Life Advice

What My Health Challenges Have Taught Me

I haven't talked about it much, but I've had some health challenges this summer. It hasn't been easy, but I wanted to give you an update to let you know why I haven't been around much. But, more importantly, I wanted to share what I've learned in the process.

The Best Part About Being an Author

There are so many cool things about being an author and publishing your book. It's not always easy, but it's definitely worth it — and so fun! So just before The Secret of the Codex launches tomorrow, I thought I'd list a few pretty cool things I've found about releasing my book.

Cool Things About Being an Author

  1. Setting up your author page on Amazon.com
  2. Someone putting your book in their TBR pile on Goodreads (actually three someones — check them out at the bottom!)
  3. Someone actually reviewing your book, and on #authortube, no less!
  4. And that same person posting the review on his blog, on Goodreads, and on Amazon too!
  5. Reading all the words of encouragement and support on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
  6. Finding your book on Barnes and Noble
  7. Submitting a guest post and getting it accepted! You know, three times. On Positive Writer, Shayla Raquel's website, and The Write Practice.
  8. Creating all the book swag and promotional items The Secret of the Codex Swag Pic
  9. Successfully funding a Kickstarter (still not sure how I pulled that one off — oh wait...only with the help of all my wonderful family and friends!)
  10. Seeing my name on a book cover (see below)
  11. Holding my actual book in my hands Melissa Holding The Secret of the Codex
  12. Searching my ISBN and finding out that my book apparently has a Google Books page. I didn't even know this was a thing.
  13. Getting to plan a launch party that feels a little bit like a baby shower... (for my book baby!)
  14. But the one thing I'm most proud of, the one thing I can't believe I actually accomplished, was creating this picture.

The Secret of the Codex Paperback PromoI know, you just saw the heavens open and heard angels singing, right? Because this is a thing of beauty. Let's just take a moment...Haha, just kidding. (It just took me forever to figure out how to do it and I really wanted it for the launch!)Thought I'd share a lighthearted post about being an indie author before the craziness starts tomorrow. I mean, TOMORROW. IN LIKE 10 MINUTES. I CANNOT BELIEVE IT.<3 Melissa

Guest Post: Shayla Raquel — Instagram

In case you missed it, I wanted to let you all know that I wrote a guest post for Shayla Raquel's amazing blog! Since I've been all about Instagram for the past few months, I thought I'd share what I've learned!Instagram Guest Post on Shayla Raquel's WebsiteIf you're a writer who's been wondering how to effectively use Instagram to build your platform — or if you're just curious — check it out! I tried to make it informative and really easy to follow!Let me know what you think!<3 MelissaP.S. The Secret of the Codex is revealed in 3 short days! Preorder the ebook now, or snag the paperback on Tuesday! I can't wait!!

Meet Holun: A Character Profile from The Secret of the Codex

Do you ever read a book and fall in love with a character?

Okay, if you've ever read a book AT ALL you probably have. Great character writing allows us to visualize the characters so much that we feel we actually know them. Sometimes they feel as real to us as actual people.

Writing is very similar! I love all of my characters, though for different reasons. They are multi-faceted, complicated creatures that I wish I could say were all of my own making.

Stick with me here.

For me, I created the characters, yes. I gave them names, fleshed out their personalities...but then something amazing happened. They became so clear in my head that they were just like real people. They took on their own personalities and showed me a depth to their "personhood" that I didn't consciously create.

And here's the best part: They started to tell me the story.

No, really. Once the characters were real in my head, I just had to listen to them tell the story. They told me what happened in each scene as I described it through their eyes.

Maybe that sounds a little, er, metaphysical, maybe, or... SUPERNATURAL. Yup. That's the word. :) (You know, because The Secret of the Codex is an archaeological supernatural thriller. See what I did there?)

But it totally happened. The scene in which I remember this happening the most clearly was a scene where people had died. I knew that someone had died, but I didn't actually know who until the character took me through the scene and showed me who exactly what had happened, what exactly they saw.

It's crazy, I know. But we writers can be a little crazy sometimes. It's part of our charm. :)

Enter Holun.

This kid is amazing. I just love him so much.When we first meet him in The Secret of the Codex, he's a relatively scrawny kid, one of the youngest soldiers in the Clan. (The Clan is the name of the small contingent of people determined to keep the Secret from being revealed to the world.) At first, Na-um, our main antagonist, doesn't see much potential in him and almost sends him home.

But then he discovers that Holun seems to have a little something extra to offer the Clan's army, something no one else possesses...

Holun...opened his eyes just as the other boy lurched toward him to attack. Right before the other recruit could touch him, he jumped to the side, just out of reach. The older boy fell to the ground, stumbling as he missed his mark. Holun seized the opportunity, kneeling on his attacker and restraining him.

