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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Green-Eyed Monster Tour: A Destination Guide

Martin Smith and John Becker: bestselling authors with ordinary names and extraordinary minds.

Their words have power — to heal, to kill, to change the lives of their “characters” in shocking and unexpected ways. Famous for their uncanny similarity in both physical manner and literary voice, their childhood rivalry spins out of control into adulhood.

The death of one at the hands of the other brings to light their troubling past — and a mysterious presence, watching on from the shadows — an authorial entity with roots beyond our time or dimension; an entity with far-reaching designs.

The pen is truly mightier than the deadliest sword.

I am really excited about this blog post today. One of the best parts of writing is not only creating the characters, but creating the world in which their stories are told. Mike Robinson has done a phenominal job of this with The Green-Eyed Monster! The detail and thought put into creating the fictional town his story is set in just amazes me and inspires me to do better with my own world-building. So get ready to get inspired and travel to Twilight Falls with me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dracian Legacy Book Cover Reveal!

Today is THE day! Today I (along with others) are tearing away the curtain to reveal the cover of Priya Kanaparti's Dracian Legacy--the first book of the Dracian Legacy series. The cover was designed by Regina Wamba and the book itself will be released February 14th, 2013. Just in time to make you fall in love with this series! But for now, your hearts will have to go pitter-patter only to the cover and book info below! Oh, and a chance to win prizes, of course!



Book Title: The Dracian Legacy - Book 1 (Dracian Legacy Trilogy)
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy Romance
Blurb:
Ren and Axel are caught between two powerful magical races: one destined to end the bloodshed, the other out for vengeance.

Seventeen-year-old Ren Pernell is prophesied to end the war between the Dracians and the Telalians. So when a Dracian, Axel Knight, is sent to find and bring back the prophesied one before she turns eighteen and Telalians discover of her existence, unexpected sparks start to fly between the two. Once Ren finds the truth behind Axel’s arrival, she wants everything to do with him and nothing to do with his mission.

Things prove to be difficult as Ren’s life is constantly threatened by forces that are beyond her control, including the leader of the Telalians.

With the clock ticking and Ren’s life in jeopardy, it is no longer just a mission for Axel. It becomes a personal endeavor to save the only one he’s ever loved. In a heart racing ending, they must find a way to evade the preordained war that won’t also end Ren’s life.



About Priya Kanaparti:

Priya Kanaparti was born in India, grew up in Detroit, and is now living in Boise, ID. She attended Wayne State University for her undergrad degree in Bachelor of Science in Biology, and University of Phoenix for her Masters in Business Administration. Priya works as a project manager in software field during the day and lives in the world of her characters during the nights and weekends. She had found the love for reading and writing early this year, when she stayed home with her year old and needed something to occupy those 'downtime' hours.


She loves playing tennis on a good summer day and chess during the cold winters, but reading and writing has become a year round hobby.

She lives in Boise with her husband, son and a Yorkie. Dracian Legacy is her debut novel.


You can find Priya on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and Pinterest! For more information on Dracian Legacy, check out the Goodreads page and keep an eye out for the blog tour February 12th through March 15th, 2013! I'll be a host, so you can be sure to find more information on the book, as well as an interview with Priya, during that time!


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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Green-Eyed Monster Blog Tour: Interview with Mike Robinson

As promised, the next Blog Tour post here is an interview with The Green-Eyed Monster author Mike Robinson! Be sure to check out his book and check back here December 20th for the Destination Guide.


Mara Valderran: Your book is centered around the conflict between two rival writers. Have you ever experienced the "green-eyed monster" when dealing with another writerly friend?
Mike Robinson: Thankfully not with another writerly friend, no. I've certainly gotten flare-ups of it when hearing of another young author's success, either in the media or through personal channels. But there's no single writer I race to outdo. I almost feel like I'd want that, sometimes, but then I worry the competitiveness would drown the fancy and fun of just telling stories. 

MV: I love that your blurb doesn't reveal to us who dies. Is there a reason you keep that bit a mystery to those just browsing? 
MR: Yeah, it's funny. I wanted to both establish a sameness between John Becker and Martin Smith, as well as an intrigue of differences, that despite their odd similarity there were key variations in how far one of them was willing to go. 

MV: What can you tell us about your process? Are you more of a pantser or a plotter?
MR: In the words of the drunk guy from Groundhog Day: "Uh...I think...both". For the most part, I try not to outline. I get a cool idea and start jotting down notes. While note-taking, more ideas form. I begin the story, and the story and its character(s) tend to organically feed on themselves, suggesting routes to take as I go along. About midway, the ending begins hinting itself to me. But it really depends on the personality of the book. I have sometimes done very broad outlines, if I feel stuck. I've definitely "micro-outlined", meaning I've plotted a certain chapter or passage that was giving me trouble, just so I could reassure myself with some feeling of objectivity and control. In general, though, plot outlining feels to me like a glorified connect-the-dots. It doesn't feel like I'm telling a story, just filling in blanks. 

