Mindee Arnett
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What I Wish the Nonwriters in My Life Could Understand

Warning, this is not a happy post. It’s also very personal, something I rarely do online and don’t feel very comfortable with doing.

But it’s also a post I have to write. It’s a weight I need to unload into these words and onto this page. Even if no one else read this, I need to get it out.

It’s no secret to those who know me that one of my biggest wishes is to be able to quit my day job and write full time. Okay, who am I kidding? If I’m being honest and unfiltered, it really is my single biggest desire, even over all the other way more important things I should long for, like a way to heal our shattering nation.

The desire to be unfettered by the daily, and often creatively-draining demands of my day job is one I think about often, even though I try not to. For the record, I have a great day job, and I’m supremely grateful for it. My job is good to me. My employers and coworkers are supportive and giving and wonderful, and nothing in this post is a criticism about any of that. I like my job. I really do.

But I love writing more.

It’s that simple. Writing stories, having them be made into books—that is what fills me up. That’s what satisfies me in a way the day job never could. Writing pays me in a lot more money. And I’m very fortunate that I get to do it at all. I’ve had five books published so far, and I’ve a new series coming. I’m blessed in so many ways

Except for one.

Time.

I live my life in a constant deficit of time. Have you ever not had enough money to pay your bills? You know that sickening, hopeless feeling you get that you’ll never catch up? Never have a reprieve? That’s often what it feels like for me, except with time instead of money. The thing is, I publish and write by choice. It’s a willful commit and sacrifice, and as much as I love it, it can be so so very hard to do both.

Like this past week.

Because keeping my day job isn’t a choice. It’s a requirement. I have to keep it. I need to be able to support my family. At least, I have to for right now. It’s possible in a few years that might change. I’m trying to put myself in a position where I have more choices about my working life, but that times time. (Debt, debt, debt, never enough time). Or maybe I’ll have a book hit big enough that I can afford to quit (and for the record, most writers don’t make enough to support a family on. We just don’t. It’s the nature of the business, and if you’re a writer who has to work, don’t feel like you’re somehow less. You’re not. You’re not, Mindee. You’re not. I swear).

Yet it always feels like less. The thing is, in my life, the writing never gets to come first. The day job does. Always. That’s how it should be, of course. It’s just not how I want it to be. And the thing is, even though I have a day job, I still have the same demands on me as a fulltime writer. I do book events. I market and promote. I have deadlines and edits and everything else. I’ve got huge plans for this upcoming book, and I’m excited about them, and I eagerly want to put time and energy into doing them. But no matter what, those activities will always be second.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here, the thing I wish the non writers in my life understood, is how hard it is when I have a week like this past one, where I didn’t get any writing done. At all. I’ve been trying to find a metaphor that works. The best I’ve come up with is this:

Imagine that you were a bird born in a pet shop. You have wings, but you’ve never used them because you’ve lived all your life in a cage. But that’s alright. The cage is comfortable and safe, and for the most part, you’re happy there

But then one day you get out of the cage and learn to fly. You realize you were made to fly. It’s the best thing ever. It’s your heart desire. But because you are a bird born in a pet shop, you’re only allowed to fly for small periods of time. Most days, you can live with that, the couple of minutes you get to soar free are enough to sustain you the rest of the time, enough to hope and to dream that maybe one day there’ll be more time. The cage doesn’t feel so much like a cage if you can escape it for a little while.

But then there are days, and sometimes even whole weeks, where you don’t get to fly at all. Those are the times you resent the cage, when you feel it all around you, closing in and getting smaller by the second, and wish you could be a bird that wasn’t born in a pet shop. That you could be a bird who could fly all the time. Whenever you wanted. Whenever you needed.

There. That’s what it feels like. Fortunately it’s not all the time. Most days, most hours, I’m happy and content, but sometimes I’m not. It’s no one’s fault. No one’s problem to fix or to heal. Really, all that any of us can ask when we’re hurting or struggling is simply for understanding. That’s all.

And I do feel better now, having said it. So long as I get to fly a little, I can keep on living in the cage. Thank you for reading, and for understanding. Happy fun times will be coming back soon. I promise.

