Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

Colleen's blog


    May 28, 2014



    writing in notebook

    As many of you already know, Colleen recently started her very own Houck Book Club, a place where we could virtually meet to read a featured book each month and then discuss it together on Goodreads. Since then, Colleen has decided to offer her fans something more!

    She recently started a writer’s club  last month called



    This is the second edition of THE MODERN INK SOCIETY and we couldn’t be more excited! Here’s how it works, once a month Colleen will invite a guest to write an article, something unique and special to them and post it here on her website.

    Last month she selected Stacey Kade and for this month she has chosen Bree Despain, author of several Young Adult books! 

    This month’s book is The Shadow Prince. I can tell you I’ve already read it and it’s a fun story! Here’s a little book teaser,

     The Shadow Prince

    Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.
    Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.
    Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails.  As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.
    A pulsating romance of epic proportions, Bree Despain’s The Shadow Prince will leave her fans breathless for the next book in the Into The Dark series.

    So. . . introducing Bree Despain on the subject of WHAT I WISH I KNEW . . .

    Bree_Despain close up

    #10. Being an author is more than getting paid to write all day long. You also have to become a marketing guru, a public/motivational speaker, a teacher, a profession reader, a social media personality, and a travel expert. (And often you are called upon to all of these things all in the same day.)

    #9. You get to meet the most amazing people. There is nothing I enjoy more about being an author than getting to meet my readers and fellow book lovers. The YA-loving community is one of the friendliest and most supportive groups in the world.

    #8. Reading out loud in front of a large group of people is even more terrifying when you’re reading something you’ve written.

    #7. Sometimes, the thing that used to bring you the most sanity in your day (a.k.a. writing) suddenly becomes the thing that makes you feel like you’re going insane. (This is usually when there’s a deadline attached.) I always tell aspiring authors to enjoy this time in their lives when they are writing completely for themselves without any pressure. There’s a special kind of joy in that, and it shouldn’t be cast aside by doubts or anxiety about not being published yet.

    #6. You get to embrace your inner geek! I was a Star Wars + Super Hero loving geek when I was a kid, but got shamed out of it as a preteen by my more “popular” friends. However, because so many of my readers are interested in similar things, and because I seek out all forms of story as writing research, I’ve given myself permission to let my geek flag fly high once again. I let my love for Doctor Who, Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Supernatural, Sherlock, Veronica Mars, and Sleepy Hollow show not only in my personality, but also in my writing.

    #5. When you’re a series author, you have to learn how to write fast! I spent four years writing my first book but was only given four months to write my second. I used to be a “pantser” (meaning that I would write by the seat of my pants, meandering through the story) and would only average about 500 words a day, but I’ve had to learn to become a meticulous outliner and to write in 1000 words per hour sprints. (Averaging about 2K to 4K words a day.)

    #4. Also when you’re a series author, your next book is often due at the same time that your previous book is being released. I don’t know who in publishing came up with this terrible idea, but it has happened to me with every sequel. Between dead-lining and all the marketing + appearances obligations, it feels like you’re working two full time jobs at the same time for a few weeks. (And then I throw in being a full-time mom on top of that.)

    #3. Sometimes, you get to meet your idols—and they treat you like a peer! A few weeks ago, I participated in at a book con in Texas. At lunch, I ended up eating at the same table with Laurie Halse Anderson, Shannon Hale, and Matt de la Pena. We swapped stories and joked around with each other—and the whole time I was fighting to suppress my inner fangirl so I wouldn’t freak out all over Laurie. I was very proud of myself for making it through!

    #2. Don’t read your reviews. Just don’t. My friend and fellow author Sara Zarr gave me this advice when I was a debut author. At first, I didn’t listen to her, and used to go seeking after every little tidbit that people posted about my book. However, that soon got in my way and I found myself unable to write with all that feedback in my head. Even though most of the reviews were positive, they still caused me problems because I would worry about living up to expectations. (And negative reviews would put me in a tailspin.) One of the healthiest things I ever did as an author was to finally follow Sara’s advice and turn off my Google alert. I don’t read reviews (mostly) and I don’t regret that decision.

    #1. Getting published won’t make you happy or solve all of your problems. In reality, whatever issues you have (especially if they’re of the self-doubt nature) will probably be amplified. I spent too many years stuck in an “I’ll be happy when . . .” attitude, but I’ve learned that if you equate happiness with a destination/achievement, you’ll never actually get there. Because, as an author, there is always another destination or achievement on the horizon. “I’ll be happy when I sell my book” soon becomes, “I’ll be happy when I sell my book for X amount of money” or “I’ll be happy when my book hits the shelves” or “I’ll be happy when I sell X amount of copies” or “I’ll be happy when I hit the NYT list or win a big award.” The biggest lesson that I’ve learned is to find the joy in the journey, not the destination.


    There you have it ladies and gentlemen. The inside scoop from Bree herself. So, for all of you who are aspiring authors, Bree has offered us little gems of wisdom that can help you on your own journey in writing. Thanks Bree! While I am no author, I can tell you I’ve been lucky enough to discuss life as an author with Colleen and a few other authors at the book conventions and they have all said similar things. Sound advice everyone!

    So, what’s around the corner?

    • May’s Live Chat on May 29th at 7pm-8pm (pacific time) with authors Colleen Houck and Bree Despain! Don’t miss it! Remember, you CAN post your comments/questions on Goodreads ahead of time!
    • June’s Book of the Month for Houck’s Book Club will be, After The End by Amy Plum. So hurry and pick up your copy and start reading!
    • June’s Live Chat will be on June 28th at 9am -10am (pacific time) with authors Colleen Houck and Amy Plum.


    girl reading on grass

    Happy reading everyone! Remember that if you don’t have the time or chance to read the book, still join us in the live chat! The discussion is fun and the topics include anything and everything under the sun! It’s simply a chance to rub shoulders with some great authors and ask anything that’s on your mind.  Also feel free to leave a comment and share some of your favorite all time books! I’d love to hear what’s on your night stand (P.S. My nightstand has the book House of Secrets by Chris Columbus) !



    ~ Till next time,

    Linda Louise Lotti


    This entry was posted in Articles, The Modern Ink Society, Writing Advice.

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    Author Bio

    I’m Linda Louise, one of the bloggers on this website and Colleen’s little sister. I’m just a girl in her mid-thirties who feels thirteen when I play outside with my boys, fifteen when I sing my heart out listening to tunes while driving by myself, and sixty five when I go out past ten at night. I have a thing for junior mints, Mt. Dew, shrimp and kale (though not all at once) and I have a crush on Superman. I still get girlish butterflies when I read Twilight, cry when I read These is My Words, and smile from ear to ear when I read Anne of Green Gables. I have nightmares about aliens on a regular basis and I have a bad habit of midnight snacking. I love everything sports, except golf (although can that honestly be considered a sport??), and I hate anything that slithers, hisses, or stings. I have a problem with giggling at inappropriate moments and I sometimes wish life was a musical. I love science, hate math, love Dr. Seuss, and hate olives. My family is my world and my joys come from their happiness. I’ve learned I don’t know much about anything and I live for a good adventure, naps, cuddles, stories, exceptional food and The Shire.