Tag Archives: self-publishing

What the Imagination Movers Taught Me About Self-Publishing

I have two little kids. This means I end up watching a lot of children’s television and listening to a lot of cds that include multiple versions of The Wheels on the Bus. This is generally painful. However, there is one children’s show I can be found watching even when my kids are off doing other things – The Imagination Movers.


They’re basically the most awesome thing ever: four guys from New Orleans who decided to put their musical skills to use as an “alt rock band for kids and their rockin’ families.” They don’t write “kiddie music,” they write damn good music that just happens to be for kids. And I buy their albums for me and just happen to let my kids listen to them, cause I’m cool like that.

One of my favorite things about the Imagination Movers is their motto: Reach high, think big, work hard, have fun. This motto makes an appearance in several of their songs including the song Brainstorming that appears in every episode and this classic:

So what does this have to do with publishing? I’ve been blessed to be on the self-publishing journey for several years now and I have adopted the Mover’s motto as my own because it encompasses everything I believe about being a self-publisher.

Reach High.

As a self-publisher I have the amazing opportunity to be in control of every single creative process that is a part of producing my book. This means everything from the writing to the editing to the cover design and interior formatting. Now this much responsibility scares and overwhelms some people. I love it. I realize it can be daunting – and I’m not saying you have to excel at each of these fields. A self-publisher is a PUBLISHER and part of that is researching and knowing what you want and then hiring competent people. I firmly believe that the product self-publishers put out can and should be as good or better than that of traditional publishing houses. Sometimes I get raised eyebrows when I say we can be better – “as good” is a high enough goal, I guess.  But why shouldn’t it be better? Why shouldn’t we be innovative and fresh and doing what the traditional houses are too stodgy to do? The internet has not only leveled these playing fields, it’s created a platform where indie artists can meet and work with other indie artists in a way that has never before been seen. As good or better is the goal. I now judge the cover design and formatting of traditionally published books by the standard of my own book. Reach high.

Think Big.

The internet. It’s amazing. I said before that it has leveled the playing field and it has in more ways than I can even count. The biggest way for indie publishers is in ebooks. We can put our books on virtual shelves all over the internet alongside books from those big traditional houses. That’s awesome. More importantly, we can reach readers. Lots and lots of readers. Or maybe only a few readers now…but there’s always the potential to reach more. Because unlike a traditionally published paperback that gets a few months (if its lucky) of promo from its publisher, ebooks are forever. They’re always there on the shelf waiting for readers to download and read them. I want to get my books into the hands of as many readers as possible. Am I expecting to make the NY Times Bestseller list next week? No. Do I think that’s an impossible dream for a self-publisher? Heck no! Countless of self-publishers have proven that it’s not. Is it the only measure of “big” success? No. Every self-publisher has their own idea of “making it” and they are as varied and unique as the authors behind those ideas. Whatever my goal as a publisher – I am not going to think small and I’m not going to allow others who think small to influence how I view my work. Think big.

Work Hard.

This is the big one, the one that make the first two a reality. I am not going to sugar coat this: Being a writer is hard. Being a publisher is hard. Being both is a crap ton of work. If you’re scared of hard work, if the thought of banging your head against your Kindle at three in the morning wondering why in the hell something won’t format correctly scares you…find another line of work (or pay someone to format your .mobi files for you, ta-da!). It’s not always formatting though, there will always, always be something new you have to learn. And there will always, always be more you could be doing. I’m not saying you have to do everything.  There are some things that you will find are just not worth your time and effort. The way you find that out? Effort. Tons of effort. To be great at writing and publishing takes a lot of really hard work. It might be easier if you decided to aim low and think small, but the Movers and I would be disappointed in you. Work hard.

Have Fun.

This, you guys. This. Yes, it’s hard, and yes, it’s a lot of work. I can yammer on about quality and art and striving for excellence all day long. Self-publishing should be about all of that. But it’s also about having fun. It’s about taking your words – your stories – and sharing them with readers. It is mind-blowingly awesome when something you’ve written connects with a reader. There’s no rush like it. And it is FUN when a cover designer can connect with your story and produce a work of art that conveys the tone and feeling of your story. If you can’t look at the process of writing and publishing your books and say “that was a ton of work but I wouldn’t trade it for the world” then you shouldn’t be doing it. It’s okay to have fun. In fact, it’s more than okay, it should be a requirement. Have fun.

