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Hi Everyone! Happy Monday!

Before I start, I have a few winners to announce.

The winner of PIVOT POINT is JESSY!



Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your books. Please e-mail me by the end of the day on Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I'm thrilled to be participating in Laura Pauling's Ancient Spells & Crazy Kings Blog Tour. I'm super excited to read this because it involves spells and an ancient Mayan City. It's one of the books I'm taking with me to China to read.

Here's a description of it:

When Bianca and Melvin brave the jungle to rescue their grandfather, they stumble upon the ancient Maya city of Etza, where the people haven’t aged in 2,000 years. They must learn to work together as they face loincloth-wearing skeletons from the underworld, a backstabbing princess, and an ancient prophecy that says in three days the city will be destroyed.

No problem. They’ll find Zeb and zip right out of there. The fact that a crazy king wants to serve Bianca up to the gods as an appetizer is just a minor technicality. But this ancient evil dude has finally met his match.

Published by Pugalicious Press

Laura's going to share a fantastic guest post on choosing a small press. So here's Laura:

Choosing a small press and how to work with them.

Many writers are asking themselves: Small press? Ebook only traditional press? Self publish? And the questions are valid.

The Decision.

I was up for self-publishing. I’d already gone through the experience with my first book, A Spy Like Me. The first is the hardest.

But How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings is a middle grade. I wanted a strong cover with illustration. And I felt strongly it was now or never!

I’ll admit it helped that I knew the editors of Pugalicious Press. I trusted them. I’d seen the high quality books they’d put out. And the contracts were more favorable than most small presses, from what I’d heard.

The Editing Process.

I went through content edits and then copy edits. When I received them, I put my other work on hold and worked on them right away. Jennifer Carson is an excellent editor and I loved all her suggestions.

The Cover.

I love that Pugalicious chose Ernie D’Elia, an up and coming illustrator from the Boston area. This was his first commissioned cover design and I loved that. I was able to choose from several illustrations and then he went to work. I’m not sure if all small presses will give you that freedom. Make sure to ask about these things.

When the PDF was ready to send out. They showed me the front and back design and the interior design. They did an absolutely fantastic job. I had no complaints. I loved it and I told them so.

The Launch.

I’ll admit. I feel more pressure about the launch of this book with a small press, than with self-publishing. I want the book to do well for them! I can only imagine how authors feel with big publishers where it’s crucial they sell well at the beginning.


A small publisher has limited resources. Expect to market and promote your work just as if you were publishing any other way. Of course, I believe the best marketing is the next book. So write the companion novellas and sequels.

My advice.

Do your research. Talk with authors who have published with the small presses you’re considering. Study the contract and make sure you understand what you’re signing. Look at their covers and the type of books they publish. Make sure you’re a right fit for them and vice versa.
Thanks, Casey and Natalie, for hosting me on the tour!
How To Survive Ancient Spells and Crazy Kings released in November. Pugalicious Press did a fantastic job, and I’m extremely happy with the results. This book would make a fantastic gift for boys or girls who enjoy adventure stories with lots of excitement!

You can purchase it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can read the first chapter here. Check out the teacher's guide.

Thankfully, my journey is just beginning and I’m excited to see where it leads.

Click here for the list of blog tour stops! Enter to win these prize packages!

Prize Package One (signed paperbacks)

Prize Package Two (signed paperbacks)

Prize Package Three

Refresh the page if you can't see the Rafflecopter form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Laura Pauling

Thanks so much Laura for sharing all your great advice and your prizes. Good luck with your book!

Laura is generously providing a copy of her book for a giveaway here too. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and ;eave a comment by midnight on January 5th. I’ll announce the winner on January 7th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

And I want to shout out about an awesome online conference Laura is helping organize. It's INDIE-ReCon. Here's a little blurb from their Website:

 INDIE ReCon is happening online from February 12-14, 2013.

INDIE ReCon is a FREE, ONLINE conference that is modeled after the awesome annual WriteOnCon. It is designed to help any writer or author who is curious about the ins and outs of Indie publishing.
However any author or writer can attend because we cover topics all of you may want to know more about (marketing etc)

It sounds like an awesome conference we can all learn from so be sure to check it out. I'm planning to.
Here's what's coming up.

On Wednesday, I have a surprise post. That's all I'll say for now.

Then I'm on a break until January 7th. January is going to be AWESOME! 

On January 7th, I interview debut author Ellen Oh and give away an ARC of PROPHECY, her new fantasy set in a Korean-like world. I so loved this book and am excited to share it right after I return from that part of the world. 

The following Monday I'm interviewing Maya, a 5th grader and our follower Kristin Lenz's daughter, for my ASK THE EXPERT series. I'm also giving away an ARC of SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis. This is a fantastic end to the Across the Universe series and my favorite book in the series. It's amazing.