MV: How has your process changed since getting published?
MR: I don't think it's changed, actually. I've never had a writing schedule, though I write every day. I do have vague times of day I like to work. Usually I write longhand and well-caffeinated in the afternoon, then later that night I type it all up, using the opportunity to tweak and polish. Sometimes I barely revise anything I've scribbled. Other times I end up rearranging pretty much everything, wondering if I was half-asleep when I wrote that. Generally, I try for about 1500 words a day. Since being published, I have had to add marketing to the daily mix, but that's all part of the great journey. 

MV: Every published author has a story of how they got published and what bumps along the road they hit. What's yours?
MR: I was first published when I was 12, through a story contest for the YA series "Strange Matter". At 19, I made my first professional sale to the Canadian magazine "Storyteller". Throughout my early twenties, I sold fiction to small-to-medium-circulation magazines, anthologies, and podcasts. I knew, though, that while racking up a short-fiction resume was unquestionably beneficial, it didn't have the clout it once did. Novels were/are the thing. So, over a period of 10 years, I wrote about 20 books, 7 of which ended up incomplete. Together, they were my self-instilled MFA program. I read voraciously, revised endlessly, and experimented with voice, style, structure and genre. I sent out innumerable queries, countless synopses, and the industry tide kept bringing them gently back to my shore -- rejection after rejection, some with heartening encouragement. But I was getting better, I knew I was, and had time enough to grow. Writing is wonderful because unlike other creative professions (singing, modeling, acting),  biology is your friend. 

When I was about 24, I joined GLAWS, the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society. The connections I made there, both personal and professional, helped in my growth and awareness as a young writer. At 28, I sold my novel "Skunk Ape Semester" to the small press Solstice Publishing. Not long after, amazingly, I got "The Green-Eyed Monster" into the hands of Curiosity Quills Press. But there's still so much more to learn, and almost too much more to read and write!

MV: Do you have a soundtrack that you write to or are you more of a quiet writer?
MR: I'm a quiet writer when I compose. When I edit, or when I type up what I've written, I'll sometimes have tunes pumping. 

MV: What was the inspiration for The Green-Eyed Monster?
MR: As the germ of the story's been around since I was 11, I'd say that at first it was half a desire to tell a creepy story, and half an exaggerated "what if" scenario inspired by artistic competition I'd encountered in grade school, where other kids were trying to outdraw me. Yes, we would actually have "draw-offs". Despite its silliness, I realized how much the urge to beat others had sharpened my skills. I thought, but what if someone took it too far? When I grew older and started to novelize it, fattening up the premise with newly-learned ideas of philosophy and metaphysics, the interplay of the two protagonists fascinated me for its stark contrast of our "high" nature (making art, seeking the divine) and "low" nature (constant Darwinian competition). Through vicissitudes of inactivity and awkward drafts, that core idea remained strong, and saw me to the final version 18 years later. 

MV: What are some of your guilty pleasures (TV, movies, books)?
MR: I will unapologetically say that one of my favorite movies this year was "Cabin In the Woods". Pure genius. It helped that I knew nothing of it going in, and thought it was just another horror flick. But I love old B-movies, and all the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and "Rifftrax" fare. I'm also a mild 80s cinema enthusiast. I'm not sure I have anything I'd classify a guilty pleasure on the literary or TV side. I do have weird music tastes. I may be the only one who still enjoys techno/trance without ecstasy, and certainly among an L.A. minority who loves old-time bluegrass music, which to me is real country. Not this glammed-up, poppy stuff sung by people sporting thousand-dollar boots and shiny cowboy hats. 

MV: You were part of GLAWS (Greater LA Writing Society) back when it first began. Now it is one of the biggest writing societies in Southern California. What can you tell us about your experience with GLAWS and how it grew with the group?
MR: It has been an exhilarating process to watch, the unfolding of GLAWS as a formidable organization and community. Most of the credit goes to Tony Todaro, our resourceful and utterly ambitious president. I'm a charter member, but I didn't really get my hands in the nuts and bolts, though I aided in outreach and other things, as I still do. The clash of egos at the outset was interesting. Imagine a bunch of folks together on a project: too many people have their different opinions and little nabs at power. Now imagine they're writers. Oh man. But the troublemakers left and the good people stayed, and the group grew because of it, and because of their tenacity. I've met wonderful and helpful peers through GLAWS, and have recently had a chance to publish them myself through "Literary Landscapes", the group's official magazine, which I've been editing since 2011 now and which gives me a great front-and-center view of the 'other side' of the desk. 

