when an author's book is being sold at a lesser price anywhere else on the web because they are obligated to meet that price--even if it's free. The email I received said that in the terms and conditions it states books cannot be offered free anywhere on the internet. I listed my books on Amazon in July 2011 and it took them this long to figure out at least one of my books has almost always been free, either that or this is a new policy change.

So, next time I'm hustling and bustling along clicking my mouse on the box that states I've read the terms and condition, I'll take a moment and actually do it. It's a lesson for all to learn--even South Park creators made a show about it, not one of their finer creations but the message is the same. Read before you agree.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Number One Fan

One year ago, I uploaded my YA fantasy book, A Diamond in my Pocket, to, a site which features free books, and held my breath. What if my book wasn’t as good as my family and friends had told me it was? Was I deluding myself? I’d find out soon enough once the ratings began to come in. I remember checking my email a couple days later to find a reader named Heather had sent me a comment and almost instantly my heart leaped into my throat. I worried it would be a comment telling me to ‘give it up and spare the space on the web for actual authors’. At the same time I thought to myself that when I published the book online I knew that it was inevitable I’d get bad reviews at some point… I guess I’d hoped it wouldn’t be so soon. I clicked on the email and opened it squeezing my eyes shut in anticipation. A quick read of the short comment buoyed my spirits: she liked my book!

I typed a response to Heather and thanked her for her comment and told her she was my number one fan. We’ve communicated a few times over the last twelve months and I always remind her she is my #1 fan... literally. I send her free copies of my books as they release including my latest book, A Diamond in my Heart, book two of The Unaltered series which released on Jan. 31.

How important is it to recognize readers and fans? I believe it’s more important than stressing over writing your next book especially in this day and age where social media and networking reigns supreme and word of mouth spreads faster than earthquake tremors as in the case of the last Washington DC, earthquake. People in New York City knew of the quake before the ground began to shake because of Twitter feeds like, “We just had an earthquake in DC.”

My number one fan, Heather, likes my writing style. She encourages me to continue with my dream, and someday I’d like to meet her and have a picture taken. I’ll frame it and hang it on the wall like so many small businesses do with their first dollar bill. Although, the more I think about it I realize framing a dollar bill is ridiculous, really, because it was a person who pulled the bill from their wallet in the first place and shouldn’t that person’s face be what’s framed on the wall instead of the money they handed over? That's just my opinion.

I take the time to respond to each and every fan who takes the time out of their busy schedule to read my book and contact me. Their time isn’t any less valuable than mine and without my fans, who would read my books? Perhaps someday the Twitter feeds will read, “I just finished A Diamond in my Heart by Lorena Angell and it was awesome!”

Monday, January 16, 2012

Three little kittens and a Hurricane named Irene

A couple years ago our mama cat named Bear gave birth to three kittens under our deck.  This was a good, safe place for the babies from the neighborhood dogs and the rain.  After a couple of weeks, the kittens began moving around a bit more and found their way out from under the deck.  Bear didn’t like this so she took them one by one up a wooden pole to our second floor balcony.  

We had no idea she’d moved her babies until one day when my young daughter and I went outside and heard the kittens’ terrified meows.  I looked up and saw three fluffy heads peaking over the edge of the balcony and one of the kittens moved dangerously close to the edge.  My daughter gasped in fear; I had to act quickly.  I positioned myself under the kitten just in time as it tumbled off the balcony.  I caught it, surprisingly, and hurried and set it down readying myself for the next one.  The other two followed one at a time and I successfully caught them and placed them on the ground.  I was elated with my ‘good deed’ as was my daughter who watched the events unfold.   She would have been horrified if the kittens had fallen to injury or death.

In comparison to the kitten story is Hurricane Irene which wreaked havoc along the Eastern Coast of the U.S. in late August, 2011.  For days, this looming storm was predicted to cause damaging winds, intense flooding and other potentially life-threatening conditions.  People were warned to evacuate and most did, but some die-hards decided to weather the storm.  Emergency personnel reminded the determined people that top meteorologists were predicting the storm’s path would most likely remain unchanged and it would be unwise to stay in the path of possible death.  

Even with all that knowledge, some still remained in their homes.  Invariably, some of these stubborn people would most likely call for help once the storm intensified and the same emergency workers would be forced to tell them they could not come to their rescue due to the perilous conditions.  Anyone who knows one of these first-responders personally, or everyday heroes as I call them, would understand that a moment like that would rip at their hearts.  It would be similar to baby kittens on the verge of falling off a balcony and the one who wanted to try and catch them was being held back by forces beyond their control.

I believe most people in the world would try to catch the kittens; and most people would try and save others from possible danger or death.  This type of individual is personified in the YA fiction books I write, especially A Diamond in my Pocket, where the lead heroine is allowed to see an impending disaster in the future in which many will die unless changes are made in the present.

My own understanding of gravity allowed me a quick glimpse of what might possibly happen to the kittens, therefore I acted and completed three lucky catches--and saved my daughter from witnessing the horror of what might have happened.
Do you have a 'lucky catch' or 'in the right place at the right time' story? I'd love to hear it!