Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WIP Day - Editing, CreateSpace and Photos (OH MY)

Hello you.
How is your wednesday going?

For me, so far, it is pretty dandy.  My hubby has the day off work.  (Yay!) I love these days.  We are trying to decide what we all should do today... there are too many options!  Should we drive out to the beach?  Should we go to a park?  Should we laze about the apartment like no one's business, and let me snag some rare editing time all to myself?  Too, too many choices.

WIP Update:
It's coming along.  What else can I say?  I am a bit over halfway with this final polish round.  I have set the goal to be done with it by this Friday.  Which means a bit of reading still stacked in my coming days.  But I must do it!

I slowed a bit.  I am too nit picky.  It is just so hard to accept that the sentence is the way it is.  That none of my beta readers or editors said anything about it.  And that I should just leave it alone.  I want this thing to be as great as I can get it.  But like a painting, if I add too many layers, it will just be muck.  So, I have reigned myself in, given myself a deadline, and I will proclaim it is done very very soon.

(Barring life getting in the way.  Such as my awesome date with hubby last night.  We went and saw The Green Lantern.  I don't know about you, but I really did like it.  There was some character background I would have liked more of, but I can't complain too much.  Plus, seeing Ryan Reynolds in that awesomely tight jumpsuit... it was nice.)

Speaking of deadlines: 
My amazingly spectacular friend, Kimmel, hit hers!  Let me tell you, this woman is quite something.  She said her goal, laid out her deadline... and did it!  Last week she officially finished her MS (Titled Transformation) and by late friday night, we were uploading it to CreateSpace so she could use that free coupon won from NaNoWriMo.  By Monday, her book shipped!

I am so very proud of her.  Here she was, not even sure she wanted to try this NaNo thing with me.  And now she is an author.  She has a great book out there, and is thoroughly addicted to this thing called writing.  I can't wait to see where she goes next!  Keep your eye out at her CreateSpace page for when Transformation is officially out for sale.  Go Kimmel!

Now, last but most definitely not least:  
I got my author photos back!  If you remember, a bit over a month ago the very talented Vince James Photography did a writing-themed shoot... of me!  This weekend I finally got them back.  And boy, let me tell you, I love them!  It is so weird seeing so many photos of just me.  And even more weird: Liking pretty much all of them!

Want to see a few?
Here you go!

Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.
Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.
Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.
Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.

Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.
Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.
Vince James Photography.  All rights reserved.
 There are many more that I absolutely love.  I will post a slideshow of them very soon, because I just can't NOT show them off.  Vince, thank you again.  You are amazing!  Check out his site and his FB page to see more of his great work.

Now, off I go to enjoy the day.  Happy writing!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Time for that Query


Query letters.

Raise your hand if you have been there:
You have written your novel.  Slaved over the editing.  Loved it.  Hated it.
Now you sit and realize: It is time to query.

Your stomach twists.  Your mind goes blank.  Everything you thought you knew disappears and you are now only filled with butterflies and the sudden thirst for extreme caffeine.  Not to mention you inexplicably became deathly afraid of every agent in existence.

(Ok, please, tell me I am not the only one.)

I have now, finally, reached the point where I need to perfect my query and *gulp* send it out.  Granted, I could just op out and self-publish via CreateSpace.  No queries, no rejections, right?  Yet something inside keeps telling me that if I never do this, if I never dive in and face this path, I will never feel like a true author.

And so, I dive away.

Lately I have been researching queries.  Thing is, everywhere you look seems to have slightly different advice.  Different opinions.  Different tips.  There are so many sites, so many books, jam-packed full of the query how-to.  So, what is the right query to write?

YA Fantasy Guide made, what I thought, a helpful post.  They laid out a few key questions, and say if you answer those, you should be good to go.  The questions?:

•  Who is the story about?
•  What happens to this character?
•  What decisions does this character have to make?
•  What are the consequences of those decisions?
Alright... let's say you answer those.  What is next?

You still have all the other paragraphs to fill in.  And some agencies require their queries to be laid out a bit different than the norm...  (Remember: Read what the agent wants!  Research people, research!)  Still, through all of my researching, I have found that there is a standard layout that most queries go by.  The layout?:

     - 1st Paragraph: The catch about your book.  100-250 words, summarizing your novel and (hopefully) grabbing that agents much desired attention.  Don't forget to list the title, genre, and word count!

     - 2nd Paragraph:  About you.  This is where you share your bio blurb.  Brag about an writing awards or publications you have snagged.  Let them know who you are.

     - 3rd Paragraph:  Flatter that agent.  Maybe share why you have chosen to query them.  Let them know if you are querying other agents at all.  Thank them.

     - And of course, always list your contact info.

Phew.  Just when we thought the writing was over with and it was clear sailing to the published world, Mr. Query makes his appearance.  We find now that we must slave over this query, our one absolute shot to grabbing that agent we crave, and moving forward.

I.  Am.  Nervous.
There, I said it.  Rejection is a major part of the book world.  Rejection by agents.  Rejection by publishers.  Rejection by our readers...  We need to grow tough skins, to just dive in and stop balking and see what the world brings us.  I know, much easier to say than do.

So, off I go to work on my query as I round the last corner on my final polishing round.  This thing called my book is as good as I can get it.  Hopefully it catches an eye out there, and they agree.

As Rachelle Gardner said in a recent post:
"So seriously…
Send out your query already.
And STOP worrying about looking like a bonehead. Trust me, you won’t! We want to hear what you have to say, we want to see your query, and we don’t want you to worry so much about mistakes you’re never going to make anyway, because you’re way too smart for that."