In the meantime, I want to leave off with this quote. All my writer friends and readers, this is how you make me feel:

Ruined in Retribution Cover Reveal

Today I’m super happy to help co-host the cover reveal for Valia Lind’s RUINED IN RETRIBUTION, book 3 in the Titanium Series. You can see it below–and trust me, it’s amazing! Also, if you haven’t read this series yet, you’re in luck. Book 1, PIECES OF REVENGE is currently free. You can download it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

 

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Synopsis:

Gone. Gone. Gone.

For the past two months, it has taken all of Logan’s determination to just keep going. Losing Tasia to Kallos Enterprises shattered his world, but he is not about to give up on what she had started.

Together with her family, Logan works to destroy the company that ruined their lives. The corporation is growing bigger and stronger by the minute, weaponizing the drug and selling it to the highest bidder. But that’s not the only hurdle to overcome. Logan’s past is catching up to him, and the time has come to pay. His family’s secrets are unraveling everything he has built for himself and now, Logan is fighting on multiple fronts.

Save Tasia. Destroy Kallos Enterprises. Stay alive.

Such a simple list, such an impossible mission.

Time is running out and Logan is left with one question: can he save them all?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author. Photographer. Artist. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia, Valia Lind has always had a love for the written word. She wrote her first full book on the bathroom floor of her dormitory, while procrastinating to study for her college classes. Upon graduation, she has moved her writing to more respectable places, and have found her voice in Young Adult fiction. You can visit her online at http://valialind.wordpress.com or follow her on twitter, where she spends way too much time, @ValiaLind

Awesome right? The book is out December 7 and you can preorder it on Amazon here.You can also add the book on Goodreads and get to know Valia over on Twitter, Facebook, and her webpage.

Happy reading!

Almost News + Giveaway

It’s almost September, and that means I’ve almost got news, as in the title for my next book! We’re zeroing in on a title right now, and I hope to get to share it with you soon.

In other news, I’m heading to Dragon*Con next week. I’ve got two panels lined up:

  • Writing YA–The Craft on Saturday at 4:00 in A707
  • YA Lit After Dark on Saturday at 8:30 in A707

Hope to see you there.

Now onto the giveaway! You know what’s awesome? Books. New books are awesome. So are friends, especially awesomely, talented writer friends. And that’s why I’ve decided to celebrate a few of my friends who’ve got new books coming out. All four of these books are amazing, and you’re going to want to read each one!

What’s up for Grabs?

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  • A signed arc of One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards – read about it here
  • A signed hard cover of A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride – read about it here
  • A preorder of Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon – read about it here
  • A preorder of Metaltown by Kristen Simmons – read about it here
Who can enter and for how long?

The contest starts right now and will end at midnight EST on Wednesday September 7. The contest is open to US only. Apologies to all my international friends. You all are great, and I promise more international contests will be coming soon. (Maybe with my actual news???)

 

Good luck!

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Film News + Audio Book Giveaway

Did you hear the news??? The Nightmare Affair has been optioned as a digital series by the very same people behind the Emmy-award winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries! Isn’t that awesome? If you want to read all the juicy details, they’re on Variety.com.

To celebrate this awesome event, I’m giving away the entire Arkwell Academy series on Audio CD. This is open Internationally and will run until midnight March 30st. Also, you’ll see that the most weighted option is to sign up to beta read my new book and help test out the brand new Mori app. Sign up is here. Right now the testing is only for Apple users; however, the Mori people are keeping track of Android users, too, so the option is available to everyone! Best of luck and thank you, thank you, thank you!

Win these!!!

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Read a “New” Free Book by Mindee

Are you interested in reading a one of my books for free? A book that’s never before been published? Well now’s your chance. Here’s the skinny. I’m helping out an app developer who’s getting ready to launch an app that helps readers and writers connect with each other during the writing process. If that doesn’t make sense, trust me, it will. But basically, they’re looking for people to read my book through the app and to just play around and explore some of the features. You’ll get to make comments on it, highlights, notes, anything you want–and it’s going to go straight to me. We’ll even chat about it later. Space is limited, though, so don’t wait!