MV: What advice can you give to other authors who are looking to join a writing group? 
MR: Make sure the group dynamic suits you. It depends, of course, on the size of the group, what genre or style is emphasized, etc. Finding a larger, more eclectic group allows for greater networking possibilities, as opposed to a small roundtable. But if you've found a suitable roundtable, by all means go for it. I think there are two different kinds of writers groups. A typical GLAWS meet consists of a fairly large audience that gathers for panel discussions or lectures involving authors, agents, editors or other important industry people, and networking occurs before and after. However, there are also critique group offshoots that have formed around a specific genre, so there's a Mystery Critique Group, a Romance, a Horror... you get the picture. I think when people envision a writing group, they see something like a critique group. And critique groups are great if you feel comfortable, respected and connected with your fellow writers. Just be vigilant about other egos elbowing their way into your work, or your confidence. Some writers love themselves too much, and some writers are insidiously tendentious. Watch for this, and ignore them, or just smile and nod -- unless they've actually said something useful. Remember: it's your work, not anyone else's. Go with what feels right for you, but do keep an ear open for reasonable input. If the feedback feels right, you should probably dig deeper, regardless of entailing revisions.  

MV: What is ahead for you in your writerly future?
MR: Publishing-wise, Curiosity Quills is releasing two novels of mine in 2013 -- "The Prince of Earth", an existential horror story about a young hiker stranded in the Scottish Highlands, where she meets a malevolent force, and "Negative Space", a quirky art-themed thriller / character study that adds further dimension to the mystery of the town of Twilight Falls, introduced in "The Green-Eyed Monster".
Writing-wise, I'm currently in the midst of a third attempt at bringing to life what I, tongue firm in cheek, call my 'epic fantasy' novel. I imagine I'll probably only write one of these, and this'll be it. But it'll be big (and good, ideally). And I use loosely the term 'epic fantasy' because I want to discourage expectations of dwarves, wizards, magic potions, and dragons. This is more on the "Cloud Atlas" end of things, with multiple characters and a narrative that spans several millennia. It deals with the civilization we mythologize as "Atlantis", and their interactions with both prehistoric and modern human beings as a global event looms.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Writerly Birthdays (And Presents!)

Birthdays are a time to reflect on the past year and look at all you have managed to accomplish. For me, that means writing two books (and continuing to edit the hell out of the first), coming up with my first idea outside of the fantasy series I've been working on for 1/3 of my life, and making some amazing connections. All in all, a very good writerly year.

But you know what else birthdays mean? PRESENTS. And that's the real reason I am stopping in today.

I received the best writerly birthday present ever this year. My husband got me a year's subscription to autocrit.com and I have not been able to pry myself from it! The site acts as a sort of editing wizard. You paste your scene or chapter (depending on your subscription level) and the wizard will point out overused words (and highlight them to make them easy to find--you can even highlight just one overused word at a time), cliches and redundancies, initial pronouns, summarize your phrases and the amount of times you use them (example: "she said with a" shows up twice in chapter two for me), and much more that I still haven't played around with yet. The repeated words is a big help to me because it will tell you how many occurences you have and how many you need to get rid of. The wizard even spots ly adverbs.

I am not a natural editor by any means, so this tool has been a big help to me. I almost want to skip the obligatory drinks after work tonight (gotta ring in the last year of my twenties the right way!) so I can play with it some more. I'm only on chapter two of my MS but now that I am getting the hang of it, it is going much faster. So again: Best. Writerly. Birthday. Present. EVER!

After the birthday shenanigans are done tonight (and recovery in the morning), stop back by to see an interview with Mike Robinson, author of The Green-Eyed Monster!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Darkness Falls Tour: Interview with Krystal Wade

As promised, if you are dropping by today then you get to read an awesome writerly interview with Krystal Wade, the author of the Darkness Falls Trilogy. Her latest book, Wilde's Meadow, has just been released and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. Judging from everything I have learned from this blog tour, these books are definitely something to be excited about! They are already on my Christmas wishlist (though I might get impatient here soon and splurge on them). If you haven't already participated in the Wildest Moments Blogfest, there is still time! The blogfest ends November 30th. And of course, keep checking Krystal's blog for ways to win more awesome prizes!

Krystal has taken the time to answer some of my questions, so we (both as authors and readers) can pick her brain. If you have any questions for her, let me know and I will pass them along!

Mara Valderran: Since your new release is the third in a series, can you give new readers an idea of the premise of the entire series?
 
