Monday, April 28, 2014

Welcome to the AFTER THE END blog tour!
Amy's Truth or Dare This is one of Amy's special author-hosted Truth or Dare stops. (The truth-or-dare theme is particularly relevant to AFTER THE END, since Juneau's oracle has said she has to tell the truth or she won't find her clan.) I opted for "dare," giving Amy the mission to leave a love note at a major tourist site in Paris, with a time and place for potential rendez-vous. For various reasons (timing, having her kids along, etc.) she had to modify the dare, and this is what she came up with: note This is my note - simple and direct: "I think you are very handsome (or pretty)." note2And here is the drop-off point: a park bench in Place des Vosges on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The man on the other side of the bench had been sitting there forever, and didn't even notice me drop off the note (with pebble on top - it was windy). I left the note and then went to hide out on a park bench across from it, camera ready. And waited. And waited some more. And then got my daughter to lurk with the camera for a while. And NO ONE came up to read the note. Except, finally... note3my 8-year old son, who was dying of curiosity to know what the note said. He came away with a smile on his face, as if he couldn't help but believe that I hadn't planned whole thing specifically for him just because he was SO DARN HANDSOME. I had so much fun with Courtney's dare, though, that I am determined to try it again. Another place. Another time. Another love letter. It will happen.   And now, on to the juicy info about AFTER THE END + prizes!
About the Book
By: Amy Plum, Published by: Harper Teen, hitting shelves on May 6, 2014 Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound Find out more about the book
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness.
They′e survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.
At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.
When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact.
Everything was a lie.
Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she′s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.   About Amy Plum    
Amy Plum is the author of DIE FOR ME, a YA series set in Paris. The first three books—DIE FOR ME, UNTIL I DIE, and IF I SHOULD DIE—are international bestsellers, and have been translated into eleven different languages. The fourth book is an eNovella, entitled DIE FOR HER. The first book of Amy’s new series, AFTER THE END, releases in May 2014.
Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café.
Visit her on: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads The Giveaway
Each stop on the tour will be hosting a giveaway! We're giving away: - 13 SIGNED After The End books - 6 iPhone After the End shells. *This is open Internationally* To enter, please be sure to fill out the form featured on each stop along the tour. a Rafflecopter giveaway The first 300 people who pre-order AFTER THE END and show proof of their pre-order will receive one of these limited edition After The End water bottles. *see below*
Please be sure to send your mailing address and receipt to

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tonight's Signing at Ballard Memorial

The signing at Ballard Memorial will take place at 5:00 p.m. in the library. 

There is a district basketball game tonight at Mayfield at 7:00. (Go Lady Bombers!)  I plan to be at school all day today and don't plan to leave. So I can be available after school for anyone who wants a book, but needs to rush off and cheer for our girls. 

Please send an email to channelingbrave (at) gmail (.) com to make sure I know you're coming early.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

12 Months. 12 Pictures. 12 Lessons

January's Lesson

Celebrate other authors!
Kristin Tubb's book launch at Parnassus.

February's Lesson

Cultivate a face-to-face relationship with your editor!
Court and Rosemary in her office at HarperCollins.

March's Lesson

When you're stuck, retreat to the place where
 you are most productive!
Court at Fort Walton Beach!

April's Lesson

Writing retreats are a good idea!
Schedule for the Re:Vision Re:Solution Re:treat
May's Lesson

A book is never finish. There are always improvements to make. 
(Even after it has a spine. Those go into book two.)
Faking Normal Line Edits

June's Lesson

We are always leaving our mark where others have already left theirs. 
Respect the history of our profession wherever you find it.

Signing wall at Allgood Middle School Library - Allgood TN

July's Lesson

Find a way to market within your personality.

The first Channel Your Brave product.

August's Lesson

The better you know your agent and the people she works 
with the better you understand and trust her editorial advice

Court, Kelly, Sharon, & Jess at SCBWI LA Conference.

September's Lesson

Sometimes you have to step outside your own character to find your character.

ShadowHunter Court at DragonCon - Atlanta, Georgia

October's Lesson

Attempt things you feel are impossible. Train for them. Train for them with friends.
Lauren, Sarah, Court, and Erica with our 1/2 Marathon Medals

November's Lesson

Be the kind of person who befriends lions.
Intimidating people aren't as intimidating if you love them.