Friday that week I'm doing a Dreaming of Books Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have a fantastic list of popular books for you to choose from.  These book hops are really popular so I'm going to try to do a few more of them this year.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday! For those who can't stop by on Wednesday, Happy Holidays!


Creepy Query Girl said...

How funny that Laura won a book on the same day she's a guest! Thanks for sharing some of the process with us Laura and thanks for the heads up on the Indie conference Natalie. This is the first I've heard of it!

Stina said...

I'm looking forward to the indie conference. And I'm looking forward to Laura's book coming to Canada (it's not available through our major bookchain, and it's a several week wait through Amazon, which means all my books will be delayed if I order through them.) I guess this is something else you need to inquire when you go through a small press. If you're book is only available in the US, you lose potential sales. :(

Beth said...

Congratulations to Laura. I also published my books with a small press, and I would agree with the advantages she mentioned. This book looks like fun!

Old Kitty said...

Hi Laura! All the best with your books! Glad you have a most positive experience with your publisher and editor! Thanks for sharing your journey! Take care

S.A. Larsenッ said...

So thrilled for Laura! She's awesome. I received her book last week. Can't wait to read over the holidays!

MeganC said...

Great advice on small press publishing. I love the cover, and it sounds like an interesting book. Happy holidays everyone!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Congrats to Laura.

Unknown said...

I've been watching Laura from the start of my online adventure. I have admired her wisdom and guts. Congratulations on your books, I'm so impressed with your process and your professionalism concerning your job as an author. So much to learn from you. Thanks Natalie for this post and the drawing. Have a great holiday, everyone!

Laura Pauling said...

Thanks so much everyone! and thanks Natalie and Casey for hosting me on the blog tour! I know, so much to think about when deciding on a publishing route!

Linda Gray said...

Really interesting to read about Laura's experience with the small press she chose. Thanks so much.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know Laura!
I've been very happy with my small press experience.

Martina Boone said...

Congrats, Laura! The book looks fabulous! And I am so happy for you! Your advice on choosing an indie publisher is very appropriate to virtually all publishers, too. We need to know our markets, especially these days.

Every success and happy holidays!


TerryLynnJohnson said...


TerryLynnJohnson said...


TerryLynnJohnson said...

I really want to comment here so I continue trying. Darn you blogger monster keep eating my post!

I am so thrilled with learning about Laura's new book! I'm behind on news lately. Huge congrats! And I love the cover. Sounds like a wonderful story! cant wait to read it. Good advice as well. Of course. Another great interview here.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for Laura and her book! Making a decision on how to publish is a biggie - great advice :)

mshatch said...

That book sounds like a ton of fun and I sure wouldn't mind a copy for my niece and nephew; I think they'd both enjoy it :)

Congrats to Laura and AWESOME cover!

Candace said...

This sounds like a cute book! We read a cute MG mystery recently that takes place in that part of the world and it was fun!
I have heard some horror stories of authors publishing small press so the author needs to make sure to find out EVERYTHING. I think its something that's good for some and not good for others. It just depends on what you need. If you have to do most the marketing you have to be sure to have enough control to be able to distribute books (free ebooks, I mean). I have actually ran into this problem where they could only distribute one format (Pdf) or not at all. Obviously that's not going to work for getting reviews. And I know I hate reading pdfs, they are difficult to read on my kindle.
Anyway I'm glad Laura has had a good experience so far!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great and cover art is great also. Would love to read.


Llehn said...

Playing for Amazon GC.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Yay Laura!!!!!! So exciting! This is such a timely thing to discuss. The publishing world feels like it's in such turmoil, but it's actually an exciting time for authors. Can't wait to grab that book for my daughter!

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats!! I love the cover, and the book sounds so good. I've always wanted to visit the ancient Mayan temples and cities and I love books that involve them.

Theresa Milstein said...

Great to see Laura here.

Laura, I had no idea you had a book coming out with a small press. Good luck! Mayans will appeal to a lot of middle graders.

(So happy to see that Robyn won a book!)

Fanzine Episódio Cultural said...


When the tempest falls
Seeds of tears wet the ground
Carrying in their wombs
The fruit of a new life:

Happiness will win the sadness
And overcome the rage.
Passion will conquest the madness,
Exceeding hearts with hope.

...And the tempest falls again,
Carrying in its womb
The embrio of a new war:

A fruit of a new sin,
Disagreement of a new age...

(*By: Agamenon Troyan)
This is a translated excerpt of my poem & short tales book (O Anjo e a
Tempestade) aka (The Angel and the Storm)

SKYPE: tarokid18