Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fairy Tale Giveaway HOP


Welcome to my stop on the Fairy Tale Giveaway Hop!

This Hop looked too fun to pass up.  As part of the Hop, we blogs were given a certain challenge.  After reading through the list of options, I decided that a character interview would be something interesting and entertaining to do.

The problem was choosing who my favorite fairy tale character was.  How can I?  Finally, I opted for one who I have always enjoyed.  Not to mention she goes right along with the book I am giving away.

With no further ado... Meet Cinderella

___________________


Hello Cinderella!  How are you today?

Fine, thank you.  *looks around impatiently* Can we hurry up with this though?  I still have like, fifty things to do before my Stepmom gets home.

Of course!  You have fallen into being the housekeeper I have noticed.  Tell me, do you have a favorite chore?

Ha!  Fallen into?  More like forced.  But whatever, technicalities are lame.  No, I do not have a favorite chore.  I pretty much hate them all.  Why do you think I have trained my mice to help?  If I had a choice, I would be... *sighs*

No, don't stop.  What would you be doing if you had a choice?

Well... *leans forward* I haven't told anyone this, but I dream of opening my own shoe shop.  I need money to do that though.  My Stepmom is fully loaded, but she won't even let me go to the Ball.  I highly doubt she would provide a loan for a shoe shop.

She won't let you go to the Ball?  Have you thought of going anyway?

Of course I have.  But what can I do?  Wish that my rags magically become a ball gown and that stupid pumpkin out there sprouts wheels and a coachman?  *sighs*  Sorry, I have to cut this short.  My Stepmom should be back soon and will no doubt have more cinders for me to sweep.

___________________


Well, the interview didn't quite go as planned.  Cinderella seemed to be in quite a foul mood, but I have a feeling if she wishes hard enough, something awesome might happen soon.  What do you think?


The Giveaway: 

One lucky entrant will win a hardback of Cinder by Marissa Meyer


The Rules:  

  • Follow my blog (GFC, NetworkedBlogs, Linky or RSS... all count!)
  • Fill out the handy Rafflecopter below, and you are good to go!

Open to anywhere the Book Depository ships!
This Hop will run end May 1st.

Make sure to enter, and check out all the other blogs in this Hop!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

WIP Day - Beta Time and Bookstore Shoots

This has been one of those weeks of absolute gorgeous weather.  The kind where you cannot even imagine yourself hiding away on the computer.  You just want to be outside, absorbing the sunshine and breathing the fresh air.  I am so happy to see spring finally arriving! (Although the 80 degree day was a BIT too much for my liking!)

Even with the nice weather and all of its temptations, I am starting to feel that writing vibe again.  Yay!

This last week I put all of my focus on finishing the beta read of Keary Taylor's newest novel, What I Didn't Say.  Oh my goodness.  While at first I wasn't so sure (it is far from the genre I typically read), as soon as I let myself dive in I couldn't stop.  Keep your eyes out for this book!

I am hoping to be hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of it soon (I get to attend the launch party!  Yay!)  So again... keep your eyes out!  Well done, Keary.  VERY well done!

(If you missed it, you can watch the trailer for her book here)

Now that I have that done, I am moving forward.  My 30 Day Photography Challenge is almost over.  It has been fun, but exhausting!  ITB has been attacking my mind lately.  It wants attention.  I finally have been able to work some things out for it, and I cannot wait to polish that WIP up.

Oh!  And I just have to share: Fellow writing friend Jamie Manning's BLOOD BORN is now released!  I am super excited to get my hands on my own signed copy.  Check it out! *smiles*

That is about it for my weekly update.  I need to keep reminding myself that Pottermore isn't that important, Facebook will still be there in an hour, and my WIP needs my love.  Distractions... they are too tempting!


Just for fun:
About a month ago two of my closest friends came down for a weekend visit.  While here, we went to Powells with Vince James Photography and had some fun friends photos taken.  I just have to share a few!  (And boy does this make me even more excited to do the shoot of my sister-in-law we have planned!)



PN is an indie novel, but I still have dreams of seeing my works in a stone and mortar bookstore, someday.  I couldn't resist sneaking some shots of it with all of the other paper wonders.