Court at Yallfest (with Aslan?)

December's Lesson

Give back to your local book store.

Court, Niki, and Victoria at IndieFirst Small Business Saturday.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Epic Faking Normal Holiday Giveaway - December 24th-26th

Happy Holidays! There are two paths for the epic Faking Normal Holiday Giveaway.  If you are super busy and need something easy, read option 1. If you have more time and want to earn bonus points (additional entries), read option 2.

Option 1:

To enter the Faking Normal Holiday Giveaway, all you have to do is send someone a tweet, email, or Facebook message that says:

(Their name), you matter to me & I believe in you. Happy Holidays! #Channelyourbrave

Rafflecopter will log your entry.

Click Here to Enter

The contest is open from December 24th-26th. There will be 60 winners. (Please retweet or share the message so more people will participate.)

Option 2:

For those of you who have a moment, I wanted to share why I'm doing what I'm doing for the Faking Normal Holiday giveaway.

While some people find the holidays a wonderful time, others battle loneliness and depression. I wish that weren't true, but I know it is, and I'd like to help bring a little more joy into the world. So this holiday season, I thought rather than have you tweet about Faking Normal, I'd invite you to help make make some ripples in the ocean of pain and loneliness and darkness and sadness and grief and seasonal affectiveness and negative thoughts and all the other stuff that hurts.

We can do this through encouragement. It's simple, but having someone who believes in me is one of the things that gets me through the day. We can give that to people if we will just stop, take a second, and send someone a note of encouragement. The holidays are about giving and words are a powerful gift. Give someone the gift of telling them they matter and that you believe in them.

All you have to do to enter the contest is send someone a tweet, email, or Facebook message that says:

(Their name), you matter to me & I believe in you. Happy Holidays! #Channelyourbrave

Rafflecopter will log your entry.
Click Here to Enter

I have 60 handmade Faking Normal items to give away. There are Faking Normal magnets, Faking Normal ARC star ornaments, and Faking Normal ARC canvases. One winner will receive an ARC and the grand prize winner will receive an ARC, ornament, Channel Your Brave t-shirt and bracelet.

The contest is open from December 24th-26th. There will be 60 winners. Please retweet or share the message so more people will participate. I will accept international entries, but to win the grandprize you have to live in the States.

If you pre-order Faking Normal on these three days, you will automatically receive a handmade gift. Just send proof of the receipt in an email to and your address.

Thank you for participating. Happy Holidays.

Monday, October 14, 2013


I want to pay forward some love I received today from another author. Because I’ve had the opportunity to attend two bookstore events, I have an extra copy of both VICIOUS (adult) by V.E. Schwab and A SPARK UNSEEN (young adult) by Sharon Cameron. I want to give them away to two lucky folks.

Excellent, excellent reads, people. Books you should buy and tell your friends and family about.

Here’s how you can enter.

RT the initial tweet about this contest. (No need to email)
Follow either of them on twitter: @veschwab and @ CameronSharonE

You might already have done these things, so I will also count all personal endorsements as an entry. Word of mouth has power. You can choose any social media and plug these authors and their books.
i.e. Instagram a cover and recommend, Tweet a recommendation, Share something positive on Facebook or Tumblr. If you’ve read, write a honest positive review on Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, etc. Mark as to-be-read.

Here’s how you make sure I know.

I’ll have the books signed and personalized to the winners.

You have until Tuesday October 15th at 8:00 p.m. CST.

[Also if you don’t follow @AmyPlumOhLaLa or read her books, get on it. I love them. Vincent makes me happy. She inspired this generosity, and I’ll be returning love specifically to her ASAP. ]

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Guilt and Grace

I’ve had nearly a year of working as an author and perhaps one of the greatest transition challenges has been my schedule. While my previous job enjoyed a degree of flexibility, nothing is like having long-term deadlines and feeling momentarily like I have all the time in the world to meet them. (I don’t.)

When I wake up in the morning, I don’t punch a clock, arrive at a new location, see a co-worker, have accountability, or receive on-going evaluation and yet, I still have to work. I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic, so I thought this transition would be peaches and cream. (It’s not.)

There is a real difference between a daily/weekly to-do list and meeting a deadline a year from now.