How about you?  Are you at the query stage?  Have you already faced rejection?  Been accepted?  Any tips or advice, or fears?  Do Share! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Race is Still On

So close!
I am so stinkin' close, I can taste the 100 followers awesomeness.  It is there, just out of my reach, teasing me.

As I post this, I am at 94 followers.  94 AWESOME followers!
But remember: We are in a race.  A race to 100!  And we are almost there.

The incentive?  Need a reminder?
As soon as I hit that lovely 100 mark, I will open up a Give-Away.  All you will have to do at that point is comment, walk away happy, and know you are in the drawing for a:

 $20 Amazon giftcard, or $20 worth of books to the Book Depository 
(Because I love my international people too!)

Want me to sweeten it?  How about this:
If I get over 100, let's say by at least... 10... I will throw in a second place prize.  Another giftcard?  Heck yes!  Hey, that means that you could have ANOTHER chance at winning, and I would be happy because I would feel even more loved in my make-believe blogging world.  I think that is win/win.

So get me there!  Spread the word, you bloggers you.  
Get me to 100! (And beyond!)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review - Delirium

Delirium
by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis: (From Goodreads)

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. 

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Why I Picked this Book:  I will be honest.  First reason: The cover.  I do love that cover.  Then reading the premise... If you don't know by now, I am a sucker for a good ruined society.  So, book: Snagged!

My Thoughts:
Delirium was a great take on an old thing.  I keep wondering how many times we can destroy the world, ruin society, and break the rules.  Delirium gave me one more way to check off on the list.

In Delirium, love is a disease.  Like, literally.  And America has found the cure.  They cut into your brain once you are eighteen, and remove the love.  Then everyone is happy and lives their lives with their assigned partners and dies in peace.  How great, huh?

Lena thought so too.  She was raised believing in this cure.  She believed in her small society.  Then, wham, life starts happening.  Her long time friend starts to rebel.  She meets a boy (gasp) and starts to feel feelings for him (bigger gasp).  Soon, life as she knew it was sure to never be the same again.  Was the cure really the right choice?  Or was love actually worth the risk?

I felt I could relate well to Lena.  Though at times she was somewhat stubborn and naive... aren't we all?  There is an obvious progression of her character throughout the book.  It was great to see her grow, and learn, and love.  I had memories of being a teenage girl, battling love and the world.  Oh, memories...

The idea of love as a disease?  I loved it.  Every chapter began with a random excerpt from "The Book of Shhh" or other writings.  It all defined love as a disease, an illness, something that could only cause damage and pain.  A delirium (oh, there you go...)  This take on love really did intrigue me.  It is something so simple.  So essential to human existence.  And in Delirium, they have almost wiped it out.

So, did I have issues at all with this book?
It was the love.  Ok, just from reading the synopsis, you have to know this will be about a love story.  That is a no-brainer.  I just wish the execution of it all had been done... different.  There was so much that could have been done with this concept.  Instead, it was just one of the usual:

The boy is madly in love with the girl.  She has to learn to love him.  He is devoted to her from the very moment their eyes meet.  He says everything just right.  Lots of drippy love words and oo-ahh moments.  Then...

Ok, you get the picture.  Alot of times, when Alex was talking, I found myself thinking "Ok, no guy every says that."  Maybe it was his over-compensating for the lack of love in the world.  I do get that.  Still...  The love story just bugged me.  It wasn't fully believable, even for a YA book.  His love was just too... perfect.  And fast.

Near the end of the book I found myself skimming a bit, trying to get to the good stuff.  I hate when that happens.  Granted the good stuff did happen, and I was overall happy with the ending.  (Which... by the way... was the most realist part of the entire book.  Thank you, Lauren Oliver, for keeping it real.  Some decisions that were made I did not expect.  And the final bit... yup, didn't think that would be the end!)  Still, I did skim until I hit those moments.  I can't say if it was ramblage or over-done love or what.  But something there made me want to skip parts, for some reason.

Overall, I did enjoy Delirium.  Though I cannot say it was one of my most favorite reads of the year, I happily will keep it on my shelf and loan it out to friends to experience.  Let us hope love stays around for years to come.  I cherish my delirium.

My Rating
(strong 4 out of 5 stars)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIP Day - Tired Mama



This little mommy is losing her marbles. This little mommy is fried. 
This little mommy needs to get away. This little mommy is tired. 
And this little mommy hears "wah wah wah" all day at home.

Alright, if you can't get the picture: It is one of those days.  My three year old thinks it is fun to wake up at 5:30 every morning, and never stop until bedtime at 7pm.  Lots of whining.  Lots of demanding.  Lots of food.  And my one year old, as precious as he is, is a mama's boy.  Super cling.
  
Yes, this is mommyhood.  
I knew that when I stepped into it three years ago.
But I am still allowed to be tired.

Don't get me wrong.  I adore my little guys.  My life would probably suck without them.  They are so smart.  And so stinking cute.  Number one can do puzzles in a snap, is always playing make believe, and makes sure to say "I love you" to me every day.  Number 2 is a doll, who snuggles like nothing else, loves to dance and sing, and can light up your day with a single smile.  I know they are a blessing in my life, and I would never trade them for anything.