Krystal Wade: Well, imagine your life, as it is now, and one day going on the same vacation you go on every year. Now, imagine being removed from that vacation and dumped into a world without sunlight that's in the middle of a war, told you're from that world and that you are the only person who can save it. Add in the little tid bit that you've dreamed of this place for six years, and there you have it. Kate struggles to make sense of life again, learns to have faith in herself, and learns to move forward and face fears she never thought she'd have to face, all while falling in love with more than just her hunky protector; she falls in love with Encardia. :-)

MV:
Tell us a bit about your main character Kate. How do you relate to her?
 
KW: Kate is everything I wish I could have been at her age, but everything I'd lost at a much earlier time in my life. She's young, naive, a good daughter, a great sister, a great friend. But her life is so robotic, so empty of excitement, and she's not really LIVING until her life gets tossed upside down--that part I can relate to. That part is what makes a person, what takes them from childhood into adulthood, and that is what you'll watch her go through during this series.

MV:
What can you tell us about your process? Are you more of a pantser or a plotter?
 
KW: I'm a panster. I've tried plotting. I suck at it. Actually, I take that back, I'm really good at plotting. But when I start writing, my characters look at me and say "You idiot, did you really think we'd follow your silly little plot lines? Rookie!" so then I throw out that plot and just write whatever comes about. 

MV: How has your process changed since getting published?
 
KW: Well, I'm a much slower author now. My newest book, Shattered Secrets, I began writing in April or May . . . and it's not finished. This is odd for me, but I have a few good excuses: day job, being a mom, promoting Darkness Falls. I don't feel too bad. But I edit a lot while writing which really kills creativity. I'm still a panster though. I once again tried plotting Shattered Secrets, and once again my characters laughed at me.
 
MV: Every published author has a story of how they got published and what bumps along the road they hit. What's yours?
 
KW: Hmm. Well, the first publisher didn't respond, not even a Hey, we received your query, nothing. So, I edited the beginning of the book and subbed to another publisher. I received an R&R (they wanted me to add more), so I worked on it and resubbed. Their response time slowed, and so instead of stewing, I moved onto other things. That's when I met Lisa from CQ. When she found out I was a writer, she asked if I had anything to submit. Long story short, I received a rejection from that first publisher (the one who didn't have enough decency to let me know they received my query) and two acceptances on the same day. I went with the R&R publisher and wished I hadn't. After a lot of stress and horrible heart palpitations, we terminated the contract and I moved to CQ. I love my publisher!
 
MV: Do you have a soundtrack that you write to or are you more of a quiet writer?
 
KW: Not a soundtrack, but I do listen to my "Muse" Pandora station. Sometimes I prefer no noise, but that's much more difficult to accomplish.
 
MV: How did you come up with Katriona's story? Any real life inspirations?
 
KW: Well, I had a vision of a girl in a forest, reaching out her finger to touch something shimmering. I built everything off that idea. However, now that the story is done, I can look back at the books and say that Darkness is representative of my life, and everything Kate was (the innocent, naive, etc) had to go through Hell (Darkness) and still wind up a good person through it all, but a stronger, BETTER person, one who had life and passion and love. So, that's a vague way of explaining that I went through a lot of Darkness in my life, and Kate is part of me, who I wanted to be and who I am.
 
MV: What are some of your guilty pleasures (TV, movies, books)?
 
KW: All of the above. I'm on a reading binge right now. When I'm writing, really in the zone, I can't read much. So, right now, I'm doing nothing but reading. I've missed it so much.

MV: You've said that you don't read reviews. What are your views on this?
 
KW: Are you asking in regards to how I buy books or about my books? Because I don't look at reviews of books (before I buy) because they are just people's opinions, and frankly I don't need someone's opinion swaying me into--or out of--something. Now, if a good friend who reads in the same genre as me says Krystal, you really have to read this book, I will. But I don't want to read that person's review; I won't, actually, because I want to form my own opinion.

As for my books, I read a lot of reviews, but I don't wallow in the bad ones. I'd love for the whole world to love my books and sing their praises, but I'm a realist; we are human beings, all with different likes and dislikes. It's ignorant to believe everyone will give it 3+ stars. You have to look at the majority rule (aka, the average). If your average rating is good, why look at individual ratings?
 
MV: You've been published with Curiosity Quills, which is a small press publisher that (from an outside view) seems to be very writer-friendly. Did you intend on going small press or did you market to agents first?
 
KW: I've never submitted to an agent. I went with a small press publisher so that I could learn and grow and all that, but the longer I stay there, the more I realize how I love the control and the input. My experience with the small publisher is what I make of it, and so far I love it.
 
MV: What is ahead for you in your writerly future?

KW: More books, of course! Hopefully some movies and jet planes and Good Morning America, but the only definite there is MORE BOOKS. :-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Writerly Chopping Block (AKA: Editing)

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I am doing some serious edits on Heirs of War right now. I have been lucky enough to get some great advice from a published author who has taken a bit of interest in the book. One of my biggest issues: POV switches. What does that mean? Well, I like to switch between different characters' perspectives.

