Sunday, May 29, 2011

Don't you... Forget about me.

On Friday I virtually sat down with Golden Heart finalist author and fellow MargaRITA Vanessa Barneveld to discuss THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN. We talked about everything from my sad prom experience, to John Hughes angst influences, to my own real-life teen guardian angel experience.

Due to a stomach bug, I didn't promote like I wanted, so in honor of the long weekend we're keeping the stories going. Got your own guardian angel story or a favorite John Hughes movie? If you haven't had a chance to stop over yet, don't be a neo-maxi-zoom-dweebie, be sure to come by and share. HERE.

Funny story: Last week the hubby and I went to my 10-year-old’s band concert where they played the theme to Bridge on the River Kwai. Hubby turns to me and says, “Man, I really want to watch Bridge on the River Kwai.” and I’m thinking, “Boy, I really want to watch Breakfast Club!” Ha!

The winner of Tuesday's THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN release day eBook is Athena_Grayson. Athena, please email me at careycorp(at)fuse(dot)net.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

*Happy Dance*

The book is out. So far, so good. I'm exhaused, so I'll recap my eBook journey next Thursday as well as looking ahead to print.

Like any milestone, it's important to stop and celebrate. Rather doing my own happy dance, I'm going to to let Judson Laipply do it for me.

Tomorrow, I will be stopping by my dear friend Vanessa Barneveld's blog to talk about my inspiration for THE HALO CHRONICLES series and my real life *honest to God* guardian angel story.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


“Thrilling and oh-so-romantic, THE GUARDIAN will keep you up all night, turning the pages!”
 –Kristi Cook author of HAVEN
Rated five stars on Barnes & and Goodreads, THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN is now available in all eBook formats.

Buy THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN (a 2010 RWA Golden Heart® finalist for young adult fiction) at Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Smashwords  coming soon to iBookstore
Turn your computer into a free eReader: Kindle for PC  NOOK for PC
more information at
The day has finally arrived and to celebrate, I’m giving away a free digital copy. This contest will run until midnight Wednesday 5/25.
Tweet, post, or share this post, Or add to your goodreads TBR
Paste the link in the comment section of this post. Each link is worth one entry.
I will announce a winner Thursday morning.

Friday, I will be hanging with Vanessa Barneveld at Authorness. I will be sharing my *honest to God* teenaged guardian angel story and asking readers to share theirs. Plus, there will be another chance to win a digital copy of my book. You won’t want to miss it. 
I promised to reveal my very first book. Click below. J

Lucas—shmookas! I wrote Star Wars.

Here’s a book from a little, unknown author written back in 1977. Me! Did you know I wrote Star Wars? It would be hard to prove. Perhaps I could have it carbon dated, but I’d rather have it preserved in carbonite.

A long time ago, in an intergalactic trailer park far, far away....

C3PO, R2D2 and their happy friend "WC" *insert wookiee speak*

Saw Princess Leia's hologram

Then Barbie - or is that Leia? - and her bf Luke (Hey, you thought they'd get together, too! But as I matured I realized the real catch was Han *insert swoon*) went off to save the universe from intergalactic tyrrany and some evil dudes.

On left - Death Star or maybe an easter egg?... On right - Darth Vader and some Stormtroopers going to the Bengals game.

Since all good sagas end in a cliff hanger, I ended on the terrifying proposition of SPs. Just what are they? We have no idea. Perhaps they're Scary Pigs. (In all likelihood, this is a Tusken Raider, representative of the vicious Sand People, which scared the bejeezus out of this seven-year-old author.)

The Force is also strong in my first recent novel. In THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN, Alex’s best friend Derry is a huge Star Wars fan. He spent most of his life in foster homes and his number one fantasy was that C3PO and R2D2 would show up with an intergalactic message of great importance. Together with Alex, Derry and the droids would speed away from their home planet and wretched lives.
May the Force be with you my wookiees!

Disclaimer: This humble author would never presume to take credit for the life-changing Star Wars saga. Let it be further expressed, that Mr. Lucas is AWESOME and I regard him and his intellectual property with the utmost respect.
Buy THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN (a 2010 RWA Golden Heart® finalist for young adult fiction) at Amazon     Barnes & Noble    Smashwords  

Also from Carey Corp: DOON, inspired by Lerner & Loewe's Brigadoon. Available now from BLINK/HarperCollins. Find out more at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Losing it

Less than one week until book release.
This morning I had an eloquent analogy about the Kentucky Derby and the home stretch. Then I got in the shower—where I usually have my best thinks—and it all unraveled. Not only did I lose my extremely clever, relevant, and (dare I say) world-changing opening. I couldn’t remember if I conditioned my hair or merely thought about it. Bottom line: I’m losing it! ;)
So today, I’m going to give a quick update on where I am, and then open up the cyber floor for questions: Professional, personal or other—my filters are down, so ask away.
Then Tuesday, I’ll be doing a very special Launch Day blog. I’ll be giving away a free digital copy of THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN. **And I’ll be unveiling the first book I ever wrote** It’s from 1977. Prepare to be amazed and blown-away.