Of course this motto doesn’t just apply to self-publishers. If you’re a writer of any kind you can identify with it. In fact, it can be applied to specific professions or to life in general. It’s never not true. No matter who we are, we should always reach high, think big, work hard, and have fun. I’m glad the Imagination Movers have summed it up so succinctly for my kids and I’m glad that I get to sing along with them.

Movers Logo


A Tiny Rant About Ebook Pricing

I don’t often get all “state of the publishing industry” ranty on this blog, but I’ve been fuming over this issue for awhile… so here it goes.  I’ll keep it short-ish.  I always promise this and then two pages of single-spaced ranty-ness later, I’m thinking “oops, yeah.”


Ebooks.  Here’s the deal.  They don’t cost a lot to produce.  Yes, there is obviously the work of creation, the blood, sweet, tears, and sacrifices that go into creating a work of art (whether it be high art or pop art, a rant on this to follow later, be afraid…and excited…but mostly afraid).  But the “cost of creation” is the same no matter if the story gets produced in hardback, paperback, or ebook form.  So, I acknowledge that artists should be paid for their art, we can all agree on that.  My argument begins once you move past that to the actual physical (or digital) form that art takes.


Paperbacks.  There’s you know, STUFF that is required to print them.  Stuff like trees that get turned into paper, and ink, and printing presses.  However, there is less physical stuff/work required to produce them than say a HARDBACK.  It’s cheaper to print a paperback cover than it is to make and print a hardback book…and…wait for it…this is usually why paperbacks cost LESS than hardbacks.  What? Crazy!  And totally “duh,” right?  No one is questioning why a hardback costs more than a paperback.  Because we can see, physically see, that the hardback requires more STUFF to make it.  I have never, ever heard anyone say “Well, we should pay as much for paperbacks as we do for hardbacks because an author deserves to get paid for their work.”  Never.  Ever.


Ebooks don’t cost a lot to produce because it is a one time production per format.  You have to convert each book to .mobi format for kindle or epub for Apple iTunes and Nook ONE TIME (unless you go back and make revisions after it’s published).  You don’t have to hack down trees and fire up the presses every time you need a new run of books.  It’s in that format forever.  So, yeah, is there pain and suffering involved in getting it formatted correctly?  Heck yes.  But it’s a one or two time deal.  There’s no PHYSICAL STUFF involved.


And yet, traditional publishers, not huge fans of ebooks in general it seems, insist on pricing their ebooks as much or more than the paperbacks.  Why?  Because, um…?  There’s no good reason other than to drive buyers away from ebooks and toward paperback versions.  No. Good. Reason.  The author isn’t making any more (or at least not much more) because their ebook is priced at $9.99.  Their percentage of the cut isn’t changing.  And yet I’ve been told not to complain about an ebook’s price because the “author deserves to be paid for their story.”  Well, no kidding.  Go tell the publisher that’s giving them hardly any return on their ebook sales, not the consumer who asks the question: “Hey, why does A cost the same as B when B takes STUFF to produce and A doesn’t?”  That is a valid question, my lovelies.


Quick case in point:  I love Robin McKinley.  Desperately love her.  I have yet to read her book Pegasus, which is the first in a series of two (and now possibly three).  Why?  Because I got a Kindle for Christmas and I want to read her book on the Kindle, but I KID YOU NOT, it’s $15.99 in ebook format.


That’s MORE than the hardback!  And yet, on principle, I’m not going to buy this hardback/paperback because I just spent $100 on a KINDLE and I WANT TO READ IT ON MY DARN KINDLE.



So, yeah, I love this author.  I might even be persuaded to take a bullet for her.  But I’m not going to spend $15.99 on a digital copy of the first book in a three book series.  That’s asking me to commit to $47.97 for three books I will only have a digital file of!  A digital file that her publisher probably had some intern making minimum wage to create.


I realize that the author doesn’t usually get to decide on the pricing of her ebook, unless the author self-publishes.  So, I feel bad holding authors responsible by sometimes choosing not to read their books because I don’t want to be manipulated by the publisher into supporting the format they want me to support over the format that I want to read in.