HAPPY WRITING!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review - Entwined

Entwined
By Heather Dixon

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Azalea and her younger sisters dance in the mysterious silver forest every night, escaping from the sadness of the palace and their father’s grief. What they don’t understand—although as time passes they begin to get an inkling of the danger they are in—is that the mysterious and dashing Keeper is tightening his snare with deadly purpose. Luckily, Azalea is brave and steadfast. Luckily, a handsome young army captain also has his eye on Azalea. . . . Lush, romantic, and compelling, this debut novel by Heather Dixon will thrill fans of Shannon Hale, Robin McKinley, and Edith Pattou.

Why I Picked This Book:  I love fairy tales.  When searching for a new take on an old thing, I came across Entwined and decided to give it a try.

My Thoughts:
Entwined was an enchanting read.  Heather Dixon took a well-known fairy tale, and gave it something more than just its bedtime appeal.  I have been searching for a magical, fairy tale read.  And this one stuck true to that need.

The kingdom is broke.  Magic barely exists anymore, except in strange tea kettles and the clock tower bell.  The only thing that provides any sort of magic for the eleven princesses is dancing.  But when their mother dies giving birth to princess number twelve, the king banishes dancing.  The castle goes into mourning.  No windows can be open.  No colors worn except for black.  And most of all: No Dancing.

Azalea, the oldest of the princesses, now has to step up and take care of her sisters as their father disappears off to war, lost in his own grief.  It isn't long until they find a hidden, magical passageway.  One that leads to a dance hall kept by the mysterious Keeper.  The girls have found their release, their escape to dancing, but at what price?

Dixon has a way with words, and builds this world from the ground up.  It was easy to get lost in the story.  The story did feel like it ran rather long.  Still, it captivated me and pulled me along.

Azalea was a well rounded protagonist.  Learning to become mother to her sisters, fighting for what she needs in life, and still full of weakness and tenderness.  It was kind of sad to see that the other sisters never got a chance to be as well defined.  I know.  There were twelve of them.  Still, I felt at many times that I was mixing up who was who and never could really connect to this sister bond they all shared.  It was more Azalea, and the sisters.

As for Keeper.  He has all the potential of a dark, menacing antagonist.  You never know what to expect from him next, and he lures the girls in with ease.  Sadly, he fell short for me.  There was something I couldn't quite place that left this character feeling hallow at times.  I just couldn't fully be afraid of him like I felt I should be.  Still, I enjoyed his dark, twisted self.

There are love stories in the mix too.  I would have liked to see some of them explored a bit more.  But with how long the book was already, I know that would make it too much.

I think the only other reason that this story didn't fully grab me and make me fall head over heels in love with it... was the time era.  I have never been a fan of Jane Austen era stories.  Entwined rings of that era, which instantly put me off a bit.  Not enough to stop reading.  But just enough that it made it a little harder for me to stay in touch.

All in all, I did enjoy this book.  I will no doubt be buying it in paper copy soon.  If you enjoy anything from the "Price and Prejudice" type era, or are just looking for a nice fairy tale to get lost in, give Entwined a chance.

My Rating:
(3 out of 5 stars)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor - Book Trailer Release

Keary Taylor (author of the Fall of Angels Triology and Eden) has just released the book trailer for her soon to be released novel, What I Didn't Say.  And I am here to share it with you.  Yay!

Let me tell you, I love this trailer.  The use of voice over that melts into written word... it fits the novel pretty darn well!  I cannot wait for the coming release of What I Didn't Say so that you all can enjoy this read.  Keary is an amazingly talented author and I feel pretty lucky to not only claim her as a writing buddy, but as a good friend too.

Ready for the book trailer?
Here it is!






What I Didn't Say
By Keary Taylor

Release Date: May 11, 2012

Synopsis:
Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it. 

Dying to read it?  I hope you are!
Make sure to add What I Didn't Say to your Goodreads list today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WIP Day - I Missed My Blog

It is no secret.
I have been horrible at blogging lately.

That comes with life.  Or, more accurately, having a busy life.  Life has been just that for me lately.  Busy.  I feel like I rarely have time to just do "my thing" anymore.  What with beta reading, photo editing, photo shoots, kids, birthdays, vacation planning...

Okay, all of that is my thing.

But with life happening, things such as my blog gets pushed to the way back burner.  Along with my writing.  Which isn't a good thing.  I don't know how I have managed to let it slip so much.  ITB is crying, nightly.