Where I’m at: Formatting done. Uploaded to Smashwords, B&N, Amazon Kindle. Waiting for publications to clear, then I’ll do a final check to make sure everything looks right.
Conclusion: In the home stretch, focus is the most important thing.
Mood: Dry?
Related topics: Theresa Ragan sold 10,000 books in 10 weeks. Whether traditional or indie, her blog will inspire you. Be sure to check out How I Got Started.
Next steps: final checks
Your turn: Ask me anything you want!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Everything Happens. (wisdom from Dr. Horrible)

I am a HUGE Joss Whedon fan. He could announce intentions to produce his grocery list and I would salivate with anticipation (like I’m drooling over the reported Dr. Horrible sequel).

My whole family LOVES Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. In DHSAB, Penny says something that really resonates with me:
“Everything Happens.”
No silver lining, no message of hope. But it’s not pessimistic either. It’s pragmatic and it speaks to me.
So, I’m less than two weeks away from my first release and there have been recent developments with my co-written manuscript, making the more traditional publishing route, that are demanding my attention. Everything happens. Time for me to take stock and work smarter.

Where I am.
eBook: Line edits are done and I am two-thirds of the way through the 60 page formatting guide for Smashwords. Working the manuscript as I go. Several loops suggested starting with Smashwords would make the Kindle work easier. Luckily, I auto format everything, which makes changes easier. I’m planning to upload this weekend.
Conclusion: eBook - so far, greatly detailed but not hard to format.
POD: Lightning Source or Create Space. I’ve done my due diligence and concluded Lightning Source really is designed for small press. As a self-publishing indie author, Lightning Source requires more time, money, and initial set up. I’ve talked to my industry insiders, including a dear friend who made her career as a bookseller for Barnes and Noble, and have determined that LS does not work to my advantage. It will not open doors for opportunities for extra distribution. As far as B&N is concerned, I’ll be classified as prepaid, POD only and forever.
Conclusion: LS is a lot more risk and I’ll have to sell a lot more print copies to recoup my initial investment. Since the focus will be on digital, I’m going to take the lower risk investment option of Create Space. I won’t work on this till after digital release, so I do have time for a few questions I want to ask other authors about their CS. And I seem to recall some loop discussions about CS reliability with royalties—must Google that.
Marketing and Promo: Working on my plan. Have a few things in the works. Need to be ready as soon as eBooks are uploaded. Feeling a bit behind on this. But I do have a kick-ass little booklet in the works for an upcoming conference.
Other: Have to prioritize co-written project and address recent developments.
Mood: Can’t describe how I feel and no time to dwell
Your turn: Any advice to help maximize and focus my THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN marketing efforts?
Read before you buy at

Friday, May 6, 2011


CC: Thank you, Kristi, for being a part of First Love Fridays: where we explore the glory and angst of first loves, first kisses, first breakups, and life beyond.

KC: Thanks for having me!  Sounds… fun? 

CC: Tell us about your first (love, kiss, breakup – your choice). To protect the innocent feel free to use an alias.;)

KC:  I met my first love (I’ll call him “Jack”—not his real name!) near the end of ninth grade—we didn’t have any classes together, but we were in the same lunch period, and I had noticed Jack because he had really pretty blue/green eyes (and who *doesn’t* love a pair of bright blue/green eyes in a tanned face?!). Then I heard from a mutual friend that Jack had a big crush on me—and yeah, that was pretty much enough for me like him back.  Yes, I will confess to being *that* shallow.  But c’mon, Jack was super hot—very athletic, with those great eyes—and he was into me.  That was enough for me.

Next thing I knew, we were exchanging phone numbers by my locker, and we went on our first date the following weekend.  Jack’s parents drove us to the movie (“Romancing the Stone”) and then picked us up and took us back to their house for strawberry shortcake.  Ah, yes....such an innocent time!  I’m pretty sure our first kiss didn’t come till the end of the second date—after he’d spent the entire movie (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” this time) working up the nerve to hold my hand, which he finally accomplished about three-quarter-ways through the movie.  I barely saw any of the movie—I was way too focused on watching his hand creep toward mine on the armrest at a painfully slow rate.

CC: That’s so adorably sweet. How long were you together?

KC:  A long time!  Almost a year and a half, till just before my family moved away (yes, my parents were cruel enough to make me move to a new state—from Georgia to Florida—the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school!). 

CC: How did you get over him/her?

KC:  It wasn’t easy. I was your stereotypical angsty, sobbing girl for a while there, convinced I would never love anyone else the way I’d loved Jack.   I think being in a new state/new school, away from him, made me idealize the relationship we’d had in a way that I wouldn’t have done if he’d still been around.  Because looking back, we really didn’t have anything in common, except each other.  I don’t think I really got over him until the next time I fell in love, near the end of my junior year.

CC: Have you connected with him/her since then?