The upside for self-publishers: we get to set the price of our books.  And because I refuse to pay over a certain price point, this means I’m reading a lot more self-published authors.  For me it is a win/win.  I just hope that, eventually, publishers stop over-pricing and embrace the new media.

Review: Death Benefits by Jennifer Becton

Death Benefits is the second book in Becton’s Southern Fraud Thriller series  I read the first book, Absolute Liability and loved it so I’ve been waiting impatiently for the follow up.  The Southern Fraud series centers on Special Investigator Julia Jackson who works for the Georgia Department of Insurance, and just like in Absolute Liability I found it easy to identify with Julia.  She’s smart and capable, but she doesn’t try to be super woman and solve all the world’s problems on her own. She’s also flawed and more than slightly obsessed with her own personal quest for justice, but these character traits serve to make her more likable and understandable to readers.



And then there’s Julia’s new partner Mark Vincent.  We were introduced to him in the first book, and in the first chapter of this book it gets confirmed that they are going to be partners at the DOI for a longer period, that they’re working together on the last case wasn’t just a fluke.  Cue the hallelujah chorus from thousands of Vincent obsessed Becton fans.  Let me tell you…Mark Vincent is hot.  Like, “serious and for reals” hot.  Whenever he and Julia are “on screen” together they burn up the page. Without giving too much away.  Becton has created heaps and heaps of sexual tension between two characters who are not (currently at least, we all have big hopes for the future) romantically involved.  And yet there relationship is more about respect, trust, and some really amazing moments of tenderness, then it is about that tension.  And…Vincent is hot. (just in case you missed that earlier in the paragraph).

The case that Julia and Vincent are working in Death Benefits is actually pretty disturbing.  The sections written from the killer’s point of view are spectacularly creepy.  This was true in the previous book as well – the glimpses inside the criminal’s mind in both of the Southern Fraud books feel extremely realistic to me.  This particular case involves a body in a burned out car, and a Death Benefits claim made 15 minutes after the widow of the supposed deceased is informed of his demise.  The reader, and the investigators, are pretty quick in their guess this is a case of fraud – but who is the person in the car?  Where did this body come from.  The answers to these questions are both fascinating and kind of brain warping.  There is one particularly well written and very visually described scene near the end of the book which has literally broken my brain.  I may never be the same.  I do not suggest reading that section of this book at 4 am unless you really like to be creeped out.

Even though it is the second in a series, I think that a reader could pick up Death Benefits and jump right in without having read the first book (although I suggest that you do).  There are several carry over story lines, but Becton gives enough of an explanation of them to ease in new readers, but not so much that returning readers would feel they are covering similar ground.

Five Stars.


Update: The first book in The Southern Fraud Series – Absolute Liability – is now FREE for Kindle on Amazon! Go download it now and get into this great series!


I’ve linked this post up to the 2012 Self- Published Reading Challenge.  If you haven’t joined yet, you should!

Awake is Available!

I’m so excited I can barely stand it!

I hit the “go button” on Awake yesterday for Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble and it is already available!



My book is out there for the general public to purchase and read! Oh. My. Gracious.  So I guess this means I’m an author!  I feel like Liv Tyler in That Thing You Do except instead of saying “Make a record? Like a record record record?” I’m saying “am I really an author? Like an author author author?” If you haven’t seen That Thing You Do and have no idea what I’m talking about stop reading now, go watch it, and come back. I’ll wait…


Want to snag a copy of Awake for yourself?  You can find it on Smashwords for a variety of formats, on Barnes and Noble.com for Nook, and on Amazon for Kindle.  The paperback version is coming soon!   And if you want to win a copy then head on over to Indie Jane. We are giving away two copies – an ebook and a paperback!


To everyone who already bought my book yesterday – and those of you who were tweeting your favorite lines.  I kind of love you all.  I hope the hotness that is Luke Reed lived up to your expectations.

Fairytale Trilogy Site

Guys!  Oh my gosh!  Look at the countdown ticker!  We are getting so close to the release of Awake!  Next Tuesday it will be released into the wild.