In the same scene.

I was calling it third person omniscient, but you might have also heard it referred to as the head-bounce. This term is probably a bit more accurate. Omniscient is a breeze to write in for me. I, obviously, know what is going on in each of my characters' heads, whether major or minor characters. That's the beauty of being the god of this little fictional world I've created (and getting to smite people, but that's for a later blog).

As it turns out, writing in third person limited is much less confusing for the readers. Let that be Lesson Number One for you. Hopefully before you start writing your book because I will say that trying to fix that is a bitch and a half.

Another piece of advice I was given--and have been given frequently--was to cut back on how many characters' perspectives I write from. With five girls in the prophecy, I write from all five of their perspectives. And some other characters as well because they have important roles or because the scene just makes more sense when viewed from their eyes.

And this is where I am having the problem...I tried cutting two of the girls out tonight. Not even looking at the other scenes written from other characters' perspectives. Just focusing on the five main characters and how I can narrow that down for this book. And I can't.

You might be saying "Can't? Or Won't?" Well, to be honest, it's a little of both. Theoretically I could cut Terrena and Isauria's stories completely from this book and the book as a whole would make sense. But this is the trouble with writing a series. What I cut from this book messes up the next one. I know people say that you can fix that, but I honestly have no idea how. I would have to do flashbacks for Terrena. And for Isauria, there would just be no connection to her character whatsoever and she plays a much bigger role in book 2. So essentially I would be waiting to introduce one of my main characters until the second book.

Which leads me to this question: How much do you compromise your story when trying to make it marketable? I've said this before and I will say it again loudly: My goal is not to become a famous or successful published author. My goal has been and will always be to share the story of these five girls that have grown so close to my heart with other people. Why publish at all? Because I do have some business sense and this is actual work that I am doing.

That being said, I really don't want to be one of those authors that refuses to compromise anything because they think they already have the best thing since sliced bread. I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded and willing to accept criticisms. But what do I do if I feel like cutting those POVs entirely makes my book less-than? Do I compromise? Because I know the advice makes complete and absolute sense. One of the biggest complaints my beta-readers all had was that there were too many characters and it was hard to keep up with them all. Will ceasing the head-bouncing help this a little? Probably. Would limiting the story to only Zelene, Ariana, and Rhaya's perspectives help even more? Hell yes.

But would it be the same story? That, my friends, I am not so sure about.

I suppose that answer is for another day, though. Until then, I am going to keep the girls in and use a header for each POV change to see if that helps clear confusion. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wildest Moment Blogfest


I told you guys I was gonna do this, but I have to say that I am kinda regretting that now. Not because I don't want free stuff from Krystal Wade (I do), the host of this blogfest. Not because I'm too busy for real blogging at the moment (though I am, unfortunately).

No, I'm regretting it because I just can't think of a wild moment to blog about. The craziest thing I've ever done is also really the silliest too. I'm just not a wild kinda gal. My stories are never really about crazy things I do so much as crazy things that have happened to me (example: Ever been run over by a parked car? I have.). But there is one thing that I did that was pretty crazy and daring for me at the time.

Allow me to take you back 10 years. Cell phones weren't as common, pagers were on there way out, and blogging was all on OpenDiary. At least, that's how it was in the small town I lived in. We didn't have public transportation at all in my area, so it was a thing of wonder and curiosity for me and my best friend at the time. The only buses we had ever been on were when we were in school, which was far behind us now at the ages of 19 and 20. We'd only ever seen public transportation portrayed in movies and something exciting always seemed to happen once the character stepped onto or off of that bus. Remember Joey and Chandler losing the baby on Friends? Yeah, we did too.

We were at the restaurant where our friends worked, with its big exciting ice cream cone sitting on top of the roof for all to see and to draw all in. We had a window seat and watched as the traffic passed by in the nifty little downtown area. Nothing different from our usual routine.

And then it happened. The bus passed by. We watched it come to a stop at the corner and the many different flavors of people get on and off. Our heads slowly swiveled back around to stare at each other with wide eyes. We knew it was time.

We were going to ride the bus.

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves set the bar high for bus adventures, but we were going to have ours that day. Eagerly, we made sure we had enough change in our pockets to cover the fare. And then we raced off to the corner, chattering away happily at our daring.

And then we waited. And waited. The bus had already left our stop by the time we got there. The sun was starting to set and we were both getting a little bit antsy. Riding the bus during the day was one thing, but at night? Well, that pushed our little adventure into more dangerous territory than we had originally planned. But we stood our ground as the rectangular vehicle finally pulled to a stop in front of us.