If you’re interested here’s the link to sign https://mori.com/earlyaccess/sunrise

About the book: This is my pre-Nightmare Affair novel. This is the one that was almost my break-through novel. It was so, so close. It’s near and dear to my heart, and now I’m sharing it with you–flaws and all. And yes, there are flaws. Remember this was never published and it’s never been through the editing process. So bear that in mind. But if you’re an aspiring writer, this might be cool insight into an almost-there novel. Or if you’ve enjoyed my other books, you just might like this one, too. It contains one of my favorite ending scenes of all time (just saying).

Here’s the original pitch I used in query letter for this novel. Please note that it’s technically a New Adult (a category that didn’t exist when I first wrote it back in 2009):

Dear Agent:

I am seeking representation for my urban fantasy, SUNRISE, and thought you might be interested. It’s complete at 97,000 words and contains elements of both romance and horror. While on the hunt for the vampire who murdered his friends, Dylan Caine sees the one person he must avoid at all costs–Penny Larue, his soul mate, and the woman whose life he’s destined to ruin. Dylan is a shape-shifter able to assume animal form at will, but the power comes with a terrible price: death at 24 from a curse handed down in his family from father to son. Resigned to his fate, Dylan is determined to be the last to suffer the curse by denying the magic which compels him to be with his soul mate. But when Penny becomes the focus of the vampire’s deadly games, he must risk temptation to keep her safe.

Determined to get into vet school early, 21-year-old Penny Larue has no plans to fall in love. She has better things to do, like studying and competing her horse in the extreme sport of Eventing. Yes she can’t resist her attraction to the elusive Dylan Caine. The closer she gets to him, the more frightening life becomes. People around her are drying at the hands of a serial killer dubbed the Wolfman from the bite marks he leaves on his victims. As she learns Dylan’s connection to the killer, she realizes the danger is greater than she ever imagined. In a world where vampires cannot be made by force, but only by choice of the one whose soul is at stake, she will face the hardest decision of her life, one which will determine both her fate and Dylan’s.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the other side of the story!

Grand Rapids Comic Con

Well, I suppose I should call this a quick recap. But I had a blast at GRCC this past weekend. I got to meet so many wonderful people and hang out with the lovely Susan Dennard, whose upcoming book Truthwitch is one you’re going to want to check out.

My presentation on Worldbuilding started off a little rough due to some technical difficulties but went well once we got going. Thanks so much to everyone who attended. As promised, here is the presentation in outline form for your convenience: worldbuilding.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take that many pictures, but here are a couple. Also, you might have noticed my website has been redesigned (hope you like it). I plan to do a formal reveal soon that’s going to include a giveaway. So be sure to come back!

Happy writing!

Mindee

The Nightmare Charade Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Welcome to the headquarters of the official cover reveal and giveaway of The Nightmare Charade. To enter and see the cover, please visit anyone of these participating blogs linked below. The contest is open internationally and ends at midnight EST, May 13, 2015. Thanks so much to these awesome blogs and to you for entering. Good luck!

The Cover Contessa

Carina Olsen

In Love with Handmade

thebibliophagist

Paper Cuts

Twinning for Twins

Carmel and Kyla

Skye’s Scribblings

Why I Chose to End my Series Early

I’ve been getting the question lately about why I decided not to write a fourth book in the The Arkwell Academy, and I figured it best to just lay it all on the table here, down and dirty and completely candid. But before I get started, I’ve got to say that I’m really grateful to get the question at all. It means that there are some people who would welcome a fourth book, and that fills my imagination with baby unicorns and kittens. I would insert a cute picture right now, but my silly website isn’t working (side note: I would love to hire an assistant with some light skills in html – email me, maybe?)