Right now I am working on beta reading Keary Taylor's newest novel.  Once that is done, ITB gets my love, adoration, and attacking attention.  I feel like a broken record.  I need to actually listen to myself and finally git er done.  I have so many other writing projects waiting on the horizon (oh, don't you only wish you knew...) but they will never see the light of day until this current WIP is torn apart.

Research question:  What is one aspect for a YA Paranormal you wish you saw more of?  I know love triangles conquer all lately... but is there something else you wish for?  Just curious...

Photography wise... I am doing a 30 Day Challenge this month.  And it is fun!  Makes me think about setting up a 30 Day Writing Prompt Challenge... hmm... *thoughts spin out of control*

Oh!  And my oldest turned 4 last week!  How crazy is that?  He is now learning how to write and read... and is loving it!  Here is a little conversation I had with him the other day:

Him: "Mom, what can I do with my imagination?"
Me: "Well, what do you want to do?  Draw?  Write a book?  Mommy wrote a book with her imagination."
Him: "A book!?  But I don't have a library!"
Me:  "I have lots of books in my room.  It's like a library."
Him: "Okay!  I'm going to your library to write my book!  I will be back in just a minute!"

Then he ran off, looked at my books for some time... then came back and announced writing his book was hard and would take longer than he thought.  I love this little four-year-old of mine!

My little family at my son's birthday party.  Wee!!


How was your week?  Any new progress in your WIP world?  Do share!

Happy Writing!



Monday, April 9, 2012

Giving Characters Your Bad Habit


We are often told to "write what we know."  While that is awesome advice, it can be tricky to follow.  You want to write what you know.  But you also don't want to write an entire life story, all about yourself.  So how do you choose what to include in your creation, and what to leave out?

Recently I shared a post on my photography blog for the 30 Day Challenge I am taking part in.  That day's challenge: A Bad Habit.  I decided to show the world my fingers, and all the cuticle picking that they take.  It is my bad habit.  I hate it.  But as any bad habit goes, I cannot seem to stop.

This got me thinking.

What bad habits of mine could translate well into a story?  What bad personality traits could make the character I am creating that much deeper?

Yeah, I know.  Why on Earth would we want to forever share with the world our bad habits?
That's a simple answer: They make us human.

And these worlds we are writing, these characters we are creating... we are trying to make them as human as possible.  All the way down to the nose picking, gum popping, and trash stashing secrets.  That is what gives our stories depth.  It is what makes the reader keep reading, because they too have just eaten their fifth candy bar in under a minute and hate the fact that they cannot stop.

Here are a few of my tips for adding in your flaws:

  • Sit back and really think about what your bad habits are.  Yeah, sounds fun right?  Well, it is!  Take some time to go over all the bad habits and traits you have, and jot them down.  You can hide this list.  It is just for your personal notes.
  • Pick one that fits best with your character.  If he is a public speaker but can't shake the need to say "um," that's gold.  If she never invites anyone into her home because of her always messy counters, there you go!
  • Don't dwell on it.  While adding this trait to your character will add a whole new depth, you don't want to always be pointing it out.  Just like a bad habit in real life, you don't flaunt it.  Let the reader feel like they know a secret.
  • That is, unless you find the bad habit becomes the driving force of the story.
  • You don't need to let people know where you came up with the trait.  They don't need to know that you are the one who can't seem to stop picking your wedgie.  Just let your character get the bad rep.

I know with my writing I have incorporated bad habits both of my own and others I have observed.  It makes writing the story much more fun to do.  Finding the moment you can mention the habit once again.  Helping the character overcome it.  Or watching them fail to the trait.

Next time you are stuck and don't know what to do to your story next, give it your bad habit.  You just may be happily (and most likely embarrassingly) surprised at where it will lead you.

Challenge:
Write a short story, driven by one of your bad habits or personality traits.  Then post a link in my comments so I can read it!  

Happy Writing!

Friday, April 6, 2012

I Will Be Better... Soon

Hey there bloggers.

As you may have noticed, my blog has been lacking lately.  I can't remember the last time I actually posted a book review, and my other weekly posts have been dismal.

*groans*

I am literally up to my eyeballs with life, and this poor blog has suffered because of it.  This will not do.

Starting next week, it is a fresh start.