I’ve put all the info for Awake – trailer, blurbs, and several samples – on a new site: FairytaleTrilogy.com.  What? You didn’t know that it was going to be a series?  Surprise!  Don’t worry though, each story resolves/is a stand-alone.  I’ve got issues about making readers wait and wait and wait for resolution to stories…I hate it!



I will also be putting up details about the next two books in the trilogy as they become available.  Book two is already partially written and cover art is being discussed!  Yay!


My many thanks to Victoria Austen-Young for putting up the new site for me.  It’s all sorts of gorgeous.



Three Weeks!

Three weeks! Actually, slightly less than that until the release date for Awake: A Fairytale!


Sometimes excitement and fear feel the same.  Like in that moment right before the roller coaster takes off and you are strapped in and committed with no real way to get out. That’s kind of how I feel right now.  Nervous and excited and all jumbled up inside.




It absolutely blows me away that some of you are almost as excited for the launch of Awake as I am.  I put the “countdown to release” on the sidebar a few weeks ago after the amazing @Jennwith4 sent me a twitpic of the countdown she has on her phone for Awake!  I was honored and humbled that she would be looking forward to my book enough to have a countdown (and suitably shamed into making my own).  So, for Jenn, and anyone else that is interested, here is another teaser from Awake.  A pretty decently sized one too – almost half a chapter!  Enjoy.



“You know how you can tell Ernesto’s is a fine dining establishment?” Becca asked as she set her bright orange tray down on the scarred table across from Alex and slid into the booth.

“You can’t,” Alex answered. “There’s nothing fine about it, but it’s darn good pizza.”

Ernesto’s offered the only reasonably priced lunch alternative to brown-bagging it on the lawn and was therefore a favorite hangout of the summer interns, or at least the non-anorexic ones who enjoyed good food. In other words, everyone but the art interns. It was dark and cramped, the decor was straight out of the 1970s, and Ernesto’s served the best and cheapest pizza anywhere in Los Angeles. It was also within walking distance of the museums, making it easy to get to on breaks.

Alex and Becca were enjoying their first Ernesto’s lunch of the summer. They’d been volunteering together at GeMMLA since the ninth grade, and eating together at the pizza joint had become a tradition.

“You can tell because they have both strawberry and grape soda on tap. It’s like the gods of flavored soda smiled down on this little piece of the city and blessed us with Ernesto’s.” Becca unwrapped her straw and stuck it in her styrofoam cup. “Grape,” she informed Alex before draining half the cup in one slurp. “Oh my word, that’s so good. Their soda calibration is really good here too. Good calibration cannot be underestimated.”

“Hmm,” Alex agreed, taking a huge bite out of her slice of sausage pizza. “The gods of pizza must be in cahoots with the soda gods, ‘cause this pizza is awesome,” she said around a mouthful. “I miss this during the rest of the year.”

“Yeah, Ernesto needs to franchise. I never have time to drive this far for pizza during the school year. Although,” Becca’s face brightened, “I’ll be closer now that I’ll be living on campus.”

“It’s so weird to me to be out of high school,” Alex admitted. “Good—brilliantly great—but weird. I kind of feel like I’m still in class, though, because I have to do all this stupid work for this scholarship thing.”

“That sucks. What do you have to do?”

“There was some reading, and then I have to write an essay. About myself.” Alex grimaced. “Quite possibly my least favorite subject.”

Becca twirled her straw. “Any particular aspect of yourself, or just a general biography type thing?”

“It’s supposed to be about me as a student. And if I have a declared major why I selected it.”

“I’m guessing earth science?” Becca quirked an eyebrow.

“Yeah, of course.”

“Well, why’d you pick it? Why do you volunteer here?”

“I like it.”

Becca gestured with her left hand as she picked up her slice of pizza with the other. “Elaborate.”

“That’s the hard part, when I elaborate I sound weird.”

Becca paused with her pizza mid-air. “Weird how?” she asked before taking a large bite.

“I don’t know. I just love gems and rocks. They, um, make sense to me. More sense than people do, honestly. But that makes me sound like a crazy, loner type.”

“Well, you are a bit of a loner type, but not,” Becca hastened to add as she saw Alex frown, “in a crazy kind of way. Just that you are kind of shy and serious, took us forever to start really talking that first year.”