We handed the driver our fare and then he asked us if we were going to transfer to another line. Another line! We didn't even know that was allowed! The possibilities on this road seemed endless as we shrugged and took our seats. The driver handed us a little red slip of paper each and we both sat down and read them. There was a list of all of the connecting stops. He tried explaining how the system works, but we were either too small town to get it or just too in awe.

We looked out the windows as the city passed before us at a slow crawl. Buses apparently do not drive as fast as they do in Speed. Probably a good thing since the impetus for their high speeds was a bomb rigged to the engine, but I digress. The street lights began to turn on as we toured the streets we were already somewhat familiar with from our exploits downtown. The sky began to darken. A man came onto the bus and sat in front of my best friend. He began to ask her all sorts of questions about herself as she tried to politely fend him off.

I shifted uneasily in my seat. I couldn't tell what street we were on anymore. All I could make out was street lights and buildings, but they all looked the same. My best friend was still nervously dealing with the strange man. We exchanged weary glances, knowing it was time for the adventure to end but unsure of how.

And then, at last, the glorious site of the giant ice cream cone came into view, with the Christmas lights wrapped around it to act as sprinkles also serving as a beacon of familiarity to us. The white lights told us we were home. The bus came to a creaking stop and we both hopped out of our seats. Arm in arm, we rushed back to the restaurant and took our usual seats near the window. We decided to write about it on OpenDiary later when we got home, but at that moment we simply sat in our booth and breathed a sigh of relief at the comforts around us.
***
So there you have it. Craziest thing I ever did. Now if we're talking craziest things that have ever happened to you...well, then I'd have quite a list to choose from. Don't forget to check out Krystal Wade's new book Wilde's Meadow in the Darkness Falls series. She'll be back here on November 28th for an interview, so be sure to check back!


Friday, November 16, 2012

The Green-Eyed Monster

I bet I've already got your attention with that title, don't I? Well, that's good because I have added yet another book to my "Must-Read" list and I think you should too!



The Green-Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson is a mixture of horror, mystery, and paranormal--a recipe for an "on the edge of your seat" kinda book. As a writer, I have a special kind of draw to this story as you might understand after reading the blurb:

Martin Smith and John Becker: bestselling authors with ordinary names and extraordinary minds.

Their words have power — to heal, to kill, to change the lives of their “characters” in shocking and unexpected ways. Famous for their uncanny similarity in both physical manner and literary voice, their childhood rivalry spins out of control into adulhood.

The death of one at the hands of the other brings to light their troubling past — and a mysterious presence, watching on from the shadows — an authorial entity with roots beyond our time or dimension; an entity with far-reaching designs.

The pen is truly mightier than the deadliest sword.

Got chills yet? Me too! Want more? My pleasure! Read on for an excerpt from the book, links to purchase it, and be sure to check back on 11/30 for an interview with the author!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Wilde's Meadow Blog Tour

Today marks the release of the third book, Wilde's Meadow, in the Darkness Falls trilogy by Krystal Wade! I signed up as a host to the tour for her new release, so that is exactly what I will be chatting about with my lovely readership today. Krystal will also be hosting the Wildest Moments Blogfest beginning the second week of November (the 12th through the 16th), giving you the chance to win some awesome prizes!

This is something anyone, anywhere can participate in. All you have to do is blog about a time you did something wild, something life changing. Jumped from a perfectly good airplane? Quit your job to write full time? She's looking for fun, heart-pumping, or inspirational stories that you have experienced. “Wilde” things you’ve completed on your quest to grow up or move on.

Anyone who posts their Wildest Moments between November 12th-23rd can enter to win a Kindle FIRE ($199), Kindle Fire Skins, or a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Yes, this means Krystal will visit each blog and read your “wildest” moments.

Don’t blog? Put the cover of WILDE’S MEADOW up on your FB wall, pin it on Pinterest, or change your twitter avatar to the cover. Use the words “Wildest Moments” somewhere to go with the picture and link back to Krystal's post about the bloghop. (Krystal will still enter you to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card–or B&N–and all three Darkness Falls books on December 5th)

Personally, I intend on doing this with the hopes of winning the books because they sound absolutely amazing. Even if I don't win, they are definitely on my Christmas list that I make for myself every year (Hey, we've all gotta guarantee some gift awesomeness somehow to get us through that ugly sweater your great-aunt gives you).

Now, why don't we get to the part where I share the awesomeness of this book? Let's take a gander at the cover and then get into the nitty gritty of what this book is about.


Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her DraĆ­ochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing?



About the Author: Krystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers--who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas--sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read. How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute?

Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.


Are you ready to dive into the world of Darkness Falls? I know I am! Be sure to check back here the week of November 12th for my Wildest Moment blog and again on November 28th as I sit down to pick the brain of Krystal Wade herself! We'll also be giving away an ebook copy of Wilde's Army (which, sadly, I am not eligible to win!).