I just... miss me-time.  Being able to read in the silence of the home.  Sleep in.  Write whenever I feel the urge and never once have to feel guilty about it.  To be perfectly honest, my final edit round of PN has sucked.  And is mostly due to the fact that my main job, mommy, has refused to let up at all in the last week.  If anything, I think my kiddos are needing/whining/wanting more than ever before.

Do they sense that we have this other project?  Are they jealous?
Are they trying to remind me that they are my job, not this thing I call a 'writing a book'?

So today, for my WIP day, instead of just updating, I am asking. 

I know many of you out there are writer mamas.
  
Please, please, please, bless me with your wisdom.  How can I balance my amazing job as mommy, with my dream to write?  Are there any magical little tips and tricks you have that allow that free moment of the day, where you can finally create?  How do you balance?

______________

On a total side-note: Like Give-Aways?  Check out the Midsummer Eve's hop!  It ends on the 24th, and boy are there a ton of blogs participating!

Oh yes, and one more side note: I finally gave in.  I made a Twitter page.  Gasp, I know.  Crazier things just keep happening.  Click on the link to the left, or here, if you feel like stalking me even more. Happy Writing.   

WIP post delayed, due to mommyhood

Actual WIP Day post to come later.
Once my kiddos calm down and let me sit at this computer for more than a few seconds.  Even right now, kiddo #2 is tugging on me, crying for love.

I must be irresistible.

For the time being, go check out D.U.O. Says' great post, about the 7 habits of serious writers.

I will catch you all later today!  Off I go, to be super mommy.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Eden (SIGNED) Give-Away Winner!

Many thanks to those of you who entered my most recent Give-Away.  To refresh your memories: It was for a signed copy of Keary Taylor's newest book, Eden.  And today, you get to find out which of you won!

To pick, I first randomly gave every entry a number.  Then used the lovely Random.org to pick my number for me. (No selective wiggling fingers, I swear!)

The number chosen?


Now, who is the lucky number 6?

- - Jamie Manning - -

Congrats Jamie!  I have sent you an email.  If I don't hear back from you in 48 hours, I will do another drawing for a new winner.  So, get a-emailing!  (And yes Jamie, isn't the cover just amazing?  I love staring at it.)

Thanks again to all of you who entered.  Would you like to see more Give-Aways in the future?  Sad that you didn't win this one and want another shot at prizes?  Let me know!  I'm sure that we can work something out.  In fact, I want to.  So, give me your input!

And don't forget:
We are still in my race to 100 followers.  I am only 13 people away... get me there!  I am trying to gather ideas for more prizes other than the listed one I have.  I think my inspiration will be followers... and love.  Lots of love. * wink *

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Barnes & Noble Killed My Mojo


Believe it or not, in all my years of book adoring and buying, I had never once gone to Barnes & Noble.  True story.

Tonight I went out with my awesome friend Kimmel.  (Girl dates: A Mommy-must.)  She had recently won a giftcard in a Give-Away, so a trip to the bookstore was a no-brainer!  I was excited.  If you don't know, I grew up on a small island in Washington state.  The few bookstores there are all islander-owned, and most of the time I found my refuge in the local used book store.  Oh, the hours I spent there...

Living "off-island" sure opened up new book-buying experiences to this reading fanatic.  Now I am very thoroughly addicted to Powells (An Oregon-based new and used bookstore.  Amazing, heavenly place.)  Until today, I had never actually gone into B&N to book shop.

I set my price limit, loaded up on sushi, and in we went.

The sad thing?
Nothing grabbed me.  Nothing.  

Even the books that I have waiting in my TBR lists seemed dull and unreadable in the B&N light.  Not to mention the fact that B&N offers no where near the amount of books in-store that Powells is always jam-packed with.  It was sad!  I was sad!  By the end, Kimmel snagged two finds, and I walked out empty handed.

Yes, you read that right.
I did not buy a single book.
What gives?

My hubby says he blames it on the Starbucks crowd.  Kimmel says there must have been something in the air.  Me?  I don't know what I have to say.

Maybe it was the book Gods, telling me that I need to finish my massive TBR shelf that I have here at home before I buy even more papery goodies.  I don't like that message.  Not one bit.   Can you ever own too many books?  I think not.

I cannot remember the last time that I walked out of a bookstore without at least one book in hand.  I felt weird, unsettled.  It was strange, and I did not like it.  What's even worse?  Whatever it was has now followed me home.  I decided to peruse my TBR lists, maybe order a book, make up for this sadness of a book night.

And guess what.  Everything is still bleh.
Noooo...

Someone make this go away.  B&N, people out there might love you.  But I am forever holding a grudge against your Nation-wide awesomeness.  You put a shunt in my book buying craze.

You killed my book frenzy mojo.
I do not think I can forgive you, ever. * melodramatic sigh *


_______________


=> Here is my request for this evening of random posting:
I need books!  Titles people, awesome titles.

What am I looking for right now you ask?
I need a magic fix.  Fantasy.  Paranormal.  Retold fairy tales, greek mythology... get my drift?  Please, fill my comments with suggestions.
I need you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials
By James Dashner

Synopsis: (From Goodreads)

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.
The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?


Why I Picked this Book:  If you have been following me, you know that I loved The Maze Runner.  So, of course, I just had to snag book two as soon as I could and devour it as well!

My Thoughts:
* NOTE: May have spoilers for those of you who haven't read The Maze Runner yet *

The Scorch Trials is a great continuation to The Maze Runner.  From the get-go, you as the reader know that things are about to get funky all over again for the Glader boys.