I am jumping back onto my three-day-a-week posting schedule, and will rock the blogging socks off once again.  Thank you all for sticking through me through this.  It was bound to happen.  (Though I refused to accept that.)  But now it is over.   Done.  Fin.

I am back now.  Ready and revving to blog.
See you on Monday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Oldsoul Blog Tour: Interview with Dan Haring


Today I have been given the awesome opportunity to interview Dan Haring, author of the soon to be released novel Oldsoul.  I could sit here and ramble away, but I want you all to get to know this up and coming author.  So let's dive in!

_________________




Dan Haring has been drawing and writing for most of his life. He earned his degree in animation from BYU and has worked on such films as The Incredible Hulk and Disney's Tangled. He lives in Southern California with his wife and children. 

Follow Dan:  Site | Twitter |  Facebook 

Hello Dan!  How are you today?

I'm doing great, thanks! I'm excited to be here.

And I am excited to have you here!
Tell my readers a little about yourself:

I'm originally from a very small town in Utah. I have a wife and four kids, and I work in animation, most recently on Arthur Christmas and Tangled.

What is your writing process?  Plotter… or pantser?

Oldsoul was very much pantsing. I had a few ideas about where I wanted to go, but no idea how to get there. I just wrote until it became clear. I didn't even know how Oldsoul was going to end until I wrote it. With my current WIP I've got a much more structured synopsis I'm working from. I think a mixture of the two is ideal. Have a good structure to start with, but don't be afraid to deviate from it if that's where the story leads.

Oldsoul is quite an interesting story.  Tell me, what sparked it?

Thank you. The term "old soul" has always been interesting to me, and I was thinking about what would make a person wise beyond their years. Well, if they had souls of people who had already lived and died inside them who were able to help them through life, that might be a contributing factor. That and I just wanted to see if I could write a book.

Do you see yourself at all in Jason? 

Little bits. He and I both like comic books, among other things. I lived in the Philadelphia area for a few years, so my experience definitely plays into parts of his personality. I tried not to put too much of myself in him though.

What trait of Jason’s would you most love to steal?

I don't want to give anything away, but I'd definitely want one of his special abilities.

What was the most exciting part of seeing Oldsoul come into being?

There were a few high points, but I have to say opening the box and pulling out the ARCs for the first time takes the cake. Holding an actual physical book that I'd written was an awesome feeling.

So what does Dan have in store for us in the future?  Any new stories on the horizon?

I'm currently working on a Middle Grade fantasy story that I can't really talk about. I'm also going to be working on a sequel to Oldsoul and maybe some other projects. And this fall you can see some of my daytime work if you go see the movie Hotel Transylvania.

Enough with the serious talk.  Let’s do a fun question: Skittles, M&Ms, or potato chips?

Wow. That's extremely tough. Are we talking plain potato chips? Are we throwing Cheetos into the mix? Plain or peanut M&Ms? Regular Skittles are definitely the best. I hate the tropical flavors. Okay, I'm rambling. Let's just say Cheetos, if they're a valid choice. If not, then I guess M&Ms.

If you were a superhero, what power would you have?

Ooh. Probably super speed/flight. Flying would definitely be cool, but you have to throw in the super speed otherwise it might be kind of boring. And it would be easy for the bad guys to get you.

What takes over your life when not writing?

My life is largely governed by my family and my day job. So it's more like when can I squeeze in some writing? I usually write late at night once everyone's in bed, because who needs sleep?

In one sentence, tell my readers why they should read Oldsoul:

It's a fun, fast-paced read with lots of action and unique characters. By the way I'm a horrible salesman, but hopefully people like like it!

_________________


Thank you, Dan!  It was such a pleasure "meeting" you.
(And FYI... I love Cheetos too!  Mm...)

Check out the other stops on the Oldsoul Blog tour here.
And keep your eyes out for Oldsoul, set to be released April 24th.


Jason Gouvas doesn’t want to believe he has special abilities or that he's an Oldsoul-- a vessel for the souls of people who have passed away, but the dead girl in his mind can be very persuasive.

Her name is Erin, and through her Jason is able to access the knowledge and skills of the souls within him. And with a group of power-hungry immortals bent on destroying the Oldsouls and overthrowing humanity, he's going to need them all.  (Goodreads)

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