Na-um’s mouth dropped open slightly. The youngest of their soldiers had won the fight despite the other boy’s disproportionate advantage; Na-um was impressed.

Meet Holun (at least a good inspo pic for him)

Holun-with-Green-Hat.jpg

Isn't this kid adorable?

That's totally Holun — an easy-going, adorable kid who finds himself as part of the army of a ruthless Clan. Eventually, he even becomes Na-um's second-in-command, despite his age.

This kid is super conflicted throughout the book. How does he reconcile what his leader, Na-um, is telling him about the Secret and the people trying to uncover it and what his heart is telling him is right? And what does he do once he figures it out?

Poor kid.

Seriously — most of the time I just wanted to reach into the pages and give him a hug. No kid that young should ever have to go through all that! But, you know, it's not TOTALLY my fault, right? (see above) hahaha

Okay, yes, it's completely my fault. :D But I'm okay with that.

Because Holun's story is so often similar to our own. What we know to be true — what we were taught was true as children — doesn't always continue to make sense into adulthood. It doesn't always have to be something significant — it can be little things we question, like if we actually like broccoli — but those questions and re-evaluations of "what we know" are an important part of growing up.

I guess you could say that, in The Secret of the Codex, Holun grows up.

Monday Updates!

Happy Monday Everyone!I just wanted to quickly give you a few updates about The Secret of the Codex book launch (and some other things, too). I hope it brightens up your day! 

1. My Guest Post Went LIVE!!

I wrote a post for Shayla's Raquel's website and it went live this week! It's all about how authors on Instagram can market themselves and their book — even if the book's not out yet!Please check it out, then let me know what you think!How to Market Yourself on Instagram Without a Book to Sell (Yet)Instagram Guest Post on Shayla Raquel's Website 

2. The Secret of the Codex eBook is Up for Preorder!!

That's right! If you were wanting to get the ebook, you can preorder it here! The paperback will be available on August 28th on Amazon. I'll send out the link to that when it's live!Preorder The Secret of the Codex now!The Secret of the Codex eBook Preorder! 

3. August 28th Online Release Party!!

Y'ALL. (I sound like Mandy in the book hahaha) The book releases in EIGHT DAYS. EIGHT!! It's so hard to believe this decade-long journey is finally culminating with The Secret of the Codex being revealed to the world. It's been in my head and my heart for so long — I'm so glad you all will finally be able to read it!I'll be doing some online celebrations on Facebook and Instagram (possibly even Twitter) on August 28th! Of course, all of you on my email list will be getting a few (okay, probably more than a few, but I'll keep it to a minimum) emails about the book release! (If you're not on my email list, why not? It's super easy to join, and you can always unsubscribe at any time. Just follow this link! You'll even get the first three chapters of The Secret of the Codex for free, just for signing up.)This Friday, I will be sending out an email to you with promotional pictures and some information about the book. I'd love it if you would share these on your various social media platforms!! It would really help me get the word out. Sign up now to be included!!Speaking of which... 

4. Connect with Me on Social Media!!

As mentioned before, I'll be doing some major celebrating all over social media on release day (and leading up to it)! I'd love it if you would join me!I can be found on Facebook at Melissa Frey - Author. You can find out all about the book and my life there. If you're on Facebook, check it out!I'm also on Instagram (as you could have guessed from the guest post I did — haha) under @melissafreyauthor where I post about the book, my writing process, and things I do from day to day. You can check out the hashtag #thesecretofthecodex to follow the book around and read more about it. I will also be doing a giveaway to celebrate 1000 followers! I'm so close, so I'd love it if you followed me there and kept your eyes out for that. You could win!I also have a Twitter page @melissafreyauth (I maxed out their character limit lol). Check out my feed there!Real talk: Sure, I'd love it if you got as excited about my book as I am. But that's not why I'd love to connect with you on social media. It will keep you posted about my upcoming books and hopefully entertain and inform you, but mostly I just want to hear from you! I want to hear the things that you'd like to see on my feed, the things you'd like to learn about, the things you'd like me to discuss. So connect with me on your favorite platform and start talking! :) 

5. The Week Before Launch IS HERE!!

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT, but we're in the week before the launch! As such, I'll be sending out a few more emails than usual. I'll try to keep it interesting, I promise. :D Later this week, I'll be sending out my last character profile before the book comes about, this time all about Holun! He's probably my favorite secondary character in the book. His story is incredible! (And he may or may not be in the second book...) ;) Stay tuned, and watch your inbox! Even earlier this year I wouldn't have imagined I'd be releasing a book! You all have been such an encouragement to me. Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey!Hope you have a great Monday!<3 Melissa