Anyway, back to the point. First let me just say that I think endings are pretty much the most important of any story, both in individual books and in a series. You might have a great beginning and middle but if you botch the ending you pretty much cancel out all that came before. Or you color it an unpleasant shade, leave people with a bad taste, [insert every other metaphor here]. Given my feelings on endings, here is why I stopped with book 3:

  1. I saw the chance to write the ending I wanted− early. This is totally thanks to my brilliant editor. I had an idea in mind for the ending of this series I finished the first book. And while my editor was down for not wrapping things up in Charade, she did have some comments when she read the first draft of the book that got me questioning my ending. What I discovered was that I could end the whole series on the right note, the way I intended− and most importantly, the way it was supposed to end, in Charade.  There just wasn’t a need for a fourth book. This was a shortcut that proved worth it. I’m pretty certain that if you liked the other two books, you’ll be happy with where we go in this last one. Just hang in for the ride.
  2. I didn’t have a true “story” for what would’ve been book 4. You know how the last Harry Potter felt so different because Harry and his friends were out wandering aimlessly through the books instead of attending Hogwarts? Well, I was facing something similar if I decided to do book 4. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to tread water or draw things out. These books are not Hobbit movies. Why do it in two when one will work?
  3. I was ready to write something newI love these books, don’t get me wrong. But I was ready to close the door and say goodbye. And I was ready to open the window on something new.
  4. Sales are king. I wish I could say that in the real world story is king, but sadly, it’s not. There are plenty of awesome stories that never really take off and crappy stories that sometimes do. I can’t say I know what makes for good sales or not, but I do know that when it came to book 4 I was afraid. Even though my wonderful publisher, Tor Teen is so supportive and great, I worried what a fourth book might do− or more accurately, what it might not do, i.e. sell. And again, given that I saw my ending sooner than I expected why wouldn’t I take it? Sure, the journey is the best part, but sometimes taking the long way around just isn’t worth. Not when the destination is so great. And trust me, getting the chance to finish this series on my own terms? Well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Anyway…please come back next Wednesday for the “official” cover reveal of The Nightmare Charade + a giveaway of two ARCs (international). You all are the best. Oh, and don’t forget, you can send me questions anytime over on Goodreads or Tumblr.

Happy Endings!

 

 

The Avalon Fantasy Casting Call Giveaway

***CONGRATS TO THE WINNER! MARIA PILAR ALBARRAN***

***And thanks to all who entered. Be sure to keep a look out for the final cast results coming soon***

As promised, I’m giving away another signed arc of Polaris, the sequel and conclusion to Avalon. This giveaway is international and entering is super duper easy and fun—I hope.

Here’s the skinny. I’m working on an upcoming blog post where I’m going to chose my dream cast for the Avalon movie, and I need your help! First though, let me crush your hopes in one quick blow—no there are no current plans to make Avalon into a movie. Sadly, the film rights haven’t even been optioned. But it’s never too late. And hey, an awesome space-based sci-fi that’s both funny and warmhearted smashed the box office recently so there’s always a chance Hollywood might come looking for more, right? (And if you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy yet, seriously…stop everything and do that now!)

Anyway, to enter my little contest all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me who you would pick to play any (or all) of the characters in Avalon. Tell me who would make a good Jeth or Sierra. Or Lizzie, Shady, Flynn, and Celeste. Don’t forget Milton, Hammer, Daxton, and Renford as well. I would prefer recommendations for current/available actors, please. I mean, as much as a teenage Nathan Fillion would rock for Jeth, I’d rather have someone ready made to call out in this fantasy casting.

The contest will remain open until Thursday at midnight EST. I will use random.org to select the winner. One enter per person, although please feel free to comment as much as you like. I’m seriously looking for inspirations here. I will announce the winner on the blog and on twitter and FaceBook. Good luck!

p.s. If you have trouble commenting, you can enter the contest on my FaceBook page here instead:

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Giveaway Alert: Gates of Thread and Stone and More!

It’s almost August, and guess what that means? The fabulous Gates of Thread and Stone by my friend and critique partner Lori M. Lee will be hitting shelves. I loved this book folks, and I hope you do, too.

There’s been so much going on, and I’ve been super duper busy for months now. But happily, I’ve turned in the draft of the third book in the Arkwell Academy and I’m finally working on new things. Given all this awesomeness happening, I’ve decided to celebrate with a giveaway. Here’s what’s up to win:

  • A hard cover of Gates of Thread and Stone
  • A signed paperback of The Nightmare Affair
  • A signed hard cover of The Nightmare Dilemma

Entering is easy. Just fill out the rafflecopter below. Unfortunately this is limited to US only.

And in case you haven’t heard about Gates, here’s the official description:

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where shecame from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

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