Authors are stressed about getting the book done, but more than that, we’re stressed about getting it done right on time. This seems to require being a creative superhero, social media god, reader of all the good things, time-balancing goal-making extraordinaire, type A/B mutant. (It seems impossible.)

Here are the things I’ve noted over the past year:
-The daily freedom can be daunting.
-I’m an introvert, but I still crave being a person who matters to others. It’s hard to tell that from my little apartment.
-I need something that brings the big picture into the single day in front of me.
-I might write words sitting down, but I create stories standing up.
-Pressure, grace and guilt are a revolving door in the creative world.

I want to focus these thoughts on that last dash.

Pressure- the need I feel to get something done now 
Guilt- the paralyzing emotion that doesn’t make me a better writer.
Grace- the self-forgiveness I need when I don’t get something done.

Pressure works like a vice. It’s the necessary device (the strategy) that holds the material I'm working on in place. For instance, I might tell myself I’m going to draft something in sixty days. Then I take my typical book word count (78k) and divide by sixty. The math says I need to write 1,300 words a day to make this happen. This is an obtainable goal.

Pressure applied.

But I didn’t account for:
-Being sick for three day
-Being creatively dead for five days
-The doctor’s visit that went too long
-My friend who needed help moving on a particular day.
-That one day I just wanted to watch X-Files reruns and answer tweets.
-Pop up requests (like an interview, a review, a talk, a blog tour, learning the next social media thing, etc.)

Guilt felt.

Grace needed.

I have a choice. Which emotion will I feed? Grace or guilt?

Most of the authors I know handle the pressure, but they struggle with guilt and grace. Guilt is such a convenient and available weapon. We wrongly think if we give ourselves grace that all of our self-motivation and deadline-meeting skills will be erased and we’ll never get anything done. You know, if I give myself an inch, I’ll take a mile, kind of thinking. But grace is super important, because most of us can’t write/be creative when we’re frustrated or worried. Letting go of what I didn’t get done today is just as important as planning what I will get done tomorrow.

Here are a few of the things I’ve learned about grace and writing and putting down the self-inflicting weapon of guilt. This isn’t the best list in the world, but it works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, too. *I realize there are real consequences for not meeting deadlines, but I acknowledge that unless those consequences are life or death, let’s not make them such.

I will give grace to myself when:
1. It’s about family. My family is important. I do not have to feel guilty if a need arises in which I am called upon to act.

2. It’s an unusual season. Some seasons, days, weeks, are more stressful than others. (A change in a marriage, a move, a sickness, a new kiddo, etc.) I must accept that productively is not a respecter of my seasonal challenges. I can lower my self-expectations in stressful season and not lower my self-respect.

3. It’s about love. Love of friends and family and strangers is important. Maybe I’ll be remembered for the books I write, but it is much more likely I will be remember for my actions. Will there be any? Or was I typing while love walked by? I want to meet deadlines, but I try to remember my highest obligation is to make a better community and world. (I’ve found when I put others first, it makes my head happier, and I work faster in shorter blocks of time.)

4. I’ve been unrealistic. Let’s be honest, sometimes the epic fail is in the planning of a goal, not the meeting of it. I can be a prideful idiot from time to time and think (or tell others) about some grand scheme I have to get more done. I should not stay that course for the sake of those boasts. No one cares. No one is paying as much attention to me as me.

5. I’ve been emotionally or physically unwell. Enough said.

6. I’m grieving a loss in the book world. I’ve had some successes in this business, but I’ve also had some failures. THEY HURT. The time following those failures takes recovery. I can’t lick my wounds forever, but I must respect the grieving period.

7. My brain is tired. I want to function like a deadline machine, but I can’t. This test is open-book, not scantron. It’s subjective, not objective. A day watching X-Files sound like a waste, but maybe my brain is intaking story or resting. Recovery is built into every healthy thing. When it comes to time: Our weeks=weekend. Our days=sleep. Our years=holiday. When it comes to our lives: exercise is balanced by rest, indulging in rich foods by self control, work by recreation, etc. Our brain deserves the same recovery opportunity.

8. The uncontrollable happens. This is a huge category, but one that effects us. I can’t help that it took forty minutes to go to the bank when it usually takes five or if my dad gets sick the weekend I set aside to write 10k words. I can’t control the uncontrollable. I can control how I rebound.