KC: Actually, we’ve pretty much stayed in touch all along, as weird as that sounds—though not as much in the past few years.  We wrote letters, we visited each other in college (though it was always platonic). I continued to receive Valentine’s Day cards from him every year through high school and college! It was probably a good thing that I moved away—it probably helped preserve the warm feelings we had for each other, because we never had to see the other, walking down the hall with a new girlfriend/boyfriend, so there were never any jealousy issues or anything.  Just...mostly happy memories.  

Actually, I had a book signing in Georgia not too long ago, and his mother actually showed up!  I spoke with her for a good two or three minutes before I recognized her, and I then I totally freaked out!  Happy tears.  She pulled out old photos of the two of us together, and then photos of him and his wife and two kids.  It was great!

CC: What’s next for you and what role does “first love” play in the story?

KC:  I think what I enjoyed most about writing HAVEN was recapturing that all-consuming feeling of “first love” and exploring it, throwing some major obstacles in the way.  In HAVEN, Violet and Aidan connect in that instant way that some teens do, and then spend the rest of the book discovering their connection, and trying to figure out what it means.  Violet, who has the gift of precognition, sees a vision of what she thinks is Aidan’s death, and it appears as if she’s the one who kills him.  So...yeah, that’s a lot more angst than most teens have to deal with in regards to their first love!  Over the course of the book, they learn that they are basically natural-born enemies, and they hope their love can overcome that.  At the end of HAVEN, it looks like it will.  But I’m writing the still-untitled sequel now, and their enmity begins to rear its head a bit more.  Things get a bit more...dangerous. 

CC: I do love Aiden and Vi’s story and can’t wait to see what’s next for them. Do you have any final wisdom to share with us about first loves?

KC:  Just that it’s an important learning experience, as painful as it can be.  I’ve had people tell me that those first love feelings weren’t “real”—that I didn’t really love Jack.  But I think they’re wrong—it *was* love, and those feelings were genuine and strong.  But there are many different kinds of love, and first love isn’t necessarily “forever” love. I think it would have made our breakup much easier if I’d realized that then, and appreciated the fact that, even though I did love him, it didn’t mean we were supposed to be together forever.  Still, they helped shape the person I am now, and make me truly appreciate the forever-love I have now. 

Find out more about Kristi, he books, and where to follow her at

Come back the first Friday in June for the next edition of First Love Fridays.

Next regular post: Thursday 5/12


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Edward Cullen has nothing to do with my cover

Before I start, I have to share this hilarious story. On Tuesday, a coworker told me about her sixty-year-old Twilight-obsessed mom and the life-sized Edward Cullen cutout she keeps in her basement rec room. Apparently, Edward scares many an unsuspecting visitor.

Recently, the ADT alarm went off while her mom was out shopping. The cause was a faulty door latch. When the police arrived and saw the door wide open, they went inside to investigate. Long story short, law enforcement nearly shot Edward Cullen for breaking and entering.
What does Edward Cullen have to do with today’s topic? Absolutely nothing. It just makes me smile as I shift gears to talk about my book cover process.
On a scale of normal to Rain Man, I skew toward the normal side of the spectrum. Usually. But when I decided to focus on book covers, I went a little crazy.
Since I enjoy that kind of thing, I decided experiment with designs and see what I could come up with on my own. But if my attempts SUCKED, the next step would be to hire a designer. Then the madness set in.
First, I looked at Photoshop and similar programs, but they were expensive. I briefly contemplated using my son’s summer camp funds on software before talking myself down. I decided for my first try, I would use programs I already had. I do a TON in PowerPoint, so I started there.
PowerPoint seemed to have the elements I needed, but I needed images, so I started trolling stock images. I realized that not all stock photo sites are created equal. Some, like shutterstock (, included covers and print runs under 250,000 as part of the purchase. Others were more limiting and expensive.
Once I found my images, I needed to fade them. This was the biggest obstacle. Microsoft office programs do not have this capability. So internet research brought me to the free GIMP software. It’s not terribly user friendly, but I was able to manipulate my image through trial and error.
My literary fiction project was easy. The first attempt got me halfway there and the second pass added missing elements. I LOVE the result! (More on that in the future.) For THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN, I spent the week of spring break in an OCD-induced haze creating version after version and testing it on my inner circle. I made about 30 craptastic covers before coming up with a design that I felt good about. But there’s always room for improvement. Some of you may have noticed the little tweaks I’ve made over the last week based on feedback—THANK YOU!!!
Here are some of my favorite Craptastic Covers:

Conclusion: I enjoy cover design and am satisfied with the two covers I’ve created but I haven’t given up the dream of one day having a cover designed by Cliff Nielsen or Julianna Kolesova. And if I can’t create a cover that makes a promise, I need to hire a professional.
Mood: Manic
Related topics: DIY covers blog by Katie Salidas
Next steps: Figure out/set up my author presence & upcoming project on Amazon (maybe B&N)- decided to wait until after cover reveal; research POD (print on demand) providers & costs-in progress; finalize production schedule; decide whether or not to hire a line editor-in progress;
Come back tomorrow for my First Love Friday interview with HAVEN author, Kristi Cook.
Your turn: Who are some of your favorite cover artists?
Read before you buy at