Here they are, thinking they are finally safe and free... They have escaped the Maze.  Rescued by some mysterious renegade group.  Given pizza and a place to sleep.

When WHAM, zombie-like people who call themselves Cranks are pounding on the windows, the people who saved them are dead, and Theresa is missing.  She has been replaced by a boy named Aris, and the group is told they must reach the safe haven before the disease they have been infected with takes them over.

Welcome to The Scorch Trials.

I feel Dashner did a great job on extending Thomas and the Glader's story.  New characters are thrown in, new plots developed.  New crazy, horrorific actions take place.  (Metal goo that covers your head then chops it off into a nice solid metal ball?  I still can't get the image out of my mind!)  Not to mention Group B, a group of all girl Gladers, who has to get to the safe haven before the boy Gladers.  Race to the finish.  Oh yes.

Oh, did I mention the zombies?  Ok, they are called Cranks in this book.  But they are zombies non-the-less.  People infected with the Flare, who have gone mad.  Really mad.  Eating noses and rotting limbs mad.  No wonder the boys are all so desperate to get the cure before the Flare takes them over.

Theresa goes through quite a change as well.  I am not fully sure how I feel about her.  She has been labeled as the Betrayer, and man, she seems to live up to that.  Even by the end, I didn't have a feel on her anymore, and didn't fully trust her.  Hey Dashner, I guess you got me to feel betrayed as well.  Kudos.

Though some parts did drag a bit more than I would have liked (wandering through the scorching hot desert... what do you expect?) and I was still left in the dark about reasons and plots... (I guess this is all a ploy of WICKED's to find a cure for the Flare.)  Things have been hinted at, a few things explained.  Still in the dark on many...

Oh, and the ending.  Let's just say it's one of those endings that leaves you dangling off of a cliff edge, wondering "what the heck just happened?"  while trying to hang on even though there is a man above you with a chainsaw who is creeping it towards your fingers... Really.  That's how I felt.  Then it just ends.  Still...

I honestly could not stop reading.  I loved it.  I wanted more.  I hated when I got to the last page and had to shut the book.  Dashner has pulled me into this world of his, and I am just as committed to the Trials as the Gladers and WICKED are.  I want more.

And lucky me... book three, The Death Cure, comes out in October.

Overall, The Scorch Trials was amazing.  I cannot wait to see where Dashner takes us next.  I am dying to see how this story all ties together, and plan on getting book three as soon as I can get my hands on it.  Simply: I am a fan.

Do I think you should read this?  Uh, yeah.  Though I still prefer The Maze Runner more, I feel this was a perfect continuation to an already amazing story.  Not as strong of a 5 star, but a 5 star all the same.

My Rating
(5 out of 5 stars)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WIP Day - Is the End in Sight?

I woke up this morning to the lovely sound of a large construction vehicle backing up.  You know: BEEP BEEP BEEP...

They have been doing construction on my apartment since February.  It was supposed to be a 4-6 week project.  Obviously, that didn't happen!  We keep being told that they are almost done, that they will finish soon.

Then they start a new project.  Honestly?

I just want my back deck back so I can curl up in a blanket with a good book and breath in the cool air.  I miss that.  Instead, I must keep the blinds shut at all times so no passing construction worker can peep in.  There is constant noise and banging.  And I have no back deck anymore, just a dirt pile where the deck once was.

That was originally supposed to be a rant.  Then, as I was hammering it out, I realized how much that is similar to my writing world.

My book is under construction.  It started out quick and easy, then issues came up.  I had to go in an tweak and work and rework.  The time dragged on and this construction process still dragged on.

New projects tempted me, promising undiscovered and exciting realms other than this one I had been stuck in.  I closed my blinds to the lovely world because this novel sucked me in and claimed me.  It wasn't good to be tempted by sunshine or kid tickle time or socializing.  My mind is always noisy, my manuscript banging on the walls, wanting so badly to be finished as I drag it along.

And the back deck?  My ability to just curl up anytime I desired and devour a good book? Ha, yeah.  That's a mound of dirt.

Will the end ever be in sight?

Every construction process must end.  Mine is almost there.  I am declaring it is.  I am doing my last grammar plugins now, and am almost done with it.  Then the final sweep... After that, I take the construction ropes down and hope the rest of the world doesn't hate this piece of art I created.  So close, so close.

Now, will someone please tell the construction workers of my building to finish as well?

__________________________________

* Don't forget to enter my Give-Away for a 
SIGNED copy of Keary Taylor's new book: Eden *

Monday, June 13, 2011

I upped my Eden Give-Away!

Did you read my interview with the awesome Keary Taylor?
Did you enter the Give-Away for the free Kindle copy of her new book?

Well, guess what!

I upped it.  Yup, you read me right.

The winner of my Eden 
Give-Away will now win a 
SIGNED paperback copy of Eden.

As in paper pages, pretty cover, and pen-scribbled name in Keary's hand.  Oo...

Go read my interview with Keary HERE, then leave a comment there to enter!

(This also means that the winner must be in the US.  Sorry... shipping kills outside of the country.  I apologize to my amazing followers that live elsewhere!  I do love you.)

This Give-Away ends in one week, June 20th.  So spread the word!

Interview with Keary Taylor + Eden Give-Away (SIGNED)

Today I have the awesome opportunity to interview with the amazing author, and my great friend, Keary Taylor.