But wait, there's more! Here is another chance to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Potential Coverart

I'm supposed to be studying for an exam I have on Thursdays, but unfortunately I decided a coffee shop next to a bunch of chatty cathys is the best place to do this.

Word of the day? Fail.

So instead I am going to share with you guys the brilliant work of my potential cover artist, Gretchen Byers. I say potential cover artist because I can't very well guarantee that if I get published she will end up on the covers of my books. But damn, do I hope she will. Her work is absolutely brilliant and depicts Ariana and Zelene so well it makes me teary-eyed. So if I self-publish (or go with a small press willing to let me have input on the cover art), she will definitely represent the books.

The following are just my absolute favorites of the images she has sent me. They are not on her deviantart account and not for use by anyone else without mine or Gretchen's express permission. But feel free to ask her about her other work. In fact, I encourage it!




 I absolutely love this shot. I'm a big fan of all of the sword shots (which is why I've included them all) but this one gives me goosebumps! Read on to see the rest....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Haunted Writing Clinic Battle Begins!

The battle for minions is about to begin! And I kneel before the evilness of the Super-Villains and offer up my plea to them!

Okay, not really since I am really, really sick and in bed. But the imagery was great in my head. Hands thrown up in the air and desperate cries for them to take me under their inky wings...

Did I mention I'm sick and might have a fever? That being said, I'm attempting to do this while not quite myself so if you guys see any typos or sentences that end up reading "Mara likey ice cream" then please, let me know so I can fix it before the Super Villains drop by.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Haunted Writing Clinic: First Page (v2)

We meet again, fellow Minions and Super-Villains! After a busy week, I am trying to play catch up with the writing clinic. I am seriously hoping to finish critiquing the first pages that are out there, but in an effort to show you guys I am listening I decided to start my catch up session by doing some revisions on my first page.

Before I get to it, I want to thank each and every one of you for your comments. There might be some changes that I decided against making (and truth be told I might not even stick with this version of the first page--I'm just toying with it right now) but I do appreciate your input.

And now for the revisions (which I am totally writing by the seat of my pants right now):


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Writerly Awards!

Oh, real life. How you thwart my blogging time.

But no matter, because I have been honored with two blog awards this week from my writerly friends. First, many thanks to the dear Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and the awesome Craig Schmidt for giving me the Liebster Award! Before I get to that, I will make note that I have been tagged again as The Next Big Thing. Yay! Special thanks to the ring leader of our little Fantasy Fellowship (ha! LOTR reference ftw!), EM Castellan, for tagging me. However, since I have already done it and the questions are the same I will simply reference back to my older post where you can find the questions.

On to the Liebster award! The lucky winner of this award is someone with fewer than 200 followers and they are tasked with answering the 11 questions given to them and then to create 11 questions for 11 other people they choose to nominate. Here are the questions Rhiann gave me:


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Haunted Writing Clinic: First Page

Hello fellow Minions and Super Villains! Today marks the beginnings of the next stage of our eerie journey with Curiosity Quills: The First Page! My first page actually consists of a prologue, which I have been warned against giving as a "first page" for queries, so I am going to jump right ahead to the first chapter (if you want to see the prologue it is actually already posted on my blog here). So let's get to this, shall we?

Chapter One


The football stadium was still littered with kids when Varrick got there. His chest lifted as he sucked in a breath and suppressed a growl at the same time. This part of his job always frustrated him. He understood that Ariana was seventeen and therefore entitled to a certain amount of angst, but he hated having to deal with it. They had bigger problems to deal with. Of course, she was blissfully ignorant of them.
He scanned the stadium through his dark sunglasses, trying to assess where she would be. A group of girls were running on the track that encircled the grass of the stadium, ponytails bouncing as they chatted with one another. When he noticed the cheerleaders edging the track, he knew where she would be and marched over.
He cocked a brow as the girls began chanting in time with their moves. Sure enough, directly in front of them in the stands stood Ariana with camera in hand, snapping away pictures. She was wearing a dark blazer over a cream top, giving the same curtaining affect her jet black hair lent to the light skin of her face. She noticed him and lowered the camera, revealing a scowl. She sat down on the stands, digging around in her bag for another roll of film as he walked across the bleachers to stand before her. He felt the fear that had allowed him to track her fade, predictably shifting to anger. He glanced to the sky as if to ask for aid in dealing with the teenager and the temper she had inherited from her true mother.
"How'd you find me?" she asked briskly.
Varrick couldn't help but let out a gruff laugh. "You're the only teenager I know that sneaks out of the house to come back to school after hours." He didnt bother to add that her fear of getting caught sneaking out served as a sort of honing beacon for him, allowing him to track her as long as they were on the same world. If she was scared, he would be able to find her. Fortunately for him, Ariana was a goody-two-shoes at heart and always scared of getting busted when she did something wrong. It had caused more than a few false alarms in her teenage years. Her twin sister, on the other hand, was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Zelene was too brave for her own good, rarely feeling real fear even when she was actually in trouble.
Needless to say, being Cyneward to the twins was a bigger job than he had imagined when he was called.
"Well," she said as she zipped her camera bag closed with a little too much force, "maybe I wouldn't have to sneak out if my freak show parents would loosen the reigns just a bit."
"I understand that you're mad at them—“
Her deep set lavender eyes snapped up to his. "They told you? Good. Now maybe you'll understand why I hate them so much."
He sighed, suppressing a groan as he took a seat on the stands beside her. He pulled off his sunglasses, revealing a set of Caribbean blue eyes that were both impatient and understanding at the same time. "Look, Ariana—“
"No," she interrupted, "you look! I have worked my butt off for the past four years so that I could get into a good college. A really good college, Varrick. Like NYU or UCLA. And now they aren't even going to let me apply! How unfair is that! I'm getting ready to turn eighteen and they think they can rule my life once I'm an adult! I hate them!"
He placed a calming hand on her shoulder. "No, you don't."