I have a choice every day to apply grace or guilt. Guilt has NEVER, not for one day, made me more productive. I do own what I don't get done, but I can't afford to wallow in it. I can only chose to forgive myself and apply new pressure tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Conditional Happiness

I spend a fair amount of time with other writers (in person and on social media) and there is a trend I've been noticing in the pulse of those conversations.

Conditional happiness.

What is that? It's a mindset that say ... I'll be happy if ... (insert specific thing here.)

Here are some examples:
I'll be happy if ... I meet my word count.
I'll be happy if ... I hear from my agent.
I'll be happy if ... I finally get an agent.
I'll be happy if ... I finish this manuscript.
I'll be happy if ... when I finish this manuscript my agent likes it.
I'll be happy if ... we go out on submission soon.
I'll be happy if ... we sell.
I'll be happy if ... we sell for six figures.
I'll be happy if ... we option.
I'll be happy if ... someone else loves this book like I do.

I've been tempted by this mindset myself lately, so I'm stopping to write this post because I want to remind myself of all the little moments of happy I've had lately. Happy shouldn't be a conditional thing. Happy should not be cause and effect. Happy does not depend on someone else.

I believe happy is a lifestyle. It's an I'm going to roll-with-the-punches, believe-in-the-good, trust-the-big-picture, enjoy-the-small-things, get-done-what-I-can, except-the-bad-and-the-good-news, etc, way of life.

Publishing and writing are too dang hard to hang my happiness hat on EVERYONE ELSE. Don't get me wrong. This is not easy. I'm writing this as a reminder to self.

So here are the things that have made me happy lately in the publishing world. Some even have pictures.

1. At my very first Author event, I got to sign kid's faces. (I think all signings might be downhill after that.)
2. My very first panel event was with friends. Look how happy we are.
L-R - Me, Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, Sharon Cameron, Heather Reid, Amanda Havard

3. I had ten excellent blogger folks help with the Faking Normal cover reveal. This meant ARCs and swag and my first mailings - which were expensive, but still exciting. I signed my very first copy of Faking Normal for the contest winner. (A 16-year-old girl from New Hampshire.)

4. Faking Normal went up online in such a way that bloggers can review it. Some of those amazing folks have tweeted me at the perfect moments and made my day. (I'm looking at you Brad, Christina, Caren, and Avery.) I know not everyone is going to like the book, but those who do seem to know the moment I need to hear from them.

5. One of my best friends got to hug her author hero.
Victoria Schwab & Neil Gaiman

6. I got to hear Neil Gaiman read from Fortunately the Milk, which is my editor's title.
7. My co-written project with one of my best friends went back to our agents. YES. Long live Annie and Eve.
8. Two of my dearest writing friends signed with agents.
9. My mom painted me a new rock to mark receiving my ARC.
10. Three of my writer friends are running a half marathon with me.
11. Ten people came to plunch. (Plunch is Plot + Lunch with writer friends.)
12. My hometown did an article on Faking Normal.
13. My amazing editor called me on the phone just to check on me.
14. I got sign this wall at Allgood Middle school.
15. One of my friends asked me to co-write a book with him. I agreed after about two seconds of thought because he's one of those writer's I admire.
16. My agent asked me to go to lunch with her while I'm in LA. (I get to see my agent face-to-face for the very first time since I signed with her.)
17. E-met a couple of people who liked a particular entry on my blog. We got the opportunity to swap encouragement.
18. I have a ticket to dragon con and I'm going to Decatur Book Festival.
19. I sent a scene to my mom to edit and she wrote back: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. (There's something about All Caps that makes an author smile.)
20. Once a week I get to work for a dear friend and just recently that dear friend was made a knight by the country of Lithuania. I'm looking at you, Ruta Sepetys.
21. My husband and friends have taken the time to specifically say, "Court, I'm proud of you."
22. My friend and her two boys made me a Quartz Tree (Court's Tree).

Okay, I could go on and on. So many good things have happened. And yet for me, in the moment, it felt like I was having a stressful couple of months. I wasn't. Or I was, but not nearly as much as I thought. You know, there's an Andrew Peterson quote I go back to all the time. "All of the death that ever was, if you set it next to life - Well, I believe it would barely fill a cup."

I hope your life cup is full and your happy isn't conditional.