Keary is an indie author, living on a small island in Washington state, and raising two adorable little kiddos when not furiously typing away.  Her Fall of Angels series, Branded and Forsaken, is one amazing read.  Vindicated, book three in the series, is currently in the works and I must say, I am on edge waiting to read it!  But we aren't here today to talk about that series.

Keary has recently finished her first YA Dystopian: Eden.  And guess what!  It is now published and out for sale.  Before I ramble any more about Eden, I want you to get to know Keary a bit better.  Then keep reading... there will be a Kindle Give-Away for a digital SIGNED copy of Eden, waiting for you at the end!

______________________________________


* Why hello there Keary! How are you doing today? 

     Pretty fantastic! Thanks for asking ;)


* Tell us a little more about yourself. 

     I’m just a girl who grew up in Utah, the oldest of 5 girls, no brothers. When I was young I always loved to write but thought I’d go into the more “sensible” career of being a nurse. And then marriage and motherhood came up and now I get to live my dream and have an adorable family.


* Eden is the fourth book you have finished writing in only three years. You must have some crazy writing schedule to keep up with your life.
How do you do it?

     Haha! It’s not easy. I wake up at about 5:45 most mornings and work until the kids wake up, then take advantage of nap-time, and if I’ve still got any energy at the end of the day, work some more after the kids are in bed.


* Wow, work work work!  So: Plotter or Pantser?

     Both I guess. I almost always know how my books are going to end before I know how they will begin. I write out a few general ideas before I start on a project but I usually can’t figure out much till I’m actually typing out words.


* What sparked the idea for Eden and its robotic take over? 

     This is going to sound kinda nerdy I guess. I was watching Star Wars 3 with my husband last summer and there was this shot of Anakin with his new mechanical hand and I thought “How cool would that be if he’d grown that hand himself?” Guess I have an overactive imagination ‘cause Eden just started evolving!


* Hey, we all appreciate your overactive imagination!  This is, in fact, your first dystopian novel. Do you think there may be more from you in the future? 

     I love dystopian but I think this will probably be my one and only. I feel like I can only end the world once. I want to branch out too, try new genres as well.


* Thank you for only ending the world once.  The Fall of Angels series is Indie, and Eden is yet another independently published book.  You seem to be doing quite well in the Indie world I must say.
Any advice for others who are about to venture into it? 


     This is going to be HARD. Don’t think otherwise. Be prepared to sweat blood for every dollar you earn. And stick with it. Things might not happen for a while. Branded took over a year before it did much of anything but it was so worth the wait!


* Great advice!  So, tell us, what made you decide to go Indie with Eden? 

     I did send out a few query letters but it was kind of a half-hearted attempt. I didn’t like the uncertainty. And things had been going so well with Branded and Forsaken. And honestly I like having so much control. I enjoy the process of publishing.


* Speaking of control and power:  Eve, your leading lady, is quite something. Is there any trait in her that you see in yourself? Is there a trait of hers you wish you could steal? 

     We’re both stubborn and tend to think we’re right. We both have strong family loyalty (even if it’s not blood related family). I wish I had her physical strength, lol. She’s such a kick-butt girl!


* Would you spoil us and share a quote or snippet? Pretty please? 

     “At one time this was a part of something, belonging to some state or city. None of that mattered anymore. Once the infection got you nothing mattered anymore, except for turning the rest of us into nothing too.”

______________________________________

Isn't Keary just great?  It is hard to believe she is only 23 years old, with all of these books already under her belt.  And she is just getting started.  I can't wait to see what she creates next.  Thank you for the interview Keary!

Now, on to Eden!

Here is the synopsis, for those of you who do not stalk Keary's books already:


Eve knew the stories of the Fall, of a time before she wandered into the colony of Eden, unable to recall anything but her name. She’s seen the aftermath of the technology that infused human DNA with cybernetic matter, able to grow new organs and limbs, how it evolved out of control. The machine took over and the soul vanished. A world quickly losing its humanity isn’t just a story to her though. At eighteen, this world is Eve’s reality. In their Fallen world, love feels like a selfish luxury, but not understanding what it is makes it difficult to choose between West, who makes her feel alive but keeps too many secrets, and Avian, who has always been there for her, but is seven years her senior. The technology wants to spread and it won’t stop until there is no new flesh to assimilate. With only two percent of the human population left, mankind is on the brink of extinction. While fighting to keep Eden alive, Eve will discover that being human is about what you will do for those you love, not what your insides may be made of. And even if it gets you killed, love is always what separates them from the Fallen.

Eden is now available for sale at these locations:

______________________________________

Want a chance to win a Kindle version SIGNED copy of Eden?
You read it right.  I upped it from a Kindle copy to a signed paperback!
You know you want it.
Here is your chance!
Here is how to enter:
  • Leave a comment (with your email address) 
  • Follow me, of course

Want extra entries?  You can gain one extra entry for each item below, just post the link(s) in a comment:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Blog about Keary's book and/or this Give-Away
  • Show Keary some love by following her on her blog and/or Facebook


I will announce the winner in one week, June 20th.  Spread the word!
And congrats again, Keary, on finishing yet one more amazing novel!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Race to 100

It's late Friday night, and I get home from attending a friend's bridal shower (A great bridal shower might I add.)  I log into my blog, wait for it to load (slow slow internet) then come to find out...that I have now hit 70 followers.  *Beams*

Dear 70 followers - I love you.

Now, I don't know if any of you remember, but my blog is in a race.  With itself. 
The race to get 100 followers. 
Why, you ask?