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Haunted Writing Clinic (Take 3)

Time for another query update! I'm going to jump straight into the query and then hit the notes of my changes after. Thank you for all of your help! You guys have been awesome!

Okay, after Jessy's comments I decided to revise again:




Zelene doesn't believe in magic or prophecies. When she's told that she is part of the prophecy that foretells five powerful girls bringing peace to the war-torn worlds, she scoffs. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them.

Yet, she can't argue with what her own eyes have seen. Strange men had tried to kill her using magic and now she finds herself in a new world. Varrick, the warrior blood-bound to her for life, brings her before the elders of her homeworld. For every explanation they give her she is only left with more questions. And the burning desire to take the crown she supposedly inherited and shove it somewhere Varrick wouldn’t appreciate. When she learns that her long-lost twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels, Zelene’s tantrums are brought to a halt.

She finds herself torn between her need to save the sister she has never known and her longing to run away from the responsibilities thrust on her young shoulders. She’s not sure how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when she finds that her ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But she doesn’t think she can really trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place. With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back.

HEIRS OF WAR is an Adult Epic Fantasy at 137k with series potential that will appeal to readers of The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.


Old Version:

Zelene scoffs at the horoscopes in the back of Cosmo. Predictions about your love life are almost as ridiculous as the idea that she is part of an ancient prophecy that foretells five girls bringing about the end of a generations-long power struggle among the worlds. Almost.

When assassins use magic to try to kill her, she is forced to change her tone. She is taken to her homeworld by her guardian Varrick, who is really a warrior blood bound to her for life. For every explanation he gives her she is only left with more questions, like how he managed to hide a twin sister from her and where this supposed twin is. The answers leave her shaken. Her twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels. Content that Zelene is safe, the elders tell her to focus on her training and let them worry about Ariana. But Zelene has never been the best at doing what she is told.

She finds herself torn between her need to save the sister she has never known and her longing to return to the simple life she never appreciated before now. She’s not sure how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when she finds that her ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But she doesn’t think she can really trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place. With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back.

HEIRS OF WAR is an Adult Epic Fantasy at 137k that will appeal to readers of The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. With five main characters aged 18-24, HEIRS OF WAR also has cross-over appeal for young adult audiences and potential to be a five-book series.

Notes:

1. I kept the line about the ages in because the twins are actually 18 and I'm a little worried about marketing it as adult and then being told "No, this is really YA" I'm open to discussions on this line of thought though since I am by no means an expert.

2. I took out all of the questions and rephrased them as her thoughts. They feel a little jumbled now. Much like my thoughts usually are. =D

3. I kept the last bits in there because without them...well, the query sort of just ends. I've had mixed reviews over it, so I am really hoping to hear more thoughts on it. I don't want to give too much away with the story, but this decision is sort of a catalyst for a lot of things that bleed over into the next book (it's already written). So that's why I refer to it as the climax. It is really the start of Zelene's journey. Deciding to go after her sister is half the battle.

4. I took out Estridia and Cahira. Does it still make sense?

5. I'm a little stuck on the intro. She finds out about the prophecy after she is attacked, so even as it is the events are still out of order. The point of the intro is to establish her voice and character. If believing horoscopes is beyond her realm of thinking then believing in a prophecy is going to be even worse, ya know? That's the point I'm trying to get across (but failing I think).

6. Nitpicky, maybe, but I'm not happy with the fact that I start two sentences with the word "But". Did it throw you too?

Okay, I think those are all of my thoughts. Now tell me yours! =D