“But, I know what you mean, I guess. I’m more um, socially inclined than you, but I’ve always felt that way too about rocks and metals. It’s more than they just make sense. I don’t know, when I was little I used to think they had personalities. I would pretend that certain rocks had certain character traits. But then I was kind of a goofy kid.”

“I used to pretend that about rocks too. Especially certain gems. You know how the Victorians assigned all these meanings to gems? When I was little I used to look those up in my mom’s old encyclopedia set and laugh at them, ‘cause I always thought they got most of them wrong.”

“Oh my gosh, Alex, we must have been the two weirdest little girls. It’s a pity we didn’t meet until high school; I would have felt less geeky.”

“You are less geeky than me,” Alex pointed out.

Becca grinned. “No, I’m just totally better at hiding it. I remember when I was really young, like preschool, we had this huge sandpit in the back of the school and you know how you can attract the iron fragments in sand with a magnet? I was convinced I could do it with my finger, like I’d stick it in the sand and the iron would gather around it. I was apparently a very imaginative kid. Geek and imagination—probably a bad combo.”

Alex laughed. “Maybe it was a sign of your magnetic personality.”

Becca shook her head sadly. “That’s weak Alex, so, so weak.” Alex laughed harder and after a minute Becca joined her. “Well, at least I wasn’t looking up the Victorians. Really? ‘Cause that’s stimulating.”

“Oh, come on, it was interesting,” Alex defended herself half-heartedly. “That’s where we get the meanings of flower and birthstones and all that.”

“Really? That’s kind of recent. So what, gems and flowers didn’t have meanings before the Victorians?”

Alex shrugged. “I have no idea. I’m sure they did in different societies. Once I got farther into grade school though, the actual science was more interesting than the stories. Although,” Alex took another bite of pizza and chewed thoughtfully, “your preschool story sounds like stuff I used to do: probably later, like kindergarten, though. I remember collecting different stones and making funny patterns with them. I was convinced if I made the patterns right that I’d make stuff happen.”

“Stuff? Like magic stuff?” Becca asked, her mouth gaping open.

“Yeah, I guess, although I didn’t think of it as magic. Just like, oh if I make this pattern in Grandma’s garden her flowers will grow faster. I must have seen some movie or cartoon or something that gave me the idea.”

“How, um, pagan of you. I’m totally shocked,” Becca teased. “I thought you came out of the womb with a scientific mind.”

“Pretty sure I did, which is why I barely remember my early dabbling in the magic arts.”

Becca chuckled. “Sounds like straightforward kid stuff to me, did you have a wand?”

Alex looked horrified. “I can safely say I never had a wand, or a tiara, or a princess dress. Well, I did have some of those. My mom kept buying them hoping I’d eventually get interested, but I never did. The closest I ever got was a stick that doubled as a sword, and that was only to defend myself against Luke when I was eight.”

“Hmm, sure it was a sword? It wasn’t a stick that doubled as a magic wand?”

Alex snorted. “Nope, pretty sure it was a sword. Luke got Excalibur of course. I am sure mine had a name, but I don’t remember it. He was always into the whole Arthur thing. I never really got it.”

“I still find it hard to believe that you guys used to be friends. Did I tell you my little brother asked me to get his autograph? He’s convinced in a few years it’s going to be worth tons of money. And this morning there just happened to be a baseball and pen in a ziplock bag in my backpack. At least the kid’s organized.”

“I’m sure he’d sign it for you. Luke’s a lot of things, but he’s really nice about that kind of stuff.”

“Uh-huh,” Becca leaned forward, pushing her empty tray out of the way and crossing her arms on the Formica table top. “So what are these ‘lot of things’ that Luke is?”

Alex flushed. “Are you asking for gossip about the great Luke Reed?”

“Nope. I don’t care about the gossip,” Becca eyed her. “But you obviously have some interesting unresolved issues with the guy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about a guy, other than Nicholas, so I’m intrigued.”

“Maybe we should talk about your unresolved issues with Nicholas,” Alex changed the subject.