Because... I like being followed.  I like knowing you are all out there.  I love your comments and getting to know each of you.  And I crave more.  This blogging world is addicting and exciting and fun.  It gives me something to look forward to.  Something to aim at.  Something.

Ready for more?

There will be a Give-Away once I hit that lovely 100 mark.  (Did that perk any... eyes?)  As soon as I see my love aka followers hit 100, I will post that the Give-Away is alive and going.  Then, to enter, all you will need to do is comment, and love me.  (Can you tell I am greedy?  Or needy?  Both work)

What's the prize you ask?

At this moment in time, the Race to 100 Give-Away prize will be:

A $20 gift card to Amazon
or  
$20 in books at the Book Depository
(Gotta make it so my international friends can be a part of this as well!)

I may add another prize.  I just may.  It depends on how my days are going.  Another giftcard?  Up the amount of the prize?  Swag?  A signed book?  Eternal love and adoration (ok, you already have that from me)

Get me to 100 people!  Spread the word!
Until then: Happy Writing

Book Review: Skinned

Skinned
By Robin Wesserman

Synopsis: (From Goodreads)
The Download was supposed to change the world. It was supposed to mean the end of aging the end of death, the birth of a new humanity. But it wasn't supposed to happen to someone like Lia Kahn.

And it wasn't supposed to ruin her life.

Lia knows she should be grateful she didn't die in the accident. The Download saved her--but it also changed her, forever. She can deal with being a freak. She can deal with the fear in her parents' eyes and the way her boyfriend flinches at her touch. But she can't deal with what she knows, deep down, every time she forces herself to look in the mirror: She's not the same person she used to be.

Maybe she's not even a person at all.

Why I Picked this Book:  First it was the cover.  Beautiful cover.  Then the plot grabbed me.  And finally... it was on sale so I just couldn't say now.

My Thoughts:

Skinned started out "Eh" then the middle turned to "ah," quickly transformed to "oh.." and ended with a "meh."  I finished this book a few days ago and have literally been sitting around trying to decide what to say about it.  I am torn.

The overall idea was great.  Lia gets in a car accident, and her body is so destroyed she cannot be saved.  So, instead of her family pulling the plug... they plug her thoughts and memories into a robotic body.  Lia wakes to find that everything physical about herself is different.  Her entire life has changed.

Friends now are uncomfortable around her.  Her boyfriend is distant.  Her school has ostracized her.  Her family is estranged.  And she has met a new group, a crazy group of other people-turned-robot, who want her to join them.  Sounds interesting, yes?

Here is my problem: The execution was... Meh.
The majority of the book seems to be focused on Lia whining and complaining.  She was the most popular girl around, before her accident.  Now she isn't.  While I know this new life would be a hard adjustment... Lia never lets go.  As people treated her like crap, as one friend stepped forward to offer her love... she just clung to the life that was literally dead and whined about how she didn't know who she was anymore.  She is self-absorbed, rude, and most times I just wanted to smack her.

By the middle of the book, I was sick of Lia Khan.
But I kept reading, hoping that something amazing would happen.  Hey, it does... in most books.  Something about this book had grabbed me and I had to find out what that was.

You think the story will pick up when she meets the others Mechs (robots).  Then, it doesn't.  It was like everytime I got excited for something to happen, Lia went "But, I'm not popular now and I don't know who I am" and everything reverted.  The Mechs could have added so much more to the story, in my opinion.  Instead, they were more of a side thought.

As for the antagonist, it must have just been Lia and her inability to accept her fate.  I never got a grasp on a true antagonist.  Which bugged me.  Without dropping spoilers, near the end she "decides" one person is the bad guy.  But you never actually get that feel through out.  So...

One last complaint.  I promise.  I hated the ending.  I didn't feel the climax.  It just... ended.  It was like:  There, we are done.  Let's leave this wide open because, yes, we are writing a series off of it.  Oy.

What did I like?  Like I said, the overall plot was great.  I loved the premise.  The idea that if you download all your memories, your thoughts, all of that into a robotic body... are you still you?  Are you dead, or alive?  Crazy thinking there...  I liked how it did hint at a dystopian world and left me wondering what had gone wrong.  There were paragraphs that were so beautifully written I had to go back and read them again, just to appreciate them that much more.  I was engaged, just not enthralled.

Because of the things I liked, I am being a kind me today and giving Skinned a 3 instead of 2 star.  I really tried with this book.  Who knows, you may adore this book.  For me, the plot issues, character issues, and ending just got to me too much.  Robin Wesserman has true talent with writing and I look forward to reading more of her work.  Just maybe not this series.

My Rating:
(3 out of 4 stars)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WIP Day - Editing in the midst of life

Is it really Wednesday already?  Honestly... where did the time go?  I feel like I just updated last week, and here we are again... WIP Day.

I have started in on my FINAL edit round.  I am declaring it that: FINAL.  I know this is something I could eternally tweak and edit until my fingers bleed and eyes are so dry they cannot blink anymore.  Thing is... I just can't do that.  I am going to need to step away at some point and declare "Alright, this is it.  Good or bad, this is what I wrote."  And after this round, I will be doing that.

