am writing

Author Interview #2 — Alyssa Markins (and Book Launch Pics!)

Guess what? I had the pleasure and honor of being interviewed a second time! (Check out my first author interview here!) This time, the fabulous Alyssa Markins conducted the interview and put it on her website — under the heading "Creativity and Coffee." Isn't that awesome?I had so much fun answering all these questions and letting others know about my book!

Author Interview #1 — Maverick Moses

As you probably know, I released my book this week! Ahhhh! And as part of that release, my friend and AuthorTuber, Maverick Moses, reviewed my book and interviewed me, all at the same time! I am so honored to be featured on his blog and on YouTube in my first AuthorTube appearance! (sort of)If you're wondering if you should read the book, or curious about the characters and my process, or you've never heard of it and want to see what I keep talking about...check it out! You'll be glad you did.Then leave a comment below to let me know what you think and if you agree with his review!<3 MelissaAuthor Interview and Book Review by Maverick MosesP.S. It just hit me. I've been dreaming of doing interviews my entire life. Like seriously. When I was a kid, I was imagining musician interviews (born out of an ill-conceived music career idea which I thankfully gave up on), but I like giving author interviews much better. This is why they say God knows better than we do — I love music, but being an author fits me and my personality much better.But still...I can remember sitting on my bed as a teenager, reading a band interview in a magazine, dreaming one day of seeing my own interview in print. And now...WOW. Like I said, it just hit me. One of my life-long dreams were fulfilled this week, with this interview.One of my other life-long dreams was too, you know, when I released my book. I'm living my dreams, people, and I'm unbelievably grateful. I can't wait to see what comes next!

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.