“Nice try. I just think he’s smarmy. He reminds me of my mother’s last ex. You know, the kind that could sell ice to Eskimos. I’m much more interested in hearing about—” Becca broke off as she looked up past Alex’s shoulder toward the jangling of the bell over the front door. “I suggest you finish your pizza in about thirty seconds if you don’t want to start dealing with those unresolved issues right away,” she warned under her breath and then added in a louder voice, “Hi, Luke.” She directed a grin over Alex’s head, ignoring the fact that Alex’s face flushed red, then white, then back to red.

“Hey, Becca, Lex,” Luke said as he surveyed the menu board before taking his place in line. Alex composed her face and then turned and offered a half-hearted wave. As she turned back around Becca rolled her eyes and started gathering up her trash onto the tray. Alex looked mournfully at her half-eaten pizza slice before adding it to the pile of trash. Becca raised an eyebrow, but didn’t comment as she picked up the tray and headed toward the trashcan. It was a tragedy, Alex reflected to herself, but sometimes even Ernesto’s famous pizza had to be sacrificed for the greater good.

Alex stood up, gathering her backpack as Becca returned to their table and slung her own across her back.

“Catch you later Luke, we’re headed back,” Becca offered as they walked past the register towards the door.

“See you ladies later.” Luke graced them with a lopsided grin as Alex pushed the door open and Becca followed her out into the blinding sun.

“I’ll say this for the guy,” Becca commented as the door banged closed behind them. “He has to be the hottest man I’ve ever been that up close and personal to.”

This time it was Alex who rolled her eyes.

“It’s true,” Becca laughed as they started back down the street toward the museum. “And if you try to deny objective, scientific fact I will really start getting curious about those unresolved issues.”

“Fine then, I won’t deny it. Every high school girl in a thirty mile radius can’t be wrong.”

“Not sure I’d limit it to just high schoolers. Pretty sure I saw Maureen in the front office flirting with him, and she has to be at least forty. I think his hotness transcends age.”

“That is totally awkward.” Alex jabbed the crosswalk button.

“Awkward, but true. That’s why Nicholas has such a short temper with Luke. He’s used to being the only hot guy at GeMMLA, and Luke is cramping his style.”





Self-Published Reading Challenge

My entire life is running about a week behind at the moment.  Last week was completely consumed by an evil virus that made it’s way through my house with no mercy.  Losing seven days in the middle of December is just fabulous.  Especially when you’ve left all your Christmas prep for the last minute.  Planning Fail.


But I digress.  Another thing that’s been left to the last moment is goals/challenges for the coming year.  Here is one that the lovely @RivkaBelle alerted me to a few weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to sign up.  So here I am…signing up.



The 2012 (Omg, what? Where is my flying car?!?!) Self-Published Reading Challenge is hosted by Sarah at Workaday Reads.  As an almost self-published author I think this is a brilliant idea.  Want to join?  Here are the deets:


Challenge Guidelines:

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 – Dec 31, 2012.
  2. Anyone can join, you don’t need to be a blogger. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to sign-up in the comments. You can post reviews to any book site (i.e. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc).
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is self-published by the author.
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky (on her site), put the direct link to your post about joining the Self-Published Reading Challenge.
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.


  1. Sentence – 5 books
  2. Paragraph- 10 books
  3. Page – 25 books
  4. Chapter – 50 books
  5. Short Story – 75 books
  6. Novel – 100 books
  7. Series – 150 books


I’m starting our with the Paragraph Level and attempt to “level up” to at least Page, but I don’t want to set myself up for fail.  My guess is that I will be reading more than ten self-published books this year due to getting to read and review so many great ones through Indie Jane.  Also, I will be self-publishing two of my own this year, so if anyone participating is looking for a good read in February or August, may I suggest Awake: A Fairytale or Attempting Elizabeth? *cough, blatant self-promotion, cough*


I don’t have my complete list of ten yet, but I do have a few slots filled:


1.  Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliot

2.  Death Benefits by Jennifer Becton (So excited for this one! The first in the series, Absolute Liability, was amazing!)

3.  Nancy Kelley’s as yet untitled Colonel Fitzwilliam book – coming out later in year…sequel to #HotDarcy!

4.  The Darcys of Pemberley by Shannon Winslow

5.  How to Date a Vampire by Rose Pressey







I’ve got to fill out this list, so I am open to suggestion!  Hit me with your best shot!  Let me know if you sign up for the challenge as well and we can be challenge buddies!