Problems?  Well, for one, we have been getting sun.  If you don't know, I live in Oregon.  (Ah, the Pacific Northwest, always covered in its haze of rain and clouds.)  So when the sun decides to make this hot and bright appearance, life stops.  I had planned to edit all last weekend.  Instead, I was out in the sun.  Doing photo shoots.  (I know beautiful people. I really do)  Playing in the water with my little guys.  (And boy are they cute) Getting some new freckles.  (Yes, I freckle.  My only evidence I went out in the sun)

Then the week started and, let's just say, it hasn't been the best start to my week.  Life.  Drama.  Blah.  Things that I will not get into here, but that are heavy on my mind.  They stopped my editing in its hopeful tracks.  I am feeling more on top of it today though, and am hoping I can shake my legs and get on with this WIP of mine. 

Question:  How do you separate life from your art?  How do you find a way to put it aside, no matter the crap that is going on, and dive into this thing that does make you happy?

That is about it for me today.  Tonight, I WILL edit.  Yes.  Yes I will.
(And make sure to come by on Monday.  I am doing my first ever interview!)

Now, just for humor, here is a comic I Stumbled across.  Made me think of us awesome writers, when the sun loses.  Which is much too often. :)

Isn't it too true?  (found at http://lolpics.se/24053-sunny-day )

Happy Writing!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Summer in the City Blogfest

Two posts in one day?  You betcha!

I just got a friendly reminder about a blogfest I signed up to do, and now need to post for it!  (Thanks for that reminder Bess!)  Bess Weatherby is hosting the Summer in the City blogfest.  The goal of the fest?  It's a two part fest:  First, to post what our WIP looks like at the moment.  Second, to share some of our goals for this coming summer.  Can you believe it's summer already... Oh man.

(And boy is summer coming!  Here in Portland, we have had sun all weekend now and most of us have no idea what to do with it.  I for one could never live in a mostly hot climate... I am already dying!)

So here it is!

My WIP.  I will take this literally and actually show what it looks like right now. Ha ha.

To be exact, that is a shot of:  My paper edit.  Topped with the final grammar edit a friend did for me.  And in the background on my monitor:  The doc of a one other grammar edit another friend did, and finally my WIP doc, all open and getting polished.  PHEW!

I am currently on the final edit round of PN.  (Prison Nation for those of you just joining me.)  I hope this is the final round.  Ok, I need to make this the final round.  You can only edit a book so much.  I am so excited to see where this thing I call a novel goes.  Now I just need to get my butt back in gear and finish the round.  The sun has been tempting me too much, and my computer and WIP have become neglected. (Good and bad thing, I suppose)

And now for part two of the Blogfest

My Summer Goals:

- Finish PN.  I am so stinkin' close it's crazy.

- Submit PN to the few agents on my list.  Scary scary thought, but I don't think I will ever feel like a full out author unless I have submitted, and been potentially rejected as well.

- READ.  I think I am still grumbling about not having a book review for last Friday.  This summer, I plan to sit out on my back deck whenever the kiddos allow, and devour my TBR shelf. 

- Finish In the Blood.  This was my WIP before I took on NaNoWriMo and created Prison Nation.  ITB is about 1/3 done and I really would love to finish it by the end of this summer.

- Plot out this year's NaNoWriMo novel.  I am still torn between two ideas... I hope one wins!

- Photograph.  Photography is my other passion, when not writing.  I just got a new camera (Thanks to my hubby's amazing mom day present!) and I am slowly learning how to use all of its DSLR awesomeness.  This August I am second shooting a wedding with a friend... and am very excited!  Time to click away even more.

- Self-Publish PN.  If all else fails, and all the agent responses are those lovely "Thank you, but..." emails, I will be self-publishing PN via CreateSpace.  This will be the tail-end summer goal.  I will let the hope that maybe I will be swooped off my feet and carried into the "I have an agent" world carry me through the summer.  And if it doesn't happen, I WILL be joining the awesome Indie Author ranks.

- Get out.  For those of you who don't know, I have a family of four, and we live in a two bedroom apartment that has been under construction and repairs since February. It is literally in a huge white tent.  I feel like ET being fumigated at all hours.  This summer, I plan to get my kiddos and myself out into the sun.  Beach, parks, zoo.  All of that.  Sorry computer, you can't come.

I think that is a good enough list for these coming summer months!  Do you have goals for the summer?   
Remember: Where lots of sunscreen, eat Popsicles, invest in aloe, and never forget to write.

Thanks for hosting such a great Blogfest Bess!

Someone likes me, and the Break-In Novel


Happy Monday!

To start my Monday Mash-Up, I first had to share some awesomeness.  Last week I decided to enter a 1,000 word contest over at a fellow blogger's page.  And this weekend I found out... I won*Happy dance*

It's kind of interesting... the prize was getting my piece posted on her blog, no more no less.  And I have people who don't seem to fully grasp it.  I have had many questions of "What else did you win?" and "If you didn't win anything, why did you enter?"  It is the writing world people... sometimes some of the best prizes is just finding that someone out there likes you!  I was beaming all weekend.  I think that counts as a perfect prize.

Thank you Sylvia!!

If you want to read my winning entry, hop on over to Sylvia Ney's blog, Writing in Wonderland.

______________________

Now, on with the post.

Rachelle Gardner, a literary agent I follow, made a great post about writing a break in novel.  And I just had to share it with you, and add my thoughts as well.  As Rachelle wrote:

As an unpublished novelist, you're in the position of not just having to write good books. You have to write a BREAK-IN book. It's going to require a mysterious combination of your writing reaching a certain level, the right agent reading it at the right time, the right editor receiving it on a good day, and some magic fairy dust.

Lots and lots of fairy dust...

We all dream of having that amazing Break-Out novel, that every reader gobbles up and that sells millions upon millions of copies.  The novel that gets our names in papers, on webpages, on top of the NY Times bestseller.  How beautiful would it be so see our novels in every bookstore, rambled about on the morning news... Created into a hit movie?

Thing is... before you Break-Out, you have to Break-In.  It is just like a new pair of shoes.  They are stiff and uncomfortable at first.  So you wear them.  Even when they pinch your toes and scrape at your ankle, you wear them until they stretch and morph and finally become that piece of cloud you were hoping to walk on.  Now you move on to breaking in the writing world.

You break in novel may not be the best example of your brilliant writing.  It may not be the genre you dream of dominating or the style you wish to master.  What is it?  It is the piece that opens the door and lets the industry know: you exist.  We all know how tough the writing world can be to exist in.  It is Alcatraz, impossible to penetrate.

Sometimes you have to break your own laws and bend to the will of the industry.  Maybe it's writing short pieces for magazines and collections.  Maybe it is articles for other blogs and sites.  It could be writing that romance novel even though you have dedicated your existence to Steampunk.  Whatever it is, do it.  Every opportunity and chance counts.  Then, once your name is out there a bit, break out and write that novel that sends your heart a fluttering.  Break in, to break out.

Remember though:  Be true to your self.  While we all make sacrifices to get into this world, we can't totally sell ourselves out either.

Of course, now I am wondering if PN is my Break-In or Break-Out novel.  It is something only time, and potential rejections, will tell.  In all honesty, I am not sure at this moment.  I love this story.  I have enjoyed *most* every second writing it.  What will the industry and you readers think of it though.... I have no idea.  Either way, I keep writing.

So tell me, do you have your Break-In novel?  How do you get the writing world to go "Ah, there she is..."?  Do share!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sad Day: No Review Friday

Yes, this is me.  With the "I-don't-have-a-Review" face
I knew this Friday would come, someday.  I hoped it wouldn't.  I fought it.  I really did.  But sadly, it looks like it has happened.

I have no book review for this week.  SAD FACE.

What with being sick, celebrating my kiddo's b-day, diving back into editing... my book reading got put on a back burner.  I'm sad.  You're... sad?  But it happens.  I promise to have a review for next week.

So, here are a few Give-Aways I have noticed for today to hopefulyl make up for my lack of book ramblage.   It is ridiculous how many Give-Aways I have entered... and still haven't won one.  You would think the odds would have stacked up by now.  Still, it is too tempting to enter. 

LA FEMME READERS is celebrating the big 2 year blog anniversary (Yay!) with giving away a copy of both Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick and Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi 


The League of Extraordinary Writers has been giving away books every day this week!  Check out the last stack and enter.  Man... I hope I win something there.  Great books!


I am a Reader, Not a Writer is giving away a copy of Cinder and Ella by Melissa Lemon

LA FEMME READERS is also hosting a Give Away for a copy of Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

What are you reading right now?  Are you liking it?  Let's talk book.  
I am always in search of more awesome books to add to my TBR shelf, and I want to tap your brain.  Or just find a reason to talk to you.  Either way...


 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

WIP Day - What's the Score Blogfest


Hello bloggers, writers, and readers alike.
I hope your Wednesday is going awesome for you.

East for Green Eyes is hosting a blogfest today (How awesome is it that it falls on my WIP day?) that has challenged us all to post our playlists.  Yay, finally fire under my butt to do it!  (and by the way Green Eyes: Happy one year blog anniversary!)

"What... a playlist... for a book?" You ask. 
Yes, yes indeed. 

I know that the chances of PN becoming a Hollywood sensation are... well... let's just say slim.  But it is still nice to sit and imagine what music would be playing in the back of these carefully constructed and multi-edited scenes if they ever did kiss the bigscreen.  We writers are the creating type.  And the obsessing type.  So naturally we have already created the entire movie soundtrack for our MS in our crazy minds.

I have been meaning to post my "playlist" for PN for some time now. It's about time! (And makes for an easier post for today's WIP update.  My final "editor" friend is bringing over her final sweep of the book today... so I have been forced to a stand still until then.  Cue western gun fight music.)

Now, some of these songs may not stay.  And I am still searching for a few perfect ones that have eluded me.  I mostly just listen to Pandora now a days, so when it comes to actually choosing songs that fit the part, my mind goes blank and all song names disappear.  None the less, I am happy so far with my playlist.  I do like listening to it, and can't wait to finish it, someday.  The longer I spend on this list though, the longer I am not spending on my WIP.  Time to stop and enjoy the music.  Literally!

Without any further ado, here are the songs for Prison Nation:



MusicPlaylistView Profile
Create a playlist at MixPod.com


- Utopia (Within Temptation ft.Chris Jones)

- Surrender (Evanescence)

- Breathe into Me (Red)

- Faint (Linkin Park)

- Hey Jude (The Beatles)

- Sacrifice (tATu)

- Rain (Breaking Benjamin)

-Tears of Joy (Steven Cravis)

- Save Us (Cartel)

- Lights Out (Breaking Benjamin)

- Runaway (IIO)

- Shut up and bleed (Combichrist feat. Waste )

- Feel So Free (Ivy)

- Your Guardian Angel (The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus)

I Will Not Bow (Breaking Benjamin)

(TOTAL Side-Note: Kay Elam used my recent post about beta reading as a guest post on her blog today!  Go give her love.  And... Happy Writing!)

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